Movers and Shakers

Movers and Shakers

Movers & Shakers 02/17/13

Emi Banning, human resources supervisor at Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union, recently earned certification as a Professional in Human Resources. To become certified, an applicant must pass a comprehensive examination and demonstrate a strong background of professional human resource experience. Banning has been working in Denali Alaskan’s HR department since 2010. Jake Askren has joined KeyBank in Alaska as a relationship manager and business specialist at the South Anchorage branch. Askren brings to KeyBank 14 years of banking experience, including 10 years focused on small businesses. He has served on the associate’s council for the Association of General Contractors of Alaska for the past four years.  CIRI Alaska Tourism Corp. announced several personnel changes. Chris Scheffer is the new general manager and New Rooms Division manager and Matt Herod is the new Rooms Division manager at Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. Scheffer a veteran at running seasonal properties in Denali with both Aramark and NANA, recently as the GM at the Grand/Bluffs. He also spent five years with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. Herod is also a veteran of the Denali seasonal hotel industry, and has spent the last five years at the Grand/Bluffs working his way up into the RDM position. CIRI Alaska Tourism also promoted Ron Wille to general manager of Kenai Fjords Tours. Wille has been with the company for more than nine years and has been acting as interim general manager for Kenai Fjords Tours for the past year. In 1992, Willie came to explore the National Parks in Alaska and specifically to backpack Denali National Park and Wrangell St. Elias. Wille currently holds U.S. Coast Guard 200 ton masters license and a 500-ton mate license. Tom Newins has been promoted to chief operating officer for Credit Union 1. Newins has been with CU1 since 1992. Over the past two decades, Newins has held several positions within Credit Union 1, through which he has gained experience in departments as far-ranging as Internal Audit, Marketing and Branch Operations. Newins also holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting.      KeyBank’s Alaska District Retail Leader Steve Campanella was awarded a diploma at commencement exercises during the 67th annual session of the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sponsored by the 18 state bankers associations comprising the Central States Conference of Bankers Associations and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the school was established in 1945 to provide bankers with an opportunity for advanced study and research in banking, economics and leadership. Campanella has 25 years of financial services experience in the banking and mortgage industry. On Jan. 31, The University of Alaska Anchorage appointed eight members to the interim Board of Directors for the UAA Alumni Association. Members of this interim board will serve a one-year term, after which, board members will be elected from the alumni body. They are: Ben Anderson, reporter, Alaska Dispatch; Heather Cavanaugh, Director of Corporate Communications, Alaska Communications; Carol Comeau, Retired Superintendent, Anchorage School District; Patty Hickok, Director of HR Process Improvement, NANA Development Corp.; Leverette G. Hoover, General Manager, Siemens Industry Inc.-Alaska; Andrew Romerdahl, General Manager, PTP Management Inc.; Eric Wohlforth, Senior Partner/Attorney, Wohlforth, Brecht, Cartledge & Brooking APC. Also appointed to the board in an ex-officio role is Rachel Morse, interim director of Alumni Relations for the University of Alaska Anchorage. She will serve as the board’s executive director. Three special advisors to the board were also announced: Cathleen Hahn, Cathleen S. Hahn CMA CPA LLC; Gloria O’Neill, President/CEO, Cook Inlet Tribal Council, University of Alaska Board of Regents; Dave Rand, CEO, ATS Alaska. Melissa Grieve is the newest member at Spark Design. Grieve is a highly creative interior designer with more than four years of professional experience in Alaska. Before joining Spark Design, Grieve worked on a variety of project types including retail, hospitality, non-profit organizations, tenant improvements and healthcare. Frank Ganley has accepted the regional construction engineer position Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Northern Region. Ganley came to the department in 1999 and most recently served as a construction manager. In his new role, Ganley will supervise the construction group and quality assurance section for highway and aviation projects in Northern Region.

Movers & Shakers 02/10/13

Tracy Morris has been promoted to vice president of KeyBank in Alaska as a middle market relationship manager responsible for providing financial solutions to commercial clients, maintaining existing relationships and developing new business opportunities She began her banking career with KeyBank 18 years ago while studying business management at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Most recently, Morris worked in Key Private Bank where she developed and maintained enduring relationships with high net worth clients. Kevin McCormick has joined KeyBank in Alaska as a retail relationship manager at the Fairbanks Main branch. A Fairbanks native, McCormick is a 2011 graduate of the University of Arizona. Jazz Janda has been selected to manage KeyBank’s Ketchikan branch. Janda has more than 12 years of financial service and sales management experience. Alaska Court of Appeals Judge Joel Bolger was appointed as the 23rd justice of the Alaska Supreme Court. His appointment follows the retirement of Justice Walter “Bud” Carpeneti. Bolger first moved to Alaska in 1978. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a juris doctorate. He began his Alaskan legal career in Dillingham as a VISTA volunteer attorney, and then supervised the Alaska Legal Services Corp. in Kodiak. In 1997, Bolger was appointed as a district court judge in Valdez, followed by an appointment to the Kodiak Superior Court. Since 2008, he has served as a Court of Appeals judge in Anchorage. Tim A. Feavel was promoted to manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Alaska District Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project in North Pole. Feavel has served 21 years as a natural resource specialist and park ranger at the Chena Project. He now is responsible for operating and maintaining Moose Creek Dam, which protects Fairbanks and surrounding communities from flooding as well as managing natural resources and recreation on the project’s 20,000-acre land base. Feavel began his career as a forester at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Rock Island District in Illinois while serving as an Army engineer officer on a two-year active-duty term assignment. Feavel was commissioned as an engineer officer in 1980 and served 28 years in the Army Reserve. For most of this time, he was assigned to combat heavy engineer units in Iowa and Alaska. Before retiring in 2008 as a lieutenant colonel, he served a year in Iraq as the base engineer/information operations at Camp Anaconda/Balad Airbase from 2006-07.

Movers & Shakers 02/03/13

USKH Inc. recently named three new principals and three new associates. The firm’s new principals are W. Dwayne Adams Jr., Raymond Amsden and Jacob (Jake) Gerondale. The new associates are Ursula Dickeson, Sara Lindberg and Jared VanderWeele. Adams joined USKH in 2010 when his previous firm, Land Design North, was acquired by USKH and has nearly 40 years of Alaska experience. He is manager of USKH’s Landscape Architecture and Planning Division and a member of the firm’s board of directors. Amsden joined USKH in December 2010 after retiring from the Anchorage School District, where he was employed for 29 years and retired as the school district’s Facilities Director. At USKH, Amsden is the Building Sciences Director and Architectural Division Operations Manager. Gerondale is the manager of USKH’s Survey and GIS Division; he has been with the company since 2006 and has more than 13 years of experience working in the survey, GIS and engineering fields. Lindberg is USKH’s environmental services manager and joined the firm in 2006. She is a graduate of The Evergreen State College and received her master’s degree from Alaska Pacific University. She is a Certified Erosion and Sediment Control Lead and belongs to the Society of Wetland Scientists. VanderWeele joined USKH in 2007 and is the Assistant Fairbanks Regional Manager of Architecture. Dickeson is a technical writer and has been with the company since 1992 and telecommutes from her home in Arizona. Nicole Licht has been hired as sales and marketing director for Midnight Sun Home Care Inc. Licht has more than seven years combined experience in customer service, sales and marketing in health care industry in Alaska. She is from southern California and has been raising her family here in Anchorage for the last 13 years. University of Alaska Fairbanks students Rodney Hobby, Lucas Stumpf, Maggie Ann Beans and Amber Jones have each received $2,500 toward their tuition with Thomas B. Crowley Sr. Memorial Scholarships. Hobby is working toward a major in biology at UAF’s School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Stumpf is also a student in the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and is studying for a bachelor’s degree in fisheries with a minor in marine sciences. Beans is a freshman at UAF who is working toward a degree in electrical engineering. Jones is a freshman in UAF’s nursing program. She is currently applying for internships at local hospitals and study abroad nursing programs. Thomas Crowley Jr. created this scholarship program in 1994 to help young people primarily, but not exclusively, from rural Alaska communities. Gloria O’Neill was appointed and Dale Anderson was reappointed to the University of Alaska Board of Regents. O’Neill, of Anchorage, has served as president and CEO of Cook Inlet Tribal Council since 1998. She also serves as an Annie E. Casey Foundation Fellow and is a recipient of the University of Alaska Anchorage Alumni Humanitarian Award for her contributions to the community. Anderson, a lifelong resident of Juneau, has broad private and public sector experience, having spent 40 years in the financial services and tourism industries. He is an entrepreneur, and has served as legislative staff, commissioner on the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, and assemblyman for the City and Borough of Juneau. Camille L. Ferguson of Sitka has been selected as executive director American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association. Ferguson was director of economic development for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska for 16 years and has significant experience marketing to international visitors and working with the hotel, cruise, airline and gaming industries to develop Sitka tourism. She was the 2011 recipient of the Alaska Travel Industry Association’s Denali Award for Professionalism & Leadership, was most recently a hotel general manager in Sitka and served as interim executive director for AIANTA in 2011. Shirley Garcia has joined Denali Alaskan Home Loans as a senior loan originator. Garcia will be originating loans at the Denali Alaskan Home Loans Wasilla office at 1981 E. Palmer-Wasilla Highway, Suite 210, and the main Denali Alaskan Home Loans office located at 471 W. 36th Avenue, Suite 110 in Anchorage. Prior to joining the Denali Alaskan Home Loans team, Garcia worked as a loan officer for a local bank. Justin Justiniano has been promoted to branch manager at Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union’s Minnesota branch. Justiniano has been with Denali Alaskan for nearly two years as a branch sales supervisor. Prior to joining Denali Alaskan, he was a branch supervisor at a local bank. Justiniano has worked in the financial industry since 2000, and earned his Associate’s degree in management in business practice from Charter College in 2005. Angelina Burney has joined Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s Anchorage office staff, where she will serve as an executive assistant and scheduler. Burney has more than a decade of community relations experience at the state and federal level working with elected officials, governing boards and senior management to implement public policy. Most recently, Burney was an aide to Eagle River Representative Dan Saddler as a member of his senior team on public events and public policy.  Before that, she worked for DOWL HKM and the Alaska Department of Commerce. Burney replaces former scheduler and assistant Amy Erickson, who departed in December to run the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles. Nikki Campbell Martin has joined the Alaska Oil and Gas Association as regulatory and legal affairs manager. Raised in Palmer, Martin is a seasoned legal professional with years of experience in the state, most recently as an associate attorney for Anchorage-based Foley & Foley PC. Martin also worked as a law clerk for Judge Andrew Guidi, and for the Western Resources Legal Center. Martin’s prior legislative positions include acting as a legislative aide to Alaska State Legislature House Majority Leader Ralph Samuels, and as a legislative correspondent for U.S. Senator Ted Stevens. Martin graduated from Colony High School in Palmer and received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of South Carolina and a law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School.

