The 12-member AMC Board of Directors is comprised of six individuals representing our member companies, and six individuals representing the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association.
Chairman, AMC Board of Directors
Adam Vokac is President of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (M.E.B.A) headquartered in Washington, D.C. Prior to his election as President, Mr. Vokac was the M.E.B.A.’s Executive Vice President serving at M.E.B.A.’s Union Hall in Oakland, CA. This was his second role as an official with M.E.B.A. having previously served as the union’s representative in the Port of Honolulu for three years.
Mr. Vokac graduated as Class Valedictorian in 2000 from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. He began his shipping career soon after graduation sailing with the Alaska Tanker Company. He continued his education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and earned Master’s Degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Ocean Systems Management.
Mr. Vokac has sailed on a wide array of vessel types and all propulsion modes, Steam/Diesel/Gas Turbine/Nuclear, and also spent many years working aboard several Norwegian Cruise Line-America vessels, including the “Pride of America,” and has an Unlimited Horsepower Chief Engineer’s License.
Vice Chairman, AMC Board of Directors
Liberty Maritime Corporation
Philip Shapiro is the President and CEO of Liberty Maritime Corporation (Liberty), a New York-based ship management company founded in 1988. The company operates five U.S. flag vessels including three 52,000 DWT Supramax dry bulk carriers and two 6,000 unit Pure Car Truck Carriers (PCTC), as well as managing four foreign flag 82,000 DWT Kamsarmax bulk carriers.
Liberty’s U.S. flag bulk carrier vessels carry humanitarian relief preference cargoes for the U.S. Departments of State and Agriculture. The company’s two PCTC vessels are in the Maritime Security Program (MSP) and carry commercial and Department of Defense cargoes in an around the world Roll On/Roll Off service. The PCTC vessels are bareboat chartered to Liberty Global Logistics LLC, a diversified multi-modal logistics company.
Prior to the forming of Liberty in 1988, Mr. Shapiro was the Vice President and General Counsel of Apex Marine Corporation for eight years where he learned the intricacies of ship management, operations, and chartering as well as maritime policy and programs. Before joining Apex, he worked as an Associate Attorney in a New York City law firm for two years.
During the Clinton Administration in 1994, Mr. Shapiro was selected as one of only four industry representatives to serve on then Secretary of Transportation Federico Pena’s Working Group on Maritime Reform. The Working Group developed what has come to be known as the Maritime Security Program which was enacted into law in 1996.
He serves on a number of corporate and charitable boards. A member of the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), Mr. Shapiro was first elected to the ABS Board of Directors in 2009 and continues in that role today. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of both the Coast Guard Foundation and the National Maritime Historical Society. He has served as a Director of the American Maritime Congress since 1992 and the United Seamen’s Service since 2004. He is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee of Hofstra University’s Law School. Mr. Shapiro is also an Associate Trustee of the Northwell Health System, the fourteenth largest health care system in the United States.
He has been recognized by various organizations for his contributions to both the U.S. and international shipping industry, his support for seafarers around the world, and his work in promoting education. These honors include the Admiral of the Ocean Sea (AOTOS) Award from the United Seamen’s Service, the Outstanding Friend of Seafarers Award from Seafarers and International House, and the Distinguished Service Award from Hofstra University.
Born in New York City, Mr. Shapiro graduated from Columbia University in 1974 with a B.A. in Political Science. He received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 1978 from Hofstra University Law School.
Jason Callahan has served as M.E.B.A.’s Atlantic Coast Vice President since 2017 working out of the Union’s NY/NJ Union hall. A graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Jason earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering in 1999. He initially sailed with Military Sealift Command (MSC) supporting U.S. Navy Special Operations. After completing his time with MSC in 2000, Jason shipped out of the hall with the M.E.B.A. on a variety of vessels, eventually earning his Chief Engineer’s license. He served as a Merchant Marine Officer with the United States Navy Reserve and was honorably discharged as a Lieutenant after 10 years of service. Jason sailed as a permanent with Matson Navigation onboard the M/V MAUNAWILI for four years, before bringing his years of expertise ashore to serve the membership as an official.
