Without Downtown office, Legislature lacks space for Anchorage special session

With the Legislature at a continued impasse over one of his top priorities, Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy has suggested calling a second special session outside of Juneau to deal with the PFD. The Legislature last held a special session outside of Juneau in 2015 at the former Downtown Anchorage Legislative Information Office building. The $44 million, six-story LIO custom-built for the Legislature in 2014 had adequate space and other amenities to hold floor sessions and committee meetings, said Legislative Affairs Agency Executive Director Jessica Geary, but there were significant sound issues at the time. “(Legislators’) main concerns there were sound quality. The walls were not soundproof and they had some problems with recordings,” Geary said. “If you go back and listen to the floor sessions the record is really lacking — so that was one of the biggest concerns and complaints that came up.” The Legislature eventually abandoned that space in 2016 in response to public pressure over spending to cover the $3.3 million annual lease payments the space required, eventually leading EverBank to foreclose on the owners. Legislators also had an opportunity to purchase the building outright for about $30 million, but former Gov. Bill Walker said he would veto the appropriation if they tried. The building is now occupied by the Anchorage Police Department. As an alternative Anchorage LIO space, lawmakers subsequently purchased a Midtown Anchorage office building from Wells Fargo bank for nearly $11.9 million in 2016. Remodeling the building to better suit lawmakers’ needs has brought the cumulative price for the building to approximately $24 million, according to LAA records. Geary said work on the building is ongoing this summer and should be done in August. While the new Anchorage LIO has three committee meeting rooms, it lacks space for the full House and Senate to meet and therefore still won’t be suitable for a special session, according to Geary. “It’s just office space; that’s all it is,” she said. The governor, who hosted a “Restore the PFD” rally June 6 at a Wasilla resort, specifically proposed holding a session at the Wasilla Middle School, where it’s presumed legislators would hear from more Alaskans who support full PFD payments and the governor’s plan for steep spending cuts. However, officials in the Legislative Affairs Agency, which handles business and behind-the-scenes operations for the Legislature, drafted a list at the behest of legislative leaders outlining the complicating issues with holding the session in the school. The agency cited concerns with security, IT networks, a lack of audio and video recording capabilities for committee meetings and floor sessions, and the fact that the governor’s office would control the camera system in the school, which LAA officials concluded “is not appropriate.” “The governor should not have access to security cameras over Legislative space,” the LAA paper states. The most workable places for a special session in Southcentral would be Anchorage’s Egan or Dena’ina convention centers, Geary said. “We could hold floor sessions there. It would take work to get that set up but it is doable because legislators will have their offices and then committee rooms at the LIO,” she added.

Movers and Shakers for June 16

Zach Frain was appointed Mortgage Loan Originator III and loan officer at First National Bank Alaska. Frain, who worked for First National originally in 2005, returns to the bank with nearly 15 years of local mortgage lending experience. Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced that Spencer Nelson has joined her Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee staff and that Abigail Hemenway has joined the committee’s non-designated staff. She also welcomed four summer interns who are assisting the committee with various projects this summer — Lauren Eckl, Kaiwi Eisenhour, Alexander Jackstadt and Nathan Solorio — and noted her appreciation for the time Samuel Burgess spent interning during the month of May. Nelson joins the committee as a professional staff member focusing on energy innovation, including nuclear energy. He comes to the committee after four years at ClearPath, where he was a policy program director. Prior to that he conducted research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Nelson has bachelor’s degrees in environmental science and quantitative biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hemenway joins the non-designated committee staff after working as an Arctic program assistant and administrative aide at the North Star Group. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Miami and is originally from Juneau. Solorio, a legal intern, is pursuing a law degree at Willamette University. Prior to law school, he served as legislative correspondent and grants coordinator for Murkowski’s personal office in Washington, D.C. Solorio is from Anchorage and graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2015. Burgess served the committee as a legal intern in May 2019, before joining the Coast Guard’s JAG internship program for the remainder of the summer, and is pursuing a law degree at Cornell Law School. Burgess is from Anchorage and graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 2016. Eckl, a college intern, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in business from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She also served the Senate as a high school page in the summer of 2015. Eisenhour, a college intern, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Weber State University. This marks his second summer with the committee. Jackstadt, a college intern, attended Anchorage East High School and recently graduated with honors from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a bachelor’s degree in economics and was a member of the university’s hockey team. Jeff Schramm is the new forest supervisor for the Chugach National Forest. As forest supervisor, Schramm will oversee the management of more than 5.4 million acres of National Forest System lands in Southcentral Alaska. Schramm graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor’s degree in forest management. He worked as the district ranger on the Ashley and the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forests in Utah and most recently served as the Forest Supervisor of the Ashley National Forest, where he has been instrumental in advancing the revision of the forest plan. Schramm will report to the Alaska Region in August. He replaces Terri Marceron, who retired at the end of December 2018 after serving as Forest Supervisor for eight years. Credit Union 1 announced the selection of Spencer Herrington as its new physical security officer. Herrington brings past experience in managing and operating all phases of corporate and physical security to his new role. He has previously worked in financial institutions, casinos and labor environments. Herrington has been licensed with the State of Alaska for more than 12 years in armed security; he is a certified NRA Range Instructor and a current ALICE instructor as well. He has also attended Homeland Security IED counter terrorism workshops and received training related to social engineering and counter terrorism measures. Herrington is a 1996 graduate of the Alaska Computer Institute. Credit Union 1 also announced the promotion of Mai Moua to manager of its Downtown Branch in Anchorage. Moua was initially hired by the credit union in 2005, and she has since served in several roles ranging from records clerk to teller, member service officer and more. Most recently, she held the position of assistant branch manager at the credit union’s Midtown Branch prior to her promotion. Moua also holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration in finance. The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute board of directors has selected Jeremy Woodrow as the new executive director. Woodrow has served as ASMI’s interim executive director since December 2018, and as communications director since 2017. As executive director, Woodrow will administer all ASMI programs and operations out of its global headquarters, located in Juneau. Before joining ASMI, Woodrow served as the communications officer for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. He has previously worked with ASMI both as an intern in the communications program and with ASMI’s former public relations agency, Schiedermayer &Associates Alaska. Born and raised in Juneau from a commercial fishing family, he also brings a wealth of industry knowledge to the role. Woodrow holds bachelor’s degrees in public relations and advertising from Northern Arizona University. Woodrow replaces former ASMI Executive Director Alexa Tonkovich, who left ASMI in December 2018 to pursue a master’s in international business.

Permanent Fund gains 6.48 percent in Q3

The Permanent Fund rebounded from a tough finish to 2018 with a 6.48 percent quarter that put the $65 billion fund back in positive territory for the year. The gains in the quarter that ended March 31 — the third quarter of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.’s fiscal year — gave the fund a 3.07 percent investment return for the 2019 fiscal year so far, according to a May 23 APFC release. Permanent Fund investments lost 3.19 percent of their value in the first half of the state fiscal year. The fund held $65.8 billion of assets under management with approximately $1.6 billion of liabilities as of March 31. It ended the 2018 fiscal year last June 30 with a balance of $64.8 billion, from which the state appropriated roughly $2.7 billion to pay out Permanent Fund dividends and support government services. Most recently, the fund had a net balance of $65.3 billion with slightly more than $19 billion in the Earnings Reserve Account, which is the portion of the fund state lawmakers can appropriate from. Calculated as 5.25 percent of the fund’s five-year average value, the fiscal 2020 percent of market value, or POMV, appropriation is expected to be roughly $2.9 billion. Legislators are currently debating whether or not to make an additional draw from the Earnings Reserve that would be outside of the POMV appropriation — despite warnings from financial advisors about the long-term impacts of such ad-hoc draws — in order to pay the larger Permanent Fund dividends that Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy demands. The latest 6.48 percent quarterly return was driven by “an outstanding” 12.36 percent return on the fund’s public equities or stocks, portfolio, which comprises about 40 percent of fund investments, the APFC release states. For comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 10.1 percent over the period. The fund’s $15.5 billion fixed income portfolio generated a 5.77 percent return during the quarter. The public market investments slightly outperformed the corporation’s return benchmarks for the given categories, according to fund managers. However, the fund’s private investments did not fare so well “due to the nature of quarterly appraisals and valuations,” the release states, but still outperformed comparable benchmarks. The $8.5 billion private equity portfolio returned 1.25 percent, compared to a Cambridge Private Equity Index return of -0.53 percent during the quarter. APFC leaders note the fund’s five-year private equity return is 24.3 percent. The fund’s infrastructure and private real estate investments similarly netted quarterly returns in of about 0.2 percent but have proved much more fruitful over the long haul. “These negative short-term distortions are not reflective of the generally strong underlying fundamentals, occupancy and cash flows of the properties,” the APFC release states regarding real estate investments. Real estate has generated a 7.97 percent annual return over the previous five years, according to fund managers. Elwood Brehmer can be reached at [email protected]

Movers and Shakers for June 2

Eric Gettis has been promoted to vice president of clinics for the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium. Gettis will have system-wide responsibility for creating standard operating procedures and uniform processes to improve access to care at specialty and primary care clinics and ensure alignment of patient and provider satisfaction. Gettis previously held the position of SEARHC’s director of practice management. He has a master’s degree in counseling and guidance and a bachelor’s degree in education from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash. Before joining SEARHC, he held multiple management positions at Lourdes Health Network, including director of physician practices. Thrively Digital, Alaska’s oldest and largest digital agency, has hired Eric Fullerton as its new director of account strategy. Fullerton, formerly vice president and director of marketing for the Alyeska Resort, brings a wealth of experience to the position. He’s spent more than 25 years in the ski, travel, tourism and hospitality industries, and has a proven track record in marketing, sales and technology. Fullerton has an MBA from Phoenix University in the areas of internet, traditional and electronic marketing. Ahtna Netiye’ LLC announced that Eric McLaurin has joined the company as the new vice president of business development. McLaurin will be responsible for identifying strategic business opportunities and fostering strong industry relationships. McLaurin has a military background and brings more than 28 years of federal business development experience across engineering, construction, base operations and support, facility management, environmental, disaster recovery and information technology programs. He has directed business units of varying sizes with staff located throughout the U.S. and at international sites. McLaurin holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Southern University of Baton Rouge and is a professional engineer and registered environmental manager. United Fishermen of Alaska announced the hiring of Scott Kelley as executive administrator effective in June. Kelley, a Juneau resident, brings vast experience in commercial fisheries as the former director of Commercial Fisheries for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Kelley is replacing retiring UFA employee Mark Vinsel who has worked for UFA for 18 years in several capacities, including executive director. UFA is the statewide commercial fishing umbrella association, representing 35 member organizations from fisheries throughout Alaska. The U.S. Small Business Administration Alaska District Office announced ChemTrack Alaska Inc. as the Alaska Woman-Owned Business of The Year. Carrie Jokiel is the president of ChemTrack, an 8(a) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business specializing in environmental engineering, remediation services, spill management, emergency response, and construction. Jokiel is a well-known business advocate at both the federal and state levels. She champions for small businesses and women-owned businesses through her community involvement, participation in hearings to the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and through her mentorship to many Alaskan businesses. Jokiel is a graduate from the SBA Emerging Leaders program. She was also a member of the 2014 Alaska Journal of Commerce Top Forty Under 40. Chugach Electric Association Inc. members re-elected Bettina Chastain and Harold Hollis to the utility’s board of directors. Election results were announced May 21 at the annual meeting. Of Chugach’s 69,320 members of record, 6,719, or 9.7 percent, cast ballots. Chastain was first elected to the board in 2015. Hollis was appointed in July 2018, after former director Sisi Cooper resigned. The board elected new officers May 22. Chastain was re-elected chair; Susan Reeves was reelected vice chair; Stuart Parks was reelected secretary; and Rachel Morse was reelected treasurer. Alaska USA Federal Credit Union announced that Bryce Deeney has been selected for the position of vice president, payments. Deeney brings extensive experience to the new position, having previously worked as vice president of integrated payments for a software payments company. At Alaska USA, Deeney will focus on the continued development of the credit union’s money movement platforms, such as credit and debit cards, bill pay, and peer-to-peer payments.

