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Experienced. Passionate. Focused.

Robert Burke founded Ridgebury following a lifetime of experience in all aspects of shipping. Hew Crooks’ background in private equity and maritime infrastructure investing complemented Burke’s experience perfectly, and together their partnership has resulted in twenty years of consistent returns for investors. The Ridgebury team is composed of dedicated investment and maritime professionals infused with a dynamic, entrepreneurial spirit that continues to deliver operational excellence.

Robert P. Burke

Chief Executive Officer

Robert Burke

Westport, CT

After graduating from the US Merchant Marine Academy, Bob spent three years sailing US-flagged tankers as a ship’s officer. This gave him plenty of time - while studying the horizon - to think of other more dynamic aspects of the global shipping business. Coming ashore to obtain his MBA at Columbia, Bob enjoyed a number of operating and banking roles before joining GE Capital, where he ultimately ran the maritime structured finance division. After founding and running Great Circle Capital with Hew in 2000, Bob left to organize the highly successful purchase of Chembulk, where he served as CEO until the firm was sold in early 2008.

Fun fact: Bob’s maritime life began at age twelve, working at the family’s drydock and repair yard, Union Dry Dock – which operated as the last such facility along the New Jersey waterfront until its sale in 2017.

Hew Crooks

Chief Financial Officer

Hew Crooks

Westport, CT

Beginning a traditional investment banking and private equity path in New York at Lehman Brothers and Investcorp, Hew changed gears when he moved to Peru and founded an investment firm focused on privatizations and infrastructure investment. Later expanding to Eastern Europe, his experience spanned industries including steel, mining, agriculture, power and shipping. Hew met Bob Burke in 2000, when they merged their respective business efforts to form Great Circle Capital, where Hew focused on logistics, infrastructure, ports and terminals.

Fun fact: Hew spent three years as SVP Operations with Safe Water Network, a developer of drinking water projects in Ghana and India. This innovative NGO now serves 1.3 million people in 389 communities with affordable, safe drinking water.

David Burke

Vice President, Engineering

David Burke

Westport, CT

David Burke (no relation to Ridgebury's CEO) brings broad experience in all phases of engineering and ship management to Ridgebury. In addition to extensive engineering experience aboard tankers, David was previously Managing Director of V-Ships USA and Technical Director for Suezmax owner Principal Maritime. He is now responsible for overseeing Ridgebury’s engineering and technical group and working directly with ship managers, with particular focus on value-added activities surrounding performance optimization, capital investment and drydock efficiency.

Fun fact: Although David graduated from Massachusetts Maritime Academy with a BS in Marine Engineering, his first post-grad experience was as a Naval Aviator, flying A-4 combat jets.

Nikhil Sarna

Vice President, Finance and Operations

Nikhil Sarna

Limassol, Cyprus

Nikhil brings a unique combination of financial acumen and practical maritime experience to Ridgebury. From 1993 through 2006 he sailed for various companies including Maersk, Bergesen, OMI and others, reaching the rank of Master Mariner. He followed this with an MSc in trade and finance at Cass Business School, then joined a leading ship manager and investment company in a finance and business development role. There he was involved in negotiating a wide range of successful creative solutions and restructurings to bring the business through the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Fun fact: Despite hating cold weather, Nikhil sailed for an entire winter on an ice-classed tanker in the Baltic Sea. Compared to that experience, life at Ridgebury is quite tolerable.

Vice President, Investments

Per Barre

Westport, CT

Per joined Ridgebury in 2022 after a broad career in shipping finance, as well as a period as a chartering/projects broker. Most recently he worked for ABN AMRO’s structured finance group – focused on the origination and syndication of debt products in the transportation sector. Prior to that, he had various roles in commercial and investment banking at SEB – including credit analysis, special situations, and corporate finance. Per is working to develop new products and business lines to expand the Ridgebury platform.

Fun fact: In addition to enjoying time with friends and family, Per loves sports; he’s a lifelong Giants fan, frustrated Knicks fan, and fair-weather Rangers fan.

Manager Commercial

Tony Buleza

Westport, CT

Tony Buleza is an experienced logistics and transportation professional with a Bachelor of Science in Logistics and Intermodal Transportation from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and an MBA from Benedictine University. After graduation, Tony joined Archer Daniels Midland Company / American River Transportation Company as a Port/Harbor Manager Trainee. He quickly progressed through the ranks, ultimately becoming a Location Manager. In 2013, Tony joined International Shipholding Corporation where he was responsible for the commercial and operational management of dry-bulk vessels. Tony joined Ridgebury in 2015 and is currently in the role of Manager Commercial, having responsibility for the day-to-day commercial management of vessels, liaising with third-party investors and pool managers, and assisting with sale and purchase activities.

Fun fact: In his free time, Tony enjoys spending time with his family and watching his kids' extracurricular activities.

Financial Controller

Antria Dionysiou

Limassol, Cyprus

Antria is a graduate of the University of Bath (UK) with a BSc Accounting and Finance. She is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC). Prior to joining Ridgebury, Antria spent 7 years as an Audit Manager with Deloitte leading a wide client portfolio including ship owners, ship managers, and pool managers. Antria joined Ridgebury in 2020 in the role of Financial Controller with responsibility for financial reporting and accounting operations. Antria is a Board Member and Events Coordinator of YoungShip Cyprus.

Fun fact: In her spare time, Antria loves to travel and enjoys photography and painting.

Director Human Resources & Corporate Governance

Donna Madden

Westport, CT

Donna joined Ridgebury in 2019 in the role of Director Human Resources & Corporate Governance. Donna has responsibility for all HR functions, corporate governance, compliance, and administration. Prior to joining Ridgebury, Donna spent 12 years with a chemical tanker owner in the role of Vice President Human Resources & Corporate Administration. Donna’s career also includes 13 years of corporate experience in a variety of senior corporate administration & HR positions.

Fun fact: Donna loves to spend time with family and friends and enjoys cooking and entertaining.

Adminstrative Assistant

Kirsten Woods

Westport, CT

Kiri joined Ridgebury in 2013 as Administrative Director. Prior to joining Ridgebury, Kiri worked in print magazine advertising. Kiri brings with her a love of the sea having spent many years competing on the international yacht racing circuit.

Fun fact: In her leisure time, Kiri is a fine artist, decorator, and gourmet cook.