Who We Are

Where Ocean Innovators Work Together

AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles accelerates scientific collaboration, facilitates job creation and inspires the next generation for a more sustainable ocean. Built on a historic pier with access to the deep ocean, AltaSea’s 35-acre campus brings people together to expand science-based understanding of the ocean; incubate and sustain ocean-related business; and pioneer new ocean-related education programs.

To do so, AltaSea will:

Expand science-based understanding of the ocean

The Science Hub at AltaSea convenes and supports the world’s best marine scientists as they conduct breakthrough research and discover solutions to environmental problems.

Incubate and sustain ocean-related business

The Business Hub at AltaSea nurtures new and existing businesses that commercialize scientific breakthroughs and emerging technologies to create ocean-related products, services and local jobs.

Pioneer education and outreach

The Education Hub at AltaSea ignites passion and commitment with programs that immerse children and adults in the critical role that the ocean has on our planet.

AltaSea Campaign Ambassadors

  • Bill Anderson – President, Westrec Marinas
  • Matthew Bernstein – Partner, DLA Piper
  • Wayne Blank – Co-Founder, Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles
  • Andy Cohen – Co-CEO, Gensler
  • Portia Cohen – Strategic Market Executive, UCLA Health System
  • Vipe Desai – CEO, HDX Hydration Mix and Board Member, Ocean Champions
  • Susan Gates – CEO, Founding Partner, Redbird Group
  • Peter R. Girguis – Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University
  • Jeff Jenkins – Co-President of Entertainment and Development, Bunim/Murray Productions
  • Michael Kelly – Executive Director, Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy and Jobs
  • Tim McOsker – Partner, Glaser Weil
  • Greg Morena – Chairman/President, The Albright
  • Janice Pober – Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sony Pictures

The Board of Trustees at AltaSea

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Camilla Townsend
AltaSea Board Chairman, Former Port of Los Angeles Harbor Commissioner; Executive Director, Max H. Gluck Foundation
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Camilla Townsend
AltaSea Board Chairman, Former Port of Los Angeles Harbor Commissioner; Executive Director, Max H. Gluck Foundation

Camilla Townsend is executive director of the Max H. Gluck Foundation, which provides funding for education outreach and arts programs throughout Southern California and New York. She has served the city of Los Angeles and the Harbor community in many other capacities as a professional educator and as a city and community volunteer leader. Ms. Townsend is a past Board Member of the San Pedro Historic Waterfront Business Improvement District (PBID) and the Board of Trustees to Marymount California University. She is the Founder and President Emeritus of the Port of Los Angeles Charter High School. She has also served as President of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce from 2006 to 2011. Ms. Townsend has been appointed to numerous city and county commissions including the Harbor Area Planning Commission, the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners, the City of Los Angeles Commission for Children, Youth and their Families, and the Presidents’ Joint Commission on LAUSD Governance. She is a native Angelino and 35-year resident of San Pedro.

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Doane Liu
AltaSea Board Vice Chairman, Executive Director, Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development
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Doane Liu
AltaSea Board Vice Chairman, Executive Director, Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development

In March 2017, Doane Liu was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development (CTD), with the goal to further enhance and increase Los Angeles’ prominence and attraction as a world class tourist and convention destination.

Liu joined the CTD after serving as Deputy Executive Director and Chief of Staff at the Port of Los Angeles, where he was the second in command at the busiest container port in North America and head of the Port’s External Affairs Bureau.

Before the Port, Liu was Deputy Mayor for the City of Los Angeles. He managed the
Mayor’s Office of City Services and helped the Mayor oversee 15 City Departments, including the Los Angeles Department Water and Power, Public Works, Transportation, Recreation and Parks, Public Library, and LA Zoo. He also established the Great Streets Studio and LA RiverWorks in the Mayor’s Office. A first-generation Korean-American, Liu also was a liaison in the Mayor’s Office to the Korean-American community in Los Angeles.

Liu was previously Chief of Staff for Councilman Joe Buscaino and served as Chief of
Staff for Councilwoman Janice Hahn, Deputy Mayor for Mayor James K. Hahn and District Director for Congresswoman Jane Harman. He was also Senior Vice President of Government Banking at JP Morgan Chase and Vice President in the Real Estate Industries Group at Security Pacific National Bank.

Liu currently serves on the boards of the Los Angeles Fleet Week Foundation and Sister
Cities of Los Angeles. He has previously served on the boards of LA County Business
Federation, Harbor Interfaith Shelter, Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative, Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Mary Star of the Sea High School, and Holy Trinity School.

Liu graduated from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania and received an MBA from University of Southern California. He and his wife have four grown children and have lived in San Pedro for nearly 30 years.

