February 2, 2021 • Renaissance Seattle Hotel • Seattle, Washington


Captain Paul Amos

Columbia River Pilots

Captain Paul Amos was born and raised in Denton, Texas. In 1974, he permanently relocated to the Pacific Northwest where he was employed continuously in the tug and barge industry for 16 years. From 1980 to 1990 he worked as captain on towing vessels on the Columbia/Willamette/Snake River system. He has a wide range of experience on various types of towing vessels but the majority of those years were spent on grain barge tows between Portland, OR and Lewiston, ID.


For the last 29 years Paul has been a Columbia River pilot. As a member of the Columbia River Pilots (COLRIP) he served two years as treasurer and was vice president in 1999. He was re-elected as vice president in 2006. Shortly afterward he became president and served continuously in that position through 2014. He was also deeply involved in developing COLRIP’s AIS-based navigation system and continues to work on improvements to that system. He is currently the chairman of the American Pilots’ Association Navigation Technology Committee, is a past chairman of the Lower Columbia Region Harbor Safety Committee and past president of the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association.


Paul is married to a sailor, Della, one of the first women to graduate from Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy. He has three adult children and lives in Vancouver, WA.

Captain Alain Arseneault

Canadian Pilots Association

Captain Alain Arseneault is a graduate of Rimouski Maritime Institute in Canada. After being issued a master mariner certificate in 1998, he obtained his first command the following year on a product tanker. His career evolved on the management side for a while as he held a senior management position with a Canadian shipping company. It is during that period that Captain Arseneault pursued postgraduate studies, being awarded an MBA. He then entered the apprentice program on the St. Lawrence River and finally was issued a pilot license in 2005. After gaining 10 years experience and an unlimited class A pilot license on the river, he held various management positions within the Central St. Lawrence Pilot Corporation until he was elected president in 2017.


Fascinated by innovation and new technologies, Captain Arseneault participated in several technical maritime committees within his group and ultimately lead the technical committee of his national association, Canadian Maritime Pilots Association, in addition to being elected national vice-president for the Laurentian in 2017. He participated among others, in the introduction of the latest generation of pilot portable units (PPU) and rate-of-turn generator (ROTG) for his group of pilots. Capt. Arseneault serves on several boards of directors in the maritime industry, he is actively involved in several technology innovation forums as a participant and speaker.


Alain is married and a proud father to a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy and lives in Quebec City, Canada.

Bill Benning

Marine Exchange of Alaska

Bill is a 23-year veteran of the US Coast Guard (1979 to 2002) specializing in communications, security, and environmental response. Bill has been on staff at the Marine Exchange of Alaska since December of 2001 and currently serves as its chief technology officer. He has been involved with Alaska communications for more than 33 years and implemented the Marine Exchange’s comprehensive AIS and weather station network established at more than 130 locations around the state.


Upon his retirement from the US Coast Guard’s 17th District Headquarters as the telecommunications manager, Bill was cited for meritorious service for his exceptional initiative and technical knowledge in providing comprehensive communications coverage to the Alaska maritime community in its harsh and challenging environment. He has been a licensed merchant marine officer since 1994, and he currently holds a 100 ton master’s license.


Bill is a member of the Radio Technical Commission for the Maritime Services (RTCM) Special Committee 121 and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Technical Committee 80/Working Group 15.


In 2018 Bill was appointed by the governor of the State of Alaska for a 3-year term on the Alaska Boating Safety Advisory Council.


Bill has been married for 35 years and is the father of four wonderful young men. He currently resides in Juneau, Alaska, where he is an avid outdoorsman, enjoying and protecting all that Alaska has to offer.

Joel Box

GateHouse Maritime

Joel is the sales director for GateHouse Maritime and is based out of Tampa, FL. He has worked in the maritime industry for more than two decades focusing on Automatic Identification System (AIS) solutions, electronic charting systems (ECS) and electronic chart production. Joel has been employed in both government and commercial sectors during his career in various roles including chart standards development, chart production process development, commercialization of chart products, product management, and business development.  Joel has a bachelor of environmental studies degree from the University of Waterloo, and has been employed in the maritime industry since 1993.

