NISC Staff and Policy Liaisons

Lori Williams, Executive Director -

Lori provides overall direction on national and international invasive species policy development and serves as the principle Council contact at the national level with other Federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, State and local governments, and tribes. She supervises the Council staff, reviews and recommends legislative proposals, and briefs top Federal officials regarding invasive species issues. Lori is particularly interested in improving coordination and building partnerships with State and local governments.

Lori graduated from the University of Georgetown's Foreign Service and School of Law. She has been the legislative counsel to both House and Senate committees, directed the congressional relations office and been Special Assistant to the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service within the Department of the Interior, and served as Vice President for ocean programs at the Center for Marine Conservation.

Christopher Dionigi, Assistant Director for National Policy and Programs -

Chris has a primary responsibility for domestic policy development. He works with a wide variety of stakeholders and representatives of state governments in the U.S. to develop and coordinate invasive species policies, programs, and information networks. Chris is especially interested in ensuring that resource managers have the tools and support they need to effectively address invasive species issues.

Chris received a Ph.D. in Crop Science (emphasis in Weed Science) from Iowa State University, and B. A. and M. S. degrees in Biology from the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Louisiana, respectively. He conducted research from 1989 to 2000 and served as the Lead Scientist of Aquaculture Research Program at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service, Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Additionally, he was detailed to ARS's Weed Science National Program Staff in 1999, and he served a 10-month USDA Graduate School legislative fellowship on the U.S. Senate Committee for Agriculture in 2000. He has authored over 25 peer-reviewed manuscripts.

Kelsey Brantley, Program Analyst and ISAC Coordinator -

Kelsey coordinates logistics for the Invasive Species Advisory Committee (ISAC); and also serves as Assistant to the NISC Executive Director. She manages travel for all 32 ISAC members, organizes all ISAC meetings, maintains the ISAC listserve, and handles all other ISAC program-related issues. She assists in maintaining the NISC website, and provides graphics support to the NISC Staff, in addition to managing all procurement, communications, and budget issues.

Kelsey graduated Magna Cum Laude from Strayer University with a B.A. in Business (concentration in Hospitality and Tourism Management), and a minor in Accounting. Before joining the NISC staff, Kelsey was the lead secretary for the Permits and Risk Assessments section of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and a staff assistant in the Office of the Undersecretary for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. She also has 10 years of military service to our country as a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, with dual certifications in signals intelligence and administration while stationed in Iraklion, Crete, Greece and at the National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.

Phil Andreozzi, Senior Policy Analyst & Regional Coordinator -

Phil provides coordination and policy guidance for the Invasive Species crosscut budget and organizes information from Council members and stakeholders for use in reports and reviews, as called for by the Council, ISAC, and other requestors. He assists in outreach coordination and international and domestic Invasive Species initiatives. Phil is particularly interested in promoting collaboration on invasive species issues among various levels of government both domestically and abroad.

Phil grew up near Buffalo, New York on the shores of Lake Erie and has seen the negative impacts of invasive species for many years. He received a B.S. in Environmental Studies from SUNY at Buffalo, and an MPA (concentration in International Environmental Policy) and MSES (concentration in Conservation Biology and Wetlands Ecology) from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa, where he worked as a Forestry/ Natural Resources Management Skills Extension Agent.

Stas Burgiel, Assistant Director for Prevention and Budgetary Coordination - -

Stas serves as the NISC policy lead on issues related to preventing the introduction and spread of invasive species with a focus on the pathways for their movement. He coordinates a prevention committee convened jointly with the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force and also oversees the collation of information on NISC member agency budgets related to invasive species issues. Key areas of interest and activity include the role of trade agreements, links to climate change and multi-level stakeholder coordination.

Stas received his Ph.D. in international service from the American University and a B.A. in political science from Swarthmore College. He has worked and consulted for a range of nongovernmental, governmental and intergovernmental organizations, including the Global Invasive Species Programme, the Nature Conservancy, the UNEP/World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the New Zealand government, on invasive species and other environmental policy issues.

NISC Co-Chair Policy Liaisons

Hilda Diaz-Soltero, USDA Invasive Species Liaison and Coordinator -

Hilda has worked in conservation and management of natural resources for over 30 years. With experience at the local, regional, national and international levels, she has held senior executive leadership positions in three United States Federal agencies, at the State level as a Cabinet member, and at two private international conservation organizations. She has worked in the United States, 11 Latin American countries, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands on significant issues, such as forest conservation and sustainable management; habitat conservation and restoration; invasive species management, policy, and coordination; identification and protection of natural areas; biodiversity and recovery of endangered species; protected marine species and sustainable fisheries management; national and state environmental legislation and regulations; research and conservation education. The integration of science into natural resources management decisions has been a guiding principle. Hilda's most significant positions have been Associate Chief for Natural Resources in the U.S. Forest Service and Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources.

Hilda holds a Master's of Science in Biology (Wildlife Management) from the University of Puerto Rico, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1991. She has extensive graduate courses in tropical botany. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Geology from Vassar College, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1969.

As the senior Invasive Species Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Hilda is responsible for the leadership, technical expertise, coordination and direction of the $1.2 billion USDA nationwide invasive species program and policy development, execution and oversight as carried out under the authority of Executive Order 13112.

Margaret M. (Peg) Brady, Department of Commerce/National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Policy Liaison and

Peg serves as the policy liaison coordinating among DOC, NOAA, Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force and NISC. She is responsible for the leadership, technical expertise, and coordination of NOAA’s aquatic invasive species program. Before becoming the policy liaison Peg was selected as a candidate in NOAA’s Leadership Program and assigned to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) within Executive Office of the President. She served as CEQ’s Deputy Associate Director for Ocean & Coastal Policy providing technical expertise on a broad range of ocean, coastal and marine policies and inter-agency programs as identified in the U.S. Ocean Action Plan. Prior to this assignment Peg served as the Program Coordinator to NOAA’s Habitat Program directing strategic planning processes on behalf of the program.

Prior to joining NOAA in 2003 Peg served as the Assistant Secretary within the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs and Director of the Commonwealth’s Coastal Zone Management office (MCZM). While MCZM Director she served as Governor’s delegate to the Coastal States Organization and the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment. Peg served on a number of national policy and research committees and authored peer reviewed publications. Prior to MCZM Peg was the Deputy Director for the Division of Wetlands & Waterways within the Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection. Prior to public service Peg worked in the non-profit sector for the Massachusetts Audubon Society and Save the Bay of Rhode Island.

Peg was a marine research scientist and instructor at the Marine Research Science Center, SUNY Stony Brook, NY; University of Rhode Island; Cornell University's Shoals Marine Laboratory; and Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, MA aboard the R/V Westward. Peg holds Master's and Bachelor’s of Science degrees in Botany and Natural Resources from the University of Rhode Island.