northstar group photo

Our Crew

Northstar Marine’s dedicated crew is experienced, fully trained and ready to provide the support needed for any project. We have full-time USCG licensed captains and our crew is certified under numerous EPA, OSHA and AMSEA training programs.  To further ensure safety, our crew is also enrolled in a USCG approved drug-testing program. We welcome the challenge of most any project or unique request.

Phil Risko : President and CEO

Phil Risko

President and CEO

Phil Risko is president and CEO of Northstar Marine, Northstar Environmental and Northstar Restoration, which provide environmental, marine and restoration services to the mid-Atlantic region.  Phil founded Northstar Marine and Northstar Environmental over 20 years ago, and has experienced success in diversifying service offerings to meet client needs, process improvement to increase efficiencies in client engagements, and improved the quality of services by hiring an experienced staff dedicated to serving Northstar customers.  Phil sets the strategic direction for all companies and oversees all operations, management, marketing, and client management for the organization.

In addition to his strategic and leadership responsibilities, Phil also has 25 years as a 100-ton USCG Master Near Coastal Licensed Captain with Commercial Towing and Sailing Endorsement, extensive knowledge of major regulations (DOT, USCG, EPA) governing environmental and maritime operations, 10 years experienced CDL with Hazmat Materials Technician, OSHA Hazardous Waste Site Supervisor Training and carries a Transportation Workers Identification Card (TWIC).

Outside of work, Phil is dedicated to community involvement and service through Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Lighthouse Church.  Phil also enjoys spending time with his wife and five daughters.

Dave Morgan : Vice President, Marine Operations

Dave Morgan

Vice President, Marine Operations

Dave Morgan has been with Northstar since 2010 as the Vice President, Marine Operations, where he is responsible for coordinating and managing client engagements, staffing and all operations for Northstar’s lift boats.  Dave is an experienced marine engineer and project manager in the dredging, marine equipment, marine environmental remediation and geophysical survey fields. Over the past 10 years most of his time has been dedicated to the technical activities for lift boat operations. He holds a Marine Engineers license (Unlimited – foreign going), PMI certification and worked internationally for 10 years as a consultant and project manager prior to immigrating to the United States.

Steve Russell : Heath and Safety Officer

Steve Russell

Heath and Safety Officer

Steve Russell joined Northstar in 2011 as Health and Safety Officer, and is responsible for overseeing all risk management efforts including drug and alcohol testing procedures.  Steve has extensive experience in both the public and private sector, having worked with local, state and federal governments as well as law enforcement.  He also has a wide range of experience in marine transportation operations, which includes the USCG, USEPA, NJDEP, FCC, DNREC and OEM.  One of Steve’s strongest skills is successfully implementing safety programs, helping to reduce risk and cost associated with loss.  Steve is certified to manage hazardous materials spills both on the land and on water.

Having led different organizations throughout his career, Steve understands the importance of teamwork and being a team player. Before working for Northstar he worked for the Delaware River & Bay Authority and the Cape May County Sheriff’s Department. Steve enjoys spending time on the water and with his family and is a proud grandfather.

David Burton : Vice President and Chief Engineer Captain

David Burton

Vice President and Chief Engineer Captain

Dave Burton has been with Northstar for nearly 20 years and serves as Vice President and Chief Engineer of the Marine Fleet.  Dave began his work with Northstar in 1992, when he partnered with Northstar President and Founder Phil Risko in a Sea Tow franchise and served as a towboat captain and head mechanic for a fleet of 13 vessels. His responsibilities now include overseeing the maintenance for the fleet of Northstar vessels.

Prior to his career with Northstar, Dave spent four years in the United States Marine Corps.  After the Marines he worked as a mechanic for both Amtrak and Minmar Marine. Captain Dave holds a USCG 100-ton Masters license with a commercial towing endorsement. In his free time Dave serves as the Cape May County coordinator for the USMC Toys for Tots program.

Dean Dion : Marine Operations Supervisor/Tug Boat Captain

Dean Dion

Marine Operations Supervisor/Tug Boat Captain

Captain Dean Dion started with Northstar Marine in 2003 as a towboat and tug boat captain, and is currently Marine Operations Supervisor and is responsible for managing the captains and crews for all Northstar vessels.  Dean is originally from Gloucester, MA, where he grew up working on commercial fishing vessels.  Dean’s extensive experience in the marine industry, hands-on skills and great rapport with co-workers and customers alike make him an essential part of all of Northstar Marine’s special projects.  He holds a Master of Towing with Radar endorsement, 100-ton Masters license and Radar observer unlimited.  Dean has two children and wife whom he enjoys spending time with.

Herman Bechtler : Captain

Herman Bechtler


Herman Bechtler has been a captain with Northstar since 2006, and is responsible for running both lift boats and workboats.  Herman began his career at the age of nineteen when he entered the USCG.  He served in the USCG for thirty-five years where he was an officer in charge of eight different units, five of which were Coast Guard cutters.  He served primarily on the east coast from the Chesapeake Bay on north, but also served for a brief time on the lower Mississippi river and on the west coast in Seattle.  Herman retired from the USCG as a Master Chiefs Boat Swain Mate.  Captain Herman is married with a loving wife and six children and resides in Cape May County.

Steve Cummings : Captain, Diver

Steve Cummings

Captain, Diver

Steve Cummings joined Northstar in 2002 as an environmental technician and diver.  During his tenure with Northstar his responsibilities have expanded his to include captain, mate and diver.  Steve began diving in 1988 and is a certified NAUI and PADI diver.  He has his NAUI open water I, II, rescue diver, deep diver and dive master certification and is also a PADI certified Nitrox diver.

Prior to working at Northstar, Steve spent four years wreck diving in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, where some of his career highlights include diving the “USS Monitor”, salvaging numerous dredges from clam boats as well as salvaging the f/v “Capt. Charlie” in 146 feet of water.  Steve is also a USCG certified Captain with a commercial towing endorsement.

Ian Farrow : Diver/Special Marine Projects

Ian Farrow

Diver/Special Marine Projects

Ian Farrow is the Northstar Marine Dive Team Project Manager and has been diving for Northstar since 2003. Ian began diving in 1991 while in the U.S. Army in Germany and Scotland, and is a certified rescue and mixed-air diver. During his tenure at Northstar, he has worked on numerous dive jobs including salvages, survey work, current meters, buoy projects and Geo Mats. He has also worked on many side-scan sonar survey projects throughout the northeast and mid-Atlantic seaboard. Ian also plays a key role in Northstar’s involvement with the off-shore wind farm project off the New Jersey coast. The greatest part of the job for Ian is “to make what’s upside-down right-side up and figuring out how to do that”.

Ed Fallon :

Ed Fallon

Chris Cassels :

Chris Cassels