Kip Boyle

Cyber Risk Opportunities

Kip Boyle is a 21-year information security expert and founder of Cyber Risk Opportunities. A former chief information security officer (CISO) for several heavily regulated companies, he previously worked at Expeditors International, Stanford Research Institute (SRI), and was the wide area network security director for the Air Force’s F-22 “Raptor” program. He has been quoted in Forbes, Entrepreneur magazine, and Chief Executive magazine. His book “Fire Doesn’t Innovate: The Executive’s Practical Guide to Thriving in the Face of Evolving Cyber Risks” was published in January 2019

George B. Burkley

Maritime Pilots Institute

Mr. George Burkley serves as the executive director of the Maritime Pilot’s Institute (MPI) in Covington, Louisiana. MPI specializes in training, research and technical projects for maritime pilots. The school operates both electronic simulation and physical modeling training and research facilities. George is a graduate of the California Maritime Academy and completed his master’s work at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He served as an aviator in the US Naval Reserve and sailed for Masters, Mates and Pilots as a ship’s officer. His background includes seven years as an instructor and developer of training programs and technical systems at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies in Baltimore and twelve years in New Orleans working with ship pilots.


As director of MPI, George has designed and supervised the construction of a fleet of 1/25th scale maritime manned models, and a number of simulation installations, to support pilotage training. He is currently engaged in projects with manned model training and research, hydrodynamic ship modeling, simulation development, electronic navigation systems research, portable piloting units training and various training programs for pilot groups. George is married with three children in high school and resides in Covington, LA.

Captain Karl Richard Carr

TOTE Maritime Alaska

Captain Carr graduated from California Maritime Academy in 1984 with a BS degree in nautical industrial technology.


After graduation he sailed with Scripps Institution of Oceanography from June 1984 to March 1989 and again from December 1996 to March 1997. He participated in extensive worldwide research expeditions aboard RV New Horizon, RV Thomas Washington, RV Melville and RV Roger Revelle.


Additionally, Capt. Carr sailed with Biehl Offshore aboard Biehl Trader & Biehl Traveler. The Biehl vessels were the first vessels contracted with Alyeska & British Petroleum as part of the Ship Escort Response Vessel System in Valdez & Prince William Sound Alaska.


He also sailed with Marine Transport Lines aboard VLCC BT Alaska transporting North Slope crude oil from Valdez, Alaska to Puerto Armuelles, Panama, and aboard Chemical Pioneer delivering chemical products along the Eastern & Gulf coasts of the US.


From July 1997 until April 2003 Capt. Carr sailed with Dyn Marine aboard Military Sealift Command Oceanographic Survey vessels USNS Bowditch, and as master aboard USNS Pathfinder for the Naval Oceanographic Office. From February 1998 to the present he has sailed with TOTE Maritime Alaska aboard the SS Great Land, the MV North Star and is currently sailing as master aboard the MV Midnight Sun. The Orca trailerships North Star and Midnight Sun conduct Jones Act trade between Tacoma, WA and Anchorage, AK.

Capt. Carr currently lives in Tumwater, WA with his wife Maria and their two teenagers Haven (18) and  Morgan (16).

Jon L. Dasler, PE, PLS, CH

David Evans and Associates, Inc.

Jon L. Dasler received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering with honors from the University of Portland. He is a registered professional engineer (PE) and professional land surveyor (PLS).  Mr. Dasler is certified by the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) and The Hydrographic Society of America (THSOA) as a certified hydrographer (CH). He has been an active board member of the NSPS/THSOA Hydrographer Certification Board since 2001 and currently serves as chair. He is a founding member of The Hydrographic Society of America. Over the years he has served THSOA as a trustee, THSOA Education Committee, and Hydrographer Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Mr. Dasler is an active member and past chair of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)/US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Liaison Committee, expanding outreach between the USACE and the private sector.


