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Clearwater Marine Aquarium announces Joe Handy as new CEO

He brings more than 15 years of leadership experience at the Georgia Aquarium.

clearwater marine aquarium

Florida’s Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) has announced Joe Handy as its new CEO. He previously served as president and COO of the Georgia Aquarium.

Handy brings more than 15 years of leadership experience at the Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in North America. He most recently worked as the institution’s president and chief operating officer.

“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 Eric Busch, the aquarium’s chair of the board of directors.

“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.”

Former president and COO of Georgia Aquarium

Handy joined the Georgia Aquarium‘s founding team back in 2005 as the director of visitor services. In 2020, he took on the role of president and CEO of the National Black MBA Association.

“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,” he added.

As CEO, Handy will oversee the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, which is led by Dr James ‘Buddy’ Powell. The institute is gathering 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.

clearwater marine aquarium apollo dolphin

“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.”

Last year, Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) welcomed a rescued dolphin named Apollo who was unable to return to the wild due to hearing loss.

Apollo lives in the dolphin complex where Winter, a bottlenose dolphin with a prosthetic tail, once lived. Winter died during treatment in November 2021.

Prior to that, Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) announced plans for a $10 million habitat to rehabilitate manatees for release.

Images: Clearwater Marine Aquarium

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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