In addition to the faithful service of our volunteers, a dedicated and committed team of staff serve at the Seattle Seafarers Center. They exude a deep love and passion for maritime ministry in Seattle, and they are grateful to all of you for your support of time, donations, and prayer. Say hello to them here!
Rich Shively, Executive Director
Previous to being named as the Executive Director for the Seafarers Center, Rich Shively was the administrator for Mary, Queen of Peace in Sammamish, Washington. The parish is a large, active parish with a strong commitment to outreach in the wider community. Rich was a member of the Archdiocese of Seattle Field staff and assisted new pastors and parish staff with transitions and pastoral planning. For 16 years, he was the Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Seattle. He has also done work with the Reid Group, helping lead pastoral planning efforts for parishes in Western Washington. He was also on the staff of the CHANNEL Young Adult Ministry Training program in the Pacific Northwest from 1987 to 1995, serving as the Executive Director for the last three years of his tenure.
Before moving to the Northwest, Rich was the Associate Director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, and the Coordinator of Youth Ministry at St. Joseph of Cupertino for the five years before that. As a volunteer, Rich has helped lead retreats through the Ignatian Spirituality Program for recently homeless men, and coached baseball for 18 years.
Rich has a Master’s Degree from the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University. Rich and his wife Paula have four children and seven grandchildren (one of them was called home to God).
Julia Cooper, Director of Operations
Julia is originally from Rhode Island, and studied English and Computer Science at Tufts University in Greater Boston. She worked in the software industry as a usability engineer for a few years before moving out to Seattle in 2021 to gain nonprofit experience.
While completing a service year from 2021-2022 at the Seattle Seafarers Center through the Episcopal Service Corps, Julia developed a passion for visiting ships, connecting with seafarers from all over the world, and raising the visibility of seafarers in the community. Since then, she has continued working full-time at the Center, and both provides direct service to seafarers as well as manages the Center’s volunteers, interns, and day-to-day operations.
Deacon Joey De Leon, Senior Port Chaplain
Deacon Joey is the heart of the Seattle Seafarers Center. Hailing from Manila in The Philippines, he is a Catholic Deacon with the Archdiocese of Seattle, and has been serving as our Senior Port Chaplain for over 5 years. Deacon Joey has a heart for serving the seafarer community and mentoring our staff and volunteers.
David Stockert grew up in Dayton Ohio. He graduated from Ohio Northern University. After two years in the US Army, Dave settled on a job in the Pacific Northwest for Procter and Gamble, sales division. After 10 years Dave moved to a career for Holland America Cruise Line. After 30 years he retired and began driving the van for ship crew. He wanted to give back to crew who helped him for many years with ship promotion events. He has been a member of the board since 2017 and has served as President of the board since 2019.
Joe Cotton is currently the Executive Director of the Office of the Vicar General at the Archdiocese of Seattle. He oversees chaplaincy programs in jails, prisons, hospitals, and ports throughout Western Washington. Joe has served on the board of directors for the Seattle Seafarers Center since 2018 and supervises the archdiocesan Seafarers Ministry, which is the Catholic portion of the center’s ecumenical partnership. Joe has been a commissioned lay minister for over 24 years, serving as a parish youth minister, international missioner, juvenile detention chaplain, and pastoral care and outreach director. Joe holds a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies from Seattle University.
Michele Barutha is a seafarer and has been a member of the board since 2020. She has served as the Secretary of the board since 2021. Starting in 2004, Michele has sailed onboard a variety of vessels including research vessels, training ships, and passenger vessels. In 2015 she graduated from the MITAGS Maritime Apprenticeship Program. After successfully completing the 28-month apprenticeship, Michele went on to obtain her USCG 3rd Mate Unlimited License and is now a member of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. She currently holds her Second Mate Unlimited and 200 ton NC Masters license.
Since 2019, Michele has also been training the next generation of apprentices as an Instructor at MITAGS. She is not only a USCG-approved instructor for a variety of maritime courses, but also an advisor and mentor for new apprentices entering the industry. When not in the classroom, Michele still sails on commercial contracts and is actively pursuing her Chief Mate's license. She also participates in outreach programs to help educate youth about the maritime industry.
Dan has been a member of the board since 2016 and has served as Treasurer of the board since 2016. Biography to follow.
Jack has been a member of the board since 2022. Jack started with the Seafarer Center when he was a rising sophomore at the University of Washington. He worked as a summer intern in conjunction with AOS. From there he continued to work as a summer intern throughout his time in college. He has worked with many nonprofits in the past, but this one is by far his favorite. He feels so connected with this community and he is excited to continue to work with seafarers on the board. Since first starting with the center, he has graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in political science, and has commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the Army National Guard as field artillery officer. He is married to his wife Kayla and they currently live in Kenmore.