about us

We’re a US-based consultancy centered
on the water-food-energy-community nexus.

Refocusing relationships between humans and the environment

Our mission:

Providing multimodal approaches—rich with visualizations—for planning, analysis, and decision-making to address life and livelihood challenges of coastal ecosystems and communities.

Our vision:

Informing and inspiring sound blue economy-based solutions that promote local economic growth, social inclusion, and the preservation or improvement of coastal community livelihoods while at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability.

Our values:

  • Relevant work
  • Energizing, supportive, nurturing environments
  • Active participation and collaboration in process and products
  • Wonder, curiosity, engagement
  • Finding balance between financial profit and sustainable ecosystems

our philosophy

Visual Teaching Technologies was started in 2002, dedicated to helping students learn how to relate to the world around them from a geographic perspective.

Today VTT’s work portfolio has expanded to include not only students and educators, but also public agencies, private businesses, non-government organizations, and community stakeholders who can benefit from visualizing complex problems through a geospatial lens.

And over the years, the VTT philosophy has remained constant:

  • Mental construction of content is as important as presentation of content (“teaching”). Each person receiving information brings her/his prior experiences and knowledge to a situation, and each person processes information presented through her/his own cultural and psychological screens.
  • Communication is necessary to check for understanding. Visualization is a critical part of communication.
  • A multimodal approach to learning and sharing information is ideal. We all process information differently, so it is critical to provide and solicit information in many different ways to address the different ways we each understand the world. Though the focus of VTT is on visualization, we believe in the combination of visual, auditory, linguistic, and kinesthetic.
  • Intelligence is expressed in at least eight different ways. Drawing on the work of multiple intelligences theory (Howard Garner and Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education), we create opportunities for engagement in deeper thinking by intentionally incorporating different intelligences: Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Logical-Mathematical, Naturalist, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Linguistic, and Musical.
  • When learning is relevant, the desire to learn increases and so does the level of understanding. The degree to which people become engaged in the learning process is related to relevance. Engagement can be at a variety of spatio-temporal scales.

Here’s what we prioritize.


Our water integrity conviction

Water integrity refers to transparent, accountable, and inclusive decision-making by water stakeholders striving for equity and sustainability in water management. When water integrity is lacking, reform and projects fail, and corruption (to which water sector work is particularly vulnerable) diverts resources from where they are needed.
VTT is part of the Anti-Corruption Advocacy Network and the Water Integrity Network. We intentionally incorporate priorities to curb corruption such as the prevention of illicit financial flows for water sector projects. When working with Blue Economy projects, we proactively implement measures with stakeholders to strengthen governance processes, manage risks, and to keep corruption out.

Meet the VTT team.

We’re proud to be conducting corporate operations in State of North Carolina–
our headquarters are located in Morehead City, overlooking Bogue Sound on the Crystal Coast. We also have an office in Arlington, Virginia.

Water and Climate Action Change Agent, Founder & Principal

Laura Jean "Lj" Palmer-Moloney, PhD²

I am awed by Nature in these times of climate change. As a hydrogeographer, I am intrigued by the chaos of systems and the often tangled complexity of human-environment interaction.

I love tackling complex problems and studying interconnected systems.

I love the timing and beauty of a Rube Goldberg machine… and I love the boldness it takes to make course corrections when a solution isn’t working out as planned.

I love the unknown unknowns of the world we live in and the flexibility and agility and reimaging it takes to find solutions, particularly as they relate to water and environmental sustainability.

In every iteration of my career, I’ve embraced multidisciplinary, multiagency endeavors. I intentionally reach across the “3-Ds” (Defense, Diplomacy, and Development)* and across sectors and utilize an eclectic mix of lessons learned about the water-food-energy nexus to evaluate effectiveness. (For more career details, check out my CV linked below.)

As the developer of VTT’s compelling multimedia river GEONarrative methodology, I see water as part of complex social-ecological systems, defying silos and sectors. Beginning with a watershed-based, bioregional framework, I work with leaders and decision-makers to help them understand the varied aspects of water as it relates to climate change and the challenges we face.

My goal is to use the wisdom I’ve gained to formulate the right questions to ask and to help others make smart choices related to water in the midst of chaos.

I am passionate about adding a water integrity component to stakeholder dialogue. When water integrity is lacking, reform and projects fail, and corruption (to whichever water sector work is particularly vulnerable) diverts resources from where they are needed. With explicit attention to managing corruption risks, I believe that we can better maximize economic and social welfare without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems and the environment.

I’m here to help you make informed decisions about water relevant projects, to make smart money choices, and to provide the top-shelf consulting services to address the life and livelihood challenges of coastal ecosystems and communities.

*Through my deployment with the U.S. Marines and work with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, I was able to show how the availability, accessibility, and governance of water influenced poppy cultivation in Helmand Province, Afghanistan; Boko Haram terrorist activities in Nigeria; U.S. - Russian diplomacy associated with Arctic waters; and drug smuggling in South America.

Graphics/UX Designer

Camille Babington

At VTT, I get to combine my skills in design and visual interpretation with my educational background in geography and community planning.

