Don Bates is the owner/founder of Osprey Initiative, LLC and the inventor of the Litter Gitter. A graduate of Millsaps College (B.S. Geology 1992), he has over 25 years of experience in the environmental consulting business. Prior to starting Osprey Initiative, LLC, he was an Executive Vice President for a Southeast Regional Civil Engineering firm where he managed operations for 250 people in 12 offices in 7 states.
Born in Hammond, Louisiana, he grew up in the swamps around Manchac, Louisiana and still gets back to the Galva Club fish camp whenever he can. He has spent most of his life in and around waterways and has a passion for maintaining and improving our natural resources. Married with 4 children, he feels that the best legacy he can leave to future generations is access to wild places un-marred by human impacts. When not removing litter from our waterways, he can usually be found working on an old boat.
Field Operations Leader
Sam came to Osprey Initiative in February 2019, bringing with him over a decade’s worth of experience as a U.S. Navy SEAL. A native of Mobile, AL, Sam grew up playing in the ditches near his home, developing a love and respect for nature. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2008 with a B.S. in Ocean Engineering.
After completing SEAL training in the fall of 2009, he served with multiple deployments to Afghanistan and West Africa. He has traveled throughout Europe, South America and the Caribbean working with Allied and inter-agency partners to develop effective solutions to complex national security challenges. He continues to serve in the U.S. Naval Reserves. He applies the lessons learned in operational leadership, innovative problem-solving, and team-building to lead Osprey’s field operations.
Sam is a devoted husband and father to his wife and three children. He is passionate about environmental conservation, as he recognizes that we must be pro-active for future generations to experience and enjoy the beauty and wonders of the natural world.
Ellie is from Evergreen, Colorado but spent five years studying and working in the beautiful Mobile, Alabama area. She graduated from Spring Hill College in 2018, where she received a B.S. in Biology. Ellie joined Osprey Initiative in March of 2019 as their Data Analyst and now Colorado Field Operator as well. She is very passionate about preserving our natural environment and providing people the means to positively interact with the world they live in.
Area Crew Leader
Jack Bates’ love of the outdoors comes as no surprise – he’s tagged along on swamp trips and to the Bates family camp in Louisiana since he was 3 years old. He’s currently the Crew Chief for the Mobile area, overseeing crews with Litter Gitter installation, maintenance, and data collection. He’s also the “go-to” guy when it comes to educating new team members in the forms and processes that are vital to the Osprey Initiative services.
He’s currently a junior at the University of South Alabama. He enjoys working with his dad to further the Osprey mission and says his favorite part of the job is keeping communities clean and seeing the before and after transformations.
Area Crew Leader
Mitch Lowe is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast with a passion for our natural spaces. His active childhood helped to develop his passion for nature, whether it was learning through Boy Scouts or hunting and fishing excursions with his family. Mitch started working in the environmental sector in high school, as both a member of surveying crews and owner of his own honey bee farm.
Mitch brings valuable leadership experience to the team from his time at Thompson Consulting Services. He led a crew of 80 as they managed disaster relief and storm debris removal efforts following major Hurricanes Irma and Michael. He is excited to be part of a sustainable solution to the increasing environmental issues. When not working in our waterways, Mitch is usually working in his small apiary and spending time with his wife and son, loving life.