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MAT Staff

The Management Assistance Team (MAT) is a high-performing team that is part of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Funded by a Multistate Conservation Grant, MAT’s offices are located at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Elena Takaki, Director of Project WILD, Interim Director of the Management Assistance Team | etakaki@fishwildlife.org
Bettina Fiery, Ph.D., Program Manager for Leadership Development  bfiery@fishwildlife.org
Gina Jackson (Main), Program Manager for Communications and Learning Development |  gjackson@fishwildlife.org
Amanda Myers, Program Manager for Training and Information Services | amyers@fishwildlife.org
Kelly Reynolds, Program Manager, Project WILD & Management Assistance Team | kreynolds@fishwildlife.org
 
Need assistance? Contact MAT via email at matinfo@fishwildlife.org.

National Faculty

MAT’s National Faculty members are integral to our leadership development training. They hail from diverse geographical and organizational backgrounds, and are responsible for facilitating and assisting with the development of MAT’s online asynchronous courses, webinars, and face-to-face workshops.

Dale Caveny

Dale Caveny retired in 2014 after a 30-year career with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission's Division of Law Enforcement. He worked 26 of those years in the mountains and foothills of western NC. In his final four years, he served as chief of the division in the agency’s headquarters. After retiring, Dale moved back to the mountains. He currently works in economic and community development with a local nonprofit organization. He enjoys writing, hiking, fishing and squirrel hunting with his two Feist dogs. He and his wife Amy have a blended family of four children and five grandkids.

Michelle Doerr

Michelle Doerr is a wildlife biologist with a Master’s in Wildlife Management from the University of Missouri. She worked for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in several capacities dealing with human-wildlife interactions. After working for the archery industry for more than ten years, she started Anavah Consulting LLC, a private consulting business to improve human-human, human-wildlife, and human-landscape connections. Understanding these connections requires us to understand ourselves first to build better relationships. She is a graduate of the National Conservation Leadership Institute, an elite program for conservation leaders. She obtained several certificates including Executive Leadership from Cornell University, Advanced Adlerian Psychology from Phoenix Process Consultants and in wellness coaching from Adler Graduate School. Adlerian principles and ecological principles combined are the heart of her purpose; to help self and others value all life on Earth.  

Jimmy Fox

Jimmy Fox is an alumnus of NCLI Cohort 6, and served as a peer coach for the outstanding NCLI Cohorts 7, 10 and 11. He's a mid-level manager in the federal government with about thirty years in conservation. Because he's in the thick of conservation management (conflict, supervision, long-term thinking, public engagement, etc.) everyday, he's a true believer in what the Management Assistance Team delivers!

Dwight Guynn, Ph.D.

Dwight is co-owner and a principal of The Guynn Group, a leadership development and organization management consultancy and training resource. Dwight brings over 30 years of experience working in the wildlife management profession. He is an author with many publications and presentations at national, professional conferences. Dwight is a skilled facilitator, particularly adept at consensus building and public policy in high conflict situations. His consulting spans the fields of wildlife management and organizational development and includes agency operations and systems, strategic planning and leadership development.

Dwight taught adult education for Extension at Texas A&M University and consulted with multi-million dollar businesses in Texas to solve management, business and operational issues. At the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, he served for ten years as their planner. 

Dwight worked sixteen years for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Management Assistance Team (MAT). He focused on consulting, training, and coaching. Dwight helped state fish and wildlife agencies develop their own internal leadership programs, assisted in the development and implementation of the National Conservation Leadership Institute, and developed courses used to teach principles of adaptive leadership, public policy, change management, and emotional intelligence in the workplace.

Dwight earned a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry and Wildlife and a Master’s in Wildlife Science at Virginia Tech. He earned his Ph.D. in Wildlife Management from Colorado State University. Dwight received the Lee Gladfelter Memorial Award from the Pope and Young Club; the Outstanding Achievement Award from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department; and the Paul C. Weikel Memorial Award from the Organization of Wildlife Planners.

Cynthia Jacobson, Ph.D.

Dr. Cynthia Jacobson is a conservation social scientist with over 25 years of experience working in conservation policy and management. Prior to starting her consulting business, Innovative Outcomes, she was the Chair of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Working Group of the Arctic Council and Senior Advisor for Arctic Conservation for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska. Before working for the USFWS, Cindi was an Assistant Director for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Wildlife Conservation, where she worked for 12 years. She received a B.A. from the University of Colorado and M.S. and Ph.D. from the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University. The focus of her dissertation work was on transformation of state fish and wildlife agencies. She is a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and affiliate faculty at Colorado State University.

Tom Kalous, Ph.D.

Dr. Tom Kalous received his Ph.D. in Psychology from The Ohio State University in 1992. In addition to running a successful private practice for 15 years, he has been a successful entrepreneur, a business leader in the fields of behavioral health, Information Technology, and finance, and has become a nationally recognized speaker and workshop facilitator. Throughout his 21 year career, Dr. Kalous has conducted hundreds of workshops and seminars on Emotional Intelligence and has developed an expertise in applying Social Neuroscience research findings to such fields as leadership, software development, customer service, and social marketing. He is currently co-authoring a book on how to put emotional intelligence into action through the use of basic improvisation techniques. His inviting and humorous teaching style combined with his rich context of real world examples add considerable dimension to his informative and instructional workshops. Learn more about Dr. Tom at his website: http://www.tomkalous.com/.

