Movers and Shakers

Movers and Shakers

Movers and Shakers for Oct. 1

Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced that former staff member Leila Kimbrell is returning to serve as her new state director and Hannah Ray was hired as press secretary. Kimbrell is a lifelong Alaskan who received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage and her law degree from Willamette University College of Law. She has practiced law in Alaska for the past decade, most recently with the Alaska-based law firm of Birch Horton Bitter &Cherot. She served as a policy advisor to Murkowski in her Washington, D.C., office from 2013-15. Ray has her bachelor’s degree in communication in public relations from the University of Central Arkansas Honor College. She previously served as the community events manager for the American Cancer Society in Anchorage. During her tenure at ACS, she worked in communities across the state to help manage events and develop patient services for cancer patients in rural Alaska. Gov. Bill Walker appointed Michael Franciosi and Kari McCrea to the Anchorage District Court. Franciosi currently serves as Glennallen Magistrate Judge and Superior Court Master, where he has provided coverage for Valdez, Cordova and other areas in the Third Judicial District since 2014. Prior to that, he was in a private general practice of both criminal and civil law for 23 years, including pro bono assistance to victims of domestic violence. Franciosi graduated from Creighton University School of Law in 1991. McCrea has practiced law for more than 15 years, and currently serves as a Magistrate Judge/Standing Master in Anchorage Superior Court. She graduated from Mitchell Hamline School of Law in 2001 and clerked for U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge John M. Mason before taking a position with the Minnesota State Board of Public Defense. Prior to her current position, McCrea worked for nine years as a trial lawyer with the Alaska Public Defender Agency in Bethel, where she also served as a supervising attorney. First National Bank Alaska recently named five new branch managers. Julie Aloysius returns to FNBA at the Dimond Branch more than 20 years after starting her career as a teller at the bank. Ryan Bargelski was appointed branch manager at the North Star Branch on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. He’s worked for First National as a teller, branch support representative and operations supervisor. Jason Brown takes over at the Kuskokwim Branch in Bethel. Almost three years after helping open the bank’s U-Med Branch, Kippy Lane will now manage the South Center Branch in Midtown Anchorage. She has worked for the bank for more than 26 years, including time in Anchorage, Bethel and Kenai. With more than nine years of banking experience, Danielle Nicklos made the move to the Muldoon Branch from the North Star Branch. Nicklos previously worked as a teller, customer service representative, personal banker and operations supervisor. The Society for Marketing Professional Services Alaska Chapter announced the appointment of its 2017-18 board of directors. Joining the board this year are Pearl-Grace Pantaleone, and returning in new positions are Christine White, Monica Bradbury, Sarah Hall, Alyssa Golden, Michelle Laudert, Rose Hanson, Rob Culbertson, Kate Hostetler, Katy Kless and Cynthia Oistad. White, the senior marketing coordinator at R&M Consultants, sits on the board as past president. Bradbury, marketing manager at DOWL, will serve as this year’s president. Hall, the marketing coordinator at R&M Consultants, was appointed president-elect. Golden, administrative officer and marketing coordinator at Bettisworth North, continues in her second year as secretary. Having been in the industry for five years, Laudert joined the chapter in 2014 and soon became the assistant treasurer. Pantaleone, marketing coordinator for RIM, was appointed communications director. Hanson, communications specialist at CRW Engineering Group LLC, will serve as the chapter programs director, helping to create the monthly luncheons and various activities for the organization. Culbertson is currently the marketing director for Architects Alaska, and is seated on the board as the education director for the second year in a row. Hostetler, marketing manager at Coffman Engineers, is this year’s new sponsorship director. Kless, communications and marketing specialist at PDC Engineers, is the membership director. Oistad, Alaska business development and communications at Arcadis, has been a part of the industry for over 14 years and joined the chapter in 2013. The 2017 University of Alaska Anchorage Alumni of Distinction awards will be honored at the university’s Homecoming Breakfast on Oct. 13 at Lucy Cuddy Hall on UAA campus. They are: Kaladi Brothers Coffee owner Tim Gravel (Class of 1990), Alumni of Achievement Award; Clark Middle School Principal Cessilye Williams (Class of 2002), Alumni Humanitarian Award; Claremont Evaluation Center Senior evaluation fellow Michelle Sloper (Class of 2008), Alumni Emerging Leader Award.

Movers and Shakers for Sept. 24

The Rural Alaska Community Action Program Inc. announced three new additions to its leadership team. Cynthia Tisher has been hired as the new CFO, replacing long-term CFO Diane Mathisen, who retires this fall. Tisher has 15 years of experience in accounting for nonprofit and Native organizations, including Bristol Bay Native Corp. and the Alaska Conservation Foundation. She holds degrees from University of Alaska Anchorage and is a Bristol Bay Native Corp. shareholder. Kristin Ramstad has been promoted to Child Development Division director, overseeing multiple programs including Head Start, Early Head Start, Parents as Teachers, and the Anchorage Child Development Center. Ramstad began working for RurAL CAP in 1996 within the Child Development Division, leaving for a brief time to serve as the program manager at Programs for Infants and Children Inc., and as the director of Early Childhood at Eagle County School District before returning in 2009 to RurAL CAP as the Head Start program manager. Ramstad has degrees from University of Alaska Anchorage and University of the Pacific. Val Clark began working for RurAL CAP in mid-June 2017 in the newly-combined position of communications and development director. Clark has worked for Anchorage nonprofits since 1996, most recently as the director of programs for YWCA Alaska. She has also worked in development and fundraising for the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Cook Inlet Housing Authority, and Food Bank of Alaska. She has degrees from University of Alaska Anchorage and Old Dominion University. Koniag Inc. CEO Elizabeth Perry will resign effective December 2017. Long-time board Chairman Ron Unger will serve as interim CEO and Shauna Hegna has been named Koniag president. Unger will serve as interim CEO for the next two years and remain as board chairman. In his role, he will oversee Lower 48 subsidiary operations from his office in North Carolina. Unger successfully led Koniag’s financial turnaround as interim CEO four years ago. Hegna was born in Port Lions and understands the Koniag region as well as the Alaska Native community. The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority board of trustees elected new officers at its Sept. 7 meeting. Mary Jane Michael will serve as the board chair. Michael is a long-serving trustee and has been actively engaged in disability advocacy and community development for more than 25 years. She served as the executive director for the Office of Economic and Community Development for the Municipality of Anchorage and also served as the executive director for the Arc of Anchorage for nearly 20 years, advocating for services and legislation for persons with developmental and other disabilities. Vice chair is Christopher Cooke, who lived and worked in Bethel for more than 30 years both as a private attorney and for 10 years as a State Superior Court judge. Secretary is Laraine Derr, a Juneau resident who spent much of her career in public service. She served two years as director of the Alaska Boards and Commissions Office. Prior to that, she was president and CEO for the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association and also previously served as commissioner of the Department of Revenue. Keith Champagne, a veteran student services administrator at Central Washington University, has been selected to serve as the new vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Champagne’s career spans more than 30 years in positions throughout student services and athletics. He currently serves as the chief diversity officer for intercollegiate athletics at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash. Previous positions include associate dean for student success, associate vice president for student affairs and assistant vice president for leadership and diversity. Prior to his time at CWU, he worked at Clarion University and Loyola University. Champagne has a bachelor’s degree in communications public relations from Loyola University, a master’s degree in communications, training and development from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Washington. The Arctic Slope Native Association board of directors announced its election of officers following their reorganizational meeting on Sept. 7 in Utqiagvik. They are: Chair Doreen Leavitt (at-large); Vice Chair Nancy Rock (Native Village of Point Hope); Treasurer Lloyd Pikok (Native Village of Point Lay); Secretary Isabel Nashookpuk (Wainwright Traditional Council); Sergeant at Arms Anna Nageak (Naqsragmiut Tribal Council); Members Noreen Kaleak (Native Village of Kaktovik), Hazel Kunaknana (Native Village of Nuiqsut), and Muriel Brower (Native Village of Barrow). Board members are appointed by the eight tribal councils of the Arctic Slope, with one at-large member voted in by the ASNA Board of Directors. Three First National Bank Alaska banking experts with nearly 100 years of combined experience have been promoted to collectively supervise operations at Anchorage’s 10 branches. Beverly Boyd is First National Bank Alaska’s newest assistant vice president and branch administrator. She’s worked for the bank for more than 37 years in a number of customer service-related capacities. Vice President and Branch Administrator Kim Frensley recently celebrated her 35-year employment anniversary at FNBA. She spent 27 years as the branch manager of the Main Branch in downtown Anchorage and six in the same role at the Dimond Branch. Vice President and Branch Administrator Bill Kaltschnee has more than 23 years of banking experience, including six years at First National and the last three as Branch Manager at the South Center Branch. Coffman Engineers announced the addition of two new employees. Brian Gastrock, P.E., has joined the civil engineering department as a senior civil engineer and Joshua Shafer has joined as an electrical engineering intern. Gastrock is a registered civil engineer in Alaska with nearly two decades of professional experience working on numerous pipeline condition assessments, design and construction management projects throughout Alaska. Gastrock completed the Pipeline Assessment Certification Program certified by the National Association of Sewer Service Companies and is active in both the North American Society for Trenchless Technologies and American Society of Civil Engineers. Shafer received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Alaska Anchorage and is an Alaskan engineer in training. Dr. Mark M. Levin, M.D., M.S., has joined the Alaska Heart &Vascular Institute as of Sept. 18. He is board-certified in general surgery and a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Medicine, where he earned a doctor of medicine, as well as a master’s degree in physiology and biophysics. Levin also holds a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience with a concentration in cellular and molecular neuroscience from the Johns Hopkins University. Levin is currently finishing his training at the University of Texas Southwestern as a Vascular Surgery fellow. His training entails the full spectrum of open and endovascular surgery, with an emphasis on advanced endovascular techniques. Levin has been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented his research at various national conferences. His main interests are in carotid disease, PAD, and complex endovascular aortic aneurysm repair.

