Former Unalaska mayor will head AMHS

Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times

Former Unalaska Mayor Shirley Marquardt takes the helm as executive director of the Alaska Marine Highway System in early June, filling the vacancy left when Capt. Mike Neussl resigned in May of 2017.

The appointment was announced May 15 by Alaska Commissioner of Transportation and Public Facilities Marc Luiken, who cited Marquardt’s extensive marine and executive experience.

“She is the right person to help moved this vital part of Alaska’s transportation system towards more reliable and financially stable operation,” Luiken said.

The position will be based in Ketchikan.

When Neussl resigned last May to care for an ailing family member, Luiken noted that the post would not be filled quickly. Neussl’s departure came during state budget cuts the prompted a reduction in sailings and also cut amenities.

Marquardt served as mayor and a member of the Unalaska City Council for 22 consecutive years. Over the past 38 years she has worked for two shore plants, the At-Sea Processors fleet, two fisheries logistics companies, and an Alaskan-owned and operated marine transportation company.

Marquardt served on the Aleutian Island Risk Assessment Advisory Panel, the Alaska Marine Pilot Board, the Martime Transportation Advisory Board and American Seafoods Community Advisory Board. She has also served as president of the Alaska Municipal League, president of the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference and president of the Unalaska Senior Center board.

Currently she is vice president of the Aleutian Island Waterways Safety Committee, and is the director of the Alaska Office of Boards and Commissions.