Founder and PresidentDavid S. Smith

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David S. Smith

David grew up in New York and Washington DC and graduated from Williams College with a degree in Political Science. He spent 7 years in Africa, with experience in 43 countries, working first with the Ford Foundation, and later as a bush pilot, and also as a photojournalist covering some of the continent’s messier conflicts. He returned to the United States and worked in the film industry. Since the early 1990s, David has devoted himself full time to work as a conservationist, and also serves as Chairman of the Board of the St. Catherines Island Foundation.

In 2004, David and his wife Jordan founded CAVU and moved to Costa Rica as a hub for operations throughout Latin America. While Jordan managed a growing staff and all financial matters and important strategic decisions, David produced and directed 14 community outreach films in 10 countries in 3 languages — a number of which are still in use in schools and broadcasting systems in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belize, among others.

David also conducted hundreds of low-level aerial overflights, with both NGOs and multiple government agencies in Latin America, mapping the Meso-American Barrier Reef System, and documenting damaged watersheds and deforestation as far south as the Peruvian Amazon. David is a commercial/single/multi-engine/land/sea/glider/instrument rated pilot with over 4500 hours experience on three continents.

With the birth of two daughters and our return to a base in Santa Fe, New Mexico, CAVU is currently focused on critical issues here at home. When not working, David enjoys time with his family and friends — hiking, camping, fishing…and skiing above all else.

david@cavu.org