Former Senator Mark Begich has built an impressive record of accomplishments on some of the most complicated but important issues such as fisheries, climate change, resource development, arctic policy, and more. As President and CEO of his Alaska-based company Northern Compass Group, LLC he has continued to fight for important progress on these critical issues.
During his time in the Senate, Begich served as Chairman of the US Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and US Coast Guard where he used his leadership to fight for increased scientific knowledge of our arctic waters, addressed threatening issues such as marine debris, and led the charge against genetically modified salmon.
As Begich likes to say, “With more coastline than all the other states combined, Alaskans respect and appreciate the importance of our oceans more than anyone else.”
Captain Billy Archer was born in 1956. A third generation fisherman, he set out to sea in 1969 with his grandfather “Cap’n Tiny”. Billy was born and raised in Bay County Florida. He was issued his captain’s license in 1974 and has enjoyed a lifetime of fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. He is a founding member of the Charter Fisherman Association, the Gulf of Mexico’s largest federally permitted organization. He has worked on many levels toward sustainable solutions for the Charter for-hire and Commercial industry with a focus on sustainability.
Wendy Benchley is President of the Board of Directors of Shark Savers. She has a long career as an environmental activist and elected government office-holder. Her primary passion resides in ocean and shark conservation with frequent ‘field visits’ as an avid scuba diver. Her environmental life began in the ’70’s as a co-founder and Trustee of the New Jersey Environmental Federation (NJEF). At NJEF, Wendy fought hazardous substances in the home, developing award-winning educational campaigns to encourage people to stop using toxic products.
As founder and chair of the Mercer Citizens for Public Accountability, Benchley was instrumental in defeating the construction of a municipal waste incinerator in the county in 1996.
Benchley has also worked on national environmental issues for 23 years with the Environmental Defense Fund. She was a member of the National Board of Trustees from 1986 to 2003 and is now an Advisory Trustee. During her years on the National Board, she chaired or worked on various board committees including chair of the Nominating Committee.
During the ’90’s, Benchley became active in NJ politics. She was elected to the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 1992 and then to the Princeton Borough Council for three terms, from 1999 to 2008. During her years as a Councilwoman she worked on smart growth issues including a prize winning downtown development, establishment of a jitney service, school car pooling, increases in affordable housing, use of Leed (green construction) standards in building and creation of extensive new open space. In 2008, Benchley resigned her elected position in order to work full time on ocean conservation issues.
During their marriage of 43 years, Benchley was a partner to her husband, writer and conservationist Peter Benchley. He authored articles for dozens of newspapers and magazines, including National Geographic, The New Yorker, LIFE, and The New York Times. He wrote novels, most well known for – “Jaws,” “The Deep,” and “The Girl Of The Sea Of Cortez” – and when, occasionally, movie companies bought the novels, he wrote their screenplays. Benchley joined Shark Savers in order to build on the powerful Benchley family legacy in shark conservation.
D. Keith Campbell founded Campbell & Company in 1972, and currently serves as Chairman of its Board of Directors. Campbell & Company is now one of the largest derivative investment managers in the world.
Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, it employs more than 130 skilled professionals, and manages billions of dollars. Its worldwide client base includes institutions, corporation, and individuals.
Following his success in the investment field, Keith founded the Campbell Foundation in 1998 to improve the conditions of the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays. In 2003, the Foundation expanded its reach to include Northern California under the leadership of Keith’s daughter and the Foundation’s President, Samantha Campbell.
Keith serves as Chairman of the Foundation. The Campbell Foundation is the top private funder for Chesapeake Bay waterways. Keith has also encouraged his peers and colleagues to get involved in giving, exposing them to environmental philanthropy.
In 2008, Keith was the recipient of the Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and received the first Outdoors Maryland Award for Stewardship of the Environment from Maryland Public Television. Keith was also profiled in the “Voices of the Chesapeake Bay” book, and he is active in national work to address climate change.
Keith and his wife, Pat, live in Baltimore. When he is not engaged in business and environmental matters, Keith likes to fish, surf, golf, fly and travel.
