Foss Maritime has opened a Houston office and formed a new marine transportation project management group.

John Tirpak will relocate to Houston to head up the new office as vice president of business development and contract services. Mike Lauer has been named director of marine transportation project services and will lead the new project management group from Foss’ corporate offices in Seattle. Both are longtime Foss employees.

The moves are targeted at an increasing customer base in Houston, the company said. In his new role, Tirpak will oversee business development for the entire marine transportation division and manage long-term marine transportation contracts such as CN Aquatrain, TECK and United Launch Alliance.

The new project management unit, headed by Lauer, comprises project management and global logistics specialists focused on analyzing and finding solutions for Foss’ transportation activities. This group will manage all Foss term contracts and all project tows and transportation projects. The unit will work closely with Foss’ harbor marine group, made up of naval architects and engineering specialists in a variety of fields.

"By separating our business development and project management functions, we will on one hand be able to provide our customers with a team focused entirely on the development, oversight and management of all aspects of their projects; while at the same time supporting our internal need to grow the marine transportation division with dedicated business development efforts in areas like Houston that have the most opportunity for growth," said Gary Faber, senior vice president, marine transportation and president, global services.

"When combined with the harbor marine group's naval architecture, engineering and rigging expertise, we will be able to take on any marine transportation project from cradle-to-grave, giving our customers the very highest level of service and an uncompromising focus on the safety of our employees, our customers and the environment in the delivery of the services at hand," Faber added.

Foss has several offices in Washington state in addition to its corporate headquarters, with additional offices in Alabama, Alaska, California, Hawaii, and Oregon.