Founder & CEO
“In the beginning there was water… and from the water came man, in the image of his brothers, the fish. Those of us who are drawn into the sea do so in a breathless impatience as we reenter the womb of our own creation”
Patxi Pastor – 1982
The Celebration of the Sea Foundation was founded by Patxi Pastor to ENGAGE, EDUCATE and INSPIRE people around the world to protect the ocean and the world’s natural resources. A specific focus of all our initiatives is to develop resilient communities and promote STREAM (Science, Technology, Resiliency, Engineering, Arts & Math) education and career paths. Patxi is also the Co-Founder of the Mission Resolve Foundation (MissionResolve.org), the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Keys Strong (KeysStrong.org) and a Co-Founder of the Wahoo Bay Educational Marine Eco-Park (WahooBay.org) which is a unique Public Private Partnership between Broward County Florida, The City of Pompano Beach and Shipwreck Park (ShipwreckParkPompano.org). He also recently served as the President & CEO of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF.org), was appointed by Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Heather Moraitis and served as a member of the City of Fort Lauderdale Sustainability Advisory Board, was a founding member of the City of Miami Beach’s Sustainability Committee appointed by City Commissioner Jerry Libbin and is an active member of the Broward County Coastal Coalition Committee. Patxi is also a co-creator of both The Miami Beach High School Academy of Marine and Environmental Science (AMES) and The Miami Beach High School SCUBA Club, which has included full scholarships for underprivileged students provided by the United States Navy. Patxi is a senior executive and entrepreneur with over 35 years of expertise in funding and running charities and humanitarian organizations as well as cause related marketing, entertainment and technology based companies. He has continued to create and produce numerous major ground-breaking cause-related entertainment marketing events and campaigns for the world’s leading brands and celebrities.
Patxi was profoundly inspired as a child by his Mother Lucy’s lifetime of philanthropy and humanitarian service for the homeless and international refugees. Her deep compassion and desire to serve others continued through Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford, Conneticut, and later, at St. James Episcopal Church in West Hartford, CT, where Patxi was confirmed and sang in the Choir as a young boy. Patxi’s extensive philanthropic and humanitarian work continues internationally through his own Foundations and the many charities that he continues to personally support and collaborate with.
Patxi Co-Founded Keys Strong (www.KeysStrong.org) in response to the widespread devastation incurred by families in the Florida Keys from Hurricane Irma in September of 2017. Keys Strong successfully collected and deployed millions of dollars of humanitarian aid including food, fresh water, medicine, clothing, furniture, and household appliances to families throughout the Key communities. Keys Strong also established a major warehouse facility manned and operated by an all-volunteer staff through a collaboration of leading Florida Keys civic organizations and charities. Rooms To Go and Good360 donated over one half million dollars’ worth of new furniture and home appliances to Keys Strong, which it distributed to over one hundred families devastated by the Hurricane.
Patxi also Co-Founded the Mission Resolve Foundation (www.MissionResolve.org) which following Hurricane Dorian in 2019 successfully help solicit, secure and deploy millions of dollars of humanitarian aid, including food, fresh water, medicine, clothing, generators, pallet jacks, fork lifts, solar panels, trucking chassis, building materials and a portable medical facility to Bahamian families. During this time, Patxi was honored to serve as a US Liaison to the Bahamas, leading and helping to coordinate 23 humanitarian relief missions in direct collaboration with the Prime Minister’s Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA). He worked hand-in-hand daily with the DRA’s Managing Director, Kay-Forbes Smith, who also served as the former President of the Bahamian Senate, and coordinated humanitarian aid collaborations with partnering organizations including the Miami Dolphins, Food for the Poor, Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), Entercom Communications and Bahamas Paradise Cruise Lines. From the onset of the hurricane, Mission Resolve began generating over 7,000 gallons of potable water each day for Bahamian children, families and several medical facilities through a state-of-the-art reverse osmosis fresh water treatment plant that the organization installed and operated, providing public water tap stands at the Freeport YMCA and Salvation Army. This critically needed fresh water production capacity was then more than doubled through the generous support of a $2.2 Million grant awarded by American Red Cross to Mission Resolve Foundation, in collaboration with Mercy Corp, which at that time enabled the organizations to increase their fresh water production to over 16,000 gallons per day through May of 2020.
