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Chris O'Brien


Christopher O’Brien, a native of Cape Cod, MA, developed his life-long passion for sailing and the ocean as a Sea Scout. After graduating from Fitchburg State University, Mr. O’Brien attended the US Coast Guard Officer Candidate School in Yorktown, VA.  He was commissioned in the summer of 1991 and was assigned to Governors Island New York as an electrical engineer.  While in the Coast Guard, and after serving as Admiral’s Aide to the Commander, he settled into the Marine Prevention and Compliance Command where as a Marine Inspector, he regulated the maritime industry focusing on environmental protection and safe vessel operations within New York Harbor.


Throughout his career, Mr. O’Brien has taken on several challenging roles in the realm of large-scale events production and logistics, serving as Director of Fleet Week NYC for the US Navy, Director, “The Gates NYC” artistic installation removal, and Events Producer for Operation Sail during OpSail 2000.  In 2004 Mr. O’Brien became Executive Director of Operation Sail where he developed and executed plans for OpSail 2012; a six-port series of major international Tall Ship events, produced in partnership with the USN.  Additionally, in 2017, he served as Maritime Director of the United Nation’s World Ocean Festival NYC, where he designed, planned and executed myriad aspects of the ocean science festival supporting UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, for ocean conservation and sustainable use. Currently, and in keeping with his Tall Ship focused event production history, Mr. O’Brien serves as the President of Sail4th 250, where he will gather the Tall Ships of the world for America’s 250th Anniversary celebrations in New York City.


Alongside his maritime related career, Mr. O’Brien also served as Director, Programs and Finance for Boeing’s Information and Intelligence Systems Division, where he was responsible for financial control, programs management, and contracting for more than $200M in annual contract obligations from 2004 to 2016. Mr. O’Brien is married to Diana Schmidt-O’Brien and is the father of two brilliant young adults, Jake and Laura.

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