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I am often asked about my strategy for overcoming challenges and obstacles and breaking through barriers. My favorite response can actually be attributed to, the first female woman of African-American descent and the first person of Native American descent to obtain a pilot’s license.

"I refused to take NO for an answer."

Bessie Coleman

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President/Owner at M. A. Finn Consulting, LLC

25 Years Commissioned NOAA Officer Corps (Captain)

Deputy Director, NOAA Gulf of Mexico DIsaster Response Center

Chief of Staff National Ocean Service

First Female Gulfstream-IV Hurricane Surveillance Jet Pilot

B.S. in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University at Galveston

M.S. in Zoology from University of Hawaii

Master’s Certificate Aviation/Aerospace Systems Safety from  

    Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University




Captain Michele Finn retired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Commissioned Officer Corps with over 25 years of service to the United States. Following her first assignment as a deck officer on a coastal research vessel focused on pollution studies of the waters along the entire East Coast and Gulf of Mexico, Michele continued to support environmental science and policy initiatives with a very diverse career.  She functioned as a marine biologist, remote field camp leader and logistics coordinator for the National Marine Fisheries Service team studying endangered species throughout the remote islands of the Northwest Hawaiian Island Chain.  Instead of returning to sea duty, Michele was selected to join NOAA’s flight program.  Initially flying NOAA’s Twin Otters in support of a wide range of scientific missions and observing strategies, she ultimately earned an Airline Transport Pilot license and Gulfstream IV type rating and became a Gulfstream IV instructor pilot flying in support of severe storm surveillance. In addition to holding the top management positions of Chief, Aircraft Maintenance Branch and Chief, Operations Division of NOAA’s Aircraft Operations Center, Michele accumulated over 4500 hours of flight time.

Throughout the years, Michele also served as the Assistant Superintendent of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in California, the Chief of Staff of the National Ocean Service in Silver Spring, MD and the Deputy Director of the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center. Michele spent over 6 months in the area of operations representing NOAA leadership during the initial phases of Deepwater Horizon response. Throughout her NOAA career, Michele was either the first person to fill a position, one of only a few women who had served in a position or the very first female to be selected for a role. She has an undergraduate degree in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University of Galveston, a Master of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Hawaii, a graduate certificate in Aviation Systems Safety from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Michele is now the owner of M.A. Finn Consulting, LLC and is focused on environmental project management, field operations planning and management and contract/grant proposal development. She is also passionate about volunteering in her community and spends time actively engaged with animal rescue and marine conservation programs in Lower Alabama.

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