Captain Jim “Homer” Holm
Founder and Executive Director
In a 45-year career, Captain Holm has served on all manner of sail and power craft including high speed rescue craft and slow steady tugboats, grand prix sail racers and square-rigged training vessels. He has crossed the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, worked on white shark research for Monterey Bay Aquarium and on the water response teams for the West Coast Large Whale Disentanglement Network.
On a delivery through the Panama Canal in 2008, Captain Holm witnessed alarmingly extensive oceanic plastic pollution, and upon return home he helped found The Clean Oceans Project (TCOP). TCOP morphed into Clean Oceans International (COI) in 2015, with a mission to reduce plastic pollution through Research, Innovation and Direct Action. This journey has taken him and COI staff on international opportunities to study and teach about the plastic pollution problem.
Captain Holm’s management experience includes developing and operating acclaimed non-profit marine education programs for clients including O’Neill International and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, serving over 50,000 kids and 5,000 adults over the last fourteen years. He has also been a successful fundraiser for people with Autism.
As Co-founder and Executive Director, Captain Holm is tasked with identifying and developing the technologies that will play a key role in removing destructive plastic marine debris from the world’s oceans.
Captain Holm feels extremely fortunate to reside on the beautiful central coast of California where an abundance of marine education resources and an awareness of environmental issues has provided him the perfect platform to share his knowledge and passion for the health of the sea.
David Schwartz is the former Department Chair of Geology, Oceanography and Environmental Science at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. After 35 years, David retired from Cabrillo College.
Dave’s mother was born and raised in Asbury Park NJ and his love of the oceans began and matured in the 1960s – 2000s during dozens of summers playing with family in the Atlantic Ocean.
In the 1970’s Dave attended a SOS protest raising awareness about illegal hospital waste dumping, and contaminated needles washing ashore from Atlantic City to NY, opening his eyes to the political aspect of environmentalism. He came West in 1979 for graduate school in Marine Geology at Moss Landing Marine Labs and taught at Hartnell College and San Jose State University for 3 years. Professor Schwartz found a home at Cabrillo College in 1986 and successfully taught generations of Santa Cruz area residents about opening their eyes and putting in the hard work success requires.
Board Secretary / Expedition Coordinator
Patti grew up in Huntington Beach, California, and fell in love with the ocean at an early age. She attended Orange Coast College, where she assisted with shipboard marine mammal photo-ID research off the coast of southern California and the Pacific Northwest. Patti transferred to UC Santa Cruz and earned a Bachelor’s degree with a senior thesis on marine mammal pollution ecology. In addition, she was the Research Coordinator for the NMFS (NOAA) Marine Mammal Stranding Network at UCSC's Long Marine Lab for six years after completing her degree.
Patti crewed in two blue water sailing voyages; one from Santa Barbara to Mexico's Gulf of California, and one from west to east through the Panama Canal and exploration of the San Blas Islands. She was shocked to observe incredible amounts of plastic debris in the remote regions she visited.
Patti became involved with COI in 2010 while working for Cabrillo College Oceanography, Geology, and Environmental Science Department, where she helped start an educational collaboration and internship program. She has worked for COI as Expedition Coordinator and has been serving on the Board of Directors since January 2018.
In 2021, Patti earned a MAS degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, where she studied coastal blue carbon ecosystems and worked as a research assistant for the Scripps-Rady Plastic Pollution Challenge. She has returned to Santa Cruz, where she enjoys hiking, kayaking, sailing, wildlife biology, geology, and coffee.
Dr. Jay Pennock
Dr. Jay Pennock runs his Functional Medicine clinic, Navigator Medical Consultancy, in Santa Cruz, Ca. after 20+ years in Emergency Medicine in the Monterey Bay area. He chose the name because it resonates with his love of the ocean and lifelong passion for sailing, surfing and scuba diving. Dr. Jay supported Homer’s vision and journey for decades before joining the Board of Directors and is proud to be part of COI’s mission to respond to and remediate the global crisis of plastic pollution in our waterways and oceans.
Tobie Louw was born and raised on a farm in Paarl, South Africa. His respect for nature was instilled during hikes in the Cederberg Mountains when his dad said, “take only pictures and leave only footprints.”
Tobie promotes change in our world by showing respect for Nature. His wife Marly and two boys, Eben (5) and Charlie (2), are also involved in finding solutions to keep our planet healthy.
With a Master’s in Economics and Transportation Logistics at University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, Tobie has earned international business and computer technology experience at Global corporations like Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, BMC Software, Alibaba, and Google.
Tobie joined Clean Oceans International (COI) in 2018 to make a difference in human behavior believing that plastics represent danger to our oceans and our planet.
Eliot began his relationship with COI as a young student at Cabrillo College, studying the variety of disciplines that make up an Ecology education. In Geology class he discovered, as many had before him, that Professor David Schwartz was a bit more of a teacher of life, than merely about physical science. Eliot took the bait, he got more than involved, he immersed himself.
Eliot was one of the first students involved when COI and Cabrillo began a pilot project in 2011. He stepped up and became actively involved and grew with the program. He was a natural choice to be an assistant and soon evolved to teaching the Field Research component of COI’s Environmental Plastic Assessment Program (EPAP).
Eliot became an educated advocate for ocean awareness and a standout instructor. He developed a relationship with the singing group “Rising Appalachia” and presented on stage at their shows. He created and led a beach cleanup and plastic education event at a music festival in Oregon with RA and started a plastics awareness relationship with Sierra Nevada College in Lake Tahoe. Eliot then served as field survey instructor on a Clean Oceans International expedition to Cuba in 2017 for accomplished educators and marine professionals.
Since completing school programs Eliot has traveled in Central and South America, expanding his scientific and cultural horizons. He has recently become active with COI again.
Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, Oregon State University
Skip Rochefort has degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts (B.S., 1976), Northwestern University (M.S. 1978) and the University of California, San Diego (Ph.D., 1986). He was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Ecole the Physique et Chimie (ESPCI) in Paris, France in 1986-87 where he worked in the laboratory of Pierre-Gilles deGennes (1991 Nobel Prize in Physics). From 1988 – 1990 he was a Research Assistant at UC Santa Barbara where he worked in the laboratory of Dale Pearson and Alan Heeger (1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry).
He has held several industrial research positions (Dow Chemical, Kodak, AT&T Bell Labs), and since 1993 he has been on the faculty at Oregon State University. He has been a University Honors College Faculty member since 1995 and a UHC Eminent Professor since 2012. He has been recognized for his teaching and advising activities by ASEE, AIChE, the College of Engineering, and Oregon State University. In 2012 he was selected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. His research interest for the last 45 years has been in all areas of polymer science, polymer physics, rheology, and polymer processing. He established the CBEE Polymer Research Laboratory in 1993 with complete capabilities for molecular, thermal, rheological, and surface characterization of polymers. He has been involved in plastics recycling for more than 25 years, been involved with the plastics to fuel technology for 15 years, and in Spring 2018 established the OSU Plastics to Fuel research effort with undergraduate students in CBEE. He is on the Advisory Board of Clean Oceans International (Santa Cruz, CA) and for the last several years has had collaborative research with Scott Farling and Capt. Andy Schroeder, founders of the Ocean Plastics Recovery Project (Kodiak, AK).