Join us on December 6-7, 2022 at the Renaissance Hotel Seattle for NavTech 2022

Speaker Biographies

CAPT Paul Amos

Columbia River Pilots

Paul 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 31 years, beginning in 1990, 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 afterwards he became President and has served continuously in that position since then.   He was also deeply involved in developing COLRIP’s AIS-based navigation system and continues to work on improvements to that system.  He is a past President of the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, a past Chairman of the Lower Columbia Region Harbor Safety Committee and has served on a variety of industry related boards and committees.

Paul is married to a sailor, Della, one of the first women to graduate from Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy.  He has 3 adult children and lives in Vancouver, WA.

Jorge Arroyo


Jorge Arroyo has served in the U.S. Coast Guard for over 35 years. Previously, as a commissioned officer involved in recreational boating safety, search and rescue, vessel traffic management, polar icebreaking, ship and shore-side operations; and, for over 20 years as a program & management analyst at the Office of Navigation Systems at USCG Headquarters, and their subject matter expert on shipboard navigation systems.  He is a U.S. advisor-delegate at the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue Sub-committee, and Vice-chair of the eNavigation Committee of the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA). He has participated in the development numerous industry consensus navigation equipment standards, guidelines, and recommendations published by IMO, IALA, the International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) and Radio Technical Committee for Maritime Services (RTCM), including all those related to Automatic Identification Systems (AIS).  He obtained a Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois, a Juris Doctor from DePaul University School of Law, and has navigated the seven oceans and made landfall on every continent.

Michael Bergmann

BM Bergmann-Marine

With a Software engineering background and large experience in aviation, Mr. Bergmann in 2005 started working with governmental organizations and industry to change the maritime market to improve navigation and efficiency.

He works as Business Developer for the company Marine Fields, owns a maritime consultancy company, supports the German IMO work and contributes at IHO, IALA, IEC and others.

Mr. Bergmann was CIRM President from 2013 to 2018. He is “Fellowship of the Royal Institute of Navigation” in London, UK and “Associated Fellow of the Nautical Institute”.

In 2017 Mr. Bergmann initiated the “International PortCDM Council” and serves as secretary.

He is author of various articles and publications, often speaker at conferences and guest lecturer at Universities and Academies as well as visiting Professor at the Maritime University of Szczecin.

Mr. Bergmann holds a degree as Master of Business Administration from University of Liverpool, UK, and a master’s degree of educational theory, theology, psychology, sociology and others from Cath. University of Applied Science in Mainz, Germany.

George Burkley

Executive Director, Maritime Pilot’s Institute


Mr. George Burkley serves as the Executive Director of the Maritime Pilot’s Institute in Covington, Louisiana and is a Partner in LOCUS LLC.  MPI specializes in training, research and technical projects for maritime pilots.  The institute operates both electronic simulation and physical modelling training and research facilities.  George is a 1989 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 Navy and sailed for Hawaiian Tug and Barge and Masters, Mates and Pilots as a ship’s officer. 

Bill Cairns

Technology Director, American Pilots Association


Bill Cairns is the Technology Director of the American Pilots’ Association, where he is responsible for all technical matters related to pilotage.  He is the current chair of ISO TC8 SC1 on Marine Safety.  Prior to his move to APA in 2014, he was Senior Technology Advisor in the Office of Navigation Systems at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters and previously served in the offices of Communications and Maritime Domain Awareness.  Still an active participant in all IALA technical committees, he served as the e-Navigation Committee Chairman from its creation in 2006 through 2014.  Serving on U.S. or ISO delegations to the IMO Maritime Safety Committee and NAV, COMSAR, and now NCSR Sub-Committees, he has led several IMO Correspondence and Working Groups including Pilot Transfer Arrangements, Navigation Bridge Visibility, and LRIT.  He retired following 20 years on active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard, serving as a Commissioned Officer in a wide variety of engineering jobs, including shipboard chief engineer.  He holds an MSEE from Naval Postgraduate School, a BS in Mathematics from USCGA, and is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation.  He served Presidents Carter and Reagan as a White House Social Aide from 1979-1981 and is a life member of the Society of White House Military Aides.

Jon L. Dasler, PE, PLS, CH

Senior Vice President and Director of Marine Services at 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) and is certified by the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) and The Hydrographic Society of America (THSOA) as a Certified Hydrographer (CH). Since 2001, he has been an active board member of the NSPS-THSOA Hydrographer Certification Board, for which he currently serves as Chair.


Mr. Dasler’s professional experience spans more than 36 years of contract project management on hydrographic and land surveying projects for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), USACE, state transportation departments, hydroelectric companies, 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 Ellipsoid Reference Surveys for NOAA. Based on his expertise in hydrography, Mr. Dasler was handpicked by NOAA Administration to serve on a Federal Advisory Committee. In this capacity, Mr. Dasler 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.


