Captains For Clean Water is a grassroots 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that fights to restore and protect our water resources.
In 2016, we started as a couple fishing guides that had “had enough” of Florida’s poor water management practices devastating the estuaries we rely on. We were convinced that if everyone knew about the issues, they would’ve been fixed long ago. The solution is known, but has been delayed for decades due to lack of political will and public awareness. So, we set out to change that.
We work to advance science-based solutions through efforts focused on awareness and education, empowering people like you to speak up for our water quality and hold elected officials accountable. Together, we’ve united the outdoor industry, environmental groups, business community and concerned citizens around these important issues, and are seeing more people than ever get involved in the fight for clean water. As a result, progress is happening at a record pace, but we still have a long way to go and we need your help.
We must fight to protect these valuable resources and our way of life for future generations.
Capt. Daniel Andrews walked away from a full college scholarship to start his dream job as a fishing guide in 2011. As a full-time fishing guide, Daniel spent more awake time on the water than on dry land.
As a 25-year-old fishing guide, Daniel was concerned that the estuary he depended on to make a living was being destroyed by toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee at a rate that wouldn’t allow him to continue doing what he loved for the rest of his career. It wasn’t an option to just sit back and watch the places he made his fondest memories as a kid knowingly destroyed by bad water management practices.
In February of 2016, Capt. Andrews co-founded Captains For Clean Water as a way of fighting for the places he cares about most. A year later, Daniel made the heart wrenching decision to walk away from his successful charter business to take on the role of Executive Director of Captains For Clean Water. He believed there were plenty of fishing guides in southwest Florida, but not enough people fighting to protect our waters so we can pass them along to future generations to use and enjoy.
A fourth-generation Florida native, Captain Chris Wittman, co-founded Captains For Clean Water after witnessing the consequences of Florida’s water mismanagement. His extensive experience as a fishing and hunting guide, nationally renowned tournament angler, on-camera host and TV show producer allows him to engage leading brands and personalities across the industry and identify opportunities to expand the organization’s reach.
Jessica has been a friend and supporter of Captains since its inception through her affiliations at various nonprofits, where her talents as a government relations and policy professional were well utilized as an effective advocate for clean water. When it comes to public policy issues, her instincts and expertise are part of her DNA as she is a descendant of Florida Governor John Milton and U.S. Senator William Milton. After college, Jessica worked in Tallahassee for the Department of Management Services and continued her governmental affairs career in the private sector. Jessica worked in various public advocacy and policy positions for organizations focused on preservation and conservation of Florida’s natural resources, including The Florida Economic Council. Growing up in the rural panhandle of Florida surrounded by family with agricultural roots, has given Jessica a deep, life-long appreciation for all of Florida’s most precious natural resources like the Everglades, which became her passion after moving to Palm Beach County in 2005. Jessica provides the research, analysis and strategic planning we rely upon when communicating with our local, state and federal elected officials.
Alycia Downs joined Captains in 2018 and leads the organization’s communications team in advancing education and awareness through the organization’s digital channels. Listening to supporters and keeping them informed is her team’s priority. Alycia formerly worked in marketing for enthusiast-driven brands, is a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University, and is freelance writer who contributes regularly to publications focused on conservation, fishing, and outdoor recreation. As a fifth-generation Floridian, Alycia’s heart and heritage are rooted in the mission of Captains and her devotion to fight for what’s left of the wild places we love.
Christin and her family have been passionate supporters of Captains since its inception, always appreciating the authentic, grass roots approach. Her passion for community building—of which she has extensive background, both professionally and as a community volunteer—is vital to the development and stewardship of Captains’ amazing donors. Foundational to her community engagement style are active listening and collaboration, both of which are necessary for making progress on our water issues. She appreciates Captains’ dedication to taking a very complex, century old issue, and making the science understandable for all. From there, anyone and everyone is welcome to plug in and be a part of this incredibly challenging issue. Christin is grateful for the opportunity to plug in and make a difference, and she invites you to connect if you would like to be a part of the solution.
Being raised in Naples, Emily is no stranger to Florida’s unique and fragile eco-system. While growing up on our pristine beaches, fishing the backwaters of Naples Bay and enjoying Keewaydin Island days, she recognized the importance of our environmental responsibilities and impact. With nearly 15 years of administrative management experience, Emily decided to fuse her experience with her passion for non-profit causes and join Captains For Clean Water. She is dedicated to being part of a solution for our future.
