Patrick Finn
Senior Partner McKinsey & Company

Mr. Finn is a leader within the Firm’s Health Systems and Services Practice, where he serves management teams on a broad range of topics including corporate and business unit strategy, go-to-market strategy, risk management, organization, and operations.  Additionally, Mr. Finn sponsors the development of analytics to improve the commercial performance for private payors as well as McKinsey Actuarial.  Previously, Mr. Finn led the Firm’s Detroit Location. Mr. Finn is also active in the Michigan community where he has led pro-bono efforts focused on economic development, and serves on multiple advisory boards associated with the University of Michigan. Prior to joining McKinsey, Mr. Finn earned his Ph.D., MSE, and BSE in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan.


Brant Savander
Co-owner Maritime Research Associates

MSE 1990, Ph.D. 1997
Dr. Savander has been conducting research and working as a consulting naval architect for the past 27 years. He started his career with a bachelor’s degree in Maritime Systems Engineering from Texas A&M University and upon graduating, immediately came to the University of Michigan to pursue a master’s degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. After completing his master’s, he accepted a full-time position as an ocean engineer with Exxon Production Research Company, where he worked on the hydrodynamics of offshore platforms using experimental and numerical methods. After a few years in the industry, he returned to the University of Michigan to pursue a Ph.D. with a research focus on planing hull hydrodynamics, which positioned him for his current career.


Edward Comstock
BSE NAME 1970 & MSE Ship Hydrodynamics 1974
Ed is a charter Member of the NAME National Advisory Board and has served as a member of the NAME External Review Committee. Ed received the University of Michigan Alumni Merit and Rosenblatt Alumni Awards and was named Honorary Commodore Quarterdeck Honorary Society. Ed was also the initial Honorary Speaker for the Captain Ralph R. & Florence Peachman Lecture Series. Following a distinguished thirty-two year civilian career with the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and nine years with Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, Ed retired from full-time employment in January of 2015. Prior to joining NAVSEA in 1974 he worked six years with General Dynamics Electric Boat Division and General Electric Marine Turbine and Gear Department. Ed is currently serving as Vice Chair of the National Academies’ Marine Board and as the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) past-President and Alternate Functional Vice President for Education.


Greg Beers

President / Principal Naval Architect Bristol Harbor Group, Inc. & The Shearer Group, Inc.
Greg Beers, PE, is the President and a Principal Naval Architect at both Bristol Harbor Group, Inc. and The Shearer Group, Inc., naval architecture and marine engineering firms located in Rhode Island and Texas respectively. Greg is a Professional Engineer (PE) in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (formerly Ship Design Engineering), and has earned both a Master of Science in Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan. In addition to his extensive design and engineering experience, he previously worked for the National Undersea Research Center where he acquired both valuable “at sea” experience, and “real world” problem-solving capabilities. Greg is a past Chairman of the New England Section of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers and a member of the Society’s Scholarship Committee. In addition, Greg has guest lectured at the U.S Coast Guard Academy and Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and is active in the Propeller Club, The American Waterways Operators and is a member of several other industry and technical societies.

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Richard Birmingham

Professor of Small Craft Design, Newcastle University
Richard Birmingham is Professor of Small craft Design at Newcastle University in the UK. During his career he has held senior management and leadership positions in the marine field in academic, regulatory and professional organisations. These include 7 years as the head of the School of Marine Science and Technology at Newcastle University, and three years as a Member of the Board of the Marine Management Organisation. He is a Fellow and Vice President of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, and a Trustee of Blyth Tall Ship, a community regeneration charity. His research interests are focused on design for sustainability and safety, particularly in the context of working craft such as tugs, fishing vessels and lifeboats. He has been a frequent visitor to South East Asia, and it was under his leadership that Newcastle University’s School of Marine Science and Technology first established the branch campus at Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore. He is currently leading research into the development of sustainable fishing vessels for the artisanal fishing communities of Indonesia. He is motivated by a desire to facilitate genuine transformation for both individuals and communities, and strongly believes that universities should be agents of such transformation.

Steven Byle

Ben Capuco

Chief Naval Architect, Gibbs & Cox
Along with his undergraduate degree from The University of Michigan in NAME, Mr. Capuco also holds a Master of Science in Civil and Ocean Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Capuco has been with by Gibbs & Cox, Inc. since 1986, primarily involved in design and program management of Naval, Coast Guard, oceanographic and commercial vessels. Mr. Capuco is Chief Naval Architect where he has corporate lead for Gibbs & Cox naval architecture and marine engineering across all of Gibbs & Cox global portfolio including total ship design, systems engineering, R&D and technology transfer.

