Meet Our Staff
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.
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.
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.
Education Program Manager
Derek Hagen was born in Mercer Island, Washington, but spent a majority of his youth in San Diego, California. He attended high school at The Wallace O’Neal School, a college preparatory school in Southern Pines, North Carolina. It was here where he met the love of his life and future wife, Julia. After high school, Derek double majored in Ecology and Theatre Education. He also received a minor in Asian Studies. Since then, he went on to receive his Masters in Middle and Secondary Education from Appalachian State University. Before becoming Education Programs Manager of CRF, Derek taught Zoology and Oceanography at Oak Ridge Military Academy and was also Director of Education Relations at Mad Science of the Piedmont. As his alter-ego Dr. K. Boom, Derek performed teacher seminars, stage shows, after school clubs, and EOG preparation workshops to over 300 schools across North Carolina and Virginia. From 2005 until 2014, he was a improv comedian at the Idiot Box Comedy Club in Greensboro, NC. Now he spends his weekends with his wife, his two children Regina and Drake, and his plethora of pets. In his free time, Mr. Hagen enjoys designing games, watching movies, exploring the Keys, and reinventing the wheel.
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.
Reef Restoration Program Associate
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
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!
Reef Restoration Program Associate
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. After graduating last 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.
Reef Restoration Program Associate
Dan’s love for the ocean and coral reefs began at an early age after numerous trips to the New England Aquarium. As a young teenager he was introduced to scuba diving by his father during a family vacation and has not stopped diving since. His first experience with coral restoration was in 2011 when he spent a week with CRF as a volunteer diver for Eckerd College. Since then Dan has made it his goal to work in the field of coral restoration. In December of 2016 he graduated from the University of Miami with a Masters degree in Marine Biology and Ecology. During his time at UM he worked with their coral restoration program, Rescue A Reef, where he was able to focus his thesis research on restoration and citizen science. He has received training as an AAUS Scientific diver and a PADI Dive Instructor and is completely at home working underwater. Dan has developed a strong passion for the Florida reef system and is excited to be able to continue working to restore it with the Coral Restoration Foundation.