Organizing the Working Waterfront: A Tour of Two Coasts

Working on the American shoreline has never sounded so good!

Welcome to the Working Waterfronts Podcast, a collaboration between the National Working Waterfront Network and the American Shoreline Podcast Network. In this inaugural episode, host Ashley Bennis talks with three working waterfront organizers from both the East and West coasts First up, Ashley will be chatting with Roland Lewis. Roland is the President and CEO of Waterfront Alliance in NYC. Under his leadership the Waterfront Alliance has organized a powerful constituency, instituted new programs, helped create a new waterfront plan for the City of NY and helped the Waterfront Alliance become the leading waterfront policy organization in NY. Then, Ashley speaks with John DiRe. John is a Representative from the grass roots grown Sausalito Working Waterfront Coalition. He advocates for the interests of those whose livelihoods are linked to the marinship and its multifaceted evolution. Finally, Ashley chats with Deb Granger, A founding member of the Working Waterfront Coalition of Whatcom County in Washington State, and its current Interim Program Manager, she has spent most her life working on the waterfront and brings many years of experience from the seafood/fishing sector and is currently developing its Scholarship program for students interested in marine industry trades.

Ashley Bennis

Ashley Bennis is a Michigan native that grew up in Metro Detroit and received her Bacherlors of Art from Wayne State University. Bennis began volunteering with nonprofits in the city and became very involved in the community revitalization happening there through coordinated public outreach and education efforts. She earned her master’s degree in Urban Design and Planning with a specialty in Environmental Planning from the University of Washington in 2016. While there she worked as a Research Assistant with the Institute for Hazard Mitigation, Planning and Research, an interdisciplinary team focused on helping communities plan for hazard events. The purpose of her project was to improve visual representations of FEMA’s revised floodplain maps to help with their usefulness and effectiveness for residents in flood prone areas. In the winter of 2018, she joined Texas Sea Grant as a planning specialist with the Community Resilience Collaborative, a partnership of Texas Sea Grant and the Texas Target Communities program in Texas A&M University’s College of Architecture. Her primary responsibility is to provide technical assistance to Coastal Bend and Rio Grande Valley coastal communities in land use planning and hazard mitigation.