Joseph F. Yurso is currently Director of Technical Development for Q.E.D. Systems Incorporated of Virginia Beach, Virginia. He has been with Q.E.D. for over 30 years. Mr. Yurso has been a member of the American Society of Quality since 1989 and was a founding member and past chairman of the Tidewater section. He is active in other societies that include the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) as a life member, society of Sigma XI, and the Tidewater Association of Service Contractors (TASC). He has held registered professional engineer status in two states and is listed in who’s who in science and engineering. Other positions Mr. Yurso has held include President of the Atlantic Fleet Credit Union and served on the board of directors for five (5) years, National President of the American Society of Naval Engineers and continues to serve on the ASNE governing board. He is a past President of the American Maritime Modernization Association (AMMA). As AMMA President he was selected to co-chair the Fleet Maintenance Officer’s industry panel to present recommendations for AIT integration during MSMO availabilities. Joe is the recipient of ASNE Frank Law Award and Harold Saunders Award. The Tidewater Association of Service Contractors awarded Joe their highest and most prestigious Meritorious Service Award for long time service to TASC and TGIC. In addition to his many professional memberships Mr. Yurso is active in local community affairs, as past President of the Lutheran Council of Tidewater and President of the Larkspur Civic League, as well as the Past President of the Virginia Beach Council of Civic Organizations. Joe volunteers on two key committees at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital in Virginia Beach. Mr. Yurso began his career as a commissioned officer serving 30 years in the United States Navy. His two command tours were as Supervisor of Shipbuilding Groton, CT and Commander Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Joe retired as a United States Navy Captain. Born in Hazleton, Pennsylvania where he completed his high school education. He holds the degrees of a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. He has also completed a special management program at Carnegie Mellon University. Mr. Yurso is married to the former Barbara Bergen of Iola, Wisconsin.
Carl Spraberry, AMMA Founder and President
Carl was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1975 where he worked as a Nuclear Welder and Nuclear Planner until his commissioning through the Limited Duty Officer program in 1986. He served in various positions as a Maintenance Officer, Planning Officer, and Damage Control/Engineering Officer on several ships and shore commands. He retired in 1994 and joined a local ship repair/government contracting company, QED Systems where he spent 12 years as the Director of Technical Services. Recruited by a local shipyard he started a small ship repair company, Ocean Tech Services, where he served as the President beginning in July 2006 and left to start his own company in August of 2009. Since its inception, his company, Advanced Integrated Technologies has grown to over 200 employees working throughout Hampton Roads supporting the local shipyards and various government agencies in ship repair, modernization and new technologies. He is a member of many trade organizations including the Virginia Ship Repair Association, American Society of Naval Engineers, Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Port Authority, Virginia Maritime Association, National Ship Repair Council, Service Disabled Veterans Owned Small Business Council (charter Member) and he co-founded the American Maritime Modernization Association. His charitable affiliations include President of the Southside Boys and Girls Club, Treasurer of Cerebral Palsy of Virginia, Leadership Council of the Hampton Roads United Way campaign, and Founder of the Virginia Microboard Association.
Bob Blenner, AMMA Vice President
Mr. Bob Blenner is the Vice President of AMMA, having been active in the association since 2004 and a Board Member since 2012. He is currently the Director of Business Development at Delphinus Engineering, Inc. and has been involved with the maintenance, repair, and alteration of U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and Army vessels since 1982. He has been involved with several Condition Based Maintenance applications for shipboard rotating equipment through the PERA and NSWC organizations. Mr. Blenner was the Program Manager for the initial SmartShip installation onboard the USS Yorktown in the md-90s while employed by Information Technology Solutions, Inc. of Norfolk, VA. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from the College of William and Mary graduating in 1975.
