Meet Our Team
Ken Nedimyer is the Founder and President of Coral Restoration Foundation. He has been in the Florida Keys for over 40 years and has seen first hand the degradation of the Florida Reef Tract. As the stressors that affect coral began to get the upper hand, Ken always believed someone needed to do something to help the reefs and realized that he was the one to make this difference.
For many years, Ken, his family, and a group of dedicated volunteers worked passionately to refine techniques to propagate staghorn coral. This became the basis of Coral Restoration Foundation’s mission. Ken believes that we can help natural corals overcome the stressors that have caused major destruction to our coral reefs. Ken has been recognized for his leadership in this field. He was named a CNN Hero in 2012. In 2013, he received the Wyland ICON Award and in 2014, Ken was named the Disney Worldwide Conservation Hero.
Scott is a serial entrepreneur of 15 years following a career as an academic scientist. His ventures have ranged from entertainment, through consumer goods to healthcare. Highlights of his career include the development of the world’s most technologically advanced pediatric cancer center. He has served on the board of directors for multiple entrepreneurial ventures as well as international non-profits. Throughout his career he has published 2 books, over 50 technical articles and popular papers, and amassed over 750 hours of public speaking.
Scott received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in two simultaneous programs (Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity and BioInformatics and Computational Biology), received his M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business, and is Phi Beta Kappa. Scott’s passion for ocean conservation brought him to the Florida Keys to inspire others to help save our ocean.
Chief Development Officer
Growing up near the Jersey Shore, the ocean has long been a passion of Martha’s. As an avid scuba diver, Martha became familiar with Coral Restoration Foundation by volunteering in the coral nursery. When the organization was ready to expand their team, she jumped at the chance to join on a full-time basis. Prior to joining Coral Restoration Foundation, Martha worked with the Maryland/DC Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. In her sixteen years at TNC, she successfully raised funds for conservation efforts locally and globally. Her efforts took her to Alaska, Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Belize and Costa Rica to cultivate major gifts for conservation. Martha received her Bachelor of Science in Public Policy & Environmental Science from Indiana University. She happily resides in Key Largo, Florida.
Education Program Manager
Despite growing up in the landlocked state of Colorado, Ashley fell in love with the ocean at a young age and pursued a degree in marine science. Ashley graduated from Western Washington University with a B.S. in Environmental Science and emphasis in Marine Ecology. In addition to marine science studies, Ashley became a diver several years ago and has been hooked ever since. She knew she wanted to study tropical marine ecology, especially in relation to coral reefs, after studying abroad in the Turks and Caicos Islands where the fragile yet resilient nature of the reefs fascinated her. Ashley began her time at Coral Restoration Foundation as an intern in 2014 and has happily resided in Key Largo ever since. She organizes the volunteer and intern program, as well as organizes educational outreach and related projects.
Reef Restoration Program Manager
Jessica hails from North Carolina and is a self-named coral geek passionate about tropical coral reef conservation. While pursuing a BS in Marine Biology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, her interest in tropical coral reef ecosystems began in 2008 while studying abroad at James Cook University (JCU) in Australia. JCU is situated only a stone’s throw away from the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and from her first dive on the GBR she was hooked on corals! Since then she has spent her time traveling to destinations like Curacao, Bermuda, and California following her interest in reef conservation.
In 2011 she found herself back at JCU pursuing a Masters degree in Marine Conservation with a special focus on incorporating climate change modeling into Marine Protected Area design. She couldn’t be more excited about getting the opportunity to be apart of an organization with a mission as powerful as the Coral Restoration Foundations’.
Science Program Manager
Kayla recently graduated from the University of Tampa in May 2012 where she received her B.S. in Marine Sciences and Biology with a minor in Environmental Science. While at UT, Kayla focused her studies on coral reefs and fell in love with the wonderful world of coral. She completed independent projects on reef ecosystems and traveled to Roatan, Honduras where her love of the reefs only grew. She has volunteered with other marine conservation organizations including the Florida Aquarium, Georgia Aquarium, and the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St Petersburg, Florida.
Kayla came to Key Largo for a REEF internship in September 2012. During her time, she was able to volunteer with us and became a Coral Restoration Foundation intern the following semester. She is so happy to be in Key Largo working to restore these precious ecosystems.
Mari was raised in Lansing, Michigan and graduated from Grand Valley State University with an undergraduate degree in business. Although she lived far from the ocean, she was lucky enough to be surrounded by tropical fish and corals every day. As she got older, her love for the ocean and environment only grew. Mari is excited to be a part of an organization that shares her passions and being able to contribute her knowledge to further the success of Coral Restoration Foundation and conserving the ocean for years to come.
Tripp Funderburk is a PADI certified Divemaster and has received SSI Ecological Diver Recognition for Coral Restoration Theory and Methods, Coral Nursery Construction and Maintenance, and Coral Abundance and Health Assessment. Before joining Coral Restoration Foundation, Tripp worked in public policy in Washington, DC, including eight years as a legislative assistant to US Representative Bob Livingston. Tripp served as staff on both the House Appropriations and the House Administration Committees. Tripp also worked in government relations for The Washington Group and The Livingston Group where he represented Fortune 500 companies, trade associations, and non-profit organizations. Tripp received his M.B.A. from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Virginia.
