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
President and CEO
E-mail: amerkl@oceanconservancy.org

Janis Searles Jones
Executive Vice President, Policy and Programs
E-mail: jjones@oceanconservancy.org

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

Dennis Takahashi-Kelso
Executive Vice President, Science and Knowledge Management
E-mail: dkelso@oceanconservancy.org

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

Staff Biographies

Andreas Merkl, President and CEO
Andreas Merkl is the President and 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, Executive Vice President, Policy and Programs
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, Executive Vice President, Science and Knowledge Management
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, Director, Strategic Initiatives
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.

Julia Roberson, Director, Ocean Acidification Program
Julia Roberson's passion is exploring tough environmental issues and communicating about the people and stories behind them in ways that lead to action. Prior to joining Ocean Conservancy, she managed the Pew Environment Group’s Global Tuna Conservation Campaign, seeking science-based, enforceable catch limits and other management measures for tuna species threatened by overfishing. Before joining Pew, Roberson launched and managed campaigns in London and Paris for SeaWeb, including Caviar Emptor and L’Autre Caviar (“The Other Caviar”), which sought protection for endangered Caspian Sea sturgeon, the source of the world’s wild caviar, by partnering with chefs, restaurateurs and scientists around the world. The campaigns resulted in the United States listing beluga sturgeon under the Endangered Species Act and led to stricter international trade protection for sturgeon. She managed Too Precious to Wear, a SeaWeb campaign that partnered with representatives from the jewelry and design sectors to raise awareness of the threats facing the world’s corals. Roberson also oversaw communications and research projects for Seafood Choices, a SeaWeb program that works to make the world’s seafood supply economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. Roberson began her career working in the editorial and marketing departments of Euromoney magazine, a capital markets publication based in London. Roberson holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Appalachian State University.

Stan Senner, Director of Conservation Science
Stan Senner started with Ocean Conservancy in October 2009. For the previous 10 years he was Executive Director of the National Audubon Society's Alaska State Office, where he was deeply engaged in coastal and marine conservation issues, such as oil and gas development in the Arctic. Stan also worked for more than 7 years as the Chief Restoration Planner and then Science Coordinator for the State of Alaska following the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In the late 1970s-early 1980s, Stan worked for The Wilderness Society to secure passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and was on the professional staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, where he worked on ocean dumping and other marine conservation issues. Stan has a MS degree in biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and has published more than 25 technical papers on the ecology and conservation of migratory birds and other topics related to natural resources conservation.

Emily Woglom, Director of Government Relations
In her role as Director of Government Relations, 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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