Ken Nedimyer became inspired to help restore coral reefs when staghorn coral recruits began to settle and grow on his live rock nursery in the Upper Florida Keys. Ken went on to found the Coral Restoration Foundation, Inc. and pioneer nursery and restoration techniques beginning with staghorn and elkhorn corals. Mike Echevarria met Ken in the early CRF days, joining the CRF Board of Directors as the Chair for four years. In that time Ken and Mike helped grow CRF into a leading force for coral restoration. Subsequently, Ken left CRF to form Nedimyer Consulting Services, L.L.C. and Reef Renewal Foundation International, Inc. in order to continue his passion for creating innovative solutions to restore coral reefs worldwide.
In 2019, Mike founded Reef Renewal USA, Inc. to focus on the Florida Keys reef tract. As Technical Director, Ken leads the science and permitting of all coral nursery and outplanting activities.
Meg has a diverse background, but has always had a focus on environment and sustainability. When she isn’t communicating the important work of Reef Renewal USA, she practices underwater photography as an expression of her love for the coral reef and its inhabitants.
After his marine science studies, Jim sought out ambitious collaborations with like-minded coral renewal practitioners, and naturally found a place with Reef Renewal. His dedication to reef renewal work, and the innovation required to improve such a complex habitat, is inspiring. His work is especially focused on diadema and their potential to renew the coral’s habitat.
Bob hails from California, but has been a Florida resident for most of his life, calling South Florida home. He is a graduate of Florida State University and has spent the majority of his career working as a sports marketing professional in college sports.
Bob is an avid outdoorsman and loves fishing, diving, biking, competing in triathlons and enjoying all of the things Florida’s great climate offers. His passion for the sea is unmatched and he has a deep concern for the environment. Bob gives his all to initiatives that he believes in, and the mission of Reef Renewal USA is close to his heart.
Tom earned his B.A. in Economics from St. Lawrence University, a M.A. in Positive Psychology from The Union Institute & University, and a Ph.D. in Psychology and Organizational Development from the University of Twente (The Netherlands). Tom’s research and doctoral dissertation included Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and management applications from Jung’s “Synchronicity Theory.”
Tom is passionate about all aspects of business, education, and positive organizational development. He spent his early professional career as a ski racing coach, a fitness trainer, an entrepreneur, and an economic development official when he served as Director of International Trade and Investment for the state of Vermont. In 2001, he moved to higher education where he was a full professor and Chair in the Stiller School of Business at Champlain College for over twenty years.
Today, Tom leads TriSync Impact, LLC., a strengths-centered consulting firm with a focus on management & strategy, positive organizational development, and entrepreneurship & leadership. He is certified in Appreciative Inquiry, Emotional Intelligence (EQi-2.0), Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and StrengthScope Assessments for individuals and enterprises.
Tom is also a founding board member of Reef Renewal USA and is also an avid technical diver (GUE), which includes exploring Lake Champlain (VT) year round.
Additionally, he enjoys biking, birding, cooking, fly-fishing, and social science research. Tom lives with his wife, Julie, in Jericho, VT and they have two grown sons, Will and Charlie.
To reach Tom, please visit our contact us page.
Ken is known throughout the world of coral restoration for spearheading new techniques. More than 20 years ago, he was one of the first to develop propagation techniques for growing and planting corals in the wild. He brings his incomparable expertise to Reef Renewal USA and continues on a quest of revision to improve existing methods of rearing and outplanting coral.
To reach Ken, please visit our contact us page.
Craig is the Associate Director of Aquaculture Programs with the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, and Director of the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory at the University of Florida. He has served in numerous aquaculture and marine life- related capacities with the University of Florida since 1988. Currently, he is responsible for coordinating extension educational programs and applied research projects in aquaculture for the University of Florida’s Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program.
Major efforts have centered upon securing funding from industry, county, state and federal sources, both for creation and long-term, recurring funding. His research focuses on commercial aquaculture, especially in reproduction strategies for new species.
In the mid-1980s, Craig was a Fisheries Volunteer Leader with the U.S. Peace Corps Fisheries Program in Tunisia. He served as a liaison between newly-assigned volunteers and their Tunisian Government counterparts. Craig was involved in training, programming and administration of six separate programs in Fisheries Development, and also served as project coordinator for the inland fisheries program involving stocking and monitoring of six reservoirs in the interior.
In addition to his board position with RRUSA, he currently serves on the board of Rising Tide Conservation, and is a past board member of the National Aquaculture Association (2001- 2019) and The Florida Aquarium (2001-2018). Craig is a member of the World Aquaculture Society, the Tampa Bay Aquarium Society, and the American Fisheries Society.
Craig earned a B.S. Biology/Chemistry (Major/Minor) from the Florida State University in 1981, and a Master of Aquaculture from Auburn University in 1988.
