September 22nd, 2022 Renaissance Seattle Hotel

Speaker Biographies

Bruce Agnew

Director of the ACES NW Network

Since 2017, Bruce has served as Director of the ACES NW Network based in Seattle and Bellevue, Washington. As a non-profit, public private partnership, the Network is dedicated to the acceleration of ACES (Autonomous-Connected-Electric-Shared) technology in Northwest transportation for the movement of people and goods – including maritime.

In 2022, Bruce became the director of the newly created Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) Regional Infrastructure Accelerator.  PNWER is a statutory public/private nonprofit created in 1991 by the U.S. states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Washington and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan and the territories of the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.  

In 2009, Seattle Magazine named Bruce “Road Warrior” in their “Power List” of community leaders for his transportation initiatives ranging from advocacy of a Deep Bore Tunnel for Seattle’s Alaska Way Viaduct Replacement to innovative infrastructure financing for Puget Sound projects, passenger rail and ferries. He was awarded the “Smashed Brick” by the Canadian Consul General in 2008 for reducing barriers to cross-border trade and tourism. 

From 1987-93, Mr. Agnew was Chief of Staff for U.S. Representative John Miller from Washington state’s First District. Before his congressional service, Bruce was elected to two terms on the Snohomish County Council and served as President of the Puget Sound Regional Council in 1985. Mr. Agnew is a 1973 graduate of Stanford University and received his law degree from the U.C. Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall) in 1977. He resides with his family in Beaux Arts Village, WA.

Carmen Bendixen

Senior Transportation Planner, Washington State Ferries

Carmen Bendixen, Senior Transportation Planner at Washington State Ferries (WSF), joined WSF to work on the 2040 Long Range Plan in 2016. She has over 15 years of experience in transportation and land use planning. She has worked on local and regional comprehensive and transportation plans, environmental review documents, and transportation policy analyses. In addition to coordinating the implementation of the award-winning 2040 Long Range Plan, on behalf of WSF, Carmen participates in community outreach, and workgroups and task forces with local government partners. Carmen has a Master’s in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA in Politics from Willamette University.

John Clauson

Executive Director, Kitsap Transit

John Clauson was hired on at Kitsap Transit as a bus driver in 1983, after a 14-year career in the private sector as an entrepreneur.  He’s spent 39 years with Kitsap Transit, mostly as Service Development Director.  For the last 10 years, he has served as Executive Director and continues to lead Kitsap Transit with a focus on communication, both internal and community-wide, and keeping KT involved in innovative transportation projects such as the fast ferry service between Kitsap and Seattle.

 

John continues to include passenger-only ferry service in the equation for transportation choices in Kitsap County.  Under his leadership, Kitsap Transit completed the wake study for the cross-sound passenger-only ferry to Seattle and developed a sustainable 20-year business plan.  In November 2016, residents of Kitsap County voted in favor of a sales tax increase to fund Kitsap Transit’s cross-sound passenger-only ferry service from Bremerton, Kingston, and Southworth to downtown Seattle.

 

In addition to being Kitsap Transit’s Executive Director, John is the current past-president of the Washington State Transit Association (WSTA) and has been a member of the Port Orchard City Council for over 39 years, a two-term president of the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau and a three-term president of the Bremerton Historic Ships Association.

