Meet our Staff

Join our mission to help every Baltimore resident get clean water and green neighborhoods. Baltimore thrives when our waterways are clean.

Staff of Blue Water Baltimore lined up for a portrait at a formal event.

Christina Akins | Human Resources Generalist

As the Senior Human Resources Coordinator, Christina oversees various functions such as recruiting, onboarding and training for Blue Water Group and its employees. She is here to be a resource and provide guidance as needed. Christina has over 5 years of Human Resources experience and is thrilled to be a part of the Blue Water team. In her free time, Christina enjoys cooking, live events and spending time with loved ones.

Jill Cecil | Director of Finance and Administration

Jill oversees finance, administration, facilities and technology activities at BWB.  It may not be a flashy job, but she enjoys providing the support systems that keep the rest of the environmental warriors out in the field fighting the good fight. Prior to joining BWB in 2011, she spent 12 years managing the finances for both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. When she’s not counting beans, Jill can be found out on the water, literally.  Fun Fact: She lives on a boat in downtown Baltimore with her partner and their chihuahua, Little Dog.

Darin Crew | Director of Restoration

Darin oversees our restoration program. He manages restoration and engagement project planning to slow down runoff and filter out pollution. From planting trees in a neighbors yard to installing larger rain garden projects we are trying to model projects that others can replicate throughout the watershed- either in their yards or on public or private property. His favorite part of the job is partnering with communities to implement hands-on projects that improve water quality and achieve community goals. Darin has a BS in Biology and is a Certified Professional Horticulturalist. In his spare time, Darin enjoys running on local trails in the Baltimore area, hiking on trails and being outside and observing nature’s majesty. Darin also enjoys fishing- cat fishing, fly fishing, any fishing is awesome.

Sarah Holter | Water Quality Program Senior Coordinator

Sarah supports the programmatic field operations of the Waterkeeper team through water quality monitoring, data management and coordination of field volunteers. Being in close proximity to a body of water (fresh, brackish or salty!) is Sarah’s MO, and she can often be found en route to a swimming hole with her dog and some water colors.

Michelle “MJ” Jenkins | Community Engagement Manager

MJ is a lifelong volunteer and advocate for community involvement around a wide range of issues. Prior to the pandemic, she was the office manager of a busy medical practice and left to pursue nonprofit work full-time in 2020 as a volunteer coordinator. She enjoys gardening and growing her own food, hiking, camping, and anything involving being near a large body of water. She is also an animal foster, avid world traveler, mixed media artist, and a pretty okay cook.

Robert Jenkins | Nursery Manager

With more than 30 years of experience in Maryland’s horticulture industry, Rob oversees the daily operations of our Herring Run Nursery.  His long-term goals are: to continually expand the Nursery, both in terms of outreach and in support of Blue Water Baltimore’s mission, to increase the Nursery’s production to include more local ecotype natives that are grown and sustainably harvested by our staff and volunteers, to expand the use of natives in the greening of, and pollutant reduction within, our watersheds. Rob has a BS in Biology and an MS in Environmental Science; additionally, he is a CPH (Certified Professional Horticulturist) and a CBLP (Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional). In his free time, Rob enjoys triathlons, mud runs, bouldering, and axe throwing. When he’s not exerting himself physically, he can be found immersed in the story of Kratos and Atreus (playing God of War). Fun fact: Rob doesn’t care for pants, he only wears shorts, no matter the temperature.

Barbara Johnson | Water Quality Senior Manager

As our Water Quality Senior Manager, Barbara manages the ambient water quality monitoring program under the direction of the Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper. Barbara also runs our Outfall Screening Blitz program and our Pollution Reporting 101 trainings and conducts pollution investigations when problems are reported by community members. She has a BA in Environmental Sustainability & Human Ecology from The University of Baltimore; additionally, she is a CSI (Certified Stormwater Inspector) from the National Stormwater Center. In her free time, Baraba can be found painting, printmaking, and exploring history. Fun fact: Barbara did The Twist on stage with Chubby Checker when she was eight years old; thus cementing her love of rock ‘n’ roll forever.