Oil Search gets federal approval for Nanushuk project

The company working on one of Alaska’s largest oil prospects in decades now has the key federal authorization to develop the project. Oil Search Ltd. announced Thursday that it has received a favorable record of decision from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the environmental impact statement, or EIS, for its Nanushuk oil project in the Pikka Unit on the central North Slope. The record of decision, signed May 14, marks the end of nearly four years of study on the roughly $5 billion project, which has the potential to produce upwards of 120,000 barrels of oil per day at its peak. Peter Botten, managing director of the Papua New Guinea-based producer said in a formal statement that two appraisal wells the company drilled last winter into the southern portion of Pikka reinforce earlier expectations that the oil available for the project should allow for peak production of at least the long-held estimate of 120,000 barrels per day. The trans-Alaska Pipeline System, commonly known as TAPS, is handling about 500,000 barrels of oil per day this year. North Slope production peaked in the late 1980s at approximately 2 million barrels per day. The project is also expected to support more than 1,000 drilling and operations jobs and “several thousand direct construction jobs,” said Oil Search Alaska President Keiran Wulff, who added in a formal statement that the company “will make every effort to work with companies located within the state of Alaska to maximize local hire.” Oil Search is planning a busy 2019-20 winter season with additional drilling work and the start of laying gravel for the project’s future roads and pads, according to Botten. “We remain very excited about the opportunities for Oil Search in Alaska and are looking forward to making material contributions to the state and the local communities, while also delivering value for Oil Search shareholders,” he said. The company reached a deal with Armstrong Energy in October 2017 to buy into Pikka and take over as the project operator for $400 million. Wulff said last fall it planned to exercise a $450 million option to fully buy out Armstrong from the project this year. An Oil Search Alaska spokeswoman said the buy out is on schedule to be completed by the June 30 deadline set as part of the initial deal. Spanish oil major Repsol is also a 49 percent owner in Pikka. While official estimates are more conservative, Armstrong Energy CEO Bill Armstrong has consistently said he believes more than 1 billion barrels can be produced from the Pikka Unit. First oil production is expected in late 2023, Wulff has said. Most of the oil would come from the shallow, conventional Nanushuk formation. It has been the source for smaller nearby discoveries by ConocoPhillips as well as Conoco’s Willow project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, which is similar in scale to Pikka but a couple years behind in the development process. The Corps of Engineers ultimately chose Oil Search’s preferred development option, which differed from the plan Armstrong initially submitted for its Clean Water Act wetlands fill permit. Wulff noted in a company release that Oil Search changed the plan at the behest of residents of the nearby Native Village of Nuiqsut, who use the Colville River Delta where the project is located for subsistence harvests. The approved plan moves a drill site near the Colville further from the river; realigns some north-south roads to interfere less with east-west migrating caribou; and narrows roads from up to 38 feet wide to 32 feet among other revisions. The changes will also result in a 22-acre reduction to impacted wetlands compared to the original plan, according to the corps. Overall, the project will fill 266 acres of wetlands, the EIS states. “We are committed to close collaboration with the people and organizations of Nuiqsut and neighboring communities to ensure our activities in the field are conducted in a sensitive and respectful manner,” Wulff said. Elwood Brehmer can be reached at [email protected]

Local governments weigh onsite cannabis consumption options

As the Marijuana Control Board is working on hemming up the regulations for on-site consumption, local governments are wrestling with how to handle their own rules. Cannabis entrepreneurs have long awaited state regulations allowing their customers to partake at retail locations. The board approved an initial set of regulations in December, with requirements such as only allowing smoking in a freestanding building with ventilation and limitations on individual consumption. Business owners said this would provide a more reasonable place, especially for tourists, to partake responsibly without violating laws against consuming in public. Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer signed the regulations in early March, but the MCB has a few more changes to make, including defining what a “freestanding” building is and allowing more voice for residents of areas outside the jurisdiction of a local government. However, city and borough governments are deciding whether to let the state regulations stand or enact their own. There has already been a wide variety of opinions, ranging from applying no additional regulations to completely banning it within city borders. Fairbanks has already tackled it, while Anchorage and Kenai have ordinances pending and the City and Borough of Juneau is still considering information. The Anchorage Assembly was originally set to consider an ordinance to just allow the consumption of edible cannabis products on site, but a second ordinance would have allowed smoking in facilities as long as they met other requirements, including those for freestanding buildings and ventilation. Consideration of the ordinance was postponed at its May 21 meeting. One of the snags in approving onsite consumption is the state law banning smoking in enclosed public spaces and workplaces. Under the state law, the definition could include smoke from marijuana products and outdoor areas may be permitted under the law. However, the onsite consumption rules passed by the Marijuana Control Board would allow for the smoking of marijuana products as long as the facility has proper ventilation and is freestanding, with a smoke-free area for employees to monitor the activities in the consumption area. In late April, the Fairbanks City Council adopted an ordinance to permit onsite consumption as long as licensees met the other requirements for an endorsement through the Marijuana Control Board. Fairbanks City Attorney Paul Ewers said the city would probably defer to the state’s enforcement of the non-smoking law, as it’s not a city ordinance. “If it was a city ordinance, we definitely would (enforce it),” he said. “Our approach as a city would probably look to the state attorney general.” The City and Borough of Juneau is debating the same point about the smoking law. City Attorney Robert Palmer wrote in a memo to the council that if the members want to approve the consumption of cannabis by smoking in onsite consumption endorsements, they’ll have to have a “rational argument to distinguish marijuana from tobacco” or allow both. Currently, Juneau bans all onsite consumption by ordinance, and Palmer wrote that he wasn’t aware of a tobacco consequence if the edibles portion is repealed. “However, the definition of edibles would need to be narrow to avoid vaping and other inhalation forms of consumption that can affect nearby people,” he wrote. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Kenai City Council rejected a regulations package for onsite marijuana consumption within its city limits and introduced an ordinance at its May 15 meeting to ban it entirely. The council referred the ordinance to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, as it required a zoning code change, and is scheduled to hear it again June 5. “We feel this ordinance is necessary to protect public safety and welfare,” wrote council members Glenese Pettey and Jim Glendening in their co-sponsors’ memo. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is not currently conducting any specific research into the effects of secondhand exposure to marijuana smoke, but DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum and Division of Public Health Director Jay Butler wrote a joint opinion article in December 2018 opposing the onsite consumption of cannabis, noting that some studies indicate little difference between the effects of inhalation of tobacco and marijuana smoke. The department leans on three main bodies of existing research about the effects of secondhand marijuana smoke, DHSS spokesman Clinton Bennett said in an email. Two of the studies — one from the World Health Organization in 2016 and two from the state of Colorado in 2014 and 2016 — indicate that secondhand cannabis smoke impairs lung function and contain many of the same cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke, he wrote. The Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office is seeing public comment on its draft regulation revisions for onsite consumption — including further definitions for “freestanding” and setting up a process to give residents outside a local government’s jurisdiction a way to weigh in on an onsite consumption endorsement — until June 19. ^ Elizabeth Earl can be reached at [email protected]

Movers and Shakers for May 26

Tanya Kaquatosh has been named the new senior vice president of administration for Doyon Ltd., the regional Native corporation for Interior Alaska. Kaquatosh has worked for the Doyon family of companies for the last 10 years. Kaquatosh comes to Doyon from Doyon Utilities, where she served as the director of regulatory affairs. She has her bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University, and her MBA from Arizona State University. She is also a graduate of the 2014 Doyon Leadership Training Program. The Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals announced that Frank Hauser has been named as Alaska’s 2019 Principal of the Year. Hauser has been the school principal of Robert Service High School in Anchorage for three years and a school administrator for 15. He is a graduate of the University of Alaska and received his master’s degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. As Alaska’s Principal of the Year, Hauser will be representing Alaska at the national level. All state Principals of the Year will be recognized at the Principals Institute from Sept. 30-Oct. 3 in Washington, D.C. One of Hauser’s proudest accomplishments at Service was the recent recognition by Special Olympics and ESPN as one of 30 Unified Champion Schools for inclusive practices in the nation and the first banner school in the state of Alaska. Bering Straits Native Corp. announced several key appointments within the company’s subsidiary management team. Jørg Jensen has been named vice president of Global Precision Systems LLC, a wholly-owned BSNC subsidiary. Jensen joined BSNC in 2015 and has more than 20 years of operational and management experience managing multi-million dollar programs in government and corporate sectors within the United States and abroad. Jensen was born and raised in Alaska and after graduating from the United States Military Academy, he served in Southwest Asia as an Army officer. Jensen formerly served as Program Manager and Engineer for Raytheon, for whom he led international teams in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and South Korea. He earned an MBA degree from the University of Liverpool and a bachelor’s degree in management and system engineering from the United States Military Academy West Point. Jacob Gum has been named vice president of Eagle Eye Electric LLC, a wholly-owned BSNC subsidiary. His passion for leadership management in the niche market of high-value contract acquisition and administration has led him to devote 19 years of experience to the design/build construction industry, including 13 years of experience in the healthcare design and construction industry. This includes multiple projects in Alaska, Hawaii, Europe and other U.S. and international endeavors. In the last five years, Gum has successfully managed more than 30 projects valued at over $140 million in both the federal and private construction markets. Gum holds a bachelor’s degree in technical management as well as an associate’s degree in electrical theory. Bill Pate has been named vice president of Bering Straits Logistics Services LLC, a wholly-owned BSNC subsidiary. Pate has been with BSNC since 2010 in various positions. Previously responsible for construction, he now oversees contracts including facilities maintenance/support and labor services. DCI Engineers, a civil and structural engineering firm, announced a promotion in its Anchorage office. Jeff Sizemore has been promoted to CAD manager in DCI’s Anchorage office. Some of his most notable projects include the Hyatt House, located just south of Downtown Anchorage, and 100 East Ocean Boulevard, a 30-story concrete tower in Long Beach, Calif. Although he initially enrolled in video production at the Art Institutes in Los Angeles and Seattle, Sizemore decided to pursue a different career path, leading to more than 20 years in residential framing, modular construction, truss design and wall panel design. Nearly 15 of those years he’s dedicated to drafting, which have included a variety of project types and markets. Karen Hoeft has been appointed as First National Bank Alaska’s Glennallen Branch manager. She will be responsible for business development, closing loans, branch operations and customer service at the Glennallen Branch. A financial expert with more than eight years of experience at the bank, Hoeft originally retired in 2013, only to come back in 2018 as the Operations supervisor at FNBA’s Valdez Branch. Hoeft also held the Glennallen Branch manager position from 2007 until 2013.

