United Anglers of Southern California (UASC) announced today that four new representatives have joined the non-profit fishing/conservation organization's board of directors. The announcement was made by UASC President Steven Fukuto.
"We are very pleased to have Will Ebersman, John Gaebel, Ben Hamilton and Steve Lee joining our esteemed board of directors," said Fukuto. "Each of these gentlemen brings a unique combination of angling and life experience that will benefit our organization and all Southern California recreational fisherman. I'm looking forward to their input and strong leadership as we move into a very critical time for recreational anglers," added Fukuto.
Will Ebersman is a familiar face to anybody who's ever participated in any UASC activity or event, from the Fred Hall Shows to fundraising events to countless youth fishing trips. He has served selflessly, volunteering anytime and anywhere the organization has needed him. This level of involvement has given Ebersman in-depth understanding of UASC's mission, and will help him as he moves into a new leadership role with the organization.
A "Jersey boy" who moved to sunny Southern California after graduating from Alfred University in the late 80s, Ebersman rekindled his love for saltwater fishing (he grew up on stripers, bluefish and freshwater gamefish back East) in 1991. It was around 1993 that he signed up as a UASC member, at the urging of angling visionary Russ Izor during a Day at the Lots event. Watching from the sidelines has never been Ebersman's style. In addition to his work with UASC, he is actively involved with 976-TUNA kid's fishing trips and classes, is on the Foundation Board of the Los Angeles Rod and Reel Club, a member of the Turner's Outdoorsman Rod and Reel Club and the Westwood Sportsmen's Club. Ebersman also started an angling club at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, where he works as a Utility Services Specialist. As further proof of his volunteering nature, Ebersman records textbooks one night a week for blind and dyslexic students.
In contrast, new board member John Gaebel is as local as they come. A Long Beach native who grew up watching Pierpoint Landing's "Fishing Flashes" on television and heading out on many 1/2- and 3/4-day boats from local landings, Gaebel attended Long Beach City College and Cal State Long Beach. He eventually became a dentist and practiced for many years in Southern California. This led to starting his own thriving insurance company - PacificDental Benefits - which he eventually sold to United Health.
Gaebel's fishing exploits over the years have been no less successful. In the mid '80s, he got into private boating with the purchase of a Cabo 216 CuddyCon (he first met UASC board member Jim Hendricks in the Cabo owner's club). He used this small center console to target a wide variety of inshore and offshore gamefish, from seabass and halibut to albacore and yellowtail. After selling his business about four years ago, Gaebel moved up to his current boat, a 31' Black Watch named Pescador that he keeps in Dana Point Harbor. Fishing is in his blood - one of Gaebel's two grown sons is a professional captain aboard the 71' sportfisher Alure, which is currently fishing in Mexico. His son is also a member of "Team Easy" which won the Catalina Classic marlin tournament in 2009.
Tackling important issues with UASC won't be unfamiliar ground for Gaebel, either. He was involved in the Ocean Fish Protective Association (OFPA), where he fought anchovy stock reductions and other issues with this organization founded by Russ Izor.
Ben Hamilton comes to UASC's board with a background in Marine Ecology certain to benefit UASC members and broaden the organization's perspective. A California native, Hamilton knew he was "hooked" on fishing at the tender age of four. He worked for a time as a commercial fisherman around the Channel Islands and applied his considerable mechanical knowledge doing marine engine and total vessel refurbishment. He recently retired from his position as a Consumer Safety Officer for the National Seafood Inspection Program of the US Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, and the Marine Fisheries Service in Long Beach.
Hamilton was granted a Bachelor of Science in Biology (Ecology) with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Redlands, with an emphasis in research ecology of plant and animal species. He received his Masters in Marine Biology from Occidental College, doing research in Mercury Pollution and Primary Productivity, completing the research at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
Hamilton's work on and around the ocean proves his lifelong dedication to protecting our marine ecosystems. UASC will benefit from Hamilton's 20+ years of experience in environmental work and 15 years of field ecology work focusing on estuaries and other critical marine habitats. Hamilton is Co-Founder of AnEcoScape.net, a multi-media entertainment company with veteran writer and entertainment publicist, Michael Conley.
Although Steve Lee was born in Bakersfield, since he moved to Balboa Island in 6th grade the ocean has long been an important part of his life. Lee recalls fond memories of chasing albacore on the 14 Mile bank with his father aboard a 20-foot Garwood boat, or wintertime runs to deep water in search of rockfish. A devotee of fresh and saltwater fishing, Lee has been a member of the Balboa Angling Club for more than 20 years. He lists among his top angling accomplishments catching a marlin on 9-thread linen line, and has set a lofty goal of catching one on 6-thread line.
Lee currently owns a successful machine shop business in Huntington Beach, manufacturing precision machined parts for commercial and aircraft use. He has always been fascinated with machinery, working for a time for a manufacturer involved in NASA's Apollo project. He is particular proud of the fact that parts that he manufactured are up on the moon. His current company also makes parts for American Fishing Tackle Company (AFTCO), which is how Lee first became acquainted with UASC board chairman Dave Elm. The two fish together regularly, sharing a passion for saltwater fishing and a concern for protecting our precious marine resources.
"This past year was a tough one for recreational fishing, and 2010 is going to present us with some great challenges as well," said Fukuto. "These strong leaders will help guide our organization as we fight for healthy oceans, robust fisheries and the recreational access all Southern Ca