Mr. Dasler 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 and consults with key clients on hydrographic operations and data enhancements for pilots.

Jonathan Kjaerulff


Director of Business Development

Jon obtained his first license (as a Danish yacht master) at the age of 17, and subsequently attended the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. After graduating in 1983, he sailed in positions from deckhand to Master aboard ships and workboats all over the world. After running a support vessel during the Exxon Valdez cleanup effort in Prince William Sound, Jon came ashore and founded Fremont Maritime Services in Seattle, Washington. Over the next 27 years, Jon established a reputation as a pioneer in the field of maritime safety, survival and firefighting training. His company was one of the very first organizations in the U.S. to obtain Coast Guard approval for STCW Basic Safety Courses, and from 2003 to 2015 Fremont Maritime was the only private company utilized by the U.S. Navy to provide marine firefighting training to its military sailors. Over the years Jon and his team worked with tens of thousands of inland and offshore mariners, providing training not only at Fremont’s school in Seattle, but at customer locations in Alaska, Oregon, California, Florida, Europe, Australia and the Caribbean. When MITAGS established the Pacific Maritime Institute in Seattle, Jon worked to forge a strong working relationship between the two schools.


In 2017, Fremont Maritime was purchased by MITAGS, and Jon came aboard as a marine safety training and business development specialist. At the beginning of 2021, he took over as Director of Business Development.

CAPT. Carolyn J. Kurtz

Tampa Bay Pilots

Originally from Queens, New York, Carolyn graduated from the US Merchant Marine Academy in 1986 and went to sea on US flag vessels for several years, receiving her unlimited Masters license in 1993. In 1995 she was accepted into the Tampa Bay Pilots training program, becoming the first woman to do so. She has served as co-manager and training coordinator of TBPA, Secretary of the Florida Harbor Pilots Association, and Chair of NAVSAC. She has been the Chair of the Florida Board of Pilot Commissioners since 2016 and has recently been elected Chair of the newly reorganized National Navigation Safety Advisory Council. She has also been a guest instructor at MITAGS and MPI, and is an active mentor with the Women Offshore Foundation.


Carolyn is married to Dave Fath, a 1986 Maine Maritime grad and Lake Charles Pilot. When not piloting ships, they can often be seen somewhere on Tampa Bay on their 32′ Legacy trawler, On One.

R. David Lewald

David Lewald is a navigation systems and aids to navigation specialist for the U.S. Coast Guard.  He served for 30 years on active duty in the USCG with 25 of those years spent afloat aboard numerous cutters in all positions including command.  He has been a USCG civilian employee since his retirement in 2014.  David’s responsibilities include advisory and consultative services to USCG programs and managers on a broad range of navigation matters that involve legacy and future state technology. He serves as an advisor and subject matter expert to the Director of Marine Transportation Systems on digital and electronic navigation matters and systems, including electronic chart systems (ECDIS\ECS), automatic identification system (AIS), integrated navigation systems (INS), integrated bridge systems (IBS), navigation sensors (e.g. Radar, GPS, etc.), and electronic aids to navigation.  David serves as a navigation systems technical expert to standards development organizations such as International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA)(Vice Chair of the IALA-ARM Committee), Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA), and Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM).  


Captain Sean P. Meagher

Worth Avenue Yachts/ MY Latitude

Born and raised on the waters of Cape Cod, Sean is accredited with being the youngest captain ever at Hyline Cruises. He has expertise in yacht management, charter and sales. Sean captained the only private yacht ever to circumnavigate Svalbard, punching within 500 miles of the North Pole, and he was the captain that led M/Y LATITUDE through the Northwest Passage twice in both directions in consecutive years.

When not exploring the far corners of the earth he was the lead designer on a megayacht refit and delivery captain for Oceanco’s massive 109m BRAVO EUGENIA. Captain Sean also has a passion for preserving the place he has called home for so many years. He is heavily involved in Ocean Voyages quest for a plastic free ocean along with many other conservation projects.

Sean holds a masters unlimited license in sail and power. 

Tommy Mikkelsen

Managing Director of Trelleborg Marine Systems Denmark

Mr. Tommy Mikkelsen is the Managing Director of Trelleborg’s marine and infrastructure operations in  Denmark, and a committed technology enthusiast who has been dedicating himself to developing modern piloting systems over the last decades. Mr. Mikkelsen has a software engineering background and has been working in the marine industry over 25 years. Mr. Mikkelsen has created and developed SafePilot Piloting System, the market leaders of the world’s portable pilot systems. 

