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Our History

DLS Marine Survey & Appraisal

In 1968 We Opened Our Doors

DLS Marine was originally founded by Robert “Bob” Stickney as Stickney Marine Surveying in New Orleans in 1968Mr. Stickney had left Bachrach & Wood Marine Surveyors and Consulting – a lead marine surveying firm in Louisiana and where future DLS Marine Partners, Norm Laskay and Larry Strouse, both worked. Stickney Marine Surveying began in Mr. Stickney’s home with the support of his wife, Jane.    

In 1977, Mr. Stickney hired Norman Dufour, future DLS Marine Partner, as an apprentice marine surveyor. By this time, Stickney Marine Surveying had an office on Nashville Avenue and three surveyors. They provided condition and valuation surveys for the insurance industry, on/off charters, damage and salvage surveys for inland and offshore vessels as well as overflow work for The Salvage Association on blue water vessels. One of their original clients – Dixie Carriers (which later became Kirby Corporation) remains a client to this day.  

50 years and still growing

Key Moments For DLS Marine

Founded in New Orleans
Mr. Stickney hired Norman Dufour
Ship Appraisal
10,000 Appraisals
DLS Marine Turns 50
DLS Celebrates 50 Years

Although business was steady in the 1970’s, the effects of the Arab Oil Embargo hit the marine industry hard in the 1980’s. Business had dropped by 75% and Stickney Marine Surveying soon decreased to only Mr. Stickney and Dufour.  

In January 1988 the firm was renamed to Stickney, Dufour and Associates when Mr. Stickney and Mr. Dufour became partners.  Sadly, Mr. Dufour’s dear friend and mentor, Bob Stickney, passed away shortly after on March 28, 1988Mr. Dufour describes Mr. Stickney as having a larger-than-life personality and is deeply missed.  

Norm Laskay was the first to join Mr. Dufour and was hired in April of 1988. With surveying work to be done 24/7, Mr. Dufour and Mr. Laskay were on a two-man duty rotation, answering evening and weekend calls. They recall having put 35,000 miles a year on their vehicles driving anywhere needed between Florida, Tennessee and Texas.  

In March 1997, Captain Larry Strouse joined the firm as Partner and Vice President, and the firm was renamed to Dufour, Laskay and Strouse or “DLS Marine” as it remains today. Like Mr. Stickney, many of the marine surveyors in Louisiana got their first training at Bachrach & Wood. Norm Laskay and Larry Strouse consider Leo Weisgerber, who took over the company after the death of Earl Wood and retirement of Captain Bachrach, as their mentor and friend. and role model in honesty and customer service. Based on that lineage and ties within the marine industry, DLS Marine has always upheld its strong foundational beliefs of honesty, accuracy and fairness.  As Mr. Stickney would say, “We can recover from an honest mistake, but we can never recover from a lack of honesty.” 

January 2021 marked the 53rd year anniversary from when DLS Marine’s origin, Stickney Marine Surveying, opened in 1968. DLS Marine President Harry Ward, who joined the firm in 2017 is extremely proud of the firm’s reputation and namesake and intends to continue operating to the same high standards as the original owners.  

DLS is evolving rapidly today: upgrading internal systems, leading in the development of digital survey products and providing enhanced services such as marine business valuation and M&A support.  The DLS team looks forward to 50 more years of providing the best services possible to marine and offshore clients.

Why Us

The most trained team in the business

  • American Society of Appraisers: Accredited Senior Members (ASA) and Accredited Members (AM)  
  • National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS): Certified Marine Surveyors (CMS) 
  • American Bureau of Shipping (ABS): External Specialist, Remote Inspection Techniques 
  • Appointed Lloyd’s Agent for the ports of Houston, Texas (to include the states of Texas and New Mexico), New Orleans, Louisiana (to include the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and the states of Tennessee and Kentucky west of 86°W), Mobile, Alabama (to include the state of Alabama, as well as Florida west of Cedar Key), and the Florida ports of Tampa, Jacksonville, and Cape Canaveral. 
Don't Take Our Word For It

Hear What Our Clients Have To Say.

Patriot Contract Services
“DLS has been our go-to firm for asset and business valuation and M&A support. Their team is responsive and knowledgeable, and they’re among the best in the US maritime industry.”
Ryan Pereyda
CEO/Owner Patriot Contract Services
“DLS has been providing top-notch USPAP-compliant vessel appraisals for our team for many years. We trust the DLS team due to their long history, deep industry knowledge and commitment to integrity.”
Roseanne Neill
Vice President, Director Equipment Finance Asset Management Hancock Whitney Equipment Finance, LLC
“As our partner in the marine and offshore wind industries, DLS Marine has worked hard with our team to pioneer next-generation digital survey products for our mutual clients. We’re proud to be associated with the superb DLS tea.”
Tom Walker
CEO, DroneUp
Blessey marine Services
“DLS provided a great solution for our marine business valuation needs. Their unique blend of vessel appraisal and financial analysis capabilities made them the right choice for us.”
Pat Voss
CFO, Blessey Marine

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Matt McDaniel DLS Marine Survey and Appraisal

Matt McDaniel

Hull & Machinery Surveyor

Areas of Expertise:

  • Hull and Machinery
  • Damage Assessment and Repairs
  • Condition
  • Inspections
  • Project Management

