Meet the Speakers

Marine Patrol Unit
Albuquerque Police Department – Marine Patrol Unit

Albuquerque Police Department’s mission is to build relationships through community policing to reduce crimes and enhance safety. The Marine Patrol Unit focuses on protecting the waterways of Albuquerque, and ensuring the safety of their community recreating on the water. Albuquerque Police Department will assist with the Boat Show Safety Station. cabq.gov

Director of Inspections & Compliance | U.S. Coast Guard
Captain Amy Beach

Captain Beach assumed duties as Director of Inspections and Compliance at Coast Guard Headquarters in July 2022. In this position, she develops and maintains policy, standards, and program alignment for all prevention activities associated with the safe operation of vessels and facilities. This Directorate manages policy development and program oversight for the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, recreational boating safety, foreign and domestic commercial vessel compliance inspections, international and domestic ports and facilities safety and security, as well as vessel documentation and marine casualty investigations.  uscg.mil

Read Captain Beach’s full bio.

SEI Department Director | American Canoe Association
Kelsey Bracewell

After building her love of the outdoors in the mountains of northern Georgia, Kelsey graduated from Brevard College with a dual undergraduate degree in wilderness leadership & experiential education and psychology. She later completed a master of science in recreation and sport pedagogy from Ohio University. Her background and education serve as a vital foundation in her role as the ACA department director of safety education and instruction. She completed her master of business administration from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA., and has since applied what she’s learned to create and manage multiple paddling engagement and safety initiatives. Using the latest technologies, marketing platforms, and her genuine love for the paddling community, Kelsey has made a lasting impact on the safe boating education and outreach efforts of the American Canoe Association. americancanoe.org

Boating Law Administrator | Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Grant Brown

Grant Brown has worked as a POST certified park ranger for Colorado Parks and Wildlife since 2008. He continues to be involved in the development and implementation of safe boating practices. Since 2017, Grant has led the state of Colorado as their Boating Law Administrator. He currently serves as the president of the Western States Boating Administrators Association (WSBAA), and the vice-chair of the National Safe Boating Council. His certifications as a Level II Boating Incident Reconstructionist and NSBC Instructor Trainer give him unique perspectives to better educate the boating public. NASBLA.org

Boating Director | Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources
Stacey Brown

Stacey Brown is the boating director at the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. She has her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia in environmental science, master’s in urban and regional planning from the University of Richmond, and is a certified recreational boating professional. . She utilizes data analysis to help develop an effective training and outreach program for the state of Virginia. Her knowledge of the principles of adult learning theory allow her to provide skilled and effective public safety presentations. Stacey is a catalyst for transforming public policy into action plans. dwr.virginia.gov

Director of Marketing | America’s Boating Club/U.S. Power Squadrons
Tammy Brown

As Director of Marketing, Tammy’s responsibilities include managing America’s Boating Club®/United States Power Squadrons® marketing and branding initiatives at the national and local levels, promoting recreational boating safety initiatives, and national partnerships and helping members throughout the US become safer boaters. Tammy was instrumental in managing the identity change of America’s Boating Club to help the organization gain brand recognition and attract younger boaters. Before joining the boating industry, Tammy held diverse leadership positions in Corporate America including an environmental lobbyist, running a 25m foundation,  and marketing initiatives in the banking industry focused on wealth management clients. Tammy was named one of the Top 25 Most Influential Women in Business in NC by the NC Chamber of Commerce. Tammy believes every boater should be dedicated to being a life-long learner of boating education as long as they are a captain responsible for everyone’s safety on their vessel, no matter the size. americasboatingclub.org

Education Director | National Association of State Boating Law Administrators
Mark Chanski

Mark joined NASBLA’s team of professionals as the education director in June of 2019. Prior to joining NASBLA, Mark worked for the State of Connecticut’s Boating Division for more than twelve years. While there, he initiated several innovative programs that focused on delivering the division’s safe and clean boating messages to the public. Mark was the lead coordinator for the boating division’s on-the-water outreach MV Prudence campaign, BOATS (Because Our Acquaintances Think Safety) Program, life jacket rebate program, paddlecraft education and outreach campaigns, and the administrator of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s first social media campaign. Mark has extensive commercial and recreational maritime experience. He holds credentials, licenses, and certificates from the U.S. Coast Guard, American Canoe Association, Connecticut DEEP, National Association of State Law Administrators, National Safe Boating Council, and US Sailing. Mark has received numerous awards from state and national organizations for his efforts and achievements in the boating education field. NASBLA.org