Movers and Shakers for Sept. 17

Global infrastructure firm AECOM has hired Matt Narus to support its Alaska operations as a senior project manager. Narus holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Wisconsin, and an executive master’s of business administration degree from the University of Washington. Narus comes to AECOM after most recently working at the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority as a project manager. Adam Leggett has joined Stantec in its Anchorage office as the Alaska Native Program manager, focusing on developing business relationships with Alaska Native corporations and organizations. Leggett has 10 years of experience working for a variety of Alaska businesses, including oil and gas companies and Alaska Native businesses. Since joining Stantec, Leggett has been working on expanding Stantec’s diversity and inclusion program by ensuring that Alaska Native recruitment is integrated into Stantec’s hiring efforts. He serves as a liaison working with the Stantec federal team to facilitate partnerships with Alaska Native organizations to pursue government contracting opportunities. Leggett is a council trustee for the Native Village of Eklutna and serves on the scholarship committee for Eklutna Inc. He holds an MBA from Alaska Pacific University and a bachelor’s degree in business management from Florida State University. He served four years in the U.S. Navy as a cryptologic technician. Current Department of Administration Commissioner Sheldon Fisher was appointed as Department of Revenue Commissioner on Sept. 7, effective immediately. Deputy Commissioner Leslie Ridle will serve as interim commissioner of Administration until the governor names a new appointment. Fisher replaces Randy Hoffbeck, who retired Aug. 17. Prior to Fisher’s December 2014 appointment as commissioner of Administration, he worked as chief operating officer at McKinley Capital Management LLC in Anchorage. Fisher also spent 15 years in the telecommunications industry both in the Lower 48 and in Alaska. He worked for six years at Alaska Communications, where he served as senior vice president of sales and product marketing. Fisher earned an economics degree from Brigham Young University and a law degree from Yale University. PND Engineers Inc. announced the following new hires in its Anchorage office. Bill Jamison, P.E., first joined PND in 2003, and is now rejoining the team with his expertise in marine design, structural bridge design, and construction inspection. Jamison is a lifelong Alaskan with several years of practical construction experience including contract development, bid phase support, construction inspection, and cost estimating. He graduated from University of Alaska Anchorage in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and is an Alaska-registered professional engineer. Rachael McKinney was brought on as the firm’s marketing coordinator. McKinney holds a master’s degree in journalism from West Virginia University. In addition to her background in writing and editing, she has experience in graphic design, computer programming, and strategic communication. Before joining PND, McKinney served one year as an AmeriCorps VISTA for a local nonprofit in Anchorage. She will assist the team in proposal development and procurement efforts. Heidi Hansen will join the Department of Natural Resources as a deputy commissioner starting Sept. 18. Hansen, an attorney, was born and raised in Alaska and has extensive experience in energy and natural resources policy and law. She most recently worked for the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as counsel, focusing on issues including mining, energy, mitigation, land use and Alaska Native issues. At DNR she will be responsible for direct management of the divisions of Mining, Land and Water; Forestry; Agriculture; Parks and Outdoor Recreation, and Support Services; and the Office of Project Management and Permitting. Prior to joining the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Hansen worked for the U.S. Army as associate deputy general counsel and as special advisor to the assistant secretary for the Army. She also was an attorney for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Anchorage and Washington, D.C., and served on temporary detail for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and subsequently the Department of State, in Baghdad, Iraq. Hansen earned her juris doctor from American University’s Washington College of Law, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. Northrim Bank Vice President and Commercial Loan Unit Manager Jim Culley recently graduated from the Pacific Coast Banking School. Culley has been with Northrim Bank in Fairbanks for five years, and has more than 21 years of banking experience throughout Alaska. Northrim has two additional officers currently enrolled in the three-year program at PCBS: Jason Criqui, vice president, commercial loan unit manager, (in his first year) and Kelly McCormack, vice president, commercial loans, (in his second year). In Northrim’s 27-year history, more than a dozen employees have graduated from PCBS and Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Michael Martin is a long time professor at PCBS. Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Miller and Monkman LLP announced that two of its Alaska partners have been recognized as among the “2018 Best Lawyers in America” in the 24th Edition of Best Lawyers in America. Anchorage partner Lloyd B. Miller was named the “2018 Native American Law Lawyer of the Year.” Juneau partner Richard D. Monkman was named as a “Best Lawyer” in Native American Law, and was named as a “2017 Distinguished Attorney” by the Martindale-Hubbell firm. The firm also announced that Kendri M. M. Cesar has been named a partner in the Juneau office. Cesar recently successfully argued an important tribal sovereignty case before the Alaska Supreme Court. Sonosky Chambers is a law firm founded in 1976 devoted to representing Native American interests across the United States. The firm is based in Washington, DC, and has offices in Anchorage, Juneau, San Diego and Albuquerque.

Movers and Shakers for Sept. 10

Unalaska City School District’s John Conwell was named Alaska’s 2018 Superintendent of the Year by the Alaska Superintendents Association. Conwell has committed decades of service to the Unalaska City School District, serving 10 years as assistant principal and principal for Unalaska High School, and is currently in his 11th year as the district’s superintendent. Jasper Hall has been promoted to vice president of highway petroleum distribution for Crowley Fuels LLC. Hall will remain in Anchorage and report to Rocky Smith, senior vice president of petroleum distribution and marine services. Hall, a 12-year Crowley veteran, will now be responsible for overseeing Crowley’s fuel sales and distribution business across the Interior Alaska highway system, which includes line haul deliveries to retail and commercial customers and eight terminal locations: Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, Kenai, Talkeetna, Fairbanks, Delta Junction, Glennallen and Valdez. Hall has worked in the fuel distribution business for more than 20 years. He joined Crowley in 2005 and has held positions of increasing responsibility, leading terminal, logistics and project teams across the state. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a master’s degree from Multnomah University in Portland, Ore., and a Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute. Lance Mearig was named the Southcoast Region director for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities effective Sept. 1. Mearig has more than 35 years of experience in transportation. He has most recently served as the department’s director for statewide design and engineering services, which includes acting as the department’s chief engineer. He began his career working for the department in 1982 and spent 25 years working in private industry. A licensed professional engineer and senior professional in human resources, Mearig has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a master’s degree in civil engineering with an emphasis in transportation planning and traffic engineering from Arizona State University. Mearig replaces Mike Coffey, who retired Aug. 31 after a 35-year career with the department.

Movers and Shakers for Sept. 3

John Sims was appointed president of Enstar Natural Gas Co. Sims was previously vice president of corporate resources. Sims has succeeded Jared Green, who served as president of Enstar since 2014. Green returns to Calgary, Alberta, to assume his new role as president of AltaGas Canadian Utilities. Sims graduated from Chugiak High School in 1996 and from Hillsdale College in Michigan in 2001. In 2009, he received his MBA from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Sims began his career at Enstar in 2005 in the business development and public affairs department, assuming leadership roles as director and vice president in business development, customer service, and human resources departments before being named president. Bristol Bay Native Corp. announced the promotion of Nancy S. Schierhorn and the hiring of Gladys Lind, Jerry Golden and Cindy Mittlestadt. Schierhorn was promoted to senior vice president and chief development officer. She will replace Jeffrey E. Sinz, who announced he will retire on Sept. 30. Schierhorn joined BBNC in November 2012 as associate general counsel. Two years later she was promoted to vice president, associate general counsel. Schierhorn holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Puget Sound and a juris doctorate from Williamette University. Lind is a BBNC shareholder and was recently hired as workforce development specialist to work in BBNC’s Shareholder Development department and will focus on delivering career and professional development program services for shareholders and descendants predominantly living in the Lower 48. Lind comes to BBNC from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, where she worked in human resources as a HR Recruiter and HR generalist for the past three years. Prior to her that, Lind worked in the education system at the Dillingham City and Southwest Region School Districts and has more than 20 years of HR experience. Golden was hired as director of corporate development. Golden comes to BBNC from Southern Ute Alternative Energy where he most recently served as the vice president of finance/investments. Golden has more than 20 years of investment experience which spans the renewable energy, investment banking, and private equity industries. He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Rutgers University, and an MBA in Finance from New York University. Mittlestadt was hired as the Bristol Bay Development Fund manager and will identify and support potential small business investments focused on the Bristol Bay region and manage the investment fund to meet internal investment goals. She spent the last 10 years in the community lending sector, managing nonprofit organizations designated as Community Development Financial Institutions by the U.S. Treasury. Mittlestadt is founding director and secretary of the Native CDFI Network, an organization whose mission is to be a national voice that strengthens and promotes CDFIs, and creates capital and resources for Native communities. She is a graduate of the Foraker Institute’s program Catalyst for Non-Profit Excellence, and has served on nonprofit boards such as Special Olympics Alaska, Assets, Inc. and Green Star. Hughes White Colbo Wilcox &Tervooren LLC of Anchorage is pleased to announce that four attorneys, Jimmy White, Kimberlee Colbo, Paul S Wilcox and Steve Tervooren, have been included in the 2018 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Lawyers included on The Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing. RIM announced the hiring of Ubon Boutsomsi as chief technology officer. Boutsomsi brings more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry including serving as the IT Manager at Alaska Interstate Construction, director of IT at Pebble Limited Partnership, chief information officer at Sitnasuak Native Corp., and vice president of IT for Petro 49. Boutsomsi received his undergrad in information technology engineering from Alaska Charter College and his master’s degree in telecommunication management from Alaska Pacific University.

Movers and Shakers for Aug. 27

Stephanie Ann Peevey has joined Denali Federal Credit Union Home Loans department as a mortgage loan originator. Prior to Peevey’s employment with Denali, she worked for both PrimeLending and AlaskaUSA Mortgage. Peevey is an expert in Veterans’ Affairs home financing, having been connected with the military for the past 12 years. In her past 11 years of mortgage experience, Peevey has been a loan originator, a senior loan processor and an operations manager. Peevey also has experience working in the title and new home construction industries. The Alutiiq Museum has hired Christina Thompson as its events specialist. She is currently organizing Alutiiq Culture Fest, a community celebration to be held in conjunction with the museum’s annual meeting on Sept. 8. Thompson will also facilitate the museum’s fall lecture series, which are Thursday evening presentations by local culture bearers and scientists beginning Aug. 24. She is a 2009 graduate of Kodiak High School and a 2016 graduate of Central Washington University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a minor in museum studies. Her previous experiences include commercial fishing around Bristol Bay and Kodiak, and internships for the Kitsap County Historical Museum, the Museum of Culture and Environment in Ellensburg, Wash., and the Roadside Gallery and Studio, in Seattle.

