John Williams, (President) City of Kenai
John Williams came to Alaska in 1962 as a supervisor on the installation of the industrial instrumentation and automation systems at the Collier Carbon and Chemical plant and the Tesoro refinery in Nikiski. He and Sen. Tom Wagoner were instrumental in starting Kenai Peninsula Community College, now part of the University of Alaska statewide system. In 1986, Mr. Williams was elected mayor of the City of Kenai and served in that position for 18 years. In the fall of 2005, he was elected as mayor and CEO of the Kenai Peninsula Borough and served in that position until 2008. Mr. Williams was appointed to the Council by the City of Kenai in 2009.
Robert Peterkin, II, (Vice President) State Chamber of Commerce
Robert Peterkin II was born in Anchorage, Alaska in 1968 and has lived in Kenai ever since. Robert, a 1987 Kenai Central High School graduate, started R&K Industrial inc. in 1988 and was president of the company until 2004 when he sold the company to ASRC. Today, Robert is a 50% owner of Atigun Inc, Metalizing Inc., and M&R Properties. He is also a past president of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and the Kenai Petroleum Club. Currently, he is president of the Kenai Peninsula Youth Foundation (KPYF), that owns the Kenai River Brown Bears, a junior A hockey team. Along with serving on the Board at Cook Inlet RCAC and KPYF, Robert sits on the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce board. He regularly attends Kenai Christian Church with his three awesome children Craig, Elisabeth and Jolie. As a proud father, his main interest is spending time with his children; however, he also enjoys the outdoors, mushroom hunting, fishing, boating, six-wheeling, and, of course, snow machining.
Gary Fandrei, (Secretary/Treasurer) Aquaculture Associations
Gary Fandrei has a B.S. degree with a major in Ecosystems Analysis from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay and an M.S. degree with a major in Environmental Biology from the University of Minnesota – Duluth. Gary is a Certified Fisheries Professional by the American Fisheries Society and has earned a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Foraker Group. Prior to coming to Alaska, Gary worked for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as a Pollution Control Specialist and a Research Scientist. He currently holds the position of Executive Director for the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association where he previously served as a biologist. Gary also serves as an alternate Director for the Cook Inlet Salmon Brand, Inc. (Kenai Wild), as a member of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council’s Public Advisory Committee (PAC), as a Deputy Commander of the Kenai Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol and recently served on the Finance Subcommittee and the Hatchery Subcommittee of the Alaska Legislative Task Force on Salmon Fisheries.
Paul Shadura, Commercial Fishing Interest Groups
Mr. Shadura is the elected representative of the Cook Inlet Commercial Fishing organizations.
Molly McCammon, Municipality of Anchorage
Molly McCammon is the Executive Director of the Alaska Ocean Observing System, a coalition of government, academic and private partners working together to integrate ocean observations and provide better information for users of the ocean and ocean resources. She serves as the chair of the National Federation of Regional Associations for Coastal and Ocean Observing and is also a member of the Ocean Research Advisory panel which advises federal ocean research agencies. Prior to that, she served for nearly a decade as Executive Director of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, administering the billion-dollar restoration fund established as a result of a court settlement between the United States government and the state of Alaska and Exxon Corporation following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Rob Lindsey, City of Kodiak
Rob Lindsey was born in Kodiak several years prior to the 1964 earthquake and tidal wave. Commercial fishing was the source of income for his family and his first career for about 30 years in the waters around Kodiak, Shelikof Strait and the westward region.
A graduate of the Kodiak school system, he has enjoyed a wonderful life watching Kodiak and the whole state grow and still be seen as a pristine global treasure. The effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill confirmed his belief that everyone is involved in the oil industry. Rob says it’s been a great honor to be a part of the Cook Inlet RCAC.
Grace Merkes, Kenai Peninsula Borough
Grace Merkes has been an Alaskan Resident for over 50 years. She homesteaded in Sterling and lives there with her husband, Leon Merkes. They have 8 adult children, 7 of whom still live in Alaska. Some of the government and non-profit organizations she has been involved with are: Alaska Municipal League, National and Local Republican Women’s Organization, Chair Person of the Alaska Human Rights Commission, Kenai Peninsula Brown Bear Task Force, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly (2001-2009), Sterling/Ridgeway Fire Service Area Board, KPB Planning Commission, and a State House of Representatives candidate. Grace was appointed by the KPB Assembly to the Cook Inlet RCAC Board in 1998. Grace has seen the KPB grow from the days of the discovery of oil in the Swanson River area to what it is today, with the diversity of oil platforms, fishing industry, pipelines, refinery, LNG, Agrium, tourism, and so on. She currently sits on the Cook Inlet RCAC PROPS, Executive, and Audit Committees. Her goal on these committees and the Board is to weigh all issues fairly and represent all the people in a way that is in the best interests of the citizens of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, the Cook Inlet Environment and the oil industry.