His professional experience spans more than 30 years of contract project management on hydrographic and land surveying projects for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), port authorities, and private sector firms. Mr. Dasler was involved in the earliest applications of shallow water multibeam for the monitoring of coastal structures and the first application of Ellipsoidal Referenced Surveys for NOAA. Based on his expertise in hydrography, Mr. Dasler was handpicked by NOAA to serve on a Federal Advisory Committee where he served seven years as a special government employee on NOAA’s Hydrographic Services Review Panel which advised the NOAA administrator on matters related to the nation’s hydrographic services and navigation safety information needs. He is currently the senior vice president and director of marine services at David Evans and Associates, Inc. in Vancouver, Washington where he has managed hydrographic projects since 1989.

Clayton L. “Clay” Diamond

American Pilots’ Association

Clay Diamond has been the deputy director-associate general counsel for the American Pilots’ Association since 2008. A 1989 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy, he also earned a master’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a juris doctor from Case Western Reserve. He represents pilots and the piloting profession before Congress, state legislatures, federal and state agencies, and local oversight bodies. He also advises pilot groups and pilotage authorities on operations, practices and pilotage oversight. He regularly serves on US delegations to the International Maritime Organization and is an instructor at the MITAGS, California Maritime Academy, and the Maritime Pilot Institute. In 2012, Mr. Diamond was appointed by the secretary of Homeland Security to serve on the Navigation Safety Advisory Council.


During his 20-year Coast Guard career, Mr. Diamond served aboard four Coast Guard cutters, including as commanding officer. During these assignments, he was on-scene commander during the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800, participated in the seizure of over $300 million in illegal drugs, the interdiction of hundreds of illegal migrants, and the execution of heavy weather search and rescue cases. He was also the first Coast Guard lawyer assigned to support the Department of Defense’s Military Commissions, where he assisted in preparing prosecution cases for some of the most significant terror suspects in US custody. In 2002, Mr. Diamond was chosen by the American Bar Association as the Coast Guard’s “Outstanding Young Military Lawyer.”

David S. Dumont, PE

Foss Maritime Company

David Dumont, PE serves as the senior director of project services and engineering for Foss Maritime Company where he oversees ocean towing operations, project management, vessel construction, and engineering (Harbor Marine Group).


David is responsible for the operation of ocean vessel assets and for the engineering and procurement of new assets. David is jointly responsible for the business development of assist/escort tugs, liquified natural gas (LNG) shipping, wind farm construction and other sectors.


David has 25 years of experience as an executive manager, naval architect, marine engineer, and project manager on a wide range of projects for commercial and government clients.


David holds a BS in naval architecture and marine engineering from Webb Institute of Naval Architecture (1994) and an MBA from the University of Washington Foster School of Business (2011).

Captain Laird Hail (ret)

US Coast Guard

Puget Sound Vessel Traffic Service

Laird Hail currently serves as the director of Puget Sound Vessel Traffic Service at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound. In this role, Mr. Hail is responsible for ensuring the safe and efficient transit of over 230,000 vessels annually in the Salish Sea by monitoring and, where necessary, directing maritime traffic. Working with Canadian partners as part of the Cooperative Vessel Traffic Services, these efforts serve to reduce the potential for collisions, allisions, groundings, loss of life, and environmental damage. Mr. Hail works closely with Puget Sound Pilots, the Puget Sound Marine Exchange, Washington State Ferries, and other port partners in meeting this mission.


Mr. Hail is a graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy and served a twenty-six-year career with the Coast Guard, retiring as a captain in 1998. During his Coast Guard military career, Mr. Hail commanded three Coast Guard cutters and an overseas station. His Coast Guard staff assignments include eleven years in information technology and serving as the chief of the Office of Cutter Management, responsible for the program management of the Coast Guard fleet.


Prior to assuming his duties as director of Puget Sound Vessel Traffic Services, Mr. Hail served as director of court technology for the Municipal Court of Seattle and as the technical services manager for King County Elections.

