Maritime Industry Experts

Who We Are

Jerry Cronin

Executive Director

Jerry brings to OpenSeas a lifetime of living near deep water and experience as a U.S Coast Guard officer, entrepreneur, program director and international businessperson. In addition to his role in OpenSeas, he created and directs the TempO program at Old Dominion University's Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, helping individuals, organizations, and regions create and grow innovation-based businesses and economies.

Previously, he served in a business development role which took him around the globe, helping to develop solutions incorporating the use of simulation in the aviation, trucking, and maritime industries. He created the civil and commercial practice area at a Fortune 500 training center of excellence, developing holistic training solutions for challenges ranging from major software rollouts to global animal pandemics. He served as principal of an environmental consulting company, and as vice president of an environmental engineering company. As a USCG officer, he was a top expert on the enforcement of fisheries and other regulations.

A long-term member of the Norfolk Sunrise Rotary, he has served in every leadership position in that organization, and he serves on the Hampton Roads Global Commerce Council Board of Directors.

Jerry lives in Norfolk with his wife and two dogs.


Emily Steinhilber

Principal Investigator

Emily brings to OpenSeas an in-depth understanding of issues associated with living on and around the water. In harmony with her OpenSeas role, she is Director of Special Projects and Assistant Research Professor in the Office of Research at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where, in addition to other resilience initiatives, she coordinates the ODU arm of the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency, a partnership between the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William and Mary Law School’s Virginia Coastal Policy Center, and ODU.

Previously, she served as the Assistant Director for Coastal Resilience Research at ODU and facilitated the Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise Preparedness and Resilience Intergovernmental Planning Pilot Project. She served as Executive Director at the Virginia Coastal Coalition, a non-profit based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, dedicated to creating a collaborative forum for a solutions-based approach to sea level rise planning and preparedness in Hampton Roads that focused leveraging the work of academia, non-profits, and government to create a dialogue within the business community.

A member of the Virginia State Bar, Ms. Steinhilber is active within the Hampton Roads community and serves on the WHRO Governing Board of Directors, the Lynnhaven River Now Board of Directors, and the Virginia Beach Green Ribbon Committee. She lives in Virginia Beach with her husband, daughter, and two golden retrievers.