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Gulf of Mexico Foundation
Partnerships

Compass Media focus on conservation
GMF partner uses sea turtle to communicate mission

April 2011- Gulf of Mexico Foundation Board of Directors member J. Gary Ellis is the CEO of Compass Media, Inc., in Gulf Shores, Alabama. A lifelong resident of the Gulf coast, he believes in preserving resources and promoting that concept.

People often ask the folks at Compass Media why they chose a sea turtle to represent their company. “Sea turtles are master navigators,” says Ellis. Their instincts allow hatchlings to navigate across the sand to the water, and adult females to migrate across thousands of miles to return to the exact beach they were born on to lay their eggs. “It’s like a built-in compass,” he says. Likewise, Compass Media's business is helping clients navigate their way through the currents of challenging waters of tourism marketing.

But the sea turtle represents a much bigger picture of Compass Media's philosophy and practices and is iconic of the company's passion for sustainable business and tourism.

For many years, Compass Media has encouraged sustainable business and tourism practice, and has participated in a variety of green initiatives in partnership with clients, companies and tourists in the region.

In 2002, Compass Media was instrumental in the planning and execution of the Summit on Sustainable Tourism, an event that educated and informed industry partners on best practices in sustainable tourism. In fact, Compass Media was delighted to receive The 2003 Environmental Stewardship Award from the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Alabama Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce as a result of the summit's success.

Ellis has also served for eight years on the Board of Directors of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation. Compass Media is the sole voice of tourism at the foundation, a nonprofit founded in 1990 representing fisheries, business, industry, tourism, agriculture and environmental conservation.

“When those little hatchlings come out of the sand, we guard them from crabs, birds and other predators until they can make it into the water”
- J. Gary Ellis

In addition, Compass Media has for more than 20 years provided pro bono services and promotional pieces to Alabama Coastal Cleanup, an annual half-day event in which community and business members head to the beach for a massive cleaning effort. Over the decades, more than 58,000 volunteers have removed 1,120,000 pounds of trash from 3,500 miles of shoreline to keep Alabama's beaches beautiful.

Compass works to save the endangered sea turtles, too, by being a sponsor of the 'Share the Beach' sea turtle protection program. Each year, from May through October, Compass Media associates, along with hundreds of other volunteers including both residents and visitors from all over the United States, help locate and mark sea turtle nesting sites and then work around the clock in shifts to watch the nests as hatch-time approaches. “When those little hatchlings come out of the sand, we guard them from crabs, birds and other predators until they can make it into the water,” says Ellis. Over a five-year period, about 17,000 hatchlings safely entered into the Gulf of Mexico, according to Share the Beach.

"We are proud of our community, our businesses who conscientiously strive toward sustainable tourism business, our citizens who help preserve and sustain the beauty of the region, and our tourists who are devoted to leaving nothing more than footprints behind on our sugar sands," said Ellis. "Sustainability is and always will be a work in progress, and we are proud to be a part of those efforts here in Coastal Alabama."

ARCHIVED PARTNERSHIP ARTICLES

Gulf of Mexico Foundation - PMB 51, 5403 Everhart - Corpus Christi, TX 78411
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GMF CONTRIBUTORS

CEO COUNCIL

GULF PROTECTORS
Continental Shelf Associates
ExxonMobil
FMC Technologies
Marti Powers, BP
Trull Foundation

GULF ADVOCATES
Marcus Allen
AmerCable
Coastal America Fnd
Quenton Dokken
Colie Donaldson
Rick Fowler, Dominion
Paul Kelly
LCRA
Port of Corpus Christi
Pt Isabel Economic Dev
3M Corporation
Mary Yturria

GULF ALLIES
Carneiro, Chumney
Gary Ellis
Harte Research Institute
Richard Fowler
Valero
Walmart

GULF ASSOCIATES
Joseph Dial

GOVERNMENT
FGBNMS
NOAA Restoration Cntr
Texas GLO CIAP
Gulf of Mexico Program

NON-PROFIT
Newfield Foundation
Disney WCF