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The WAV Alliance Team

Staff and Board of Directors


Lad Akins

Executive Director

Living in Key Largo, Florida, Lad started the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (RREF) and served as the organization’s Founding Executive Director then Director of Special Projects for 28 years.  Lad has served as a US Delegate on the Bi-National Commission on Marine Protected Areas with South Africa, piloted submersibles to assess fish assemblages at depths over 500’, saturated for 8 days as an aquanaut in the Aquarius Research Station and discovered and described new species of fish.  As a US Coast Guard licensed Captain and a NAUI dive instructor with over 10,000 dives, Lad has been recognized as NOAA Environmental Hero, an Oris Sea Hero, Scuba Diving Hero of the Sea and is a member of the prestigious Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.  Lad is world renowned authority on invasive lionfish, co-authoring over 20 peer reviewed papers on the issue, and serving on numerous federal and international panels and working groups.  Lad is still active in the dive industry working at the Frost Museum of Science in Miami and captaining dive boats at Quiescence Diving Services in Key Largo.

Dave Ochs

Owner, Aqua Safari Adventures

Chairman of the Board

Dave Ochs is the owner of Dave Ochs' Aqua Safari Adventures, Inc. a scuba training, guiding, and travel company based in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Dave founded the company in 1996 on the conviction scuba services should be of the highest quality.  Dave is a Lifetime Member of the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI).  He is a NAUI Instructor, NAUI Instructor Trainer, NAUI Course Director and NAUI Course Director Trainer.  

 Dave has been a member of the NAUI Board of Directors since 2008, and served as Chairman of the Board from 2012 to 2018. Dave is a popular industry speaker.  Since 2006 he has been conducting presentations and seminars focused on both professional scuba training and practical business principles.  A professional scuba instructor since 1993, Dave has trained thousands to dive and passed on to them his zeal for the sport.  Dave has dived extensively throughout Florida, the Bahamas, Caribbean and Central America as a professional guide to both yacht and land-based dive clients.

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Kathy Seiders

Vice President and COO, Vitil Solutions

Board Treasurer

Kathy Seiders provides business management as the Vice President and co-owner of a family business.   From the Sarasota office, she is responsible for operations, finance, and human resources.  Early in her career, she worked for several Fortune 500 tech companies responsible for marketing, product lifecycle, and channel management.  In the early 1990s, she took a break from the tech industry to manage storm offices for Hurricane Andrew, FL & N.J. Kathy holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from Eckerd College in Organizational Studies and a Master of Business (M.B.A.) in Executive Studies from the University of South Florida. Additionally, she has certificates in ITIL services focused on aligning I.T. services with the business's needs from strategy and design into operations. Her passion is to improve business efficiency to make everyone's work a little easier and enable them to balance work, life and make room for growth.  She subscribes to the adage of Habit 7: Keep you Saw Sharp to create room for a life of adventure and learning. Kathy's knowledge provides expertise and understanding in specialties such as Organizational Design and Behavior, Business Development and Planning, Operational Efficiency, Financial Forecasting, Budgeting and Management, Process and Project Management. Human Resource Planning, Channel and Market Planning, Product Management, and Negotiation. Kathy is an avid diver, certified in 1992; she is a NAUI Master Diver with training in Rescue & Recovery, Advanced, Open Water, & Nitrox. Outside of the world of business, Kathy adds texture to her life by seeking adventures in scuba diving, hunting lionfish, SUP, international travel, a science fair judge, and yoga with her trusty dachshund as her sidekick.

Jennifer Black


Board, Secretary

Jennifer Black has been protecting our marine and coastal resources for the last twenty years. She has managed and directed environmental education programs, marine policy efforts, promoted critical ocean conservation issues with local and national non-profits and provided opportunities for divers to travel to exotic destinations and become better

stewards of our ocean. Jennifer lives in San Diego, and is currently an ocean conservation advocate and dive travel specialist. In addition to serving on the WAV Alliance board she is a San Diego Undersea Film Exhibition (SDUFEX) Board Director. She was the Vice President of Roddenberry Adventures (formerly the Roddenberry Dive Team) where she managed organization operations, led adventures and inspired members to explore and protect our planet. Prior to this, Jennifer was the Education & Marketing Director for San Diego Coastkeeper where she managed an environmental science program that reached more than 50,000 students annually. She also served as Outreach Coordinator for the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation in Washington, DC where she raised awareness about protecting, preserving and expanding our national marine sanctuaries. While in DC, Jennifer also served as Communications Manager for the Pew Oceans Commission, communicating the commission’s findings and recommendations to members of Congress and Administration officials to help shape federal ocean policies. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin where she completed her Open Water Diver certification

and is now a Divemaster.

