Q & A with Alisa L. Praskovich
As seen in Women in Gas-Fuelled Shipping, December 2019
What role do you play in the gas-fueled shipping sector?
I lead Crowley LNG’s efforts to secure marine bunkering contracts with dual-fuel vessel operators across North America and the Caribbean. I provide detailed proposals to potential customers for LNG marine bunkering solutions using Truck to Ship, Shore to Ship and Ship to Ship operations. Combining my LNG technical, regulatory and commercial knowledge, I ensure our LNG bunkering solutions provide safe, reliable options to our potential customers.
Please describe your role in your organization and what do you enjoy most about it?
Crowley fully supports the adoption of LNG as a marine fuel to meet current and future IMO regulations. We operate the world’s first dual-fuel container/roll on-roll off container (ConRo) vessels that serve Puerto Rico on a weekly basis. Crowley has ambitious goals to expand its current LNG business, of which marine bunkering is one important aspect. In my role, I focus on understanding bunker market demand, emerging needs and work closely with our in-house naval architecture firm, Jensen Maritime, to put forward viable solutions for the market.
Being a part of a new venture for Crowley, I truly enjoy the challenge of understanding an emerging market, and how Crowley can play an important role in maturing that market here in the United States and Caribbean regions. The most enjoyable aspect of my current role is meeting dedicated, hardworking people across the entire LNG value chain, and forging both strong partnerships and friendships along the way. This includes my role on the SGMF Technical Committee and working together to keep our industry safe and share Crowley’s best practices.
How did you arrive at this role? (Was it your intention at a young age to always go into this industry?)
In 2016, I retired as a Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard where I spent the past four years of my career deeply engaged in the approval process of several small-scale LNG projects based out of Jacksonville, FL., including the Crowley ConRo vessels. Upon retiring from the Coast Guard, I secured a safety position with Crowley’s Petroleum Services. Within the first year of my new role at Crowley, I was asked to support their efforts to grow its LNG business, specifically in LNG marine markets. It was always my dream to serve my country and I am profoundly grateful to have served my country honorably for 20 years. I pursued my second career with Crowley based on their commitment to safety and integrity, and more importantly, to their people.
My personal mission is to inspire resilience. In my current role, I set out to achieve that goal in the marine transportation industry by promoting and providing more sustainable fueling solutions.
How have you worked with SGMF concerning the safe and sustainable use of gas as a marine fuel?
I am currently a member of the SGMF Flexible Hose Workgroup, where we are developing guidelines on the use of flexible LNG hoses for marine bunkering. Our work is coming to conclusion, and we hope to publish the new guidelines in early 2020. Crowley has been a member of SGMF since 2018, and just renewed our membership. I hope to continue to serve on various SGMF committees to support our shared goals and share best practices.
How do you feel this sector has embraced the talent and value of women?
Since taking on my new role in LNG business development, I have been very impressed with the commitment by collective efforts of the broader LNG industry groups to promote careers in this industry for women across the globe. Whether through dedicated industry days, or as a dedicated focus at the larger, global LNG events.
In addition, SGMF has been a vocal advocate in attracting the talent of women to multiple levels of its staff, committees and work groups, and to the industry writ large. At the end of the day, all companies want to attract and retain high performers, regardless of gender. By stepping up the outreach and educational efforts by all member organizations and companies across the entire LNG value chain, I believe more women will pursue careers in this field.
What excites you or interests you most about this industry and how does this motivate you?
To succeed in my role in securing marine bunkering contracts, establishing collaborative partnerships is key. This is true not only outside of Crowley (e.g. LNG suppliers), but internally as well. As a large and diverse logistics, energy and marine solutions company, it is important to build consensus and momentum across each business unit to achieve the buy in and support needed to stitch together the most effective marine bunkering solutions – whether designing the actual bunker vessels, or putting together the financial models for the “business case” around LNG contracts; it is truly a team effort. Every emerging market has its challenges, and small-scale LNG is no different. Being a part of something new that requires substantial collaboration is what interests me the most.
Please share something personal about yourself.
One of my proudest achievements was being selected to serve as an Ocean Policy Advisor in the White House while assigned as a staffer to the National Ocean Council. From a very young age I always had a love for and fascination with the ocean and all of its creatures.
Throughout my twenty-year military career with the U.S. Coast Guard, every key mission I was a part of traces its roots back to protecting those on the sea or protecting the sea itself, as former Commandant Admiral Papp once said. To be able to achieve a role where I collaborated with Federal, Tribal, State and local governments to just focus on sound marine policy was the highlight of my career.
Now that I am in my second career, I am able to continue to promote strategies aimed at improving both human and ocean health. I am keenly aware that LNG is not a perfect fuel, nor is it carbon neutral. However, it is cleaner than the current alternative of heavy fuel oils and presents a viable bridge until such time other carbon neutral alternatives become practical solutions for the global fleet. My point is this. First, find what you are passionate about. Second, find a career that allows you to do what you love, and that also meets your own values and ethical standards (never compromise yourself!).