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4 Jordan A. Adams 5 Stephanie Aicher 7 Marilyn Alvarenga-Gaxiola 8 Jonathan D. Babbitt 9 Kara Blake 10 Amanda Block 11 Jon Butler 12 William Canady 13 Katie Carrigan 14 Angela S. Nasuk Cox 16 Adam Crum 17 Emily Edenshaw 18 Lee Ellis 19 Randi Jo Gause 20 Daniel George 21 Jamie Hansen 22 Sarah Harrington 23 Joy Huntington 25 Derek Leichliter 26 Dr. William Magnuson
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CIRCULATION Roger Weinfurter
JORDAN A. ADAMS
Business Manager Public Employees Local 71
Education: Nenana High School; National Labor College, Washington D.C. Community work: Kid’s Don’t Float Boating Safety, volunteer (2005-present); Food Bank of Alaska, volunteer collecting food to donate (2013-present); Fire Victims assistance, fundraisers and clothing drives (2019-present); Public Employees Local 71 Scholarship Fund, Chair (2019-present); Outdoor Heritage Foundation, contributor (2019-present); Youth Sports, financial contributor (2013-present) Family: Ashleigh, wife; and our two loveable dogs Hometown: Born in Fairbanks, raised in both Anderson and Nenana Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Generic to say, but all of it. Our great state has a little bit of everything. I have had the opportunity to see and explore more of Alaska than most and with each season comes a new Alaska to explore. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Every time we get a family member from the states to come visit. The shock of what we believe to be normal, -50 degrees, the midnight sun, northern lights, wildlife and just how big Alaska is. Name the person you most respect and why. My parents, Mark and Dallene. I was lucky enough to have a great upbringing, something that I thought at the time everyone had. My parents were both equal in their rolls to support me and my brother through all our misadventures and growing pains, only into adulthood can I truly appreciate all that they have done. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? In my youth I was all about snowmachines playing on the Nenana and Tanana river. In my adult life I have been a huge motorcycle enthusiast, riding for pleasure and racing at Alaska Raceway Park for excitement.
summer bailing hay on a small family farm. What is the book you most often recommend? I have never been much of a book worm, other than keeping up on the news, I enjoy articles in technology, mechanics, or things that go fast. What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? In the early ‘90s my father had started a youth basketball program called Little Dribblers when we lived in the Village of Nenana. The program was for kids 4th to 6th grade that didn’t have any other organized sports. I played on the team till I was in middle school and then became a coach, organizer, fundraiser, and mentor to the younger kids into my high school years. Our pitch was very well received each year. We had a huge amount of support from the local community members and local businesses were very generous in sponsoring and donating equipment. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Helping others find work, in a career, rather than a job. Helping people find stability in their lives so they can plan a future, buy a home, and enjoy Alaska. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Take time for you and your family, no one remembers the overtime days, but we all remember the basketball games, fishing trips, and time together.
Favorite quote: A great challenge of life: “Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong.” — Neil deGrasse Tyson What was your first job? At the age of 14 I was working at the Looney Farm! I worked as a laborer and spent most of the 4
Michael Dinneen Photography
Vice President & General Counsel Cook Inlet Region, Inc.
Education: Bachelor of Science in Criminology; Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Southern Oregon University; Juris Doctor, University of Oregon School of Law Community work: Anchorage Zoning Board Examiners and Appeals, Special Olympics Alaska, Anchorage Downtown Rotary Club, Alaska Superior Court Early Resolution Triage Program, regularly participates in community events that benefit charitable organizations Family: Elias (6), Vera (4), children; and an incredibly supportive family Hometown: Chugach/Eagle River Area Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Rafting just about any remote river because you unplug, connect with family and friends, see beautiful places and are likely to find killer fishing. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? It’s impossible to pick one… flying around Denali and landing on Ruth Glacier, staying in Brooks Camp and watching the bears fish, or catching 119 fish in the first 4 hours rafting Beaver Creek. Name the person you most respect and why. I hold my younger sister, Victoria (Tory) Shanklin in high regard. She has always marched with conviction to a different beat than my type-A drum. I respect how hard she works. She deeply cares about the causes she donates both her professional and personal time to. Tory’s constantly thinking about our community, issues of social responsibility and looking for opportunities to raise awareness and bring organizational synergies to improve outcomes for both beneficiaries and participants. Sometimes when you meet a person, you are left with a feeling that they are going to make this world a better place – Tory is one of those people. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Adventures with my kids, fishing and culinary explorations Favorite quote: “Buck up buttercup.” – Zane Shanklin; or “Chop, chop lollipop.” — Vera, who borrowed it from someone else.
