AMSEA Gets New Executive Director

Alaska Marine Safety Education Association
The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association’s training facility offers U.S. Coast Guard-accepted marine safety training and other classes for commercial fishermen. Photo courtesy of AMSEA.

The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association’s Board of Directors on July 3 announced Leann Fay as the organization’s new executive director, taking over for longtime executive director Jerry Dzugan.

Fay made the transition on July 1. Dzugan, AMSEA’s founding member and original executive director, headed AMSEA for 38 years as it attempted to change the face of marine safety across the nation. 

Dzugan stepped away from the role of executive director to prioritize training and outreach.

Fay is an experienced commercial fisherman and blue-water sailor. She has fished in Alaska’s black cod fisheries and continues to do so in the Southeast Alaska troll salmon and longline halibut (2C) fisheries. She spent the last two years as a marine safety instructor and researcher through AMSEA.

After receiving her Master of Science in Applied Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Fay moved to Berkeley, Calif., where she completed her Doctorate in East-West Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Her research background focuses on applied social science strategies, program evaluation, health promotion and storytelling.

“Fishermen and other boaters are lucky to have had Jerry and all our marine safety partners over the years looking out for them,” Fay said in a statement. “I am honored to be AMSEA’s next leader in marine safety.”

Board chair Julie Matweyou said the organization “is grateful to have identified such a highly skilled executive director to take over the important AMSEA mission. Our board has full confidence in Dr. Fay’s ability to lead AMSEA’s training programs and a new generation of marine safety instructors. In addition, Dr. Fay’s professional experience will help AMSEA take on new marine safety research projects.”

In a statement on behalf of the organization, AMSEA officials described Fay as “a passionate and skilled leader who will continue improving marine safety practices nationwide through a network of dedicated marine safety instructors and (U.S. Coast Guard)-accepted training programs.”

Matweyou, on behalf of the board of directors, also thanked Dzugan for his nearly four decades of service.

“Jerry has worked tirelessly, as an advocate and educator, to improve marine safety for commercial fishermen and other mariners. We are sincerely appreciative of his many years of dedication to this field and to AMSEA,” she said.