Movers and Shakers for Aug. 20

The Department of Law announced the appointment of Gustaf Olson as the new Kodiak District Attorney starting Sept. 1. Olson replaces Steve Wallace who became the Bethel District Attorney earlier this summer. Olson began his career in 2004 as an Anchorage municipal prosecutor. He joined the Department of Law in 2006 as an Assistant District Attorney under then District Attorney Leonard “Bob” Linton. In 2011, Olson became an Assistant Attorney General focusing on the prosecution of alcohol-related offenses in Northwest Alaska. Since 2013, when he re-joined the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office, Olson has been a leader in the office prosecuting some of the most complex and high-profile cases in the Anchorage area. This includes prosecuting Jerry Active for murder and sexual assault following a brutal attack of a Mountain View family in 2013, in which Active received a sentence of 359 years. In 2011, Olson prosecuted Kip Lynch for the double murder of his wife and child. Also in 2011, Gustaf was named the Prosecutor of the Year for his continual dedication to the victims of violent crime. Heather Gatti joined the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska as special assistant to the president. Gatti previously worked for the First Alaskans Institute from 2014-17 as an indigenous research assistant. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in social work degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has held internships with First Alaskans Institute, Alaska Psychiatric Institute and Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. Gatti was born and raised in Ketchikan and is of Haida and Tlingit descent. Thomas Stark was named business banking manager for Wells Fargo Business Banking in Anchorage. Stark will lead a team of 11 business relationship managers and associates based at Wells Fargo’s Northern Lights and C Street and Huffman Road locations. Stark has been with Wells Fargo for 13 years. Most recently, he served as a principal business relationship manager in Kalispell, Mont. He also served customers in Arizona as a business relationship manager and mortgage underwriter. Stark holds a master’s degree in international finance from Thunderbird, Global School of Management and bachelor’s degrees in communications and business management from Northern Arizona University. Stark succeeds Bond Stewart, a 29-year company veteran and lifelong Alaskan who recently joined Wells Fargo’s Commercial Real Estate team in Alaska as a principal business relationship manager. In his new role, Stewart will work with Alaska commercial real estate developers, nonprofits and other entities to provide specialized financial services. Stewart joined the company as a teller in Kodiak and entered the management training program less than a year later. He served as a branch manager in Ketchikan, Kenai, Petersburg and Prince of Wales Island before being named Ketchikan business banking manager in 2006. He served as Anchorage business banking manager for nine years. Stewart holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Joel Spano, lead quality assurance representative in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District’s Alaska Area Office, received the 2017 Chief of Engineers Hard Hat of the Year Award Aug.1 during a national ceremony in Washington, D.C. The honor was presented by Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, U.S. Army Chief of Engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Houston. Spano, originally from Pawcatuck, Conn., is responsible for providing mechanical support for military construction projects across Alaska. His duties include performing quality assurance inspections and supporting the commissioning of electromechanical systems. During a time of reduced staffing, Spano volunteered to serve as project engineer on multiple large scale and complex military projects valued in excess up to $35 million such as the Buckner Fitness Center expansion on Fort Richardson and the JBER Hospital dining facility. Since 2002, Spano has served in the Alaska District’s Engineering, Construction and Operations Division. Previously, he was a heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician in the Air Force from 1992 to 2002.

Movers and Shakers for Aug. 13

Krissi Estrada is the new branch manager at the First National Bank Alaska Parkway Branch in East Anchorage and Stephanie Good was appointed to senior mortgage underwriter and loan officer. Estrada spent the last year managing the Federal Branch in Downtown Anchorage. Good, who has worked in the industry for nearly 14 years, will be based at the bank’s Anchorage corporate headquarters. Kathleen Stilwell was hired by Northrim Bank as associate vice president, card services manager. Stilwell joins Northrim Bank with more than 30 years of experience in banking. She comes to Northrim after working in the Card Lending Department at First National Bank Alaska, where she was the assistant card lending manager for the last 25 years. George M. Tronsrue III was named interim CEO at Quintillion, the Anchorage-based company constructing an 1,800-kilometer subsea fiber optic/broadband network with landing points in six key Alaska markets located on the Arctic/North Slope, effective immediately. Elizabeth Pierce resigned as CEO citing personal reasons. Tronsrue has decades of sales and operational experience in wireless, fiber optic and telecom infrastructure in more than 70 major U.S. markets. That includes executive leadership roles at Monet Mobile Networks, the first commercial 3G data company in the world and with leading public and private competitive local exchange carriers including XO/Nextlink Communications, espire/American Communications Services Inc, Teleport Communication Group, and MFS Communications. Tronsrue comes to Quintillion after seven years as president of MFSI Government Group, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business he founded in 2010. MFSI specializes in providing classified mission critical national security and warfighter support services and solutions to the Department of Defense, intelligence community and other federal agencies. Chambers USA has recognized the Davis Wright Tremaine Anchorage office for industry-leading excellence in multiple practice areas. Chambers rankings are based on research gathered through extensive in-depth interviews with in-house counsel, industry experts, and distinguished private practice attorneys. Chambers awarded the DWT Alaska office its top ranking, Band 1, in three practice areas: Corporate/M&A, Labor and Employment, and Real Estate. Chambers recognized six DWT Alaska partners as leading practitioners. They are: Jon S. Dawson, Corporate/M&A, Litigation: General Commercial, Real Estate; Barbara Simpson Kraft, Corporate/M&A, Real Estate; Joseph Reece, Corporate/M&A, Real Estate; Gregory Fisher, Elizabeth Pifke Hodes and Robert K. Stewart, Labor &Employment. Susan Duck has been selected as Iron Dog Inc. executive director. Duck replaces Kevin Kastner, who led the organization through a critical seven-year period of growth and transformation. Duck is a marketing, event and development professional and has garnered success with her leadership in the financial recovery and stability of the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous. Along with 106.5 Alaska’s Rock Morning Show host Bob Lester and producer Brad Stennett, Duck is a co-creator of the wildly popular and internationally famous event “Running of the Reindeer.” The event has raised over $100,000 for Toys for Tots over the last 10 years. She was also the mayoral appointee overseeing the Anchorage Centennial Celebration in 2015. Lori Davey joined the GCI Business team as vice president of enterprise markets. Davey brings management experience from Alaska’s investment, oil and telecom industries to the GCI team where she will lead its business enterprise and midmarket commercial sales teams as GCI Business launches a new suite of innovative services, products and capabilities. Davey joins GCI from Alyeska Venture Management, an Anchorage-based angel investment group where she served as partner and fund manager. Her previous experience includes serving as director for enterprise and commercial markets at Alaska Communications; general manager of Fairweather LLC, an oilfield service company operating the Deadhorse Aviation Center; and owner of Motznik Information Services, a data-mining and online search engine of Alaska public records. Before owning Motznik, Davey worked in various sales and marketing roles with SmithKline Beecham and Xerox Corp.

Movers and Shakers for Aug. 6

Rebecca Pruitt was promoted to gallery coordinator at The Alutiiq Museum effective July 25. Pruitt will oversee the daily operations of the Alutiiq Museum Store, assist artists and visitors, develop store merchandise and host museum events. Pruitt is a 2012 graduate of Kodiak High School and began work at the Alutiiq Museum in 2014 where she has contributed to everything from collections care and educational outreach to language programming and the museum store. Leigh Broten has joined Denali Federal Credit Union Home Loans department as a home loan originator. Prior to Broten’s employment with Denali, she worked for NorthBay Mortgage, Aberdeen Federal Savings Bank and Allied Home Mortgage Capital Corp. as a loan originator. There, her responsibilities involved consulting with clients and hosting public classes for financing preparation basics. Broten was also an educator teaching classes on technology, accounting, entrepreneurship, business math, marketing and career building skills. Broten has been in the financial industry for 34 years. Andrew Aurelio was promoted to mechanical technician at Great Alaskan Holidays, the state’s largest RV rental, sales and service business headquartered in Anchorage. Aurelio has worked at Great Alaskan Holidays for more than five years. Sarah Dybdahl is the new cultural heritage and education manager for Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. In this position, Dybdahl will oversee the coordination of Tlingit and Haida’s cultural activities and develop cultural programs in collaboration with tribes and other Native entities. The newly created Cultural Heritage and Education department was established to strengthen Tlingit and Haida’s nationhood. Dybdahl formerly served as the executive director of Huna Heritage Foundation (2015-17) and worked more than 15 years in various capacities for Sealaska and Sealaska Heritage Institute (2000-15). She currently serves on the Klawock Heenya Corp. board of directors (since 2010), the Alaska Federation of Natives board of directors as the Southeast Village representative, and Native Americans in Philanthropy board. Dybdahl grew up in Klawock and holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Southern Oregon University. Tom Sullivan was recently appointed vice president at First National Bank Alaska and named regional branch manager for Cordova, Haines, Juneau and Sitka. Sullivan is based out of the downtown Juneau Regional Branch. He is responsible for lending activities, business and community development, bank outreach and branch operations. Sullivan has been helping Southeast Alaska customers since 1986. Originally from Iowa, he graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in business administration. Ryan Cooper recently joined Stantec in its Anchorage office as an associate and environmental scientist, focusing on transportation, oil and gas, and hydroelectric projects in the Northwest. With more than a decade of experience working mostly in Alaska, Cooper will help expand the firm’s environmental efforts throughout the state and Pacific Northwest region. Since joining Stantec, Cooper has worked on the Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Access Road, Noatak Airport Relocation and North Pole Water Distribution System Expansion. Prior to joining Stantec, Cooper spent the previous five-plus years working for an Alaska Native Regional corporation, with a focus on regulatory permitting for approximately 10 major projects annually, including multiple oil and gas projects. Cooper earned a pair of bachelor’s degrees from Colorado State University in biology and business, and earned his master’s degree in biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has lectured at Harvard and Cornell universities. Coffman Engineers announced four new employees. Edward Lightwood, P.E. has joined the civil engineering department; Nicholai Smith, P.E. has rejoined the electrical engineering department; Ryan Gilchrist and Korey Hughes have been hired as drafters/designers. Lightwood is a professional, licensed engineer in Alaska with more than 30 years of experience in project management, contracts, planning, engineering, procurement and construction. Prior to joining Coffman Engineers, Lightwood worked at R&M Consultants, successfully operated a small engineering firm, and then managed and delivered EPC projects and programs for ConocoPhillips. Smith, a prior employee of Coffman Engineers, received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Wyoming. Smith has worked on commercial and industrial facilities and is a certified commercial energy auditor. Gilchrist obtained an associate’s degree in architectural and engineering technology from the University of Alaska Anchorage and previously worked at CH2M in Anchorage. He will work in the civil engineering department and will utilize his eight years of experience providing CAD expertise in Autodesk programs, 3D Modeling and BIM software. Hughes completed the architectural engineering technology (CAD) program at the UAA and is a certified drafter for civil, structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering. He will work directly with the mechanical and piping department as well as electrical and instrumentation design teams.