Stacey Crawshaw-Lewis

Attorney – Pacifica Law Group

Stacey Crawshaw-Lewis serves as lead attorney for Pacifica’s bond and/or disclosure counsel teams serving the University of Washington, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Portland State University, King County and Kitsap County, the Washington State Convention Center Public Facilities District, the Port of Seattle, the cities of Bellevue and Tacoma, and others. Stacey has significant experience in financings involving general obligation bonds, revenue bonds (senior, intermediate and subordinate), lease revenue bonds, commercial paper, and other financing structures as well as letter of credit reimbursement, other credit/liquidity facilities, and hedge agreements. She is frequently retained to advise county, city, and other municipal clients on the range of revenue options available under state law, including lodging taxes, emergency medical services levies, affordable housing levies, levy lid lifts, and excess levies, as well as in the use of special purpose entities such as public development authorities, public facilities districts, metropolitan park districts, and transportation benefit districts. Stacey is recognized in Best Lawyers in America 2010-2020 (Public Finance Law) including selection as Lawyer of the Year in Public Finance Law in Seattle for 2017, and has been selected for inclusion in Washington Super Lawyers. She has served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Bond Lawyers. Stacey was awarded the National Association of Bond Lawyers (NABL) 2020 Carlson Prize for her work as the lead author of the article “Practical Considerations in Electronic Disclosure by State and Municipal Bond Issuers” that was published in the 2020 Spring issue of The Bond Lawyer and the 2019 Fall edition of the Municipal Finance Journal.

Liz Diedrich

CEO – Diedrich RPM, Former owner, Destiny Cruises, LLC

Liz Diedrich invented and manufactured her first product at age 20, while still in college which she sold to Tupperware.  Throughout her 25-year career Liz has developed and led businesses in strategic planning, sales, marketing and research, earning a reputation for generating innovative strategies that create competitive leverage and increased sales and revenue.  

 

Liz founded her marketing business in 1994 as Creative Marketing, which she subsequently re-branded Diedrich RPM (Research Propelled Marketing) to develop and lead marketing strategies for her clients. 

 

Her team has conducted quantitative studies in more than 1000 geographic markets that targeted more than 4 million consumers and business decision-makers. 

 

In July 2013 Liz founded Destiny Cruises, LLC, where she gained experience in providing passenger vessel services on Gull Lake MN. Before selling the operation in 2019, Liz developed demand studies, operational plans to marketing campaigns specifically aimed at the passenger vessel community. 

 

Liz is active on multiple boards for public, non-profit and private companies served two terms on the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Board and was previously the Chair for Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce, she served as a Director for Scholarship America, and on the business advisory boards of Anchor Bank, MOM’s, and MNSCU. 

Greg Dronkert

President, Pacific Mobility Group

Greg is the founder and President of Pacific Mobility Group a family of transportation, travel,
and service companies that are accelerating the transition to zero emission transportation.
Active projects include an electric propelled logistics and delivery service, electric adventure
camper rentals, electric vehicle conversions, and an electric commercial van leasing and fleet
service program.
Greg is an engineering graduate of the California Maritime Academy and worked off-shore
before progressing through senior and executive management positions ashore.
Over the years Greg has served as President & COO of HMS Ferries, Director of the Alaska
Marine Highway System, President & CEO of Glacier Bay Cruiseline, and Vice President &
General Manager of Alaska Ship and Drydock
Greg attended the University of Washington’s Marine Transportation and Port Planning
program and has an MBA in Shipping and Logistics from Middelsex University.
Greg’s driving focus is to improve people’s lives through better mobility.

Morgan Fanberg

President – Glosten

Morgan Fanberg is the President of Glosten, a full-service naval architecture and marine consulting firm.  A graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy, Morgan is a professionally licensed engineer offering over 20 years of marine industry experience specializing in marine mechanical and electrical systems.  Prior to being appointed President, Morgan led Glosten’s Marine Engineering Group.  In that role, he served as a strong technical resource, a respected leader, and a trusted mentor.  As President, Morgan has chief responsibility for setting the strategic direction for the firm.  He is serving as Glosten’s sixth president since their founding in 1958.

Ben Franz-Knight

Partner and Senior Project Manager with SOJ

Ben is a Partner and Senior Project Manager with SOJ – a Pacific Northwest firm that specializes in complex public and public/private projects.  Ben and his partners currently manage multiple projects in the region including the Seattle Aquarium Ocean Pavilion Project, Public Safety Facilities, Convention Centers, Sports Arenas, Civic Spaces and Schools. He has more than 18 years of experience with nonprofit and private business, education and the arts. He has extensive experience in public process, stakeholder engagement, and management of high-profile public venues. Successfully executing hundreds of projects ranging from small renovations and tenant improvements to major public

events and multi-year complex capital projects Ben has honed management and leadership skills that foster alignment across diverse work groups, public and private sectors and community members. Prior to the Pike Place Market, he

served as Executive Director of the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation for eight years providing day-to-day oversight of the Santa Monica Pier’s operations, capital projects, marketing, tenant selection, large complex events,

maintenance, and diverse community.