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Bob Powell

Founder and CEO, Brightmark

Board Member

Bob Powell is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Brightmark, a global waste solutions company with a mission to reimagine waste. Brightmark creates waste solution projects throughout the United States, utilizing anaerobic digestion and advanced plastic recycling technologies to transform waste back into useful products. With over 30 years of industry experience, Bob is passionate about developing circular economy technology solutions that deliver both economic and environmental benefits. Bob has customer and technology experience in renewables, cogeneration technologies and energy efficiency. His past experiences include serving as the Chief Financial Officer of Pacific Gas & Electric Company, President of North America and President of Asia Capital Markets at SunEdison, Inc., Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer at NRG Renew, President of Solar Power Partners, and as a partner in the energy consulting practices of Arthur Andersen LLP and PriceWaterhouse Coopers. Bob holds a B.S. in electrical engineering and an M.B.A. in finance from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Dr Dayne Buddo

Director of External Engagement,

Georgia Aquarium

Board Member

As the Director of External Engagement, Dr Dayne Buddo is responsible for deepening Georgia Aquarium’s service ties to the community at the local, state, national and international levels. These mission-based interventions support our Research, Conservation and Education programs. Prior to joining Georgia Aquarium, Dr Buddo was the Director of the Bay Academy – Bay Ecotarium, San Francisco CA, USA. Before moving to the United States, he served as a tenured faculty member at the University of the West Indies (Jamaica) in marine sciences for a decade, with responsibility for marine research and teaching at the Discovery Bay Marine Lab. Dr Buddo was also CEO and Research Director for the Alligator Head Foundation and Marine Lab focusing on marine protected areas. He was also the Marine Conservation Adviser for the TBA21-Academy, an Art Foundation in Europe centered on ocean conservation and climate change. Dayne has published several papers on marine invasive species, shark conservation and fisheries management in the Atlantic region, including the co-authored book on Lionfish Management in the Caribbean, Global Assessment of Sharks (Nature) and the IUCN RedList for Atlantic Shorefishes. He was also one of the Lead Authors of the Americas Assessment for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Dayne has been a consultant for marine projects for CARICOM, Government of Japan, the World Bank, International Maritime Organization, the Nature Conservancy, among others, and has conducted work in over 30 countries. He has worked closely with the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Global Environment Facility (GEF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) among other agencies.

Dayne currently sits on the Board of Advisers for The Ocean Foundation, Fisheries Development Management Fund, National Conservation Trust Fund Grant Committee and continues to support several delegations to major United Nations Conferences on climate change and ocean conservation.  Dayne is a certified PADI Master Instructor, Advanced Rebreather Diver, an Emergency First Response® (First Aid/CPR/AED) Instructor, as well as a Hyperbaric (Recompression) Chamber Safety Director. He has conducted over 8,000 scientific dives mainly assessing marine habitats, lionfish research and control as well as habitat restoration.

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Shelby Thomas

Founder and CEO Ocean Rescue Alliance

Board Member

Founder and CEO of the Ocean Rescue Alliance, a marine conservation and restoration nonprofit organization, that implements innovative techniques to restore marine environments. She is an expert in marine restoration and conservation, receiving her master’s in Marine Ecology and currently completing her PhD in Marine Biology with the University of Florida. She is an environmentalist and marine conservation advocate who hopes to inspire others to protect our environments. She has worked with various restoration projects including coral, seagrass, oyster, sea-urchin, and scallop restoration. She is passionate about preserving our natural ecosystems and creating a foundation for their appreciation. Her nonprofit combines art to aid in

communicating science to the public in impactful ways. The Ocean Rescue Alliance artificial reefs create complex habitat space, enable species specific restoration and serve as ecotourism destinations that combines art and culture to connect the communities they serve. She now has worked with over 25 different restoration projects and continues to conduct research in this field. Through her research and outreach, she plans to assist in conserving, restoring, and better managing our ecosystems. She would like to make a lasting impact, conserving our environments while also improving peoples lives around the world.

Andy Dehart

President and CEO,

Loggerhead Marinelife Center

Board Member

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Andy Dehart is known throughout the aquarium world as a creative thinker, passionate leader and an
expert in animal care and life support systems. His career began over thirty years ago as an admissions
representative and volunteer docent at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland, while still a
student in high school. He spent over a decade there, and then went on to open three world class
aquariums: the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in Toronto, and most recently
the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami, Florida, where he served as Vice President of
Husbandry and Marine Conservation.
His enthusiasm and love for protecting and educating the public about marine life and ecosystems, propelled him to become a Shark Advisor for the Discovery Channel from 2008-2012 simultaneously while working in the aquarium industry. He is a fierce advocate for shark conservation and shared his passion as a spokesperson for the network. He took part in seven Shark Week productions and made appearances on all national networks. In addition, he worked with Discovery Channel on a line of books aimed at educating children on the importance of our oceans and the critical role sharks play within this eco-system. Andy co-founded the Marine Exotic Species Rapid Detection and Early Response Program. He has also served on numerous Dive Safety, Animal Welfare, and Conservation committees. Throughout his career, he has championed unique partnerships such as that with Force Blue, the nonprofit that unites Special Operations veterans with coral reef conservation efforts. Throughout his career Andy has served as manager and mentor to countless staff entering the aquarium industry. Although his work opening aquariums is an incredible personal and professional legacy, he is most proud of the working relationships and mentoring he has done throughout his career. Many of today’s aquarium directors and curators have learned under Andy’s guidance. Although most people who know Andy would say that he has more wet suits then business suits, he has traded in some of those wet suits as he steps into an incredible new role as President and CEO of Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach, Florida. Leading a talented and dedicated team, Andy is excited and ready to propel the mission, “To promote conservation of ocean ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles” to future generations.

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