Nicholas B. Clark, Sr., AMMA Treasurer
Nick was born in Washington, DC to a military family and lived various places in the US and Germany until the family settled in upstate New York. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1967 where he worked as a Disbursing Clerk until his commissioning through the Limited Duty Officer program in 1978. He served in various positions as a Disbursing Officer, Sales Officer, Food Service Officer and Supply Officer on several ships and shore commands. He retired in 1994 and returned to school at Old Dominion University working on a PhD in Strategic Management. In 2001 he joined his current employer, the oldest Naval Architecture firm in the U.S., George G. Sharp, Inc. where he has spent the last 16 years as a Program Manager specializing in Habitability renovations and AIT repairs on navy ships as well as served as the Chief Inspector for the overhauls of NYCDOT Staten Island ferries in Colonna Shipyard. He is a member of the Virginia Ship Repair Association and the American Maritime Modernization Association. His external affiliations include Alpha Kappa Psi National Business Fraternity – Life Member, Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society – Life Member, Pi Alpha Alpha National Honor Society – Life Member, Navy Supply Corps Foundation – Life Member, and the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem– Life Member.
Bill WREN, AMMA Board Member
Bill was born and raised on Long Island, New York. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1975 and served on (4) submarines, 2 attack and 2 missile firing, until his commissioning as an Engineering Limited Duty Officer (Surface) in 1985. He was assigned numerous positions as an Engineering Maintenance and Material Officer, Main Propulsion Assistant, Engineering Officer on USS Barney (DDG-6 1200 psi Steam Plant), Damage Control Training Officer for Guantanamo Bay Cuba, Engineering Officer on the USS Canopus and Officer in Charge, Engineering Training Group. Upon retiring from naval service in 1998, Bill went to work for Atlantic Drydock in Jacksonville, Florida and then moved to Norfolk in 2001where he served as Director, Colonna Down River (for almost 10 years). Upon leaving Colonna, he worked at AIT. In 2011, he joined his current employer, East Coast Repair and Fabrication and is currently the Director of Shipyard and Coatings Divisions. He has earned a B.A. from University of Florida and is a National Honor Society member.
Bill is an active member of several trade organizations including; the Virginia Ship Repair Association, Virginia Port Authority, Virginia Maritime Association, National Ship Repair Council, American Maritime Modernization Association. His charitable associations include, American Heart Association, Executive Leadership Team and St Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Cheryl Sawyer, AMMA Board Member
Cheryl Sawyer, Vice President of AIT, LLC and President, Surge Force, LLC, has over seven years of experience in the ship repair and ship maintenance industry managing Accounting, Human Resources Department, Benefits, Purchasing, Logistics, Facilities, Safety for all office locations in San Diego, Philadelphia, Charleston & Norfolk. Responsible for all day-to- day Operations and Business Development/Marketing. Additionally, Surge Force staffing firm, under Cheryl’s guidance, has built-in training and certification for a variety of skilled trades and offers those services to other companies.
Cheryl’s other involvement in the ship repair industry is her volunteer service with the American Maritime Modernization Association (AMMA) where she has assisted with membership, business development, host’s the annual dinner and quarterly socials for the last 8 years. She also serves on the board as Secretary. The arrangement of monthly membership meetings with local elected officials has become an important event in the maritime industry and the advocacy work of the organization. The management of all social media pages and website provides the marketing structure for the members and others who have an interest in this industry. Cheryl is very active in interfacing on behalf of AMMA with the congressional leaders on small business and industry concerns. Cheryl was elected to the Board of Directors in 2017.
Other Professional Affiliations and Volunteer Industrial Experience include:
- Virginia Ship Repair Association (VSRA)
- Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association (PSDSRA)
- American Maritime Modernization Association (AMMA)
- Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce
- Board Member National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)
- Regional Finance Chairman for Senator Bryce Reeves – Present
- Finance Committee Chair for Congressman Randy Forbes – 2015-2017
- Finance Committee Chair for Congressman Scott Rigell – 2014-2016
- RPVA Beach Committee Chair
- Tusk & Truck Board Member
- DRC Board Member
- PTA Secretary