Claudia Cimini is the Union’s Executive V.P./Oakland Branch Agent. She has been part of the M.E.B.A. since graduating from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1990. She sailed on a variety of vessels including in the deep-sea and ferry sectors and holds a Chief Engineer (Steam & Motor) license. Claudia also worked as a Port Engineer, and taught engineering classes at the Pacific Maritime Institute (PMI) between shipping jobs. She has a strong understanding and appreciation of M.E.B.A. and labor union history. Claudia served as a Convention Delegate at the National and District levels, and as a rank-and-file member fought for and advocated for the M.E.B.A. with labor groups and politicians. She is a strong and educated voice on the Union’s District Executive Committee..
AMC Board Member, Company Representative
Keystone Shipping Company
Philip W. J. Fisher is Executive Vice President of Keystone Shipping Co., President of its parent company, Chas Kurz & Co., Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors. Keystone, founded more than 100 years ago, was one of the first shipping companies to answer the U.S. Government’s call for merchant vessels to aid the nation’s war effort in World War I and again in the early 1940s for World War II. The Keystone fleet today consists of U.S.-owned, U.S.-operated, and U.S.-flagged vessels, including tankers, self-unloading bulk carriers, roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) vessels, and tug/ barge units. All Keystone vessels are qualified to engage in the transportation of cargoes between U.S. ports under the Jones Act.
Mr. Fisher joined Keystone Shipping Co. nearly 50 years ago as chief financial officer. His career experience and expertise spans the U. S. government, maritime labor, major shippers, multi-national oil, chemical and transportation entities and other sectors of the American and International shipping industries. He also serves as a trustee or financial advisor for various union plans covering pension, medical and training benefits. In addition, he is a board member of North of England (Bermuda), United Seamen’s Service, President of the Tanker Service Committee and a Trustee of La Salle University.
Mr. Fisher has received numerous awards for industry accomplishments and his philanthropy. In 2008, the Maritime Port Council of Greater New York honored him as Man of the Year, Admiral of the Ocean Sea (AOTOS) Man of the Year, the Philadelphia Pinnacle Award and La Salle University Man of the Year award plus other recognitions. He holds a B.S. degree from LaSalle University, an MBA from Drexel University and is a Certified Public Accountant in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
AMC Board Member – Company Representative
President, Matson Navigation
Ronald J. Forest was appointed President of Matson on April 27, 2017. He is responsible for all of the company’ operations, including vessels, terminals, container equipment, labor relations, purchasing and engineering. Mr. Forest’s career in the maritime industry began in 1978, including nine years with United States Lines and eight years with APL. His Matson career began in 1995 as operations manager, Southern California. He was promoted in 1996 to area manager, Northern California, and was made a vice president of Matson Navigation Company in 1998. That same year he assumed the responsibility of overseeing the company’s labor relations and was later promoted to vice president, area manager, Southern California. In 2000, Mr. Forest was promoted to president and chief executive officer of Matson Logistics and transferred to Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. As head of Matson Logistics, Mr. Forest was responsible for overseeing the management and continued growth of Matson’s largest subsidiary. In 2002, Mr. Forest transferred back to Matson as head of the company’s operations division, as well as overseeing Matson’s investment in SSAT, a West Coast stevedoring joint venture with SSA Marine. He was promoted to senior vice president in 2003.
Mr. Forest has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Irvine. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. He serves on the board of directors of the Pacific Maritime Association and the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association.
Nicole Greenway is M.E.B.A.’s Branch Agent in Tampa. She graduated from Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City MI and has sailed out of M.E.B.A. halls on the East and Gulf Coast as an engineer for various companies on a variety of deep-sea vessels. Nicole brings enthusiasm, strong organizational skills, and a deep commitment to fight for the rights and wages of our membership. She decided to run for office to deliver the level of service and representation our members deserve.
