Staff

Nick Drobac
Nick Drobac
Founder
Executive Director

Nick was born and raised on the central coast of California in the small beach town of Santa Cruz. He has spent most of his life diving in or sailing across the Monterey and San Francisco Bays, as well as the Adriatic, Mediterranean, and Caribbean seas. As a result, he developed a deep connection with the marine environment which in large part has been the driving force in creating The Clean Oceans Project.

Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s in a ‘progressive’ community like Santa Cruz, Nick was exposed to issues of environmental and social justice at an early age. As a child, and long before the ‘green’ movement ushered in the era of curbside pick-ups, Nick’s mom taught him about recycling. Each month, when the piles in the garage got too high, he and his brother would help her tie bundles of newspaper and crush aluminum and tin cans, and together they would drive across town to deliver their cargo to the one recycling center in the county.

Prior to forming The Clean Oceans Project with his partner Jim ‘Capt. Homer’ Holm, Nick worked in project management and sales in the construction industry.

Nick holds a BA in English Literature and a JD from Santa Clara University.



Captain Jim “Homer” Holm
Captain Jim “Homer” Holm
Founder
Operations Director

Captain Jim “Homer” Holm has been U.S. Coast Guard licensed since 1979, working for over 30 years in the maritime trades on various configurations of sail and motor craft including private luxury yachts, grand prix racing sailboats, marine research vessels, square-rigged training ships and fast rescue boats.

Captain Holm has crossed the Atlantic Ocean, sailed into the Mediterranean, North and Caribbean Seas, transited the Panama Canal, crossed the Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii and back numerous times, and voyaged among many Pacific islands including Hawaii, French Polynesia, Fiji, Vanuatu, Australia, New Zealand and the Marshall Islands.

Captain Holm’s management experience includes developing and operating acclaimed non-profit marine education programs for clients including O’Neill International and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, serving over 50,000 kids and 5,000 adults over the last fourteen years. He has also been a successful fundraiser for people with Autism.

As Co-founder and Director of Operations for “The Clean Oceans Project”, Captain Holm is tasked with identifying and developing the technologies that will play a key role in removing destructive plastic marine debris from the world’s oceans.

Captain Holm feels extremely fortunate to reside on the beautiful central coast of California where an abundance of marine education resources and an awareness of environmental issues has provided him the perfect platform to share his knowledge and passion for the health of the sea. He is excited to discuss marine environmental and educational issues and invites inquiries through your favorite medium.

Rob Mazurek
Rob Mazurek
Strategic Planning

Robert Mazurek started Conservation Planners in 2005 in order to fill a vital need for independent, strategic, and full service conservation planning. He has 10 years of proven experience creating adaptive and dynamic plans to achieve sustainable ocean ecosystems in mixed-use environments. He has over 20 years experience in marine science communications focused on educating decision makers and the general public.

Recently, Robert developed a communications plan, a "lessons learned" report, and a comprehensive funding strategy for the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation's successful MPA Education and Outreach Initiative.

Robert has also spent the past three years advising the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation and the California Department of Fish and Game in the implementation of California's Marine Life Protection Act. Specifically, Robert took the lead on creating a statewide management planning framework and regional partnership protocols for the state's network of marine protected areas, which will be the largest in the world.

Previously, Robert was the Management Plan Coordinator for the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve and spearheaded every aspect of the agency's conservation assessment and goal development. Using these new goals, he created an integrated program strategy, a five-year action plan, and a ten-year management plan. He then successfully guided this plan through a complex two-tiered Federal/State environmental review process.

Robert also spent six years at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and helped design and launch the Aquarium's nationally successful Seafood Watch Program. As part of this effort, he analyzed and evaluated the sustainability of fisheries throughout the world, worked with fishery scientists and fishermen to create a marketplace for sustainable seafood, and helped lead the program's communications and outreach effort.

Robert is the former Deputy Director of communications for California State University, Monterey Bay and was in charge of all internal communications and science-related external communications. He has written dozens of articles in magazines such as Popular Science, New Scientist, and the Smithsonian.

