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Harbor Safety Committee Member Biographies

Voting Members

Commercial Fishing Organization, Primary

David Martin

Commercial Fishing Organization, Alternate

Captain Eric Velsko

Erik was born and raised in Homer, Alaska. He graduated from the California Maritime Academy in 2005 with a BS in Marine Transportation and a minor in law. Erik also holds a 1600 Ton Master Oceans license. Mr. Velsko has been involved in Alaska’s commercial fisheries since a very young age, and has been a part of many of Alaska’s iconic fisheries. He has extensive wheelhouse experience in the Bering Sea crab and cod fisheries, but in recent years has returned to his childhood fishing grounds to be close to his young family. Currently, Erik Captains their local fishing vessel Dangerous Cape harvesting Pacific cod, blackcod and halibut in the Gulf of Alaska. He also travels to Bristol Bay each summer to operate his gillnet vessel Dire Straits in the competitive sockeye salmon fishery. Erik is on the Board of Directors for the North Pacific Fishing Association based in Homer and is also a member of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council IFQ Committee. Mr. Velsko is a strong advocate for second generation Alaskan fishermen, and works tirelessly to ensure their future when he’s not on the water. He is married to Lacey, who is also a lifelong Alaskan, and they have three young children Britta, Estelle and Leo.

Cook Inlet Regional Citizen's Advisory Council, Primary

Stephen Catalano

Marine and Environmental Safety is not a new career path for me. I retired from the U. S. Coast Guard in 1996 with more than twenty years’ service. My first full enlistment was served on a Coast Guard Cutter as a Damage Controlman, other tours of duty consisted of an Air Station and two remote tours at Alaska LORAN stations’ St. Paul and Port Clarence, approximately half of my career was within the Marine Safety field serving at units in South Carolina and Alaska. For a short period following my Coast Guard career, I held a position with Alaska Maritime Agencies as a Vessel Manager. Following that, I worked for Cook Inlet Spill Prevention and Response, Inc. for approximately two years as a logistics technician then as an Oil Spill Technician for approximately 7 years. I came to work for Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council (Cook Inlet RCAC) in 2006, where I have been serving as the Director of Operations.

Cook Inlet Regional Citizen's Advisory Council (CIRCAC), Alternate

Shaylon Cochran

Dry Cargo Ship Operators, Primary

Frank Smith

Dry Cargo Ship Operators, Alternate

Vincente "Ben" Cruz

Vicente "Ben" Cruz Jr. grew up on the Island of Guam and enlisted in the United States Air Force in October 1986.  He served 30 years performing duties as a Squadron Superintendent, Pacific Air Forces Logistics Contingency and Exercise Planner, Production Superintendent, Quality Assurance Manager and  Inspector and Cargo Aircraft Electrical and Environmental Craftsman. 


Ben retired from the United States Air Force in November 2016 and joined the Anchorage Alaska, Matson Team as the Maintenance and Facilities Manager, or Shop Manager until early 2018.  He is currently the Matson Marine Manager.  Ben manages a $9M marine budget and leads, guides and directs four Matson Shift Managers, 200 plus Longshoremen and 15 Hostlers supporting 102 vessel operations annually. 

Environmental Organization, Primary

Rachel Lord

Harbor Tug Operators, Primary

Captain Brad Kroon

Brad Kroon is currently the Alaska Marine Operations Manager for Olympic Tug and Barge. Brad worked himself up the through the Hawse pipe, starting out as a deckhand in 1985 during the summers while attending the University of Puget Sound and later Northern Arizona University. Prior to Brad’s recent position with Olympic Tug & Barge, Brad was the General Manager of Cook Inlet Tug and Barge. Brad has a BS degree in Political Science and a BS degree in Journalism. He possesses USCG Captain’s licenses of Master 200 ton and Master of Towing as well as an AB Unlimited and has spent 26 years on tugs prior to working in the office.

He has been married to his wife, Karen for 27 years. They have a 21-year-old son, Branden, currently attending California Maritime Academy and an 18-year-old daughter, Kelsey, who is attending the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

In his free time, Brad enjoys working on and driving his classic cars, a 1966 Dodge Charger and a 1966 Dodge Coronet convertible. He also loves skiing, kayaking, boating, bike riding, traveling and hiking with his two Australian Shepherds Rocky and Mia.

Marine Oil Terminal Operators, Primary

Captain Paul Mehler, III

Paul serves as Senior Port Captain for Marathon Petroleum, managing all marine operations for Alaska. Prior to joining the Marathon team, Captain Mehler served 25 years in the United States Coast Guard. His most recent tour being the Sector Commander, Captain of the Port for Western Alaska. Captain Mehler has extensive experience as a Marine Inspector, Investigator and has served as the FOSC in multiple high profile responses. He holds a B.S. from Massachusetts Maritime Academy and a M.S. in Quality Systems Management.

