Our Team

Our management team has a deep institutional knowledge of Great Lakes vessel safety, ship operations, marine engineering and maintenance and collectively more than 300 years of experience in the shipping industry.

Though they may be sporting suits and ties now, many have worked their way up the ship’s ladder so to speak, earning degrees from maritime colleges, U.S. Coast Guard licenses and sailing aboard vessels.

Interlake Management Team

James R. Barker, Chairman

A recognized expert and industry leader in marine transportation, Mr. Barker has skillfully steered The Interlake Steamship Company as its Chairman since taking the company private in 1987. He is also Vice Chairman of Moran Towing Corp. and Mormac Marine Group, Inc. and Chairman of SeaStreak, LLC. 

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James R. Barker, Chairman

A recognized expert and industry leader in marine transportation, Mr. Barker has skillfully steered The Interlake Steamship Company as its Chairman since taking the company private in 1987. He is also Vice Chairman of Moran Towing Corp. and Mormac Marine Group, Inc. and Chairman of SeaStreak, LLC. 

Prior to the purchase of Interlake, Mr. Barker was Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Moore McCormack Resources, a position he held since joining the company in 1971. During the period from 1971-88, Moore McCormack grew from $50 million to more than $800 million in revenues. In 1975, Mr. Barker was named Outstanding Chief Executive for Transportation by Financial World.  Before joining Moore McCormack, Mr. Barker was Executive Vice President of Temple, Barker & Sloane, Inc., a management consulting firm that he co-founded in 1969.  

During the Reagan Administration, Mr. Barker served as a member of the Services Policy Advisory Committee of the United States Trade Representative. He also served on the Business Advisory Committee of the Transportation Center at Northwestern University, on the Board of Visitors of Columbia College, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Harvard Business School from 1982 to 1992. Mr. Barker has served on various Boards of Directors, including the boards of  GTE (1976-2000), Verizon (2000-2007) and Brink’s (2000-2007).  

Mr. Barker received a B.A. from Columbia University and an M.B.A. with distinction, from Harvard Business School. He holds an Honorary Doctor of Science from the Maine Maritime Academy and also served four years in the U.S. Coast Guard.  

Paul R. Tregurtha, Vice-Chairman

Since joining forces with James R. Barker to purchase and reinvigorate The Interlake Steamship Company in 1987, Mr. Tregurtha has actively served as Vice Chairman. In addition, he has been Chairman of Moran Towing Corp. since 1994 and Chief Executive Officer since 1998. He has served as Chairman of Mormac Marine Group, Inc., since 1998.

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Paul R. Tregurtha, Vice-Chairman

Since joining forces with James R. Barker to purchase and reinvigorate The Interlake Steamship Company in 1987, Mr. Tregurtha has actively served as Vice Chairman. In addition, he has been Chairman of Moran Towing Corp. since 1994 and Chief Executive Officer since 1998. He has served as Chairman of Mormac Marine Group, Inc., since 1998.

Prior to the purchase of this group of companies, Mr. Tregurtha was Chief Executive Officer, President and Chief Operating Officer of Moore McCormack Resources Inc., a natural resources and marine transportation company. 

Mr. Tregurtha has served on the Board of Directors of Nextera (Florida Power & Light), Fleet Financial Group, and TIAA/CREF. He serves as Director Emeritus of Cornell University. 

He received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He also served three years in the U.S. Air Force. 

Mark W. Barker, President

Mark Barker is President of The Interlake Steamship Company, the largest privately held shipping company on the Great Lakes.

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Mark W. Barker, President

Mark Barker is President of The Interlake Steamship Company, the largest privately held shipping company on the Great Lakes.

Before taking the helm as Interlake’s President in April 2007, Mark held various appointments of ascending leadership moving from Fleet Engineer to Vice President and Treasurer. Prior to joining Interlake, he sailed aboard numerous vessels in the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico and trans-Atlantic trades. 