In February of 2020, Patxi became a Co-Sponsor of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF.org) Educational Programs and was subsequently asked to serve as the organization’s President. Shortly thereafter, he was unanimously voted by the Foundation’s Board of Directors to simultaneously serve as its Chief Executive Officer, whereby he implemented a complete restructuring of the organization, capacity building, and a wide variety of best-practices for the 501(c) (3) charity which resulted in being awarded “Platinum Charity Status” by GuideStar. Under Patxi’s leadership, the organization went on to raise over $1.3 Million in philanthropic and corporate sponsorships for its educational programs. It also provided scholarships and training for over 500 teachers, while expanding its educational programs into twelve Florida Counties, initiating public-private partnerships with four of them and additionally, annually reaching 2.2 Million students internationally through the organization’s partnership with Discovery Education. Patxi additionally Co-Executive Produced a number of innovative new educational programs, including high school marine sciences curricula, focusing on the impacts of post-use plastics on oceans and marine life in partnership with Brightmark; “Sawgrass to Seagrass” to teach children the intricate relationship between fresh water and marine eco-systems and everglades conservation created in collaboration with the Bergeron Foundation and a Pre-K Sea Turtle curriculum in Spanish created through the generous support of the Hewitt Family in Panama. Patxi’s personal Celebration of the Sea Foundation also recently donated $13,000 directly to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation for the collaborative creation and implementation of a new whale shark curriculum, which is initially slated to be piloted by US and Mexican students and teachers. Patxi also served as the Co-Creator and Executive Producer of an innovative, major coral reef citizen science conservation and restoration project in the Florida Keys, conducted in collaboration between the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, FORCE BLUE, I.CARE, Mote Marine Laboratories, leading coral scientists and Monroe County. The project featured retired Special Operations military veterans, a Gold Star family member (whose father was killed while serving in the Armed Forces), a student from Monroe County schools, and marine scientists who worked collaboratively on saving the coral reefs in the Florida Keys, where only 3% of living coral remains. Scientific training was provided by I.CARE’s staff and marine biologists covering coral restoration methodology, coral species identification, and data collection. The teams also transplanted corals and conducted maintenance and monitoring activities on previously transplanted corals.
Patxi served as the Chief Marketing Officer for The City of Miami Beach’s historic Centennial Celebrations. The year 2015 marked the City of Miami Beach’s 100th anniversary which has been highlighted by a year-long schedule of spectacular events including an extraordinary mega beach concert featuring performances by global superstars Andrea Bocelli, Gloria Estefan, Barry Gibb, Wyclef, Flo Rida, Dave Mason, Jon Secada, Ky-Mani Marley, Jamaican super-group Third World and official DJ of the Miami Heat, DJ Irie. These Centennial events provided an unprecedented platform from which The City of Miami Beach focused public attention on it’s spectacular marine and coastal ecology with an emphasis on ocean conservation, education and resiliency strategies for the future.
Patxi was also the Executive Producer of the City of Miami Beach’s Centennial “Community Resiliency Summit – Miami Beach Rising Above” which was presented by the W Hotel and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. The summit was introduced by NBC’s Al Roker along with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and then followed by a keynote address from MTV founder Bill Roedy and presentations from renowned scientists from Florida International University (FIU) and other leading educational and scientific research institutions. The event highlighted Miami Beach’s current and future mitigation and adaptation strategies and how these strategies can be used by cities worldwide to adapt to the rising seas.
Resilient Communities & Improving STREAM Career Paths For Students
Patxi lectures extensively on the critical need to develop long-term strategies for the effective transformation of global communities for sea level rise and storm surge with a focus on creating more resilient communities and improving STREAM (Science, Technology, Resiliency, Engineering, Arts & Math) career paths for students. Patxi continues to keynote, create, produce and/or moderate major recent resiliency events including:
1) Partnership for Pacific Resilience’s Keynote Speaker in Honolulu Hawaii for the , “Lessons for Hawaii from the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season” conference featuring experts from FEMA, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Houston.
2) The City of Miami Beach’s historic Centennial “Community Resiliency Summit – Miami Beach Rising Above” sponsored by the W Hotel and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. The event was hosted by NBC’s Al Roker along with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and the City Commission with special guest and keynote speaker MTV Chairman and CEO, Bill Roedy. The event also included presentations from leading educational and scientific research institutions.
3) Monroe County and The City of Islamorada’s South Florida Regional Planning Council “Storm Surge and Sea Level Rise – Community Resilience Workshop” with opening remarks provided by Monroe County Mayor and District 4 Commissioner David Rice. Special guests in attendance included City of Islamorada Mayor Chris Sante, Vice Mayor Deb Gillis, Councilmen Jim Mooney and Mike Forester, Village Manger and City of Marathon Mayor Michelle Coldiron.
