Central Team

Antonio Rodriguez

António Rodrigues​

António Rodrigues is the Engagement Leader of the Assistance Mechanism for the Atlantic Action Plan. António is PwC Portugal's Strategy & Corporate Finance Advisor Partner, the Lead Partner in Restructuring Advisory and a member of the PwC Blue Economy Centre of Excellence.  In his carreer, António has developed and implemented several projects related to maritime industries for Ports authorities (business plan and economic and financial feasibility study), offshore energy companies (financial advisory and feasibility studies), cargo container operators.  More specifically, he has advised in the preparation of the business plan and economic and financial feasibility study of the cruise activity in the Port of Leixões for the launch of a future concession.  António studied Economics at the Economics Faculty of the University of Porto, participated in Client´s Strategic Agenda Program from INSEAD - Fontainebleau, the Advanced Restructuring Executive Program in INSEAD - Singapore, Business Management Executive Program in Nova-Católica and Leadership and Strategy Executive Program from Kellogg School of Management.  He speaks Portuguese and English fluently.

Andre GomezAndré Gomes​

André Gomes is the Project Manager​ | Central Point of Contact for the Atlantic Assistance Mechanism. André is an MBA graduate with a technological academic background and successful experiences in top multinational companies in the private sector as well as in the public sector by collaborating with European Union institutions. He is an experienced senior strategy and operations consultant with solid experience in project management, consulting, strategy, operations and innovation.  André holds a BsC in Communication Systems from Kingston University (UK), a Postgraduate diploma in Management and Business Consulting from ISEG (Portugal) and an Executive MBA from ESIC Business & Marketing School (Spain).  He speaks English, Portuguese and Spanish fluently.

Catherine Frideres

Catherine Frideres

Catherine Frideres is the Communications Expert of the Assistance Mechanism. Catherine is a Senior Manager at PwC Luxembourg Advisory and PwC's Accelerator. She is an entrepreneur and communications specialist with 20 years combined experience in cross-cultural communications, business acceleration coaching and in managing international projects for the public and private sectors.  Over the years, she has successfully extended public awareness of EU programmes to over 3 million European SMEs, led acceleration coaching for over 2,500 SMEs across 9 industry sectors, and managed public sector projects for trade and sustainable economic development.  She has significant expertise in designing narratives and building active communities through digital and social media platforms.  Catherine holds an MA International Studies & Diplomacy with a major in International Law from the University of London and speaks English fluently.

Elina Zempili

Elina Zempili 

Elina Zempili is the Monitoring Expert of the Assistance Mechanism for the Atlantic Action Plan.  Elina has over 20 years of experience in managing complex EU-funded technical assistance projects and in managing multi-national teams of experts.  Elina is a leader in the international project area, specialised on the monitoring and evaluation of development projects, and has been responsible for the identification and supervision of international and local experts for the implementation of several EU development assistance projects.She has worked extensively in several EU projects, where she has managed large multi-dimensional teams comprised of experts in the various fields of communications, public relations, community buliding, monitoring, innovation, SMEs etc.  and reported successfully to the Contracting Authorities.  She has been actively involved  in the Assistance Mechanism for the Atlantic Action Plan, holding the position of team leader since 2016.  Elina holds an MA in European Politics from Vrije Universiteit Brussels. She speaks English and Greek fluently and has a basic understanding of French.  

Leonidas Papaioannou

Leonidas Papaioannou

Leonidas Papaioannou is the National Hub Leader for the Assistance Mechanism.  Leonidas is a Director at PwC Greece, and leads the Government and Public Sector industry team, being responsible for all aspects of public sector related services.  Leonidas has significant experience in leading large-scale national or European/ international projects in areas such as policy making, public administration and market reforms, large scale transformation programs or implementation of action plans, structural funds programming and administration.  He will be responsible for the overview of the whole span of the national hub activities and quality control of their  deliverables and project outputs.  Leonidas holds a Diploma in Chemical Engineering from the National Technical University of Greece and an MBA from Hull University, UK.  He speaks English and Greek fluently.

