The Cook Inlet Risk Assessment (CIRA) Advisory Panel consisted of the following Members and Alternates (click here for contact information) listed by Stakeholder Category:
Jim Butler, Primary – Jim Butler has lived on the shores of Cook Inlet for 34 years. During that time he has participated in various commercial fisheries from Dutch Harbor to Kenai, spending nearly every summer involved in the Cook Inlet commercial salmon fishery. Jim currently operates a setnet site with his family every summer on Salamatof Beach just north of the Kenai River.
An attorney with the firm of Baldwin & Butler, LLC in Kenai, Alaska, Jim received his Bachelor's Degree in Business Economics and Public Policy from George Washington University and Juris Doctor from the Seattle University School of Law. Jim’s practice focuses on incident management law, with emphasis on marine casualties and compliance with various response related statutes and regulations. Over the past 20 years, he has taught incident management to ship operators and casualty response personnel, as well as responded to numerous marine casualties in Alaska. Jim has personal experience responding in one way or another to nearly every major marine casualty in Cook Inlet since the T/V Glacier Bay oil spill in 1987. He remains active on various corporate and public sector incident management teams in Alaska and the lower 48.
Sarah E. Melton, Alternate – Sarah Melton is an analyst for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in Anchorage, Alaska, concentrating on Pacific cod and Alaska salmon fisheries and Bering Sea habitat issues. Sarah returned to Anchorage in 2010 from Washington, D.C., where she staffed the now Assistant Administrator of the office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Sarah has taught Business Law at the University of Alaska and currently serves on a committee to reward Alaska students merit scholarships to attend her alma mater, Lewis & Clark Law School, in Portland, Oregon.
Born and raised in the Colorado Rockies, Sarah first came to Alaska in 2007 to work in the Alaska Attorney General’s office while concentrating in natural resource, environmental, and business law. Upon graduation from law school, Sarah held a clerkship with the Alaska Superior Court in criminal law and civil appeals. Sarah has also worked with the Navajo and Jicarilla Apache Tribal Nations, working for the Tribal Court while living on traditional lands, next to an American bison herd.
Philip Johnson, Primary – Philip Johnson has worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1997, serving as the Environmental Contaminants Coordinator for the Alaska Region. Some major areas of emphasis during his career have included contaminated site cleanups, evaluating contaminant effects on wildlife, climate change, and more recently, marine debris issues. Philip has been the alternate spill response contact for the Alaska Region for the past 16 years, and in August of 2013, he assumed the role of Regional Spill Response Coordinator for the Service. Prior to coming to Alaska, Philip worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Denver, CO, coordinating water quality monitoring efforts. A native of Michigan, he received a BS Degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Montana, an MS in Biology from the University of Nevada-Reno, and a PhD in Environmental Toxicology from the University of North Texas.
Marie Steele, Alternate – Marie Steele currently works for the Division of Oil and Gas of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Jeffery Pierce, Primary – Jeffrey is presently the President of the Southwest Pilots Association.
Alternate – The alternate position has not been filled. Interested applicants should submit a letter of interest to the Management team.
MARINER - Freight Ship
George Lowery, Primary – George Lowery is Alaska Director for Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc. (TOTE), a privately owned shipping company serving Alaska. He has been in the transportation industry for over 27 years, with 23 of those years with TOTE. George manages all land operations in Alaska including: Anchorage terminal operations, vessel load & discharge, maintenance, customer service, and line haul trucking. George has an Associate's Degree from Niagara Community College and Bachelor's Degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage with an emphasis in management. He is currently Vice President of the Marine Exchange of Alaska, Second Vice President of the Alaska Trucking Association, and First Vice President of Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling (ALPAR).
A John (Jack) Rasmussen, Alternate – Jack Rasmussen brings over 30 years of marine experience working in Cook Inlet on various types of vessels involved in the local trade and has also been a resident of the area since 1976. He holds a USCG license as Master 1600 tons with a towing endorsement since 1979. He is recognized by the USCG as a “Designated Examiner” for the assessment of competence of candidates for a towing license. Vessels worked in Cook Inlet are as follows: Oil Supply Vessels, Survey Vessels, Tugs towing freight barges and oil barges, Coastal Freight Vessels & Coastal Tank Vessels, Fishing Vessels and Tenders. Presently, Jack is employed by Bering Marine Corp, a division of Lynden as Port Captain overseeing the daily operations of their vessels both in Cook Inlet and other areas throughout Alaska. Working with Alyeska Pipeline/SERVS, he has extensive training in Oil Spill equipment and tactics, including burning, dispersants, emergency towing, conducting training, as well as extensive ICS training. Over the years, Jack has produced or assisted in producing Oil Spill Contingency Plans, Fire Plans, Safety Manuals, Vessels SOPs, Safety Management Programs, Preventive Maintenance Programs, and Vessel Specific Training Programs.
