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About BOP


Murray Fisher
Murray Fisher is the creator of the New York Harbor School and Billion Oyster Project. Murray has spent his entire professional career working to make the waters surrounding New York City cleaner, more abundant, more well-known, more well-loved, and accessible to every young person. This effort started directly after Vanderbilt University through an AmeriCorps job at Hudson Riverkeeper and continued through his three years at Waterkeeper Alliance. But it began in earnest in 2002 when he started the decade-long effort to create the Harbor School. After seven years as the school's Program Director, Murray became the Executive Director of the New York Harbor Foundation where he supported the Harbor School, oversaw two building renovations for the school, and created the Billion Oyster Project.
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Sophia C. Koven

Vice Chair
Sophie Koven is a lawyer and consultant working in the area of community development. She works with private developers, not for profits organizations and municipalities focusing on transit oriented and environmentally sustainable development projects. Sophie has a BA in Urban Studies from Brown University and a JD from Harvard Law School. She lives in Riverside, Connecticut with her husband and four children.
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L. Mercedes Tech
Mercedes Tech is an Attorney and Senior Capital Markets Executive with over 20 years of experience in structured finance, capital markets and corporate governance for leading global financial institutions and private funds, with particular expertise in leveraged finance, acquisitions, restructurings/workouts and derivatives. She holds a B.S and M.B.A from University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.
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Brad Burnham

