Movers and Shakers

Movers and Shakers

Movers and Shakers for Nov. 19

Pat Leary was recently hired as the new senior vice president of Technical Services for Sitnasuak Applied Technologies LLC based in Anchorage, a subsidiary of Sitnasuak Native Corp. Leary started this position on Oct. 23. The primary focus of work will be “remote” supervisory control and data acquisition, information technology network and physical security, and general IT system operations and maintenance. Leary is from Anchorage and retired from the U.S. Navy as a Captain in 2012. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics with a concentration in oceanography, and a master’s degree in systems technology, space systems operations from the Naval Postgraduate School. His U.S. Navy assignments ranged from serving as the U.S. Northern Command as C3 Branch Chief and Command Architecture Division Chief, serving the USS Nimitz as the Combat Systems Officer including support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and serving the Naval Postgraduate School as the director of the Information Professional Center of Excellence. His awards include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (3), Navy Commendation Medal (4), Joint Service Achievement Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal (2). In addition, his civilian professional experiences have included the director of Cyber Technologies for Trabus Technologies, and senior program manager of Cyber Security for Epsilon Systems Solutions Inc. Bryan Scoresby was appointed as the new state executive director for the USDA Alaska Farm Service Agency, effective Oct. 30. Scoresby has a master’s degree in agribusiness management from Brigham Young University and began his career with the USDA in 1987. In 1992, he came to Alaska to serve as a district director for FSA. Most recently, he has worked in the mortgage business for the past 21 years. The Farm Service Agency serves farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs. The agency offers farmers a strong safety net through the administration of farm commodity and disaster programs. The American Red Cross of Alaska recognized the outstanding efforts of Anchorage volunteer David Williams, who received the Bob Hassmiller Excellence in Disaster Services Award in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 25 at the Leadership Awards Reception and Dinner at the American Red Cross National Headquarters. This new national-level award has been established to recognize a volunteer who has made an impact on the American Red Cross, the community and the individuals the Red Cross serves in the areas of disaster preparedness, response, or recovery. Williams was nominated for the award by Red Cross of Alaska Regional Disaster Officer Kelley McGuirk. Williams has been volunteering with the Red Cross at the chapter, regional, and national levels for 18 years serving in roles including disaster action team captain, job director, as part of the national Casework and Recovery team, as an advanced instructor in Disaster Cycle Services, as a master instructor in Volunteer Services, and as a regional disaster officer volunteer partner. United Fishermen of Alaska hired Frances Leach as its executive director effective Jan. 5, 2018. Leach, a Juneau resident, was raised in a commercial fishing family in Ketchikan. UFA is the statewide commercial fishing umbrella association, representing 34 member organizations from fisheries throughout Alaska and its offshore waters.