Read his full bio here.
To reach Craig, please visit our contact us page.
Mike is a retired Partner with Ernst & Young, LLP Auditing and Advising. As a senior partner at EY, Mike has served large public and private companies in a variety of industries including aerospace and defense, oil and gas, energy, consumer products, and transportation. Mike also served as the managing partner for the Tampa and Jacksonville offices, and for the Florida and Caribbean practices as well.
As an avid diver, Mike took a special interest in Reef Renewal USA as it combines his love for scuba diving with his concern for the Florida Keys’ community wellbeing. Mike holds a divemaster certification, and loves nothing more than diving and working in the nursery to make a tangible difference for the future of the reef.
Mike’s commitment to his local community is evident in the long list of boards he has served on. In addition to his Board of Director role at RRUSA, he currently serves as a Board Member of the Tampa Bay History Center. He has served as a Board Member and Chairman of the Audit Committee of Children’s National Medical Center, one of the top pediatric health systems in the country. He previously served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Treasurer of the United Way of Tampa Bay, Board Member and Chairman of the Finance Committee for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and Board Member and Chairman of Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay. He is also a member of the Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club and the Tampa Yacht and Country Club (for the latter of which he served on the Board of Governors and as Treasurer). In Jacksonville, he served as a Board member and as Chairman of the Audit Committee of the United Way of Northeast Florida.
Mike and his wife, Karen, reside in Tampa, Florida. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.
To reach Mike, please visit our contact us page.
Ben is President of Dynasty Marine Associates Inc., the world’s premiere supplier of tropical marine fish and invertebrates to public aquaria, wholesale, and the pet trade since 1983. Ben has been involved in the collection, holding, and transport of living collections of over 75 aquariums.
Ben is also President of Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters Inc., a purpose-built, interactive public educational facility with over 50,000 guests per year and is a Florida registered aquaculture facility breeding several species of fish, sharks, and rays.
Additionally, Ben is President of REACH, a 501(c)3 nonprofit arm of Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters that focuses on: Rescue, Research, Rehabilitation, Education and creating Awareness in our Community around the importance of animals and the Habitats in which they live.
In addition to Ben’s service as a Board Member of RRUSA, he is V. P. of the Florida Marine Life Association, Vice Chair of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, WAZA Member (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums), ATA Member (Animal Transportation Association), EUAC Member (European Union of Aquarium Curators), Marathon Chamber of Commerce–Tourism/Lodging Committee Member, Monroe County DAC III–Advertising Committee Member, and is a volunteers with Manatee Rescue to help protect and rescue injured and distressed manatees. Ben holds multiple diving and diving instruction certifications with IANTD, NAUI, and PADI, and he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University in 1995.
To reach Ben, please visit our contact us page.
Meagan has been diving since she was thirteen and has always known the importance of the reef system. Her varied background in marine science gives her a broad understanding of caring for marine animals. She has been responsible for maintaining our Looe Key nursery, and guiding volunteers since the infancy of Reef Renewal. Without her no-nonsense approach, our field work wouldn’t be half as effective.
From a young age, Gabrielle has had a passion for conserving wildlife. She’s dived in different corners of the world learning about and conserving tropical marine ecosystems. Her dedication to educate others on how they can make a difference and be involved is why she is the perfect leader in developing our volunteer diver training program.
Autumn is a visionary, entrepreneur, cosmetic chemist, and ocean advocate and the formulator and CEO of Stream2Sea, a company setting the new standard for sustainable, safe body care products and sunscreen. She holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry with a minor in Environmental Geology from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. As a cosmetic chemist, herbalist and entrepreneur for over 24 years, Autumn sold her first start-up in 2009 to the publicly-traded Nutraceutical Corporation. She has dedicated her career to creating natural and effective plant-based formulas safe for humans, marine life and the planet. Her formulations have won multiple awards including Best of Natural Beauty from Better Nutrition, Best of Show from Natural Products Expo, Delicious Living’s Beauty & Body and Taste for Life Essentials. A triple-bottom-line may be a relatively new business term, but it’s been a lifelong passion for Autumn. Formulating products that contribute first to people and the planet and then to profit has been her goal throughout her entire career.
Growing up in Sarasota, Florida, Autumn has always been passionate about the outdoors. She became a NAUI certified diver at 14, and spent her youth diving, backpacking the Appalachian Trail and kayaking the Peace River. Recently inducted into the Women Divers’
Hall of Fame, she’s also a technical diver, shark advocate, underwater photographer and SCUBA Instructor.