Product Safety Manager | Mercury Marine
Peter Chisholm

Peter Chisholm has been in the engineering department at Mercury Marine for over 44 years and now serves as the product safety manager. While in this position, he has been very involved in boating safety in the marine industry with several organizations. He is serving on the U.S. Coast Guard National Boating Safety Advisory Committee, the ABYC Technical Board, and on several ABYC Project Technical Committees. He is the chair of the SAE Marine Technical committee and involved with NASBLA as a member of the Engineering Reporting & Analysis Committee. He has assisted in marine accident reconstructions by providing engine ECU information to marine law enforcement agencies over the past 10 years. mercurymarine.com

Flotation Certification Manager | Mustang Survival
Gordon Colby

Gordon Colby is the flotation certification manager for Mustang Survival, having been involved with life jacket design since working with Voyageur Accessories and Mad River Canoe in the late 1980s. In 2002, he and his wife embarked on nearly 20 years of developing the MTI Adventurewear brand, focusing on creating comfortable and affordable vests for paddlesports and nearshore sailing. Gordon is the past president of the Life Jacket Association and served as a subject matter expert on the National On-Water Standards panel. He and Lili enjoy sailing and canoeing in Plymouth, MA, on Lake Sunapee, NH, and any opportunity to field test life jackets rafting on the Rogue River, OR. mustangsurvival.com

Product to Market Coordinator | Mustang Survival
Lili Colby

Lili Colby is the former co-owner of MTI Life Jackets. She and her husband, Gordon Colby, sold MTI to Mustang Survival in 2020, and she continues her role as a “PFDiva” as Mustang Survival’s product to market coordinator and their industry & non-profit relations specialist. She served on the board of the American Canoe Association for 4 years and has recently joined the NASBLA Paddlesports Committee. She is also on the Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety’s PFD Advisory Board. After decades dedicated to the Paddlesports Industry, she is actively engaged on the steering committee for the emerging Paddlesports Trade Coalition. mustangsurvival.com

Business Development and Training | RescueONE
Captain Chris Day

For over two decades, Captain Chris Day has been the preferred choice of fire, rescue, and law enforcement professionals when it comes to water operations. His association with RescueONE® brand Connector Boats® has solidified his reputation as a reliable and trusted expert in this field. Captain Chris’ exceptional skills and dedication to saving lives have earned him several national maritime life-saving awards. Notably, he was honored with the BoatU.S. Foundation’s Tower of the Year award and the National Safe Boating Council’s Silver Schooner award in 2023. Additionally, he has achieved the certification of a Certified Recreational Boating Professional from the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

Chair | Canadian Safe Boating Council
Mike Dean

Mike has been an active member of the Canadian Safe Boating Council since 2015, supporting the mission to bring a collective voice to safety and awareness. He was appointed Chair in 2023. He’s a former safe boating instructor and avid boater with over 40 years of experience on all types of water. From bass boats to jet skis, wakeboards to stand up paddleboards, Mike knows his way around watercraft, both personally and as an industry professional. In his role as Chair of the Canadian Safe Boating Council, Mike is dedicated to promoting safe boating practices and advocating for a culture of preparedness and responsibility on the water. With his leadership and the support of the council’s members and many volunteers, he aims to make a positive impact on boating safety nationwide. csbc.ca

Senior Recreational Boating Safety Specialist | United States Coast Guard
Jeff Decker

Jeff Decker is the senior recreational boating safety specialist within the United States Coast Guard’s Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety. He started with the U.S. Coast Guard as a state program coordinator before being promoted to regulatory program manager and NBSAC FACA alternate designated federal officer. Formerly, he served as the boating education supervisor of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and chaired the navigation rules subcommittee for NASBLA. Jeff is a recipient of the NASBLA National Boating Safety Education Officer of the year award. He is a NSBC certified instructor and a retired coastie. Jeff has written two recreational boating safety books and produced a series of videos that have garnered over 1 million YouTube views. uscg.mil

