Board Members and Advisors

Board Members

Jean Pennycook

Jean has worked in Antarctica designing and implementing education and outreach projects connecting the public to the history, science and wonder of Antarctica. For the last 17 seasons she has lived in a tent close to the Adélie Penguins breeding colony at Cape Royds on Ross Island. From her tent she connects the penguin research to classrooms across the country using an interactive website providing a virtual field trip to the breeding colony as well as other educational activities. Jean earned her Bachelors of Science from the University of California, Davis in Wildlife Biology and a Masters of Science from CSU Fresno.

Tom Fitz and Schoolyard Films

Tom Fitz is an Emmy award winning cameraman, producer and director with over 30 years of experience in the field. His work has been dedicated to capturing the natural world and within that sphere he is highly renowned for his work in underwater cinematography. Some of Tom’s most notable and recent collaborations include work with The Blue PlanetOne LifePlanet Earth II and The Living Edens. Tom is currently working to create a new documentary titled The Year Earth Changed, which shares positive stories of how people have had a chance to engage with nature as a result of the global pandemic and the lockdowns humanity faced all around the world.

In addition to this work, Tom is the founder of Schoolyard Films, Inc. This organization is dedicated to producing nature-based films that can be used in the classroom for grades K -12. These films are available to teachers worldwide and are paired with curriculum and study guides. Their goal is to help educate future stewards of our planet. Tom is excited to advise us as we develop our programs and operations for the education, science and film industries.

W. Andrew Gowder, Jr., Esq.

Andy is a founder and partner in Austen & Gowder, LLC. His 35-year law practice is focused on land use, land conservation and historic preservation, state and local government law and benefit and nonprofit corporate formation and representation. He is an editor and writer of books and articles on topics relating to regenerative development, the greening of local government, the financing of public infrastructure, heirs’ property, the land use entitlement process, and protection of the environment and historic preservation, and he speaks frequently on those topics. Andy serves on several nonprofit boards in the Charleston area and, as part of his practice, is general counsel for many local, regional and national nonprofits and closely held corporations.

Stephen Berger

Mr. Berger’s career in finance started in 1984 when he joined HSBC. After 8 years with HSBC in London, Singapore, and Hong Kong, Mr. Berger joined J.P. Morgan & Co. in Hong Kong and ultimately was appointed head of their corporate finance team in Singapore covering Southeast Asia, and co-head of M&A across all of Asia.

In 2003, Mr. Berger co-founded boutique corporate finance and investment advisory firm Imprimis (Singapore) Pte Ltd that grew to three offices in Singapore, Brunei, and Bangkok. Imprimis provided strategic and financial advice to multinational companies, governments, and family-owned enterprise across Southeast Asia, and in 2009, through an Imprimis fund, acquired Piper Aircraft Inc in Vero Beach FL, where Mr. Berger served as Chairman for many years. In 2015, Mr. Berger retired from a 30-year career in finance in Asia and relocated to Charleston, SC with his wife, Sarah, to raise their three children.

Mr. Berger has a BA from Dartmouth College and an MA from Trinity College, Cambridge University. An active rower, Mr Berger was Captain of the Dartmouth Heavyweight Rowing Team and President of the Cambridge University Boat Club. Mr. Berger has served as Chairman of Lowcountry Maritime School, and as a Trustee of Porter-Gaud School, and is a Steward of the Friends of Dartmouth Rowing and now Chairman of the Apparent Winds Board.

Other Advisors



Mission Blue

The Mission Blue Sylvia Earle Alliance is a non-profit organization founded by the well-known oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle. The mission of this organization is to act as a catalyst to form a global “coalition” that will work to inspire change and preservation of the world’s most vital marine ecosystems. The organization is well known for its goal of protecting 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 by forming marine protected areas which the Mission Blue calls “Hope Spots”.  The central efforts of this organization are focused on communication campaigns that highlight these Hope Spots and their champions.

Apparent Winds is currently partnered with Mission Blue. The primary focus of our previous voyage was to visit Hope Spots and meet with their champions along our route. We film, document and learn as much as we can at each site. We then share the stories we collect with our followers. The stories we have already gathered have been powerful and inspiring. We intend to continue this portion of our work for years to come. 

Dr. Hall West

Dr. West is a Research Associate at the Research, Evaluation, and Measurement Center within the College of Education at the University of South Carolina. Dr. West advised Apparent Winds in developing K-12 curriculum and in-classroom learning opportunities that used our around-the-world voyage as a means to inspire students and share real-world scientific data that can be applied to their studies. With a larger team aboard our research vessel, including a dedicated science/research liaison, Apparent Winds will continue the development of this curriculum. Dr. West is looking forward to continuing her advisory role, specifically by helping design program elements that align efforts with programmatic outcomes and in the design and creation of learning connections across early childhood and elementary age ranges.