Chair Emeritus
Brad Burnham is a managing partner at Union Square Ventures. He started working in information technology with AT&T in 1979. Brad spun Echo Logic out of Bell Laboratories in 1989 and joined AT&T Ventures in 1993. Brad co-founded TACODA in 2001 before joining Fred to create Union Square Ventures in 2003. Brad majored in political science at Wesleyan University. He is married with two kids and lives in New York City.
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S. Elizabeth Alter
Elizabeth Alter is a marine evolutionary biologist, Professor of Biology at City University of New York (Graduate Center and York College), and Research Associate at the American Museum of Natural History. Her research focuses on understanding how aquatic biodiversity is generated and maintained, particularly in extreme environments including urban estuaries and rivers, using the tools of genomics. She directs an undergraduate STEM initiative funded by the National Science Foundation (Bridge to Research in Environmental and Applied Metagenomics). She received her B.A. in Anthropology and Biology from Yale University, and PhD in Biological Sciences from Stanford University. Liz lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two sons.
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Robin Bramwell-Stewart
Robin Bramwell-Stewart serves as the Assistant Director for Capital Planning for the Project Management Office within the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In this role, she is responsible for development, management and oversight of the Agency’s $32 billion capital plan. Robin has served in a number of roles since arriving at the Port Authority in 2008. Prior to taking her current role in December of 2016, she was the Manager of Manager of Policy and Strategic Planning for the Port Department where she worked to develop business and strategic plans and initiatives for the business. She is a graduate of Howard University and Brooklyn Law School.
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David Cameron
David Cameron is the founder and CEO of LIGHT+CO, a fully integrated branding, creative and media agency based in New York City. Their clients include Steinway & Sons, Tabasco Sauce, Juliska, H2O+, and 31st State. David earned his bachelors degree in American Studies from Yale College and lives in Bedford, NY, with his wife Pam and three sons.
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Jayni Chase
Acting on the belief that positive environmental change must begin with the education of our children, Jayni Chase founded the Center for Environmental Education in 1988 and authored Blueprint for a Green School, published by Scholastic in 1995. She is the Founding Chair of the GREEN Community Schools initiative. Jayni was awarded an honorary masters degree in Environmental Studies from Antioch New England Graduate School and has received a number of prestigious awards including: Audubon Women in Conservation Award, Connie Award from the National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Connecticut Environmental Leadership Award.
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Andria Castellanos
Andria Castellanos recently retired from New York Presbyterian Hospital. She joined the hospital in 1989 and for the last ten years served as the Group Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for New York-Presbyterian (NYP)/Columbia University Medical Center. Prior to that, she served as Vice President of Operations for Milstein Hospital. Working as an Urban Park Ranger in the NYC Parks Department in the early years of her career helped create both a passion and deep respect for natural urban settings. Andria earned an MBA from the Mt. Sinai/Baruch Program and undergraduate degree in Resource Management/Forestry from Syracuse University/State University of New York Environmental Science and Forestry School. She is a native New Yorker and currently resides in Manhattan with her husband Rafael.
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Captain John DeCruz
John DeCruz is a graduate of SUNY Maritime College Class of 1992. He spent four years sailing on deep sea vessels all around the world. In 1997, he joined The Sandy Hook Pilots as an Apprentice. After a five-year Apprenticeship, John became a NY State Licensed Harbor Pilot. and in 2015 became the NY President of the Sandy Hook Pilots. John became involved with The New York Harbor School in 2005 when the school was located in Bushwick Brooklyn. It was then when he realized that the Harbor School will be a special and vital asset to young children of NYC and the harbor itself. John reside in Morristown, NJ with his wife Marcia and three children.
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Noah Heller
Dr. Noah Heller is lecturer on education, master teacher in residence in mathematics, and co-director for the Harvard Teacher Fellows program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). Prior to joining the core faculty of HGSE, Heller directed the development and expansion of Math for America's professional development program for hundreds of "master teachers" of math and science in New York City. Heller began his career in education as the founding math teacher at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School where he taught 2003-2012. He earned his Ph.D. in urban education with a focus on science, math, and technology from the Graduate Center, CUNY, where his research focused on ninth-grade students' identification with mathematics.
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Ayana Elizabeth Johnson
A Brooklyn native, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is Founder and President of Ocean Collectiv, a strategy consulting firm that supports clients in “advancing ocean sustainability, grounded in social justice.” Previously, as Executive Director of the Waitt Institute, Ayana co-founded the Blue Halo Initiative, leading the Caribbean’s first successful island-wide ocean zoning effort. She has also held policy positions in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, and is currently an adjunct professor at New York University. She earned a BA from Harvard University in Environmental Science and Public Policy, and a Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in marine biology.
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James F. Lima
James Lima has extensive private and public sector experience in the planning and implementation of urban revitalization projects throughout North America. His real estate and economic advisory firm, James Lima Planning + Development, focuses on the economics of place making. James is currently providing financing, public policy and programming recommendations for the first phases of an ambitious 10-mile flood protection initiative (the “BIG U”) in Lower Manhattan and is helping author NYC’s first-ever citywide Cultural Plan.Prior to founding JLP+D in 2011, James was a partner at a national real estate and economic advisory firm focusing on affordable housing, community development and waterfront revitalization. Under Mayor Bloomberg, he served as founding President of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation.
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Carleen Lyden-Walker
Carleen Lyden-Walker is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of NAMEPA (North American Marine Environment Protection Association) leveraging off her experience as a marketing and communications professional in the commercial maritime industry with over 39 years of experience. She specializes in identifying, developing and implementing strategic marketing and communications programs that increase the visibility and effectiveness of NAMEPA as well as the development of educational resources promoting marine environment protection. Ms. Lyden-Walker is also Chief Executive Officer of Morgan Marketing & Communications, and the Co-Founder/Executive Director of the Merchant Marine Policy Coalition and the Consortium for International Maritime Heritage.
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Kate Orff
Kate Orff is the founder and principal of SCAPE Landscape Architecture. She focuses on applying landscape architecture to mitigate the effects of climate change and address issues of environmental and social justice. Kate was the first winner of the MacArthur Genius Award / Fellowship in the field of Landscape Architecture (awarded in 2017). In addition to running SCAPE, Kate is Director of Columbia University GSAPP’s Urban Design Program and an Associate Professor. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia and earned a Master in Landscape Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.
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Elliot H. Steelman
Elliot H. Steelman serves as Associate General Counsel of New York Life Insurance Company. Elliot is an experienced attorney and business advisor with over a decade of global law firm and in-house experience. Elliot graduated Cum Laudefrom Washington University in St. Louis from which he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and received his law degree from Brooklyn Law School where he was a Notes and Comments Editor of the Brooklyn Law Review. Elliot resides in New York City with his wife and their two sons.
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Shea Thorvaldsen
Shea Thorvaldsen was raised in Great South Bay of Long Island, to a naval, maritime, and carpentry family. Mr. Thorvaldsen commenced his career at Tulane University, where he was an NROTC Student, Civil Engineering Major with a Minor in Naval Ship Systems, and the captain of the sailing team. Receiving his commission as an Ensign in the US Naval Reserves in 1997, serving until 2001 in San Diego. Upon discharge as a lieutenant, Mr. Thorvaldsen started at the McLaren Engineering Group in West Nyack NY, where he served as a project engineer and project manager. He has further served as the Chief Estimator, Director of Waterfront, and Chief Engineer for D’Onofrio General Contractors, and the Principal of Valsen Marine a waterfront construction firm, before returning to McLaren in 2014 where he currently serves as the Director of Marine and Infrastructure. In his spare time, Mr. Thorvaldsen is an avid sailboat racer, with 3 boats in his fleet; a certified rescue diver, enjoying wrecks off of the New Jersey Coast and an active volunteer for Adaptive Sailing Clinics in the Northeast.
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