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2022 Summer Meeting Speakers

Confirmed Speakers


NRCS Chief Terry Cosby

Terry Cosby was appointed to serve as chief of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in May of 2021. In this role, Chief oversees the 3,000 NRCS field offices and their employees across the nation.

Cosby began his career with the agency in 1979 as a student trainee in Iowa. Cosby’s roots run deep. Raised on a cotton farm with his eight siblings in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, his love for the land began at an early age. The farm, now in his family for three generations, was purchased by his great-grandfather in the late 1800s.

Chief Cosby will be speaking at Monday’s General Session.


Dr. Bradley Doorn, Ph.D.

Dr. Doorn is the Program Manager for Water Resources and Agriculture in the Applied Science Program of the Earth Science Division of NASA.  With over 35 years of experience in applying remote sensing data to Earth applications, Dr. Doorn now manages over 30 applied research projects and two consortia.  He also serves as the Applied Sciences Project Lead for the Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) and the Mass Change missions and various interagency committees; such as the NOAA-led Executive Council for the National Interagency Drought Information System (NIDIS) and co-lead of the Green House Gas Interagency Working Group for Climate-Smart Agriculture, among other duties.

Previously, Dr. Doorn was the Division Director of the International Production Assessment Division in the Office of Global Analysis, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), USDA.  Dr. Doorn also served on active duty for nearly 10 years as a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Topographic Officer.  He is a long-time member and officer (including President) of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS).

Dr. Doorn received his doctorate and master’s degrees from The Ohio State University in Geodetic Science and Surveying and his bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Doorn will be speaking at Monday’s General Session and will be a panelist in the Technology in Conservation and Agriculture breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 2:15 p.m.


Luis A. Cruz-Arroyo

Luis A. Cruz-Arroyo is from Mayagüez, PR and graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. Luis has work in conservation for over a decade covering different field, technical and management position in Alabama and Iowa and more recently being selected as the USDA-NRCS Caribbean Director in 2019.  Luis enjoys afternoons at the beach with his daughters, Olivia and Ariana, his wife, Erika and his dog, Kobe.

Cruz-Arroyo will be moderating the discussion in the Monday General Session Caribbean Conservation Opportunities and Challenges panel.


Commissioner Positive T.A. Nelson

Commissioner Nelson has a B.S. Degree in Accounting from St. Augustine’s University; leadership training certificates from the Henry Toll Fellowship & Eastern Leadership Academy respectively; a certificate in “Driving Government Performance” from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, a certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Notre Dame University and is a John C. Maxwell Certified Speaker, Teacher, Trainer and Coach. He also holds certificates in mediation, arbitration, and hearing administration.

Commissioner Nelson will be a panelist in the Monday General Session Caribbean Conservation Opportunities and Challenges panel.


Secretary Ramón González Beiró

Secretary Ramón González Beiró was born in the town of Arroyo, Puerto Rico on October 6, 1965. He studied Accounting at the Regional College of Ponce, Puerto Rico and Agricultural Administration at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Florida. He carries agriculture in his blood, being part of the fourth-generation farmers in his family fills him with satisfaction and pride. Ramon Gonzalez has been a farmer since 1986, President of the Puerto Rico Farm Bureau Federation in multiple occasion and on January 27, 2021, he was appointed as Secretary of Agriculture by the Governor of Puerto Rico, Hon. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia.

Secretary Beiró will be a panelist in the Monday General Session Caribbean Conservation Opportunities and Challenges panel.


Raúl E. Macchiavelli

Raúl E. Macchiavelli is a Professor and the Dean and Director of the College of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, the land grant university in Puerto Rico. Dr. Macchiavelli has more than 40 years of experience teaching and doing research in applied statistical methods for agriculture. He has collaborated with scientists analyzing data and solving relevant problems in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, not only in Puerto Rico but also in the US, Latin America, and Spain. As Dean and Director of Agricultural Sciences, he oversees the activities of more than 200 teaching, research, and extension faculty working on campus, in the experiment stations, and in the extension offices throughout the island.

Macchiavelli will be a panelist in the Monday General Session Caribbean Conservation Opportunities and Challenges panel.


Stafford Crossman

Stafford Crossman is an Extension Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Cooperative Extension Service at the University of the Virgin Islands School of Agriculture. He began his career at the University of the Virgin Islands as a Research Specialist at the Agricultural Experiment Station before transferring to the Cooperative Extension Service as a Program Supervisor. Mr. Crossman has also served as the Deputy Commissioner at the Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture. His areas of specialty include crop production, focusing on vegetables, tropical fruits and irrigation. He is also an ISA Certified Arborist.

Crossman will be a panelist in the Monday General Session Caribbean Conservation Opportunities and Challenges panel.


