Sara Rankin brings a wealth of experience in nonprofit management and development in Florida and nationally with organizations including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Autism Speaks, the United Way and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Sara will lead efforts in the Keys and across Florida to expand private support for the protection and restoration of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and conduct education and outreach programs that promote stewardship of our ocean and strengthen conservation.
Contact: [email protected]
Board of Trustees
Tom Davidson Jr. is currently CEO and majority shareholder of Nisim International a manufacturer of hair and skin care products distributed on a worldwide basis. Tom is also managing partner of Quarry Hill Partners a holding company for a diversified group of manufacturing companies, with products ranging from steel storage tanks, to nuclear reactor and aerospace parts.
Tom has been the principal owner and operator of several other companies including Speedy Printing Centers, Quarry Hill Foundry Supplies, Optiplas films and Eco II plastics.
Tom has served on several boards including Synergex (member of the audit committee) previously a TSE listed company, TearLab (member audit committee) previously listed on NASDAQ, Brandimensions, Balmshell inc, Steelcraft, Nutech Precision Metals (chairman), YPO Ontario Chapter (chapter chair), Canadian Franchise Association (chairman), Canadian Association of Family Enterprise, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Ocean Reef Rod and Gun (chairman), The Goodwood Club, Caledon Mountain Trout Club (chairman), Fishing Forever Foundation, and Angel Hair for Kids (chairman).
Tom has a BS from Michigan State University in Geological Engineering.
Stephen Frink is among the world’s most frequently published underwater photographers, with a career spanning four decades. He arrived in Key Largo in 1978 to open a small studio dedicated to underwater photo services, primarily renting cameras and processing E-6 slide film. Still, he soon began to receive assignments to photograph and write articles for the day’s consumer dive publications. He worked as a photojournalist for Skin Diver magazine for 17-years, covering much of the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Florida Keys for the publication. Subsequently, he worked as the Director of Photography for Scuba Diving magazine. For the past 10 years, Stephen has been the publisher of Alert Diver Magazine, a beautiful coffee-table collectible magazine for the members of the Divers Alert Network.
Stephen teaches Masters-level courses at Stephen Frink School of Underwater Digital Imaging in his home waters of Key Largo, Florida. Clients over the past 40 years have to include Scubapro, Victoria’s Secret, Aqualung, Oceanic, Canon, Nikon, Sub gear, Mercury Marine, Jantzen, Alcan Aluminum, R.J. Reynolds, Seaquest, Henderson Aquatics, American Express, Hanes, Club Med; as well as scores of resorts and live-aboard dive boats throughout the world. Rolex Watch Company has also engaged Frink for both endorsement campaign and product photography. He sits on the Coral Restoration Foundation board along with the Florida Keys chapter of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and is active with various ocean
Other Frink enterprises include a dive travel company, Waterhouse Tours and Reservations and the Seacam USA, the North American distribution of the Austrian underwater housing and strobe manufacturer.
Stephen lives in Key Largo, where he operates a studio and gallery at Mile Marker 101, Bayside. (www.stephenfrink.com)
Russell Post leads an experienced sales team that delivers the highest level of client service. Russ came to Ocean Reef in 1973, and served as director and president of the Ocean Reef Community Association from 1977-1985 and president and director of the Ocean Reef Club from 1980-1992. A year later, Russ established his own brokerage firm to assist the Ocean Reef community with all its real estate needs. Since then, Russ’s firm has accounted for more than 50 percent of all real estate sales at Ocean Reef. Today, Russ and his family reside at Ocean Reef.
As an active civic leader and member of the Angel group of donors at Ocean Reef, Russ is proud to support a number of community causes, including the Medical Center at Ocean Reef, Ocean Reef Community Foundation, Ocean Reef Cultural Center, the Academy at Ocean Reef, Art League, ORCAT, Ocean Reef Chamber of Commerce and the Ocean Reef Historical Society. He is also president of the board of trustees at the Academy at Ocean Reef, where all three of his children attended school. Russ went to college at the University of Evansville in Indiana, served in the U.S. Army, and is a Vietnam Veteran. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, boating, and trying to improve his golf game.
Les Burke has been diving since 1980. Les was the eighth African American to complete the Navy’s school for Deep Sea Diving and Salvage in Little Creek, VA. Famed US Navy Master Diver Carl Brashear mentored Les in the early years. As one of the Navy’s elite Salvage divers, Les spent 33 years in the Navy. As a Navy Diver, he took part in several high-profile salvage operations. In addition to submerged aircraft, sunken ships, and personnel recovery, Les was involved in the Space Shuttle Columbia salvage. In the twilight of his career, he was asked to go to Iraq. He spent 18 months with the U.S. Army Special Forces, including a 50-week tour in Iraq.
Les founded Jr Scientists in the Sea – while living in Tallahassee – to provide exposure to any student who wanted to learn about our aquatic world. He brought youth from up north to meet, learn and dive with youth from Florida. After five years in the cold, Les moved back to Florida, where he focused on the Florida Reef Tract and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Les has been honored by the State of Florida for his youth-oriented prevention programming. He was a two-term Chair of the Jefferson County Juvenile Justice Council and was the Jefferson County Teen Summit founder. Also, Les serves on the Board of Directors for the Caribbean Center for Boys & Girls of the Virgin Islands.
