Marquardt, Ayers named to Alaska Marine Highway ops board

Two veterans of the state’s Marine Transportation Advisory Board, Shirley Marquardt and Wanetta Ayers, have been appointed to the Alaska Marine Highway Operations Board by Speaker of the House Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak.

The nine-member board was established through passage of House Bill 63, which was introduced by Stutes during the last legislative session. The board, as well as other elements of the bill, were designed to improve the Alaska Marine Highway System’s short- and long-term planning and its accountability, and to increase efficiency with the goal of providing robust, year-round service to coastal communities served by the marine highway system.

“This board will have the opportunity for the first time to move us out of a reactive decision-making process and instead develop a long-term, steady vision for the marine highway,” Stutes said.

Marquardt and Ayers both have the experience and knowledge to play a significant role in that vision and I’m confident they’ll help steer the AMHS in a better direction, she added.

Marquardt, a former mayor of Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, represented Southwest Alaska on the Marine Transportation Advisory Board for nine years. A veteran of 40 years in the marine transportation and seafood industries, Marquardt worked directly with the AMHS team at Ketchikan under the administration for Gov. Bill Walker.

Ayers also has served on the Marine Transportation Advisor Board and the Alaska Marine Highway Reshaping Work Group, representing coastal communities from Prince William Sound to the Aleutians. She has been involved in tourism and economic development for coastal communities for 30 years, with a current focus on public policies impacting Alaska.