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Current Commission Board Membership and Term Limits

John M.R. Bull, Commissioner of Marine Resources, Board Chairman, Appointed as Commissioner on January 13, 2014.

Associate Board Members:



Whitt G. Sessoms III
of Virginia Beach

Picture of Whitt G. Sessoms III

Mr. Sessoms is President of Cape Development and Real Estate Co., which is involved in land development in Southeast Virginia and Northeast North Carolina.  He also is a partner in Fisherman’s Wharf Marina located in Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach.  He a graduate of James Madison University with a Bachelor of Business Administration.  He and his wife, Terri, have three sons, Jennings, Jack, and Neysi.  They live in the North End of Virginia Beach.  He and his family enjoys fishing, surfing, and sailing in the ocean.



James D. Close
of Moon

Picture of James D. Close

Appointed by Governor Robert F. McDonnell in July 2013, Mr. Close is a commercial waterman with more than 30 years of experience crabbing, gill netting, scalloping, haul seining, oystering and more in Virginia’s tidal waters.  His father was a waterman and his grandfather did some commercial fishing as well.  He began working the water as a teenager with his father, and bought his first boat at the age of 20.  He was born and raised in Mathews and now lives in Moon with his wife Brenda.  They have two adult daughters, Andrea and Rachel.



One position on the MRC Board is currently vacant.

Lynn Haynie

of Reedville, VA

Picture of Lynn Haynie

Appointed by Governor Robert F. McDonnell in November 2012, Ms. Haynie was born and raised in Reedville and is the General Manager at AMPRO Shipyard & Diesel, which services and repairs commercial and recreational vessels.  She is from a family of commercial watermen, and holds but does not currently use a Virginia commercial waterman’s card.  Her hobbies include, fishing, boating, biking, photography and other outdoor activities.




A.J. Erskine
Kilmarnock, VA

Picture of A.J. Erskine

Appointed in July 2013 by Governor Bob McDonnell, Mr. Erskine is the aquaculture manager for Cowart Seafood and Bevans Seafood, and is a past-president of the Virginia Seafood Council.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of New Hampshire, and a master’s degree in Marine Science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.  He and his wife, Karen, live in Kilmarnock with their sons, Brady and Miles.  His private life is focused on family and friends, and he plays soccer as time allows.

Ken Neill
of Seaford, VA

Picture of Ken Neill

Appointed in July 2013 by Governor Bob McDonnell, Dr. Neill is a successful dentist in Yorktown and a certified master angler.  He is a York High graduate who graduated from Old Dominion University with a degree in Biochemistry and from the Medical College of the University of Virginia as a Doctor of Dental Surgery.  He is a past president of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association and serves as an International Representative for the International Game Fish Association.  He and his wife, Tricia, live in Seaford with their son Cameron and daughter Casey.  His hobbies include saltwater fishing, freshwater fishing, deep-water fishing, and shallow-water fishing.  “If it swims, I fish for it,” he says. “I don’t have time for any other hobbies.”


John E. Zydron
of Chesapeake

Picture of John E. Zydron

Appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe in June 2014.  Mr. Zydron is the managing general partner of the law firm of Bennett and Zydron in Virginia Beach. He also is a recreational charterboat captain, and a U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine Officer. He served with the Virginia National Guard after 32.5 years of service, retiring from the position of the Virginia State Judge Advocate General. He also served as a JAG officer, a military judge, an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Norfolk, and was a long-time substitute judge for the Virginia General District Courts. He retired with the rank of Colonel in the U.S. Army and with the rank of Brigadier General in the Virginia Militia-Unorganized. He received numerous awards, honors and decorations for his service. 


Chad Ballard, III
of Norfolk, VA

Picture of Chad Ballard III

Appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe in June 2014.  Mr. Ballard is the President of Ballard Fish & Oyster Company in Cheriton, located on the Eastern Shore. It is one of the most successful shellfish aquaculture operations in Virginia. He also sits on the boards of the Virginia Aquaculture Advisory Board, the Shellfish Growers of Virginia, and the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association. He is a former investment banker.


For questions related to the Commission meetings please contact:

Jane McCroskey
Commission Secretary
2600 Washington Avenue
Suite 107
Newport News, VA 23607-0756

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