Join us on December 1-2, 2021 at the Tampa Marriott Water Street Hotel for Navtech 2021

Speaker Biographies

CAPT Alain Arsenault

Canadian Maritime Pilots, Assn.


Captain Alain Arseneault is an active St.Lawrence river pilot. He is a graduate of Rimouski’s 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 then evolved on the management side for a while as he held senior management positions 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 where he acted as President from 2017 to 2021.


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, to the introduction of the latest generation of pilot portable units (PPU) and rate-of-turn generator (ROTG) for his group of pilots. Capt. Arseneault now serves as President of the Canadian national center of expertise on maritime pilotage, and he is actively involved in several technology innovation forums as a participant and speaker.


Brian Hobbs

Gibbs & Cox


Brian lead’s both the Information Technology and Information Security teams at Gibbs & Cox where he provides executive leadership and oversight of the full spectrum of corporate information technology infrastructure, security, services, people, and processes.


Brian has 20+ years of innovative, mission-focused Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Program leadership. He is a certified Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), CISSP, Military Cyber Professional, and demonstrated Security Operations Leader with exceptional history working strategically in the military, whole of government, and cyber industry.


Gibbs & Cox, Inc. is a global leader in maritime engineering and design, with nearly 7,000 vessels designed to our standards since 1929. Gibbs & Cox supports military and commercial clients in the U.S. and internationally with all phases of marine design, construction, and lifecycle management. Independent and privately held, Gibbs & Cox is headquartered in Arlington, VA, with offices in New Orleans, LA; Newport News, VA; New York City, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; Chesapeake, VA and Canberra, ACT, Australia.

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.

Mark E. Luther

University of South Florida College of Marine Science

Mark E. Luther received his doctoral degree in Physical Oceanography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1982.  Dr. Luther is an Associate Professor and director of the Center for Maritime and Port Studies in the University of South Florida College of Marine Science.

He has worked with NOAA/NOS and others in real-time ocean observing systems and precision navigation services since 1991 and has served as Director of Operations for the Tampa Bay Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System since 1995 ( He was involved in planning and implementation of the US Integrated Ocean Observing System from its inception (

He works closely with the Tampa Port Authority, the Tampa Bay Pilots, US Coast Guard, and other maritime interests on environmental issues affecting and affected by maritime transportation operations and infrastructure.  He is an avid boater with both power and sail boats and holds a US Coast Guard Captain’s License.  He has been sailing the waters of Tampa Bay and west Florida since 1983.

Darrell McCauley

Bowditch Navigation

Darrell McCauley is the President of Bowditch Navigation. He has over 20 years of software and electronics experience. Prior to Bowditch, Dr. McCauley worked at Raven Industries for 12 years, directing design efforts in aerospace, agriculture, and marine navigation. 


Dr. McCauley resides in Austin, Texas. He enjoys time reading classic literature, psychology, and whatever his kids are reading.


He has degrees from Texas A&M and Purdue, research experience with the National Science Foundation and Cornell University, and an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from MIT. He is registered as a professional engineer.


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. 

Ross W. Norsworthy

Worth Avenue Yachts/ MY Latitude

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.

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.