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Board of Directors

Board of Directors

George Neugent
CHAIR

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Monroe County Commissioner District 2
Born: New Orleans, LA Graduated Nicholis St. University with
Associates Degree in Petroleum Drilling & Production Tech.
Work History 15 years the Western Co. of North America Service Engineer, Operations Manager, General Manager 2 years Baker Oil Tools, Inc. Consultant/Trouble Shooter U.S. and S.A. territories.


Judy Halas
SECRETARY

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Judy Halas owns and manages ENVIRONMENTAL MOORINGS INTERNATIONAL, Inc., a small business located in Key Largo, Florida. In 1981, Judy’s husband, John Halas, now Manager for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary-Upper Region, developed a mooring buoy anchoring system that has proved extremely effective in preventing anchor damage to coral reefs. Increasing demand for installation equipment and mooring materials encouraged the formation of a business to provide environmental moorings which were soon being installed and used world-wide. Judy and John have since travelled around the globe helping many countries install mooring systems.

For 22 years, until she resigned to run her business, Judy was a high school teacher of English, science, and social studies in the Florida school system mainly at Coral Shores High School in the Upper Keys. In 1972, Judy was certified as a NAUI diver. She and her husband owned a dive shop and ran dive charter trips for many years. She has formerly been a NOAA equivalent diver and as such has participated in official NOAA projects. She is also a PADI certified Divemaster and a U.S. Coast Guard licensed ocean operator (boat captain).

Judy has participated in marine archaeological recoveries and researched shipwrecks in the Florida Keys. She is also an accomplished folksinger who specializes in ballads and sea songs. She was a columnist for the Miami Herald, writing a series of articles about diving and the Florida Keys marine environment. Judy co-authored “PISCES: DIVING AND SNORKELING GUIDE TO THE FLORIDA KEYS” with her husband John and Don Kincaid. Judy is an SSI Platinum Pro diver and is listed in WHO’S WHO IN SCUBA DIVING published by the Academy of Marine Sciences and Undersea Research. She is a long time member of the Board of Directors of Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys.


Bruce Popham
TREASURER

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Bruce grew up in Central Florida, but moved to Texas where he finished high school and college. He moved back to Florida in the late 80’s as Regional Manger for S.C. Johnson (Johnson Wax). After 20 years, 6 moves and 8 different management positions with Johnson, he decided to take an early retirement, to move back to Florida and get into the marine industry. He has an extensive management background with hands on experience in human resources, marketing and sales management.

Bruce moved to the Keys in May of 1998 when he purchased Marathon Boat Yard. One year later he acquired a diesel parts and repair business and in 2004 he added a boat sales and brokerage office to the family of companies. The business has grown from 3 employees at the time of purchase to 36 employees providing service from Ocean Reef to Key West.

He is very active in the community, having served on the Board of Directors for both the Chamber of Commerce and the Mid Keys Marine Association where he is past president. He is currently the secretary for the Marathon Economic Development Council, serves as past president of the State of Florida’s Clean Boating Partnership and is Chair of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Board. He was one of NOAA’s Envirnmental Hero Award winners in 2007.


Tom Davidson
(Ex-officio/Advisory)

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Thomas Davidson is principal owner and Chairman of Nutech Precision Metals Ltd.

Mr.Davidson is also Chairman of Azure Dynamics Inc., Quarry Hill Group, a director of MDC Partners Inc., TLC Vision Inc. and Occulogix Incorporated. He is past International Chairman of The Young Presidents Organization and the World Presidents Organization, Vice Chairman of Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys – Marine Sanctuary and past Vice Chairman of the Pennekamp Research Institute. He is also Chairman of Ocean Reef Medical Center and Chairman and founder of Bonefish & Tarpon Unlimited. Mr. Davidson is past director of several NYSE and NASDAQ listed companies and numerous civic and charitable institutions.

 


 

Stephen Frink

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Stephen Frink is among the world’s most frequently published UW photographers, and is a Canon EXPLORER OF LIGHT, the only marine specialist within this very elite group of photographers.

He is also the publisher of a beautiful new quarterly magazine for the Divers Alert Network, ALERT DIVER. Previously, his editorial work appeared in SCUBA DIVING as Director of Photography, and as a contributing photographer for SKIN DIVER magazine for 17-years.   Frink has authored a coffee table book entitled WONDERS OF THE REEF, and teaches Masters level courses of Stephen Frink School of Underwater Digital Imaging in his home waters of Key Largo, Florida.

Clients for assignment photography over the past 3 decades have included Canon, Nikon, Victoria’s Secret, Aqualung, Oceanic, Scubapro, Subgear, Mercury Marine, Jantzen, Alcan Aluminum, R.J. Reynolds, Seaquest, Henderson Aquatics, Neosport, American Express, Club Med; as well as scores of resorts and live-aboard dive boats throughout the world. Rolex Watch Company has also engaged Frink for both endorsement and product photography.

