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!


KatFavorite 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

Karen 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! 






Brian Thurow, Veterinary Technician

Brian's goofy mug

I've loved sea turtles my entire life and have a passion for animal medicine. Sea Turtle, Inc. is my dream job and I really look up to the people I work for. I've learned so much since I've started working here and I literally jump out of bed most days to start working. In my free time, I raise my beautiful son, Kai. I hope to teach him about ocean conservation so he will grow up to save the planet.




Favorite Sea Turtle Species: I love hawksbill sea turtles because they eat sea sponges and Spongebob Squarepants is my favorite tv show.


Megan Chilcutt, Marketing and PR


I'm an ocean girl and I love animals. For the last 10 years I have either worked on boats or in animal hospitals. Sea Turtle, Inc. is the perfect job for me! I'm so excited to be a part of the capital campaign and see this great organization grow to its full potential. When I'm not working at Sea Turtle, Inc. I like to spend time with my 2 cats and my new dog (named "Ridley",of course). I also like to paddleboard, surf and practice my clarinet.


Favorite Sea Turtle Species: Something about loggerheads just gets me every time! Their noses are squishy! Johnny Football, Dazzling, Fred, and Al have a special place in my heart! But, Kemp's ridleys and Atlantic greens get me too!




Jean Pettit, Administrative Assistant

Jean PettitAfter 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.




Caitlin Bovery, Educator

Originally from New Jersey, I fell in love with sea turtles in Kiawah Island, SC when I was just six years old and saw loggerhead hatchlings for the first time. Ever since then, I've been immensely passionate about marine conservation and protecting sea turtles.  After completing my B.S. in Biology and Environmental Science at The College of William & Mary, I came to Sea Turtle, Inc. as an intern and fell in love with this amazing organization.  Now that I've finished my M.S. in Environmental Science at Florida Atlantic University, I am thrilled to be joining Sea Turtle, Inc. as an Educator! Sharing our passion for sea turtle conservation with our visitors every day is a dream come true!

Favorite Sea Turtle Species: The loggerhead sea turtle will always have a special place in my heart because it was the sea turtle that sparked my interest in marine conservation. I think about that first experience often, and I've always found it amazing how helping those tiny turtles reach the sea has made such an impact on my life.



Mary Laddis, Part Time Staff Member

Mary LaddisMary 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!


TeresaTeresa Shumaker, Part Time Marketing & PR

I am thrilled to be added as the new part-time marketing assistant to the STI team. I have an AA in photography and psychology, and most recently worked as a reporter/photographer at a weekly newspaper in Northern California. I am also returning to school to finish my B.S. in biology. I love turtles, the water, and being outdoors. I have been fascinated with wildlife as long as I can remember.
When I was little, my dad used to take me to a pond near our home and I would try to I.D. everything I saw out of a field guide we found at the local thrift store. Since then, my passion for nature hasn't waned one drop. Our oceans are in big trouble and I will work hard to spread awareness about how we can make the environment a better place for our turtles and everyone else. When I am not busy at Sea Turtle Inc., I am out exploring and photographing wildlife.
Favorite Sea Turtle Species: I have two. First, is the green turtle, because of Squirt from "Finding Nemo" (one of my favorite movies) and, Gerry at STI. Both turtles are way cool.
But, after seeing all the turtles here at STI, I have also fallen in love with the Kemps Ridley's -- Hang 10 is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  Plus, I love how dark the Ridley's shells are when they are hatch-lings, the color contrast in clear water is eye-catching.


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 15 nests!