Multimedia Supervisor | BoatU.S. Foundation
Alan Dennison

As the multimedia supervisor for the BoatU.S. Foundation, Alan’s responsibilities include managing ongoing online learning projects, editing content, and collaborating with the amazing talent on staff. He has a degree in visual arts from Penn State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Maryland University College. Alan began boating at a very young age on his father’s sailboat in Barnegat, NJ, going on countless fishing trips with him, his grandfather, and uncle in Maine. Whether fishing or cruising, there’s no place Alan would rather be than on the water. boatus.org

Co-Founder & CEO | At the Helm Training
Captain John Dial

Captain John Dial is the CEO and Co-Founder of At the Helm Training! John’s journey began as a mate on a yacht, evolving into a seasoned professional with eight issues of USCG Master Licenses, with the first one granted in 1980. His extensive experience encompasses yachts and sport fishing boats ranging from 70 to 120 feet. Throughout his career, John has immersed himself in nearly every facet of the industry. He founded “A Yacht Management Co,” overseeing larger yacht operations, ventured into yacht brokerage with “Lima Yacht Sales,” and established “Broadbill Enterprises,” a service-oriented company dedicated to yacht projects. With a wealth of diverse experiences spanning four decades, John identified a critical need for At the Helm Training. atthehelmtraining.com

 

Certified Association Executive | Paddlesports Trade Coalition
Pam Dillon

Pam is a Certified Association Executive currently serving as PTC staff under a service agreement with NASBLA. Pamela Dillon previously staffed the National Boating Education Standards Panel and NASBLA’s Education Committee. She co-authored the Third Edition of “The Guide for Multiple Use Waterway Management.” With her husband, Virgil Chambers, she is Program Co-Manager of the Inland Boat Operation and Marine Patrol Fundamentals Train-the-Trainer course and Methods of Instructor course under NASBLA’s Boat Operation and Training (BOAT) program. Dillon served as boating law administrator for the state of Ohio, retiring in as chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft in 2011. Dillon served as executive director of the American Canoe Association from 2002-2007 and is a recipient of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Distinguished Public Service Award. paddlesportstradecoalition.org

 

Executive Director | Water Sports Foundation Inc.
Jim Emmons

Jim Emmons is executive director of the Water Sports Foundation (WSF), and is a lifelong recreational boating safety advocate and enthusiast. Since 2011, Emmons has orchestrated a series of over 40 highly effective recreational boating safety consumer outreach campaigns, worth $10.5 million while delivering 2 billion, laser-targeted boater and paddler safety media impressions. The grant projects, administered by the U.S. Coast Guard, include the production of more than 225 custom boating safety video PSAs with one receiving more than 93,000 YouTube views in just four days. Emmons served two terms on the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Boating Safety Advisory Council, most recently as chairman. He also serves on NASBLA’s Paddlesports Committee. Prior to his current position, Emmons served 12 years as the president of the Water Sports Industry Association and as the publisher of two boating magazines. watersportsfoundation.com

 

Director of Training and Qualifications | Royal Yachting Association
Richard Falk

Richard Falk is the director of training and qualifications for the Royal Yachting Association (RYA). For over 14 years, Richard has been responsible for 2,400 RYA training centers that span across 58 countries. Falk oversees 25,000 qualified instructors that support these training centers. Richard also is responsible for the Royal Yachting Association publications and is the spokesperson for the RYA on all boating safety issues. He serves as the chief examiner for the Yachtmaster Scheme which has more than 24,000 commercially endorsed mariners. rya.org

Special Programs Director | The Corps Foundation
Rachel Garren

Rachel Garren is the special programs director for the nonprofit Corps of Engineers Natural Resources Education Foundation (Corps Foundation). Rachel retired after working more than 31 years for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) where she promoted boating and water safety in various roles. Since 2014, she has managed U.S. Coast Guard grants for the Corps Foundation to promote the award-winning Life Jackets Worn…Nobody Mourns campaign in partnership with USACE. This campaign launched in 2016 at over 400 USACE lake and river projects nationwide. Rachel has managed over one million dollars in grant funds that are used for products, advertisements, video PSAs, social media, and an annual life jacket video contest to promote the campaign. Rachel is an avid boater and enjoys spending time on the water with her family and friends. corpsfoundation.org

Reserve Deputy Sheriff | Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Herb Haas