Crisis management earns honor for local PR firms

An Anchorage company that provides student tutoring services got a visit in December 2015 from police officers delivering bad news: one of the employees was suspected of possessing and distributing child pornography. The tutor also had allegedly engaged in a sexual relationship with a teen minor. The urge to avoid publicity when a bad situation strikes a company may be a perfectly natural response. But that’s not the advice a good public relations company covering its reputation would recommend, said Kristin Helvey. Piloting a tutoring company through that public relations nightmare won Helvey Communications and Kathy Day Public Relations the coveted 2017 Public Relations Society of America Silver Anvil Award in July. Out of 400 entrants, they won in the same category as the PR firm that handled “Changing a City’s Narrative: How Cleveland Leveraged the 2016 RNC to Shift Perceptions from Rust Belt to Revitalization” and “Pulse Tragedy: Orlando Health’s Response to Deadliest Mass murder in U.S. history.” The Alaskans’ presentation, “When Nightmares Come True: A Crisis Plan,” gained the national spotlight for a couple of reasons. For one, the small, Alaska-grown company didn’t lose its school district clients. For another, their tutoring business increased a documented 53 percent, which gave rise to 44 percent more revenue in spring 2016 over the previous year. How did that happen? The employee, Evan Vince Fischer, 35, was later convicted on the charges. Among the charges for child pornography, he was charged with six counts of sexual assault against a 15-year-old girl whom he had tutored in English literature at another charter school. But before Fischer was arrested, the company, Frontier Tutoring, had little time to prepare for what was to come. Police didn’t want CEO Brian Franklin to alert parents or students. That would disrupt their investigation and tip off the suspect. With days to act, Helvey called on Day, a veteran Alaskan public relations professional with crisis management experience who was on the Rasmuson Foundation team that came up with Pick.Click.Give. With a budget of only $5,000, the two delved into crisis management practices used by public relations professionals – and invented a few of their own. “The first step was to better understand the company’s role in the situation, whether the company had a history of issues and to determine if the company should have taken action that they didn’t,” Helvey said. Background checks, for example. Nothing had surfaced. Using primary and secondary research practices, the public relations pair delved into all the details they could, not unlike an investigator might do of a company’s past and present dealings. “We were fortunate to work with a CEO who believed in good communications and right actions,” Helvey said. “Putting your head in the sand doesn’t work. It only degrades trust.” They found no red flags or prior incidences of inappropriate behavior by the employee. They reviewed hiring and screening practices, and appropriate workplace behavior policies. Helvey and Day found this was the first major incident for the company. The background check on the employee had turned up no red flags. The company provided tutoring services for the Anchorage School District and used best practices for youth-serving organizations that went above minimum requirements. “Our goal was to maintain the confidence of clients and partners, to minimize the negative impacts on the company,” Helvey said. They identified two specific, measurable objectives. One, they wanted to retain 100 percent of the clients in the upcoming quarter. Two, they wanted to keep the tutoring contract with the Anchorage School District, which automatically came up for review due to the investigation. Helvey and Day also identified four stakeholder groups they would need to communicate to: employees, the parents and students tutored by the employee, the parents of other students who had not been in contact with Fischer, and organizational partners such as the school district and counseling departments. “Our overall strategy was to deliver fast, transparent communication that would reinforce the trust and loyalty, while disassociating the company from the employee in question,” Helvey said. The police asked the CEO to hold all communications until the employee arrest was made so as not to interfere with the investigation. The arrest was expected to take place within several days. “Outreach needed to be trigger ready the moment communication clearance was ready,” Helvey said. The CEO built a good rapport with the case detective, and the crisis team received regular and timely updates on the case. They also divided their plan to “before arrest” communication and “after arrest” communication to ensure readiness. By the time of the arrest, on Dec. 15, the company was fully prepared to respond to media questions. Helvey and Day came up with a Frequently Asked Questions sheet. They submitted all statements in writing, and the CEO communicated face-to-face and took calls from parents and others. Far from sticking his head in the sand, the CEO used the incident to further strengthen controls to include annual employee reorientation and additional steps in new-hire background checks. They also improved interview questions related to flagging inappropriate behaviors and interest based on U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guidance, Helvey said. Helvey and Day presented the case multiple times to public relations professionals across the state as a study on the impact of sincere, transparent and timely communications, even when it’s difficult. Parents emailed comments such as “I am thankful that you are acting swiftly to let us parents be informed of where you stand on this issue.” And “Thank you for your proactive approach…we have recommended you to others with confidence.” There are a couple takeaways from this particular crisis, Helvey and Day say. “In general the rules are to respond as quickly as you can even if you only know a little bit,” Day said. “Be sympathetic, genuine and honest. No matter what the situation is, at some point, emphasize what steps you’ve taken to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” By dealing with a potentially lethal public relations nightmare “off the front,” the damage on the backend is minimized, they say. Another piece of advice for business owners is to understand what good public relations teams do: “They have experience handling these types of situations,” Day said. “Hire experience.” Day said she’s heard company execs say, “I hired this person because he or she used to be a television reporter. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have experience.” Day, who began her career as a news reporter for public radio in Homer and at Channel 13 in Anchorage, said it takes a lot more than knowing how to put out press releases. “What public relations firms really want or need is a strategic thinker. There’s a big difference between someone who’s been in the business for less than five years and someone who’s been there more than five,” Day said. “It takes that long to develop analytical skills.” Helvey said the PR image of “spin doctoring” the news is a common perception, but one that doesn’t credit the professional steps that can be involved in helping a company come to terms with a crisis and react with honesty. “It’s temping for an organization to want to bury their head in the sand,” Helvey said. “At times they want to point fingers and deny it. I think public relations people are under a lot of pressure from organization leaders and others who just don’t have the clarity at the time to think through the repercussions of doing certain actions.” Changes in the industry are raising the bar in standards of practice to council organizations to stand up to do the right thing. “Cases like this I hope will further the discussion about right actions and good that comes from combining high ethical transparency with being straightforward and timely — all those things together can make really good things happen,” Helvey said. ^ Naomi Klouda can be reached at [email protected]

11-year wait for Olympics comes with risks for LA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — By 2028, a new stadium being built for the Rams and the Chargers will have been beaten up by nearly a decade of NFL games. The seemingly intractable problems of Southern California — traffic and homelessness — might get better or grow worse. So much can change in 11 years. Los Angeles’ decision to lock in an Olympic Games to far-off 2028 was praised by city leaders Monday as a deal that offers hundreds of millions of dollars in future benefits. But the longest wait time for any Olympics in the U.S. also comes with the risks of the unknown. “It’s a big chunk of time,” noted Jules Boykoff, a Pacific University professor who has written widely on the Olympics. “You just don’t know what’s going to come. The world presents surprises.” History teaches that the economy swings up and down, sometimes with disastrous results. Political scientists foresee an era of continuing upheaval and unrest. Geologists say an inevitable big earthquake in quake-prone Southern California could damage venues envisioned as part of the Games. Mayor Eric Garcetti shrugged off a question about the uncertainty. “Los Angeles is resilient,” said the youthful-looking mayor, who will be granddad age, chasing 60, by the time of the Games. “If the entire earth falls apart, probably the Olympics aren’t happening in Los Angeles. But short of that, we are going to have a great Games here in LA,” the mayor told reporters. In embracing the 2028 date that is expected to be finalized later this year, city Olympic organizers ceded the 2024 Games to Paris, which both cities had craved. But Garcetti and other supporters argued that the four-year delay was advantageous, giving the car-choked city more time to build rail lines. Additionally, the delay comes with financial sweeteners that, among other things, will pump millions of dollars into youth sports. But time rushes on, and major changes are bound to happen. Los Angeles County is home to 10 million people, and that population could increase by more than 500,000 by 2028, state demographers project. The cutting-edge technology in the new NFL stadium, now scheduled to open in 2020, will probably look like the forgotten Blackberry by 2028. Many athletes in their prime today will be in the bleachers in a decade. And how can officials accurately estimate ticket prices and the revenue they will generate? Events that happened 11 years ago can seem part of a faded, distant past. Facebook was a mere two years old. Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was executed. Taylor Swift released her first album, and “Game of Thrones” was years into the future. Consider the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The nearly century-old iconic structure — which would be used in an Olympics for a third time after the 1932 and 1984 Games — was constructed long before modern building codes. It was also severely damaged in a 1994 earthquake. The coliseum is currently undergoing an extensive makeover, but experts have warned it could still be vulnerable to shaking. Estimates vary widely on what the federal government would need to spend on security for the two-week event, by some accounts $1 billion or more. It’s only a guess what the price tag will be in 2028, or the level of threat at that time. Higher construction costs are likely, too. One example of the work that needs to be done: the Coliseum, a football stadium, would need to be converted into a venue for Olympic track events, then back again. Over the years Olympics have been notorious for cost overruns, and studies have questioned if host cities benefit economically. Russia has struggled with costs from the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which have been called the most expensive Olympics of all time. But Andrew Zimbalist, an economist at Smith College in Massachusetts, said LA was better positioned for a longer wait than other recent Olympic cities because its plan calls for no new major construction “They will be able to run an operating surplus,” he predicted. In the shorter term, the private committee behind the LA bid must retool its initial 2024 plans for four years in the future, including renegotiating contracts for housing athletes and temporary venues, which were all hooked to 2024. Another hurdle: With the change in date, LA apparently needs to renegotiate and extend financial guarantees approved by the city and state to cover potential shortfalls connected with the 2024 bid. Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in September that puts California taxpayers on the hook for up to $250 million if Los Angeles were awarded the 2024 Games and they ran over budget, and the city has promised the same. Chicago-based sports-finance consultant Marc Ganis said the overall outcome was favorable for LA, given that Paris was in line for the 2024 Games. Additionally, financial sweeteners will help cover costs over the longer wait time. Still, facilities age, technology advances and costs rise. “There is always going to be financial risk,” Ganis said, “when you are targeting 11 years into the future.”

