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MMCG’s administrative office is located in Santa Barbara, California.

Marine environmental consulting
Peter Howorth

Peter C. Howorth

Senior Biologist, Principal

Peter C. Howorth has been involved with marine mammals since 1964, when he began collecting live specimens of whales, dolphins, seals, and sea lions for marine life parks and for the U.S. Navy’s Marine Mammal Program.  Soon afterward, he began to provide logistical support for a variety of government marine mammal research projects.

Howorth has performed mitigation for numerous industrial projects.  These include planning and implementation of mitigation for advance surveys, installations, inspections, repairs and replacements, and decommissioning.  Such projects involved the oil and gas industry, fiber-optic cable companies, and geophysical surveys.  All of these projects were carried out with no significant impacts.  More importantly, no complaints were heard from the public, the regulatory agencies or from environmental groups.

Howorth has worked as a consultant for numerous regulatory government agencies, providing environmental planning for various projects.  Such agencies include NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California State Lands Commission, California Coastal Commission, and various municipalities.  These longstanding professional relationships with regulatory agencies demonstrate considerable trust built over the years.  Howorth has also provided environmental planning for the military, including the U.S. Navy, the Marine Corps, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Howorth is recognized by state and federal regulatory agencies as a mitigation expert.  He has conducted capture workshops for government agencies, the military, other rescue organizations, and research institutions throughout the west coast and abroad.  Howorth provided the marine mammal capture sections of Marine Mammals Ashore, A Field Guide for Strandings.  This text is sponsored by NOAA Fisheries and is distributed worldwide to rescue centers, research institutions, conservation and management agencies, and many more.

Howorth has decades of experience among the California Channel Islands.  Besides marine mammal work, such projects also included sea bird studies, peregrine falcon research, brown pelican research, and much more.  Howorth has a strong, ongoing working relationship with island landowners, including the National Park Service, the U.S. Navy, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, The Nature Conservancy, and the Catalina Island Conservancy.

Lad Handelman

Lad Handelman

Project Administrator, Principal

Handelman was a founder and CEO of two of today’s premier offshore underwater contractors, Oceaneering International and Cal Dive International.  With Handelman as CEO, Oceaneering became the largest commercial diving contractor in the world, with over 1000 employees and operations in 24 countries.

Oceaneering also pioneered much of the deep-diving technology which has become industry practice today.  Oceaneering provided oilfield services, government contracting, civil construction works, saturation diving, remote-operated vehicles, and one-atmosphere diving suits.  Oceaneering also developed its own engineering and oceanographic divisions.  Under Handelman’s leadership, Oceaneering became a public company and today is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

In 1980, Handelman founded Cal Dive International, Inc., an oil services contracting firm specializing in construction engineering and underwater installations, repairs and maintenance. Under Handelman’s direction as CEO, the company soon had its own saturation diving ships and deepwater construction barges.  Today, Cal Dive has an entire fleet of dynamic-positioning vessels accompanied with the world’s most advanced robotics, down-holed equipment and is the recognized leader in the ultra-deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, having completed projects in over 5,000 feet of water depth. Cal Dive International, CDIS, is listed on the NASDAQ exchange. 

In recognition of his numerous contributions to the diving industry, in 1999, Handelman was inducted into the Offshore Energy Center Pioneers’ Hall of Fame.

Following his retirement from the offshore oil industry, Handelman returned to his original home base in Santa Barbara, California.  Handelman and Howorth founded the Marine Mammal Consulting Group (MMCG).  Since its start, MMCG has played a very active role in a long series of mitigation efforts for offshore industrial, military and government projects. 

Handelman’s responsibilities included contracting and administration.  His long history of work offshore, with its constant ties to industry, made Handelman an essential member of the MMCG team. He passed away in 2020, but he passed on his knowledge to the MMCG team, allowing them to continue.  He is greatly missed by the team.

Patricia Putnam

Patricia Putnam

Administration and Contracting, Principal

Patricia Putnam joined the firm soon after its inception and became a partner in 2003.  She administers contracts, coordinates logistics for the marine mammal observers and oversees a multitude of essential tasks, from preparing and tracking project budgets, employee payrolls, customer invoicing, fulfilling regulatory conditions, labor and insurance requirements, and corporate compliance.  Putnam also serves as the MMCG representative to its clients, making certain their needs are fulfilled.

She was a private business owner for many years in the entertainment, retail and medical services industries. She was a founding owner in 1981 of one of the largest entertainment facilities in the U.S., located in Fort Worth and still in operation today. Billy Bob’s Texas, known as the “World’s Largest Honky Tonk,” boasts 100,000 square feet of interior space. Billy Bob’s was named “Country Music Club of the Year” 12 times by the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. Her participation in the business included strategic planning, coordinating interactions between dignitaries and special attendees with major entertainers, and orchestrating the logistics of special events, including a fundraiser for the U.S. Olympic team for the 1984 Olympics at the facility. In 1982, Putnam opened a retail gift store in Fort Worth with a wide selection of gifts, clothing and jewelry. Along with her partner, she managed sales staff, inventory, purchasing and vendors and oversaw general business operations.

Putnam was a founding owner in 1996 of a hospital-based, hyperbaric medical services company which provided services to several hospitals in New York and California. She performed administrative and management duties, coordinated with onsite staff at the hospitals for billing and payroll, worked on outreach projects to doctors, and as corporate secretary. She was in charge of corporate compliance and interacting with the board of directors. She was a co-founder of a hyperbaric chamber leasing firm in Santa Barbara, California. Her duties were managing all administrative and corporate compliance functions. She has also been the corporate recording secretary for the board of directors of a commercial diving and offshore marine services company since 2000, helping maintain corporate records.   

Niels Winsor

Niels K. Winsor

Acoustic Physicist

Niels K. Winsor has multiple degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dartmouth and Princeton.  He is one of a handful of people in the nation capable of modeling the effects of explosives and other impulse power sources, such as geophysical airguns and pile driving, in shallow water.

Winsor has an extensive background in physics, beginning with the technical staff at Princeton, then on to the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.  Winsor also worked for many years with General Dynamics and with Tetra Corporation.  

Winsor has developed computer models of the effects of underwater explosives, pile-drivers, geophysical airguns, and other impulse power sources for MMCG.  Such models factor in water depth, bathymetry, composition of sea floor sediments and substrata, noise attenuation strategies, the size, composition, sequencing, and placement of explosives, size of piles to be driven, specifications of pile-drivers, size, output and configuration of geophysical airguns, and numerous other interrelated factors. 

Winsor also models the effects of vessel and machinery noises and wind farms underwater.  These models are used to project safe zones for marine life as an aid in environmental planning and mitigation.  The models can also allow for changes in explosive demolition, pile-driving and geophysical survey strategies that can reduce potential acoustic impacts to levels accepted by the regulatory agencies as safe for marine life.  This results in cost-effective mitigation strategies. 

Winsor has also developed and used various models to determine the potential impacts of sonic booms from rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.  If these models indicate that a significant sonic boom may impact the northern Channel Islands, an MMCG team is dispatched to the islands to perform acoustic measurements of the boom and visually monitor the effects of the boom on pinnipeds.  San Miguel Island in particular is a vital monitoring station because it is the most diverse pinniped haul-out and rookery area in the world and the largest such area on the west coast of North America.