PEOPLE are at the heart of any organization, and Friends of Our Florida Reefs (FOFR) is fortunate to be able to host a diverse Board of Directors, Advisers, and Volunteers who are able to help keep FOFR running consistently and smoothly year round since our start in April 2015. Board Directors help with the core mission of building a sound financial base for immediate needs, activities and programs, as well as increasing reserves for rapid response to unknown reef emergencies and Florida DEP Coral Program budget gaps as they arise. If you are interested in joining the FOFR Board of Directors and Advisers, or simply volunteering for outreach/education and in-water programs such as BleachWatch and Reef Clean-ups, please Contact FOFR at your earliest convenience. Thanks!
Friends of Our Florida Reefs - BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
MELISSA SATHE, M.Sc. (President & Treasurer) - Senior Marine Scientist at Coastal Eco-Group
BARET BARRY (Vice President) - Environmental Consultant & Principal at H2Overboard
MAURICE PIERRE (Secretary) - Research Biologist at Miami-Dade County
ANGELA DELANEY-ROLES - Senior Marine Scientist at Coastal Eco-Group
XAVIER DEROOS - Environmental Entrepreneur, Founder of Renuable
LEO GRACHOW, M.S. Ed - Professional Mediator & Arbitrator
SCOTT SHECKMAN (Visioning Founder, Past President & Treasurer) - NPO Consultant
DAVID VANCE - Pharmaceutical Regulatory Attorney, Retired
IN MEMORY OF KEVIN SENECAL (May 1969 - March 2021, FOFR Board: April 2015-DOD)
Kevin Senecal was a Co-Founder of Friends of Our Florida Reefs (FOFR) in early 2015, and served as the Board's first Vice President (2015-2020), remaining on the FOFR board until his sudden passing in early March 2021 at 51 years young. Kevin was widely known as the friendly and caring CEO & President of Divers Direct (aka Holiday Diver) since 1994, a world-renowned company serving the dive community since the 1980’s. Kevin generously helped to launch FOFR in early 2015, and kindly provided his Ft. Lauderdale Divers Direct HQ as FOFR’s address and a convenient location for the FOFR Board to routinely meet. The Board and our partners mourn the loss of Kevin who was always ready to help with expert guidance & support as a founding Director. More about Kevin’s life, family, passions and causes can be found at Kevin's formal obituary.. .
Leo Grachow has been active in social and environmental causes from his teenage through later adult years. Following graduation from Queens College, CUNY with an MS Ed, he taught elementary school, was an administrator with a City Community College, and then served with the US Customs Service as an Inspector for 10 years in the NY metro area and Montreal pre-Clearance. He then turned to entrepreneurship in founding several of the first cable-centric graphics design and advertising space sales publishing entertainment guides in the nascent industry. He returned to the Federal work force after a decade in business in order to protect the nation as a Customs and Border Protection officer in the Department of Homeland Security. Upon retirement, he currently is and has served in various volunteer endeavors, including chairing several boards and committees at the leadership level in his community, and as a volunteer with the city Fire-Rescue and Police departments, and CERT; he was appointed and served as a Commissioner for the City of Hallandale Beach. Leo was engaged in an as-needed capacity with the ADL “A World of Difference” anti-bullying-anti-bias program for at-risk youth as a Facilitator & Trainer. He is currently under contract to the State of Florida as a Supreme Court Certified Mediator, is the President of the local Kiwanis Club, and was asked to join the Board of FOFR in its formative phase. He views his involvement with FOFR as just one more way in which he has been dedicated to caring for our earth and its inhabitants, through protecting our environment.
Xavier DeRoos is an "eco-preneur" originally from California who is working to reduce the negative impact on our environment by providing composting infrastructure and services throughout South Florida. In 2018, Xavier founded Renuable and soon later launched a vanguard Community Compost Program aimed at composting commercial/residential food scraps and other organic materials for a wide range of local and global environmental benefits, while also engaging the community in repairing the local food system. Xavier hopes to continue to build on collaborative efforts that help to close the loop and encourage sustainable systems design that simultaneously benefits the individual, the community, and the environment. In his free time, Xavier enjoys spending time with his family, maintaining his saltwater aquariums, discussing sustainability & business, and skateboarding with his dog.
FOFR's BOARD OF ADVISORS & MAJOR DONORS - Check Back Soon!
