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Ocean Champions Staff

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.

Chris Laughlin, Director of Strategic Programs and Operations

Chris Laughlin joined the Ocean Champions Team in 2007. Chris brings over 15 years of small business management, event coordination, conservation work, and wildlife biology to Ocean Champions. Chris’ educational background includes a Business Management Study exchange program at Lincoln University in Canterbury, New Zealand and a B.A. from Humboldt State University in Recreation Administration with an emphasis in Business Administration. Her activities are central to the daily operations of Ocean Champions. During her spare time, Chris loves to surf, ski, dive, stand up paddle, rock climb and travel. Chris lives with her husband and two sons in the Santa Cruz area.

Patrick Collins, Government Relations

A native of Minnesota, Patrick Collins has worked in the U.S. House and Senate, and served as a political appointee in the Clinton Administration. He now serves as an advocate on behalf of the oceans for both Ocean Champions and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  He enjoys ice-fishing sustainably, and each year hosts the Ultimate PC Support Group Experience and Croquet Tournament in Minnesota, an event that has been attended by U.S. Senators, various important, high-level government officials, and lots of just regular folks.

Sandy DeTellis, Executive Assistant

Sandy DeTellis is a passionate ocean enthusiast. At CSU Monterey Bay Sandy received a B.A. in Business Management, and discovered her passion for ocean conservation advocacy. Prior to joining Ocean Champions in early 2013, Sandy’s professional background included serving as staff liaison for a CA State Assembly campaign and local city council campaign. Prior to that, she was a senior Inside Sales representative for Nordic Naturals and Junior Associate for N.E.C. Marketing firm. She has a wide range of experience in customer service, organizational management and communication. During her spare time, Sandy loves to volunteer for local community improvement organizations and enjoys the ocean environment alongside her two boys. They plan to continue their exploration of the ocean and master the art of boogie-boarding this summer.

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