Mark Keneford

Managing Director of Wärtsilä Canada

Mark Keneford is the Managing Director of Wärtsilä Canada as well as leading the sales team responsible across Canada to represent Wärtsilä marine solutions to shipowners, ship design companies and shipyards, in all vessel segments. Mark spent 27 years in the Canadian Navy as a marine systems engineering officer and project manager. He sailed in ships and had operating tickets (Navy equivalent) for steam, diesel and gas turbines. Since 2008 he has been employed in Wärtsilä. Mark is a member of the Canadian Institute of Marine Engineers CIMARE (St. Lawrence branch) and also the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers SNAME (eastern Canada section).

Laura LaBissoniere Miller

Director, Community Engagement, PRR 

Over the past 15 years, Laura has worked extensively with Washington State Ferries to engage ferry-served communities and terminal neighbors in planning and designing new ferry terminals. She brings deep knowledge of terminal engineering, operations, and perspectives of people who depend on ferry service. Laura provides strategic communications and leads engagement for WSF as they plan to replace the aging Fauntleroy ferry terminal. This includes engaging three advisory groups and leading broad community engagement to balance the perspectives of all three communities served. Laura also involved community members in developing the new Mukilteo ferry terminal and facilitated a comprehensive engagement process for the WSF Long Range Plan—including facilitating a policy advisory group to build stakeholder support for the plan and helping WSF engage more than 7,500 people through public meetings, onboard outreach, and an online forum. She brings communications expertise at all phases of terminal planning, designing, and construction. Laura leads PRR’s community engagement practice where we bring community voices into decision-making for transformative public infrastructure projects. PRR provides integrated communication solutions that help clients make informed decisions and build stronger, more inclusive communities.

Seamus Murphy

Executive Director – San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority

Seamus Murphy is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), which operates SF Bay Ferry service throughout the region.

 

Prior to joining WETA, Murphy spent over a decade overseeing external affairs and strategic communications for the San Mateo County Transit District (District), which operates the Caltrain commuter rail system and SamTrans bus service. As the District’s Chief Communications Officer, Murphy led efforts to secure funding for transformative projects including the $2 billion Caltrain Electrification Project. He was also responsible for passing state legislation that paved the way for voter approval of revenue measures creating over $200 million/year in new transportation investment for improvements and services throughout the Peninsula.  

 

Murphy has been recognized as a leader focused on building strong coalitions that can effectively advocate for solutions to the industry’s most pressing challenges. He is a recipient of Mass Transit Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40” award and is a key player in local, regional, state and national efforts to sustain, improve, and expand public transportation for all who depend on it.

Briahna Murray

Vice President – Gordon Thomas Honeywell

Briahna Murray is a Vice President in the firm and manages a team of consultants focused on Olympia lobbying. For 15 years, Briahna has advocated on behalf of public agency and nonprofit clients to the Washington State Legislature and the State Executive Branch. Her clients have formally recognized her exceptional service, professionalism, responsiveness, and advocacy.

 

Briahna’s knowledge of public policy issues and her ability to strategically navigate Washington State government is an invaluable combination. Through her advocacy for public agencies, she has developed expertise in advocating for issues intersecting with state budgets, tax and finance, growth management, transportation, criminal justice, housing and human services, and more. Briahna is respected and well-liked by legislators from across the entire state of Washington and from both political parties.

 

Prior to joining Gordon Thomas Honeywell Governmental Affairs in 2006, Briahna served as legislative staff in the Washington State Senate and in 2005 was commissioned by the State Auditor to research and author a monograph titled A Citizens Advocate: History of the Washington State Auditor’s Office.

