Accomplishments & Awards
Our congratulations and appreciation to our outstanding Alaska DOT&PF employees who have been recognized for their exceptional efforts in helping make our state a better place to live.
May 16, 2013
ADOT&PF Announces Certification Recipients from American Association of Airport Executives
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) announces that these state employees have earned the Certified Member (C.M.) designation from the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE).
May 6, 2013
The National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) recognized the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) for three communication products in 2012
The NAGC Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards is an international program that acknowledges superior government communication. ADOT&PF received the following awards.
2013 Governor’s Denali Peak Performance Award Winners and Honorable Mentions
The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has some awesome employees. Thirty-six have been nominated by their peers for recognition under the Governor’s Denali Peak Performance Award program. Thank you and congratulations to each of these exceptional employees for their outstanding service and teamwork. Thank you too to their colleagues for taking the time and energy to nominate and recognize their accomplishments. To see the nominees, winners, and honorable mentions, visit the DOT&PF Denali Awarda website or visit the main Denali Awards website.
October 2, 2012
DOT&PF’s Jennifer Anderson Awarded FHWA Public Service Award
Two years of Jennifer Anderson’s (formerly Jennifer Eason) hard work were rewarded last month when she received the Federal Highway Administrator’s (FHWA) Public Service Award. Anderson, a transportation planner for the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF), earned the honor for her contributions updating the Traffic Monitoring Guide (TMG).
August 28, 2012
DOT&PF’s Amanda Holland to Chair AASHTO Subcommittee
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) named Amanda Holland chair of its Subcommittee on Personnel and Human Resources (ASHR). Holland has served as division operations manager at the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) since 2010.
June 26, 2012
Alaska DOT&PF employees receive Professional Engineer licenses
Three Fairbanks employees from Northern Region DOT&PF recently received their Alaska Professional Engineer license. These individuals were qualified by education, experience and examination, and are bound by a strict code of ethics. The P.E. designation grants the authority to sign and seal or “stamp” engineering documents, thus taking legal responsibility for that document. We are proud of their accomplishments and the additional credentials to our departments.
June 7, 2012
DOT&PF Airport Employees Receive Certification from American Association of Airport Executives
The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is pleased to announce the following airport managers and employees earned the Certified Member designation from the American Association of Airport Executives: Penny Adler, Northern Region; Linda Bustamante, Statewide Aviation; Judy Chapman, Central Region; Eland Conway, Anchorage International; Jessica Della Croce, Statewide Aviation; Jeff Doerning, Cold Bay Airport; Scott Eastaugh, Wrangell Airport; Becky Iles, Statewide Aviation; Teri Lindseth, Anchorage International; Marc Luiken, DOT&PF Commissioner; Tim Mearig, Anchorage International; William Moss, Anchorage International; Greg Patz, Southeast Region; Tonia Winkler, Anchorage International; and Leah Henderson with DOWL HKM.
“I congratulate and applaud our airport managers and staff as they advance our department’s competency as aviation professionals and their continued pursuit of excellence in airport management,” said Deputy Commissioner of Aviation Steve Hatter.
To earn this designation, candidates must demonstrate an in-depth knowledge in a wide range of airport related topics including management, Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration regulatory requirements, property management, and environmental regulations.
May 25, 2012
Airport Police and Fire Participate in Torch Run for Special Olympics
The Airport Police and Fire Department fielded a team of ten members to participate in the Alaska Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics held on Saturday, May 19, 2012. The team, named the Airport Flyers, included members of the Police and Fire Department and their friends and family, who collected $394 to support Special Olympics in Alaska.
“We had a great time supporting the community and participating in this year’s event!” said Deputy Chief Dave Schulling, who has participated in this event for the past two years. “Our officers and their families enjoy the opportunity to be active in the community and support such a great cause.”
May 7, 2012
John Johansen Receives American Association of Airport Executives Accreditation
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is pleased to announce that John Johansen, Manager of Engineering, Environmental and Planning at ANC, recently completed the Accredited Airport Executive Program through the American Association of Airport Executives.
Candidates are required to meet a number of pre-requisites to earn this designation, and complete a three phase process. Each phase is designed to test one’s knowledge, comprehension and understanding of aviation management and requires a commitment, time and knowledge to successfully complete the rigorous program.
