Contact: Nicole Frawley-Panyard

NAME Communications Specialist

Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

(734) 936-0567

219 NAME

The External Advisory Board of the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering is composed of accomplished experts from industry, government, and academia, many of whom are alumni of the department. The board regularly consults with the department chair regarding strategic planning and the advancement and promotion of NAME. And, the board is a resource for the department's students and faculty. 

Board Chair
Bruce Rosenblatt

Vice Chair
Howard Fireman
ABS Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
 Howard Fireman, ABS Senior Vice President and Chief Technology 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

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.

Board Members

Greg Beers
President / Principal Naval Architect Bristol Harbor Group, Inc. & The Shearer Group, Inc. University of Michigan, Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering Program Alumni

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.

Webpage Links:

Bernard Bentgen
Director, Naval Sales (ret) MTU America Inc.
Prior to retiring in October of 2014, Bernard (Barney) Bentgen was Director of Naval Sales for MTU America. Over his 38-year career, Barney has held Executive Management positions at MTU America, Marinette Marine Corpoaration, and Palmer Johnson Yachts. Earlier in his career, he worked as a staff Naval Architect and Engineering Supervisor at General Dynamics, Quincy Shipbuilding Division. Significant projects where Barney has been a principle contributor have included the US Navy Littoral Combat Ship and Joint High Speed Vessel as well as the US Coast Guard National Security Cutters, Fast Response Cutters, and 87’ Coastal Patrol Boats. Barney is a registered professional engineer in the State of Wisconsin and a 1978 NAME graduate. 

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 focussed 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.

Alan Brown
NAVSEA Professor of Ship Design, Department of Aeronautics and Ocean Engineering, Virginia Tech
Dr. Alan Brown, CAPT USN (ret) is currently NAVSEA Professor of Ship Design, Department of Aeronautics and Ocean Engineering, Virginia Tech. He was Professor of Naval Architecture and directed the Naval Construction and Engineering Program at MIT from 1993 to 1997. Dr. Brown was the recipient of the 2015 SNAME Webb Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Education. As an Engineering Duty Officer from 1971 to 1998, he served in ships, fleet staffs, shipyards, NAVSEA and OPNAV. From 2010-2015 he was Co-Director for Curriculum of the Naval Engineering Education Center. He created and coordinates a Naval Engineering Minor and Naval Engineering Graduate Certificate program at Virginia Tech. His current research is in naval ship design, survivability, and underwater explosion effects. He received a PhD in Marine Engineering in 1986, an MS in Ocean Engineering in 1973, an MS in Shipping and Shipbuilding Management in 1973 and a BS in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering in 1971, all from MIT. He is a professional mechanical engineer registered in the State of California.

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 BS 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.

Patrick Finn

Luis Garza

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.

Todd Grove
President and CEO, ABS Group of Companies

Todd Grove is President and CEO of ABS Group of Companies, Inc. (ABS Group). He previously served as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for ABS Group's parent company, ABS, as well as President and Chief Operating Officer of the ABS Europe, Pacific and Americas divisions. Todd has more than 30 years of industry experience in various technical and operational management roles across the world. Having worked on a wide range of projects, research studies and rule development activities for the offshore and marine industries, his unique experience and expertise help strengthen the strategic alignment between ABS Group and ABS. Grove is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and the University of Houston with a master's degree in Business Administration. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program. Todd is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. He is a member of the External Advisory Board of the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering of the University of Michigan and member of the Texas A&M University Engineering Experiment Station Advisory Board.

John Hatley

Joseph Katz
William F. Ward Sr. Distinguished Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The John Hopkins University 
Dr. Joseph Katz is the William F. Ward Sr. Distinguished Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU). He received his BS degree from Tel Aviv University and MS and PhD from Caltech, all in Mechanical Engineering. After 5 years at Purdue University, he joined Johns Hopkins University in 1988. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American Physical Society (APS), and a Gilman Scholar at JHU. He was the Technical Editor of the Journal of Fluids Engineering for 10 years, and currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Journal Editors of ASME. He founded the Center for Environmental and Applied Fluid Mechanics at JHU, and presently serves as its Director. He has received several awards including the 2004 ASME Fluids Engineering Award and several best paper awards. His research focuses on experimental fluid mechanics and development of optical diagnostics techniques. His work has been published in more than 120 journal papers, six patents, and more than 190 conference papers. He has advised numerous graduate students and post-docs, and has been funded by ONR, NSF, NASA, DOE, AFOSR, NOAA, Bosch LLC, and GOMRI.

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).

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.

Douglas Pearson

Rick Spaulding
Vice President, Central Planning and Process Excellence , Ingalls Shipbuilding 
BSE NAME 1983 

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.

Robin White
Director, Surface Ship Design and Systems Engineering
Naval Sea System Command
BSE NAME 1982 

 Mrs. White is the Director for Surface Ship Design and Systems Engineering in the Naval Sea System Command. In this position she provides the technical leadership to ensure current and future U.S. Navy surface ships can safely and effectively perform mission requirements. Mrs. White joined the Naval Sea Systems Command as a naval architect in 1989, after working in industry for several years. Mrs. White was a key technical advisor to COMNAVSEA for numerous ship incidents. She has lead efforts to assess novel hull forms provide heavy weather operator guidance for a range of ship classes. As the US Navy’s Chief Naval Architect, she has developed rigorous systems engineering processes throughout design, acquisition, and ships in service. Mrs. White was appointed to the Senior Executive Service as the Director for Hydrodynamics in January 2003. In 2007 she was appointed as the Director for Aircraft Carrier Design and Systems Engineering, and was appointed to her current position in 2010. Mrs. White earned a BSE in naval architecture and marine engineering from the University of Michigan in 1982 and an MEA from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1997. Mrs. White has received the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award, Superior and Meritorious Civilian Service Awards, and Alumni Merit Award for Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from the University of Michigan.

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.