Movers & Shakers 01/27/13

Trevor Edmondson has been promoted to the position of vice president and general manager of The Petersen Group, an Anchorage-based homebuilder and land developer. Edmondson has more than 19 years experience in the project management and construction industry having most recently been the project development manager for The Petersen Group for the past two years. Edmondson will be responsible for managing both Alaska and North Dakota homebuilding and land development operations. Arni Thomson has been selected to be the first executive director of the Alaska Salmon Alliance. Thomson is the immediate past president of the United Fishermen of Alaska and the founding executive director of the Alaska Crab Coalition. The Alaska Salmon Alliance is a not-for-profit trade association comprised of commercial fishermen and seafood processing companies. Reuben Yost has been appointed deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, effective Jan. 16. Yost will oversee the divisions of Measurement Standards and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, the Alaska Marine Highway System and Special Projects. Yost has been with ADOT&PF since 1994 and previously served as the southeast region director of construction, maintenance and operations. He has a bachelor’s degree in industrial education and a master’s degree in zoology. John Schaff was recently appointed vice president and mortgage loan origination manager by First National Bank Alaska’s board of directors. Schaff oversees the bank’s mortgage loan origination staff. Owner of a degree in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California-Davis, Schaff started his banking career a decade ago as a mortgage loan originator. He’s worked in bank branch environments and as part of a national real-estate company. He transitioned into mortgage loan origination management in 2007. AMC Engineers has hired mechanical engineers Christian Dougherty and Dennis Hansen. Dougherty has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from University of Alaska Anchorage. He has been working on the UAA Beatrice McDonald Hall Building Renewal, the Dena’ina Health and Wellness Clinic, and the Napaskiak Replacement School. Hansen graduated cum laude from University of Alaska Fairbanks with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He has been working on the Blood Bank of Alaska building, the UAA Seawolf Sports Arena and the UAA Engineering Building. ASRC Energy Services has hired Joel Whitley as general counsel. Whitely joins AES and its family of companies from Arctic Slope Regional Corp. where he served as senior corporate counsel. Before coming to Alaska, Whitley was an attorney at the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles. He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from Georgia Tech and followed by a law degree from the University of Chicago. ASRC Energy Services also promoted Alan Growden to general manager of its E&P Technology subsidiary, which provides high-end technical consulting, project management, and on and off-site planning to the oil and gas industry. In addition to his new role, he will also continue as the senior business analyst for ASRC Energy Services’ professional services group that includes Regulatory and Technical Services, Engineering, E&P Technology, and Response Operations. Growden has been with the AES family of companies since 1994. USKH Inc. Executive Vice President D. Lance Mearig was recently certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources by the HR Certification Institute. Mearig, who has been with USKH since 1994, is responsible for risk management, firm administration, ownership transactions, and human resources. Mearig is a principal of the firm and is a registered professional engineer in Alaska, Washington, Idaho and Oregon. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers; and a past member of the Alaska Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors. He is a graduate of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and received his master’s degree from Arizona State University.

Movers & Shakers 01/20/13

Sen. Mark Begich named Anchorage resident Robert Doehl as his new special assistant for military and veterans affairs. Doehl is replacing longtime Alaskan C.W. Floyd, who is retiring after more than eight years working for Begich, first in his capacity as mayor and later in the Senate office. A 14-year Alaska resident, Doehl recently retired as a colonel after serving as the vice wing commander of the 176th Wing of the Alaska Air National Guard. Doehl originally enlisted in the Army National Guard as an enlisted medic before being commissioned as an armor officer. His military career spanned more than 32 years. During his career, Doehl completed military pilot training; transferred to the Air Force; served in the active, reserve and National Guard components; and commanded six different units. In 2003, Doehl deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2006 and 2007, Doehl played a key role in designing the organizational structure for the consolidation of Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson. Since 2008, a substantial portion of his work has involved ensuring care and benefits are available for Airmen injured in the line of duty. While serving as a Reservist and Guardsman, Doehl also served as a trial attorney with the United States Department of Justice and an assistant attorney general for the State of Alaska.  Joan Fisher has been appointed interim executive director for Bean’s Café after the passing of long-term Executive Director Jim Crockett. Crockett served Bean’s Café as Executive Director from 2001 until his passing on Nov. 29, 2012. Fisher has worked in the non-profit health care sector for more than 30 years mainly in long-term care and primary medical care. Her focus in health care has been working with and advocating for poor and vulnerable populations needing affordable and equal services. For 19 years she worked at Providence Health and Services serving as the Administrator at the Mary Conrad Center for six years and from 1998 to 2012 worked at the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center, Inc. as the executive director and strategic initiatives director. Dr. Matthew Hirschfeld and Doyon Ltd. President and CEO Aaron Schutt have joined the Rasmuson Foundation board of directors. Schutt joined Doyon in 2006 and previously served as senior vice president and chief operating officer. Prior, Schutt was an attorney for the national law firms representing tribal and Alaska Native corporations in transactional and business matters. Schutt earned his law degree from Stanford Law School and a master’s in civil engineering from Stanford University. Hirschfeld is a pediatric hospitalist and medical director of Maternal Child Health Services at Alaska Native Medical Center. Hirschfeld came to Alaska in 2005 from Seattle where he completed his training in pediatrics at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Hirschfeld is the newborn metabolic screening coordinator for the Alaska Native Health System. Hirschfeld earned his medical degree and Ph.D. in experimental pathology from University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences from Montana State University. Schutt takes the place of departing board member Bobbi Quintavell, and Hirschfeld takes the place of Dr. Douglas Eby, whose two terms have expired. Several staff members at the Rasmuson Foundation have been promoted to new positions. Sammye Pokryfki has been promoted to vice president of programs. Cassandra Stalzer is now communications director. Aleesha Towns-Bain has been promoted to program officer. Towns-Bain manages the Sabbatical Program and Recover Alaska, a joint initiative of Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Mat-Su Health Foundation, and the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Sharity Sommer will move into a program associate role. Previously, Sommer held the position of communications associate. Danielle M. Ryman has been promoted to partner at Perkins Coie. Ryman is a member of the Labor & Employment practice at Perkins Coie. Her practice focuses on defense and representation of employers, as well as counsel and advice on legal issues effecting today’s workplace. She defends employers in state and federal court, and before state and federal administrative agencies. She conducts workplace investigations, defends employers in union arbitrations, and represents management in labor negotiations. She also works closely with corporate legal counsel, executive management, and HR professionals to provide guidance on employment-related legal issues. Marcus Geist has joined USKH Inc. as an environmental analyst in the Anchorage office. Geist specializes in geographic information systems technologies. Geist has 15 years of experience. Most recently, he worked for The Nature Conservancy in Anchorage. He previously worked for the U.S. Army Alaska, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the North Carolina Division of Water Quality prior to his arrival in Alaska. Geist is a graduate of the Davidson College, and he received his master’s degree in environmental management from Duke University. Since joining USKH, Geist has worked on multiple projects, including the Kiana Airport Improvement project for the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, an Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle Park along the Glacier Highway for the City and Borough of Juneau, and the Crevasse Moraine Trail Management Plan for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Andria Agli was promoted to vice president, shareholder and corporate relations in December 2012 at Bristol Bay Native Corp. The company also hired three new employees at its corporate office: Suanne Fechtmeyer, Nancy Schierhorn and Kinka Parker. Agli is a BBNC shareholder from South Naknek who has worked for the corporation since 1992. She has held a variety of positions within the executive team and currently manages all of BBNC’s external and internal communications, along with all shareholder services. She holds a master’s degree in rural development from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Fechtmeyer joined BBNC in October 2012 as its corporate tax manager and brings more than 30 years of experience in tax consulting and corporate tax to her new position, and most recently was employed by KPMG. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in accounting, both from the University of Florida. Schierhorn joined BBNC in November 2012 as its associate general counsel. Shierhorn has long term family ties to the Bristol Bay region. Prior to joining BBNC, she worked as senior counsel at Patton Boggs LLP, and spent the last three years serving ExxonMobil Corp. in its efforts to permit and build a natural gas pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Puget Sound and a Juris Doctorate from Williamette University. Parker is a BBNC shareholder from Togiak who joined BBNC this month as its natural resources specialist. Prior to joining BBNC, Parker worked for First Rate Financial as a mortgage loan processor. Parker holds an associate’s degree and is currently working toward a bachelor’s degree in rural development. Vanessa Norman has joined law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP as an associate in the Anchorage office. Prior to law school, Norman worked with Alaska Native Tribal entities, including the federally recognized Port Graham tribe, as well as with a number of Alaska Native corporations. She also has experience working with an international trade association focusing primarily on the seafood industry. Kim Rice has been appointed deputy commissioner of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Rice will oversee the divisions of Design and Engineering Services, Program Development, Public Facilities, Design and Construction, and Statewide Maintenance. Her office will be located in Juneau and she will spend time in Anchorage as well. Rice has been with ADOT&PF since 1977 and previously served as the central region design and construction director. Rice received her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Alaska in 1979. She is a licensed professional engineer, and was a 2001 finalist for Alaska Engineer of the Year award. Edward Yarmak has been named president and Eric Johnson has been named vice president of Arctic Foundations Inc. The election of new corporate officers follows the passing of company founder and long-time President Erwin “Erv” Long at age 91 during 2012. Yarmak has been employed by AFI since 1981 and is chief engineer involved with estimates, design, construction and quality control. He is a member of the ASCE and NSPE, and is the President-Elect of the United States Permafrost Association. Johnson has also been employed by AFI since 1981, starting as a production welder and has many years as the shop superintendent planning and coordinating all shop, yard, and personnel to maintain production schedules and quality. AFI has been developing, designing, fabricating, installing, and improving ground- freezing systems since its inception in the early 1970s.

