Keynote Speakers

Thursday – 9/5: Dr. Bill Deutsch

Bill is a Research Fellow, Emeritus in the Auburn University School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences.
Originally from Rochester, New York, Bill worked as a Research Biologist and Director of Aquatic Research for environmental consulting on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania  for 11 years, before moving to Alabama in 1985 to complete his doctorate and post-doc in Aquatic Ecology at Auburn University. He then worked for the International Center for Aquaculture and Aquatic Environments, traveling to 25 countries for watershed-related teaching and research.

In 1992, Bill co-founded the citizen science program, Alabama Water Watch and served as Director for 20 years. Although he officially retired from Auburn University in 2013, he still works part-time for Alabama Water Watch and Global Water Watch.

In 2018, he published the book, Alabama Rivers: A Celebration & Challenge, and has spent the past year traveling the state to share its message. Bill will draw from his book for his keynote address, Waking up to Responsible Water Resource Management in Alabama’s Third Century.

Friday – 9/6 Keynote: Commissioner Rick Pate

Rick Pate grew up working on his family’s cattle and poultry operations in Lowndes County, where he learned the value of hard work and perseverance. Because of his roots in agriculture, he studied horticulture and received his bachelor’s degree in 1978 from Auburn University’s College of Agriculture. 

Pate put his degree and determination to work and started Pate Landscape Co., Inc. over 36 years ago. Even though Pate has spent most of his time operating Pate Landscape, he never let go of his love for and connection to the farm in Lowndes County. He had a purebred Charolais herd of his own, but at the death of his father in 2012, he also took over the family cattle operation, Pate Charolais Ranch.  

Growing up on a farm, having a cattle operation, running a landscape business, and serving as the mayor of a small rural town has given Pate a unique prospective to bring to the office of Ag Commissioner. He has a genuine concern for the future of agriculture and the people of Alabama.  

Pate is mindful that by 2050, farmers will have to double food production to meet the needs of the world and that it will take visionary leaders who understand that we have to work smarter, not just harder, to achieve these goals. He plans to do his part by working with department staff, agriculture stakeholders and the people of Alabama to make a difference. 

9/4/2019 Symposium Speakers:

Dr. Eve Brantley

Professor, College of Agriculture, Auburn University Alabama Cooperative Extension System Water Resources Specialist

Eve Brantley was recently promoted to Professor with the Auburn University College of Agriculture, Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences.  She serves as the Alabama Cooperative Extension System Water Resources Specialist. Dr. Brantley has worked on watershed planning and implementation that includes elements such as stream restoration, stormwater management, water conservation and education at the watershed, river basin, and regional scales. She currently serves as team leader for the Agronomic Crops Extension team and provides support to other teams such as Aquatic Sciences, Animal Sciences and Forages, Home Grounds, and Forestry, Wildlife, and Natural Resources. Eve received a BS from Berry College, MS from Clemson University and PhD in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University.

Jimmy Bullock

Senior Vice President, Forest Sustainability, Resource Management Service, LLC

Jimmy oversees sustainable forestry and environmental policy and programs and advocacy on forestry issues for RMS-managed timberlands in the United States.  He also has responsibility for forest certification and audit programs and leads environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives for RMS-managed timberlands globally. Jimmy earned his B.S. degree in Forestry from Mississippi State University in 1980 and his M.S. degree in Wildlife Ecology from Mississippi State in 1982.  A Certified Wildlife Biologist, Mississippi Registered Forester and Society of American Foresters Certified Forester, Jimmy is on the Board of Directors for the National Conservation Leadership Institute, the Catch-A-Dream Foundation, the Forest Landowner’s Association, the Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy and the Mississippi Wildlife Federation.  Jimmy is a Professional Member of the Boone and Crockett Club. In 1994, Jimmy was presented the prestigious American Forest and Paper Association’s Forest Stewardship Award for his leadership role in conservation of the Louisiana Black Bear. In 2017, Jimmy was honored as recipient of the Quality Deer Management Association’s Joe Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award and the Wildlife Management Institute’s George Bird Grinnell Award for Distinguished Service to Natural Resources Conservation, both of which are the highest individual honors bestowed by the respective organizations.

Ben Raines

Environmental Journalist and Filmmaker

Ben Raines is an environmental journalist and filmmaker. Most recently, he discovered the wreck of the Clotilda, the last slave ship to arrive in the United States. Raines has won more than two dozen awards for his coverage of environmental issues and natural wonders in Alabama and on the Gulf Coast, and coauthored several peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals. He wrote and directed The Underwater Forest, an award-winning film about the exploration of a 70,000-year-old cypress forest found off the Alabama coast. Raines also wrote and produced the documentary America’s Amazon, which has aired on PBS stations around the country and been distributed to public schools across Alabama. His underwater film work has appeared in documentaries on the Discovery Channel and National Geographic TV. Raines is under contract with Simon & Schuster for a new book about the discovery of the Clotilda. Previously, he co-authored the book Heart of a Patriot with U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, which chronicled Cleland’s journey from triple amputee after a grenade accident in Vietnam to the U.S. Senate. Ben is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a degree in filmmaking, and is a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captain, giving tours of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and Alabama’s barrier islands. He lives with his wife and son in Fairhope, Ala.

Kevin Butt

Director, Environmental Sustainability, Toyota Motor North America, Inc.

Mr. Kevin Butt is the Director of Environmental Sustainability for Toyota’s North American Environmental Sustainability Programs.  He is responsible for the development of Environmental Sustainability Programs and related Regulatory/Legislative development for all of Toyota’s North American operations.  Mr. Butt serves on several boards including the National Wildlife Habitat Council, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation, World Wildlife Fund National Council, North American Great Plains Advisory Board, Yellowstone Park’s, Yellowstone Forever Board, and the National Environmental Education Foundation.  Mr. Butt has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Science from Georgetown College.