Principals Project Managers Associates and Technical Staff

We are extremely proud of Nuka Research's talented team of individuals. 




Tim Robertson, Principal

Tim Robertson is co-owner of Nuka Research.  Tim has provided marine environmental consultative services for more than 20 years. His professional experience also includes work in state and local government, the oil production industry, and oil spill response organizations. He has also worked as a research biologist, and has served on numerous boards and councils throughout his career.

Tim helped found the Seldovia Oil Spill (SOS) organization and served as its first president. During the EXXON VALDEZ oil spill, Tim was director of operations from Seldovia.  Tim participated in the negotiated rulemaking for the U.S. vessel response plan regulations promulgated under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.

Tim has organized and facilitated dozens of oil spill response exercise, emergency management drills, and equipment deployment trainings.  He is an ICS instructor and is qualified to fill ICS staff positions in the Logistics and Planning Sections, from the Section Chief level down.  Tim has participated in the incident management teams for numerous oil spills, most recently serving as the Sampling Group Supervisor for the M/V Selendang Ayu oil spill in Unalaska.

Tim has a reputation as a consensus-builder with the ability to produce high-quality work products under tight budgets and aggressive project timelines.  He is a natural facilitator with the ability to navigate contentious issues.  He is a recognized expert in oil spill prevention and response.

Tim is a graduate of Colorado State University and holds a Master of Science degree in Fisheries Biology from the University of Alaska, Southeast. He manages Nuka Research’s Pacific Coast operations from his office in picturesque Seldovia, Alaska, where he resides with his wife.  Tim is an avid fisherman and kayaker, and may also be spotted rowing his wooden dory (the inspiration for our logo) around Seldovia Harbor, mountain biking, hiking, and back-country skiing.


Elise DeCola, General Manager

DSC 2929Elise DeCola is co-owner of Nuka Research. Her professional career has focused on the intersection between policy and science. Elise's expertise and experience spans natural resource management, oil spill contingency planning, environmental assessment, disaster preparedness, regulatory compliance, emergency response, fisheries management, environmental outreach, policy analysis, and legislative affairs.

Elise has 18 years of experience in contingency planning and has come to recognize that the key to a successful plan lies as much in the process as in the contents. She has developed plans for a range of projects and programs, from all-hazard response plans for small villages to tactical response guides for major oil companies. Elise has led the development of site-specific oil spill protection strategies for sites along the US coastline and inland rivers. She has organized and participated in dozens of oil spill and emergency response exercises and oil spill deployment drills, and also has experience staffing incident management team Planning Section roles. Elise has managed a number of agency-industry work groups, and she believes strongly in engaging stakeholders in the policy development and planning processes. In addition, Elise has led a range of research and analysis projects related to oil spill preparedness and response for a diverse client base that includes tribal organizations, government agencies, and industry. Elise regularly contributes articles and presentations to professional conferences and journals.

Elise holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, and an M.A. in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island. She manages Nuka's East Coast operations from her office in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where she resides with her family. In her spare time, Elise skis, runs, hikes, kayaks, and volunteers for the Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen.


Sierra Fletcher, Operations Manager

SierraSierra joined Elise and Tim as a co-owner of Nuka Research in 2014. She has worked on and off with the company since 2004, while also expanding her career in other environmental policy areas. From 2004-2008, Sierra worked as a Project Associate and then Project Manager, during which time she played a key supporting role in Nuka Research’s response to the M/V Selendang Ayu oil spill, as an analyst for several high-profile arctic oil spill development projects, and oil spill contingency plan reviewer in Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound, Alaska.

From 2008 – 2012, Sierra worked for the Boston-based Product Stewardship Institute, where she became Director of Policy and Programs working on policy initiatives and multi-stakeholder negotiations related to consumer product waste. During this time, Sierra provided occasional support to Nuka Research projects and taught an online negotiation course for the Consensus Building Institute in Cambridge, MA.

Sierra returned to Nuka Research as a Senior Project Manager in 2012, working on projects in Alaska and beyond. Her work focuses on policy research, technical writing, and facilitation, as well as helping to grow and manage the company. Sierra has represented Nuka Research at meetings and conferences from Anchorage to Halifax to Reykjavik.