Movers and Shakers for Nov. 12

Sue Brogan has been promoted to chief operating officer at United Way of Anchorage. She will continue her leadership of the Health Impact portfolio, and of Alaska 2-1-1, a statewide information and referral system for health and social services, and its potential to provide other services in client assistance and navigation. Brogan previously was vice president, income and health impact and community engagement. Brogan has worked in the nonprofit sector for 35 years, starting her United Way career in 1996. She has been on the faculty of Foraker Group since 2001. Certified in Volunteer Administration in 1995, Brogan served as a founding member of the Volunteer &Employee Engagement Council (United Way Worldwide) and the University of Alaska Anchorage Center for Community Engagement &Learning. Dr. Monica Gross has joined United Way of Anchorage as the vice president for community impact, education and income. Gross is responsible for United Way’s roles in 90% by 2020 and supporting children and youth, the Anchorage Community Plan to End Homelessness, and improving financial stability for Anchorage residents. Gross has more than 20 years of experience as a practicing pediatrician. She has also consulted on projects involving health system strategy and innovation, community collaboration, and program development, implementation and evaluation. Gross received a medical degree from the University of Washington Medical School, completed her pediatric residency at the University of Michigan and has a master’s degree in public health from the University of California Los Angeles. She was recognized in 2016 as an Ashoka Changemakers Children’s Wellbeing Leader to Watch. Northrim Bank hired Joe Gelione as vice president, Commercial Loan Unit manager and promoted Annie Her to associate vice president, branch manager. Gelione joins Northrim Bank with 30 years of experience in the financial sector and has worked in banking in Alaska for more than 25 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, finance, from Stockton University. Her has been with Northrim Bank for more than four years and has 11 years of experience in the financial industry. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, human resource management, from Portland State University. Lindsay Prunella joined the Mat-Su Health Foundation as program coordinator for R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Children with Kindness). R.O.C.K. Mat-Su is a cross-sector collaborative working to promote family resilience and reduce child maltreatment in the Mat-Su Borough. Prunella was previously the director of a coalition created to help youth make healthy choices, and as a prevention specialist in Michigan. She also worked for Alaska Community Island Services as a prevention specialist focused on reducing adult heavy and binge drinking and youth alcohol consumption. Prunella holds a master’s degree in social work from Loyola University with concentrations in alcohol and drug counseling and school social work. She also earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in interdisciplinary studies. Alaska USA Federal Credit Union has appointed three individuals to fill executive positions within the organization. Joel Swanson has been selected to fill the position of senior vice president, branch administration. Swanson brings more than 17 years of professional experience, including 10 years with Alaska USA. Most recently he served as vice president, Electronic Services. Sonya Watkins has been promoted to the position of vice president, Branch Administration, Alaska Region. Watkins has worked for Alaska USA for more than 23 years, primarily serving in positions of branch and area management. Most recently she served as area vice president, South Anchorage. Elizabeth Rense Pavlas has been selected to fill the position of vice president, Electronic Services. Pavlas has worked for Alaska USA for nine years in positions of increasing responsibility. Most recently she has served as Card Products manager. The Aleut Corp. board of directors appointed Thomas Mack as its new president and CEO effective immediately. The board recently consolidated the positions of president and CEO into one to better align shareholder and business activities. Mack has served as TAC’s president since 2006. Mack was raised in King Cove, located on the tip of the Alaska Peninsula, and is an original shareholder of both The Aleut Corp. and King Cove Corp. He earned a master of business administration degree at Alaska Pacific University, a master’s degree from Western Oregon University and a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Mack also completed numerous executive leadership programs at Stanford University, the University of Chicago Booth and Harvard University. Long-time Alaskan and retired Major Gen. Mark Hamilton will join the Pebble Partnership project as executive vice president of External Affairs. Hamilton is also president emeritus of the University of Alaska. Hamilton will begin work immediately this fall, and expects to connect with political, business, community and Alaska Native leaders throughout the state to better understand their views and consider their advice as the Pebble Project advances into permitting. An Alaska resident for more than 20 years, Hamilton spent 31 years with the U.S. Army, including successful negotiations in Somalia and in the United Nations, leading toward peace in El Salvador. He has been awarded the military’s highest peacetime award, the Joint Distinguished Service Medal and was recognized by The National Association Of Scholars for “resolute Leadership in Defense of Intellectual Freedom in Higher Education.”

Movers and Shakers for Nov. 5

Denali Home Loans has promoted Jeffrey Hase to production manager after serving as senior mortgage loan originator since 2009. In this new position, Hase will oversee all MLO origination as well as processing. Hase will continue to originate loans while also filling the production manager position. Hase has been a mortgage loan originator in Alaska since 2003. He previously worked for retail, correspondent, and wholesale lending with other lenders, including Liberty Financial Group, Countrywide and Bank of America. Kimberly A. Zeren has joined Denali Federal Credit Union’s Home Loans Department as a senior mortgage loan originator where she is responsible for guiding her clients through the transaction, from prequalification to the close of sale. Zeren has been in the mortgage field for more than 25 years, part of that time at Wells Fargo Mortgage as well as operating her own mortgage business in Scottsdale, Ariz. for 10 years. Aileen Dimmick has joined the Denali Home Loans staff as a senior mortgage loan originator. Prior to Dimmick’s employment with Denali, she worked in Residential Mortgage as a mortgage loan originator and a loan processor. She also worked for Alaska USA’s Mortgage Department as an originator assistant. In total, Dimmick has 15 years in the mortgage lending industry. Dimmick is certified for Veterans’ Affairs, Housing and Urban Development 184 and Rural Development loan programs. She is currently listed as an Alaska Housing Finance Corp. “featured lender.” The Alutiiq Museum has promoted Lauren McCausland to the position of project specialist. McCausland moved to Kodiak with her husband two years ago and began working as a temporary assistant in the museum’s gallery. Now, she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Kodiak College, and helping the museum to implement its educational programs. Her duties include managing the museum’s traveling educational boxes, assisting with the development of publications, and supporting Alutiiq language documentation projects. Ahtna Inc. promoted Timothy F. Gould, PE, to president of subsidiary Ahtna Engineering Services LLC. Gould has served as the vice president of AES and Ahtna Environmental Inc. since 2014. Gould’s experience spans 27 years in the consulting and construction markets with responsibilities nationwide and in the Pacific region. He has managed business operations and development for design-build facilities, environmental studies and remediation, and energy projects for federal, state, and local governments. He is a registered civil and environmental professional engineer and earned a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Maine and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Gould is a past president of the Society of American Military Engineers Alaska Chapter Anchorage Post and currently holds a seat on their scholarship fund board of directors. Joe Beedle is retiring from his position as chairman of the board of Northrim Bank and Northrim BanCorp Inc. effective Jan. 2, 2018, and will be succeeded by Joe Schierhorn as chairman of the board of the bank and the company. 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 of the bank.

