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Board Directors of Ocean Champions

  • David Wilmot, Co-Founder and President

    David Wilmot brings over thirty years of experience in ocean science, environmental policy, non-profit governance and fundraising, and political advocacy to Ocean Champions. David received his MS and BS from the University of Georgia where he also Co-Founded Students for Environmental Awareness. David traveled to the west coast to study the recently discovered deep-sea hydrothermal vents and received his PhD in marine biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego.

    David continued his environmental work while at Scripps (worked with 2 fellow graduate students to ban Styrofoam on campus and local beaches) and it became clear his passion was advocacy. A National Sea Grant Marine Policy Fellowship at the National Research Council’s Ocean Studies Board helped David better understand ocean policy and the workings of Washington, DC. Next came the jump to advocacy with service as the Executive Director of the Ocean Wildlife Campaign (OWC) where for eight years he worked to build this coalition of six national and international organizations into the leading voice for the conservation of large ocean fishes.

    David has authored or co-authored numerous ocean science and conservation articles. David lives with his wife and two boys in the Santa Cruz area where they spend lots of time on and in the ocean. When he is not enjoying the ocean, or remodeling his house, David trains in the martial arts and has earned the rank of black belt in Shorinji-Ryu Karate-Do.

  • Rob Moir, Founding Chairman

    Dr. Moir, Executive Director of the Ocean River Institute, is an educator, scientist and activist with a proven history of institutional management and marine policy success.  Dr. Moir has been a leader of citizen science and efforts to clean up Salem Sound and Boston Harbor, as president of the advocacy organizations Salem Sound Harbor Monitors, Salem Sound 2000 and later Save the Harbor/Save the Bary (Boston), and through his appointment by the Secretary of Interior to the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership.  He was formerly Curator of Natural History at the Peabody Essex Museum, Curator of Education at the New England Aquarium and Executive Director of the Discovery Museums in Acton, Massachusetts.

    Dr. Moir was awarded a Switzer Environmental Fellowship from the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation and the James Centorino Award for Distinguished Performance in Marine Education, by the National Marine Educators Association, which he also served as president.  He was Sea Education Association’s first assistant scientist to work consecutive voyages of the R.V. Westward in 1979 and 1980, a major gifts officer for his alma mater, Hampshire College and serves today on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, the Cambridge School of Weston.

    Dr. Moir has a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies and a Masters of Science and Teaching from Antioch New England Graduate School in Keene, New Hampshire, and certificate of studies from the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. Dr. Moir played an important and significant role in the founding of Ocean Champions, he has been with the organization since its inception in 2003.

  • Vipe Desai, Board Director

    The majority of Vipe’s life could be described as a 30 year personal case study in action sports, giving him a unique insight into this dynamic subset of youth culture. A passionate surfer since the age of 14, Vipe operated one of the most influential action sports retail businesses in Southern California, founded and managed the daily operations of a youth brand consultancy and most recently held a senior marketing role at Monster Energy, one of the most globally recognizable brands in the beverage industry where he was responsible for athlete relations, event sponsorships and brand partnerships on a global level.

    Prior to his role with Monster, Vipe was the Founder and Brand Strategist for the youth marketing consultancy, Propaganda Headquarters. Before launching Propaganda in 2000, Vipe owned the H2O Surf and Snowboard Shop in Orange County, CA, for nearly eight years. He considers H2O his masters degree in action sports and an experience he still draws upon when creating brand building campaigns. Outside of his professional career, Vipe is the founder and director of the project BLUE ( initiative, a partnership between leading brands in the multi-billion surf industry, that produce a complementary line of premium and co-branded products, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Surfrider Foundation and the SIMA Environmental Fund.

    In addition to project BLUE, Vipe is a former Vice-Chairman of the Surfrider Foundation’s Board of Directors, former board member of the SIMA Humanitarian Fund, and a former board member of the Life Rolls on Foundation and currently serving as Chairman of the Board for the Rob Dyrdek Foundation. In recent years Vipe has been called upon to speak at numerous marketing focused events, including group Y’s Action Sports Conference, Motorsports Marketing Conference, Board Retailers Association Retail Summit and Street and Smith’s Action Sports Conference.

  • Elizabeth Sullivan, Board Director

    As Executive Director of the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund for seven years, Ms. Sullivan managed its massive and rapid growth from an organization of 5 staff with a budget of $800,000 in 1996 to one of 40 staff with a $12 million budget by 2001.

    For the ten years preceding her tenure at LCV Education Fund, she was the Chief Executive Officer of the Campaign Design Group, a Washington, D.C. political consulting firm that designed the winning campaigns for two long-shot candidates in 1992: Senator Barbara Boxer of California and Senator Patty Murray of Washington State. In addition to her work at the Campaign Design Group, Ms. Sullivan has staffed numerous campaigns, having helped elect 4 members of Congress, 75 state legislators, four mayors, and six city council members.

    She is currently an independent campaign consultant. Ms. Sullivan holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Dickinson College and a MURP from George Washington University.


Past Founding Board Directors of Ocean Champions

Samantha Campbell, Chair Emeritus
Carol Davis
David Festa
Kim Haddow
Roger Rufe
Jack Sterne
Michael Sutton