Movers & Shakers 01/13/13

Tiffany Tutiakoff has been named president of Northwest Strategies, a full-service advertising and public relations agency in Anchorage. She moves into a role that company owner Tim Woolston has served for more than a decade. Woolston continues as CEO. Tutiakoff has served as vice president of account services at NWS for the past four years, overseeing much of the company’s day to day operations account services and managing clients, such as the State of Alaska’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program and the Hotel Captain Cook. Prior to becoming vice president, Tutiakoff held a variety of positions at NWS, learning and growing with the company.  Tutiakoff is an award-winning communications professional and published author with more than a decade of communications and commercial art experience. Of Athabascan and Yup’ik heritage, she has grown up and lived her adult life all over Alaska. Michael Campbell, manager of SIKU CxA, recently passed the Association of Energy Engineers examination and became a Certified Building Commissioning Professional. The certification covers all aspects of building commissioning, including project scheduling, roles and responsibilities of the project team, new building commissioning, retrofitting and recommissioning of existing buildings, system by system commissioning requirements, testing adjusting and balancing mechanical and electrical systems, including verification formulas and procedures, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, project economic analysis, building code issues, and commissioning tools and technologies. The CBCP certification is one of the international building commissioning certifications recognized by the government to perform these services on government buildings. SIKU CxA is one of four construction companies of UIC Construction Services Mitchi McNabb has recently joined Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot as an associate attorney in its Anchorage office. McNabb’s practice emphasizes business law. Before joining Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot, she was a law clerk for the Hon. Donald MacDonald IV, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Alaska, and the Hon. James K. Singleton, Jr., U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska. Originally from Alaska, McNabb received her juris doctorate from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law in Louisville, Kent., in 2008 and a bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco, summa cum laude, in 2003. Amy Erickson has been selected to fill the position of Director at the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles after outgoing Director Whitney Brewster accepted a position with the Texas DMV in July 2012. Erickson began her job Jan. 7. Before accepting the position of director at the Alaska DMV, Erickson worked as the administrative director for U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski in Washington D.C., and Anchorage as a liaison for state and federal issues. She also served as a legislative and committee aide in the Alaska Legislature for several years. Colin Fay of PDC Inc. Engineers has earned two new specialized certifications. They include his Certified Energy Auditor certification as well as his LEED‐AP Operations and Maintenance (O&M) certification. Fay already held a certification as a LEED‐AP Building Design and Construction accredited professional. Working in PDC’s Anchorage mechanical department, Fay will use these certifications to aid clients in developing sustainable and cost‐effective green building practices and guiding project teams towards achieving their LEED certification goals. Additionally, Fay was recently ranked in the top 20 for the ASHRAE New Faces of Engineering award program.

Movers & Shakers 01/06/13

Chief Human Resources Officer Donald Smith is returning to the position of executive director of labor and employee relations at the University of Alaska effective Jan. 1. A longtime Anchorage resident, Smith concluded during the to the Fairbanks-based human resources position that the move to Fairbanks would have significant adverse economic impacts, prompting a return to his former position.  UA President Patrick Gamble also announced that he is appointing Associate Vice President of Budget Michelle Rizk as interim chief human resources officer. Rizk will continue her responsibilities with her budget position, as well as taking on the new duties. Gamble appointed Smith to the labor relations position in August 2011 because of his extensive expertise in the field. He filled the human resources position on an interim position beginning in December 2011, and on a permanent basis in August 2012. Rizk is a graduate of North Pole High School and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, from which she earned a bachelor’s degree in international business and a master’s degree in business administration in 2001. Rizk first served as the fiscal officer for the Statewide Office of Information Technology, where her duties included financial management and strategic planning. She joined the Statewide Office of Planning and Budget in 2006 as the director of budget and was promoted to her current position, associate vice-president of budget in 2008. Her current responsibilities include working with the campuses to develop the University of Alaska System’s operating and capital budgets. Charlene Ostbloom accepted the position of vice president of communications for Doyon, Limited, effective December 10, 2012.  Ostbloom joined Doyon in June of 2011 as the human resource service center manager. Previously, she worked as corporate communications director at Tanana Chiefs Conference, or TCC, where she was in charge of developing the messaging going out to its beneficiaries, including production of the Council, TCC’s newsletter. She also worked at Alyeska Pipeline Service Company for more than 10 years. She’s served on the board of directors of the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Community & Technical College, and Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center.  Ostbloom will be in charge of external and internal communication initiatives for Doyon and will ensure communication strategies across the Doyon Family of Companies are aligned and support the strategic direction of the organization. Geri Simon, senior vice president of administration, stated, “I look forward to working with Charlene in this new capacity and believe her experience and enthusiasm will continue to be a great asset to Doyon and its family of companies.” Ostbloom is a Doyon, Limited shareholder from Nulato and holds a bachelor’s degree from UAF. Gov. Sean Parnell named Pat Kemp commissioner of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Kemp has served as acting commissioner since October. Kemp began his career with the Department of Highways in 1971 as a rear chainman on a survey crew. He worked during summer breaks from college and began full time employment with DOT&PF in 1977. Kemp retired from the department in 2006. After retiring, Kemp maintained a private engineering office in Juneau. In 2011, he returned to the department as the deputy commissioner for Highways and Public Facilities. Kemp earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the University of Washington and has been a registered professional engineer in the State of Alaska for more than 30 years. He was raised in Ketchikan and Juneau. Gov. Parnell reappointed Jack Burton to the Alaska Railroad Corporation Board of Directors. The board manages the Alaska Railroad Corporation and its assets. Burton, of Moose Pass, has worked for the railroad since 1964 as a track foreman, track laborer and track inspector. He served 14 years as president of the labor union local now known as the Alaska Railroad Workers, and represented railroad workers during the railroad’s transfer from federal to state ownership in 1985. Originally appointed by Governor Hickel, Burton has been reappointed by every governor since his initial term, and he is reappointed for a fifth term to a seat reserved for a member of a union that represents railroad employees. Gov. Parnell appointed Gary Dalton to the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation Board of Trustees. The board of trustees manages and invests the assets of the Permanent Fund. Dalton, of Anchorage, has been the president of Latash Investments LLC since 2001. He previously served as chief financial officer and executive vice president at National Bank of Alaska for more than 20 years. Dalton is a board member of the Alaska Museum Foundation, and he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Puget Sound. He is appointed to an at-large seat. KeyBank has selected Amanda LeDesma to manage its branch in Soldotna. She most recently managed Key’s Kenai and Ketchikan branches. In her new position, she is responsible for the day-to-day operations as well as providing financial services, including investments and mortgages, to both small business and consumer clients. LeDesma has more than nine years of financial services experience and holds a state insurance license as well as series 6 and 63 securities licenses. A member of Kenai Rotary and the Salvation Army’s advisory board, she is currently completing a bachelor’s of business administration degree at the University of Alaska Southeast. Sonosky, Sachse, Chambers, Miller and Munson LLP had three partners included in the 2012 edition of Alaska Super Lawyers. Myra M. Munson (Juneau) is included for Health Care, Non-Profit, and Native American Law; Richard D. Monkman (Juneau) for Health Care, Appellate, and Native American Law; Lloyd B. Miller (Anchorage) for in Native American, Appellate, and Government Relations Law. The list, published by Thompson Reuters Legal, is identified through an extensive research and survey process, starting with peer nominations.  Only five percent of the lawyers in Alaska are named to the list.  Sonosky Chambers is a national law firm with offices in Juneau, Anchorage, Albuquerque, Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington, D.C. Ralph Willis is BiNW of Alaska’s new general manager in the Anchorage office. He and his family recently moved from Seattle, Wash. after 28 years of leading BiNW’s operations in Seattle and Tacoma. BiNW provides furniture and service solutions for healthcare, government, corporate and education environments. First National Bank Alaska’s Board of Directors recently announced three staff changes. Milanna Shear was promoted to branch manager of the Kuskokwim Branch in Bethel. Shear owns more than 20 years of banking experience and joined First National as a loan officer this past summer. Before arriving in Alaska, she worked as a branch manager and lender at a small community bank in northwestern Montana. Hemant Sisodia was appointed branch manager of the Eastchester Branch. A veteran banker with more than eight years experience, Sisodia is an active member of the Fairview Business Association. He’s focused on improving the business climate in that neighborhood, nearby First National’s Eastchester campus.Matt Thon brings his experience as a personal banker to the cash management department. In his new position, he’ll work with customers across the state to formulate the best solutions to meet their business banking needs.

Born from community effort, Hilltop celebrates 30 years

Mountains and skiing go together like kids and snow. Hilltop Ski Area combines all four. Situated on the edge of Anchorage where the city meets the Chugach, Hilltop is a place for novice skiers to practice the downhill craft. “We do a lot of after school programs — Kinder Ski, Hotdoggers, that sort of thing. We’re a beginner area,” Hilltop CEO Steve Remme said. The Kinder Ski and Hotdoggers programs offer after school lessons for kids from ages 4 to 16 years old. A lifelong skier himself, Remme said he never envisioned running a ski area as his career, but he said it has its own built-in rewards. “There’s a certain amount of gratification standing out there and watching these little four and five year-olds coming down the hill for the first time just grinning ear to ear,” he said. “It’s such a pleasure to know that those kids probably are never going to stop doing that.” A nonprofit, Hilltop is owned by Youth Exploring Adventure Inc. This winter marks 30 years for the ski area, but its origin goes back to the late 1960s, Remme said. It was then that a group of parents from the Hillside neighborhood formed Hilltop Youth Inc. “Mostly, along the Hillside here, it was all homesteads and they were all pretty far apart and there wasn’t really any organized activities for all the kids,” he said. Hilltop Youth Inc. began with a donated milk truck that parents filled with books to make what Remme called a “roving library.” Shortly after, a neighborhood playground was constructed and a towrope was installed near the entrance to what is now the ski area. Remme said the 160-acre parcel that makes up Hilltop Ski Area was originally a military tract, donated to the Anchorage Municipality in the late 1970s. In 1982, with the state “flush with oil money,” Remme said Hilltop Youth Inc., the precursor to Youth Exploring Adventure Inc., received grant money to purchase the chair lift, which allowed Hilltop Ski Area to come into being. The following year another grant was awarded to complete construction and that’s when Remme joined the organization. Installing the chair lift left Hilltop Youth Inc. at a crossroads, Remme explained. What had been a towrope overseen by volunteer parents on weekends was about to become a seven day-a-week operation. “We wanted to have rentals so people could rent some gear, go out and get a lesson and learn a lifelong sport,” Remme said. “In addition to that, something unexpected, was we created all these jobs.” Hilltop Ski Area employs more than 100 people every winter. Most are high school and college-aged; some have never worked before. “For a lot of my employees — and I’ve been here 30 years — it’s their first job ever, but they love it. We try to create a pretty good atmosphere for people that have never worked before and instill good work habits from the very beginning,” he said. Hilltop operates on an annual budget of about $1.2 million. Remme said roughly half of that goes out in employee compensation. The remainder goes into updating rental inventory, and when conditions require, making snow to cover 33 acres of runs. Remme said years with little snow accumulation, such as this year so far, can be a challenge for Hilltop. “The poor snow years do affect us even though we make our own snow because it’s top of mind. When (people) don’t go out to their driveway and shovel their walk they don’t think about all the snow and going skiing,” he said. Hilltop’s youth oriented nature and its location on the edge of the city make it a perfect “babysitter,” Remme said. Parents often drop their kids off for a day of skiing and then head into Anchorage to run errands. Others stay and get some exercise themselves. The Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage maintains a network of cross-country trails that begin right alongside Hilltop’s driveway. “I see it all the time. Parents come in and drop off their kids, put them in a lesson, go back to the car and put on the cross country gear and take off and do like a 10K and come back and have hot chocolate with their kids and go,” Remme said. Hilltop offers 12 different programs for parents who want to get their kids involved in downhill skiing, or who want to learn themselves. The programs are broken down by age and ability level. Mark DeHertogh is the ski school director at Hilltop. He said the full-day ski camp, run on weekends and over the holidays, will usually include up to 100 kids learning how to ski. Hilltop also offers private lessons for children and adults every day of the week along with its after school programs. For him, Hilltop is a way to get active during a long winter, DeHertogh said. “The reason I like it is, living in Alaska, if you don’t get out and do something in the winter you’re going to go stir-crazy,” he said. DeHertogh began his tenure there when Special Olympics Alaska moved its training program from Alyeska to Hilltop seven seasons ago. He was coaching Special Olympics skiers at the time. “We do five days a week with Special Olympics,” he said. Special Olympics Alaska holds its annual ski and snowboard competitions at Hilltop and in 2001 it was the site for the ski and snowboard events in the winter Special Olympics World Games. Remme said hosting the World Games provided Hilltop an opportunity to update its facilities. The ski area received a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the efforts of Special Olympics to build its current pro shop. “We hosted the snowboard venue for the first time that it was ever in the games,” Remme said. “It was a real exciting thing for us. We got a new building, we upgraded our lift from a double to a triple, and we had people from all over the world come here.” Elwood Brehmer can be reached at [email protected]

