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The Board of Directors contribute to the Waitt Institute's overarching vision of empowering local communities to restore their oceans by providing insight and guidance to the nonprofit's projects.

Ted Waitt

Founder & Board Chairman

Ted Waitt, co-founder and former chairman and CEO of Gateway, Inc., helped revolutionize how people use technology to live, work, and play through pioneering the direct marketing of personal computers. Labeled a maverick by national business publications, he has since gone on to form multiple enterprises: Avalon Capital Group, Inc., Avalon Pictures, Waitt Foundation, Waitt Institute, and the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention. Ted oversees all Waitt Foundation and Waitt Institute efforts and is actively engaged in each project from conception to completion.

Dave Russell

Vice Chairman


Dave is the CEO and Founder of Puro Sound Labs, a consumer audio company that focuses on Healthy Hearing consumer audio products. Previously, Dave served as Executive Vice President of Avalon Capital Group, Inc., from 2005-2014. He serves as a board member and vice chairman for the Waitt Foundation & Waitt Institute. Prior to Avalon Capital Group, Inc., Dave worked at Gateway, Inc. from 1988 until 2005 in a variety of positions, including director of procurement, senior vice president of procurement, senior vice president – supply chain, and general manager of digital television. He joined Gateway’s Board of Directors in February 2007, leaving when the company was sold. Dave serves as the Chairman for 1MORE USA, a global leader in affordable premium audio products. Additionally, Dave serves on the board of directors of Vizio, Inc., an industry-leading consumer electronics brand.

Shane Hartnett

Board Member


Joining Avalon Capital Group, Inc. in 2007, Shane is currently the firm’s President responsible for investment and operational oversight. Avalon Capital Group, Inc. is a wholly-owned private investment company owned by Ted Waitt, co-founder and former chairman of Gateway, Inc. Shane also serves on the Waitt Foundation Board of Directors. Prior to joining Avalon Capital Group, Shane was a vice president at Gateway, Inc., holding numerous positions in operations and supply chain management during his 20-year tenure. Notably, he developed, launched and operated Gateway’s manufacturing facilities across Asia and North America.

Emily Waitt

Board Member

Emily Waitt graduated from Brown University in 2015 and is continuing her education in hopes of becoming a psychologist. She is passionate about the field of mental health; more specifically multicultural issues, trauma and OCD. She holds a Masters in Psychology from Pepperdine University, where she hopes to continue at the doctoral level. Emily currently works at an inpatient treatment center in Los Angeles where she lives with her dog, Walter and cat, Nymeria. In her spare time, Emily works with various animal rescues around Los Angeles, rehabilitating and rehoming injured animals.


Sophia Waitt

Board Member

Sophia recently received her Bachelors of Social Sciences degree from the University of Southern California. Currently, she works for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). NRDC is a non-profit international environmental advocacy group that works to find solutions to problems such as overfishing, climate change, and oil spills. Sophia is extremely passionate about giving a voice to animals in need and has spent the last few years volunteering and fostering for Best Friends Los Angeles Rescue.

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