Movers and Shakers for Dec. 24
Jennifer Thompson, owner and president/CEO of Thompson &Co. Public Relations, will open a new public affairs agency called Blueprint Alaska on Jan. 1, 2018. Thompson has hired longtime public relations professional and registered Alaska lobbyist Sarah Erkmann Ward, APR, to serve as Blueprint Alaska’s president/CEO. Blueprint Alaska will focus on influencing public policy and opinions, building and maintaining relationships with the public, and finding common ground with stakeholders. The agency will also assist clients in navigating the challenges that occur when diverse interests of business, government, politics, and media intersect. Ward, a seasoned communications professional, most recently at Alaska Oil and Gas Association, was named the Public Relations Society of America Alaska Chapter’s “Communicator of the Year” in 2017. She is also accredited in public relations by the Public Relations Society of America.
The Senate Democratic Caucus hired Noah Hanson, Senate Minority Leader Berta Gardner’s long-time chief of staff, as its new press secretary. Hanson will be replacing Jeanne Devon who will be leaving the position for new opportunities in her writing career. Hanson will be transitioning into the new job in January. Hanson has been Gardner’s chief of staff for the past 10 years, and caucus staff for the past three.
Mike O’Hare of Chugiak is the new regional administrator for FEMA Region 10, which includes Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and the 271 federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native villages within the region. Prior to joining FEMA, O’Hare served nearly 10 years with the State of Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, most recently as the director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. O’Hare also previously also served the State of Alaska as acting deputy commissioner for the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs. O’Hare has a bachelor’s degree from Long Island University graduating from Southampton College in 1984, and completed the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative Executive Education Program from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2012.
Central Council of Tlingit &Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska hired Kimberly Martus as the Tribe’s new Tribal Appellate Court Administrator. The newly created position is funded by a grant recently awarded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Tribal Justice Support. Working with Tlingit &Haida’s Judiciary Committee and Tribal Court judges, Martus will design, build capacity, and implement the first unified tribal appellate court system in Southeast Alaska. Martus has served in several tribal court related capacities and her most recent work involved designing and developing tribal code development training curricula whereby she authored a chapter on “Incorporating Indigenous Law and Custom into Modern Tribal Codes.” She is a member the Tongva Tribe, a descendant of the Cupeno Tribe (coyote clan) and Yaqui Tribes. She grew up in and out of Indian Country and holds a juris doctorate degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies from Evergreen State College.
Chugach Alaska Corp appointed Josie Hickel as its president of Chugach Commercial Holdings, effective Dec. 8. In her new role, Hickel is responsible for directing Chugach’s portfolio of commercial businesses and land development strategy. Hickel is a Chugach shareholder with more than three decades of experience working in Alaska for a range of commercial companies. Since joining Chugach in 2016 as senior vice president of Energy and Resources for CCH, she has achieved a number of milestones within the division. Hickel facilitated Chugach’s Bering River coal rights transaction and carbon offset project; and has helped stabilize energy services companies in a challenging economic environment. She was inducted into the Athena Society in 2012 for outstanding leadership in both business and community service. Hickel has a bachelor’s degree in business management and human resources. She also holds certifications in both Senior and Global Professional of Human Resources.
First National Bank Alaska’s Board of Directors recently appointed or promoted five employees to new roles. With more than 10 years of banking experience, Rachel Carlson is the new branch manager at the U-Med Branch near the University of Alaska Anchorage. Carlson previously worked as a teller, customer service representative and personal banker. After more than a year spent managing two other Anchorage-area branches, Krissi Estrada is the new branch manager at the downtown Main Branch. Carlson and Estrada and will each be responsible for business development, consumer loans, branch operations and customer service at their branches. Paula Grau was appointed vice president and is the new Cash Management administrator. In her role, Grau oversees the Cash Management Sales and Support units, the team behind the bank’s merchant services, Corporate MasterCard business and treasury management services for large commercial customers. After spending nine years with First National, including seven years in mortgage lending, loan officer Mike Scott has transferred to the Dimond Branch as part of the bank’s corporate lending unit. He’s now responsible for developing and maintaining business banking relationships and help companies build on opportunities through lending. In her position as senior mortgage underwriter and loan officer, Dawnette Starr will help customers secure the loans by examining and analyzing loan documentation to ensure accuracy and completeness and that each loan meets market and company standards. Starr has worked in the industry for nearly 30 years.