Autumn is an active member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists and the American Botanical Council and is a founding member of the Safe Sunscreen Council, a coalition of environmentally conscious companies with a mission to study the issue and raise awareness about the impact of sunscreen ingredients on the planet. “This journey began on a liveaboard trip to explore one of the most beautiful reefs in the world. I
watched, with increasing frustration, as the divers and crew bathed on deck after every dive
– the soap, sunscreen and conditioner residues washing right overboard into these pristine waters. I watched as the divers and crew reapplied sunscreens, then shortly after, dove back in to
repeat the process. As a cosmetic chemist, I understood that many of the ingredients used in these products could be highly toxic to our fragile aquatic ecosystem. Understanding the adverse and long-term effects they could have on the coral reefs, I thought… we can do better!”
An educator for over twenty years in private, independent and public schools, Andrea began her career as a long-term substitute kindergarten teacher; has worked as an admission director, special programs director, operations director and education consultant; taught French and American Sign Language in middle and high school; and taught dance. Most recently, she worked as an education consultant advising nonprofits on topics that included curriculum, S.T.E.M. and organizational structure. She regularly presents at workshops and conferences on topics ranging from best practices to diversity issues to panel discussions.
An alumna of Spelman College, Andrea needed a course to complete her hours in graduate school at Ohio University and was first introduced to diving then. That was thirty- one years ago! Her certifications include: PADI Instructor Development Course Staff Instructor, DAN Instructor, CPR, Rescue, Enriched Air, Dry Suit, Equipment Specialist, AWARE Coral Reef Conservation, Digital Photography, Coral Restoration Team Leader and several more. Andrea’s love of teaching and scuba led her to volunteer for CRF, and now join Reef Renewal USA’s board. A member of Aquatic Voyagers Scuba Club (AVSC in NYC) and National Association of Black Scuba Divers (NABS), Andrea is the current vice president of NABS, serving in her second term. In 2019, she was named NABS Diver of the Year in Cairo, Egypt.
An avid traveler, Andrea has dived all over the US, Caribbean, Dubai, Brazil, Costa Rica, Egypt, Mexico, Maldives, Belize and the Philippines. When not underwater, Andrea enjoys skiing, reading, golfing, ballroom dancing and spending time with her family.
Bill is a quick witted business strategist, working with Reef Renewal to improve its operational structure. He’s ensuring that we bring our vision for the reef to fruition, without sacrificing fun in the process.
Sherri leads us to positivity by example. She encourages the team to exploit our strengths and stay focused on our mission. Her ability to inspire and motivate is unparalleled in the coral world.
The corals don’t spend much time on their finances, but thankfully Adam has them covered. He channels his appreciation for our Florida Reef tract into his impeccable bookkeeping.
Brandy has been an avid diver since 2005 but has always been passionate about marine life. Before interning
with Reef Renewal USA and Aquarium Encounters, she worked in different realms of marine science including habitat monitoring, coral disease surveys, and sea turtle conservation. Her favorite things to do in the Keys, other than diving, are paddleboarding and snorkeling. Although she
loves all corals, her favorites are zoanthids because of their variety of color morphs.
Brandy is excited to learn more about coral restoration efforts and to be a part of the Reef Renewal
Min Min is a senior at USF St. Petersburg, pursuing a degree in Marine Biology. She is beyond excited to intern with Reef Renewal USA and Florida Keys Aquarium, where she looks forward to dual roles of restoration and education/ecotourism. She was immediately drawn to this internship because of Reef Renewal USA’s inspiring mission and impressive progress in the coral restoration field. The team’s dedication and achievements have truly captured her attention and she is excited to be a part of it!
Joseph graduated from Middlebury College in 2023 with a degree in Conservation Biology, focusing on marine ecosystems. He has been an avid diver, adventurer, and conservationist his whole life. Prior to interning with Reef Renewal, Joseph worked with the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters and as a Divemaster in Monterey California. He is excited to bring his experience from both to this internship and to learn more about the field of coral restoration!
Mike graduated from Florida State University in 1979 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. He then attended and graduated from South Texas College of Law in 1983. After running his own law firm and practicing law for 28 years, he left to focus on nonprofit and charitable causes.
Mike served on the Board of Directors for the Florida Aquarium, Inc. (FLAQ) in Tampa Florida for 10 (ten) years and was the Board Chair for (3) three years. During that time, he was also a volunteer diver and was trained to serve as a Scientific Diver. He served on the FLAQ rebreather team and completed three deep dive cruises to Pulley Ridge on project entitled “Understanding Coral Ecosystem Connectivity in the Gulf of Mexico from Pulley Ridge to the Florida Keys.” He also participated as a diver in some of the very early coral spawning efforts.
Mike also served on the Board of Directors for the Coral Restoration Foundation, Inc (CRF) for 6 (six) years and was its Chair for 4 (four) years. CRF grew dramatically during that time. Mike also served CRF as a dive volunteer.
Mike helped form Reef Renewal USA, Inc, in 2019 to carry on efforts to help grow and plant corals faster, better and less expensively by using innovative nursery and out- planting techniques.