Advisory Panel Members

The Aleutian Island Risk Assessment (AIRA) Advisory Panel consisted of the following Members and Alternates at the conclusion of the project:



Tom Gemmell, Panel Member: Since October 2004 Tom Gemmell has served as Deputy Director of the Marine Conservation Alliance, an organization that represents 80% of the harvesters and processors involved in the federal fisheries in Alaska waters. Prior to that he was Executive Director of the United Fishermen of Alaska where he was involved in issues affecting the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands. He has also fished commercially for halibut and salmon. He has also devoted time to the Alaska State Red Cross Disaster Committee and the Red Cross/FEMA Joint Field Office in Baton Rouge, La during Hurricane Katrina and Rita in 2005. Tom’s interest in Alaska fisheries began in the U.S. Coast Guard where he conducted fisheries patrols in the Bering Sea, Aleutians and the Gulf of Alaska, and was one of the principal enforcement officers when the Magnuson Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of Alaska was implemented. Tom’s experience with Alaska fisheries and assessing maritime risks will be of benefit to the Advisory Council.


Brent Paine, Alternate:  Commercial fishing industry along the Aleutian Island shipping corridor is vital to the financial well being of the region, the state of Alaska and the U.S. fishing industry as a whole. The Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands groundfish fishing industry harvests up to 2 million metric tons annually in a sustainable manner. United Catcher Boats Association Executive Director Brent Paine brings a lifetime of academic, political and entrepreneurial endeavor to help address the complex requirements of the Aleutian Island Risk Assessment. He has a Masters of Science degree in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University where he concentrated on fisheries policy development. From 1991 to 1994 he was a fishery biologist and plan coordinator for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. In the 1980’s he was involved in the politics of natural resource management and environment when he served as a legislative aide to the House Natural Resources Committee and later for a representative. During this same period he owned and operated a Cook Inlet salmon seine and set net site operation and worked in Bristol Bay as crewman on a gill-netter. He brokered farmed salmon from Norway and Canada and founded and managed a small, salmon processing company, Kasitsna Seafood Company, selling fresh Cook Inlet salmon to West Coast markets. He has served on many fisheries industry boards and written a number of publications and reports dealing with North Pacific commercial fisheries issues. He will be a strong voice for the commercial fishing industry on the AIRA panel.



Shirley Marquardt, Panel Member: Thirty years as a resident, working on a local tug, fishing the Bering Sea and local waters, living through the winters, eighteen years as an employee of Samson Tug and Barge and serving as the Mayor of the City of Unalaska during the grounding of the M/V Selendang Ayu and dozens of other serious incidents that didn’t make the national news have given “Mayor Shirley” Marquardt a perspective on what would be required of an Aleutian Island Risk Assessment that’s hard to beat. Her no nonsense focus on issues, straight talk and affirmative action, leavened with charisma and great good humor make her an asset in any workgroup. Her detailed knowledge of industry and local government capacities and shortcomings bring a much needed practical approach to developing a workable plan that will complement and balance the more scientific and bureaucratic points of view.





ArtzDavid Arzt, Panel Member: As its name implies, the Aleutian Island Risk Assessment Advisory panel will outline and define accident/incident situations that could threaten the environmental, cultural and economic well being of the region. It will also forge a workable tool that will be used to respond to these situations, up to and including the “worst case scenario.” Captain David Arzt brings twenty years of Alaskan Maritime experience to help forge that workable tool. As a current member of the Alaska Marine Pilots he is familiar not only with the geography and environment of the Aleutian Chain, he has a working knowledge of the type, capacity and vulnerabilities of the vessels that transit its waters. Prior to being licensed by the State of Alaska as a Marine Pilot David spent almost twenty years at sea, ten of that as a Captain, under an unlimited tonnage USCG license in the TAPS trade between Valdez and the US west coast. He helped develop the world-class escort and response system that now protects Prince William Sound (PWS). He spent two years as Marine Affairs Advisor for BP Shipping Alaska where he participated in the PWS Response Planning Group and was a member of BP’s Emergency Response Team. Captain Arzt’s hands-on experience and personal commitment to protecting the Aleutian ecosystem and improving the shipping industry way of doing business will be a great asset in developing a logical and usable Assessment.



