Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network

Dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals through rescue and rehabilitation, research and education.

Board of Directors

Rodney Nelson, President of the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network. He is a lifelong believer in helping others, being an active participant in the community and taking responsibility and care for our environment. He served his country in the United States Marine Corps for ten years in which he learned strict rules, guidelines and discipline that continues to serve him well.

After military service he decided to become a Financial Advisor, he saw the need for sound financial planning in people’s lives which has lead him to found and own Lifestyle Investment Solutions in Galveston. Rodney is a proud member of several service organizations and has served on various committees which dedicate their efforts to serving the community. 
Barbara Clay was born and raised on Galveston Island. Although she currently lives in Texas City, the sand will always be between her toes. She retired from UTMB Information Services in 2006 as a Senior Security Analyst where she was on policy forming committees including the initial university-wide Information Security initiative.

Her love of the ocean led her to become a certified scuba diver in 2003 and has dived the Great Barrier Reef, Belize, Bonaire and Roatan. She always was in awe of the intelligence of dolphins so it was a natural progression for her to become involved with TMMSN as a volunteer. She is the current Secretary for the Board of Directors and continues to serve as a volunteer in the areas of rehabilitation and education.
Errol Ronje has served the TMMSN since 2007 including four years as a full-time TMMSN upper TX coast field responder, necropsy coordinator, and facility manager. Errol's resourcefulness has assisted the TMMSN with countless cetacean response activities and through many challenges.

Errol has performed hundreds of necropsies and carefully recovered, cleaned, and preserved dozens of skeletons to represent each species that the TMMSN has encountered, with the goal of a future articulated museum exhibit. Along with Heidi Whitehead, Errol drew the plans for the first-ever NOAA/NMFS sponsored marine mammal rescue and research facility, located in Galveston, TX.

When asked what impresses him the most about the TMMSN, Errol consistently points to the selfless dedication of the TMMSN volunteer force, without which none of the TMMSN's accomplishments would be possible. Errol is currently working on Bottlenose dolphin research with the NOAA/NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Pascagoula, MS.
Heidi Walker- Ideas, art and a sense of what works is what possessed this marketing girl to found Isle Fusion, an interior and web design company over 10 years ago. Heidi is also cofounder and partner in Galveston Real Estate Resource, Galveston Island’s tech advanced real estate firm. She also spent many years in the advertising industry including stints with Paramount TV and CNN radio honing her marketing and promotion skills.

Fitness and health are her personal passions. She can be found competing in regional Triathlons and running events on any given weekend. In addition to her own training, she is committed to helping others realize their potential and reach their personal goals. She mentors and coaches under the mantra of, “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in determination.” A strong sense of community, protecting our environment and seeing past the obvious is what brought her to TMMSN.
  Randall Peltier - Randall owns 360integrate, an integrated marketing firm specializing in developing integrated marketing platforms and marketing partnerships. Cause Marketing has been a specialty of his having developed successful marketing partnerships with the Houston Multiple Sclerosis Society’s MS150, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, National Child ID Program, The Bayou City Arts Festival, and many more not for profit organizations.  Prior to forming 360integrate, Randall held management positions with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, CBS, and Cox Media Group in Houston, New York City, and Fairfield County where he was fortunate to always live near the water.  Randall’s love of the outdoors and Galveston’s gulf and bays prompted him to relocate to Galveston’s East End where he works, lives, and plays.
Casey Brechtel DVM, Ph.D.- a resident and local veterinarian in Galveston, practices complementary medicine and specializes in chiropractic care for large and small animals. As an avid scuba diver and underwater photographer, his passion for the sea and the creatures it contains drew him to the TMMSN group almost 10 years ago. Since then he has served as a veterinary consultant to the stranding network on several occasions, where he assisted in the treatment of stranded mammals suffering from spinal deformities associated with stranding. This professional interest, and his desire to participate in an organization he strongly supports, has lead him to join the board in its quest to support this organization.
Heidi Whitehead has been intrigued by marine mammals from a young age and continues to be inspired by their behavior, adaptations, and stranding patterns. Whitehead is the Executive Director for the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Over the years, Heidi has worked in all aspects of the organization beginning as an enthusiastic volunteer, then serving in many positions throughout TMMSN. She is highly experienced in the field with the recovery and rehabilitation of various species of marine mammals. She devotes her time to investigation into the cause of strandings by means of recovery, rehabilitation, data collection, and necropsies of stranded animals.

Heidi has also been instrumental in reaching major milestones for the TMMSN including procurement of rescue vehicles, vessels, and equipment as well as the new rehabilitation and research center recently constructed in Galveston, TX. During her time at TMMSN, Heidi has enjoyed more than all else forming relationships with some amazingly dedicated volunteers and being a part of the successful rehabilitations and releases of some very special dolphins. She also enjoys witnessing the expressions of children and adults alike as they learn something new about marine mammals and as a result sincerely want to know how they can help.

 Although many challenges present themselves, these continue to be her motivation as she oversees the non-profit’s operations for the Texas coastline. Ms. Whitehead has been recognized for her passion and commitment to marine mammal conservation through the NOAA Environmental Hero Award program, and Exemplary Service Awards from the National Marine Fisheries Service.