Movers and Shakers

Movers and Shakers

Movers & Shakers 02/12/12

Stig Colberg was named chief financial officer of Cook Inlet Region Inc. Colberg joined CIRI in 2008 and was the company’s chief business development officer. He now heads CIRI’s Finance and Accounting Department and Business Development Department. Prior to joining CIRI, Colberg was a partner at the Silicon Valley law firm of Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian LLP, where he focused on the organization of investment partnerships and structuring private investments and merger and acquisition transactions. Before practicing law, Colberg worked as a management consultant in San Francisco and Shanghai, advising multinational corporations on their investments, operations and market strategies in the greater China region. Colberg earned a juris doctor with distinction from Stanford Law School and graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College with a bachelor’s in Asian studies. Southeast Alaska physician Dr. David O. McCandless was hired by the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Haines Health Center. McCandless spent 20 years as a family practitioner with the Alaska Island Community Services Tideline Clinic in Wrangell, where he served as medical director from 2004 to 2007. McCandless recently worked part-time for AICS, and also did locums work around the region including with the SEARHC Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock and Haines Health Center. He also has been medical director with Southeast Region Emergency Medical Services. McCandless earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University, a master’s degree from Pennsylvania State University and his medical doctorate from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Oklahoma City. He completed a residency in family medicine at The Washington Hospital in Washington, Pa. N. Claiborne Porter has been named the 2011 Certified Graduate Remodeler of the Year by the National Association of Home Builders in recognition of his efforts to raise awareness of this educational designation for remodelers. Porter is president of Anchorage-based NCP Design/Build Ltd. and the principal of NCP Architects and Planners. A member of the Anchorage Home Builders Association, Porter has more than 30 years of experience in remodeling and single-family home construction. He has been honored as the NAHB Remodeler of the Year and has twice been named the Builder of the Year by the Alaska State Home Building Association. James Dunn has been appointed executive director of Connect Alaska. Dunn will lead the nonprofit’s mission of creating jobs and new economic opportunities across the state through expanded telecommunications. Dunn has been involved in telecommunications in rural Alaska for more than 25 years. In that time he has worked with tribal governments, rural local exchange carriers, Internet service providers, and retail customers throughout the state to secure broadband connectivity. Dunn has also served as the CEO and president of an Alaskan native village corporation. He is a licensed attorney and holds a master’s degree in business administration from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame will induct 16 new members March 1 at the Anchorage Loussac Library Wilda Marston Theatre. The Class of 2012 includes: Audrey Aanes, advocate for people who experience disabilities; Gretchen Bersch, professor emeriti of the University of Alaska Anchorage; Connie Boochever, contribution to the arts in Alaska; Carolyn Floyd, leadership in education and for creating the Kodiak Community College; Wilda Hudson, leader on a three of Anchorage’s governing bodies and the League of Women Voters; Carolyn Jones, making a difference through laws that make more opportunities for all Americans and for giving hope and change through Rotary; Louise Kellogg, achievements in dairy farming, philanthropy and education; Ellen Paneok, the first Alaska Native woman commercial and Bush pilot; Sharon Richards, leader in community, education and non-profit efforts; Irene Rowan, Alaska Native activist and leader; Lisa Rudd, advocacy for civil and women’s rights; Susan Ruddy, leader in conservation and community development; Hannah Solomon, leadership and mentorship in Alaska Native concerns; Pauline Utter, political activism and women’s rights’ advocacy; Rosita Worl, passing the positive attributes of the Tlingit culture to youth; Leonie von Zesch, extraordinary efforts to provide dental services to Alaska Native people in northwestern Alaska in the 1920s. Michele R. Susie has been hired as an advanced registered nurse practitioner at the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Klukwan Health Center and Haines Health Center. Susie will work half of her hours in Klukwan and at the Haines Health Center. She also will provide services in Tenakee Springs. Susie earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Kentucky and a master’s degree in nursing from Spalding University in Louisville, Ky. She is board certified as a family nurse practitioner. Susie previously worked as a nurse practitioner and community health aide/practitioner program supervisor for the SEARHC Kake Health Center from 2007 to 2009. Before returning to Alaska, Michele provided primary health care and emergency services at the Pioneer Medical Center and Clinic in Big Timber, Mont. Wayne Zigarlick has been appointed general manager at the Coeur Alaska Kensington Gold Mine. Zigarlick has more than 20 of mine-metallurgical experience working for Echo Bay and Kinross in Canada and in the U.S. Before joining Coeur, he served as operations manager at Kinross Gold’s Kettle River/Buckhorn operation in Northeast Washington. He has also has worked as a mill operator, metallurgical technician, plant metallurgist, general mill foreman and mill manager. Zigarlick has a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Lethbridge. Jonathan “J.R.” Eker has been named as the chief estimator, and Josh Hart has been named as the quality control manager, for Granite Construction’s Alaska region. Eker has more than 20 years of field and estimating experience in grading, asphalt paving, materials processing and quality control in Alaska. He joined Granite Construction in 2004 and has worked as a dispatcher, project superintendent and project manager. Eker holds a degree in business management and management information systems from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Hart joined Granite in 2005 and has worked on multiple projects across the state of Alaska in a project engineering role. Hart has a degree in civil engineering from the University of Wyoming and holds a professional engineering license in Alaska. Barbara Searls has been hired as chief financial officer of the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium. Searls has been serving as interim CFO since January, and she previously served as SEARHC’s vice president of finance and administration from 2002 to 2006. In addition to her previous experience at SEARHC, she also has been CFO for the Central Council of Tlingít and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, and CFO for Sealaska Corp. She also was vice president and corporate controller at United Bank of Alaska. She worked as a staff accountant for Sealaska Corp. in Juneau, and with accounting firms in Texas and Arizona. Searls earned a master’s of business administration degree from the University of Hawaii and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Southern California School of Business. A member of the Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp 70, she also is a past-president who served three years as president of the organization and is a delegate for the Tlingít and Haida Community Council of the City and Borough of Juneau. SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Human Resources Director Matthew Ione has been promoted to chief administrative officer. Ione has served as interim CAO since December. He was hired by SEARHC as a senior generalist in human resources and was promoted to director of human resources in 2010. He holds an associate’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in science studies from Wayland Baptist University of Plainview, Texas. He holds a Professional in Human Resources credential from the Human Resources Certification Institute and has 18 years of experience primarily working in the human resources field in Alaska and Oregon. Much of that time has been spent working with the Alaska Tribal Health System, as well as in the education, information technology and oil field/facilities services industries. The Arctic Slope Regional Corp. board of directors appointed Eddie Ahyakak to its open at-large seat. Ahyakak grew up in Barrow, attended IỊisaġvik College and moved to Fairbanks to work as an operator with UIC in 1998. Currently, he works for ARSC subsidiary Petro Star Inc. as an operator at the North Pole refinery. Current board member and Barrow resident Patsy Aamodt was selected to serve as corporate treasurer, along with her current title of first vice president. Aamodt was first elected to the board in 1998, and has served on a variety of committees. Allan Skinner was presented with a certificate for 50 years of federal service by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Alaska District Commander Col. Reinhard W. Koenig. Skinner joined the Alaska District’s Permitting Section as an environmental protection specialist in 1974 after several years as a federal ranger for the National Park Service and the Corps of Engineers in the Lower 48. During his 38 years in Alaska, Skinner has seen the Alaska District’s regulatory staff grow from a seven-person section in the Operations Branch to a Regulatory Division with more than 40 people. Bill Pryor has been hired as sales manager for Totem Ocean Trailer Express. Pryor brings a broad range of transportation and management experience; most recently, as executive vice president of Retail for Cinram, a media distribution company that he helped found in 2001. He has also worked at UPS Supply Chain Logistics and Agility Logistics. Pryor was born in Fairbanks and grew up in Seattle.

