Dr. Wendy Marshall serves as CEO and President. Marshall joined
the Ocean Institute in 2017 as Vice President of Education and
brings leadership experience in education organizations in
for-profit and non-profit sectors, including USC, Houghton
Mifflin, College Board, and the Discovery Cube. Wendy has a
doctorate in education from USC, where she earned the
Dissertation of the Year award for her research in 2012.
Vipe Desai is a seasoned entrepreneur and philanthropist, holding
positions on the board of directors for other non-profits and
for-profits over the past 15 years that include: Ocean Champions,
Surfrider Foundation, 5 Gyres Institute, Lonely Whale Foundation,
SIMA Humanitarian Fund, Rob Dyrdek Foundation and RichUncles.com. In addition, he is
the CEO and Co-Founder of HDX Mix, an environmentally friendly
sports drink mix.
Lee Gottlieb has over 25 years of consultative services and
business development experience—within large corporations and
high growth companies. Lee has been responsible for
securing new business and maintaining and expanding client
relationships within the financial services, culinary and food,
health and fitness, oil and gas, and the public sector
Steve Harris is a career insurance professional that is dedicated
to delivering the highest expertise in risk management for
client counsel. He has served as President of Robert E. Harris
Insurance Agency since 1998 and leads the agency with the same
guiding principles that it was founded upon in 1955: integrity,
relationships and service.Steve joined the agency in 1991 and
successfully diversified the agency’s book of business beyond the
real estate sector. Prior to that, he handled one of the largest
audit territories in the U.S.
An attorney by trade, Ken has been with First American Trust for
the past eighteen years, where he specializes in advising
high-net-worth individuals and families on estate planning
matters and crafting customized plans in the areas of investment
management and wealth advisory/trust planning.
David Jochim is a managing director in Union Bank’s Wealth
Management Group. His team is responsible for delivering
custom banking solutions to professional service businesses,
including credit facilities, cash management services, investment
advisory and investment management products, trust and estate
Bill Steel is a founding partner of Samuels, Green & Steel, LLP.
Working with his law partner Herb Samuels since 1986, Bill and
Herb have developed and grown a successful real estate, business
and transactional practice with clients that own real estate and
that have business interests throughout California.
Charles W Steinmetz is a real estate investor. Previously he
worked for the family company, Tiernay Metals until he sold the
Company to Transtar Metals in 1999. Tiernay was the largest
distributor of aircraft quality aluminum extrusions in the world.
The Company is now owned by Castle Metals.
Mr. Steinmetz is also President of the Steinmetz Foundation that
makes grants to literacy and curiosity building educational
non-profits in Southern California.
As the Director of Emergency Services for SoCalGas, the nation’s
largest natural gas distribution company, Jill is responsible for
leading emergency planning, training and response efforts for
SoCalGas’ natural gas transmission, storage and distribution
operations throughout Southern California. Jill has over 20 years
of experience in various disciplines in the energy industry.
Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett currently serves as the Fifth District
Supervisor for the County of Orange and Chair of the Board of
Supervisors. She is proud to serve the 650,000 residents in south
Orange County through her role on the Board, in addition to the
twenty-two other boards and committees she participates in,
including the Orange County Transportation Authority Board of
Directors, Transportation Corridor Agencies Board of Directors,
CalOptima, Orange County Fire Authority, and the Orange County
Local Agency Formation Commission.
As vice president, CIO and CFO, Michael Torcaso leads the
financial planning and accounting functions at TABS, including
all U.S. and Latin America subsidiary operations, as well as
applications development and IT infrastructure. He also
oversees leasing internal and external audit coordination,
treasury functions and Japan’s Financial Instruments and Exchange
Paul was elected to the Dana Point City Council on November 8,
2016. Paul is a retired engineering executive. During his 40-year
career in computer engineering and robotics he helped launch
several successful companies. Most recently he served as Vice
President of Software Engineering for a company that designed,
built and deployed ocean-going robots to monitor the world’s
Russ Pillar is passionate about opportunity democratization,
youth advocacy, and environmental defense. Over a career that has
spanned three decades, he has run some of the world’s best loved
and well-known consumer brands including the Virgin Entertainment
Group, the CBS Internet Group, the Viacom Digital Media Group,
Prodigy Internet, and the Los Angeles Marathon, among others.
He’s served on the Board of Directors of more than three dozen
for-profit public and private consumer-facing direct-to-consumer
retail, media, sports, and entertainment companies; his
non-profit Board service has included Heal the Bay, The Nature
Conservancy (Idaho), the Brown University Sports Foundation, the
Ronald McDonald House Children’s Charities (Florida), and more.
He is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and a member of
the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Sue Paish is the Chief Project Engineer for all heritage Boeing
and McDonnell Douglas out-of-production airplanes and is
responsible for their safety and product integrity. Named to this
role in 2015, Sue also oversees product compliance to the
regulatory standards and requirements of Boeing and the U.S.
Federal Government, and acts as the primary technical interface
for the post production fleets with the Federal Aviation
Administration and with customers. She also assists in addressing
in-service issues with Boeing fleet support chiefs.
Ty began his career in the financial services industry in 1990.
Driven with an entrepreneurial spirit, Ty has seen many
changes in the business and has successfully adapted his process
to meet them. In 1992, Ty co-founded Amerstock Corporation,
a full service brokerage, where he supervised retail operations
until its successful merger with Daehan Securities. In
1999, Ty and his team successfully created and launched E*Trade’s
online distribution platform of IPOs with an emphasis on directed
It is with great sadness but warm and rich memories that the
Ocean Institute honors the passing of Jim Swenson, a wonderful
and caring friend and an enduring example of leadership at its
There is little that the Ocean Institute accomplished over the 29
years of Jim’s remarkable tenure on the Board of Directors that
does not bear his and his wife Sue’s imprint. Over 100,000
people a year, young and old, find inspiration in the waterfront
campus and modern marine science learning centers nurtured by Jim
Their vision and generosity brought the Pilgrim to Dana
Point in the 1980s to create an unparalleled floating maritime
classroom and, not long after, the Spirit of Dana Point,
which with the Pilgrim, forms the nucleus of the campus
we know today.
But the Swensons knew that a beautiful educational facility full
of dedicated people was of little value unless children had the
means to use it, and yet again Jim and Sue became the driving
force behind the growth of the Adopt-A-Class program.
Countless children were introduced to marine life such as hermit
crabs, and many of them to their ocean for the first
And like a warm southerly breeze over Dana Point Harbor, Jim
would delight us with his surprise visits from time to time
bringing sweet grapefruit from his garden or his best-in-show
peanut brittle. The holiday season will never be the same
without that peanut brittle!
In the words of Mel Chambers, a fellow board member and good
friend, “Those of us who knew Jim, along with the children he
helped us serve, will never be the same again, not because Jim
has left us, but because Jim’s caring presence was such a
constant in the life and success of the Ocean Institute.”