Meet the Council

312478_4598895969353_63717670_nConni Castille grew up in rural Breaux Bridge, La., next door to her great-grandfather’s farm. Riding her bike into town as often as she could, she and her friends would plunge into Bayou Teche for a swim. Today, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy, and a Master’s Degree in Folklore from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where she currently teaches film. Over the past few years, she has directed several award-winning documentaries on Cajun and Creole culture. Her interest in Bayou Teche stems from her passion for history and culture and paddling. Contact her at conni_castille@techeproject.org.

ErinpicErin Bass is not a Council member, but serves as The TECHE Project’s Administrator and is an essential part of The TECHE Project Team. Erin is no stranger to the Bayou Teche. She got married along the bayou in Arnaudville and has family living along the bayou in New Iberia. She has covered the Teche through her work with Discover Iberia magazine and the Louisiana Tour Guide.  As Administrator of The TECHE Project, Erin utilizes her communication, marketing and public relations skills to handle membership, the Annual Report and Annual Banquet, in addition to day to day administrative duties.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Louisiana State University and has spent the past 18 years working as a writer and editor on newspapers and magazines. Erin’s background and expertise in journalism and marketing are an asset in promoting the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail to attract more paddlers. Contact her at erinzbass@gmail.com.

rsz_jimmy3500Jimmy Gravois is owner of Metal Shark, LLC, a leading supplier of welded aluminum boats for commercial, defense and law enforcement applications worldwide. The company traces its origins to 1986, when Jeanerette, La.-based Gravois Aluminum Boats began producing custom welded aluminum fishing boats for recreational anglers and commercial fishermen. Over the years, the Gravois family developed a loyal following among demanding Gulf Coast fishermen due to the rugged quality of their boats, which were often highly customized to suit the buyer’s needs. Growing up in Jeanerette, Jimmy has an intimate history with the Teche. Contact him at jimmy_gravois@techeproject.org.

A native of Breaux Bridge, Greg Guidroz is currently serving as recycling supervisor for Lafayette Consolidated Government. He is responsible for overseeing the city’s curbside recycling program, household hazardous waste materials management program and Louisiana’s only municipally owned and operated yard waste composting facility. He holds a B.S. in Environmental and Sustainable Resources from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and has 20-plus years of experience as an environmental educator, with a focus in water quality and aquatic litter abatement. Contact him at gregoryguidroz@gmail.com.

Alex Guillory is the owner of Bluewing Civil Consulting in Lafayette, which specializes in floodplain engineering and design of roads, drainage, water, sewerage and public infrastructure. He received his Masters of Hydrological Engineering from Texas A&M and his bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from McNeese. He is a licensed professional civil engineer and certified floodplain manager in both Louisiana and Texas. Guillory began his building and design career with a family-owned and operated Louisiana rice farming operation. He is currently a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and Louisiana Floodplain Management Association. Contact him at alex@bluewingcivil.com.

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Patti Holland is a resident of Arnaudville, LA.  She is a wildlife biologist by training and had a career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Because of her ecological background, Patti is involved in the water quality and ecological education programs including the wood duck management and bank-line restoration workshops.  Patti also puts on the “Shake Your Trail Feather” annual festival, which raises funds for the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail.  She shares the excitement of fellow TECHE Project members and volunteers in promoting the paddle trail, and she especially enjoys birding by kayak on quiet mornings floating down the Teche. Contact her at patti_holland@techeproject.org.

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Eric Martin has been working in state and local government relations for 25 years. At the age of 26, he was elected as mayor in St. Martinville, La. He won multiple state and federal awards as mayor. Eric also represented 50 cities as a director on the LA Municipal Association Board. For the last 7 years, he has been working for Pfizer’s State Government Relations division as an Alliance Development Manager covering the states of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. Contact him at eric_martin@techeproject.org.

rsz_1rsz_4fullsizerenderBrent Miller and his family live on Bayou Teche and enjoy many outdoor recreation activities in their kayaks, such as fishing, duck hunting, mushrooming and bird watching. Brent and his children also participate in conservation efforts along Bayou Teche, promoting ecology, water quality testing and the use of wood duck nest boxes. With also being on the school board for St. Bernard School, Brent has begun the first school paddle club in Acadiana that competes in the Petite Tour du Teche and is encouraging other schools to follow suit to promote more outdoor water recreation along our historic waterways. His other responsibilities include the implementation and grant execution of the Breaux Bridge Trailhead for the Bayou Teche Paddle Trail and the Atakapa-Ishak biking/running trail. Contact him at brent_miller@techeproject.org.

Margaret Simon is a Mississippi native who married into a Louisiana life. She lives on Bayou Teche in New Iberia and has been an elementary school teacher for 33 years, most recently teaching gifted students in Iberia Parish with a master’s degree in Gifted Education. She has published two middle-grade novels and a book of children’s poetry titled Bayou Song: Creative Explorations of the South Louisiana Landscape, a poetic journey along Louisiana’s Bayou Teche, with UL Press. Margaret is vice president of the board of Solomon House, an outreach mission for the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in New Iberia. She writes for The Daily Iberian and on a blog regularly at reflectionsontheteche.com. Contact her at margaretsmn@gmail.com.

DTbioBorn on the banks of the Bayou Teche, Dane Thibodeaux, a resident of Breaux Bridge, has brown water running through his veins. Dane is a Social Studies teacher and environmental awareness sponsor at Cecilia High School, encouraging his students to be environmentally responsible by starting a school-wide recycling program. With his wife Jill and two children, Lucas and Emile, he enjoys paddling and spending time outdoors with friends and family. Dane joined The TECHE Project Council as Bayou Operations Coordinator in the fall of 2013 and is tasked with coordinating our semi-annual Trash Bash and Boogie with local government, businesses and volunteers. Contact him at dane_thibodeaux@techeproject.org.

Glenn Thomas lives on the bayou in Breaux Bridge and has a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in Wildlife and Fisheries Science. He worked with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries from the early 1990s until 2013, when he retired as research director. He has served on the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee, Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program Management Committee and Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority. Contact him at r.glenn.thomas@cox.net.