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Northwest Seaport’s staff. Executive Director Nathaniel Howe (right) and Nautical Archaeologist & Vessel Manager, Saxon Bisbee (left).

Nathaniel Howe, Executive Director, grew up in the Seattle area and spent his summers sailing the waters of Puget Sound and British Columbia and his winters building ship models—including models of Northwest Seaport’s fleet. Howe earned his B.A. in History and Museum Studies from Beloit College, studied at Mystic Seaport with Williams College, then was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to conduct research at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden. The American-Swedish Institute funded a second year there before Howe returned to Seattle in 2008 to work for Northwest Seaport. He worked as the preservation specialist supervising and conducting the archaeological research on the 1897 Pacific schooner Wawona prior to and during its deconstruction in 2009. He then returned to school to earn his M.A. in Nautical Archaeology at East Carolina University, doing fieldwork on shipwrecks of the Outer Banks, on the Swedish warship Vasa in Stockholm, and on an ancient Greek wreck in Turkish Cyprus. Howe returned to Northwest Seaport full-time in 2012 as the Nautical Archaeologist and Vessel Manager, managing restoration projects and research on Arthur Foss and Lightship No. 83 SWIFTSURE. In 2014 he took time off to work aboard a fishing boat catching salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska–one of the oldest traditions of the Northwest. He returned to Northwest Seaport and in the fall of 2015 was hired to become Northwest Seaport’s Executive Director.

Saxon Bisbee, Nautical Archeologist and Vessel Manager, holds a master’s degree in Nautical Archaeology from East Carolina University and a BS in marine biology from Saint Francis University. He has worked at the Civil War Naval Museum as well as on numerous field archaeology projects. He first worked for Northwest Seaport during the summer of 2013 as one of the nautical archaeologists documenting the Lightship’s wheelhouse structure prior to dismantling during the 2013 shipyard overhaul. He then worked with Ocean Bay Marine carrying out major repairs to boat deck level of the tugboat, Arthur Foss.

Philip Cole, Chief Engineer, grew up in the Seattle area. At a young age he showed a passion and real ability to fix anything electrical or mechanical. He eventually became a skilled millwright, keeping all the machinery and equipment at major processing plant running around the clock. In 2015 he began volunteering aboard Arthur Foss and was quickly made the Chief Engineer.

Wayne Palsson, Maritime Music Program Director

Board of Directors

Andrew Bennett Northwest SeaportAndrew Bennett, President, is an Associate and Project Manager for KPFF Consulting Engineers. He currently manages waterfront planning, design and construction projects for public sector clients across the county. He is the immediate past-President of the Seattle Propeller Club. He has a Master’s degree in Coastal Management from the University of Washington and a Naval Architecture degree from MIT.

Jim Flies, Vice-President, is the Quality Systems Manager for Harley Marine Services, Inc. Previously, he served as the Academic Dean and the Dean of Students at Seattle Preparatory School, where he taught for twenty years. He has a Master of Education degree and a Principal Certificate from Seattle University and a B.A. degree in History from the University of Montana.

Shannon Fitzgerald, Treasurer, is the Manager of the Coordinated Seabird Studies Group at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where he has been a biologist and scientist for 25 years. He has a Master of Science degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin and B.S. degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Minnesota.

Colleen Browne, Secretary, retired in 2009 from the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, where she was the Pro Parks Levy/Major Maintenance Manager. As a Capital Projects Manager at Seattle Parks, she was the lead on the Historic Ships Wharf, Lake Union Park, Luna Park, and the multi-million dollar Seattle Aquarium makeover project completed in 2007. She has a B.A. degree from the University of Washington.

Patricia Hartle (emeritus) retired in 1989 as an administrator of the American President Lines, Ltd., a global container transportation company.  She serves as secretary and treasurer for two Seattle-based maritime heritage organizations, Pacific Northwest Maritime Heritage Council and Northwest Seaport.

Barbara Klee is a designer and craftsperson, working with precious metals, jewelry, textile,s and interiors. She was raised in Seattle and Copenhagen. She has a B.A. degree in Art History from the University of Washington.

Chad See is Executive Director of the Freezer Longline Coalition. A Seattle native, he worked for 13 years in Washington, DC, most recently at K&L Gates LLP, where he represented clients on federal funding issues. He’s served on the staff of U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Jay Rockefeller. See is past President of the Washington State Society and a graduate of St. Olaf College.

Joseph Shickich is Principal at Riddell Williams law firm and Chair of the Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights group.  He received his J.D. from New York University and was named as one of Seattle’s “Top Business Lawyers” by Seattle Business Monthly magazine.  He is Immediate Past President of the Board of Directors of Northwest Seaport and was a member of the Seattle King County Maritime Heritage Task Force.

Flo Lentz served for many years as the Head of King County 4Culture’s preservation programs . She devoted virtually her entire career to historic preservation projects at local, state, and national levels.

Diane Spaulding, has been involved in the Steamer Virginia V Foundation for many years and joined Northwest Seaport through the board member exchange program. She has been a flight attendant (retired) and is daughter of renowned naval architect, Phil Spaulding.


Brian Johnson of Ocean Bay Marine is an experienced commercial shipwright who has been repairing commercial fishing vessels in Washington and Alaska for more than 40 years. Northwest Seaport has contracted him to undertake several projects on its vessels over the past six years and found the quality of the work to be very satisfactory and all work to meet the goals of historic preservation. Most recently, Johnson led the Arthur Foss deck repair project in December 2012 and the restoration of the salmon seiner Thelma C for the Kodiak Maritime Museum.

Adrian Lipp, Old Tacoma Marine, continues to support the operation, maintenance and repair of the tug’s Washington Iron Works diesel engine, her machinery and systems.  Adrian  has supervised NWS assistant engineers and engineroom volunteers during workparties.  He has lead Engineeer for a Day school programs and Diesel Engine Theory Class.

Carla Moar, Event and Program Coordinator, Family Fun Day of the Seattle Maritime Festival and Classic Workboat Show. Carla has managed special events, fashion shows, and fundraising events for Northwest Seaport and in Southern California, NYC, and throughout the Puget Sound area.  Her background is in Anthropology, apparel design, professional theater, and film.