Stephen P. Martin, President
A native of Florida, Steve Martin’s career in the hospitality industry spans over 4 decades. He served as RVP of Operations for a major restaurant chain and most recently developed the west coast of Florida for Tijuana Flats as a joint venture partner. He holds a business degree from the University of South Florida. Steve’s appreciation of Sarasota Bay has been passed on also to his two children who are active volunteers for Sarasota Bay Watch.
John Ryan, Secretary
John has been an environmental scientist and manager for Sarasota County Government for 30 years. A perfect day is out on the water with family and friends. John was a founding member of Sarasota Bay Watch and still loves pitching in on restoration projects and cleanups.
Larry Stults, Ph.D., J.D., Immediate Past President
Dr. Larry Stults has deep roots to Florida’s Gulf Coast dating back to 1944 when his grandparents established Cabbage Key, a sleepy island near Boca Grande.
From 1973 Larry spent his formative years in Sarasota and attended New College while interning at Mote Marine Laboratory working on early red tide studies in the late 1970’s. He subsequently earned his Ph.D. in cellular biology from the Johns Hopkins University and then combined his scientific training with a law degree from the University of Georgia to specialize in biotechnology patent law.
Larry returned to Sarasota in 2006 and has been working to help restore and revitalize Sarasota Bay. In 2010 he became president of Sarasota Bay Watch, a role he held for 6 years. Larry is an executive member of the boards of START (Solutions To Avoid Red Tide) and the Gulf Shellfish Institute. He has worked collaboratively with Mote Marine Laboratory, Reef Ball Foundation and Reef Innovations, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Selby Gardens, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, City of Sarasota, and the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast to help make our bay better and healthier.
Rusty Chinnis, Chairman Emeritus
Rusty Chinnis is a Founding Member of Sarasota Bay Watch. An avid angler and retired building contractor, Rusty realized the connection between the health of the bay and the quality of his fishing as well as his business. He’s committed to seeing that future generations have the same opportunities he’s had.
Michael P. Crosby, Ph.D.
Dr. Crosby is President & CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, an independent research institution that has been a leader in marine research for nearly 60 years. Dr. Crosby previously served for three years as Mote’s Senior Vice President for Research. Dr. Crosby has over 30 years of diverse research, teaching, science management and leadership endeavors. During a great deal of his career, he played an active role in directly leading national and international multi-disciplinary research programs, as well as developing national policy and administrative aspects for our country’s science programs. He serves as a reviewer and panelist for numerous scientific journals and national and international science panels and advisory committees and has published over 40 articles and edited several books and manuals dealing with marine protected areas and coral reefs. He obtained an M.S. in Biology, with honors, from Old Dominion University and a Ph.D. in Marine-Estuarine-Environmental Sciences at the University of Maryland. He has developed successful research grants of more than $30M from NSF, NOAA, EPA, DOD, USAID, and others.
Reed is an avid angler and is committed to seeing that his two daughters enjoy a healthy Sarasota Bay. Reed is Vice President of Halfacre Construction in Sarasota and has been with the company for over 18 years. Reed resides in Sarasota with his wife and two daughters.
Al Jeffrey is a lifelong Sarasota native (diving/fishing area waters since 1957) and graduated from Sarasota High School in 1975. Al graduated from the University of Florida in 1980 and has been a National Association Underwater Instructors (NAUI) certified SCUBA instructor since 1986. Al is the owner of Scuba Quest and has been involved with the Sarasota County Artificial Reef Program since 1986. Al is happily married with two wonderful daughters in Sarasota County public schools who also enjoy diving. He has been a Board member of Sarasota Bay Watch since 2012.
Brian Jung is the Regional Sales Manager for Aqua Lung America which provides personal dive equipment for recreational and professional use. Brian moved to Florida from Western New York to pursue a career in the diving industry and was instrumental in building one of the world’s largest dive retail operations. He been passionate about the water his whole life and was certified to dive when he was just 12 years old. Brian is committed to healthy waterways and the life they support, a commitment that led him to support and eventually join the Board of Sarasota Bay Watch. When he is not out on the water or selling snorkels, he spends time working in his garden and skiing with his family in Utah. Brian resides in Sarasota FL with his wife Beth and has a son Benjamin who attends Florida State University. Jung Holds Certification as a USCG Captain as well as an Instructor for National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI).
Ernesto Lasso de la Vega Ed.D.