Movers and Shakers for Oct. 29

PDC Engineers announced the following promotions and a new hire. Christine Swanson, PE, FPE, CFPS, has been promoted to an associate of the company. Swanson is a registered fire protection engineer and leads PDC’s fire protection services. She has more than 20 years of fire protection and life safety engineering experience and has written extensively on the topic. A graduate of Bradley University, Swanson joined PDC in 2016. Eric Bridgman, PE, is now an associate with the firm. Since joining PDC’s electrical team in 2010, Bridgman has worked on projects including electrical system repairs on Wake Island, new projects at Fort Greely, and on-going projects at Eielson Air Force Base. Bridgman works at the PDC office in downtown Palmer. He has a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University. Jason Colquhoun, PE, LEED AP, is PDC’s newest associate. He is a registered mechanical and fire protection engineer and certified as a Level 1 thermographer. He has also been an adjunct professor with the Community and Technical College at University of Alaska Fairbanks teaching mechanical and electrical drafting for the past several years. Colquhoun is a UAF graduate with more than 10 years of experience and joined PDC in 2014. Cody Kreitel, PE, has joined the firm as a geotechnical engineer in the Anchorage office. Kreitel received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from BYU and a master’s degree in arctic engineering from University of Alaska Anchorage. He has worked on a wide variety of projects across Alaska and has extensive field experience in remote locations. Richard Allen was appointed as the new Anchorage District Attorney starting Nov. 6. Allen will replace Clint Campion, who resigned earlier this fall. Allen began his career in Alaska as an assistant district attorney in the Palmer District Attorney’s Office in 2004. He spent seven years prosecuting serious, violent cases in the Matanuska-Susitna valley. In 2011, Allen was appointed as director of the Office of Public Advocacy within the Department of Administration. As the OPA director, Allen oversaw 15 sections covering elder fraud prosecutions, child protection representation, public guardianship and criminal defense. Allen supervised more than 150 attorneys and 75 non-attorney positions. Office of Public Advocacy Deputy Director Chad Holt will serve as Acting Director of OPA until a director is selected by the Department of Administration. Chris Andrews has joined Denali Federal Credit Union Investment Services, available through CUSO Financial Services, LP, as a financial advisor. Andrews is responsible for creating, developing and executing short and long term financial strategies customized to meet client needs. Andrews will also coordinate with members to review portfolios in order to evaluate an investments performance toward achieving financial goals. Additionally, Andrews will be hosting monthly seminars that are complimentary to Denali’s members, which focus on various financial topics. Prior to Andrews’ employment with CFS at Denali, he worked at Valic as a financial advisor where he advised nearly 1,500 clients, delivered plan reviews for qualified plans, and recommended investment solutions appropriate for each individual client. He also worked at Wells Fargo where he built and provided personal service to individual investors. Andrews is Series 7 and 66 licensed and a health and variable insurance licensed professional, with almost 10 years of experience as a financial advisor. Attorney F. Steven Mahoney became a shareholder with Manley &Brautigam, PC as of Feb. 1. An attorney since 1986 and with the Manley &Brautigam firm Of Counsel for the past 10 years, Mahoney holds an accounting degree and is a certified public accountant. His practice focuses on income tax and property tax controversy resolution, non-profit law, and entity formation/governance, limited liability companies, partnerships, and corporations.