For over eight years Robert has served on the Executive Committee of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation's Board of Directors. He was also recently appointed vice-chair for the City of Santa Cruz Water Commission.

Zelda Tallman
Zelda Tallman
Research Coordinator

Zelda comes from a large family and was raised in Northern California. As a child, she developed a love for the ocean and marine life during family vacations every summer in Capitola, California. Zelda gained an early appreciation for the concepts of social justice and taking collective responsibility. Her parents were activists, participating in the Civil Rights movement as well as the United Farmworkers movement. Zelda’s father was the first official doctor for the United Farmworkers Union and her parents helped to open the very first clinics to serve the workers on the Central Coast. She grew up on picket lines and marches and was taught the importance of taking a strong stand and speaking out in order to bring about positive social change.

After receiving a Bachelors Degree in Philosophy from University of California at Santa Cruz, Zelda went on to get a law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law. She feels passionately about the study of law and how its application can be used to honor and protect the most valuable and vulnerable of our resources; people, animals, and the earth. Zelda has worked as a criminal investigator, enjoys doing research and writing, has been trained in mediation, and recently worked as legal counsel for the California Alliance to Stop the Spray. She brings passion, commitment and a love of learning to the project.

Zelda lives near the beach with her husband Jonathan and their son, Ethan Ocean.

Arnon Foa
Arnon Foa
Financial Operations Director

Arnon was born and raised in Israel near the Mediterranean coast. His deep connection to the Mediterranean sea and our oceans started when he was very young. His father, a biology teacher, passed on his appreciation for the ocean to Arnon during family outings and hikes on the shore. His connection to the ocean continued when he moved to the coastal town of Santa Cruz, California. Arnon feels very fortunate to live close to the Pacific Ocean.

Witnessing firsthand the rapid changes affecting the seas and the shore line, it became clear to Arnon that along with innovation there should be a major effort directed at ensuring the sustainability of the world’s varied ecosystems. Joining “The Clean Oceans Project” has allowed Arnon to take action with others who feel strongly about preserving this vital resource.

In Israel, Arnon practiced law for several years. Prior to attending law school at the University of Tel–Aviv, Arnon served in the Israeli Army. After moving to Santa Cruz, Arnon received a Masters of Law from the University of Santa Clara Law School. His emphasis was international and business law. Arnon’s work in the nonprofit sector goes back to his work with underprivileged children and youth in Israel. More recently, he worked as treasurer for the California Alliance to Stop the Spray, a local nonprofit.

Arnon enjoys spending time with his family and has a deep rooted love of the outdoors, especially the ocean.

Rita Chaffin
Rita Chaffin
Volunteer Coordinator

Rita has lived on the California coast her entire life, first in Long Beach, then Santa Barbara, settling in Santa Cruz almost 20 years ago. She is an avid kayaker who has had many magical experiences with marine wildlife while kayaking in the Monterey Bay.

She has been a volunteer and staff naturalist for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary during the summer months since 2006. The program, TeamOCEAN, is a kayaker outreach program where she talks to visitors about the wildlife they are viewing from their kayak. She currently works for the Elkhorn Slough Foundation as a biological monitor. She has 10 years experience as a volunteer coordinator for the Santa Barbara YMCA, a program that boasted managing 250 volunteers annually. She is thrilled to be able to use to use this experience for The Clean Oceans Project.

She first became interested in the plastics pollution problem after viewing the film, "Addicted to Plastics." On a mission to reduce plastic in her own life, she discovered that it is easier said than done, so she sought out more information. She received training from the Surfrider Foundation, toured the Santa Cruz recycling facility, attends Surfrider Beach cleanup days, and toured the Monterey Bay in the educational sailboat the Derek M. Baylis to learn more about the problem and solutions. She is a volunteer activist giving the Surfrider presentation, "Rise Above Plastics," to interested groups. She was referred to TCOP by a friend when talking about her presentation.

When she is not in a kayak she enjoys studying herbal medicine, gardening, traveling and live music. She is dedicated to spreading the word about living more simply in order to reduce disposable plastic in our lives through her blog.