Port of Alaska, Primary

Stephen Ribuffo, HSC Chair

Steve Ribuffo is the Director of the Port of Anchorage.  In this capacity, he is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day business operations of the Port; interacting as needed with tenants, the U.S. Coast Guard, the military and any new business prospects interested in operating out of the Port.  He has been with the Port since August 2007, when he came aboard as Deputy Port Director.


Steve retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel, having served 30 years on active duty.  He is an Accredited Marine Port Executive, and a member of the Advisory Board of the International Association of Maritime and Port Executives.  Steve also serves on the University of Alaska – Anchorage’s Global Supply Chain Management curriculum advisory committee, and is Chairman of the Cook Inlet Harbor Safety Committee.

Port of Alaska, Alternate

Shannon Martindale

Port of Homer, Primary

Bryan Hawkins

Bryan Hawkins began his Alaskan maritime career in 1979. With a Merchant Mariners license, he worked at sea as a commercial fisherman and a captain for hire for 20 years. In 1999 he took a position at the Homer Port and Harbor as a Harbor Officer. He was promoted to Deputy Harbormaster in 2004, then to Port Director/Harbormaster in 2008.

Bryan’s work at sea allowed him to visit most of the ports and coastal communities in Alaska, giving him a working man’s view of harbor management and vessel traffic in coastal Alaska. Like many Alaskans, Bryan has worn many hats and worked in many fields during his time in the Great State. It is said that he is a hands-on manager with strengths in team building and finding acceptable solutions to difficult problems. Bryan has lived in the Homer area since 1979 with his wife Jennifer and their three sons Jake, Van and Ben.

Boards and Committees currently serving: AAHPA, Executive Board Member; Alaska Clean Harbors, Advisory Board Member; Pacific Coast Congress of Harbormasters, Member; City of Homer Lease Committee, Member; Kachemak Bay Research Reserve’s Science Collaborative Committee, Homer Port & Harbor Representative; Cook Inlet Risk Assessment Committee, Member; and the Kenai Peninsula Choir.

Port of Homer, Alternate

Matt Clarke

Recreational Boaters, Primary

Mark Tornai

Mark Tornai, Environmental, Health and Safety Specialist, Hilcorp Alaska, LLC has been employed with Hilcorp Alaska, LLC for 4 years. His particular area of expertise is the offshore with the Cook Inlet Operations. He manages Emergency Response Plans and coordinates spill prevention and response drills with Cook Inlet Spill Prevention and Response Inc. His previous experience in the petroleum industry was working with Marathon Alaska, Flint Hills Resources Alaska, LLC, Williams Alaska Petroleum and APC/Natchiq. His background includes a wide range of experience to include safety leadership and coaching, writing and evaluating health and safety policies and procedures, and evaluating company safety performance. Additionally, Mark Tornai served with the US Air Force for 22 years as a firefighter. The highlights of his Air Force career were serving as the Superintendent of the Structural and Crash Firefighting Division at the Air Force Fire Academy; Deputy Fire Chief at Edwards AFB in California; and Fire Chief at Osan Air Base, Korea. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Associate in Applied Science in Educational and Instructional Technology and Associate in Applied Science in Fire Science. Additional certifications include; Master Instructor, Fire Officer II, Airport Fire Fighter, Fire Instructor III and Fire Inspector II. He is a registered Master Hazard Control Manager with the International Board of Certified Safety Managers. Mark has been a recreational boater in the Cook Inlet for 26 years.

Response Organization, Primary

Todd Paxton

Salvage Organization, Primary

Todd Duke

Todd Duke has been in the Maritime Emergency Response community for over 30 years. Starting as a U.S. Navy Damage Controlman, he progressed through the emergency response community first as a professional firefighter, then working as a fire officer in petrochemical and offshore production installations for major oil companies.

Todd has been with Resolve for 17 years. He is a certified firefighting instructor by the U.S. Coast Guard, the United Kingdom MCA, and the Norwegian Maritime Directorate. Along with his firefighting expertise, Todd also leads all types of salvage operations the world over.

He started up the OSRO operation Resolve has in Shanghai, China and also has led the startup of 1-Call Alaska, a USCG approved APC for vessels transiting the Great Circle Route.  

Salvage Organization, Alternate


Small Passenger Vessel Operators, Primary

Bryan Baker

Ship Agents, Primary

Luke Hasenbank


Ship Agents, Alternate

Andrew Mew

 Andrew J. Mew was born in Anchorage, Alaska and is a graduate of Chugiak High School and Oregon State University.  He served in the US Navy as the Electrical Officer on the USS HAWES (FFG-53) and as the Operations Officer onboard the USS AVENGER (MCM-1).  Andrew is currently the Operations Manager at Alaska Maritime Agencies.

Southwest Alaska, Pilot's Association (SWAPA), Primary

Captain Peter Garay, HSC Vice Chair

Captain Garay is a graduate of Linfield College where he earned his BA in Political Science. After Linfield, Captain Garay attended California Maritime Academy where he earned his BS in Nautical Industrial Sciences. Captain Garay is currently licensed as an unlimited ships master and unlimited state licensed marine pilot for western Alaska, where he has worked for the past 25 years. During his tenure as a pilot he has served as a pilot member on Alaska State Board of Marine Pilots acted in the capacity of president of Alaska Marine Pilots.

