Meet Our Staff and Advisory Board
Bonnie E. Barnes
Bonnie Barnes has over 18 years of experience in conservation non-profits. She has been involved with Turtles Fly Too since 2017, having worked with Leslie Weinstein in North Florida.
Bonnie previously served as Reef Environmental Education Foundation's Development Manager; an International Marine Conservation organization headquartered in the Florida Keys. Bonnie’s heart is in conservation, whether scuba diving, traipsing through a forest, or swooshing down a mountain, she loves and cares about our environment. Having started her first business at 17 in her hometown of Las Vegas, she eventually found her way to Florida where she owned a marketing company for another 14 years. After earning her MBA in 2006, she jumped head-first into the nonprofit world, as Executive Director of North Florida Land Trust, a land conservation organization in Jacksonville, Florida. Through this relationship, she was instrumental in the donation of Leslie’s critical oceanfront property donation to the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research at UF, to protect this land long-term as a prime turtle nesting site.
As an avid diver, she trained to monitor the offshore environment as part of the Jacksonville Reef Research Team. For her work in the offshore marine environment, one of Bonnie's most treasured awards was the Florida Sea Grant's Volunteer of the Year Award in 1991.
Marketing, Communications and Programs Manager
St. Thomas, USVI
My name is Sophia Costa, and I am originally from Austin, Texas. Growing up in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, I spent countless summer days enjoying the beauty of the lakes and river systems in central Texas. My passion for marine biology grew when I began diving at the age of 11. After graduating from Rhodes College with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Sciences and minor in Spanish, I moved to Belize in order to pursue a career in marine conservation biology.
Since Belize, I have lived in Key Largo, Florida, where I worked as a biologist at Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. I am currently completing my Master’s Thesis looking at the effects of the invasive seagrass, Halophila stipulacea, on juvenile yellowtail snapper populations. At Turtles Fly Too I am responsible for social media and communications, to try to spread the word on our organization.
Advisory Board Leadership
President of Turtles Fly Too
Founder/Manager, True-Lock LLC
Development Board Chair, University of Florida Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research
Born and raised in the St Augustine area, I spent most of my youth along the beaches near my home. Even as a child, the sea turtles that laid their eggs on our property fascinated me. I found myself ever protective of them as I often rescued many eggs from other beaches where turtle nests were being robbed for profit or vandalized by beachgoers for sport. Little did I realize that nearly 30 years later, those very same sea turtles would return to these same beach dunes where I hid their eggs as a kid. Our passion for the preservation of sea turtles and for research and education to further sea turtle conservation is what encouraged my wife Linda and I to donate our beach-front property to the UF ACCSTR to support the continued existence of sea turtle conservation.
- True-Lock LLC, Manager and Founder, Advanced Fastener and Materials Technology has over 1,500 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA-STC-PMA) Certifications, worked with Program Managers, Executive Directors at Department of Defense
- Member (voting) Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Spindle Nut Testing and Performance Task Force
- Chairman SAE Subcommittee for Data Research and Funding, Truck & Bus Wheel End Subcommittee
- Small Business Administration (SBA) Advocacy Roundtable, Administrator Hector Barreto in 2002 met with me in Boise to discuss my becoming a member of his team
- Development Board Chairman, University of Florida Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research (UF ACCSTR)
- Ranching further taught me the importance of conservation, how to protect the valuable resources by improving and not depleting
Vice President, Advisory Board
President, Millennium Digital Technologies
Rochester Hills, Michigan
Ken was born and raised in southeastern Michigan and has always had a passion for the outdoors, aviation, computer technology, and business. He enjoys sharing these passions with his wife Kristi and children. His first companies were started when he was 10 years old and he has continued to build many successful companies throughout his professional career. He currently serves as Founder and President of Millennium Digital Technologies. His background in electrical engineering and computer science provides a unique perspective enabling him to design and build complex systems end‐to‐end from the base hardware design through software engineering. In addition, Ken is a professional pilot certified to fly numerous aircraft ranging from unpowered gliders to turbine‐powered business aircraft.
Nature and the outdoors have always been focal points for Ken. Growing up around the Great Lakes, Ken is keenly aware of the need to protect our environment and especially our waterways, lakes, and oceans. As an avid skier and snowboarder, he is particularly aware of climate change and the impact that human activity has on the environment. Ken joined Turtles Fly Too because he saw an opportunity
to combine his technical abilities, aviation knowledge and love for nature to further this great cause and contribute towards conservation and environmental protection.
Robert A. Dey D.V.M.
Veterinary Advisor, Advisory Board
Robert grew up on the move as a son of an Army officer and spent his formative junior high school years near the Mediterranean in Italy, followed by two years in Monterey, CA exploring beaches and tidepools at every opportunity. Finishing high school in New York he returned to Washington State University receiving a B.S. in Animal Science in 1983 and graduated from the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine in 1988.