MARINER - Tanker
Jack Jensen, Primary – Jack is presently the Alaska Marine Superintendant for Tesoro Alaska Company. He has been in this position since 2006. Prior to this, he was Port Captain for Tesoro at their Martinez California Facility. His maritime career started upon graduation from the California Maritime Academy in 1983 and included sailing on a number of Tankers including as Master on vessels transiting throughout the waters of Alaska and into the Alyeska Marine Terminal in Valdez.
Alternate – The alternate position is vacant. Interested applicants should submit a letter of interest to the Management team.
MARINER - Tug & Barge
Greg Pavellas, Primary – Captain Greg Pavellas joined Crowley Marine Services in 1999 as an Able Bodied Seaman and was promoted to Captain in 2003. In late 2004 he went ashore as Port Captain, received his United States Coast Guard 1600 Ton Master Oceans and Master of Towing License and began managing the Western Alaska Fleet. In 2006 he was promoted to Manager, Marine Operations. As Operations Manager his responsibilities include, but are not limited to, regulatory compliance, vessel and terminal security, and managing the safety, environmental and quality aspects of the daily vessel operations of 12 tugs and 22 barges. Captain Pavellas has served as the Company Security Officer since 2008, is on the Operation of Excellence Management System Committee, is the Operations lead for the rewrite of the Vessel Operations Manual, and was chosen to participate in Crowley’s first Leadership Development Team. Captain Pavellas regularly provides direct supervision to, in-port, and on-water marine operations including vessel navigation, towing, salvage, spill response, bulk liquid transfer and dry cargo operations.
Captain Pavellas attended Montana State University after serving five and a half years in the United States Coast Guard receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree, Fish and Wildlife Management emphasis. He spent a winter in Yellowstone Park on an internship studying Elk and Bison, and two summers on the Missouri River in Montana on a benthic fish research project. He also spent two years on a Coast Guard Icebreaker which escorted supply ships into Greenland and McMurdo Station Antarctica. Captain Pavellas currently resides in Anchorage Alaska.
Louis Audette, Alternate – 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.
MARINER - Other
Richard Wilson, Primary – Rick Wilson has over 30 years of experience in the marine industry including Vessel Operations and Management, Bulk Petroleum Transportation, Commercial Diving, Casualty /Oil Spill Response and Salvage. After spending 20 years offshore in various locations and capacities, Rick moved to Alaska in 2001 with his daughter to take a shore side position with a marine contractor to manage their vessel and response division. During the past 11 years he has focused on marine logistics, operations management and response supporting Cook Inlet and North Slope operators. Rick is currently employed with Ocean Marine Services Inc., OMSI operates 4 Offshore Support Vessels from their dock facility in Nikiski and Fishing/Energy Support from Offshore Systems Inc. facility in Dutch Harbor. He currently holds USCG 1,600 ton Master of Ocean License and has had extensive training and experience in Spill Response and Cleanup throughout the U.S. including Deep Water Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico.
Owen Boyle, Alternate – Owen began his career as a commercial diver in 1960 working primarily in Southern California on platforms and pipelines. In 1965, he had the opportunity to begin his long career as a commercial diver in the Cook Inlet when he and his family moved permanently to Nikiski. With the exception of one summer diving the Bay of Fundy in Canada which has higher tides than even the Cook Inlet and another summer on Boston's 3rd Harbor Tunnel, he has worked exclusively in the Cook Inlet for 40 years.
Michael Opheim, Primary – Michael Opheim, son of Norman and Nancy Opheim (Kodiak) is of Aleut descent, and currently resides in Seldovia, Alaska. As an active community member for 37 years, Michael grew up harvesting from the land and sea with family members. He spent many long summer days fishing for pinks on the Seldovia Outside Beach, gathering bidarkis, clams, mussels, china caps, octopus and kelp from the sea. Harvesting berries, other edible plants, and hunting local game off the land in early fall. As most young Alaska men, he spent nine years as a commercial fisherman, and later earned the position of Environmental Coordinator for the Seldovia Village Tribe in 2003.