Herb Haas is an active Reserve Deputy Sheriff of 36 years with a current assignment to the Special Enforcement Bureau Reserve Dive Team as a boat operator and EMT. Past department assignments have included search and rescue, uniform patrol, lake patrol, and academy instructor. Herb remains an active member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary for over 43 years, and he’s served in the United States Merchant Marine. Herb earned a master’s degree in kinesiology and health education from California State University Northridge. He is a credentialed teacher allowing him to teach pre-school through graduate school. Haas has received a variety of certifications and accreditations which include Eagle Scout, NSBC instructor, a NAUI SCUBA instructor, and American Red Cross water safety and first aid instructor trainer. lasd.org

Executive Director | Sea Tow Foundation
Gail Kulp

Gail Kulp has served as the executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation since 2010. She formerly held roles as branch executive for the Eastern Lycoming YMCA, executive director of the Susquehanna Greenways Partnership, director of education and standards for NASBLA, and a middle school teacher. Kulp’s passion and dedication has been influential in the continued success of the Sea Tow Foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Program, Sober Skipper Campaign, Flare Education Program, and the National Boating Safety Awards. In her free time she enjoys kayaking, swimming, hiking, biking, cooking, reading, and photography. boatingsafety.com

Grant Project Manager | America’s Boating Channel
Marty Lafferty

Marty Lafferty, past district commander and advanced pilot, is the grant project manager for the United States Power Squadrons’ America’s Boating Channel. His work on America’s Boating Channel has received top honors from the National Boating Industry Safety Awards, IBWSS Communication Awards, and the Go Global Awards. Marty is a certified instructor and vessel safety examiner. He received his Educational Proficiency Award in 2014. Marty earned a master of fine arts degree from the Yale School of Drama, where he was professionally trained as a television producer and director. His previous work experience includes supervising the first multi-channel broadcast of the Summer Olympics for NBC. americasboatingchannel.com

Communications Coordinator | American Canoe Association
Kaycee Maas

Kaycee Maas is the communication coordinator for the American Canoe Association (ACA). During her undergraduate years at the University of Colorado, Kaycee pursued a bachelor of arts in sociology and a certificate in public health to gain a better understanding of the barriers limiting participation in outdoor recreation. Prior to her role at the ACA, Kaycee worked as a raft guide and ski instructor which gave her valuable insights into safe boating education. Through these roles, she personally witnessed the need for a more deliberate outreach approach to better engage diverse communities in the outdoor recreational space. With her academic background and professional experience in the outdoor industry, she focuses on disseminating paddle sports safety education to a broader audience. She believes that, as paddle sports accessibility and participation increases, it’s imperative for organizations to expand their educational opportunities and adapt communications strategies to reach new paddlers. She works to ensure new and experienced paddlers alike, can safely enjoy our nation’s public waters. americancanoe.org

Special Advisor to the President | Society Nazionale di Salvamento – Italy
Elia Mannetta

Coming Soon

Senior Director, Product Integrity | Brunswick Corporation
Dave Marlow

Dave Marlow is the senior director of product integrity and has worked with the Brunswick Corporation for the past 37 years. He has held various positions within their marine division in engineering, sales, and customer service. Currently, he works with Brunswick’s Law Department heading up product safety and compliance. Dave serves as the current chair of the National Boating Safety Advisory Committee. He’s also a member of NMMA’s Risk Management, Government Affairs and Boat and Yacht Certification Committees, a member of ABYC’s Technical Board of Directors, and a delegate on the U.S. Technical Advisory Group for ISO standards. Dave obtained a master’s degree in safety engineering from UAB. brunswick.com

Founder & CEO | Deckee
Mike McKiernan

Prior to launching Deckee in 2015, Mike spent ten years immersed in the boating industry working for Australia’s largest marina group. In recent years as an entrepreneur, Mike has orchestrated major operational partnerships with various government agencies, achieved an exit for a boat rental marketplace company, and has raised millions of dollars in funding to make Deckee’s vision for safer waterways a reality. Mike is a strategic planner, futuristic thinker, and a determined leader. deckee.com

President | CoastKey
Andy Meyer

Andy Meyer is the president of CoastKey, Inc. He began with the company in 2010, when the Norwegian parent company looked to expand into the United States. Before transitioning into the boating industry, Andy worked as a master certified auto mechanic. He grew up on a small island, so boating has always been a major part of his life making the transition to boating a natural fit.  Through his knowledge and experience in boating, Andy has grown CoastKey and positively impacted boating. As president of CoastKey, he’s helped spread boating safety messaging, educated for the use of an engine cut-off switch, and worked very closely with the National Safe Boating Council. He currently resides in South Florida with his family. coastkey.com