Explorer, social entrepreneur and environmental advocate, Philippe Cousteau is son of Jan and Philippe Cousteau Sr., and the grandson of Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau. As a member of the legendary Cousteau family, Cousteau is continuing the work of his father through EarthEcho International, the non-profit organization he founded with his sister and mother, of which he serves as President. His goal is to engage and empower people to take action for a brighter future through education, balanced advocacy and a commitment to action.
In addition to EarthEcho, Cousteau is co-founder of Azure Worldwide, a strategic environmental design, development and marketing company. Through an alliance with the University of Virginia, where he is an Open Grounds Fellow, Cousteau is aiding in the development and promotion of a revolutionary interactive game that simulates the impact of individuals and communities on the health of critical water resources.
Most recently, Cousteau announced a partnership with Advisor Shares Investments to launch the Global Echo Exchange Traded Fund on the New York Stock Exchange as well as the formation of Global Echo Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) of which he serves as Co-founder and Chairman. The Global Echo Foundation will provide resources to solve many of the challenges facing the world community from social issues impacting women and children to environmental conservation, as well as supporting social entrepreneurship.
Cousteau also has extensive experience in television and film. He is a special correspondent for CNN International, Chief Ocean Correspondent for both the Animal Planet and Planet Green channels, host of the High Definition Discovery networks/BBC Oceans Blue series, Chief Spokesperson for Environmental Education for Discovery Education. His work includes print media as the coauthor of Going Blue, A Teen Guide to Saving Our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, & Wetlands (Free Spirit Publishing), which has been awarded Learning Magazine’s 2011 Teachers’ Choice Award for the Family, a Gold Nautilus Award and a 2010 ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Gold Award, amongst others. He has written articles for Sport Diver Magazine and National Geographic Magazine and lectured at The United Nations, Harvard University, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He is a frequent contributor to CNN.com, the Huffington Post and TreeHugger.com.
Philippe serves on the Board of Directors of The Ocean Conservancy, Marine Conservation Biology Institute, and the National Environmental Education Foundation, and the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund. Philippe has also testified to Congress on issues of ocean management and offshore drilling. Most recently, he was appointed founder and co-chair of the Gulf Action Network for the Clinton Global Initiative. He holds a Master’s degree in history from the University of St. Andrews.
Anne G. Earhart has worked for decades to defend coastlines and the marine environment throughout the world. As Founder and President of the Marisla Foundation, she has become a mainstay of environmental advocacy along the Pacific Coast and throughout the Pacific Rim. The Marisla Foundation has supported a broad range of groups, from community to international, that support ocean health, including sustainable fisheries and marine areas protection, to water quality and environmental health.
Terry Garcia is executive vice president for Mission Programs and president of Licensing for the National Geographic Society. He is responsible for the Society’s core mission programs, including those that support and manage more than 400 scientific field research, conservation and exploration projects annually. He oversees the Society’s Explorers-in-Residence and Emerging Explorers programs, geography and science education programs, geography competitions, development office, exhibitions, live events and the arts media program.
In June 2010, Garcia was appointed by President Obama to serve on the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. The Commission investigated the root causes of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and made recommendations on how to prevent and mitigate the impact of any future offshore drilling spills.
Mark Mellman is one of the nation’s leading public opinion researchers and communication strategists. He is CEO of the Mellman Group, a polling and consulting firm whose clients include leading political figures, Fortune 500 companies, and some of the nation’s most important public interest groups. Mellman counts among his clients Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Whip Steny Hoyer. He has helped guide the campaigns of 26 U.S. Senators, ten Governors, over two dozen Members of Congress, and numerous state and local officials.
The Mellman Group’s string of upset victories and unparalleled accuracy earned the prestigious “Pollster of the Year” award from the American Association of Political Consultants for the third time. The New York Times’ Nate Silver cites the Mellman group as the most accurate campaign pollster in the country.
