Stephens Elected PVA President for 2020
Colleen Stephens, President of Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises will be President of the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) for 2020, the trade association announced.
Elected during the PVA Annual Convention at MariTrends 2020 held February 3-6, 2020 in Tampa, Fla., Stephens reaffirmed PVA's commitment to continuously improving safety in passenger vessel operations as well as the association's engagement in being good stewards of the environment. "PVA's Green WATERS program of environmentally friendly business practices is the keystone of our longtime dedication to stewardship of our country's waterways," she said in her address to the membership. "We plan to take this program to the next level and increase its voluntary participation among operators nationwide."
Stephens is the President of her family's business, Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises. Since 1971 Stan Stephens Cruises has traveled the waters of Alaska's Prince William Sound, currently they are operating two catamarans.
Stephens' career in the maritime industry began at the age of seven as she worked alongside her parents and sisters as they shared the glaciers and wildlife of the Sound with travelers. Through the years the company has operated a variety of Subchapter T vessels between the ports of Valdez, Whittier and Cordova. As time progressed and her knowledge of vessel operations grew, Stephens' role in the company changed. Today, Stephens is involved in all aspects of the company, on any given day you may find her coordinating the safety training for the crew and vessels, assisting with routine drydocks and maintenance, guiding reservation staff, as well as facilitating the marketing and promotions for the company.
Stan Stephens Cruises, under Stephens' direction, not only strives to operate safely and with exceptional customer service, they dedicate time to work with local organizations and agencies that focus on protecting Prince William Sound and its wildlife resources.
Stephens served as PVA Vice President for 2019, she was the PVA Secretary-Treasurer in 2018, she served on the PVA Board of Directors from 2015 to 2017 and is also a member of the PVA Regulatory Committee. In addition to her time with PVA, Stephens works to maintain a strong community and maritime industry in Valdez and Alaska by serving on Valdez's Ports and Harbors Commission, Valdez Fisheries Development Board of Directors, the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) Board of Directors and she is the Chair of the Marketing Committee for ATIA that manages the Alaska tourism marketing program.
Also elected to terms as PVA Officers for 2020 were Vice President Bob Bijur, Island Queen Cruises (Miami) and Secretary-Treasurer Jim Swindler, Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (Larkspur, Calif.). Ben Bernstein, BB Riverboats (Newport, Kent.) was elected to PVA's Board of Directors.
Bijur has been with Island Queen Cruises for the past 25 years. He is one of the partners of Biscayne Lady Yacht Charters. The operation has a fleet of seven inspected vessels and several uninspected vessels, which accommodate from six to 400 passengers. His organization also owns and operates a 200-seat waterfront dining establishment.
Bijur's background is in hospitality and he was on the opening team of a nationally acclaimed restaurant in South Miami in 1974. He has also captained several private yachts. Bijur is a U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Master and a U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Engineer. He is also a Florida State licensed Emergency Medical Technician, a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor, and he instructs CPR for the Professional Rescuer and small craft certifications. Bijur participates in the Local Harbor Safety Committee and the Area Maritime Security Committee.
He was PVA Secretary-Treasurer for 2019, was a member of the PVA Board of Directors, served as a PVA Southeast Region Chair and is a longstanding member of the PVA Safety and Security Committee.
Swindler has served since 2003 as Deputy General Manager of Golden Gate Ferry, a division of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. Golden Gate Ferry provides service on the Bay between San Francisco and Marin County, with a fleet of seven vessels. The service has grown significantly in recent years, with current annual ridership topping 2.5 million passenger trips.
Swindler came to the Bay Area from the East Coast, where he was the Director of Operations at the Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority, serving more than three million passengers, 500,000 automobiles, and 110,000 trucks annually. For six of his thirteen years at the Steamship Authority, Swindler also served as the Engineering/Maintenance Manager.
Prior to joining the Steamship Authority, Swindler served as General Manager of North American Marine Associates, Inc. in Rockland, Mass., where he facilitated the growth of this privately held marine design and engineering firm from 1988-1990. For eight years before that, Swindler was the Hull and Arrangement Department Head/Senior Designer for M. Rosenblatt and Son, Inc., Hingham, Mass., where he directed the development of structural and system drawings for construction and upgrades for commercial and naval ships. Swindler began his maritime career as an apprentice shipbuilding for Quincy Shipbuilding Division with General Dynamics from 1974 to 1981. Previously, Swindler served in the United States Air Force, from 1968-1974. He is currently a member of the PVA Board of Directors and is a longtime member of the PVA Legislative Committee.