Meet Our Staff
Jeff George, Executive Director
No one person could have ever filled Ila Loetscher's shoes running Sea Turtle, Inc. but I was given the opportunity in 2000 after volunteering for 8 years. It is only through a team effort that we continue Ila's legacy and grow as a non-profit organization. The dedicated staff, volunteers and interns make Sea Turtle, Inc. a success and my job a pleasure. Trained as a mathematician and a retired steel industry manager, working with these beautiful animals is a childhood dream come true.
Favorite Sea Turtle Species: Kemp's ridley; it is our native species and we can proudly say that we were involved in its recovery as an endangered species.
Kat Lillie, Assistant Curator
I am proud to be the Assistant Curator for Sea Turtle, Inc! I was born and raised in Indiana and have a BS in Wildlife and a BA in Spanish Languages and Literature from Purdue University. I had my first experience working with sea turtles in North Carolina in 2008. After I saw my first nesting turtle (a 350 pound loggerhead), I knew that I wanted to continue working to conserve these amazing animals. I’m so proud to be a part of an organization that dedicates itself to this cause. I think the best part of my job is watching people react to seeing sea turtles for the first time. Education is my passion and I hope that my work here will inspire a new generation of environmentally-conscious sea turtle protectors!
Favorite Sea Turtle Species: I will always have a soft spot for the fiesty yet loveable loggerhead sea turtle. They are the first sea turtle I ever worked with! After a summer on Bald Head Island seeing nesting mommas and helping hatchlings down to the ocean, it’s easy to fall in love with them!
Karen Pfeiffer, Gift Shop Manager
I'm so stoked to be the newest member of the Sea Turtle, Inc. family! I've been a local since 1978 and raised two beautiful children here! You will rarely find me at the facility without an armload of t-shirts & stuffed animals! When I'm not working, I'm either surfing, fishing, or keeping up with my baby Melo, the Double Yellow Headed Amazon.
Favorite Sea Turtle Species: I love the Loggerheads because one day when I was surfing, there was a big Loggerhead following me on my board. It kept popping its head up for air and I kept trying to paddle away but it stayed right behind me. I was in awe of how big its head was! They sure do live up to their names!
Mary Laddis, Part Time Staff Member
Mary has worked with Sea Turtle, Inc. since 1994. She began as a volunteer with our founder and has been hooked with the organization ever since. Mary works part time as a staff member. Her favorite hobby is scuba diving and she has traveled all around the world volunteering and diving with almost every species of sea turtle!
Favorite Sea Turtle Species: Atlantic greens are my favorite species. They are the laid back vegetarians of the ocean. It's impossible to not love those "cool" greens!
Dave Cromwell, Part Time Environmental Educator
I have been blessed having three wonderful careers. It has always been a joy for me to "go to work." Although I'm there only three days a week, Sea Turtle Inc. is an absolute first rate place to work. And to be afforded the opportunity to be on the Federal permit responding to nesting Kemp's ridleys each turtle season is really icing on the cake. Vivan las tortugas!
Favorite Sea Turtle Species: The Atlantic green because my first encounter with sea turtles involved assisting with 13 nesting females in one night in Costa Rica in 1996. I recently wrote the book Allison, the mostly true story of a one-flippered sea turtle about our famous Atlantic green with a prosthesis!
Jean Pettit, Part-Time Educator
After finding a nest as a volunteer foot patroller, the Kemp’s Ridley captured my heart and set everything in motion. I became totally bonded to the Sea Turtle Inc. mission and saw firsthand that conservation really does make a difference.
As a Texas Master Naturalist and Certified Interpretive Guide (NAI) I enjoy seeing the connection visitors make with our resident turtles. By helping to enrich their experience, our message travels across the country. Their joy, enthusiasm and interest in sea turtles and what we do, are making a difference on a daily basis.
Favorite Sea Turtle Species: The Kemp’s Ridley brought me to the “dance” but each of the five species in the Gulf of Mexico has a special place in my heart.
SPX, Nest Recovery Dog
I am SPX, the red heeler. I have the important job of being on the Kemp's ridley nest recovery team. My owner, Dave Cromwell, trains me on the beach every day to sniff out sea turtle nests. He uses eggshells of old nests to help keep my sense keen! My breed of dog is highly intelligent and I'm very good at what I do! My worker's union only lets me work three days per week but I am paid in cookies!
Favorite Sea Turtle Species: By far the Kemp's ridley because when I find a turtle nest I get a cookie! I have found 12 nests!