4) The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce’s “A Time to Start Thinking Differently, The Economic Impact of Sea Level Rise” sponsored by Terra Group, AECOM, Coca-Cola and the W Hotel. The event featured leading South Florida business leaders and stakeholders along with preeminent scientists and specialists on sea level rise. The event’s host committee included a prestigious list of South Florida’s top business leaders including: Tony Argiz, Chairman and CEO of Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra; Stephen Bittel, Chairman of Terranova Corp.; Ambassador Paul Cejas, President of 420 Lincoln Road Development, LLC; David Edelstein, Principal of Tri Star Capital; Jorge Gonzalez, President and CEO of City National Bank; David Martin, President and Owner of Terra Group; Manuel Medina, Founder of eMerge Americas; Alan Potamkin, Co-Chairman of Potamkin Automotive Group, Inc.; Harvey Ruvin, Clerk of Courts of Miami-Dade County, and Jessica Goldman Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties.
5) Florida Atlantic University Center for Environmental Studies “Chamber of Commerce-Sea-Level Rise Summit” featuring, Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, CEO & President, Dan Lindblade; Greater Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce, CEO & President, Ric Green; Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce CEO & Executive Director, Anne Hotte; Hallandale Beach Chamber of Commerce CEO, Patricia Genetti; Deerfield Beach Chamber of Commerce and Government Relations Committee, Chair Dave Mirantz; Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, President & CEO, Jerry Libbin.
6) Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce’s “Big Ideas Conference” keynote presentation along with Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Environmental Studies, Director, Dr. Colin Polsky. The event was sponsored by First Green Bank with opening remarks by City of Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler; City of Wilton Manors Mayor Gary Resnick; City of Weston Mayor Daniel Stermer; City of Sunrise Mayor Michael Ryan; and City of Oakland Park Mayor Tim Lonergan.”
7) Leadership Fort Lauderdale’s “Environment & Resiliency Day” keynote presentation, which was hosted by the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce to provide an overview of how environmental and resiliency issues directly shape the community’s economy and quality of life throughout the region.
8) Resiliency Taskforce of the Miami Downtown Development Authority keynote presentation discussing the critical importance of developing long term strategies for resiliency throughout South Florida.
9) Florida Atlantic University’s “Lesson’s from Hurricane Irma for Increasing Resilience – From Practice to Revising Plans and Policy” Facebook Live event broadcast Executive Producer as well as featured speaker and panelist with City of Hollywood Florida Mayor Josh Levy and Dr. Karl Kim, Executive Director of the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC).
10) Florida International University’s “Ocean Life Series” keynote presentation at the Key Largo Government Center. The series brings renowned researchers and academics to the Keys to educate, entertain, and inspire audiences of all ages. Patxi speech entitled “Inspiring the Next Generation” was focused on the critical need for resilient communities and improving STREAM (Science, Technology, Resiliency, Engineering, Arts & Math) education with a primary focus on engaging and assisting females and minorities in these related career paths.
Additionally, Patxi continues to create and executive produce large-scale events and initiatives that inspire, educate and engage the public. These events continue to feature a wide variety of leading public officials, major stakeholders, preeminent business leaders, celebrities, respected scientists, educators and the media.
Patxi is the Executive Producer for Entercom Communication’s Riptide Music Festival’s “Celebration of the Sea Pavilion” and Eco-Discovery Zone. The Festival is held on Fort Lauderdale Beach and attended by over 30,000 people each year. Patxi’s Celebration of the Sea Foundation serves as the event’s official charity. The event provides leading brands with unique opportunities to increase over-arching awareness towards community resilience and environmental conservation.
Patxi is also the creator and Executive Producer of the “Eco-Discovery Zone,” which has served as a featured part of the Coconut Grove Seafood Festival hosted annually at Miami’s iconic Marine Stadium. The Celebration of the Sea Foundation has served as the event’s official charity. The 2016 event was produced in collaboration with world-renowned marine artist Wyland and his Wyland Foundation. Featured exhibitors included Florida International University, University of Miami, the Medina Aquarius Program Underwater Habitat, DEMA (Diving Equipment Manufacturers Association), History of Diving Museum, MAST@FIU and the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative.