Master Captain | Boat Safe Chicago
Captain Jon Meyer

Jon Meyer is a U.S. Coast Guard licensed master captain, NSBC Instructor Trainer, Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED instructor, certified alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mediator, Narcan instructor, water rescue instructor, and former law enforcement professional. Jon’s passion for safety translates into action through his involvement with Boat Safe Chicago and Boat Safe Great Lakes, organizations he co-founded with the mission of making basic boat safety accessible to everyone. His organization’s efforts were recognized nationally when Boat Safe Chicago received two Sea Tow Foundation 2023 National Boating Safety Awards. This incredible achievement fueled the expansion of Jon’s mission into a 16-state region with Boat Safe Great Lakes. boatsafechicago.com

Boating Safety and Education Program
New Mexico State Parks – Boating Safety and Education Program

New Mexico State Parks employs professional and dedicated staff to ensure the parks maintain the highest professional standards. First-class recreational and educational opportunities are available through the dedication New Mexico State Parks has for the outdoors. The Boating Safety and Education Program is committed to keeping all individuals safe who enjoy recreating on or near the water. New Mexico State Parks helps oversee a statewide life jacket loaner program to encourage the importance of wearing a life jacket and increasing the accessibility of life jackets. Various team members will lead the Trailer a Boat Safety Station. emnrd.nm.gov

Communications Director | National Safe Boating Council
Yvonne Pentz

Yvonne Pentz, communications director of the NSBC, has nearly 20 years of experience in integrated communications and marketing, with 15 years working in recreational boating safety. She focuses on reaching the boating public with safety information in a format that is user-friendly and engaging. She oversees grant management and implementation working alongside staff, partners, and contractors. Prior to joining the NSBC, she worked at Paul Werth Associates, a strategic communications firm in Columbus, Ohio. She is a recipient of Boating Industry’s Top 40 Under 40, and her recreational boating safety work has received recognition from the likes of the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts’ Communicator Awards, Hermes Awards, PR Daily Nonprofit Awards, and PRSA’s Bronze Anvil, to name a few. She is a graduate of Grove City College in Pennsylvania with a B.A. in communications and sociology, and is a certified recreational boating professional. safeboatingcouncil.org

Executive Director | National Safe Boating Council
Peg Phillips

Peg Phillips, executive director of the NSBC, is an experienced executive, boating instructor, and certified recreational boating professional. She holds instructor certifications with the National Safe Boating Council and American Canoe Association. Working hands-on with hundreds of students, she has instilled recreational boating safety and influenced boater behavior. She has successfully provided guidance for over two dozen federally grant-funded programs since she joined the NSBC in 2018. Phillips has received awards for her outstanding boating instruction including the American Canoe Association President’s Award and American Canoe Association State Director of the Year. With two decades of senior executive level management experience, Peg is accomplished in strategic planning, staff development, inspiring commitment, managing change, and building coalitions and partnerships. Peg obtained a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Georgia Southern University. safeboatingcouncil.org

Boating Safety Education Coordinator | Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Brian Rehwinkel

Brian Rehwinkel is the boating safety education coordinator for Florida Fish and Wildlife. For over 17 years, Brian has served the people of Florida through education, outreach, and marketing of safe boating principles. Rehwinkel works very closely with FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement to provide support of safe boating enforcement and help ensure the safety of the officers. myfwc.com

Director of Government Affairs | Marine Retailers Association of the Americas
Mike Sayre

Mike Sayre is the director of government relations for the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas and oversees MRAA’s advocacy efforts in support of the recreational boating industry. Prior to joining the MRAA in 2023, Sayre served in multiple advocacy roles at the American Motorcyclist Association before becoming the AMA’s director of government relations in 2020. During his time at the AMA, he worked with local, state, and federal stakeholders to address motorcyclist safety issues from automated vehicles to rider training. Sayre also served as the chair of the Motorcyclist Advisory Council to the U.S. Department of Transportation which provided recommendations on motorcyclist safety as it related to roadway design, construction, and maintenance. Sayre holds a masters of public policy from Michigan State University and a bachelors in political science from the University of Michigan. mraa.com