As the Environmental Coordinator, he is responsible for the administration and management of the Indian General Assistance Program (IGAP) and other environmental projects. Under his leadership, the SVT Environmental Office has flourished bringing essential environmental projects to Seldovia that benefit the entire community. Michael finds his best days are those days that allow him time in the field doing what he loves best. As the Environmental Coordinator, he has been able to travel throughout the state, which allowed him the opportunity to establish many contacts and friends throughout our tribal communities.
Michael believes that we are stewards of our natural resources, and works to ensure those resources are available for the coming generations.
Tracie Merrill, Alternate – Tracie Merrill has lived in Alaska since 2005 and in Seldovia, a small rural community that depends on subsistence and natural resources, since 2009 when she began work with the Seldovia Village Tribe as their Environmental Assistant. Through her position with the Tribe, she has worked on a variety of projects involving subsistence, natural resources, water, air, and land. The most recent project is a comprehensive subsistence consumption assessment of tribal members in Seldovia, Port Graham, Nanwalek, and Tyonek, in which a great deal of information was collected on rates of fish consumption and consumption of different fish species and non-fish subsistence foods in relation to parts, demographic groups, breast-feeding, seasonality, and traditional cooking methods.
Since moving to Seldovia, she has participated in, and helped to organize, numerous culture camps; marine and subsistence based school activities; and marine science workshops that introduce and teach traditional practices, and uses, of subsistence resources in Cook Inlet. Tracie received her Master of Science degree in Marine Biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2008. For her Master's project, she examined changes in diet, and in foraging habitat, of Pacific walruses around St. Lawrence Island and worked very closely with native hunters from St. Lawrence Island. Through her years of working with, and listening to, subsistence users living in Alaska, Tracie has gained a real understanding and appreciation of the issues, and priorities, of subsistence users and how the health and management of our environment affects these resources.
She has a particular soft spot for seafood (all kinds) and berries!
Ron Long, Primary – Since his days as a teenager looking for work at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, Ron Long has had many roles in the marine industry. In thirty years as a Coast Guard licensed Master he’s been a tug captain, a commercial fisherman, tour boat operator, and charter captain, and still goes sailing in his own boat at every opportunity. Professionally today he has a marine survey practice that over the past eighteen years has led him to travel all over Alaska and much of the lower forty eight waterfronts. That practice has specialized in regulatory compliance, marine casualty claims and root cause analysis, and loss prevention. Ron’s memberships include the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, American Boat and Yacht Council, US Surveyor’s Association, certification as a vessel and crew auditor by the International Marine Contractor’s Association, and he currently serves on the Area Maritime Security Committee. He has recently stepped down from six years as operations manager for a fleet of passenger vessels, charged with all day to day operations, safety, training, compliance and maintenance.
Public policy experience includes being elected to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly from 2000-2009, and President 2006 and 2007. For several years he chaired the Alaska Municipal League’s Resources, Lands and Economic Development subcommittee. Ron currently serves as chair of the Seward Port and Commerce Advisory Board, advising the City Council on port infrastructure, regulations and budget matters, and held the same position from 1993 to 2000.
Bob Pawlowski, Alternate – Captain Bob Pawlowski is a resident of Anchorage that maintains a lifelong interest in maritime operations and environmental science and surveying.
Captain Bob has spent more than 35 years in fishery science, environmental management and business development. As a NOAA Corps Officer, he commanded two NOAA research vessels, served as Navigation Advisor for Alaska, NMFS Northeast Region Planning Officer, and Director, Alaska Ocean Service Center. After completing a career with NOAA, he worked to develop Port MacKenzie, oversee survey projects for Thales GeoSolutions, manage the St. George Chadux Corporation, direct the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation and provide legislative support to the Denali Commission. He presently works for the Alaska Legislature. Captain Bob has a Masters in Engineering Management and MBA from UAA, a USCG Masters License and is active in the University of Alaska’s engineering programs.
OIL PLATFORM & MOBILE DRILLING UNIT OPERATORS
Gregory Duggin, Primary – Greg graduated from high school in New Jersey in 1974 and from St. Joseph's College, Indiana in 1978 with a BS degree in Business Management. He worked for Shell Western E&P in the Cook Inlet in 1984 - began as an Operator, became a Mechanic, and then became an Instrument Tech. In 1998 Cross Timbers Oil Co., now XTO Energy, bought the 2 Shell Platforms. In 2003, Greg moved into the office as a Maintenance Foreman. In 2007 he became the Operations Foreman and holds that position today.
JR Wilcox, Alternate – JR is the President of Cook Inlet Energy, LLC.
