Blue Community Team Members

Team Members

Blue Community Team of Leaders in Sustainability

Blue Community Program Team & Contributors

A directory of Blue Community Leaders who make our efforts in sustainability possible.

Team Members:  If you have changes you would like to make on your bio, please contact Justin

Dr. David W. Randle is one of the Co-founders of the Blue Community Consortiume serves as Managing Director of the Blue Community Consortium, and president and executive director of the WHALE Center.

H   Dave also serves on the Board of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism.  He is also an ambassador for Aptera, the world's first solar electic car.

As the first ordained environmental minister in the world, Dave has successfully coordinated a national campaign to preserve water, wildlife, and wilderness areas on behalf of the Pitkin County Commissioners, served as political and environmental adviser to John Denver and initial program development coordinator for John Denver's Windstar Foundation, was selected as one of the five lead off witnesses for hearings by the U. S. Presidential Commission for a Peace Academy & Conflict Resolution, and helped lead a team of 150 persons at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  During the Salt Lake Olympics, Dave worked with UNEP & URI to develop the Earth and Faith Leadership Development Program that was piloted in the Olympic Village in Salt Lake City and which received an Olympic Award and an award at the United Nations.

Ed Chiles  is one of the co-founders of the Blue Community Consortium.  He owns and operates three waterfront retaurants and has been in this business since 1979 when he was part of a partnership that purchased and renovated the Sandbar.

He owns and operates three waterfront retaurants and has been in this business since 1979 when he was part of a partnership that purchased and renovated the Sandbar. In recent years he has become a pioneer in the sustainable tourism industry. In 2007, he initiated and became the managing partner for the Pine Avenue Restoration Project in the city of Anna Maria which is now known as “The Greenest Little Main Street in America”. In 2012 he was awarded the Champion of Tourism Award for the project by the Bradenton area CVB. Ed is also a faculty member of the USF College Of Marine Sciences.

Richard Berman is Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Strategic Initiatives for innovation and research, University of South Florida, USA.

Prior to this position he served as the Interim Dean of the USF Patel College of Global Sustainability, Visiting Social Entrepreneurship Professor at the MUMA College of Business, and a Courtesy Professor at the Institute for Innovation & Advanced Discovery.

A recognized global leader in public health, education and management, he has consulted for the Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, McKinsey & Company, and the government of Rwanda.

Doug Heske is the CEO of Newday Impact Investing. Doug has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, including stints at Stone & Youngberg/Stifel Financial Corp and NCPI.  He represents the Blue Community at the UN and UN meetings.

Dr. Alan Fyall is the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, the Visit Orlando Endowed Chair, the Interim Chair of the Tourism, Events and Attractions Department and Graduate Programs’ Director at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida, and is a member of UCF’s National Center for Integrated Coastal Research.

Carter Henne  is a biologist and is responsible for scientific research and innovative solutions to address water quality and coastal resiliency. He is a native Floridian with a passion for creating self-sustaining natural aquatic ecosystems through scientifically validated restoration methods.

Ashley Zoeller -  is a Sustainability Programs Consultant for the Blue Community Consortium.  She is completing her Master of Science in Sustainable Design at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. T.H. Culhane is an Associate Professor at the Patel College of Global Sustainability at the University of South Florida. He is the Director of the Climate Change concentration and teaches courses in the Food and Climate concentrations.

He is also the co-founding director of the not-for-profit educational corporation "Solar CITIES Inc." which helps community stakeholders solve urban ecology and development issues surrounding waste-water, solid waste, food security and decentralized clean energy production

Clayton Louis Ferrara is the Executive Director of the United Nations Accredited NGO, IDEAS For Us. He is a classically trained biologist and world traveler who has conducted research on five continents concerning evolution, conservation, and ecology. 

His work as leader of IDEAS focuses on advancing sustainability through the creation of solutions that help people, heal the planet, and grow prosperity in communities around the world. He serves on the boards of numerous environmental and humanitarian nonprofits and belongs to many societies (some secret) that bring him to interact with world leaders such as Pope Francis and the descendants of Charles Darwin.

Dr. Todd Z. Osborne, Assistant Professor in the Wetland Biogeochemistry Laboratory, has a diverse research program focusing on biogeochemical processes in soil and water in a variety of ecosystems throughout Florida. 

