Cruise Ship Program

Panel Member Biographical Information

As a result of a new law (HB 134) that was passed in 2009, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is establishing a science advisory panel which will evaluate the most technologically effective and economically feasible wastewater treatment options for cruise ships. All eleven members have been named. Michelle Ridgway fills the legislatively mandated NGO seat on the Panel. Kenneth Fisher will represent EPA.

Brief Introductions

Mark Buggins: An environmental superintendent of a coastal Alaska city for over 20 years, Mr. Buggins manages and supervises operations and maintenance of municipal water and wastewater utilities for an isolated island community of 8,800. He is responsible for applying for NPDES wastewater permits, reporting and compliance, as well as upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant. He is certified by the State in Water and Wastewater treatment. Mr. Buggins will fill the legislatively mandated coastal community domestic wastewater management seat on the Panel.

Kenneth J. Fisher, P.E.: U.S. Public Health Service Engineer Officer who serves as the Senior Representative to the State of Alaska with the Environmental Protection Agency's, Alaska Operations Office, Captain Fisher brings a broad federal, state, tribal, and international background with 26 years of professional engineering, national program management, and senior legislative experience. His diverse work experiences have taken him from Michigan to Africa, throughout Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada, Washington D.C., and now back to Alaska. He has worked within both the legislative and executive branches of government.

Reinaldo A. González, Ph.D.: An environmental engineer with more than 30 years experience managing water and wastewater projects, Dr. González was part of the team that investigated technologies that are able to meet Alaska water quality standards at land-based facilities and potential ways of adapting these technologies to cruise ships. He presented his findings at the DEC sponsored technology workshop that was held on February 18, 2009.

Juha Kiukas: As managing director for a firm specializing in Marine Environmental Consulting to wastewater treatment system suppliers and cargo, ferries, and cruise ships operators, Mr. Kiukas has experience with research and development of advanced wastewater treatment systems. He is familiar with conventional and innovative shipboard and land-based wastewater treatment technologies.

Lincoln Loehr: An oceanographer employed in the law firm of Stoel Rives LLP in Seattle as an Environmental Compliance Analyst, his specialty is permitting of municipal and industrial wastewater discharges, and reviewing and commenting on regulatory developments related to such permitting. Mr. Loehr also served on the first Alaska Cruise Ship Wastewater Discharges Science Advisory Panel in 2001-2002. Mr. Loehr will fill the legislatively mandated cruise ship industry seat on the Panel.

Steve Reifenstuhl: A fisheries professional serving as executive director for a fisheries conservation alliance, Mr. Reifenstuhl has worked as fleet manager for a large seafood company, operations manager for an aquaculture company, and a fisheries biologist for the U.S. Forest Service. Mr. Reifenstuhl will fill the legislatively mandated commercial fishing industry seat on the Panel.

Michelle Ridgway: A marine ecologist with over 25 years field research experience in Alaskan seas, Ms. Ridgway is the owner of Oceanus Alaska Marine Ecological Services. She is the co-founder of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Alaska Deep Ocean Science Institute. She is a longstanding member of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council and networks with ocean-focused NGO organizations throughout Alaska. Ms. Ridgway will fill the legislatively mandated NGO seat on the Panel.

Bert Sazon: A Senior Marine Inspector in Sector Juneau's Vessel Inspections Division, Mr. Sazon has worked for the U.S. Coast Guard for thirty-plus years, first on active duty, then as a civilian. He served in the engineering departments of several Coast Guard cutters before transitioning into Marine Inspections. For the last eight years, he has served as an expert in both Federal and International regulations governing ships' wastewater discharge. He oversees wastewater compliance for the 30+ large cruise ships that visit Southeast Alaska annually.

Silke Schiewer, Ph.D.: An associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Dr. Schiewer holds a doctorate in bio-environmental chemical engineering from McGill University. Her current research centers on membrane processes for water and wastewater treatment, bioremediation of contaminated soils, and biosorption of heavy metals.

Simon Véronneau, Ph.D.: Is an associate researcher at the HEC Montreal Supply Chain Research Group as well as at the inter-university research center on enterprise networks, logistics and transportation (CIRRELT) , Dr. Véronneau is a noted researcher on the cruise ship business. He holds a doctorate in operations management and a Master Mariner license. He has practical experience as a senior officer onboard cruise ships, which includes sailings in Alaska. He has authored a number of book chapters and peer refereed science journal articles on cruise ship operations management and economics.

Thomas Weigend: A naval architect who is member of the executive board and heads the Sales and Design Department of Meyer Werft, a German cruise ship design and construction company. Mr. Weigend's firm specializes in constructing cruise vessels equipped with advanced wastewater treatment systems.

Science Advisory Panel