Council Staff

Mark Swanson

Mark Swanson

Mark Swanson, Executive Director: Mark joined the council staff in April 2010. Prior to joining the council he had been serving as an emergency response manager for Shell Oil in Texas. Previously, he was commander of the Coast Guard’s Valdez Marine Safety Office from 2002 until he retired from the agency in 2005 after a 21-year career. His maritime career encompassed a broad mix of emergency response, technical engineering, technical instruction, and marine safety and marine environmental protection. Besides earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, he holds master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture from the University of Michigan.Mark is a native of the Florida Keys but reports he has adapted well to the Alaskan climate. He and his family reside in Valdez and enjoy hiking, cycling, windsurfing, snowboarding, and exploring spectacular Prince William Sound on their sailboat. Mark hopes to develop fishing skills eventually.

Read more from Mark:  Executive Director column in The Observer newsletter.

Joe Banta

Joe Banta

Joe Banta, Project Manager, Environmental Monitoring, Anchorage: Joe currently works with the council’s Scientific Advisory Committee.  He has worked for the council since 1990. He has a background in fishing and fisheries and grew up in Cordova and Prince William Sound. He has a B.S. in biology and an M.A.T. from the University of Alaska Anchorage. He lives in Anchorage with his wife, who is a school counselor, and their three sons.

Eileen Collins

Eileen Collins

Eileen Collins, Project Manager Assistant, Anchorage. Eileen joined the council staff in 2014 and serves as the project manager assistant for the Scientific Advisory, Information and Education, and Oil Spill Response and Prevention Committees. Eileen most recently relocated from Arlington, Virginia outside Washington, D.C., where she worked for a federal contractor on projects in transportation policy. She received her Master of Arts degree from the University of Delaware in Urban Affairs and Public Policy where she focused her research on the emerging curbside bus industry in the Northeast Corridor, and her Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.  She is originally from Montgomery, Alabama, but is excited to be living in Alaska and to experience all it has to offer! In her spare time, she enjoys working out, reading, exploring and learning about her new home in Alaska.

 
Gregory Dixon

Gregory Dixon

Gregory Dixon, Financial Manager and System Administrator, Anchorage: Gregory joined the council staff as its financial operations manager in 2001. He has many years of financial management experience with both profit and non-profit organizations. Gregory is also the computer system administrator. For fun, he likes mountain climbing and exploring canyons throughout the western United States and Alaska.

Jennifer Fleming

Jennifer Fleming

Jennifer Fleming, Executive Assistant, Valdez: Jennifer joined the council’s staff in September 2000 as an administrative assistant.  She currently supports the executive director and the council’s board of directors, and coordinates board meetings. Born and raised in south and central Florida, Jennifer attended Florida State University, in Tallahassee. In 1996, she vacationed in the beautiful town of Valdez and immediately fell in love with her surroundings. Jennifer spends most of her spare time with her husband and two beautiful daughters, Mason and Jillian.

Amanda Johnson

Amanda Johnson

Amanda Johnson, Project Manager, Public Communications, Anchorage: Amanda joined the council’s staff in April 2008. She currently manages the council’s website, produces The Observer newsletter and experiments with social media. She attended college at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, earning a BFA in Studio Art in 1997.  She has been lucky enough to have lived in three very beautiful parts of the country. Born in Tennessee, she moved to Oregon in 2001, and on to Alaska in 2004. Away from work, she bikes, skis, hikes, gardens, and explores Alaska with her husband Ryan.

Austin Love

Austin Love

Austin Love, Project Manager, Terminal Operations, Anchorage: Austin joined council staff in June 2014. Austin has a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from the University of San Francisco and a Masters of Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara. Most recently, Love held the position of Water Resources Engineer for Systech Water Resources, Inc., modelling and analyzing pollutant loading and hydrology in various watersheds in the United States. Love also worked as a volunteer for the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, collecting and recording water sample data.

Leigh Lubin

Leigh Lubin

Leigh Lubin, Administrative Assistant, Valdez: Leigh joined council staff in September 2014. Originally from Los Angeles, she has lived in Valdez since 2005. She has taught secondary education, including four years as a science teacher in Anchorage. She has also been a wilderness guide and a yoga teacher.Lubin earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Alaska and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Prescott College in Arizona.

Lisa Matlock

Lisa Matlock

Lisa Matlock, Outreach Coordinator, Anchorage:  Lisa joined the council as its outreach coordinator in 2013. She came to the council from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where she led outreach for a science program in the Anchorage office and K-12 education and community outreach for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, based out of Homer. She previously worked in education and outreach for the National Park Service in Sitka, Seward, Gustavus, Skagway, and Anchorage, and as an onboard naturalist for Cruise West throughout southeast Alaska. She has been sharing her passion for Alaska’s natural and cultural marine resources with visitors, students, and in communities across the Alaska coast, from Sitka to Adak to Point Hope, for almost twenty years.