May 3, 2012
Jesse Vanderzanden, Melissa Osborn, and Jeremy Worrall Receive American Association of Airport Executives Accreditation
The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) is pleased to announce the following employees earned the designation Accredited Airport Executive (A.A.E.) from the American Association of Airport Executives: Jesse Vanderzanden, Fairbanks International Airport Manager, and Melissa Osborn, Chief of Operations for Fairbanks International Airport; and Jeremy Worrall, Maintenance & Operations Superintendant for DOT&PF Northern Region.
2012 Governor’s Denali Peak Performance Award Winners and Honorable Mentions
The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has some awesome employees. Twenty-five have been nominated by their peers for recognition under the Governor’s Denali Peak Performance Award program. Thank you and congratulations to each of these exceptional employees for their outstanding service and teamwork. Thank you too to their colleagues for taking the time and energy to nominate and recognize their accomplishments.
[ visit website ]
February 2, 2012
Joanna Reed Joining ATSIP
Joanna Reed, Traffic Records Research Analyst with the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facility’s (ADOT&PF) Alaska Highway Safety Office will join the Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP) Executive Board in October. It is an honor for ADOT&PF to have Joanna recognized and nominated to such a prestigious group of National Traffic Records professionals. Reed says, “I look forward to serving Alaska, and the Nation, well in this new capacity.” ADOT&PF holds excellence as one of its core values and Joanna is a perfect example of what that means.
February 2, 2012
Meadow Bailey Receives Accredited Public Relations Credential
Meadow Bailey, public information officer with the Northern Region Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, has received the Accredited Public Relations credential through the Public Relations Society of America. Bailey is one of only 22 in Alaska with the APR distinction and among approximately 5,000 worldwide. The accreditation examination process tests 10 groupings of competencies and is administered by a consortium of nine leading public relations organizations.
January 18, 2012
Tim Doggett Recognized as 2011 Employee of the Year for Southeast Region DOT&PF
The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Southeast Region has selected Tim Doggett as this year’s Employee of the Year.
Tim is a senior engineer for the design of marine facilities for Southeast Region. Since 2005, Tim has been an integral part of the marine design section at Southeast Region and provides a lead engineering role in the planning, design and construction of marine facilities – primarily on AMHS ferry terminal projects. Tim has worked on projects at nearly all the Southeast and Southcentral ferry terminal locations. During the past year, Tim completed design work on new ferry terminal mooring structures, pile supported docks and vehicle transfer bridges in Annette Bay (Metlakatla), Angoon, Hoonah and Pelican. He was instrumental in designing a major repair project this fall for the Cordova Ferry Terminal in which the float system was damaged by adverse weather conditions and was in imminent danger of loss of property. Tim routinely develops unique and cost effective solutions in every aspect of his work and is always willing to offer his time and expertise to help others. The department is truly enhanced by Tim’s dedication and contributions, and his selection as Employee of the Year is well deserved!
Also honored as “Outstanding Employees” for Southeast Region are:
- Mike Crabb — Representing Support Services, Project Control, Planning, Contracts, Director’s Office, and Facilities
- John Barnett – Representing PreConstruction, Design & Engineering Services
- Matthew Boron – Representing Maintenance & Operations
- John Kajdan – Representing Construction
Southeast Region employee’s given a “Certificate of Commendation” are:
- Lynette Campbell — Aviation Leasing
- Jan Bradford — Construction
- Amy Menz — Construction
- Don Newell — Construction
- Rodney Anderson — Maintenance & Operations
- Anthony Latzel — Maintenance & Operations
- Charles Horton — Maintenance & Operations
- Sherri Morino — Director’s Office
- Steve Ripley — Facilities
- Shelia Good — Right -of-Way
- Keith Karpstein — PreConstruction
- Lana Larson — PreConstruction
- Mitch McDonald — PreConstruction
- Martin Peters — PreConstruction
- Tim Reed — Right-of- Way
- Chuck Tripp — PreConstruction
November 28, 2011
29 Year Airport Employee Honored with Awards
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is proud to announce that Sompan “Nit” Reinhardt, Environmental Services Foreman at the Airport, recently received two prestigious awards.