 

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Martin H. Blank Jr.
AltaSea Board Secretary and Treasurer, Co-Trustee and COO, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation
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Martin H. Blank Jr.
AltaSea Board Secretary and Treasurer, Co-Trustee and COO, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation

Martin H. Blank, Jr. is an attorney specializing in all aspects of real estate law, including financing, leasing, purchasing, selling and the formation and management of corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and other entities. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and is a member of the Beverly Hills and Los Angeles County Bar Associations as well as the State Bar of California. Mr. Blank serves as a Co-Trustee and COO of the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation. Headquartered in Santa Monica, CA, the foundation which makes grants in the areas of education, health care, cultural programs, Jewish organizations and the support of a variety of causes in Israel. He is also a trustee of the Gilbert Collection Trust, which is responsible for ownership and management of an art collection now located at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England, and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

 

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Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen
Chief Executive Officer at Gafcon, Inc.; Managing Partner of Protea Waterfront Development, LLC
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Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen
Chief Executive Officer at Gafcon, Inc.; Managing Partner of Protea Waterfront Development, LLC

Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen has more than 40 years of construction and program management experience and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Construction Management from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He immigrated to San Diego in 1979 to work in construction and real estate development. In 1987, he and his wife founded Gafcon, Inc. with the purpose of assisting owners to deliver complex projects that power vibrant communities. Under his leadership as CEO, it has grown into a globally respected program and construction management consulting firm. It has been responsible for the success of hundreds of projects including high profile projects such as: The City of San Diego North Embarcadero Visionary Plan; the Port of Los Angeles Waterfront and Promenade; the recent redevelopment of the Los Angeles Forum; multiple large projects on the UCLA campus as well as over $45 billion in K-14 education bond programs throughout California.

In 2016, after an heavily competed international competition the Port of San Diego awarded Protea Waterfront Development an exclusive agreement for a $1.2B redevelopment of 70 acres of the San Diego Waterfront known as the Central Embacadero.  As the active Managing Partner, Gaf will steward the project to its successful completion by providing leadership and direction for the strategy and execution with Gafcon, Inc. providing program management services.  To be completed over the next decade, Seaport San Diego will be an interactive, diverse new downtown district offering recreational, commercial, cultural and educational attractions with vital, ongoing programs and activities while incorporating the rich aquatic heritage of the region.

Gaf currently serves on the boards of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges, Meridian Residential Association and Wende Museum Advisory Group. He has previously served on the boards of San Diego Taxpayers Association, San Diego Hebrew Homes, San Diego Jewish Federation, Explorer Charter School, New Americans Immigration Museum and Learning Center, and UCSD Cancer Center.

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Eric Johnson
Principal of the Victory Group of Companies
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Eric Johnson
Principal of the Victory Group of Companies

AltaSea Trustee, is a principal of the Victory Group of Companies, headquartered in San Pedro California.  Mr. Johnson’s current positions include president of Jerico Development, Inc. and Victex, Inc. real estate companies with operations in California, Colorado and North Carolina. The Victory Group’s real estate activities include the commercial development of office, industrial, institutional and retail,dining and entertainment projects.  Mr. Johnson is also president of Victory Oil Company, an independent oil and gas exploration and production company founded in 1934. In addition, Mr. Johnson is the CEO of Crail Capital LLC a venture capital investment, financial services and family office accounting firm.

Mr. Johnson is active in the Los Angeles philanthropic community as the founding board chairman of the Crail Johnson Foundation, a private family foundation serving the youth of urban Los Angeles since 1988 with special emphasis on programs supporting education, health care and family self-help. Mr. Johnson’s interests are focused on public school reform, math science education and urban community building. Mr. Johnson has served for over a decade as president of the Accelerated School board of trustees, a charter management organization comprised of three public charter schools serving 2,000 students in the South Central Los Angeles community. Mr. Johnson also serves as the chairman of the board of directors of The Los Angeles Maritime Institute. Founded in 1992, the mission of the Los Angeles Maritime Institute is to provide youth with real-life challenges that develop knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to live healthy, productive lives, through its Topsail Youth Program. The Institute is a public-private partnership with the Port of Los Angeles, the LA City Council, The Los Angeles Unified School District, and private funders.

Mr. Johnson’s educational and professional background is in the earth sciences and engineering, receiving degrees in geology and chemistry from the University of Colorado. Mr. Johnson’s personal interests are focused on experiencing the outdoors with family and friends, primarily in alpine, desert, and the ocean environments. Mr. Johnson has extensive hiking, climbing, and blue water sailing experience and holds a 100-ton Master Mariner license from the USCG.

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Monique Johnson
Senior Vice President, Director of Client and Treasury Management, Beneficial State Bank
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Monique Johnson
Senior Vice President, Director of Client and Treasury Management, Beneficial State Bank

Monique Johnson, an executive banker in the industry for over 30 years, is Beneficial State Bank’s Senior Vice President, Director of Client and Treasury Management.  Ms. Johnson was initially hired as the Head of Retail Banking in California in 2016. 