Chris Landers | Communications Specialist

Chris comes to Blue Water Baltimore following a stint as editor of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. A longtime Baltimore journalist, he’s written for just about every local publication and was a staff writer at the Baltimore City Paper. He also sailed across the Atlantic on the Pride of Baltimore II, and worked as a shipwright on the USS Constellation. He has a master’s degree in journalism from University of Maryland, a philosophy degree from St. Johns College, and likes to travel and go camping and kayaking with his daughter.

Mary Lewis | Assistant Nursery Manager

As our Assistant Nursery Manager, Mary is responsible for community engagement, landscape design and consultations, and volunteer management at the Herring Run Nursery. She brings over 13 years of plant-related experience to our team, and truly loves sharing her passion for native plants and environmental conservation with customers and community members. Her quarantine hobbies include chess, skateboarding, and learning Spanish.

John Marra |  Ecoliteracy & Engagement Manager

John manages and leads many of our eco-literacy programs, engagement activities, and green infrastructure projects. As an Eagle Scout since 1999, Americorps member, and a founding member of the Baltimore Rock Opera Society, John Marra strongly believes in the importance of teamwork, kindness, and time spent outside.

Patrick McMahon | Restoration Project Manager

Patrick has had extensive project management experience working with the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) and completing his master’s degree at Towson University. Patrick has also been involved in the construction of many environmental restoration projects while working at Environmental Quality Resources, AWS, and while serving as a county inspector at the Maryland Environmental Service. Following the completion of his master’s, where he published a manuscript entitled, “Effects of stream restoration by legacy sediment removal and floodplain reconnection on water quality,” Patrick taught as an adjunct professor at Towson University. Patrick’s passion for greening urban environments and working towards cleaner – healthier water originates from his love for the outdoors and respect for nature.

Jeff Missouri | Facilities & IT Manager

Jeff provides facility, fleet and IT support at Blue Water Baltimore. Jeff manages building maintenance and contracts, insurance and accident claims, information technology, customer service follow up and event planning. Jeff has many years and training in real estate, contract management, planning and logistics in campus and hospital settings. In his free time, Jeff loves to write, deacon in the church and mentor young teens. He has worked in the past with Project Raise, Youth Works, YMCA, and various mentor programs throughout Baltimore City.

Margaret O’Connor | Development Associate

Margaret is a part of the development team and is grateful to be a part of such an amazing organization that shares her concern for the environment. She is originally from Connecticut, but has also spent a lot of time in Cape Cod, MA, which is where she grew to love and appreciate the outdoors. Prior to Blue Water Baltimore, she obtained her BA in Sociology from Loyola University in Baltimore. In her free time, you can find Margaret trying out new restaurants, attending a concert, reading, or exploring the city with friends.

Sean O’Maille | Forestry and GIS Specialist

Prior to joining our organization, Sean was a full-time yoga teacher. He is passionate about trees and native plant species and their benefits for all life in and around Baltimore. Sean leads our tree maintenance program and assists with project implementation and volunteer engagement. Sean is excited to work with communities to bring more natural infrastructure to Baltimore.

Vanessa Pinkney | Executive Assistant & Office Manager

As the Executive Assistant and Office Manager, Vanessa is responsible for keeping the office running smoothly while providing support to the Executive Director. Vanessa is responsible for developing intra-office communication protocols, streamlining administrative procedures, inventory control, office staff supervision, acting as a board liaison, point of contact for employees and visitors, office management and task delegation. Vanessa has over 10 years of experience and has worked in non-profits and academia. In her spare time, Vanessa enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Heather Poff | Director of Development

As our Director of Development, Heather Poff is responsible for centralizing our grants program, deepening relationships with existing grantmakers, and identifying new funding prospects to help broaden BWB’s impact. She comes to us with nearly nineteen years of experience working in the nonprofit sector, most recently managing the grants and workplace giving programs at the Maryland SPCA. She looks forward to sharing the work of Blue Water Baltimore and the role we play in protecting one of Maryland’s most important resources. Heather grew up in Pennsylvania, spending many hours exploring the woodlands and streams near her childhood home. Today, she shares her love of the outdoors with her husband and two children. You will find them at various campsites and beaches in the tri-state area from Spring to Fall. Fun Fact: While working for the Washington National Opera, Heather got to be a supernumerary (fancy word for extra) in their productions.