From 1988-1993 Robert worked as an associate veterinarian at Bovine Herd Health of Yakima Valley in Sunnyside, WA. In 1993 he moved to southwestern Idaho and co-partnered and founded Herd Health PLLC, a large animal clinical and consulting practice with eight doctors of veterinary medicine working throughout the intermountain region.
Robert’s lifetime interest in conservation medicine crossed his professional path when the Honeybee, as a food-producing insect, came under FDA supervision for antibiotic use. This occurred as significant losses due to Colony Collapse disorder were being researched worldwide.
Interest and concern for marine ecosystems and losses to endangered and key indicator species have followed, and he now helps support the efforts of TF2.
Aviation Advisor, Advisory Board
Aircraft Lean Design Engineer, MI Small Aircraft Transportation Systems Lab. (MISATS)
Sid leads MISATS Aero Technology R&D thrust. He is an experienced aeronautical engineer with over 30 years in aeronautical design, development and manufacturing. Sid’s lean design experience is gained in many NASA and aviation industry cockpit systems, design for manufacturing and FAA certification projects. Sid currently uses Lean Design® methodologies to develop a new generation innovative aircraft designs that embody “lean thinking” and ensure affordable acquisition as well as passenger/customer fares. His workshop presentations stress that the pay-off of efficient aircraft design (quality, cost, weight savings, etc.) is a key for economic success.
Sid worked with 2 NASA & Aviation Industry consortia: AGATE –Advanced General Aviation Transport Experiments program, and its follow-up SATS - Small Aircraft Transportation System program
AGATE was a consortia of the General Aviation industry (Beechcraft, Cessna, Cirrus, Glasair, Lancair, Piper, etc.), NASA, and the FAA as well as many aviation trade associations (EAA, AOPA, NATA, NASAO, NBAA, SAMA), as well as universities MIT & Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
In AGATE Sid was one of the leads for the Integrated Design & Manufacturing work for the Michigan SATS Simulator Cockpit of the Future.
Sid also worked as an Aero Structural Engineer in the NASA Industry, FAA & DOD ACT – Advanced Composites Technology program.
Advisory Board Members
Education Advisor, Advisory Board
Science Instructor, Boise School District
Erin was born and raised in British Columbia where she earned her undergraduate degree in physical geography from Simon Fraser University (SFU). After graduating from SFU she attended Boise State University (BSU) where she continued to study Geology before settling on education as her career future path. It was at BSU where Erin earned her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. Currently, Erin is working on her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership.
Erin has taught in the Boise School district since 2006 where she has taught everything from 7th grade Life Science to Advanced Placement Environmental Science. In 2016 Erin was awarded the Idaho Environmental Education Association’s Secondary Environmental Educator of the Year award for her work with students on the Boise River. When Erin is not working, she enjoys spending time exploring with her family exploring nature!
Sea Turtle Program Manager
University of Florida, Whitney Labs
Catherine Eastman (Cat) has been working with sea turtles in Florida since 1998. Growing up on the Atlantic Coast (in almost every state), Cat has always had a love for the ocean and its inhabitants. She started her career with sea turtles while studying at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. There, she joined the sea turtle conservation program at Gumbo Limbo Environmental Complex as a marine turtle specialist. She transferred to University of North Florida to finish her degree and accept an Environmental Educator position at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. She taught environmental education to K-12 school kids and led beach and upland nature hikes to adults and undergraduates. During that time, she and her husband incorporated a conservation non-profit to help support sea turtle nesting beach work and research. When Cat is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son (and golden retriever) at the beach and running.
Sr. Product Manager, Bose
Matt was born and raised in rural Nebraska, about as far from the ocean as possible. But it is where he learned to appreciate the land and the animals that lived there. It is also where he first learned the value of aviation and that a mile of road can only get you a mile in one direction, but a mile of runway opens endless destinations and opportunities. He soloed at 16 and his love for flying has since never quit. He pursued professional pilot training with a business minor at LeTourneau University and gathered his Commercial Pilot and Flight Instructor licenses, as well as his Air Frame and Power Plant (A&P) license. He went on to get an MBA from Embry Riddle.
He has worked at Evergreen International Airlines and Jeppesen before joining Bose where he holds multiple patents and is the product management lead for Aviation, Military, and Broadcast headsets. He first learned about Turtles Fly Too at an aviation trade show and was encouraged by his youngest son who was fascinated. Together they first volunteered by bringing coffee and donuts for the teams who would load the turtles into aircraft and the pilots who would fly them South to warmer climates or to recovery locations.
Matt is excited about the global impact that TF2 can have by helping to save endangered animals utilizing the natural passions pilots have. It is his hope that the unique perspectives pilots have the joy of experiencing as they fly above the oceans, lakes, and land helps to propagate the need for us all to appreciate nature and the fragility of life.
Treasurer, Advisory Board
NOAA Representative, Advisory Board
Sea Turtle Stranding and Disentanglement Coordinator
NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office