Les holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Operations Management and a Juris Doctorate, both from Florida State University. He has completed all coursework for his Master’s in Public Administration. He is a Department of State ICASS Executive, a certified mediator and curriculum developer, a State Certified Law Enforcement Officer in Florida, and a certified Master SCUBA Instructor.
Jodi Zifferer is a longtime advocate for eco-friendly marine & boating practices. Having spent her whole life around the water, she is an avid angler, boater, and diver. A Wisconsin native, she & her husband, Scott, fled the cold waters of Lake Michigan and moved to the Florida Keys in 1996 to raise their family. Jodi & her family feel grateful to call the beautiful waters of the Keys their backyard.
When she’s not on the water, you may find her trekking somewhere in the world, off-roading, or working in her garden. As someone who is always up for an adventure, she couldn’t say no to the opportunity to spend 5 months sailing through the Mediterranean Sea and across the Atlantic on a 43ft. Sailboat.
Members of the Ocean Reef Angels and Founders Society of the Ocean Reef Medical Center. A long time supporter of the Coral Reef Restoration Project, a disaster services volunteer with the Red Cross. Past activities include The Academy at Ocean Reef board member, chairperson for multiple Academy auctions & golf tournaments. Currently, Jodi serves on the Bonefish Bonnies board, a group of women anglers that promote interest and participation in the sport of fishing while educating respectful fishing, boating, and marine habits. She chairs the tournament committee, which hosts 3 annual tournaments.
Karen Thurmond is a long term resident of the Florida Keys and served on the Sanctuary Advisory Council for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Sarah Fangman (Superintendant)
As superintendent of Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Sarah Fangman is responsible for leadership, vision, and strategic direction, overseeing a staff of more than 30 employees and affiliates. Fangman came to the Florida Keys in 2017 with 19 years of experience working for the National Marine Sanctuary System, most recently as superintendent of Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary from 2014-2017. She was the Southeast, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Region program coordinator from 2005-2014 and served as the research coordinator for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary from 1998-2005. Through her work with the sanctuary system, Fangman has conducted more than 600 scuba dives in the Florida Keys, obtained a USCG 100 Ton Master’s Captain’s license, and became a certified submersible pilot. Fangman first came to NOAA in 1996 as a Presidential Management Fellow, where she was the special assistant to the deputy director of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center. She holds a Master’s degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington.
Maddie Cholnoky (Community Stewardship Coordinator)
From a young age, Maddie always found herself drawn to the ocean. She grew up in Saratoga Springs, NY, and started SCUBA diving at the age of 12. That experience opened a new world for her and she knew she wanted a life that revolved around marine environments and helping others to experience them. She began to travel immersing herself in different marine environments and connecting to people who were also compelled by marine environments in Australia, Belize, Hawaii, The Bahamas, The British Virgin Island, Fiji, and more.
She achieved a BA in Environmental Studies from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. While there, she continued her diving education and worked as an assistant with the SCUBA diving program at the college. After spending a short time in Chicago post-graduation, she returned to the ocean, moving to Key Largo, Florida to further her career in diving and pursue her passions. She gained her PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer certification worked at Rainbow Reef Dive Center for three years, interacting with and certifying hundreds of divers during that time. In addition, Maddie oversaw their conservation programs, growing them tremendously. Through this work, she managed both recreational and professional coral rehabilitation dives, countless marine debris removal dives, and created a variety of other marine conservation-oriented events to engage the community.
She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy Making from Johns Hopkins University.
Maddie joined the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation in April of 2021. The majority of her work involves developing and implementing volunteer programs for Mission: Iconic Reefs, Goal: Clean Seas Florida Keys, and identifying, recruiting, and supporting Blue Star operators.
Kris Sarri (Ex Officio, President and CEO)
Kris joined the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation as President and CEO in October 2016. A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Kris formed an early, life-long connection to environmental stewardship growing up surrounded by the Great Lakes. Her interest in marine conservation began when, at nine years old, Kris’ family moved to Australia and she spent endless hours exploring the life in tide pools. Kris’ lifelong passion is finding innovative ways to promote environmental stewardship through community engagement in conservation.
Kris’ career spans over 19 years working on ocean, land and climate policy. Kris most recently worked at the Department of the Interior, where she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget from 2014 to 2016. Prior to joining the Department of the Interior, Kris was the Associate Director for Legislative Affairs for the Office of Management and Budget. She also served as Deputy Director of Policy and Strategic Planning for the US Department of Commerce, acting as the Secretary’s principal advisor on the ocean, fisheries, climate, and energy issues. Kris also spent eight years in the US Senate where she was on the Professional Staff of the Senate Commerce Committee with responsibility for the Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard Subcommittee; she was Senior Policy Advisor of the Office of Senator Jack Reed; and the Legislative Director of the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition.
Kris received a B.A. in Biology from Washington University, St. Louis and an M.S. and M.P.H. from the University of Michigan. She is an avid SCUBA diver.