Movers and Shakers for July 30

Steve Wallace has been appointed as the new Bethel District Attorney, effective July 10, after the retirement of Mike Gray. Wallace began his career in 1982 as a police officer in the City of Kodiak. He went on to serve as a police officer in Barrow and the Village of Wainwright, before becoming an attorney and joining the Department of Law in 1989 as an Assistant District Attorney in Palmer. Since then Wallace has served in Bethel, Anchorage, and, most recently, as the District Attorney in Kodiak. Paul Prussing was named the state director of Division of Student Learning, which includes the work of several teams of education professionals engaged in ensuring that state and federal education standards are implemented. Prussing has served the department for the past 17 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Oregon State University and is a certified teacher. He initially worked for the department as an Education Specialist, achieving an extensive background in federal programs. He has served as the Deputy Director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Support, now the Division of Student Learning, since 2003. Most recently, Prussing served as the acting division director for the past year as the department underwent a comprehensive reorganization. Anchorage-based advertising agency Spawn Ideas won gold for the Northwest Region Small Agency of the Year at the 2017 Ad Age Small Agency Awards in Nashville on July 19. Presented by Ad Age, a leading source of news for the marketing community, the Small Agency Awards are the premier honors saluting outstanding work created by independent shops with 150 or fewer employees. Spawn Ideas was founded as The Nerland Agency in 1975 in Anchorage. Transformation came with employee ownership in 2005 and a subsequent rebranding a few years later to Spawn Ideas. The agency has actively diversified its client base through its most recent office opening in Denver in 2015 and projects with clients like Intrawest Resorts, PowerPro, Cable One and the Outdoor Industry Association. Its Small Agency of the Year entry included work for the Alaska Railroad, Ericsson, GCI and Northrim Bank. Steve Denton joined AECOM Alaska as a senior mining engineer. He brings more than 40 years of experience in mining, consulting and construction to the AECOM team. Denton is a graduate of the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Mines. Denton spent more than half of his career at Usibeli Coal Mine, where he held various upper management and vice president positions. In these roles, he was responsible for performing various functions which include design, permitting and management for new mine start-ups, coal process facility construction, international coal sales and marine coal export facility operation. More recently, as an independent contractor, he has worked on a number of projects throughout Alaska in public works/roads, marine facilities, exploration, permitting, mine development/operations, and construction. Anchorage communications firm MSI Communications received three Telly Awards for the agency’s work for Alaska Airlines and Hilcorp Alaska. This year, the Telly Awards received more than 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents, including work from large, multi-national media companies. The Alaska Airlines TV commercial is an ongoing campaign that airs throughout the state. It features stop-motion filmography to depict items moving into a suitcase as if packing themselves for a vacation, all set to fun, upbeat music. The spot is re-edited each week to feature a different Alaska Airlines destination. MSI also won Telly Awards for two videos produced for Hilcorp and Alaska Airlines. The Hilcorp video showcased the innovations that made Northstar, a man-made, oil production island off the North Slope, such a success for the past 15 years. The Alaska Airlines video explained the $100 million investment the company is making in upgrades and expansions in Alaska. Scott Stender has recently returned to The Growth Company, an Avitus Group company as senior consultant following a planned hiatus designed to round out his resume in the non-profit and fundraising sectors. Stender possesses a sound understanding of organizational needs analysis and needs analysis driven design change in addition to excellent planning, networking, coordination, and communication skills. Stender’s proven strategic thinking, planning, design, and implementation skills are additive to his experience in law enforcement, emergency services and as a Dean of Faculty and Curricula Development at the Career Academy in Anchorage. He is planning to focus on the Training Without Walls program. Jennifer Yuhas also recently joined The Growth Company as a senior consultant. Yuhas possesses an extensive background in executive coaching, negotiations, liaison work, team building, group processes, policy assessment, advocacy, communications, change management, crisis management, image consulting, speech coaching, capacity development, and strategic planning. Before joining TGC/Avitus Group, Yuhas served as a Chief of Staff to four Alaska legislators, led a statewide non-profit to its peak membership and effectiveness, and worked for the Fairbanks-North Star Borough mayor’s office successfully negotiating key projects, also serving as the communications and liaison lead for emergency management. She most recently led negotiations strategy for the Pacific Salmon Treaty’s Alaska delegation, and Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex Airspace Planning for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Prior to that role she had served as the department’s communications and legislative director, and later led a liaison team for regulatory policy and interagency coordination. Yuhas will be based in Fairbanks. Sandy Baker joined Ohana Media Group LLC as the Sales Manager for the South Central Alaska cluster, effective July 24. Baker has spent the past year working in the freight industry and prior to that spent more than 15 years with Morris Communications radio stations (now Alpha Media) in Anchorage and Wasilla. Ohana Media Group is a privately-owned broadcast company based in Seattle with stations in Astoria, Ore., Anchorage and Wasilla. The Alaska cluster includes Adult Hits KBBO-FM, News/Talk KBYR, Rhythmic CHR KFAT, Oldies/Classic Hits KTMB and Traditional Country KXLW in Anchorage and Hot A/C KMBQ-FM in Wasilla.

Longtime Anchorage business wins Made in Alaska Award

Alaska Garden and Pet Supply, a company patronized by backyard farmers, large scale agriculture and most of Alaska’s big box stores, won the Alaska Manufacturer of the Year Award on July 24. Also known as Alaska Mill &Feed, Chief Operating Officer Ken Sherwood and company President Joel Klessens accepted the Made in Alaska Award at the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s Make it Monday Forum. Gov. Bill Walker presented the award. He spoke of the company’s 11 trademarks, 65 employees and the many “stories within stories of stories,” that marks 67 years in business. Most of it took place in the distinctive red buildings alongside the railroad tracks in Downtown Anchorage that has become an iconic Alaska business, he said. Britteny Cioni-Haywood, division director of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, said this year’s lineup of nominees gave one another stiff competition. Yet even so, Mill &Feed stood out for its ability to “innovate and deliver quality products to Alaskans, while also providing jobs for Alaskans in the process.” Alaska Garden and Pet Supply was founded in 1950 on the principles and innovations of Don Donatello, an MIT chemical engineer who trademarked his products. Today, the company operates a garden and pet wholesale distribution business and the Alaska Mill &Feed retail store in Anchorage. It was recognized for its nearly seven decades of operation, adding a feed mill in 1965, a fertilizer blending plant in 1978, and a liquid ice melt facility in 2015. Sherwood and Klessens said Alaskans tend to know Alaska Mill &Feed by its iconic storefront. “The store is the face of our business. Then there are all these products we manufacture in buildings behind the store right here on two square city blocks,” Klessens said. “People are surprised when they realize there’s a lot more wholesale to the operation than the retail operation.” It began with Donatello’s ideas for bleach cleaners and waxes sold to the Anchorage School District and local companies. Later he had the idea to make feed for reindeer herds, horses, cattle, chicken and other farm animals in bulk at the distinctive mill he built and tied into the railroad so that he could receive bulk shipments from out of state needed as ingredients. Hopper cars from the Midwest and Canada continue to supply salt, fertilizers ingredients, and corn and soy for feed meal. “Some guys always make the right decisions and Donatello was like that. He was a smart entrepreneur, a brilliant man,” Klessens recalls of the man who hired him 32 years ago. For example, Donatello was honored as the U.S. Small Businessman of the Year in 1965 in award presented by President Lyndon Johnson. Major customers in the Matanuska Valley and farming communities down the Kenai Peninsula and north to Delta Junction came to depend on the animal feed. The mill sold to distributors throughout the state. In the 1970s, Donatello added the fertilizer blending plant, and the retail operation opened. Later, they added the Arctic Melt and Arctic Grip products. Klessens, with his business-public relations degree from Montana State University when Donatello hired him, focused on wider business distribution. Following in Donatello’s footsteps, he also developed a line of Arctic Birdseed for specific migrating bird species that is now trademarked. In the winter, the company manufactures ice melt. The plant turns to making fertilizer in the spring and summer. All of these products are made in the feed mill and plants behind the store on a spread that takes up more than two city blocks. They also make specialty feeds for musk ox, moose and bison, using nutritionists’ guidance for specific state-sanctioned programs. The items are Alaska specific, a sure selling point since lots of products made Outside fail to suit the subarctic environment. “We’ve been manufacturing fertilizers for farmers that is made in Alaska, designed for Alaska conditions,” Klessens said. “When we talk to a buyer for Home Depot or Walmart or one of the big box stores, that’s important. ‘You don’t want to bring up products from an Outside plant,’ we tell them.” Mill &Feed sells directly to these large box stores in Alaska today, including Fred Meyer, Sam’s, Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Carrs-Safeway, and True Value. Agriculture changed in the past six decades, shifting from big dairy and meat farms to “backyard farmers,” who keep a few chickens and raise their own produce, said Sherwood, who started with his father-in-law’s company in 1973. At that point he was selling cleaning products to the school districts. “Today it’s different, but agriculture also is doing very well. A lot of green houses are going up, a lot of small and big farms are in operation, and a lot of produce is being grown in Alaska,” Sherwood said. The company trademarked 11 products: Arctic Melt, Arctic Grip, Arctic Grow Fertilizer, Arctic Wild Bird Seed and the various animal feeds, including one Sherwood developed that is safe for moose to eat and is sold only to sanctioned buyers. In 2016, the operation stepped into a new ownership configuration under an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP. When Don Donatello died in 2002, business ownership went into a family trust. The Donatello Family Trust sold all its shares to the ESOP, Klessens said. It’s fitting the Manufacturer of the Year Award, like company profits, is shared with all the employees, Sherwood and Klessens say. “Our 65 employees invest a lot of themselves in their work. I think of the guy who’s worked for us 25 years and he’s out there in minus-20 below when the wind is blowing. I think of the people selling our products to their neighbors. As a result, they build relationships with a customer, which creates positive relationships,” Klessens said. “So for them to reap the benefits of that success is very fitting and that’s what makes us so proud of today’s announcement.” Naomi Klouda can be reached at [email protected]

