AATO Executive Committee

Bob Simpson

Chair - IAATO Executive Committee

Bob has been involved in Antarctic Tourism since 1998 and has been an active participant in IAATO since 2000 serving on the Bylaws Committee and several working groups.

Bob joined Abercrombie & Kent in 1998 as Director of Sales and Marketing for A&K's Explorer Shipping and made his first trip to Antarctica just three days later.  His responsibility of managing sales and marketing gave him the opportunity to work closely with many other IAATO members, developing strong relationships.

Since 1993 he has had primary responsibility for A&K's expedition cruise charters, operations, sales and marketing, with experience operating expedition cruise programs in Antarctica, the Amazon, throughout the South Pacific, Japan, Russian Far East, Alaska and the Arctic regions. This includes establishing and managing company strategy, vessel charter negotiations, field staff management and all expedition product operations. He is based at Abercrombie & Kent's Downers Grove, IL office.


Bob graduated from Texas State University with a degree in Business Administration-Business Management. Growing up in south central Texas, Apollo astronaut Charles Duke was a hometown family acquaintance.  "I recall listening to Mr. Duke's stories of walking on the moon (one of only twelve humans to ever do so) and set a goal of going to the moon. I recognized early on that was not going to happen and talked to my dad about it. He asked ‘where else would you like to go'? I thought, and replied ‘Antarctica'.  I am fortunate to have been able to fulfill that dream many times over now!

Marlynda Elstgeest

IAATO Executive Committee


Marlynda has participated in IAATO Annual Meetings since 2000, serving as Chair of the Membership Committee for several years. Since 2002, Marlynda has been a member the Dutch Delegation to the annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM), where the 45 Antarctic Treaty Parties meet to provide for the international governance of Antarctica. She joined the Executive Committee in 2012.

Travel and diving have always been her passions, with her first diving experience in 1989. She has been diving all over the world ever since as a qualified technical diver. Born and educated in The Netherlands, Marlynda wrote her university thesis on sustainable tourism and has pursued this goal during her 20 years in the travel industry, specializing in marketing and public relations, as well as operational management.

Polar regions in particular have captured her imagination, and she has worked in this industry segment for more than 15 years. She is an expert in polar tourism and is contracted by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to advise them on safe and environmentally responsible Antarctic tourism management. In 1995 Marlynda joined Oceanwide Expeditions, helping it become a market leader in Polar expedition cruising. She started her own company Waterproof Expeditions in 2007 and, together with Swedish professional cinematographer Göran Ehlmé, pioneered commercial Polar diving expeditions. Waterproof Expeditions provides unique, custom-tailored diving experiences focusing on the natural beauty of the oceans and the diversity of unique underwater environments.

Skip Novak

IAATO Executive Committee

Skip has served on the IAATO Membership Committee for several years and as a member of the Yacht Working Group since its inception. He joined the Executive Committee in 2012.

He is best known for a professional ocean-racing career that spanned three decades and included five circumnavigations under sail. As a result of many miles sailed in the Southern Ocean and a passionate interest in mountaineering, he turned his attention to high latitude expedition sailing in 1987, launching the 54-foot steel sloop Pelagic in the UK. Following a six-month climbing and filming adventure in Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and South Georgia, Skip saw an opportunity and became one of the first to offer sailing charters to adventure-seeking clients in these locations.

In 2003, the 74-foot Pelagic Australis, built in Durban, South Africa, became the flagship for Pelagic Expeditions, and is considered one of the most capable high latitude charter vessels under sail. In addition to adventure-minded tourists, Pelagic has provided support for mountaineers, skiers and cold-water divers as well as safety cover for kayak and small boat expeditions. Skip has contributed to and been featured in dozens of documentary films internationally, and is frequently asked to comment on Antarctic tourism by the media. Skip has also provided consultancy services to one-off visits of large luxury yachts to destinations in the South.

Pelagic Expeditions was the first sailing operation to join IAATO back in 1997, and Skip has been instrumental in advocating and facilitating the Antarctica and South Georgia yachting community to become active in IAATO.