Fernando Lloveras San Miguel

Fernando Lloveras San Miguel, Esq. is President of Para la Naturaleza and Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust. Attorney Lloveras, highly committed to nature conservation, historic preservation, and reforestation is determined to further develop the values of education and stewardship in Puerto Rico. He also currently holds the position of Vice-President of the Caribbean Regional Council of the IUCN and is serving as an Emeritus Trustee of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Lloveras San Miguel will be speaking at Monday’s Conservation Breakfast and will be a panelist in the Sustainable Tourism and Community Engagement on Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m.


Iván Llerandi-Román

Iván Llerandi-Román is a Supervisory Fish & Wildlife biologist in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office. He holds a Master’s degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from the Mississippi State University and B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. Iván has divided his professional career as a wildlife biologist between the Puerto Rico Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, where he coordinated the Puerto Rican parrot Recovery Program and the Technical Assistance for Wildlife Conservation project in Puerto Rico, and as a Habitat Restoration Programs Caribbean Coordinator and Supervisory Fish and Wildlife Biologist in the USFWS, where he coordinates habitat restoration, and threatened and endangered species recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. His work links habitat restoration, T&E species recovery, landscape level conservation, anthropogenic activities, ecosystem services, agriculture, and socio-economic factors to maintain healthy trust species populations, conservation engagement and the ecological integrity of ecosystems.

Llerandi-Román will be a panelist in the JCI breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m.


Gabriela Morales Nieves

Gabriela Morales Nieves is a forester currently working as a Land Management Planner in El Yunque National Forest with the U.S. Forest Service. She has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Science from UPR Río Piedras and a Master of Forestry from Yale School of the Environment. In El Yunque, she is helping to develop strategies for conservation of lands in the eastern region of Puerto Rico, doing policy work, and promoting opportunities for community engagement around the Forest.

Morales Nieves will be a panelist in the Sustainable Tourism and Community Engagement breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m.


Ricardo J. Colon

Ricardo J. Colon completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science and a Master’s Degree in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico.  With more than 10 years of experience in the federal government, he began his career in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Wildlife Biologist in the Caribbean Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Currently, he is the Caribbean Area Biologist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service where he also serves as the Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration Partnership Coordinator.

Colon will be a panelist in the JCI breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m.


Dr. H. Nolo Martinez

Dr. Martínez is an Agronomist and Agricultural Economist. Dr. Martínez has over 30 years of experience working with farmers, farmworkers, and disabled farmers in the Southeast Region of the US. Dr. Martínez founded the NC AgrAbility Project in 1994 and served as the first Hispanic Advisory to the NC Governor from 1997 to 2004, supporting policy changes in several areas, including agricultural outreach and education. Dr. Martínez’s areas of professional interest include the study of people’s beliefs, attitudes, and values as the foundation to describe and explain organizational culture; integrating work from adult learning and development to plan, implement, and evaluate adult education and early childhood education programs; and leadership development in diverse and immigrant communities

Martinez will be a panelist in the equity breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m.


Gladys M. González-Martínez, Ph.D.

Dr. Gladys González-Martínez is an Ad Honorem professor at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) at Mayagüez from where she recently retired as full professor of Agricultural Economics. She obtained a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia, following a M.S. in Agricultural Economics and a B.A. in Economics both from UPR-Mayagüez. Her work has been published in professional and refereed journals, and presented as papers and scientific posters at conferences nationally and internationally. Her research, teaching, and outreach initiatives have been supported by grants from USDA-NRCS, USDA-NIFA, and USDA-FS, among others. During her tenure at UPR-M, she served as Department Chairperson, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, and Acting Dean-Director of the College of Agricultural Sciences. Outside of academia, she has held several positions at the cabinet level and in advisory roles in the government of Puerto Rico.

González-Martínez will be a panelist in the equity breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m.


Magaly Figueroa

Magaly Figueroa is in charge of the State and Private Forestry Programs in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands since 2017. She has worked for the US Forest Service at the International Institute of Tropical Forestry since 2002. Until 2002, she worked for the Forest Service Bureau of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources with the State and Private Forestry programs on the state side.

Figueroa will be a panelist in the JCI breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m.


José L. Sánchez

José L. Sánchez is a board-certified lawyer with experience in civil law and administrative government processes.  He has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a major in Marketing at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus.  He also has a Juris Doctor at Eugenio María de Hostos School of Law, Mayagüez Campus, and just finished a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico’s School of Law, Ponce Campus. Currently, he is the Executive Director of Victus Puerto Rico’s “Puerto Rico Prosperity Farmers Project”, a project funded by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), which is helping local farmers with heirs property issues so they can obtain a legal title for their farms and access programs and services from the USDA.

Sánchez will be a panelist in the equity breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m.