Peter Hyams

STAR Center

Peter Hyams is on the full time staff at the Simulation, Training, Assessment and Research (STAR) Center in Dania Beach, Florida as instructor and course developer. The STAR Center is the training facility for the American Maritime Officers Union, and caters to many other companies’ research, assessment and training needs. Peter is afforded the opportunity to continuously interact with actively sailing mariners, frequently ride vessels and identify training needs, bringing a unique and relevant perspective to all maritime trainings and assessments.


A California Maritime Academy graduate, with a passion for teaching, navigation and electronics, he led the Radar/ARPA/ECDIS programs through STCW 95 and 2010. Graduating from Florida International University with a master of science degree in human resource development and adult education he is also the lead Train the Trainer (instructor, supervisor, assessor qualification course) and Simulator Train the Trainer instructor. Peter is actively involved in all STAR Center maritime assessment programs.

Paul G. Kirchner

American Pilots’ Association

Paul Kirchner is the executive director and general counsel of the American Pilots’ Association (APA) in Washington, DC. Mr. Kirchner represents pilots and the interests of the piloting profession before Congress, federal agencies, and state and local legislative and administrative bodies. He has testified and commented on, and assisted in the drafting of, pilotage laws and regulations, both federal and state. He has advised pilot groups and pilotage authorities on the operations, practices, business structures, and oversight of pilots and pilotage systems. He is a frequent speaker and writer on various aspects of the piloting profession and navigation safety.


From 1994 to 2004, Mr. Kirchner served as chairman of the Pilotage Law Subcommittee of the Maritime Law Association’s Committee on Navigation and Coast Guard. In 1993, Mr. Kirchner developed, and continues to administer, the APA’s Bridge Resource Management for Pilots training program. He also teaches several proprietary courses in the Legal Aspects of Pilotage.


Since 1997, Mr. Kirchner has been a member of the United States delegations to over 50 meetings of International Maritime Organization (IMO) committees and subcommittees. At the 33rd session of the STW Subcommittee in 2002, Mr. Kirchner was chairman of the drafting group that prepared the final text of what was subsequently issued as IMO Resolution A.960 (XXIII) setting international guidelines on the training, certification, and operations of maritime pilots.

Captain Elizabeth Kretovic

NOAA, Office of Coast Survey, NOS

A NOAA Corps officer for 20 years, Captain Liz Kretovic spent her career sailing and leading NOAA research vessels while collaborating with stakeholders and partners in emergency response and NOAA’s navigation services. She reported to the Office of Coast Survey as deputy hydrographer in December 2017 to assume the role of program manager for NOAA’s Precision Navigation program; an effort currently in development to disseminate NOAA’s real time environmental observations, forecasts, and high resolution bathymetric charts to mariners in the ports of New York/New Jersey and the Lower Mississippi River Complex.


Captain Kretovic completed NOAA’s Leadership Competencies Development Program (LCDP) in January 2016. During the 18-month program, she held two developmental assignments, shadowed many leaders within NOAA, and cemented her own leadership philosophy. With more than nine years of sea duty, Captain Kretovic served as commanding officer of NOAAS Hi’iaakkai from February 2016 to November 2017 where she led the ship through its longest planned deployment away from homeport. She served two tours aboard NOAAS Ronald H Brown, NOAA’s only global class vessel, and her first sea assignment was aboard NOAAS David Starr Jordan. All of her sea time has included the added complexities of bringing NOAA ships into international ports, a welcomed challenge.


A native of Worcester, MA., Captain Kretovic graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1996, with a BS in marine safety and environmental protection. She is enrolled in the academy’s MS program in maritime business management and anticipates completion in the spring of 2020.

Captain Eero Lehtovaara, AFNI


Captain Eero Lehtovaara is globally responsible for regulatory and public affairs at ABB’s marine and ports business.


With his background as a master mariner, Eero has a comprehensive understanding of the challenges facing stakeholders in the maritime sector with new regulations, technologies and staffing models. He has been working with digital solutions and energy efficiency systems onboard for more than 15 years. He has held management positions at sea and onshore which enable him to translate technological advances to regulatory compliance.