Currently, Dr. Osborne is highly engaged in Everglades restoration science with several projects investigating biogeochemical cycling of phosphorus, sulfur and carbon within the Greater Everglades. These research initiatives include fire effects on biogeochemical cycling of phosphorus and impacts to water quality and exotic species, sulfur biogeochemistry and relationships to mercury and phosphorus mobility in Everglades soils, and spatial variability of soil nutrients at the landscape scale.

Dr. Reese Halter is a distinguished biologist, an award-winning broadcaster, environmentalist & author.  He is a.syndicated science writer and TV documentary nature host  He holds a Ph.D.from the University of Melbourne, Australia.  

In the late 1980's Reese founded Global Forest Science as a charitable international forest research foundation. He donated the first seed money to the foundation which has grown to a team of 165 international scientists. 

Dr. Reese Halter covered the Gulf oil spill extensively with many of his reports seen on MSNBC and other News media outlets including OPEDs calling for more sustainability.  He is currently a faculty member at California Lutheran University.

Brian Collins - As a former Walt Disney Imagineer, Brian helped create the magic for some of the world’s most beloved attractions. At other times in his career, he has produced work for a who’s-who list of corporations, as well as small entrepreneurial ventures.  

A passionate educator, Brian has served on the faculty as a professor ot adjunct of several schools including the University of Central Florida.  He s also preident of the Ensō Education Institute which is focused on transforming education in new and profound ways. 

Joe Tankersley is a writer, futurist, and former Walt Disney Imagineer. He combines his broad experience as a storyteller with a deep knowledge of strategic foresight to help organizations create compelling visions for better tomorrows.  

During his 20 years at Walt Disney Imagineering, Joe led creative teams on projects for Epcot, Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the Disneyland Resort in California.

Rebecca Tobias is a member of the WHALE Center Board and Canadian representative for the Blue Commnity Consoritum.  She is a former Global Council Trustee of the United Religions Initiative and the Program Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics which designs and facilitates interfaith and intercultural programming that serves to foster a culture of peace.  

Through her work she has coordinated capacity-building projects with civic, faith, and social justice advocacy organizations locally, nationally and internationally.  As a past Fellow with the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights for the Working Groups for Indigenous Populations, Rebecca has assisted in the drafting of resolutions presented at the Human Rights Sub-Commission and has served as an NGO delegate for several assemblies, including the inaugural meeting of the Tripartite Forum on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace.

Louis Zunguze is   the Director of Planning & Community Development and Principal of The PTL Group, Inc. a consulting company specializing in sustainable community and regional planning.  

Louis has over 25 years of international experience - Southern and West Africa (Harare, Zimbabwe and Accra, Ghana); Europe (London, UK); and North America (Kent and Cleveland, Ohio; Atlanta Metropolitan area, Georgia; Salt Lake City Metropolitan area, Utah; Tampa Bay and Orlando Metropolitan areas, Florida).

Charlie Hunsicker has been involved in a wide variety of environmental issues during a 37-year career with Manatee County Government.   He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Master's Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University.

  He is currently the Director for Manatee County's Parks & Natural Resources Department with 174 employees with five divisions. 

Chris Harris holds a degree in sustainble agriculture.  He has served as Program Coordinator for Regugee Agriculture for Salt Lake County.  He is currently involved in the development of zero emission vehicles and the reduction of plastics. in cooperation with Vortech.

Silvia Barbone is Head of Partnerships at The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU).

Silvia is an International expert in sustainable tourism, project management, and destination management.  

She is the founder of Jlag and Fest and developer of the PM4SD certification (, and I designed The Next Tourism Generation (NTG) Alliance to build and implement the first European Blueprint Strategy for Sector Skills Alliance.

 Ben Gill lead Bioregional’s work with their international One Planet Communities, helping them to set and achieve world-leading targets to achieve One Planet Living.

He has been working in the environmental sector for nearly 20 years, covering the fields of waste management, renewable energy and sustainable urban planning and development.

Ben is a Chartered Environmentalist and member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment. 

Frank Hetherton is an accomplished architect and master planner. He is a former Walt Disney Imagineer where he served as the Director Resort Development. In this capacity he was responsible for the masterplanning and architectural design of resort projects in Anaheim California and Paris France. 

He direccted the master planning and design for the award winning Villages Nature Destination, said to be the most sustainable resort in the world.

Christopher LucasIT Project Management for the Blue Community ProjectChris currently lives in Charleston, South Carolina, the city where he was born and grew up.  