Movers and Shakers for July 23

Nora Barlow, Leonard Anderson and Constance Livsey left Burr, Pease &Kurtz to form the new law firm of Barlow Anderson LLC located at 420 L Street, Suite 310, in Anchorage. They are joined by associate Martha Tansik and long-term staff. The Barlow Anderson practice deals with workers’ compensation defense, estate planning, probate, guardianship, and business transactions and formation. Due to the pending retirement of PenAir Chief Operating Officer Dave Hall, several changes in upper management have been announced. Current Chief Financial Officer Dave Richards has been named to replace Hall as COO. Richards has been with PenAir for nine months, and brings experience from Era Aviation where he was VP of finance for six years and controller with the Municipality of Anchorage for six years. Brian Whilden, VP, safety and compliance, has been promoted to senior VP, flight operations and safety. Whilden has held many positions in his 29-year PenAir career starting on the ramp in King Salmon. He also served as station manager moving throughout the PenAir’s routes of King Salmon, Dillingham and Dutch Harbor. Murphy Forner, VP, ground operations, has been named senior VP, ground operations and business development. Forner has held various positions with PenAir over the last six years, and spent 11 years with Era Aviation and 20 years at Alaska Airlines, all in the ground operations and station operations arena. Al Orot, has been named VP, ground operations-Alaska. Orot previously held the position of VP of cargo operations until the sale of the all-cargo Saab 340 fleet. Orot, another long-term employee with the company, has held various services position in his 28-year career with PenAir. Dallas Anthony, regional director, ground operations-Alaska, has been named managing director, ground operations-contiguous U. S. His career includes four years with PenAir, including manager of safety and regional director ground operations-Alaska. Nick Aderman, Director of Maintenance, was promoted to VP of aircraft maintenance. Aderman started with PenAir in September 2003 as a night shift aircraft mechanic. During his 14 years prior to becoming director of maintenance he held positions as lead aircraft mechanic, aircraft inspector, and outsource maintenance representative for heavy check aircraft. Chief Bankruptcy Judge Gary A. Spraker of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Alaska has been appointed to the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, which hears appeals of decisions made by federal bankruptcy courts in the western states. Spraker, 54, will serve a seven-year term on the BAP, commencing Aug. 1. Spraker, who maintains chambers in Anchorage, was appointed to the Alaska bankruptcy court in 2012. He is the court’s only full-time judge and assumed the office of chief bankruptcy judge upon his appointment. Prior to coming onto the bench, Spraker was a partner since 2002 at Christianson &Spraker (formerly Christianson, Boutin &Spraker). His practice there focused on all phases of bankruptcy and commercial matters including litigation. Spraker was also an associate at the same law office from 1994 to 2002, when it was known as Bundy &Christianson. He began his legal career in 1988 as an associate in the Denver office of Morrison &Foerster. A native of Baltimore, Md., Spraker received his bachelor’s degree, Phi Beta Kappa, from Stetson University in 1985, and his juris doctcor in 1988 from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, graduating third in the class. The Mat-Su Health Foundation recently welcomed Annie Bill and Lisa Wade to its board of directors. Bill has had successful careers in education and natural resources. She owns Excel Alaska, an education consulting company. Previously, Bill held positions of increasing responsibility with the Mat-Su Borough School District. She was principal at Ron Larson Elementary School, acting assistant principal at Colony Middle School, a teacher, and she served as the district’s coordinator for the Talented and Gifted and International Baccalaureate programs. She earned a master’s degree in teaching from Alaska Pacific University and a bachelor’s degree in recreation and parks/environmental education from Penn State University. Wade became the health, education, and social services division director for Chickaloon Village Traditional Council in 2013. She previously served as the director of health and social services for seven years. Wade is a steering committee member of the Alaska Resilience Coalition and of R.O.C.K. Mat-Su (Raising Our Children With Kindness). She is a member of Benteh/Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center’s Joint Operating Board, and an advisory committee member of the Ahtnahwt’aene’ Nay’dini’aa den (Life House Clinic Community Health Center). She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Metropolitan State University. She studied counseling psychology at the master’s level at Saint Mary’s University and completed coursework in a Ph.D. program in clinical and community psychology with a rural Indigenous Emphasis at the University of Alaska. AECOM has hired Corissa Andrews to support its Alaska operations as a student intern. In this role, Andrews will provide project and administrative support to AECOM’s Anchorage office. Andrews is a 2017 graduate of Robert Service High School in Anchorage, where she was enrolled in Advanced Placement studies. Andrews will enroll at Washington State University in Pullman this fall, majoring in environmental engineering. Chris Brown has been selected for the position of senior vice president, special credits, at Alaska USA Federal Credit Union. Brown has more than 23 years of lending and collections experience, including 18 years with Ford Motor Credit. He holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees of advertising and public relations degrees from Michigan State University. The law firm of Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Miller, Monkman &Flannery, LLP, with offices in Anchorage and Juneau, announced that three of its Alaska attorneys have been named to the Thomson Reuters “2017 Super Lawyers” list. Myra Munson was named a “Super Lawyer” in the areas of Native American, heath care and nonprofit organization law. Richard Monkman received the designation in health care, Native American and appellate law. Lloyd Miller received the designation in Native American, appellate and government relations law. Sonosky Chambers was established in 1976 to represent Indian and Native Alaskan Tribes. The firm also has offices in Washington, D.C., San Diego and Albuquerque.

Mover and Shakers for July 16

Coffman Engineers announced that Aaron Morse has obtained his Alaska professional engineering license in civil engineering. Morse is a civil/structural engineer in the Anchorage office. He received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2009. His first five years after college were concentrated in construction management and engineering, including work at two combined-cycle, natural-gas-fired power plants in Canada. Morse’s industrial background as a construction field engineer includes supervision of ironworker and boilermaker crews erecting structural steel and performing structural welding, supervision of industrial painters, crane lift plans, quality control, calculating cost projections and generating RFIs. In 2014 Morse transitioned from construction management to design engineering. His structural design experience has been concentrated mostly in the oil and gas sector, including steel pipe support design, reinforced concrete foundation design and deep foundation design. PND Engineers Inc. announced two professional achievements and a new hire in its Anchorage office. Josh Gray and Daniel King recently obtained professional engineer registrations from the State of Alaska. Gray graduated from Montana State University in 2012 with his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He joined the PND team in 2013, with his engineering duties encompassing general civil site design, roadway design, marine infrastructure, oil and gas development and on-site inspection. King obtained his master’s degree in civil engineering in 2016 from University of Alaska Anchorage. He specializes in structural evaluation and design. King began working at PND as an intern and has been with the company fulltime since 2013. Amy Steiner, E.I.T. (engineer in training), joined the Anchorage office in January. Steiner received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2012. Following that, she worked for PDC Engineering in Fairbanks for 2½ years before returning to school at Delft University of Technology (in The Netherlands) for her master’s degree in geotechnical engineering, completed in 2016. Her engineering duties primarily consist of laboratory testing and the preparation of geotechnical reports. Ravn Air Group announced that Dave Pflieger will join the company as its new president, CEO and member of its board of directors. Bob Hajdukovich, the airline’s current president and CEO, will be elevated to vice chairman of the board. Both new positions will be effective Aug. 8. Pflieger brings over three decades of aviation experience to Ravn. His award-winning career includes prior positions as the CEO of Fiji Airways, Silver Airways and most recently of Island Air, Larry Ellison’s privately held airline in Hawaii. Pflieger was also a founding officer and senior executive at Virgin America, and held senior management roles in operations, safety and legal at Delta Air Lines. While at Delta, Pflieger was also a B757/767 and B737 pilot. Pflieger graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served in the United States Air Force as a B-52 instructor pilot and a C-130 pilot. He holds a juris doctor and an MBA from Emory University. Seven lawyers from the Anchorage office of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP have been selected by their peers for inclusion in the 2017 edition of Alaska Super Lawyers. The Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists, published by Thomson Reuters Legal, are a research-driven, peer-influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of professional achievement and peer recognition. Each year no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in Alaska are named to the Super Lawyers list, and no more than 2.5 percent for the Rising Stars list. Super Lawyers are: Jon S. Dawson, Business and Corporate; Gregory S. Fisher, Employment and Labor; Elizabeth Pifke Hodes, Employment and Labor; Barbara Simpson Kraft, Real Estate; Joseph L. Reece, Business and Corporate, Real Estate; Robert K. Stewart Jr., Employment and Labor. Rising Star was Anne-Marie Tavella, Construction Litigation. Dr. Mark M. Levin, M.D., M.S., will join the Alaska Heart &Vascular Institute on Sept. 18. He is board-certified in general surgery and a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Medicine, where he earned a doctor of medicine, as well as a master of science in physiology and biophysics. Levin also holds a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience with a concentration in cellular and molecular neuroscience from the Johns Hopkins University. Levin is currently finishing his training at the University of Texas Southwestern as a vascular surgery fellow. His training entails the full spectrum of open and endovascular surgery, with an emphasis on advanced endovascular techniques. Levin has been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented his research at various national conferences. His main interests are in carotid disease, PAD, and complex endovascular aortic aneurysm repair. He is expected to receive board eligibility in vascular surgery in July.

