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Our Board

Alan Arvin

After earning his master’s degree in his home state of Kentucky, Alan began his career in Pennsylvania as a systems engineer—specifically in robotics and vision systems applied to high-volume manufacturing—at American Cimflex. He then moved to California to join the West Coast’s growing tech industry as a systems engineer at SUN Microsystems and Director of IT at Trimble Navigation. Alan leveraged his experience as a consultant for emerging companies and eventually co-founded two tech-consulting companies that were later acquired: The Trilliance Group and Demand Solutions Group, now a part of Oracle. 

 

After 30 years in tech, Alan shifted his efforts to marine conservation and community engagement around environmental protection, a passion that blossomed over his years spent on the central coast of California. Between his home on the California central coast and the high desert of New Mexico, Alan volunteers his time with environmental organizations that strive to educate and conserve natural beauty and habitats, from the desert to the sea.

Steve Dennis

Steve Dennis founded two successful Silicon Valley software firms; Smith, Dennis & Gaylord in 1973 and SD&G Healthcare Systems in 1988, both of which were acquired by large public companies. He also served on the Board of Directors of Pointshare Corporation ($70m in venture funding), a healthcare software startup later purchased by Siemens Corporation. Earlier in his career, Steve worked for General Electric on the Apollo Moon Project (Cape Canaveral, FL).

 

Steve has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including Sea Studios Foundation, Point Lobos Foundation, Elkhorn Slough Foundation, Sealife Conservation, Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, Ventana Wildlife Society and the Monterey County Family Service Agency. Since moving to Carmel in 1996, Steve has logged over 7,000 hours as a volunteer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where he has lectured on jellies, white sharks and deep-sea research.  In 2002, Steve was honored with the Lucille Packard Volunteer of the Year Award, and the next year assisted in the development of an updated Strategic Plan for the Aquarium. In 2015 Steve was honored as a Jefferson Award winner for Monterey County.

 

A graduate of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Steve has taught Strategic Management at CSU at Monterey Bay, and has worked with dozens of non-profits on strategic planning and visioning.

 

Steve and his wife Sona, who also volunteers at the Aquarium, have two married sons and six grandchildren. 

Dr. Melissa Garren

Dr. Garren is Founder and CEO of Working Ocean Strategies—a firm dedicated to advancing social, financial, and ecological sustainability in the oceans space.

 

Holding a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, with a completed postdoctoral fellowship in the Dpt. of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, and >20 years of experience underwater as a PADI certified scuba Divemaster, Melissa Garren brings substantial expertise to the intersection of technology and marine conservation. Melissa’s passion for and focus on the application of cutting-edge technologies to marine conservation solutions has remained constant since the earliest days of her scientific career when she completed her undergraduate work in Molecular Biology at Yale University, where her thesis brought novel molecular tools to bear on questions surrounding coral reef conservation.  

 

In a former role as COO & Chief Scientist at Pelagic Data Systems (PDS) Melissa leveraged her extensive experience and practical knowledge working with local communities and diverse groups of stakeholders around the globe to foster fishery sustainability and healthy nearshore water quality. In addition to awards PDS received in 2018 from the National Geographic Society and SeaWeb, in early 2019 Conscious Company named Melissa to its “35 World-Changing Women in Conscious Business 2019” – aptly placing her in a cohort transforming business, and the planet, for the better. A frequent speaker at international conferences on topics such as combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, Melissa is often called on as a technical expert by UN Agencies such as the FAO and national governments. She is also Adjunct Research Faculty at California State University Monterey Bay in the Department of Applied Environmental Science.

 

In 2019, Dr. Garren joined the Center for the Blue Economy Advisory Council.

Dave Rossum

Dave was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has always had a love of the California coast.  He received his BS in biology from Caltech in 1970 and did graduate studies at UC Santa Cruz, where he discovered his passion for electronic music.  In 1972, he founded E-mu Systems, Inc.  He is currently CEO of Rossum Electro-

Music LLC, and continues to enjoy his hobbies of mountaineering, trail running, and diving.

Tracey Weiss (Chair)

Tracey Weiss is a non-profit Executive Director with over 16 years of experience in environmental education. She uses her passion for environmental education to inspire and engage youth and their adults to take stewardship of California’s natural world. Tracey excels in executive leadership, grant management, fund development, strategic vision and engagement, Board management, and developing pathways to better engage students in environmental education.

 

As an Executive Director since 2006, Tracey possesses in-depth knowledge and experience in leading both the complex day-to-day operations of an organization as well as guiding its vision, growth, and financial reserves. She is a skillful builder of partnerships and a master implementer of strategies which strengthen an organization’s objectives and outcomes. She has a proven track record for developing an organization’s vision and direction and building a roadmap to get there.

 

Throughout her professional career, Tracey has been dedicated to serving youth, the environment, and developing strategically sound nonprofits.  She is currently responsible for a $2.2M environmental education nonprofit that serves more than 8,000 students annually while supervising over 35 staff at three facilities. As a demonstrated leader, Tracey brings tenacity, compassion, and inspiration to her big-picture, proactive approach to management.

Donna Meyers

Donna Meyers is the owner and Principal of Conservation Collaborative, a private consulting company. Ms. Meyers has an undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of California Santa Cruz and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo.

 

Donna has served in executive positions for land conservation and groundwater resource protection entities. Donna has completed multi-species conservation, watershed protection, water quality enhancement and coastal resource protection and restoration along the central coast of California. She has served on local, state, and federal expert panels during her career. Donna served 4 years as a City Council member for the City of Santa Cruz, including terms as Mayor and Vice Mayor where she spearheaded environmental and municipal policy development on climate readiness, green workforce job development, and housing.

Lora Lee Martin

Lora Lee Martin has extensive experience impacting public policy at local, state, and federal levels.  She has worked on projects ranging from climate change, biodiversity, and oceans to land use, groundwater remediation, and military base conversion.  She conceived of, and led, the creation of the University of California's Monterey Bay Education, Science, and Technology (MBEST) Center; an inter-disciplinary and multi-institutional initiative intended to draw upon the research expertise of multiple regional institutions. Lora Lee ran the Sacramento office of the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) and led the development of the first state-based science and technology policy fellowship in the nation, a program that places Ph.D. scientists and engineers in the California State Legislature.

 

Ms. Martin’s accomplishments have included the launching of multiyear, multi-institutional research collaborations in areas such as marine sensing technologies and groundwater remediation.  She led the efforts to establish the Monterey Bay Ocean Research Consortium (MBCORC), a network of over 24 educational and research institutions around the Monterey Bay and served as one of the MBCORC Chairs.  She was also instrumental in securing the relocation of a NOAA Marine Fisheries Laboratory and a USGS Marine Sciences group to Santa Cruz adjacent to the UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Laboratory.  She was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2010.

 

Lora Lee’s passion is leveraging the power of policy in what she calls the “Art of the Possible” with the goal of bringing talent to bear on big issues of our time.

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