A graduate of SUNY Maritime College with a degree in Marine Engineering and an Unlimited Third Assistant Engineer License, Mark holds an MBA from the Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management.

Mark is a strong leader with a clear voice on industry issues at the state and national level. Mark is past Chairman of the board for Lake Carriers’ Association and he serves on the board of Moran Towing Corporation. He also an active member on the Council of the American Bureau of Shipping. 

Brendan P. O’Connor, Chief Operating Officer

Brendan P. O’Connor is Chief Operating Officer at The Interlake Steamship Company, the largest privately held shipping company on the Great Lakes.

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Brendan P. O’Connor, Chief Operating Officer

Brendan P. O’Connor is Chief Operating Officer at The Interlake Steamship Company, the largest privately held shipping company on the Great Lakes.

A native of Worcester, Mass., Brendan has been a respected member of the maritime industry since graduating from The Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1993 earning a Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation and an Unlimited Third Mate Open Oceans License and a commission as an officer in the United States Naval Reserve. Brendan also holds an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Following graduation from Massachusetts Maritime, Brendan utilized his United States Coast Guard license, spending several years aboard U.S.-flag vessels before transitioning shoreside and joining Mormac Marine Group, Inc.’s marine division and shortly thereafter the Interlake Steamship Company team in 1996. 

Named Chief Operating Officer in 2023, Brendan oversees and facilitates strategic initiatives and operational objectives for the company. Most recently Vice President of Marketing and Marine Traffic, Brendan led and managed customer relations, contract administration and revenue for the fleet. His previous roles with the company include Vice President of Industrial Relations and Government Affairs, Director of Human Resources & Industrial Relations and Director of Marine Personnel. Brendan is part of Interlake’s Incident Response and Management Team, and is a Qualified Individual (OPA ’90) and is trained as an Incident Commander/On-scene Coordinator.

Brendan is also the Chairman of Board of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Foundation, where he has served as an Officer and Trustee since 1999. 

Thomas Wynne, Esq., Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary

Thomas Wynne is Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of The Interlake Steamship Company, the largest privately held shipping company on the Great Lakes.

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Thomas Wynne, Esq., Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary

Thomas Wynne is Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of The Interlake Steamship Company, the largest privately held shipping company on the Great Lakes.

Since joining Interlake’s executive team in January 2008, Tom has leveraged his vast expertise in the areas of admiralty and maritime law to represent the company’s interests on all legal issues, contract negotiations and crisis management.  Tom is an active member of Interlake’s Incident Response and Management Team, in which he serves critical legal and operations roles, is a Qualified Individual (OPA ’90) and is trained as an Incident Commander/On-scene Coordinator. 

Following graduation from SUNY Maritime College with a BS in Marine Transportation Management and an Unlimited Third Mate Open Oceans License, Tom sailed as an officer aboard merchant vessels before attending law school. After receiving his Juris Doctorate from The University of Toledo College of Law, Tom worked for the boutique Cleveland, Ohio admiralty and maritime law firm of Ray, Robinson, Carle & Davies, P.L.L. for nearly fifteen years, first as an associate and then as a full partner.  In 2015, Tom was recognized and honored by Crain’s Cleveland Business as one of the outstanding legal minds in Northeast Ohio. 

William M. Thornton, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

William M. Thornton is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Interlake Steamship Company, the largest privately held shipping company on the Great Lakes.  

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William M. Thornton, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

William M. Thornton is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Interlake Steamship Company, the largest privately held shipping company on the Great Lakes.  

Since assuming the leadership role of Chief Financial Officer in the fall of 2014, Bill has brought his extensive financial acumen to The Interlake Steamship Company. As Chief Financial Officer, Bill manages Interlake’s financial and banking relationships, and analyzes all financial aspects and drivers of the organization using his comprehensive understanding of operational processes. 