Click here for a select list of FOFR's recent major sponsors and donors
FOFR's Past Board Directors and Officers:
Penny Cutt (November 2016 - March 2022)
Kirk Dotson, PhD (January 2019 - March 2022, also served as Board Secretary)
Caiti Waks, Esquire (April 2020 - December 2021)
Marilu Christina Flores (January 2019 - December 2021)
Lureen Ferretti (June 2015 - January 2017, also served as Board Secretary)
Jena McNeal (April 2015 - June 2017, also served as Board Secretary)
MELISSA SATHE, M.Sc. (Current Board President & Treasurer)
Melissa Sathe is a South Florida native and grew up in Ocean Ridge. She received her B.S. from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Master of Science in Marine Biology from Nova Southeastern University where she was a graduate researcher for the Coral Reef Restoration, Assessment and Monitoring Lab. After completing her degree, Melissa worked at Miami-Dade County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management where she managed coral reef monitoring field work and then onto the Florida DEP Coral Reef Conservation Program as the Reef Injury Prevention and Response Technician. Melissa currently works for Coastal Eco-Group, a private environmental consulting business, as a Senior Marine Biologist.
Contact Melissa and FOFR: info(at)floridareef.org
MAURICE PIERRE (Current Board Secretary)
With more than 20 years experience working in South Florida's marine, estuarine, and freshwater ecosystems, Maurice Pierre has been integral in the collection and provision of data used for the some of the states largest projects, including CERP, Bay nutrient criteria, and the upcoming DEP grant for reef protection. Currently, Maurice's primary focus is management of Miami Dade's Surface Water Improvement Monitoring Program, in association with the state and countywide National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit. In his spare time, he enjoys many of the resources that he loves to protect. Whether it's spending time on the beaches, diving on our reefs or stomping in the swamps, Maurice continues to remain dedicated to preserving the environment.
David Vance is a retired pharmaceutical industry attorney whose role was understanding the drug development science to help develop educational materials about diseases or conditions and their treatment. He retired in Broward County after 11 years of working for South Florida companies. Originally an archaeology major with a continuing interest in history and preservation, Dave was an Eagle Scout passionate about all aspects of nature and the environment. His interest in Florida Reefs includes doing the Islamorada Scout Sea Base Scuba Adventure with his son and daughter. He is a long time supporter of the Sierra Club and of the Arthur R. Marshal Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, as well as a more recent active participant in the Audubon Society. With scientific and ecological interests, Dave is committed to helping protect our Florida reefs for us, our children, and generations to come.
FOFR Board Director Bios (in order of joining the board):
Angela Delaney has spent the majority of her adult life in and around coastal and marine ecosystems. Her professional career has afforded her the opportunity to study the marine environment in various locations in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. She attained her Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Science at Coastal Carolina University and her Master of Science degree in Marine Environmental Science at NOVA Southeastern University. She has lived and worked in South Florida for over 18 years, assessing coral reef habitat and evaluating the reef’s condition in relation to coastal zone management practices and regulations. She is a Pompano Beach resident and takes every opportunity of free time to dive on the local reefs, paddleboard, or volunteer for beach, pier, and reef cleanups. She currently works as a senior marine scientist and field operations supervisor for Coastal Eco-Group, Inc., a local environmental consulting firm.
BARET BARRY (Current Vice-President)
Baret Barry has spent most of her life exploring the reefs off South Florida and The Bahamas. She has a B.A. in Economics from Vanderbilt University and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida. After college, Baret spent three years living and working for the Cape Eleuthera Foundation at both The Island School and the Deep Creek Middle School, which she co-founded. Upon returning to Florida, she continued both teaching, at Juno Beach Prep School, and conducting environmental work for Martin County. Currently, Baret is a Realtor, environmental consultant, and the owner of H2Overboard, a South Florida-based retail company.
SCOTT SHECKMAN (Visioning Founder)
FOFR's First Board President 2015-2020 and Treasurer 2015-2022
Born and raised in Philadelphia PA, Scott was introduced to the wonders of the world's oceans and reefs via family vacations to South Florida and a teen job at a large aquarium store that specialized in salt water species. Scott is a nonprofit development professional, nature lover, and creative person based in South Florida since 2010, after living over 20 years in California where he worked on front-line ocean issues since the mid-1990's. With the introduction of the FOFR concept to the SE Florida Coral Reef Initiative in late 2013, Scott and the founding board of directors were able to officially launch FOFR in April 2015. Scott served as FOFR's first President until early 2020 and continues to help lead the growing organization as a founder and officer. Scott has also served as staff or consultant for a variety of notable organizations including Sea Shepherd, Reef Check, Center for Resource Solutions, Reef Discovery Center, and has dived/snorkeled off the coasts of Florida, California, Australia and exotic reef locations around the world. Prior to focusing on conservation and civics, Scott worked in the global Film & TV industry for over a decade, helping to produce world-wide hit shows such as "Baywatch" before a long run managing business affiairs for NBC. Scott and his family live in Ft. Lauderdale, FL after several years residing in Hallandale Beach. More about Scott
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