Joe Comer

Senior Principal, Ship Architects, Inc
Joe Comer has more than forty years of experience in the marine industry. He is a senior principal of the Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering design firm, Ship Architects, Inc. Joe graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. After graduation, Joe worked for Jeffboat, Bender Shipyard, Halter and Alabama Shipyard (at all but Jeffboat reaching the position of Vice President of Engineering) and now Ship Architects, Inc. A noted leader in initiating culture changes in shipyard planning and engineering to migrate from ‘boat building’ to “vessel manufacturing”; he has traveled extensively to foreign shipyards in Europe and Asia to learn and transfer ship manufacturing knowledge to US shipbuilding. Lead the development of engineering and planning processes focused on the tools needed to integrate the material, drawings and work orders with the interim products being built at each work station. Since 2006, he has been the senior principal for Ship Architects, Inc. where in addition to a talented in-house staff of about 20 engineers, he has created a virtual support team to handle any size job such as a research vessel, passenger sailing ship conversion, new vessel proposals, new vessel designs (most recently a 15K HP ATB Tug) and many production designs for a manufacturing style of construction. Now in his spare time, Joe is President of SNAME where he is a life fellow.

John Couch

Vice Chairman, C.M. Captial Corporation
Mr. Couch is Vice Chairman and formerly served as CEO of C.M. Capital Corporation a privately held investment management company in Palo Alto, CA. He previously served as Chairman, President and CEO of Alexander & Baldwin Inc., (ALEX). Earlier he served as President of Matson Navigation Company, then an ALEX subsidiary, and before that he served as Chief Marine Engineer of Ingalls Shipbuilding. He holds BS and MS degrees in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan as well as a MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He also was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Webb Institute and serves on Webb’s Board of Trustees.

Howard Fireman

ABS Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer
Howard Fireman, ABS Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, joined the organization in 2013. In his current role, Fireman is responsible for directing the organization’s product developments and overseeing all ABS Rule development initiatives. Fireman also serves as President of ABS Nautical Systems Fleet Management Software product line. Fireman joined ABS from the US Navy, where over 35 years he was recognized as a distinguished leader in the areas of ship design, hull form optimization, total ownership cost, total ship systems engineering, design integration, research and development, and fleet operational support. Fireman holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan. He also received a Master’s Degree in Technical Management from Johns Hopkins University

Luis Garza-Rios

Mechanics, Marine & Subsea Manager/ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company
Luis Garza-Rios is a University of Michigan graduate (BS Geo Sciences, BSE NAME, MSE NAME, MSE ME, PhD NAME). Following graduation, Luis joined the NAME Department as a Research Associate, performing research in the area of non-linear dynamics of moored vessels. Luis joined ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company in May 2000. Since then, he has held numerous positions there, ranging from engineering work to planning to management. Luis has gained significant experience in the areas of station-keeping, meteorology and oceanography, marine risers, pipelines, marine systems, offshore structural design, arctic and subsea engineering. Presently, Luis manages ExxonMobil’s marine and subsea integrity and reliability research program, focusing on improving design and integrity management of marine and subsea systems (including pipelines, risers and flexibles) and offshore structures. Luis also serves on the Advisory Board of the University of Houston’s Subsea Systems Institute.

Lianna Gordon

Associate, Average Adjusters Association
Lianna Gordon (BSE NA&ME ’11) joined the Advisory Board in 2013. Upon graduation, she was recruited as an Associate Marine Underwriter into the Graduates@SwissRe program, an 18 month intensive international training program which included an international assignments in Switzerland and Brazil. At the end of the program, she was offered a full-time position as Assistant Vice President with Swiss Re in New York as a Marine Underwriter for the Latin American region. In addition to underwriting, Lianna oversees initiatives, innovation and new products for her team and is currently one of the in-house experts on Hull risks. In 2015, Lianna achieved the title of Associate with the Average Adjusters Association (UK) for Marine claims adjusting.

Chris Hart
BlueFloat, Vice-President of the Americas
Hart is responsible for initiating, executing and delivering offshore wind opportunities in the United States of America, South and Central America and Canada. Prior to joining BlueFloat Energy, Chris worked for over 25 years in the military, government, engineering, academic, chemical and energy industries. Notably for his current role, he served as the founding President and Managing Director of Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, a 50/50 JV between Shell New Energy and EDF, led an ad hoc team inside ExxonMobil that played a role in securing the first, and only, capital investment in a renewable project in Exxon’s history and was the first Offshore Wind Manager at the US Department of Energy in 2010.  In addition to these offshore wind roles, Chris has also, most recently, led a $10B USD effort to reimagine electricity in the US State of Texas and worked with the Executive Council to turn around an 8,800 employee, $2B annual revenue specialty chemical company.  He started his professional career in 1996 when he joined the US Navy after high school.