Movers & Shakers 02/05/12

Michael Jungreis, partner with the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, has been elected as the president of the Commonwealth North board of directors for 2012. Jungreis has practiced law in Alaska since 1979. His practice is focused on natural resources, complex real property, commercial transactions, and commercial litigation. The new 2012 Commonwealth North Executive Committee will also include Tom Case, chancellor, University of Alaska Anchorage, president-elect; Michele Brown, president and CEO of United Way of Anchorage, secretary; and Meera Kohler, president and CEO of Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, treasurer. Dr. Tom Nighswander, Alaska Tribal Health Consortium and University of Washington School of Medicine, will remain on the Executive Committee as past-president. New board members include: Case of UAA and Bruce Lamoureux, chief executive, Providence Health & Services Alaska. Re-elected Board members include: Nils Andreassen, managing director, Institute of the North; Cheryl Frasca, director, Office of Management and Budget, Municipality of Anchorage; Jungreis, Kohler and Nighswander Elisha Martin has been appointed director of the Coldwell Banker Commercial Operations-Asset Services division in Alaska. An associate broker for Alaska, Martin brings more than 15 years of experience in commercial real estate and holds the International Council of Shopping Center designation of Certified Shopping Center Manager. Martin joins Jim Wood, broker for Coldwell Banker Commercial in Alaska, who heads the firm’s commercial leasing and sales division. Martin formerly held positions as broker and vice president of operations for PTP Management Inc., a company that manages and leases more than 50 commercial and institutional projects of approximately 4 million square feet across Alaska. She was also general manager of the Dimond Center, Alaska’s largest retail/office complex at 728,000 square feet. Martin earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Alaska. Grant Gephardt and Zachary Rinker of PND Engineers Inc. in Anchorage have passed their professional engineer exams and have been promoted to senior engineers. Alexandra West earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Alaska Anchorage in December 2011 and joined PND Anchorage as a staff engineer in January 2012. Gephardt passed the Alaska P.E. exam and Rinker passed the Wyoming P.E. exam. Gephardt has been with PND since completing his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2007. Rinker holds a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering from the University of Wyoming and has been with PND since October 2010. West interned for PND in 2011. Erika Van Flein, formerly benefits administrator for University of Alaska Human Resources, has been named director of benefits. She replaces Mike Humphrey, who recently left the System Office to serve as executive officer for UAA Chancellor Tom Case. Brandi Berg, formerly assistant to Board of Regents’ Executive Officer Jeannie Phillips, has been named to Phillips’ post. Phillips recently accepted a position in the University of Alaska Fairbanks Chancellor’s Office. Van Flein, a lifelong Fairbanks resident, joined the university in 1990, working in University Relations at UAF. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. Berg, also a longtime Fairbanks resident, joined UA in 2002, serving first at the UA Foundation and then moving to the regents’ office in 2008. Prior to joining UA she spent 19 years in the travel industry as a senior travel consultant in Fairbanks.

Movers & Shakers 01/29/12

Marie Franklin has joined Heritage Coffee Roasting Co. Franklin began her career at Heritage in 1983, then continued on to Philadelphia-based specialty roaster Old City Coffee and Seattle’s Torrefazione Italia. Most recently, Franklin served as director of sales and marketing for Portland Roasting. Portland Roasting won many honors, including of one of the industry’s highest, the prestigious “Roaster of the Year” awarded by Roast Magazine. Heritage Coffee Roasting Company was founded in 1974 as one of Alaska’s first specialty coffee roasters and now owns and operates seven unique coffee houses in Juneau. Pat Berry of Credit Union 1 has been promoted from internal auditor to chief audit executive, a vice president-level position. Berry has spent 16 years developing and implementing CU1’s internal audit programs as well as developing an Enterprise Risk Management system at the credit union. Berry has been awarded professional certifications for Certified Internal Auditor, Certified Fraud Examiner and Certified Information Systems Auditor. Karen Goentzel has been hired as senior escrow officer at Alyeska Title Guaranty Agency. Goentzel came to Alaska in 1978 and her first job was selling guns at Elmendorf Air Force Base. In 1979, she changed careers to finance and real estate and has been in the industry for 30 years. Penny Gage and Trevor Fulton have joined the staff of Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, for the 2012 legislative session. Gage grew up in Southeast Alaska in the communities of Pelican and Sitka. Her professional experience includes working for the Rasmuson Foundation in Anchorage, interning with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Washington, D.C., and serving as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua. Fulton most recently worked for the Department of Natural Resources. He also brings several years of prior experience as a legislative aide focusing on natural resources and energy policy issues. Ben Seekins was appointed to the Fairbanks District Court. Seekins is currently an assistant district attorney in Fairbanks. Seekins worked for Cook & Haugeberg as a certified public accountant, having graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s in business administration. He went on to earn his juris doctorate from Gonzaga Law, graduating summa cum laude. Seekins practiced criminal defense and civil law with Downes, MacDonald & Levengood, and has worked in the district attorney’s office since 2003. Anecia O’Carroll, Verna Nanalook-Adams, Carmell Shade and Jim Rogacki have joined Bristol Bay Native Corp. O’Carroll is a BBNC shareholder that is filling the new development officer position for the BBNC Education Foundation. Nanalook-Adams is a BBNC shareholder that joined BBNC as executive assistant earlier this month. Nanalook-Adams was previously employed as administrative land technician at BBNC. Shade is a BBNC shareholder who joined BBNC in December as communications specialist. For the past four and a half years she worked within the Ahtna family of companies in various communications, marketing and operational roles, and had an earlier career with SpecPro Inc., a BBNC subsidiary in San Antonio, Texas. Rogacki is the benefits manager at BBNC. He joined BBNC in October from Apartment Investment and Management Co. in Denver, Colo., where he was head of benefits. Peter B. Brautigam, F. Steven Mahoney and Robert L. Manley of Manley & Brautigam P.C. have each been named to the Alaska Super Lawyers list as among the top 5 percent of attorneys in Alaska. Brautigam is included in the practice areas of estate planning and probate and tax; and, Manley is included in the practice areas of estate planning and probate, tax and closely held business. Agatha Erickson has been named Sen. Mark Begich’s new rural liaison, and Air Force Maj. Leigh Hasson has been selected to serve as a military fellow in the senator’s Washington, D.C., office. Erickson is Koyukon Athabascan and a tribal member of the village of Kaltag. She earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in Native American Studies at Dartmouth. Erickson comes to the Begich staff after working for the Tanana Chiefs Conference since 2009, first as editor of the TCC newsletter and later as communications director. Hasson will work with Begich on military issues in connection with his service on the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Prior to her fellowship, Hasson has deployed in support of Operations Northern and Southern Watch and Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. She has served as an executive officer at Wing and High Headquarters and has experience establishing the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command multinational Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, as well as humanitarian assistance experience from a deployment to Pakistan. Kathy Dunn has been promoted to vice president of marketing and sales Alaska Travel Industry Association. For the last 12 years, Dunn has served as the director of marketing. During that time, Dunn led efforts to market and reinforce Alaska’s brand, “Alaska: Beyond Your Dream, Within Your Reach.” A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Dunn has a bachelor’s degree in communication studies with an emphasis in journalism and public relations. Dunn, a 30-year resident of Alaska, will continue her involvement with the state’s tourism marketing program in the U.S. and Canada. Dunn’s marketing background includes seven years at a full-service advertising agency in Anchorage, managing tourism-related accounts such as Era Aviation, the Alaska Railroad, and the Anchorage Organizing Committee for the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympics. Orin Seybert, founder and president of PenAir, has resigned and his son, Danny Seybert, was elected to the position of chairman and CEO. Scott Bloomquist was promoted to president and Lloyd Seybert to secretary/treasurer. Dave Hall has been hired as the company’s new chief operating officer. Hall, who most recently served as general manager of Signature Flight Support in Anchorage, has held key positions over a 35-year span in the aviation industry. Other staff members promoted were: Bryan Carricaburu, VP operations; Al Orot, VP services; Melissa Anderson, VP sales and marketing; Mike Cerkovnik VP finance; Mike Bradley, VP engineering and maintenance and Brian Whilden, VP safety.

