Will Ayers

Elliot Bay Design Group


Will Ayers has been working in the marine field as an electrical engineer for almost twenty years. Will currently serves as chief electrical engineer at Elliott Bay Design Group in Seattle, Washington. A graduate of the University of Washington with a BSEE, Will has excelled in vessel electrical system studies, electrical system software modeling, and all levels of system design on a marine vessel. For the last seven years, Will has had the opportunity to pursue hybrid and all-electric propulsion opportunities in various applications, ranging from small passenger-only vessels to large car ferries carrying as many as 2500 passengers and 200 vehicles.


Joshua Berger

Governor’s Maritime Sector Lead, State of Washington


As the governor’s maritime sector lead for the State of Washington, Joshua works as the liaison between maritime industry stakeholders, the governor’s office, legislature and state agencies. As sector lead he focuses on economic development, building public/private partnerships, and ensuring a 21st century workforce. In his role, Joshua is leading Washington Maritime BLUE, the governor’s strategic vision for a sustainable, decarbonized maritime industry alongside the development of a Maritime Innovation Center. Previously, Joshua served as director of the Washington Maritime Federation and brings extensive maritime industry experience to his position.

Joshua earned a master’s degree from Antioch University Seattle in participatory planning. He is also a professional Merchant Mariner having worked in the towing industry and spent six years as captain of the historic schooner Adventuress.


John Dwyer

US Coast Guard, Sector Puget Sound


John Dwyer, Officer in Charge, Marine Inspection and Chief, Inspection Division at USCG Sector Puget Sound, with responsibility for safety, environmental and security standards for commercial vessels and waterfront facilities in the Pacific Northwest region. He serves as the head of the vessel security and Washington State Ferries security sub-committees within the Puget Sound Maritime Security Committee. He has more than 37 years of maritime experience, including vessel inspection, port security, waterfront facility inspection, mariner licensing, casualty investigation, and marine disaster and firefighting response. He also was a member of the US Coast Guard Reserve, retiring in 2005 as a captain while serving as the Pacific Area reserve chief of staff.

John holds a bachelor’s degree from Gonzaga University and a master’s degree from the University of Washington, School of Marine Affairs, and is a Department of Homeland Security senior fellow.


Matt Edwards

US Coast Guard, Office of Commerical Vessel Compliance


Captain Edwards is the chief of the US Coast Guard’s Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance. He oversees a staff that administers the commercial vessel safety, security, and environmental protection compliance programs, develops and maintains policy in support of these programs, and provides guidance to operational field units. His previous operational assignments include Prevention Department head in Seattle, WA, Marine Safety Detachment supervisor in Massena, NY, chief of the Small Passenger Vessel Branch in Baltimore, MD, and assistant engineer of a medium endurance cutter in Cape May, NJ. His staff tours include executive officer of the Marine Safety Center, section chief of the mechanical engineering major at the US Coast Guard Academy and staff/salvage engineer at the Marine Safety Center.

Captain Edwards graduated from the US Coast Guard Academy in 1995 with a bachelor of science in naval architecture and marine engineering. He subsequently earned a master of engineering in aerospace engineering and a master of science in naval architecture and marine engineering in 1999 from the University of Michigan as well as a master of arts in national security and strategic studies from the US Naval War College in 2011. He is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Ohio. His awards include the Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medal (three awards) and the Coast Guard Commendation Medal (four awards).


Roger Garratt

Puget Sound Energy


Roger Garratt is the director of strategic initiatives for Puget Sound Energy (PSE) and the president of Puget LNG, LLC. In his role with Puget Sound Energy he is responsible for the acquisition and development of new energy resources for the electricity and natural gas business. He joined PSE in 2003 and since that time has acquired and developed nearly $3 billion of assets, including three wind projects and five gas-fired facilities. Most recently, he heads up the company's efforts related to the Tacoma LNG facility. In addition, he is part of a PSE team responsible for reducing the company's carbon footprint and also responsible for exploring emerging technologies in the energy sector. Roger serves on the board of directors of Puget LNG as well as Puget Western, Inc., a wholly-owned real estate subsidiary of PSE.

Prior to joining PSE, Roger worked as a development director for PG&E National Energy Group and prior to that he worked in the power systems sector of General Electric.

Roger serves on the board of directors for Food Lifeline, a nonprofit whose mission is to procure, warehouse, and distribute food to emergency food banks and meal programs, raise community awareness of hunger issues, and work toward long-term solutions for the problem of hunger in Western Washington. He is also on the board of advisors for the University of Washington - Bothell electrical engineering program. Roger has a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Nebraska and a MBA from Union College in Schenectady, NY.