The YWCA Anchorage selected Ms. Reinhardt from approximately 50 nominees as one of ten 2011 Women of Achievement. Ms. Reinhardt is described as a “one person ambassador“ by Hilary Morgan, Executive Director of the YWCA. Through the Asian Alaskan Cultural Center, and Wat Dhamma Bhavana Buddhist Center, she assists immigrants in finding housing, employment, and acculturating into the community.
October 26, 2011
ADOT&PF Congratulates Graduates!
Northern Region ADOT&PF celebrates three graduates who pursued excellence through higher education. Two of the recent graduates, Jeff Russell and Andrew Schultz were among the first cohorts to receive a graduate certificate in construction management.
The graduate certificate in construction management is program supported by ADOT&PF, the University of Alaska and industry professionals. The program is designed to advance the managerial skills and decision-making abilities of engineers and other professionals in the construction industry.
October 26, 2011
Officer Rogers Recognized by Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance
ADOT&PF Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer Michael Rogers was recently recognized by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) at the 2011 North American Inspectors Championship (NAIC) with a team award for vehicle inspections. Officer Rogers has worked with ADOT&PF, Division of Measurement Standards & Commercial Vehicle Enforcement as a Commercial Vehicle Officer for over nine years, he is currently assigned to the Alaska State Trooper Bureau of Highway Patrol in Palmer.
The CVSA is an international not-for-profit organization comprised of motor carrier safety officers and industry representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Each year, CVSA recognized the best commercial vehicle inspectors by inviting member jurisdictions throughout North America to participate in the NAIC.
October 10, 2011
Wassel Receives NWAAAE Aviation Excellence Award
The Northwest Chapter of the American Association of Aviation Executives awarded the 2011 NWAAAE Aviation Excellence Award to Trudy Wassel, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (TSAIA) Business Manager. Trudy was nominated for the award by Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner of Aviation Steve Hatter. TSAIA Airport Manager John Parrott accepted the award on Trudy’s behalf at the NWAAAE 2011 Annual Conference, held September 25-27 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The “Aviation Excellence Award” is intended to recognize those airport management professionals, other than the person having primary responsibility for the airport, that have gone out of their way and given substantial extra effort to ensure the promotion, operations, maintenance or development of aviation and/or the airport. The recipient should be a person of exceptional qualities who may perform management, supervisory, operational, engineering, planning or maintenance functions in the second or other level of the airport organization.
May 10, 2011
Officers Receive Awards
Pat Kemp, deputy commissioner of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities presented awards to police officers Phil McBroom, of North Pole; Thomas Gaulke of Anchorage; Allen Brandt and Sergeant Gary Yamamoto of Fairbanks; for their dedicated enforcement of impaired driving and primary seat belt laws.
Soldotna police department officer Marvin Towell received an Award of Appreciation for his years of service; including writing more than 1,500 seatbelt citations without one public complaint over the past three years.
May 9, 2011
DOT&PF Airport Employees and Staff Receive American Association of Airport Executives Certification
The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is pleased to announce the following airport managers and staff earned the Certified Member designation from the American Association of Airport Executives: Stephen Brunanski, Fairbanks International; Dan Buchholz, Fairbanks International; Rebecca Cronkhite, Statewide Aviation; Dave Cummings, Bethel Airport; Steve Hatter, Deputy Commissioner of Aviation; Stephen Henry, Fairbanks International; Debra Herrick, Anchorage International; Tom Hubble, Anchorage International; Paul Khera, Southeast Region; Bob Madden, Nome Airport; Melissa Osborn, Fairbanks International; Steve Parry, Anchorage Airport; Chris Pike, Bethel Airport; Javier Robinson, Anchorage Airport; Rich Sewell, Statewide Aviation; Angela Spear, Fairbanks International; Dustin Tupper, Deadhorse Airport; Jeremy Worrall, Northern Region.
April 13, 2011
DOT&PF Employees Receive Honorable Mentions in the Governor’s Denali Peak Performance Awards
Out of hundreds of nominations DOT&PF’s Kristine Benson receives an Honorable Mention for Exceptional Performance and the Taylor Highway Flood Response Team receives an Honorable Mention for Crisis Responder Team.