Movers & Shakers 12/30/12

Hattenburg Dilley and Linnell LLC announces the following new additions to its staff. Heather Campfield has joined HDL as the environmental department manager for the firm’s Palmer office. She is a graduate of Alaska Pacific University with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and holds a Graduate Certification in the National Environmental Policy Act from Utah State University. Her project experience includes Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Rail Administration, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Julee Trudeau has joined HDL as a civil engineer for the firm’s Palmer office.  She is a graduate of Boise State University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a minor in construction management. She is a roadway designer with more than 10 years of highway design experience leading design teams on multi-million dollar projects in Alaska, Washington and Idaho. Her design experience includes Alaska, Washington and Idaho departments of transportation, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson projects. John Bean recently joined HDL as their GIS Manager. Bean has a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Connecticut and is a licensed professional engineer. Bean has more than 30 years experience working and teaching civil engineering, surveying and GIS. Mike Anderson has been hired to serve as press secretary in Congressman Don Young’s Washington, D.C., office. Anderson comes to Young’s office from Sen. Lisa Murkowski, where he worked in her press office for the past two years. Originally from Anchorage, Anderson received a degree in political science from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is a graduate of A.J. Dimond High School in Anchorage. Glenda Hogan has joined UIC Construction Services as marketing specialist. UICCS is the holding company for the construction services division of Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corp., whose subsidiaries include Kautaq Construction LLC, SIKU Construction LLC, Rockford Corp., and UIC Construction LLC.In her role at UICCS, Hogan will be providing marketing services to the four construction companies whose services encompass all aspects of the construction industry. Hogan has more than 30 years experience in management, customer service and graphic design. KBEAR 104.1 is proud to announce that Anchorage will once again be waking up to the antics of award-winning, on-air personality Dawson McKay starting Jan. 2, 2013. McKay, the listener favorite and winner of multiple Alaska Broadcasters Association awards through the 90s will be the voice once again waking up Anchorage in the new year. McKay’s family moved to Anchorage in the 60s to work on the North Slope, where his brother still works today. The Bartlett High alumnus met KBEAR Program Director Matt Valley while both were attending the King Career Center. McKay returns to KBEAR from 92.3 KRST in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he was nominated for Best Radio Show Host by the Academy of Country Music. McKay is a nationally-recognized voice actor, who is most famous for the “Pizza! Pizza!” tagline for Little Caesars Pizza. Wells Fargo Private Bank has named Travis Frisk as private banking manager for Alaska. The Private Bank provides highly personalized investment, lending and private banking solutions to help Alaskans build, manage, preserve and transfer their family wealth. Frisk is a 47-year Alaska resident with 20 years of financial services experience in the state. Most recently, he worked as a senior vice president and private banking manager for KeyBank of Alaska. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Alaska Anchorage and he holds a Certified Wealth Strategist designation from Cannon Financial Institute. Mollie R. Kent has been selected to manage KeyBank’s Kenai branch. Kent has more than 14 years of banking and financial service experience. A returning team member, Kent has worked in Key’s Kenai and Soldotna branches. She has been assistant branch manager for Wells Fargo Financial and a credit analyst for Associates First Capital Bank. Currently, she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Alaska Southeast. Hannah Espera was appointed to the Board of Nursing. Espera, of Anchorage, is a licensed practical nurse at the Alaska Native Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Outpatient Clinic. She has also worked at the Providence Extended Care Center and as office staff at the Anchorage Fracture and Orthopedic Clinic. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a practical nursing certificate, both from UAA. Espera is appointed to a seat reserved for a licensed practical nurse. Barbara Franks and Meghan Crow were reappointed to the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council. Franks, of Anchorage, has an extensive history of working on Alaska Native and suicide prevention issues, and is currently a program associate for suicide prevention programs with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. She has worked for the University of Alaska Southeast in Alaska Native student services, and in office positions with the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, Point Sophia Development Project, and Huna Heritage Foundation. She also spent nine years as a legal secretary in Juneau. Franks earned an associate degree in human services from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is reappointed to a seat reserved for an individual who has experienced the death of a family member from suicide. Crow, of Bethel, has been a social worker at Bethel High School since 1998. She previously worked in Bethel as a community educator and legal advocate for the Tundra Women’s Coalition and as a Jesuit volunteer. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and a master’s degree in social work from Boston College. She is an Alaska-licensed clinical social worker, holds a state special services education certificate, and coaches girl’s high school basketball and junior high cross country. Crow is reappointed to a seat reserved for a secondary school employee.\

Movers & Shakers 12/23/12

Sharon Marshall, who earlier this year won the Prosecutor of the Year award from her peers, is the new Anchorage District Attorney. Marshall has 25 years of experience in prosecuting cases ranging from misdemeanors to murder. Recent notable cases she has prosecuted include the cases of Michael Lawson, Cynthia Lord, and Anthony Rollins. Marshall has worked in district attorneys’ offices in New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, as well as Alaska. She has also been a volunteer lawyer in the United Kingdom, helping indigent individuals with employment issues and other civil matters. Marshall has been with the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office since 2001, primarily prosecuting violent felony crimes. She has prosecuted more than 500 felonies in that time. Marshall began her new position Dec. 17. Terry Kinney has been hired as a mental health midlevel practitioner by the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Behavioral Health Division to work at the Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít outpatient behavioral health clinic in Sitka. Kinney is certified as a physician assistant with a certificate of added qualifications in psychiatry by the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants. He attended the University of Washington in Seattle, where he earned his physician assistant credential through the University of Washington School of Medicine’s MEDEX program and also earned a bachelor of clinical health services degree. In addition, he holds a licensed practical nurse credential earned at Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood, Wash. Before moving to Sitka, Kinney worked in Bethel practicing primary care and psychiatry with the  Bethel Family Clinic. Longtime community health aide/practitioner Anna Frisby recently earned her physician assistant credential and will return to the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Alma Cook Medical Center in Hydaburg to work as a midlevel provider. Frisby has been with SEARHC since 1995, when she started as a community health aide. She later was promoted to community health practitioner (the highest level in the CHA/P program), and in 2009 she received the “Shining Star” Health Aide of the Year Award from the directors of the Alaska Community Health Aide Program. Two years ago, Anna entered the University of Washington School of Medicine’s MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies Program, which now has a University of Alaska Anchorage campus. She graduated from the program this summer and recently passed her physician assistant certification board exams from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Anchorage-based kpb architects now has a new leadership team in design and architecture veterans Jeff Koonce and Michael Prozeralik. Koonce and Prozeralik, who both served on kpb’s previous leadership team, recently purchased the company from their colleagues. Koonce is a founding partner of kpb architects, and Prozeralik has been with the company since 1999. Together, they have nearly five decades of experience in the industry. While the firm plans to continue its work on large-scale, start-to-finish construction projects, the new leadership team hopes to expand their portfolio to represent the full gamut of architecture and design work, including more remodeling and restructuring projects of small and large scale. Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development has selected Martin “Marty” Hester as the new Deputy Director of the Division of Insurance as of Dec. 17. Hester, a University of Alaska Anchorage graduate, previously worked at Progressive Insurance Company as a senior multi-line representative since 2003. He will be working out of the division’s Juneau office. Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced the hiring of Jay Sterne to advise her on federal fisheries policies for the nation and the hundreds of thousands of square nautical miles off Alaska’s shores that fall under federal jurisdiction. Sterne, a 20-year veteran of fisheries and Arctic policy discussions, brings strong experience to a key position for a state where the fishing industry and emerging Arctic possibilities represent a growing economic engine. Attorney Leila Kimbrell of Anchorage, born in Soldotna and raised on the Kenai Peninsula, was hired to work in Washington, D.C., on economic policy matters. Matthew Shuckerow, born in Kodiak and raised in Anchorage, is being promoted from Legislative Correspondent to Press Secretary in the Communications Department to fill the opening left by Mike Anderson joining Rep. Don Young’s staff. Sterne’s hiring will fill the opening created by Stefanie Moreland joining Gov. Sean Parnell’s administration, and Kimbrell will fill the vacancy left by Miles Baker bringing his expertise back home to Alaska as Murkowski’s Alaska State Director.

