People often ask us why we chose a sea turtle to represent Compass Media, and we are delighted to answer. “Sea turtles are master navigators,” says J. Gary Ellis, CEO of Compass Media. Their instincts allow hatchlings to navigate across the sand to the water, and adult females to migrate across thousands of miles to return to the exact beach they were born on to lay their eggs. “It’s like a built-in compass,” Ellis says. Likewise, Compass Media's business is helping clients navigate their way through the currents of challenging waters of tourism marketing.
But the sea turtle represents a much bigger picture of Compass Media's philosophy and practices and is iconic of the company's passion for sustainable business and tourism.
For many years, Compass Media has encouraged sustainable business and tourism practices, and participated in a variety of green initiatives in partnership with clients, companies, and tourists in the region.
In 2002, Compass Media was instrumental in the planning and execution of the Summit on Sustainable Tourism, an event that educated and informed industry partners on best practices in sustainable tourism. In fact, Compass Media was delighted to receive The 2003 Environmental Stewardship Award from the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Alabama Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce as a result of the summit's success.
Ellis has also served for eight years on the Board of Directors of The Gulf of Mexico Foundation. Compass Media is the sole voice of tourism at this foundation, a nonprofit founded in 1990 representing fisheries, business, industry, tourism, agriculture, and environmental conservation.
In addition, Compass Media has for more than 20 years provided pro bono services and promotional pieces to Alabama Coastal Cleanup, which is an annual half-day event in which community and business members head to the beach for a massive cleaning effort. In fact, over the decades, more than 58,000 volunteers have removed 1,120,000 pounds of trash from 3,500 miles of shoreline to keep our beaches beautiful.
"And yes," said, Ellis, "those of us at Compass work to save the endangered sea turtles, too." Compass Media is a sponsor of the 'Share the Beach' sea turtle protection program. Each year, from May through October, Compass Media associates along with hundreds of other volunteers, including both residents and visitors from all over the United States, help locate and mark sea turtle nesting sites, and then work around the clock in shifts to watch the nests as hatch-time approaches. “When those little hatchlings come out of the sand, we guard them from crabs, birds, and other predators until they can make it into the water,” says Ellis. Over a 5-year period, Share the Beach estimates that over 17,000 hatchlings safely entered into the Gulf of Mexico.
"We are proud of our community, our businesses who conscientiously strive toward sustainable tourism business, our citizens who help preserve and sustain the beauty of the region, and our tourists, who are devoted to leaving nothing more than footprints behind on our sugar sands," said Ellis. "Sustainability is and always will be a work in progress, and we are proud to be a part of those efforts here in Coastal Alabama."