Movers and Shakers for May 19

The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council elected officers at its annual board meeting in Valdez from May 2-3. Officers will serve from May 2019 to May 2020. The elected executive committee is comprised of: President Robert Archibald, representing the City of Homer; Vice President Amanda Bauer, representing the City of Valdez; Treasurer Wayne Donaldson, representing the City of Kodiak; and Secretary Bob Shavelson, representing the Oil Spill Region Environmental Coalition. Three Members-at-Large are: Peter Andersen, representing Chugach Alaska Corp.; Thane Miller, representing Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp.; and Rebecca Skinner, representing the Kodiak Island Borough. Rasmuson Foundation announced three new hires for external affairs program officer and two program officers on the Foundation’s grantmaking team. They bring more than six decades of work experience with expertise in the arts, child welfare and community collaboration. Vaughnetta J. Barton is the new external affairs program officer. Barton joined Rasmuson Foundation in March 2019 with more than 30 years of experience in nonprofits with a focus on community partnerships and strengthening organizations. She has held senior leadership positions in early learning, mentoring and welfare-to-work. Her most recent position launched the University of Washington School of Social Work’s prevention-based project, Communities in Action. At Philanthropy Northwest, a close partner, she developed its fundraising strategy. She is an alum of the Puget Sound-area’s Leadership Tomorrow. Tanya Dumas was hired as a program officer. Dumas also joined in March with more than 15 years of experience in programs designed to help children, families and communities thrive. Most recently, she served as director of operations for the Indian Child Welfare team at Casey Family Programs, a national operating foundation. Before that, Dumas worked as a corporate litigator in San Francisco and devoted pro-bono time to cases addressing education, voting rights and more. She also is an alum of Leadership Tomorrow and earlier served as a VISTA volunteer, coordinating an early childhood literacy program in two rural Oregon schools. Enzina Marrari was also hired as a program officer. Marrari joined the foundation in February after 15 years of working for government and nonprofit organizations in Alaska. Marrari, a practicing artist, previously served as curator of public art for the Municipality of Anchorage. She also has worked as grants manager for Access Alaska, director of education for Planned Parenthood of Alaska and adjunct professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She currently serves on the Municipal Arts Advisory Commission and as board chair for Momentum Dance Collective. In 2018, Marrari was recognized as one of Alaska’s Top Forty Under 40 emerging leaders by the Alaska Journal of Commerce. AMC Engineers announced that Ken Ratcliffe was named president effective May 1. Ratcliffe is a principal electrical engineer and has been with AMC for 27 years, serving as a vice president for the past seven years. Ratcliffe has been involved with numerous highly successful projects including the State of Alaska Library, Archives and Museum, University of Alaska Anchorage Engineering and Industry Building, UAA Health Science Building, Dimond High School, and Dr. Katherine and Dr. Kevin Gottlieb Building; all received illumination awards. As past president, Pat Cusick will remain at AMC full time. Tom and Sheila Barrett were awarded United Way of Anchorage’s prestigious Tocqueville Society Community Service Award at a reception held at the home of Carolyn and David Johnston on April 24. Celebrating the Barretts’ commitment to community were nearly 50 of Anchorage’s philanthropic leaders and generous Tocqueville Society members who each give $10,000 or more annually to create long-lasting changes by tackling our community’s most serious issues. Last year, United Way of Anchorage’s Tocqueville Society, which represents approximately 1.6 percent of the donor base, contributed more than 30 percent of total campaign revenues. The Alaska Army National Guard formally welcomed its new commander in a change of command ceremony at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on May 8. Brig. Gen. Joseph Streff relinquished command of the organization to Brig. Gen. (Alaska) Charles Knowles during the ceremony presided over by Brig. Gen. (Alaska) Torrence Saxe, adjutant general for Alaska and commissioner of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Knowles was born in Alaska, and started his career as an enlisted soldier with the Alaska Army National Guard in 1987 during his junior year of high school. He went on to graduate from Wasilla High School the following year. After completing the State Officer Candidate Program in 1991, he received his commission as an infantry officer in 1995. Knowles has bachelor’s and occupational education in business administration degree from Wayland Baptist University and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. He was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in March 2019, while he was the land component commander of the Alaska Army National Guard. Pat Hoxie has joined Sitnasuak Native Corp. as the new vice president of contract administration and compliance. Hoxie brings more than 30 years of experience in federal contracting and more than 20 years of experience with Alaska Native corporations. His education background is in accounting and finance. He had previously served as the vice president of finance for an international government contractor, and as the director of contracts and compliance for Doyon Ltd.

Movers and Shakers for May 12

Amanda Moser was hired as the new executive director of the Anchorage Downtown Partnership Ltd., effective April 29. Moser comes to Anchorage Downtown Partnership having served the Municipality of Anchorage working in areas of elections and serving as the Deputy Municipal Clerk. Through her tenure, she managed and administered all aspects of Anchorage’s municipal elections for 122 precincts. Moser was a major factor of creating and successfully implementing the Vote by Mail project for Anchorage. Moser has also worked for the State of Alaska where she developed and implemented strategy and messaging, including planning and organizing logistics for Alaskan business leaders traveling to Asia for Opportunity Alaska: China Trade Mission. Moser brings with her a wealth of volunteerism and community engagement experience including but not limited to: Alaska Journal of Commerce Top Forty Under 40; Parlor in the Round Song Board; Institute of the North; United Way Emerging Leaders Advisory Council; Blood Bank of Alaska, 5-gallon donor to present; Lead North Advisory Council; Engage Anchorage; and, Alaska Women’s Giving Circle, and more. Coffman Engineers Inc. announced leadership changes to the mechanical engineering department. The commercial mechanical department is led by Brent Little, PE, and the industrial mechanical department is led by Trevor Buron, PE. Little and Buron are both principals and owners of the firm. Under Jeff Gries’ leadership the mechanical department has more than doubled over the last 15 years. As vice president of oil and gas services, Gries, PE, remains responsible for the development of Coffman’s oil and gas services throughout our company. Little has more than 15 years of mechanical design experience and has been with Coffman for a decade. He was born and raised in Eagle River and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University. Little leads a commercial mechanical engineering department of 10 staff and specializes in engineering for federal, corrections, utilities, education, and healthcare projects. Buron has 14 years of experience, all of which have been with Coffman. He was born in Fairbanks, raised in Healy and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Idaho. Buron leads the industrial mechanical engineering department of 12 staff and specializes in industrial facility engineering, pipeline design, and all aspects of implementing in-line inspections, integrity assessments, and repairs of oil and gas pipelines. Stantec recently added three team members to its Environmental Services group in Alaska, expanding in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Wasilla. Victor Ross, Steve Reidsma and Zach Baer join the 22-person Alaska environmental team, adding more than 75 years of collective project experience. Ross, Reidsma and Baer come to Stantec from another Alaska environmental firm, greatly expanding Stantec’s Environmental Services experience, with a particular focus on wetlands, baseline data collection, and permitting for mining and transportation projects. As a team, Reidsma, Ross and Baer have conducted baseline wetlands data collection and permitting around the state. They have completed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineering permitting for major Alaska projects, including the Donlin Gold Project; Kivalina Evacuation Road; Cape Blossom to Kotzebue Road; and expansions at Fort Knox, Pogo, and Red Dog mines. Ross is a senior associate and senior regulatory specialist working from Stantec’s Wasilla office. He has 40 years of experience, most of it in Alaska, working for private firms and both the USACE and the Bureau of Land Management. He has been involved in key decision documents and permits for USACE and BLM, including mineral exploration, placer and hard rock mines, oil and gas, sand and gravel, airports, and roads. He is a 20-year member of the Alaska Miners Association and has worked on some of the state’s major mine projects—Red Dog, Fort Knox, True North, Pogo, and Kensington. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Reidsma is a senior wetland scientist working from the Fairbanks office. He has more than 25 years of Alaska natural resources experience and leads teams conducting natural resource baseline and permitting work for small retail developments to larger transportation, mining and pipeline projects. Reidsma has completed wetland field delineations, functional assessments, and preliminary jurisdictional determination reports for projects throughout Alaska. He has conducted wildlife surveys, recreation management, reclamation and remediation work, and fisheries and wildlife management as the former environmental manager at Fort Wainwright. He is an Army veteran. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Baer is an environmental scientist and professional wetland scientist with 12 years of experience. He will work from the Anchorage office. Baer has focused on vegetation mapping, exotic and rare plant surveys and identification, stream characterization and monitoring, groundwater hydrology monitoring, GIS analysis, and other state and federal environmental permitting throughout his career. He earned bachelor’s degrees in both biological sciences and natural resources management from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Kuna Engineering added Michael Willmon, BSEE, PE, CEM, as electrical engineering manager in the company’s Anchorage office. Willmon brings 27 year of experience in telecommunications, site design and construction. In this role, Willmon oversees the Anchorage office’s electrical projects and pursuits, as well as managing a team of electrical engineers and designers. Prior to joining Kuna, Willmon worked at GCI for 17 years as a project engineer including work on their terrestrial microwave network.