 

Natalie Novik

Natalie Novik

Natalie Novik, Anchorage Administrative Assistant, Anchorage:  Natalie joined council staff in June 2014.  Born and educated in Paris, with Breton and Russian roots, Natalie volunteered to help clean up after the multiple oil spills that plagued Brittany starting in the 1970’s. When the Exxon Valdez spill occurred, Natalie was teaching in New York and already planning to move to Alaska. Her first assignment here was to open the border between Russia and Alaska for NANA, and she spent five years living in Kotzebue, regularly commuting between both sides of the Bering Strait. Natalie has an M.A. degree in Northern Studies and is very familiar with indigenous cultures all around the North. When she moved to Anchorage, working in a variety of jobs, she met with John Devens and contributed to reinforce the link between Alaska and Brittany. She also did some work for Ecoshelf in Sakhalin, Russia, to help establish clean-up and prevention teams. She subsequently worked for the Northern Forum as Program Manager, in charge on a wide variety of issues in the North and the Arctic, including oil spills, flooding, environmental and wildlife issue. Natalie says she is glad to have this incredible opportunity to work for the council. Her hobbies include photography, music, and some crafts. She speaks French and Russian fluently, as well as a little Breton! She loves felines, prefers the Mac platform, and is a member of the Celtic Community of Alaska.

Roy Robertson

Roy Robertson

Roy Robertson, Project Manager/Drill Monitor, Valdez: Roy serves as project manager for drill monitoring and oil spill preparedness. He has considerable experience in Washington and Alaska, where he served as consultant to both the Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound citizens’ councils, as well as the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. Roy supervised the community of Seldovia’s response to the Exxon Valdez spill, and later helped found the Seldovia Oil Spill Team, a community-based response organization. In addition, he worked for Alyeska Pipeline to develop fish hatchery protection programs and fishing vessel training programs.

Jeremy Robida

Jeremy Robida

Jeremy Robida, Project Manager, Oil Spill Prevention & Response Operations, Valdez: Jeremy has been in Valdez since the summer of 2006. Similar to others, the mountains surrounding Valdez and waters of Prince William Sound have cast a spell on him, and even though his summer job ended, he stayed. Since moving to Valdez, He’s worked as a sea kayak guide, commercial fished, and spent time working with a heli ski guide service prior to taking his position at council in October 2010. He has a BA in Cultural Anthropology from University of Wisconsin in Madison and strong interests in photography and videography. Robida is a volunteer with the local backcountry search and rescue team, and his free time is spent cycling, backcountry skiing, snowmachining, or at his desk doing photo/video/graphic design work.

 
Stephen Rothchild

Steve Rothchild

Steve Rothchild, Administrative Deputy Director, Anchorage:  Steve oversees staff operations, fiscal management, and provides media relations and public information for the council.   Steve joined the council in April 2013.  Steve and his wife, Mimi, moved to Anchorage from Juneau, where he had been a tour boat captain for the previous few years.  In 2008, Steve retired after 23 years with the Coast Guard, ten of those years stationed in Alaska.  Rothchild is a native of New York City.  He graduated in 1985 from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

Press and media inquiries, please contact Steve: 907.277.7222 or by email.

Donna Schantz

Donna Schantz

Donna Schantz, Director of Programs, Valdez: Donna joined the council’s staff in 1999. She was born and raised in New York and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island with a B.A. in fine arts. Donna was living in New York City and working at an advertising agency when she visited Alaska for the first time in 1990 and decided to stay. She was working in the environmental permitting division for a proposed gold mining operation in Southeast Alaska immediately prior to joining the council. Donna and her family enjoy spending time in Prince William Sound and at the cabin they built in Jack Bay on a 20-acre parcel they won through the Alaska State Land Lottery.

Alan Sorum

Alan Sorum

Alan Sorum, Project Manager, Maritime Operations Manager, Valdez: Alan works with the council’s Port Operations & Vessel Traffic Systems committee.  He and his wife, Ruth Knight have enjoyed living and working on the Alaskan waterfront for nearly 20 years. Before moving to Valdez in 1999, Alan and his family lived on Wrangell Island in Southeast Alaska for many years. Alan is an alumnus of the University of Alaska Southeast and University of Alaska Fairbanks with advanced degrees in public administration and rural development. He is also an adjunct facility member with the University of Alaska Southeast and a graduate student in the Public Health Program at University of Alaska Anchorage. Alan is the past manager for the Municipality of Skagway and was a City of Valdez employee for eight years serving as Port Director and Harbormaster.

Linda Swiss

Linda Swiss

Linda Swiss, Project Manager, Oil Spill Prevention & Response Planning, Anchorage: Linda was born and raised in Massachusetts. She came to Alaska in 1986 for a vacation and never left. She joined the council’s staff in January 2004. She holds an M.S. in environmental quality science from the University of Alaska. Linda lives in Anchorage with her husband and daughter. They enjoy spending time at their fish camp on the west side of Cook Inlet.

Nelli Vanderburg

Nelli Vanderburg

Nelli Vanderburg, Project Manager Assistant, Valdez:  Nelli was born and raised in Valdez. She moved away a couple times to the Lower 48 but always wound up coming back because nowhere else has the scenery we have. She joined the council’s staff in 2013. Nelli has a BA in English and a BA in web design. She enjoys photography (though she’s not entirely sure how to operate her camera), reading, spending time with friends and family, and being out and about on the waters of beautiful Prince William Sound.

Alicia Zorzetto

Alicia Zorzetto

Alicia Zorzetto, Digital Collections Librarian, Anchorage:  Alicia is responsible for the creation of an internal digital archive to preserve and access documents, images, and videos.  She has a master’s degree in information and library sciences from the University of Toronto, a master’s in political science from McMaster University, and an undergraduate degree from American University. She has experience managing digital library collections, recently serving as a bilingual systems librarian for the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering. She also served as a bilingual reference librarian at York University’s Leslie Frost Library.  She moved to Anchorage and joined the council staff in January 2013 from Toronto, Canada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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