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 in June 2021.
David obtained a B.S. Degree in Geology and Mineralogy from The Ohio State University in the spring of 1979. For the following 10 months, he worked as a Water Quality Technician for the Environmental Protection Agency in Columbus Ohio. David earned an M.S. degree in Marine Geology in 1983 from San Jose State University and Moss Landing Marine Labs. His emphasis was estuarine evolution and coastal systems and his research focused on the geologic history of the wetland Elkhorn Slough in central Monterey Bay.
After graduate school, David taught at Hartnell College in Salinas and San Jose State University for the next 3 years. Professor Schwartz found a home at Cabrillo College in 1986 and successfully taught generations of Santa Cruz area residents about earth, marine, and environmental science and about putting in the hard work success requires.
David’s mother was born and raised in Asbury Park NJ and his love of the oceans began in the 1960s and matured for over 50 years during dozens of summers playing with family in the Atlantic Ocean. In the 1970’s David attended an 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.
His ongoing passion is to clean up the shoreline environment and raise awareness of global marine plastic debris. He has hosted over 45 coastal cleanups in the span of 24 years and is proud to be an active member of Clean Oceans International since 2011.
International Relations Director
Claudia was raised on the beaches around Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, with one foot in the water. She began sailing as a child and became a world class competitive bodyboarder as a young adult in California, Hawaii, and Indonesia. Running her own clothing import business gave her a taste for international travel and her current position as a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines affords her the option to continue extensive travel at minimal cost.
Claudia has extended her sailing resume in recent years with crossings of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and a couple seasons chartering her own yacht in the Caribbean Sea. She has been actively involved with COI since 2013 making expeditions to Alaska, Brazil, Cuba, Hawaii, and India as an ambassador. Claudia organized the beach cleanup program in Niteroi, Brazil in 2015, which has since grown from fifteen people to hundreds of participants including local school programs.
Expedition Coordinator / Board Secretary
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.
Chief Program Manager
Amelia's first glimpse of the ocean was at the age of 25, during an environmental study abroad program in Belize. She fell immediately in love with the ocean and all its creatures. Two years later, she did an internship studying and monitoring sea turtles in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. After a long break raising her two children, Amelia went back to school, earning her M.S. in Applied Marine Science. It was during her master's program that she discovered the pervasiveness of plastic pollution.
Amelia co-developed a protocol for a low-cost method of identifying microplastics in plankton tows for citizen scientists working with NOAA. She taught an oceanography lab at Cabrillo College for 3 years, educating students on the interconnected workings of the worlds ocean(s) and the issues of plastic pollution. She began working with COI in the spring of 2022, and hopes to continue her own awareness and education on plastic pollution, as well as sharing that with others.
Project Manager Brazil
Kelly is a born and raised Brazilian Nature lover from Niterói. She started her career marketing for companies like “Cantão” and “Redley”.
Kelly has been a COI volunteer since 2015 and our COI Brazil representative since 2016. She organizes local beach cleanup events bringing awareness to schools and many other locations in Niterói area.
Kelly enjoys hiking and sailing or walking along beautiful Niterói beaches with a bag over her shoulder picking up trash. She is always ready to take care of mother “Terra” (Earth).
We are very proud to have Kelly running Team COI in Brazil.
Administrative Assistant / Bookkeeper
Vera’s first participation for taking care of our trails, creeks and parks began when she was just 12 years old. While playing and exploring in the local creek with her neighbor she noticed an immense amount of trash lining the upper banks. They got a wheelbarrow from her friend’s barn and proceeded to fill it up many times.
While Vera was attending The Ohio State University in the late 1970’s, she was appointed a Senate Page position at the Ohio Statehouse. There she witnessed the beginning of legislation that would create a local deposit-refund system on all purchased bottles and ban metal cans with removable pull tabs.
She transferred to UC Santa Cruz and earned her BA Degree in Psychology, with Honors. During her commencement speech for the graduating class of Rachel Carson College (formerly College Eight), she encouraged the students to continue their conservation efforts.
She heeded her own words and soon partnered with the coordinator for the recycling program for the county of Santa Cruz. Together, they launched a pilot recycling program at her multiunit complex; at the time only single-family residences were allotted the curbside recycling pick up. They were successful and the county now includes all residential properties.
Vera’s been actively involved with COI since joining the first Brazil Expedition in 2016. She also accompanied the COI team to Cuba in 2017 where they shared common educational innovations and goals with local community members. Vera looks forward to watching COI grow and participating in more educational expeditions.
Xu has over 10 years of experience in Information Technology. Xu is also an artist that specializes in sacred geometry, copper patina and lettering. He has a love for the ocean and mother nature as a whole. He loves traveling and has deep roots on the islands of Hawaii. In his spare time, he likes to take his dog to the beach, play guitar, mountain bike, paint, and go to concerts.