Currently, Eero is on the management team of the OneSea Alliance, as well as technical committees with ABS & Lloyd’s Register, is the CIMAC WG21 chairman, and a corporate member of SeaEurope, and holds various other relevant positions.


Eero is also an associate fellow of the Nautical Institute.

Tommy Mikkelsen

Trelleborg Marine Systems

Tommy Mikkelsen is the managing director of Trelleborg Marine Systems (TMS) Denmark, and a techie who is committed to pioneering performance in an ever-changing world. Tommy has a software engineering background and has been working in the marine industry for more than 25 years, during which he has dedicated himself to developing modern piloting systems. He has created and developed Trelleborg SafePilot Piloting System together with his team of dedicated developers and engineers.

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.

Rand R. Pixa

Maritime Administration, USDOT

Rand R. Pixa serves as the Maritime Administration’s senior career lawyer in the position of deputy chief counsel and acting chief counsel in that official’s absence. Prior to joining the Maritime Administration in 2006, he served as a special assistant to the chief counsel of the Army Corps of Engineers, a Justice Department trial attorney in admiralty and aviation practice, and in various positions in the Navy as an officer afloat, as admiralty counsel of the Navy, as the judge advocate general’s corps chief information officer and inspector general, and as a senior international legal advisor and general manager prior to retirement in the rank of captain.


Mr. Pixa is an occasional lecturer at the International Maritime Law Institute and a member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States and Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute.  With an avid interest in maritime history, he advanced enactment of the Sunken Military Craft Act and in his present capacity is a strong advocate for tapping the potential of vessel automation and building the US vessel automation industry.

Brett Rouzer

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

Brett Rouzer serves as the acting associate director for strategy, shaping the future vision for integrated operations for the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). CISA leads intelligence, operational planning and mission execution with an emphasis on risk mitigation and response efforts to cyber and physical events.


The former chief of current operations, National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, Mr. Rouzer led the US government’s 24x7x365 cybersecurity operations center from October 2015 to September 2018. Prior to joining DHS, he served as the deputy strategic planning officer and chief of maritime critical infrastructure and key resources protection for US Coast Guard Cyber Command. In these roles, he helped shape the service’s vision for protecting the nation’s marine transportation system and maritime global supply chain from cyber threats, risks and vulnerabilities.


During his 20-year career in the US Coast Guard, Mr. Rouzer held a myriad of operational positions in such functions as cybersecurity, counter-terrorism, law enforcement, intelligence, critical infrastructure protection, and continuity and contingency planning.


Mr. Rouzer is the recipient of numerous government and military awards including; DHS Office of Cybersecurity and Communications Assistant Secretary’s Gold Award, DHS Mission Excellence Award, US Coast Guard Civilian Superior Achievement Award, Meritorious Service Medal and multiple US Coast Guard commendation and achievement medals.

Captain Jeff Slesinger

Delphi Maritime, LLC

Captain Slesinger is a captain, educator, author, auditor and surveyor. He brings the expertise of a mariner’s eye to maritime business, safety and training issues. Captain Slesinger’s maritime career has spanned more than 40 years, both at sea and ashore having served as tug captain, operations manager, director of safety and training and president of his own company, Delphi Maritime, LLC. Captain Slesinger created Delphi Maritime in 2008 as a platform to create innovative business, safety and training solutions for the maritime industry. He has authored articles in industry trade magazines and two books Shiphandling with Tugs and, most recently, the 2nd edition of Azimuthing Stern Drive Tugs, Learning to Drive a Z-drive.


Captain, educator, author and surveyor—Captain Slesinger brings a unique and broad perspective to issues facing the maritime industry.

Captain T. Christian Spain

American Maritime Officers

Captain Christian Spain was raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and in Bethesda, Maryland. He is a 1994 graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy. After graduation he worked in the US maritime industry advancing to master in 1999. Captain Spain sailed aboard merchant ships for two decades on twenty different vessels; ten years of which was as master on three different classes of vessels. Additionally, Captain Spain spent several years working for Maersk Line Limited and AP Moller managing a fleet of US-flagged vessels and as a capacity planner for Maersk Line.


