About AIA

Assateague Island Alliance (AIA) was formed January 1, 2008 as the only non-profit Friends Group organization to promote the education, awareness and stewardship of Assateague Island National Seashore’s wildlife and natural resources for the enjoyment of current and future generations. All proceeds directly benefit Assateague Island National Seashore.

Assateague Island Alliance partners with the Assateague Island National Seashore to promote the awareness and protection of the island’s wildlife and natural resources for the enjoyment of current and future generations.

Assateague Island Alliance is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors (BOD). Each year, volunteer recommendations are made to the board for new members, replacing those who have served their term. Volunteers are typically individuals who have a passion for the island and who have demonstrated a willingness to “give back to others.” Their application is vetted amongst the board members and references are checked. Currently, the Board of Directors consists of:

Board Members and Staff

Nancy Gaither

Nancy fell in love with Assateague Island National Seashore on her first visit and can’t seem to stay away. She calls it her “Little Slice of Heaven.” Nancy is a keynote speaker throughout the Eastern Shore where she shares her passion for the island and teaches others about the past, the present and the wildlife that inhabit the island with two presentations called “Horse Tales” and “The Secrets of Assateague.” The Salisbury Lion’s Club, Women’s Club of Ocean Pines, Polish-American Club of Ocean City, the Rotary Club in Pocomoke City and more have all learned about early island days and some of the treasures now found on the island. She is semi-retired from wonderful companies such as Apple Computer, Inc., Booz Allen Hamilton, MD. 4-H Extension Service and UnitedHealthcare, where she has had adventures as Vice-President of Customer Support, Director of Training and more. She is the former Team Leader and Creative Team Director of the 4th place International Award winning chorus, Harbor City Music Company Show Chorus. Currently, at her business S.O.A.R.(Seizing Opportunities, Achieving Results), Nancy is consulting with major companies such as Perdue and Johns Hopkins University as an Executive Coach and also assists individuals with resume and interview preparation. Nancy is the President of the Assateague Island Alliance and is a firm advocate of doing what is needed to keeping the island and its residents wild and preserved.

Ashlie Kozlowski

AIA Outreach Coordinator, began her career with a Bachelors degree in Marine Biology, which led to a 12 year career in Environmental Research and Education in various areas of the coastal mid-Atlantic region. Ashlie’s current position with AIA allows her to balance raising a family all the while expressing her passion for Coastal Ecology to help protect and preserve the naturally existing barrier island, Assateague Island National Seashore, for this and future generations. As the AIA Outreach Coordinator, Ashley is instrumental in helping the team find and apply for grants, as well as administer programs throughout the year.

Joe Lieb

Joe was born, raised and educated in Washington D.C. in a happy Catholic family with ten brothers and sisters. He visited Ocean City in 1962 and realized this was where he needed to live. Joe married his best friend, Pam Berg and moved to Bishopville where they grow organic produce on a small farm with a healthy apiary and a view of Ocean City. Joe has been on the Pony Patrol with Assateague Island National Seashore and is known by many for his dedication and received an award from the Park Service in 2018 for volunteering over 700 hours on the island. In this photo, Joe is installing on each picnic bench in National Park procedures for safely storing food. To quote Joe, “Life is good!”

Bob Langan

Bob is new to the AIA Board, joining in January 2024. He’s not new to the eastern shore. Bob moved to Salisbury from western PA in the mid-1980s to take a job as an apprentice with Perdue Farms in their Technology department. That’s when he made his first trip to Assateague Island. Since he was a “city slicker” to the locals, he didn’t really know the story of the horses at the time. Bob grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh and loved to fish in one of the city’s three rivers – the Monongahela. If you’re wondering The Monongahela River valley was the site of a famous battle that was one of the first in the French and Indian War—the Braddock Expedition (May–July 1755). Back to Bob. He pursued a career in technology, earning a BSc in Information Systems from Robert Morris College/University, before moving to Maryland. He continued his almost 40-year career in technology mostly in the Baltimore-Washington area, and he received a MSc in Information Systems from Johns Hopkins University. He moved his family back to the shore where he’s worked as Director of Technology for Wicomico County Public Schools for the past 13 years. Outside of work, Bob is an advocate for promoting digital literacy and closing the digital divide. He actively participates in community outreach programs like the Salisbury Lions Club and LEO Student Service Clubs at two high schools in Salisbury. In his spare time, Bob and his wife Angie, along with their three daughters enjoy exploring the scenic beauty of Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Assateague. Whether cycling or driving, he appreciates the natural environment and its connection to learning and well-being.