Captain Mike Holliday of Stuart, Florida has been in the fishing industry his entire life, starting as a fishing writer for The Miami Herald. After pursuing a degree in Aquaculture from Florida Institute of Technology. He’s held marketing positions with major outdoor brands and was president of a grassroots media and marketing company. A fishing guide and outdoor writer since 1986, Capt. Mike works the waters from Jupiter to Vero Beach, specializing in inshore and offshore gamefish. He’s authored six books on fishing, has been on over 50 fishing television shows, is a regular captain in seminar series for Saltwater Sportsman, IGFA and others coast to coast. Capt. Mike promotes conservation through his books and lectures and has guided anglers to over 20 IGFA World Record catches. He believes it’s incumbent on us all to protect our environment and to turn it over to the next generation in better shape than when we got it—given the widespread destruction of our waterways, joining the team at Captains For Clean Water has given him the opportunity to do just that.
Cheryl grew up in Southwest Florida and maintains an active lifestyle kayaking and biking, but has always considered the beach her favorite place. She has owned and operated two businesses in Lee County, and spent the last 15 years in the health and wellness industry. Cheryl has experienced first-hand, the direct economic impact to businesses due to environmental issues. She maintains a strong belief that just as we are each responsible for our own health and wellness, we are equally responsible for the health and wellness of the environment that we have the privilege to enjoy—especially here in Florida. It is her hope that if we all do our part to make our natural resources a priority, her grandchildren will have the opportunity to experience the beauty of nature as much as she has. Being a supporter of Captains over the years, she is grateful to put her skills and experience to work as part of a team that shares her passion and commitment for the environment—and for preserving it for the future.
Baylea Carner was born and raised in Fort Myers, FL and is a proud Florida State University graduate where she earned a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications. She brings experience working with Fortune 500 companies and has a passion for research, data analytics, marketing and communications. With a brother who is a local charter captain, Baylea is an avid boater and has enjoyed fishing and the outdoors for many years. After witnessing the devastation of the local waters she loves, she became a Captains For Clean Water supporter and joined the team in 2019 as a project coordinator.
Noah Miller’s passion for media began in sunny southern California, where Noah grew up taking pictures of massive waves, some over 10 feet in size. His love for wave photography transitioned quickly into a passion for video production. At the age of 18, Noah started his own production company, delivering quality video production and content creation to an array of clients in the Gainesville area, all while being a full time student at his dream school, the University of Florida. Upon graduating with a degree in video production, Noah’s creative vision evolved to documentary work with his dream to create content that can enact change. That’s where Noah’s journey begins at Captains for Clean Water. Noah aims to enlighten the public through visual imagery and create change through his emotional driven work.
Will brings a passion for fishing, conservation, and life on the water to the team. His efforts support Captains’ communications by advancing education and awareness through the organization’s digital channels. Prior to joining Captains, Will served eight years in the U.S. Navy and has a background in content marketing. Will grew up in Florida, attended college at the University of Florida, and is grateful to have experienced many of Florida’s special resources—like the Everglades—throughout his life. He’s now devoted to spreading awareness about how we can restore and protect those resources for generations to come.
A born-and-bred Floridian, Jillian grew up visiting and fishing the Big Bend and fell in love with the seclusion that the waters of north central Florida had to offer. Her innate passion for the outdoors took the wheel in her early twenties when she was afforded the opportunity to spend all of her free time on the water or in the woods. She never looked back. Jillian is an avid angler and outdoorsman and has gained extensive background knowledge in the fly-fishing industry—having worked for and alongside many professionals, guides and anglers across Florida and the country. She has experience in coordinating fishing tournaments and outreach events with multiple non-profit organizations. Jillian has formed an intimate connection with the Everglades, and believes its survival is absolutely vital to the future of Florida as an ecological wonder to be treasured by generations to come. She currently resides in the Florida Keys and loves working with Captains For Clean Water, striving to save the “Old Florida” she holds dearest to her heart.
Taylor is a born and raised South Floridian whose conservation-mindedness and tree-hugging spirit is infectious. Her fondest memories are those growing up, when she would spend her summers fishing the Florida Keys from sunrise to sunset or biking her way across Sanibel Island. Taylor watched Florida’s water crises unfold as a teenager, and was moved to action as a Captains supporter. A recent Florida Gulf Coast University graduate, Taylor is currently pursuing her master’s degree in nonprofit leadership at the University of Denver. While being a fulltime student, she continues passionately working to move the needle on the fight for clean water.
Kara Dedio is an avid outdoor enthusiast and nature lover. From camping all along the coasts of Florida, to kayaking the waterways of Sanibel Island and Fort Myers, her passion for the outdoors is second nature. She’s spent her life on the water supporting her family’s charter business witnessing firsthand the detrimental impacts water mismanagement has on our way of life – but more importantly the abundant opportunities that surround reversing the status quo. Joining an organization like Captains For Clean Water and fighting for the very resources she grew up exploring was a dream come true. Kara’s professional experiences range from hospitality marketing and communications, to non-profit data analytics and strategy. Her position at Captains supports the creative voices on the team, inspiring advocacy and supporter engagement through ongoing education and awareness efforts.