 

Briahna graduated cum laude from Seattle University School of Law, where she also served as a member of Seattle University Law Review. Briahna graduated summa cum laude from Pacific Lutheran University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English-Writing. She now lives in Tacoma, Washington.

Peter Philips

President – Colibri Northwest

Peter and his team work with transit agencies, municipal administrators, elected officials and associations to develop policy, communicate policy to stakeholders and successfully implement public policy in the field.

 

Areas of particular expertise include marine transit policy, industrial and urban land use, print communications and public relations.

 

Peter has 35 years of experience in maritime publishing, conference production, industrial and marine lands policy, and advocacy for the maritime and commercial fishing industries.

 

From 1999-2020 Peter was President of Philips Publishing Group and publisher of Fishermen’s News, Foghorn and Pacific Maritime Magazine, monthly magazines for the commercial fishing, marine transit, and maritime transportation industries.

 

Peter has also published quarterly magazines for a dozen suburban cities around Puget Sound.

 

Since 2003 Peter has produced a national Ferries Conference in Seattle, aimed at helping municipalities and transportation districts explore feasibility, funding, and operations of passenger ferry service.

Peter is a native Seattleite and graduate of Whitman College. He has been involved in maritime, transportation and land use policy since 1985.

Carla Sawyer

Principal, Progressions

Carla Sawyer is the founder of Progressions. Prior to her return to consulting, Ms. Sawyer was the Director of Finance and Administration for nine years at Washington State Ferries. Before her employment with the State she was a senior consultant with Deloitte Consulting performing a wide range of engagements in both the public and private sectors. Ms. Sawyer has considerable experience in all aspects of transportation financial planning and analysis, budget development, fare policy development and fare collection, ferry governance and operating structures.  She has worked with transportation and ferry systems around the Puget Sound for more than 25 years and recently coordinated implementation of a new cross sound fast passenger only ferry service. Carla has many years of project management experience and is effective working with staff, management, policy makers, stakeholders and the general public.  

David Sowers

Director, Terminal Engineering & Construction, Washington State Ferries

David Sowers is WSF’s Director of Terminal Engineering and in this role leads the planning, design, permitting, and construction of capital improvement, preservation, and maintenance projects at each of WSF’s 19 terminals and its Eagle Harbor maintenance facility. Before joining Ferries, David was WSDOT’s Deputy Program Administrator for the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, where for 10 years we worked to deliver the world’s largest bored tunnel and related projects. David joined WSDOT in 1999, after working in the private sector for 6 years as a consultant. David has Civil Engineering degrees from Michigan State University and Auburn University and is a registered professional engineer in Washington.

Matthew von Ruden

System Electrification Program Administrator

Washington State Department of Transportation, Ferries Division

Matthew von Ruden is a maritime professional with 35 years’ experience in the government and private sectors. A 1986 graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy, Mr. von Ruden served 23 years in the US Coast Guard, including six assignments at sea, and retired at the rank of Captain in 2009. In the commercial sector, Mr. von Ruden worked in the chemical and shipbuilding industries in California, Washington and British Columbia. He held the position of Associate Dean and Director of Seattle Maritime Academy at Seattle Central College before moving to Washington State Department of Transportation Ferries Division in 2015, where he became the Director of Vessel Maintenance. In 2021, he took the helm of the Ferries’ System Electrification Program, which includes vessels, terminals, and charging infrastructure. Mr. von Ruden’s education includes a BS, Marine Engineering from the US Coast Guard Academy, an MS in Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture and MS, Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an MA, National Security and Strategic Studies from the US Naval War College. 

Alice Ostdiek

Shareholder – Stradling Law

For more than 20 years, Alice has employed her knowledge of contracting, tax and securities laws to help state and local government entities and financial institutions finance and structure major utility, transportation and redevelopment projects that have transformed cities and regions across Washington state.  When navigating the political aspects of a public project, she stays focused on her clients’ objectives so that she can assess viable courses of action, negotiate on their behalf, and craft strategies that accomplish their goals.  Alice’s particular passion is to create tools to develop sustainable communities and improve infrastructure that support residents with increased access to critical resources long into the future.