Darwin Jensen

US Coast Guard, Sector Puget Sound


Commander Darwin A. Jensen graduated from Boise State University in 1998 with a bachelor of science degree in biology. CDR Jensen enlisted in the US Coast Guard in August of 1998.

He was selected for Officer Candidate School in May 1999; his first assignment as an officer was as the operations officer for the Presidential Honor Guard in Washington, DC. In March 2001, he transferred to Marine Safety Office Juneau, Alaska, as the assistant chief of port operations. Reporting as the Marine Safety Team supervisor in Maui, Hawaii in July 2005, CDR Jensen was responsible for several Coast Guard missions including inspections for 90+ small passenger vessels, cruise ships, and foreign freight vessels. In July 2008, CDR Jensen returned to Sector Juneau, Alaska as the chief of the Inspections Division, inspecting vessels and waterfront facilities. In August 2009 he reported to Sector Honolulu as the senior investigating officer of investigations of marine casualties, mariners who hold US credentials, and illegal commercial operations. In 2013 CDR Jensen was assigned to the Cargo and Facility Safety Division at US Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC where he developed policy supporting waterfront facilities that handle passengers and cargo and oversaw the development and implementation of US regulations for waterfront facilities that handle LNG. He was the chairman of the Coast Guard LNG Workgroup.

CDR Jensen is currently assigned as the chief of Prevention Department at Sector Puget Sound.

His personal awards include the Coast Guard Commendation Medal with Operational Distinguishing Devise (three awards), Coast Guard Achievement Medal (three awards), Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, 9-11 ribbon and the Coast Guard Marine Safety Pin.


Mark Keneford



Mark Keneford spent 27 years in the Canadian Navy as a marine systems engineering officer and project manager. He sailed on ships and had operating tickets (Navy equivalent) for steam, diesel and gas turbines. Since 2008 he has been employed in Wӓrtsilӓ in services as Canadian government service support and then as Wӓrtsilӓ Canada marine solutions sales responsible across Canada to represent Wӓrtsilӓ solutions to shipowners, ship design companies and shipyards, in all vessel segments. Mark is a member of CIMARE (St. Lawrence branch) and SNAME (eastern Canada section).


Marcel LaRoche

BC Ferries


Marcel LaRoche is a marine engineer and maritime industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience providing technical support and business development leadership throughout the industry in Canada and abroad. Holding a 1st class unlimited licence, he has worked within ship operations, in ship yards and for classification societies. Safe ships and clean oceans are key drivers and since 2010, Marcel has provided leadership and technical support to industry in transitioning to natural gas and other clean fuel applications. In his current role as director LNG engineering at BC Ferries, he is furthering this work as he leads the step change required to implement natural gas safely as a marine fuel into the organization. He is an active member of SNAME, regularly contributes to Canadian and international regulatory working groups and standards committees and is the currently the vice-chair for North America for the Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF).


Steven Lewis

US Coast Guard Marine Safety Center


LT Steven Lewis has served nine years in the Coast Guard as a deck watch officer, marine inspector and marine safety engineer. He is a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy and recently earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University, concentrating in power systems and power electronics. As a staff electrical engineer at the USCG Marine Safety Center, he leads plan review for projects involving cutting edge, all-electric and hybrid vessel designs that utilize high energy density lithium-ion batteries as power.


Robin Madsen



Robin Madsen is a marine engineer at Glosten, a full-service marine consultancy based in Seattle. A graduate of the University of Michigan, he holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in naval architecture and marine engineering. Robin is a professionally licensed engineer in the state of Washington. Since joining Glosten in 2008 he has led and supported new vessel design engineering as well as refits, modifications, and analysis of research vessels, tugs, passenger vessels, and floating structures. Robin has a wide range of experience in naval architecture and marine systems design.

Robin has been actively engaged in Glosten’s work with vessels carrying liquified gases as both cargo and fuel. Over the last several years, he has been involved in the planning and engineering for construction of a liquified ammonia barge, as well as the repowering of vessels to utilize LNG fuel. Most recently, Robin served as Glosten’s engineering lead for a project to assess the feasibility of a zero-emissions research vessel using liquified hydrogen as fuel.


John Mauger

US Coast Guard, Marine Safety Center


Captain John Mauger is the commanding officer of the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Center where he promotes maritime safety and environmental protection through review and approval of more than 17,000 plans annually for the design, construction and alteration of US and foreign vessels, equipment, and offshore oil and gas facilities. Captain Mauger has extensive experience conducting field operations and assisting government agencies with strategy development, resource allocation and succession planning. His immediate prior assignment was as the Coast Guard's senior technical authority for Design and Engineering Standards. There, he led interagency teams to promote Arctic safety and the use of alternative fuels as the US head of delegation for development and adoption of the International Maritime Organization's Polar Code and the International Code for Gas-Fueled Ships.