As a consultant to the Democratic Leadership, Mellman plays a central role in developing strategies on a variety of issues. Newsweek credits his work on the environment with helping “turn Bill Clinton green.” The Economist recognized him as the “brains behind the Democrats’ successful ‘Mediscare’ strategy” and Politico notes that Mellman’s manufacturing presentation “electrified Democratic leaders” in developing economic messages. The firm’s string of upset victories led to a Boston Globe distinction as the “hottest” political consulting firm. The New Republic describes Mellman as “a leading Democratic technologist.” Capitol Hill’s newspaper, Roll Call, named Mellman one of the most influential people in electing candidates to Congress. The Mellman Group was also the only Democratic firm to handle two of the Washington Post’s ten best incumbent campaigns and help win two of three Democratic victories among RealClear Politics’ Biggest Upsets of 2010. The National Journal named Mellman its “Top Insider” and Doonesbury labeled Mellman the “Prince of Polling.”
Respected entities from .S. Departments of Justice (under President Bush), State, and Labor to the World Bank turn to Mellman for his objective, unvarnished analysis of public opinion. In addition, Mellman works with some of the nation’s most important public interest organizations ranging from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to the AFL-CIO, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, National Environmental Trust, and the League of Women Voters.
Mellman received his undergraduate degree from Princeton and graduate degrees from Yale, where he taught in the Political Science department. He served as a consultant to CBS News, and as a presidential debate analyst for PBS and The Wall Street Journal. Mellman’s op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal among others, and he writes an influential weekly column for The Hill, a newspaper “for and about Congress.”
An advocate of sustainable seafood, Chef Rick Moonen’s passion for conservation has led him to national acclaim. A native New Yorker, Moonen graduated first in his class from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. He apprenticed at L’Hostellerie Bressane in Hillsdale, New York where he built both his confidence and experience working side by side with Chef Jean Morel.
Moonen then assumed the position of saucier at Manhattan’s La Cote Basque. This experience was followed by two years at Le Cirque working with the legendary Alain Sailhac. In the ensuing years, Moonen continued his career in New York, becoming executive chef at some of New York’s most iconic restaurants, including Le Relais, Century Café, and Chelsea Central before joining Buzzy O’Keefe at The Water Club.
After six years, Moonen left to become executive chef and partner at Oceana where he helped garner the restaurant national recognition and three stars from The New York Times. His next step was partnering to create Molyvos, a Greek fish house, further demonstrating the range of his culinary skills. Here he brought Greek cuisine to a new level as the first Greek restaurant to earn three stars from The New York Times.
Since opening rm seafood, Chef Moonen has enjoyed national attention and acclaim. In 2008, Moonen accomplished a lifelong dream with the publication of his first cookbook Fish Without a Doubt, a practical, hands-on guide to buying, preparing, and cooking a wide array of fish. That same year, his Catfish Sloppy Joe was highlighted in Esquire’s “Sandwich Encyclopedia”, prompting a guest spot on The Oprah Winfrey Show where he served the talk show queen his signature sandwich and earned the title of “Best Sandwich in America.” In 2009, he made a memorable appearance as a contestant on TOP CHEF Masters, followed by a stint as a judge on TOP CHEF Las Vegas where his eponymous restaurant served as the location for the famed “Restaurant Wars” episode. Moonen followed up numerous cooking demonstrations on The Today Show, with a CBS Early Show appearance defeating chefs Paul Bartolotta and Bradley Odgen in a “Salmon Smack Down.”
When not behind the stove, Moonen can be found across the country educating on ocean conservation and the dangers of over fishing. As an industry leader, he has testified on environmental and sustainability policy issues in Washington, DC and New York. He is a founding member of the Seafood Choices Alliances, which named him “Seafood Champion” in 2006, as well as an active member of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and Seaweb. Second only to his passion for sustainability is his commitment to ending hunger, Moonen puts this into action serving on the chef’s advisory board for the Las Vegas Three Square Food Bank.
