The Ocean Project is dedicated to supporting our network of partner organizations advance solutions-oriented action for our ocean. We are a collaborative and strategic communications organization that punches far above its weight, with a lean but extremely dedicated and effective team, plus great advisors and amazing interns, as well as numerous young leaders and seasoned professionals worldwide who serve on our Advisory Councils.
Samantha Mackiewicz, World Oceans Day Director
Samantha Mackiewicz has always been drawn to the ocean having grown up on the Connecticut shoreline and traveling to many coastal locations throughout the world. Sam joined The Ocean Project in 2016 and has worked to grow our global partner network and expand the reach and impact of World Oceans Day through thousands of events in over 150 countries around the world. Through directing World Oceans Day, Sam hopes to inspire people across the globe to protect our ocean and celebrate their connection to the sea.
Sam graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a B.S. in Marine Affairs and a minor in Environmental Economics.
Bill Mott, Executive Director
For nearly 30 years, Bill Mott has focused on building large networks and coalitions to promote more collaborative and strategic ways to bring about a better future. Bill has directed The Ocean Project since 1998, growing it from the founding five partner North American organizations into nearly 2,000 partner organizations in 100+ countries. Since 2002, Bill has helped lead global efforts to coordinate and collaboratively grow the reach and impact of World Oceans Day as a rallying point for the ocean every 8 June, with continued year-round engagement and action.
Bill began his professional career at the Center for Environmental Education (now called Ocean Conservancy) in 1998, where he supported marine protected area initiatives nationally and internationally; he served as coordinator of the Coral Reef Coalition, whose efforts led to the establishment of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in 1990. After graduate school, Bill served as director of the first iteration of the Marine Fish Conservation Network, built it into a diverse coalition, with more than 100 conservation, scientific, and fishing organizations, and conducted an innovative national media and grassroots lobbying campaign to reform Federal fisheries policy. The Network's efforts led to the first comprehensive conservation overhaul of our nation's principal fisheries law, through the 1996 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Bill then spent seven years with SeaWeb, advocating for sustainable aquaculture and helping launch the sustainable seafood movement. During that time, he split his time to develop The Ocean Project and has focused full time on evolve The Ocean Project since 2005.
Bill received an M.E.S. from the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 1993 and a B.S. in Natural Resources with a minor in International Agriculture from Cornell University in 1987. Bill lives in Providence, Rhode Island with his wife, Stephanie, two teens, Sophia and Nicholas, dog, Joey, and numerous fish. He is involved with many community education and sustainability efforts.
Baylee Ritter, Youth Coordinator
Baylee Ritter is a conservation communicator and environmental educator who believes in the power of community engagement and youth empowerment. She has worked with The Ocean Project since 2018. As one of the founders of the “Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal Program” (P2D2), she has worked around the world to properly dispose of unwanted or unused prescription medication to prevent it from entering the environment and harming human and animal health. The program is currently in 28 states and 6 countries and has disposed of over 4.5 million pounds of medication. In 2011, she wrote a piece of legislation that has generated over $250,000 to install medication disposal boxes in communities around the U.S.
Baylee is a former member of the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council and spoke on the Council's behalf on the harm of single-use plastics at a 2017 United Nations General Assembly special session on the ocean. Baylee is also a former Sea Youth Rise Up delegate and has helped mentor each delegation class since 2016.
Baylee is a recent DePaul graduate and received her B.A. in Public Relations & Advertising and Environmental Communication. Although she is from a farming community in Illinois, she loves (and always encourages others) to find their connection to the ocean!
Douglas Meyer, Strategic Advisor
Douglas plays a key role in our strategic communications, including market research analysis and working with our partners to help them integrate and evaluate those insights as applied to their own priorities and programs. As a principal with the consulting firm of Bernuth & Williamson since 2003, Douglas has worked in similar ways with other leading environmental organizations and philanthropic funders, including Defenders of Wildlife, Resources for the Future, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Previously he was on staff at The Nature Conservancy, where he focused on international communications and special initiatives, and had worked extensively in film, television and radio production. Fluent in Spanish and conversant in Portuguese, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature and Spanish from Indiana University, holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Georgetown University, and has taught nonprofit marketing at Skidmore College. In spite of being a sad sight as a surfer, he still loves going to the beach with his wife and daughters.
Tom Adams, Policy Advisor
As a congressional staffer for former Rep. Dante Fascell (FL), and government affairs professional for National Parks Conservation Association and National Audubon Society, he has been involved in dozens of legislative policy campaigns including the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Act, national moratoria on oil and gas drilling on the outer continental shelf, California Desert Protection Act, Presidio Trust Act, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Act, and defeat of legislation to create a military base closure-type commission to make recommendations to close units of the National Park System. During his tenure as Director of Federal Government Relations for Chicago Zoological Society he secured more than $5.5 million in federal appropriations and grants for research programs such as its Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, transportation infrastructure needs for Brookfield Zoo, was instrumental in the creation and funding of a NOAA B-WET education program in the Great Lakes, and writing a successful grant to create the Great Lakes Zoo and Aquarium Partnership. Tom is also President at High Ground Strategies. He began working with The Ocean Project as its Policy Advisor in 2014.
Michelle Liu is a freshman at Brown University double concentrating in Social Analysis and Research and Environmental Studies. Throughout high school, she wrote prolifically as a reporter and columnist for magazines such as The Hamilton Post and English Weekly. Likewise, she conducted extensive research, working at Rutgers University Medical School and publishing the book Navigating Transitions about the autism community. Michelle cares deeply about not only environmental issues but also the politics of ecology and achieving sustainability. Her field of focus is on preventing plastic pollution, particularly in island nations like Jamaica. As an intern at The Ocean Project, she hopes to inspire others to become more conscious of their actions and its impacts on the environment. She is excited to unite others under the mission of developing a clean and healthy ocean globally.