Movers and Shakers for Oct. 22

William “Bill” D. Falsey will step into the role of municipal manager for the Municipality of Anchorage effective Nov. 1. Mike Abbott, who has served as municipal manager for the Berkowitz administration since 2015, will join the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority as its CEO. Falsey is a graduate of Dimond High School, Stanford University and Yale University Law School. He served most recently as municipal attorney. Prior to that appointment, Bill was a partner at Sedor, Wendlandt, Evans and Fillipi, a principal at FoxKiser, and the deputy chief of staff for the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior. Falsey was also a member of the 2017 Alaska Journal of Commerce Top Forty Under 40. Ben Walker has been named the 2018 Alaska Teacher of the Year. Walker has spent his 11-year career at Romig Middle School in the Anchorage School District where he teaches seventh grade science, as well as applied technology, robotics, and media technology. He serves on the school’s social and emotional learning committee, organizes STEM Career Day, and helps organize the MathCOUNTS program. Walker was the 2013 Alaska Awardee for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Whitman College and a master’s degree in teaching from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Stephen Hodgson will join the Pebble Partnership project as senior vice president of engineering and project director and James Fueg will join the project as vice president of permitting. Hodgson, P.E., will lead Pebble’s engineering and project development team, with responsibility for all aspects of project design, engineering and financial studies and regulatory compliance. He will be supported by Fueg, PMP, CPG, who assumes responsibility for all aspects of the project’s regulatory permitting team and process, including management of environmental and socioeconomic studies, liaison with federal and state agencies and active management of Pebble’s forthcoming environmental impact statement process. Hodgson is a professional engineer with more than 40 years of experience in consulting, project management, feasibility-level design and implementation, and mine operations at some of the most significant mineral development projects in the world, including the Pine Point zinc mine in northern Canada, the Red Dog zinc mine in Alaska, Antamina in Peru, and the Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia. Hodgson has led the engineering group at Northern Dynasty and Hunter Dickinson Inc. since 2005, has played a central role on the engineering team for Pebble for more than a decade, and was part of the Cominco team that evaluated the Pebble deposit in the early 1990s. Fueg is a geologist and a geophysicist with more than 25 years of experience in mineral exploration and resource development, including more than 20 years working in Alaska. He was most recently seconded from Barrick Gold Corporation to serve as Technical Services Manager for the Donlin Gold Project in western Alaska, where he played a leadership role managing the permitting process for a project expected to receive a final record of decision in 2018. The First Alaskans Institute announced two promotions and two new hires. Joy Gudáang’láa Demmert (Haida/Tlingit) was promoted to Indigenous Operations manager and Colin Tass’aq Atauciq McDonald (Yup’ik) was promoted to Sustainability coordinator. Demmert joined FAI in 2015 as the Organizational Advancement coordinator and was promoted to Indigenous Operations manager this year. She works with the Indigenous operations team to advance our administrative capacity from a values-based position. She belongs to the Káat nay- st/Yahkw ’Láanaas (Shark House/Middle Town People) Clan, was born and raised in Ketchikan and received her bachelor’s degree in accounting University of Alaska Anchorage. McDonald joined FAI in 2015 as a Sustainability assistant and was promoted to Sustainability coordinator this year. He was born and raised in Bethel and holds a bachelor’s degree in rural development with an emphasis in rural community business and economic development. Karla Booth has been hired as the Indigenous Leadership Continuum director. She began her position with FAI at the 2017 FAI Elders &Youth Conference. Booth is from the Raven clan, moved to Anchorage in 2000 to attend the UAA, and obtained a bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis in Alaska Native Literature and a minor in Alaska Native Studies. From 2004-17, she had the honor supporting the transition of and serving as an advocate for Alaska Native, Native American, and rural students as the UAA Alaska Native &Rural Outreach Program Coordinator and Cama-i Room Coordinator. Angela Gonzalez was hired as the Indigenous Communications manager in August. Prior to FAI, Angela was the communications coordinator at the Rural Alaska Community Action Program Inc. for nearly 10 years. She was the former membership director at KNBA 90.3 FM. Angela holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Tulsa. She received the 2016 Bruce Pozzi Chapter Service Award from PRSA-Alaska Chapter.

Movers and Shakers for Oct. 15

Dr. Sean Lee has joined Anchorage Bariatrics. Lee joins Anchorage Bariatrics from the Center for Obesity and Metabolism at Augusta University in Georgia, where he led and facilitated the bariatric surgery program as a nationally recognized bariatric surgery Center of Excellence. Originally from the suburbs of Seattle, Lee received his medical doctorate at Yale University School of Medicine, spending a fifth year performing research in bone marrow-derived stem cells with the support of a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He completed his residency in general surgery at Duke University, focusing his clinical work on bariatric surgery. Lee and Anchorage Bariatrics founder Dr. Justin Clark met during Dr. Clark’s fellowship in Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery at Duke. The following year, Clark moved to Anchorage and Lee began his specialty training in the same program. Deputy Attorney General Ed Sniffen presented the eighth annual Attorney General’s Award for Pro Bono Service to Allison Mendel at a ceremony celebrating the fortieth anniversary of Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis and marking the start of Domestic Violence Action Month. Since coming to Alaska in 1982, Mendel worked for Alaska Legal Services for several years before going into private practice in 1987. Christine Pate, director of the Legal Program at the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, highlighted Mendel’s consistent dedication to pro bono work. Since 2000, Mendel has personally represented 13 clients in pro bono cases through ANDVSA; her firm has handled a total of 45 pro bono cases since that time. The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority board of trustees hired Mike Abbott as CEO, effective Nov. 1. Abbot is currently the Municipality of Anchorage Municipal Manager. Abbott will oversee both the Trust Land Office and the Mental Health Trust Authority office. Additionally, Andy Stemp was recently hired as chief financial officer. Previously Stemp was the director of Administration and Finance for the North Slope Borough. In fiscal year 2018, the Trust anticipates granting nearly $18 million to state agencies, nonprofits and providers across Alaska. Gov. Bill Walker appointed Leslie Ridle as commissioner of the Department of Administration. Ridle has previously served as the department’s deputy commissioner, and has been acting commissioner since former Commissioner Sheldon Fisher transitioned to the same role at the Department of Revenue. Ridle grew up in Douglas and Anchorage. Her professional background includes teaching, as well as government service in Anchorage, Washington, D.C., and Juneau. As deputy commissioner, Ridle oversaw the Divisions of Personnel and Labor Relations, General Services, Motor Vehicles, the Public Defender Agency, the Office of Public Advocacy, and the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

