Who We Are

Our Senior Staff

Meet the senior leaders of Ocean Conservancy -- dedicated individuals working to ensure we achieve our mission of a healthy ocean.

The staff of Ocean Conservancy is comprised of immensely talented and dedicated individuals—each helping to ensure we achieve our mission to inform, inspire, and empower people to speak and act for the oceans. Read more about our individual staff members.

Executive Office

Andreas Merkl
CEO
E-mail: amerkl@oceanconservancy.org

Janis Searles Jones
President
E-mail: jjones@oceanconservancy.org

Larry Amon
Chief Financial Officer
E-mail: lamon@oceanconservancy.org

Chris Dorsett
Vice President, Conservation Policy and Programs
E-mail: cdorsett@oceanconservancy.org

Donna Hill
Vice President, Human Resources & Administration
E-mail: dhill@oceanconservancy.org

Amelia Montjoy
Vice President, Resource Development
E-mail: amontjoy@oceanconservancy.org

Dennis Takahashi-Kelso
Senior Counsel
E-mail: dkelso@oceanconservancy.org

Emily Woglom
Vice President, Conservation Policy and Programs
E-mail: ewoglom@oceanconservancy.org

Staff Biographies

Andreas Merkl, CEO
Andreas Merkl is the CEO of Ocean Conservancy, which is dedicated to the development of new solutions for a changing ocean. From the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico to international waters, Andreas leads the organization’s efforts to tackle the ocean’s biggest challenges with science-based solutions.

Prior to taking the helm at Ocean Conservancy, Andreas served as a principal at California Environmental Associates, a San Francisco-based think tank and consultancy that works on the management of the natural resource commons, ranging from fisheries to freshwater, forests, air and biodiversity.

Andreas’ particular interest has been the deeply connected challenges of ocean ecosystem decline and climate change. He has worked with the major U.S. foundations, multi-laterals and corporations on developing market-based incentive systems for responsible resource stewardship, ranging from catch-share systems for commercial fisheries to green growth development mechanisms for developing countries. Earlier in his career, Andreas was a founding member of McKinsey & Company's Environmental Practice and served as Vice President and co-founder of the CH2M HILL Strategy Group, a leading provider of environmental management consulting services worldwide. Andreas has broad experience in environmental management consulting, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, and business strategy.

Andreas holds an MBA with distinction from Harvard University, a master’s degree in Regional Planning and Natural Resource Analysis from the University of California at Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Follow Andreas on Twitter: @AndreasMerkl

Janis Searles Jones, President
Janis Searles Jones leads Ocean Conservancy's conservation programs, drawing on her broad experience in ocean conservation, public lands, fisheries and other environmental issues. A respected expert in the marine conservation field, Janis has provided Congressional testimony and is a frequent speaker at conferences all over the United States. She also authored chapters on sustainable use of ocean resources in Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy and Ecosystem-based Management for the Oceans.

Prior to joining Ocean Conservancy, Janis was Senior Regional Counsel and Policy Adviser for Oceana, covering the Pacific region from Alaska to California. She also worked as a staff attorney for the Alaska office of Earthjustice where her docket was dominated by marine issues, including serving as lead counsel on the successful North Pacific groundfish/Stellar sea lion litigation.

Janis graduated summa cum laude from Reed College with a degree in history and received a certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College, where she is a Distinguished Environmental Law Alumnus and an adjunct faculty member.

Dennis Takahashi-Kelso, Chief Counsel

Dennis (Denny) Takahashi-Kelso directs strategy development for Ocean Conservancy’s emerging programs, ensuring that current marine science informs and substantiates the organization’s advocacy work. Drawing on his deep substantive experience and wide network of relationships, Denny collaborates with scientists, NGO partners, state and federal agency staff, legislators and other elected officials, and the broader conservation community to secure a sustainable ocean future.

During and after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in 2010, Denny led Ocean Conservancy’s Gulf of Mexico Restoration work, drawing on his background as Alaska Commissioner of Environmental Conservation during the Exxon Valdez oil spill. His involvement with the Exxon Valdez oil spill response, followed by ecosystem restoration and policy changes, provided key insights that have helped shape the Deepwater Horizon restoration program and Gulf restoration more broadly. He has provided this technical expertise to Congressional staff, members of Congress, and state and federal resource management officials in order to strengthen oil spill prevention and response laws.

