As a Princeton University Associate, Larry Corl worked solely in the development of Nuclear Fusion, at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey. Larry’s many hats included supervising, planning, and overseeing technicians and employees performing research operations and engineering functions on the Tokamak Fusion Reactor. He was department head working with the preventative maintenance programs, supervising and developing computer hardware and software systems for Neutral Beams Operation. Additionally, he was involved in administration and coordination of safety issues for Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and The Department of Energy. Larry’s deployments included General Atomic Labs in San Diego, California and Berkeley Labs in Berkeley, California, overseeing first buildup and operations of Neutral Beams Heating Systems, a crucial element in obtaining “100 million degree” confinement.
Larry’s early retirement has afforded him the time to enjoy many volunteer endeavors. He volunteered for almost a decade for the American Red Cross and at Mote Marine Laboratory, rescuing dolphins and whales and helping with animal rehabilitation. In 1996, Larry began volunteering for Pelican Man’s Bird Sanctuary in Sarasota, Florida. After Pelican Man’s Bird Sanctuary closed its doors, he shared his passion for wildlife rescue by joining Wildlife Center of Venice, which at that time, was in a start-up mode. Due to his extraordinary commitment to the mission, in 2015, Larry was named Vice President of Wildlife Center, and in 2017, he was named President.
• American Legion
• Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
• Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association
• Sarasota Sailing Squadron
Sandi Raasch EA
Sandi Raasch was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. She emigrated to Australia, where she became an Australian citizen. A true explorer at heart, Sandi moved to London for two years, lived in Paris for almost one year, hitchhiked around Europe for several months, and then settled down in St. Thomas USVI for 12 years before moving to Florida in 1987.
Sandi has been an Enrolled Agent (a tax preparer licensed to practice before the IRS) since 1996 and in 2015, she sold her Tax and Bookkeeping business. After enjoying retirement for three long weeks, her energetic and generous nature inspired her to continue preparing taxes while spending the rest of her free time dedicated to multiple volunteer activities in the local community. In 2017, Sandi joined the Board of Directors of Wildlife Center and was soon elevated to Treasurer. Her passion for the rescue and rehabilitation of local wildlife and forward-thinking mentality have been a powerful driving force behind the advancement of the Center.
Sandi lives in Nokomis with her two rescue cats, Michi and Kira.
- Sertoma Club of Venice – Treasurer
- Friends of the Legacy Trail
- Loveland Center
- All Faiths Food Bank
Karen Durette earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Simmons University. Upon graduation, Karen planned to work with wildlife but there were no real opportunities. The Park Ranger corps did not accept women at the time so she refocused her energies to earning an MBA in Business Management from Boston University. Karen spent much of her career as Vice President of Human Resources for GTE and General Dynamics.
Though Karen retired as an executive of fortune 500 companies, she is most proud of her post-retirement volunteer efforts. After taking early retirement, she moved to Venice and found the Wildlife Center. Karen likes to say that it took her 60 years to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up, spending the last 11 years working in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. She has spent countless hours tirelessly rehabilitating various wildlife in the local community, including many late-night rescues. In 2017, she joined the Board of Directors and has spent the last two years as Secretary of the Board. Karen’s commitment to the mission cannot be overstated as she has dedicated her time, skill, and effort in just about every capacity—rescues, rehabilitation, release of wildlife, dispatch and office activities, fundraising, education, and community outreach.
Karen lives in Venice with her husband, Andy, and their pit bull rescue, Rosie, and numerous home care wildlife babies.
• University of New Hampshire FSWC – Board of Directors
• Blue Ocean Society
• Boston Harbor Sailing Club
• Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)
Jan Steber earned Bachelor of Science and Master’s degrees in Petroleum Engineering from Penn State. Joining Mobil Oil, he worked in Venezuela, Libya (where he met Joan, his wife of 55 years), Paris, Nigeria, Norway, Dallas and Australia where he retired as Producing Manager after 37 years of service. Living on south Siesta Key since 1993, and feeling they should return some of their good fortune to the community, Jan and Joan began volunteering at Meals on Wheels and Pelican Man’s Bird Sanctuary in 1993. Jan began animal rescue, transport, and release with Wildlife Center of Venice in 2004. In 2018, he joined the Board as Vice President. The Mobil Foundation donates $500 to a charity if a retiree puts in 40 hours volunteering in a calendar quarter. In 15 years, Jan has never failed to earn this donation. Jan has also been an active blood donor.
• Penn State Alumni Chapter of the Sun Coast – Board of Directors
• Society of Petroleum Engineers
• Sarasota Power and Sail Squadron
Maria Gerber, Esq.
As a Florida native, Maria joined the board because she understands how wildlife helps maintain balance throughout the entire ecosystem. Maria enjoys serving as an advocate for our local wildlife and is well aware of the importance of healing injured wildlife and restoring them to their natural habitats.
In her professional life, as the owner and operator of Gerber Law, Maria advocates for injured adults and children and enjoys assisting in their return to their lives and communities after suffering serious injuries. Maria has served as an advocate for members of the local community for over 27 years. After graduating from Stetson College of Law in 1994, she served as an Assistant State Attorney with the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Pinellas County. As a prosecutor, she represented the State of Florida on behalf of victims of serious crimes; handling many high-profile cases. She tried more than 100 jury trials. After leaving the State Attorney’s Office, Maria joined a large litigation firm in Central Florida before eventually opening Gerber Law in 1999. She also served as an instructor at the Polk County Community College Police Academy where she enjoyed teaching search and seizure and the use of force to academy cadets. In addition to practicing law, Maria operates Invictus Advocacy Academy, a school that instructs high school students on the art of advocacy in speech, debate, moot court and mock trial. Maria is committed to shaping the character of today’s youth by teaching and engaging in critical thinking through the philosophical examination of ethical issues in disciplines such as foreign and domestic policy, technology, and law.
In her personal life she enjoys being with her four sons, three dogs and being in the outdoors, observing Florida’s beautiful wildlife.
- Stetson University College of Law, St. Petersburg, Florida
- Juris Doctorate
- Honors: cum laude
- University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
- Bachelor of Arts
- With honors
- Florida Bar
- American Bar Association
- Florida Justice Association
- American Association for Justice
- Homeschool School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)
- Florida Parenting Educators Association (FPEA)