Board of Directors
STR’s Board of Directors is a team of dedicated individuals that are committing their time and energy to ensuring that sea turtles have a future. Read some of the things that we want you to know about us from each individual themselves.
Jim Wheatcroft, President
After a 30+ year career in the computer field in the Philadelphia area, we retired to Ocean City, NJ in June of 2010. In 2013, looking for something worthwhile to do with my time, I became a volunteer dog-walker at the Humane Society of Ocean City (HSOC). There I met and became friends with Bill Deerr and Brandi Biehl. I was impressed with their dedication to the animals at the shelter, and their passion for doing everything they could to help those animals. When they got STR moving and were looking to expand the Board of Directors of STR, they asked me if I would like to join the board. I was honored to be asked, and excited to sign up to help out.
With my background in computer work, experience in project planning and implementation, and lessons learned from owning my own small I/T consulting business for 7 years, I feel I bring a solid business perspective to the workings of STR.
In my spare time, I enjoy walking my own dog, Abby, along with the pups down at the HSOC. I am an avid cyclist, and work part-time in a local bike shop. I look forward being a small part of the implementation and operation of Sea Turtle Recovery.
Erin Rumsey, Vice President
I grew up at the beach in Spring Lake, NJ and I am a true beach girl at heart. I spend as much time on the beach and in the ocean as possible. I also consider myself a lifelong learner and find myself continually back in school. I graduated from Fairfield University in Connecticut after majoring in Political Science and Sociology. I have returned to school three times since college to get various degrees. After all of my education, it is only fitting that I am a teacher. I have been a Special Education Teacher for the last 12 years and presently teach a 5th grade self-contained class. Being a teacher allows me to travel during the summers to Kiawah Island, South Carolina. While I am there I take part in their volunteer Turtle Patrol Program. I have been participating in nesting and hatching patrol for Loggerhead Sea Turtles for the last 6 years. I was lucky enough last year to see two nest boils (a boil is when all the hatchlings erupt from the nest together) on back to back mornings. This experience made all the early mornings and hard work pay off! I was thrilled to find out about Sea Turtle Recovery and realize that I would be able to help save and rehabilitate sea turtles all year long.
Eleanor Rinaldi, Secretary
Donna Cataliotti, Treasurer
As a lifelong nature and animal lover, it is my honor and privilege to serve on the Board of Sea Turtle Recovery. I started volunteering as a docent at Turtle back Zoo in 2015. I’ve always had mixed emotions about keeping animals in captivity but appreciate the importance of educating the public about conservation and protection of wild animals and their habitat. So when I heard that Sea Turtle Recovery was opening on zoo grounds, I was thrilled to be a part of the effort to rehabilitate turtles and release them back to the ocean. I have been a blue-star volunteer with STR since 2016.
My background includes an Associate Degree in Veterinary Technology and a Doctoral Degree in Pediatric Physical Therapy. I presently work full-time for a non-profit school for children with special needs. I sincerely admire Bill and Brandi for their unwavering dedication and accomplishments to this cause and I look forward to supporting STR in all of their future endeavors.
Janice Branwood, Trustee
My life has been filled with everything New Jersey. I was born in Monmouth, NJ and by age 1 moved to South Jersey where I still reside. I am a true lover of the beach, boardwalk, nature and all animals. My love of animals brought me to volunteering at the Humane Society of Ocean City where I met Brandi Biehl and Bill Deerr. Their concept of working with turtles at that time was a dream, which now has become a reality. I visited Turtle Back Zoo and the Sea Turtle Recovery building and have been a true believer of their work. As a child we often visited Turtle Back Zoo and never knew it would come full circle in playing a part of Sea Turtle Recovery. I am honored and appreciative to have a position on the board to further their accomplishments and make the public more aware of saving sea life and their surroundings.
Jennifer Deerr, Trustee
I have been with my current company for 19+ years. Although my career is in accounting, I have always had a strong passion for nature and science. So much so, that I have an associate degree in biology.
I spend as much free time as possible at the beach, all times of the year. Growing up the beach was like a second home to our family. So I was very honored when asked to join this team of talented, intelligent individuals in their journey to protect and preserve sea turtles and their habitat for future generations. My other hobbies and interests include photography, camping, live music, kayaking, and wine tasting.
Ryan Gaupp, Trustee
For as long as I can remember, Sea Turtles have been my favorite animal. The first time I ever went to Florida, my family took me to a sea turtle hospital. A memory that I will never forget! It’s been my lifelong dream to help Sea Turtles in any way that I can!
In 2019 I graduated from Duquesne University with a Bachelor of Science dual major of Information Systems Management and Supply Chain Management. After procuring a job through my internship at their home office, I moved to New Jersey. Being in New Jersey for a little while, I started looking to get involved in something that I was passionate about through volunteering and philanthropy. Who would have known I could get involved with sea turtles in New Jersey!
Environmental conservation has always been a big part of my life. Being an Eagle Scout taught me to leave no trace and volunteering with Sea Turtle Recovery introduced me to the process of keeping the sea turtle population alive and their conservation.
Being part of this board will give me an opportunity to use the leadership skills learned as an Eagle Scout and Vice-President of Sigma Nu fraternity at Duquesne, to extend my volunteering capabilities to help Sea Turtle Recovery and their mission. To me this means there is no obstacle that I am not willing to assist with.
Chris Keating, Trustee
With lifelong ties to the New Jersey shoreline I joined Sea Turtle Recovery with a goal of helping to protect the environment and the wildlife with which we swim. STR’s mission is one of service and preservation to these animals. I couldn’t be more proud to help in any way that I can. I’ve watched first-hand as the staffers at this non-profit work day and night to rehabilitate, nurse and eventually release these sea turtles back into the wild. I live in Monmouth County and have long been a TV and radio journalist working in New Jersey and New York, currently reporting for News 12 New Jersey.
Dr. Colin McDermott, Trustee
Colin McDermott, VMD grew up in South Jersey and has always been fascinated with all animals, especially reptiles and amphibians. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, he spent time in training programs to learn more and work toward specialization in the medicine and surgery of exotic animals (small mammals, birds, reptiles and fish). He was the previous veterinary fellow at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD and worked with their National Aquarium Animal Rescue team to provide medical care for sick and injured sea turtles. After moving back to New Jersey, he joined the board of directors for Sea Turtle Recovery as a way to continue with the conservation and care of these endangered and important species.
Bill Hollingsworth, President Emeritus
Bill Hollingsworth was elected as the first President of STR in 2014 and is stll serving in that capacity. Bill is also the Executive Director and Chief Animal Cruelty Investigator for the Humane Society of Ocean City. He is a member of Society of Animal Welfare Administrator and the Association of Fundraising Professional. Bill is also a certified Dog trainer and a New Jersey Community Response Team Instructor. In the past Bill had a career in law enforcement as well as state and local government. Presently, he lives in Somers Point NJ with his wife Julie and their pets. Bill’s favorite past time is working with his golden retriever “Duncan” with area school children to built their self esteem.
Dante DiPirro, Esq, Legal Counsel
Dante DiPirro, Esq. has been an attorney for over 25 years and has significant experience in both the public and private sectors. Among his great experience and accomplishments he has served in the Governor’s Office, the NJDEP, and at the NJ Highlands Council. Dante has also represented solar / environmental, animal, and business / non-profit clients. We are honored to welcome him as a representative for Sea Turtle Recovery.