Movers & Shakers 12/16/12

Kathy Tonsgard of Hope Community Resources Inc. has been promoted from chief financial officer to senior deputy director of fiscal services and operations, effective in September. In her 13 years at Hope, she has served as the director of accounting, controller and most recently, CFO. With a BBA majoring in accounting, a MBA majoring in information technology and recently accomplishing her juris doctorate degree majoring in healthcare and contract law, Tonsgard is ideally suited for this position. Tonsgard came to Hope after working for Deloitte and Touche CPA firm for a number of years. She has more than 24 years experience in accounting and audit. McDowell Group recently hired Brad Ewing as a research analyst in its Juneau office. Prior to joining McDowell Group, Ewing was employed as a researcher with the Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center at the University of Alaska Southeast. Before that, Ewing worked as a research scientist for the Global Footprint Network in Oakland, Calif., where he managed projects for the World Bank, United Nations, European Union, and the Indonesian Ministry of Public Works. Ewing earned his MBA from the University of California Davis in 2011. In 2007, Ewing graduated from Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in economics. While at Ohio State he also earned a second bachelor’s in evolution, ecology, and organismal biology. Founded in 1972, McDowell Group has a full-time staff of 13 employees based in Anchorage, Juneau, and Bellingham, Wash. Brit Bolsinger, vice president of risk management at Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union, has earned his Certified Fraud Examiner credential from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. In order to become a CFE, Bolsinger met a stringent set of criteria and passed a rigorous exam administered by the ACFE. As a CFE, Bolsinger now has the ability to: examine data and records to detect and trace fraudulent transactions; interview personnel to obtain information; write fraud examination reports, advise clients about findings, and testify at trial; and advise on improving fraud prevention and deterrence measures. Bolsinger has been with Denali Alaskan for 20 years. Prior to becoming vice president of risk management in 2006, he served as the vice president of operations. Anchorage District Attorney Adrienne Bachman will be moving into a new role for the Department of Law, handling special assignments for the Criminal Division Central Office. Her first assignments will be to review the department’s policies and practices in prosecuting domestic violence and sexual assault cases to ensure they are aggressively prosecuted. Bachman has more than 25 years of experience as a prosecutor in Alaska and has spent a significant portion of her career focused on domestic violence and sexual assault cases. In addition to prosecution, she served as a faculty member at the National College of District Attorneys based in Columbia, S.C., training prosecutors from around the country. She has also provided training within Alaska for law enforcement, victim advocacy groups and other agencies that work in areas related to child abuse and sexual assault. Bachman was appointed Anchorage district attorney on July 19, 2007. She joined the Department of Law in 1986 as an assistant district attorney in the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office. Between 1991 and 1993, Bachman was a temporary assistant district attorney in Ketchikan before taking a permanent position in the Palmer District Attorney’s Office. She then transferred to the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office in 1994 where she has served since. Sharon Marshall, deputy district attorney in the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office, will serve as acting district attorney until a permanent replacement is appointed. The Bristol Bay Native Corp. board of directors appointed former board member Marie Paul of Togiak to the board on Dec. 5. Paul, a community health practitioner, was first elected as a BBNC director in 2006 and served two three-year terms. She has also served as a BBNC Education Foundation director since 1999 and currently serves as president. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced several additions to the professional staff of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The new hires include Brian Hughes, Kate Williams, Lucy Murfitt, Tristan Abbey and Ron Faibish. Hughes, from Anchorage, left the Energy Committee in June to work on the speechwriting team of the Romney-Ryan campaign. He returns to work on alternative fuels, biofuels, and vehicle issues as committee professional staff. Williams, from Juneau, is also making her return to the Senate. The former legislative director and chief counsel for Sen. Ted Stevens will be handling oil and natural gas issues on the committee. After leaving the Senate in 2008, Williams practiced law at the Anchorage firm of Birch, Horton, Bittner, Cherot. Most recently, she has been overseeing state and federal regulation issues for the Alaska Oil and Gas Association. Faibish joins the committee as a nuclear fellow from Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago. Faibish was the program manager for the lab’s Nuclear Engineering Division, where he managed relations with China on nuclear issues, developed a research program on energy-water cogeneration, and led research projects on membrane science and technology for energy efficient separation processes. Faibish will handle nuclear and science issues for the committee. Murfitt, who will start with the committee in January, currently handles energy, environment, and natural resources issues for Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona. She has a more than a decade of experience handling western public lands issues and is an outstanding public lands attorney. Murfitt will handle public lands, forest, wilderness, and Bureau of Land Management issues for the committee. Abbey joined the committee as a professional staffer responsible for economic analysis in August. Abbey previously worked in finance and is a graduate of Stanford University and the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

Movers & Shakers 12/09/12

John W. Pickering was recently appointed as the new president of PND Engineers Inc. Pickering has more than 35 years of professional engineering experience as a field and design engineer, construction manager, and senior project manager, and has been with PND for more than 22 years. PND Vice President Todd Nottingham recently returned to the PND Anchorage Office after spending 18 years with PND’s Seattle Office. Pickering has managed many integral projects for PND and currently oversees PND’s role as the civil design engineers for the Point Thomson Project on Alaska’s North Slope. Pickering’s areas of expertise include arctic engineering, transportation engineering, hydrology, environmental engineering, and conceptual engineering studies. Nottingham has been with PND since 1986, and has worked primarily in the areas of marine structural design and bridge engineering. His recent projects include cruise ship docks, bulkheads, wave barriers, container terminals, and bridges. Sara Peterson has joined the corporate practice as Of Counsel in Dorsey & Whitney LLP Anchorage office. Peterson’s practice is focused on corporate and transactional matters and she has developed significant expertise with the Small Business Administration 8(a) government contracting program for Alaska Native corporations and other minority-owned businesses. Peterson was previously associate general counsel with Bristol Bay Native Corp. She received a bachelor’s degree in international business from Alaska Pacific University and a law degree from Hamline University School of Law. In addition, Rachel Richards has joined the litigation practice as an associate. Richards was previously an assistant general counsel with the federal government where she worked in the areas of administrative law, ethics, and government contracts. She received a bachelor’s degree in French from the University of Texas and a law degree from the University of Michigan. Kristen Akers has joined the Anchorage office of AECOM, as a project environmental engineer. Akers received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in environmental engineering from Texas Tech University, and has more than four years of experience working various remediation technologies and contract management for Department of Defense contracts. She currently holds her Engineer in Training certificate and is on track for a Professional Engineer license. Akers will supporting AECOM’s Alaska environmental services contracts with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and U.S. Air Force. Arran Forbes has joined the Anchorage office of AECOM, as an Environmental Scientist. Forbes recieved her bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Dartmouth College in 2010. After graduating, she spent several months conducting field research in South Africa, one year doing environmental consulting for the village of Igiugig in Bristol Bay, and taught general chemistry at the University of Idaho. Arran will be supporting AECOM’s Alaska environmental service contracts with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and various NEPA EIS projects, and intends on pursing her master’s degree in the coming years. Roy Olpin has joined Providence Alaska Medical Center as director of Providence Cancer Center, responsible for the oncology service line. Olpin comes to Providence after working as regional vice president of oncology for Sarah Cannon Cancer Services with Hospital Corporation of America in Denver. His prior work experience includes senior director of oncology services at Providence Regional Cancer System in Olympia, Wash., and a series of roles at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Olpin earned a bachelor’s degree in international business management from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., and dual master’s degrees in public health and business administration from Boston University. He also has earned a certified quality improvement associate designation from the American Society for Quality and is a fellow in the American College of HealthCare Executives. Jennifer Midthun is one of the newest licensed architects at Bezek Durst Seiser. Midthun joined BDS in 2011 as an intern architect and passed the Architectural Registration Exam in November. She has been instrumental in the design and development of the firm’s rural educational design projects in Chefornak and Kipnuk. Midthun holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon in architecture and a minor in art history. She brings six years of residential and commercial experience in Alaska. ABC of Alaska has announced its board of directors for 2013. Officers are chairman Tom Even with Klebs Mechanical, Immediate Past Chair Jim Watterson with Watterson Construction, Vice Chair Serena O’Donnell with Willodell Enterprises and Treasurer Ron Alban with Alban & Company CPA’s. Directors serving on the board include Jon Boone with Northstar Electric, Ron Neffendorf with Alaska Air Balancing, Jon Pfeiffer with E/P Roofing, Dennis Smedly with Criterion General, Paul Kovach with Spenard Builders Supply and Julie Duquette with Slayden Plumbing & Heating. Fred H. Valdez and Jennifer A. Messick have opened a new law firm, M/V Alaska Law in Anchorage. Valdez and Messick have more than 39 years of legal experience combined. Valdez was in private practice for many years handling domestic relations, estate planning, bankruptcy, small business law and many other areas before joining the Municipal Prosecutors Office. Valdez retired in early 2012 to return to private practice. Messick spent several years with the Municipal Prosecutors Office and also served as the Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor in that office. M/V Alaska Law handles a variety of legal issues, including but not limited to bankruptcy and debt management, wills and estate planning, divorce and legal separations and small business and property management issues.

Movers & Shakers 12/02/12

The American Medical Association has presented its Medical Executive Lifetime Achievement Award to James J. “Jim” Jordan, the recently retired executive director of the Alaska State Medical Association. In Alaska, Jordan was instrumental in the implementation of medical professional liability reforms and was involved in the enactment of a Patients’ Bill of Rights, the Physician Joint Negotiation Law and the Prompt Pay Law. Jordan served on many statewide committees, commissions and boards, including being one of the founders of the Alaska Electronic Health Record Alliance. Jordan served as a member and chair of the Litigation Center of the AMA and State Medical Societies. He was also a member of the board of directors for the Medical Underwriters of California and the Medical Indemnity Corporation of Alaska. Prior to serving as executive director of ASMA, Jordan was director of the Alaska Division of Insurance, operated his own insurance litigation support consulting firm and worked in the private health insurance industry, where he primarily developed group health insurance products. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. The Medical Executive Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed on an executive “who has contributed substantially to the goals and ideals of the medical profession … over a significant term of service.” It was presented to Jordan on Nov. 10 at the AMA’s semi-annual policymaking meeting in Honolulu. Jordan, a longtime Anchorage resident, retired June 30 after almost 16 years as ASMA’s executive director. In nominating him for the AMA honor, ASMA Past President Mary Ann Foland, M.D., of Anchorage wrote: “Jim Jordan has been a tireless advocate for the physicians and patients of Alaska. He brought our association from the brink of insolvency to a stable and effective organization. Without his leadership, I truly believe we would not have been successful in our tort reform efforts. His institutional knowledge of that effort is unparalleled. He has exemplary leadership skills and an understanding of political, legal, insurance, and regulatory issues.” Jordan’s nomination was a multi-state effort that was put forth without his knowledge. Marge Stoneking assumed the role of director, American Lung Association in Alaska, on Oct. 22. Her nine-year history with the American Lung Association (1999-2008), working across the spectrum of air quality, asthma, lung health, tobacco programs, advocacy, fundraising and administration, will be a tremendous asset to the organization.  She brings senior level experience with nonprofit management, public health promotion and advocacy. Stoneking left the organization in 2008 after a multi-state regional merger. Stoneking is a certified fundraising executive. Most recently, from 2009-12, she served as CEO of Girl Scouts of Alaska, serving as the first CEO after the merger of two in-state Girl Scout councils. The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium has hired Michael E. Douglas as the consortium’s general counsel. Having served as interim general counsel for SEARHC since June, Douglas joins SEARHC after spending the past five-plus years as an associate attorney with the Indian law firm of Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Miller & Munson, LLP, in Anchorage, where he worked on a wide variety of tribal health issues. Prior to joining Sonosky, Chambers, Michael clerked for Alaska Superior Court Judge Trevor N. Stephens in Ketchikan. Douglas earned his law degree from the University of Washington Law School in Seattle, and his bachelor’s degree from Fairhaven College’s Law and Diversity program at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash. He is admitted to practice in Washington and Alaska, and before the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Douglas is Haida (Eagle moiety) and he is the grandson of Georgianna and Julius Douglas from Hydaburg. The Alaska Community Foundation recently selected Cardinal Investment Advisors as their investment consulting firm with David Center acting as primary investment consultant. Cardinal, has 34 employees, over $70B in assets under advisement and offices in Chicago, St. Louis and Orlando. ACF recently hired two new employees, Ricardo Lopez and Heather Beaty. Lopez has joined ACF as a program officer with a focus on supporting the community Affiliates. Prior to joining ACF, Lopez worked for The CIRI Foundation managing their scholarship and grant program for Alaska Native students pursuing post-secondary education. He previously also worked on the small grants program at the Rasmuson Foundation. A lifelong Alaskan with family ties to the Bristol Bay region, Mr. Lopez holds a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Beaty has joined ACF as the program manager for Pick.Click.Give., a joint project between ACF and the Rasmuson Foundation. Before joining ACF, she served as the Senate Rules Committee aide and chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage. Beaty grew up in Sitka and moved to Anchorage in 2002 to take a job as the Letters Editor at the Anchorage Daily News, after which she began her decade-long work in the Alaska legislature and political campaigns. Lorene Palmer has been selected to lead the Division of Economic Development, effective Nov. 26. She will be based in Juneau. Palmer’s professional experience includes serving as president and CEO of the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau, as an Assistant Professor at University of Alaska Southeast, and as owner of Cornerstone Consulting. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Hawaii and has been an active member of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce and Southeast Conference. Marjorie Allard was appointed to the Alaska Court of Appeals. Allard will fill the vacancy created by the forthcoming retirement of Chief Judge Robert Coats. Allard, of Anchorage, recently became a staff attorney at the Court of Appeals. She formerly served as an assistant public defender, first working on criminal appeals and eventually litigating child-in-need-of-aid cases and appeals. Allard also served at the Office of Public Advocacy, working on felony trials. She was a civil litigator with the law offices of Richmond & Quinn. A board member of the Alaska Hemophilia Association, she is also a member of the Stone Soup Group and the Inlet View Parent-Teacher Association. Allard earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Yale University and a juris doctorate from Yale Law School.

