You are here

Meet the Staff

Maritime Program Transition Director

Rear Admiral William “Bill” Pickavance,

Rear Admiral Pickavance served as an officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine and spent 32 years on active duty as a commissioned officer with the U.S. Navy. He commanded two carrier squadrons, an FA-18 wing, a support ship during Desert Storm, the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk, and as a Flag Officer, a carrier battle group. He has 200 combat missions over North Viet Nam and more than 800 carrier landings. He also served as Superintendent of the Texas Maritime Academy at Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG), and after retirement from the Navy, was a vice president for a space operations company, responsible for space shuttle launch and recovery systems at the Kennedy Space Center.

A Texas A&M University and Naval War College alumnus, Rear Admiral Pickavance holds both a Master of Arts and Master of Science and has served on several staffs including the Navy Staff in Washington, D.C., the NATO Supreme Allied Command Headquarters in Belgium and the U.S. Pacific Command staff as Director for Operations (J-3) in Camp Smith, Hawaii. He attended Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government as a senior official in National Security in 1993 and again in 1998. 

His personal decorations include the Department of Defense (DOD) Distinguished Service Medal, DOD Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (4 awards), Distinguished Flying Cross, U.S. Navy Meritorious Service Medal (4 awards), Air Medal (3 gold stars for individual combat action) and the Navy Commendation Medal (4 awards 3 for valor in combat).

His honors include the Outstanding Alumnus Award by TAMUG and the Silver Knight of management by the National Management Association (NMA). He is the 2012 recipient of the Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz Leadership award presented by the Naval Order of the United States.


Administrative Assistants

Ramona "Mona" K. Thibodeaux, Senior Administrative Assistant,

Olivia "Libby" Edwards, Administrative Assistant,



Captain Amy Arrowood,

Amy Arrowood is a graduate of Texas A&M University at Galveston and has over 20 years experience in the maritime industry. She currently holds a 2nd Mate Unlimited tonnage, Oceans license, as well as 1600 Master. She also holds Tankership PIC endorsement. Capt. Arrowood has sailed US flag vessels both coastwise and internationally. She completed three years of active duty as a commissioned officer in the United States Coast Guard and was awarded the Coast Guard Commendation Medal. She is approved to teach over 30 maritime courses at San Jacinto College.



Captain John Kessler,

Born in North Carolina, and raised in Louisville, KY.  Capt. Kessler received his passion for boats by growing up on the Ohio River watching the tug boats, steamboat Belle of Louisville and the Delta Queen transit the river.

After serving in the U.S. Navy for 4 years, he decided to enter the maritime industry.  He started his career sailing small boats in Hawaii, and then moved to run a tuna long-liner as Master in the Pacific for 4 years.

John left sailing to open his own maritime school in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands for seven years.  Moving to Seattle in 1988 he worked the small passenger ship companies as Master, sailing from Seattle to Alaska.

Captain Kessler has sailed in Japan to as far South as the Philippine Islands and various South Pacific Islands.

Leaving sailing in 2000, he joined Pacific Maritime Academy in Seattle as an instructor, then Chief Instructor, then becoming Academic Department Head.

Captain Kessler moved to the Houston, TX area in 2010 to accept a position as instructor here at San Jacinto Maritime.  John holds a Master of Oceans, 1600 Gross Tons and 100 Gross Tons Sail.


Captain Carol Curtiss,

Capt. Curtiss is the first woman, and one of only three people in the world to have earned both of the highest licenses available (Captain and Chief Engineer) aboard Merchant Cargo ships.  This achievement has earned her the distinction of an acknowledgement in the U.S. Congressional Record in 2002. 

Carol is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, at Kings Point, NY graduating in the third year that women were admitted and then worked for 30 years sailing on various ships, including Tankers, Container ships and Car Carriers around the world. 

Carol can command any ship of any size on any ocean as either a Captain or a Chief Engineer.  The United States Coast Guard (USCG) has issued her licenses to operate as both a Master for vessels of unlimited tonnage, upon any ocean, and an unlimited Chief Engineer for propulsion plants of steam, diesel, or gas turbines rated at any horsepower. 

Here at San Jacinto College Maritime, Carol is USCG approved to teach nearly 50 courses and most often teaches Advanced Cargo, Advanced Stability, Advanced Fire Fighting, and is our primary engineering instructor, which includes classes such as Designated Duty Engineer and Qualified Member of the Engine Department. 


Bryan Elliott,

Captain Russell "Keith" Bass,

Alex Molnar,
John Fuller,
Tamara Orange ,

Captain John Sitka
Instructor, V.P. Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy

Capt. Sitka has over 30 years of sea service with the USN, offshore industry, inland tugs, and container ships, as well government vessels. He holds an Unlimited Master upon Oceans license, Master of Towing Oceans and Western Rivers.  He is a graduate with a BS from the University of the State of New York, Albany, and a MA from Liberty University, Lynchburg, Va.




Captain Ed Nanartowich
Instructor, President Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy

Capt. Nanartowich came to MAMA with a distinguished and decorated global career of over 34 years with the Navy’s Military Sealift Command. He sailed as a Master from 1981 to 2008 with 24 commands within the diversified MSC fleet (tankers, cargo ships, cable-layers, scientific support ships, hospital ships, ocean-going tugs and others). He also served for 30 years as a Naval Reserve Captain.  As a reservist he taught at Little Creek Shiphandling School and in Navy Simulators in Norfolk.  In addition, he has published numerous noted articles in professional maritime journals. Unlimited Master Ed Nanartowich has an MBA from LaSalle University and Bachelors from SUNY Maritime College.