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.

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