Joe Handy brings over 15 years of leadership experience at the biggest aquarium in North America
Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Chair of the Board of Directors Eric Busch is proud to announce that Joe Handy has been selected as the organization’s next CEO. Handy joins CMA with over 20 years of experience in cultural institutions including 15 years at the Georgia Aquarium, most recently serving as President and COO.
“After months of speaking with many qualified candidates across the nation, we are excited to welcome Joe as he ushers in a new era for CMA,” said Busch. “Joe brings with him the knowledge and out-of-the-box thinking from a prestigious and world-class aquarium, and his inclusive approach to leadership will be an asset to our community.”
In 2005, Handy joined the Georgia Aquarium’s founding team as Director of Visitor Services and went on to serve as the Aquarium’s President and Chief Operating Officer in 2017. After 15 years with the aquarium, he took the role of President and CEO for the National Black MBA Association. With his strong business acumen and entrepreneurial mindset, Handy applied his passion for representation for people of color to his role with the NBMBAA.
“I felt a sense of pulling and necessity to serve the community, which led me to the role with the National Black MBA Association,” said Handy. “That same passion, to serve, is what excites me about the CEO role with Clearwater Marine Aquarium. It has such a rich history with not only the Tampa Bay community, but with the military, those with special needs who are inspired by the rescued animals at CMA, and also the community of biologists and researchers who dedicate their life to saving and protecting marine life.” Handy continued, “It’s truly an honor to join as Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s CEO.”
As CEO, Handy will oversee Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute (CMARI), led by Dr. James “Buddy” Powell, and its team of scientists and researchers who are gathering key research data on manatees, right whales, and sea turtles.
“I am looking forward to working with Buddy and his team of world-renowned scientists and researchers,” said Handy. “It is only through data, like CMARI is gathering, that significant advancements in marine science needed to protect and save marine life will be achieved.”
“The Board is confident in Joe’s management capabilities and his track record for success,” said Busch.
Handy has received numerous accolades for his leadership and impact on the community. In 2019, he received the Georgia Senate Remarkable and Distinguished Georgian Resolution, the International Career and Business Alliance’s (ICABA) Atlanta Leading Influencers Award, and the Secretary of State’s Outstanding Georgia Citizen Award. That same year, Handy served Executive in Residence at Kennesaw State’s College of Business for the Fall 2019 semester, joined as a member of the Leadership Atlanta 2019 Class, and in December was announced as Chairman of the Board for Atlanta Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA).
Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit working marine rescue center dedicated to inspiring the human spirit through leadership in education, research, rescue, rehabilitation and release. With a mission to preserve the environment and its marine life, CMA is home to rescued dolphins, sea turtles, river otters, stingrays, a nurse shark and more. Through Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, CMA conducts important global research focused on protecting manatees, North Atlantic right whales and sea turtles. Major motion picture Dolphin Tale (2011) and its sequel Dolphin Tale 2 (2014) features the true stories of rescued resident dolphins Winter and Hope, inspiring millions around the world. The mission and potential to change people’s lives differentiates Clearwater Marine Aquarium from any other aquarium in the world. CMAquarium.org
Information and photos courtesy of Clearwater Marine Aquarium
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