Movers & Shakers 01/22/12

First Choice Health has named Michael Burns as vice president, third party administrative sales. His primary responsibility will be marketing TPA services to select Northwest employer organizations that self-fund their employee health plans. Burns’ role will include development of broker and consultant relationships. Burns joined First Choice Health in 2007 after a successful term with Spokane-based Physician Hospital Community Organization. He has expert-level knowledge of the self-funding and the stop loss reinsurance marketplace. Burns received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Washington in 1991 and earned a master’s in business administration at Gonzaga in 2002. James Minton is the new vice president of communications for Visit Anchorage. Minton most recently served as director of membership and communications with the Alaska Travel Industry Association and also held communications and marketing roles at a major cruise line as well as sales and management positions at hotels in Southcentral and Southeast Alaska. Apart from ATIA, Minton’s time in the visitor industry includes work at Holland America Line on Alaska product and sales and as an independent tourism marketing and communications consultant. He has also worked in hospitality, with sales and management roles at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel. Fanny Ryland has been hired as retail sales branch manager at Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union’s Juneau branch. Ryland has been in the banking industry for the last seven years, working in management and member service for Denali Alaskan before joining a local bank, and returns to the Denali Alaskan FCU after being away for three years. Brian Erdrich, advanced nurse practitioner, has joined myHealth Clinic LLC. Erdrich joins the clinic after 13 years of working at Providence Alaska Medical Center. A provider of immediate and family care, he also has completed specialized training and brings relevant experience in cardiac medicine. Erdrich is originally from San Antonio, Texas, and in 1990 began his career as a registered nurse. His experience caring for critically ill and open heart surgery patients brought him to Alaska in 1999 to work in the Adult Critical Care Unit at Providence Alaska Medical Center. After 20 years in critical care, Erdrich completed the Family Nurse Practitioner program in 2011, earning a master’s degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage. SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium diabetes nurse case managers Lisa Schwartz, RN, of the Haines Health Center and Julie Sturtevant, RN, of the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock, recently earned Certified Diabetes Educator credentials. Schwartz earned a practical nursing certificate from Sheridan Vocation Center in Hollywood, Fla., and graduated with an associate’s degree in nursing from Marian University in Indianapolis. Sturtevant earned an associate’s degree in nursing from Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Ore. She worked as a medical/surgical nurse and psychiatric care nurse for six years at St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton and was a night mental health nurse supervisor for more than 10 years at Eastern Oregon Hospital and Training Center in Pendleton. Erica Coady, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology, has joined the Providence Behavioral Medicine Group. Coady specializes in neuropsychology, which is the study of brain function related to mental processes and behaviors. Coady is skilled in conducting neuropsychological evaluations of patients with traumatic brain injuries, brain tumors, strokes, epilepsy, movement disorders and dementia. Coady was raised in Fairbanks and Nome. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from Seattle Pacific University in Seattle and completed her neuropsychology fellowship training at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior at University of California Los Angeles and the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Los Angeles. James R. Johnsen has been named senior vice president of human resources and process transformation Alaska Communications. Prior to joining Alaska Communications, Johnsen served as senior vice president of administration at Doyon Ltd., an Alaska Native regional corporation. Before that he spent 12 years at the University of Alaska, where he served in several executive roles including vice president of administration, vice president of faculty and staff relations, chief of staff and director of labor relations. Johnsen holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz, a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. Robert Moats recently passed the Alaska Real Estate Broker’s Exam to become an associate broker for Western Enterprises Inc. Moats began his career working in the construction and maintenance divisions for Western. He elevated through the ranks to become a licensed salesperson to practice real estate in 2006, and was a property manager for more than 45 buildings in the area. Moats is also a member of the Western Enterprises board of directors. Three Alaska nonprofit leaders have been selected for the 2012 Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical Program They are: Nancy Haag, executive director, Standing Together Against Rape; Jill Hodges, executive director, Alaska Brain Injury Network; and Susan Musante, Soteria-Alaska and CHOICES. The Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical Program supports nonprofit leaders in time away from the job. The program’s goal is to retain top-quality leaders in the sector by providing three- to six-month opportunities for rest, reflection and rejuvenation. The next postmark deadline to apply for a Rasmuson Foundation Sabbatical is Oct. 1, 2012. Pat Cusick has been appointed president of AMC Engineers. Cusick has more than 30 years of experience providing electrical engineering, design, commissioning and construction contract administration for construction projects in Alaska. He has been with AMC for more than 28 years and has led the electrical engineering group since 2004. Cusick has been project manager and lead electrical engineer on some of AMC’s largest projects. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Past President Boyd Morgenthaler now serves as vice president and Sandy Houlihan continues to serve as secretary/treasurer. AMC has added Ken Ratcliffe and David Shumway to the board of directors. Lori Davey has been hired as director of business development for Fairweather LLC to help promote its growing business in oil field services, and Cheryl Evans was hired as human resources manager for all Fairweather companies in Alaska. Davey owned and operated Motznik Information Services for the last eight years and recently sold to Tatitlek Corp. She has bachelor’s degree and a master’s in business administration from University of Alaska Anchorage. Evans graduated with a bachelor’s degree in of business administration from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Michael C. Geraghty was appointed to serve as Alaska’s attorney general. Geraghty, a partner with DeLisio, Moran, Geraghty & Zobel PC of Anchorage, succeeds John Burns, who stepped down on Jan. 2. Geraghty joined the firm that currently bears his name in 1979, focusing on complex litigation and trial work before state and federal courts. Geraghty is a commissioner with the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. He is also a Fellow with the American Bar Foundation. He was selected in Best Lawyers in America in the specialties of construction law and personal litigation and recognized as a Superlawyer by Washington Law & Politics magazine. Geraghty received his law degree from Santa Clara University in California in 1978. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Hawaii in 1974.