We say we have some of the best employees in the state, and this week others agreed with us! Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) employees were named with Honorable Mentions in the Governor’s Denali Peak Performance Awards.
The Governor’s Denali Peak Performance Award is an annual program that recognizes and rewards individuals and teams for excellence in service to the State of Alaska Executive Branch and the citizens of Alaska.
“I am so proud of these employees,” said Marc Luiken, DOT&PF Commissioner.; “Out of hundreds of nominations—there were 22 nominations from DOT&PF alone—Kristine Benson and the Taylor Highway Flood Response Team were recognized by coworkers for their hard work, outstanding performance and service to the state of Alaska. They are great examples of the outstanding people throughout our organization and they represent DOT&PF very well!”
DOT&PF employees who received Honorable Mentions in the Governor’s Denali Peak Performance Awards are:
- Kristine Benson, Exceptional Performance—Honorable Mention
In her more than 20 years of service to Alaska as a DOT&PF employee Kris demonstrated unparalleled initiative in working to ensure that DOT&PF strives for environmental compliance and good environmental stewardship. Since 2004 Kris has acted as facilitator of a DOT&PF task force dedicated to stormwater compliance. Those innovative efforts led to the establishment of the multi-agency Alaska Stormwater Compliance Task Force. Kris also worked to develop training for Wetlands and Stormwater compliance and she pioneered a system for tracking required forms to comply with Stormwater and Clean Water regulations. Her work helped DOT&PF to become a leader in environmental compliance and stewardship.
- Taylor Highway Flood Response Team, Crisis Responder Team—Honorable Mention
Twenty-eight DOT&PF employees are recognized for their response in 2010 to damage on the Taylor Highway. In July, a strong weather system resulted in unusually heavy rainfall and record flooding in the Fourtymile River Basin. The communities of Chicken and Eagle were impacted and a 100-mile section of the Taylor Highway was damaged by washouts, erosion and landslides. Crews from DOT&PF Maintenance & Operations and Construction sections worked long days in primitive conditions to repair the damaged road.
Employees recognized for their contribution to the Taylor Highway Flood Response are: John Burns, Dana Ulvi, Charles House, David Likins, Gary Antrim, Daniel Helmer, Wade Harbison, Steve Gowins, Ted Roach, John Pfeffer, Tom Kent, Shawn Alexander, Dixie Thompson, John Chamberlain, Kyle Heinchon, Kyungyun Chi, Roy Sayman, Clyde Kelso, Randy Core, Heidi Schaefer, Frank Brassart, Jaclyn Elmes, Garrett Thatcher, Sid Richards, Boyd Brownfield, Jeff Currey, Jeff Stutzke, Brett Nelson
Award Winners and Honorable Mentions will be recognized at the Governor’s Denali Peak Performance award ceremony at Centennial Hall in Juneau on May 12, 2011 at 3:00 p.m.
For a complete list of award winners visit: doa.alaska.gov/dop/denaliAwards/winners2011/
Dec. 22, 2010
Tyson Named DOT&PF Southeast Region Employee of the Year
(JUNEAU, Alaska) – The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Southeast Region has selected Missy Tyson as this year’s employee of the year.
Tyson is the foreman at the Skagway Maintenance and Operations Station where she is responsible for maintaining state roads including a border crossing and an airport which is open throughout the year.
“Missy is also responsible for snow removal on the Klondike Highway which presents difficult challenges between September and March,” said Gary Franzen, the region’s chief of maintenance and operations.
The Klondike Highway rises from sea level to an elevation of 3,292 feet in 15 miles.
Prior to taking the supervisor’s position in Skagway, Tyson served on the maintenance and operations team in Juneau.
Nov. 18, 2010
Taku Skipper Accepts Lifesaving Award Before 800 in New York City
(JUNEAU, Alaska) – Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) Capt. Thomas Moore accepted the Honored Seafarer Award on behalf of the ship, AMHS and the State of Alaska Nov. 13 during the Admiral of the Ocean Sea award ceremony in New York City.