Dr. Hart holds Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate of Philosophy degrees in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and University of Michigan (U of M) and Master’s in Business Administration from U of M. 

John Hatley

Nick Hunter
Senior Naval Architect/Marine Engineer, NETSCo, Inc.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in naval architecture and marine engineering from the University of Michigan, Nick has continued to work designing alternative marine fuel systems, onboard bulk cargo handling systems, and supporting general ship and system designs across many sectors of the commercial marine industry. Nick is a part of SNAME section and international-level leadership teams, a lifetime member of the Michigan Alumni Association, and a member of ASTM. As a registered PE, and with his current work with the ASTM F25 standards committee, SNAME (mt) editorial board and T&R committees, Nick is actively involved in the direction of the industry’s growth.

John Leonard

Samuel C. Collins Professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering
John J. Leonard is Samuel C. Collins Professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering in the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering. He is also a member of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). His research addresses the problems of navigation and mapping for autonomous mobile robots, developing techniques to handle uncertainty in sensing and actuation. He holds the degrees of B.S.E.E. in Electrical Engineering and Science from the University of Pennsylvania (1987) and D.Phil. in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford (1994). Prof. Leonard joined the MIT faculty in 1996, after five years as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and Research Scientist in the MIT Sea Grant Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Laboratory. He has served an associate editor of the IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering and of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation. He was team leader for MIT’s DARPA Urban Challenge team, which was one of eleven teams to qualify for the Urban Challenge final event and one of six teams to complete the race. He teaches MIT undergraduate subjects in Measurement and Instrumentation, Robotics Design, and Electronics. He is the recipient of an NSF Career Award (1998), an E.T.S. Walton Visitor Award from Science Foundation Ireland (2004), the King-Sun Fu Memorial Best Transactions on Robotics Paper Award (2006), and he is an IEEE Fellow (2014).

Brad Lorant
Manager, Project Engineering, General Dynamics NASSCO
After graduation, he joined General Dynamics NASSCO as a member of their Initial Design and Naval Architecture team. He worked in their Production Support group for six years, where he led engineering efforts for launches, inclines, sea trials, and delivery of 14 ships. Brad moved to Project Engineering in 2020, where he worked as a Senior Project Engineer for Advanced Programs and Business Development before being promoted to Manager, Project Engineering in 2022. He also graduated with a Master’s of Business Administration from the Michigan Ross School of Business in December, 2022. Brad has been an active SNAME member since 2011. He served as the Southwest Section Chairman from 2016-2018, and is currently the Junior Regional Vice President for the Pacific Region.

Tom Mackey
Senior Consultant Hyde Marine, Inc.
Thomas P. Mackey is the former owner and Chairman of Hyde Marine and is currently a Senior Consultant located in Cleveland, Ohio. He received BSE and MSE degrees in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan and is a charter member of the NAME Advisory Board. He is a Life Fellow, Honorary Member and Honorary Vice President of SNAME and the 2005 Land Medalist. He was Chairman of the Control Committee and author of the Hull Machinery Chapter of the SNAME publication, “Marine Engineering” in 1992 and is the Control Committee chair for a new 4th Edition currently underway. He is also a Fellow and Honorary Vice President of the Institute of Marine Engineering Science & Technology (IMarEST) and a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA). He is currently Co-Chair of the IMarEST Ballast Water Expert Group and an IMarEST delegate to IMO.

Sai Majhi
Marine Engineering Manager, ExxonMobil

Sai Majhi is a Marine Engineering Manager with one of the world’s leading Energy companies, ExxonMobil. He has over 18 yrs. experience across engineering, construction and operations in Offshore Energy, Marine and Shipbuilding industries. He holds an MSE degree in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan where he was a recipient of the Rackham Graduate Engineering Fellowship and a BE degree in Marine Engineering from the University of Madras where he was a recipient of the University Topper Gold Medal award.

He has published numerous award-winning papers which have since become key references in industry-standard regulatory codes as well as international government-sponsored studies. These include specific American Petroleum Institute’s (API) offshore oil and gas industry recommended practice updates and studies sponsored by U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) as well as European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program

James Miller

James H. Miller earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1979 from Worcester
Polytechnic Institute, his M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1981 from Stanford
University, and his Doctor of Science in Oceanographic Engineering in 1987 from
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He
was on the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the
Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California from 1987 through 1995. Since 1995
he has been on the faculty of the Department of Ocean Engineering at the University of
Rhode Island where he holds the rank of Professor and Chair of the Department of Ocean
Engineering. He also holds a joint appointment in the URI Graduate School of
Oceanography. He was a Department Head and Deputy Chief Scientist of the NATO
Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation in La Spezia, Italy from 2011-2013
where he was responsible for NATO’s applied research efforts in underwater acoustics,
bistatic sonar, and unmanned underwater vehicles. Dr. Miller has been funded
continuously by the Office of Naval Research since 1990 and conducts research in the
fields of underwater acoustics. Dr. Miller is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of
America and served as ASA’s President in 2013-2014. He is the co-author of more than
200 publications, a co-inventor on 5 patents, a PI on 44 extramural research grants and
contracts, and served as advisor to 60 graduate theses and dissertations.