For the last several years he has been working behind the scenes with Justin Farrow on formulating the Blue Community App as well as assisting in managing the Land Surveyors United online community. 

Justin Farrow  is a digital anthropologist and full stack web developer, former graduate student and Professor's Assistant to Dr. David Randle at Patel College of Global Sustainability at University of South Florida.  

As a graduate student, Justin was also the Webmaster for Patel College of Global Sustainability at USF while earning  Masters in Sustainable Tourism and a Masters for Entrepreneurship in Sustainability from University of South Florida.    Justin has been on the Board of Directors for the UCC Whale Center since 2014 and serves as the IT Director and web developer for all Blue Community Consortium programs and initiatives.

Jared Meyers is a values-driven professional utilizing his time, resources and abilities to improve social, environmental and economic outcomes through Certified B Corporations and Conscious Capitalism. Meyers is a co-founder and/or investor in four successful B Corps including Legacy Vacation Resorts, the first multi-state hospitality company to become certified in the U.S. 

Motivated by his passion to use business as a force for good, he also co-created the For Good Movement, a nonprofit that oversees Florida for Good and B Tourism.

Harmony Liu - Blue Community Youth Ambassador.

Harmony is a high school student in New York, and a strong advocate for ocean protection, restoration, and enhancement.  She has been a free lance reporter on a number of issues regarding public policy and the United Nations.

Princess Long Long is a multi-talented international star performing in off-Broadway stage musical, singing, television, movie, and theater modeling and designing: television, movie, and theater modeling and designing. 

She is a celebrity artist with international media coverage on CBS, FOX 21, Footprint TV, Peru Filarmonia 102.7, “Full Access NYC,” “RG Magazine” Italian BrindiamoTV, /Channel 25, Italian Fashion Uomo ModernoMagazine, Avenue 1, The China Press, World Journal, Xingdao Daily, Wenhui Daily, Peace Ever TV, ICN TV, City World Radio, Arab Astoria and more than 1,000 news channels in mainland China

She holds a Masters of Business Administration from the Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands and received a Certificate of English Studies from the United Kingdom. Moreover, with her professional business experience and negotiating skills, she has helped raise multi-millions of dollars in investments for both western and eastern companies and she has managed to organise artistic events in Hong Kong, China, Peru, Monaco, France and the United States.

Chris Castro, LEED GA, CPB, is the current Chief of Staff, Office of State and Commnity Energy Programs for SCEP at DOE. Chris previously served as the Senior Advisor to Mayor Buddy Dyer and Director of Sustainability & Resilience at the City of Orlando, Florida. 

Chris is well known for his entrepreneurial efforts prior to coming to the City, including being the Co-founder and President of several companies and organizations, including the global sustainability nonprofit, IDEAS For Us, a clean energy consulting firm, Citizen Energy, and a renowned urban farming social enterprise, Fleet Farming. In 2020, Chris also joined partners as a Founding Director to launch Climate First Bank, the first B-Corp community bank in Florida working to advance ESG and local investing for sustainability and decarbonization solutions. Originally from Miami, Florida, Chris holds a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Central Florida. for Director of Sustainability and Smart Cities c0-chair for the City of Orlando.  He is an award winning sustainability professional, eco-entrepreneur, and community organizer with a passion for accelerating the transition to a smart, resilient and sustainable future. Chris is  the founder and president of IDEAS For Us, an international nonprofit and UN accredited organization working to develop, fund, and scale environmental solutions around the World; and co-creator of the renowned ‘Fleet Farming’ urban agriculture program that started in Orlando.

Among some of his recognition, Chris has been called the ‘Guru of Green’ by the Orlando Business Journal, selected as a GreenBiz ‘30 Under 30’ sustainability professional in the U.S., and recognized as a ‘Grist 50 Fixer’, one of the top 50 emerging sustainability leaders around the World.

Sarbuland Khan is the Liaison officer for the UNWTO at the United Nations Headquarters.

Mr. Khan has a Masters degree in economics, a post-graduate diploma in International Economic Relations from the institute for Social Studies, The Hague. 

He has authored a number of publications and various articles in economics for books, journals, newspapers and magazines.