What was your first job? Not including waitressing at Snow City Cafe, Staff Assistant to Sen. Ron Wyden in Washington, D.C., the year before I went to law school. What is the book you most often recommend? “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? I am rewarded by whatever I am engaged in at the time, in college it was work at a girls group home, on the Hill it was as a reading tutor at a nearby elementary school, more recently it has been community involvement through participation on boards, Downtown Rotary initiatives and providing pro-bono legal services when possible. Early in life you typically find yourself light on expertise but with available time. Mid-career, as you gain the expertise, and maybe additional resources, you are usually light on available time. Later, you may have a combination of time and/or resources and expertise. It doesn’t matter where you are on continuum, there is a community service project or organization that is worthy of whatever you have available to give, be it time, money or expertise. Find something that is meaningful to you and get engaged. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? I love what I do now. Every year I work on incredible projects across a multitude of industries with an incredibly talented team whose entire objective is to grow the company in a sustainable manner. Someone once described an Alaska Native corporation as a for-profit company with a non-profit heart — that resonates with me. My work at CIRI is more meaningful because of CIRI’s mission and purpose. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Find something you really enjoy doing, put in the time to become skilled doing it, and strategically plan how it fits into your life. Be creative, if taking weeks of time off to vacation isn’t feasible, consider taking every Friday off for a summer’s worth of long weekend adventures. Work-life is very rarely a 50/50 balance, being cognizant when to give and take from both helps ensure success. Michael Dinneen Photography
Congratulations, Katie! Valued GCI Team Member. Community Volunteer. Leader in the First Frontier. Katie Carrigan VP, Financial Planning & Strategy
Top Forty Under 40 #1 with Us!
VICE PRESIDENT, GENERAL COUNSEL
A professional leader. An engaged community member. A person of the utmost integrity. Stephanie Aicher lives our CIRI values every day! Congratulations to all the Top Forty Under 40 honorees!
Marketing Director & Associate Consultant Northern Compass Group, LLC
Education: Bachelor’s degree, international studies, minor in history, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016 Community work: Commissioner/Chair, Anchorage Arts Advisory Commission; President, Pulse Dance Company; Chair, Leadership Anchorage Alumni Advisory Board; Former Summit Chair, Alaska’s Young Professional Summit - Anchorage Chamber of Commerce YPG Family: Jorge and Delma, parents; Katie and Bardo, amazing siblings; Oh, and fun fact: 53 first cousins Hometown: Born in Los Angeles and raised in Anchorage Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Turnagain Arm (drive) because I have endless memories there with friends and family. I find the Turnagain Arm drive to be one of the most beautiful views in Alaska. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Going Northern Lights hunting… talk about an adventure. Name the person you most respect and why. My dad, Jorge, because he is a warrior and taught me the value of dedication. I thank my dad for all he has sacrificed. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for him. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I’m a massive film buff. You can find me at the movie theater just about every single weekend. Favorite quote: “If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will… do it for you.”— Kobe Bryant
What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? Getting involved in the local arts scene as a board of director for Pulse Dance Co., and arts advisor commissioner. My pitch to get others involved in supporting, and attending local arts is to remind them that the arts exist not only for social, cultural or entertainment value. They also have a major impact on the economy and education and serve as a primary way for communities to preserve and celebrate our culture and heritage. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Being a co-founder and president of Alaska’s National Society of Leadership & Success. From its founding year in 2012 to today the organization has grown over 1,200 members across the state. The impact that we have made on student’s lives not only academically, and professionally, but also personally has been incredible. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? For so many the idea of “having it all” or “work-life balance” is not attainable. My advice is to always be present and give it your all in whatever you are doing, and remember to take a moment for yourself throughout the week.
