Movers and Shakers for July 15
Mark Swearingin is joining Ravn Air Group’s new leadership team as senior vice president of maintenance. Swearingin has held leadership positions with major airlines and air transport companies for the past 37 years. Prior to joining Ravn, Swearingin was vice president, technical operations, for Atlas Air Cargo, where he was responsible for all technical operations and supply chain activities for the world’s largest 747 passenger and cargo airline, serving 432 cities and 123 countries. Previously, he held similar positions at Midwest Airlines, US Airways, and Northwest Airlines. Prior to Atlas, Swearingin served as executive vice president, technical services, for Air Canada, a $600 million aircraft maintenance business with 2,200 employees and global customer base. While at Air Canada, he developed business strategies and operational efficiencies that saw a $24 million annual profit on the heels of an $18 million annual loss.
United Way of Anchorage announced the addition of three staff, including two for its leadership team. Dawn Griffiths has joined as chief financial officer and will oversee all the financial activities, information technology, human resources, and general administrative needs of the organization. Griffiths most recently ran her own firm, DMG Executive Consulting, based in Mill Valley, Calif. She brings almost 30 years of consulting and management experience in accounting, sales, strategic planning, business start-ups, efficiencies and investor relations, from Montreal to San Francisco. Griffiths is a graduate of the University of Wyoming and also attended the University of Georgia and Harvard Business School. Cassandra Stalzer has been named senior director of communications and marketing. In 2017, she founded her own communications firm, Brainspace Creative, working on client needs from sales to marketing technology. Before that, Stalzer worked for eight years in communications at the Rasmuson Foundation, two of those as vice president, where she helped develop communications projects ranging from a campaign to raise awareness of Alaska’s budget shortfall to a journalism partnership on the costs of alcohol abuse. Stalzer holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University and is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America. Frank Gerjevic joined United Way as a communications director. Gerjevic is a veteran of almost 40 years at the Anchorage Daily News, where he worked as sports editor, reporter, copy editor, columnist and editorial writer. A graduate of Denison University, he will concentrate on writing, editing and media relations.
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center announced the departure of its founder, Mike Miller and his wife, Kelly Miller, and the promotion of Dianna Whitney to executive director. Whitney joined the AWCC team in September 2016 and brings over a decade of management and operations experience to her new assignment. Prior to working at the wildlife center, she was the vice president and general manager of the ski area at Alyeska Resort. Whitney has an Associate of Arts degree from the University of Alaska and is a Kenai Resource Advisory Commissioner and Visit Anchorage Board Member. She holds certifications in outdoor emergency care, swift water rescue, Alaska Certified Erosion and Sediment Control Lead, OSHA general construction and OSHA construction safety and health. Mike Miller started Big Game Alaska in 1993, as a for-profit. The operation became the non-profit Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in 1999. His determination, dedication and passion for wildlife turned the wildlife center into one of the top-rated tourist destinations in the state of Alaska. One of his most important contributions to conservation was his decade-long role with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in rearing, and then releasing, 130 wood bison back into western Alaska. Kelly Miller served as the director of education, creating the Bison in a Box program, animal-themed field trips and her famous porcupine presentations and scavenger hunts.
Gov. Bill Walker appointed three Superior Court judges who will serve in Fairbanks, Juneau, and Kenai. Thomas Temple will join the Fairbanks Superior Court. He has practiced law in Alaska for more than 16 years, after serving in the Marines during the Gulf War and working his way through college and law school at George Mason University. Temple has been in private practice in Fairbanks since 2004, with a focus on criminal defense and civil litigation. He has tried cases across Alaska, from Unalaska to Utqiaġvik. Amy Mead will join the Juneau Superior Court. After graduating from Tulane University Law School, she began her career as a law clerk in Ketchikan, working her way up to become the city’s Assistant District Attorney. She moved to Juneau to work in private practice, spent time working on Medicaid issues for Alaska’s Attorney General, and became the city’s Municipal Attorney in 2013, heading the second largest municipal law department in the state. Lance Joanis will serve on the Kenai Superior Court. Joanis graduated from law school at the University of Idaho College of Law and immediately moved to Bethel to take the bar. He has worked for the Alaska Department of Law as an Assistant District Attorney in Anchorage and Kenai, a District Attorney in Bethel and Kenai, and as the Assistant Attorney General in Kenai’s Child Protection Section since 2011.