Coast Guard Foundation elects new board members

The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to strengthening the Coast Guard community and service by supporting members and families, announced the addition of nine new trustees to its board this year. The Foundation has 82 active trustees and directors on the board, led by newly elected Thomas A. Allegretti as the chair. Abbott Brown; Dr. Kathryn Clay; Paul N. Jonoff, JD; Beth Mason; Jim Masters; Julie Nelson; VADM Howard B. Thorsen, USCG (Ret.); Brooks Tomblin, Sr.; and Roger Wacker will each serve three-year terms, commencing in 2021.

The Coast Guard Foundation Board of Directors and Trustees governs the organization and promotes the Foundation’s mission of support to the United States Coast Guard. The Board of Trustees of the Coast Guard Foundation is responsible for the governance of the affairs, property and business of the Foundation. 

Abbott Brown is the founder of Ridgestone Corporation, an investment firm based in Los Angeles that invests in publicly traded equity securities, private equity transactions, venture capital transactions and real estate. His 50-year career in finance served a broad range of companies with a focus on entertainment and media, real estate and the aerospace industries. Brown has served on the Board of Directors of both public and private companies, and is currently serving on the Board of Trustees at Claremont McKenna College and St. John’s Hospital. He is a graduate of Lehigh University. Brown is an active member of his community, an avid sailor and golfer, and is a member of Brentwood Country Club and the California Yacht Club.

Dr. Kathryn Clay is the president of the International Liquid Terminals Association (ILTA), the only trade association to advocate exclusively for the tanks and terminals industry. Previously, Dr. Clay was Vice President for Policy at the American Gas Association, and was Executive Director of the American Gas Foundation. She also served as Vice President for Technology Policy at the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers, where she led the association’s electric vehicle initiatives. Dr. Clay worked as a Congressional aid for the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the U.S. House Committee on Science, and in the personal office of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. She holds a Ph.D. in Applied Physics and a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, both from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Paul N. Janoff, JD is presently the Chief of Labor Relations, Investigations and Compliance at the John Stewart Company in San Francisco. His 30-year career has included work in both civilian and military law, with a focus on areas like litigation, human resources, ethics and labor relations. Janoff was a senior civil attorney for the U.S. Coast Guard for 13 years, and also served in this role for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Navy and U.S. Army. He holds his Juris Doctor from the University of Richmond School of Law.

Beth Mason is an entrepreneur who operates small businesses in New Jersey, New York and Virginia. In addition to past experience as a senior advertising and marketing executive in New York City, Mason served her community as a local elected official. She is a passionate philanthropist serving as the President of the Mason Civic League, a board member of the Olana Partnership, and a recent board member of the Virginia Commonwealth University Foundation. Mason is an animal lover and advocate for open space and historic preservation. 

Jim Masters is the Senior Vice President of Operations at American Commercial Barge Line in Jeffersonville, Indiana, one of the largest and most diversified marine transportation companies in the country. Masters has more than 30 years of experience in operations and supply chain management including training in operational excellence, lean manufacturing and continuous improvement. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University, Masters has also attended the Tuck School of Business’ Executive Education program at Dartmouth College. He is active in the Louisville, Kentucky community where he resides with his family and enjoys cycling, hiking, camping, target shooting and motorsport racing. 

Julie Nelson is the Vice President, State and Local Government Affairs for Cheniere Energy, where she is responsible for safeguarding Cheniere’s license to operate at the state and local level for all corporate locations within the United States. She also manages the company’s corporate giving with a focus on investing in communities where Cheniere employees work and live. Nelson has extensive experience in the energy, maritime and transportation industries. She has served as a senior political appointee under President George W. Bush at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration. Nelson holds a bachelor’s and a law degree from Indiana University and a master’s degree in Maritime and Admiralty Law from Tulane University.

VADM Howard B. Thorsen, USCG (Ret.) is the co-founder of the Foundation for Coast Guard History and served as Chairman of that organization for 10 years. He is also a founding trustee of the U.S. Naval Institute Foundation and served with that organization for three years. A 1955 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy, VADM Thorsen went on to serve in the Coast Guard for 36 years. Among his assignments: Commander of Air Station Corpus Christi, Commandant of Cadets at the Coast Guard Academy, Commander of the 7th Coast Guard District, Coast Guard Headquarters Chief of Operations and Commander, Atlantic Area. VADM Thorsen was recently honored by the Coast Guard Aviation Association as its newest inductee in its Hall of Honor. He has been married to his wife Marlyn for 66 wonderful years.

Brooks Tomblin, Sr. is a top-ranked financial advisor with over 20 years of experience in the investment industry and is currently the Managing Director for Investments at Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. Tomblin served in the Coast Guard for 12 years, with key assignments aboard the Coast Guard cutters EscapeRambler and Chokeberry, as well as shore side service at Station Charleston and Group Chincoteague. 

Roger Wacker is the Managing Director for wealth management and Senior Portfolio Manager at UBS Financial Services Inc. in Los Angeles. He has more than 40 years of wealth management experience, including previously serving as the Chief Investment Officer and head of the UBS Middle Eastern Group; Co-Head of Bank Julius Baer, North America; and as a Relationship Manager in the Private Banking North America business of Credit Suisse. Wacker earned a Swiss Banking Diploma and a Swiss Commercial Diploma. He is very involved in business and civic organizations, and serves on the boards of Providence St. John’s Health Center, the Mayo Clinic Global Advisory Council and the International Bankers Association in California. He is a member of the Beverly Hills Rotary Club chapter. A retired Captain of the Swiss Army, Roger is a recreational boater and a member of the California Club. He is married to Angelle Grace Wacker and they have two grown children.

To learn more about the Coast Guard Foundation, or to help support its work, please visit

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