An interview with Steve Forbes

Steve Forbes, president and CEO of Forbes Inc., will be the keynote speaker at a sold-out 2012 Economic Forecast Luncheon hosted by the Anchorage Economic Development Corp. Jan. 25. Forbes, a Republican candidate for president in 1996 and 2000 who has long advocated a flat tax system, talked with the Journal about domestic energy policy, the race for the GOP nomination, the ‘Occupy’ movement and growing calls for tax reform. When you think of Alaska, what comes to mind? What first comes to mind is the natural resources and also the controversy about doing more exploration. Then of course if you’re sports-minded, the fishing, the tourism, the beauty of the state. As an energy producing state with federal ownership of two-thirds of its land, Alaska is greatly impacted by energy policy in DC. What do you think of the current domestic energy policy? Well, clearly this administration is anti-oil and gas. What’s amazing is despite their best efforts, the stuff is being produced in record numbers. Clearly Alaska would do well if they removed some of these unnecessary restrictions. I wish some of these folks would look at ANWR (Alaska National Wildlife Refuge). It’s not Disney World. It’s not a frolic in the park … You look at the administration’s reaction to the Keystone Pipeline. That was ready to get under way and would have started construction immediately. But they effectively — unless we get a new president — kyboshed that one. With that (60-day) deadline to issue a ruling, do you expect President Obama will veto going forward with Keystone? If he can’t find a legal way to kick it down the road past the election, I think he will kill it. In your most recent op-ed, you predicted Obama would be a one-termer and the Republicans would take over the senate in 2013. With your criticisms of the current administration, are you still optimistic about the economic and political future of the nation? I think yes. It’s going to be a turbulent year. We’re already seeing that in Europe. Greece is a disaster again, Hungary in trouble now. So that’s going to be a cloud in the sky. The U.S. economy, despite all the abuses put on it, is showing signs of life. Manufacturing is beginning to come back, employment is beginning to come back. We’re like an automobile on the open highway. We’re going 35 or 40 miles an hour when we should be going 70 or 75 miles an hour. It’s nothing to write home about. Things are starting to get better. There’s a lot of entrepreneurial energy in this country. We did a cover story a couple months ago about kids in college running businesses with $100,000 to $500,000 in revenues. Michael Dell conducted the roundtable, which was fun. I think it demonstrates that if we just create a hospitable environment, this country is ready to roar ahead. You’re best known as a candidate for advocating the flat tax. Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan got a lot of attention, almost all the Republican candidates are supporting a flat tax and President Obama has at talked about corporate tax reform. Do you think the national conversation is moving in a direction where real tax reform can happen? I think if the Republicans push the thing, there will be a mandate from the American people to make drastic changes. You got a little taste of it that it’s not just Republicans. The president’s deficit reduction commission didn’t come up with a flat tax, but did advocate taking out some of the clutter in the code and reducing rates across the board. Democrats signed on to that. So outside the White House there is a growing movement to simplify the tax code. You endorsed Rick Perry in October and have advised him on his tax proposals. Are you disappointed with how his campaign has unfolded compared to his record in Texas? It certainly got off to a rocky start with the debates and whether that was something he couldn’t overcome in Iowa, I’m hopeful he can do it in South Carolina. I think people on the campaign trail have responded well to his economic proposals. They did to (Newt) Gingrich’s, before he got carpet-bombed. (Rick) Santorum doesn’t have a flat tax, but a drastic simplification. The only one who hasn’t is (Mitt) Romney, who can’t break above 25 percent. What do you think of the circular firing squad in the GOP right now? Are you worried about the tone damaging whoever emerges? Not really. It’s very early in the process. It’s good to get the debates on the table now. We still have almost a year until November. Whoever emerges will be toughened and ready to take on an incumbent who is going to be using bazookas and flamethrowers and everything else against him. It’s good to get your footings now than to go in unprepared. There has clearly been an “anybody but Romney” sentiment among GOP voters. What do you think of the Romney and if he is the nominee do you expect the party’s will rally to support him? Most of the party will go with him if he’s the nominee. But there’s two critical areas he has to address to get any real energy from the party. One is taxation, coming up with a good simplified plan. Along those lines, he’s spoken in favor of the value-added tax. That is going to be poison. We’ve seen what that does in Europe. It only goes one direction. In England it started at 8 percent and is now at 20 percent. The Germans’ is over 20 percent, it’s everywhere you go. He’s got to get away from that. So on taxes, he’s got some work to do. The other is health care. He put in an individual mandate in Massachusetts. He says he wouldn’t do it nationwide, fine, but he hasn’t answered the question of why he did it in Massachusetts. He may say he doesn’t believe the federal government should do it, but why does he believe in that kind of a mandate in the first place? Until he comes to grips with health care, he’ll lose a critical issue against the president. What do you think of the “occupy” movement? When you compare the numbers who were involved in that, a few thousand people, and compare to the numbers in the tea party movement and then look at the coverage and the flavor of the coverage. There’s a lot of sympathy for the occupiers and very little sympathy for the tea party people. I think that says it all. The tea party citizens had a huge impact politically. The occupiers, they don’t like student debt. That they made clear. In terms of changing the system, there’s not much there.

Movers & Shakers 01/15/12

The Alaska Railroad Corp. has hired Dale Wade as vice president of business development. Wade most recently served as the president of GoldStar Logistics Solutions. His past experience includes: managing director and transportation consultant for AFMS Transportation Management in Portland, Ore.; national account executive for FedEx Corp. in Anchorage; and sales manager for CF Freight in Anchorage. Wade will be taking over the position from Steve Silverstein, who retired at the end of 2011 after 16 years with the Alaska Railroad. Silverstein will continue to assist ARRC with ongoing key projects as a business development transition specialist. Four lawyers in the Alaska and Oregon offices of Landye Bennett Blumstein LLP have been named to the firm’s 2012 management committee. The committee members are: Kim Dunn of Alaska, and Stuart K. Cohen, Karna R. Gustafson and Richard S. Yugler of Oregon. Landye Bennett Blumstein, with offices in Oregon and Alaska, is a regional law firm that provides legal services to clients throughout the Pacific Northwest. Linda Leary of Anchorage has been named to the Rasmuson Foundation board of directors. Sammye Pokryfki has been promoted to senior program officer and Aleesha Towns-Bain was promoted to senior program associate. Leary, president and co-owner of Carlile Transportation Systems, has served on a committee of the Rasmuson board since 2009. She holds a degree from the University of Maine at Orno, and a master’s degree in logistics management from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She also serves as chair of the Alaska Railroad Corp. Pokryfki, who joined the staff in 2005 as a program officer, manages the foundation’s Sabbatical Program. While she is currently on loan as interim executive director at the Alaska Children’s Trust, Towns-Bain will return full-time to Rasmuson Foundation early this year. David Berube and Nancy Russell were appointed to the State Vocational Rehabilitation Committee. Berube, of Anchorage, serves as the Disability Law Center of Alaska’s legal rights advocate. Prior to his work with the law center, he worked for a variety of organizations dedicated to improving the lives of Alaskans with disabilities, including ACCESS Alaska and Fairbanks Resource Agency. Berube holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a bachelor’s degree in industrial and vocational arts from Fitchburg State College. Russell, of Fairbanks, is the chief operating officer and a senior vice president with Denali State Bank, where she first started her career as a loan officer more than two decades ago. Russell holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and an master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. Marvin “Dean” Cox was appointed and David Hull and John Dickens were reappointed to the Alaska Council on Emergency Medical Services. Cox, of Eagle River, retired in 2010 after a career in military operations. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Cox served as a navigator, weapons systems officer, plans and exercise officer, flight commander and instructor, and finished his career as the deputy chief of the Air Force Foreign Liaison Division at the Pentagon. Cox led planning for emergency services at the Pentagon in the event of any potential chemical, biological, radiological, high explosive, or nuclear attack. Hull, of Ketchikan, serves as the fire chief of the North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department, and served in a variety of roles with the city of Ketchikan Fire Department for more than 30 years. Dickens, of Bethel, works as the safety and security manager for Grant Aviation. Dickens has also worked as a senior EMS instructor and communication technician with the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. Bruce Parham and Peggy Asbury were appointed to the State Historical Records Advisory Council. Parham, of Anchorage, retired as the director of regional archives for the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration in 2011. During his career as an archivist, he has worked with the National Archives at Anchorage, the Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Boulder Historical Society, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and others. Parham earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Western State College, a master’s degree in library science from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and a master’s degree in history from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Asbury, of Fairbanks, is the archivist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She has also worked as a research aide for the North Slope Borough. Asbury holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Old Dominion University, a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Texas at Austin. James Hastings and Hank Bartos were appointed, and Terrance Pardee and Suellyn Wright Novak were reappointed to the Alaska Veterans Advisory Council. Bartos, of North Pole, is a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, and the owner of Gold Standard Real Estate Services. Hastings, of Wasilla, is a retired soldier in the U.S. Army with 22 years of service. He is the director of recreation and cultural services for the city of Wasilla, and serves as the Alaska coordinator of the Wounded Warriors Project, the president of the Mat-Su Area-wide Veterans Council, and the director of operations for Alaska’s Healing Hearts. Novak, of Eagle River, retired from the U.S. Air Force as colonel after 32 years of service, which included command of a medical support squadron and a medical diagnostics and therapeutic squadron. She serves as president of the Alaska Veterans Museum and executive officer of the Alaska Wing of the Commemorative Air Force. Pardee, of Haines, is a combat veteran of the U.S. Army who served in Special Forces reconnaissance during the Vietnam War and retired from the Alaska Army National Guard as master sergeant with 24 years of service. He received the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, and the Alaska Distinguished Service Medal. Carvel Zimin Jr. and Randolph Romenesko were reappointed to the Denali Access System Advisory Committee. Zimin, of South Naknek, works as a village agent for Peninsula Airways and as a winter watchman for Trident Seafoods. Romenesko, of Nome, is a longtime Arctic engineer, and currently works as a project engineer with Norton Sound Health Corp. He was the Northwest Alaska district engineer for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and a civil engineer in construction and government projects across Alaska. Romenesko earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Marquette University, and a master’s degree in civil engineering from Northwestern University. Sharon Clark was appointed, and Debi Keith, Brenda Moore, Ramona Duby and Daisy May Barrera were reappointed to the Alaska Mental Health Board. Clark, of Nenana, worked with the Alaska Legislature for 16 years, and prior to that served as the assistant to the principal at Anderson High School. Keith, of Kenai, is a longtime member of Alaska’s health care industry and is currently working for Central Peninsula Hospital. Moore, of Anchorage, co-founded and currently serves as the faith based and community initiative consultant of Christian Health Associates, the umbrella organization for Cornerstone Clinic Medical and Counseling Center, Project Access, School Based Health at Clark Middle School, and Alaska Medical Missions. Duby, of Anchorage, has worked as executive coordinator and resident manager for the Alaska International Education Foundation since 2002. Barrera, of Bethel, has more than 30 years of experience in mental health care and counseling. She has served in numerous roles for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp., Cook Inlet Tribal Association, Association of Village Council Presidents and the Tundra Women’s Coalition. Steve Lundgren has been named president and CEO of Denali State Bank following the retirement of Jo Heckman, who will remain active as a board member. Lundgren has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, including 28 years in the Fairbanks area. He joined Denali State Bank as executive vice president in 2008 and has been functioning in a transitional role since July. Lundgren formerly worked for both Mt. McKinley Bank and Key Bank. He began his career as a branch manager in Oregon after receiving his degree in finance and business administration from Oregon State University in 1978. Darla Green joined Denali Alaskan Home Loans as a senior loan originator at the Denali Alaskan Home Loans main office on 36th Avenue in Anchorage. Born and raised in Soldotna, Green has dedicated her career to the mortgage industry with more than 20 years of experience.  Previous to joining the Denali Alaskan Home Loans team, Green worked with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Col. Leon M. “Mike” Bridges took command of the Alaska Army National Guard during a special ceremony Jan. 7 at the Alaska National Guard armory on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, taking the colors from Brig. Gen. Julio R. “Randy” Banez, who has commanded the Alaska Army National Guard since November 2009 and will retire Feb. 1. Bridges, a career National Guardsman, has served more than 31 years in the Oregon, Washington and Alaska National Guards. Bridges has served in a number of command and staff assignments, recently serving as the deputy chief of staff for logistics for the Alaska National Guard. Bridges also deployed for a year in Iraq, serving as deputy team leader and governance advisor of an Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team in Baghdad during 2007 and 2008. Bridges was promoted to brigadier general Jan. 6.