Since 2014 Captain Spain has worked for American Maritime Officers (AMO) in Washington DC He is currently AMO’s vice president for government relations. In this capacity his primary duties include managing relationships with the Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State and various other agencies and departments.


Captain Spain is an active member of several maritime industry federal advisory committees. He is an appointed member of the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee and a public member of the Merchant Marine Personnel and Merchant Marine Medical Advisory Committee.


As the vice-chair of the International Transport Workers Federation’s Maritime Safety Committee, Captain Spain represents the world’s merchant mariners at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The IMO regulates international maritime commerce and merchant mariners in international trade; including their training and documentation. He is a representative to the Maritime Safety and Maritime Environmental Protection Committees at the IMO and is also an active member of several of the IMO’s subcommittees.


Captain Spain’s duties also include maintaining AMO relations with members of Congress and staff on key committees.


Captain Spain has lived in numerous coastal areas of the US as well as Denmark. He currently resides on Capitol Hill in Washington DC with his wife and daughters.

Commander Nicholas J. Tabori

US Coast Guard

CDR Nicholas J. Tabori is the division chief for the Coast Guard’s Office of Maritime and International Law, Prevention Law Division. This division provides legal support to the Coast Guard in the development of statutes, regulation, and international treaties relating to US and foreign flagged vessels and facilities for the safety of life, environmental protection, and security related matters. CDR Tabori commissioned into the Coast Guard in 2002 through Officer Candidate School, and proudly served aboard three cutters directly thereafter: the Cutter Munro (Alameda, CA) where he stood the watch as a deck watch officer, the Cutter Adak (Manama, Bahrain) as the executive officer and lead boarding, and the Cutter Sailfish (Sandy Hook, NJ) as the commanding officer.


CDR Tabori graduated from the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America (cum laude) and is a member of the Maryland State Bar. He also holds a master of science degree in international transportation management from the State University of New York Maritime College (with honors), and a bachelor of finance degree from the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.


After law school CDR Tabori served in the Coast Guard’s Office of Information and Intelligence Law where he supported operations, investigations and the Insider Threat Working Group. In 2015, he was awarded the Director of National Intelligence’s Junior Intelligence Attorney of the Year. After working in the Office of Information and Intelligence Law, CDR Tabori spent two years on the legal staff of the National Pollution Funds Center, where he directly supported Department of Justice attorneys in complex environmental and admiralty litigation pursuing the recovery of millions of dollars of government funds used to clean-up oil spills. From there CDR Tabori moved to the Office of Maritime and International Law, Prevention Law Division where he currently serves.

Brian Tetreault

US Army Corps of Engineers
CMTS Future of Navigation Interagency Action Team

Brian Tetreault has been a navigation systems specialist for the Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center for more than 10 years. His work includes projects to develop and implement navigation information systems to improve navigation operations, in particular the use of automatic identification system (AIS) capabilities. He is a US representative to national and international e-navigation-related bodies, including the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC), International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM), and is the co-chair of the Future of Navigation Integrated Action Team of the US Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS). He is a graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy and served in the Coast Guard for 22 years at sea and ashore.

Gerald Thornberry

US Army Corps of Engineers

Gerald serves the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as a marine information specialist. He has a background in hydrographic surveying and dredging, is a chart producer for the USACE Inland Electronic Navigational Charting (IENC) Program and is responsible for providing IENC overlays of bathymetric survey data to the US Coast Guard to aid in the placement of buoys on US inland waterways. He also provides technical support to USACE eHydro, the USACE hydrographic survey data repository, as well as, USACE River Information Services.


Before graduating from the University of Louisville with a BS in geography (environmental analysis), Gerald served as a signals intelligence analyst for the US Army. He also has 11 years of Geographic Information System (GIS) programming, database development and analysis experience in the private sector. He resides in Louisville, KY with his wife and two children.

