Buddy Custard

Buddy Custard
President / CEO

Buddy Custard is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Alaska Maritime Prevention & Response Network. He possess extensive knowledge and expertise working maritime operations from both the public and private sectors, including serving with the U.S. Coast Guard for over 30 years attaining the rank of Captain and as an executive for an oil exploration and production company operating in the U.S. Arctic Outer Continental Shelf for over 3 years.
Buddy holds broad knowledge on Arctic and Alaska maritime issues from both the industry’s and government’s perspective, ranging from search and rescue, oil spill prevention and response, offshore oil and gas exploration, law enforcement, fisheries management, domain awareness, and the significant challenges of working and supporting operations in both the Arctic and the waters of Alaska.

He served aboard seven Coast Guard cutters in both the Atlantic and Pacific regions, commanding four of the cutters while accumulating over 12 years of sea duty. Buddy further helped guide the Coast Guard’s efforts during many significant natural disaster relief efforts caused by earthquakes, flooding and hurricanes in saving lives, protecting the environment and restoring the marine transportation system.

Buddy is a graduate of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife biology with a minor in criminology. He earned a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, and is also a graduate of the Homeland Security Executive Leaders Program, Center for Homeland Defense and Security, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA.

Board Members

Mike Moore, Chairman
Pacific Merchant Shipping Association

Mark Smith, Vice Chairman
Vitus Energy

Frank Vargas, Secretary / Treasurer
American Seafoods Group

John Cronin, Director

David DeVilbiss, Director
Salvage Master

Mike Inman, Director
Windstar Cruises

Mark Remijan, Director
APL Maritime, Ltd.

Grant Stewart, Director
Westwood Shipping Lines

William Furer, Director


Jessica Wright
Business Manager

Jessica Wright joined the Network team in March of 2016 as Business Manager. A native to Alaska, Jessica was raised on lakes, snow, and the Northern Lights, and has a deep love for the state she plans to call home indefinitely. In the summer, you can find her on a hiking trail, playing volleyball, and dunking her dog into any available body of water. Jessica recently left Shell Exploration Alaska where she had enjoyed her career in Emergency Response; traveling North America and gaining experience in large scale exercises, completing comprehensive software and ICS trainings, and partnering with local regulatory agencies and the US Coast Guard for the success of the Shell Alaska Venture. Prior to this, she worked with BP Exploration Alaska as an Administrative Assistant in the Procurement & Supply Chain Management team. Jessica hopes to further her knowledge and career by continuing to pursue a degree in Business Administration and Project Management at University of Alaska, Anchorage.


Deborah Fachko
Finance Officer

Deborah Fachko joined the Network as Finance Officer in 2017. Her experience includes over 15 years bookkeeping/accounting, payroll benefits administration, and risk management. During the last six years she has applied her focus to nonprofit accounting successfully obtaining finding-free audit results each year. Her professional passion is fiscal grant management. Deborah brings to the Network a meticulous attention to detail with a strong drive to meet compliance measures. Her family arrived in Anchorage on July 4, 1965 and she has lived in beautiful Alaska ever since. In her personal time Deborah pursues a joyful study of Yoga.


Jim Butler
External and Regulatory Affairs Director

Jim Butler is a partner in the law firm of Baldwin & Butler, LLC in Kenai, Alaska. He is also principal of Incident Response Group, LLC serving as Director of External & Regulatory Affairs under contract to the Alaska Maritime Prevention & Response Network.

For over 22 years, Jim has represented both for-profit and nonprofit organizations that provide various oil spill response services to vessel and facility operators throughout Alaska. In addition to his legal practice, Jim regularly provides legal and consulting services to responsible parties, pollution response and salvage contractors responding to marine casualties in Alaska and the west coast.

Jim remains active on several public and private sector incident management teams serving in various command and general staff functions on “all-hazard” and Type-1 wildfire incidents around the country. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration/Business Economics and Public Policy from the George Washington University School of Government and Business, Washington D. C. and his Juris Doctor from Seattle University Law School.

Jim was recently reappointed by Governor Walker as sole Public-at-large Member of the State Emergency Response Commission and serves a Chair of the Alaska Intrastate Mutual Aid System Committee. An Alaska commercial salmon fisherman for over 35 years, Jim was recognized by United Fishermen of Alaska as “2013 UFA Fisherman of the Year.”


Steven Gabelein
Director of Planning & Vessel Services

Steven joined the Network as a Planning & Technical Services Coordinator in 2016. He holds a BA in Environmental Studies and Political Science from Gonzaga University and spent nearly five months of his college career circumnavigating the globe aboard the MV Explorer as a student studying oceanography, global studies, and human effects on coastal systems. Prior to joining the Network team, Steven worked for the Marine Exchange of Alaska specializing in vessel tracking, marine safety, and oil spill prevention measures, and served as a deckhand aboard a fishing vessel in Southeast Alaska.