Our Team

Board of Directors

Ben Tuff, Board President ~ Email Ben ~ Ben joined the COA board in January 2021 after supporting the organization for many years. He has spent his whole life in Jamestown enjoying fly fishing, sailing, and swimming. In 2019, he swam around Conanicut Island to raise $55k for COA. In July 2021, he exceeded his previous fundraising goal for COA by swimming from Block Island to Jamestown, the first person ever to do so. He is a lifelong educator and is currently the Director of Admissions at a Junior Boarding School in CT called Rumsey Hall School. His wife Gretchen is an avid Ironman athlete and they have two children: a son, Wyatt, and a daughter, Maisie.

Tricia Bielinski ~ Email Tricia ~ Tricia, a self-proclaimed beach bum, joined the COA board at the beginning of 2021. She is a C-level HR Director focused on the establishment of a global HR framework and organizational development and strategic initiatives. She has extensive experience in planning and building the people infrastructure to support new projects, talent acquisition and development, leadership development, succession planning, digital enablement and the accompanying change management efforts that go with all of the above. Tricia first came to COA as a volunteer and a member of the composting program, and is excited to contribute to the organizational development of COA.
Ian Owen, Board Treasurer ~ Email Ian ~ Ian as the 2nd term Treasurer is leading the finance efforts to achieve long term fiscal solvency and to develop an endowment. He has an EEE degree from the Royal Navy (UK) and received a commendation from the UK’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) when he helped set up and run an oiled bird rescue and rehabilitation center in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. Ian is a program manager at Sonos Inc.

Liz Frank, Board Director~ Email Liz ~ Liz Frank was first introduced to Clean Ocean Access in 2019 as a donor and a fan, supporting Ben Tuff’s 23-mile swim around Conanicut Island. She was deeply involved in the July 2021 event, helping Ben raise over $100,00 for the first-ever swim from Block Island to Jamestown. She quickly discovered a connection to COA on many levels: Jamestown, the Ocean, the environment and helping others. Liz grew up in Philadelphia and spent all her summers in Jamestown, RI. She is a graduate of Trinity College in CT and has an established career in fundraising. In her spare time, Liz is an avid runner and serves on the alumni board for her high school, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy.
Tom Gibson, Board Director~ Email Tom ~ Tom joined the board in January 2023.


Pam Cook, Executive Director ~ Email Pam ~ (401) 236-2561 x0 Pam joined the Clean Ocean Access team in January 2022 as the Executive Director. She will lead the team in this exciting new phase of growth, opportunity, and strategic success. Pam graduated from Regis College in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. Her extensive knowledge and expertise in philanthropy, leadership, marketing, and communications will help COA advance its strong foundation and build upon the mission of working for a clean, healthy ocean that is accessible to all. Aquidneck Island has always been a special place for Pam, her husband, and four children (and their dog, Pumpkin!), from taking advantage of all the island has to offer to celebrating milestones, including her wedding. She looks forward to working with and building relationships with all of our constituents in this amazing community.

Rebecca Chace, Marketing and Event Director ~ Email Rebecca

Rebecca Chace joined our team in September of 2022, a marketing and events professional with a diverse background in creative direction, event management and graphic design. As the Marketing & Events Director, Rebecca creatively leads Clean Ocean Access’s marketing and branding strategies. Rebecca grew up in CT and has always lived by the ocean. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Textile, Merchandising & Design from the University of Rhode Island in 2015. Prior to Clean Ocean Access, Rebecca was the Creative Director for The Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce where she was an integral part of the Chamber’s rebranding in 2020 for their 100-year anniversary. Before working for the Chamber, she was the Marketing & Events Coordinator and Editorial Stylist for NewportLife magazine where she still continued to freelance through 2022. Rebecca looks forward to bringing her creative ideas to Clean Ocean Access. Outside of the office you can find her scouring the beaches for sea glass and enjoying all Aquidneck Island has to offer!

Eva Touhey, Director of Sustainability ~ Email Eva ~ (401) 236-2561 x1

Eva Touhey joined the team in September 2015 as COA’s first intern after completing her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Music at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. After working part-time for a few years within the programmatic team, she became a full-time staff member in May 2019 upon receiving her Master of Arts in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island. Now as the Director of Sustainability, Eva oversees the organization’s circular economy initiatives: Shrink Wrap Recycling and Healthy Soils Healthy Seas RI. As a native Aquidneck Islander and now Newport resident, Eva is excited to make COA a leader in sustainability and empower our community to make more environmentally-responsible behaviors!

