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Mark Belton
Program Director

Rear Admiral Mark Belton, SC, USN (Ret.) has an extensive background leading state and local government organizations including roles as Maryland’s Secretary of Natural Resources; Chief Administrative Officer for Queen Annes’ (MD), Charles (MD), and Page Counties (VA); and Executive Director for Pride of Baltimore, Inc. While in the Navy, Mark served afloat and ashore throughout a 31-year career as a logistics expert with flag officer assignments including as senior liaison to the Republic of Iraq ministries of Oil and Electricity, and as Commander of the Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group. He holds a B.S. from the United States Naval Academy; an M.B.A. from Regis University; and graduated from leadership programs at the Naval War College, Armed Forces Staff College, and National Defense University.

Mark has promoted innovation in climate change preparedness by championing the establishment of Maryland’s Climate Leadership Academy, the first state-led program of its kind in the nation; creating Maryland’s first nonprofit Resilience Authority to finance and spur discussions around local community resilience projects; and representing the Maryland Association of Counties (MACO) on the Maryland Commission on Climate Change (MCCC). Under his leadership, Charles County’s proactive whole-of-government approach to climate preparedness received recognition awards from both MACO and the National Association of Counties (NACO) and was cited by Standard & Poor (S&P) as influencing affirmation of their AAA credit rating. 

Mark’s deep knowledge of local and state government operations, natural resource management, and as a senior military officer is especially valuable on Throwe projects including the National Coastal Resilience Fund; Northeast Grant Programs; Military Installation Resilience Reviews for St. Mary’s County, MD and the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council; among others.

Chris Cortina
Project Partner

Chris Cortina joins Throwe Environmental after supporting the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO) as Project Manager for the Maryland Climate Leadership Academy since 2021. Chris previously served the State of Maryland for ten years in various roles for the Chesapeake and Coastal Service within the Department of Natural Resources. While maintaining a consistent role focused on program communications, community outreach, and performance tracking and reporting, Chris was instrumental in securing and administering Maryland’s annual coastal zone management grant funding provided by NOAA. From helping to prepare federal grant applications, to identifying and overseeing programs and projects that help meet state goals, to compiling the progress and performance measure reporting in order to satisfy grant requirements, Chris participated in the full lifecycle of a critical funding source that has enabled Maryland to establish itself as a leader in climate change adaptation and resilience planning. Beyond grant management, Chris provided oversight to a team of natural resources planners providing financial and technical assistance to local governments to reduce the region's coastal hazard risk and vulnerability. He has an M.A. in Geography from Miami University and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Ohio Wesleyan University. A Maryland native and longtime resident, Chris is now based in Denver, CO with his wife and two sons.

Justin Giffee
Junior Policy Analyst

Justin Giffee is a recent graduate of Fordham University where he majored in Environmental Studies and minored in Economics and Mandarin. He studied abroad in London during spring 2022 where he developed a keen interest in world affairs and international climate policy efforts. During his senior year, he completed his thesis: The Renovation of America’s Electric Grid System with a Focus on Renewable Implementation. During the research for this project, he proposed solutions to effectively decarbonize the grid while simultaneously restructuring national energy markets. He is passionate about sustainability, climate and energy policy, and resiliency. In his free time Justin enjoys fashion, visual arts, and powerlifting. He lives in Framingham, MA. 

Kyle Gray, CC-P®
Chief of Staff

Kyle Gray is Throwe Environmental's Chief of Staff. Kyle oversees strategy and team resources across the company's full range of climate resilience and finance programming. During his time with Throwe, Kyle has led climate resilience projects in communities across the East Coast, including Baltimore County, MD; Anne Arundel County/Annapolis, MD; and in various Southeastern New England communities as a technical assistance provider in the Southeast New England Program (SNEP) Network. Kyle has developed innovative climate asset prioritization and leadership development for Throwe, including the Planning to Action: Climate Toolkit and The Leadership Exchange Podcast. Prior to his work with Throwe Environmental, Kyle served as a Congressional Campaign Coordinator (Langevin for Congress), a Stormwater Mapping Intern (Save The Bay), and a Congressional Intern (Office of U.S. Congressman James R. Langevin). Kyle has an M.A. in Marine Affairs, a Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Community Planning, a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science and Italian), and a micro-credential in diversity and inclusion facilitation, all from the University of Rhode Island. Kyle is a certified Climate Change Professional (CC-P®) through the Association of Climate Change Officers, and he serves on the Board of Directors and leads the Treasury Working Group for OUT for Sustainability. Kyle is from Rhode Island (lands of the Narragansett) and based in Washington, DC (lands of the Piscataway and Anacostan).

Kimberly Groff, Ph.D., CC-P®
Project Partner

Dr. Kimberly Groff has dedicated her 30+ year career to advancing water quality at a project, state, and regional scale. She serves as the Massachusetts liaison for the SNEP Network, where she conducts community- and watershed-scale planning to build capacity and support long-term climate resilience. As former Director of the MassDEP Watershed Planning Program, she managed policy development, surface water monitoring and standards, and TMDL and watershed plan development. She was involved with the Long Island Sound TMDL and participated in NEIWPCC workgroups focused on implementing pollution control. She provided modeling and grant oversight and collaborated with PVPC on the implementation of a LISFF monitoring grant. Kimberly previously worked as a water resources engineer at AMEC Earth and Environmental, HydroAnalysis, and ENSR (now AECOM), where she assisted a variety of clients and industries (e.g., energy, plastics, transportation, academia, state and federal agencies). She earned a Doctorate from Georgia Institute of Technology School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She resides in Marblehead, MA and is an avid sailor. Kim partners with Throwe staff as a Field Liaison for the Long Island Sound Futures Fund and the National Coastal Resilience Fund.

