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The SFMI Staff

The Shark Friendly Marina Initiative is operated and advised by the following outstanding individuals

Staff

  • Patricia Ragan

    Patricia Ragan

    In her capacity as Managing Director for the Shark Friendly Marina Initiative, Patricia Ragan works closely with Luke Tipple to expand the SFMI program and encourage marinas all over the world to join this important effort. Patricia has worked for animal protection causes for most of her professional life.
  • Dr. John Grandy

    Dr. John Grandy

    Dr. John Grandy has worked for The Humane Society of the United States (The HSUS) since 1981. Prior to working for The HSUS, John was the executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife and worked for the President's Council of Environmental Quality.
  • Israel Umpierre

    Israel Umpierre

    Israel Umpierre is a lawyer for and founder of Pesca, Playa y Ambiente, Inc. a non-profit corporation based in Puerto Rico, dedicated to the conservation of natural resources through education, restoration and field activities.  Israel is an avid recreational fisherman with over 30 years of experience, being nominated twice to represent Puerto Rico at the Caribbean Fishery Council. He is also a diver, kayaker and outdoor enthusiast.

Advisors

  • Andrew Weinstein

    Andrew Weinstein

    Andrew Weinstein is founder and president of Ridgeback Communications, a media relations and strategic communications firm in Washington, DC. Prior to his current firm, Weinstein served as vice president for corporate communications and chief spokesperson for AOL, managing the company's public image over a decade of dramatic change.
  • Barbara Birdsey

    Barbara Birdsey

    Barbara Birdsey is the founder of the Pegasus Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to animal protection, environmental preservation and public education in various parts of the United States, the Caribbean and Kenya. Pegasus also owns and manages the Caring Fields Animal Sanctuary in Palm City, Florida.
  • Dr David P. Phillipp

    Dr David P. Phillipp

    Dr. Dave Philipp knows all there is to know about bass and is working on becoming a bonefish expert as well. As a geneticist for the Illinois Natural History Survey, he has been studying fish or fishing for most of his life. When not working on bass or bonefish, Dr. Philipp helps direct the efforts of the Fisheries Conservation Foundation, a non-profit education and outreach organization connected with the American Fisheries Society.
  • Dr. Guy Harvey

    Dr. Guy Harvey

    As an ardent conservationist, Guy has consistently supported "catch and release" fishing ethics for game fish around the world. He works closely with many conservation organizations to help protect global fishery resources. In 1986, he was selected as Jamaica's representative to the International Game Fish Association and in 1992 was appointed as a Trustee. Guy's support of the Pompano Beach Fishing Rodeo and its artificial reef program was highlighted by his sponsorship in 1997 of the sinking of a retired 185-foot ship to create the artificial "Guy Harvey Reef".
  • Dr. Robert E. Hueter

    Dr. Robert E. Hueter

    Dr. Bob Hueter has been studying sharks for 35 years and has been a strong advocate for shark conservation and responsible fisheries management. As Director of Mote Marine Laboratory's Center for Shark Research, Dr. Hueter oversees research ranging from biomedical studies of sharks in the laboratory to international collaborations in shark behavior, ecology and conservation biology. His current projects include studies of whale shark biology in Mexico and the status of shark populations in Cuba.
  • James J. Thomas II

    James J. Thomas II

    Jim is a partner in the law firm of Ichter Thomas, LLC, in Atlanta, Georgia specializing in complex business litigation. In 1991, Jim began representing Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World, Evander Holyfield, and his sports law practice began to grow as he represented other sports organizations.
  • John Land Le Coq

    John Land Le Coq

    As the co-founder and creative director of Fishpond, Inc, one of the world's leading outdoor and fishing products companies, John Land Le Coq is working hard to use the power of his brand to spread the message about the fragility of our planet and to ensure that all species are respected and protected. As an advocate for our water resources, he has joined The Humane Society of the United States, Shark-Free Marinas, and other environmental groups to promote responsible fishery ethics and sustainable practices.
  • Leslie Cauley

