Docents & Volunteers

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Nick Commiato

Nick graduated from Texas A&M University at Galveston and immediately went into the shipping industry. Nick set his sights high from the start, becoming the youngest First Mate in his company’s history. Nick holds his captain’s license and is currently the First Mate of a Roll-on, Roll-off ship, specializing in transporting trucks, cars, machinery, and more.

Age Ranges: Child, youth, adult
Areas of Expertise: Modern shipping logistics, the Houston Ship Channel

Alfonso Duncan

Alfonso’s maritime background goes back several generations. Alfonso Duncan’s ancestors settled in Columbia after decades of sailing between Scottland and Columbia. One of our multi-lingual docents, Alfonso speaks English, German, and Spanish fluently.

Age Ranges: Adult, Senior
Areas of Expertise:

Burt Reckles

Burton “Burt” Reckles is a long-time docent and supporter with Houston Maritime Center. Burt has been building models since he was a child and after years of building kit models then scratch models, Burt’s wife requested that he downsize his hobby or buy a bigger house and Burt chose to learn how to miniature his hobby. For over 30 years Burt has been creating amazing models inside bottles including the La Belle, utilizing a piece of wood from the original La Belle, a model of our original location on Dorrington Street, and a ‘model’ model, used to show tour groups how ships in bottles are made. Burt now has models in museums across the globe and has won numerous awards for his work.

Age Ranges: Adult, Senior
Areas of Expertise: Maritime history, ship model building, ships in bottles

Milt Rose

Milt received his Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and an MBA from the University of Denver. His career began in the military, serving for 4 years with the United States Coast Guard as a deck officer and is a Vietnam Veteran. Milt has over 40 years in the marine industry, holding positions in operations, engineering, and senior management, in both the Offshore Support Vessel (OSV) industry and the harbor tug industry.

Age Ranges: Child, youth, adult, senior
Areas of Expertise: Maritime history, Maritime navigation

Steve Dittrich

Steve Dittrich has a passion for World War II history. His family history has ties to both sides of the war and he was always interested in the on and off-shore history of the war. Growing up on Long Island, Steve was around marinas and the maritime industry all the time. Steve received a master’s degree in geology and worked in the oil and gas field, studying the fossilized organisms that make up oil and gas.

Throughout his career Steve taught at multiple universities and colleges, once teaching 5 different classes, 4 different subjects at 2 different locations, making him what he likes to call a “roads” scholar due to all the driving he did during this time of his life. Now, Steve is retired and lives with his wife. He has two grown daughters and spends most of his time learning and studying, making him incredibly knowledgeable about maritime history.

Age Ranges: Adult, Senior
Areas of Expertise: WWII, Maritime History

Peter Jensen

Peter’s career started in the United States Coast Guard as an officer specializing in Marine Safety, Security, and Environmental Protection. Peter stuck with environmental protection, working with Mobil and Exxon Mobil, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard throughout his career as an Officer, Commander, and Third Mate. Peter’s career took him through the East/Gulf Coast and South America, including through the Panama Canal. Although retired, Peter keeps busy volunteering with the Bayou Land Conservancy, Houston Early Music, Montgomery County Food Bank, and the Houston Maritime Center.

Age Ranges: Adult, Senior
Areas of Expertise: Navigation, Environmental Protection, Oil and Gas

Eric Young

Eric Young is a wealth of knowledge of the maritime world, especially Houston history, and is considered by the HMC staff as one of our greatest resources. He has traveled extensively for business and pleasure and has visited 41 countries on four continents. Eric and his wife, Sarah, circumnavigated the globe in just over 5 months aboard a heavy lift freighter. He grew up in Vermont and went to school in Ohio, going on to work for General Electric in Cincinnati for 37 years as a Jet Engine designer for aircraft, ships, and power plants. Eric’s passion for history comes from a deep personal interest in the places he has been and seen. His presentations and tours put this passion on display.

Age Ranges: Adult, Senior
Areas of Expertise: Houston History

Whit Drake

Biography Coming Soon.

Age Ranges: Adult, Senior
Areas of Expertise:

Roald Lokken

Roald Lokken has had a long career in the maritime industry. Starting as a naval architect, Roald’s career took him through a wide range of activities supporting the development of offshore oil and gas projects around the world for ExxonMobil. He is well versed in naval architecture, floating oil and gas rigs, and offshore drilling. Now retired, Roald spends his free time volunteering for the Houston Maritime Center, the Society of Naval Architects, and the Offshore Technology Conference, sailing and kayaking, and exploring the history of boats and ships.

Age Ranges: Adult, Senior
Areas of Expertise: Offshore Drilling

Peter Hames

Mr. Hames is a retired Quality, Safety and Environmental Management System consultant, trainer, and auditor with 54 years’ experience in the Maritime Industry. He graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1965 with a BS in Marine Engineering. Pete sailed for three years on Texaco Tankers raising his license to Second Assistant before working ashore with Texaco Marine for 27 years in a number of management positions in engineering,
administration, human resources, and quality. In 1976 he earned an MBA from Adelphi University. Mr. Hames established Maritime Quality Consultants, Inc. in 1995. During the next 24 years, he enjoyed a successful consulting practice working with ship owners, ship agencies, tugboat companies, classification societies, flag state commissions, coast guards, and terminal operators. Pete has always been interested in maritime museums and has visited many during his domestic and international travels. He is a member of the US Lighthouse Society and the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association and has visited and photographed over 100 lighthouses worldwide. He has also authored a number of book reviews on maritime and boating subjects, published in their quarterly magazine The Ensign. Pete has owned and raced one-design sailboats and currently has a power boat at his home on Lake Conroe. In January 2020, Mr. Hames began an online master’s degree program in Maritime and Naval Studies offered by SUNY Maritime College. He has chosen as his master’s thesis to research and write the history of the Houston Maritime Museum along with a biography of the museum’s founder James Manzolillo. While researching HMM’s records he is digitizing them so that they can be included in the museum’s Past Perfect museum collection and contact management software.

Age Ranges: Adult, Senior
Areas of Expertise: Oil Tankers, Maritime Safety, Industry, Maritime History