Bob Umbdenstock, Panel Member: Bob Umbdenstock, Director of Planning and Corporate Relations for the Resolve Marine Group, has spent most of his professional life dealing with the aftermath of what Webster’s defines as “an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance”. His experience ranges from being a diving officer in the US Navy where he was involved in marine salvage and oil spill control to being a Special Casualty Representative for Lloyd’s of London. While most of his work has involved real time field response like the M/V Selendang Ayu and the C/C Cougar Ace in Aleutian waters, he has also worked on publicly funded studies of national and state salvage capabilities, assisted in marine casualty investigations and served as a maritime arbitrator. He was a past chairman of the Salvage Committee at the New York Society of Maritime Arbitrators. In his current position with Resolve Marine Group his clients include state and federal agencies, vessel owners and operators, marine property and liability underwriters and admiralty attorneys in many international markets. Bob’s working knowledge of often arcane marine claims regulations and laws will go a long way in helping the AIRA panel illuminate areas of liability as the Assessment is formulated.


Mike Ruiz, Alternate:   bio to come.



Eugene Makarin, Panel Member: Eugene Makarin knows the Aleutian Chain as only an Aleut born and raised in Unalaska can. He left the islands to get his education. He returned in the mid 1980’s and in 1995 he began his career with American President Lines, Ltd. where he is currently the Alaska Manager. His responsibilities include involvement in major marine terminals in Kodiak and Dutch Harbor. Where up to 200 seasonal workers service export vessels shipping freight all over the world. APL’s charter tug, the James Dunlap, responded to the foundering Selendang Ayu. APL’s has dispatched its tugs to assist other vessels even when it delays their own vessels. Mr. Makarin’s experience and dedication to the marine environment, the industry and his home town provide a valuable contribution to the continuing success of the Maritime Industry along the Aleutian Chain.



Simon Lisiecki, Panel Member: Prior to his retirement, Simon served as Vice President Government & Industry for BP Shipping, responsible for external and regulatory affairs in London. He also served as the Director for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East for BP Shipping. BP Shipping is responsible for moving over 250,000 million tons of oil products per annum and manages a fleet of over 80 ships and 120 time chartererd tankers.

Prior to his move to London, Simon was the President of BP Oil Shipping Company, responsible for moving all of BP's oil out of Alaska. Simon has worked in Alaska since 1991 managing BP Shipping's interests there.

Simon sailed as Master on large oil tankers and gas ships and in his youth sailed as a deck hand on a yacht and an Antarctic research vessel.




Louis Audette, Panel Member: K Sea Transportation Alaska Operations Manager Louis Audette, a retired tug boat captain, has worked in commercial fishing, salvage and petroleum transportation in Western Alaska for 35 years. The tug and barge industry, specifically tank/barge, where he has spent the last 20 years, transport about 400 million gallons of fuel to Western Alaska and the Aleutian Islands, most of it in a short 120 day shipping season. That experience has taught him that once you get oil in the water the work really starts, so his primary focus is on prevention. His company is currently phasing in double hull barges, taking measures to reduce the mileage on their tow wires to prevent breakage and taking whatever steps necessary to anticipate problems before they occur. He is looking forward to sharing his experience and knowledge with the Advisory Panel and contributing to the Aleutian Island Risk Assessment.

Cheryl Fultz, Alternate:  Cheryl grew up in Ketchikan, Alaska.  She went to college at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where she graduated with a BS in Biology.  Cheryl began her career with spill response during the Exxon Valdez where she worked for ADEC as part of the NRDA water quality group.  She then went on to work and run various laboratories ranging from small drinking water to compliance chemistry for a pulp mill.  She spent 11 years working for an OSRO as the Planning Manager, until she was hired by Delta Western where she is an Environmental Compliance Specialist.