PORTS & HARBORS
Bryan Hawkins, Primary – 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.
Stephen Ribuffo, Primary – Steve Ribuffo is the Deputy Director of the Port of Anchorage. In this capacity, Steve is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day business operations of the Port, and interacting as needed with tenants, the U.S. Coast Guard, the military and any new business prospects interested in operating out of the Port. Additionally, he fills the role of Port Director in the absence of the incumbent.
Steve retired from the United States Air Force in September 2007 as a Colonel, having served 30 years on active duty. Steve is a native New Yorker. He graduated from Manhattan College in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing. He also has an MBA from Golden Gate University and a Master of Science Degree in Logistics Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology.
As the Director for Logistics at Headquarters Alaskan Command, Elmendorf Air Force Base, he was heavily involved in numerous transportation initiatives with the United States Army Alaska, the Municipality of Anchorage, the Port of Anchorage, the Alaska Railroad, and the Mat-Su Borough. He was the military liaison to the Anchorage Mat-Su Regional Transportation Planning Organization, the Anchorage Long Range Transportation Plan, and the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority.
Steve is also a member of the Anchorage Downtown Rotary, the Boards of Directors of the Anchorage Downtown Partnership and the Rainbow Connection Therapeutic Horseback Riding Center; and he has served on advisory councils for both the State Department of Transportation and the UAA Department of Logistics.
Marc Van Dongen, Primary – Marc Van Dongen served 24 years as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He served four years as Deputy Commander of the Alaska District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Among his numerous military awards are the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star. He has since served as Executive Director of the Aleutian Housing Authority, President and CEO of KIC Corporation in Kotzebue, and since November 1999 has been the Port Director and Port Engineer for Port MacKenzie with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Marc has a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering Technology, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA), and a Coast Guard Master’s License (L.S.). He is also a private pilot, journeyman carpenter, licensed Alaskan fishing guide, certified scuba diver, and Eagle Scout. Marc enjoys fly fishing, hunting, jet boating, white water rafting, and flying. He and his family have lived in Palmer, Alaska since 1992.
David Devilbiss, Primary – Mr. DeVilbiss is a resident of Alaska who has worked in the maritime emergency response and commercial diving industry for over eighteen years as a diver, manager, and Salvage Master. After attending Le Tourneau University in Mechanical Engineering studies, he embarked on his career working for an Alaskan salvage company and has since worked worldwide on an extensive number of salvage, wreck removal, and marine construction projects.
David currently leads Global Diving and Salvage, Inc.’s Maritime Casualty Division while concurrently overseeing all of Global’s Alaskan operations. In addition, he serves on the Executive Committee and Training Committee of the American Salvage Association, and is actively involved with the Association of Diving Contractors International.
Paul Hankins, Alternate – Paul is President of Donjon-SMIT, LCC - one of the four major salvage and Marine Firefighting service providers under OPA-90. He has worked in this position over 5.5 years coming from a Senior Executive position in the Federal Government as the Assistant Deputy Director for Maritime and Land Security in the fledgling Transportation Security Adminstration. He went to that position after being recalled to Navy active duty while living in Valdez, responsible for port security as liaison between the Coast Guard, Navy and Alaska Command throughout the State. Prior to this recall, he spent four years as the Lead Contingency Planner in Valdez, working at SERVS with all issues related to the Valdez Marine Terminal Oil Spill Contingency Plan and the consolidated Tank Vessel Response Plan for the TAPS trade tankers. Prior to his time with SERVS, Paul was with the U.S. Navy as Supervisor of Salvage, responsible for the Navy's Tier III Oil Spill Response Program. While in that position, he worked closely with CISPRI and the Seward Wildlife Center on the then-fledgling wildlife protection programs for Cook Inlet and the State.
SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT
The Management Team has appointed a Subject Matter Expert to assist the Advisory Panel in technical issues associated with marine risk assessments.
Jack (John) Harrald, Ph.D. – Although Jack is semi-retired, he is presently working part-time with the Vice President of Virginia Tech to establish a new Center for Community Security and Resilience. He is currently serving as the Chair of the Disaster Roundtable of National Research Council. He co-founded and directed the George Washington University Institute for Crisis Disaster and Risk Management. His first career was as a U.S. Coast Guard officer and he retired in 1986 with the rank of Captain. He has many years of experience in Alaska and strong connections to the state. He served in Alaska as a Coast Guard officer and one of his first National Science Foundation research grants supported his study of the Exxon Valdez response as he led the academic research team during the three year Prince William Sound risk assessment.