Movers & Shakers 12/28/14

Walker continues filling cabinet

Gov. Bill Walker announced the names of two new appointments and one reappointment to his cabinet.

Walker announced the appointment of Heidi Drygas as Department of Labor Commissioner, Darwin Peterson as legislative director and the retention of Larry Hartig as Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner.

“I am thrilled to welcome these talented individuals to my team,” said Governor Walker. “Each provides a unique skillset and perspective that will serve them well in their positions.”

Heidi Drygas, Walker’s pick for commissioner of Department of Labor, has a long history working on issues involving employment law and labor relations. Most recently, she spent nearly 10 years as the General Counsel for the Alaska District Council of Laborers. Born and raised in Fairbanks, Drygas received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and her juris doctor from the Willamette University College of Law.

“Heidi has a great deal of experience in labor relations, and I am certain that she will be a great asset to our administration,” Walker said. “With such high demand for good paying jobs across the state, it’s absolutely essential to have leaders like Heidi looking out for our workforce.”

Heidi is also an active member of Alaska’s food writers’ community, with a local blog, Chena Girl Cooks.

Darwin Peterson, Walker’s newly appointed legislative director, has worked in the Alaska Legislature nearly 20 years, most recently as the chief of staff for Sen. Bert Stedman. Peterson spent most of his legislative career working in the Senate Finance Committee, and served as the deputy legislative director for Gov. Frank Murkowski.

“Darwin is well-respected throughout the Alaska Legislature, and brings with him a wealth of knowledge about our state government,” Walker said. “I am pleased to welcome him as our new Legislative Director and look forward to working with him in the years to come.”

Hartig has served as commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation since 2007, and has also served as a trustee on the board of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. since 2009. Prior to joining the State of Alaska, Hartig spent more than 20 years as a private practice attorney, working primarily on environmental, natural resource, and commercial matters.

“I am pleased Larry will continue to serve the state as Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner,” Walker said. “His commitment to public service, and longstanding knowledge of environmental and natural resource issues, make him a great asset to the people of Alaska.”


Law firm Pradell and Associates announced Katlyn Haas has joined the firm as a secretary/receptionist. Haas recently graduated from University of Victoria in Canada. She has previously worked for Haas & Spigelmyer in Homer.

Rasmuson Foundation has elected a new member to its board of directors and hired two new staff. Kris Norosz of Petersburg was elected to a three-year term, beginning Jan. 1. Norosz is director of government affairs at Icicle Seafoods Inc., a position she has held since 1996. A resident of Petersburg since 1978, Norosz has worked in fisheries for more than 30 years. She was a fisheries biologist and technician for the state, fished commercially in Southeast and Bristol Bay for 10 years and was executive director of two fishing associations. Her community work includes service on the boards of the Alaska Community Foundation and the Alaska chapter of The Nature Conservancy. She also serves on Alaska Airlines Community Advisory Board and the Marine Conservation Alliance Board, and was appointed by the Alaska Legislature to the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission. Zulie Mason joined the staff as events coordinator. She has many years of experience in the Alaska nonprofit sector. After graduating from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a public communications degree, Mason worked for Visit Anchorage, the membership-based marketing organization for the Municipality of Anchorage. She also owned a small business for six years.  Kelsey Potdevin is the new graduate fellow at the Foundation. Originally from Juneau, Kelsey recently returned to Alaska after completing her master’s in history at the University of Iowa. Potdevin has a bachelor’s in history from Colby College. Between college and graduate school, Potdevin coached swimming, was assistant sergeant-at-arms in the Alaska State Senate, taught English in Corsica and interned at the Alaska State Museum and the Sealaska Heritage Institute.

Northrim BanCorp, the holding company for Northrim Bank, announced Joe Beedle will become president and CEO of the holding company, in addition to continuing to serve in these positions for the bank, effective Jan. 1. Marc Langland, one of Northrim’s founders, will remain chairman of the board of directors for the company and the bank.

GeoNorth LLC announced Michael McCarthy as the company’s new general manager. McCarthy will largely be responsible for growing GeoNorth’s traditional business and marrying it with the company’s recently acquired remote sensing capabilities. McCarthy began his career as an international management consultant where he worked on behalf of many industry-leading technology companies. In 2003, he was hired by DigitalGlobe to help submit its eventual winning bid for the U.S. government’s Enhanced View Program which led to DigitalGlobe designing, building and launching three successful new satellites from 2005-present. Over his 10-year career at DigitalGlobe, McCarthy was instrumental in building the company’s commercial business. His contributions included constructing its long-term contractual relationship with Google; leading the company’s first-ever technology acquisition in 2006, and helping prepare for the company’s successful IPO in 2006.

After 15 years of service to Coffman Engineers, Senior Mechanical Engineer Bill McElroy has announced his retirement. Throughout his career, McElroy has worked on hundreds of projects, from hangars to healthcare facilities, universities to airports, and everything in between. Some of his early work included designing mechanical systems for Expo 74’, the environmental-themed World’s Fair, providing him with the unique opportunity of working on major projects in downtown Spokane during an important time for the city. His extensive knowledge of mechanical engineering and understanding of working in a variety of different environments made him an invaluable member of the Coffman team and his commitment to the company was greatly appreciated by his coworkers and managers.

The University of Alaska Southeast announced the appointment of Vickie Williams as the new dean of the School of Management. She replaces John Blanchard, who served as dean for three years and who has returned to a faculty role. The School of Management offers associate and bachelor’s degrees in business and accounting and also offers the online master’s degree in Public Administration online throughout the state. Williams is a highly-qualified UAS faculty member whose academic qualifications include MBA, CPA, and CGMA degrees and credentials plus extensive public- and private-sector experience in business and accounting. Williams’ service as a faculty member at UAS dates back to 1995. She is a tenured faculty member in accounting and previously served as chair of the UAS accounting program. Previously she served as treasurer of the City and Borough of Juneau and as an accountant with both Citicorp and Arthur Andersen of New York City.

The Rural Alaska Community Action Program Inc., or RurAL CAP, announced that Jacqueline Dailey of Juneau was re-elected president of the board of directors. Dailey, representing the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood, has extensive human resources experience.

12/23/2014 - 12:27pm