CMA’s Vision is to become the global leader in connecting people to marine life and the environment. CMA’s Values include Integrity, Inspiration, Passion, Excellence, Collaboration, Leadership and Compassion.
Joe Handy is the Chief Executive Officer of Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA). With a strong enthusiasm for community partnership, Handy brings more than 20 years of experience in leading cultural institutions.
Handy joined CMA in 2022 from the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA)® where he served as President and CEO. He is an accomplished leader with an impeccable track record, strong business acumen, vision, and an entrepreneurial mindset.
In 2005, Handy joined the Georgia Aquarium’s founding team as Director of Visitor Services and went on to serve as the Aquarium’s President and Chief Operating Officer in 2017. Grounded in his passion for the Aquarium’s mission, he rose through the ranks of Vice President of Guest Experience, Senior Vice President of Guest Experience, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, President and Chief Operating Officer, and as President of the Georgia Aquarium Foundation.
Handy is a dedicated member of his community and has served on several committees including the Kennesaw State University (KSU) Foundation Board of Trustees and the Strategic Planning Committee, the Advisory Boards of KSU Business School, the Morehouse Leadership Honor Society, and the Board of Directors for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Atlanta Chamber.
He has also received numerous accolades including the Atlanta Business League 2018 Men of Influence Award, the Georgia Senate Remarkable and Distinguished Georgian Resolution in March 2019, ICABA – Atlanta’s Leading Influencers Award in May 2019, and Secretary of State’s Outstanding Georgia Citizen Award in July 2019. He served as Executive in Residence at Kennesaw State’s College of Business for the Fall 2019 semester, is a member of the Leadership Atlanta 2019 Class, and Chairman of the Board for Atlanta Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA).
Born and raised in New York, Handy graduated with honors from The College of New Rochelle with a Liberal Arts Degree and a concentration in Political Science. He later went on to earn his Executive MBA from KSU. While in New York, Handy spent nine years at the American Museum of Natural History and helped launch the Rose Center for Earth and Space.
For more than 40 years, Dr. James “Buddy” Powell has worked to conserve manatees and other endangered species around the world through science and education. With an integrated approach to unlock solutions for conservation issues, his efforts have resulted in coastal protected areas in Florida, West Africa, Central America and Cuba.
As native Floridian in the 1970s, Buddy’s work began with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as a biologist and manatee specialist. In 1986, he moved to West Africa where he studied manatees and forest elephants for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). After a cultural adjustment and gaining experience in managing people and changing human behavior, he was pivotal in establishing several coastal protected areas. He moved to Belize in the 1990s to manage WCS’s Glover’s Reef Marine Research Station. Upon his return to Florida, Buddy administered the state’s research program on marine mammals and sea turtles for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. In 2001, he became a Vice President at Wildlife Trust where he oversaw the Aquatic and National Divisions.
In 2008, Dr. Powell co-founded Sea to Shore Alliance. The organization was created to improve the health and productivity of coastal environments for the endangered species and human livelihoods that depend on them through research, education and conservation. Buddy joined CMA as VP of Research & Conservation when Sea to Shore Alliance merged with Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
Dr. Powell received his BSc. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Florida, his Masters in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington, and his PhD in Zoology from the University of Cambridge in England. He was the recipient of the prestigious Pew Award in Marine Conservation in 2000, has been featured on “Champions of the Wild” and National Geographic’s “Wild Chronicles” documentaries, and has been honored with multiple awards and certificates. Dr. Powell has authored two books, numerous scientific publications and popular articles.
Lisa Oliver joined the Clearwater Marine Aquarium team in June 2012, and serves as the Chief Conservation Officer. She oversees the development and facilitation of all educational programming, summer and seasonal camps, eco-boat tours, coastal clean-ups, and the wild dolphin dorsal fin identification program. She comes from a background of various experiences in the biological field, including environmental consulting, sea turtle nesting, wildlife rehabilitation, and traditional education. As a native to Florida, Lisa enjoys spreading her passion for environmental conservation and awareness to help foster the next generation of environmental stewards. Lisa also enjoys, traveling, spending time on the water, reading, and snuggling with her fur babies. Lisa holds both a M.S. degree in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Marine Biology, and a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from Florida Atlantic University.
Kelly Jordan joined Clearwater Marine Aquarium in February 2016 as the Chief Development Officer. In this position, Kelly provides leadership, direction and coordination of fundraising strategies and activities that enable CMA to make critical investments to ensure our institution remains a leader in marine life education, research, rescue, rehabilitation, and release. This included overseeing CMA’s $15 million dollar capital campaign for its $71 million dollar expansion that has allowed us to rescue and release more marine life, create an enhanced living habitat for our resident non-releasable animals, and provide more space for our guests.
Kelly began her career in business development and fundraising in 2002. A graduate of Tampa’s own University of South Florida, Kelly holds a degree in International Business. She also studied Business and Museum Studies at King’s College in London, England and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Prior to moving back to Florida, Kelly served as the Development Officer in Washington D.C. at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for over 8 years. At the Holocaust Museum she was part of a hugely successful $200 million dollar comprehensive campaign. Kelly also worked with the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.