Leadership and Advisors

The Foundation’s Board is comprised of close friends, business associates, and family members who have a passion for continuing Jose’s desire to give back to the community, the environment, and society.

Board of Directors

Alan Petrasek- Director

BS degree in Business Administration from Monmouth University, Long Branch NJ

BS in Civil Engineering from Rutgers University in New Brunswick , NJ

Alan grew up in Atlantic Highlands on the Jersey Shore.  He feels lucky to have experienced day fishing trips during his early grade school years on Montauk Boat Basin boats, the business his family ran until Hurricane Donna destroyed it in 1960. That resulted in a decades long hiatus from offshore fishing.

After the hurricane the family purchased a fish market in Leonardo, NJ. Even though this provided Alan with plenty of after school work, his parents were adamant that his education was more important than taking over the family business.  He obtained his BS and shortly after met Susan Ordecki from Holmdel, NJ.  They were married and Alan worked with a small custom home builder.

Susan and other builders encouraged Alan to pursue his education to be able to work on larger construction projects. He obtained his civil engineering degree and was hired by Clark Construction Group in Bethesda, MD.

Building major projects with Clark such as Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD; Petco Park, San Diego, CA and Washington Nationals, Washington, DC allowed Alan to live in several maritime communities like Annapolis, Dana Point and San Diego. When not working one could find him and his family on the water. Moving his boat across the country from the Chesapeake Bay to the southern coast of California broadened his fishing experience. San Diego is the home for a fleet of long-range fishing boats whose sweet spot are multi-day trips offshore. Alan’s favorite trips were a duration of 10 to 14 days ranging as far as the Hurricane Bank approximately 1000 miles south from San Diego. The captains and crews of these vessels pride themselves on delivering an exceptional angling experience.

This new chapter had its origins in California ,but continued in the Florida Keys. Stuck at home in California on an inclement high-wind Sunday morning Alan was fortunate to watch a TV fishing show named “Spanish Fly”. The host, Jose Wejebe, provided insight for pursuing many different fishing species in local and exotic locations. He carefully explained what was important in rigging tackle and general preparation for a successful trip. Alan was always impressed how Jose could pick up a fish by its tail with a grip tight enough to lift the fish for a brief camera shot, but not too tight to prevent the fish from swimming off when he gently returned the fish to the water.

Keeping Jose’s legacy alive by continuing to make fishing dreams come true and helping those in need in the community is made possible by the Jose Wejebe Memorial Foundation. With the serendipity of retiring and moving a boat from California to the Florida Keys, it is a privilege to meet Jose’s daughter, Krissy, and share her and the Foundations’ passion with others.

Denise Bays- Director

Bachelor of Science in Education, Minor in Psychology.

Owner of Patience Accounting & Tax Services.

Denise sailed into the Florida Keys 33 years ago having spent 4 years in the Virgin Islands doing private sailboat charters as well as delivering yachts throughout the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Eastern Seaboard. Having grownup summers on a small island off the coast of Maine, the Lower Keys were a perfect fit for her new landslide home.
She worked a variety of jobs from bar-tending at the No Name Pub, to cleaning houses, to bookkeeping and office administration for a couple of realtors. Denise started doing tax work in the early 90’s having worked for H & R Block and then being recruited by a local CPA to join his firm. She now owns her own tax and accounting practice on Big Pine Key.
Having known Jose for some time on a casual basis, Denise got to really know him better when he approached the firm she worked at for some help with bookkeeping and tax preparation for his business and personal affairs. She worked closely with his newly hired bookkeeper and took on the preparation of the tax returns. This relationship continued with his daughter Krissy upon his passing. Denise was a part of the daunting task of filing the proper paperwork with the IRS to create the Foundation and obtain the nonprofit 501 (c)(3) status.
She has and still is very involved with the community volunteering on endless projects, is an active member of the Big Pine & Lower Keys Rotary as well as the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce.

Mikki Gittings- Treasurer

Happily Retired

Michelle or Mikki Gittings is originally from Chicago IL, and has lived in the Florida Keys for 11 years.  Her professional career includes the Chicago Board of Options Exchange, contract auditor for Beck and Associates, owner of Genoa Junction Café, corporate purchasing for TonerHead, Ink-O-Dem Enterprises, and Cartridge Collection Center.

