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2013 Conference Speakers' Biographies

Dr. J Thomas McMurray

Dr. J Thomas McMurray is President and CEO of Marine Ventures Foundation. Since founding Marine Ventures in 2000, he has been involved in a wide range of conservation projects in the US, Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, Bahamas and Western Australia.  He is also a co-founder of the BlueCloud Spatial, a collaborative project of dedicated research and conservation groups pursuing protection and restoration goals in some of the most important marine, estuarine and river ecosystems in North and South America and Western Australia. 

In his previous life, Tom was a Managing Director at Sequoia Capital, a Menlo Park, California venture capital firm that invested in Apple, Oracle, Yahoo, Google, Linkedin and Dropbox.  It is from this direct experience that Marine Ventures was created to leverage cutting edge technology to empower conservation projects with new tools for citizen science, education and social engagement.  The Foundation's support of citizen science projects include Coastal Walkabout in Western Australia, Tag A Giant, Down the Colorado, Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, Chesapeake Bay Fishtagger and iNaturalist.  

Tom is a founding director of The Ocean Foundation and a member of the Technical Advisory Board for Lighthawk. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University Pratt School of Engineering focusing on marine ecosystems.

Scott Loarie

Scott Loarie is co-Director of a citizen science social network that aims to connect people to nature through technology. Scott is a research fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University and a lecturer in the Department of Geography at University of California Berkeley. His research focuses on how land-use and climate change impact biodiversity across ecosystems ranging from the savannas of Africa and the Brazilian Amazon to the California Floristic Province. Scott has a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Duke University and has published numerous scientific articles in journals such as Nature and the Proceedings of the Academy of Sciences.

Brendan Weiner

Brendan Weiner is the Program Director at Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC), a nonprofit adventure science organization based in Bozeman, MT. ASC is dedicated to improving accessibility to scientific information by creating partnerships between outdoor enthusiasts travelling to remote locations with scientists in need of data from those locations. Brendan develops programs for ASC that engage everyone from the world’s best athletes to elementary school students in meaningful, hands-on data collection projects that provide useable data for researchers. From Mt. Everest to the ocean floor, ASC has connected over 1,000 adventurers with over 110 scientists around the world in the 2 years since it was founded.  Brendan is a field ecologist by training and has developed management plans for numerous public and private landowners. He has a Master’s degree from the University of Vermont where he also taught forest ecology and ran a community forestry program.

Carson McMurray

Carson McMurray is a 2012-2013 field researcher for the Rockies Project. Originally from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Carson graduated in May 2012 with a degree in Environmental Science. His interests in environmental issues originate from his family’s obsession with fishing and have grown during his time at Colorado College. Carson specializes in work with GIS mapping  and has combined this specialization with his environmental studies to help people see environmental issues through a new perspective. In his spare time, he enjoys playing sports, mountain biking and of course fishing.


 Governor Richard D. Lamm

Richard D. Lamm is Co-Director of the Institute for Public Policy Studies at the University of Denver, and the former three-term Governor of Colorado. (1975-1987) He is both a lawyer (Berkeley, 1961) and a Certified Public Accountant. He joined the faculty of the University of Denver in 1969 and has, except for his years as Governor, been associated with the University ever since.

Lamm was selected as one of Time Magazine's "200 Young Leaders of America" in 1974, and won the Christian Science Monitor "Peace 2020" essay in 1985. In 1992, he was honored by the Denver Post and Historic Denver, Inc. as one of the "Colorado 100" - people who made significant contributions to Colorado and made lasting impressions on the state's history. He was Chairman of the Pew Health Professions Commission and a public member of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

Lamm has appeared on virtually every national news program, including Buchanan & Press (MSNBC), Larry King Live and Inside Politics (CNN), Today (NBC), Meet the Press (NBC), ABC's Good Morning AmericaLehrer NewsHour (PBS), and CBS's Face the Nation. His editorials have appeared in the San Francisco ChronicleNew York TimesChristian Science MonitorNewsdayBoston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune, as well as in a number of academic and medical journals. While Governor, Lamm wrote or co-authored six books: A California Conspiracy, with Arnold Grossman (St. Martin's Press, 1988);Megatraumas: America in the Year 2000 (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1985), The Immigration Time Bomb: The Fragmenting of America, with Gary Imhoff (Dutton and Company, 1985), 1988, with Arnie Grossman (St. Martin's Press, 1985), Pioneers & Politicians, with Duane A. Smith (Pruett Publishing Company, 1984) and The Angry West, with Michael McCarthy (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1982).

His latest books are Two Wands, One Nation (2006), and The Brave New World of Health Care (2004), both published by Fulcrum Publishing under its imprint, Speaker’s Corner Books.

Lamm has always been in the forefront of political change. As a first year legislator, he drafted and succeeded in passing the nation's first liberalized abortion law. He was an early leader of the environmental movement, and was President of the First National Conference on Population and The Environment. Reacting to the high cost of campaigning, he walked the state in his campaign for Governor of Colorado. Lamm was elected to three terms as Colorado's top elected official, and in serving as Governor from January 1975 and retiring in January 1987, he was the longest-serving Governor in Colorado's history to that date.

Ceil Folz

An Illinois native, Ceil Folz moved to the Vail Valley in 1982 and began working as the Program Coordinator for the Vail Metropolitan Recreation District, responsible for the coordination and development of events such as the Hot Summer Nights free concert series, Symphony of Sports and the Vail stop of the Coors International Bicycle Classic.

Folz joined the Vail Valley Foundation as a Project Administrator in 1989 and was promoted to Director of Operations in 1991. In this role, she assumed the overall operational responsibilities for the Foundation’s athletic events, including the annual World Cup skiing and mountain bike competitions and the American Ski Classic, additionally serving as director of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater and the AEI World Forum.

Folz was elevated to the role of Senior Vice President in 1994, taking over the reins of the 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships organizational effort, while also representing the Foundation around the world at International Ski Federation (FIS) and International Cycling Union (UCI) meetings, along with major international events. 

In 1999, Folz was named to her current role as President of the Vail Valley Foundation, now leading a team of 65 employees, with the Vail Valley Foundation’s recent merge with the Youth Foundation.

She led the effort to purchase the annual Teva Mountain Games event, as well as creating the new Winter Mountain Games.  Folz also spearheaded Vail and Beaver Creek’s successful bid for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships and serves as president of the event’s Organizing Committee. She is also responsible for bringing cycling back to the Vail Valley through the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. 

Folz earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse in recreation administration.  She and her husband, Steve, reside in Edwards.

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