Ernesto has been working at the Lee County Hyacinth Control District in Fort Myers, Florida since 1991 as a biologist controlling aquatic weeds and monitoring water quality in Lee County. He earned a Master degree from Auburn University (1988) and a Doctorate degree from University of Central Florida (2004). He also has been teaching environmental science, biology and microbiology at local universities in Southwest Florida for the last 25 years to the present. He presently serves as a member of the Florida Sea Grant Advisory Board, the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program Technical and Citizen Committee, and the Florida Lake Management Society. He loves working with the Sarasota Bay Watch members so much that he does not mind the traveling.
Devin serves as Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President at Churchill Stateside Group, a leading firm in the debt and equity finance industry, specializing in tax incentive investments. He brings a wealth of experience in a fast paced investment banking environment providing financing solutions in the renewable energy capital markets, including project identification, evaluation, and structuring of tax advantaged transactions as well as managing the performance of staff and funds to maximize investor benefits and company profitability. Devin graduated from the University of South Florida, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance. Whether he is fishing for snook and redfish along the mangroves or running 150 miles offshore in search of giant swordfish, his love for fishing and the outdoors started as far back as he can remember. Devin strives to keep that resource he loves so much sustainable for future generations with founding Coastal Impact Fund, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides thought provoking conservation programs which offer practical, real world solutions to preserve and restore the marine environment.
Thomas A. Suplee
Tom was born in Philadelphia and moved to Sarasota when he was just a few months old. He does not remember the flight to Florida. He considers his true home to be Sarasota Bay. His family lived on the water when he grew up and he would sail from the mainland out to Longboat Key regularly on a Hobie Cat with his father and brothers. They also had a tiny Boston Whaler sailboat he and big brother Ray would sail or row to the John Ringling Mansion to fish the grass flats. As he aged he began water skiing and got certified to scuba dive when he was 13 years old. Tom was named a Collegiate Scholar Athlete after walking on the tennis team for St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. A father of three boys he is incredibly proud of his family and his greatest dream would be watching his future grandchildren enjoy summers the way he did as a child.
Brandon grew up on Siesta Key and developed a love for the water and bay at young age. He was avid rower and spent countless hours training on the bay, his rowing took him to Trinity College in Connecticut, after which he was determined to make it back to Sarasota to spend time on the water. To escape the cold Brandon attended the University of Florida for law school and moved back to Siesta Key after law school. Brandon is now an business litigation associate at Shumaker Loop and Kendrick LLP. When he is not practicing law Brandon can be found on the water, surfing, boating, fly-flying or paddle-boarding.
Ross Windom is a second generation Sarasotan who has been enjoying the bay since the 60’s. His interest continued in Marine Ecology class at SHS doing projects around the bay and planning the Carefree Learner(floating classroom). His concerns for a healthy bay environment for generations to come are among his many goals with Sarasota Bay Watch.
Brooke, a native Floridian and current biology major at USFSM, is the founder of Sarasota Ocean Preservers – a program for youth and adults that combines beach, kayak, and underwater cleanups with an emphasis on marine life education. Brooke conducted her first environmental cleanup while living in Ecuador as a child. Since moving to Sarasota, Brooke has interned at Mote Marine Laboratory since 2013, volunteered with Save Our Seabirds during high school, and has been conducting population studies off Sarasota’s coast. Brooke is a PADI Divemaster and enjoys spending time scuba diving.
Anna Maria, Florida
Ed Chiles is the founder and owner of the Chiles Group, operating three waterfront restaurants: The Sandbar, The Beach House and Mar Vista Dockside on Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. He holds the long-term lease on Gamble Creek Farm that supplies each restaurant with 100% Organic produce in conjunction with a multitude of local/sustainable products featured throughout.
Ed is an internationally recognized leader in sustainability and has been a driving force for best practices in his local community, the Gulf region, the state of Florida and around the world. He works closely with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Sustainability Initiatives as his restaurant group has been designated as the first Global Observatory for Sustainable Tourism. Ed lends his expertise and resources through his involvement in several community and regional organizations. He is a founding member of Solutions to Avoid Red Tide (START) and led the creation of the Brood Stock Restoration Project, using transplanted mature hard-shell clams to continuously filter the waters of Tampa Bay while absorbing chemicals, pathogens and bacteria including those responsible for Red Tide. He is on the Gulf Seafood Foundation Board promoting Gulf Seafood, Tourism and the Historic Culture of the Coast.
Ed emphatically supports the necessity of immediate and decisive action now to ensure future generations can enjoy our environment and natural resources and will continue to do whatever necessary to ensure this occurs.
Federico Vasquez is an avid diver and one of Sarasota Bay Watch’s most active Board members. When not underwater Federico works for The KAST Construction Company.