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Staff Biographies and Offices


Timothy Hansen, Director


Years of Inspection Experience : 25+

Tim Hansen is as comfortable in the board room as fishing in a broad stream.  His attention to the needs of industry make him an ideal inspection program leader.  Inspecting seafood became his dream job because the work is varied, offers opportunities for travel and advancement, and makes a significant contribution to human health and commerce. 

“We were integral in getting underutilized fish stocks into the school lunch program during the 1980’s,” says Tim. 

“We helped create a market.  Today the fish is an established product in the retail trade and overseas.” 

Steven Wilson, Assistant Director


Years of Inspection Experience: 27+

Steve Wilson is the internal watchdog of the program and is not always the most liked for it.  His skills in food technology and quality management of food systems make it hard, if not impossible, to pull the wool over his eyes. 

“Any time you audit the auditor, it can cause tension.  But, we’re a lot better program for it,” says Steve. 

“Our program is dedicated to continuous improvement.  The market constantly changes.  We have to adapt.”


Ask a Question  | Call My Office ▪ (301)427-8312

James Appel, Assistant Director

James is the administration backbone of the program. He handles everything from the budget to HR to IT and facilities. His years of small business ownership gives him the knowledge and experience to handle many situations.

“Tim and Steve are the scientists of the program, they set policy. I make sure the business of inspection runs smoothly,” says James.

  Ask a Question  | Call My Office ▪ (301)427-8310

Northwest Inspection Branch
Eric Staiger, Chief

Years of Inspection Experience: 23+

More than anything, Eric Staiger is all about customer service. Employees are his best assets to ensure quality service.

“Kudos to retailers and processors that utilize the Seafood Inspection Program to protect consumers, at no taxpayer expense,” says Eric.

“It’s my focus to make sure inspectors have the training, equipment, supplies and support to provide effective inspections. They do a great job of it.”

  Request Inspection | Call My Office ▪ (206)526-4259

Southwest Inspection Branch
Laurice Churchill, Chief

Years of Inspection Experience: 2

Laurice Churchill began her career working on the water raising oysters to driving a delivery truck. She joins the Southwest Region of the Seafood Inspection Program following over 29 years of work in fisheries management, regulatory affairs and compliance in the State of Maine.

  Request Inspection | Call My Office ▪ (562)388-7346

Southeast Inspection Branch
Brian Vaubel, Chief

Years of Inspection Experience: 15+


Brian Vaubel began his career with the NOAA Seafood Inspection Program in 1998.  Over this time, Brian has gained valuable technical knowledge in fishery products.  Most importantly he has built valuable relationships with the people that make up the public and private sectors of the seafood business.  Brian’s greatest career accomplishment goal is to build an inspection service organization that delivers meaningful results to everyone. This is still a work in progress and the motivation behind his work.

  Request Inspection | Call My Office ▪ (727)551-5708

Northeast Inspection Branch
Steven Ross, Chief

Years of Inspection Experience: 24+


Steven Ross takes great pleasure in being part of a program that promotes commerce. He has come up through the ranks with advantage of learning the inspection program as both a Consumer Safety Inspector and Consumer Safety Officer.

As the newest Chief of the Northeast region, he looks forward to continuing to assist the seafood industry with their mission of providing seafood and seafood products globally, as well as growing the program. Steven seeks to introduce and enroll new participants into Seafood Inspection Program.

  Request Inspection | Call My Office ▪ (978)281-9228


U.S. Department of Commerce/NOAA Fisheries • 1315 East West Highway • Silver Spring, MD 20910 • Phone (301) 427-8300 • Toll Free (800) 422-2750

Our Vision:

  • "An informed society that has confidence in the seafood that they purchase, sell and consume today and in the future."

Our Mission:

  • To ensure the safety and quality as well as enhance the marketability and sustainability of seafood products for the benefit of the American consumer by providing science based inspection services to the seafood industry.