Movers and Shakers for April 2
Col. Paul L. Larson assumed command of the only U.S. Army Airborne brigade in the Pacific in a ceremony at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on March 24. Larson will replace outgoing 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division Commander Col. Scott A. Green, who will transition to being the chief of staff for U.S. Army Alaska. Larson was commissioned in the Infantry upon graduation as the Distinguished Military Graduate from Colorado State University in 1996 and served in positions of increasing responsibility at Fort Drum, N.Y.; the Republic of Korea and with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Italy. While part of the 173rd, Larson deployed to Kosovo, participated in the combat parachute assault into Iraq and later completed a combat tour in Afghanistan. Later assignments included tours with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.; and at the United States Army Military Academy as an assistant professor of International Relations in the Social Sciences Department. Larson has deployed six times to either Iraq or Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Most recently he deployed as the special strategic advisor to the Commanding General of Resolute Support Mission in Kabul, Afghanistan. A former noncommissioned officer, Larson deployed as a team leader with 1st Armored Division during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, was inducted into the SGT Morales Club, and later served in the U.S Army Special Forces. Larson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado State University, a master’s degree in international relations from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the United States Army War College. He is a graduate of the Airborne, Air Assault, Ranger and Special Forces Qualification schools.
Anchorage Economic Development Corp. announced three new hires. Samantha Luban has joined the team as Business and Economic Development coordinator. Luban is graduating from University of Alaska Anchorage with a bachelor of business administration in economics and a minor in Russian. She’s worked as a research assistant in the Experimental Economics Laboratory, where she assisted professors in conducting social science experiments. Emma Kelly was hired as Business and Economic Development director. Kelly is the current chair of the Anchorage Chamber Young Professionals Group. Prior to joining the team at AEDC, Emma worked in marketing and public involvement in the private sector. Connor Keesecker is the new Live. Work. Play. coordinator at AEDC. Keesecker was born in Anchorage and raised in Eagle River. He attended UAA and earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies with minors in political science and history in 2016. While attending UAA, Connor served as a news reporter and later station manager of UAA’s radio station, KRUA 88.1 FM.