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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), quahogs (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

Sara Randall -- Associate Director

Sara became DEI's Associate Director in late 2017. Her career has centered on restoring commercial fisheries and sustaining  coastal communities. A native Mainer, Sara spent nine years as the Director of Programs for the largest commercial fishermen's trade organization on the west coast and its sister non-profit the Institute for Fisheries Resources in San Francisco. She also spent two years restoring habitat of salmonid-bearing watersheds in remote northern California as an AmeriCorps member. Sara has represented commercial fishermen as an appointed member of the San Francisco Harbor Safety Committee and the San Francisco Food Policy Council and has worked to advance sound fisheries and ocean management and policy in a variety of local, state, regional, and national contexts. 

Upon returning to Maine she earned a M.A. from the University of Maine's School of Policy and International Affairs. Prior to becoming Associate Director, Sara coordinated DEI's four-year large-scale applied marine research project in Freeport which led to the discovery that predation, driven by warming ocean temperatures, is the root cause of Casco Bay's soft-shell clam decline. Sara was elected to the Freeport Sewer District in 2015 and serves as Chair.

Sara can be reached at: or 615-7852.

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, Marine Science Days for coastal schools, 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.

Jeff Robinson -- Facilities Manager

Jeff joined DEI in February of 2016.  His 20+ years of experience in the salmon aquaculture industry, including his most recent position managing R&D projects, has been a tremendous benefit to DEI.  His insight has guided DEI as we advance  shellfish aquaculture techniques, as well as with our growing hatchery operations.  He also brings experience with marine engines, hydraulics, boat operations, construction and fabrication.  Jeff attended the University of Maine and can be reached by calling   207-497-5769 or

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 or

Megan Callahan -- Maine Conservation Corps Environmental Steward

Megan Callahan is a Maine Conservation Corps (MCC) Environmental Steward. Part of the national service program AmeriCorps, MCC volunteers serve in non-profits, state or federal agencies across the state and work to increase conservation and environmental stewardship. At DEI, Megan will be assisting Education Center Director Colleen Haskell in developing and implementing our educational programming, improving DEI’s volunteer recruitment and management, and developing a system for tracking marine resource education efforts. Megan is from Lincoln, Nebraska and has a degree in Biochemistry from Simpson College in Iowa. Her year of service began in January 2018 and she will serve at DEI for eleven months. You can reach Megan at or 207-497-5769

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