Former CEO - IRONMAN Group and Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Producer of Dolphin Tale movie franchise
Emmy Award winning Producer of NBC and ESPN IRONMAN shows
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Personal Inspiration & Motivation:
About David – A Life of Building Hope.
From Ironman to Dolphin Tale
"David is someone who, in the midst of his unbelievably demanding schedule, makes time for every individual person in beautiful ways they’ll never forget." Cozi Zuehlsdorff – Actor (Dolphin Tale movies, Disney’s Mighty Med, Disney’s Freaky Friday - 2018)
David Yates is the former CEO of both the IRONMAN Group (IRONMAN Triathlon Company) and Clearwater Marine Aquarium (home of the Dolphin Tale movie franchise). IRONMAN is now a nearly billion-dollar international sports brand, and as the Executive VP and then CEO, David repositioned the IRONMAN brand and established a brand growth plan that exists to this day.
David recently completed a 14-year tenure as CEO at Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida. David assumed this position at a time when CMA was on the verge of insolvency, and created a vision, business model and an award-winning management team that has successfully resurrected CMA into a thriving global organization. When Winter the disabled dolphin came to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, David had the foresight to see her story of survival as an inspiration to others. He initiated a marketing and media plan that promoted the story worldwide and attracted the attention of animal lovers and individuals with life challenges, who would learn from her story. Winter’s story has been told in nearly all major national and international media outlets, including NBC’s Today Show, Good Morning America, Oprah, BBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and thousands of others. Winter’s story has also been featured in magazines such as People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Women’s World, Scholastic, National Geographic Kids and too many others to recount. David’s unwavering vision has come to fruition and drawn an unparalleled amount of tourists to the Clearwater, Florida area to see Winter and learn more about her story and Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s mission. These initiatives and the increase in attendance have created a multi-billion dollar economic impact for hotels, restaurants and other attractions in the Clearwater Beach area and Statewide.
Millions around the world have been brought life-changing inspiration by David’s work with IRONMAN and Winter the Dolphin. David has produced a documentary on Winter’s story and has helped produce six books about her. David is also Co-Producer/Executive Producer of the #1 box office hit Dolphin Tale and its sequel, Dolphin Tale 2, the Warner Bros.-based Alcon Entertainment major motion pictures that star Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, Nathan Gamble, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Austin Highsmith and Austin Stowell.
Yates also directed and wrote the documentary “Winter, the Dolphin That Can,” and directed the web series Rescue-Clearwater. Yates and his wife Joan reside in Palm Harbor, Florida and have four grown children.
David's Big Purpose
David & Cerebral Palsy Warrior Mighty Miss Maya Tisdale
David at Dolphin Rescue
David & Rio Woolf, UK - Amputee Warrior
David & Bernadette, Charcot-Marie-Tooth Overcomer
Sea Turtle Release, Clearwater Beach
David & Young Cancer Patient
David & Young Amputee
David & Dolphin Tale Actors
David receiving award from former Florida Governor Rick Scott
David doing press interview
David & Cozi Zuehlsdorff - Dolphin Tale and Disney star
David & Meghan Schmidt - Visually impaired Overcomer
David & Winter Super Fan
David & Young Amputee and Family
David Speaking at Pakistan Church
David & Teen Amputee
David & Medically Challenged Teen
David & Winter Fan
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3 Sports Emmy Awards – Ironman NBC Shows
3 International Monitor Awards – Ironman NBC Shows
Governor’s Business Ambassador Award (Florida)
Tampa Bay Business Journal Nonprofit of the Year
Tampa Bay Business Journal Top Management Team
Achievement Award – Florida Motion Picture & Television Association
Legends Award - Film Florida
Tourism Person of the Year – Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce
Tourism Person of the Year – Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce
Nonprofit National Turnaround Award – Turnaround Management Association
Distinguished Alumni Award _ University of Nebraska - Omaha
SPEAKING TOPICS - Virtual and In-person
David Yates has been engaging and inspiring audiences for many years, beginning during his Ironman CEO days, speaking at a diversity of occasions from press conferences to 4,000 person Ironman banquets. During that time and since, Yates has been interviewed for hundreds of media interviews. With his unique life story, including his troubled upbringing by a schizophrenic mother followed by a life that rose to global business success, Yates has developed an ability to captivate audiences on a wide variety of topics.
General Motivation / Inspiration
(Telling the Winter, Dolphin Tale, CMA stories,etc.)
How to overcome disabilties in life
"We had the opportunity to have David speak to about 250 attorneys at our annual convention for the Real Property Probate and Trust Section of the Florida Bar. He did an excellent job speaking about Clearwater Marine Aquarium and its mission. Most importantly he conveyed his hope and inspiration through his enthusiasm and passion for what he believes. The first time I have seen certain attorneys moved to tears for the inspiration and hope that David provides at CMA for children and adults with all kinds of disabilities through the connection with CMA’s animals. As chair of that convention meeting, I received many accolades for David as the keynote speaker."
Linda Suzzanne Griffin, J.D., LL.M.
Fellow- American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
Florida Board Certified- Wills, Trusts & Estates and Taxation
Griffin & Van Pelt, P.A.