Computers and Music
Sponsored by the Roland Music Corporation and Ovation Instruments, Patxi developed a digital guitar synthesizer that reproduced the vocalizations of whales, dolphins, and a variety of ocean and environmental sounds. He has led several expeditions to the Grand Bahama Bank where he utilized these state-of-the-art digital sampling techniques with project scientists to study wild dolphins and humpback whales. Patxi has used these soundtracks over the years for many of his television productions and live public performances.
Technological Innovation & Integration
Throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s, Patxi served as the SONY Corporation’s underwater cameraman to promote the creative use and application of a variety of state-of-the-art technologies within the electronic imaging, scientific, production and educational communities. Following Sony’s introduction in 1991, Patxi became an owner and executive of HB Communications, Inc., an eighty-million dollar corporation specializing in advanced digital communications which represented over 230 leading manufactures, including Apple, Nikon, Kodak, Silicon Graphics, JVC, Panasonic and Pioneer. While at HB he developed and headed the “Advanced Technologies Group” which he quickly grew into a multimillion dollar division of the company, producing record growth and profit margins. The division was selected by Avid Technology, of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, to serve as a New England distributor and integrator for their professional nonlinear editing and interactive multimedia workstations. Patxi’s division quickly became Avid’s leading distributor in New England and as a result he was awarded their “Dealer of the Year Award” at the 1994 National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Patxi has been responsible for the design and development of a variety of computer-based electronic imaging systems utilizing high-definition television and optical disc technology. Working closely with leading technological manufacturers such as SONY, Nikon, Kodak and Apple, he has designed numerous state-of-the-art electronic production, archiving and publishing systems for the broadcast, scientific and electronic publishing industries.
As a sponsored SONY underwater cameraman and spokesperson, Patxi’s expeditions took him throughout the world filming a variety of natural history specials and video documentaries. He was the Executive Producer and host of CBS Television affiliate WCAX-TV’s top rated monthly underwater specials, as well as the creator and Executive Producer of the ECO-LINK™ interactive educationally based environmental series.
Patxi’s footage continues to be utilized in numerous nationally televised programs, including E! Television, Extra, Access Hollywood, the Earth Day special hosted by Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, “Year of the Dolphin” hosted by George C. Scott and the “Children and the Sea” adventure series pilot hosted by supermodel Niki Taylor. His commitment to promoting interest in science among young people continued through his work with the National Undersea Research Center, a division of NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to document and gain public awareness for their student “High School Aquanaut Program”. His programs have featured a diverse group of leading scientists, archaeologists and diving professionals and have focused on a variety of sensitive environmental, maritime and marine animal issues.
Advanced Diving & Educational Certification
Patxi is a certified NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors) Instructor, Rescue Diver and Divemaster. He additionally has been trained and certified by NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in the use of “Nitrox” mixed gas diving and was awarded a NOAA Scientific Diver recognition. He has served as a member of the NAUI Instructor Training Staff at UNEXSO (The Underwater Explorers Society) on Grand Bahama Island, and has been an instructor for the American Red Cross. He created and lead a series of first-of-their-kind academically and athletically accredited educational SCUBA certification programs which were conducted at leading preparatory schools, including Choate Rosemary Hall, Kent, Kingswood-Oxford and Miss Porters, as well as Central Connecticut State University.
Educational Marine Science Programs
Through the support of a federally funded Christa McAuliffe Fellowship grant, Patxi served as the Executive Producer and Director of a series of children’s marine science videos with Dr. Nancy Eastlake, Director of the Torrington Connecticut Talented and Gifted Educational Programs, featuring talented and gifted students, entitled “Underwater Exploration.” The programs, which received an additional grant from the Torrington Foundation for Public Giving, expanded to include unique live interactive broadcasts into 10 school systems, and was accompanied by a Teacher’s Guide and Curriculum that Patxi and Dr. Eastlake wrote and developed. The first phase of the project focused on “The Wonderful World of the Dolphin” and featured a variety of guests including a live interview at the Starkist Seafood Company’s World Headquarters. Patxi also created and directed the “Coral Reef Studies Programs,” which were conducted throughout the Caribbean for high school students and teachers from top New England preparatory schools including Miss Porters, Kingswood-Oxford, Kent, Salsbury and Hotchkiss throughout the late 80’s.
