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Dianne Tilton
Executive Director

Dianne Tilton is DEI's first Executive Director.  Before taking on her duties in March 2015, Dianne worked for nine years with RHR Smith & Company, CPAs, as Operations Director and Senior Development Specialist.  .  From January 2008 to December 2011, Ms. Tilton served as District 33's (Steuben to Beals) representative to the 124th and 125th Maine Legislature.  She served on the Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources, was appointed to the Joint Select Committee on Maine's Energy Future, and the Joint Select Committee on Regulatory Reform. During her tenure in the Maine Legislature, Dianne developed programs to meet the needs of natural resource-based industries, and introduced several pieces of legislation, including one to ensure rural communities had access to state research funds.

Dianne served for 13 years as the Executive Director of the Sunrise County Economic Council (SCEC) providing leadership to grow a small program into a successful nonprofit economic and community development organization.

She is a native of Harrington, Maine, receiving her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Maine.  She has had numerous education and professional acheivements including her participation in 2009 in the Emerging Political Leaders Program at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.  She participated in and graduated from Leadership Maine's Epsilon Class, and from the Washington County Leadership Institute (Alpha Class).  Her awards and recognitions include MaineBiz "Next" List (citizen's shaping Maine's economic future), the Deborah Morton Award (University of New England award for Outstanding Maine Women), the Kenneth M. Curtis Leadership Award (Maine Development Foundation), Maine Public Administrator of the Year (ME Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration), and Economic Developer of the Year (Finance Authority of Maine - FAME).

Dianne can be reached at and at 207-497-5769.


Dr. Brian Beal
Director of Research

Dr. Brian Beal

Dr. Beal is a professor of marine ecology at the University of Maine at Machias. His position at UMM is divided eqully between teaching and research, and includes his work at DEI.  Also, Dr. Beal is the director of UMM's Marine Field Station at Black Duck Cove.

A native of Jonesport, Maine, Dr. Beal graduated from UMM in 1979 with a B.S. degree in biology and went on to earn an M.S. degree in marine sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He obtained his Ph.D. in marine bio-resources from the University of Maine, Orono.

Dr. Beal was instrumental in establishing Maine’s first lobster hatchery in the town of Cutler in 1986. He worked with clammers and shellfish committees in six Washington County towns to create Maine’s first public clam hatchery in 1987 known as the Beals Island Regional Shellfish Hatchery. Dr. Beal is known for his work with soft-shell clams throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada. He was a 2000-2001 Fulbright scholar at the National University of Ireland, Galway where he worked with Irish fishermen and researchers on ocean-based lobster nurseries. 

His most recent applied research projects include work with sea scallops (Placopecten magellanicus), hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria), Arctic surf clams (Mactromeris polynyma), and the interactions between soft-shell clams (Mya arenaria) and green crabs (Carcinus maenas).

Dr. Beal can be reached at UMM at (207) 255-1314 or online at


Kyle Pepperman -- Aquaculture Production and Research Assistant

Kyle Pepperman graduated from the University of Maine at Machias in May 2009 with a B.S. degree in Marine Biology.  He minored in chemistry.  Kyle is from Williamsburg, Pennsylvania.  He is currently working to raise soft-shell clams for research, outreach, and stock enhancement purposes.  In addition, he is responsible for the hatchery work on blue mussel broodstock conditioning, larval-rearing, and post-larval production associated with a project funded through the National Science Foundation and the University of Maine System. 

Kyle can be reached at or at 207-497-5769.

Cody Jourdet -- Aquaculture Production and Research Assistant

Cody is a 2010 graduate of the University of Maine at Machias with a B.A. degree in Biology and a B.S. degree in Marine Biology.  Cody is from Friendship and Waldoboro, Maine.  He worked for three years as a field/laboratory assistant for Dr. Beal surveying the soft-bottom intertidal community of Cobscook Bay.  He is currently involved in a culture project at DEI working with Arctic surfclams, Mactomeris polynyma.  Cody's work with Arctic surfclams is funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation and the University of Maine System.

Cody can be reached at or at 207-497-5769.


Bennett Ellis -- Aquaculture Production Technician


Ben is a 2014 graduate of the University of Maine at Machias with a B.S. degree in Marine Biology.  A native of Hopedale, Massachusetts, Ben has summered with his parents and grandparents in the Jonesport-Beals area since he was a youth.  Those experiences on the water and in this area drew him to UMM where he started working on his 4-year degree in the fall of 2010.  He worked as a summer intern at DEI for two summers prior to graduating, and has worked on all facets of shellfish production, including rearing algae, brine shrimp, and lobsters, since he started working fulltime in June 2014.  Ben can be reached at 207-497-5769.


Colleen Haskell -- Education Center Director

Colleen has graced DEI with her charm, spirit, and wisdom since 2011. She is working with the DEI board to create a hands-on, inquiry-based K-12 curriculum that focuses on the local marine environment with the goal of stimulating student interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields and careers.  She has been the driving force for the success of the Clam Project, teacher workshops, special "marine science days" for coastal classes, and lesson plans that help give teachers confidence to take students to the shore and to bring the shore to their students.  Colleen brings a lifetime of teaching and administrative experience to her curriculum development activities.  Most recently, she served as superintendent of schools for the Moosabec Community School District.  She served as principal of Jonesport-Beals High School (JBHS), and before that taught English at JBHS.  We are so pleased that she is working with us!

Colleen can be reached at or at 207-497-5769.

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