Mark Gold joined Heal the Bay in 1988, as the organization’s first paid employee. While finishing his doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering at UCLA, he worked as a staff scientist, and was named as Executive Director of the organization in 1994 and President in 2006. After 24 years with the organization, Mark stepped down in 2012 to become associate director of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.
On a personal level, Mark brought humor, kindness and a never-give-up attitude to Heal the Bay’s offices every day. Hired and mentored by water quality hero Dorothy Green, Mark learned from the beginning to be relentless in his negotiations with regulators, polluters and lawmakers. But above all, his highest priority was to build Heal the Bay’s reputation as a science-based, reasonable and credible voice for the environment.
Mark also enjoyed the creative part of the job. Working with pro-bono advertising agencies and designers, he helped develop iconic campaigns for Heal the Bay and our programs, including the Revenge public service announcement voiced by Tone Loc.
During his time at Heal the Bay, Mark became known for his tireless dedication to protecting water quality, and the Santa Monica Bay. His leadership on environmental policy resonated throughout the organization, creating a team of passionate water quality advocates who continue to carry on his mission. By creating Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card, Mark made water quality information easily accessible and understandable for beachgoers throughout the state. He also founded Heal the Bay’s Key to the Sea environmental education program and, in conjunction with Leslie Tamminen and Fran Pavley, the statewide Education and the Environment Initiative, which incorporates environmental education into the public school curriculum.
He was vice chair of the National Estuary Program’s Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, served on the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability board, and currently is vice-chair of the City of LA Prop O Advisory Committee and the longtime-chair of Santa Monica’s Task Force on the Environment.
In 2010, Oscar-winner Jeremy Irons narrated Heal the Bay’s mockumentary The Majestic Plastic Bag, lending gravitas to the story of a single-use plastic bag as it migrates to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The film screened at the Sundance film festival and remains popular on the film festival circuit. To date, The Majestic Plastic Bag has been viewed more than 1.9 million times on Heal the Bay’s YouTube channel.
In his new feature documentary “Trashed: No Place for Waste,” Irons takes a different journey, this one following the migration of rubbish, the tons of waste that goes unaccounted for each year. Irons serves as the film’s chief investigator as well as the executive producer.
Irons has said: "There is a clear feeling from a growing number of people that the time has come for us all to start to try and change our ways, and to endeavor to live a more careful life."
Irons won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Claus von Bulow in Reversal of Fortune. Current projects see Irons as Rodrigo Borgia in Showtime's drama series The Borgias.
DR. HOWARD MURAD
Honoree Dr. Howard Murad is committed to the health of his patients and the community – both local and global. His companies, Murad and Murad Skincare, support a wide range of local, national and international charities, including Heal the Bay, with a special focus on organizations that provide for the needs of women and children. In 2011, he formed the Murad Family Foundation with the mission of promoting inclusive health in education and action to help young people to lead healthier, happier and more connected lives.
The company has been an invaluable partner with Heal the Bay and our Santa Monica Pier Aquarium for the past decade, participating in corporate beach cleanups, supporting Aquarium operations and exhibits and donating amazing Murad skin care products, which are always a highlight of our gala gift bags.
Dr. Murad is a dedicated volunteer who sees philanthropy as part of a healthy, balanced life for himself, his company and his employees. For the past 40 years, he has given his time to the UCLA Veteran’s Hospital and to the Vista del Mar Children’s hospital, helping troubled children with their dermatological issues. To encourage employees to follow his lead, he gives everyone on staff the option of taking off one day a month – with pay – to devote to volunteer service.
Heal the Bay is pleased to honor Dr. Murad for his and his company’s longstanding support of our mission to promote safe, clean and healthy water – all part of a healthy lifestyle - in Southern California.