Julie comes to Coral Restoration Foundation with 20 years of accounting experience with an emphasis on the development of operations processes. She received her B.S. in Accounting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Bloch School of Management. Julie has been a Key Largo resident for 15 years and she’s excited to be working with an organization that has such a positive impact both locally and globally.
A resident of northern Indiana, Alex graduated from Indiana University in 2015 with a degree in Biology and a certificate in Underwater Resource Management. His first introduction to the Florida Keys was through a high school marine biology course held in Long Key and he has pursued a career in marine science ever since. After interning at Coral Restoration Foundation for eight months, Alex has taken on a slightly different role finding creative new ways for the foundation to utilize its data and digital media.
When he isn’t scuba diving, Alex can often be found outside with a camera or in the water practicing his freediving skills.
Recreational Dive Program Manager
After completing her Masters degree from the University of Miami’s marine program, Roxane spent six years in the Cayman Islands. She worked as a Jill-of-all-trades in the SCUBA diving industry, amassing over 2,000 dives as an underwater videographer, SCUBA instructor and divemaster. On the surface, these were just jobs; under the surface is where Roxane feels most at home. During her time on the small Sister Islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, Roxane spent her free time hunting lionfish, educating tourists on marine science, and participating in Nassau grouper research. Between these activities, she never left her love for coral behind, co-founding a Coral Nursery on the small island of Cayman Brac. As part of the Coral Restoration Foundation team, Roxane looks forward to continuing to share her passion for reef conservation by managing the Recreational Dive Program.
Dive Boat Captain
Sonny is a 100 ton Master Captain and certified PADI Divemaster with 30 years dive experience. Originally from Louisiana, Sonny has been living and working in the Keys for 14 years. Prior to this he owned a photography studio, spent 8 years in the US Air Force, did construction work above the water and below, worked in the oilfield, drove shrimp boats, repaired air conditioners and played in a rock and roll band. He loves sharing his adventures with his wife Lindsey, his sons Nathan and Joshua, and considers this the best job yet.
Reef Restoration Program Associate
Graduating from Fredonia State University in upstate New York, Jon moved to the Florida Keys to work for the History of Diving Museum. With a love for diving starting in New York, he enrolled at the Florida Keys Community College taking courses in marine biology and research diving. With the knowledge and experience gained from these courses he worked for University of Miami as a research diver studying the effects of three spot damsel fish on staghorn coral. Jon is excited to be a part of Coral Restoration Foundation’s efforts.
Reef Restoration Program Associate
Tommy comes to Coral Restoration Foundation from the “Mountain State”, West Virginia. While in West Virginia he received his B.S. in Environmental Science from Davis and Elkins College in 2008. Shortly after, Tommy moved to the Florida Keys and has been here ever since. He has worked as a Marine Science instructor for other non-profits including MarineLab and Newfound Harbor Marine Institute, while gaining knowledge of the ecology of the Florida Keys. He has received his 50-ton Master Captain license, NAUI SCUBA Instructor and American Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor while bouncing around the Keys. Tommy has volunteered with the Coral Restoration Foundation team before, via MarineLab, running dive trips to the nursery, performing nursery maintenance, and outplanting corals. Now he plans to continue the mission of Coral Restoration Foundation and help save the reefs!
Coral Conservation & Restoration Intern
Emma grew up just outside of Hartford, Connecticut and attended school at the University of Richmond in Virginia where she graduated in May 2015 with a degree in Environmental Science. After diving for the first time in Key Largo, she knew that coral reefs were going to be her greatest passion and has directed her studies to the water ever since. Studying abroad in Sydney, Australia allowed her the exceptional opportunity to dive the Great Barrier Reef and see first hand the amount of degradation corals are experiencing. Armed with a deep love for the reefs and a passion to ensure their long-term survival, Emma returned to the states ready to dedicate her life to coral restoration. She intends to pursue a career in the field and is very excited to have the opportunity to work with Coral Restoration Foundation to promote that goal.
Coral Conservation & Restoration Intern
Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Megan found her passion for the ocean through the many family vacations to the coast. After snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, she quickly fell in love with coral reefs, sparking a passion for reefs, and their conservation that followed her into college. Through her time as an undergraduate at the University of Miami, she frequently dove to the Keys, leading to their reefs finding a special place in her heart. Having just graduated from UM in May of this year with a B.S. in Marine Science and Biology, Megan is absolutely thrilled to be working with Coral Restoration Foundation to put her dreams and passion of coral reef conservation to work.
Coral Conservation & Restoration Intern
Originating from outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, Katie recently graduated Seattle University in June 2016 earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Her passion for marine science was ignited after participating in a Marine Ecology research course conducted in the San Juan Islands in the Pacific northwest and consequently she became an associate in research projects conducted on freshwater algae, snapping shrimps, and coral reef ecology worldwide; ranging from Seattle, Washington to Exmouth, Western Australia. Katie is excited in the continuation of her career in research and education at Coral Restoration Foundation, to further aid in the understanding of our oceans as a global community.