Movers & Shakers 05/04/14



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Wells Fargo named Colby Swenor as an Anchorage business relationship manager. He will focus on meeting the unique financial needs of business owners and managers in Anchorage and helping them succeed financially. Swenor has nine years of financial services experience in Alaska. He has served as a consumer credit manager and branch manager for Wells Fargo Financial and licensed relationship manager for KeyBank. Swenor is a graduate of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership and Executive Advancement program.

Jim Wood, Alaska’s Principal Broker for Coldwell Banker Commercial Intermountain (CBCI), was recognized as Number One Sales Professional in the state of Alaska for CBCI, globally. Jim focuses his business in the retail, office, industrial and development sectors of commercial real estate.

Dannah Johnston, a senior deckhand and valued employee of Kenai Fjords Tours, was awarded the Alaska Vocation and Technical Education Center’s 2013/2014 Peter McNeal Scholarship. This memorial scholarship, funded by Brice Marine, is in honor of Peter McNeal, a valued crewman of the Tug SamB. Dannah was chosen for this award based on her scholastic aptitude, dedication to safety and maritime professionalism. Her demonstration of attitude, skill and command presence made her stand out among her peers. Dannah has submitted her application for her USCG Master’s license and is awaiting its approval. She is currently working as an instructor on field trips for Kenai Fjords Tours’ Marine Science Explorer Program

The 2014 Anchorage BP Teachers of Excellence are: Adam Ahonen, Robert Service High School, life skills, grades 9-12; Geep Baranow, Alpenglow Elementary School, music; Michelle Carton, Highland Tech Charter School, language arts, grades 6-11; Betsy Connell, Girdwood K-8 School, resource, grades K-8; Laurel DePalatis, South Anchorage High School, chemistry; Jessica Frick, Ravenwood Elementary School, fourth grade; Lori Miller, Gruening Middle School, computer technology, grades 7-8; Marie Miller-Russell, Aquarian Charter School, kindergarten and first grade; Thomas V. Shelley, A. J. Dimond High School, Junior Reserve Officers’ training; Deborah Svendsen, Mount Spurr Elementary School, first grade. These teachers were honored at an award reception in Anchorage April 28. This was a record year for BP Teachers of Excellence with 1,400 nominations, and the 10 Anchorage teachers are among 33 Alaska educators being honored as part of the 2014 program.

USTravel announces the promotion of Elizabeth Nerland to Director of Marketing. In this key role, Nerland provides strategic leadership for business growth and brand development for USTravel Companies. Nerland oversees marketing programs, content development, public relations initiatives and advertising strategy. Nerland has been with USTravel since March 2012. She has more than 10 years of experience in marketing and corporate communication. Nerland has an M.B.A. from University of Alaska Anchorage as well as a B.S. in Marketing and a B.A in Corporate Communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.

Northrim Bank welcomes vice presidents from Southeast Alaska to the Northrim family. John Blasco, Cheryl Fellman, Nicchia Leamer and Tom Sullivan join Northrim from Alaska Pacific Bank as part of the recent merger between the two institutions. Blasco has more than 10 years banking experience and has been with Alaska Pacific Bank for the past 6 years. He has a B.S. in Finance from Linfield College and an M.B.A. from the University of Alaska Southeast. Blasco is currently vice president, commercial loan officer in Juneau. Fellman has 17 years of experience in banking and has been with Alaska Pacific Bank for 10 years. She has worked for banks in Wash., Mass. and Honduras, where she was a Peace Corps Volunteer/Small Business Adviser. Fellman is the vice president Regional Sales & Services Manager in Juneau. Leamer has been with Alaska Pacific Bank for nearly 14 years. Before starting at APB, Leamer was at First National Bank Alaska for 8 years. Prior to the merger announcement, Leamer ran the mortgage department at APB. She is currently the vice president Lending Branch Manager in Sitka. Leamer holds a B.L.A. from the University of Alaska Southeast. Sullivan has been with Alaska Pacific Bank for 26 of his 28 years in banking. He is a graduate of Iowa State University and holds a B.S. in Business Administration. He also graduated from the American Bankers Association National Commercial Lending School. Sullivan is currently the vice president Commercial Lending Unit Manager in Juneau.

Three Alaska high school students mentored by teachers in the Talk Story, Write Story writing program have been chosen as Gates Millennium Scholarship recipients for the 2014 – 15 academic year. The Association of Alaska School Boards sponsors the Talk Story, Write Story creative workshops for teachers. Mary Pingayak and Kyla Fermoyle, both from Chevak, and Martina May Brown from Ketchikan, were chosen from more than 52,000 applicants. Only 1000 recipients are chosen annually from around the nation to receive the scholarship.

Bering Straits Native Corporation has announced Krystal Nelson as its new chief operating officer. Nelson joins the company with many years of expertise in leading 8(a) operations, finance and business development. Prior to joining BSNC, she served as vice president and chief operating officer of four of Ahtna Inc.’s leading subsidiaries. BSNC’s former chief operating officer Kurt Hermes is now BSNC’s new chief administrative officer. In his new role, Hermes will have primary day-to-day responsibility for planning, implementing, coordinating, and monitoring all administrative business activities of BSNC and its family of companies. He will work with a broad range of stakeholders, including subsidiary personnel, clients and employees.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski today announced the names of her first session summer interns who will work in her Washington, D.C. office. Lyndsey Brollini, Nicole Eldred, and Mckenzie Stepovich of Anchorage; Dierdre Creed of Kotzebue; Emily Hartley of Talkeetna; Austin Ramsay of Ketchikan; Alfonso Sitenga of Homer; Michaela Spaulding of Fairbanks; Rachel Tougas of Seward; and Maria Villa of North Pole will serve from June 2-27. Murkowksi also welcomes two Alaskan college students to serve as this summer’s intern coordinators. Kendall Eilo of Anchorage and Benjamin Gilman of Kenai will supervise and counsel summer interns in partnership with members of Murkowski’s staff. Eilo is a senior at the University of Colorado pursing a degree in Communications. Gilman is a senior at the University of St. Thomas pursing a degree in Psychology.

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