Killer whales: three orcas in a row at T


Celeste Leroux
Founder and CEO
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Celeste founded Virgil Group in 2020 after 11 years in federal government advancing environmental policy in Washington, DC.  She has worked extensively with advocates, businesses, Congress, the U.S. and foreign governments to advance science-based policies that further responsible Arctic development, promote aquaculture and trade, protect natural resources and ecosystems and combat climate change.  At the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Celeste oversaw the Presidential Task Force on Combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud, and at NOAA she led development and implementation of the U.S. Seafood Import Monitoring Program from 2016-2020. 

Austin Clack
Research Analyst
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Austin is a third year undergraduate student at UCLA, studying Geography and Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Geospatial Information Systems and Technology (GIS). He interned for Virgil in the Fall of 2020 as a Data Mapping Specialist focusing on data management and analysis related to seafood harvest and trade and the visualization of this data using spatial analysis and the construction of maps. Austin is continuing his work as a Research Analyst supporting engagement with international partners, funders, staff, and contractors. Austin’s interests are centered at the intersection of marine issues and management consulting as an opportunity to demonstrate the consequence of environmental change in a corporate setting. In his free time, Austin enjoys spearfishing and hiking in the Santa Monica mountains.

Maya Bhadury
Policy Analyst
Focus: Emerging fisheries markets

Maya is a senior at UC Davis studying Economics and Environmental Policy. She is interning as a Policy Analyst for Spring 2021 focusing on policy and market dynamics concerning fisheries and seafood commerce. Specifically, she's investigating alternative seafood markets, quota leasing, and how the government can support local seafood consumption while minimizing negative impacts. Maya has previous experience with state and federal agencies and is broadly interested in the economic growth and resource conservation nexus. On weekends you can find her reading or spending time on the coast.

Skye Lawrence
Senior Adviser

Skye has led strategic partnerships and fundraising at numerous organizations. She helps organizations leverage existing and create new networks to garner financial support and build supportive long-term ecosystems. She is the former Director of Enterprise Club and Development at the American Enterprise Institute and led Strategic Partnerships for the University College London's Department of Science, Technology and Public Policy.  At Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and Technology, she built strong cross-sector networks to support science and technology investments, conservation, outdoor education and agriculture.  She holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University College of London and a B.A. in Government from Smith College. 

Heather Brandon
Vice President
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For the past 20 years, Heather has worked on ocean and coastal conservation topics and has a masters in marine policy. She has experience at various levels of government – local, state, federal – and has worked session at three state legislatures (Oregon, Hawai’i, and Texas). Specializing in fishery topics, Heather led salmon conservation work in the Russian Far East for a large non-profit, provided international outreach on seafood trade for the federal government, directed a university extension program, and coordinated Alaska’s natural resources agencies on coastal issues. 

Wei Qiu
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For over 20 years, Qiu has provided his expertise in information technology and technological trends and advancements to various clients. He has delivered solutions through effective use and application of the latest and most effective technology.  Qiu has also worked extensively on business analysis, product design, technology R&D, software architecture, database design and application implementation. He has successfully developed a wide variety of complex and mission-critical software systems, including the U.S. interagency seafood trade data integration and analysis system, enterprise asset prioritization, allocation and scheduling system, various enterprise data consolidation and reporting systems, online event ticketing systems and more.

Curtis Birch Synnott
Policy Analyst
Focus: EU efforts to combat IUU fishing

Birch is an undergraduate student at American University who is interning as a Policy Analyst for Spring 2021. His work focuses on UK fishing rights after the country’s departure from the European Union, as well as EU and UK efforts to combat illegal fishing. He has a strong interest in environmental policy, and experience with governmental studies. Birch is currently working towards a BA in political science with a minor in economics, and loves hiking and skiing.

Fadilah Fatimah Khan
Policy Analyst
Focus: Indigenous practices in protected area management

Fadilah is a fourth year undergraduate student at UC Irvine studying Biological Science. She is interning as a Policy Analyst for Spring 2021 focusing on researching improvements in natural resources and protected area management by adapting Indigenous knowledge and practices. Her interests lie in bringing awareness to the intersection of human health and environmental protections. She has experience in applying ecological principles to resolve local and global environmental problems. In her free time, Fadilah can be found at the beach reading. 

Paul McManus
Senior Adviser

Paul is a startup and environmental expert who's worked with several early-stage companies on the go-to-market side from building water sustainability, to aquaculture to more traditional business to business software as a service. His data-driven approach to finding and retaining the highest fit customers helps make early-stage companies more focussed and scalable. He has worked closely with CEOs and General Managers to make strategic, customer-first decisions in 3 venture-backed companies. 

He has a Masters of Environmental Engineering from Utah State University and loves to scuba dive. 

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