Greg Stemm is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (NASDAQ CM: OMEX) a pioneer in deep-ocean exploration. Mr. Stemm has played an important role in the development of new technologies and private sector standards for underwater cultural heritage resource management. In 1987, Mr. Stemm and his partner John Morris bought their first research vessel and ROV system and embarked on a mission to create a company dedicated to developing private sector exploration of shipwrecks while adhering to the highest standards of archaeology.
Mr. Stemm’s first major deep-ocean shipwreck project was the “Tortugas” project, a Colonial Spanish shipwreck that was the world’s first complete remote robotic archaeological excavation. Conducted in 1990-1991 at a depth of over 1,300 feet, it was the first project of its kind to integrate acoustic positioning and detailed photography to create deep ocean photomosaic and stands as the world’s first complete deep-ocean archaeological excavation of a historical shipwreck site.
Under Mr. Stemm’s leadership, Odyssey has discovered and explored more shipwrecks than any other company, academic group or government organization in the world. The company’s first success came in 2003 with the discovery of over 51,000 coins and 14,000 artifacts from the SS Republic, a shipwreck lost in 1865 approximately 100 miles off the coast of Georgia in 2003 and 2004. In 2007 Odyssey announced the discovery and archaeological excavation of nearly 600,000 (more than 17 tons) of silver and gold coins from a shipwreck site in the Atlantic code-named “Black Swan”. Then, in 2008, history was re-written when Odyssey discovered the shipwreck site of Admiral John Balchin’s Victory, lost in 1744, nearly 100 km from where others long thought she had sunk. Odyssey has since monitored and conducted archaeological work on the site under a contract with the Maritime Heritage Foundation which is chaired by Lord Lingfield. In 2012, Odyssey once again made history by conducting the heaviest and deepest recovery of precious metals from a shipwreck when it brought to the surface 48 tons of silver bullion from the SS Gairsoppa which lies 4,700 meters deep. In addition to these famous discoveries, Mr. Stemm has directed operations which have resulted in the discovery of hundreds of shipwrecks, ranging from ancient Roman and Phoenician sites to previously undiscovered U-boats and pirate ships in the deep oceans of the world.
Greg has authored and edited scores of papers and articles on deep-ocean shipwreck exploration and archaeological excavation, and has given hundreds of lectures on the subject to a variety of venues including The Explorers Club, Institute of Nautical Archaeology, Young Presidents’ Organization, World Presidents’ Organization, World Business Council, Association of Dive Contractors, and The UK National Shipwreck Conference and has been a frequent enrichment lecturer for Cunard, Silver Seas, and Seabourn Cruise Lines. He is the co-editor of the Oceans Odyssey series which features a broad range of scientific papers relating to shipwrecks and exploration in the deep ocean.
Recently published volumes include Oceans Odyssey I: Deep Sea Shipwrecks in the English Channel, Straits of Gibraltar and the Atlantic Ocean, Oceans Odyssey 2: Underwater Cultural Heritage Management and Deep Sea Shipwrecks in the English Channel and Atlantic Ocean and Oceans Odyssey 3: The Deep-Sea Tortugas Shipwreck, Straits of Florida : A Merchant Vessel from Spain's 1622 Tierra Firme Fleet. He has also written for Maritime Heritage Magazine, Ocean News & Technology Magazine and Underwater Magazine. Mr. Stemm has also authored dozens of opinion pieces for international publications in favor of allowing government/private party partnerships in deep-ocean exploration.
He was a panelist at the 1998 Law of the Sea Institute and was appointed for four consecutive terms to the United States delegation to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) expert meeting to negotiate the Convention for the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
Mr. Stemm has been featured as an expert on deep-ocean exploration on international television and radio programs for the past twenty years. National Geographic and PBS broadcasted a one hour special on the recovery of the SS Republic and Discovery Channel profiled Mr. Stemm and his company in 2009 as they explored the English Channel in a 13 part documentary series called Treasure Quest. Odyssey’s recent successes have also been filmed and were featured on the Discovery Channel in the Silver Rush mini-series.
He was selected as a Fellow of The Explorers Club, and was the founder and past-president of the Professional Shipwreck Explorers Association (ProSEA), a non-profit group that provides a forum through which private sector explorers, archaeologists and governments cooperate to promote ethical policies for dealing with shipwreck resource management.
Stemm served as a Founding Director (1986-93) and International President (1992-93) of YEO (Young Entrepreneurs Organization), the world's largest entrepreneur's organization with over 7,000 members in 113 chapters in 24 countries. YEO members average 33 years of age and together represent over $100 Billion in sales annually. He was also a founder of the Florida Aquarium and Nautical Archaeology Society, Marine Technology Society, and the World Entrepreneurs Organization, where he served on the International Board of Directors (1997-98).