Colin Daugherty: An unlikely Alaskan helps protect Prince William Sound

Colin Daugherty’s accent quickly gives him away as a native Chicagoan. “It’s unlikely that I ended up here in Alaska, working on boats,” says Daugherty, a recent addition to the council’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response Committee. “I grew up in inner city Chicago. There was a program there that taught kids about boating skills and seamanship. I was part of that growing up, and it kept me out of trouble.” Daugherty has been on and around boats ever since. After school, he moved to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he first got involved with spill prevention and response. He was hired at the Hovensa refinery, at the time the largest fuel refinery in the western hemisphere. “I felt good about what we could do if bad things happen.” … Continue reading

Jeremy Talbott: A life on the water inspires stewardship of the sea

Volunteer Spotlight: Jeremy Talbott, member of the council’s Port Operations and Vessel Traffic System Committee, is enthusiastic about his new hometown. He moved to Valdez with his wife Keri and their two daughters in May of 2014 to become the new harbormaster for the city. “I didn’t even know where Valdez was,” Talbot said. “But it was in Alaska.” Talbott had dreamed of moving to Alaska for a while. He applied for the Homer Harbormasters job several years ago, and later almost got a position in Juneau as Harbormaster. Talbott was disappointed, but Juneau’s port director told him about the opening in Valdez. “In hindsight, I’m really glad I got Valdez instead of Juneau,” he says. “I love it. I hit the lottery.” … Continue reading

Jane Eisemann – Kodiak volunteer passionate about working for the council

Jane Eisemann, volunteer on the council’s Information and Education Committee, first came to Alaska in 1976 to visit her brother in Kodiak. She immediately fell in love with the state. “It was a beautiful place,” Eisemann said of her first impression. “My brother lived off the grid, I liked that lifestyle.” Eisemann returned to California with her mother, but before she left, she secured a job at a local pizza parlor, promising to return for good in two months. The island of Kodiak has now been her home for the last 38 years. Eisemann began commercial fishing in 1978 for crab, herring, and salmon. That year, she also got a winter job in the small community of Chiniak as a teacher’s assistant. With encouragement from the teacher, Eisemann decided to go back to school for a teaching degree while she continued to fish during the summers. Before she graduated, the Exxon Valdez ran aground and she ended up working on the cleanup effort. She noted it was a time of upheaval in the community. “The oil spill just changed everybody’s life,” she said. … Continue reading

Pete Heddell: Exxon Valdez taught many lessons to those who paid attention

Volunteer Spotlight: Volunteer Pete Heddell, member of the council’s Port Operations and Vessel Traffic System committee, has seen a lot of changes in Prince William Sound and Alaska. His parents brought him here at the age of three and a half, just 30 days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, where the family homesteaded outside of Homer on the Kenai Peninsula. Heddell worked in the fishing business for several years before joining the state police in 1963. After his retirement in 1987, Heddell and his wife Marilynn, started their marine charter service, Honey Charters, out of the port of Whittier. “We ordered the first of our four boats in the fall of 1987,” Heddell said. He and his wife spent that first summer exploring Prince William Sound. “In March of 1989, we were on the floor at our first sportsman’s show when we heard the Exxon Valdez had hit Bligh reef.” … Continue reading