Juergen Troegl


Juergen Troegl works for “viadonau”, which manages the Danube waterway in Austria. He leads the traffic management department at viadonau, including lock operations as well as development and operation of River Information Services (RIS) which is the equivalent to e-navigation in inland waterways. He has a background in telecommunications sciences and has been actively involved in the development and implementation of RIS in Europe right from the beginning in 2000. Juergen is member of several technical expert groups and has been cooperating with the US Army Corps of Engineers since 2010.

Daniel E. Turissini

SPYRUS Solutions, Inc.
Cyber Security Committee Marine Technology Society

Dan joined SPYRUS Solutions, Inc. as chief technology officer responsible for the restart and broader adoption of the company’s products and services. A founder of Operational Research Consultants, Inc. in 1991, he led as chief executive to become a thought leader in identity verification and trusted authentication. He negotiated its merger with WidePoint where he piloted a seamless transition to a well-funded $120M market cap prior to his 2015 exit.


As an independent consultant Dan has provided expert consulting in identity and access control, cryptographic, biometric, and public key infrastructures. Efforts resulted in patents granted in the USA and six other nations. A systems engineering/ integration innovator and leading expert in trusted managed services, he has achieved trusted authority certifications for public and private enterprises, pivotal in achieving the vision of implementing the next generation of cyber security for his clients.


Dan chairs the Marine Technology Society, Maritime Cyber Security and Infrastructure Committee and is the vice chairman of the AFCEA, Homeland Security Committee; where he actively evangelizes for the protection of critical infrastructure and citizen privacy. On AFCEA’s Educational Foundation Board he is dedicated to providing educational incentives, opportunities and assistance in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


He holds a BS degree from the US Merchant Marine Academy (Alumni’s Outstanding Professional Achievement Award) and a master’s degree from the George Washington University, where he also completed the required credit hours in a formal program of study at the graduate level beyond master’s study in pursuit of doctoral program in systems engineering and applied sciences.

Ryan Vechan

Texas A&M University at Galveston

Ryan is an assistant professor in the Marine Transportation Department at Texas A&M University at Galveston, a special-purpose institution of higher education for undergraduate and graduate instruction in marine and maritime studies. The Department of Maritime Transportation offers students the opportunity to obtain a bachelor of science degree while also qualifying students to take the US Coast Guard license examination for licensing as a third mate for any gross tonnage upon oceans, steam or motor vessels.


Ryan has taught several courses at the university covering subjects such as electronic navigation, marine insurance, dry cargo operations, and liquid tanker operations. A course covering electronic navigation provides students with background knowledge related to electronic tools of today’s vessels as well as practical training in the use of the same electronic tools through simulation.


Ryan graduated from Texas A&M University at Galveston in 2007 with a degree in marine transportation.  After graduation Ryan sailed for approximately four years aboard Jones Act tankers transporting crude oil, chemicals, and clean products. After obtaining his unlimited tonnage chief mate license, Ryan attended the University of Houston Law Center. During his final year of law school Ryan also worked as a port captain for a chemical company. Upon graduation from law school in 2014, Ryan worked at a law firm whose practice focused primarily on maritime and other transportation matters before returning to Texas A&M University at Galveston as faculty in the fall of 2017.

Captain Jorge J. Viso

American Pilots’ Association

Captain Jorge Viso was elected president of the American Pilots’ Association (APA) in 2016. Prior to being elected APA president, Captain Viso served in numerous other leadership positons, including vice president of the APA’s South Atlantic States; vice president, then president of the Florida State Pilots’ Association; and chairman of the Tampa Bay Pilots’ Association.