Memberships / Professional Certification:



Matt began marine surveying in 2014 and has experience with damage causation, reviewing transit plans, new construction, cargo transfers, salvage operations, on/off charters, and general condition surveys. He joined the Hull & Machinery department at DLS in 2019.
Charles Sterling - DLS - UAV Supervisor | Digital Inspection Manager

Charles Sterling

UAV Supervisor | Digital Inspection Manager

Areas of Expertise:

  • Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles & ROV’s
  • Digital Inspections
  • Computer Technology

Professional Certifications:

  • AS, Computer Information Systems
  • BS, Information Technology
  • FLIR Infrared Training Institute

Certified Specialist in Caterpillar diesel engines to include:

  • CFR Part 107
  • Level 1 sUAS Thermographer
  • Microsoft Certified System Engineer


Charles joined the firm in 2024, after managing an enterprise drone service provider based in New Orleans. He also teaches basic and advanced UAV class at Delgado Community College. Charles has extensive experience planning, flying complex missions in the Industrial, Chemical and Oil & Gas industries.

Ave P. Boudreaux

Marine Surveyor

Areas of Expertise:

  • Hull and Machinery
  • Project Management Supervisor (QC) – overseen numerous construction and delivery schedules for vessels
  • Extensive knowledge of U.S. Coast Guard and ABS rules and regulations for vessel construction and repair


  • Rolls-Royce Z-Drive Failure Analysis Seminar
  • Flex-Core and Aluminum Welding Course
  • Extensive training in engine, gear, and shaft alignment
  • Extensive training in vessel repair and new construction

Memberships / Professional Certification:



Mr. Boudreaux has 15 years experience with offshore supply vessels, crewboats, and anchor handling tugs. During this time, he served 8 years in vessel repair and new construction, 3 years in vessel operation and logistics, and 4 years as a vessel port captain.

Mr. Boudreaux served over 3 years as a marine surveyor performing numerous types of surveys in the marine industry prior to joining DLS.

Norm Laskay - DLS Marine Valuation

Norman F. Laskay

Of Counsel

Mr. Laskay joined Stickney, Dufour & Associates, Inc. in 1988 as a partner. He is now of Counsel. He became a Marine Surveyor in 1974, having gained prior experience in steamship agency, bulk cargo handling and vessel operations. He has been involved in many aspects of marine surveying including hull, machinery and cargo, both inland and ocean. Since becoming an Accredited Senior Appraiser of commercial marine equipment, he has been active with the American Society of Appraisers’ International Machinery and Technical Specialties Committee. He has written a comprehensive exam for the Commercial Marine Appraisal specialty and has written a 30-hour course for the American Society of Appraisers on appraising commercial marine vessels and yachts and is the lead instructor.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Commercial Marine Appraisal
  • Hull Damage and Repair
  • Cargo Loading, Securing and Trip in Tow Preparation


  • Maine Maritime Academy Graduate
    B.S. in Marine Transportation
  • Continuing education credits in Law, Appraisal, Marine Survey, and Diesel Repair.

Professional Certification/Memberships:

  • NAMS Regional Board of Directors Member 1989-1994
  • American Society of Appraisers – Chapter Treasurer 1991-1994
  • American Society of Appraisers – Chapter President 1994-1995
  • Mark Twain Club (Charter Member)
  • Machinery and Technical Specialties International Committee 1995-Present


  • The Journal of the International Machinery & Technical Specialties Committee of the American Society of Appraisers “TUGBOAT DESIGN 101” Vol 13 No. 2 Fall 1996
  • The Journal of the International Machinery & Technical Specialties Committee of the American Society of Appraisers “KEEPING AN EYE ON YOUR MARINE ASSET” Vol 13 No. 3 Winter 1996
  • Marine Money, The Ship Finance Publication of Record “ASSET BASED APPRAISAL:, Vol. 21, No. 3, May/June 2006 Wrote the chapter on Marine Asset Appraisal for the American Society of Appraisers text book: “VALUING MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT: THE FUNDAMENTALS OF APPRAISING MACHINERY AND TECHNICAL ASSETS” Second Edition. In 2008, revised the chapter for the future Third Edition and wrote an accompanying Work Book section.



Harry Ward President DLS Marine

Harry Ward


Harry Ward is the President of Dufour, Laskay & Strouse, Inc. Harry is a US Navy veteran and has spent much of the past decade in the maritime industry in sales, finance and general management. He has extensive experience in asset and business valuation and is working to maintain DLS leadership in marine appraisal and survey for another 50 years. Harry is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and served as a helicopter pilot and survival instructor through multiple tours of duty. He has an MBA from San Diego State University.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Fleet and Vessel Appraisals
  • Marine Business Valuation
  • Transaction Support – Due Diligence
  • Transaction Support – Marine M&A Advisory
  • Digital Inspection – Marine and Offshore Wind


  • U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD – 1991, Bachelor of Science
  • San Diego State University, San Diego, CA – 1999, MBA with emphasis in Finance

Licenses and Professional Associations

  • FINRA Licenses, Series 63 and 79 (Investment Banking)
  • American Society of Appraisers, AM
  • Certified Exit Planning Advisor, CEPA (Business value assessment and strategy development