Movers and Shakers 11/25/2012

Leslie Dickson and Jennifer Henderson have been appointed to the Anchorage District Court by Gov. Sean Parnell. Dickson has maintained a private law practice in Anchorage for the last two years, primarily focusing on adoptions and representing foster youth. Her early legal career included work with the Office of Public Advocacy on delinquency, children in need of aid, and custody and guardianship issues. She also served in the district attorney’s office in Fairbanks and Anchorage, supervising the misdemeanor unit and prosecuting special assaults. Dickson earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and her law degree from Northeastern University. Henderson works at the Anchorage law firm of Farley & Graves, PC, where she handles a variety of civil cases including personal injury, wrongful death, maritime, employment, malpractice, and administrative claims. She formerly worked at the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office on cases in the misdemeanor, drug, and violent crimes units. She earned a bachelor’s degree in politics, philosophy, and economics from Claremont McKenna College and her juris doctorate at Yale Law School.  Dr. Kristen Widmer, MD, has joined the medical staff at the the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka. In addition to providing care for families in Sitka, Widmer will provide itinerant care for SEARHC patients living in Hoonah. Widmer earned her medical doctorate degree from the Medical School for International Health, a collaboration between the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel. She also completed a residency in family medicine at the University of New Mexico. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Prior to moving to Sitka, Widmer served as a community health aide trainer with the Norton Sound Health Corp. in Nome. Widmer is accredited as a family physician by the American Board of Family Medicine. E. John Eng, president of Cornerstone General Contractors Inc of Anchorage was elected president of the Associated General Contractors of Alaska for 2013 at the Association’s annual meeting. Eng will serve for the next calendar year along with the executive board composed of Kevin Welker, Kiewit Building Group, Anchorage, vice president; Brian Horschel, Acme Fence Company, Anchorage, secretary; Meg Nordale, Ghemm Company, Fairbanks, treasurer; Joe Spink, Granite Construction, Anchorage, contractor-at-large; Dick Engebretson, Aurora Construction Supply, Fairbanks, associate member; and Tony Johansen, Great Northwest, Fairbanks, immediate past president. Philip Blumstein of Landye Bennett Blumstein LLP in Anchorage was recently selected by his peers for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America 2013. He has been named a Best Lawyer in America each year since 2006. Blumstein was included in two categories: corporate law and mergers and acquisitions. He was also named last year to the 2011 Super Lawyers list for Alaska. Ketchikan Indian Community announced the appointment of John Brown, Tribal education director at KIC, as the interim general manager while the executive search continues. Three candidates have already been interviewed for the position but no decision has yet been made. Brown has held various management positions with Ketchikan Indian Community throughout the years including housing director and economic development director. Departing general manager Debbie Patton has accepted a position with Douglas County as Deputy Health Administrator based in Roseburg, Ore. She starts her new position on Dec. 1. Wells Fargo has named Darren Franz Alaska regional business banking manager. He will lead a team of 85 Alaska team members serving business customers from Ketchikan to Barrow. Franz has been with Wells Fargo for 20 years. He joined the company as a management trainee and served as a personal banker, business relationship manager and area president in Kodiak for 12 years. Most recently, he served as Northern Alaska area president for more than six years, leading 125 team members in Barrow, Bethel, Delta Junction, Dillingham, Fairbanks, King Salmon, Kodiak, Kotzebue, Nome and North Pole. Lance Johnson has joined the Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union staff as vice president of internal audit. Johnson has more than 14 years of internal audit experience. Prior to joining Denali Alaskan he was the internal audit and program manager at Texas Instruments in Dallas. Johnson received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in international management from the University of Texas. He is also a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. In addition, Johnson holds designations as a Certified Internal Auditor and a Certified Information Systems Auditor. Amanda Schou, buyer’s licensee with REMAX Dynamic of the Valley, The Kevin Crozier Team, recently obtained her Graduate, Realtor Institute and Accredited Buyer Representative designations. Realtors with the GRI designation have in-depth training in legal and regulatory issues, technology, professional standards, and the sales process. Accredited Buyer Representative denotes a sales associate who is qualified to provide buyer representation and is familiar with buyer brokerage and buyer agency issues. The ABR designation requires a 12-hour course, active membership in REBAC, and at least five documented transactions during the previous 18-month period where the sales associate acted as a buyer’s representative.

Managing partner sees bright future for Patton Boggs

Patton Boggs LLP, one of the nation’s leading law firms and long a presence in Alaska’s legal community and the state capitol, celebrated its 50th anniversary in October. Ed Newberry, the firm’s managing partner in Washington, D.C., was in Alaska for the occasion, to meet with Patton Boggs clients and help its attorneys and staff celebrate the event. Patton Boggs is well known for its lobbying practice as well as legal work, and the firm’s connections with Alaska go back to the early 1970s when Patton Boggs represented Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. in Washington, D.C. Bill Foster, an attorney with the firm, helped steer legislation through Congress that cleared the way for construction of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. Patton Boggs has 12 attorneys in the Alaska office, a number that has been stable for several years, and about 550 attorneys nationwide. “We’re among the top 100 law firms in the nation in size, but we’re best known for our work in the government-business-law intersect,” Newberry said in a visit with the Journal. The firm’s focus is on the range of complex problems that arise for businesses dealing with government, either agencies or the Congress. There are offices in Dallas, Denver, New York and New Jersey as well as in Washington, D.C., and Anchorage. There are now three offices in the Middle East with the opening this year of an office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Two other Middle East offices are in Doha, in Qatar, which opened in 2003, and in Abu Dhabi, which opened in 2008. There is also a project office in Dubai. However, in the Middle East most of the firm’s work is for governments working on financial and commercial contract details of large infrastructure projects. In Alaska, Patton Boggs specializes in work in the energy industry — ExxonMobil Corp. is a major client — as well as a range of legal and lobbying work for Alaska Native corporations, according to Walter Featherly, the firm’s managing partner in Alaska. Featherly has a long history of working with Alaska Native corporations, beginning in Southeast Alaska in 1981. The firm is also a fixture in the state capitol, where Bob Evans, one of the state’s leading lobbyists and a Patton Boggs attorney, is well known. Patton Boggs’ strong connections in the nation’s capitol are a particular asset for Alaska clients, particularly in the post-Ted Stevens age. A new client for the firm is the University of Alaska, where Patton Boggs will represent the university in its work to secure federal research grants. Other clients are Alaska Native corporations who are extensively engaged in government agency contracting, Featherly said. Interestingly, many of the Alaska Native government contracting firms are also engaged with U.S. agencies in the Middle East, and Patton Boggs has been able to support that work with its offices there, Featherly said. “We’ve been able to keep pace with our clients here as they expand their reach,” he said. Newberry said the firm’s connection with the Middle East goes back to the late 1970s when one of the partners with an interest in the region began travelling there to establish connections. This predated the huge run-up in oil prices after the 1979 revolution in Iran and the emergence of the Persian Gulf as a major world major oil and gas provider. The real breakthrough for Patton Boggs came when the ruler of Qatar hired the firm to help it recover a large sum of money that had been embezzled from the government. The effort was successful, and a grateful Qatari government rewarded the firm with permission to open the first office for a U.S. firm in Qatar. Similar permission had been given to a British law firm. The office in Doha, Qatar, opened with Susan Bastress, the first non-Qatari lawyer licensed to practice in that nation, as managing partner. Like a lot of the Washington-based law firms with major government practices, Patton Boggs has had senior government figures among its partners. Ron Brown, later appointed as Commerce Secretary by President Bill Clinton, became a Patton Boggs partner in 1981. In 1989 Brown became chairman of the Democratic National Committee. In 2010, Patton Boggs acquired the Breaux-Lott Leadership Group including its founders, former senators Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, and John Breaux, a Louisiana Democrat. Although not a former official himself, Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., one of the firm’s earliest partners, had solid Washington connections. Newberry sees a bright future for firms like Patton Boggs that specialize in solving government problems for clients, particularly in the regulatory arena. Mergers and acquisitions that require Federal Trade Commission approval are just one example. “The size and scope of government activity will continue to grow, no matter who gets elected Nov. 6,” Newberry said.