Movers and Shakers for July 9

Littler, the world’s largest employment and labor law practice representing management, has added Renea I. Saade as a shareholder in the Anchorage office. Saade was previously a partner in the labor and employment group at Stoel Rives LLP. Saade counsels employers on a wide range of issues that arise in the workplace and often serves as an independent workplace investigator and trainer on various employment law issues, including the prevention of discrimination and harassment in the workplace. She also represents employers before governmental agencies and local courts. Outside of her legal practice, Saade serves as board president of YWCA Alaska and is a member of several community and legal organizations. Pursuit announced that Fernando Salvador has been promoted to the position of vice president and general manager of the Alaska Collection. Salvador, former general manager of Pursuit’s Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, will be responsible for leading the team in Alaska to deliver unforgettable and inspiring experiences to guests and staff. Prior to his leadership at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, Salvador’s career has developed and grown over many years in a variety of national park resort roles across Alaska and Washington, including notable posts managing the Denali Park Village, McKinley Chalet Resort and the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. Resource Data, a custom software development, geographic information system and IT consulting firm, has hired Carol Campbell Taunuu as a business analyst to its Anchorage office. Campbell recently graduated with her bachelor’s degree in business management magna cum laude from the University of Alaska Anchorage. While going to school she most recently worked as a loan account manager at United Way and as a director/trainer for Pampered Chef. Resource Data also has hired Rowan Bulkow as an intern in Anchorage. Rowan just completed his junior year at the University of Alaska Anchorage where he’s pursuing his bachelor’s degree in computer science. McCool Carlson Green announced that Cara Rude, ASID, and Melissa Pribyl, ASID, have both passed the rigorous test to become the first WELL-accredited professionals in Alaska. Passing the test signifies a comprehensive understanding of the WELL Building Standard, which is a program dedicated to advancing human health and well-being in buildings. Rude has 13 years of interior design experience. Educated at The Art Institute of Portland and graduating with a bachelor’s degree in interior design, she currently serves as the president for the American Society of Interior Designers, Alaska Chapter; member and ambassador presenter for the International Living Future Institute; and is a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional Building Design and Construction. Rude has led on projects such as the Anchorage Museum Expansion, Gladys Wood Elementary School and Alaska Airlines Hangar. Pribyl joined MCG’s interior design team in 2016. Born and raised in Alaska, she has 10 years of professional design experience. Pribyl is also a construction specification institute construction document technologist.

Movers and Shakers for July 2

Resource Data, a custom software development, geographic information system and IT consulting firm, hired Lynelle Davis as AP/AR specialist at its corporate office in Anchorage. Davis recently graduated with her associate’s degree in business management from Alaska Pacific University and has her business offices specialist degree from Alaska Career College. Most recently Davis worked as a program assistant for the CIRI Foundation, where she worked with Resource Data on TCF’s online application. Northrim BanCorp Inc., the parent company of Northrim Bank, named Joe Schierhorn as president and CEO effective June 26. Schierhorn will also continue to serve as Northrim BanCorp’s chief operating officer and Northrim Bank’s president and CEO, while Joe Beedle will continue to serve as chairman of the board of directors of Northrim BanCorp and Northrim Bank. Schierhorn’s entire professional career has been in Alaska. He started working for Marc Langland at Alaska Pacific Trust during college breaks. After graduation, Schierhorn’s professional experience included working at Peat Marwick Mitchell &Co. (now KPMG) where he was a tax accountant and later as a loan officer at Key Bank. Schierhorn is a charter employee of the bank and started his Northrim career as vice president, commercial loan officer and regulatory compliance manager in 1990. He was promoted first to senior vice president then elevated to executive vice president and chief financial officer, chief operating officer and finally president and CEO. A life-long Alaskan, Schierhorn grew up in Fairbanks and graduated from Lathrop High School. He is a CPA and has a juris doctorate/master of management degree from Willamette University School of Law and Atkinson Graduate School of Management, having received his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University. He is also a graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School. Native Voice One recently welcomed Bob Peterson to take on the role of manager. Originally from Bethel, much of Peterson’s broadcast background comes from producing and hosting a podcast called “Eskimo Bob Lives” where he interviewed musicians, authors and more. He volunteered at KYUK in Bethel and at his college radio station and brings a history of business experience to his new role at Native Voice One, the distribution division of Anchorage’s Koahnic Broadcast Corp.

Alaska’s ‘Chief Encouragement Officer’

Allan Johnston has a theory about the cyclical attempts at new business ideas. Institutional knowledge tends to turn over every eight years. Then the knowledge disappears — maybe in the form of a discouraged entrepreneur moving on to a new idea or to the Lower 48. Alaska attracts talented people possessing good ideas who seek to set a plan in place, but few have the longevity to know what’s already been tried. “An idea will come up and someone will say ‘it’s never been done before. No one is aware of it,’” Johnston said. “In reality, it has been done. But nobody who’s working there was part of it or is aware of it.” Whether rescuing orphaned business plans or finding new connections, nearly every recent Alaska investment program to help entrepreneurs has seen the stamp of Johnston in one way or another, his champions say. As far as encouragement and institutional memory, Johnston supplies both. Since retiring in 2012 from a 36-year career as regional manager for Wedbush Securities, he’s become a CEO, but not of any particular company. Instead, he’s the Chief Encouragement Officer for a whole lot of people and projects involved in a modern-day ecosystem for startups. The ecosystem isn’t restricted to an Alaska pond, either. Global entrepreneurship helps Alaskans look outward — or in that Alaska lexicon “Outside” — where their true markets may be located, he says. “If all we do is look inside Alaska, there may not be much of a market and the idea won’t realize its potential,” Johnston says, in what sounds like a walking TED talk to journalists, investors, business strategists, technologists, planners and public officials. “If we can identify the ‘been there, done that’ people and pair them with a new entrepreneur that has the same idea, there’s an opportunity,” he says. Shake down the former plan that didn’t work, take it apart and figure out why. Usually, the infrastructure and logistics weren’t complete. But to say it’s never been done here before or it’s been tried and failed is another way of discouraging hopeful ideas. “We have to get these ideas into a positive environment,” Johnston said. “In a negative environment you feel like nothing works or it will never work or you can’t do anything right.” Alaska has critical reasons for trying. Third World countries are usually extraction economies and most decisions impacting them are made outside of that country with their wealth based on a single resource. “Alaska is like a Third World extraction economy since we receive 80 percent of our revenue from oil. That is a real danger,” Johnston said. “You would never invest in just one type of stock.” He believes oil was a godsend, but the future of Alaska will be built on the dreams of innovators and entrepreneurs. Making his own history A college-age Johnston spent the summer of 1968 in Alaska, by then not even a decade into statehood. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System hadn’t been built. He and a friend drove part of the Alcan Highway in a Volkswagen Bug thinking they would commercial fish in Ketchikan. But they arrived too soon for the season, and decided to take the ferry to Haines. On the drive toward Delta Junction, a huge forest fire broke out. “We were conscripted to fight fires,” he said, “and never did get out on a fishing boat.” At the University of Vermont, Johnston was studying finance, destined toward what he thought involved corporation finances. That summer in Alaska “lived up to my expectations as a good place to raise a family, and it had everything to make for a good quality of life here,” he said. In St. Johnsbury, Vt., Johnston’s dad was an internist/cardiologist whose practice was about 30 feet from the house. He didn’t see the East Coast as offering the same types of wide-open opportunities. The town of his birth was established in 1760, a “shire” town or county seat for Caledonia County. St. Johnsbury is famed for Thaddeus Fairbanks’ 1830 invention of the platform scale and as the center of manufacturing candlepins, better known as bowling pins. Maple syrup is a primary industry. “You’re always living someone else’s history,” he said. “In Alaska you’re creating history every day. There, people ask: ‘Where did you go to school? Who were your parents?’ Without saying anything about yourself, you’re pigeon-holed.” In that part of the country, if the “dad’s a U.S. senator and the son is a jerk, he’s still considered someone special,” he said. “If your dad’s a senator here and the son is a jerk — he’s still a jerk.” Several things interrupted Johnston’s return to Alaska. He was drafted during the Vietnam War in February1970. First at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, then in Germany, Johnston worked Army communications for two years. His education had also been interrupted, so upon discharge he returned to his finance studies at UV. “I found that I got really restless and wanted to come back to Alaska. I never finished my degree,” he said. In the summer and winter of 1974-75 in Fairbanks, Johnston worked for Bechtel as a payroll timekeeper a few months, then took a construction job out of the Labor’s Union in Happy Valley. By the time he married his wife Jennifer on Jan. 2, 1976, the couple was ready to move permanently to Alaska. The newlyweds drove a Dodge pickup truck-camper from Vermont cross-country and up the Alcan Highway, carrying not much more than a few duffle bags of clothes, wedding gifts and a “bit of maple syrup,” as his wife puts it. They settled in Fairbanks where Johnston was the regional manager for Wedbush Securities, a position that brought them to Anchorage in 1988. He retired in October 2012 after a 36-year career. After they raised three children, Jennifer Johnston was voted to the Anchorage Assembly where she served three terms. Now she represents District 28 in the Alaska House of Representatives. The impetus for his retirement, Johnston said, was to assist the Municipality of Anchorage in creating the $13 million State Small Business Credit Initiative or the SSBCI, awarded to Anchorage in 2012. It is now known as the Municipality of Anchorage 49th State Angel Fund and has attracted more than 20 investors who help set startups on their way to success. Angels and accelerators The major programs Johnston is credited with launching include the Alaska Business Plan Competition in 1999, the 49th State Angel Fund in 2012, the Global Entrepreneurship In Residence Program in 2016, Startup Weekend in 2012, The Alaska Energy Prize contest (now set to take place in 2018) and the Alaska Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support network. He also helped develop Launch Alaska. The Alaska Business Plan Competition was one of the first projects of The Entrepreneurs and Mentors Network, or TEAM, which Johnston formed with like-minded innovators and investors such as Mike Haines and Eric McCallum. “Not a single one of these would have been started without Allan Johnston,” wrote Forrest Nabors, a UAA Political Science professor, in an email. “He has been helping to shape Alaska’s innovation and entrepreneurial culture for over 15 years. A lot of the opportunities and networks have in some way been seeded by his efforts.” Nabors is a co-founder of Alyeska Venture Management and the Alaska Accelerator Fund, a firm that now has four partners and 19 investors. “Allan was instrumental in helping us start our fund. Without him, AVM and AAF would not exist. I have also worked with him on the Alaska Business Plan Competition. He has been a tireless advocate for new business startups in our state,” Nabors wrote. Nabors credits him not only as Alaska’s Chief Encouragement Officer but also as “godfather of Alaska entrepreneurship.” One of Johnston’s visions was to set up a funding pot for well-vetted business startups. Lucinda Mahoney was the chief fiscal officer for the Municipality of Anchorage under former Mayor Dan Sullivan when she sought the $14 million in funding from the federal government for establishing the 49th State Angel Fund. “Allan and I worked long hours together to create an application for Anchorage. He guided me through the entire process,” Mahoney said. “We received the money and finally Anchorage had some funds to create a culture of angel investing in startups. This would not have happened if not for Allan.” The programs may sound Alaska-centric, but Johnston is active nationally in a network of entrepreneurial mentors. He taps international mentors to help Alaskans and is a financial supporter of the new Global Entrepreneur In Residence at UAA, Nigel Sharp. “As you know diversification of our economy is critical and startups play a critical role. I attribute this new community’s existence to Allan. It was his vision, his tenacity and he made it happen,” Mahoney said. Isaac Vanderburg, the executive director of Launch Alaska, said he met Johnston about a decade ago. “I’m sure he reached out to me because he’s a connector. I don’t remember the exact moment, but it was back when I was running the UAA Small Business Development Center,” Vanderburg said. “He’s always working behind the scenes to put together the right people.” Johnston’s vision for how the community should look in the future “is pretty compelling,” he said. “He thinks at a pretty high level.” Somehow, entrepreneurship ties everything together. “He is like a classic community builder: Extremely selfless as he gives his time and his money and his expertise to a lot of people. He’s also got a pulse on events and people coming together – it’s almost uncanny,” Vanderburg says. At Launch Alaska, Johnston was able to see a business accelerator program put to work after he invested some of his own money toward the $25,000 grants that go to each company chosen to participate. This is how Launch Alaska works for those accepted into the program: “We give them $25,000, they sign a note, and the investors have a right to convert the note into stock or equity in the company if they chose for a possible return on the investment,” explained Lance Ahern, a business advisor for the Alaska Small Business Development Center. In the “accelerator,” the company commits to four months of intensive training and contact with mentors. At the other end of the training, they emerge as investment-ready companies that are looking to scale quickly, Vanderburg said. The first graduating class of the Launch Alaska program are Aquilo, which provides drone services for large companies; Kwema, a team marketing “Smart” jewelry; and Heather’s Choice, which developed a line of dehydrated organic foods for outdoor adventures. Back before there were these programs though, Johnston’s original work setting up the Business Plan Competition in 1999 provided a place to start a good business plan. To get it launched, Johnston went to university business professors at the Schools of Business at UAA, University of Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Pacific University. In the contest, entrepreneurs from across the state vie to attract investors, validate their business ideas and win prizes. Teams pitch their startups to a panel of judges and attendees for a chance to be named creator of the year’s Best Business Plan. It’s supported by a network of businesses, such as Northrim Bank, First National Bank Alaska, Wells Fargo Foundation, Team Network Inc., Alaska First Community Bank and Trust, Anchorage Economic Development Corp., UAA College of Business and Public Policy, APU Hickel Leadership and Entrepreneurship Fund, and the Anchorage International Rotary Club. “It started out as being for business students, an act of learning, or experiential learning,” Johnston said. Gradually, the competition became a welcome mat for the winning business plan — and for the runners-up — into that community ecosystem that would nurture a new entrepreneur. Most of these programs also have connections to the University of Alaska Schools of Business, both at UAA and UAF, as well as the Business Enterprise Institute, said Director Christi Bell. Universities have long played a role as economic engines, Bell said. Johnston has seen the value of connecting university expertise with community business leaders to expand the network: the Global Entrepreneur in Residence Program just welcomed its first faculty member June 19. “Universities have their research arms and they partner with industry so it’s commercialized that way,” Bell said. Industry can benefit the university as a funding mechanism as well. Johnston and Bell point out that all these programs are paid for from private funding – not through the beleaguered state budget allocation to the UA system. A great example of a university generating its own funding comes out of the University of Florida. Gatorade was created in 1965 by a team of scientists at UF, College of Medicine, Bell noted. “They’ve received $12 million a year in recent years from royalties.” The money goes back into the school through a foundation. A holy grail for universities, ever since Florida’s success, is to find their own “Gatorade” by nurturing the intellectual talents of faculty and students. “If enough seeds are planted in nourishing soil,” Johnston said, one day we may see a successful venture that will allow the university to self-fund to some extent. For Johnston, seeing these developments come to fruition has made his job as a CEO rich and rewarding. “It’s fun getting up in the morning if you think you can make a difference,” he said. ^ Naomi Klouda can be reached at [email protected]

