Seals hauled out on an iceberg.

Our People

One very unique feature at Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises is we are proud to employ all Alaskans and mostly Valdez residents. All of our crew is dedicated to making your Prince William Sound experience the best day you spend in Alaska. Follow along below to learn more about some of our company founders and crew.


Stan Stephens

Stan Stephens

Stan Stephens and his wife Mary Helen first began operating tours with the goal of sharing the beauty of Prince William Sound, a place he loved dearly, with the world. Stan moved to Alaska in 1961 where he first lived in Anchorage, followed by Fairbanks and then building his home in North Pole. Prior to the creation of what became Stan Stephens Cruises, Stan enjoyed Prince William Sound as a recreational destination for fishing, hunting and touring. Keep Reading »


Mary Helen Stephens

Mary Helen Stephens

Mary Helen Stephens is the energy behind the business. Mary Helen moved to Alaska in 1963, just before the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake, from Colorado and Minnesota. Stan and Mary Helen married in 1964 and built their family and home in North Pole. Mary Helen’s first line of work was being a Physical Therapist, however, that was put to the side as she joined Stan in developing the company. Keep Reading »


Colleen Stephens

Colleen Stephens

The youngest of the Stephens’ daughters, Colleen Stephens has spent her entire life in Alaska between North Pole and Valdez, excluding her time spent at the University of Idaho for school. To this day she claims her family migrated in a reverse pattern: North in the winter and South in the summer. Valdez is now home for Colleen and she cannot imagine being anywhere else, even when it is snowing 3 feet a day. Keep Reading »


Chris Thoma

Chris Thoma

Chris Thoma is a life-long Alaskan (born and raised) who grew up in the North Pole area near the Stephens family. In 1988, Chris spent his first summer in Valdez working at Stan Stephens Cruises cleaning and crewing on boats. Keep Reading »


Amanda Bauer

Amanda Bauer

Soon after Amanda Bauer arrived in Valdez from Independence, Kansas in 1995 she began working at Stan Stephens Cruises cleaning and supplying boats, as well as driving vans and buses for transfers to tours. Quickly the company offered her a year-round position managing all of the accounting for the company. Keep Reading »


Alan Steed

Alan Steed

Alan Steed first worked for Stan Stephens Cruises from 1992 – 1994 as a deckhand during summers. Originally calling from Idaho, Alan developed his love for the salt-water and boat operations while working with the Stephens family. In 1994 he secured his 100 Ton Masters license and began operating boats in the waters that surround Maui, Hawaii. Keep Reading »


Ben Tapangco

Ben Tapangco

Like many others at Stan Stephens Cruises, Benjamin Tapangco acquired his love for the water while working as a crew member. You may not know it today, but when Ben began crewing in 2005 he was known as the ‘silent crew’, barely speaking to anyone during the day. Currently, Ben has stepped out of his shell. He has been working to lead our crew for a few years and now has obtained his license and began driving tours in 2013. Keep Reading »


Collin Dunkin

Collin Dunkin

A lifelong resident of Valdez, Collin began working as a deckhand in 2005 to fill his summers between college terms.  After graduating, he returned to Valdez to pursue a career in education. He has spent every summer vacation since working on Prince William Sound with Stan Stephens Cruises as a deckhand and captain.  During the offseason, Collin works in special education at Gilson Middle School in Valdez, hosts pub trivia, and plays music in various family bands.


Shelby Gudgell

Shelby Gudgell

Shelby was born and raised in Valdez and grew up with her father as a captain at Stan Stephens Cruises. She worked as a boat cleaner her first summer and then transitioned to the reservation’s office. Today, you will find Shelby coordinating our reservation office and staff.  During the winters, Shelby is attending nursing school. Shelby loves to spend her time outdoors here in Valdez, going hiking, kayaking, and of course, traveling the Sound.