Study pinpoints trend toward fisheries specialization

Commercial fishermen in Alaska have gotten older in the past three decades. As it turns out, they’ve become more specialized, too. Fewer permits overall are in the water; between the early 1990s and 2014, commercial fishing permits in Alaska decreased by 25 percent. On top of that, fewer individual fishermen are moving between fisheries. From 1988-2014, the number of individuals holding multiple permits declined from 30 percent to 20 percent, according to a study published in the journal Fish and Fisheries. The bottom line: fishermen are increasingly putting all their economic eggs into one basket, and that makes them more vulnerable to the ups and downs of fishing. The study was born out of a workgroup that met through the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California Santa Barbara, said co-author Anne Beaudreau, an associate professor of fisheries at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The original intent was to study the long-term effects of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, but the data on fisheries specialization arose out of that work, she said. “As we worked on this, we realized there are so many things that have caused long-term changes in the Gulf of Alaska; in the fisheries, it’s really hard to see the long-term effects of the oil spill,” she said. “A lot of the focus of the working group was on the biological effects … this paper sort of came out of the end of that.” The group examined case studies in commercial fisheries: the Prince William Sound herring fishery, the statewide Pacific halibut fishery, salmon fisheries in Bristol Bay and in Prince William Sound, and fisheries in the region affected by the Valdez spill. All the fisheries have their own driving dynamics and factors of change, but common threads among many of them were long-term participation declines and increasing specialization. Some of that may be loss of opportunity; the cost of entering fisheries has steadily increased as limited entry and fishery rationalization have come into play in Alaska fisheries. Some of the fisheries in the case study are also not available due to losses in populations. The herring fishery in Prince William Sound, for example, crashed a few years after the Valdez spill and has never truly recovered. This is not an across-the-board trend, though. Some fishermen have been able to look elsewhere as their fisheries change, Beaudreau said. “I would say that fishermen are really good at diversifying,” she said. “I think that tends to be part of the nature of commercial fishing. You’re dealing with a lot of uncertainty — changes in fish populations, changes in regulations, changes in markets — all these are pressures that commercial fishermen are really good at responding and adapting to … For somebody, (finding opportunity) might mean specializing in something. For others, that might mean diversifying.” Specialization doesn’t always mean immediate impacts. For Bristol Bay, where sockeye salmon reign supreme, fishermen have actually seen less variability in their income and higher overall income. However, the point is the long-term fragility. Sockeye salmon are vulnerable to ocean forces, as was seen in the lower-than-expected returns across the Gulf of Alaska in 2018 that left fishermen in Kodiak, Chignik, Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound holding loose nets for much of the season. But the long-term warning flags of fishery instability remain, Beaudreau said. “I think it’s really more of the longer term concern,” she said. “If you’re putting all your eggs in one basket, what happens if there’s some major impact to sockeye populations?” The specialization study is the latest in a spate of research in recent years on cost of entry, reduction in opportunity and the increasing average age of commercial fishermen in the state known as the “graying of the fleet.” Fishermen statewide have noticed a trend among their peers that fewer young people are getting into the industry, but the studies lend statistics to back up observations and support potential legislative fixes. The study cites the work of another UAF researcher, Courtney Carothers, several times in reference to the impacts of the Pacific halibut fishery particularly. Carothers and a group of other researchers produced the 2017 “Turning the Tide” report, highlighting a number of the issues in loss of fishery access in rural communities and what that means for the future of those communities and the Alaska fleet. Since the implementation of limited entry programs in the 1970s, the number of rural residents holding permits in their local state fisheries has declined by 30 percent, and halibut quota holdings by locals in rural communities has fallen 50 percent since the implementation of the individual fishing quota, or IFQ, program in 1992 according to the Turning the Tide report. Much of that is due to the cost of permits in a limited entry fishery or shares in an IFQ fishery such as halibut or Bering Sea crab. Among the recommendations produced in that report were facilitating nonmarket-based access to commercial fisheries, establishing youth or student access licenses or mentorships programs, implementing programs to protect rural access to fisheries, supporting infrastructure to maintain fisheries and establishing a statewide fisheries access taskforce. Though lawmakers have expressed interest in it, legislation addressing these issues has yet to make it into law. One bill introduced in 2017, House Bill 188, would have established regional fisheries trusts allowing communities to form trusts to purchase commercial fishing licenses communally and lease them to fishermen who would otherwise not be able to afford them. After receiving a number of hearings, the bill was held in the House Labor and Commerce Committee and has not been revived in the current session. Beaudreau said her group’s study did not highlight potential solutions but rather shed light on the problem — and, among other items, how salmon fisheries can serve as a baseline fishery for commercial fishermen across the state. “Basically, we kind of saw salmon as a safety net, and it just speaks to how important it is for Alaskans,” she said. Elizabeth Earl can be reached at [email protected]

US-China deal in flux after new tariff threat

BEIJING (AP) — President Donald Trump’s threat to escalate tariffs on Chinese goods has clouded prospects for a trade agreement, though preparations by Beijing’s envoys to still visit Washington this week are buoying hopes for some breakthrough to end the trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Beijing is “trying to get more information” after Trump’s announcement over the weekend that he would raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent on May 10, said a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang. Trump’s threat was seen as an effort to intensify pressure on Beijing to agree to a deal that would be to Trump’s liking. Stock markets initially plunged May 6 after Trump’s May 5 tweet over fears that China would abandon the latest round of talks in Washington, scheduled to resume May 8. U.S. stocks later regained some of their lost ground on hopes that the negotiations would proceed. Still, Geng offered no details on when exactly the talks would resume or who would join the Chinese delegation. He would not say whether Vice Premier Liu He, who has led China negotiators in previous rounds, will travel to Washington. The lack of details suggested that Beijing is wrestling with an internal conflict: Eager, on the one hand, to end a high-stakes trade fight that has battered Chinese exporters yet reluctant, on the other, to appear to bow to the Trump administration’s demands for far-reaching trade concessions. “We hope the United States will join efforts with China and we can meet each other halfway so we make a mutually beneficial agreement on the basis of win-win and mutual respect,” Geng said. The two governments have raised tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars combined of each other’s goods in their dispute, which centers on the administration’s complaints about Chinese aggressive drive to achieve supremacy in global technology through illicit means. The confrontation has disrupted trade in goods ranging from soybeans to medical equipment. Trump threats Sunday to raise import taxes on $200 billion in Chinese products from 10 percent to 25 percent — and impose tariffs on $325 billion of additional imports, in effect covering everything Beijing ships to the United States — raised the stakes. His administration has already imposed 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports, while Beijing has imposed penalties on $110 billion of American goods. On May 6, Trump stepped up his pressure, tweeting: “The United States has been losing, for many years, 600 to 800 Billion Dollars a year on Trade. With China we lose 500 Billion Dollars. Sorry, we’re not going to be doing that anymore!” During Asian stock trading, China’s main stock index plunged 5.6 percent and Hong Kong lost 2.9 percent. Market benchmarks in France and Germany sank 2 percent. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down around 240 points, or 0.9 percent, in early-afternoon trading. It had been down as much as 471 in the first few minutes of trading. Previously, Trump had postponed deadlines for a trade agreement in an effort to buy more time for negotiations. But on May 5, he complained on Twitter that a deal with Beijing was coming “too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!” The suddenly combative rhetoric from Trump came as a surprise. For weeks, administration officials have been suggesting that negotiations were making steady progress. Michael Pillsbury, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center on Chinese Strategy and an adviser to the Trump White House, said the president’s tweets suggest that Chinese leaders “are trying to take back concessions they already made.” Trump had raised tariffs on Chinese imports last July 6 in response to complaints that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand technology. The administration and other trading partners also want Beijing to scale back plans for government-led creation of Chinese global competitors in robotics and other technology. They say those violate the communist government’s market-opening commitments. Both sides say they are making progress, but no details have been released. Beijing’s negotiators have agreed to narrow the politically sensitive Chinese trade surplus with the United States by purchasing more soybeans, natural gas and other goods. They have offered to change industrial strategies but have ruled out discarding them outright. Another sticking point is U.S. insistence on an enforcement mechanism with penalties in the event Beijing fails to stick to any commitments it makes. Economists suggested Trump may want to step up pressure because China’s economy is improving, reducing the urgency for Beijing to strike a deal. The latest quarter’s growth held steady despite a slump in exports to the United States. That suggested official efforts to reverse a downturn were gaining traction. “China may have appeared less willing to offer additional concessions,” said Citigroup economists in a report. Trump’s threat makes going ahead with talks “very difficult politically” for President Xi Jinping’s government, said Jake Parker, vice president of the U.S.-China Business Council. He said the Chinese public might “view this as a capitulation” if Beijing reached an agreement before Trump’s May 10 deadline. If Trump carries out his threat, American companies in China “would be very concerned” about official retaliation, said Parker. A Chinese decision to pull out of talks could have global repercussions, causing turmoil in financial markets and dragging on economic growth, economists said. “The risk of an all-out U.S.-China trade war has increased significantly,” Tao Wang and Ning Zhang of UBS said in a report.

