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Meet the Minds behind the Cause

Who We Are


Rachel Bowman


Rachel was introduced to lionfish by a beer magnate billionaire. She was a participant on the 2nd Lionfish Invitational Research Trip and took over eight minutes after she was on the boat. She is a 3-time Lionfish World Championship winner and was the first person to sell lionfish to Whole Foods.  She lives in the only normal place left in Florida (the Florida Keys) and is a bartender, but is taking online classes to better understand the fishology of the sciencers. She has an unknown number of Maine Coons, is more accurate at measuring fish than Dr. Holden Harris, and considers herself the luckiest person in the world. She and Dr. Michelle Johnston have the same hair, if you are confused, look for tattoos and foul language. If you have a good book suggestion, let her know. 

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Leah Neal


Leah is the GOAT in the aquarium world. She was the senior aquarist at the National Aquarium, the Director of Husbandry at the Ripley’s Aquarium in Canada, and is now the curator of the 3rd largest aquarium in the world, the Georgia Aquarium. She’s traveled the world scuba diving, can drink frozen margaritas without getting brain freeze, and been scuba diving with Shaquille O’Neal. You can see Leah being Leah on Animal Planet’s award-winning Aquarium show. Leah has only missed one Lionfish Invitational trip since its inception, and we’re working on getting her a Time Machine so that this can be rectified.  

Dr. Holden Harris

Vice President 

Dr. Harris joined the Lionfish Invitational family in 2018 and has a PhD in scientific modeling (not magazine modeling, which was why we asked him to join in the first place.) Mentored by the Great And Wise Dr. Gittings, Holden has authored various scientific publications about lionfish and has great hair. We don’t know exactly what Holden does for a living, and it’s really boring when he explains it, so don’t ask. Holden speared more fish than Alex Fogg one time, and still brings it up. He legitimately likes long walks on the beach and dogs. And yes, that’s his real laugh.


Dr. Michelle Johnston

Michelle started this whole thing with some friends one night in 2013 when she asked “how can we get lionfish out of the Flower Gardens?” She started her dive career as Scuba Mickey at Disneyworld.  Currently the Superintendent of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, she also surfs, wins triathlons, teaches yoga, raises baby goats, and is mother to the smartest 5-year-old currently on this planet.  She is Rachel’s hair twin, but is much nicer.  Dr. Johnston writes the federal permit we need to spear in the Sanctuary, so be nice to her. 

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Dr. Steve Gittings

Dr. Grandpa is the Chief Scientist of NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries and the former Superintendent of the FGBNMS. He chills with Dr. Robert Ballard and is a Fellow of the Explorers Club.  He is also on the Board of Directors of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute in the Cayman Islands (he did this so he could go to London and have tea with Queen of England, but she passed away the day he got there, so now he hangs with her son, Prince Edward).  He has better stories than anyone else on the boat, so if he’s talking, shut up. He’s the most very smartest person any of us will ever be near, so get a selfie with him if you can. 

Alex F@#$ing Fogg

Mr. Lionfish himself, Alex Fogg pioneered everything involved in the marketing, commercialization and competition metrics of the lionfish universe.  Guy Harvey stole a Go-Pro video of Alex’s, and made a bazillion dollars off of it. When Alex got bored with winning all of the lame-o tournaments, he created the Mother Of All Tournaments, the Emerald Coast Open, the LARGEST LIONFISH EVENT IN HISTORY (since 2012).  Lionfish sleep on Alex Fogg sheets. If Alex coached a Lionfish football team, they would beat the 1972 Miami Dolphins. If you look up Lionfish in the dictionary, there’s just a picture of Alex. However, if Alex touches a lionfish, or even looks at one too long, he blows up like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade balloon. Dr. Holden Harris once speared more fish than Alex, and you should ask him about it early in the morning, because that’s when he’s the least grumpy. 

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Josh “Big Hoss” Harvey

An Army and Marine Veteran and former firefighter/paramedic, in 2018, Josh discovered that underwater is the only place in the world he doesn’t need to narcan a drug overdosed car jacker.  Originally a trip participant, Josh became a volunteer diver with FGBNMS and then gave up his fire truck to accept a full-time job diving and building cool shit and solving underwater problems. Big Hoss is the DiveMaster on our trips, and his concern and care for us are completely outweighed by his pop culture trivia knowledge. DO NOT get into a gross-out story competition with him. He will win. 

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