Movers and Shakers for June 25

Jason Omedelina joined Sitnasuak Native Corp. as land technician on June 5. Omedelina was born and raised in Nome. Omedelina graduated from Nome Beltz in 1996 and attended college at Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash., and Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. Prior to joining Sitnasuak, Jason worked with Alaska Airlines over the past 16 years, and continues to work with Alaska Airlines part-time. Two senior managers have been named to positions in the Alaska Region of the National Park Service. Susanne Fleek-Green will be the new superintendent of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, a four million-acre unit southwest of Anchorage. Christina Caswell will be the new associate regional director for administration, an Anchorage-based position that leads contracting, human resources, budget, concessions and information technology programs. She begins her job in late July. Fleek-Green has served as Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s chief of staff and was previously state director for U.S. Sen. Mark Begich. Caswell, a former Anchorage resident, comes to the NPS from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, where she serves as the assistant regional administrator/administrative officer for OSHA Region 10 in Seattle. Prior to working at OSHA, she served as the chief of strategy and mission support with the Army Corp of Engineers. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in workplace learning and organizational development. Fleek-Green’s public service background also includes working for the Municipality of Anchorage in the Office of Economic and Community Development, the United States Senate in Washington, D.C. and as a Presidential Management Fellow with the U.S. Department of the Interior. Fleek-Green has a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in public policy from the University of California Berkeley. The Alaska Chamber promoted Ben Mulligan to vice president. A lifelong Alaskan, Mulligan most recently served as the legislative liaison to the Department of Fish and Game under Gov. Sean Parnell. That along with his 12 years of experience in state government made him a perfect fit for the position. Mulligan has been with the Alaska Chamber since January 2017. He attended the University of Wyoming where he received a bachelor’s degree in fisheries biology and he serves as a board member of the Alaska Outdoor Heritage Foundation. Credit Union 1 promoted Melissa Aningayou to Abbott branch manager in Anchorage. Aningayou was initially hired as a teller I at the Nome branch. She has also held the positions of teller II, teller III, member service representative, member service officer, senior teller II, member service supervisor and assistant branch manager, the position Aningayou held prior to this position. Angie Kemp was appointed as the new Juneau District Attorney, effective June 19, after the retirement of James Scott. Kemp is a life-long Alaskan who began her career in the Juneau District Attorney’s office as an office assistant. After her second year in law school, she returned as a legal intern. Following her graduation from the Seattle University School of Law in 2008, Kemp joined the Juneau District Attorney’s office as an assistant district attorney. She has prosecuted offenses ranging from residential burglaries to homicides and sexual assaults.

Movers and Shakers for June 18

Northrim Bank announced several promotions and new hires. Promotions include: Donna Fountain, associate vice president, call center assistant manager; Sarah Gaines, associate vice president, human resources operations manager; Jyah Gitomer, vice president, call center manager; and Jared Shary, associate vice president, marketing and sales manager. New hires include: Tiana Allen, special credits associate officer; Melissa Brigden, marketing analyst; Derek Lovvorn, vice president, core applications manager; and James “Jamey” Young, vice president, commercial loan officer. Fountain joined Northrim in 2006 and has more than 18 years of experience in the banking experience. She has held various positions at Northrim and has been with the call center since October 2016. Gaines has been with Northrim since 2002, where she started working at the Huffman Branch. She has been with the HR department since 2007. Gaines holds a bachelor’s degree with an HR emphasis from the University of Alaska Southeast. Gitomer has been with Northrim since last August. She has worked for 7-Eleven for the past 18 years in a variety of positions. Gitomer has her MBA from Texas A&M University, Commerce. Shary has been with Northrim Bank since 2009, when he was hired as a teller at the West Anchorage Branch. He moved to the Marketing Department in 2011, where he has since held a variety of marketing roles. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and finance as well as an MBA in leadership from the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he served as both a protégé and mentor of the school’s Leadership Fellows program. Allen joins Northrim with 15 years of experience in financial services, banking and mortgage. She was born and raised in Anchorage and has returned after 21 years of living in the Lower 48. Allen spent the last seven years with Bank of America where she held various positions, and is currently pursuing her degree in business administration with an emphasis on finance. Brigden comes to Northrim with five years of marketing and social media experience and having worked as a universal banker at a bank in Washington. She holds a bachelor’s degree and is pursuing her MBA from Wright State University. Lovvorn joins Northrim Bank with 19 years of experience in IT, including applications development and support. He spent 12 of those years in the oil industry and the other seven in the financial services industry. Lovvorn holds a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the University of Alaska Anchorage and holds multiple IT certifications and a Project Management Professional certification. Young comes to Northrim Bank with 27 years in financial services and banking. He has worked in banks throughout Alaska including Juneau, Dillingham and Fairbanks. Young holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Pacific Lutheran University. Cassie Magwire has been promoted to the position of branch manager at the Credit Union 1 Debarr Branch. Magwire was initially hired in December of 2006 as a teller I at the Eagle River Branch. She held the positions of teller II, teller III, senior teller, member service representative, Anchorage Area assistant branch manager, Downtown Branch manager and Abbott Branch manager, the position she held prior to this promotion. Brooke Johnson has been promoted to the position of branch service manager. Johnson was initially hired in 2010 and has worked as a staff development trainer, assistant branch manager and branch manager, the position she held prior to this promotion. Before coming to CU1, she worked for several years in branch management and operations at other credit unions.

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