Karen Roquemore Lockard

Karen was born and raised in Charleston, SC, and lived there until she began traveling the country in 1991 as part of a military family. She landed in Elkton, MD, in 1998 and has been there ever since. She is married to Louis Lockard, and they have three sons and three grandchildren. She works full-time in the medical device manufacturing industry at Terumo Medical, where she has been employed for the past 14 years. Karen’s first visit to Assateague was in July, 2013, and she has been in love with the island ever since. A few months after her first visit to the magical place, her father passed away, and the island became part of her therapeutic place to escape and heal. She and Lou are on the island most weekends, where most of their time is spent enjoying their favorite part, the OSV. They have developed a love of the horses, and have made many wonderful friends while on the island, always willing to give an individual their “first OSV” tour, all the while snapping photos. Karen is hoping to enjoy the island for many years to come! As an AIA Board Member, Karen has been working with others to create compelling displays for when we are out in the community and organizing trips for Assateague Wild Horse Foster Parents with Wildlife Biologist, Allison Turner.

Cally Mack

Cally was born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She has been visiting Assateague since she was a young child. She, like many others, says "the island brings me peace." Cally joined AIA in May of 2022 and has been assigned to help out with our foster horse program. She shares her passion of the island with others through her photography. She also loves to educate the public about horse safety and keeping the island clean any chance she gets. In addition to being on the board, Cally works full time at a local greenhouse. She has been married to her husband Eric since October 2019. Together they have two boys and a house full of animals. Their family loves to camp, bike, boat, hike and hunt for sea glass along on the island. Cally has made many lifelong friends at Assateague and is looking forward to making many more memories!

Nancy McMenamin

Nancy was born and raised in Philadelphia. Nancy and her husband Tim moved to New Jersey to raise their 3 children. They first visited Assateague Island and Ocean City, MD in 1983 and continued to visit the area ever since, looking forward to the day they could live there. Nancy has worked full time for a private school for students with disabilities for the past 11 years. In 2018 they purchased their retirement home in Ocean Pines and will become full time residents on the Eastern Shore in 2024. The beauty of Assateague Island provides many opportunities for Nancy to enjoy her photography and spend time with her family and friends. She looks forward to helping educate visitors about all the wonders that Assateague National Seashore has to offer.

Rebekka Ortega

Rebekka was raised in a military family as her dad was in the Air Force and now her husband in the Army. Rebekka has lived in several states including Michigan, Texas, California, Tennessee, South Carolina and now, Virginia. Rebekka found Assateague Island and quickly discovered it was her place of joy, peace, and freedom. She shares her passion of the island in photography and making memories at Assateague with friends and family. In addition to the board, She works full-time as the Equine Office Manager at a veterinarian hospital in Virginia. Her husband, Jose and her live near Richmond Virginia, and have a farm with countless animals including horses. Rebekka’s hobbies include hiking, riding her horses, kayaking, swimming photography, and many more.

Nicholas Papoutsis

Nick was born and raised in Camp Hill, PA. He attended Gettysburg College and received a Bachelor's Degree in Economics in 2017 before pursuing his J.D. at Georgetown University Law Center. After graduating, he worked as a corporate attorney in Washington D.C. In November 2021, he saw an opportunity and decided to purchase the Assateague Market with his brother, Arthur. They completely renovated the property and have had a lot of fun serving the melting pot of patrons that visit the Island each Summer. An avid Assateague visitor since his youth, Nick still regularly spends time on the Island surf fishing, hunting, swimming, and kayaking.

Laurie Westling

Laurie has lived in Maryland since the 70’s. Living both on the Western and Eastern Shore. In 2019 Laurie and her husband Ed moved to the town of Berlin. The decision for the location was based on the love of a small town and the love of Assateague Island. Working towards retirement in the near future after 35 years in business for a defense contractor, Laurie currently volunteers for Assateague Island National Seashore. She enjoys the continued opportunity to learn about all things Assateague and sharing with visitors and states that Assateague Island is “My happy place!"