Annual Day of Caring draws 800 volunteers

United Way of Anchorage gathered more than 800 volunteers for its 19th annual Day of Caring in September, a day devoted to giving Anchorage corporations an avenue to give back to their community, Christine Gire, communications manager for the non-profit, said. “Day of Caring is the single largest day of corporate volunteerism in Anchorage,” Gire said. “It’s a day when UWA celebrates the commitment of local business volunteers for rolling up their sleeves and taking on much needed community projects.” Groups from 36 companies and organizations tackled 44 improvement projects throughout the city. “The work ranged from painting a room for a new resident as well as dust removal at the Pioneer Home to prepping the Alaska Botanical Garden for the winter to taking on some landscaping duties for The Arc of Anchorage,” Gire said. Independent Sector, a non-profit advocacy organization, provides statistics that put volunteer work into hard numbers. According to studies done by Independent Sector, corporate volunteers, such as those involved with Day of Caring, are worth an average of $21.69 per hour to both their employer and community. Day of Caring volunteers worked about four hours each, Gire noted. When those numbers are multiplied by the more than 800 volunteers who took part, Day of Caring raised more than $70,000 in volunteer labor in one day for the city of Anchorage. Not only are these events good for the community and good public relations for the corporate participants, Gire said, but they can foster a sense of value between the two. “Many companies want their employees to know they aren’t there just to make a profit, but that together they can make a positive impact within their community,” Gire said. “A feeling of connectedness results from community involvement and for many people that starts with the company they work for.” Immediately after the Day of Caring every year, United Way holds the Day of Caring Food Drive. This year the drive gathered nearly 400,000 pounds of food in one day for the Food Bank of Alaska. Gire said the food bank calculates a meal as 1.3 pounds, meaning the drive contributed an equivalent to more than 300,000 meals. While the upcoming holidays get people thinking about donating to local food banks, Gire said, the need is year-round, and are another great and easy way for corporations to give back to their communities. Sam Kirstein at the Fairbanks Community Food Bank said her organization is serving about 15 percent more people this year, a consequence of economic uncertainties and the soaring cost of energy in the Interior. However, donations, both financial and in food, are holding generally steady, she said. ”People are giving smaller amounts of money this year but there are more people giving,” Kirstein said. Local grocery stores and food-serving institutions donate food to the Food Bank and volunteers there package these into food boxes sufficient to last one person three days, she said. The goal is a 20-pound food box but if donations are down in any one week, the box could be down to 17 pounds. All major food stores and institutions donate including Safeway, Fred Meyer, Wal-Mart and major wholesalers like Food Service of America and vendors that support the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. The military commissary at Fort Wainwright, she said, has now been cleared to make donations after some paperwork was cleared up. Elwood Brehmer can be reached at [email protected]

Movers and Shakers 9/9/2012

Alaska Communications and Boys & Girls–Clubs Alaska recognized six youth heroes as part of the 2012 Summer of Heroes program. Alaska Communications presented each hero with a $1,500 scholarship during a ceremony at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer on Sunday, Aug. 26. This year’s honorees are (from left) Shaylee Rizzo of Kenai, Stacey Garbett of Fairbanks, Regan Fitzgerald of Anchorage (represented by her mother, Laura Fitzgerald), Keefer Brown of Wasilla, Julia Gebert of Anchorage and Courtney Stroh of Kenai. Read the winners’ full biographies at www.alaskacommunications.com/summerofheroes. State Sen. Cathy Giessel is being appointed to the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission. Alaska House Rep. Bob Herron made the announcement during an Arctic Caucus meeting in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, in June. Giessel is a member of the Arctic Caucus, a subcommittee of the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region. The Arctic Policy Commission was created by the Legislature in 2012 for the purpose of putting Alaska in a leadership role in the development of a nationwide comprehensive Arctic Policy. Giessel is one of three senators who have been appointed to serve on the Commission. Tim Dillon of Seldovia is the new president of the board of directors for Arctic Winter Games Team Alaska. Dillon has been a member of the Team Alaska Board of Directors since 2007. Dillon is the City Manager of Seldovia, and brings more than three decades of experience in the sports and entertainment field. He served as general manager at the 2006 Arctic Winter Games on the Kenai Peninsula, which is still considered one of the most successful events in the 30-year history of the games. Born and raised in the New Jersey area with a master’s degree in administration, Dillon came to Alaska in 1992, and held the role of Athletic Director and Vice Chancellor of University of Alaska Anchorage until 1999. He has chaired or attended to 14 different NCAA committees, including the NCAA council, and is the past president of the Pac West Conference. Carol C. Fraser has been appointed general manager of the Millennium Alaskan Hotel Anchorage. Fraser brings 20 years of hotel management and destination marketing — specializing in Alaska — to Millennium Hotels and Resorts. Prior to Millennium Hotels and Resorts, Fraser served as regional director of sales and marketing for ARAMARK Parks and Destinations, Alaska; was part owner of Aspen Hotels of Alaska before its acquisition; and has been honored with a number of awards and honors — including the highest recognitions from the Alaska Hotel and Lodging Association and the Alaska Travel Industry Association. Fraser has lived in Alaska for 29 years. Donald Stiles was appointed to the Fishermen’s Fund Advisory and Appeals Council. Stiles, of Nome, is a commercial fisherman and high school basketball coach. Stiles is a member of the Norton Sound Economic Development Corp., former chair of the Siu Alaska Corp., and is a former fisheries specialist with Kawarek Inc.’s fisheries department. Stiles also served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Chris Stark was appointed and Mark Vinsel was reappointed to the Board of Forestry. Stark, of Fairbanks, is a biologist specializing in fisheries research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He also works with the Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association and owns his own fisheries research consultancy. Stark holds a master’s degree in fisheries science from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana. Vinsel, of Juneau, has been executive director of the United Fishermen of Alaska since 2004, after serving as the industry advocacy group’s office manager from 2000-04. He served as chairman of the Alaska Commemorative Coin Commission and chairman of the Alaska Fishing Industry Relief Mission. Vinsel earned a bachelor’s degree in design and industry from San Francisco State University.

Kenai Peninsula berry grower cultivates a 'masterpiece'

KENAI — Brian Olson said he will spend the rest of his life further cultivating what he said is the country’s new “super berry” — and he is thrilled. The berries are, “hardy, the fruit’s great and I’m really excited for it because I think it can be a new commercial crop in this state that people can actually commercially grow,” he said. The berry Olson is excited about grows from the Japanese haskap plant, and because of its resiliency, he said it will be a significant contribution in a state that is not predominately known for its crop productions. “People will recognize it and they’ll know it and they’ll love it and there will be a lot of products out there for them to purchase,” he said. He has cultivated a genetically unique product that he said is unlike any other berry. “A strawberry has a strawberry taste; a raspberry has a raspberry taste; a blueberry has a blueberry taste — this berry is multi-flavored,” he said. He said it hits all his taste buds. “When you put it in your mouth you roll it around; you get the sweets, you get the sours, you get the tang, you get some zest,” he said. The 57-year-old Soldotna resident and co-owner of Alaska Berries said the haskap has already been proven an Alaska hardy plant that can weather the state’s winters. “We know it’s beyond the experimental part — it’s successful,” he said. There are other berries grown in Alaska that are suitable for the state’s short and harsh growing season, but none, he said, rival the haskap for its health benefits. The haskap berries trump blueberries, another “super berry,” in levels of antioxidants, phenols, Vitamin A and C, anthocyanins and bioflavinoids, he said. And they harvest early, he said. The heavy rains in late August often shorten growing seasons, but the berries on the haskap plant are best picked in early to mid August before the rains. An earlier harvesting also saves the berries from the swarms of wasps that plague the later-flowering berry crops, he said. On average a one-year-old plant produces a handful of berries, he said. By year five, he said it can produce four to five pounds, and by maturity, 10 to 12 pounds. Brian Olson shows off a haskap berry on one of the bushes he is cultivating near Kenai. Olson describes the berry’s taste as “a blend of the flavors of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.”(Photos/M. Scott Moon/Peninsula Clarion) Each plant has a 50-year life expectancy, he said, nearly doubling that of other berries he grows on his farm. Cultivating its resiliency was simple, he said — they came that way from Japan. The plant’s native land in Hokkaido, Japan, is similar to the environment of Southcentral Alaska. He said much of the work developing his new strains was in honing the berries’ taste, size, output and ease of being plucked. “I’m just a farmer and I was just taking the seeds from the best of the best, planting those and then seeing what kind of crops I could come up with,” he said. Janice Chumley, a cooperative extension service IPM research technician for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said she has worked with Olson over the years as he grew his berry farm, and she said Olson has put a lot of effort into his haskap plants. “I think that the breeding that he’s done — it’s a good deal,” Chumley said. “They’re lovely looking plants, they produce well, they’re winter hardy — what’s not to like?” She also said they have innate defenses to pests, which is why Olson has not had to use pesticides on the haskap plants. Currently Olson is working on a trademark for his new strains, and when he completes the paperwork in 2014 he said he will probably continue releasing new varieties every couple of years. “If I live long enough there might be 10 varieties that are named, patented, trademarked that’ll be sold just like when you see plants for sale at nurseries,” he said. As a farmer, he said this discovery will shape the rest of his life. He said it is his masterpiece. “I’m never going to be finished,” he said. “I’m going to continue researching these plants until the day I die.”