South Carolina Aquarium

Apparent Winds currently has a partnership with the South Carolina Aquarium since our departure from Charleston in 2019. Pre-pandemic, we were making plans to connect our voyage and subsequent film with a lecture series as well as connect with South Carolina schools via the SC Aquarium’s educational programs statewide. Like many of our partnerships and educational efforts that were de-railed during the Pandemic, Apparent winds plans to pick up where we left off in 2023. We envision the South Carolina Aquarium to be the first of several Aquariums we will partner with in the United States and around the world.

Sustainable Ocean Alliance

Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) is focused on developing a global network of marine-based environmental leaders though their Ocean Leadership Program and Ocean Solutions Accelerator. Apparent Winds is currently partnered with SOA and our partnership has already proven to be a great help in connecting with people around the world who are actively working to revitalize our planet.

Lugus Films & Sea Change Documentary

“Lugus Films is an independent film and media production company devoted to crafting compelling stories about our world”. Founded by director and producer Grey Gowder. Lugus films is the producer of Sea-Change Documentary as well as the newly conceived “Apparent Winds” documentary. Grey Gowder is not only a creative and talented film maker, he is also a passionate and highly active environmentalist and social activist. Grey has been a vital part of the Apparent Winds team and plans to continue to support us as we develop this next phase of our project.

The Sea-Change documentary is Apparent Wind’s current film partner for our first two years of sailing. Sea-Change is a film that aims to inspire hope for our planet’s future by sharing stories from people and organizations around the world who are working to curb environmental degradation, specifically in our planet’s oceans. The Sea-Change documentary is slotted to complete final production in 2023. It is possible that Apparent Winds will find coverage in this documentary as well another titled “Apparent Winds”, which will cover the journey specifically. This is all thanks to our partnership and relationship with Grey Gowder, Director, Producer and founder of Lugus Films.

Dr. Anne Brasher

Dr. Brasher is an independent Aquatic Ecologist with a long and highly experienced track-record in the field. She’s the author of nearly 30 scientific publications and is currently working with several organizations to perpetuate her work. Dr. Brasher is highly enthusiastic about the work Apparent Winds is currently doing, and more so, about creating research opportunities aboard the Apparent Winds research vessel.

The Post and Courier and Evening Post Industries

The Post and Courier (P&C) is Charleston, South Carolina’s leading newspaper and news media outlet. Recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, the P&C is highly respected and widely consumed. The P&C has kept regular coverage of the Apparent Winds Voyage thus far and will continue to do so throughout the remainder of our first voyage, ending in December 2021. The P&C is part of Evening Post Industries, a privately owned national news company based in Charleston, SC. 

Both of these companies have been supporters of the Apparent Winds project and we hope to continue this partnership moving forward. Communications are a large part of our mission and partnerships like these will help us to continue to grow our audience.

Dune Lankard

Dune Lankard, Native Eyak of the Eagle Clan from Cordova, Alaska. Dune has an impassioned commitment to protecting Eyak culture, his ancestral lands and wild salmon. A way of life that was fostered in him by his mother Rosie and her strong community leadership. Dune was a full-time commercial fisherman in Prince William Sound until March 24, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez spilled more than 30 million gallons of oil onto the pristine beaches of the sound. On that day, he became a social change artist and social impact entrepreneur, dedicating his life to the protection of Native and fishing rights and the environment. Dune has testified before Congress in order to protect his ancestral homelands from destruction and is also a founder of the Eyak Preservation Council, the Native Conservancy and a founding member of the Eyak Traditional Elders Council that helped preserve his beloved Eyak rainforest on the Northern end of the Coastal Temperate Rainforest. For his tireless work, he was selected by Time Magazine as one of its “Heroes of the Planet,” and he is also an ASHOKA Fellow, Hunt Alternatives Fund Fellow, cohort of Future of Fish and a winner of SeaWeb’s Seafood Champion Award. Dune continues his work through the Native Conservancy linking cultural, environmental and economic solutions in the seafood industry, while addressing food security, food sovereignty and preserving Alaska’s unique subsistence way of life. Dune has worked to form a movement that focuses on building resilient communities and regenerative and sustainable economic solutions for coastal communities.

April Minnich-Bucksbaum

April was co-founder of the Baum Foundation and has served for several years as vice president and Executive Director. Learn more about the extensive work of the Baum Foundation using the link below. April has also served as a board member for: Just Think Foundation, OpNet, Bluewater Network, and The San Francisco Girls Chorus. During her professional career, April co-founded and was Vice President of Marketing for three successfully launched San Francisco based commercial film and interactive agency companies: Red Sky Films, Red Sky Interactive and Skyrocket. After the sale of Red Sky Interactive in 1995 to holding company Omnicom, April worked for KPMG Consulting (Bearing Point) as a Senior Manager in the Financial Services-Emerging Technology arena. April currently sits on several other boards for non-profit organizations around the world. She’s an enthusiastic advisor to Apparent Winds.

College of Charleston

The College of Charleston is a current partner and supporter of Apparent Winds. The College of Charleston has been following our journey and sharing it with others through various media platforms. Pre-pandemic, we had been planning lectures with students  and building a partnership with the Marine Biology Program based in Charleston, SC. As the world re-opens and a new journey begins aboard our new vessel, we can pursue a more involved partnership with the College.

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