Raymond Ashley, Ph.D.

President and CEO


Dr. Ray Ashley is President/CEO of the San Diego Maritime Museum. Growing up locally, he became director of the San Diego Maritime Museum in 1995. He holds a BA in Anthropology from UCSD, an MA in Maritime History and Museum Studies from East Carolina University, and a PhD in History from Duke University, specializing in the history of science, technology and medicine. He has taught courses in history and archeology at UCSD and USD,  has published papers in American Neptune and a number of other professional journals, and writes a quarterly column for the Maritime Museum’s peer reviewed journal Mains’l Haul.

Dr. Ashley has been sailing for most of his life since spending his senior year in high school on a schooner and has sailed, built, restored, renovated and preserved ships for many years before he came to the Maritime Museum and in the years since.  He is a licensed captain for sail, steam and auxiliary vessels of 200 tons domestic (500 tons international) registry,  is the Star of India’s  navigator and sails as relief captain for the other vessels of the Museum’s active fleet including the State tallship Californian, steam yacht Medea, and Pilot.

Dr. Ashley is a member of many civic and professional organizations and serves or has served on the Boards of the Council of American Maritime Museums, Sea Education Association of Woods Hole, MA, the North American Society for Oceanic History, the Nautical Research Guild editorial board, the American Sail Training Association, Cabrillo Festival, and the San Diego Port Tenants Association, the World Ship Trust, and is President of the American Ship Trust. In 2007, Dr. Ashley was Conference Chair for the Eighth International Maritime Heritage Conference, hosted by the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Dr. Ashley is also a maritime museum specialist consultant for the U.S. National Park Service, Northwest Seaport in Seattle, Genteng International of Singapore, and in 2006 was appointed to First Lady Laura Bush’s Preserve America Summit.

He lives in Chula Vista with his wife Carlynn (with whom he sailed a 25’ boat through the South Pacific) and daughters Brienne and Neva. He is a member of San Diego Yacht Club and serves as the club protocol officer.



Mark Montijo

Vice President, Operations


Mark Montijo is responsible for supervision and oversight of daily operations and exhibitions, project management for new facilities planning, and participation on staff and board committees. Mr. Montijo has been with the museum since 1990. His background includes work with the California Legislature, historic restoration, construction and construction management, and ownership of small businesses. He has served extensively on various County of San Diego planning boards and task forces. Mr. Montijo was founding president of the Jamul Arts and Music Council in East San Diego County.



James W. Davis

General Manager-Event Venues Department,
Chief Rigger and First Mate of the Star of India


Jim Davis began working at the museum as a part time employee while he was still in high school. Since then he has worked in nearly every aspect of the museum's operations. In 1979, Mr. Davis became responsible for the management of the museum's special events department, and was instrumental in building the department that now annually plans and manages more than 100 events a year. In 1980 named the First Mate of the Star of India, as well as chief rigger for the Star of India and the Medea. 1986 developed the volunteer sail and maintenance crew program, and continues to supervise the crew that sails the Star of India. Having sailed on all but one of the Star of India's modern sailings. Mr. Davis is a Coast Guard certified chief engineer, and was the project manager for the drydocking and resurfacing of the Berkeley's hull in 2003. A process that serves as the benchmark for the preservation of historic iron and steel hulled ships worldwide.



Susan Sirota

Director of Education


Susan Sirota joined the maritime museum staff in 1998 and has been the director of education since 2001. Her responsibilities include managing a staff of instructors that teach the science and environmental programs, public programs and living history programs for the museum. In addition to her role as education director, Ms. Sirota has taken on a variety of projects such as administering the Elderhostel program, coordinating a submarine exhibit, and project manager for Festival of Sail 2002. Ms. Sirota moved to San Diego after receiving her graduate diploma in planning and design from the University of Melbourne in Australia and a master's degree in environmental studies.  After returning from overseas, she served as an AmeriCorps Watershed community coordinator and developed several community environmental education projects. Ms. Sirota came to the maritime museum staff from the San Diego County outdoor education office in order to develop the Pilot boat program.



Chris Berggren

Director of Development


Ms. Berggren has been affiliated with the museum since November 2007. Her background includes 14 years in development and donor stewardship at UCSD. Prior to that she was an independent writer and editor.



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