Other Frink enterprises include a dive travel company, WaterHouse Tours and Reservations and a stock photo agency, Stephen Frink Collection. Stephen Frink Photographic is the North and South American distributor for the Austrian camera housing manufacturer SEACAM.  Stephen also donated the use of his photos for this website.


Martin Moe

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Martin A. Moe, Jr. is a retired fishery biologist and marine fish aquaculturist. He holds a Masters Degree from the University of South Florida in zoology and marine biology. His career includes ten years as a fishery biologist with the FMRL where his primary research was on the biology of the red grouper in the Gulf of Mexico. Moving into the aquaculture of marine fish, he then developed the basic technology for the culture of pompano and many marine tropical fish, clownfish, gobies, and angelfish, among others. He has authored many scientific papers, popular articles, and books on marine aquariology and marine biology including a basic reference on Florida spiny lobsters. He is currently a member of the Florida Keys Sanctuary Advisory Council and an adjunct scientist with Mote Marine Laboratory. His present research is on coral reef restoration through enhancing population recovery of the keystone herbivore of the Atlantic coral reefs, the long-spined sea urchin, Diadema antillarum.


Jeff Neidlinger
BOARD MEMBER

Jeff Neidlinger is owner of A Deep Blue Dive out of Key Colony Beach in the Florida Keys. He is the founder of several underwater cleanups that happen throughout the year, and a champion of keeping the reef free of unnatural debris. “The Florida Keys, with America’s only living coral reef, is one of the world’s most versatile and breathtaking dive destinations,” he said. “That’s why keeping it in shape is so important.”


Rachel Bowman
BOARD MEMBER

 Rachel Bowman is known around the Florida Keys as the lionfish queen. She is on the frontlines of the invasive lionfish population as a commercial lionfisherwoman, who not only brings in the fish from the shallow reefs, but also many deep wrecks within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary boundaries.
Invasive lionfish showed up in Keys waters years ago and their population boom has wreaked havoc within sanctuary waters decimating juvenile fish and crawfish populations where they are found. With people like Rachel, and her team of fellow divers, in the waters helping control the lionfish population, and teaching others about their destruction with several lionfish tournaments she helps coordinate, the future of the reef doesn’t look as grim. She is Sanctuary Friends Foundation’s go-to for lionfish questions.

 


Billy Causey
EX-OFFICIO/ADVISORY

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Billy Causey has managed national marine sanctuaries in the Florida Keys since 1983 and is currently director of the National Marine Sanctuary Program’s Southeast Region, which includes the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. His territory includes the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region. From 1990 to 2006, he headed up the 2,900-square-nautical-mile Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. He was the lead National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) official in the development of the management plan for the Keys Sanctuary, which is the second largest marine protected area in the United States. He has led efforts to establish the first largescale marine zoning network in the United States, including the recent establishment of the Tortugas Ecological Reserve, a 151-square-nautical-mile fully protected area. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Corpus Christi in 1967, a Master of Science degree from Texas A&I University in 1969 and did three years of post-graduate work at the University of South Florida. He has specialized in coral reef ecology, reef fish and marine protected areas. He has received numerous awards with the most recent (2005) being NOAA’s Distinguished Career Award. He has received NOAA’s Administrator’s Award and the “Gift To The Earth” award presented by the World Wildlife Fund for his work on the Tortugas Ecological Reserve. He serves as the liaison with local, state and other federal agencies responsible for management of natural resources in the Florida Keys and the South Florida ecosystem.


J. Allison DeFoor, II Esq
ADVISORY

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Allison DeFoor,
EarthBalance®. State Coordinator

Dr. DeFoor serves as State Coordinator for EarthBalance®. His extensive background as a conservationist, environmental champion, businessman, and in government provides EarthBalance® with an invaluable source of knowledge, know-how, and who’s who in the environmental restoration industry. Dr. DeFoor served as Governor Jeb Bush’s “Everglades Czar”, and in this role coordinated the largest land restoration project in world history. Dr. DeFoor has a BA (Geography), a MA (Criminology) from the University of South Florida, a law degree from Stetson University, and a Master of Divinity and Doctorate from Florida Center for Theological Studies, a Miami seminary.

As a businessman, he has served or serves currently on the boards of numerous corporations and a bank. He serves as a governor of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and as a director of Associated Industries of Florida and Florida Tax Watch.

As a conservationist, Dr. DeFoor was president of the Florida Keys Land and Sea Trust, and also of the Florida Land Trust Association, was a director of Florida Audubon, and was recipient of its “Chairman’s Award” in 1999. He sits on the regional advisory board of the Trust for Public Land and is a director of 1000 Friends of Florida.

Dr. DeFoor was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in America in 1985. He has authored 10 books and numerous journal articles, including several on mid-19th century Florida history. He has taught at numerous colleges, including 15 years at the University of Miami Law School, Florida A&M, and lectured most recently at Yale University and Penn State University. He is a former trustee of two colleges.

A seventh generation Floridian, Dr. DeFoor former county and circuit judge, and Sheriff of Monroe County, was the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor in 1990, as running-mate to Governor Bob Martinez, and was the Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida from 2002-2006.