Dr. Noel Brown is on the Governing Board of the International Oceans Institute (IOI), Director General of the Waves of Change Campaign, and President of Friends of the United Nations. Dr. Brown also directs the IOI Ocean Governance, Policy, Law and Management Training in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

Previously, he served as Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), North American Regional Office and U.N. Headquarters office for UNEP. He remains with UNEP as a Senior Consultant. Dr. Brown is also Chairman of the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism, a founding member of the Aspen Global Change Institute and the International Council for Local Environment Issues, Chairman of the Rene Dubos Center for Human Environments, and he serves on the Board of Directors of the Global Rivers Environmental Educational Network, the Climate Institute, the Earth Communications Office, the Rainforest Alliance, Global Education Associates, Trust for the Americas, and of their environmental and educational organizations. 

Dr. Kelly Bricker is Kelly Bricker is a professor and the director of Hainan University-Arizona State University Joint International Tourism College or HAITC. She completed her PhD with the Penn State University, specializing in sustainable tourism and protected areas. 

She has authored books on sustainability, highlighting case studies that address environmental and societal issues, such as “Sustainable Tourism & the Millennium Development Goals: Effecting Positive Change,” and adventure education in “Adventure Programing and Travel for the 21st Century.” She serves the boards of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Tourism Unity, and Tourism and Protected Area Specialists Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.   She completed her Ph.D. research with the Pennsylvania State University, where she specialized in sustainable tourism and natural resource management. She has special research and teaching interest in ecotourism, sense of place, natural resource management, and the environmental and social impacts of tourism.

Debbie Meihls is the Executive Director of the New Smyrna Beach Area Visitors Bureau. Debbie manages a staff of 7 at the Visitors Bureau.  Her goals are to bring sustainable tourism to the NSB area and continue her work as a satellite with the Blue Community Consortium.  

She recently passed the “PM4SD Foundation” exam and looks forward to working with her stakeholders to develop products more sustainably.

Debbie Resides in New Smyrna Beach with her husband of 18 years and her 8-year-old Golden Retriever – Sir Toma.

Marsha Pilgeram, Uah URI coordinator, Marsha is the Coordinator of the WHALE Center Utah URI program (Utah United Religions Initiative).

Marsha graduated from Westminster University in 1981 B.S. Behavioral Science

Worked for Davis County Sheriffs Office, Deputy Sheriff, Corrections 1980-1987

Transcendental Meditation and Siddhis program, 1993

Sharon Wright  is the City of St. Petersburg Sustainability & Resiliency Manager.  She is responsible for delivering the mayor’s sustainability priorities by working across city departments and with citizens, businesses, and community partners to establish a community-wide sustainability program.  Sustainability means finding the balance between environmental protection, economic vitality, and social equity and responsibility. 

JOHN LEHNHARDT recently retired as the the Animal and Environmental Policy and Standards Technical Director for Animal Programs and Environmental Initiatives, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide.

John started his career as an elephant and seal/sea lion keeper over three decades ago. John soon observed that the negative care of animals was leading to stress of the elephants that resulted in a high number of deaths of trainers.   He then developed a protocol to allow elephants to live more naturally that revolutionized the care of Elephants around the world.  The net result of John's contribution is that elephants and other animals are now living more peacefully and in harmony with their natural instincts and trainers are no longer being killed from poor standards.

Stan Doerr joined ECHO after working with World Vision where he served three years in Mauritania.  Stan has lived in or worked in over 45 countries around the world in community development and agriculture and has a Master of Science degree from the University of Texas.

ECHO originally founded as Educational Concerns for Haiti Organization is now known as Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization and has expanded its sustainable agricultural work beyond Haiti to the larger Caribbean and other tropical climates of the world. 

Dr. Thomas L. Crisman, Patel Professor of Environment, University of South Florida.   Prior to becoming the Patel Professor of the Environment at University of South Florida, with a joint appointment in the Patel Center for Global Solutions and the Department of Integrative Biology, Dr. Crisman was a professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences, University of Florida for 30 years and Director of the Howard T. Odum Center of Wetlands for 11 years. He is a broadly trained aquatic ecologist specializing in water management of the tropics and subtropics and the use of appropriate low technology solutions for drinking and wastewater treatment. His research has focused on water management in Florida, Africa, Central and South America, Asia and the Caribbean and Mediterranean basins, and he has served as a consultant to the governments of Spain, Poland and Greece, the United Nations and numerous international agencies. He is currently Chair of the Board of Advisors of the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation through a State Department appointment. He has authored 177 articles, books, book chapters and reports, delivered 243 scientific presentations globally.