If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will ... Do it for you. — Kobe Bryant
What was your first job? Hostess at La Mex What is the book you most often recommend: I would recommend anything recommended by Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club Hello Sunshine.
Michael Dinneen Photography
Jonathan D. Babbitt
Vice President of Product Management, Marketing & Sales MTA
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, University of Texas, 2003; Master of Business Administration, University of Phoenix, 2009; Project Management Professional Credential, Project Management Institute, 2013; Executive Development Credential, University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School, 2018 Community work: Over the years, I’ve had an opportunity to serve the communities I’ve lived within in many ways. While in Phoenix, I served on the Valley Young Professional’s Board of Directors where we focused on drawing attention to educational opportunities and volunteer projects for up-and-coming young professionals. Also, during this time, I was a youth football coach. Since moving to Alaska, I’ve had a great deal of fun working with seniors to help them better understand and integrate emerging technologies into their homes. Family: Danielle Babbitt, wife; Colton, Rockford, Bexar and Magnolia, children Hometown: San Antonio, Texas Current city: Wasilla What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? The Kenai Peninsula: Seward, Soldotna and Homer. There’s no better place to enjoy the Alaskan summer and bank a lifetime of fishing memories with family and friends. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? No. 1: First time visiting Alaska in 2012 with my father and brothers. No. 2: Driving the ALCAN with my son in 2015 relocating to Alaska. No. 3: Waking up every morning to Pioneer Peak. Name the person you most respect and why. My wife, Danielle. She is remarkably intentional about elevating the needs of others ahead of her own. Her total dedication to our four children has enabled me to focus on my education and career. This Forty Under 40 recognition is as much hers, as mine. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Fishing, hunting, CrossFit, campfires and craft beer. Favorite quote: Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena.” What was your first job? Summer 8
Hire Ordnance Maintenance, Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Japan What is the book you most often recommend? “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? My most rewarding community service has been coaching youth football. I love the sport of football and owe a debt of gratitude to many coaches along the way who taught me about discipline, teamwork, humility and character. I took my role seriously, and hope I created memories and lessons that my teams will remember, as I have. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? My most fulfilling achievement has been developing my team members and finding opportunities to help advance them in their career journey. There is little more rewarding than helping people you admire achieve their purpose and better their families. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Understand your priorities, and understand they change. Each season of life brings about a different idea of “balance.” Generally: work hard; play hard. And, when you do one, don’t focus on the other.
Favorite quote: Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘Man in the Arena.’ Michael Dinneen Photography
Assistant Vice President, Wealth Management Business Support Manager First National Bank Alaska
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Finance and Marketing, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009 Community work: Active member of the Anchorage East Rotary since December 2014. I volunteer with the mobile food pantry, an active board member with Aquarian PTO, and during the summer, I’m a full-time baseball and dance mom. Family: Justin, husband; Jameson and Kalia, children; Staley, dog, furry child Hometown: Born in Enterprise, Alabama and raised in Anchorage Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Sitka is probably my favorite place I’ve visited in Alaska. The view is breathtaking on a sunny day! During my visit I enjoyed walking the beach looking for sea glass and exploring the rain forest. I was in awe of the huge trees and learning about all the history the city had to offer. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Dip netting and camping on the beach in Kenai with my family. This is an annual event for our family and I look forward to it every year! Now, when I say family, I’m talking about my entire family of at least 20 people including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and kids! We always have a Filipino bar-b-que and share with our camping neighbors. Name the person you most respect and why. With no hesitation, my mom, Nelia. She was the first to graduate from her family in the Philippines and to move to the United States. It was her dream to come to America and make a better life for her future family and her family in the Philippines. It took courage and faith to leave her family to start a new life in a new country where she knew no one. She was brave, courageous, and not afraid to take a chance. My mom has the biggest heart and will try to help anyone as much as she can. She is someone I look up to everyday, as a mom, as a professional, and as a fellow neighbor. She is my hero. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I really enjoy watching NFL football. My husband and I make a trip every year to Chicago to root for Da Bears!
