Bruckner Chase is a professional endurance waterman and ocean advocate whose 2010 25-mile swim across Monterey Bay launched both the BLUE Ocean Film Festival and his own career committed to moving others from awareness to personal, sustainable action that benefits our oceans and our communities. A recently launched 5-year collaboration with NOAA’s National Weather Service will work to build a new outreach model for protecting our communities and our oceans. Using Evidence Based Ocean Engagements his personal and corporate mission is: To positively impact how we feel, think and act towards our oceans.
Bruckner’s athletic pursuits are a means to connect others to our aquatic world. As an ocean ambassador, advisor, coach, speaker and writer he inspires others and creates opportunities for individuals, communities and companies to embrace their own connection to our oceans. He has created innovative youth programs in American Samoa, and was given a Matai (Chief) title in the village of Aunu’u. His innovative Unified Team trains those with spinal injuries as prone paddlers and swimmers in the open water. Through their foundation he and his wife, Dr. Michelle Evans-Chase, work with groups such as: National Weather Service, Seafood Watch, Ocean Today, National Marine Sanctuaries, BLUE MIND, Government of American Samoa and Bacharach Rehabilitation Hospital. Bruckner continues to build healthier oceans and communities with a commitment to enable in others the Passion to Care, Strength to Act and Vision to Inspire
Michelle Evans-Chase is by profession a social researcher who specializes in social programming: design,development, delivery and evaluation. She completed her PhD in the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, and her focus was the design and evaluation of programs for adolescents incarcerated in the juvenile justice system. Dr. Evans-Chase has received research awards from the National Institutes of Justice, the Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, and most recently was nominated for an international scholar award from the Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO). Dr. Evans-Chase is also an avid ocean athlete who spends much of her free time swimming, surfing and paddle boarding off of the coast of New Jersey, activities she encourages others to try by taking them out and providing them a safe place to learn. She has accompanied her husband on every long-distance swim, serving as his coach during the swim along with managing the boat and related swim logistics. She has also been known to jump in and swim the final leg alongside Bruckner.
PUBLICATIONS: Neuroscience for Social Work: Neuroscience of Risk-Taking in Adolescence (With excerpt on Toa o le Tai Program), Springer Publishing Company, 2013
Patrick’s Career as a decorated helicopter rescue swimmer has spanned more than 20 years, over 2000 flight hours. His work included operations in: Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, The eastern Seaboard, the Great Lakes and the Gulf Coast. He is an NREMT registered EMT and has been on board for expeditions across Monterrey Bay and American Samoa. He has extensive training in Operations planning, Risk Management and Ocean Survival Instruction. Always looking for the next adventure, his master plan is to be “out there” doing those things others read about. Prior to the coast guard he learned conversational French, attended Ferris State University and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. When he’s not in motion he enjoys spending time outside in northern Michigan and can usually be found reading graphic novels or books on New Zealand
Rev. John M. Semmes is interim senior pastor and head of staff at the historic Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Atlanta. He previously served Presbyterian congregations in New York City, Lexington Kentucky, Oxford, Mississippi (where he met Bruckner and his siblings while officiating their mother's marriage), Atlanta, and Raleigh, North Carolina. Prior to ministry, he enjoyed successful sales careers in both media and medicine before becoming a second-career student at Princeton Theological Seminary. There, he earned his Masters of Divinity degree while honing his interest in social justice, racial reconciliation and Christian ethics. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, John and his wife are parents to two grown children. In his free time, he enjoys music, art, sports, and visits to any of the world's oceans and beaches.
Having grown up in the Point Reyes National Seashore, Hillary has always had a deep love for the ocean and a close relationship with nature. She has brought this passion into her classroom since she started teaching over 15 years ago. Although she enjoys teaching people of all ages, middle school is her specialty and her career as a Science educator has spanned 3 continents including North America, Europe, and Asia. Hillary brings her passion for the environment and conservation of the Earth’s resources to her students through hands-on learning experiences and whether they’re in central Hong Kong or on the coast of Portugal, she never misses an opportunity to get them into the great outdoors. She and her students have started a school garden, created award-winning ocean conservation videos, cleaned beaches, and explored the wonders of nature around the world. Not only is she passionate about environmental education, as an Apple Distinguished Educator she is a strong advocate of engaging students in learning through the use of technology. Hillary is an avid cyclist and kiteboarder, she has traveled in over 50 countries and she speaks several languages. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of California Santa Cruz and a Master’s degree in Education from National University. She is co-author of Creating Engaging Science Content.
Hillary is currently an Educational Technology Specialist in Santa Cruz, CA.
In his past corporate life, Ken served as the Director of Real Estate for Performance Bike, growing the company’s retail footprint from a tiny catalog outlet in Carrboro, NC to over 100 stores nationwide. Performance is where he originally met and hired Bruckner who eventually became Performance’s manager of store construction working side by side with Ken for over a decade on most of those 100 stores. Ken grew up in rural Eastern NC, and early on learned the value of family and community. From his many hours working and hanging out in the general store his grandparents ran, the importance of respecting all people and having a space for folks to meet and talk was ingrained in him. The land of his childhood also influenced his respect and care for the environment and the animals that depend on it. Many hours in the middle of nowhere plowing fields, helping raise fledgling bald eagles and banding waterfowl – it all drove home his love of the outdoors, the creatures that inhabit it and our calling to care for it all. These two values, environment and community, led to his working with other outstanding, community non-profits such as The Haw River Assembly, where he has served as a board member, that empowers people with the tools and knowledge to be effective guardians of the Haw River. His integrity, character and professional experience will insure Ocean Positive always seeks to improve on what we do while always honoring our vision and mission.
Lori Clerkin spent her early years at the Ocean City, New Jersey shore and is where she fell in love with the ocean and the beach. Lori currently lives in Northern California in hopes of making her way back to the East Coast and currently works at a startup in the tech space as an Executive Assistant to the Founders and holds the additional title of Operations as well as the very important role of the Chair of the “Fun Committee”. In her spare time she spends many hours walking her retired racer greyhound, Rocco, hanging out with her rescue kitties, Sawyer and Sylvester (named after Stallone, not the cat) and is an avid triathlete with her resume spanning over 18 years having completed 8 Iron distance triathlons, countless half iron and olympic distance triathlons, 22 stand alone marathons, an ultra-marathon as well has many stand alone swimming, bike and running events. She is also a very passionate about music/live concerts and advocates for rescue animals.
CEO, World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA)
Quinn Fitzgerald is an American pool, open water and ice swimmer from San Francisco, California. He swam in college for Yale University and currently swims for the San Francisco Olympic Club. Quinn is the 2019 Ice Swimming World Champion and former World Record Holder in the 50m Freestyle.
Combining his background in start-ups and technology with his passion for open water swimming, Quinn runs WOWSA, the global leader in the education and promotion of open water swimming.
Sean retired from an impressive career in the USCG with his final posting being in command of Station Philadelphia. In this capacity he was responsible for the maritime safety and security of all navigable waters on the Delaware River and Delaware Bay. Throughout Sean’s career he has focused on Maritime Safety, Operational Risk Management, Maritime Event Planning, Team Coordination and Natural Resource Management. Sean has extensive experience in large scale operations including the Philadelphia Papal visit, Tall Ships festivals, Red Bull Flugtag, Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina. Sean is an active outdoorsman and conservationist and can be found on or in the waters throughout South Jersey.