Monique has been on executive management teams for the past 15 years. Before joining Beneficial State Bank, her previous position was Chief Operating Officer of SunPac, LLC, a banking investment vehicle with the strategy of starting up a new bank in Los Angeles.  Prior to that role, Monique was Director of Relationship Management and Marketing in addition to serving as CRA Officer and Co-Chair of the enterprise-wide company giving program at Wedbush Bank in Los Angeles, California.  Her extensive background includes working in every type of banking department from de novo banks to those with $15 billion in assets including the former Imperial Bank.  Ms. Johnson has been an anchor in Southern California over the past 24 years with private, community and commercial banks overseeing regional banking offices while instrumental in managing the entire sales and client relationships in addition to all marketing and branding initiatives, operational processes and efficiencies, high touch service, technological advances within systems and products, positive compliance and training cultures, facility management and community, corporate and investor relations.

Ms. Johnson earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance with a specialization in commercial loan management from Iowa State University.  She is a board trustee at AltaSea, an organization bringing together leaders in science, business and education to generate innovative solutions to global challenges of human and environmental sustainability. From feeding the earth’s growing population to providing long-term employment and ocean-related careers, AltaSea is a unique model at the Port of Los Angeles. She is also an advocate, board member and the current education committee chair of Junior Achievement of Southern California reaching from Bakersfield to Orange County.  Junior Achievement’s mission is to empower young people to own their economic success and stay in school through financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness programs. She was a founding committee member and remains active in Community Resource Exchange (CREX) which develops introductions and new initiatives between CRA-qualified, community-based organizations and banks in the Greater Los Angeles area.   In 2015, she was honored by the California “got milk” Foundation with the Better Future Moms – Los Angeles award for her role as a professional, community advocate and mother.  She has been involved in other community organizations over the past few decades including Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation and Culver City Chamber of Commerce.

Monique lives in Hermosa Beach, California, with husband and two daughters.  She works primarily out of the East Los Angeles branch. 

About Beneficial State Bank:

Beneficial State Bank’s mission is to build prosperity in our communities through beneficial banking services delivered in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner.  Beneficial State Bank grew from the vision of Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor and the team they formed to create a triple bottom-line bank and a supportive nonprofit foundation of the same name. In 2007, that vision was realized when OneCalifornia Bank and OneCalifornia Foundation opened in Oakland. Fashioned in the image of the great socially responsible banks and credit unions of national and international fame, the Bank is mandated to produce meaningful social justice and environmental benefits at the same time that it is financially sustainable. The Foundation owns all of the economic rights of the Bank — when profits of the Bank are distributed, they can only be distributed to the Foundation which is mandated to reinvest those proceeds back into the communities and the environment on which we all depend. In our theory and experience, this ownership model aligns our incentives with the triple bottom line and the values of our bank customers.  Today, Beneficial is in 17 locations within California, Oregon and Washington. 

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Roberta Marinelli, Ph.D.
Dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University
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Roberta Marinelli, Ph.D.
Dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University

Roberta Marinelli is Dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. As dean she leads one of the strongest Earth sciences programs in the nation, with nationally recognized teaching and research expertise in oceanography, atmospheric sciences, geology, geography, and coastal studies.

Previously, Marinelli served as executive director of the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Southern California, a post she held since 2011. There, she played a leadership role in planning and implementing an expansion of academic and research programs in environmental studies at USC’s University Park Campus, and directed the Philip K. Wrigley Marine Science Center on Santa Catalina Island. Marinelli also oversaw the George and Mary Lou Boone Center for Science and Environmental Leadership, a nexus where scientists and policy makers can meet to resolve environmental challenges.

Prior to her arrival at USC, Marinelli was the Director of the Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Program in the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Sciences section, where she helped to lead the development of collaborative, interdisciplinary programs across the Foundation, including the International Polar Year, Climate Research Investments, and SEES (Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability). She was a tenured associate professor on the faculty at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science, and an assistant professor at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.

Marinelli received her master’s and doctoral degrees in marine science from the University of South Carolina, and her bachelor’s degree from Brown University. She is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, and The Oceanography Society.


AltaSea Leadership

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Jenny Cornuelle Krusoe
Executive Director
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Jenny Cornuelle Krusoe
Executive Director

Jenny Cornuelle Krusoe is the executive director of AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles. Krusoe, a California native based in San Pedro, has a national reputation as a nonprofit executive and senior advisor on organizational and program design and fund development. She is also a former motion picture executive and a longtime leader in the Los Angeles arts community.

Krusoe has been a member of the leadership team since the innovative ocean sustainability and marine science campus was first conceived.