Dr. Sálvano Briceño was appointed the Director of the Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) in June 2001.

His career spans over several decades and has focused on the management of environmental and sustainable development programmes at the United Nations, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the Government of Venezuela.

Prior to joining UN/ISDR, Mr. Briceño was the Coordinator of the BIOTRADE and GHG Emissions Trading Initiatives of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Geneva (1999-2001). Before that, he was Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) secretariat (1996-1999), following several years as the Coordinator of Intergovernmental and Institutional Support of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) where he was responsible for assisting the Executive Secretary with management; legal; information support, external relations and interagency relations of the organization (1991-1996). Further UN experience includes five years with UNEP's Caribbean Environment Programme at Kingston, Jamaica, where he collaborated closely with the Pan-Caribbean Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Programme (1987-1991).


Rebecca South has been captivated with Domes since the age of three. She grew up watching her father develop Monolithic Dome Industry along with his brothers, Barry and Randy. At age six moved into an 8,000 square foot Dome home in Menan, Idaho where she gave tours to about 100 people a week.

In 2005, she became President of Domes for the World Foundation. Ms. South presided over the project to assist the earthquake devastated community of Ngelepen in Indonesia. The project rebuilt a community for 800 people ahead of schedule and under budget.

Dr. Don Mellman - The mission of Don’s 36-year healthcare career has always been to provide access to the highest quality care; first, during his 26 years of private practice as a board certified neurosurgeon on a doctor-patient basis, and then, additionally, for the last ten years in policy and management on populations of patients both in the United States and abroad. Closely aligned with this mission are his concerns with the ethics of the business of healthcare and issues of social and economic justice.

He has a particular focus on systemic problems that lead to adverse patient outcomes. He creates successful professional relationships through the encouragement, development and mentoring of physician and executive managerial and leadership skills. To assist in resolution of conflict in all varieties of healthcare issues, he is a qualified arbitrator and a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Mediator.

Dr. Lynn Ringenberg is an Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Her academic career spanned 20 years at USF with 13 years in private practice. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska, Graduate studies in Biochemistry at the University of Maryland, Medical School at the University of Nebraska and residency training in pediatrics at the University of Florida, Gainesville and Bowman Gray in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  She received a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 2001 and retired from the Army in 2003 in the rank of colonel. Dr. Ringenberg’s interests and passions lie in medical education and underserved healthcare. She co-founded Physician’s for Social Responsibility (PSR) Tampa Bay with Dr. Don Mellman in 2008.

Ana Paula Tavaras is the Senior Vice President Worldwide of Rainforest Alliance, an international conservation organization with headquarters in New York and work in 70 countries.  Recently, she has been involved in initiatives to increase production of sustainable products and services in Latin America and promote greater linkages with mainstream global markets.  She has been leading the organization’s development division for nine years. Prior to joining the Rainforest Alliance, Ana Paula was a founding partner at New Frontiers Group, a financial services group in São Paulo promoting investment funds for biodiversity, sustainable forestry, carbon sequestration and renewable energy. 

Ronald Sanabria - Vice President Sustainable Tourism, Rainforest Alliance, has worked with the tourism industry on certification, productivity, quality assurance and sustainability since 1992. He joined the Rainforest Alliance's Sustainable Agriculture program in 1998, and two years later began developing the organization's tourism program.

During his tenure with the Rainforest Alliance, Sanabria has coordinated projects in a dozen Latin American countries, supporting sustainable tourism training and technical assistance for hundreds of tourism businesses and community-based operations while connecting them with the marketplace.  With support from the Multilateral Investment Fund, Sanabria led the creation of the Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas, which today has more than a hundred members representing 25 countries in the Americas. Internationally, he represents the Rainforest Alliance in the Tourism Sustainability Council (TSC) and the World Heritage Alliance.

Dr. John C. Ogden, USF Emeritus Professor of Integrative Biology and Adjunct Professor USF College of Marine Sciences. Dr. Ogden is an expert on the ecology and management of coral reefs and associated ecosystems. He is particularly interested in ecosystem-based management, marine protected areas, and the use of zoning tools for management and conservation. He was President of the International Society for Reef Studies and is a founding board member of the Florida Ocean Alliance. He has served on many boards and committees, currently the Technical Advisory Committee for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, The Ocean Conservancy Board, and the Federal Advisory Committee on Marine Protected Areas. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dan Fisher is President and CEO of Tampa Bay Green Consortium, a 501(c) non-profit organization in Tampa Bay that supports ocean conservation, aquatic health, and environmental stewardship by providing the guidance, resources, and tools to help increase environmental awareness within the community to promote the sharing of knowledge, people and resources needed for environment projects focusing on sea turtle conservation, marine debris, and environmental education.