Dan McQuate

US Coast Guard Headquarters


Lieutenant Commander Dan McQuate currently serves as the chief of the Facility Safety Branch in Coast Guard Headquarters Office of Port and Facility Compliance. In this role he is responsible for the development of doctrine, policy, and procedures used by 400 facility inspectors nationwide on over 3,750 waterfront facilities. His portfolio of responsibility includes facilities handling liquefied gases, oil, hazardous materials, and the Coast Guard’s National Container Inspection Program. Lieutenant Commander McQuate has spent the last twelve years supporting the Coast Guard’s strategic missions of marine safety; port, waterways and coastal security; and marine environmental protection while assigned to units in Houma, LA, New Orleans, LA, and Paducah, KY. Prior to reporting to Coast Guard Headquarters, Lieutenant Commander McQuate participated in the Coast Guard’s Port Safety and Security Industry Training Program where he focused on the liquefied natural gas industry.


Tim Meyers

US Coast Guard, Office of Design & Engineering Standards


Tim Meyers is the Coast Guard’s lead engineer on regulatory and policy development for the safe design of shipboard systems using LNG and other alternative fuels, and represents the US in continued development of the International Maritime Organization’s International Code of Safety for Ships Using Gases or Other Low Flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code) as well as other related industry standards.

Tim has more than 25 years of experience in enforcement, interpretation and development of maritime safety and security regulations with the US Coast Guard. He holds a bachelor’s degree in applied science from the US Coast Guard Academy, a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Virginia, and is a registered professional engineer.


Marc Montemerlo

US Coast Guard Headquarters


CDR Marc Montemerlo currently serves as the chief of the Hazardous Materials Division at US Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC. His responsibilities include developing and maintaining regulations, standards and industry guidance to promote the safety of life and protection of property and the environment during the marine transportation of hazardous materials. In addition, Montemerlo serves as the head of the US delegation to the International Maritime Organization Subcommittee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC) and is the designated federal official in charge of the Chemical Transportation Federal Advisory Committee.

Previous Coast Guard assignments include: marine inspector at Marine Safety Unit Savannah; facility branch chief at Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach, where he oversaw the inspection of 68 Maritime Transportation Security Act regulated facilities; staff engineer in the Human Element and Ship Design Division at Coast Guard Headquarters, where he worked with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement on safety and environmental management system regulations for vessels engaged in Outer Continental Shelf activities.

Montemerlo also served as chief of the Inspections Division at Sector Jacksonville, FL, where he supervised 25 marine inspectors who ensured domestic and foreign-flagged vessel compliance with US and international regulations. During his tour at Sector Jacksonville, Montemerlo was the liquefied natural gas (LNG) subject matter expert and project coordinator for LNG fueled vessels, and managed the first LNG bunkering in the Port of Jacksonville as well as construction of the Clean Jacksonville, the world’s first structural membrane containment LNG barge.

Montemerlo received his commission in the Coast Guard in 2001 after graduating from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy with a degree in marine engineering, and in 2010, he earned a master of science in reliability engineering from the University of Maryland. He is a native of Old Saybrook, CT.


Guido Perla

Guido Perla & Associates, Inc.


Guido Perla is the founder and chairman of Guido Perla & Associates, Inc. (GPA), and he is responsible for all aspects of business and technical operations and has successfully owned and operated GPA since 1979. He oversees the strategic and business development of the company, and focuses on research and development; and preliminary and conceptual design work.

Guido is originally from Colombia. where he studied mechanical engineering, and worked at a local shipyard. In 1973 he graduated from the University of Michigan with a BSE degree in naval architecture and marine engineering. He later worked for several US shipyards and owned a marina in Texas.

Guido’s philosophy of design is simplicity, and engineering ideas into reality. Today, his design and engineering experience includes an unequaled range of vessel categories such as workboats, specialty vessels, offshore oil, passenger, ferries, oceanographic and fishing vessels.


Peter Philips

Philips Publishing Group


Peter is the president of Philips Publishing Group, publishers of trade journals for the maritime and transportation industries. In the years since Philips Publishing was founded by Peter’s father in 1983, the company has grown to become the largest maritime and transportation publishing house on the West Coast. Titles include Pacific Maritime Magazine, aimed at West Coast commercial vessel and terminal operators, FOGHORN, the official publication of the Passenger Vessel Association, Clipper Vacations Magazine, published for Seattle’s Clipper Navigation, Catalina Express Magazine, published for Catalina Express, Pacific Fisheries Review and Fishermen’s News, the oldest commercial fishing publication on the Pacific Coast.