Business Development Manager | Sealite
Cathy Sonnentag
Cathy Sonnentag is Sealite’s business development manager. She is responsible for the continued growth and development of the Marine North American State & Federal markets. Sealite, part of the SPX Aids to Navigation family (a division of SPX Technologies) is a technology leader in the design and manufacture of marine aids to navigation (AtoN) equipment including marine lighting, navigation buoys, marine floats, port entry lighting systems, lighthouse lighting equipment, and monitoring and control systems software. They are a global manufacturer of products that guide vessels safely into ports and harbors around the world. Cathy brings over a decade of industry knowledge and experience in consumer products, a proven track record of exceeding monthly sales expectations, and an intense focus on the customer. In her free time, Cathy enjoys traveling with her husband and two kids, spending time with her extended family, and enjoying the outdoors while gardening. sealite.us
Communications Director | American Whitewater
Evan Stafford
Owner | The Qualified Captain
Aaron Stasiak
Aaron Stasiak, owner of The Qualified Captain, started an Instagram page as a place to highlight on-the-water incidents that could have been avoided. While Aaron and his team are known for sharing videos of what not to do on the water, as lifelong boaters and anglers themselves, they take great pride in highlighting the lessons learned from each video they share on their platform along the way. With over 1 million followers on Instagram, The Qualified Captain has captured an audience of young adult boaters. instagram.com/thequalifiedcaptain
Boat Boss | FB Marine Group
Kim Sweers

Kim is owner and operator at FB Marine Group, a Boating Industry Top 100 dealer in South Florida. She led the growth from a $3 million sales brokerage firm to a dealership operation generating $30 million offering sales, brokerage, charter, financing, parts/service, storage, paint, and fiberglass repair. She is also host of the Boat Boss podcast, which interviews some of the top players in the business, sports, and entertainment worlds. Listen to Boat Boss to learn more about safely living, working, and playing on the water. fbmarinegroup.com

 

 

Recreational Boating Safety Specialist | United States Coast Guard
Scott Szczepaniak

Scott Szczepaniak serves as the recreational boating safety specialist for the U.S. Coast Guard Seventh District – which includes South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Scott’s professional experience includes work with port operations, marine pollution response, merchant mariner licensing, paddlesports, the passenger vessel industry, and commercial diving and salvage. Scott presents his personal perspective while working in private sector on the impact on recreational boating during the removal of the wreck of the GOLDEN RAY. uscg.mil

Government Relations Manager | Marine Retailers Association of the Americas
Chad Tokowicz

Chad Tokowicz is the government relations manager for the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas. Chad graduated from Hobart and William Smith College with a degree in environmental studies and double minor in political science and entrepreneurial studies. Formerly, he was the inland fisheries policy manager for the American Sportfishing Association. mraa.com

Executive Director | Paddlesports Trade Coalition
Jeff Turner

With a lifetime playing in the outdoors and a career working for many leading apparel and gear brands in the outdoor industry, Jeff spent the last 13 years leading the sales, marketing, and product development teams at Kokatat, located in Arcata, CA. A founding member of the PTC, Jeff served in a volunteer capacity as interim Executive Director through the coalition launch year. He was recently hired by the PTC board of directors as full-time Executive Director and will continue to build this important non-profit association for the North American paddlesports industry. paddlesportstradecoalition.org 

 

World Famous Water Skiing Squirrel
Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel

In 1978, avid water enthusiasts Chuck and Lou Ann Best rescued a squirrel after a rainstorm. When Chuck bought a remote-controlled boat for his daughter’s birthday, his friends teased him saying he bought the boat for himself, to which he responded, “I have to learn to drive the boat so I can teach my squirrel to water ski!” News spread of Twiggy “the water skiing squirrel,” and the rest is history. Twiggy has performed since September of 1979, traveling all over the world and appearing in numerous books, magazines, newspapers, and television shows. Tragically, in 1997, Chuck drowned while attempting to rescue his stepfather in a boating incident. Upon her husband’s passing, Lou Ann made water safety an important part of Twiggy’s act. Chuck Best Jr. and his fiancé have reimagined his parents’ show for an entirely new generation of Twiggy fans. Twiggy is also a mascot for the National Safe Boating Council’s Safe Boating Campaign, a worldwide effort focused on responsible boating, encouraging boaters to always wear a life jacket while on the water. twiggysinc.com

Co-Founder & CEO | First Anna’s Venture and Boat Safeguard Alliance
Kingsley Ukachukwu Uchenna