Movers and Shakers for May 5

Ken McCarty and John Sturgeon were confirmed as new trustees of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority on April 17. McCarty of Anchorage, currently in private practice as a licensed marriage and family therapist, brings more than 35 years of professional experience as a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, administrator and in special needs education to the board. He has direct experience in providing marital family therapy, adolescent treatment, residential treatment and substance abuse/prevention treatment; including helping beneficiaries with opioid and alcohol addiction through medication assisted treatment. McCarty has served as the President of the Alaska Association of Marital Family Therapists, a member of the State of Alaska Marital Family Therapy Licensing Board and was an adjunct professor in the psychology department for National University in Redding, California. He has also worked as adjunct staff to the University of Alaska, Anchorage, with the Regional Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor Training Program to provide counselor training across Alaska. Sturgeon of Anchorage has an extensive background in forestry having worked for the U.S. Forest Service as the State Forester for the Alaska Division of Forestry and in the private forestry sector. He also formerly served as the CEO of Ouzinkie Native Corp. Sturgeon has served as a trustee for PNW Medical University and the Nature Conservancy of Alaska, and as a director on the Board of Forestry, Alaska Forest Association, the Wild Sheep Foundation and the Resource Development Council. He was awarded the Governor’s Conservationist of the Year Award in 2017. Elaine Kroll was named Cash Management and Anchorage Branch Administration director for First National Bank Alaska and was also appointed as senior vice president at the state’s largest, locally owned community bank. A graduate of State University of New York at Fredonia and the Pacific Coast Banking School, Kroll has earned the designation of Certified Treasury Professional and spent 24 years building her local banking experience. Cornerstone General Contractors announced that Macen Kinne and Mack Conn have joined the team as project managers. Kinne brings 29 years of experience in construction, starting off in the trades then later joined the Carpenter’s Union. Kinne has experience working on both government and private sector projects including defense infrastructure, oil and gas, industrial, and commercial. He also owned and operated a residential general contracting business that specialized in remodel, environmental, and demolition work before serving as a superintendent for a large company on many rural Alaska projects. Conn joins Cornerstone with more than 15 years in construction. Conn’s professional career has focused on large, commercial multi-family wood-framed facilities in Alaska, Colorado, North Dakota, and Idaho. Like Kinne, Conn also started out in the trades and owned his own framing company. In his role’s prior to joining Cornerstone, Conn served as a superintendent, general superintendent, and construction manager for major subcontractors and developers. Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative Inc. announced Stacy Marshall was hired as the director of customer experience. Marshall brings more than 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. She most recently worked as the director of business sales for Alaska Communications over the commercial and healthcare vertical. Prior to that she held various leadership roles within the organization to include sales operations, retail, contact center, and was the key stakeholder in driving process improvement. Marshall will work with the executive team to meet and exceed customer expectations and retention goals across the North Slope. DOWL announced the addition of Alaska Aviation Manager Melissa Osborn, AAE, ACE, to its Fairbanks office. She brings extensive U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Transportation Security Administration compliance expertise to the firm and will grow DOWL’s Alaska aviation services including TSA and FAA compliance. Osborn has been in aviation for more than 20 years having previously held positions as an airport operations superintendent at Fairbanks International Airport, an airport safety and security officer for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Northern Region, an operations officer at FAI, and a load planner for Alaska Airlines, Lufthansa, and Cargolux. Osborn brings valuable project management experience, having initiated and led a variety of short- and long-term airport planning programs throughout her career. She is an active member of several professional organizations and is an Accredited Airport Executive.

Movers and Shakers for April 28

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union has selected three individuals to fill executive level positions. Elizabeth Rense Pavlas has been promoted to the position of executive director, retail financial services. She was previously senior vice president, operations. Pavlas started with Alaska USA in 2008 as a marketing manager for Retail Financial Services and has earned positions of increased responsibility throughout her 10-year career with the credit union. She has a bachelor’s of business management degree and an MBA from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is also in her final year of Western CUNA Management School. Robert McNaughton has been selected for the position of executive director, business and commercial services. McNaughton has worked at Alaska USA for 15 years, most recently as vice president, business and commercial lending. He has more than 30 years of commercial lending experience, including portfolio management, credit underwriting, and small business banking. Jeff Gregg has been selected for the position of vice president, business and commercial lending. Gregg has worked for Alaska USA for the last three years, most recently as regional vice president, commercial lending, Pacific Northwest. He has more than 28 years of commercial lending experience and has a bachelor’s of business administration degree from Central Washington University. PND Engineers Inc. announced the following new hires in its Anchorage office. Cameron Brailey, EIT, has joined PND as a staff civil engineer. Brailey has a strong background in construction, hydrology and hydraulics. He is a lifelong Alaskan and a 2016 graduate of Northern Arizona University with skills including bathymetric survey and computer modeling. Diana Linder, EIT, has joined the team as a staff structural engineer. Linder is a December 2018 graduate of Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Originally from Minnesota, Diana also has a background in water resources and environmental research. As an undergraduate student, she was president of her ASCE student chapter and volunteered with an organization to promote STEM careers with middle school girls. She participated on the Mississippi State Concrete Canoe Team for two years; both teams went on to win first place in the regional competitions and advance to the 30th and 31st Annual ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competitions. Lifelong Alaskan Elizabeth Swan, EIT, a staff structural engineer, received her bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Alaska Anchorage in spring 2018. She is currently splitting her time between PND’s Anchorage and Palmer offices while working toward her master’s degree. Prior to joining PND, she interned for two summers with the Alaska Department of Transportation &Public Facilities Bridge Section, gaining experience with structures by assisting on bridge inceptions statewide. Jane Hemstreet has joined PND Engineers Inc. in Anchorage as our front desk administrative assistant. Hemstreet comes to PND from Wells Fargo, where she worked most recently with the home mortgage team, and also brings previous experience as an auto claims adjuster. Jason Hoke of Glennallen has been appointed by the Secretary of Commerce as the Denali Commission federal co-chair. Hoke will replace John Torgerson who has been serving in the role of interim federal co-chair. Hoke’s previous work experience in Alaska includes serving as Programs Director for the Ahtna Inter-Tribal Resource Commission, overseeing energy, resource and biomass projects for Ahtna and its Tribes. In addition, he worked as executive director for the Copper Valley Development Association Inc. and served as Tribal administrator for the Cheesh’Na Tribal Council. Bruce Schactler was reelected and Tyson Fick, Melanie Brown and Cynthia Wallesz were elected to the United Fishermen of Alaska board of directors as at-large members. UFA’s individual and lifetime members elect four at-large directors every two years to represent the more than 450 individual, lifetime, and crewmembers on the organization’s board. The at-large directors will serve two-year terms beginning April 15. Also taking effect on April 15 is the return of Duncan Fields to the UFA Executive Committee as administrative chair. Fick and Wallesz return to the board as elected at-large members. Fick represented the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers group from 2017-18 and Wallesz represented United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters on the UFA board from 2015-18. Fick previously worked as communications director at the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute as well as executive director at ABSC. Based in Juneau, he now fishes Southeast salmon gillnet, salmon handtroll, and Dungeness crab, and is a co-owner of Taku River Reds. Wallesz, of Petersburg, and Boise, Idaho, has been a Southeast salmon drift gillnetter for 25 years and direct marketing her family’s salmon since 1999. She has also longlined for halibut, and fished Dungeness crab in Washington, and has been active in the Petersburg Community Foundation, Chamber of Commerce, and Southeast Alaska Rainforest Wild. Since earning a master’s degree in sustainable business in 2012, she has consulted with small businesses and nonprofits to help them strategize their futures, work efficiently and meet their goals. Brown of Juneau has been fishing since 1979 in her family’s Bristol Bay setnet operation and as a crew member in Togiak herring, Kotzebue Sound and Norton Sound setnet fisheries. She is an alternate member of the Juneau Douglas Advisory Committee and in her second term on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute Salmon Species Committee, and a board member of Alaska Marine Conservation Council. Schactler, of Kodiak, has fished salmon seining in Southeast and Kodiak, Tanner crab in Kodiak and Togiak, longlining for cod and halibut, and herring throughout the state. He also is the director of the Alaska Global Food Aid Program with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and national director for the National Seafood Marketing Coalition. He co-authored the UFA Marketing Plan in 2001 which led to USDA Country of Origin Labeling for seafood, USDA Trade Adjustment Assistance eligibility for fishermen, and inclusion of Alaska salmon and herring in food aid programs. Schactler has served as an at-large board member since 1993 and received the 2013 UFA Fisherman of the Year award, and will continue in his role on the Executive Committee as UFA marketing chair.

Brooks Range closing in on Mustang startup

Alaska is on the cusp of gaining a new, albeit quite small, North Slope oil field. Brooks Range Petroleum CEO Bart Armfield said first oil from his company’s Mustang project should be flowing sometime in the next 90 days. The company is in the midst of prepping the infrastructure and facilities needed to support the flow of oil. “We’ve got a lot of activity taking place in the field right now with pipeline installation, electric and instrumentation, platform installation — a lot of trenching work on the pad itself,” Armfield said during an April 17 Alaska Industrial Development Authority Board of Directors meeting in Anchorage. With the 1,100-foot oil line nearing completion, the remaining major work includes installing a modular “early production facility” before production can commence, according to Armfield. The pipeline connects to ConocoPhillips’ main Alpine transportation pipeline, which serves as a primary artery for moving sales-quality oil produced from the west and central portions of North Slope oil development to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. Armfield highlighted that oil production from Mustang would make Brooks Range the first small independent company working on the North Slope to take a prospect from discovery and see it through to commercialization. “If little Brooks Range can do it anybody should be able to go to the North Slope and do it,” he said. The Mustang project is in the Southern Miluveach Unit just south of the very large Kuparuk River field operated by ConocoPhillips. The company is targeting the same sandstone formations that have helped produce more than 2 billion barrels of oil from Kuparuk. Mustang holds 22 million barrels of proven reserves, according to Brooks Range. Peak production estimates for the field have been in the range of 12,000 barrels per day. The latest timeline to first production is pushed back slightly from what Armfield forecasted in a December interview, when he pegged an April startup, but it still signals a major step forward for Brooks Range. The company has been working on Mustang for years, though the project has gone through fits and starts since oil prices collapsed starting in late 2014. Anchorage-based Brooks Range is owned through subsidiaries by the Singapore investment firm Alpha Energy Holdings Ltd. The small oil company has been subject to multiple ownership structures since starting the Mustang project. AIDEA first partnered with Brooks Range in December 2012 when the authority approved a $20 million investment in a nearly $30 million five-mile gravel road to access the prospect and 20-acre gravel pad to host production facilities. The gravel infrastructure was completed in April 2013. At the time, Brooks Range leaders said they wanted to have the field in production by fall 2014 and credited incentives in the just-passed and industry-supported oil production tax structure under Senate Bill 21 for improving the economics of the project and spurring it forward. In April 2014, AIDEA committed an additional $50 million of investment into a planned $225 million Mustang oil processing facility known as Mustang Operations Center-1, or MOC1, which authority leaders then saw as a facility other small companies prospecting in the area might potentially be able to use. However, when oil prices fell from $100-plus per barrel in late 2014 to eventually less than $30, it caused company and authority leaders to reevaluate their plan. “(At) $120 oil we sometimes make decisions that maybe should be rethought,” Armfield said April 17. Multibillion-dollar budget deficits — also triggered by the collapse of oil prices — also pushed the state to slow the pace of repaying its oil and gas tax credits starting in 2015, which further challenged Mustang. Brooks Range is owed approximately $20 million in tax credit payments, according to Armfield. AIDEA and Brooks Range owners agreed to rework their partnership last May when the authority approved a transaction to shift from an investor to a lender in Mustang by selling its stake in the holding companies set up under the original deals for the gravel infrastructure and processing facilities. That move freed Brooks Range to focus on getting to first oil — and cash flow — with a smaller, less expensive early production facility before eventually growing the operation. “MOC1 was the Cadillac and now we’re going with a Chevy that still gets us from point A to point B on four wheels safely in a proper manner,” Armfield said. He noted that while AIDEA has had to wait much longer than expected for its investments to bear fruit, the gravel road and pad have been used by numerous other companies as a launching point for exploration activities in the area. State officials in the Division of Oil and Gas have also pressed Brooks Range to find a way to production in recent years as the company failed to follow through on its stated drilling and development plans, but that trend appears to have been reversed. Once the early production facility is installed Brooks Range will begin production from the North Tarn-1A well the company successfully flow tested in November 2017. The North Tarn well produced nearly 1,300 barrels per day from a 10-foot section the Kuparuk C sandstone formation with only trace amounts of water during the test, according to a company release. Production is expected to start in the 1,000 barrels per day range. Once it’s sustained, the company plans to drill 6,000-foot lateral section in another partially completed well that should generate an additional 2,000-3,000 barrels daily. “It’s right above the Kuparuk sands. We just need to drill the lateral section in it,” Armfield said of the second well. The early production facility is designed to process up to 6,000 barrels per day, so as oil flow ramps up with the eventual drilling of up to 18 wells — split between producers and water injectors — permanent processing facilities estimated at roughly $350 million will need to be installed, according to Armfield. “We’ve been around for a while and we’re finally going to get this thing done and start (producing) oil and putting money in our pocket and in turn back into your pocket,” he told the AIDEA board. Elwood Brehmer can be reached at [email protected]

