START is a 501(c)3 non-profit grass roots organization founded in 1996 on Longboat Key by retired General Jim Patterson and a few other concerned citizens in response to a devastating ten-month long red tide bloom that ravaged a wide area along the West Coast of Florida. START’s name is an out-growth of this trying experience and is derived from the phrase “Solutions To Avoid Red Tide”. Ever since then, START has been at the forefront in securing funding to support scientific research and increase public awareness about the importance of preserving our marine environment.
START’s vision is to improve the quality of our marine waters through research, public education and programs that restore marine habitats, preserve marine species and promote healthy beaches and coastal waterways.
START is operated by a five-person Executive Committee with a combination of years of business experience and unique skills in corporate management, marketing, financial services, maritime transportation and scientific research.
The members of the Executive Committee are:
Ed Chiles is a founding board member and past Chairman of START. He is the owner and CEO of the Chiles Group, operating the Sandbar, BeachHouse and Mar Vista restaurants on Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. Ed is the managing partner for the Pine Avenue Restoration project in the City of Anna Maria. He serves on numerous boards in Manatee County.
In addition to the Executive Committee, the START Board of Directors is completed by the following people:
Manasota (Manatee & Sarasota Counties) – Sandy Gilbert, President
Englewood – Betsy McCallum, President
Lee County - Dr. Bruce Neill, President
To join one of our local Chapters or to participate in a local START event or program, contact Colleen Adler at START Florida at 941-966-3400.