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We recently welcomed an incredible new addition to Orange County Coastkeeper’s board of directors: Vince Zimmerer, Executive Vice President at W. Brown & Associates.

Check out his story below to learn about his professional experience and involvement with Coastkeeper, in his own words.

A life-long love for the ocean

Born and raised in Southern California, I have always had an affinity for the ocean. I graduated from Burbank High School, but I spent my summers in Newport Beach working summer jobs as a busboy and cook, and body surfing and surfing.

When I was growing up in the valley, we would have numerous smog alerts. The air was so bad, you couldn’t see the mountains two blocks away.

The oceans at the time were also filthy. They were dumping raw sewage just off the coastline routinely, without a worry that people were getting sick from the high bacteria counts. Back then, no one was monitoring the oceans and the water system was also a bit suspect.

The intersection of business and clean water

I ended up at Berkeley for college and pursued a major in environmental sciences, then switched to the Berkeley School of Business in my senior year and graduated with a BS degree in Finance.

From there, I became an underwriter at an aviation insurance firm, then ended up starting W. Brown & Associates with Scott Brown and Bill Brown. We have been in business for over 30 years and are still going strong.

Even though I have been a businessman, I have always had an interest in keeping our environment clean. I took many surfing trips down to Mexico in my earlier years and saw what could happen with no regulations for dumping in the ocean. You learned not to go in the ocean in certain areas. Fortunately, there were untouched areas safe to surf.

I have seen firsthand the results of strong environmental regulations. Our air is much clearer and we rarely if ever have a smog alert anymore – even with 10 times as many cars and people. Our water is of high quality and the oceans are vastly cleaner. I still surf two to three days a week, so I see firsthand the improvement in the ocean over the years. The dedicated people at Coastkeeper have been a big part of the clean water and the beautiful ocean that we are all enjoying.

I am proud to be a part of this organization and hope to continue improving our water supply and making the ocean even cleaner in the years to come.

Interested in getting involved in protecting our waters?

Clean water is everyone’s responsibility. Click here to explore opportunities to defend a healthy environment in our communities.

For more details on Orange County Coastkeeper’s staff and board, click here.