Edward M. Norton is a lawyer by training (J.D. from Harvard Law School), and he has been an advocate for the protection of special places of natural and historic value for more than 30 years. After various assignments, he became a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney in Maryland, supervising all environmental litigation. He then served as special counsel to The Wilderness Society, a national conservation organization in the United States. He also served as Deputy Executive Director, Director of Membership, and Development for The Wilderness Society.
Norton continued his work in conservation as the founding President of the Grand Canyon Trust, a regional conservation organization dedicated to protecting the national parks, public lands, and rivers in the Colorado Plateau. He was also the founding Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy, an organization that works to convert abandoned railroad corridors into recreational trails. In 1994, he became Vice President for Law and Public Policy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where he served until 1999, when he moved to Kunming, Yunnan Province, China to become the Senior Advisor to The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) China Program.
In that role, Norton helped create TNC’s Yunnan Great Rivers Project to conserve biodiversity in northwest Yunnan Province and to establish a system of Nature Reserves and Protected Areas. Norton has also worked with TNC as Deputy Director of the Asia-Pacific Region, based in Bali, Indonesia. In this capacity, his work on marine and terrestrial biodiversity included conservation projects in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, China, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. His international work also includes a position as the Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in Natural Resources and Environmental Law and Policy at Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic. Norton is now Senior Advisor to the United States Agency for International Development’s Indonesia Orangutan Conservation Support Project. He is also the President Director of People and Nature Consulting International.
Julie Packard, Executive Director and Vice Chair of the Aquarium’s Board of Trustees, has directed the Monterey Bay Aquarium since it opened in 1984. Her commitment to advancing ocean conservation has been demonstrated through the Aquarium and far beyond. She serves on numerous boards including the California Nature Conservancy, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. She was also a member of the Pew Oceans Commission, which in 2003 issued its recommendations for a comprehensive overhaul of national ocean policy. Packard was the 1998 recipient of the Audubon Medal for Conservation.
As chief executive officer, John Racanelli leads a team of 600 full and part-time employees and 1,000 volunteers in pursuing the National Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. A passionate advocate for the ocean, John strives to drive conservation action worldwide, ensure the success of one of the nation’s leading aquarium enterprises, and fundamentally change the way the world views the ocean and aquatic systems.
Racanelli always had a deep respect for the ocean. His dream was to follow in the footsteps of his hero Capt. Jacques Cousteau. In pursuit of this dream, he was certified as a SCUBA diver at the earliest age then allowed (15) and worked as a diver and aquarist in college. He never seriously considered any profession that didn’t involve the ocean and conservation.
Racanelli spent nearly 20 years in leadership positions at US aquariums. He was the first CEO of the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, where he built the facility, team and vision for Tampa Bay’s leading cultural attraction. Prior to that, he served for nine years on the leadership team of the Monterey Bay Aquarium as its VP of Marketing and Development, joining the aquarium a year before its opening.
John joined the National Aquarium in July 2011 after 10 years as president of Racanelli Partners, Inc. The San Francisco-based consulting firm served the needs of nonprofit leaders, focusing on cultural and conservation organizations including Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the Surfrider Foundation.
Racanelli recently completed a three-year assignment as Executive Advisor to renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle, with whom he co-founded the Sylvia Earle Foundation. In addition to helping Dr. Earle build the board, mission and vision for her new foundation, John assisted her in the 2009 development and launch of Google Ocean, and in the creation of Mission Blue, a long-term partnership with the National Geographic Society.
Racanelli holds a degree in Strategic Management from Dominican University of California. He is a SCUBA diver, open water swimmer, sailor and surfer. Fluent in Spanish, he is a published author and commentator on NPR.
Tom Raftican is a lifelong recreational boater, angler and diver. He has been actively involved in the leadership of sportfishing conservation, education and promotion since the eighties. Tom was elected president of United Anglers of Southern California in 1997.
Under his leadership in 2006 UASC topped Field and Stream magazine’s list of the top ten outdoor conservation organizations in the United States. Tom resigned his position as president of UASC in 2008. Leaving UASC, Tom has reaffirmed his commitment to conservation and sportfishing both as a founding member and president of The Sportfishing Conservancy and as the force behind the national Sportfishing Conservation Alliance.