AMHS and the Taku crew were honored for a rescue Taku’s crew performed Oct. 13, 2009. The 352-foot Taku departed Juneau and was sailing to Hoonah when a call for help came over the ship’s radio. The Alaskan Pride's captain, Mike Worthington of Kake, reported an engine room fire growing out of control. Worthington and Darren Manual of Spokane, Wash., broadcast a mayday call and abandoned the 55-foot boat for a life raft. Taku diverted course in 35-knot winds and 10-foot seas to pull the uninjured fishers to safety.
May 17, 2010
Melissa Osborn, Fairbanks International Airport Operations Officer, Earns Prestigious Certification
(FAIRBANKS, Alaska) — Fairbanks International Airport announces that Melissa Osborn, Airport Operations Officer, successfully completed the Airport Certified Employee (ACE) program for operations personnel. Melissa is the first and only Fairbanks International Airport (FAI) employee to have ever successfully attained ACE certification.
ACE Operations is a comprehensive certification program sponsored by the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). Geared toward public use airports such as FAI, ACE teaches Federal Aviation Administration Part 139 curriculum designed to educate and challenge airport personnel with airfield operations responsibilities.Certification requires successful passage of a grueling 100 question written final exam.
May 11, 2010
Airport Employees Receive American Association of Airport Executives Certification
|Fairbanks International Airport Manager Jesse VanderZanden.||Ted Stevens Anchorage Intl. Airport Engineering, Environmental and Planning Manager John Johansen.|
(JUNEAU, Alaska) — Jesse VanderZanden, Fairbanks International Airport manager, and John Johansen, Engineering, Environmental and Planning Manager at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, recently earned the Certified Member designation from the American Association of Airport Executives.
To earn this designation, candidates must demonstrate an in depth knowledge in a wide range of airport-related topics including management, Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration regulatory requirements, property management and environmental regulations.
February 17, 2009
DOT&PF employee honored with international award
(FAIRBANKS, Alaska) – Sam Lamont, an environmental liaison with the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF), has won the 2009 Educational Achievement Award from the International Erosion Control Association (IECA).
Lamont was honored Tuesday during the annual IECA conference in Reno, Nev. The award is presented annually to an outstanding individual who has demonstrated a commitment to excellence in natural resource conservation and environmental protection through delivery of effective erosion and sediment control education.
“DOT&PF is a stronger organization due to the expertise of Sam Lamont,” said Steve Titus, DOT&PF Northern Region Director. “He is dedicated to environmental issues and excellence in construction.”
In 2008, Lamont became the first Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC) at DOT&PF and one of nine CPESC’s in Alaska. As a CPESC, Lamont designs and evaluates Storm Water Pollution and Prevention Plans (SWPPP), implements erosion and sediment control best management practices, and shares his advanced experience, knowledge and expertise with DOT&PF Design and Construction staff.
Lamont is the Alaska board member for the IECA and a valued asset to DOT&PF’s mandate towards environmental compliance.
November 10, 2008
Chenega skipper accepts lifesaving award before 800 in New York City
(JUNEAU, Alaska) - Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) Capt. Samuel Daniels accepted the Honored Seafarer Award on behalf of the ship, AMHS and the State of Alaska Friday night during the Admiral of the Ocean Sea award dinner ceremony in New York City.
AMHS and the Chenega crew were honored for the rescue Chenega’s crew performed June 8 after they plucked two men and a boy out of the frigid waters of Prince William Sound near Southcentral Alaska.
Chenega’s Fast Rescue Boat (FRB) crew sped to the boaters who were clinging to debris to remain afloat. Chenega’s crew rescued 28-year-old Luke Renner of Homer and Andy Renner, 31, and his eight-year-old son Owen, both of Palmer, on that Alaska summer day. Their 22-foot pleasure boat reportedly sank after the vessel’s bow was struck by several waves.
About 800 people attended the ceremony including U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Thad W. Allen.
May 28, 2008
Jack Beedle retires after 31 years with Alaska DOT&PF
(JUNEAU, Alaska) - An exuberant Jack Beedle (right) of DOT&PF's Southeast Region (SER) reacts after the director, Mal Menzies, presents him with a travel coffee mug, one of many gifts Beedle received during his retirement luncheon outside SER May 28. Beedle, an engineer and architect, served DOT&PF for more than 31 years.