Brewing up power: Beer maker finalizes biofuels project

Alaskan Brewing Co. has entered the final stage of a 16-year process in setting a precedent in renewable energy. The Juneau-based brewery has a new boiler to make its own malt waste a sole energy source and has been selected for nearly $500,000 in federal money to finish the job. Alaskan Brewing is in the commission and testing phases of a $1.8 million steam boiler fueled entirely by the company’s own spent grain. The grain is a protein-rich material that lends itself thoroughly with the combustion technology the company has been perfecting. The idea is that the new boiler will eliminate the brewery’s fossil fuel use in the grain drying process and displace more than half of the fuel needed to create process steam in the brew house. The brewery is currently a fairly intensive oil-related operation, currently running the grain dryer and other process heating from oil. Engineers estimate the completed boiler will help save an overall energy usage from oil and corresponding carbon emissions by more than 70 percent. This translates to a savings of nearly 1.5 million gallons of oil over the next 10 years. The boiler was actually built last year and did an initial startup toward the end of the year. Testing showed the need for additional modifications. The company currently is waiting for additional design modifications to come and engineers hope it will be back up within a few months. Brewing operations manager Brandon Smith said the entire system hopefully would be completed and running by the end of the first quarter this year and no later than the second quarter. “This fuel, nobody’s ever burned it commercially before,” he said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has selected Alaskan Brewing for $448,366 in Rural Energy for America Program funds to support the development. Despite being a capital city, Juneau’s demographics still qualify the brewery for a rural development grant. Alaskan Brewery communications manager Ashley Johnston said the grant would hopefully offset up to 10 percent of the overall system costs. Smith said paperwork is under way for the official approval, which will be done after the completion of the project. This grant represents the highest amount an Alaska business has been awarded from the USDA Rural Development’s business division. This has been active in Alaska for three years, during which it has approved 49 projects. USDA business and energy specialist Chad Stovall said the business division typically gets $200,000 to $250,000 a year for projects. The national office must approve anything over that amount, which was how Alaskan got its unusually high appropriation. Stovall said that eligible areas are those with populations under 50,000, qualifying all Alaska municipalities besides Anchorage. Alaskan will not accept the grant until after the project is completed, after which the money will be used to continue testing while helping mitigate some of the risks involved. Smith said that since the company is so close to the end of the project, it made more sense to wait until they can document that the entire project works successfully. He said this also shows they are as much a partner in the risk of this as the government and taxpayers. The whole thing started in 1995, when Alaskan Brewery installed a $900,000 grain dryer along with its brewhouse. The company used it to process the grain byproduct so it would make it through shipping times to be used as cattle feed in the Pacific Northwest. Shipping was necessary since there were no local farms to take the grain. About half of this byproduct was also used as a fuel source to heat the dryer itself. Engineers have spent this time learning how this product burns to get the system where it can use more than half the source, since grain burns differently than many other products. The brewery expanded on this in 2008, with the installation of a $1.7 million mash filter press to produce a finer grain with less moisture from the brewing process. The almost coarse powder makes for a better fuel source. The better fuel produced by this press inspired them to invest in a system to convert this fuel for all of its energy, expanding it beyond just heating the dryer. Studies and consulting helped bring about the conclusion to use this boiler system as its sole fuel and still be able to get enough steam to run the dryer and have enough steam left over to power other brewing operations. “The sky’s kind of the limit there,” Smith said. “It’s a very exciting thing.” The cost of shipping the waste south versus keeping it here for use also adds up. Smith said Alaskan Brewery differs from other breweries that can give spent grain away for free since there are nearby agriculture sources to make use of it. Alaskan must ship its spent grain, which builds costs in unloading what is essentially a waste product. “If you look at the value of a spent grain as a fuel in terms of the energy content in it versus its value just as a waste material, it goes from a net value of $30 a ton up to $350 a ton,” Smith said. Johnston said this project represents a huge cost for a small operation, particularly one in a unique location like Juneau. She said capital could be a big challenge even though the brewery is successful. “We are investing a lot of time and capital into our spent grain energy system, but we are confident that it will pay dividends in the future — for both the brewery and for Juneau,” she said. Adding to the uniqueness of the operation is the absence of grain used as a sole source of energy in other small businesses. “We did a patent search just to make sure we weren’t stepping on anybody’s toes and as far as we can tell we’re the only ones in the world that are going to be using spent grain as the sole fuel source for a steam boiler,” Smith said. He said other breweries in Europe have tried using it as a sole source but were unsuccessful, while others have used it as a co-fuel with other sources. “We’re certainly excited to pioneer this,” he said. “Whether we envisioned we would end up where we are today, who knows. But looking back it was certainly an integral part of it, putting in that first grain dryer.” Smith is hopeful that this process, combined with the grant, will serve as an example to other breweries.