Kingsley Ukachukwu Uchenna has been an advocate for safe boating practices in Nigeria throughout his career. He is co-founder and CEO of First Anna’s Venture and Boat Safeguard Alliance. He is also an engineer at Ocean Deep Services, and certified in the competency merchant shipping act from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA (NRT. ENG.6158, III/5). Kingsley previously served as boating safety officer for Akewa Global Service Limited in Burutu, Nigeria. He was an oil and gas engineering major at Delta State School of Marine Technology. oceandeepservices.net

President | Safe Lakes LLC
Emlie Veinot

Emlie Veinot is president of Safe Lakes LLC, a women-owned, small business located in Wisconsin that offers high-quality boating safety gear, such as LifeCord. LifeCord is the first and only ALARMING Engine Cut-Off Switch Link (ECOSL) that knows when you are wearing it by a beep and light to remind you to clip on if you are not properly attached. Emlie is also the sailing school director at Pewaukee Lake Sailing School. She grew up sailing, as well as collegiately on the Women’s Team at Hobart & William Smith Colleges in New York while studying psychology and education. Emlie has been involved in many sailing programs as a sailor, instructor, and program director. safelakes.com

Director of State Parks | New Mexico State
Toby Velasquez

Toby Velasquez was appointed director of state parks in July 2021. Director Velasquez began his State Parks career as a seasonal employee in 1991 and has held several positions in the Division, including park ranger, park manager, regional manager, and bureau chief. As deputy director, he was able to instill the values he holds dear in the next generation of State Parks employees. Velasquez also coaches and mentors youth through non-profit organizations and promotes outdoor recreation, sportsmanship, and teamwork. Velasquez is a graduate of Mora High School and alumnus of New Mexico Highlands University. New Mexico State Parks

Marine Biologist
Carter Viss
Carter is a Marine Biologist from Jupiter, Florida. After working many years as an aquarist at Loggerhead Marinelife Center, he is now working in aquaculture research and pursuing a PhD in Marine Science. Carter’s life was changed forever on Thanksgiving Day of 2019. While snorkeling on the Breaker’s Reef off Palm Beach Island, he was struck by a large boat. He lost his right arm on impact, both of his legs were severely lacerated and his left wrist was badly broken. After making a full recovery, he founded his own 501(c)3 non-profit called the Carter Viss Foundation whose mission is to support individuals with limb trauma resulting from boating incidents and promote safe boating and diving practices. cartervissfoundation.org
Producer | National Safe Boating Council
Ken Waldron

Ken Waldron, NSBC’s producer, has 30 years of experience leading creative, branding, and marketing strategy for national brands. He creates compelling marketing materials for the NSBC’s outreach and training program. Prior to joining the NSBC full time in 2021, Waldron worked for nearly 14 years as a contractor, producing PSAs, training videos, print ads, and collateral materials for a variety of NSBC programs and campaigns. He has worked on national campaigns with brands such as Barbasol Brands, White Castle, and The Ohio State University Medical Center. safeboatingcouncil.org

Founder | Sea Angel’s Brazil Institute
Marcelo Ulysséa

In 2011, Marcelo founded Sea Angel’s Brazil Institute (SABI), a non-government organization maritime search and rescue organization, after working in the U.S. with PWC rescue classes for firefighters, lifeguard training, and U.S. Navy Special Forces. He also helped with SABI affiliation as a full member of the International Maritime Rescue Federation, a NGO that has consultative status at International Maritime Organization (IMO) regarding maritime rescue, drowning prevention and standard safety equipment and training for rescue teams to help save lives at sea. Marcelo also has oceanography knowledge, helping shape maritime emergency response and water safety policies in Brazil in his 20 years of technology transfer and standardized training for South America. He is a big wave surfer and a former NSBC Instructor. He is currently working on two projects that develop safety training and environmental policies for artisanal fisherman and for a kids and youth program to develop minimum standards for boating education for Santa Catarina in South Brazil. anjosdomar.org

Program Coordinator | National Safe Boating Council
Alexis Webb

National anthem vocalist and NSBC Program Coordinator, Alexis Webb, is excited to be joining the #IBWSS24 program. She is also a local worship leader in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she coordinates music for multiple teams and services weekly. Alexis enjoys encouraging and equipping others to live life “on purpose.” safeboatingcouncil.org

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