A.J. “Joey” Merrick II of Eagle River was appointed to the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. board of directors. Merrick has a long history with Laborers’ Local 341, beginning as a laborer apprentice in 1989. Since then, he has served as a general foreman, business agent and president, and now the union organization’s secretary-treasurer. He has more than 15 years of experience as a foreman in construction specific to Alaska’s pipeline industry. Dave Cruz of Palmer was re-appointed to the AGDC board. Cruz is the President of Cruz Companies, which specializes in oil field services, heavy civil construction, remote camp construction, tug and barge operations, and a variety of other construction support activities.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks and the UAF Alumni Association honored author Sherry Simpson with the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award Sept. 25 during an awards luncheon. Simpson’s most recent book, “Dominion of Bears: Living with Wildlife in Alaska,” won the 2015 John Burroughs Medal, putting her in the company of John McPhee, Peter Matthiessen, Aldo Leopold, Barry Lopez, Richard Nelson and many other internationally known natural history writers. Simpson grew up in Juneau. At UAF, she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1986 and a master’s degree in creative writing in 1995. Her career has included many years as a staff reporter and freelance writer for newspapers and other media outlets in the state. She was a contributing editor to Alaska Magazine. She has also authored several travel books and two essay collections. Her writing has appeared in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies. Simpson is a professor of creative writing in the master’s program at UAA and a faculty mentor in the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks Alumni Association honored seven other alumni during its Sept. 25 awards luncheon. The Alumni Achievement Awards, given in three categories, recognize outstanding work by graduates and former students of UAF. The 2014 Alumni Achievement Awards for Business and Professional Excellence will go to Vicki McConnell, ’95, executive director of the Geological Society of America, and Rockne Wilson, ‘69 and Sandra Wilson, ‘72, partners in Wilson & Wilson CPAs in Fairbanks. The Alumni Achievement Awards for University Support will go to Libby Eddy, ’92, who retired from her position as registrar and director of admissions after 28 years with UAF, and longtime university advocate Ann Ringstad, ‘06, who has held several different positions at UAF and UA. The Alumni Achievement Award for Community Support will be go to educator and volunteer Toni Mallott, ’72. Mallott is a former Alaska Federation of Natives Citizen of the year and is married to Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott. The William R. Cashen Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service to UAF, its alumni and students, will be presented to DeShana York, ‘95, a lifetime member of the UAF Alumni Association. York has served on the boards of the association and of its Southcentral chapter. She is the director of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service’s Anchorage district office and regularly advocates for UAF in her community and with lawmakers in Juneau.
The Anchorage Chamber of Commerce recently welcomed Brix Hahn to its team as its event coordinator. Hahn comes to the Anchorage Chamber from Alaska Dispatch News where she worked as their social media coordinator. This fourth generation Alaskan studied journalism, justice and German at the University of Oregon and University of Alaska Fairbanks, and has worked for several other news outlets around the state including the Nome Nugget and KSUA TV Productions. She is a former intern of Sen. Lisa Murkowski. In her current role, Hahn is responsible for providing networking and education opportunities to membership through the coordination and implementation of events. She will work directly with business owners and corporate partners, securing sponsorships for and evaluating all events and programs for relevancy to the mission and for proposing new events and programs to meet member demands.
Sitnasuak Native Corp., the Nome- based Native corporation promoted shareholder employee Rebecca Neagle to Shareholder Relations manager, effective Sept. 14. Her role within the corporation will include the facilitation of communication among shareholders, the Shareholder Relations Department and various agencies, providing assistance in person, by phone and through written correspondence. She will also represent Sitnasuak to the general public during conferences, events, and corporate functions.
Debra J. Austin, Senior Registered Client Associate, joined The Legacy Group with more than 29 years of financial industry experience providing quality client service. Austin has a degree in business administration management from Alaska Pacific University. She has worked in the financial services area in Anchorage since 1993.
Matanuska Electric Association Inc. has promoted Michael Mann to the position of plant manager of the Eklutna Generation Station. Prior to this promotion, Mann served as EGS Operations supervisor and was an integral part of the successful startup and operations of the plant. Prior to joining MEA in 2013, Mann held management positions in several large power plants across the U.S., including a large nuclear power plant. As plant manager he will oversee all aspects of the EGS power plant, including maintenance and operations of the 171mW facility.
Giovanna Gambardella, AIA, NCARB, has joined Stantec Inc. as a senior architect in its Anchorage office. She has more than 14 years of in-state industry experience serving both public and private clients. Gambardella’s experience will expand the firm’s regional capabilities. At Stantec, Gambardella will provide senior design leadership for a variety of building projects. She has project experience from Southeast Alaska to the Bering Sea and the North Slope. Originally from Italy, Gambardella has a unique background in multiple building types, including higher education, libraries, schools, medical office buildings, senior housing and multi-family residences. In addition to her Alaska experience, Gambardella has worked on projects in Maine, Guam, Italy and the Netherlands. Gambardella, an award-winning designer, graduated magna cum laude at the University of Architecture in Genova, Italy, and attended the Escola Tecnica Superior de Arquitectura in Barcelona, Spain, with a European scholarship program.