Former mayor of Unalaska is new boss of Alaska ferry system

Former mayor of Unalaska is new boss of Alaska ferry system

Gov. Bill Walker has named a former Unalaska mayor to head the Alaska Marine Highway System.

On Tuesday, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced that Shirley Marquardt will become director of the state’s ferry system.

Marquardt, who lost re-election as Unalaska’s mayor by five votes in 2016, is currently serving as Walker’s director of boards and commissions. She has extensive experience in the maritime industry, having moved to Unalaska in 1980, and served on that city’s municipal council between 1994 and 2004, when she became mayor. She served in that capacity for 12 years.

Marquardt worked for Samson Tug and Barge for 22 years and has extensive experience in vessel logistics. She also served on the state’s Marine Transportation Advisory Board while mayor.

“Shirley is a proven leader with extensive marine and executive experience. She is the right person to help move this vital part of Alaska’s transportation system towards more reliable and financially-stable operation,” DOT Commissioner Marc Luiken said in a prepared statement. “AMHS operations are complex, and Shirley understands this. We appreciate that she accepted this position and we appreciate the support she has from the Marine Transportation Advisory Board.”

AMHS has been without an executive director for more than a year. Its last boss, retired Coast Guard Capt. Mike Neussl, left office on May 12, 2017.

• Contact reporter James Brooks at or 523-2258.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of July 20

Here’s what to expect this week.

Juneau Municipal Attorney Robert Palmer reacts to praise for his service from Assembly members after his resignation was announced during a May 13 meeting. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Three city attorney finalists to be interviewed in public sessions this week by Juneau Assembly

Two Juneau residents with CBJ experience and D.C.-based Army attorney seek to replace Robert Palmer.

Angela Rodell, former CEO of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., speaks to the House Finance Committee on Thursday, June 24, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file photo)
Angela Rodell, former Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. CEO, says she’s running for mayor

First-time candidate to challenge incumbent Beth Weldon; filing deadline for local election is today.

Republican U.S. House candidate Nick Begich, with sign-holding supporters, waves to Midtown Anchorage motorists on Election Day in 2022. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Some Alaska Republican candidates pledge to withdraw if they aren’t atop GOP votes in primary

Pledges are a way to circumvent ranked choice voting, according to one supporter.

People protesting the death of Steven Kissack gather at Marine Park after marching through downtown Juneau on Sunday afternoon. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
Protesters demand police accountability following death of Steven Kissack

Advocates gather where he was shot, say they are raising their voices because “he’s unable to speak.”

A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sitka helicopter hovers over Sitka Sound during routine hoist training. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Lt. Cmdr Wryan Webb)
Yakutat-bound charter flight missing from Juneau

Flight departed from Juneau on Saturday with three people aboard, according to U.S. Coast Guard.

President Biden at the White House on July 3. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
President Joe Biden drops out of race, scrambling the campaign for the White House

Withdraws under pressure from fellow Democrats; endorses Vice President Kamala Harris to take on Trump.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, July 18, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read