Council committee struggles with federal Cook Inlet salmon plan

Two-and-a-half years after a federal court directed the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to develop a fishery management plan for the Cook Inlet salmon fishery, there is still a lot of work to do. The commercial salmon fisheries of Alaska are primarily managed by the state, including in Cook Inlet, where part of the fishery takes place in federal waters. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council for years deferred management of the salmon fishery there to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, finally removing Cook Inlet completely from its FMP in 2012. The United Cook Inlet Drift Association and the Cook Inlet Fishermen’s Fund sued, saying the federal government had a responsibility to manage that fishery to ensure it complies with the Magnuson-Stevens Act. In 2016, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, and the council reluctantly turned back to developing a management plan. Many of the commercial fishermen there have a longstanding dissatisfaction with the Alaska Fish and Game and the Board of Fisheries, stemming from a belief that the department’s allocation decisions governed by the board are politically rather than scientifically motivated and that the escapement goals for sockeye salmon on the Kenai River are too high. They sought to exercise federal influence over state management through the lawsuit, and now are running into roadblocks on federal authority to do so. The Cook Inlet Salmon Committee, which the council convened to gather stakeholder feedback on developing the FMP, has been hung up on philosophical differences at meetings. Council staff Jim Armstrong, who serves as the plan coordinator for the Cook Inlet salmon FMP, told the council during its meeting on April 7 that there are still some major points of disagreement between the stakeholder council members, the council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee and the council staff. “There’s a lot of frustration and they have perspectives on the way that these salmon fisheries should be managed and how escapement goals are set and the biological impacts of spawning stock reaching the carrying capacity, and they feel it has,” he said. “That’s the theme that has woven through my report and experience of these meetings. We’re not just going in there with an agenda and checking boxes. They’ve come in with a certain plan and we’re trying to reconcile that with what’s possible under the federal system and the council process. It’s taking some time.” One of the core tenets of the fishermen’s grievances is the belief that ADFG’s sockeye salmon escapement goals on the Kenai are too large, exceeding the carrying capacity of the system and thus reducing the overall return of fish as well as commercial harvests and therefore not delivering the required maximum sustainable yield. The committee requested a scientific analysis of how different stock-recruitment models fit the Kenai River and at what level the river could be considered overcompensated — essentially, how many sockeye salmon it would take for the stock to begin crashing rather than producing more fish. Dr. Curry Cunningham of the Fisheries, Aquatic Science and Technology Laboratory at Alaska Pacific University developed the analysis. The Kenai River is the largest sockeye salmon-producing system in Cook Inlet, replete with large lakes and gravel bottoms for sockeye spawning and rearing. Cunningham’s results concluded that an escapement of between 1.03 and 1.78 million sockeye would achieve a maximum sustainable yield of 2.97 million to 3.55 million sockeye on the Kenai River. After looking at multiple models, he found that the model that best fit the data from the river — called a Beverton-Holt relationship — offered limited support for overcompensation in the river. “Given that a Beverton-Holt function does not provide for overcompensation, this indicates limited evidence for the overcompensation hypothesis with respect to the Kenai River late-run sockeye salmon stock,” he wrote. This is not necessarily the same case for the Kasilof River, a separate but nearby stock. Upper Cook Inlet fishermen harvest both stocks of sockeye, and while the Kasilof River produces fewer sockeye, it is important to the commercial fishery and sustains a sportfishery of its own. Fitting a model to the data on the Kasilof, Cunningham wrote that the model does not confirm that the Kasilof is overcompensating, but that it can’t be rejected. His results suggested a maximum sustained yield of 629,000 sockeye for an escapement of 235,000 on the Kasilof. Cunningham’s findings about the Kenai River generally agree with ADFG’s calculations about escapement on the river. In a memo released March 26 detailing proposed escapement goal changes for Upper Cook Inlet, department staff indicated that results based on the traditional Ricker model indicate that the current escapement goal is too low and recommended raising the goal by 50,000 sockeye on the lower end and by 1 million on the upper end. Fish and Game noted that the data the department has doesn’t conclude anything about overcompensation but noted that escapements after 1979 are more consistent than those between 1968 and 1978, and so excluded the earlier years in model estimations. Using data from years 1979 to 2012, a goal that would produce 90 percent of maximum sustainable yield would be between 774,000 and 1.7 million sockeye, according to the escapement goal memo. The committee members have repeatedly said they wanted the federal government to influence the state’s escapement goal development, Armstrong said. “This was framed as a fundamental question, as in if this can’t happen, what’s the point of this whole exercise?” he said. “That’s not a committee statement, that’s just a flavor (of the discussion).” The state has jurisdiction over inland waters and out to three nautical miles from shore. The court decision doesn’t give the federal fisheries managers rights to manage inside the state waters, nor does it allow them to overrule state management of fish in those waters. That is another fundamental disagreement between the stakeholders and the council, Armstrong said; some members of the committee believe the federal government should extend its management into the freshwater salmon habitat. Some council members expressed frustration at the delay in the work so far. Council member Bill Tweit of Washington noted in his comments that the council has specific rules under federal law. “I think the more time the committee spends debating those kinds of issues, the longer this process is going to take and the longer it’s going to take to actually develop an FMP,” he said. “If the committee members want a salmon FMP, they’d be well advised to play within the boundaries of the ballfield that is the Magnuson-Stevens Act. None of us get to play outside those boundaries.” Committee member Hannah Heimbuch, who commercially fishes in Cook Inlet, told the council that there is still significant confusion among stakeholders about the council process, as the state management process is more familiar to them. “Some are fairly hopeless and think federal management is the only way to manage the fishery,” Heimbuch said. “Some are understandably frustrated that we even went down this road. And some are very confused … That all with a 40-year low harvest (of salmon in 2018). I think understandably there is a lot of emotion and tension. For me that meant selling my boat last week and leasing this year. “To the extent that the council would be able to do any community outreach that communicates that beyond the scope of the committee, I think that would be helpful.” Elizabeth Earl can be reached at [email protected]