Bob Flint, Recreational Groups
Bob Flint came to Alaska in 1971 with the Vista Program and with the exception of one year in Juneau, has lived in Anchorage ever since. In 1973, Bob went to work for what would amount to nearly 33 years with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC), working primarily on regulated programs, such as oil, wastewater, water quality, solid waste, air quality, and hazardous material, ultimately progressing to regional manager. Bob spent most of his time in oil spill prevention and response, benefiting from on-the-job training in ICS (incident command system), HAZWOPER (hazardous waste operations and emergency response), tanker-man assistant, and law enforcement. Over the years, Bob has responded to scores of spills of varying sizes, and has been the state of Alaska’s incident commander on several, including the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Since 1989, he has participated and evaluated many drill exercises. While working for ADEC, Bob set up the non-tank vessel program. Since retirement, he has formed his own company (Flint-Emergency Management Services) and his company has participated in a number of training exercises in Alaska. Further from Alaska, Bob played key roles in spill responses in San Francisco during the Cosco-Busan oil spill, the Mar-Gun grounding on Saint George Island, and the BP spill in the Gulf. Closer to home, Bob was Logistics Chief during the 2009 Pathfinder grounding in Prince William Sound and Operations Chief a year later for the rescue of the M/V Golden Seas that lost 85% of its engine power and floundered in the Aleutian Islands. He has participated in a number of training drills in Cook Inlet. In addition to his work life, Bob enjoys playing in Southcentral Alaska; camping, fishing, and doing some hunting. Although he used to SCUBA dive in Prince William Sound, Bob has hung up his flippers and taken up the wood lathe, making lots of shavings.
Michael Opheim, Alaska Native Organizations
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 38 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 and 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 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, affording 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.
Carla Stanley, City of Homer
Ms. Stanley began teaching marine science, art, and other subjects at Kenai Junior High. She later taught at both Soldotna and Skyview high schools before retiring to Homer in 1997 and has remained active in the marine science community over the years writing curriculum, serving as the Alaska Director for the Northwest Association of Marine Science Educators, plus working and volunteering for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Her efforts there are in some ways an extension of her work that dates back to the Exxon Valdez. After the spill, Ms. Stanley led an Alaska Department of Fish and Game team that tracked commercially caught King Salmon during summers. “The marine environment is very precious to me,” commented Ms. Stanley. “Keeping it clean and safe is important.”
Scott Smiley, Kodiak Island Borough
Before his retirement, Scott Smiley was a professor with the University of Alaska Fairbanks for 23 years. Detailed to the Fishery Industrial Technology Center in Kodiak since 1995, Dr. Smiley served as a professor and for 11 years, the facility director. Dr. Smiley received his Masters and PhD from the Department of Zoology at the University of Washington. His studies involved physiological and ultra structural analyses of oogenesis, embryology and metamorphosis of a sea cucumber. He continued his education during two postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California San Francisco’s Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of early development. A faculty member of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, first in the Department of Biology and Wildlife and subsequently in the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, Dr. Smiley taught the introductory course for Biology majors for 6 years. More recently Dr. Smiley was PI for a number of USDA funded research projects on Seafood Processing Byproducts, Seafood Safety, Alternative Salmon Products and Seafood Harvesting, Processing and Marketing.
Walt Sonen, City of Seldovia
Walt Sonen is a 36 year resident of the Seldovia area and Alaska. He has made his living commercial fishing since his residency, and several years before. He serves on the board of the Seldovia Oil Spill Response Team, and has been involved with the organization almost since its inception after the Exxon Valdez spill. He believes that a clean and healthy Cook Inlet environment is a legacy that should be maintained by and for us all.
Deric Marcorelle, Environmental Interests
Deric was born and raised in Ipswich, Massachusetts. He spent four years in the US Navy attached to Fighter Squadron 41 onboard the carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. After military service, he studied AAS Conservation Technology at Essex Agricultural Institute, and served as a former Massachusetts and National Certified Arborist before earning his BS in Natural Resource Management at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Deric spent ten years with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Sport Fish Division, and another twenty years with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. He retired in 2010. Marcorelle is a founding and current Director for Peninsula Community Health Services, and is on the Board of ReGroup, a Kenai Peninsula community recycling organization. Deric is a lifelong lover and owner of ’60s vintage Volvos.
OPA 90 also calls for the inclusion of non-voting Ex-Officio members, representing various state and federal agencies.
- Captain Paul Mehler III – United States Coast Guard
- Gary Lehnhausen – United States Forest Service
- Matt Carr – Environmental Protection Agency
- Dr. Heather Crowley – United States Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
- Gary Folley – Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
- Jonathon Schick - Alaska Department of Natural Resources
- John Whitney – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- James Benzschawel – Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management
- Ginny Litchfield – Alaska Department of Fish and Game
- Jason Walsh – Office of Pipeline Monitoring