Paul Kazyak

Paul Kazyak is a retired Maryland DNR aquatic scientist with about 30 years in the conservation field. He has been involved with leadership learning for over two decades, and he has worked with a wide variety of groups, including high schoolers, local elected officials, federal government and NGOs. He was a fellow of NCLI Cohort 5 and served as a Peer Coach for Cohort 6- these experiences ramped up his passion for leadership to an even higher level. Paul has also been a part-time instructor for graduate students at Johns Hopkins University for many years, and his favorite course to teach is called Sustainability Leadership (in Costa Rica, in winter…?). In addition, Paul recently started teaching an Applied Leadership Practicum to give students hands-on experience with getting things done in the ‘real world’. In 2020, Paul received an Excellence in Teaching Award from Johns Hopkins’ Advanced Academic Programs, but far more important to him is the network of caring students that he has helped create.

Steve McMullin, Ph.D.

Dr. McMullin began his career with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks as a Fisheries Biologist. During his 10-year career in Montana, Steve also served as a District Fisheries Biologist, Fisheries Coordinator, Regional Fisheries Manager, and Chief of the Fisheries Management Bureau.

Steve left Montana to pursue a Ph.D. at Virginia Tech, leading the Management Effectiveness Project, a MAT-funded effort to identify the characteristics of nine highly effective state fish and wildlife agencies in the early 1990s, for his doctoral research. He joined the Virginia Tech faculty as a human dimensions specialist after completing his Ph.D. and maintained a close connection to his state-agency roots as a faculty member. His research at Virginia Tech included application, evaluation, and refinement of a new approach to stakeholder engagement that he originally developed as a fisheries manager in Montana. He retired from the university in 2016.

Dr. McMullin has been actively involved in leadership development for natural resource professionals for nearly 30 years. He teaches multiple workshops every year addressing leadership and communication for natural resources professionals. His workshops combine studies of leadership with practical experience gained as a program leader in a state agency, as a department head in a university, and as President of the American Fisheries Society (2017-18).

Steve currently lives in Fort Myers, FL and spends as much of his summers as possible in the woods of western Maine.

Dave Miko

Maybe the most important thing to know about me is that I invest in people. In my personal life or on the job, being able to connect with people on a personal level and letting folks know you have an interest in them has always served me well. As for my background, I obtained a B.S. from Penn State University in Wildlife and Fisheries Management. After taking a year away from college working for the Alabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Auburn University I returned to college life to pursue my M.S. in Fisheries Management from Texas Tech University. After a short stint with the Illinois Natural History Survey I began my career with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission where I spent 22 years serving the anglers of Pennsylvania and the aquatic resources of the Commonwealth. In November of 2014, I started a new career with the USFWS as the Division Chief of the Division of Fish and Aquatic Conservation where I hope to make a positive impact in the field of conservation on a National scale. I developed my passion for the natural world fishing with my dad and continue to try and instill the importance of clean air and clean water to my two children (Logan and MacKenzie) between texts and tweets and the all too infrequent trips afield. Boyfriends and college seem to reduce the time available for such “frivolous pursuits”. I have so much teaching left with those two. I am a 2009 alumnus of NCLI (Cohort 4) and most recently served as a Peer Coach for Cohorts 7, 8, and 9. I cannot understate the value that the NCLI experience has had on me personally; however, the impact that NCLI is having on conservation across the country is truly inspiring.

Judy Stokes-Weber

I recently retired from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department where I served as the Chief of the Public Affairs Division for 23 years. I have worked in natural resources agency communication and management for more than 30 years and as a management consultant for several years in private practice. As a nationally accredited member (APR) of the Public Relations Society of America I have demonstrated, through written and oral exams, expertise in and commitment to the ethical practice of communication and relationship-building in the public interest. Through the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) I have had the opportunity to work on national efforts such as Federal Aid and Furbearer Outreach Multi-state Conservation Grant projects. Most recently I served as the vice-chair of the AFWA Education, Outreach and Diversity committee. I earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of New Hampshire and an M.S. in Communication Management from Syracuse University.

Dave Zebro

Dave is a 1992 graduate from UW-Stevens Point with a BS in Resource Management and Conservation Law Enforcement. He was hired as a conservation warden for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in January/93 until Nov/03 when he was promoted to the Spooner Warden Team Supervisor.  In January/08, he was promoted to the Regional Warden position responsible for the law enforcement program in the DNR Northern Region which is comprised of 18 counties. After working for almost 28 years Dave plans to retire in Dec/2020.  

Dave has been a member of the MAT National Faculty for the past 6 years teaching in-person workshops, facilitating on-line courses and numerous webinars mainly focused on Adaptive Leadership.  

Dave is married to his wife Gretchen and has two children.  A son, Logan (21 yoa) who is a Senior at South Dakota State University studying fishery research and a daughter Chloe (16 yoa) who is  sophomore at Shell Lake High School.  On his off time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, coaching his daughters travel softball team.