Favorite quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” — Maya Angelou What was your first job? I was a barista at a small café in the Northway Mall. This is where I discovered my love for the latte! What is the book you most often recommend? “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey
What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? I’m an active member with Anchorage East Rotary and one of the projects that our club has sponsored is the Food Bank of Alaska Mobile Food Pantry. This project has a special place in my heart, and it brings me joy to help others and to pay it forward. I remember a time in my childhood when the food bank helped my family through some challenging times. Looking back, I’m so grateful to the volunteers and individuals that dedicated their time to give hope in the simplest of forms. I wish to teach my children that we can give hope and care for others by serving in the community. The mobile food pantry is a great way to start!
In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? As a manager, the best feeling for me is when I hear someone I’ve hired or mentored, at some point in time, has promoted within the company or industry. I enjoy seeing my team members excel in their career. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? I’ve learned that there will always be work to do. I’ve also learned that life is too short and continues with or without you. Always make time to enjoy life with the people you love. Best Practice: Make it an ongoing appointment you cannot reschedule.
Michael Dinneen Photography
Chief Mission Officer Girl Scouts of Alaska
Education: Bachelor’s degrees, Anthropology, Museum Studies, and Ancient Greek; master’s degree, Camp Administration and Leadership; doctorate degree, Psychology Community work: Foster Parent since 2012; Board member-American Camp Association Evergreen Section since 2011; Camp Inspector-American Camp Association since 2007; Girl Scouts USA National Convention Volunteer; American Camp Association National Convention Volunteer Family: True (5), son; Richard and Kathy, parents; Emily, Alfonso, Sanjay and Kia, siblings; Chicken Pot Pie, cat Hometown: Clintonville, Wisconsin Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? The shores of 3 Mile Lake. It’s one of the most peaceful, picturesque places in the world. I’ve never seen sunsets as spectacular and multicolored. When the loons are calling and swans trumpeting, it is aweinspiring. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Shortly after I moved to Alaska I went on a work trip to several communities in the Aleutians. It was my first sense of how vast and diverse Alaska is. And, the scenery was stunning. Name the person you most respect and why. My Girl Scout troop leader. She taught me all the fundamental truths in my life… that words like “hate” have meaning and need to be used carefully; to take a small idea and build it into a brand new thing; to not just be nice but kind; to feel at home in the woods; and to embrace our differences. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Reading. Fiction, nonfiction, scientific studies, it doesn’t matter. My mom taught reading and my dad was a librarian. I grew up in libraries; for me they are home. When I move to a new town the first thing I do is find the library and get a library card. There is nothing better than sitting down and immersing myself in a good book. Favorite quote: “Rules for making the world: 1. Stand up & do the thing you see needs doing. 2. That’s it. (If it was easy, we’d be having a different conversation.)” – Brian Andreas. 10
What was your first job? When I was 15 I begged my parents to let me apply for a job at the local humane society. I spent the summer hosing down dog kennels and taking care of a chinchilla that bit me every time I fed it. It was a fantastic first job! What is the book you most often recommend? “The Tale of Desperaux” by Kate DiCamillo. It’s a simple story of a brave mouse, an evil rat, a princess and soup. It’s the book I go back to time and again when I’m searching for courage, trying to understand those who act out in pain, how to find light in the darkness and how a seemingly insignificant moment of bravery can change the world. What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? I’ve been a foster parent for the past 10 years for some of the most amazing kids I’ve ever met. My pitch? We all receive help and kindnesses, seen or unseen, known or unknown from others throughout our lives. No one does it all on their own. Volunteering is a way to act with kindness and compassion and pass on the help you’ve received from others. And, as a side benefit, volunteering is great for your health! In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Over the past 15 years I’ve worked with my summer camp directors to build camp programs centered around character development. Now it’s common to be walking through the woods at a camp and overhear girls coaching each other on how to recover from a failure, exploring how to be gritty while do something really hard, and sharing gratitude with each other. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? I’ve found that it’s not so much about a balance as it is making choices about where to put your time and energy. Balance isn’t always possible. Often it’s about choosing where you put your focus. It’s okay if it’s not an even split and it’s okay to shift your priorities over time. Michael Dinneen Photography
Senior Patrol Officer Anchorage Police Department
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Criminal Justice with a Minor in Alaska Native Studies
work? I enjoy being in Talkeetna with the family making memories.
