The council announced at its January 22 meeting that Director of Programs Donna Schantz has been promoted to the position of executive director. Schantz replaces Mark Swanson, who retired from the council in November of last year. Since then, Schantz has served as acting executive director.
“The council is very fortunate to have someone with Donna’s organizational knowledge and history to lead us into the future,” said Amanda Bauer, president of the council board. “I am confident her commitment to our mission and her positive attitude will significantly strengthen relationships within the council, as well as with our industry and regulatory partners, as these relationships are a critical component to achieving our mission.”
Schantz joined the council staff in 1999 and has served as director of programs since 2001. She is a graduate of Providence College in Rhode Island with a B.A in fine arts. Schantz previously served as acting executive director in 2009 after the departure of long time Executive Director John Devens. Notable accomplishments include her recognition by the United States Coast Guard in 2015 for her exceptional professionalism, positive demeanor, open communications and contributions in support of the Prince William Sound Subarea Committee, and her work towards the passage of legislation for dual escorts in Prince William Sound under her leadership in 2010. Schantz served as an elected member of the Valdez City Council from 2012 to 2014.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for those who devote so much time to our mission of promoting the safe transportation of oil,” Schantz said. “I am excited to serve in this leadership role, and to work with the staff and volunteers, as well as our regulatory and industry partners, to protect Prince William Sound and its downstream communities from another oil spill.”
Schantz is a resident of Valdez with her two children, Timothy (12) and Ellie (10). Schantz and her children enjoy boating in Prince William Sound, skiing and hiking in the Chugach Mountains, and spending time in Jack Bay at the cabin she built with her late husband Tom, on a parcel they won through the Alaska State Land Lottery.