Heather Nash moved from Massachusetts to sunny southwest Florida in 2019 to attend Florida Gulf Coast University, where she discovered her passion for public relations. At FGCU, she served as the communication director for the student chapter of Florida Public Relations Association, and in 2022 she earned the Golden Image Award for her team’s campaign. As a nature-lover and adventure-seeker, she has always been passionate about traveling, photography and protecting wildlife. After moving to Florida, she was determined to work for an organization that protects Florida’s natural beauty and preserves marine ecosystems. Here at CFCW, Heather is devoted to educating and inspiring the community to join the fight for clean water through authentic storytelling and emotion-driven multimedia on digital channels.
Longtime Captains supporter, Gene Nesbeda, joins the board of directors bringing decades of business expertise and a passion for the water. Throughout his 40-year career, Gene has focused on building, managing, and investing in for-profit companies and non-profit organizations, with the know-how to scale and grow people and processes. Gene helped found an international management consulting firm, then went on to serve as an executive and investor for companies like Yeti Coolers, General Electric Corporation, CITIC Capital Partners, and Cortec Group. He has also served on non-profit boards including the largest non-governmental organization in New York City. Gene holds a B.S. from the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. Together with his wife Jennifer, Gene followed his love for the water to Florida to retire in 2018. Shocked by the water crisis unfolding in their newfound backyard caused by a devastating red tide bloom that lingered for more than 12 months, Gene saw Captains as the most effective organization advancing solutions and got involved.
Dr. Michael J. Collins, MD, FACS, is the Medical Director, President and founder of the eye care practice, Collins Vision. Collins grew up just outside Washington D.C. and, thanks to his love for boating and fishing, moved to Southwest Florida in 2001. In recent decades, Collins has seen the accelerated damage in our water quality and is committed to finding a sensible solution that takes into account the needs of agricultural business, the rest of the economy and, most importantly, the quality of life of Florida residents.
Chauncey Goss grew up on Sanibel in the 1970’s and ‘80’s and he and his wife, Allison, have raised their three sons on the island. He began his professional career as the Executive Director of the Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association in Boca Grande and then moved to Washington, DC and became an expert in the federal budget process working at both the Office of Management and Budget and as Deputy Staff Director for the House Budget Committee. He has served as an elected Councilman for the City of Sanibel and was appointed to the Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District by Governor Desantis in 2019. He was chosen to Chair the Board by his colleagues. He is currently managing partner of a firm he founded that provides budget forecasting and federal fiscal policy analysis.
A Florida native, and second generation trial attorney, Leland Eric Garvin, began his legal career working as a State Prosecutor until he and his father joined forces to create the Garvin Law Firm. Leland is an avid fisherman and diver who spends countless hours on the water, both in Southwest Florida and the Florida Keys. It was during his time on the water that he witnessed firsthand the catastrophic impact of the Lake Okeechobee discharge, as well as the lack of flow into the hyper-saline Florida Bay. After studying the problem for years, Leland decided to join the other board members to have a positive impact on all the estuaries in South Florida, which he believes are on “Life Support” due to poor management at the State and Federal levels.
Capt. Bob Beville is a third generation Floridian and began coming to SW Florida from Miami in the 1950s, where he fished the crystal clear waters of Pine Island Sound with his grandfather. Bob moved to Ft. Myers in 1976 and took a position with Waterman Broadcasting in 1980, where he is presently VP of Sales. Bob obtained a USGC Captain’s License in 2004. He is the former President of Big Brothers Big Sisters, the former President of The Rotary Club of Fort Myers, President of the Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation and serves on the United Way Allocations Committees, the Lee County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Komen Grant Review Committee.
Wendi Peterson, together with her husband Chris Peterson, owns the Florida-based skiff manufacturer, Hell’s Bay Boatworks. “Our business relies on clean healthy estuaries and, with roots deeply embedded in South Florida and the Everglades, the partnership between Captains For Clean Water and Hell’s Bay is symbiotic,” say the Petersons. Wendi joins the Board of Directors with years of experience in the marine industry and is deeply passionate about protecting the resource that drives so many businesses in Florida’s economy: water.
Reid McKinstry graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a BS in Business Management and is a Sales Manager at the world’s oldest and largest fishing hook, Mustad Hooks. Having grown up fishing snook, tarpon and redfish on the Caloosahatchee River, Reid is an avid hunter and angler, fully committed to growing Captains For Clean Water.
Christopher M. Kelly is a senior partner at the global law firm, Jones Day, with more than 30 years of experience as a corporate lawyer. As a Sanibel homeowner and avid fisherman, Chris’s love for the water and appreciation for big challenges inspired him to get involved with protecting Florida’s water. Chris is committed to advancing Captains’ mission and working on strategies to permanently win the fight for clean water.