Diane Lipton

Executive Director

Diane Lipton joined the Houston Maritime Museum as Director of Development in December, 2011 and was promoted to Executive Director in February, 2012. She previously served as President of the Houston East End Chamber of Commerce from 2000 through 2010, and as its Director of Education through May, 2011. During her tenure, the East End Chamber worked with more than 300 community partners to develop a ten year strategic vision. The successful implementation of the vision resulted in The National Engineering Academy at Chavez High School; partnership with the Port of Houston Maritime Academies at Austin and Yates High Schools, the initial approval for the construction of the Dynamo stadium in the East End, the community friendly design of the Harrisburg light rail line and an economic development program recognized as the one of the best across the region.

Dedicated to providing quality education for all students, Diane has served on numerous Boards of organizations to support that mission including the National Engineering Academy Advisory Council, Houston Independent School District Career & Technology Advisory Board, the Port of Houston Partners in Maritime Education and the Boy Scouts of America. She is a graduate of the American Leadership Forum Education Class 1 and of Leadership Houston. She also serves on the Executive Committee and leads the Children’s Sunday School Program at Cypress Creek Christian Church.

Diane holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from McNeese State University. She is married to Larry Lipton and has one son, and twin granddaughters.

Lorena Alvarez

Master Modeler

Ship modeling is an ancient art, but few people today have the patience, precision, and artistic ability to craft detailed scale models. Lorena Alvarez is one of the few.

After spontaneously starting to shape chalk as a child, Lorena was introduced to wood carving as a young teenager. She later started a career in antique restorations and has since become an expert at working with plastics, metals, and paints as well. After meeting James Manzolillo, the founder of the Houston Maritime Museum, she started working on model ships for the museum. The rest, as they say, is history.

With 25 years of experience and over 80 model restorations, Lorena makes HMM the ideal place to handle all of your model building and restoration needs.

She has recently been certified as a Merit Badge Counselor by the Boy Scouts of America and teaches model building classes for Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts.

She has been with the Museum since its founding in 2000.

Heather Schiappa

Director of Operations

Heather Schiappa attended Texas A&M Galveston where she recieved a MS in Marine Resource Management and a BS in Ocean and Coastal Resources.  While in school, Heather worked as a Graduate Research Assistant researching possible comprehensive storm surge suppression options for the Houston/Galveston region.   Her research also included quantifying total hurricane risk factors for Texas coastal counties based on economic, environmental, and human components to rank counties by level of need in order to assist with the appropriate allocation of state  funds.  Before joining the Maritime Museum, Heather also worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a Regulatory Specialist through the Student Career Experience Program and was also an avid member of the Center for Texas Beaches and Shores.