Live from the 2022 Ocean Exploration Forum: Dr. Alan Leonardi, President and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership

March 29, 2022

A chat with the Consortium for Ocean Leadership boss.

Dr. Alan Leonardi is the president and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership (COL), which represents the leading ocean science, research, and technology organizations from academia, industry, and the larger nonprofit sector (to include philanthropy, associations, and aquariums) from around the United States.

Prior to COL, he spent 18 years at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), most recently as director of the Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER). In this role, Dr. Leonardi oversaw and supported expeditionary exploration activities, which combined traditional at-sea exploration and science technologies, emerging advanced technologies such as autonomous maritime systems, and high-speed networks and infrastructure for live communications – including high-definition video of the seafloor – to scientists and other audiences ashore. At NOAA, he also served as acting director and deputy director of the Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation; manager for the Environmental Modeling Program; and deputy director of the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.

Dr. Leonardi has advanced ocean exploration, research, and technology through service on several councils and advisory boards, including as co-chair of the National Ocean Mapping, Exploration, and Characterization (NOMEC) Council and as a member of the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI)Advisory Board, A Trans-AtLantic Assessment and deep-water ecosystem-based Spatial management plan for Europe (ATLAS), Integrated Assessment of Atlantic Marine Ecosystems in Space and Time (iAtlantic), and the Scientific Advisory Board that provided advice and guidance to the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE.

Dr. Leonardi received his master’s and doctorate degrees in physical oceanography from Florida State University and his undergraduate degree in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Show Transcription
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Peter Ravella & Tyler Buckingham

Peter and Tyler joined forces in 2015 and from the first meeting began discussing a project that would become Coastal News Today and the American Shoreline Podcast Network. At the time, Peter and Tyler were coastal consultants for Pete’s firm, PAR Consulting, LLC. In that role, they worked with coastal communities in Texas, Florida, and North Carolina, engaged in grant writing, coastal project development, shoreline erosion and land use planning, permitting, and financial planning for communities undertaking big beach restoration projects. Between and among their consulting tasks, they kept talking and kept building the idea of CNT & ASPN. In almost every arena they worked, public engagement played a central role. They spent thousands of hours talking with coastal stakeholders, like business owners, hotel operators, condo managers, watermen, property owners, enviros, surfers, and fishermen. They dived deep into the value, meaning, and responsibility for the American shoreline, segment-by-segment. Common threads emerged, themes were revealed, differences uncovered. There was a big conversation going on along the American shoreline! But, no place to have it. That's where CNT and ASPN were born.