Dan Nees
Program Director

For the past 20 years, Dan Nees has assisted communities across the country in their efforts to finance environmental and sustainable development initiatives. His work currently focuses on developing innovative market and performance-based financing systems to reduce the cost of climate change and environmental mitigation, adaptation, and resilience at state, local, and regional levels. Dan formerly served as Interim Director of the Resilience Authority of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. Dan was also a Senior Fellow with the Center for Global Sustainability (CGS) at the University of Maryland (UMD). Prior to his tenure at CGS, Dan was the Director of the University's Environmental Finance Center. In addition to his work at UMD, Dan led environmental market and water quality programs at Forest Trends, a global NGO that seeks to develop market and economic solutions to global environmental problems, and at the World Resources Institute, and environmental think tank. Dan earned a BA in Economics, a Master of Environmental Policy, and a Master of Business Administration all from UMD College Park.

Max Settineri
Project Manager

Max Settineri provides program management, research, and analytical support for Throwe Environmental’s full range of programs. Max recently completed his Master’s in Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Bren School where he focused on climate, energy, and land use policy. During his time at Bren, Max worked with a startup to improve climate resilience and healthcare access at community health centers by installing solar and battery storage systems. Before starting his master’s, Max worked in the U.S. EPA’s Office of Research and Development in Washington, D.C., where he provided communications and program support to the Agency’s community science and innovations teams. Max also has a B.S. in Environmental Science & Policy from the University of Maryland.

Skip Swenson
Project Partner

Skip Swenson is a Project Partner with Throwe Environmental. Over the past 25 years, Skip Swenson has consulted and partnered with businesses, governments, Tribes, and nonprofit organizations on assessment, strategy, policy, and program development. The past 15 years he primarily spent working in Washington State to develop the policies, tools, and programs necessary to achieve expansive resilience and community development goals. He works with stakeholders and governments crossing the gradient of landscapes—from rural lands to urban centers—and specializes in land use policy, conservation markets, and incentives creation at the local and regional scales. In addition to his work portfolio, Skip has served on numerous boards and committees, currently including the Washington Association of Land Trusts Board of Directors and the Carbonland Trust Board of Directors.

Skip holds a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Science in forest resources from the University of Washington, where his studies focused on environmental policy, land planning, and natural resources management.  He also holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin—Madison.  When he’s not tinkering on projects, Skip can often be found skiing and mountain biking throughout the Cascades range.

Joanne Throwe

Joanne Throwe is President of Throwe Environmental, LLC. Joanne previously served as a Senior Fellow at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, Co-chair of the US EPA Stormwater Task Force for America’s Water Infrastructure Act, and Chair of U.S. EPA’s Environmental Financial Advisory Board, which is responsible for providing innovative financing recommendations to the EPA Administrator. In 2015, she was appointed Deputy Secretary for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources where she helped lead the department from 2015 through 2019. Prior to her appointment, Joanne served as Director at the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center, where she worked for 10 years. She also worked for several years at USDA and was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Solomon Islands. Joanne was part of the inaugural Maryland Leadership Program on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion from the University of Baltimore. Joanne received her Master’s degree from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. She resides in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Scott Throwe
Vice President

Scott Throwe is the Vice President of Throwe Environmental, LLC. Scott worked at the United States Environmental Protection Agency for 30 years with a focus on the development, implementation, and enforcement of Clean Air Act regulations. He served as a manager and senior staff in the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance and was the national lead for the toxic air pollutant program as well as several other Clean Air Act programs including New Source Review, and the asbestos program. During his career at EPA, Scott worked extensively with primary and secondary metals, minerals, paint/coatings, and agricultural industries. Scott was also a lead staff person for the implementation of the 1990 Clear Air Act Amendments. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Solomon Islands where he worked as an agriculture extension agent for remote villages teaching agro-forestry methods to improve subsistence gardens. Scott resides in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Taylor Throwe
Chief Operating Officer

Taylor Throwe is a business operations consultant focusing on project management, data and financial analysis, proposal writing and review, and accounting. Prior to her work with Throwe Environmental, Taylor worked as the Chief Operating Officer and Security Specialist for a government contractor managing over 30 contracts with the federal government. Taylor leads much of the company’s work as Field Support Liaison for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) National Coastal Resilience Fund (NCRF), as well as the company’s work with the Town of Bourne, MA through the SNEP Network. Taylor has a B.S. in Business Management from the University of Maryland.

Sarah Whitehouse
Project Partner

Prior to partnering with Throwe Environmental, Sarah Whitehouse worked for the City of Newport, RI, where she resides, as the Community Resilience Specialist for the Department of Planning & Economic Development.  Serving the City for seven years, Sarah oversaw grants and projects involving preparation for sea level rise and climate change impacts, and participated in economic development efforts and innovation projects.  Additionally, Sarah worked for the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission, which assists island communities including Newport, in long-term planning coordination as a Project Manager and Interim Executive Director, and also served as a Program Manager for Social Enterprise Greenhouse, a Rhode Island-based organization, fostering inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems and just, equitable and resilient communities. Sarah partners with Throwe staff as a Field Liaison for the National Coastal Resilience Fund.