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Hear from these industry leaders.

Ben Blakey

Northline Seafoods


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Ann Colonna

Seafood Innovation Center, Oregon State University

Ann Colonna received her BS degree in biochemistry in 1997 from the University of Arizona and followed that with a culinary diploma from the Culinary School of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado and Provence, France. She continued her education at the University of California, Davis where she earned an MS degree in sensory food science.

Ann is currently in her 23rd year at the Food Innovation Center in Portland, Oregon, an off-campus Oregon State University Experiment Station, where she serves as the Sensory Program director. She assists industry clients with sensory and consumer testing and collaborates in mission-oriented research designed to advance Northwest agriculture and food products. Recent work includes: conducting shelf-life assessments over two years of three frozen seafood species in home and commercial freezers; assessing acceptability of fresh vs. frozen Black cod, coho salmon, sockeye salmon, scallops and albacore tuna; exploring the marketability of dulse seaweed; cross cultural acceptance and food neophobia studies of barley tea and kombucha in the US, Korea and Spain; defining market acceptance of US grown tea in Japan, Taiwan and Korea; investigating motivations for meat consumption relating to sustainability, environmental considerations, and demographics; consumer testing of novel edible film packaging; consumer assessment of Oregon grown olive oil vs. foreign imports; evaluating consumer acceptability of new Northwest pear, blueberry and strawberry varietals, among others.

Darrell Conner

K&L Gates

Darrell Conner is a government affairs counselor in the firm’s public policy and law practice group, one of the largest policy groups in the United States. As a government affairs counselor for K&L Gates, he has more than 30 years of experience working with Congress and the executive branch. Since 2017, he has been recognized by The Hill as one of the nation’s Top Lobbyists. Darrell is known for his experience in the maritime and fisheries sectors, where he combines his substantive knowledge of those areas with his understanding of policymaking in government and Congress to assist clients with achieving their goals. Darrell leads the Firm’s maritime policy practice and was previously a leader of the public policy and law practice group of K&L Gates. 

Darrell’s practice focuses on federal government relations, where he represents clients on a range of matters, including:

  • Domestic and international shipping (including military sealift);
  • Port and maritime security;
  • International trade;
  • Fisheries and natural resources;
  • Domestic energy policy;
  • Transportation and infrastructure; and
  • Federal appropriations and budget.


He also has extensive legislative experience in general public policy analysis and planning, strategic counseling, and coalition management and coordination. Darrell also assists clients in incorporating public policy into their strategic planning, integrating public relations into their legal and advocacy activities, and legislative drafting.

His principal representations include cargo and passenger vessel operators, a ship classification society, transportation product manufacturers and service providers, fishermen and other fishery stakeholders, and a leading coalition of U.S. maritime interests.

He has worked with the Department of Transportation (including the office of the Secretary, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the Maritime Administration), the Department of Commerce (specifically, the office of the Secretary, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and National Marine Fisheries Service), the Department of Homeland Security (U.S. Coast Guard), and the Department of Defense (including U.S. Transportation Command).

Darrell is previously served as a member of the Executive Committee of the International Propeller Club of the United States, and is a past president of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the International Propeller Club.

He served on the staff of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries of the U.S. House of Representatives under its ranking member, Congressman Bob Davis (R-MI).

Bob Desautel

Global Seas

Bob Desautel is co-founder, president, and chief executive officer of Global Seas and Nina Fisheries, Inc. In 1994, he co-founded Nina Fisheries, which rapidly expanded globally to Chile and Argentina four years later. In 2001, Desautel co-founded Global Seas, a subsidiary of Nina Fisheries, which quickly became one of the West Coast’s premier vessel management companies. Under Desautel’s direction, Global Seas expanded its business operations on the East Coast as co-owner of the seafood processing company Norpel and into the maritime research field as owner and operator of the R/V Mt. Mitchell.

In 1978, while studying business at the University of Nevada, Desautel began his career as a deckhand fishing in the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. Taking quickly to the industry and advancing to captain in 1980, he served as captain of his various owned fishing vessels until 2002, when he retired from the ocean to focus solely on the expansion of Global Seas.

Since making the transition from the wheelhouse, Desautel has worked tirelessly at promoting Wild Alaska Pollock and educating the public about the benefits and attributes of the fish. Desautel was instrumental in the formation of the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP 2.0) and now serves as GAPPs chairman. As chair, Desautel championed the industry’s first-ever Life Cycle Assessment to measure the fishery’s carbon footprint – bringing third-party scientific credibility to the notion that Wild Alaska Pollock has a lower environmental impact than practically any other protein source on the planet. Desautel is such an evangelist for the species that he has coined the phrase “Wild Alaska Pollock is good for you and good for the planet” and has served as a spokesperson for the fish and fishery—and it’s incredibly low carbon footprint—alongside GAPP CEO, appearing on Fox News, ABC News, and in multiple print publications including Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and Good News Network.

Desautel has served as president and member of the board of the North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owners’ Association, advocating safety education for the commercial fishing industry by providing information about USCG requirements, OSHA compliance standards, MARPOL, hands-on training programs, and safety seminars and workshops. In 1993, Desautel co-founded United Catcher Boats, served as a member of the board, and later as vice president, all the while promoting the organization’s importance to the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, and West Coast fisheries. His efforts serving on these boards, as well as his involvement in other organizations, have improved safety and created efficiencies in the commercial fishing and maritime industries.