Movers and Shakers for Oct. 8

The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Executive Council selected Sitka Delegate Wilbur Brown to serve the remaining term (April 2018) of the sixth vice president position. The seat was left vacant after the sudden passing of Edward K. (Sam) Thomas Jr. in June. In addition to serving as a Sitka Delegate, Brown holds the position of vice president of the Sitka Tlingit and Haida Chapter, serves on the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Tribal Council and STA’s Tribal Economic Development Committee, and is a member of Tlingit and Haida’s Judiciary Committee. He also serves as the Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp No. 1 President and the ANB Grand Camp second vice president. Brown is an Army veteran and holds an associate’s degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in rural human services and graduated with cum laude honors. He currently serves as a probation officer for the Juneau Therapeutic Courts. Prior to that, he worked in various community prevention and policy positions in Southeast Alaska in both public and private sectors. U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced that Deputy Staff Director Brian Hughes will succeed Colin Hayes as staff director. Hughes first came to Washington, D.C., to intern for Sen. Ted Stevens during college. After working as Stevens’ speechwriter, he moved to the committee in 2007. He has held a variety of positions, ranging from legislative aide to senior writer and policy advisor. Hughes left the committee briefly to serve as a speechwriter on the Romney-Ryan presidential campaign in 2012. He has served as the committee’s deputy staff director since December 2015. Officers were elected for the Alaska Superintendents Association at its annual fall conference. They are: Fairbanks School District Superintendent Dr. Karen Gaborik, president; Wrangell Public School District Superintendent Patrick Mayer, president-elect; Yukon-Koyukuk School District Superintendent Kerry Boyd, secretary/treasurer. Other members of the 2017-18 ASA board of directors include: Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent Sean Dusek, immediate Past President; Galena School District Superintendent Chris Reitan, Seat A-small single site and borough districts; Nome School District Superintendent Shawn Arnold, Seat B-mid-size city and borough districts, Bering Strait School District Superintendent Dr. Bobby Bolen, Seat C-large REAA and similar borough districts; Lake &Peninsula Superintendent School District Ty Mase, Seat D-mid-size and small REAA districts; and Juneau Borough School District Superintendent Dr. Mark Miller, Seat E-large city and borough districts. Kevin R. Feldis has joined the Perkins Coie commercial litigation practice as a partner in the Anchorage and Washington D.C. offices with an emphasis on complex litigation, white collar investigations, cybersecurity and corporate compliance. Feldis was the first assistant United States Attorney and Criminal Division chief with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alaska where he specialized in corporate investigations, fraud, environmental and cybercrime. Feldis is also a seasoned international lawyer, and served as the Department of Justice Legal Advisor at the U.S. Embassies in Baku, Azerbaijan and Jakarta, Indonesia. While with the Department of Justice he received the prestigious John Marshall Award. Feldis earned his juris doctor from The University of Chicago Law School and received his bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Yale University. The Nominating Committee of the International Economic Development Council has elected Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority Business Development and Communications Director Michael Catsi to its board of directors for a two-year term. Catsi pursues business development opportunities and oversees communications for the AIDEA. He serves as the chair of AIDEA’s Project Suitability Committee, and as a member of the investment review committees. Prior to joining the authority, Catsi led economic development organizations as executive director of the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference and the Skagway Development Corp. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Launch:Alaska business accelerator. Catsi has served as president of the Alaska Partnership for Economic Development, and of the Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Catsi is a Certified Economic Developer, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of New South Wales, Australia.

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]


Subscribe to RSS - Movers and Shakers