    Leslie Cauley

    Leslie Cauley is a vice president at TMG Strategies, part of the MS&L Global Consulting arm of Paris-based Publicis. Prior to her arrival at TMG in early 2010, Leslie was a business journalist -- she spent a decade at The Wall Street Journal, based in New York, covering telecom, technology and big media. Most recently, she was a senior business writer with USA Today in New York.
  • Luke Tipple

    Luke Tipple

    Luke Tipple is a marine biologist and the founder of the Shark Friendly Marinas Initiative. As a marine biologist he works with numerous species of sharks from top order predators such as the great white and tiger shark to more gentle species like the filter-feeding whale shark. His accomplishments include writing tourism guidelines for Honduras, based on his field research, and safely guiding hundreds of clients while diving the infamous Guadalupe Island in Mexico, and Tiger Shark Beach in the Bahamas
  • Michael Kennedy

    Michael Kennedy

    Michael Kennedy is a Founding and Campaign Director of Humane Society International (HSI) Australia. HSI has been at the forefront of shark protection programs in Australia since 1994, and a leader at global forums such as CITES and CMS, successfully gaining the very first protective shark listings.
  • Michael Sutton

    Michael Sutton

    Michael Sutton serves as Executive Director of Audubon California and Vice President, Pacific Flyway for the National Audubon Society.  He oversees conservation programs and staff in California, Washington, and Alaska, and serves as a member of Audubon’s National Leadership Team.
  • Peter Fenn

    Peter Fenn

    Fenn Communications Group is one of the nation's premier political and public affairs media firms. They have worked in over 300 campaigns, from President to Mayor, and represented a number of Fortune 500 companies. Prior to forming the firm, Peter was the first Executive Director of Democrats for the 80's, a political action committee founded by Pamela Harriman and then-Governor Bill Clinton.
  • Roger Craver

    Roger Craver

    A university development director who defected early in his career to the cause of citizen advocacy, Roger has been a fundraiser for 40 years and has helped found and build some of the household names in social justice and citizens movements - The American Civil Liberties Union, Greenpeace, Habitat for Humanity, Common Cause, the National Organization for Women, and Amnesty International, U.S.
  • Sean Paxton

    Sean Paxton

    As an adventurer, explorer and performer, Sean's been the focus of television programs and articles highlighting his role as expedition leader of historically significant documentary projects and catch, tag and release shark fishing expertise. By integrating a passion for adventure and wildlife with skills as a writer, filmmaker and communicator, he's currently collaborating to develop the sustainable tournament shark fishing model of the future.
  • Ted Williams

    Ted Williams

    In April 1997 Williams was presented with the Conservation Achievement Award by the National Wildlife Federation at its annual convention in Tucson. In March 1999 he received the Federal Wildlife Officers Association award for his conservation writing. And in August 2003 the Federation of Fly Fishers presented him with its Aldo Leopold Award for "outstanding contributions to fisheries and land ecology."

Regional Advisors

  • Edd Brooks

    Edd Brooks

    Originally from the south coast of England, Edd has worked all over the world in areas as diverse as Central America, Africa, Australia, Indonesia and the Indian Ocean. Since 2005 he has worked full time for the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) based in the Bahamas, initially as a research associate and since 2007 as the full time manager of the Shark Research and Conservation Program.
  • Jillian Morris

    Jillian Morris

    Jillian has traveled, filmed and photographed extensively across the globe, from the Outback wildlife of Western Australia to the prolific coral reefs of Indonesia. After graduating from the University of New England with a bachelor's degree in Animal Behavior, Jillian worked on projects with Mote Marine Lab, National Geographic Critter Cam, Dr Samuel Gruber and the Bimini Biological Field Station (Sharklab) and Dr Sylvia Earle. She was instrumental in implementing the Shark Friendly Marinas Initiative in the Bahamas and was responsible for registering the very first marina to the cause.