Casey Tremper, Program Manager ~ Email Casey~ (401) 236-2561 x2

Casey joined the team in June 2021 to take over coordination of the three founding volunteer programs of Clean, Ocean, and Access. Growing up on the beach in Matunuck, Casey has always been enthusiastic about protecting the ocean and encouraging others to do the same. She has a Master’s degree in Marine Affairs from URI, water quality monitoring training with the URI Watershed Watch, and three years of experience studying sustainability and restoration with the Environmental Protection Agency in Narragansett, RI. Casey enjoys cleaning up her own neighborhood, playing guitar, and SCUBA diving in her free time.

Eva Baker, Program Coordinator ~ Email Eva

Eva B. joined the Clean Ocean Access team in September of 2022 as program coordinator of the Shrink Wrap Recycling program. She graduated from URI with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and Management in 2017, and a Master’s’ degree in Environmental Science with a focus on Environmental Communication in 2022. Her passion for sustainability and finding accessible ways to build community support align with our SWR circular economy initiative. She is currently working towards building partnerships and expanding our project throughout New England.
  Sarah Lavallee, Program Coordinator ~ Email Sarah  ~ 401-314-2561  

Sarah joined the COA team in July 2022 as program coordinator of our Healthy Soils Healthy Seas Rhode Island initiative. She is actively working towards expanding residential composting and building lunchroom compost programs across Newport County schools. She also coordinates our residential composting community scientist program to help us collect crucial data about the waste footprints of RI households. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from the University of Tampa in 2020 and spent two years post-graduation serving as an AmeriCorps member at New England Science Sailing and FoodCorps Maine. 

Megan Suda, Sustainable Event Specialist~ Email Megan

Megan joined the team in March 2023 as a Sustainable Event Specialist reporting to the Director of Sustainability. She graduated from Plymouth State University with a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Event Planning and Management in 2018. Her love for sustainability started in her parent’s home garden and grew into a career at the intersection of sustainability and events. She has worked on an array of events as small as a one-day solar-powered music festival on her college campus, to large events like a week-long 10,000-attendee music festival in Costa Rica, and a 5-day 50,000-attendee music festival in Michigan. She is assisting in growing the organization’s event sustainability consulting services for small to large-scale public events.

College Interns

  Sophie Beauchesne ~ Sophie Beauchesne is a Senior Environmental Studies major at Salve Regina University. As an environmentalist, surfer and beach-goer, she is passionate about protecting the ocean here in Rhode Island and around the world. Sophie recently returned from Zanzibar, Tanzania where she conducted a research study on how tourism has impacted ocean accessibility in fishing communities. Continuing her passion for environmental justice and coastal management, she is excited to be back at COA this spring to work on a multitude of water quality and access projects.

Chloe West~ Chloe is a senior Marine Affairs and Communication double major at the University of Rhode Island. Growing up in Rhode Island has given Chloe the opportunity to care deeply for the local environment, especially the ocean. After finishing a semester abroad in Gold Coast, Australia, Chloe is working as a Sustainability Intern with Clean Ocean Access to help educate local community members and schools about compost and sustainability, while continuing to learn more herself.


Dryden Eliason ~ Dryden is a junior at Colby Sawyer College in New London, NH majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Sustainability. This summer he is dedicating his time to be a Sustainability Intern with Clean Ocean Access. Dryden is interested in making a positive change for our planet through education. He believes that teaching young students about sustainability and composting will help save our planet.


Maggie Coen ~ Maggie is a junior Chemistry major at Mount Holyoke College and working towards a Five College Certificate in Coastal and Marine Sciences. At Clean Ocean Access, she is working as the Ocean Intern with a focus on Water Quality at Ocean Hour Farm. She is hoping to apply her Chemistry degree to Ocean Conservation and Sciences in the future. Growing up in Newport RI, as a beachgoer, employee, and avid swimmer, has given her a passion for the ocean and for ocean conservation. She is super excited to be working with Clean Ocean Access this summer and to have an impact on the Aquidneck Island community.


Leann Jenks ~ Leann is a sophomore at Northeastern University studying environmental and sustainability sciences. She was a Clean Ocean Access high school intern for two summers, so this will be her third summer working with COA, now as the Marine Debris Intern. Leann cannot wait to run the Wednesday night cleanups, as that was her favorite part of her previous internships. She is excited to put to use all of the environmental knowledge she has gained in her first year of college and is looking forward to building on that with real world experiences.