'Coast Guard Alaska' renewed for two seasons

The series “Coast Guard Alaska” premiered on the Weather Channel in November and has already garnered at least two more seasons on the air. The show, produced by Al Roker Entertainment, follows Guardsmen from Air Station Kodiak to show what it takes to live and work in this corner of the world where extremely hazardous weather adds to both the necessity and obstacles to their rescue missions. The second season, debuting this April, will feature five 60-minute episodes. The third will have eight and is due out in October. So far, the show has produced a 95 percent increase in the same time period average from one year ago for viewers ages 25 through 54, according to Nielsen ratings. Viewership has increased 91 percent since the premiere episode. Roker said this has jumped to more than 100 percent in some time periods. The Weather Channel reports it was the fifth-highest tending show on GetGlue during the premiere episode. Roker said he thinks the realism of the show contributes to the attraction. Guardsmen go up against some crashing elements with no scripted ending. This is why Roker refers to “Coast Guard Alaska” as a documentary series rather than a reality series. “We’re just thrilled with the access the Coast Guard has given us,” he said. Bob Walker, the Weather Channel’s executive vice president and general manager of networks and content, said this feedback has made it clear that audiences are responding to the show, thus encouraging the demand for additional Alaska filming. While the first season of “Coast Guard Alaska” focused on Kodiak, the producers are exploring other areas to expand the show. Kodiak was chosen as the debut location due to its extreme weather conditions that make being a rescue pilot or swimmer there among the most dangerous jobs in the world. Some of the season was also shot in Sitka. Roker and Walker said they are looking at other future possibilities to expand the Alaska program. For now, the focus will remain on Kodiak. “I think we’re going to go where the rescues take us. Wherever that is in Alaska,” Roker said. Roker said having not one but two additional seasons greenlit and airing so close together was not ordinary but not unheard of. Walker said the show continued to grow throughout the first season’s run. This contributed to its renewal. Walker said before any show is considered for renewal, the producers must be convinced there is enough interesting content that wasn’t all covered the first time and this air station has exactly that. “This is our first show with the Coast Guard,” he said. “We think one reason it works is it shows how the elements affect people’s lives in and around this part of Alaska.” “The great thing about this program and what makes it, I think, special is that whether we’re there or not the Coast Guard is constantly going out doing rescues so we’re just tagging along for the ride and documenting it,” Roker said. Roker first came up with the idea after seeing a YouTube video of local Coast Guard rescues and was impressed by the intensity of it. A phone call later and the ball started moving. He said the exciting part for him is to simultaneously show the Coast Guard’s mission and the beauty of Alaska. “I think people are still fascinated by Alaska and we’re happy to help people get a different look at the state,” he said. Roker said the producers will decide whether to apply for the state’s film tax incentives for these next seasons. Al Roker Entertainment pre-qualified for the incentives for the first season. No amount has been awarded yet. “It’s clear to us that viewers are making ‘Coast Guard Alaska’ appointment viewing,” Bob Walker, executive vice president and general manager of networks and content for Weather Channel, said in a release. “Audiences have really responded to this inside look at life in Kodiak for these real-life heroes who risk their lives daily to save others. We feel privileged to offer viewers more opportunities to get to know these incredible men and women.”

Movers & Shakers 01/08/12

Meadow Bailey, public information officer with the Northern Region Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, has received the Accredited Public Relations credential through the Public Relations Society of America. Bailey is one of only 21 in Alaska with the APR distinction and among approximately 5,000 worldwide. The accreditation examination process tests 10 groupings of competencies and is administered by a consortium of nine leading public relations organizations. Bailey is active in PRSA, American Heart Association, Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, University of Alaska Fairbanks Alumni Association, International Association of Government Communicators, Girl Scouts, PTA and Fairbanks Youth Soccer.

Alaska Reserve group gets early 'Red Tails' viewing

Alaska’s 477th Fighter Group can trace its roots directly to the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. This heritage was honored when Lucasfilm gave select Reserve servicemen an early screening of the company’s new film “Red Tails.” About 200 current and former military members plus community leaders, students and a member of Tuskegee Airmen Inc. were treated to the special showing at the Tikhatnu movie theater in Anchorage in December. A publicity manager for Lucasfilm plus one of the movie’s actors, Marcus Paulk, accompanied their work to Alaska. “Red Tails” tells a fictionalized story inspired by the black airmen group that broke segregation and fought during World War II. It was executive produced by George Lucas and directed by Anthony Hemingway. It stars Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard. “Our 477th Fighter group is a direct descendant of the 477th Bombardment Group in which the Tuskegee Airmen were training in B-25 bombers during World War II,” said Col. Bryan Radliff, commander of the 477th. This training originated in Alabama and moved to three different locations in the upper Midwest during the war. The movie is based on the fighter squadrons at the time, one of which was the 302nd Fighter Squadron that now calls Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson home. The 477th and the 302nd were reactivated here in 2007, when the group became the Air Force Reserve Command’s first F-22 Raptor unit and the only Air Force Reserve unit in Alaska. Previous to being in Alaska, the 302nd Fighter Squadron was at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Arizona flying F-16s. They’ve been activated in several other places throughout the years. The film only covers a small period of the Tuskegee Airmen history, namely how they earned their name “Red Tails.” “The neat takeaway from this is if you’re a fan of military history, World War II history or even racial integration and where we are today, I think this movie gives folks a nice balance of all three of those,” Radliff said. The airmen at the time faced racial discrimination, even when it came to flying alongside their white brothers-in-arms. They proved to be successful and flew more than 1,500 missions between 1943 and 1945. They painted the tails of their bomber escorts a distinctive red pattern and white pilots were soon requesting these agents because of their high skill level. While the film focuses on the broader picture of the Red Tails, the message is an important piece of military history that is not lost on its descendants. “Due to the sacrifices and the success of this organization had a he impact on the ability of the armed forces to integrate,” Radliff said. Lucasfilm selected JBER for a screening after several unit members attended the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. convention in Washington, D.C., last summer. Viewings of the trailer plus a documentary were all it took to convince them to engage Lucasfilm representatives on the JBER link and request an advance screening. Lucasfilm agreed. Alaska is not the only stop on the “Red Tails” tour. Lucasfilm spokesman Marshall Mitchell said the company has been actively screening it for military audiences to help call attention to the Tuskegee Airmen’s story. He said early screenings are a way to honor the troops today. “Sharing this film with airmen in Alaska at the 477th, at the US Air Force Academy with future warriors and leaders, and at large military gatherings goes to the heart of this film. The story has never been fully told and their contribution never fully honored,” Mitchell said. The support of the Air Force Reserve Command finally got the screening here after five months of work. “Tuskegee Airmen across the nation have received this film with both pride and humility. Finally, their story will be exposed to mainstream audiences while many of them are still alive to share firsthand accounts. Dozens of Tuskegee Airmen have attended these screenings across the country. Many others are planned during January,” Mitchell said.