Bob resides in Seattle, WA with his wife and two children. Despite his dedication to growing Global Seas and his latest venture, Norpel, Bob continues to keep his United States Coast Guard (issue no.7) Masters 3000 ITC license current.

Paul Doremus

Trident Seafoods

Paul Doremus is the vice president for policy and sustainability strategy at Trident Seafoods. In collaboration with Trident’s executive leadership team and functional area leaders, he is responsible for developing and executing the company’s federal and international policy strategy, contributing to Trident’s sustainability and social responsibility strategy, and advising on strategic developments in global seafood markets.

Prior to joining Trident, Paul served as the deputy assistant administrator for operations for NOAA Fisheries. He has long been an advocate for improving the resilience and competitiveness of the US seafood sector, and continues to work across industry, government, and the nonprofit sectors to provide a predictable and efficient regulatory environment, a robust scientific and technical infrastructure, and greater public awareness and acceptance of sustainable seafood.

Paul received his PhD in government from Cornell University and has more than twenty years of experience in federal science, technology, and environmental policy and management.

Garrett Evridge

Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation


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Leigh Habbeger

Seafood Harvesters of America

A native North Carolinian, Leigh splits her time between Washington, DC and her home state where she serves as executive director for the Seafood Harvesters of America. Harvesters is the leading national commercial fishing organization that represents the interests and voices of the fishing industry in the halls of Congress and throughout the administration. Leigh has more than a decade of experience in fisheries management, coastal restoration, working with the commercial fishing industry, and ocean policy having spent time working on the Hill, in the private sector, and the non-profit sector. Leigh holds a master’s degree in marine affairs from the University of Rhode Island and a BS in biology from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Jana Hennig

Positively Groundfish

Bio to follow shortly

Tim Hobbs

K&L Gates

Tim has worked with the fishing industry for nearly 30 years. As a member of K&L Gates’ top ranked environmental litigation practice, he represents fishermen, trade associations and other clients in litigation and advocacy before the National Marine Fisheries Service, the regional fishery management councils, and other federal agencies. Before entering the legal profession, Tim worked for several years in the field of fisheries conservation, was appointed to several advisory panels on fisheries, and testified before Congress on fisheries legislation.

Joseph D Myers

US Coast Guard

Joseph D Myers, Chief, Fishing Vessel Safety Division, for the US Coast Guard Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance in Washington, DC.

Joe is responsible for the Coast Guard’s US Domestic Fishing Vessel Safety Program,  overseeing policy and industry outreach. He reports to Congress, is the alternate designated federal officer to the National Fishing Safety Advisory Committee, he oversees the nation’s fishing vessel district coordinator and examiner programs and represents the US delegation at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on US fishing industry matters.


Joe’s tenure with the US Coast Guard spans 41 years. He is a Coast Guard marine inspector, fishing vessel safety examiner, American Welding Society certified welder educator, and a Coast Guard master training specialist. He also holds a master’s degree in business administration and human resources.

Bill Myhre

K&L Gates

Bill has 40 years of experience in a wide range of federal regulatory, policy, and legislative matters focusing on domestic and international maritime issues, among others.
He is experienced in cargo and cruise shipping matters and the commercial fishing industry, including regulatory limitations on foreign investment in the US maritime industry as well as the construction, conversion, documentation, and financing of vessel assets.

Bill has represented industry coalitions and individual companies in complex legislative initiatives and their subsequent implementation and judicial defense. In addition, he advises clients with respect to international trade, customs administrative and regulatory matters, natural resource management issues, immigration, manning, vessel inspection and equipment requirements, and compliance with safety and maritime security regulations.

Bill works with colleges and universities on a range of federal policy issues.

Peter Philips

President – Colibri Northwest

Peter and his team work with transit agencies, municipal administrators, elected officials and associations to develop policy, communicate policy to stakeholders and successfully implement public policy in the field.

Areas of expertise include marine transportation and marine transit, commercial fishing, industrial and urban land use.

Peter has 35 years of experience in industrial and marine lands policy development, and advocacy for the maritime and commercial fishing industries, including conference production and print publishing.

From 1999-2020 Peter was president of Philips Publishing Group and publisher of Fishermen’s News, Foghorn and Pacific Maritime Magazine, monthly magazines for the commercial fishing, marine transit, and maritime transportation industries.

Today Peter owns and operates Colibri Northwest serving private and municipal clients and associations from offices in Des Moines, WA.

Luke Reid

K&L Gates

Luke advises and represents clients throughout the United States and globally in connection with maritime regulatory compliance, government investigations, criminal and civil litigation, and international law.

Prior to entering private practice, Luke served as a US Coast Guard officer, having served in a variety of operational, marine safety engineering, and legal assignments. In the context of US flag fishing vessels, he served in several regulatory roles, including those involving the application and enforcement of US design and construction regulations and provided expert assistance during major marine casualty response and investigations.

Since entering private practice, Luke has represented numerous clients in a variety of civil and criminal matters, including matters before the US Coast Guard, MARAD, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Department of Labor, US Department of Justice, US Customs & Border Protection and other government enforcement and regulatory agencies.

Greg White


Greg White, CPA, has practiced tax for more than 40 years. He is the founder of the CPA firm WGN, PS in Seattle, Washington. Greg served as an adjunct professor at the Golden Gate University’s Seattle campus over a 14-year period. He is licensed to practice in US Tax Court and has argued cases before the Tax Court. He has been named a “Top 50” IRS Practitioner by CPA Magazine.




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