Previous Speaking Experience: 

Royal Institute of Navigation – Interactive Pilotage

IHMA (International Harbour Master Association) Conference 2014 – Increased Safety During Port Operations

British Ports Association Conference 2014 – New Developments in Pilotage 

IMPA (International Maritime Pilote Association) Conference 2014 Panama City – Interactive Pilotage

IOT Lund 2016

Ross W. Norsworthy

President/CEO of REC, Inc

Ross is a graduate of the University of South Florida in Tampa, where he earned a BSEE and completed graduate studies in RF and Microwave Systems Engineering in 1968. He has worked in both the avionics and marine electronics fields for Sperry, Raytheon/E-Systems, Bendix, King Radio and L-3 Communications. In 1986, he formed Ross Engineering Company, now known as REC, Inc.


In 2002, he sold the manufacturing rights for the ROSS marine electronics product line to L-3 Communications, where he served as Director of CNI Technologies and completed the development and Type Approval of the AIS products.


Ross currently serves the US Coast Guard, since 2004, as a subject matter expert in marine radiocommunications and navigation systems. 


He continues his service, since 1994, as a US representative to ITU, IEC, IALA, IMO and RTCM. Ross has been a major contributor to the development of the standards for marine radiocommunications and navigation, including Digital Selective Calling (DSC), AIS, GNSS and VDES.   


Ross is a member of the RTCM Board of Directors, Chairman of RTCM Special Committees 123 and 131, and expert technical advisor to the new RTCM SC137 committee on maritime electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).

Captain Simon Pelletier

Simon Pelletier started his career in 1982 and rapidly achieved the rank of master before qualifying for his license as a marine pilot on the St. Lawrence River in 1996.


         A champion of both his profession and marine safety, Captain Pelletier has played a leadership role in the Corporation of Lower St. Lawrence Pilots, which he served as President from 2004 to 2007, and in the Canadian Marine Pilots’ Association (CMPA), of which he became President in 2009.


Captain Pelletier also has a keen interest in international affairs affecting marine pilotage. First elected as Vice-president of the International Maritime Pilots Association (IMPA) in 2008, Capt. Pelletier was elected IMPA President in 2014 for a four year term and reelected in April 2018 for another four year term. As President, he is responsible for ensuring that pilots from six continents speak with one voice on global issues affecting pilotage and for ensuring that they play a constructive role in discussions with their partners in the international maritime sector and, in particular, with the International Maritime Organization.

Julia Powell

Chief of the Office of Coast Survey Navigation Services Division

Julia Powell is the Chief of the Office of Coast Survey Navigation Services Division.  NSD provides a focal point for customer requests on charting issues, short-term (fast response) hydrographic surveys, and Nautical Publications, such as Coast Pilot. The division coordinates and represents OCS at constituent events such as harbor safety meetings, waterways management meetings, cooperative workshops, conferences, and trade shows, as well as standing up NOAA’s Precision Marine Navigation Program.  Julia graduated with a degree in Geological Sciences from Cornell University and has a Masters in Information Systems from the University of Maryland.


She is chair of the IHO’s S-100 working group that is working on the framework standard that underpins the next generation navigation products, such as underkeel clearance management, high-resolution bathymetry and other integrated products.

CAPT Matthew A Thompson


As Sector Commander, Captain Thompson serves as Captain of the Port, Officer in Charge of Marine Inspection, Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator, Federal On-Scene Coordinator and Federal Maritime Security Coordinator while directing Coast Guard operations along the West Coast of Florida and throughout the Tampa Bay region. Sector St. Petersburg is comprised of 2,700 Active Duty, Reserve, Civilian, and Auxiliary personnel, as well as 12 multi-mission units, including five boat stations, six cutters, and an Aids to Navigation Team.

Previously, Captain Thompson was assigned to the Coast Guard Personnel Service Center, Officer Personnel Management Division (opm-1) as Chief of Boards, Panels, Promotions, and Separations Branch. There he directed and oversaw all active duty officer promotion boards and advanced education panels, and effected all officer promotions, retirements and separations for the nearly 8,500 member commissioned and warrant officer corps.

Captain Thompson’s operational assignments include Response Department Head at Coast Guard Sector San Francisco, five afloat tours as an officer and enlisted Quartermaster, and as Command Center Senior Controller at Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico. His afloat assignments include Commanding Officer of USCGC SAPELO, Executive Officer of USCGC NUNIVAK, Operations Officer of USCGC ACACIA and crewmember onboard USCGCs ATTU and OCRACOKE as an enlisted member.

He also served in staff assignments as Chief of External Affairs at the Coast Guard Eleventh District, where he oversaw and coordinated the congressional, governmental and international engagement programs, as well as on the Coast Guard Pacific Area staff as the program manager for the Maritime Law Enforcement (MLE) and Ports Waterways and Coastal Security (PWCS) missions.

Captain Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science from Excelsior College in Management, and a Joint Professional Military Education certification through the U.S. Air Force, Air Command and Staff College. He is a permanent Cutterman and holds the Advanced Boat Forces Insignia. His personal awards include three Meritorious Service Medals, four Commendation Medals, and three Achievement Medals.