Community work: Anchorage Cops for Community Board Member; Guns and Hoses Charity Event; Kids Day; Alaska Regional Hospital Wheel-O- Rama; Special Olympics Torch Run; Barefoot Mile; NRA Youth Shoot Day; Summer Solstice Hero Games; Native Olympic Youth Appreciation Day; Clothesline Project; Trick or Treat Street; Lisa Whitmore Shop with a Cop and Firefighter; Anchorage Christian School and Grace Christian School SWAT Demos
Favorite quote: “Prepare and prevent, don’t repair and repent.” — Author unknown
Family: Kristin Butler, wife; Naomi Butler (3) and Ella (1), daughters Hometown: Born in Beaufort, South Carolina, and raised in North Carolina, Georgia, Washington and Alaska Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Talkeetna is my favorite place because the environment provides the opportunities not only to hunt and fish but to mini-boat and go off-roading with 4x4 trucks. The town and its people are special, unlike any other place I have been in Alaska. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? My most memorable Alaska experience came when I was in the eighth grade and I gazed upon the most beautiful and angelic woman I had ever seen, my lovely wife. Name the person you most respect and why. I have many of these people in my life, but my most would be Pamela Chevalier. Pamela is a Bio-Medical Chemist and had a very important and lucrative job. Twenty-seven years ago, she stepped away from that to help lead an initiative and mission in San Pedro, Guatemala. For 27 years she has been faithfully teaching, leading, and overseeing grade school kids as they attend a private Christian School. Pamela works long days under stressful conditions. Despite many uncomfortable situations and unimaginable circumstances her love for the children, their future, and for God remains just as strong as it was when she first started. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from Michael Dinneen Photography
What was your first job? Refurbishing apartments to be re-rented. What is the book you most often recommend? The Bible What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? The Clothesline Project is an event that Anchorage Cops for Community hosts. The event seeks to provide clothing and back to school items, at no cost, to grade school kids before the start of the school year. Over the course of seven years, it has been an honor to partner with businesses and organizations around town to make this event a success. Their sacrificial love, time, and resources help set Anchorage and its citizens apart from any in the nation. Community members that attend this event come with a big need and leave with burdens lifted. The joy on their faces is unlike anything you can buy but can only be experienced by being a helping hand on that day. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? In 20172018 I had the wonderful opportunity to be apart of a community outreach effort in the Alaska Native Community. What was once a thought became a reality as I met with members of South Central Foundation Family Wellness Warriors Initiaive (SCF FWWI) and talked with them about breaking down barriers between law enforcement and the Alaska Native Community. Throughout that time, we were able to develop a professional two-minute crime reporting video, a professional photo shoot, domestic violence training, situational awareness training, and a professional 1hour video on crime and victimization. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? The balance can’t be dictated by hours or days of the week. The “why” behind what you do should erase any “have-tos” or “musts” that accompany a job. Passion and zeal become your daily fuel, which guide a desire to spread joy and meaning in each step of the day. Work and life mesh into one, with a healthy respect for the environment and a genuine love for the people in them. 11
Owner/Administrator/Educator Puffin Heights Montessori
Education: Associate Early Childhood Credential from MECR (Montessori Education Center of the Rockies) Family: Cooper (5) Scarlett (1), children; I have a large family who lives here in Anchorage: Sher, mom; Elwyn, dad; Drew, Brandon, Montel, brothers; and many nieces and nephews;I also have a lady friend of many years, my Sweet Beeby, Angel. Hometown/Current city: Born and raised right here in Anchorage. What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Anchorage, because it’s my hometown. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? For a friends b-day, a group of us went rafting down six-mile river near Hope. Name the person you most respect and why. If I have to choose just ONE person for this answer I would have to say that my Mom is the person who tops this list. My relationship with my Mom has always been very strong and no matter what happened in life I could and can always count on her; hopefully she knows that she can always count on me too. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I like playing basketball, working out, biking and going to the movies. Favorite quote: “I am what I am.” What was your first job? Delivering papers for the ADN (junior high) What is the book you most often recommend? Anything Dr. Seuss What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? Being in the Early Childhood world is the best community service. I have the opportunity to be involved in so many lives and make lasting connections with so many families. Building our Puffin Heights Community and linking families for a lifetime in some cases has been the most rewarding experience to be a part of. 12
In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? I am most proud of purchasing Puffin Heights in 2016 and becoming a business owner. I had been with this school since I was 18 and when the owner was retiring, she offered me this amazing opportunity and I seized my moment. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? No matter what you do, make sure to laugh and enjoy the little things. Family ALWAYS comes first! In order to create memorable family life experiences, grind everyday professionally to put yourself in position to do all the things you want to do. Kind of the “work hard to play hard” mentality.