In addition to publishing trade journals, Philips Publishing also specializes in creative design services for the maritime and transportation industries, with clients across the country. Peter is the immediate past president of the Seattle Marine Business Coalition, which represents the interests of marine industrial land users. Peter is past president of the Port of Seattle Chapter of the Propeller Club, and past regional vice president, West Coast, of the International Propeller Club. Peter has a BA in history from Whitman College, and has been employed in the maritime publishing field since 1985.


Alisa Praskovich

Crowley Maritime


Alisa Praskovich is the manager of business development, marine markets, for Crowley LNG Sales and Distribution. In her role, she targets customers operating LNG-powered commercial ships to include cruise, ferry and cargo vessels operating in US ports to provide innovative marine bunkering solutions.

Prior to working at Crowley, Alisa retired as a commander in the US Coast Guard, completing her final tour as the officer in charge of marine inspection at Sector Jacksonville. While stationed there, she oversaw the permitting of the world’s first LNG-powered container ships. She spent her first five years in the Coast Guard at sea as a deck watch officer, and spent the remainder of her career in the marine safety field. She also worked as an ocean policy advisor in the White House as part of the Obama administration’s National Ocean Council. She holds a BS in marine biology and a MA in marine affairs from the University of Washington.


Linda Sturgis

US Coast Guard, Sector Puget Sound


Captain Sturgis serves as the commander, Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound. She reported aboard from her most recent assignment as the Coast Guard liaison to the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command located at the Washington Navy Yard. While attending Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, Captain Sturgis enlisted in the Army Reserve in 1988 and served with the 88th Military Police Company at Fort Eustis attaining the rank of sergeant. After completing her undergraduate studies at Old Dominion University in 1992, Commander Sturgis transferred from the US Army to the US Coast Guard and received her commission from Officer Candidate School in 1993. She received her master of marine affairs from the University of Washington and was assigned to the Center for a New American Security, a Washington DC based think tank where she published on marine spatial planning, Arctic maritime challenges, and port resiliency.

Captain Sturgis’ assignments include Coast Guard Headquarters, Office of Health and Safety; Office of Resource Management, deck watch officer on Coast Guard cutter Mellon (WHEC 717) home ported in Seattle, WA; marine inspector at Marine Safety Office Miami; chief Port State Control/foreign vessel inspections at Marine Safety Office Puget Sound; program reviewer at Coast Guard Headquarters, Office of Budget and Programs; commanding officer at Marine Safety Unit Cleveland; and prevention department head at Coast Guard Sector New York.

Captain Sturgis has earned four Meritorious Service Medals, the Coast Guard Commendation Medal, two Coast Guard Achievement Medals, two Letters of Commendation, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, as well as several personal and Coast Guard unit awards.


Von Ruden

Washington State Department of Transportation, Ferries Division


Matthew von Ruden is a maritime professional with 30 years experience in the government and private sectors. A 1986 graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy, Mr. von Ruden served 23 years in the US Coast Guard, including six assignments at sea, and retired at the rank of captain in 2009. In the commercial sector, Mr. von Ruden worked in the chemical and shipbuilding industries in California, Washington and British Columbia. He held the position of associate dean and director of Seattle Maritime Academy at Seattle Central College before moving to his current position as director, vessel engineering and maintenance at Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division.

Mr. von Ruden’s education includes a BS, marine engineering and naval architecture from the US Coast Guard Academy, an MS in marine engineering and naval architecture and an MS, mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an MA, national security and strategic studies from the US Naval War College. He is a certified project management professional.

A native of Pismo Beach, CA, Mr. von Ruden and his wife Yvonne now reside in Bainbridge Island, WA.


Terri Whitelaw

Transport Canada


Terri Whitelaw is associate director of marine safety and security in the Pacific region overseeing the daily operations in the areas of safety, security and environmental protection for both commercial and pleasure craft. She is a naval architect who started with Transport Canada as a hull inspector 30 years ago in St. John's, Newfoundland. Over the course of her career she has conducted plan approval and inspections of vessels ranging from fishing vessels to tankers, culminating with the certification of the first two floating production, storage and offloading units in Canada, prior to any international regulatory regime for this type of vessel. She has managed inspection and technical services units in the Atlantic region prior to her move to Vancouver, BC. An interest in fire regulations led to Terri representing Canada at IMO during the Fire Test Procedure Code re-write as well as leading the group that re-wrote the Canadian fire regulations. She is an active member of CSA and ISO offshore structure working groups.