National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Welcomes Six New Members to its Board of Trustees

Silver Spring, Md. – November 19, 2020 – The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation announced the appointment of Gary Demasi,  Susanna Kondracki, Larry Merculieff, Dane Nichols, Andy Winer,  and Laura Zagar as the newest members of its Board of Trustees.

“It is a pleasure to welcome the newest Trustees to the Board of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.  They all bring valuable perspective and passion for ocean and Great Lakes conversation to the Board,” said James Hnat, Chair of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Board of Trustees. “We’re fortunate to have their breadth of knowledge to help guide this organization and I am excited to work with all of them to protect America’s treasured underwater places.”

“Our mission to protect the iconic species, conserve biodiversity, and preserve the cultural and maritime heritage of our national marine sanctuaries and monuments depends on the  support of our committed Board of Trustees,” said Kris Sarri, president and CEO of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. “We are grateful to have six new passionate trustees, whose depth and diversity of experiences and backgrounds will be invaluable to supporting our work.”

As the Senior Director of Data Center Location Strategy and Energy, Gary Demasi is responsible for developing the overall direction for Google’s global data center location strategy, managing teams across four continents, including specialists in renewable energy procurement and energy market development, and end-to-end data center sustainability.  Under Gary’s management, his team has secured over five gigawatts of renewable energy under long term contracts, making Google the largest corporate buyer of renewables ever.  In 2020, the company announced that for the third year in a row, it purchases as much renewable energy as the company consumes across all of its operations around the world.  

Susanna Kondracki is the principal of Golden Woods Consulting LLC, focused on supporting Woman Owned Small Businesses and advancing Female Executive Leadership. Prior to founding her own firm, Mrs. Kondracki spent 30 years in Financial Services leading large Risk Management, Operational Management, and Structured Finance Teams at systemically important institutions including Capital One and Freddie Mac. As a transformational leader, she is passionate about balanced leadership that drives sustainable, efficient, and effective execution in both the public and private sectors. 

Dane Nichols has actively and enthusiastically engaged in environmental conservation and other not-for-profit projects for decades, including work in Belgium and Paraguay. In Paraguay, she was instrumental in protecting a 159,000-acre sub-tropical Atlantic rainforest, the Mbaracayu Forest Nature Reserve, working with a team from The Nature Conservancy, the US embassy, and a Paraguayan environmental organization.  Dane has also lived in Brazil and Cuba. Dane also was a founding board member of The Natural Step US, an organization that supports the transition to a sustainable global society, serving as both Vice Chair and Chair. She was a member of the Founders Circle of Rachel’s Network, a group of women environmental philanthropists.  She has served on the boards of Ocean Conservancy, Island Press, and the DC Environmental Film Festival. 

Ilarion (Larry) Merculieff was raised in a traditional Unangan (Aleut) way and received his Unangan name Kuuyux at age 4, by the former Kuuyux of his people. The name is given to one person in each lifetime amongst his people. Roughly translated, Kuuyux means: a bridge, an arm extending out from the body, a carrier of ancient knowledge into modern times, a messenger. Today he is living the legacy of his name. Larry is co-founder and former chairman of the Alaska Indigenous Council on Marine Mammals; former chairman of the Nature Conservancy, Alaska chapter; former co-director of the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society, Alaska chapter; as well as co-founder of the International Bering Sea Forum, the Alaska Forum on the Environment, and the Alaska Oceans Network. Larry has authored Wisdom Keeper: One Man’s Journey to Honor the Untold Story of the Unangan People, and co-authored Stop Talking: Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning, and Perspectives on Indigenous Issues: Essays on Science, Spirituality, Partnerships, and the Power of Words.

Andy Winer, Executive Vice President of Strategies 360 in Washington D.C., brings over 35 years of legal, governmental, and political campaign experience to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. At Strategies 360, he provides strategic advice and advocacy to a range of clients focused on federal appropriations, ocean conservation, science, climate change, tourism, indigenous people and electing STEM professionals to Congress. From 2013 to 2019, Andy served as Chief of Staff to Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI). From 2009 to 2012, Andy served as the Director of External Affairs at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Prior to his government service in Washington, D.C., Andy practiced law in Hawaii for over twenty years, and he founded and served as the managing partner of a successful law firm in Honolulu for fifteen years.  

Laura Zagar serves as the Managing Partner of Perkins Coie LLP’s San Francisco Office and is a member of the firm’s Environment, Energy, and Resources practice group.  She guides clients in the development of multijurisdictional water, energy and infrastructure projects and complex litigation. Laura plays a prominent part in innovative energy, water and infrastructure projects in the Western United States.  She has been involved in projects involving marine protected areas and offshore energy development issues in both U.S. and international waters. Laura has deep experience engaging with the wide range of stakeholders on ocean issues, including environmental organizations, commercial and recreational fishermen, local elected officials, tribes, and regulators. Prior to starting her private practice, Laura served as a law clerk to the Honorable Nora M. Manella in the Central District of California and the Honorable James R. Browning on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  



 Chip Weiskotten

Director of Strategic Communications




The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, established in 2000, is the official non-profit partner of the National Marine Sanctuary System. The Foundation directly supports America’s national marine sanctuaries through our mission to protect species, conserve ecosystems and preserve America’s maritime heritage. We accomplish our mission through community stewardship and engagement programs, on-the-water conservation projects, public education and outreach programs, and scientific research and exploration. The Foundation fosters innovative projects that are solution-oriented, scalable and transferable, and develop strategic partnerships that promote the conservation and recovery of species and their habitats. Learn more at