Battle brews over return of Johnstone to Board of Fisheries

Unsurprisingly, there is likely to be a tense vote in the Legislature over at least one of Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy’s appointments to the Board of Fisheries. A pair of resignations from the board added with the end of member terms give Dunleavy a chance to select a majority of the board’s seven seats with four up for confirmation. One — Marit Carlson-Van Dort of Juneau — drew some raised eyebrows because of past work with the Pebble Limited Partnership, and another — Karl Johnstone of Anchorage — sparked a fiery opposition from commercial fishermen and vocal support from sportfishermen. The other two, Israel Payton of Wasilla and Gerad Godfrey of Kodiak, drew little to no controversy. The members of the Board of Fisheries serve three-year terms and determine fishing allocation and opportunity in the state. The appointments are always controversial, with the governor selecting candidates and the Legislature interviewing them intensively before either confirming or rejecting them. While there are no dedicated seats on the board for either region or user group, stakeholders keep track of where members’ experience and interests lie and calculate the balance of the perspectives. This time, the commercial sector loudly objected to the governor’s appointments, saying the balance would heavily tip toward sportfishery interests. Bob Penney of Kenai, who has spent decades fighting for sport priority over commercial in Cook Inlet, was a major financial supporter of Dunleavy during the 2018 election. Johnstone, a retired Superior Court judge and a friend of Penney’s since the 1970s, was the main flashpoint of the group of appointments. Following seven years of serving on the board, he resigned in 2015 after then-Gov. Bill Walker told him he would not be reappointed after former House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, objected to how Johnstone handled the board’s interview process for candidates for commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Johnstone told the Senate Resources Committee in a hearing on April 10 that he was interested in taking up Board of Fisheries service again because he’s been keeping up with fisheries issues and he finds the work rewarding. “There’s an enormous amount of work involved if you do it right, and an enormous amount of time spent … I choose to consider the rewarding part of it, and that’s why I reapplied,” he told the committee. “I have the time and the energy and the desire to continue this work.” Johnstone comes with a heavy wake of controversy. During past service, records from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game showed that the department spent more money on lodging for Johnstone than any other member during board meetings in Anchorage, despite that Johnstone has a home in Anchorage. He maintains a home in Prescott, Ariz., and frequently travels out of state, though he told the Senate Resources Committee that he spends “much more time in Anchorage than I do elsewhere.” In 2000, he was publicly reprimanded by the Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct for violating the legal parameters of hiring a coroner and was once recommended for nonretention by the Alaska Judicial Council in 1988 for being unqualified, ranking low in integrity, judicial temperament and overall performance. Within the fisheries world, he’s a polarizing character. Sportfishing advocates testified to the committee that he maintained a professional demeanor and always came prepared to meetings, running them fairly for the four years when he served as the chairman. On the other end of the spectrum, commercial fishermen ardently oppose his nomination because they say he is irreversibly biased in favor of the sportfishing industry and say that he created a hostile atmosphere at board meetings. A joint House Fisheries and Resources committee meeting April 15 attracted more than 100 commenters and ran for nearly four hours, with testifiers on both sides. The Senate Resources Committee meeting on April 10 similarly attracted a large number of testifiers on both sides, though the majority opposed Johnstone. The United Fishermen of Alaska, an organization representing 37 commercial fishing groups in the state, doesn’t usually endorse or oppose Board of Fisheries candidates because of the potential for repercussions if the person they opposed is confirmed anyway. In written comments to the committee, UFA noted it hadn’t opposed a board member nominee since 2006. Executive Director Frances Leach told the Senate Resources Committee that Johnstone’s record shows that he is aware of fisheries regulation processes through the board but has disregarded them. “We understand the risk that we are taking in opposing someone such as Mr. Johnstone because we understand there are repercussions that could cause us harm,” she said. “His blatant bias against commercial fishermen was illustrated heavily throughout meetings.” Commercial set gillnet fishermen on Cook Inlet’s east side have a particular axe to grind with him. As chairman, he oversaw an Upper Cook Inlet meeting in 2014 in which a board-generated proposal was introduced to set significant restrictions on setnetters paired to restrictions on the Kenai River king salmon sportfishery, which commercial fishermen saw as a violation of the public process because the proposal was introduced, deliberated and passed without public input during committees or public comment. A number of Kenai Peninsula setnetters testified against his reappointment to the board, with a number saying he used his position to belittle Alaska Department of Fish and Game scientists and members of the public. “My experienced with Judge Johnstone has been anything but fair and balanced,” said Ken Coleman, a Kenai-area setnetter. Though he’s been absent from the Board of Fisheries since 2015, Johnstone occasionally wrote in opinion pieces to Alaska newspapers focusing on fisheries. Some highlighted a belief that personal-use and sportfisheries needed to take precedence over commercial fisheries and referring to commercial fishing in the state as “the aged and fading sibling.” Sportfishing supporters wrote in and testified in support of all the candidates Dunleavy appointment, but particularly for Johnstone. The Kenai River Sportfishing Association hosted a letter-generating form on its website, producing a large volume of form letters from individuals, and other organizations noted that the Legislature awarded Johnstone a citation for his service on the Board of Fisheries in 2015. “We much appreciate that Chairman Johnstone prioritized managing for the sustainability of our fisheries resource first and foremost as well as his efforts to provide reasonable harvest opportunities for all user groups, particularly Alaska residents, most of whom do not own commercial fishing permits,” wrote Martin Meigs, the chairman of the Alaska Sport Fishing Association, in his public comment to the House Fisheries Committee. “People as experienced if (sic) fisheries and as dedicated and competent as Karl Johnstone are few and far between!” During the hearings, a number of legislators showed skepticism about Johnstone, in part because of concerns about how much time he spends in Alaska. Sen. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks, asked if Johnstone would release his 2019 Permanent Fund Dividend application — which details how many days a person spends out of state as a qualifier to receive the dividend — as a way of quelling public debate about whether he primarily lives in Alaska or Arizona. Johnstone, who said he was calling into the hearing from Arizona, said he did not have an objection but wondered “why you want it.” Applicants for the PFD who are gone from the state for more than 90 days must document their absences and must reside in the state for at least 185 days per year. According to Permanent Fund Dividend Division records, Johnstone did not apply for the PFD from 2002 to 2009, did apply for it while on the board from 2010 to 2015 and did not apply for it in 2016 and 2017 before applying for it once again in 2018. “By all standards, I’m a resident,” he said. “I do spend time outside Alaska. My interest in the winter at my age has waned a little bit, although I still enjoy it once in a while. I do travel quite a bit. I also travel to other states and countries in the winter … From every point of view I can think of, I’m a resident.” Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, who chairs the House Fisheries Committee, passed the gavel at the end of the April 15 meeting to explain why she would vote against Johnstone in the joint House and Senate confirmation hearing. Saying she was “morally and ethically compelled” to oppose him, she added that she understood the governor would not appoint a commercial fishing representative to the seat but wanted to at least see an appointment from outside the Anchorage area. “I firmly believe that Mr. Johnstone’s reputation and history of biases show that he is not the right person for this board,” she said. A few commenters said they opposed Carlson-Van Dort because of her work with Pebble, though others supported her because of her background in environmental science and familiar with fisheries. Payton, who currently serves on the board, attracted a number of supportive comments from both sport and commercial interests. The committees forwarded the names to a joint hearing for consideration. ^ Elizabeth Earl can be reached at [email protected]

Movers and Shakers for April 21

The National Association of Secondary School Principals has named Meghan Redmond, assistant principal of Chief Ivan Blunka School in New Stuyahok, as the 2019 National Assistant Principal of the Year. Redmond is in her fourth year as assistant principal at Chief Ivan Blunka School in New Stuyahok, a K–12 school consisting of 134 students who can only access the school by boat or plane. Because the remote nature of the school limits opportunities for exposure to various careers and other robust experiences, Redmond leads the school’s quarterly exploration weeks that allow students to focus on one or two courses that help them explore careers and interests — with some exploration weeks leading to industry-based certifications. Redmond also started the Small Schools Matter group to draw attention to the needs of remote schools and recently brought students to the state capital of Juneau to advocate for funding. Driven to provide a culturally relevant education for the nearly 100 percent Yup’ik Eskimo Alaska Native population, Redmond incorporates the native language into the school. The school’s administrative team focuses on valuing teacher talent in order to retain it, evidenced by a 100 percent staff retention rate for the current school year. Redmond holds a bachelor’s degree in middle childhood and early adolescence education from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She also serves on the executive board for the Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals. Northrim Bank announced the promotion of a variety of employees throughout the Bank: Mark Edwards, EVP-chief credit officer and bank economist; Kari Skinner, SVP-marketing and communications director; Marc Guevarra, VP-commercial loan officer; Tammy Kosa, VP-regional market manager; Gerlie Monta-Guevarra, VP-branch manager; Aili Peyton-Jalbert, VP-commercial cash management officer; Josie Thayer, VP-commercial cash management officer; Bill Simpson, VP-collections supervisor; Katie Bender, AVP-community and public relations manager. Edwards has been with Northrim Bank since 2007. Prior to that, he was the director of the Office of Economic Development for the State of Alaska and economist for the Department of Revenue. Edwards has an MBA from Alaska Pacific University and a master’s degree from Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management. He received Northrim Bank’s President’s award in 2010. Skinner joined Northrim in 2017 with more than 15 years of sales and marketing experience, most recently with Simon Property Group as a director of Marketing and Business Development. She holds an MBA from the University of Utah. Guevarra has worked in banking since 2001. He joined Alaska Pacific Bank in 2007 and has been with Northrim since the merger in 2014. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Kosa has been with Northrim for 15 years. She is a graduate of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and has been awarded the Northrim Way Award, Customer First Service Award, and President’s Award. Monta-Guevarra started her career in banking in 2000. She has started at Alaska Pacific Bank in 2005 and has been with Northrim since the merger in 2014. Peyton-Jalbert joined Northrim Bank in 2018 with eight years of banking experience. She holds a master’s degree in communication from the University of Hawaii. Thayer has been with Northrim for more than 13 years and has 20 years of cash management experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international business from the University of Alaska. Simpson joined Northrim in 2007 as part of the bank’s acquisition of Alaska First Bank & Trust. He has more than 30 years of experience in banking. Simpson holds a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in finance from Boise State University. Bender has been with Northrim since 2013 and has more than 15 years of experience in communications and public relations. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Ahtna Inc. announced several new hires and achievements within its subsidiaries. Vivian Tokar, program manager with Ahtna Environmental Inc., has earned the designation of Project Management Professional. This certification, through the Project Management Institute, requires 4,500 hours of leading and directing projects, a four-year degree, 35 hours of project management education, as well as passing a rigorous exam. Tokar has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and has managed environmental remediation projects across Alaska since joining Ahtna in 2015. Ahtna Engineering Services LLC promoted Valeriya Brand, MBA, CPCM, to the position of business manager. Brand has more than 12 years of experience providing financial and contract management including financial tracking and budget management. Brand earned a Certified Professional Contracts Management credential from the National Contract Management Association in 2016 and has an MBA; and bachelor’s degrees in accounting and management. Prior to her promotion, Brand served as the firm’s contracts manager. AEI has recently hired Acery “Ace” Garcia, as one of its safety and QA/QC managers. Garcia has more than 25 years of experience working with the government, 15 years overseas. His focus primarily involves Military Munitions Response Program and environmental projects with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Garcia holds an associate’s degree in occupational safety and health technology and is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree. AEI’s Anchorage office hired Toni Endsley as project controls manager. Endsley has more than 15 years of experience in federal contracting performing project/program, operations, and contract management; financial analysis and budgeting; safety and hazardous material handling and transportation compliance; and marketing/business development. She holds numerous certifications including USACE CQM, HAZWOPER, and multiple various OSHA certifications. Endsley has an associate’s degree with coursework tailored towards business and finance. AES also welcomed Autumn Gould as a geologist working from the firm’s Anchorage office. Gould has more than four years of experience as a geologist in the oil and gas industry in addition to environmental remediation. She has worked on environmental projects throughout Alaska including strategic project implementation plans, preliminary assessments, site inspections, remedial investigations, feasibility studies, site characterizations, and remedial action projects. Gould has a bachelor’s degree in geology. Alaska Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy accepted the resignation of Public Defender Quinlan Steiner effective immediately and named Beth Goldstein of Anchorage as Acting Public Defender. Goldstein has more than 25 years of business management and legal experience. Goldstein’s public service consists of eight years as an assistant federal public defender in the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Ohio, and most recently 13 years in the Alaska Office of Public Advocacy as an assistant public advocate, deputy director, and supervisor. She received her bachelor’s degree in genetic engineering, biology, chemistry, and political science at Cedar Crest College and her juris doctorate from University of New Hampshire School of Law. With experience in both the private and public sector, her background includes regulations, administrative law, contract negotiations, fraud investigations, and legal management. Saltchuk has named David Karp as senior vice president, managing director for Alaska. Over the years Saltchuk’s family of independently operated companies in Alaska has grown to include Northern Air Cargo, Northern Air Maintenance Services, Cook Inlet Tug & Barge, TOTE Maritime Alaska, Delta Western Petroleum, Inlet Energy, Northern Oilfield Services and Carlile. Karp has been in his new role since Jan. 1. Karp previously served, for the past 11 years, as the president and CEO of Northern Aviation Services, Saltchuk’s Air Cargo line of business, which in Alaska includes Northern Air Cargo and Northern Air Maintenance Services. University of Alaska Anchorage’s Department of Journalism and Public Communication has announced that Larry Persily will serve as the new Atwood Chair of Journalism. Persily brings almost 50 years of journalism and public policy experience to his new position as the Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage for the 2019-20 school year. His journalism career began in 1969 as a college newspaper reporter and continued for the next 30 years. Although he took leave from the profession periodically during the past two decades to work on public policy in federal, state and municipal government, he has returned of late to journalism to help out at the Chilkat Valley News in Haines, the Nome Nugget, Peninsula Clarion in Kenai, and writing for the Alaska Journal of Commerce on topics of critical concern to Alaskans. He also will take over as owner/publisher of The Skagway News on April 1 as he looks to help Alaska’s smaller newspapers. Deadline for Movers & Shakers is each Monday at noon. Announcements are published in the order received on a space-available basis. For information, contact Andrew Jensen at (907) 257-4271 or by e-mail at [email protected]