Movers & Shakers January 2012

Women in the Trades program helps women see options

At 35 years old, Myla Odom of Anchorage was at a career crossroads. After years of administrative work, she wanted to explore options for more hands-on physical work. It’s a similar story for Caren Moss, 40, who also made the transition from office work to trade skills. “Construction was something I knew I wanted to try, something I knew I would enjoy instead of something just to pay the bills,” Odom said. Moss has an accounting background  and entered the program because she always liked working with her hands and saw this as a way to get more into physical work rather than accounting. Both women signed up for the Alaska Works Partnership’s Women in the Trades program. They were there mostly to get an introduction to construction-related trades, such as carpentry or electrical work. This way they could explore new future career possibilities in order to keep their options open. The program just graduated its final class of 2011. Ten of the 11 women who entered the program graduated after three weeks of construction training and another week of truck driving instruction. Women spend three to four weeks in classes to get an introduction into the world of construction. They get hands-on training in various trade skills like basic construction, carpentry, electrical work, plumbing and painting. As daily life in such trade fields mandates, they also get the right math and science instruction plus physical training. Equipment and vehicle training is part of the program, as is first aid and CPR certification. There is even training with unions like the Teamsters and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. This allowed them to receive certain certifications, which adds to their resumes when they go job hunting. Women in the Trades doesn’t confine the students to lectures. Students train with seasoned laborers to build simple structures. Odom said having such professionals as training partners was invaluable in helping shape what the students got out of the classes. Of course, all of this is all preparatory work. The idea is for these women to have the basic knowledge for learning more in on an actual job site if they choose. There is an employment assistance program to prep students to apply for such jobs or apprenticeships to start careers in the trades where they can learn more. “Obviously you can’t be a carpenter in a week,” said Alexis Cowell of AWP Apprenticeship Outreach. Cowell said the program is designed as an introduction so it can give an idea of what a trade would entail so that women can decide for themselves if it’s the right career for them. Students vary from those just starting out to those who have been in the workforce for years but want to explore other fields. Many are also single mothers who are looking for ways to make ends meet. The women in the program vary in ages and backgrounds. For example, Odom’s class, which was the one just completed, had women ranging from ages 20 to 47. Odom joined Women in The Trades to help her decide what path to go down since she’s never felt fulfilled behind a desk. She’d taken college classes and worked previously in secretarial and office work. She now works as a parts professional, inspecting vehicle engines for repair needs at Cummins Northwest. “I’m more of a doer than a paper pusher,” she said. She enjoys her job now but didn’t want to eliminate a chance to expand future paths that could consist of physical work. In the program, she got a full hands-on sample of what the physical work on a construction site would be like. She received safety and electrical training through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and IBEW. She even trained on a forklift and completed the written portion for her commercial driver’s license. Odom said it was a great experience and the hands-on exposure was something she might not have gotten to otherwise. She also felt a sense of accomplishment from the different, physical tasks. “I know what I like to do and what I enjoy, and being able to make that decision as a career life choice is important,” she said. “I want to make sure I don’t fall into the same thing.” Moss had graduated in accounting and worked in that field in Alaska and Wisconsin for renewable energy education organizations. She later decided to switch paths into weatherization and electrical work and is now a project coordinator with Alaska Building Science Network. She does weatherization for community-owned buildings and energy efficient lighting retrofits in villages as part of this job. “I was interested in doing something else but was kind of done with carpentry. It was a passion to do weatherization and still have carpentry skills,” she said. She certainly got those skills. In the program she developed her carpentry skills by building a wall and getting some steel and electrical work training. She also got certified in first aid and CPR, as well as the OSHA 10 class and commercial driver’s license permitting. “They do more than tell us what to so. We did a lot of it,” Moss said. While satisfied with her job, she also thought Women in the Trades could give her ideas for any future aspirations. She is interested in pursuing an IBEW apprenticeship. Women in The Trades started when the Fairbanks Building and Construction Trades Council asked AWP to sponsor such a training program in 2003 to help bring more women into industry jobs and apprenticeships. The training was soon employed in Anchorage and Fairbanks. However, AWP was unable to continue funding it annually. AWP Director Mike Andrews said there was never specific funding for the program but AWP was able to keep it going for many years through various funds cobbled together. This continued until 2010, when the program was included as part of the Alaska Construction Academies. “So now it has a home,” Andrews said. Classes are still scheduled as they can be. They continue to go through Alaska Construction Academies. This last one was in Anchorage in May. Cowell said the next one will hopefully take place in Fairbanks but may be done in the fall. Several graduates have gone on to apprenticeships or direct employment. Andrews said the new Fort Wainwright Hospital and Delta Ground Based Missile System hired program graduates. These projects helped earned the program the Exemplary Public Interest Contribution award from the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs in 2003. The award was for exemplary partnerships in getting women involved in such federal construction projects. “That training was a great success,” Andrews said. Data from the Alaska Department of Workforce Development states that 14 percent of the construction industry was made up of women in 2010. Women made up 40 percent of trade, transportation and utilities jobs that year. These numbers have varied over the years but not by much. Labor Department data shows that women made up 10 percent of construction laborers in 2003. This data set also shows women making 2.5 percent of carpenters and 3.6 percent of electricians. In 1997, women made up 3.8 percent of carpenters, 9.5 percent of construction laborers and 3.9 percent of electricians. Women also made less on average than men in these areas. They made 67 percent of men’s wages on average for construction and 57 percent of men’s earnings in trade, transportation and retail combined. Cowell said there are definitely still sexism issues in construction and other trades and that women often have to go the extra mile to prove themselves. Women also have to show they can handle the physicality demanded in such jobs. Another goal of Women in the Trades is to encourage more women to explore the fields so they realize this and can tackle such challenges. “From what I’ve seen it’s a man’s workplace so that itself is a barrier there,” Cowell said.

ISER has 50 years as state's think tank

The state owes a lot to its original think tank. It’s almost as old as Alaska’s own statehood but has never waivered in its mission. As editor Linda Leask of the Institute of Social and Economic Research put it, ISER has looked at virtually every major public policy in Alaska since statehood. That means everything starting with the economic effects of the 1964 Alaska earthquake through the current debate about how best to manage the permanent fund. Fifty years ago, the newly formed state of Alaska got its first big bump forward in establishing a comprehensive research base. Today, ISER has grown exponentially, both in size and funding. The one thing that remains the same is its statewide focus. ISER started out as the state’s sole development center for policy-related research. While its results have inspired several other likeminded research agencies, it remains at the lead. Institute researchers, economists and scholars on its staff — many of whom teach in the University of Alaska system — have tackled almost every subject relevant to state development. Whether on energy, health issues, communications, fisheries, land management, rural development or education, ISER’s mission institute’s mission is to enhance Alaskans’ well-being through non-partisan social and economic research to inform public and private policy decisions. This could mean studying the economics of Medicare to analyzing youth populations through Kids Count. “Our mandate really includes doing research that addresses issues that are important for public policy and communicating them to people who can put that information and research to use,” said Hudson. This includes government, state, local and sometimes federal agencies as well as some in the public. ISER actually started out as the Institute for Social, Economic and Government Research. While it eventually dropped the “G” in its acronym, it maintains a great deal of work for those agencies. While much of its work is for the state, some of it goes beyond those borders. There is collaborative work across the Arctic with researchers in Canada, Scandinavia and Russia. Making its studies public is something the institute takes great pride in. ISER has helped establish some of the state’s most notable economists. For example, a lot of work has been accomplished by economist Scott Goldsmith. ISER Director Heather Hudson said she believes Goldsmith’s materials on the economic three-legged stool model is something the state has really seemed to know ISER for in recent years. The model describes the economy as being divided by thirds into petroleum industry, government sector and the other industries, such as tourism and seafood, combined. Seafood itself falls under the research department of economics professor Gunnar Knapp. This industry has encountered fierce market competition with farmed sources over the years. Knapp has studied the 1990s crisis from this and the subsequent recovery. He said ISER has been a tremendously intellectual place to work. “The most interesting and important opportunity I’ve had in my fisheries work is to study the dramatic changes in salmon markets and salmon industry over the last 20 years,” he said. ISER was founded on April 13, 1961, after economist George Rogers initiated its establishment through the second state Legislature. Rogers was an economic advisor to governors and consultant to the Alaska Constitutional Convention. He saw there was a need for an organization to collect basic and demographic information that the new state would need to develop policy and establish agencies. ISER was the result. There is now a fellowship fund to support junior researchers in Rogers’ honor. ISER started as a statewide research institute of the University of Alaska. It was first housed in Fairbanks, later moving to the University of Alaska Anchorage. The institute’s first director, Vic Fischer, said ISER had the only collection of economic knowledge around. Economic consultancies and research capabilities have expanded widely since then. Fischer was instrumental in the institute’s growth through the 1960s and 1970s. As a part of Alaska’s statehood himself, he made sure it never lost its full focus. “ISER of course is still the only across-the-board organization that has in both the applied and basic research set of interest and capabilities covering everything from resource development to health, education, etc.,” he said. ISER started out with only two people on its staff. Work got started with only a $5,415 legislative appropriation. Now that staff is 35 strong and is operating on a budget of $3 million. Funding now comes from the university with a large amount coming from grants and contacts from various government agencies. Some multi-year projects from national funders like the National Science Foundation also build that budget. Also, there are some funds from the private sector. ISER has done a number of outreach activities for its 50th anniversary. Programs have taken place in areas of all sizes, such as the Alaska Dialogue in Talkeetna. This included bringing in four former ISER directors from Outside. It put on a symposium on the evolution of Alaska telecommunications at UAA. And the Legislature has been briefed on its accomplishments and what lies ahead. “The idea was to use the 50th anniversary as a way to showcase what we do, reach out to the community both locally and around the state,” Hudson said. ISER’s mandate has not changed much in 50 years. Only its growth has. Faculty has expanded from economists to professors in education, anthropology and other applied social research. Research associates and graduate students are included in this work. “So we’ve kind of broadened not only the number of staff but broadened in some cases the scope of the research we do,” Hudson said. “But the primary focus has continued to be largely on Alaska, and the Alaska economy is still one of our core areas.” Current projects include looking into factors driving rural fuel prices as well as getting broadband Internet into these areas. There’ve been updates to the Native language map and collaboration on the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The lieutenant governor’s office is even having research done in the election process. Another recent development is the new Center for Alaska Education Policy Research. Like with all research, the work is never complete. ISER has a number of projects lined up with some even looking beyond the next 50 years. The faculty is developing a strategic plan to examine the state’s future direction. Goldsmith is examining the factors for an eventual post-petroleum economy. “I’m very proud of what the institute has been and what it is as well with its promise for the future,” Fischer said. “One of the great things that I’ve personally enjoyed is still being affiliated with the institute and surrounded by bright young people who are thoroughly engaged in the most important issues for Alaska today.” Hudson said she felt ISER has been a “hidden gem” that’s held in such high regard by those who know about it but the need to increase its visibility and diversify its support services is still there. “We’ve been extremely pleased with the response we’ve gotten this year for our 50th anniversary from people, not only the clients in Anchorage but hearing from Native people and people in communities around the state that they really value our research and put it to use and look to us when they have research questions. So that’s really gratifying and we hope to build on that.” “A lot of people there have thought carefully about Alaska for a long time with,” said Knapp. “It’s important to have that breadth of knowledge. A lot of these discussions in Alaska have been repeated for decades. Folks here have studied these issues in the past and can bring them out.”