He is married to Lynesh Thompson, of San Juan Puerto Rico, and they have three children.

Captain Michael Trent, USN (Ret.)

  • Managing Director, MARITECH USA
  • Board Member, RTCM

Captain Trent serves on the Board of Directors for RTCM and focuses on maritime operations, control systems and communication systems related to autonomous shipping, e-navigation, port and waterway management, and search and rescue. He is the Managing Director for MARITECH USA that provides technical, program management and consulting services for commercial and government clients in the maritime industry.


Prior to founding MARITECH USA, Captain Trent worked for Lockheed Martin and led the development of international and US domestic programs including VTS systems, AIS applications, SAR systems and maritime security systems. In particular, he led the development of Lockheed Martin’s VTS and maritime surveillance systems now installed in 22 countries including the US’ Port and Waterway Safety System (PAWSS).


Captain Trent is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and The Naval Postgraduate School earning a B.S. in Oceanography and M.S. in Systems Engineering. He served 22 years as a Surface Warfare Officer including 2 command tours and NATO assignments in the US, UK and Germany.




Captain Jorge Viso

President, American Pilots Associaton

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 positions, including Vice President of the APA’s South Atlantic States; President of the Florida State Pilots’ Association; and Chairman of the Tampa Bay Pilots’ Association.

After completing an enlistment in the U.S. Coast Guard (1978-81), where he served aboard two cutters and advanced to Quartermaster Second Class, Captain Viso earned an appointment to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at King’s Point.  He graduated from King’s Point in 1985 with a Degree in Marine Transportation and Nautical Science.  He served as a pilot in the ports

of Tampa Bay, Florida from 1990 through 2016.  Prior to becoming a State-license pilot, Captain Viso 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 U.S. 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. 

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 Mark R. Vlaun

United States Coast Guard

Captain Mark R. Vlaun is Commander, Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville, Florida. He serves as Captain of the Port, Officer in Charge of Marine Inspection, Federal Maritime Security Coordinator and Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the Ports of Jacksonville, Canaveral and St. Mary’s/Fernandina, Georgia. He is a designated Cutterman, Judge Advocate and Diving Officer.

At sea, Captain Vlaun served as Commanding Officer of USCGC FIR (WLB 213) patrolling the waters of the Pacific Northwest, including the hazardous river bars along the Washington and Oregon coasts. Captain Vlaun previously served as Executive Officer in CGC MAPLE and CGC WOODRUSH, as Diving Officer in CGC POLAR SEA and as Operations Officer in CGC RED OAK. While in POLAR SEA he led a dive team conducting operations in both Polar Regions.

Ashore, Captain Vlaun recently served as Deputy Commander, Coast Guard Sector Miami. He has previously served in a variety of legal assignments to include: Staff Judge Advocate for the Seventh Coast Guard District and Senior Legal Advisor to Homeland Security Task Force Southeast in Miami, Florida; Chief, Maritime Law at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Staff Attorney, Office of Maritime and International Law at Coast Guard Headquarters; Deputy Chief, Office of Environmental Law; and, Trial Counsel/Prosecutor, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. Captain Vlaun has served in two special assignments: Special Assistant and Speechwriter to the 25th Commandant, Admiral Paul Zukunft; and, as Military Aide to Rear Admiral Paul Blayney, Commander 13th District, Seattle, Washington.

Captain Vlaun is a 1994 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy. He holds a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law, where he was elected to the Woolsack Honor Society, served as Managing Editor of the Environmental Law Review and won the Montgomery/MacRae Award. In 2012, he graduated from resident senior service school at Marine Corps War College, earning a Masters in Strategic Studies with distinction. He is a graduate of U.S. Navy Dive School, Naval Justice School and Air Command and Staff College, distance program. In 2018, he was recognized by the American Bar Association with the Outstanding Military Service Career Judge Advocate Award.

Captain Vlaun is married to Kristen Keely Vlaun, an adjunct professor at George Mason University, with whom he has two children, Brooke and Anderson.

Paul Welling

Wartsila 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 Wärtsilӓ Group has proven to only amplify this through Wӓrstilӓ’s Smart Marine initiatives and the drive towards digitalization of the entire marine industry.

Darren Wright

National Weather Service

Darren Wright is the National Marine Services Program Manager of NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS).  Darren has been with NOAA since 1984 and worked in operational oceanography for over 33 years before moving to the NWS over four years ago.  He is now responsible improving coastal, offshore and high seas forecast products and services. In this role he engages routinely with the marine community.

Prior to working at NWS, Darren worked for NOAA’s National Ocean Service as their Maritime Services Program Manager where he oversaw the Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS®), current survey, hydrodynamic modeling and meteorological programs.  Under Darren’s leadership the PORTS® program more than doubled.