February 5, 2008
Southeast Region selects employee of the year, recognizes others
The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) Southeast Region (SER) recently selected Bern Savikko as its 2007 Employee of the Year.
Savikko, an Alaska-registered professional engineer, works primarily in the marine engineering field with the Design Engineering staff.
Born and raised in Douglas, Alaska, Savikko initially studied biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks before switching programs to Washington State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering.
Savikko began his DOT&PF career in the mailroom while a college intern. Following graduation, he entered the Engineer-In-Training (EIT) program and worked in DOT’s Central and Southeast Regions. His exposure to marine design during his rotation with the Division of Water and Harbors convinced him that he had chosen the right field. In 1982, Savikko joined the marine division as an entry level engineer and progressed to the division’s engineering design manager position.
Savikko was nominated by his peers and selected employee of the year by his supervisors for his outstanding achievements.
“Bern’s been a principal designer of shore facilities for the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) and has designed a myriad of structures such as vehicle transfer bridges, bridge lifts, pontoon systems, mooring dolphins, fender floats and pedestrian gangway,” said Mal Menzies, Director, Southeast Region. “Additionally, Bern has designed harbor and seaplane facilities throughout Alaska.”
During his 28-year DOT&PF career, Savikko designed many innovative solutions that included safely transferring vehicles and passengers to and from various AMHS ferries in Alaska’s extreme tide ranges.
“He’s an invaluable resource of information about shore facilities at the ferry’s 32 ports of call,” Menzies said. “Bern has an amazing ability to illustrate intricate problems with simple and clear drawings, and he promotes a cooperative work environment among his staff – making him greatly respected by his peers.”
Other nominated staff members included James Lowell, P.E., a special projects engineering manager for the Construction Division; Timothy Doggett, P.E., a technical design engineer in the Marine Design section of the Preconstruction Division; Prince of Wales Island Maintenance and Operations (M&O) Foreman, Timothy Lacour who’s based in Klawock. Lacour was also named Citizen of the Year by the Prince of Wales Chamber of Commerce. Janelle White, EIT, MBA, of the Project Control Section, for overseeing program and project budgets.
Those receiving certificates of commendation from the SER were; Jonathan Griffin of the Contracts Section; Pat Harmon, Heidi Mercure, and John Scott of Construction Division; Tim Reed of the Right of Way section; James Nelson, Jr. of M&O, Mary Kay Havens, Chad Howard P.E, Jonathan Weaver; Charles Tripp P.E, and Benjamin White of the Preconstruction and Design section. Also receiving certificates were Latina Bergam of Wrangell and Mandi Bolshakoff of Ketchikan both in the Construction Section.
January 18, 2008
Captain Philip Taylor and the crew of the M/V Columbia
Alaska Marine Highway System Capt. Philip Taylor and the ferry Columbia crew were honored by the Coast Guard in an award ceremony at the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) headquarters.
Rear Admiral Arthur E. Brooks presented Capt. Taylor and his crew with the Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award (MPSA) for assisting in rescuing passengers from the cruise ship Empress of the North May 14, 2007.
The MPSA is the second highest award the Coast Guard presents for unusual courage in the advancement of Coast Guard missions.
“The efforts of Captain Taylor and Columbia’s crew will long serve as an example of true selflessness and heroism to many people for years to come,” said Leo von Scheben, Commissioner, DOT&PF.
Shortly after midnight on May 14, the Empress of the North grounded near Rocky Island Light in Southeast Alaska with 281 passengers and crew aboard.
The motor vessel Columbia responded to a Coast Guard Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and diverted from their original destination. Once on scene with the cruise ship, Columbia’s crew volunteered to serve as a host platform for the 252 passengers that had been already evacuated from the grounded cruise ship.
The Columbia teamed with the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Liberty and four other vessels to safely transport the 252 passengers between the Empress of the North and the Columbia. Captain Taylor and his crew were instrumental to the overall success of the rescue effort, one of the largest in Alaska history. None of the passengers were injured during the rescue evolution.