Mote Marine Laboratory’s Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the election of Dr. Howard (Sam) Seider as Chairman of the Board, Maurice (Mo)Cunniffe as Vice-Chairman, Scott Collins as Treasurer, and Sandi Stuart, who will continue as Secretary. Dr. Michael P. Crosby will continue in his Board Officer position as President and Robert Essner will continue his Trustee service, now as Immediate Past-Chairman. The Board is also pleased to announce the addition of new Trustee Hobart (Skip) Swan.

Mote’s Board of Trustees supports the Lab in its mission of advancing marine science, education and outreach. In that regard, the Board is very pleased to announce financial commitment from 100% of its members in support of Mote’s campaign Oceans for All: Improving Access to Marine Science & Technology. This campaign reinforces the Lab’s Vision & Strategic Plan for the rebirth of Mote’s public outreach aquarium as the new Mote Science Education Aquarium, to be located at Nathan Benderson Park. Read more about this initiative here.

Hobart (Skip) Swan

Following a fifteen year career in sales management with the metals divisions of ITT and National Distillers & Chemical Corporations, Hobart Swan, together with his wife Janis, founded Swan Secure Products, Inc. in 1981 to manufacture and distribute stainless steel and copper alloy fasteners for construction.  Based in Baltimore, its extensive range of corrosion-resistant nails, screws, and other wood connectors was distributed nationally through company-owned warehouses coast-to-coast and in Canada.  In 2007 Simpson Manufacturing Company, Inc., Pleasanton, CA, acquired Swan Secure to supplement its own line of construction related products.

“It’s a genuine honor for me to have been asked to serve as a Mote Trustee,” said Skip Swan. “Both my wife Janis and I strongly support Mote’s ambitious plans to build upon its well-deserved position as a world-class marine research and educational organization. We look forward to seeing the new Aquarium through to completion and to the expansion of scientific research and development at Mote’s City Island location.”

Skip has served on the Mote Marine Foundation Board since 2017, and he and Janis are members of SEA Explorers, a distinguished group of philanthropists who have invested greatly in healthy oceans and a prosperous community through the Oceans for All campaign.

Meet the Mote Marine Laboratory Board of Trustees Officers:

Dr. Sam Seider, Chairman

Dr. Seider has served as a Mote Trustee since 1997, earning him the Mote 20-year Volunteer Service Award in 2017. Seider moved to Florida in 1968 for a residency at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami. He became Manatee County’s first plastic surgeon and built the first accredited outpatient surgery center in southwest Florida. His involvement at Mote was a natural fit, as his father was close friends with William R. Mote, one of the Lab’s first benefactors and its namesake. Seider has served as Chair of Mote’s Investment Committee and as the Chairman of the Mote Marine Foundation, working to spearhead initiatives to integrate strategic planning and community interests to improve Mote’s portfolio management. His son, Matt Seider, was recently appointed to Mote’s Advisory Council. Sam and his wife Doreen are also members of Mote’s Legacy Society, , a group of supporters that champion Mote’s mission by designating Mote in their estate plans.

Mo Cunniffe, Vice Chairman

Maurice “Mo” Cunniffe has served as a Mote Trustee since 2015.  Cunniffe has had a long career in electronics, manufacturing, engineering, and business management. He began as a junior physicist at ITT Laboratories in 1954, but eventually grew to form his own company, Vista Capital Corp., in 1971.  Over a period of 40 years, Vista purchased over 50 companies, including the second largest abrasives company in the U.S., Radiac Abrasives Corp, and the third largest global manufacturer of ophthalmic lenses, safety products, and contact lenses, American Optical. He also served as Chairman of Sola International, a publicly-traded company with manufacturing and laboratory operations in 104 countries.  Mo has served as Chair of the Board’s Research Committee for two years and brings great focus to our commercialization efforts. He and his wife, Carolyn are members of Mote’s Legacy Society.

Scott Collins, Treasurer

A Florida native, Scott Collins attended Duke University before returning to Florida to attend the University of Florida College of Law.  There he received both his JD and his Master of Laws in Taxation.  Following law school, Collins practiced law in Sarasota focusing on estate planning, estate administration and tax planning.  He leveraged his expertise to serve clients with their wealth management needs, founding Fiduciary Wealth Advisors in 2014. In addition to five years as Mote Trustee, Collins has served as the President of the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council, Chairman of the Trusts and Estates Section of the Sarasota Bar Association, Chairman of the Board of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Treasurer of the YMCA Foundation of Sarasota County, Vice Chairman of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, and Secretary of Southeastern Guide Dogs.  At Mote, he has served on the Board’s Aquarium, Executive, Finance and Research Committees and is a member of the Mote Marine Foundation Board.  Scott and his wife Kelly are also members of Mote’s Legacy Society.

Sandi Stuart, Secretary

Stuart, resident of Sarasota and Linville, North Carolina, where she received her B.A. at the University of 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 where she represented clients in a variety of public policy areas, including technology, finance, environment, international relations, healthcare and nonprofits. Stuart also served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs at the Department of Defense (DOD), and was a senior member of the White House, NSC, Department of State, CIA, and DOD council on international matters. For her exemplary service, she was twice awarded the DOD’s Medal for Distinguished Public Service. Stuart currently serves on the Board’s Aquarium,  Education & Outreach, and Executive Committees.