My relationship with my Mom has always been very strong and no matter what happened in life I could and can always count on her; hopefully she knows that she can always count on me too. Michael Dinneen Photography
Vice President of Financial Planning and Strategy GCI
Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, Accounting and Finance, Washington State University Community work: Treasurer at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska; Make-A-Wish granter Family: Martin De Ville, my amazingly supportive husband; Tibber, our lion cat; His new sidekick Skye; and Switch, our adorable pup Hometown: Hoquiam, Washington Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? I love taking trips to Homer. Growing up near the ocean always gave me a sense of peace and after spending a few years here, my first trip to Homer gave me that sense of peace I had been missing from back home. It’s such a beautiful view with the ocean and mountains coming together in such stunning scenery. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Hiking and making it to the top of the Bonanza Mine Trail with 3,800 feet of elevation gain in Kennecott. I crawled out on the ledge and terrified our group just to get a spectacular picture. Name the person you most respect and why. There can’t be ONE person. I really respect and owe my being here to all of my amazing employees, mentors, and colleagues along the way in my 11-years here in Alaska. From my first mentor at KPMG Elizabeth Stuart, to Pete Pounds and Greg Chapados my current bosses who have continually supported me in furthering my career at GCI, and to all my team leads today who work tremendously hard to chase continued improvement at GCI. My success is really due to their support and success. I would not be here without them.
Katie Carrigan What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Volleyball and hiking. Favorite quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” — Gandhi What was your first job? Kite shop in Ocean Shores, Washington What is the book you most often recommend? Anyone looking for beginners finance self-help, read “The Wealthy Barber” by David Chilton. We should really teach these topics in school.
What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? I love being on the board working as treasurer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska. Mentorship is critical for our youth as they are the future leaders of Alaska and the world. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the next generation succeed and being part of that success. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Just barely squeaking by in passing all sections of the CPA exam on my first attempt. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Prioritization is key. Know what your personal priorities are and stick to them.
Be the change you want to see in the world. — Gandhi Michael Dinneen Photography
ANGELA S. Nasuk COX
Vice President of External Affairs Rasmuson Foundation
Education: Master’s degree in public administration, New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service; bachelor’s degree from Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow School of Communication. Community work: Mentor, Women’s Power League of Alaska and Alaska Military Youth Academy; board member, Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation, The Foraker Group Governance Board and the Ilisagvik College Foundation. Family: Jeremy Arnhart, husband; Trenton, Cheyenne and Ambrose (kids) Hometown: Utqiagvik Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Tachim Isua (Peard Bay), located 50 miles southwest of Utqiagvik, where I spent summers with my aaka and aapa, aunts and uncles, and many many cousins. It is there where I learned how to live off the land and grew up close to the values of being Inupiaq. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Always, the end of a successful whaling season at home. Name the person you most respect and why. My older sister Rainey Nasuġraq Hopson. She lives by her own rules, guided by an incredible imagination and heart. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I love to run, sew, and write. Favorite quote: My dad used to wake me up in the morning and tell me, “it’s time to get up, the world needs people like you.” What was your first job? Videos R Us in Utqiagvik; I was 14. What is the book you most often recommend? I love everything by Jhumpa Lahiri, poetry by Nikki Giovanni and read Siddartha by Hermann Hesse on a nearly two-year cycle. What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others 14
to get involved in a cause? Many years ago, I served as a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters. I asked to be paired with a “little” they viewed as needing a great deal of support. I was matched with a young woman from rural Alaska who was serving time at McLaughlin. She was very young; most of her mistakes were simply a result of that. Nonetheless, she was in a bad place. And because of the limitations placed around our visits (we were never to leave the facility and our interactions were monitored), we started a journal that we would exchange at each visit. We would draw pictures and respond to each other’s questions. She soon started to jot down her hopes and dreams and shared academic achievements (a new thing for her). I still have that journal. What I learned from that experience: the most challenging work we do is usually our most rewarding. I encourage others to occasionally opt for the road less traveled. It’s never as bad as we first think, and you grow the most. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? I am blessed that my life’s work is in service to others. My cup feels full every day. It’s difficult to point to a specific project, but in my work, I find visiting people and villages across Alaska a supreme highlight. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Decide early on – in anything – what your boundaries are. Set up those parameters and stick to them. If you decide not to respond to texts or emails after 7pm, people will adjust. Also, use your personal leave.
