Charles Vinick

Executive Director

A member of the Whale Sanctuary Project Board of Directors since mid-2016, Charles brings a unique blend of leadership and experience to his role as Executive Director. With a solid background in business that includes extensive experience in ocean policy, environmental policy, project management and government relations, Charles is no stranger to ambitious, visionary, ocean-related projects.

For 25 years, Charles worked closely with Jean-Michel and Jacques Cousteau (during his lifetime), helping the ocean explorers establish, grow and sustain multiple initiatives. As an adviser to and cofounder of the Cousteau Centers, Inc., Charles oversaw development of and managed Parc Oceanique Cousteau, an ocean education and entertainment complex in Paris. He shepherded the growth of the Cousteau Society and, from 1993 through 2003, served as Executive Vice President of the Jean-Michel Cousteau Institute and Ocean Futures Society, which produced educational programs as well as films about the ocean and the environment. During that time he was privileged to serve as director of the highly-publicized Keiko Project, a pioneering effort that marshaled public and media support to reintroduce to the wild the captive orca made famous through the Free Willy films.

As President and Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Charles directed all aspects of a non-profit organization deeply engaged in ocean policy issues related to public trust lands and waters. He subsequently worked with a number of renewable energy companies and non-profit organizations.

Before joining the Whale Sanctuary Project, Charles served as CEO of two environmental technology companies, Florida-based Ecosphere Technologies, Inc., and Aquantis, Inc. in Santa Barbara.

Charles has also served as CEO of the Santa Barbara City College Foundation as well as Director of Training and Development for TRW, Inc., and Executive Director of Adult Education for the University of Southern California. He has received commendations from the White House for his work with youth education and from the Los Angeles City Council for community environmentalism. Charles currently serves on the Board of Directors of Ecosphere Technologies, Inc., Heal the Ocean, and Ocean Futures Society.