2018 – 2019 Board of Governors Candidate Bios

Todd Allen–NAvtor

Todd Allen is the Regional Manager of NAVTOR USA Inc.  NAVTOR is company headquartered in Egersund, Norway.  They are a leading force in the provision of innovative e-Navigation solutions, and a total supplier of Navigational products and services for the maritime sector.  Thousands of ships and hundreds of shipping companies from all over the world use NAVTOR’s tools and services for their navigational needs.  Before be appointed Regional Manager of NAVTOR USA Inc in August 2017, Todd worked for the head office in Norway.  He has a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business from Oregon State University.  He is married with 3 children and lives in Bainbridge Island, WA. 

Brian johnson-dh environmental, Inc.

Brian has over eighteen years of experience in environmental, health and safety (EHS) program development and
environmental project management. His work experience includes managing emergency response operations, conducting hazardous building materials surveys as an AHERA certified building inspector, providing environmental training, environmental sampling and hazardous waste operations, and EHS program auditing. Project experience ranges from over-water environmental response to upland responses including rail car incidents and energy sector operations.

Brian is an AHERA Building Inspector, an OSHA Authorized Maritime Trainer as well as an OSHA Authorized Construction Safety Trainer under OSHA’s Outreach Training Program. Brian is a talented and energetic trainer who has taught hundreds of EHS courses to a diverse group of students. Examples of training courses taught include: 8, 24 and 40-Hr HAZWOPER, HAZWOPER Supervisor, OSHA 10-Hr Construction Safety, OSHA Maritime Safety, Ammonia Safety Training, Confined Space and GHS/HAZCOM Standards.

Katie Knifong–Trident seafoods


doug rusell–uw School of oceanography

Doug served in the US Coast Guard for 25 years including sailing on Seattle-based icebreakers POLAR SEA and HEALY.  Upon his retirement from the service he worked for the Washington State Ferries for three and half years including as the Chief Naval Architect.  Since, mid-2010 Doug has been the Manager of Marine Operations for the UW School of Oceanography managing all aspects of operating research vessels THOMAS G THOMPSON, CLIFFORD A BARNES and the recently acquired RACHEL CARSON.  Doug has been selected as the prospective Executive Secretary for the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS).  UW will assume the role as host for the UNOLS Office starting in the spring of 2019 coordinating the utilization, scheduling, and operation of the U.S. Academic Research Fleet. 


ken saunderson–saunderson marketing group

A passion to promote the maritime industry and the important contribution it makes to our community and region. That’s why Ken got involved with the Seattle Propeller Club more than 20 years ago.

Ken currently serves on the Club Board and is the Program Coordinator, arranging all membership meeting speakers and programs. Ken coordinates the annual Economic Forecast Breakfast at Pacific Marine Expo, the Seattle Maritime Festival, and the Seattle Maritime 101, and Seafood 101 public education campaigns for the Club. Ken also has been actively involved in establishing the Club’s new Corporate Membership Plan and by-laws updates. Finally, he produced for the Club the International Propeller Club Convention when it was held in Seattle.

In addition to the Seattle Propeller Club, Ken is actively involved with the North Seattle Industrial Association, the Fremont Chamber of Commerce and the Youth Maritime Collaborative workforce development campaign.

Ken has owned his advertising agency in Seattle for more than 30 years and has worked with a number of industry clients including the International WorkBoat Show, Pacific Marine Expo, Port of Seattle, Port of Skagit, Port of Olympia, Seattle Maritime Academy, Washington Maritime, the Northwest Marine Center of Excellence at Skagit Valley College, Glosten, Global Diving and others. His business philosophy is to create measurable marketing results, have a lot of fun and wear as few ties and suits as possible.

Following eight years as the marketing director for the Downtown Seattle Association, he founded krs services in 1986. In 1992, he began collaborating on projects with Michael Hamilton and they formed Hamilton/Saunderson in 1998. Michael retired from Hamilton/Saunderson in 2011 and the new Saunderson Marketing Group was formed.

Ken is a graduate of the University of Washington, where he earned Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors. He enjoys playing music (guitar, mandolin and uke), riding his bike (he’s done the Seattle to Portland ride) and cooking on his 1,000-pound BBQ smoker.

kristen sonon-western towboat

Kristin Sonon is the co-owners of Western Towboat Company alongside her father Bob Shrewsbury II and her two brothers Russell and Ross Shrewsbury. While Kristin is not new to the maritime industry, she rejoined the family business in 2015 after working in advertising in New York City for several years. Currently Kristin wears many hats at Western Towboat, including facilitating the company’s accounts receivables, filing and securing customs documentation and managing office operations. Outside of Western Towboat Company Kristin is actively involved in WISTA’s Seattle chapter, the Junior League of Seattle, and the Woodland Park Zoo’s Network for Nature where she serves on the leadership council. She enjoys running marathons, Soulcycle and spending time with her husband and three young children.  

jim wheat-captain's nautical

Jim Wheat is a co-owner of Captains Nautical Supplies in Ballard. As you know Captains is a 120 year old Seattle Nautical business, and has been a supporter of the Propeller Club through history. Since purchasing Captains 3 years ago, I have been searching for a vehicle to help to contribute to the maritime industry here in Seattle. I am a former board member of The Center for Wooden Boats, and a life long sailor (6 Metres) and a 30 year floatplane pilot. I have a deep background in retail and wholesale and feel that I could make a meaningful contribution to the Propeller Club. I would be honored to part of such a wonderful organization.