Marc Smith, Panel Member: Sixteen years in the Bering Sea as Captain, fishing master and manager of the 680 foot mother ship, the SS Ocean Phoenix, has given Marc Smith a unique perspective on the interplay of the maritime industry and the environment of the Aleutian Chain, and, more importantly, an appreciation and understanding of the operational risks specific to the Bering Sea. He is familiar with the many and various stakeholders of the region, fishermen, pilots, Japanese trampers, fuel barge operators, local service providers and USCG as only a professional with his credentials can be. He knows the strengths and weaknesses of the harbors and facilities in Akutan, Dutch Harbor, St. Paul and many smaller harbors in the Aleutians. Additionally, his many great circle transits from Japan and Korea to the West Coast and five years as a tanker officer in the TAPS trade provide further experience relevant to the Advisory Panel’s task. He is currently a private consultant for Hudson Marine Management working on the M/V Cosco Busan incident in San Francisco Bay. He conducted an operational audit of the oil spill response, and later applied his fisheries expertise to manage the fisheries damage assessment and claims program. Through this project he is up to date on issues particular to the current marine casualty arena and will, when coupled with his long experience at sea, add validity to the Aleutian Island Risk Assessment.



Ed Page, Panel Member : Ed Page is the Executive Director of the Marine Exchange of Alaska an organization established to provide information, communications and services to aid safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible maritime operations.  As the first and only Executive Director for the Marine Exchange, he has led the development of a vessel tracking network for Alaska comprised of over 70 Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers and satellite tracking to aid maritime safety and efficiency.  A 1972 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy, he served in the Coast Guard for 29 years in a variety of marine safety assignments including Captain of the Port of Los Angeles-Long Beach and Chief of Marine Safety and Environmental Protection for Alaska. 




Tom Rueter, Alternate: Tom Rueter is the General Manager for the Anchorage office of Alaska Maritime Agencies. They are a steamship agency that handles service arrangements for a wide variety of vessels calling at ports throughout Alaska and transiting from many origins, including Dutch Harbor, Adak and ports along the Aleutian Chain. He has 20 years experience dealing with all the big and little problems that complicate the transit of all manner of vessels, refrigerated trampers, tankers of all kinds, container ships, fishing boats of all sizes, bulk carriers like the Selendang Ayu, even scientific research and oil exploration vessels. This detailed knowledge of the vulnerabilities and special handling requirements unique to many of these vessels will be invaluable in insuring that the Advisory Panel is aware of as many of these discrete risks as possible and the ways and means to deal with them. Tom is a member of the Alaska Steamship Response group and a contractor to the O’Brien’s Response Group. He has Incident Command System training and has participated in training; drills and actual oil spill response incidents in various locations, including the Aleutian Chain. He will be the alternate Marine-General Advisory Panel member.



Whit Sheard, Panel Member: Oceana Alaska Program Director Whit Sheard’s recent work includes representing the environmental community on the Aleutian Islands Port and Waterways Safety Assessment, participating in scenario generation workshops for the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA), work on the National Academy’s Aleutian Island scoping study and helping form the Shipping Safety Partnership after the Selendang Ayu event. Prior to joining Pacific Environment he worked for the Ocean Conservancy where he worked with the fishing industry and the North Pacific Management Council to help protect Aleutian Island marine habitat. With a history of protecting the living environment of the Pacific Rim by engaging in constructive dialogue, Whit Sheard will be a positive addition to the Advisory Panel.

Layla Hughes, Alternate: Layla Hughes lives in Juneau, Alaska and has over 15 years of  experiences as an attorney in international and environmental law, with an emphasis in the past 11 years on Arctic issues.  She has represented the interests of her clients - including private companies, government entities, indigenous organizations, and conservation groups – on issues such as air and water pollution, emergency prevention, preparedness and response, ocean noise, and the protection of subsistence hunting and Arctic ecosystems. Ms. Hughes is a Commissioner on the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission and works as an independent consultant on Arctic policy.  Previously, Ms. Hughes served as a U.S. delegate to the Arctic Council’s Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response Agreement and was the senior policy officer for oil, gas, and shipping in the Arctic at the World Wildlife Fund.  Prior to joining WWF, Ms. Hughes lived in Barrow, where she served as an Assistant Borough Attorney for the North Slope Borough. She received her undergraduate degrees in international relations and environmental studies at American University in Washington, D.C. and her law degree at the Georgetown University Law Center, also in Washington.