Denny has covered virtually every aspect of ocean conservation, including public service in natural resources management, university teaching and research, and environmental grant-making. In addition to his doctorate in Energy and Resources from the University of California Berkeley, he also holds a law degree from Harvard University.

Larry Amon, Chief Financial Officer
Larry Amon joined Ocean Conservancy in 2008 and is responsible for the organization's accounting, financial management and information technology activities. Previously, Larry was a strategic financial management consultant, helping organizations design their budgeting and financial reporting processes to optimize their effectiveness and to achieve their organizational goals. Prior to establishing his consulting business, Larry was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of National Wildlife Federation after serving as its Chief Financial Officer. Between these two appointments, he served as Acting President and Chief Executive Officer during a CEO search process. He has worked in the finance area of conservation organizations for over 30 years. He joined the NWF staff in 1996 after serving as the Chief Financial Officer of World Wildlife Fund from 1990 to 1995 and as its Controller from 1985 to 1990. Prior to WWF, he worked for The Conservation Foundation. Larry earned his bachelor's degree in biology from Antioch College in 1972 and has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1986.

Amelia Montjoy, Vice President, Resource Development
Though always an ardent conservationist, it was snorkeling on Australia's Great Barrier Reef that solidified Amelia Montjoy's commitment to the health of our planet's ocean. Amelia, Vice President for Resource Development and Operations at Ocean Conservancy, joined the organization early in 2007 after serving in various fundraising capacities with Southern Poverty Law Center, World Wildlife Fund, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and, immediately prior to her tenure here, as Vice President for Development at American Farmland Trust. In all, she has over 20 years of fundraising experience. At Ocean Conservancy, Amelia works with a talented development team to generate the funding that is essential for Ocean Conservancy to continue its efforts to protect our ocean and the wildlife that call it home. A former English teacher, Amelia graduated from the University of Mississippi with a bachelor's degree in liberal arts and obtained her master's degree in English from Auburn University.

Chris Dorsett, Vice President, Conservation Policy and Programs
Chris Dorsett oversees efforts to improve the management of marine fish in the Gulf, with the goal of achieving sustainable fish populations that support healthy marine ecosystems and viable fishing communities. Chris helped Ocean Conservancy achieve significant successes in reducing overfishing and bycatch and increasing habitat protections in the Pacific region when he worked in the San Francisco office. He will now be reaching out to fishermen, managers, and citizens throughout the Gulf of Mexico to make them aware of threats posed by overfishing and forge positive, long-term solutions for ending this practice. Chris has a background in marine fisheries science and environmental law. He is currently a member of the Department of Commerce's Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee which provides advice on living marine resource issues to the Secretary of Commerce. He is based in Ocean Conservancy's Gulf of Mexico regional office in Austin, Texas.

George Leonard, Chief Scientist
George Leonard focuses on Ocean Conservancy's legislative activities surrounding the development of open ocean aquaculture in state and federal waters to ensure that U.S. aquaculture develops under strong environmental standards. For the previous five years, he was the Senior Science Manager for Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program where he was responsible for overseeing the research and analysis of capture fisheries and aquaculture practices related to the development of sustainability recommendations for the public and businesses. These recommendations were presented in the form of regional, wallet-sized pocket guides for consumers as well as sourcing guidance for major seafood buyers. George holds a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Brown University and a MS in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. Before joining Seafood Watch in early 2002, he was the Program Manager for COMPASS (the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea) where he helped communicate emerging marine conservation science to policymakers, NGOs and resource managers.

Emily Woglom, Vice President, Conservation Policy and Programs
Emily Woglom oversees Ocean Conservancy's engagement with Congress and the Administration. She gained deep expertise in ocean policy and governance through her work at the Office of Management and Budget, where she oversaw budget and policy issues related to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. More recently she continued her work for the oceans as Senior Policy Advisor to The Nature Conservancy’s marine program. She is a graduate of Yale and has a Masters Degree from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke.

 

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