Sierra’s educational background includes a B.A. from Yale University and a graduate degree from the Fletcher (no relation) School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She lives in Portland, Maine with her husband, son, bicycle, and kayak.


Project Managers


Mark Janes, Senior Project Manager and Mapping Specialist

MarkMark Janes has been with Nuka Research since day one.  He started as a project assistant and mapping specialist and was eventually promoted to Project Manager. Prior to his role with Nuka Research, Mark spent 12 years working in Community Mental Health Centers in Colorado and Alaska providing case management and mental health services. He has found that much of the discipline and skills used in social work transferred well to managing and completing projects in the environmental field. 

Mark has always loved maps, and it was the cartography that first drew him to Alaska. He continues to obtain additional training and education in mapping and geographic information systems. In addition to mapping, Mark has done extensive field survey and design work in the development of the State of Alaska’s Geographic Response Strategies and the Potential Places of Refuge Projects. He especially enjoys these field visits, which involve traveling via small research vessels to some of the most environmentally sensitive and beautiful coastal waters in Alaska.

Mark lives off the grid outside Seldovia, Alaska with his wife and son in a small cabin overlooking Kachemak Bay and the Kenai Mountains. He is so taken with the Alaskan coastline, that he recently purchased and is refurbishing a 1964 Cal30 sailboat. Now if he only knew how to sail...


Mike Popovich, Senior Project Manager

PopovichMike Popovich joined Nuka Research in 2012 after serving 26 years with the U.S. Coast Guard both on active duty (21 years) and as the First Coast Guard District’s civilian Environmental Equipment Specialist. 

Mike has extensive experience in the Marine Environmental Response field, having served in Louisiana, Florida, and the New England area during his Coast Guard career.  Mike deployed to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on three separate occasions and in different capacities, including initial oil skimming operations in the Gulf as well as serving in the Unified Area Command allocating resources and evaluating alternative response technologies.  Mike served as the lead Federal On-Scene Coordinators Representative during the B-120 oil spill in Buzzards Bay (MA) in 2003.  Other incidents include the responses to major groundings of the M/V IGLOO MOON, FIRAT and CONTSHIP HOUSTON in South Florida and the Florida Keys, Hurricane Andrew recovery efforts in 1992, and the 60,00 gallon No. 6 fuel oil spill from the M/V POSAVINA in Boston, MA in 2000.

In addition to his extensive field experience, Mike has an equally strong background in contingency planning, training, ICS, marine casualty investigations and all-hazards incident management.  Beyond oil spills, he has worked with FEMA assisting in various disaster recovery operations. He is an accomplished facilitator and trainer, and continues to provide instruction in on-water oil spill response operations to Coast Guard and industry responders.

Mike lives on Cape Cod with his wife Diane (also retired from the Coast Guard), their two children Gabrielle and Nicholas, and their dog Buddy. Mike enjoys running, biking, weight training, reading, and shooting sports.


Peter DeCola, Senior Analyst

PeterPeter joined the team in 2014 after serving for 26 years in the US Coast Guard. His final assignment was the Chief of Law Enforcement, First Coast Guard District in Boston, Massachusetts. In this position, he oversaw all Coast Guard law enforcement and homeland security operations across eight states in the Northeast and 2,000 miles of coastline from the U.S.-Canadian border to northern New Jersey. Pete also served as a member of the New England Fishery Management Council and the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Committee.

Pete’s Coast Guard career has taken him all over the country and given him a wide array of experiences in maritime operations including environmental response, law enforcement, homeland security waterways management and logistics. He has also had several assignments in the Coast Guard’s training system, designing and delivering world-class training.

Pete graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Government, and has Master's Degrees in Education from the University of Massachusetts and in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island.

Pete lives and works in America’s Hometown, Plymouth Massachusetts along with his wife Elise and their children, Emma and Sofia. In his free time, Pete likes to hike, swim, bike, run, kayak, play tennis and ski.


Bretwood Higman, Senior Project Manager/Geologist/Mapping Specialist

HigBretwood Higman, or Hig, began contributing to Nuka Research's project work in 2009, after completing a 4,000-mile trek with his wife and partner in Ground Truth Trekking, Erin McKittrick. Hig's work with Nuka has been focused on geospatial data management and mapping, and he has played a key role in our ongoing work to develop a WebMapper application for emergency response planning. Hig has a PhD in Geology from the University of Washington. Hig lives in a yurt in Seldovia with his wife and two young children. The family continues to conduct wilderness treks, and recently spent several months living on the Malaspina Glacier to study climate change.

