Speaker Stutes announces her appointments to Alaska Marine Highway Operations Board

‘I’m confident these Alaskans will help steer the AMHS in a better direction’

JUNEAU  Speaker Louise Stutes today announced her appointment of Shirley Marquardt and Wanetta Ayers to the Alaska Marine Highway Operations Board. 


The board was established through the passage of House Bill 63, which was introduced by Speaker Stutes last session.  This nine-member board, along with other elements of the bill, were designed to improve the Alaska Marine Highway System’s (AMHS) short and long-term planning, accountability, and increase efficiency with the goal of providing robust, year-round service to all of the communities served by AMHS.


“I’m incredibly excited to announce that Shirley Marquardt and Wanetta Ayers will be part of the Alaska Marine Highway Operations Board,” says House Speaker Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak). “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. Shirley and Wanetta 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.”


Shirley Marquardt was a nine-year member of the Marine Transportation Advisory Board representing the Southwest region, a former mayor of Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, has been in the marine transportation and seafood industries for forty years, and worked directly with the Alaska Marine Highway System team in Ketchikan under Governor Walker. 


“This experience provides me with a stable foundation and a clear understanding of the challenges facing this amazing and unique system,” Marquardt says. “It provides me with a sense of determination that going forward the goal of the development of a stable operating and budget plan is feasible, and a benefit to the State of Alaska as a whole. Achieving reliable ferry service for Alaska’s unique Coastal communities along with efficiencies to the many facets of this organization will be a challenge, and I believe that this Board will assume its responsibilities with integrity, confidence and common sense.”


Wanetta Ayers previously served on the Marine Transportation Advisory 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 thirty years and currently focuses on public policies impacting Alaska. 


“The Alaska Marine Highway is vital to the economies and civic lives of the coastal communities it serves,” says Ayers. “I am committed to enhancing the system’s organizational culture to achieve a sustainable level of service and support ongoing improvement and innovation. I appreciate this opportunity to be of service to the state, coastal communities, and the Alaska Marine Highway System. I believe the AMHS is not only integral infrastructure, but also a symbol and source of pride for our state. I know the Operations Board will build upon AMHS’ strengths and position it for a successful future.”

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