Movers and Shakers for Feb. 3
The Alaska Energy Authority board of directors appointed Curtis Thayer as AEA executive director. Thayer comes to AEA with more than 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Since 2015, Thayer has been the President and CEO of the Alaska Chamber since 2015. Thayer also served as commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration and as the deputy commissioner of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. Prior to joining state government, Thayer served on the management team of Enstar Natural Gas. He also worked for Rep. Don Young as well as Sens. Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski. Thayer’s first day as AEA Executive Director will be Feb. 4.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang named Dave Rutz as director of the Division of Sport Fish and Sam Rabung as the director of Commercial Fisheries. Rutz has worked in fisheries research and management for nearly 40 years. He spent much of his career at the department’s Division of Sport Fish as an area management biologist in the Northern and Western Cook Inlet Management area. He has also led the department’s Alexander Creek Invasive Northern Pike Removal and Restoration project and worked around the state in various research and management roles. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree with wildlife fisheries emphasis from St. Cloud State (Minn.) in 1980. Prior to accepting his new role, Rabung has been serving as section chief for the Division of Commercial Fisheries Statewide Aquaculture, Planning, and Permitting, a position he held since 2015. He has also worked in a variety of positions overseeing hatchery operations around the state. He first joined the department as a fisheries technician in 1983. Rabung graduated with honors in 1987 from Sheldon Jackson College with a bachelor’s degree in aquatic resources, fisheries science and aquaculture emphasis.
Engineering, planning and consulting services firm Michael Baker International has expanded its operation in Anchorage with two new hires. Marc Luiken has joined the firm as civil/transportation engineering manager and Patrick Whitesell as Environmental Department lead. Luiken previously served as commissioner for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Prior to his public service in Alaska, Luiken served 29 years with the U.S. Air Force, retiring as the Vice Commander of the 11th Air Force in 2010. His career as an Air Force fighter pilot spanned the globe with assignments in Europe, the Middle East and Pacific regions. He is a combat veteran with service in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Joint Forge and Operation Enduring Freedom. Before joining Michael Baker, Mr. Whitesell served as an environmental specialist at DOWL, a transportation design consultancy, for 11 years. He managed a small team and led dozens of phase 1 environmental site assessments, numerous wetland delineations and noise analyses for a range of private- and public-sector clients. Whitesell also conducted research and analysis on environmental resources including wetlands, waterways and local animal species that could be impacted from proposed projects and ensured project design processes were compliant with the National Environmental Policy Act. He previously served as an environmental engineer at Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, where he managed multiple waterway restoration and enhancement projects from initial design and scoping through construction.
Rep. Don Young announced that Zack Brown will serve as press secretary in his Washington, D.C., office. Brown, a graduate of the George Washington University who most recently worked for Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, R-NY, arrives following the departure of Murphy McCollough, who returned home to Texas to serve in the Office of the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.