Prior to his current position with Interlake, Bill was a Senior Director and Business Unit Controller at Cliffs Natural Resources, an international mining and minerals focused company. During his six years at Cliffs, he was responsible for financial oversight of the North American Coal business unit as well as various non-business unit projects that included oil & gas, South American iron ore, Iron Nuggets, renewaFUEL, mergers & acquisitions, and union negotiations.

Bill graduated from The Ohio State University in 1992 with a BSBA in accounting.  

Phil Moore, Vice President of Engineering

Phil Moore is Vice President of Engineering at The Interlake Steamship Company, the largest privately held shipping company on the Great Lakes.

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Phil Moore, Vice President of Engineering

Phil Moore is Vice President of Engineering at The Interlake Steamship Company, the largest privately held shipping company on the Great Lakes.

Phil joined Interlake in 2004 as a Fleet Engineer and was later promoted to Fleet Superintendent. In November 2016, he assumed his current management role. Before coming to Interlake, Phil utilized his United States Coast Guard issued license, holding chief engineer positions with Andrie Inc., Grand River Navigation, and Great Lakes Towing.

As Interlake’s Vice President of Engineering, Phil oversees all of the day-to-day engineering processes for the fleet and the associated fleet maintenance, repairs and upgrades, dry-docking, as well as regulatory compliance, engineering budgets and general oversight of engineering personnel both aboard ship and shore side.  

In addition to his license, Phil holds many certifications including hazardous materials management and fire-fighting training. He is the Chairman of Lake Carriers’ Association Fleet Engineers Committee. 

Paul Christensen, Vice President of Operations

Paul Christensen is Vice President of Operations for Interlake Maritime Services. In this role, he oversees the day-to-day operations of The Interlake Steamship Company’s fleet and all associated safety, quality, regulatory, and environmental stewardship programs.

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Paul Christensen, Vice President of Operations

Paul Christensen is Vice President of Operations for Interlake Maritime Services In this role, he oversees the day-to-day operations of The Interlake Steamship Company’s fleet and all associated safety, quality, regulatory, and environmental stewardship programs.

Paul graduated from Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 2006, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation and an Unlimited Third Mate Open Oceans License before he joined the Interlake team in 2006 as a deckhand. Paul ascended through the positions to become a Relief Captain and eventually made the decision to come shoreside in 2016.  During the decade at sea, Paul sailed on each of the nine working freighters in the fleet and brings a unique prospective of daily life and challenges aboard the ships.

In 2019, Paul was awarded a Public Service Commendation from the United States Coast Guard for his exceptional support of USCG Maritime Industry Rescue Training aboard Interlake vessels underway, helping ensure that sailors get the help they need in emergency situations.

Paul is a member of Interlake’s Incident Response and Management Team, a member of the Lake Carriers’ Association’s Operations Committee, and a board member of Argonaut. He is passionate about the shipping industry and brings a holistic approach to help encourage collaboration and forward thinking.

In his free time, Paul enjoys being active outdoors with his family, participating in anything from cycling to camping to skiing.

Matt Zajac, Vice President of Marketing and Marine Traffic

Matt Zajac joined Interlake Maritime Services in 2023 after spending more than sixteen years in ascending leadership roles with Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc., where he most recently served as Director of Sales-Distribution East. Prior to his time with Cleveland-Cliffs, Matt worked as a Senior Accountant in Audit for KPMG.  

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Matt Zajac, Vice President of Marketing and Marine Traffic

Matt Zajac joined Interlake Maritime Services in 2023 after spending more than sixteen years in ascending leadership roles with Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc., where he most recently served as Director of Sales-Distribution East. Prior to his time with Cleveland-Cliffs, Matt worked as a Senior Accountant in Audit for KPMG.  

As Interlake’s Vice President of Marketing and Marine Traffic, Matt leads and manages customer relations, contract administration and revenue for the fleet.  

Matt received his undergraduate degree in Accountancy, following which he obtained a Master of Business Administration, both from John Carroll University.