Movers & Shakers November 2011

Injured firefighter on road to recovery

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Dressed in a blue uniform, Larry Hodges smiles easily, cracking jokes with his fellow Fort Wainwright Fire Department members. Though he and his friends have been sharing laughs for years, his position at the department changed after an incident last spring. Hodges was walking to his camp at Arctic Man in April, when a snowmachine with two riders ran him over. Both of Hodges' legs were badly broken, but the two riders hopped back on the snowmachine and drove off. Hodges' friend, Dan Lepley called after them to stop, but the pair was never found. Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen says the case remains open, and officials encourage anyone with information about the incident to come forward. Days after the incident, Hodges underwent surgery in Fairbanks where doctors inserted two titanium rods to replace tibias that were splintered in the incident. He was told to stay off his left leg for four to six weeks and off his right leg for three to six months. He began exercising again in late May. Since then, Hodges has lost more than 25 pounds using a treadmill, walking outdoors and biking. In mid-September, a couple groups of his supporters — the Ladies of Leisure and Susan's Club of Uncoachable Men — took him on a 30-mile bike ride past Fox. Toward the end, Hodges was worn out and needed pushing from some fellow bicyclists. "I couldn't have done it without the support of the club," he wrote in an email. "They really are a special group of people." More recently, Hodges has been taking walks anywhere from two to six miles long. Sometimes he takes his old dog with him, who can keep pace well. Hodges keeps track of his distance and times. His record is a 14-minute, 44-second mile. That day, which was last week, he walked four miles in less than an hour. "After I get about a mile into me, I loosen up a little more," he said. After the hit and run, Hodges appealed to his assailants to come forward. In April, he said he just wanted someone to own up to the accident and apologize. "At first I might have been a little angry with it," he said, but now he sees his situation in a different light. "I don't know if anybody could have recovered as fast," he said. Hodges was able to go back to a job with his department and receive insurance benefits. "I enjoy the challenges. This was a test." Hodges is nowhere near being back to normal — his bones are still in their growing stages. His legs tell the story of his injuries. Scars dot the areas where screws have been removed from the mending bones, and large knots identify the growing bone masses. On X-rays, between the shards of existing bone, it looks like fluff is growing. He doesn't know how long it will take to heal, but he has been busy trying to help the process. Thursday, Hodges was at work at Fort Wainwright's Fire Station 3. He used to be a fire engine captain, but now doctor's orders keep him away from the trucks. He has been put in an administrative position mapping buildings on post to make it easier to fight fires with quick decisions. His maps identify hydrants, layouts of buildings, hazardous materials and other things. His new office is on the second floor of a building, and climbing the stairs is no easy task for him. Going up is much easier than coming down, he said. Many people say he looks great walking on level ground. "I'm a good faker," he said. Hodges holds no grudges against Arctic Man. Its creator Howard Thies, has been one of Hodges' greatest supporters, spurring a reward fund to find the snowmachine riders who left the incident. Last spring was Hodges' third time attending the event. After getting hit by the snowmachine, Hodges' friend Lepley ran to get help from Alaska State Troopers. Hodges has seen support from all across the state in his trek to recovery — his wife, family, fellow firefighters, Fairbanks Grizzlies and Fairbanks Ice Dogs. He plans to be fully recovered for Arctic Man 2012. "I plan on taking him back," Lepley said with a smile.  

Movers and Shakers Oct 2011

Majs. George and Jeanne Baker

  Majs. George and Jeanne Baker are new divisional leaders for The Salvation Army Alaska Divisional Headquarters in Anchorage. The veteran Salvation Army officers transferred from the Army’s Intermountain Division in Denver, where they had served the past five years, with Maj. George Baker as the divisional secretary and Maj. Jeanne Baker as the divisional women’s ministries secretary. The Bakers will be responsible for oversight of the Army’s ministry in Alaska in 16 communities from Klawock to Fairbanks. Prior to completing The Salvation Army’s two-year officer training program in 1983, both Bakers served in the U.S. Navy.    

S. Lane Tucker

  S. Lane Tucker, a partner in Stoel Rives LLP’s Anchorage office, has been appointed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska to serve a three-year term as a Lawyer Representative to the 9th Circuit Judicial Conference. The Alaska Bar Association recommended Tucker’s appointment. Lawyer Representatives provide support and advice to the judges and administrators of the 9th Circuit. Tucker has 25 years of experience in federal government contracts, construction, white collar and health care litigation. Prior to joining Stoel Rives, she was with the U.S. Department of Justice for nearly 20 years, including as the chief of the Civil Division of the Alaska U.S. Attorney’s Office and as trial counsel with the Civil Division in Washington, D.C. Tucker currently serves as the Alaska chair for the American Bar Association’s Public Contracts Section, vice chair of the ABA Small Business & Other Socioeconomic Programs Committee, and is the founder and Chair of the Alaska Bar Public Contracts Law Section. She is a graduate of the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah and is admitted to the state bars of Alaska and Pennsylvania.    

Sharon K. Elliott

  Sharon K. Elliott was named president of Alyeska Title Guaranty Agency. Elliott has more than 25 years of real estate experience to include title and escrow services and loan origination. She has spent the last 18 years as the owner and president of Alaska Exchange Corp. specializing in 1031 tax deferred exchanges.    

Kathleen H. Wescott

  Kathleen H. Wescott is the new behavioral health clinician at the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock. Wescott holds a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from the University of San Diego. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in recreation therapy and public administration from San Diego State University. She worked as a clinical intern with the Veterans Administration Health Care Family Mental Health Clinic in La Jolla, Calif., providing marriage and couple’s counseling. She also worked as a clinical intern with the VA’s Wellness and Vocational Enrichment Clinic, providing alcohol and substance abuse intake, and individual counseling. She served as a volunteer coordinator with San Diego Hospice and Palliative Care, spent 15 years as community social services director with the American Red Cross in San Diego, and was director of education and family services at the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego.    

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