Shipwrecks: Time Capsules of History
Patxi filmed shipwrecks throughout the Caribbean and on an expedition with the Cousteau Society, he explored and documented many of the shipwrecks of the Anagada Reef system throughout the British Virgin Islands. As the Executive Producer and the underwater cameraman for the state of Vermont’s Department for Historic Preservation, he completed the first video survey of the historically sensitive “O.J. Walker” 100-year-old shipwreck in Lake Champlain. The project entailed the use of state-of-the-art underwater exploratory technologies including side-scan sonar and ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles) similar to the ones used to discover the Titanic wreckage. Patxi’s work during these expeditions was featured in both news and entertainment programs on CBS and PBS television networks.
Exhibits and Exhibitions
In 1990, Patxi served as the producer for the Maritime Center at Norwalk’s “Underwater Exploration Exhibition.” The exhibition was sponsored by The SONY Corporation and included exhibits contributed by NASA, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, National Geographic and the U.S. Navy. Display items featured diving equipment that highlighted several hundred years of the technological advancements which led to SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus). Patxi made television broadcast history when he conducted the first live underwater interview via satellite with CBS television affiliate’s news reporter Gail King while swimming among over 20 sharks in the facility’s giant shark tank. He additionally developed several of the event’s exhibits, which included The Connecticut Fund for the Environment’s environmental exhibit, hosted by United States Senator Joseph Lieberman and the National Undersea Research Center’s High School Aquanaut Program exhibit.
Aquariums: Feeding Sharks and Aquatic Animals
In 1986, Patxi began serving as the diver for the Science Museum of Connecticut and regularly made dives to collect specimens for the Aquarium’s exhibits and to feed the sharks, eels and assorted Caribbean fish in the facility’s 10,000 gallon giant coral reef tank. On several occasions he filmed in New England Aquarium’s giant ocean tank as well as the shark tanks at Marineland in Southern California and the Maritime Center at Norwalk, Connecticut.
Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises
Patxi served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Cetacean Society International whose work was responsible for creating international moratoriums on whaling for the International Whaling Commission and enforcing the Marine Mammal Protection Act developed by the United Nations. His unique filming expeditions have included filming underwater sequences of pods of several hundred dolphins in the Sea of Cortez, humpback whale mothers and calfs off of the Dominican Republic’s Silver Bank, rare encounters with sperm whales off of Abaco Island, wild spotted dolphins off of the Grand Bahama Bank and scientists studying humpback whales off of Stelwagon Bank on Cape Cod.
Specialized Group Dive Travel Programs
Patxi developed a series of SONY sponsored underwater video seminars, which were held at top diving destinations throughout the world. Working in affiliation with See & Sea Travel Services, which supported the world’s largest staff of dive/travel professionals, his diving services provided year-round booking aboard the industry’s top dive vessels. Patxi developed specialized diving, educational and instructional vacation programs for corporations, families, diving professionals and educational organizations, which were conducted throughout the world.
Patxi has served as the creator and Executive Producer of numerous large scale events and festivals. He served as the Executive Producer for the world-renowned Fontainebleau’s exclusive Gala and Rock Concert Fashion Show as part of the historic hotel’s $1 billion renovation. The event was hosted by supermodels Cindy Taylor (Victoria’s Secret, Guess? and Host of Wild On E!), Joanna Krupa (Ed Hardy & Maxim’s “World’s Sexiest Supermodel”) and the legendary CoverGirl™ Niki Taylor. Patxi also the creator and Executive Producer of “The Celebration of the Sea Music & Film Festival.” In 2005, he produced the festival in affiliation with the Tourist Development Council of The Florida Keys. The event included a Harley Davidson fashion show featuring several Victoria’s Secret models in addition to live performances by Aerosmith front man, Steven Tyler, Rock Ledged Chuck Berry, Rap Pioneer DMC, Skunk Baxter of the Doobie Brothers and Barry Goudreau and Fran Sheehan founding members of the band Boston. Patxi personally sold over $1 million worth of sponsorships for the event to more than 25 clients including Comcast, Clear Channel, Century 21, Sea World and Harley Davidson. The event successfully raised scholarships for over 20 special needs children suffering from cancer for Dolphin Therapy at the world-renowned Island Dolphin Care facility in Key Largo, FL. In 2008 Patxi again produced “The Celebration of the Sea Music & Film Festival” as a HDTV Special featuring the legendary Blues Brothers for the City of Miami Beach, which he produced with Judy Belushi, the widow of acclaimed Saturday Night Live star and Blues Brothers co-creator John Belushi. Event sponsors included Starbucks, Tiffany, Comcast and Clear Channel.