High prices and reality TV start another Nome gold rush

NOME — For what seems like the 40th day in a row, wind-blown rain pelts the streets and buildings of Nome while large surf pounds beaches that normally see only modest waves. On a calmer day, an army of floating contraptions would be scattered across the swath of sea fronting Nome. Tethered to each craft, divers would normally be plying the ocean floor for gold. On this blustery Saturday in mid-August, however, the divers are all on land and the hodge-podge flotilla of vessels are nearly stacked on top of each other in Nome’s harbor as they wait out the storm. Several weeks of rainy and windy weather has foiled many camping trips and outdoor projects on Alaska’s Seward Peninsula. Perhaps none are as frustrated, however, as the large contingent of men in Nome who are counting on calm waters so they can seek their paychecks from the seabed. This summer has drawn to Nome an unusually large number of miners who operate ocean-going dredges of varying shapes, sizes and seaworthiness. The vessels range from small platforms just big enough to hold a dredge pump to crafts that look like houseboats. Some are pleasure boats repurposed for mining while many others appear to owe their existence to a trip to the scrapyard. But they all have one thing in common: they are designed to allow a diver to essentially vacuum gold off the floor of the Bering Sea. The new arrivals to Nome have invested heavily to get themselves and their dredges here to take a stab at striking it rich. Every day of bad weather is a missed chance to recoup those expenses—building a dredge is measured in the tens of thousands of dollars—not to mention making any sort of profit. A mass of miners The number of dredges working off of Nome’s beaches has steadily increased over the past few years as gold prices took a steep climb and have remained well above the $1,000-per-ounce mark amid worldwide financial turmoil. As of Aug. 18, Nome Harbormaster Joy Baker reported a total of 81 ocean-going dredges in the City of Nome’s port. But gold prices alone did not spur the modern-day rush Nome has seen this year. The deluge of dredgers in 2012 can be traced to one of the best current mediums of advertising — reality television. Whether they have prospected for years or had only previously searched for gold in a jewelry store, nearly every newly arrived miner cites the Discovery Channel program Bering Sea Gold as the spark that set them on a course for Nome. The reality series chronicling the exploits of dredge operations in Nome began airing in January to an audience of more than 3.5 million viewers. Almost immediately the calls and e-mails asking how to get in on the rush began pouring into the city and visitor’s bureau offices. The program’s winter airing gave the newest crop of gold-seekers time to plot a new adventure in the north. It also gave the City of Nome and other entities the opportunity to gird themselves for the influx. “We prepared heavily for the miners’ arrival,” said Nome’s City Manager Josie Bahnke. Working with state and federal agencies, the city developed plans to try and avoid conflicts at the port, minimize impacts on city services, and provide miners with information on everything from permits and regulations to the location of grocery stores and accommodations. Perhaps one of the largest factors in easing the impacts of a crush of new arrivals — many of whom stepped off the jet with not much more than a tent and a sense of adventure — was the creation of a camp on the outskirts of town. Nome Gold Alaska Corp. developed the campsite on its land just to the west of Nome, providing sanitation and trash services. The camp echoes Nome’s beginnings when at the turn of the last century a flood of gold-seekers descended on the Bering Sea beaches, erected a tent city and chased fortune. “The camp has worked out well,” Bahnke said. The organized site has served a vital need. Even if many of the miners had wanted to rent a house or apartment, lodging has been squeezed tight in Nome for months. Nome has been bustling with construction activity on a new hospital, an elder-care facility, and road and airport work, all of which putting accommodations at a premium, if they are available at all. Living the dream...in a tent One of the inhabitants of this latest version of Nome’s tent city is 24-year-old Dale Wyant. After seeing Bering Sea Gold he decided to give Nome a try for himself. “I sold my house and spent all my money,” he said. The proceeds from selling the house went into a dredge and travel to Nome. Still dressed in his blue work coveralls, Wyant chatted about his adventure as he and dozens of fellow miners — newcomers and veterans, alike — were enjoying the dry confines of Nome’s Old St. Joe’s Hall Aug. 18. Gold-buyer General Refining Corp. was hosting an appreciation dinner for a packed house. Like many of the miners new to town this year, Wyant came with some skills already in his pocket. “I’ve always had a gold dredge,” he said. Even though his previous dredging experience was land-based, Wyant’s transition to the Bering Sea has gone well. He arrived in Nome on July 1 a few weeks ahead of his dredge and equipment. In that downtime, he worked on a fellow miner’s dredge and learned how to dive. Others who have come to Nome this year have extensive diving backgrounds. Ted Danger — yes, that is his real name — hails from San Francisco but has spent years diving for lucrative sea cucumbers off Kodiak Island. While the sea cucumbers may be more of a sure bet for income, Danger said he couldn’t resist the lure of gold. “There’s more potential here,” he said. He said he and his partner, Zack Hammond, have had a good season so far with the dredge Mrs. Rumpelstiltskin. Not all who have plied the waters this summer have hit paydirt. As the summer draws down, postings have appeared on message boards around Nome listing dredges and equipment for sale as some pack up and head for home. Others are pressing on, however, still hoping to see that first payday. Such is the case for Mark Wideman, who voyaged with his 19-year-old son from the surf and sun of Kauai, Hawaii, to the less-than-tropical beaches of Nome. With signs of fall starting to creep into view, Wideman has yet to get a full day of dredging in this season. “I can’t claim anything (gold) yet, but that’s OK. It will happen when it happens,” he said. “We just need more nozzle-time now.” Wideman’s roadblocks have mostly been mechanical in nature. Dredge construction took much longer than anticipated and his first days out on the water were mostly spent tweaking systems and parts to get it to work properly. Despite all this, he has maintained a hang-loose attitude so far. “I’m here for the experience. I need adventure,” he said. “I didn’t come here to stress.” Nome bustles...for better and worse The influx of so many new people in town has not come without pressure on the city’s infrastructure and services. Nowhere is this more evident than at the Port of Nome. It’s approaching 4 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon and Harbormaster Baker is still trying to get out of the office for the weekend. It likely won’t be long before she’s back at her desk. “It’s been crowded at the harbor,” she said, offering what may be the understatement of the summer. When the weather whips up the waves, as it was this Saturday afternoon, the port becomes a very popular place with dredges, fishing boats and other vessels retreating to the harbor for safety. More than half of the 150 vessels at the port are dredges. “When the weather is decent and more than half the dredges are out working, it’s not bad,” Baker said. But decent weather has been scarce the past few weeks, meaning there is little to no room at the inn. Many dredges are stacked tightly next to each other at anchor, and some have been moving farther and farther up the port-adjacent Snake River to find a spot to park. Baker said there are designs already in place for expanding the port, but like with all big projects it’s a question of resources. “It’s all about funding,” she said. The main impacts Baker has seen at the port this year are not necessarily specific to miners, but are those that come with having more traffic and use in general. “Anytime you get a whole bunch of vessels in a small facility, there are the dribbles and the spills,” she said. “That has increased this year, and we’re trying to keep a handle on it.” In addition to the port, City Manager Bahnke said the uptick in population this summer in Nome has made itself felt in other departments. “At the beginning of the season, cabs were dropping people off at City Hall because they just didn’t know where to go or how to get permits,” she said. In addition to playing the role of welcoming committee, Bahnke said the boom has resulted in more patrons at the museum and library, and a small bump in search and rescue activity. “The building inspector has seen a lot of impact,” she said. “That may seem funny, but there have been questions over whether people are squatting in town or questions over tents on the beach.” Bahnke is quick to point out that the influx of people, and the resulting impacts, are not all due to miners. In addition to the prospectors, a large contingent of construction works have also been in Nome for a wide range of building and repair projects. Nome Police Chief John Papasodora echoed the same sentiments, noting upticks in calls and certain offenses like DUIs this summer. He said the increased activity for his department can be seen as a result of more people in general, regardless of what they came to Nome to do. “We are not seeing specialized activity for mining,” Papasodora said, crediting Baker’s work at the port and the state Department of Natural Resources hiring a Nome citizen to act as a local agent. On the upside for the city, Bahnke said she is anticipating strong numbers when the sales tax revenues from June and July are reported in the coming weeks. She noted that, in general, having more activity in Nome is a positive. “There has been a lot of increased interest from around the state and world about Nome, and that’s a good thing,” she said. Nome Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Barb Nickels agrees. She noted that much of the apprehension experienced in Nome prior to the mining season has been for naught. “Despite the fear that everyone had, it’s been a very nice summer of meeting people from all over through the visitor center and the chamber—people who have spent their money in town,” she said. Nickels said that businesses selling hardware and the safety gear required for the vessels appear to have benefitted along with those catering to the general needs like food and supplies. “The city’s tax coffers are growing. Many local merchants are doing well,” she said. Those merchants are likely taking stock of what sold well this year just as the city and port are examining what may need to be tweaked to make for a smooth season next year. From all indications, a large number of the new miners will return as veterans next year with a whole new crop of gold-seekers in tow. “With the amount I have invested, I need to come back next year,” said the eager, first-season miner Wyant. “But I will not be living in a tent; I will tell you that.”

After origins in pipeline days, AVTEC goes gourmet

SEWARD — Not all classrooms use books. Some have knives and heat. That’s everyday life at the culinary program at AVTEC, Alaska’s Institute of Technology, and is what encouraged 18-year-old Jenna Mahoney of Homer to enroll. Mahoney learned about the program while at a state technical competition, and it happened to fit her interests. She said she might like to start her own catering business someday and professional training was important now, especially when that training can be learned through her scholarship. AVTEC culinary students spend about a year or more going through the entire range of food preparation. They must learn the basic skills from how to use a knife to nutrition, purchasing, and eventually learning gourmet preparations. The program is made up of two elements: the culinary and the baking programs. This gives the option of two directions for advanced certification. AVTEC uses trained and experienced chefs for its instructors. Two new instructors have just joined the program. Chip Dunlap will take over the advanced classes and Jamie Hall will take over the introductory courses. The baking and pastry operations are taught by the department head, Elizabeth Johnston. Students can go either direction, which each take eleven months. However, students who tack on baking and pastries to the end of a culinary program can earn that advanced pastry arts certificate in six weeks. The halfway mark is the point at which the students decide if they want to pursue culinary arts or advanced pastries. At the end, the students run their own restaurant on the AVTEC campus that’s open to the public for eight weeks. They do it all, from creating the menu to pricing to service and reservations. “It’s kind of showing off what they’ve learned,” Johnston said. Students who enter the program live in Seward for almost a year or longer while earning their advanced certificates. Johnston said this program is actually one of the shorter ones in terms of the culinary arts. Many associate’s degrees in cooking can take two years. Johnston said the institute has an agreement with the University of Alaska Anchorage, which also has a culinary arts program. She said AVTEC students can register at UAA with highly discounted rates and can apply their credits to avoid having to repeat classes. “They can get their associates in one year instead of two by going through us first,” she said. The program has two starts a year with an average of 17 students at each start. Johnston said it’s normal to lose a quarter of these by the program’s end. Like an educational program, most students are concerned with what happens after completion. Johnston said they go to work in a number of places, many of which are in-state. Some students are currently in Wasilla restaurants. Others work in kitchens on the North Slope or in the ferry system. Johnston said one graduate even worked aboard a research vessel in Antarctica. The cooking program was one of AVTEC’s earliest programs, but it started off very differently. Cooks were trained there for jobs on the pipeline and Johnston described it as “scrambled eggs 101.” In the early 1990s, people started looking for skilled chefs rather than standard cafeteria fare and so the program got a lot more gourmet to meet this demand. This included American Culinary Federation certification to compete with top cooking schools. Now students learn everything, such as advanced buffet foods, fruit-carving, sausage-making, cheese-making, hors d’oeuvres and other fancy delicacies. The pastry side consists of basic breads and muffins to sugar-blowing and chocolate-tempering. The site itself has just gotten some renovations. The bakery was gutted and new equipment was brought in. This meant new deck ovens with steam injectors and specialized for hearth breads. “They’re really in the new century of equipment,” Johnston said. The students are making good use of this equipment. Tuzday Witt of Fairbanks has always had a passion for food. The 24-year-old said she’s always loved cooking but was never able to make certain dishes at home. She will finish the culinary program and plans to continue straight into the baking part. “I want my food to taste better than at restaurants,” she said. People of all ages and career stages travel to Seward for the culinary program. AJ Barkis recently turned 68 and thought this would be a new challenge for him. Barkis spent 20 years in the Navy and then practiced law in Washington for many years. Barkis said professional cooking was always on his bucket list. He even looked into cooking during his Navy years. He said that after comparing culinary programs in Washington and Oregon, this was the one with the most “bang for the buck.” “Now I’m doing what I love,” he said. Barkis has taken notice of many eateries around the state. Now that he’s retired from law, he’s considering joining in this business somehow with anything from a small shop to a cart or kiosk.

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