Captain Garay is married, with three children and lives in Homer, Alaska. His hobbies include fishing, gardening, and oil painting.

Southwest Alaska Pilot's Association (SWAPA), Alternate

Captain Ian Maury

Tanker Operators, Primary

Captain Matt Hight

Tanker Operators, Alternate

Chris Peterson

Tug and Barge Operators, Primary

Captain Louis Audette

Louis is a 40-plus-year Alaska resident working in the marine industry as tug master (retired), commercial fishing, marine construction/salvage/dive operations, and petroleum transportation. He has worked as a General Manager and Operations Manager for several petroleum barge companies operating throughout Alaska, with extensive experience in Cook Inlet operations. He has serviced several terms as a member of the Board of Directors for Alaska Chadux and as Operations Committee Chair. Currently, he is the Operations Committee Chair for SEAPRO and an operations committee member for Chadux. As Alaska Operations Manager for K-Sea Transportation, he has direct oversight of vessel operations in Alaska and Cook Inlet, which includes ice operations and ice over-flights. He has developed Alaska and Cook Inlet operational protocols for K-Sea Transportation’s new ATB units.

Tug and Barge Operators, Alternate

Captain Sharm Setterquist

Sharm Setterquist has over 25 years of Alaska marine experience. A resident of Homer, Alaska since 1978, he initially worked in the commercial fishing industry in the Bering Sea, Cook Inlet, Bristol Bay, Prince William Sound, and the Gulf of Alaska. Mr. Setterquist currently holds a Master 1600 Tons Ocean License. Sharm has been employed as a Captain and Port captain for Crowley Marine Services, Marine Superintendent for Delta Western Inc., and is presently the Port Captain for Cook Inlet Tug & Barge oil fleet. He has also worked with Titan Salvage and US Coast Guard is salvage and refloating Vessels.

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Ex Officio Representative Members

United States Coast Guard (USCG), Primary

CDR Justin W. Jacobs

Commander Justin Jacobs has served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 17 years. Commander Jacobs is a marine safety professional and has served in various capacities. He is currently the Chief of the Prevention Department at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage.

United States Coast Guard (USCG), Alternate

LT Mateusz Lemanski

Lieutenant Mateusz “Matt” Lemanski reported to Sector Anchorage in June 2019. In this role he leads the Waterways Management Division in the oversight of waterway system design and regulatory elements of Sector’s maritime mobility. He manages hazard to navigation response, marine event permitting, limited access areas, ice operations, anchorages, marine construction projects, recreational boat safety, and conducts industry/public outreach.

LT Lemanski holds a Bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering, a Master’s degree in Transportation and Logistics Management, and is a Credentialed Master Mariner.

U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Alaska District, Primary

Julie Anderson

U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Alaska District, Alternate

Donna West

U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA), Primary

LCDR Bart O. Buesseler

Lieutenant Commander Bart Buesseler holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University in Flint, Michigan and started his NOAA Corps career following graduation. He has spent five years sailing and surveying Alaskan waters on both NOAA Ships Rainier and Fairweather. In between those assignments, he was in charge of R/V Bay Hydro II, a Research & Development platform for NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey operating in the Chesapeake Bay. He reported to his current assignment as Navigation Manager for Alaska in August of 2017. In this role, he serves as the liaison between the Alaskan maritime community and Coast Survey headquarters, communicating the unique needs of Alaskans and working to improve navigation services across the region. 

Marine Exchange of Alaska, Primary

Captain Ed Page

Captain Ed Page, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired) is the Executive Director of the Marine Exchange of Alaska established in 2001 after serving in the Coast Guard for 30 years. The non-profit Marine Exchange of Alaska built and operates the Alaska AIS network comprised of over 125 AIS receivers around the State and applying AIS technology to disseminate environmental and other information to mariners to enhance maritime safety and environmental protection. The Marine Exchange has several AIS receivers in the Cook Inlet area and has used AIS transmitters in Anchorage to disseminate virtual aids to navigation to mariners and in Homer to disseminate weather information.

Marine Exchange of Alaska, Alternate

Brett Farrell

Brett Farrell is the Assistant Director of the Marine Exchange of Alaska who sailed on Coast Guard vessels patrolling Alaska waters and other assignments prior to retiring from the service and joining the Marine Exchange in 2006.  Brett has been involved in determining the locations of AIS sites, as well as in the build out and operation of AIS equipment installed from Ketchikan, west to Adak and north to Barrow.  The alternate position is vacant. Interested applicants should submit a letter of interest to the Management team.

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC), Primary

Crystal Smith

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Primary

Ron Van Sickle

Nikiski Fire Department, Primary

Captain Bryan Crisp

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