I'm a self-taught graphic designer with 6 years of experience in all types of projects and subject areas. I work with Visual Teaching Technologies and their collaborative partners to create maps, infographics, charts, illustrations, graphs, reports, and other visual items that help convey data and explain complex concepts. I believe the visual aspect of geography and learning is crucial, and graphics should be simplified, streamlined, and of course, eye-catching.
Engagement Catalyst

John Barry

Throughout my life, my travels have always involved a wandering river, a shallow bay, a ragged cliff, or rolling shoreline.

I remember the fascination I felt at seeing my first episodes of The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. It was around 1970, and I was six or seven years old. Those programs seemed more mesmerizing to me than my siblings, and surely helped to begin a life centered on all things aquatic. Family vacations in an old house on Nantucket, a campsite on Assateague Island, or weeks each year spent at Kerr Reservoir, those early building blocks formed a strong foundation to my relationship with the water. From Hemmingway to Steinbeck to Benchley, the younger me saw those stories as an avenue to better explore my deep love of fishing, marine life, and the sheer power of water. That feeling of awe has followed me now for over 50 years.

Throughout my life, my travels have always involved a wandering river, a shallow bay, a ragged cliff, or rolling shoreline… anywhere the land meets the water. If I’m in San Diego, South Africa, Barbados, Myrtle Beach, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, or some island off Honduras, my fishing tackle travels with me, no matter if I’m there for business or not. When at home, any free time will surely take me to the Potomac River, which I’ve mapped with my dry feet hiking, my wet waders, or in my kayak, where everything gets wet. Even after decades of adventure, each outing provides me something new.

My post-school life began with truck driving, fence building, tree-cutting, and brick laying, intermingled with unforgettable stints in the traveling rock and roll world, and performing in acrobatic diving shows with The Great American High Diving Team.

At some point in my mid-20’s, I was encouraged to buy a three-piece suit (and get a haircut). I trained in an entry-level junior technical service position, working primarily in government buildings and locations within and near Washington DC. I had the pleasure of working in the Pentagon, in the Old Executive Office Building, and every Intelligence or military installment one can imagine. After earning my stripes, I was promoted to management. I felt quite successful, but with two young kids, I felt spread thin and stressed out. So, I became a Stay-at-Home Dad! As my schedule allowed, I began to rekindle my love for the sport of Springboard Diving, and was slowly able to begin a now 20-year career of coaching. Starting off in High School coaching, to Summer League and Club Diving, I’ve been at American University as a Division-1 Diving Coach since 2007.

Through many positions and very different stages, my work life has always shared some common themes. Being creative, building relationships, renewing and teaching processes, and recruiting the best partners to join in my adventures.

Most of my 35-plus years of travel (much in the Caribbean) have educated me with lessons from the locals (mostly fisherfolk) I’ve met and those I’ve come to know. I am more thankful, more empathetic, and I better understand the dichotomy of life in such amazing and beautiful places. After 35 years of travels, and all my experiences and connections to coastal communities, the wonderment is still palpable… but it is cut with a heavy shot of impending doom.

At every turn, I’ve always looked for new ways to stay connected to the water. My journey has been a full one already, but there is still much I can do. With urgent environmental conditions to address, and losses of coastal habitat, there are young people to inspire (as Mr. Cousteau did to me). There are still other people to convince and partner with in industry and in office. There are actions we all can take to heal our once-pristine waters.

My efforts hope to allow future generations to feel the same fascination with Earth’s waters that helped form the person I have become.

Interdisciplinary Environmental Consultant

Heather E. Ward, PhD

The weakest evidence is better than the strongest supposition. I specialize in bioregional analyses, coastal and marine management, and science communication. I look for evidence and create clear, concise ways to express it.

Before coming to VTT, I served as senior research geographer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Geospatial Research Laboratory (GRL). My environmental security research helped commanders and strategic planners understand the environment as ‘cause and cure’ for conflict and to navigate the many interconnected social and ecological systems they needed to consider during operations—dynamics and interconnections between natural resources, local and regional economies, state governance, and cultural value systems.

Prior to joining GRL, I served as executive director for Waterkeepers Carolina and as Barton College’s stand-alone geography professor. Early in my career, I spent four years as an intelligence analyst, traveling widely in Europe and briefing U.S. policymakers on weapon systems, arms trade, and nonproliferation politics. As Major Ward, I also enjoyed a career in the United States Army as both an active-duty military police officer and reserve intelligence officer.

I received the 2008 Walter B. Jones Memorial Award for Excellence in Coastal and Marine Graduate Study, while completing my PhD and serving as the science communications fellow for North Carolina Sea Grant. I have earned numerous government civilian, military, and intelligence community performance awards and am an accomplished technical, science, and grant writer.

Environmental Conservation Champion

Lawrence Ives

[coming soon]

[coming soon]

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See content.
Understand context.
Discover connections.
Evaluate consequences.

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P.O. Box 443
Morehead City, NC

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Dun & Bradstreet Registration: 018671686.

US Government System for Award Management (SAM) CAGE Code: 7DC83.