Kelly Finan
Kelly Finan
Graphic Design and Illustration

Having grown up in the woods of northeastern Pennsylvania, Kelly spent many summers immersed in her natural surroundings. Inspired by this experience, she obtained a bachelor's degree from Juniata College in environmental science with a minor in studio art, and a master's certificate in science illustration from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Kelly spent the most exciting and rewarding summer of her life interning as a sea turtle technician/educator at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, cementing a deep-rooted concern for the marine environment. She studied ecology and evolution in the Galapagos Islands, where the perils of a fragile ecosystem could not be more obvious.

Kelly works each day using art and design to help environmental non-profits better communicate their messages. In addition to the Clean Oceans Project, Kelly's clients have included the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Yosemite National Park, the Paleontological Research Institution, and ANAI, a Costa Rican sustainable development organization.

Brian Foss
Brian Foss

Brian earned his BA in Economics from the University of Southern California and then spent several years in the US Coast Guard and California Air National Guard.

Brian's rich maritime background stems from experience as Harbormaster, Port Director and consultant to the Santa Cruz Port District. He launched Brian Foss Maritime Consulting in 2009 and continues Government and Environmental consultation services today.

As a member and former chairman of the California Marine Affairs and Navigation Conference (CMANC), a consortium of ports and harbors, Brian is highly involved in maritime advocacy. Additionally he co-chairs the CMANC environmental committee, which tracks environmental issues pertaining to the marine industry.

Brian is the current chairman of the California Maritime Infrastructure Authority (CMIA), overseeing bond finance facilitated by the organization. An advocate for marine environmental issues, he also enjoys swimming, cycling, paddle boarding and creative writing.

Chris Reeves
Chris Reeves
Science and Education

Chris is the Visitor Programs Manager at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center at Long Marine Laboratory, part of the University of California Santa Cruz. He is a Santa Cruz resident, and an avid SCUBA diver.

Throughout his career, Chris has maintained a passion for communicating marine science to the public, and has maintained several teaching positions in the community over the years, including O’Neill Sea Odyssey and the Seymour Marine Discovery Center.

He is the creator and lead instructor for Pacific Life Eco–tours, a marine ecology based teaching program aboard a sailing charter vessel in Santa Cruz whose goal is to make marine science accessible and entertaining to the public.

Miranda Emanuel
Miranda Emanuel
Intern Coordinator

Miranda Emanuel grew up near the coast in Santa Cruz, California. She is an experienced sailor, SCUBA diver and surfer with a deep appreciation for the ocean and its many inhabitants. She spent the year of 2010 volunteering, working and traveling around the world–from Europe to Southern Africa to South East Asia and then finishing off the trip with a sailing voyage from the northern tip of New Zealand to French Polynesia. During the three-week passage, her drive to protect the ocean was reinforced and solidified when she observed the pollution in the open ocean and then later on the remote islands.

Miranda attended the University of California Santa Cruz and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts/Photography and a minor in Education.

Janell Galindez
Janell Galindez
Volunteer

Janell, a native of Salinas, grew up with a deep fondness for the ocean. Aside from being a competitive outrigger canoeist, hula dancer, and a scuba diver, she is also the webmaster for Ke Kai O'Uhane Canoe Club of Monterey. She has over 15 years of progressive IT and management experience from the Silicon Valley, interned at Fresh Express, consulted at Yahoo, and taught business system classes at CSU Monterey and Pacific Grove Adult Ed. She volunteered at Salinas Chinatown's Computer Center and is working on the first Monterey Sardine Festival 2012.

After receiving her BS in IT/eCommerce from CSU Monterey Bay, her passion for social ventures and for the environment led her to pursue a MSBA in Global Social Sustainable Enterprise from Colorado State. One of her social interests took her to India to research birthing issues for underserved women, resulting in a $2 birthing kit. Janell welcomes social and environmental endeavors and does freelance web design work.

Driving over Sand City's sandy hill en route to canoe practice, she admires the breathtaking view of the Monterey Beach coastline and says 'Thank you for my bathtub.'

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