After leaving the corporate world Mikki made a shift to working in the outdoor world.  Her role at Twin Lakes Sportsmen Club she assisted with hunting and fishing educational classes, trap shooting, and fundraising.  Working with the Department of Natural Resources and the Sportsmen Club they made big strides in the fish restocking program in Wisconsin.

When Mikki and her husband Dale moved to the Keys both got involved with many nonprofits in the community.  With her leadership on several community committees she assists Key West Hospice, Wesley House Family Services, and the Key West Parrot Head Club.  With all her efforts she was awarded the Unsung Heroes Award in 2019.

With the already existing love for the outdoors, and involvement with the local community she was introduced to the Jose Wejebe Memorial Foundation.  The passion of the Foundation is shared by close friends of hers, and once the introduction was made she wanted to jump onboard.  The Foundation’s commitment to continuing Jose’s legacy of making fishing dreams come true is followed by diligent conservation efforts for the future. “I think Jose would be proud of what the Foundation is doing.”

Terry Cassidy – Director

Well-known musician & Friend.

Terry is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and came to the Keys in 1979. He continued his music career playing in many of the watering holes between Key West and Marco Island.
In 1980 Jose and Terry met. The two hit it off from the beginning. Jose had a passion for playing music and Terry had a passion for fishing. They would joke that Jose was supposed to be a musician and Terry was supposed to be a fishing guide. But as fate would have it, both stayed with the profession they were born to do and spent their free time enjoying each other’s world.

His role in the community has been instrumental in the progression of the Foundations growth in the Florida Keys.  After 30 years in a small town this guy knows everyone.

Terry is a true testament of what it means to be a good friend no matter what.  Knowing that Jose would want him to look out for his family he has done exactly that.  He is also godfather to Jose’s youngest grandson Ryder.

 

Krissy Wejebe- Executive Director

B.A. in Interdisciplinary Major in Arts and Humanities from Florida Atlantic University,  3+ years at Dolphin Research Center another 501(c)(3), and at Spanish Fly Enterprises.

With a fisherman for a father, and dolphin trainer for a mother Krissy had a very unique childhood growing up in the Florida Keys.  She is the only child of Jose and was raised with the ethics and values about fishing, the environment, and giving back to the community.  Coincidentally she married a fisherman David that tragically lost his life in October of 2019.

As a widow her priorities are raising her two boys Anthony Jose and Ryder David with the values that were instilled from her parents and keeping her dad’s philanthropic work and memory alive.

Debbi Quinn – Fundraising Chair

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Women’s Studies, Minor in Accounting.

Owner of Blue Moon Herbals & Aromatics LLC

Debbi’s life changed in 1987 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, functioning in a world where everything has been turned upside down. Over the last 3 decades she has in her words, “danced” with cancer 4 times. These experiences have inspired her to take a good long look at her life and sowed the seeds of what would become Blue Moon, one of the first woman-owned green & metaphysical businesses on the “net”.
Three years ago she moved to the Florida Keys when Hurricane Sandy opened up yet another door, sweeping her store into the sea and destroying her home. She knew it was time to leave when there was no chance of living on the water again in New Jersey. She had been visiting the Keys for years.

Founders Board

Jim Sharpe

Jim started Sea Boots Charters in 1978 in Summerland Key.

Jose and Jim met some 30 plus years ago. Their common interest was fishing.  He started the Tourism Development Council (TDC), Fishing Umbrella about 25 years ago and has served as president since its beginning. The 11 member board and Jim advise the Board of County Commissioners how they think the best way to advertise and promote fishing in the Keys.They often sat down together at Jim’s home on Cudjoe Key and mind-pooled on how and where to catch different species of game fish. They loved picking each others brains.
Jose’s show was very important to the TDC. Jose, Mike McKinnis and Jim worked very closely together funding Jose’s TV show and tournaments for about 12 years or more. The TDC Umbrella provided about $ 250,000.00 a year ,approximately $ 3,000,000.00 total. Jim has stated Jose was the Ambassador for the Fl Keys and fishing in general. His TV show and his demeanor showcased not only the fishing but the life style and beauty of the fabulous Florida Keys.
The last time Jose and Jim were on a boat together was the photo shoot he did for the 25th anniversary of Costa Del Mar sunglasses . Jim took his boat , Sea Boots, down to the Fort for three days as the camera boat. Jose spent the night on Jim’s boat with several of the Costa people. They grilled steaks and watched a 40 knot cold front roar through. Jose and the crew joked that this was classic Spanish Fly weather. You have to go with whatever mother nature gives you. It’s all part of the adventure.

