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.
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.
Annie Becker, Board Secretary ~ Email Annie ~ Annie is performing the role of Secretary fostering communication and ensuring proper management and utilization of organizational records, bylaws, policies and procedures, and assisting with fundraising and community events. She has a Bachelor of Science in statistics and finance from Syracuse University. Annie is a realtor on Aquidneck Island and is the President Elect of the Newport County Board of REALTOR©

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.

Julie Frost, Board Director~ Email Julie ~ Julie joined the board in August 2021 after 10 years of volunteer service with various COA programs. A lifelong scientist and avid lover of all things water, her commitment to the organization began as a water sampler for our OCEAN program and recently served on the Strategic Planning Committee. Julie is a Principal Scientist in Process Development for Amgen, recently celebrated 20 years of tenure with the biotechnology company, and has been instrumental in helping to increase COA renewed grants with the Amgen Foundation. Raised in Atlanta, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in biology/marine biology from Eckerd College and lives in the north end of Newport, where she is an active member of her neighborhood association.

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.


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 freelances as their Market Editor. 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!

Max Kraimer, Program Manager ~ Email Max ~ (401) 236-2561 x5

Max joined the team as an intern in May of 2017 focusing on Marina Trash Skimmer data collection and research.  Max is responsible to advance the big projects; Southeast New England Marina Trash Skimmers and Shrink Wrap Recycling, and program sponsorship. Max received his Bachelor of Science in marine biology with a minor in sustainability studies from Roger Williams University in 2018.

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. 

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.
Sarah Fitzgerald ~ Sarah is a junior at the University of Rhode Island. She is double majoring in Marine Affairs and Natural Resource Economics, and aiming to achieve a minor in Global Water Resources. Sarah is interested in hydrology as well as improving soil health. She’s currently interning with Clean Ocean Access as a Sustainability Intern, focusing on composting and diverting waste from landfills. She is excited about working more on composting and learning how to improve soil health on a local level, while educating others on soil improvement as well.
Rilee Holt ~ Rilee is a junior environmental studies major at Salve Regina University. She is excited to be working with Clean Ocean Access as their 2023 spring Marine Debris Intern and is interested in learning more about environmental stewardship and how organizations can engage the community in beneficial activities such as beach clean-ups. She also has a strong interest in photography and loves telling stories through her photos. By working with COA, she hopes to participate in hands-on experiences in the local area and document how the community interacts with the environment.
Sarah Levesque ~ Sarah is a second year graduate student in the Masters of Environmental Science and Management program at URI. She recently completed a Hydrology Certificate at URI and is on track to graduate in May 2023. After acting as the Water Quality intern in Spring 2022, Sarah was asked to return as a Research Assistant for the Ocean Hour Farm project with Casey. Sarah is really interested in the protection of our waters (both drinking and recreational) and is looking forward to working within the state of Rhode Island when she graduates. Water plays a huge role in everyday life and she is excited to be part of its protection.