Key milestones completed under her leadership include:

•  Established AltaSea’s Advisory Cabinet and Trustee recruitment

•  Negotiated AltaSea’s 50-year lease with the Port of Los Angeles

•  Established AltaSea as a nonprofit corporation

•  Oversaw the development of the project campus plan, designed by Gensler, the
internationally-renowned architectural firm

•  Developed outreach strategies and interaction protocol with key project partners and
development prospects

Over the course of her career, Jenny Krusoe has raised well over $50 million in foundation, corporate and government grants. She is skilled at stabilizing and restoring financial viability to a wide array of clients across many sectors including arts organizations, charter schools, human-service agencies and environmental organizations. Her clients included The Autry National Center, Avenue 50 Studio, Renaissance Arts Academy, Santa Cecilia Orchestra, the Los Angeles County Education Foundation and To Help Everyone Clinic.

Krusoe has also founded and led nonprofit organizations including the Arroyo Heritage Theater Company and Legacy L.A. Her previous roles in the nonprofit sector include executive director of the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock. She was also vice president of creative development for Melwood Pictures, a subsidiary of DreamWorks.

Krusoe is the recipient of the Spirit of Los Angeles Award, one of the city’s highest mayoral honors. She is a graduate of Harvard University and completed a fellowship in nonprofit management at the Stanford University School of Business.

 

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Sandra Whitehouse, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer (Consultant)
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Sandra Whitehouse, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer (Consultant)

Dr. Sandra Whitehouse is a consultant who has served for over twenty years as an ocean policy advisor to multiple organizations and institutions, using her marine science expertise to advise clients on a variety of issues including how to advance ocean health and sustainably develop coastal and offshore projects. Her clients have included Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations and other Nonprofit Organizations, a state agency, legislative body and private companies. She has served on the boards of Save the Bay, the Nature Conservancy’s Rhode Island chapter, the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting, The Aquidneck Island Land Trust, Grow Smart Rhode Island and The Consortium for Ocean Leadership and presently sits on The Advisory Board for the Graduate School Of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, and The National Center for Science Education. Dr. Whitehouse holds a B.S. from Yale University and a Ph.D. in biological oceanography from the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island.

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Krista Swingle
Deputy Director
kswingle@altasea.org
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Krista Swingle
Deputy Director

Krista Michelle Swingle is the deputy director at AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles. Prior to joining AltaSea, she produced large events for Red Bull and Microsoft, and managed live video streams and the creation of mobile applications for automotive manufacturers such as Hyundai and Toyota. She received her B.A. from Loyola Marymount University.


AltaSea Team

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Natasha Berendzen
Manager of Database and Prospects
nberendzen@altasea.org
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Natasha Berendzen
Manager of Database and Prospects

Natasha Berendzen is manager of database and prospects at AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles. Prior to joining AltaSea, she was development manager at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, California and a prospect manager at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, playing an integral role in capital campaign efforts. She was also part of a mother-daughter team she created the nonprofit networking groups Women of Los Angeles, Women of Orange County and Women of Pasadena. Natasha received her M.B.A. from California State University, Long Beach and a B.A. with honors in anthropology from Boston University.

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Shawn Jensen
Manager of Government Funding and Program Partnerships
sjensen@altasea.org
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Shawn Jensen
Manager of Government Funding and Program Partnerships

Shawn Jensen is manager of government funding and program partnerships at AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles. Prior to joining AltaSea, Shawn spent thirteen years in finance at banks like Wells Fargo and Citibank with positions in management and operations. Shawn received a B.A. in international business with an emphasis in finance and spanish from San Diego State University.

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Robin Aube
Development Manager
raube@altasea.org
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Robin Aube
Development Manager

Robin Aube is development manager at AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles and the newest member of the team. Robin brings extensive experience, having previously worked as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist at Long Beach Memorial Hospital. There, her responsibilities ranged from performing imaging procedures to preparing and administering radioactive drugs.

Immediately prior to joining AltaSea, Robin worked as a special event planner for the Grand Vision Foundation. She has served on the Board of Directors of the National Charity League, and applied her skills as a volunteer for a number of non-profit organizations, including the Palos Verdes Unified School System and the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO).

Having a lifelong interest in the ocean, Robin worked at Marineland in Rancho Palos Verdes as a snorkeling instructor and as a lifeguard at Baja Reef.

Robin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Clinical Science, with an emphasis in Nuclear Medicine as well as an MBA from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

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Andrés Sanchez-Perez
Administrative Assistant
asanchez@altasea.org
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Andrés Sanchez-Perez
Administrative Assistant

Andrés “Andrew” Sanchez Perez is an Administrative Assistant at AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles. Prior to his role at AltaSea, he researched the social structure and contaminant load comparison of inshore and offshore bottlenose dolphins in the Southern California Bight. He also analyzed coastal pollution in the waters surrounding Los Angeles. Andrew is currently working towards a B.S. in biology with an emphasis in marine ecology from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

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