Ericka Popovich | Senior Director of Operations

As the Senior Director of Operations, Ericka supports Blue Water Baltimore’s community programs. She comes to Blue Water Baltimore with a variety of experiences. She has a degree in Wildlife Biology from Purdue University and a Master’s in Behavior, Education and Communication from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment. She has experience working closely with public water utilities in Indiana, where she also developed a municipal urban wood utilization and community tree planting program. She worked as the Director of Engagement for many years with the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, working to advance water and climate justice. Most recently she served as the state’s first Tree Equity Specialist for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. She comes to BWB with a wealth of experience working on environmental justice and equity in environmental organizations through authentic and intentional community engagement.

Sydnee Wilson Ruff | Interim Executive Director

Currently serving as Interim Executive Director, Sydnee joins the staff at Blue Water Baltimore after a year on the Board of Directors, and is honored to continue serving the organization during this period of transition. She was drawn to Blue Water Baltimore because of its commitment to Baltimore’s neighborhoods; Sydnee is led by a deep desire to amplify the voices of the City’s marginalized communities. Prior to joining Blue Water Baltimore, she spent time honing her skills in operations, communications, and community engagement at a host of nonprofits and local government agencies. Sydnee only works so she can afford to travel. She and her husband have made the world their oyster, but their favorite place to be is at home, in the West Arlington neighborhood, with their four children. 

Fun Fact: Sydnee is a baker extraordinaire and longs to one day own a bed and breakfast here in Baltimore. 

Lauren Stranahan | Bookkeeper

​Lauren maintains our day-to-day bookkeeping, including the receipting of grant funds and donations, processing payments to our vendors, and providing financial reports to our program directors. She loves keeping an eye on the details so that our teams working in the field have everything they need to continue their important work. Lauren started out volunteering with Blue Water Baltimore in a neighborhood stream cleanup. Since then she’s become a certified Weed Warrior and Tree Keeper! Lauren has planted ten trees in her own yard and is now her neighborhood’s tree steward.

Corbin Sulton | Implementation Senior Coordinator

Corbin implements our landscape and stormwater restoration projects. He also supervises and mentors our field crew in their daily work. Corbin is a certified professional in erosion and sediment control and is proficient in using heavy machinery and a variety of hand tools.

Alice Volpitta | Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper

As our Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, Alice directs our water quality monitoring programs and spearheads our enforcement efforts. She also oversees the management of our pollution reporting hotline, regulatory & permit review, and policy evaluation work. Alice has a BS in Biology & Environmental Science from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and is a Certified Stormwater Inspector. When not patrolling our waterways, she can be found hiking and treasure hunting near them, quilting, and making Pugtatos (you’ll have to ask her to learn what that means).

Peter Weitzmann | Database Specialist

Peter is determined to use data and technology to promote solutions to environmental and social issues in Baltimore. Peter works to support our programmatic and development goals by overseeing the collection, organization, and utilization of data. He has a BA in Liberal Arts (Anthropology) from Hamilton College and is a Salesforce Certified Administrator and a Baltimore Treekeeper. In his free time, Peter plays guitar with his band, and enjoys camping and hiking. Fun fact: Peter has visited five continents, and he has worked or volunteered in four different countries (US, S. Korea, Thailand, Australia).

Malcolm Wilson | Restoration Crew Leader

Malcolm joined Blue Water Baltimore after three years with the Baltimore Tree Trust, where he started as a crew member and worked his way up through the ranks to become supervisor of the tree care division. He was born and raised in Baltimore, and has a background in construction, operating and maintaining heavy machinery, and urban forestry.