Movers and Shakers 3/20/16

The Alaska Air Carriers Association scholarship, underwritten for the last four years by Crowley Fuels in Alaska, was recently awarded to Brandon Smothers, a high school senior at Interior Distance Education Alaska in Fairbanks. Smothers, a Talkeetna native, will enter University of Alaska Fairbanks this fall to pursue a degree in aeronautical engineering. Don King, senior account executive, highway sales for Crowley, presented Smothers with the $3,000 scholarship at AACA’s 50th Annual Convention in Anchorage. Smothers’ love of aviation began at the age of 12 when he joined the nationally-recognized Talkeetna Build-a-Plane program where he learned valuable skills like sheet metal fabrication and repair, riveting, electrical repair and welding, as well as project management and leadership. Soon after joining the program, he began flight training and has since logged over 50 hours. Because of his excellent work and dedication to the TBAP program, Smothers has been selected to attend multiple simulator sessions with both UPS and FedEx, and has worked as an intern for air-taxi company, K2 Aviation. He expects to complete his private pilot training this spring.

The Mat-Su Health Foundation recently welcomed Jim Beck and Vandana Ingle to its team. In addition, Desiré Shepler was promoted to director of a community initiative supported by the foundation called R.O.C.K. Mat-Su (Raising Our Children with Kindness). Beck joined the foundation staff as a program officer, and he is leading the Healthy Aging focus area. He previously served as executive director of Access Alaska Inc. He holds a master’s degree in public administration with a nonprofit management concentration from the University of Colorado at Denver, and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Ingle was hired as a program associate to support the foundation’s program team in implementing grant programs and other strategies to further the organization’s mission. Ingle previously served as director of development and communication at Frontline Mission. She earned a master’s degree in communications media for children from SNDT College, India, a bachelor’s degree in ministry from Nazarene Bible College in Colorado Springs, and a bachelor’s degree in commerce/banking and finance from the University of Poona, India. In her new role as director of R.O.C.K. Mat-Su, Shepler oversees a collaborative project working towards increasing family resilience and creating a culture that supports children and families, as well as reducing child maltreatment and number of Adverse Childhood Experiences Mat-Su Children experience. Prior to her promotion, Desiré was a program officer with the foundation. She holds a master of public health degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage, as well as a bachelor’s degree, also from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and an associate’s degree from Mat-Su College. She received an academic scholarship from MSHF in 2010, the first such scholarship recipient who went on to employment with the Foundation.

Effective Feb. 18, Bill Cohen, PLS, retired from R&M Consultants Inc., where he served as senior vice president of Geomatics since 2008. Bill Preston, PLS, GISP, has been named as the firm’s new vice president of Geomatics. The Geomatics Department includes land surveying, right of way services and geographic information systems. Preston has been with R&M since 2000 and has more than 15 years of experience in field and office work. Preston holds a bachelor’s degree in geomatics from the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is a professional land surveyor licensed in Alaska and a certified GIS professional. Cohen joined R&M in 2008. Over his 40-year surveying career, he participated in hundreds of surveys for municipal agencies and performed surveying and mapping on many large projects throughout Alaska, including projects for Anchorage Water & Wastewater Utilities, Municipality of Anchorage, Parks and Recreation, Heritage Land Bank, Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska Railroad Corporation, UAA and Anchorage School District.

Anchorage Economic Development Corp. added Natasha Price as its new communications coordinator. Price joins AEDC following her role at Spirit of Youth where she was responsible for social media and communications. Born and raised in Anchorage, she earned a bachelor’s degree in languages and journalism from the University of Alaska. Price has immersed herself in the Anchorage community through service on the Anchorage Youth Development Coalition Leadership Team, the 90% By 2020 Community Will-Building team and her involvement in organizing the LovAlaska Youth Pick.Click.Give. campaign.

Updated: 
03/16/2016 - 2:28pm

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