Susan Paddack received a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Colorado and a Master of Education Degree in Secondary Education from East Central University. She also earned a Certificate of Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Susan served as the State Senator for District 13 from 2004 until she termed out in 2016.
She now serves as the executive director of The Oka’ Institute. Paddack is no stranger to water issues and achieved honors during her work in the State Senate. The Citizens for the Protection of the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer (CPASA) presented her with the Oka’ Award in 2007 for her legislation to develop a sustainable approach to the long-term water use plan for Oklahoma. She also received the Partners in Conservation Award from the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2009 for her work on artificial aquifer recharge
Susan was a member of the Leadership Oklahoma Class XVI. She was named among the 2004, 2008, and 2011 honorees for The Journal Record’s 50 Women Making a Difference/Woman of the Year and in 2011 was inducted into the Journal Record’s Circle of Excellence.
Dr. Guy W. Sewell is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of water resources, contaminant fate and transport, and the treatment of hazardous waste. Sewell is a Board Certified Environmental Scientist through the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES), with a recognized specialty in groundwater and the subsurface environment. He is also a designated DOE Technical Subject Matter Expert for Los Alamos National Laboratory, and has published over 50 scientific papers on topics such as groundwater quality, subsurface ecology, environmental cleanup and water resources, and has made scientific presentations at numerous national and international meetings.
Sewell joined the East Central University faculty in 2002 and holds the Robert S. Kerr Endowed Chair and the rank of Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at East Central University. He also serves at the Director for Research for The Oka’ Institute at ECU.
Prior to coming to ECU, Sewell was a research microbiologist with the U.S. EPA, at the Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Center where he served as Acting Branch Chief and as Research Team Leader for the Biotransformation, Subsurface Ecology, Ecosystems Restoration and Lake Texoma Research Groups.
James Bruce Moring earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Ecology from the University of North Texas (1991), Master of Science in Biology from Angelo State University (1986), Master of Science in Zoology from Texas Tech University (1984), and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Angelo State University (1982). Moring served as an adjunct faculty member at Central Texas College (2014-2015) teaching general biology and zoology, as a part-time assistant professor at Southwestern University (2015-2016) teaching general ecology and stream ecology and management. In addition to his teaching experience, Moring completed a one-year postdoctoral research appointment at the Water Research Field Station at the University of North Texas (1991-1992), and led a field aquatic microcosm study investigating the fate and effects of several new-generation pesticides. Moring brings 21 years (1992-2013) of applied research as a freshwater ecologist and senior biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Texas Water Science Center. As a senior biologist, he was responsible for reviewing and approving all biological data collection and research activities for the USGS Texas Water Science Center. He has additional experience overseeing the USGS's National Water Quality Assessment Program for of the Trinity River Basin in Texas, continues to serve as a technical liaison for the Texas Instream Flows Program, and frequently engages with private landowners as an independent water-resources consultant.
Kevin Blackwood, M.S., is an adjunct professor, and karst geoscientist who is actively involved in research concerning hydrogeology, geomorphology, geochemistry, and geophysics. He is the chairman of the Geology Section of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, and is also involved in minor studies involving subterranean and aquatic ecosystems. He is currently engaged in research involving the karst of the Arbuckle Mountains, geothermal features in the western United States, and select coastal karst and reef systems of the Greater Caribbean Basin. To date, he has more than 20 publications on his research in books, journals, and conference proceedings. He is an active reader and bibliophile, hoarding literature relevant to his research interests in order to stay in the forefront of scientific understanding in his fields of interest.
Tamara Gerhart serves as the Marketing and Communications Specialist at the Oka’ Institute. She graduated with Honors from East Central University in 2008, with a Bachelor’s Degree in History. In 2016, she received her Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Oklahoma. Before coming to the Oka’ Institute, Tamara taught English and Yearbook at Coalgate High School. Prior to teaching, Tamara spent seven years at LegalShield, working with the sales force. She was integral to securing buy-in from the sales force regarding the company’s re-brand and subsequent social media campaign.