Geologist Mick Thomas has been named the new Executive Director of Marine Resources Council (MRC), a science-based non-profit organization founded in 1990 that seeks to restore balance to the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) coastal community of east central Florida. Thomas will start his new position January 2, 2024 and has visited east central Florida throughout his life.
Most recently administrator of the minerals, navigable waters, and oil and gas division at the Idaho Department of Lands, he also served as secretary to the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
He was selected from a pool of 200 applicants, according to MRC Chair Jim Moir, its interim executive director, who has served with its board of directors for about 20 years, and was on the selection committee that recommended Thomas as its next executive director. “Mick is passionate about enabling the Indian River Lagoon coastal community of east central Florida to be safe, responsible and sustainable,” said Moir.
“East central Florida is a porous landscape of karst limestone,” notes Thomas. “Our surface water and groundwater are closely linked, allowing stormwater and other runoff to mix with pollutants and infiltrate the ground, as well as reach the lagoon, quickly unless we responsibly manage its watershed.”
Mick is a native of southwest Missouri and completed both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in geochemistry at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Prior to his work in Idaho he was senior geologist and head of mineral resources at the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and secretary to its commission.
As MRC Executive Director Thomas will oversee a crew of staff and contractors administering science, education, and advocacy initiatives made possible by MRC annual member donors, and in collaboration with various east central Florida stakeholders and partners. The lagoon is one of only 28 estuaries of national significance and one of most diverse habitats in North America. The IRL National Estuary Program, headquartered in Sebastian, Florida, produces and administers the IRL Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan, which guides the region.
In his spare time, Thomas enjoys restoring his 1961 International Harvester Scout 80 and spending time with family. He and his wife have five grown children and will make their new home not far from MRC headquarters at Ted Moorhead Lagoon House, atop Ais Lookout Point, overlooking the lagoon in the Bayfront district of Palm Bay, Florida.