Cell phone: +47 913 90 554
Frigg joined AECO in 2006. As AECO’s executive director (ED), based in Tromsø, she is responsible for the day-to-day operation of AECO and is the manager of the Secretariat. The ED is the treasurer of AECO and serves as a contact between standing committees, all members and partners. Together with the assistant director, the ED is responsible for implementing AECO’s action plans and ensuring that activities are aligned with the organization’s objectives and strategies. The ED is also AECO’s primary spokesperson, representing members and advocating on their behalf. In addition to her managerial responsibilities, Frigg’s focus areas are Svalbard, search and rescue (SAR), marine issues, and project management.
Frigg comes from Northern Norway and lived in Svalbard for more than 30 years before relocating to Tromsø where AECO’s head office is currently located. She has worked in polar tourism since 1992. After completing a college degree in tourism, she started as manager for what became Visit Svalbard, building up the local tourist office in Longyearbyen and coordinating the establishment of the Svalbard Tourism Board. From 2001 till 2006, she worked as the first tourism adviser at the Governor of Svalbard office. Frigg has been project manager for the development of “The Svalbard Guide Courses”, “General guidelines for tourism in Svalbard”, “Clean up Svalbard” and “The Governor’s strategy for tourism and outdoor recreation”. Since joining AECO, she has been responsible for several of AECO’s numerous projects. Frigg speaks Norwegian, English and some German.
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Cell phone: +47 476 32 550
Edda has been AECO’s communications manager since May 2017. She is based in Oslo. Her focus areas include AECO’s communications and outreach, including media relations, web presence, social media and member resources. She also contributes to AECO’s strategic planning and advocacy efforts.
Edda is Norwegian, and her background includes language studies, communications and international relations, specializing in Arctic issues. She has previously worked for the Norwegian Embassy in Havana, the Canadian Embassy in Norway and as an arctic advocacy officer for the Canadian International Arctic Centre in Oslo, where she coordinated the promotion of Canada’s Arctic interests abroad. She has also held the position of communications adviser at the High North Center for Business and Governance in Bodø, which focuses on business and innovation in the circumpolar Arctic. Edda speaks Norwegian, English, Spanish and French.
Marine Operations Specialist
Phone: +47 414 06 810
Brede Valanes is AECO’s marine operations specialist. He joined AECO in April 2019. Brede’s work focuses on the maritime, technical and regulatory affairs that AECO is involved in. He is involved in initiatives, projects and partnerships related to areas such as operational tools and overviews, search and rescue, hydrography, meteorology/ice, communication, as well as other tasks. He is based at AECO’s head office in Tromsø, Norway.
Brede is Norwegian and a certified Master Mariner. He has experience from the coast guard, fisheries, oil and gas industry, as well as cruise tourism. In addition to working at sea, Brede has worked on maritime regulatory issues and implementation and safety management systems. He has worked with accident prevention and contingency planning and conducted audits and ship inspections. Brede has coordinated Polar Code implementation for expedition cruise vessels and contributed to new build projects. Brede speaks Norwegian and English.
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Phone: +47 465 00 675
Melissa Nacke is AECO’s environmental specialist. She joined AECO in August 2019. Melissa manages AECO’s Clean Seas project and is involved in a range of tasks connected to AECO’s efforts to safeguard the environment. Melissa is based in AECO’s main office in Tromsø.
Melissa is Canadian and has worked as a Specialist in Arctic Shipping and Marine Conservation for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) where she led projects related to safe shipping, pollution and marine protection in the Arctic. Through this work, she engaged at the local community, federal and international level and collaborated with variety of stakeholders, including industry, government, Indigenous representatives, and scientists.
Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology and Oceanography and a Master of Science degree focused on Arctic oceanography. As part of her research, she led a three-month fieldwork expedition in Resolute, Nunavut and conducted research onboard the Canadian Coast Guard’s Amundsen vessel as well as the Norwegian Helmer Hansen research vessel while enrolled at the University Centre in Svalbard.
Cell phone: +299 55 25 34
Anders la Cour Vahl has been AECO’s assistant director since December 2019 and is based in Nuuk, Greenland. As assistant director, Anders is part of AECO’s management group and stands in for the executive director when needed. He’s involved strategical planning and AECO’s overall portfolio as well as specific thematic areas.
Anders has previously worked as Chief Analyst for Air Greenland. From 2002 to 2017, he worked at Visit Greenland / the National Tourist Board of Greenland, holding the title of Deputy Director since 2011. Among other things, he was responsible for managing the Tourism Board’s efforts on cruise development in Greenland which is included collaboration with AECO on several occasions. Anders is Danish and speaks English and Danish.
Head of Administration
Phone: +47 932 38 387
Rune Nilsen has been AECO’s head of administration since October 2019 and is based in Tromsø. Rune is involved in AECO’s overall portfolio with special focus on administration, finance, HR, HSE and membership service. Responsibilities will include operational planning, financial control and reporting, budgeting, recruitment, staff management, training measures, health, safety and environment.
Rune’s professional background is as an executive in the hotel industry, working a as a hotel director in Norway and abroad. In his past roles, he has worked with strategic and financial management and organizational optimization. He has extensive experience within the field of HR and management. Rune Nilsen is Norwegian and speaks Norwegian and English.
M. Florencia Becherini
Cell phone: +47 468 08 917
M. Florencia (Flor) is AECO’s office manager. She joined the Secretariat in September 2015. Flor works with accounting, administration, archives, event planning, general inquiries and member service. Flor assists members and ships with administrative and membership issues, including AECO’s Cruise scheduler and vessel contact list. She is based at AECO’s office in Tromsø.
Flor comes from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she grew up and spent most of her life. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international trade with specialization in international economy and worked more than twelve years as an account manager both in an Argentinean bank and in the biggest newspaper in the country. After completing her studies in 2012, she moved to Norway, where she learned Norwegian. Florencia also speaks English and has Spanish as a mother tongue.
Ann Eileen Lennert
Cell phone: +47 905 54 526
Ann Eileen Lennert has been AECO’s community engagement specialist since December 2019 and is based in Tromsø. Ann manages AECO’s portfolio of community engagement tasks. She works closely with the AECO secretariat and our Community Engagement Committee to further develop and carry out AECO’s strategy and action plans for community engagement in Arctic areas.
Ann Eileen Lennert has been working with tourism since 2004, both as a guide, destination guide, lecturer on land and at sea. She has also worked with tourism through research and as a consultant. She holds a PhD in Environmental Anthropology and Sustainability Sciences from Greenland Institute of Natural Recourses(GNIR) and Climate Research Centre (GCRC) and the University of Greenland. Her PhD project focus on knowledge co-production and was built largely on an awareness of culture, diplomacy and integrity. She has worked with community engagement in the Arctic through a number of project and has lived in Greenland for many years.
Ann Eileen Lennert is of Danish and Turkish descent. She speaks Danish, English and Norwegian as well as some Turkish, Greenlandic and German.
Cell phone: +45 42227589
Troels Jacobsen has been AECO’s field operations manager since January 2020 and works from a home office close to Odense, Denmark. Troels is involved in developing and maintaining field operations tools, measures and procedures. He is also involved in a range of field operations issues relevant to AECO.
Troels Jacobsen has more than 15 years’ experience from the cruise industry, most recently as Product and Staffing Manager for Oceanwide Expeditions. He holds a Master of Science in Biology and has worked as guide, expedition leader in both the Arctic and Antarctic. Troels Jacobsen has done extensive consultant work for AECO and has been involved in AECO committees. Troels Jacobsen is Danish and speaks Danish and English.
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