From 2005 through 2011 Tom served on the Marine Fish Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Commerce and chaired their Eco-System Sub-Committee. Tom is also an award winning host and producer of an array of outdoor radio and television shows.
David Rockefeller, Jr. joined the Rockefeller Foundation board of trustees in 2006. Mr. Rockefeller began serving as Board Chair on December 2010.
Mr. Rockefeller is a director and former chairman of Rockefeller & Co. and has been an active participant in the nonprofit arena, especially in the areas of environment, philanthropy, arts and public education.
He is a past vice chair of the National Park Foundation, reporting directly to the Secretary of the Interior. Mr. Rockefeller served as a member of the Pew Oceans Commission that issued a comprehensive report on the health of U.S. marine waters in June 2003. His commitment to ensuring that our government and communities embrace and implement the recommendations of the Pew Commission—and his passion for sailing and the sea—fueled the formation of Sailors for the Sea, a “new voice for ocean conservation.”
Mr. Rockefeller is an advisor and former vice chair of the Alaska Conservation Foundation, and a founder of the Alaska Fund for the Future, an organization dedicated to preserving the Alaskan natural environment and its native cultures. As a sailor, he has raced and cruised for over forty years in waters from Labrador to Miami, from San Diego to Alaska, and from Scotland and Sweden to Turkey and Italy.
He is the former chair of the North American Nominating Committee for the Praemium Imperiale, the Japanese prize for outstanding international achievement in the arts. He is a trustee of the Museum of Modern Art, the Asian Cultural Council, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He chaired Arts, Education and Americans, which produced the book, Coming to Our Senses: The Significance of the Arts for American Education. He is a founding trustee of The Cantata Singers in Boston and performed with them as a chorister for forty years.
Mr. Rockefeller is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His former foundation affiliations have included service as Trustee and Chairman of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, President of the Rockefeller Family Fund, and Trustee of the Boston Foundation.
He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.
Ron Sternal heads Nuveen’s Institutional sales and marketing effort. Prior to his current role at Nuveen, he spent twelve years managing Taft-Hartley business for NWQ. Previously, Ron managed a private hedge fund and spent four years with Morison Asset Management as vice president of marketing. He also held various marketing and sales positions with Control Data Corporation.
Sternal earned a bachelor of arts from the University of Colorado and attended graduate level computer science courses at American University in Washington, D.C. In addition, he earned the designation of Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Investment Management Consultants Association, and holds FINRA Series 7, 63 and 65 registrations.
Renowned marine life artist Wyland always thought big and has never stopped, changing the way people think about our environment when he started painting life-size whales on the sides of buildings in the 1980s. Through his unique marine life paintings, sculptures, and photography, Wyland has inspired a generation about the importance of marine life conservation. His life – like his art – can find him anywhere around the world, at any time, from the Antarctic ice shelf on a photo expedition to document climate change to a grassroots journey down the Mississippi River on a mission of conservation.
The multi-faceted artist, scuba diver, educator, and explorer has hosted several television programs, including, “Wyland’s Ocean World” series on the Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet Network, “Wyland: A Brush With Giants,” and “Wyland’s Art Studio,” a series for national public television. His mission of engaging people through nature-themed art and a more environmentally friendly lifestyle has led to strategic alliances with such notable organizations as the United States Olympic Team, United Nation Environment Program, and Walt Disney Studios, to name a few.
Since 1993, the non-profit Wyland Foundation has set the standard for environmental outreach. In partnership with the United States Forest Service and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Wyland is actively engaged in teaching millions of students around the world to become caring, informed stewards of our ocean, rivers, lakes, estuaries, and wetlands.
The enormous extent of Wyland public art (it is estimated that his murals are viewed by more than a billion people every year), his award-winning art galleries, and community service projects have made him one of the most recognized and beloved artists in the nation. He is considered one of the most influential artists of the 21st Century, with artwork in museums, corporate collections, and private homes in more than one hundred countries. Today, the Wyland name is synonymous with a new generation of environmental awareness.