Nora Alvarez-Berríos

Nora Alvarez-Berríos is a Research Associate with the Caribbean Climate Hub. Nora joined the Caribbean Climate Hub team as a Climate Fellow in Jun 2016 and since then has investigated agricultural and forestry land areas vulnerable to climate change and adaptability scenarios for climate change mitigation in the Caribbean.

Alvarez-Berríos will be a panelist in the Climate-Smart Conservation Breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m.


John A. Huffman

John Huffman leads the Branch of Habitat Restoration, part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Falls Church, Virginia. The Branch oversees the national policy, budget and implementation of voluntary habitat conservation programs including the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Coastal Program, Farm Conservation Program and Marine Program. Prior to moving to headquarters in 2021, he was the Southwest Regional Coordinator and for the Service’s Gulf Restoration Program. There, his team collaborated across Service regions, agencies, states and other conservation groups to develop plans and projects to restore the Gulf of Mexico with settlement funds from the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. John has worked for the Service for 23 years and has over 28 years of experience working on fish, wildlife, and habitat issues with a focus on partnerships for collaborative conservation to benefit both species, including the imperiled species, and communities.

Huffman will be a panelist at the watershed breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 2:15 p.m.


Robert J. Mayer, Ph.D. , CERP

Dr. Mayer is a full professor at the University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla and a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner. His research and ecological restoration work focuses on the ecological restoration of mangroves and coastal dunes on the north coast of Puerto Rico. This work is increasing the resilience of coastal communities and habitats to the effects of the climate emergency and is also building human capacity in the ecological restoration of coastal habitats.

Mayer will be a panelist in the coastal conservation breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 2:15 p.m.


Jennifer Casey

Jennifer Casey is the Chair of the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District in Florida and a member of the 2022 cohort of the Next Generation Leadership Institute sponsored by the National Conservation Foundation. Jennifer is a partner with agencies and organizations meeting local conservation needs in Northeast Florida, a champion of agricultural education, and a committed advocate of soil and water stewardship. Her work includes transforming a regional event to create awareness about urban agriculture into a mentorship program for beginning farmers. More recently, she led her district in establishing their first demonstration project on public land. The Regeneration Park project is improving formerly contaminated land in Jacksonville’s urban core and creating a safe space to demonstrate urban agriculture, cultivate environmental stewardship and empower residents to build with nature for social, economic and environmental health.

Casey will be a panelist at the coastal conservation breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 2:15 p.m.


Yasiel A. Figueroa Sánchez

Yasiel A. Figueroa Sánchez is an Environmental Scientist (M.Sc.) and Geographer from Isabela, Puerto Rico with over 8 years of experience in environmental conservation. He currently works as an environmental consultant and GIS specialist for the NGO Protectores de Cuencas focusing on the development of integrated watershed management plans to improve water resources and harmonize agriculture and the environment.

Figueroa Sánchez will be a panelist at the coastal conservation breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 2:15 p.m.


Brenda Torres Barreto

Brenda Torres Barreto is a professional in the field of sustainability with vast experience in environmental management, corporate social responsibility and public policy development through empowerment and multisector alliances. She has excelled in leadership positions in Puerto Rico and the United States.

Her professional career has led her to be part of Governor Andre W. Cuomo’s executive team as Assistant Secretary for the Environment of the State of New York. It was there that Torres Barreto advised Governor Andre W. Cuomo on environmental policy and had the opportunity to develop the state environmental justice platform in New York. Prior to working in the governor’s office, Brenda led the efforts of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the Northeastern United States. From this position, she represented the interests of Puerto Ricans on the Island and Puerto Ricans in this region of the US facing federal agencies, state and municipal governments. Among the initiatives promoted during this period is the development of the Puerto Rican Creative Network and the National Puerto Rican Agenda. Brenda oversaw the federal and state efforts for the revitalization and sustainability of Vieques and for the dredging project in the Caño Martín Peña.

Currently, Brenda serves as Executive Director of the San Juan Bay Estuary Program, an initiative focused on the restoration of water bodies in the metropolitan area of Puerto Rico, and part of the National Estuary Program partly funded by the USEPA. Through the Estuary Program, Torres Barreto coordinates multisector efforts, empowers citizens to be part of the restoration process and ensures the well-being of residents of the metropolitan area.

Torres Barreto will be a panelist at the coastal conservation breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 2:15 p.m.


Lisa Knauf Owen

Lisa Knauf Owen is the Assistant Executive Director of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and has worked for the agency and conservation districts for the past 30 years. She currently serves as Chair of the National Watershed Coalition (NWC). NWC is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) Coalition made up of national, regional, state and local organizations, associations, and individuals that advocate dealing with natural resource problems and issues using watersheds as the planning and implementation unit.

Knauf Owen will be the moderator at the Watershed and Habitat Protection Opportunities breakout session on Monday, July 18 at 2:15 p.m.


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