National Hubs

National Hub France

Frédérick​ Herpers

Frédérick is an engineer in hydrography and oceanography. He has more than 13 years of experience in geosciences (hydrography, oceanography, geography) for civilian and military purposes (at French hydrographic office (SHOM) but also at French procurement agency for the Defence ministry. He has 5 years of experience (2008-2011) in design and implementation of integrated maritime and coastal policies (EU, national, regional and local level) as IMP advisor for French Prime Minister at Secretariat general de la Mer. He contributed to the elaboration and adoption of the French maritime policy in 2009, the law transposition of MSFD as the environmental pillar of the national strategy for the sea and the shoreline. He was project manager in French maritime consultation (2009): Grenelle de la mer mainly in charge of inter-ministerial coordination. As a consultant since 2014 at Stratégies Mer et Littoral (SML), he has been working in marine renewable energy strategy at regional or subregional level (Britanny, Loire Atlantique) in maritime strategies definition and strategic planning at local level (Pays de Lorient, Var, Loire-Atlantique, Indian Ocean (Réunion, Mayotte)). He proposed for EU FP7Coastgap project solutions to strengthen maritime macroregion political dynamics. He is in charge of SML participation in WestMed Initiative since early 2016. He is leading the assessment of Blue economy potentials in the Southern Mediterranean Sea (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel) within EU IMP CC project.  He speaks French and English fluently.

National Hub Ireland

Elizabeth Gavin

Elizabeth Gavin has over 23 years experience working on EU related programmes, firstly as an EU official in both Brussels and The Hague for the European Commission, Eurojust and Clean Sky JU. Over the past 4.5 years based in Ireland, Elizabeth has been supporting companies and third level organisations with EU funding opportunities, including working on maritime and blue economy initiatives in Ireland. Elizabeth has amassed knowledge from both within the EU institutions and in the research and innovation business community striking a unique balance in approach and understanding which she can bring to the Atlantic Assistance Mechanism in her role as National Hub coordinator for Ireland.

National Hub Portugal

Miguel Marques

Miguel is the Founder and Global Leader of PwC Economy of the Sea (Blue Economy) Worldwide Centre of Excellence, where he has been working in for 16 years as a Maritime/ Blue Economy Policy Expert. He is the author and project manager of the PwC Economy of the Sea (Blue Economy) site (in Portuguese and in English languages).  As a Maritime / Blue Economy policy expert, Miguel has already visited and interviewed the blue economy leaders in more than 50 coastal countries around the world to understand their status and best practices in the Maritime/ Blue Economy areas and produced policy written documents about strategies in maritime / sea-basin-based regions namely: European Atlantic, Black Sea, Red Sea, Guinea Golf, Macaronesia, Caribbean, Portuguese Speaking Countries Community, Turkey, Indonesia, India, USA, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, France, Macaronesia (Madeira, Azores, Canary islands and Cape Verde). Thanks to his consistent development, pioneering contributions and social responsibility efforts in Blue Economy, Miguel received the First-Class Naval Cross from the Portuguese Navy, in 2017.

National Hub Spain

Marta Pascual

Marta Pascual

Marta Pascual is currently also the Spanish National Hub for the Western Mediterranean Initiative (WestMED). She is former participant of the EU MSP Platform and has also been working as a Senior Associate Expert for the EU Commission and ECORYS in works related to MSP for Blue Growth and Blue Economy. Academically, she holds a PhD in Maritime Spatial Planning, is a former Ikerbasque Post-Doctoral Researcher and currently a Guest Researcher at the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3, Spain), where she is advancing with the Eco-modelling Research Team on the development of marine ecosystem services models using their developed semantic-modelling platform that uses artificial intelligence – ARIES.  She has more than 11 years of professional experience in the application and implementation of various European environmental and maritime directives such as the MSFD; MSPD; Habitats and Birds Directive, WFD. Her experience in research include various lines of spatial analysis, stakeholder engagement, scenario mapping, participatory mapping and marine and coastal research applied to maritime policies such as MSP, Ecosystem Services Mapping/Modelling, Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Biological Valuation and Ecosystem Services Valuation (ESV).

Pillar Coordinators

Pillar 1: Ports as gateways and hubs for the blue economy

Pillar 2: Blue Skills and Ocean Literacy

Pillar 3: Marine Renewable Energy

Pillar 4: Coastal resilience & Healthy Ocean

Carlos Botana LAGARÓN

Head of sustainability department in Port Authority of Vigo

Learn more


Executive Director of Ciência Viva

Learn more


Head of Research and Technology Department in Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

Learn more


Deputy Director Pole Mer Bretagne Atlantique

Learn more