I was recently invited to the dedication of the Leonard Aube Way & AltaSea preview at the Port of Los Angeles, CA. Even though my departure from Boston was a late Sunday night during one of our crazy winter storms, this was an event I could not miss.
I first met Leonard Aube over 17 years ago. At the time, he was the director of the California Science Center where I spoke at the Los Angeles premiere of the IMAX film WHALES. Leonard and I have been friends ever since. For over 20 years, Leonard has been the proverbial Energizer bunny and bright light in the non-profit world. I cannot tell you how many lives Leonard has changed for the positive over the last two decades (it is most likely in the tens of thousands), but I can tell you with great certainty that he changed the future for Ocean Alliance and my life – all for the better. Leonard was the catalyst behind the $2 million donation from the Annenberg Foundation to purchase the Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory, with the goal of turning this space into not only Ocean Alliance’s office headquarters, but also an Oceanographic Research Education and Innovation center on the Gloucester waterfront.
It was close to my heart, then, to see Leonard in LA and be introduced to the AltaSea project. If you replace the name AltaSea with Ocean Alliance you would not have to change much more: AltaSea is a ground-breaking public-private partnership bringing together the world’s leading scientists, educators and business innovators at a unique, state-of-the-art ocean-based campus at the Port of Los Angeles. To quote Wallis Annenberg:
AltaSea will be a dynamic and interactive space dedicated to finding solutions to humanity’s great challenges, while creating an environment that will foster a new generation of scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs dedicated to securing our future and the health of the ocean.
It was very exciting for me to be at this event, and to engage in so many conversations about the value of our oceans and the importance of NGO’s, businesses, educators and innovators all working together for a sustainable future. The principle difference is that the AltaSea project has a 32 acre campus and a $217 million dollar budget, while our Gloucester headquarters is a 1 acre campus and $8 million budget (of which we still have $4 million left to raise). I will admit at one point in time an image of Mike Meyers and Mini Me did cross my mind as I was introduced to this project and thought of our own efforts on the Gloucester waterfront.The day’s agenda included the dedication of a road (Leonard Aube Way) in recognition of all that Leonard has done over the last 20 years and a preview of the vision for AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles.
I’d like to tell you what I think Leonard Aube Way is: not just a road on the AltaSea campus, but it also represents hard work, humanity, compassion, dedication, and the vision, drive and unrelenting determination to make a real difference in this world. There is no doubt in my mind, nor in the minds of the over 500 people who were at the dedication that, this is the Leonard Aube Way and the world is a far far better place for having Leonard in it.
Leonard – we consider ourselves lucky to be one of the many who have been guided and nurtured by you.
OK Gloucester, back to work – we need to raise another $4 million to finish our Oceanographic Research Education and Innovation center on the Gloucester waterfront and show these people on the West Coast that we to can follow the Leonard Aube Way.
Did I mention that Leonard is also an amazing photographer? Here is a photo he took of me while we were filming the Explore video Wild Dolphins.