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Our Team

The New England Environmental Finance Center sits within the Catherine Cutler Institute at the Muskie School of Public Service, the research arm of the University of Southern Maine. Our staff is based in Portland, Maine and serve the New England region.

Our Staff

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Martha Sheils

Key Competencies: Adaptive program management, advancing projects to implementation, education, community engagement and outreach, amplifying lessons learned and outcomes, transferring successful models to other states, funding and financing, and promoting inclusivity of all communities in need of climate resilience funding and financing.

Martha leads the New England EFC team and the programmatic expansion of New England EFC’s services. She has over 25 years of experience in community capacity building to move environmental projects forward to the funding and financing and implementation phase.

Jack D. Kartez, PhD

Senior Advisor & Emeritus Director
Key Competencies: Community engagement and outreach, effective training methods, culturally sensitive consensus building processes, fiscal analysis, emergency management, knowledge transfer.

Dr. Kartez is an environmental planner, mediator, and consensus-building specialist supporting municipal, non-profit, state, and multi-state clients across New England. He co-founded the New England EFC in 2001 and currently serves as a senior advisor, delivering services on cost-effective stormwater management, climate adaptation and resilience planning, local infrastructure finance, and risk communication. He also co-founded the Texas A&M University Hazard Center and has long worked on natural and environmental hazards research and training.

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Chloe Shields

Deputy Director
Key Competencies: Climate action planning and resilient communities, inclusive community engagement, project management, partnership development, funding and financing.

Chloe supports the strategic direction of the New England EFC and designs and delivers training, capacity building, and technical assistance with an emphasis on climate resilience planning and financing. She has a diverse background in environmental planning, public health, and international development. With more than 10 years of experience supporting underserved and disadvantaged groups both in the U.S. and internationally, Chloe brings knowledge of inclusive, equitable program delivery strategies.

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Phaeng Southisombath

SNEP Network Project Manager
Key Competencies: Database management, defining, tracking, and reporting metrics, strategic planning for communications and outreach, and consensus building among partners.

Phaeng manages the Southeast New England Program Network and coordinates 16 technical assistance partners to provide capacity building and access to funding and financing. Phaeng has a background in project management and planning, with expertise in tracking output/outcome metrics, data management and visualizations, and developing processes for collaborative structures.

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Leah Soloway

Policy Assistant
Key Competencies: Community engagement, program reporting and administration, communications and outreach, website management.

Leah supports the programmatic direction and administration of the Southeast New England Program Network, including planning, tracking, and reporting deliverables and managing communications, outreach, website, and promotional materials. She has a background in environmental science and business administration and expertise engaging communities on sustainability initiatives.


Curtis Bohlen, PhD

Director, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership

Dr. Bohlen is an aquatic and wetland ecologist and conservation leader with an interdisciplinary background in ecology, economics, and public policy. He leads the work of CBEP and works with partners both inside and outside of the University to seek creative solutions to environmental challenges, support local communities, and improve the management of Casco Bay. 

Rachel Bouvier, PhD

Associate Professor and Chair of Economics, University of Southern Maine

 Dr. Bouvier is founder and principal consultant at rbouvier consulting, an economic and sustainability consulting firm, and is on the Board of Directors at GrowSmart Maine. Her research interests include economic resilience, sustainability, and community economic development. Dr. Bouvier was Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Southern Maine from 2005-2014 and has returned after a brief hiatus. 


Charles Colgan, PhD

Professor Emeritus of Public Policy & Management, University of Southern Maine

Dr. Colgan is a former director of and senior advisor to the New England EFC. He also serves as Director of Research in the Center for the Blue Economy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Dr. Colgan has more than 40 years of experience in economic and environmental policy in Maine and New England covering land, air, and water issues. He is a former Director of the Maine Coastal Program and currently focuses on climate change-related issues on coasts and oceans in the U.S. and globally.

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Peter Cooke

Sustainable Operating Practices Topic Expert and Lecturer, University of Southern Maine

Peter Cooke has over twenty years of experience in developing sustainability tools and programs for businesses, government, academia, and non-profits. He co-founded Ratio Institute to develop tools and resources for food retailers. He has performed sustainability audits at over 600 grocery stores. Peter is ISO 14001 Lead Auditor certified, Commercial Energy Auditor trained, Building Operator Certified, and Hazardous Waste Operations certified.


Vanessa Levesque, PhD

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science & Policy, University of Southern Maine

Dr. Levesque is an interdisciplinary social scientist; she combines research experiences in ecology, planning and policy analysis within a sustainability science framework to better understand how communities make decisions to improve the environmental and social worlds in which they live. Further, Dr. Levesque has over 10 years of environmental planning work experience in municipal and state governments in Maine, and currently partners with nonacademic collaborators to develop applied research projects to address pressing issues that advance rural community resilience.