About Our Team

For almost 40 years, Ocean Alliance has made a positive difference in this world. Our dedicated staff works hard to carry out its on-going mission and to do so with scientific integrity foremost. We pledge our continued commitment to help protect and preserve the marine environment on which the lives of all of us, people as well as whales, are utterly dependent.

Iain Kerr, D.H.L. Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Iain Kerr has a Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of London and a D.H.L. from the University of Southern Maine. Iain began his career at Ocean Alliance as a volunteer and has grown with the organization over the last 30 years. He is listed as author on over 35 scientific papers and has ensured that Ocean Alliance messages reach the general public through international television and films. Iain has led international conservation research efforts across the globe. As a result of exposing illegal sea cucumber fishing in the Galapagos, Iain received the SOS Grand Blue award in 1994. Iain was awarded the Chevron Conservation Award in 2006 and in 2014 the Annenberg Foundation listed Iain as one of 25 visionary leaders. In 2013, Iain recognized that drones could be the future of whale research and conservation.

Mark Hayes Chief Financial Officer

As Chief Financial Officer, Mark Hayes brings over thirty years of experience to the Ocean Alliance management team. Mark has worked in many public and private industries, with specific expertise in the financial structures of non-profit organizations. He has studied the arts, business, homeopathy and social sciences at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, South African College of Music, New England School of Homeopathy, North Shore Community College and Salem State College. Mark holds a degree in Business Science. In addition to serving the Ocean Alliance management team since the mid 1990’s, Mark is the owner/principal of an Accounting & Tax Service practicing in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Chris Zadra Drone Programs Manager

Chris Zadra is the Drones for Whale Research Program manager for Ocean Alliance, Inc. After receiving a Master’s in Engineering from Lehigh University, he jumped on the opportunity to combine his interests in UAVs with his love of whales and the ocean. His skills in rapid prototyping, software development and entrepreneurship help Ocean Alliance develop new, noninvasive tools for marine mammal research and conservation.

Andy Rogan Science Manager

Science Manager Andy Rogan has worked in marine mammal science/conservation for over ten years. He is a regular attendee at conferences such as the Society for Marine Mammalogy conferences, and International Whaling Commission Science Committee meets and is well-versed in the most up-to-date information and most pressing needs for specific populations of whales. He is responsible for determining what data to prioritize collecting (i.e., the data with the most crucial conservation implications) and outlining our research objectives. He has a master’s degree in animal behavior from the University of Exeter.

Linde McNamara Board of Directors, Development

Growing up on the water in Greenwich, CT, Linde and her family all shared a love of the ocean. Already a lifelong sailor, a chance meeting with Roger Payne inspired her to help conserve what was so close to her heart. She has since completed an MA in Marine Biology with a thesis on the effect of anthropogenic noise on the reproductive system of female humpback whales. Linde has served on the board of Ocean Alliance for several decades. As Director of Development, Linde’s fundraising abilities, along with her enthusiasm and dedication to the mission of Ocean Alliance, continue to be a substantial asset to the organization.

Ann Cortissoz Communications Coordinator

Ann Cortissoz has a BA from Stanford University and attended the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She spent more than 15 years as an editor and writer at The Boston Globe before leaving journalism to work at the New England Aquarium in the Marketing and Communications Department, and also volunteered with the aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Team, helping rehabilitate cold-stunned sea turtles. Ann’s concern for the plight of marine mammals and their habitat led her to Ocean Alliance, where she oversees Ocean Alliance’s branding, messaging, and editing.

Vicky Rowntree, Ph.D. Right Whale Program Director

Dr. Vicky Rowntree is a co–founder of the Ocean Alliance and director of the Southern Right Whale Program. Before Joining Ocean Alliance she curated wasps for Howard Evans at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology and assisted C. Richard Taylor in experiments on the energetics of animal locomotion and thermoregulation at Harvard’s Concord Field Station.

John Atkinson Consultant/Aerial Photographer

In 1987, while travelling with Iain Kerr in Patagonia, John Atkinson was introduced to Dr. Roger Payne. John assisted in an aerial photographic survey of the local population of endangered Southern right whales and the following year, he took over the role of primary aerial photographer. John has participated in numerous documentary and research expeditions around the world.

Mariano Sironi Research Consultant

Dr. Mariano Sironi is a Founding Member and Scientific Director of the Instituto de Conservación de Ballenas (ICB), a non-profit organization based in Buenos Aires, dedicated to the conservation of whales and their habitat through research and education. He received a degree in Biology from the National University of Córdoba, Argentina, where he is currently an Associate Professor in Vertebrate Zoology.

Harry Milkman Social Media Manager

Harry served as IT consultant to Roger Payne at his home office in Vermont from 2000 to 2007. That period coincided with the Voyage of the Odyssey (2000-2005), and Roger's descriptions of the voyage inspired Harry to become a sailor and activist. Harry has since served as volunteer crew on a variety of yachts and ships, including R/V Odyssey in Operation Toxic Gulf 2014, S/V Ceres of the Vermont Sail Freight Project, Sea Shepherd vessels M/V Farley Mowat and R/V Martin Sheen, S/V American Promise of the Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean, and S/V Grace of Aberdeen of Ocean Conservation and Research.

John Wise, Sr., Ph.D. Research Consultant

Dr. John Wise is the Principal Investigator of the Wise Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology. He is a Professor of Toxicology and Molecular Epidemiology in the Department of Applied Medical Sciences, and Director of the Maine Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health at the University of Southern Maine.

Bob Wallace Ship's Captain

When Ocean Alliance purchased The Odyssey in December 1991 they inherited the engineer, now captain, Bob Wallace. Bob had been working as the engineer and captain of The Odyssey since 1986 when the vessel was a private yacht. Bob has sailed The Odyssey around the Gulf of Mexico for the Ocean Alliance sperm whale research campaigns.

Christian Miller Expedition photographer

Based in Australia, Christian is an award-winning photographer and drone pilot who has contributed images and video to many conservation organizations, including Ocean Alliance and Parley for the Oceans. Christian is also a talented illustrator and has written a children's book about a green sea turtle called Ella's Adventure in the Barrier Reef.

Board Members

Laura Engleby, Ph.D., President, ex officio; Iain Kerr, CEO, ex officio; Andrew Morse, Chairman; Jeffrey Kunz, Secretary & Treasurer; Linde McNamara, Development; Muffy DiSabatino; Andy DiSabatino; Geoffrey Richon

Laura Engleby, Ph.D. Board President, ex oficio

Laura has more than 35 years of experience working with marine mammals at the intersection of policy and science. Throughout her career, she has focused on understanding the behavior, ecology, and conservation needs of marine mammals. Laura was the first to document cooperative mud ring feeding by bottlenose dolphins and has lent her expertise to numerous documentary projects, including the acclaimed BBC “Blue Planet” and the Disney IMAX film “Dolphins.” She has collaborated within and among government agencies, non-profit organizations, and stakeholder communities to develop and implement initiatives aimed at conserving marine mammals and their habitats. Laura has also been an integral part of Ocean Alliance, first as a research assistant and crew on the Voyage of the Odyssey and rising through the ranks. She played a key role in developing an educational toolbox to accompany the IMAX film "Whales: an Unforgettable Journey" and later joined the Ocean Alliance Board of Directors. Laura's love for the ocean permeates every aspect of her life. Whether spending time in or near the water or engaging in public outreach efforts, she remains committed to raising awareness about the importance of whales and our oceans.