Rear Adm. Len Hering Sr.

Hering holds a B.S. in Meteorology and Oceanography from S.U.N.Y. Maritime College, a M.S in International Relations and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College and an M.B.M from Salve Regina University.

His sea assignments included duty aboard USS Santa Barbara (AE 28), USS Fahrion (FFG 22); USS Aries (PHM 5) as Commanding Officer and USS Doyle (FFG 39) as Commanding Officer. His assignments ashore include duty on the staff of Commander, Destroyer Squadron Twelve; aide and administrative assistant to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Naval Warfare; Action Officer Joint Operations Directorate J-33, The Joint Staff; 1st Battalion Officer and Ethics Instructor, U.S. Naval Academy and Commanding Officer of Naval Base San Diego.

His Flag Officer assignments include Commander, Naval Surface Group Pacific Northwest; Commander, Navy Region Northwest, and Commander, Navy Region Southwest.

While a Flag Officer, his principle efforts were focused on everything from renewable energy to responsible water use and conservation of all types. He built a team recognized throughout the Department of Defense as the best in environmental protection and sustainable innovation. Within three years, the team reduced energy consumption by nearly 42%, diverted 70% of Navy waste from landfills and reduced water consumption by more than one billion gallons, saving tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. Hering instigated wind, thermal, photovoltaic and conversion technology at all levels in Navy facilities. President Bush awarded Hering a 2005 Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management.


Karen E. Nelson

Dr. Nelson is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences. Other honors include being named ARCS Scientist of the Year 2017; a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology; being inducted into the Indian National Academy of Sciences in 2018; and being appointed an Honorary Professor at the University of the West Indies as well as a Helmholtz International Fellow.

Dr. Nelson has extensive experience in microbial ecology, microbial genomics, microbial physiology and metagenomics. Dr. Nelson has led several genomic and metagenomic efforts, and led the first human metagenomics study that was published in 2006. Additional ongoing studies in her group include metagenomic approaches to study the ecology of the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals, studies on the relationship between the microbiome and various human and animal disease conditions, reference genome sequencing and analysis primarily for the human body, and other -omics studies.


J. Craig Venter

Dr. Venter and his team at JCVI continue to blaze new trails in genomics. They have sequenced and analyzed hundreds of genomes, and have published numerous important papers covering such areas as environmental genomics, the first complete diploid human genome, and the groundbreaking advance in creating the first self-replicating bacterial cell constructed entirely with synthetic DNA.

Dr. Venter is one of the most frequently cited scientists, and the author of more than 280 research articles. He is also the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, public honors, and scientific awards, including the 2008 United States National Medal of Science, the 2002 Gairdner Foundation International Award, the 2001 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize and the King Faisal International Award for Science. Dr. Venter is a member of numerous prestigious scientific organizations including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Society for Microbiology.

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Amb. Jamal Khokhar

From 2006-2008, he took leave from government to join the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington, D.C. where he was Chief of Staff to the President of the Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, and later led the creation of the Bank’s Department of Outreach and Partnerships – a department dedicated to establishing innovative social impact partnerships with the private sector, NGOs, and private foundations.

Mr. Khokhar has studied at McGill University in Montreal, the University of Ottawa, and the American University in Washington DC. He was a Fellow of Harvard University’s Weatherhead Institute for International Affairs in 2002-03. In 2013 he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for leadership and excellence in strategy development and implementation of Canada’s engagement in the Americas.


Wendy Martinez

MANAGER OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING AT RAYTHEON.  There is also a technical side to her post. For the past 12 years, Martinez has supported LPD class ship programs, which are used by the Navy and Marines. “I think before I would believe in peace and wish we could all get along, the reality is that we do live in times where there are people that are harming us and harming our country,” she explains. “Fortunately, we do have a military that protects us. I feel that working with the Navy or LPD class ship, I’ll be able to fill that piece of being able to help the security of our country.”

Martinez successfully completed upgrades of the Shipboard Wide Area Network on multiple LPD ships including three of the Naval Vessels named in honor of places affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. LPD ships are used for humanitarian work and protect against numerous threats.

“The next (Orion) project is to take people to Mars or to the moon,” Martinez shares. “Once it gets to the ocean, the LPD is actually testing how they would recover the vessel. It’s exciting to see the difference it’s making in the world and how our systems are part of it.”


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Malin Burnham

Mr. Burnham has been awarded numerous honors, some of which include: Junior Achievement/San Diego Business Hall of Fame, 2002; Philanthropist of the Year, National Society of Fund Raising Executives, 2000; Civic Entrepreneur of the Year, Economic Development Corporation, 1999; Mr. San Diego, Rotary Club of San Diego, 1998, Gold Spike Award, Stanford University, 1996, and inducted into the Stanford Real Estate Hall of Fame, 2012.

Mr. Burnham has chaired nine major non-profits and has co-founded 14 organizations in his career, most providing direct benefit to San Diego, California and the nation. In the sports world, he has been a world-recognized sailor for five decades and has helped San Diego achieve prominence in both local and professional sports. At age 17, he became the youngest skipper to win a World Championship in the International Star Class. In 1987, he played a leading role in bringing the America’s Cup to San Diego. He is a former partner/owner of the San Diego Padres and the San Diego Sockers.