Frank Kelty, Panel Member: Frank Kelty brings a unique blend of public and private sector expertise and the local knowledge of a resident to the Advisory Panel as an NGO alternate. Educated in Washington, he has lived in Unalaska for 38 years.  He spent 30 years in the private sector working in the Alaska seafood industry, rising to Plant Manager in two companies in Unalaska.  At the same time he served and is still serving the public interest as an elected official for 18 years, including ten years as Mayor of Unalaska. Frank has also served as a board member in many worthy institutions, the Marine Conservation Alliance, North Pacific Research Board, and Bering Sea Research Foundation and as Chair of the Aleutian West Coastal Resource Service Area which is a part of the State of Alaska’s Coastal Zone Management Program. He has worked on marine issues that affect the entire Aleutian Chain region.  His extensive experience will be a welcome contribution to work of the Advisory Panel.


Position Open, Alternate:



Jeff WilliamsJeff Williams, Panel Member: The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (AMNWR) is the principal land and resource manager in the Aleutian Islands. All the western and central Aleutian Islands (with the exception of portions of Adak and Atka) and a significant portion of the eastern Aleutians are managed by the AMNWR. It is inevitable there will be future shipwrecks in the Aleutians and almost certainly the AMNWR will be the primary stakeholder. Jeff has been a Wildlife Biologist for the Aleutian Islands Unit of the AMNWR since 1990. During this time, he worked year-round out of Adak from 1990-2002 and since 2002 from the AMNWR main office in Homer. His duties as Biologist have him traversing the Aleutian chain each summer aboard the AMNWR vessel M/V Tiglax. He has visited, surveyed or worked on nearly every island in the Aleutian chain during this time period and has detailed knowledge of the region's lands and wildlife abundance, distribution and habits. He hopes to contribute to the AIRA Advisory Panel by bringing the knowledge and experience of a major stakeholder to the Panel and advising them about the setting and wildlife resources of this remote region.


Douglas Burn, Resource Manager AlternateDouglas Burn, Alternate: Douglas Burn has been with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 25 years. After coming to Alaska in 1989 to lead an Exxon Valdez Oil Spill damage assessment study on sea otters, he continued to work in the Marine Mammals Management Office on sea otter, Pacific walrus, and polar bear management in Alaska. In 2000, he became the Sea Otter Program Leader, and was instrumental in adding the southwest Alaska population of sea otters to the Endangered Species List and designating critical habitat. He has conducted aerial and skiff-based surveys of sea otters throughout the Aleutian chain. In 2011, he became the Coordinator of the Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands Landscape Conservation Cooperative (ABSI LCC). The LCC is focused on conservation of natural and cultural resources in the face of climate change and other landscape-scale stressors, including marine vessel traffic. In addition to his understanding of marine mammal management in Alaska, Doug brings GIS and remote sensing skills to the Advisory Panel.



Tom Robinson, Panel Memeber: Thomas C. Robinson was born and raised in Unalaska, Alaska. He attended public school K-12th grade, with further education in trade schools such as Auto Mechanics, Welding and Tug Boat.  Growing up in a fishing family, he started skippering at a young age, commercially harvesting salmon in his area and eventually fishing the Bering Sea for many species. He was also a deckhand, engineer, and worked as a machinist, vessel manager and other various jobs. He is currently self-employed, a board member on the Unalaska Native Fisherman’s Association, and the newly appointed Tribal President of the Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska. 



David Gregory, Alternate: David Gregory moved to Alaska in 1959 and graduated from high school in Unalaska in 1976. He has lived in the Aleutians for over 30 years. He is an avid boater and a subsistence and commercial fisherman. He retired from the Unalaska Department of Public Safety after 24 years at the Fire Chief. David currently works for the Ounalashka Corporation, the  village corporation for the Unalaska/Dutch Harbor area. He and his wife, Okalena, have two wonderful children, James and Delores. Unalaska Island is the wonderful place they call home.


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