(STONINGTON, Conn.) — Twelve new trustees have joined the board of the Coast Guard Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening the U.S. Coast Guard community and service by supporting members and families. The additions bring the total number of active trustees and directors to 80.
Jeremiah “Jay” Ana, Charles “Skip” Bowen, Christopher Chandor, Naresh Copeland, Steven Jowett, Christian Lee, Michael MacDonald, Augustine Rietsema, Luis Romero, Tim van Oppen, retired Navy Rear Adm. Jesse Wilson Jr. and Graciela Yokana will each serve three-year terms. The board is led by Chairman Thomas Allegretti.
The Coast Guard Foundation is governed by a voluntary board of trustees and directors whose members contribute their time and energy to the foundation. The board also promotes the foundation’s mission of support to the Coast Guard.
“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome our latest inductions into our board of trustees and directors,” said Susan Ludwig, president, Coast Guard Foundation. “These accomplished individuals have established a lifetime of dedication to the Coast Guard and we are confident that their experience of public service will benefit the foundation in our mission to support the Coast Guard community.”
The new trustees:
• Jeremiah “Jay” Ana is president of Young Brothers, Hawaii’s leading inter-island freight handling and transportation company. Ana was born and raised in Mililani, Oahu, and is a graduate of the Shidler College of Business from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. In addition to more than 13 years of public accounting, Ana’s experience spans private industry finance, human resources, sales and operations management.
• Charles “Skip” Bowen serves as vice president for government relations at Bollinger Shipyards. Bowen retired as master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard in 2010 after a 32-year career. He is a member of the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association and chairman of the First Command Educational Foundation. He is also immediate past president and board member for the Association for Rescue at Sea, and immediate past vice president and executive committee member of the Surface Navy Association, among other roles and positions in veteran-serving organizations. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Excelsior University and a master’s of business administration (MBA) degree from Touro University International.
• Christopher Chandor is the chief executive officer of Penn’s Grant Corp., a commercial real estate investment and property investment firm headquartered in Bucks County, Pa. Chandor is also a licensed real estate broker and president of Doylestown Real Estate and a recently retired real estate and business attorney, having practiced in Doylestown for 50 years. Chandor serves on the board of directors of Heritage Conservancy, a regional nonprofit organization focused on land conservation and historic preservation. His prior volunteer experience includes serving as a board member and vice chairman for several local banks and as a board member and chairman of the board of trustees of Solebury School, a private secondary school in New Hope, Pa. In addition to serving in the Coast Guard for four years, he is a graduate of Washington and Lee University and Villanova Law School.
• Naresh Copeland has more than 13 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. Copeland currently serves as a marine business coordinator for Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), where he coordinates bottom line delivery, drives business strategy and implements safety protocols for operational success. He is a graduate of Prairie View A&M University and holds an MBA from Tulane University. He recently started Tech-Up NOLA, a New Orleans-based nonprofit organization.
• Steven Jowett has more than 26 years of experience in higher education, including currently serving as an informational technologist for Michigan State University. In this role, he manages the university’s high-profile sporting and administrative events and liaisons to the university’s classroom planning committee. As an award-winning freelance photographer, he captured high profile events featured by the Associated Press, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Farmers Insurance Championship and several regional newspapers. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University.
• Christian Lee joined Cornerstone Government Affairs in 2020 after a distinguished 24-year career in the Coast Guard, retiring with the rank of captain. During his Coast Guard service, he was involved in the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and the Coast Guard’s Office of Budget and Programs. As a career cutterman, he served eight years of sea time, engaging primarily in counter-narcotics and border enforcement operations in the Caribbean. Lee is a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy and holds advanced degrees from Syracuse University, the National War College and the Naval War College.
• Michael MacDonald serves as vice president of tug and barge operations in Hawaii for American Marine Corp. and is responsible for overall management of its Hawaii maritime operations, marine construction and diving operations. MacDonald is a veteran of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard. He serves as the chairman of the Hawaii Ocean Safety Team and is on the Waikiki Yacht Club board of directors.
• Augustine Rietsema has worked at Amazon headquarters for more than six years, spanning multiple roles. Rietsema started in the retail division where he focused on expanding the company’s fulfillment operations to support heavy and bulky items. He then led the pricing strategy for Amazon’s strategic push into physical grocery. Today, Rietsema works as a senior manager leading a team of product managers focused on Amazon’s new “Buy with Prime” initiative. Rietsema is a graduate of Cornell University where he studied industrial and labor relations with a focus on business. He is an avid weightlifter and CrossFit enthusiast.
• Luis Romero is the president of Optivon, a telecommunications and information services company he founded in 1988 in Puerto Rico. A dedicated philanthropist to many causes, Romero created the nonprofit organization BastaYaPR (“It’s enough, Puerto Rico”) in 2011 to honor his son, who was the victim of a violent crime. Through his work, he has become an advocate for victim’s rights and crime reduction. Romero and BastYaPR created a mobile app to support the Coast Guard’s lifesaving mission. They donated the app to the service, and it has remained the organization’s official mobile app since it launched during Safe Boating Week in 2015 at Sector St. Petersburg.
• Tim van Oppen held several positions at Deloitte, including partner, over the course of his 35-year career before retiring in 2011. At Deloitte, he was responsible for compliance with professional standards, audit quality and risk management, as well as the lead client service partner and quality assurance partner for Fortune 500 clients in a variety of industries. Van Oppen holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Whitman College and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition, he served in the Coast Guard for four years. Currently, he is an overseer emeriti at Whitman College and serves on its audit and finance committee.
• Retired Navy Rear Adm. Jesse Wilson Jr. is an executive in Raytheon Technologies Intelligence & Space Division, where he leads the maritime navy section. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with two advanced degrees from the U.S. Naval War College and U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Wilson served in the Navy for more than 33 years, where he was commander of the Naval Surface Force Atlantic, and director of the Chief of Naval Operations Assessment Division, among other high-profile assignments. Wilson is a lifetime member of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, Surface Navy Association, National Naval Officer Association and the Military Officers Association of America.
• Graciela Yokana is vice president at Marsh, with over 20 years of experience in sales and marketing. With an expertise in risk management, Yokana works on complex risk management programs with a focus on the maritime/logistics industry. She has served on the board of directors of the Seafarers’ House at Port Everglades since 2018 and has been its International Golden Compass Gala co-chair since 2021. She has been involved with many other nonprofit organizations including Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA), Hope for Miami and Miami Children’s Initiative. She holds an undergraduate degree in communications and international studies from the University of Miami and has completed the Florida’s Future Insurance Leaders program through the Florida Association Insurance Agents.
To learn more about the Coast Guard Foundation or to help support its work, visit www.coastguardfoundation.org or call (860) 535-0786.