Director (Start: November 2016)
Having lived in South Florida since she was an infant and grown up diving and fishing our South Florida reefs, Penny is passionate about protecting the marine resources in her own backyard. She is an appointed member of the Broward County Marine Advisory Committee, Vice-Chair of the Pompano Beach Marine Advisory Board, and an appointed member of the Pompano Beach Zoning Board of Appeals, in addition to her role as a Board Director of Friends of Our Florida Reefs (FOFR) Penny’s undergraduate degree is in Bioprocess Management from the University of Florida and her graduate work was in Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management at Nova Southeastern University. With two and a half decades of experience as a marine ecologist in the public and private sectors, she easily navigates the complex web of environmental regulations that dictate aquatic and coastal ecosystems for her clients at Cummins Cederberg where she is a Director in their Ft. Lauderdale office.
FOFR's BOARD OF ADVISERS
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MELISSA SATHE, M.S.
PRESIDENT (begin April 2020), former Secretary, Director (Start: Oct. 2017)
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 FDEP Coral Reef Conservation Program (FDEP CRCP) 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.
Director (Start: April 2016)
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 an environmental consultant and the owner of H2Overboard, a South Florida-based retail company.
Director (Start: June 2018)
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.
Visioning Co-Founder, Treasurer, Acting Secretary, Director (Start: 2014)
Former & First Board President (April 2015-April 2020)
Scott was born and raised the Philadelphia PA area where he was introduced to the wonders of the oceans via the aquarium hobby trade and family vacations. Scott is a nonprofit development professional, nature lover, and creative person based in South Florida since 2010, after over 20 years living & working in California. Upon joining the on-going SE Florida Coral Reef Initiative in 2013 and further participating in the Our Florida Reefs community working groups, Scott saw a need for a classic nonprofit “Friends” group to assist the FDEP Coral Reef Conservation Program in their various responsibilities and activities to conserve & protect the vital natural coral reef ecosystems along the SE Florida Coast. After about a year of development, Scott and the founding board were able to officially launch FOFR in April 2015. Scott has also served as staff or consultant for a variety of natural resource conservation organizations including Sea Shepherd, Reef Check, Center for Resource Solutions and several notable groups, and has dived & snorkeled off the coasts of Florida, California, Australia and reef-friendly locations around the world. Prior to focusing on civil service, Scott worked in the world-wide Film & TV industry for several years, helping to produce world-wide hit shows such as "Baywatch" and working at majors such as NBC. Scott and his family live in Ft. Lauderdale, FL after several years residing in Hallandale Beach. More about Scott at: www.isheck.net.
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 2015. While some FOFR Directors also serve as Officers for the organization, all the Directors help with the core mission of building a sound financial base for immediate needs, activities and programs, as well as significant reserves for rapid response to unknown reef emergencies and FDEP-CRCP budget gaps as they arise. If you are interested in joining the FOFR Board of Directors & 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!
Co-Founder, former/first Vice-President, Director (Start: January 2015)
Kevin Senecal is the CEO of Holiday Diver, Inc., since 1994. The company was founded by his father, Wayne, in 1984 and is now wholly owned by Kevin and his immediate family. Holiday Diver is widely recognized in its industry as the largest specialty retailer for SCUBA diving equipment and accessories. Kevin received his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Accounting from the University of Michigan. In addition to being a founding board member of FOFR Kevin is also a founder of Florida Girls Giving Back, a private foundation helping teenage girls positively impact less fortunate families and youth in Broward Count. Kevin is a charter member of Dive Equipment Marketing Association, on the Aqualung Dealer Advisory Council and a Board Member of The Broward Workshop, consisting of the chief decision makers of the 100 largest business organizations in Broward County seeking to facilitate positive solutions to the most critical issues in the County. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, SCUBA diving, and spending time on the water with his family from their home in Islamorada.
Director (Start: June 2015)
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.
KIRK DOTSON, PhD
Director (Start: January 2019)
Kirk Dotson, a retired aerospace engineer, was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He received his engineering degrees from Texas A&M (BS) and Rice University (MS, PhD). Kirk worked for 27 years at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, CA, where he specialized in the prediction of rocket vibrations induced by aerodynamic and propulsion excitation. He is the author of 33 peer-reviewed publications in these fields. Kirk’s interest in sea life began in elementary school, where he took summer classes in marine biology and learned how to seine the Gulf Coast to collect specimens for his salt water aquariums. From 2014-2016, Kirk and his son conducted marine microbiology research -- in support of a public aquarium in Manhattan Beach, California -- to establish the cause and mitigation of seahorse deaths in its exhibits. Their methodology and conclusions overlap, in several respects, with ongoing research into the disease outbreak that has killed millions of corals in the Florida reefs since 2014.
FOFR's MAJOR DONORS
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CAITI WAKS, Esq.
Director (Start: April 2020)
A born and raised southeast Floridian, Caiti Waks received a degree in Eco-system Science and Policy from the University of Miami before obtaining her law degree from the University of Florida. At UF, Caiti helped establish the Long Island Marine Managed Area, a marine protected area in Long Island, Bahamas, and she also worked with Audubon Florida and the Surfrider Foundation to help them achieve their water and ocean conservation goals. During a summer in law school, Caiti co-founded Debris Free Oceans - a Miami-based nonprofit dedicated to eradicating marine debris. As the Program and Outreach Director for the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation, Caiti currently curates and oversees a portfolio of education, community, environment, and science projects spanning from Miami, Florida to Stark County, Ohio. Caiti is also a Board Member of the City of Miami Beach Marine and Waterfront Protection Authority and the Ohio Ocean Foundation, an ocean conservation nonprofit located in Canton, Ohio. With prior experience working with the FDEP Coral Reef Conservation Program (FDEP CRCP). Caiti enthusiastically joins the FOFR Board of Directors where she can help support healthy Florida coral reefs.
MARILU CHRISTINA FLORES
Director (Start: January 2019)
Born and raised in Miami, Marilu is a veteran of the Film and Television industry, having had the opportunity to work in near all aspects of Entertainment production from marketing and finance to physical production. In 2014, she shifted her energies to focus on marine conservation work fulltime. Marilu is incredibly passionate about our oceans, wildlife, conservation and surfing and has held various roles as a professional marine conservationist, working with sharks and rays in Baja, California, as well as a marine biology instructor and naturalist on a wildlife preserve in South Florida. She is currently the Regional Coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation in Florida.
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