The Team

Phil Cruver

Founder, President and CEO, Chairman of Board of Directors

Phil is the founder of four start-up companies and has served as CEO of two publicly-traded companies.  He is co-founder of KZO Sea Farms and former Chairman of KZO Innovations, Inc., a venture capital funded software company.  Phil was also founder and CEO of International Dynergy Inc., a publicly traded company that installed $50 million of wind turbine generators in Palm Springs, CA.  Previously he was the Senior Vice President and member of the Board of Directors of Auto-Train Corporation, an American Stock Exchange Company.  Phil has written over 100 articles published in national magazines and trade journals relating to his various businesses and two patents awarded from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


Maria Smith

Controller and Director of Contracts

Maria manages capital project planning, company budgets, and regulatory compliance.  She has a degree in Business Administration and Computer Science as well as over 20 years of experience in Federal Government contracting, proposal and grant writing, budgeting, and compliance.  Maria has managed contracts in excess of $1.5 billion in partnership with Bearing Point and KPMG and raised over $100 million in contract and grant funds.

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Matt Grant

Ranch Operation Manager

Matt manages all offshore ranch operations including marine crop inventory, harvesting and logistics.  His deck crews install anchors and maintain ropes, floats and buoys at the ranch.  Matt is also responsible for the management and maintenance of the Company’s five research, work, and support vessels.   Matt is a USCG licensed 100-ton Captain and certified Scuba diver. 

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Debbie Johnson

Administrative Officer and member Board of Directors

Debbie is co-founder of KZO Sea Farms and was previously the Program Manager for the KZO Education, ED-LINKS Program, a subcontractor for the $90 million five-year program "LINKS TO LEARNING: Education Support to Pakistan (ED-LINKS)" funded by USAID.  Debbie was also Program Manager for the “Alamitos Bay Oyster Restoration Program” in Long Beach, CA where she managed the community outreach and educational activities for volunteers.


Board of Directors


Roger O’Brien

In January 2015 Roger was elected to the Board of Directors at Santa Monica Seafood and as Chief Executive Officer after having functioned as the defacto CEO for most of the prior 10 years.  Santa Monica Seafood, a family-owned and operated company for the past 75 years, is the largest specialty wholesale distributor of fresh and frozen seafood in the southwestern U.S. Roger has over 15 years of experience serving the food and beverage industry.  He has completed multiple M&A deals and real estate acquisitions for individuals and companies in the seafood, retail, manufacturing, and distribution sectors. Roger served as CFO or CEO for various privately owned manufacturing, real estate, and service-related companies.  Roger owned and operated 3-Day Blinds, the largest manufacturer and retailer of hard window coverings in the U.S., and previously was a CPA with Arthur Andersen & Co. Roger was a finalist in the Orange County entrepreneur of the Year program in 1996 and 1997 and is a graduate of UCLA.


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A converted, 72 foot long LCM-8 from the World War II era, the deck space and easy access to the water on the starboard side make the Enterprise a versatile aquaculture harvest vessel. Powered by new, clean and efficient twin John Deere diesels and outfitted with specialized mussel processing and longline management equipment, this vessel serves as the workhorse of the fleet.


Berth 58

Catalina Sea Ranch leases space from the Port of Los Angeles as its base of operations and for mooring its vessels at Berth 58, which is large warehouse of 60,000 square feet destined to become AltaSea. It has constructed a research hatchery and converted seven shipping containers used for its research laboratories and offices. Berth 58 has sufficient space for future expansion for aquaculture and R&D operations including a commercial hatchery and training center. AltaSea is a $500 million project for bringing science, business and education together to generate innovative solutions to the global challenges of sustainability.


Captain Jack

A restored and converted 111-ton, 75 foot long with 22 foot beam, the Captain Jack serves as a dedicated research vessel supporting the Offshore Monitoring Program. Equipped with a 5-ton crane and wet laboratory, it transports scientists, oceanographers and mobile monitoring vehicles to the ranch for conducting research and advancing offshore aquacuture.



The NOMAD serves as the SW corner buoy at the ranch.  This 17,000 pound platform is equipped with technologies for transmitting real-time data for remotely monitoring environmental, security and aquaculture husbandry functions.  It employs a combination of wind and solar power to maintain a monitoring presence at the ranch which can be viewed at: 

The Ranch

The is the first federally permitted and operational aquaculture facility located 6 miles offshore in U.S. Federal waters.  Catalina Sea Ranch is planning to expand the initial 100 acres to over 1,000 acres by documenting no negative environmental or social impact. Launching operations with low-risk, highly profitable mussels, the strategic plan is to expand with the cultivation of additional sustainable mollusk and seaweed crops. Mollusk shellfish (mussels, scallops, oysters, etc.) are among the most lucrative and sustainable fisheries in the U.S. valued at $1 billion and the global seaweed market exceeds $10 billion.

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