AMC Board Member, Company Representative
Maersk Line, Limited
Ed Hanley is head of Labor Relations for Maersk Line, Limited. With over thirty years of maritime industry experience he has held executive positions in ship management, commercial operations and government contracts.
Prior to joining MLL in 2005, Mr. Hanley was Director of Fleet Engineering for U.S. Ship Management, Inc., operating nineteen U.S. flag container ships chartered to Maersk. Before joining USSMI in 1999, he was with Sea-Land Service for 15 years where his last position was General Manager of Vessel Operations. Prior to that he was President and Managing Director of InterSea Operations Ltd., a Bermuda based Sea-Land subsidiary that owned 23 foreign flag containerships. Another key post was Director of Chartering Services with over 60 ships under time charter.
Mr. Hanley is the Secretary of the M.E.B.A. Benefit Plans and is a Trustee of the MMP, AMO and SIU health and welfare benefit plans. He is the Vice Chairman of the American Maritime Association and Vice Chairman of American Maritime Officer Services, and also serves on the Advisory Board for the Seafarers International House and the Board of the United Seaman’s Service. Additionally, Mr. Hanley is a member of ABS and a corporate officer of Maersk Line, Limited and Farrell Lines.
Mr. Hanley holds an Executive MBA from Queens University in Charlotte, NC. He is a graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree with dual U.S. Coast Guard licenses in navigation and engineering, and a commission in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
AMC Board Member, Company Representative
APL Maritime Limited
Eric Mensing is a 40‐year veteran of the ocean transportation industry and currently serves as President and CEO of APL Maritime Ltd., and American President Lines, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of France‐based CMA CGM Group.
As the company’s senior executive in Washington, D.C., Mr. Mensing directs APL’s legislative program on Capitol Hill and maintains relations with federal agencies that regulate international shipping and maritime freight management, including all business with the U.S. Military and oversight of APL’s U.S.‐flag fleet vessels. Since joining APL in 1981 as a Ship’s Officer/Management Trainee, Mr. Mensing has held various positions within the company, ranging from vessel maintenance, sales, government marketing and affairs, to operational and executive management roles for the West Coast, the Middle East, Europe, Canada and Washington D.C.
Mr. Mensing is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY and is a member of the National Defense Transportation Association’s (NDTA) Transportation Advisory Board, Executive Working Group and Sealift Committee.
AMC Board Member, Company Representative
Principal and CEO Patriot Contract Services
Ryan Libhart became the Principal and CEO of PCS on October 1, 2019. As CEO he is responsible for strategically managing the operations and resources of Patriot, making major corporate decisions, and seeking new business opportunities. Ryan is a California Maritime Academy graduate who sailed with Patriot not long after graduation. He has a strong background in the commercial maritime industry and deep technical knowledge, including a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from RWTH Aachen Technical University, in Aachen, Germany. Over the last 15 years, he has held positions of increasing responsibility with APL and Eagle Bulk Shipping.
Roland “Rex” Rexha is the M.E.B.A.’s Secretary-Treasurer. A go-getter in the mold of his predecessor Bill Van Loo, Rex has been part of the M.E.B.A. family for the last 15 years. He sailed with the Staten Island Ferries for over a decade where he spent the past few years as Shop Steward. Before the ferry system, he sailed Deep-Sea with the Union as an engineer for years on Interlake, Central Gulf, APL, Keystone and Patriot vessels.
Adam Smith is the M.E.B.A.’s Gulf Coast Vice President working out of the Union’s Houston, Texas hall. He previously served as M.E.B.A.’s Branch Agent in the union’s Tampa hall where he supported members and focused much of his attention in building activism and involvement in Charleston, Jacksonville, and Tampa. He serves on the Board of Trustees for the M.E.B.A. Benefit Plans as well as the American Maritime Congress. Mr. Smith graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 2009 with a B.S. degree in Marine Systems Engineering. He earned his First Engineer’s license at the age of 24 and his Chief’s license when he was 28 years old. Adam started in his current position in 2021 and is recognized by the rank-and-file as an equitable advocate for M.E.B.A. member rights and responsibilities on the ships served by the union.