Pochal, Kelly & Lech Named to Mystic Aquarium Board of Trustees

Mystic Aquarium announced, today, the election Susan B. Pochal, Esq.; Dr. Sarah Kelly and Michael Lech to the Board of Trustees. 
“Each of these three leaders bring unique areas of expertise to the Aquarium,” said Dr. Stephen M. Coan, Mystic Aquarium’s President and CEO.  “They embody the spirit of community and have passion for our core mission of conservation, education and research.”
“We are grateful for their willingness to serve and to work with us in moving Mystic Aquarium forward as one of nation’s top Aquarium’s and marine mammal research centers,” added Coan.
The three new Trustees join a 29 member Board comprised of local, national and international leaders.  They join the Board as the organization looks towards expanding its focus on marine mammal research, globally, and growing its emphasis on public engagement in conservation issues.  Last year, the Aquarium reached 800,000 people through gate attendance and another 200,000 people in education and conservation programming, making it one of the largest institutions of its kind in New England.
Attorney Susan B. Pochal specializes in estate planning, tax and real estate law. Holding licenses in both Connecticut and Massachusetts, she has practiced law for the past 34 years. Her private practice, Pochal & Pochal, LLC, which she shares with her husband Mark, is located in Mystic. A Winsted, CT, native, Pochal is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University, where she received a degree in Criminal Justice and Western New England College School of Law. Pochal has been actively involved in the local community for many years; serving as both a member of the Board and Board Chair of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce and as both Vice and Board Chair of the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut.
Dr. Sarah Kelly recently retired from Pfizer lnc. There she served as the Vice President of Pharmaceutical Sciences and department head for the Pharmaceutical Sciences Small Molecule discipline. Based in the Groton, CT, headquarters, Dr. Kelly worked for Pfizer for more than 30 years. A native of Minnesota, she holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Carleton College. She received her Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from Yale University.
Her work has been recognized both nationally and in Connecticut. In 2019 the American Chemical Society awarded her the Earl B. Barnes prize for leadership in chemical research management. In 2018 CT she received a woman of Innovation Award from the CT Technology Council.  Dr. Kelly resides in Mystic where she and her husband Ken enjoy scuba diving and boating.
Michael Lech is the founder and visionary of the READCO Portfolio of companies. Michael is the third-generation of Lech Family investors in commercial real estate and has been the driving force behind the formation and growth of a diverse portfolio of retail, entertainment, office, healthcare and industrial assets, as well as related management and development operating companies.
Under his leadership over the past 25 years, the asset base has increased ten-fold. READCO Management presently manages over 50 commercial properties for both the Lech Family and third parties. READCO Development operates multiple projects in multiple regions along the eastern seaboard of the United States.
Michael is a graduate of Avon Old Farms School and Syracuse University. He is an active philanthropist for both Avon Old Farms and Miss Porter’s Schools. He is also the Founder of Brighton Way Project, a not for profit visual arts initiative bringing awareness and resources to emerging artists.
The Lech family resides in Stonington and Farmington, Connecticut, and Key Largo, Florida. A lifelong resident of southeastern Connecticut, Lech spent his childhood exploring area tidal marshes and waterways of the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. As an adult, he developed a passion for boating, fishing and crabbing, sharing those interests with his family.
Mystic Aquarium, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is counted among the nation’s leading aquariums, offering exemplary care to a variety of species while also serving as the northeast’s premier marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation center. Robust conservation and education programming along with unparalleled visitor experiences serve to strengthen personal connections to the animals and their environments. The mission of Mystic Aquarium is to inspire people to care for and protect the ocean planet through conservation, education and research, and introduces approximately 800,000 guests annually to thousands of animals through structured interpretations, specially-curated exhibits and hands-on interactions. As a leading research organization, Mystic Aquarium employs a full staff of scientists engaged in projects focused on the conservation and sustainability of our ocean planet.