Crosby Takes Helm of Mote Marine

Dr. Michael P. Crosby officially assumed the leadership of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium today, May 16, 2013, following the nonprofit organization’s annual Board meeting. He is taking the role of President and CEO following the retirement of Dr. Kumar Mahadevan, whose new position will be President Emeritus as he continues to be an advocate and ambassador of the organization, assisting in promoting and developing support for Mote’s world-class research and education programs. Dr. Mahadevan led the organization for 27 years.

As new President and CEO, Dr. Crosby will oversee the Lab’s groundbreaking research programs that take place in Southwest Florida and around the world, along with the organization’s efforts to educate and inform the public and policy makers about the marine environment.

Scientists at Mote Marine Laboratory have been performing world-class marine research studies since the Lab was created and operated in one room with one boat in 1955. Today, the Lab’s main Sarasota campus sits on 10.5-acres on City Island and includes the popular Aquarium at Mote Marine Laboratory, which is one of the most-visited attractions in Southwest Florida. The Lab’s annual operating budget is nearly $20 million and there are 192 staff members, including 31 Ph.D.-level scientists who are leaders in their fields. The Lab’s estimated economic impact to the community is in excess of $70 million.

Mote also has six additional campuses including a 200-acre Aquaculture Park in eastern Sarasota County, a research field station on Pine Island in Charlotte Harbor, satellite offices in Punta Gorda and Boca Grande, a Tropical Research Laboratory on Summerland Key in the Florida Keys, and a second public outreach exhibit dedicated to coral reefs in the Eco-Discovery Center in Key West.

During the official hand-off at the Board meeting, outgoing Chairman Robert E. Carter led the board in a unanimous resolution recognizing Dr. Mahadevan for his outstanding tenure at Mote. “The resolution documents the incredible record of success that Kumar has created at Mote,” Carter said. “Many of us in this room have watched him take charge of Mote and move it to where it is today and we can’t thank him enough.”

As he handed off the gavel to Dr. Crosby, Dr. Mahadevan told the board that the organization’s success depended, in-part, on them. “We’re in a great position and I’m so pleased that you’ve chosen Michael as my successor,” he said. “I think it’s one of the best things you’ve done. It’s wonderful and I think he won’t miss a beat. Please give him the same support and friendship you’ve given me.”

New Board Chairman Eugene Beckstein said moving forward with Mote’s 2020 Vision and Strategic Plan will be key to the Lab’s continued success. “One of the single most important challenges we face is to ensure the success of our 2020 plan,” he said. “We are off to a good start and the pace of the plan will increase dramatically through 2013 and into 2014. Let us move forward together and help Mote continue its advancement and achievement as a world-class marine research enterprise.”

Dr. Crosby said he was humbled and honored at being appointed to lead Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. “I’m sincerely grateful for the trust and support you all have provided,” he said. “Mote has grown a great deal since Genie Clark started her one-room lab. There is no doubt that Kumar deserves the lion’s share of credit for what Mote has become. Today, I am lucky to have both Genie and Kumar as my mentors and friends, along with this great Board.

“Most marine labs around the world are owned by government and universities, and few are independent like Mote – able to respond to emerging needs in the marine environment. Each of our scientists, educators and Aquarists are superstars in their own right. We must empower each of them to make the most of their skills and abilities. Mote is embedded in our community, and our staff and volunteers go above and beyond. Mote is indeed a rare gem. I’m confident that with the continued counsel and engagement of the Board and the continued support of the community, Mote’s best days are truly to come.”