Richard Packard, Project Manager

R PackardRich joined Nuka's Plymouth office in October 2014 as a part-time project manager after 37 years with the Massachusetts Department of Environment Protection. Much of Rich's career at MassDEP was spent overseeing and responding to oil and chemical emergencies, managing assessment and clean-up activities at remedial sites and conducting compliance and enforcement of state environmental regulations. He has served as the Massachusetts on-scene coordinator (SOSC) at numerous marine oil spills and chemical incidents. With the passage of the "Massachusetts Oil Spill Act" in 2004 (following the B-120 oil spill in Buzzards Bay, MA) he helped implement MassDEP's Marine Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program. He served as the program's manager from 2007 – 2014. Rich is also a part-time lecturer at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Rich has a BS in Marine Biology from University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. He enjoys fishing, golf and reenacting the civil war as a Union soldier. Rich and his wife live in Sandwich, Massachusetts. They have three daughters and a grandson.

Associates and Technical Staff


Alyssa Hall, Senior Project Associate

IMG 9305 Alyssa

Alyssa is a New England transplant from Southern California and joined Nuka Research in May of 2017. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. After graduating, she decided that she couldn’t leave and attended graduate school at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. She earned her Master’s of Environmental Science and Management (MESM) in Coastal and Marine Resource Management and strategic environmental communication and media. Her thesis group project was to conduct a sea level rise  vulnerability assessment for the City of Santa Barbara, and to suggest policy measures to manage the growing risk of coastal flooding. Prior to coming to Nuka Research, she served as the Climate Change Adaptations Coordinator at the Environmental Protection Agency in Boston, where she coordinated adaptations projects in communities and within the Agency. 

She lives in Plymouth, MA with her husband and two cats Zeus and Titus. When she’s not thinking about coastlines, Alyssa spends as much time as she can outside trying to maintain her California glow. This includes (but is not limited to), hiking, biking, long walks on the beach, kayaking, and yoga. Namaste.

Christine Hall, Account Manager

Massachusetts born and raised, Christine discovered her love of numbers while studying at Northeastern University. After earning her BA in 2007 her goal was to escape city life, she has not looked back since. Christine is thrilled to live and work in America's hometown with her husband and daughter. She brings her background in Accounting as well as business support to Nuka.




Kathleen George, Graphic Artist

KathleenKathleen graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science. Her concern for the natural world and wildlife has guided her in her journey as she moved from New Hampshire to Alaska in 1991 to continue her work with The Nature Conservancy.

Although her career as a graphic artist began many years before in Virginia, it was in Alaska where her business began to thrive. In addition to working with Nuka Research as the resident graphic artist since 2001, she continues to pursue her other career as a watercolor artist, painting the Alaska landscape with an eye on its ever-changing surroundings. She promises us she will soon create a website to showcase her considerable talents. 



Alisha Chartier, Project Associate

Alisha started working with Nuka Research in 2014 as a participant in Hazwoper training exercises. In 2015, she began contributing to projects as an Assistant Data Analyst. Alisha originally moved to Alaska at 18 and was based out of Anchorage for three years. In 2005, she spent the summer in Seldovia and moved there permanently the following season. Alisha studied Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii at Hilo for two years and graduated from Humboldt State University with an Environmental Resources Engineering Degree. She is currently Seldovia's representative on the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council. Alisha enjoys the fall season when she can spend time hunting, harvesting, and camping.


Sara Nichols, Associate

SaraNicholscc2Sara brings an administrative acumen honed through 13 years of operating her own small business, and three years as the Seldovia City Clerk. As a former restauranteur with a deep love for Alaska, she is adept at juggling multiple details in her job while also enjoying the ocean and life in and around Seldovia. Sara was first moved to Alaska in 1990, and though her life took her back to Idaho and Montana for college, she eventually returned to the community that stole her heart at first sight. When not providing support to Nuka Research's many projects, you will find Sara out on the water, picking berries, gardening, in the kitchen creating, or relaxing in Kasitsna Bay with a good read.