Vince Albanese is an innovator and successful serial entrepreneur whose skills span decades of success and cutting edge innovation. He is Founder and CEO of Haven Health Solutions, focused exclusively on delivering enterprise-grade healthcare blockchain solutions. 

Jerry John Comellas is a sustainability professional and evangelist in the Tampa Bay Area. Jerry directs the Rosebud Continuum Sustainability Education Center, functions as a project manager for Fat Beet Farm, and is a cofounder of Sustainable Eco-Systems: Eco-Urban Farms. Jerry leads humanitarian projects with Acorn to Oak, International and has served as a sustainability assessor for the Green Armada Foundation. 

He is a One Planet Living Future-maker, the leader of the Ecotones and a certified Project Management for Sustainable Development practitioner. He has an M.A. in Global Sustainability with a focus on the Food-Energy-Water Nexus, Sustainable Tourism and Eco-Entrepreneurship.

Nan Summers is one of Walt Disney World’s cultural and eco-tourism educational pioneers, including co-founder of the Disney Seminar business while leading professional development for the Imagineering design team during the building of Disney’s Epcot Theme Park. Throughout twenty-three years with the Disney organization, she launched, branded, and marketed more than 50 projects, including master planned communities, resort hotels, new businesses and initiatives impacting 56,000 employees.

Frank E. Muller-Karger is a biological oceanographer (Professor) at the College of Marine Science, University of South Florida. He is of Hispanic descent via Puerto Rico, and while born in the U.S. he grew up in Venezuela. Muller-Karger conducts research on how marine ecosystems change in time. He uses time series of observations collected by traditional oceanographic methods and by satellite sensors to study changes in water quality, primary production, and biodiversity in coastal and marine environments. This research helps in understanding how large-scale phenomena, like climate change or other disturbances, affect ecosystems including people.

Dr. Mark Luther is Director of the Ocean Monitoring and Prediction Lab in the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, where he co-directs the Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System. Dr. Luther's research involves the combination of real-time ocean observations with numerical models of ocean currents and processes and their application to various problems ranging from maritime safety and security to water quality in estuaries to variability in large-scale ocean circulation and its relation to climate change.

Mr. Fernando Bretos is the Director of CubaMar. He has worked in Cuba since 1998 on a wide variety of marine conservation projects. He oversees the Trinational Initiative for Marine Research and Conservation in the Gulf of Mexico and Western Caribbean a multinational effort to study coastal and marine resources shared by the three nations of the Gulf of Mexico: Cuba, Mexico and the United States. He also oversees joint research projects with the Center for Marine Research of the University of Havana on sea turtles, coral reef health and the engagement of remote coastal Cuban communities in protecting their natural resources.  

Dr. Jose Lazaro Quintero Santos Doctor in International Economics and Development by University Complutense of Madrid, Spain. He is graduated of Tourism Management, Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management Klessheim, Salzburg, Austria; Master of Economy and Bachelors in Economics by University of Habana, Cuba. Currently, he is a visiting scholar at Patel College of Global Sustainability, University of South Florida. Associate Professor, University Antonio de Nebrija, Madrid. Spain and Universidad Teconológica Equinoccial (UTE), Quito, Ecuador.

Rhonda Sandborn.  Rhonda considers herself a multipotentialite – which means having many interests and creative pursuits. She has three decades of diverse business and international experience across industry sectors ranging from High Tech Training and Development to Tourism, Travel and Nonprofits.

In Memory - Captain Don Voss from Fort Pierce, Florida, is the owner of the Marine Cleanup Initiative Inc., a debris collection organization that cleans up Florida’s waterways. Over the last 11 years, the company has grown from six volunteers to over 400, who have collectively removed over 300,000 pounds of marine debris. Don started SCUBA diving as a form of therapy after he was wounded in Vietnam, and his love for the ocean motivated him to help clean up the waterways that he loved to dive in.

Captain Don is the recipient of the 2012 Oceania Ocean Hero of the Year award

Captain Don passed away September 2017