Prash Karnik

IAATO Executive Committee

Prash is the "newbie" to the Executive Committee having joined IAATO as representative of Seabourn Cruise Line Ltd. in 2012. Since joining IAATO, he has actively participated in the Marine Committee as well as in the SAR Workshop exercise at IAATO24 in Punta Arenas.  
For the past 4 years, he has held the position of Director of Marine Operations where his responsibilities include the navigation and safety of Seabourn's ultra-luxury cruise ships. Prior to taking on the current role, he was also Deputy Director Nautical Operations for sister company Holland America Line for 6 years. 

Before hanging his sea hat to be a "landlubber" Prash sailed on cruise ships for over 16 years advancing from a junior navigation officer to Captain. Prash is a graduate of the Australian Maritime College, Tasmania in maritime studies and holds a degree in Business Administration. He resides with his family in Washington State.

Mark van der Hulst

IAATO Executive Committee

Mark has been actively involved for some years in IAATO serving as Chair of the Gateway Committee, as a member of the Finance Committee and currently as Chair of the Marine Committee.
 
Mark spent most of his life working aboard ships or within the maritime industry. He served in the Royal Netherlands Navy for over 13 years and the Royal Netherlands Air Force prior to that until, by coincidence, he became involved in shipbuilding. One of the rebuilding projects he was involved with was Oceanwide Expeditions' vessel Plancius where he served as Project Manager.
 
After completion of the Plancius rebuild, Mark stayed with Oceanwide Expeditions group as Managing Director of Oceanwide Marine Services. He currently holds the position as COO of the Oceanwide Expeditions group and works and lives in Vlissingen, The Netherlands.

With his maritime background Mark is involved in the development of the Polar Code and related polar maritime issues and has participated in various sessions at The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Polar Code meetings in London.
 
During the building of Plancius he had the opportunity to join a trip to Antarctica on one of Oceanwide's other vessels. When he thought he had seen most of the world during his active Navy career it was then he was bitten by "the polar bug" and caught by the beauty and serenity of the continent.

Andrew Prossin

IAATO Executive Committee

Andrew is a British Columbia, Canada based entrepreneur, adventurer, and philanthropist. As the Managing Director of One Ocean Expeditions, he pairs his experience and passion for the Polar Regions with ongoing support and commitment to the Canadian Arctic and Antarctica. As a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Andrew was honoured to help support the search for HMS Erebus by supplying the One Ocean Voyager as a platform for the Victoria Strait Expedition in 2014.  Recently Andrew was recognized for this contribution to Canada's Polar Story by the presentation of the Erebus Medal by The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada.

Andrew grew up on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada and graduated with a degree from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Andrew decided to "run away to sea". What started as a three-month commitment to manage a ship transformed itself into an entrepreneurial career in expedition cruising where he could apply his experience and passion to all things polar.

Andrew is also an accomplished ocean-racing sailor winning a race across the Atlantic Ocean in a 30-foot sailboat; sailing around Cape Horn in a Southern Ocean gale and competitively racing all over the world.

With a reputation for innovation and attention to detail, Andrew has become well known in the expedition cruise industry for the high quality expedition cruise programs he develops. He is also noted for his attention to vital areas of safety and his commitment to environmental protection.

Terry Shaller

IAATO Executive Committee

Terry comes to educational travel and to IAATO from the world of academia.  Educated at Harvard University (AB 1972, PhD 1979) as a historian, he stayed on at Harvard as a lecturer and as a dean for the first ten years after receiving his doctorate.  In 1989 he took over responsibility for alumni educational programming University-wide, and in the process of growing the travel-study program that was part of this portfolio from 7 departures per year to 70, he discovered and nurtured his passion for travel.

In 2003, Terry left Harvard to join the staff of Travel Dynamics International, one of the seven founding members of IAATO, and became in 2005 the company's representative at IAATO Annual Meetings.  He has attended these meetings ever since, becoming increasingly involved in setting policy and assisting in the self-governance of this remarkable volunteer organization.  Terry has served as chair of a number of IAATO committees and working groups, most recently as Chair of Bylaws and of the Compliance Committee.  He lives and works from his home in Arlington, MA, just outside of Boston.