GUEST COMMENTARY: Choices on Medicaid will have consequences

My good friend and former state Sen. Gretchen Guess often reminds me that life is about choices. In public policy, our choices can enhance or destroy people’s lives, so we have a moral obligation to understand their consequences. Good choices involve a decision-making process. What problem am I trying to solve? What are my options? What information or data do I have to evaluate these options? What stakeholders might have information I missed? In his rush to craft a state budget, Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy and his team missed most of these decision-making steps, jeopardizing our economy and health. Case in point is the governor’s Medicaid cuts, which the governor’s administration says will not reduce Medicaid eligibility or services and thus won’t impact the lives of Alaskans. In fact, many of these decisions were made with virtually no analysis or consultation with stakeholders and could have a dramatic impact on the health care system, people who rely on it and small Alaska communities. As the governor makes these choices, Alaskans should understand the consequences. One of the most damaging budget proposals is to reduce Medicaid rates for nursing homes. These facilities, which house the medically vulnerable, are 75 percent to 100 percent Medicaid-funded. Medicaid pays what it costs to provide services, so cutting rates means that some nursing homes will be paid less than cost. You can see that this won’t work for long in a vulnerable facility that relies 100 percent on Medicaid. The consequences of the governor’s decision for some nursing homes will be reducing the quality of care for elders or closing and sending medically fragile Alaskans out of state. The governor’s administration continues to falsely claim that the budget won’t hurt small hospitals. In fact, most small hospitals are co-located with a nursing home, sharing costs and staff. The nursing home revenue is often greater than the hospital revenue and helps keep the facility afloat. Cutting nursing home rates is more damaging to small hospitals than cutting hospital rates. The consequences of the governor’s choice? Dramatically reducing access to health care in some small communities or closing small independent hospitals. In addition to making cuts that directly affect people’s lives, the governor proposes to drastically alter how larger hospitals and all nursing homes are paid, with no analysis of the impact of these changes. Consultants know a lengthy process and significant analysis is required to make informed changes of this magnitude without adverse impacts, but the governor wants to make them by Jan. 1. It is impossible to quantify the impacts without analysis, but the governor is pushing cuts without that information. Some of Alaska’s larger hospitals are not financially strong. How will this affect hospitals in Fairbanks and Juneau? How will it impact small nursing homes? We simply don’t know, but we can’t assume they will be fine. The governor’s team also claims that budget cuts will not affect children, when in fact there is no data upon which to make this assertion. It is true that eligibility for Denali KidCare, the Medicaid program for children, is not impacted. However, access to health care has two parts, having a way to pay for it (insurance coverage) and having providers willing to see you. The Department is cutting physician reimbursement rates an additional 5 percent, on top of recent rate cuts. While pediatricians are exempt from this rate cut, other pediatric providers are not. How will this cut affect the small number of pediatric specialists serving kids in our state? How will it affect physical therapists, speech therapists, psychologists and other providers of health care for children? We simply don’t know, because no analysis has been completed. Life is about choices, and as the governor makes choices, Alaskans deserve to understand their impacts. We can have reasonable conversations based on full information, even if we disagree, but masking or ignoring the impacts of choices does Alaskans a disservice. Alaska’s hospitals and nursing homes want to collaborate with the administration to improve health care and reduce cost growth, but that must be done in an environment of full transparency about actions and their consequences. Becky Hultberg is the president and CEO of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association.

Senators push for personal-use priority after board turned it down

Four senators have introduced a bill to set an allocation priority for personal-use fisheries in the state during emergency restrictions or closures. Senate Bill 99, introduced by Sens. Shelly Hughes, R-Palmer, David Wilson, R-Wasilla, Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks, and Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, amends the statutes governing the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to require the Board of Fisheries to “place restrictions on all other fisheries before restricting personal use fisheries” when the department has enacted restrictions to meet a management goal. There are personal-use fisheries all over the state, ranging from spearfishing for whitefish in the Chatanika River to tanner crab fishing in Homer. The main sources of conflict, though, are the popular personal-use dipnet fisheries in Southcentral Alaska for salmon. Alaskans fished more than 20,000 angler days in the Kenai River dipnet fishery alone in 2018. Only Alaska residents qualify for the fisheries. SB 99, introduced March 25, is similar to a proposal struck down by the Board of Fisheries less than two weeks before. The group of senators had been working on the bill for some time before the board took up the proposal at its statewide meeting, but waited to introduce it until after the board members decided, Kawasaki said. Kawasaki said he’s been working on the issue of setting a priority for personal-use fisheries for several years, beginning when he served in the House of Representatives. “I was personally waiting for some kind of action by the board,” he said. “We waited for the board to turn down the proposal (before introducing it).” Despite living far inland, many Fairbanks residents drive the 6 to 7 hours south to fish at the Chitina personal-use fishery for sockeye on the Copper River. It’s a tradition for Kawasaki’s family, too, he said. But the unpredictability of fish availability and possible closures, makes it difficult for families to plan for that trip. If passed, the bill would not mandate fishery regulation, but would require that ADFG close personal-use fisheries last during times of conservative management. The board turned down the proposal 2-5, with the opposing members saying they felt it was unnecessary and would tie managers’ hands. Large numbers of commercial fishermen, particularly in Cook Inlet, testified to the board that pushing up the personal-use fishery would promote conflict among user groups rather than defusing allocation fights. This isn’t the first time the Legislature has debated the topic, either. Former Sen. Bill Stoltze and Rep. Mark Neuman, R-Wasilla, introduced a bill in 2015 that would have required the department to restrict sportfisheries and commercial fisheries before personal-use fisheries. The opposition then was similar, with concerns from the commercial fishermen and processors about the impacts to their industry as the demand for personal-use fisheries grows. There is no set allocation for personal-use fisheries, nor any permit cap. The group of co-sponsors on the current iteration of the bill all represent areas with a stake in increasing personal-use fishing opportunities. Wielechowski represents part of Anchorage, where many residents drive south to either the Kenai Peninsula fisheries or Chitina to participate. Hughes and Wilson both represent the Mat-Su Valley, where many of the residents drive to the Kenai River to participate. There is a personal-use fishery at Fish Creek, but the fishery is muddy and is not open every year, and dipnetters stand a greater chance at catching their limit on the more productive Kenai River, so many choose to go south. Wilson said he had been participating in the discussions with the other senators for some time before the board proposal came up. It’s important to his constituents, the majority of whom are “regular Alaskans,” he said. “We’re talking in times of emergencies and closures,” he said. “The greater impact is done by the commercial fishery. All we’re asking for is we want a priority for (personal use) fishermen. Please take a look at the smallest group possible that’s not making a real dent on the fishery.” The sponsors include two members of the Republican-led Senate Majority and two members of the Democrat-led minority. Kawasaki said the bipartisanship showed that fishing does not necessarily adhere to the same political lines as other issues. While the board is not subject to the same political structure as the elected members of the Legislature, it’s still a politically appointed and confirmed body and notoriously rife with politics. “It’s clear the Legislature is a political body, but the Board of Fisheries is a political body as well. The appointments to the board are some of the most controversial appointments we have,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican if you like fishing and your constituents like fishing.” Wilson and Kawasaki both said they hoped the bill could move through the Legislature despite the budget taking up the majority of the Legislature’s time. Wilson said he thought it would likely be next year before it could earn approval, though Kawasaki said he hoped it could get a hearing this year. So far, it has been referred to the Senate Resources committee but has not been scheduled for a hearing. Elizabeth Earl can be reached at [email protected]

BP names Teachers of the Year

BP announced the winners of the 2019 Alaska Teachers of Excellence on April 8, an award that for more than two decades has recognized the state’s top educators. This year, the group is comprised of 21 teachers that were selected from schools across Alaska. “These teachers represent the best of Alaska education, and it’s an honor to recognize them with this award,” said BP Alaska President Janet Weiss. “At BP, we’re proud to play a part in supporting their continued success and showing our ongoing commitment to the state and to creating the leaders of tomorrow.” For 24 years, the BP Teachers of Excellence program has honored K-12 teachers from public and private school districts statewide. This year, BP received hundreds of nominations for the Teachers of Excellence award and for the newly added BP Educational Allies award. The BP Educational Allies award recognizes unsung heroes in Alaska’s schools such as counselors, teacher assistants and custodians. Since the program’s inception in 1995, BP has recognized more than 750 Alaska teachers. Winning teachers receive a $500 gift card and a $500 matching grant to their school. Teachers also receive a trip to Prudhoe Bay to learn about BP’s operations and paid admission for the Alaska Resource Education’s teacher course. All teachers and educational allies will be honored at an award ceremony in late April, where the statewide BP Teacher of the Year will be announced. The 2019 BP Teachers of Excellence winners are: Anchorage School District Natasha Bergt, Huffman Elementary School Antara Brewer, AJ Dimond High School Kelly Corrigan, Robert Service High School Karen Gordon, Northwood ABC Elementary School Trena Rose, Bayshore Elementary School Fairbanks School District Jeannette Fortune, Ladd Elementary School Tanya Mendelowitz, North Pole Elementary School Rebecca Missler, North Pole High School Carolyn Soderlund, Austin E. Lathrop High School Rebecca Zaverl, Denali Elementary School Kenai Peninsula Julie Doepken, William H. Seward Elementary School Jennifer Hornung, Nikiski Middle/High School Wendy Todd, Paul Banks Elementary School Mat-Su Valley Kimberly Flinn, Goose Bay Elementary School Sara Lamont, Ron Larson Elementary School Stacy Molina, Academy Charter School Sarah Shepard, Colony High School Other Alaska School Districts Danielle Huerta, St. Mary’s School, Kodiak Candace Mudge, Denali Borough School District, Healy Jody Smothers-Marcello, Sitka High School, Sitka Gretchen Striker, Tri-Valley School, Healy

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