Michael Torbisco

B.A. in Communication with Emphasis on Media Production from Florida State University.

Mike worked full time as production manager and in- house videographer for Spanish Fly Enterprises. Together they produced The Road Less Traveled, Vida Del Mar, and Spanish Fly. Traveling the world with Jose, Mike was a cameraman, on-site field producer, and friend. On windy days,Jose would put work on hold and take Mike with him to kite board along the flats of the Florida Keys. He was truly Jose’s number one “Lil Bro”.

Dave Pfeiffer

President, Shimano American Corporation, responsible for all North American operations for fishing, cycling and rowing businesses.
President, Innovative Textiles, Inc.

Dave’s relationship with Jose started in the late 80’s when Jose was a guide and had started field-testing Shimano’s limited offering of saltwater products. They hit it off quickly by sharing a passion for fishing and bringing new techniques and tackle to life. Field-testing and research took them all over the world together, always in pursuit of the greatest fishing experience they could imagine.

Michael McKinnis

Vice President and Executive Producer for JM Associates Inc. Board of Directors for B.A.S.S., the world’s largest fishing organization committed to improving the fishing environment through education and natural resource conservation efforts.

Michael first met Jose Wejebe in the fall of 1994. Michael was searching for a new saltwater series to produce for the brand new “ESPN2 Outdoors.” Jose was seeking a production partner to help make his dream of being a saltwater TV host come alive. As executive producer of the show, Michael was instrumental in bringing forward Jose’s desire of promoting marine education and conservation, as well as his charitable giving to the television screen.

Bill Spottswood

Partner in the law firm Spottswood, Spottswood & Spottswood. Director of First State Bank of the Florida Keys.

Bill Spottswood has a BA in Accounting from the University of Florida and a law degree from Florida State. In addition to practicing environmental and land use law for 30 years, Bill also has dedicated his time and energy to many local organizations. He has been the Chairman of the Key West Red Cross and the Key West Military Affairs Committee, the past Commodore of the Key West Yacht Club, the Chairman of the Conch Republic Offshore Power Racing Association, a member of the Board of Directors of First State Bank of the Florida Keys, a Founding Member of the Key West Police Athletic League, a past original member of The Florida Keys Educational Foundation, and a Founding Member of the Florida Keys Fishing Tournaments, Inc.
Bill is passionate about our next generation of youth. He has coached baseball, basketball, and soccer and participates in a mentoring program at Key West High School to support the youth of the Key West community and help them reach their goals.
Bill and his wife, Andrea, a CPA, have three grown children: William, Jr, an attorney and UF graduate, Lande, also an attorney and a Harvard graduate, and Charles who has a UF Master’s in Building Construction.
Bill first met Jose Wejebe in the 1980’s when Jose was barefoot with short shorts, cut off Levi jeans, long hair, looking tan and very chiseled. They immediately became friends because of their love for the Florida Keys and all it had to offer. Bill being a sixth generation “Key Wester”, Jose and Bill had many stories to share and they quickly made some of their own. Bill will always remember him for his love and passion for the ocean and all the life that lives within – Jose was truly living his Dream.

Board of Advisors

  • Al Perkinson
    Founder of Bajio Sunglasses
  • David Vaughan
    Conservationist Founder of Plant a Million Corals
  • Carter Andrews
    Renowned Fisherman and Host of Obsession of Carter Andrews
  • Flip Pallot
    Fisherman, Guide, and Television Personality
  • Larry Rencken
    Vice President of Operations at Duckett Fishing
  • Stephen Weitzen
    Founder of Weitzen’s
  • Rick Wittenbraker
    CMO Howler Brothers
  • Mitch Petrie
    Vice President of Programming of Outdoor Sportsman Group
  • Jack Carlson                                                                                                                                Guide and Host of Two Conchs TV