Mike Parsons

Douglas Pearlson

Douglas Pearlson

Chairman and CEO, Pearlson Shiplife Corporation
Douglas Perlson is a member of the Society of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineers and a former member of the Sea Foundation of the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine Sciences. He serves on the Dry Dock Standards Committee of the Coasts, Oceans, Ports, and Rivers Institute (COPRI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers and is a member of Lloyd’s Register Technical Sub Committee for Lifting Appliances.

Bruce Rosenblatt
President at Bruce S. Rosenblatt & Associates, LLC

Rick Spaulding

Vice President, Central Planning and Process Excellence, Ingalls Shipbuilding
Rick Spaulding is vice president, Central Planning and Process Excellence, for Ingalls Shipbuilding. In this role Rick is responsible for all planning, scheduling and process improvement activities at Ingalls. This includes Plan and schedule development for all product lines, Build strategy development, production control, production. Rick joined the company immediately after graduating from the University of Michigan in 1983. He has been a member of the NAME Advisory Board since 2008. He has been a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) since 1982, has been Chair of the SNAME Ship Production Committee since 2001 and is a member of the Executive Control Board of the National Shipbuilding Research Program.

Xin Sun
Associate Laboratory Director of the Energy Science and Technology Directorate, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Dr. Sun received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1995. She was recently the Division Director for the Energy and Transportation Science Division at ORNL. Prior to joining ORNL, Dr. Sun was a Laboratory Fellow and Technical Group Leader for Computational Engineering at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.  She worked at Edison Welding Institute and Battelle prior to joining PNNL in 2004. 

Dr. Sun is well known for applying the fundamental mechanics and physics principles in developing multi-scale characterization and simulation tools to accelerate the development to deployment cycles of lightweight metals and advanced energy systems. She is an international authority in Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME), and has led a multitude of research initiatives with ICME principle in the areas of carbon capture simulation, advanced high strength steel development, lightweight metals (aluminum and magnesium) manufacturing process optimization and performance simulations, solid oxide fuel cell design and analyses, advanced laminated and glass/ceramic armor materials development, joining and forming of advanced lightweight materials for automotive and heavy vehicle applications. 

Ronald Yeung

Distinguished Professor & ABS Endowed Chair University of California at Berkeley
Long-time friend and colleague of Michigan’s NAME Department, Ronald W. Yeung (Ph.D. 1973, UC Berkeley) is a distinguished professor at UC Berkeley. He holds the Inaugural ABS Endowed Chair in Ocean Engineering and was a Fulbright-Hayes Senior Scholar in Australia (Adelaide, 1981) and a von-Humboldt Distinguished US Scientist in Germany (Hamburg, 1988, Duisburg, 1998). Recipient of many prestigious awards, Professor Yeung was the 2002-03 Georg Weinblum Lecturer, sponsored by the German Schiffbautechnische Gesellschaft and the U.S. Naval Studies Board, the SNAME Kenneth Davidson Gold Medalist for Outstanding Scientific Accomplishments (2004), the 2008 “Biennial International Researcher” of The Brazilian Society of Marine Engineers (SOBENA). In 2010, he was conferred an honorary professorship by Harbin Engineering University of China. Author of over 180 publications in a broad range of marine-mechanics subjects, he mentored more than one hundred graduates, including 26 Ph.D.’s and 8 Post-docs. In OMAE-2012, a special four-day honoring Symposium on Offshore and Ship Hydrodynamics was held in appreciation of his research and mentorship contributions. He received the 2016 OOAE/ASME Lifetime Achievement Award “In grateful recognition of significant lifetime contribution to hydromechanics and ocean engineering of a distinguished scholar.” He has served on advisory boards of The National Academies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Delft University of Technology.

Douglas (Zeliang) Xu
Senior Engineer, American Bureau of Shipping

Since joining ABS in 2014, Zeliang has taken on different roles in research and development, ranging from CFD, hull form optimization, wind propulsion research, system simulation, etc. Zeliang is currently working in the ABS digital class department, and his role focuses on leveraging the modern digital tools to enhance the core business function in ABS. Zeliang received his Bachelor’s degree in Ocean engineering from Tianjin University, China in 2012, and his Master’s degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from University of Michigan in 2013.