Mote Marine Laboratory’s Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the election of Robert A. Essner as Chairman of the Board, James D. Ericson as Vice-Chairman, and Nigel Mould as Secretary, as well as new Trustees Charles R. Smith and Sandra Stuart. Retired LTG Howard G. Crowell, a Trustee since 2005 serving on Executive and Governance Committees and as Chair of the Finance Committee, has been re-elected as Treasurer. Dr. Michael P. Crosby will continue in his Officer position as President & CEO and G. Lowe Morrison will continue his Trustee service, now as Immediate Past-Chairman. Mote's Board of Trustees supports the Lab in its mission of advancing marine science, education and outreach. In 2011, Mote implemented its guiding blueprint, the 2020 Vision & Strategic Plan, which is proudly endorsed by the Board of Trustees. Read the plan here.
Robert A. Essner, Chairman
Essner, resident of Lido Shores and New York City, has been a Mote Trustee since 2011 and has served on the Development, Executive, and Research Committees, and as Chair of Oceans of Opportunity: The Campaign for Mote Marine Laboratory. Essner is currently Executive in Residence and adjunct professor at Columbia Business School. He serves as Lead Director of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, is on the Board of Directors of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and is a Trustee of the Children’s Health Fund. Essner is the former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Wyeth, now Pfizer Inc. Essner previously served as President of Wyeth-Ayerst Global Pharmaceuticals and Chief Operating Officer of Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Corporation. He graduated from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and received his master’s degree from the University of Chicago. Essner is “excited to lead Mote’s Board at this pivotal point in Mote’s history. Mote is a great institution which is now poised for an even greater future.”
James D. Ericson, Vice-Chairman
Ericson, former President & CEO and Retired Chairman of Northwestern Mutual, Milwaukee, has served on the Mote Board since 2009 as a member of the Development, Education & Outreach, and Executive Committees, and as Chair of the Research Committee. Throughout his career he has served on many corporate Boards, including Kohl’s Corporation, Consolidate Papers, Inc., and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, and has served on numerous civic, charitable and educational boards as well. He served as Chairman of the United Way, where he reorganized the entire organization, and was Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Milwaukee Redevelopment Corporation. Ericson continues to serve as a director of Green Bay Packaging, the Marcus Corporation, and the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread. Born in Iowa, Ericson earned two degrees from the State University of Iowa; his B.A. degree in History with distinction, and later his Juris Doctor degree, also with distinction. He was a member of the Iowa Law Review and completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School. Ericson is honored to serve in this Board leadership position of such an important independent, and international, organization.
Nigel Mould, Secretary
Mould, British-born but lived in a number of different countries, came to Sarasota over 10 years ago after a career in private equity and managing companies in the cosmetics and OTC healthcare fields. He was one of the first investors in Stack Lighting, an energy saving system that uses 80% less energy than standard LED’s and continues to be Chairman of the Board there. He has converted two houses to run fully on solar power and has been driving purely electric cars for the past 6 years. Having ‘retired’ from the corporate world, Mould is also active on the board of Catholic Charities, and previously served as the Treasurer and President of Mote’s Volunteer Association. In 2013, he was elected to the Mote Board of Trustees where he has served on the Education & Outreach and Aquarium Committees, and as Chair of the Development Committee. In addition to serving on the Board, Mould continues to volunteer with the Sarasota Dolphin Program at Mote, and looks forward to his new role as Secretary.
Charles R. Smith, Trustee
Smith currently serves as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Commerce Bank Corporation. He received his B.A. from the University of Louisville in 1964 and completed LSU’s Graduate School of Banking in 1971. Smith also currently serves on the Board of Trustees as Past Chairman for Ringling College of Art and Design and is a Trustee Emeritus for The University of Charleston. In the past, he has served as Director for several organizations including the American Red Cross and the National Institute for Chemical Studies. At Mote, Smith will continue his service on the Aquarium Committee, now as a Trustee, and will also serve on the Audit Committee. His comments include, “Mote plays a vital role in this area, and throughout Florida, and I was pleased to learn of its international presence with important research being conducted on every continent. With such a great reputation in the local community, I look forward to serving on the Mote Board.”
Sandra (Sandi) Stuart, Trustee
Stuart, resident of Sarasota and Linville, North Carolina, is Founder and President of the Stuart Murray Group (SMG) LLC. Prior to the formation of SMG in 2008, Stuart was a senior partner at Clark and Weinstock, a Washington DC public relations firm. In the private sector, she represented clients in a variety of public policy areas, including technology, finance, environment, international relations, healthcare and nonprofits. Stuart served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs at the Department of Defense (DOD). She was a senior member of the White House, NSC, Department of State, CIA and DOD council on international matters. For her service, she was twice awarded the DOD’s Medal for Distinguished Public Service. Stuart served as President of America’s Trust, is on the Board of Directors for the California State Society and the Board of Trustees of the Florida House in Washington D.C. She is on the Advisory Board of the All-Star Children’s Foundation of Sarasota. She was recently elected to the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. Stuart received her B.A. at the University of North Carolina. As a Mote Trustee, Stuart will begin serving on the Education & Outreach Committee, and is pleased to continue her Aquarium Committee service, "for everyday, Mote's renown scientists are conducting research to ensure the vitality of our oceans. A state-of-the-art aquarium will showcase their important research and thereby help students, and the public-at-large, better understand and appreciate how essential healthy oceans are to our way of life."