After completing an enlistment in the US Coast Guard (1978-81), where he served aboard two cutters and advanced to quartermaster second class, Captain Viso earned an appointment to the US Merchant Marine Academy at King’s Point. He graduated from King’s Point in 1985 with a degree in marine transportation and nautical science.  Upon graduation, he was commissioned as an ensign in the US Naval Reserve and was licensed as third mate of steam and motor vessels by the US Coast Guard. He served as a pilot in the ports of Tampa Bay, Florida from 1990 through 2016. Prior to becoming a state-licensed pilot, Captain Viso briefly served aboard harbor tugs, before sailing deep sea on chemical, product and crude oil tankers. In addition to his Florida State pilot license, he holds US Coast Guard credentials as master of steam and motor vessels (limited tonnage) and chief mate of steam and motor vessels (unlimited tonnage). He also holds a federal first class pilot endorsement for the waters of Tampa Bay and its tributaries.


Captain Viso also served as chairman of the APA’s Navigation and Technology Committee (NAVTECH) from 2002 until taking office as APA president. As NAVTECH chairman, Captain Viso not only facilitated dialog among the nation’s professional maritime pilots on portable pilot units (PPUs) and other navigation technology matters, he also worked with local and federal officials on navigation policies and infrastructure support, wrote numerous articles in maritime trade journals, and was a frequent speaker at national and international navigation technology and pilotage conferences.


In addition to various leadership positions held within national, state and local pilots’ associations, Captain Viso served as vice chairman of the Florida Board of Pilot Commissioners, executive board member of the Harbor Safety and Security Committee of Tampa Bay, and as an instructor at the Maritime Institute of Training and Graduate Studies (MITAGS), as well as at the Maritime Pilot’s Institute (MPI).


Captain Viso is the recipient of numerous awards, including the US Coast Guard Public Service Commendation, the US Coast Guard Certificate of Merit, and the Outstanding Professional Achievement Award for the US Merchant Marine Academy.


Captain Viso, born in Illinois, was raised in Miami, Florida. He and his wife, Ana Maria, have three children, Alexandra, Jorge, Jr. and Daniella.


The American Pilots’ Association is the national trade association of professional ship pilots. Its membership is composed of more than 50 groups of state-licensed pilots, comprising over 99% of all state pilots in the country. All three groups of United States registered pilots in the Great Lakes are also APA members. There are approximately 1,200 individual pilots in the APA member pilot groups. The APA was established in 1884 to protect and improve the state pilotage system, to maintain the highest possible professional standards for licensed pilots in the United States, and to promote navigation safety.

Captain Bren Wade

Crowley Maritime

Captain Bren Wade earned his BS degree and third mate’s license in 1987 at the US Merchant Marine Academy before going to work for Crowley Maritime in Seattle. He spent the next three years working aboard harbor and deep-sea tugs in Puget Sound and Alaska. In 1990, he left the Pacific Northwest to find warmer weather and marry his high school sweetheart, Lori. Bren worked aboard an acoustic research vessel for the next two years. In 1992, he took a chief mate position aboard one of two NASA-owned solid rocket booster retrieval vessels. He became captain in 2000 and sailed in that capacity until the last shuttle lifted off in 2011. He also earned an MBA during his time at the Kennedy Space Center. Captain Wade joined Crowley as the manager, marine compliance in August 2011. Based in Jacksonville, Captain Wade provided his expertise from the towing industry to help plan and shape the Mariner Assessment Program at Crowley, which now includes dynamic positioning, engineering and liquid cargo assessments. To date, he has done nearly 1000 individual mariner assessments in the simulator and dozens of underway bridge team assessments.

Paul Welling

Wärtsilä Voyage Solutions

Paul’s experience in the maritime industry spans more than 40 years. He graduated from Maritime Institute, “De Ruyter”, in Flushing, The Netherlands in 1978 and acquired his unlimited master’s license in 1986 after gaining the required sea-time. A sea-going career of 11 years on the passenger ships of Holland America Line was followed by 15 years as area sales manager at Radio Holland USA, during which time he was involved in the implementation of various new navigation and communication technologies on board ships. Paul joined Transas in 2005 and was appointed sales director. The development of on-board, shore-based and simulation solutions however has always retained his interest and the recent acquisition of Transas Marine by the Wärtsilä Group  has proven to only amplify this through Wärstilä’s Smart Marine initiatives and the drive towards digitalization of the entire marine industry.