Brian Trzeciak

Executive Director

Brian joined the Buffalo Maritime Center in 2016 as Shop Manager and is now in his seventh year as the Executive Director. He walked into the boat shop on Arthur Street looking for a place to build a paddleboard and a wooden kayak. He met Roger Allen and John Montague and instantly fell in love with the organization and the people connected with it. Previously, Brian worked as a toy designer with Fisher-Price, he taught English in public school, writing and philosophy at the college level, and he spent time as a community organizer working with volunteers to keep kids safe and in school. Brian is proud of all of the work that the Buffalo Maritime Center has done and continues to do in the community to promote the maritime heritage of our region, STEM education, and the preservation of the tenets of craftsmanship.

“What I like most about boatbuilding is the process. That act of creation and of being in the moment is something I want everyone to experience. That feeling inspires me, and I’m lucky to be able to share my passion with the community every day.”

Roger Allen

Master Boatbuilder

Roger grew up in Bucks County, PA but spent a bit of his youth sailing anywhere he could. That urge to sail eventually led him to volunteer as a ship’s carpenter on the 157’ square rigger Gazella. His volunteer work ended after a month-long voyage aboard the ship when he was hired as her “shipkeeper.” While serving in that capacity, he founded the Workshop on the Water for the Philadelphia Maritime Museum in 1979. At the workshop, Roger focused upon preservation of regional traditional small boats and skills and offered classes in boatbuilding, mounted related exhibits, and collected over 60 boats as part of the Museum’s permanent collection. Roger then went to North Carolina where he produced similar programs as Curator of Boatbuilding Technology and Director of the State Museum’s Harvey Smith Watercraft Center. After 9 years he moved south to Cortez, Florida to expand his preservation efforts around the village and the traditional lifestyles of its commercial fishermen residents. He also spent time fundraising for habitat restoration of the organization’s 100 acre waterfront preserve as well as the acquisition of and renovations to ten of the historic village’s buildings. For the past 10 years, Roger has lived and worked in Buffalo, first as the BMC’s Executive Director (and boatbuilding, fundraising, maintenance, serving as the primary teacher, etc.) and now, after a failed attempt at retirement, as Master Boatbuilder of the Erie Canal Boat, Seneca Chief.

“The personal belief that using traditional wooden boatbuilding methods and skills offers an invaluable lesson in problem solving, self sufficiency, and the development of a craftsman-like attitude that is rare in modern life has served as the core guiding my work since I began my career in 1978.”

Greg Dudley

Boatbuilding Programs Director

Maybe as a result of growing up on a farm in New York’s finger lakes, Greg showed an interest in building things and working with wood since early childhood. His first boats were probably made of Lego blocks and took their maiden voyage in the bathtub. After an education in architecture and urban planning, he was finally able to return to woodworking, and, eventually, building wooden boats. Prior to building boats professionally, Greg worked as a design/build carpenter and an architectural restoration specialist. In his work at the Buffalo Maritime Center, he is involved with most aspects of the BMC including educational programming, leading community boatbuilding projects, and researching and documenting local watercraft.

“To me the most significant thing about wooden boats is that they reveal more about the relationship with nature than almost any other form of human industry. After all, to be functional, a sailboat must possess the best qualities of a fish, a bird, and even the trees that the boat was made from.”

Chelsea Moore

Education & Community Outreach Coordinator

Chelsea grew up in Buffalo and has worked as a Research Assistant on the upper Niagara River studying Map Turtles, as an Environmental Educator on the Hudson River, and as a Gopher Tortoise researcher in Florida. Chelsea was born into a family of woodworkers and has always enjoyed being out on the water, but never expected those two worlds to collide. She has loved building the 6-Hour Canoe with students, thinking of new ways to incorporate STEM concepts into the boatbuilding process, and connecting the community of Buffalo to its waterways.

“As simple as it may seem, some of the best moments come from working with students to read a tape measure. Math lessons that we learned in high school become the guiding concepts in design and building. Understanding the biology of a tree becomes essential. It is so important to show students how applicable and relevant STEM concepts are to their life and to their career, whatever those may look like!”

Eddie Knibloe

Exhibits & Collection Manager

Eddie grew up in Buffalo sailing and canoe tripping. He fell in love with history at an early age and, upon applying for college, learned Museum studies was a field of study. He helped prepare art exhibits for the campus Marion Art Gallery at the State University of New York Fredonia. After graduation, Eddie would work at other Buffalo institutions like the Burchfield Penney and Albright Knox. Before starting with the BMC in September, he studied Paper Conservation in San Gemini, Italy. Learning modern issues and ethics as well as practical document treatments. The class treated materials from the San Gemini Archives dating to the middle ages. Eddie plans to encourage members and visitors to engage with maritime history and the sciences behind boating and boatbuilding through the BMC Museum and Library.

“It is vital for distinct places like Buffalo to record and share the area’s unique stories. Those include history but new stories as well. The museum’s role is to seek out and relay truths that allow people to discover a connection to the generations before us. They also have the opportunity to inspire visitors to shape a brighter future.”

Katy Shoop

Administrative Assistant

Katy has always been fond of the Erie Canal. Growing up near Lockport she was exposed to the history and importance of the Erie Canal. She has loved learning about U.S. history since a young age and that has carried through to her career. Before coming to the Buffalo Maritime Center, she worked at Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site focusing on 18th century and Erie Canal history. Katy enjoys being out on the water, learning more about boatbuilding in the boat shop, and she’s ready to explore Buffalo’s maritime culture and its unique nautical history. She is very excited to have joined the BMC and is looking forward to helping the organization grow and make a meaningful impact on the community.

“There is no Buffalo without its connection to the water. At the Buffalo Maritime Center, we are keeping that connection present in the community through boatbuilding. That’s why I enjoy working here - to help make sure this very important connection isn’t lost.”