Don Wettrick is the founder and CEO of The STARTedUP Foundation, which hosts Innovate WithIN – Indiana’s innovation and entrepreneurship programming and competition. He is also the author of “Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation,” which aims to create innovative mindsets in our schools. Don is known for his award-winning work as a teacher, educational and innovation consultant, and educational speaker.
Wettrick has also hosted a podcast for the past five years, interviewing some of the country’s top entrepreneurs, authors, and thought leaders. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife of 27 years, Alicia, and his three children.
Chris Corpus is a conservation biologist and filmmaker serving as the Director of Conservation at the Dallas Zoo. In Dallas, Chris oversees the Zoo’s conservation strategy, focusing on saving wildlife globally through supporting local community conservation efforts. He serves on several Association of Zoos and Aquariums committees, including the Wildlife Conservation Committee, SAFE Vaquita, and SAFE Gorillas. Chris received his Master’s in Biology from Miami University, studying community-based conservation strategies around Belizean coral reefs, the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, and the Mongolian steppe. Serving in conservation organizations for nearly 20 years, Chris’s work has culminated in a focus on helping people live in harmony with nature so that people, wildlife, and landscapes can thrive together.
Press Release Statement:
I am thrilled and honored to assist the VETPAW team in their conservation work. Saving wildlife in today’s landscapes requires a deep understanding of both the needs of the wildlife in the region and the people in the region. Conservation cannot succeed long-term unless we meet both needs. In the VETPAW mission and legacy of work, I see a formula for conservation success where wildlife, people, and the whole landscape can thrive. VETPAW models excellence in protecting wild animals and in positively engaging local communities. The VETPAW team’s passion for wildlife and the local people who live alongside wildlife is inspiring! It is truly my privilege to serve with the VETPAW team in this crucial work of engaging people and saving wildlife.
41 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10010
ACCOUNT INFORMATION TO WIRE:
Bank: Chase Bank
Account Name: VETPAW
Account number: 568759976
Routing number: 021000021
Bank Wire Address: JPMorgan Chase Bank
270 Park Ave, New York, NY 10017
In high school, Ryan sat in English class and watched in horror as terrorists took down the World Trade Center and Pentagon. He had a strong urge to fight on the front lines, and he knew the Marines would allow him to do just that. So he signed his enlistment papers at age 16, received his high school diploma early, and skipped high school graduation to attend Bootcamp at Parris Island in 2003, where he earned the title United States Marine.
As an Infantryman, Ryan participated in some of the most intense battles of the Iraq war. He earned awards for combat valor, “Marine of the Year,” and “Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year.” His service took him to Southeast Asia to train foreign militaries and assist in counter-piracy operations. Ryan says, “Being a Marine allowed me to see humanity’s best and worst. The contrast is humbling, and I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything.”
After leaving the Marine Corps, Ryan continued serving our nation with the U.S. Department of State. He served on protective details for high-profile diplomats, both foreign and domestic. After four years with State, Ryan was at home on a Sunday evening and watched a documentary that exposed him to the atrocities of poaching in Africa and the damage the illegal international wildlife trade had on developing African communities. One scene of a female rhino dying a slow, painful death after poachers sawed her face off gave Ryan a gut punch that changed his life forever.
In 2013, Ryan took an exploratory research trip to Tanzania at the invitation of President Kikwete and the Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism. His mentors at the State Department connected him to Government Officials from several African nations to discuss their wildlife protection needs. Each official he spoke with recognized the importance of providing their country’s park rangers with specialized military training. It became even more apparent to him during this trip that veterans and their skills would be a game-changer for park rangers and conservationists in the fight to protect endangered species. After returning home from his first trip to Africa, Ryan resigned from the U.S. Department of State and founded Veterans Empowered To Protect African Wildlife.