It’s time to get up, the world needs you. — My Dad Michael Dinneen Photography
Koniag would like to congratulate our Shareholder Sarah Harrington for being recognized as a 2020 TOP FORTY UNDER 40 recipient! Atagua!
Congratulations! Lindsie Mills Ralph Pasana
Your contributions exemplify our core values. Thank you for your service to Alaskans.
OUR VALUES Compassion, Dignity, Justice, Excellence, Integrity
Congrats to all top forty awardees! Way to lift up Alaska! Speci a l prop s t o nonprofit leaders and partners and especially our own Angela Cox.
Connect with us at www.rasmuson.org Photo of Angela Cox and baby Ambrose by Michael Dineen
Commissioner ALASKA Department of Health and Social Services
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Psychology, Northwestern University; master’s of public health, Johns Hopkins University Community work: Mat-Su Salvation Army Advisory Board; MyHouse Homeless Youth Center; Joy International Barefoot Mile; Alaska Walk for Down Syndrome; MatSuMiners Baseball Club; Operation Frosty Warrior (care packages to deployed soldiers) Family: Colleen Crum, wife, an incredibly and wonderful woman that loves adventures in Alaska; Walter, black lab and owner of the couch Hometown: Born in Homer, grew up in Anchor Point Current city: Wasilla What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Kachemak Bay. It’s a playground and one of the most beautiful areas on earth. We grew up camping on the anchor river and fishing for kings, digging for razor clams at clam gulch, dip netting in China Poot Bay, and boating around Kachemak Bay for hiking, halibut holes and steamer clams. What is your most memorable Alaska experience?: Backpacking Kesugi Ridge with my wife and waking up to see the sun spotlight the peak of Mt. McKinley. Wonderful little moments like that as you experience Alaska that humble you and make you appreciate the wonderful place we call home. Name the person you most respect and why: My parents, Joe and Chris Crum. A lot of obstacles have been thrown their way in life, but they have stood by each other, loved each other, and parented a brood of great kids. It hasn’t been easy and it takes a lot of work to maintain a healthy relationship, but they have taught myself and my siblings that nothing is insurmountable when you have a strong marriage and faith. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Woodworking. If I can steal a minute I like to build toys for kids or furniture for family. When you work at a desk you need a creative outlet and some thing to do with your hands, and there aren’t many feelings of accomplishment as great as crafting a beautiful object. Favorite quote: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” — Ernest Hemingway 16
What was your first job? First job outside of family construction and mowing lawns was washing fishing charter boats as they came back in Homer Harbor during the summer tourist season. What is the book you most often recommend? “Sparrowhawk” series by Edward Cline. Fantastic historical fiction of pre-Revolutionary War England and the colonies. What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? MyHouse Homeless Youth. When you sit down and talk with kids that just want the opportunity to thrive and to move on from bad situations, it makes you want to do anything possible to help. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Building a family company that is known for its community involvement and investment. It feels good to give back and provide others the opportunity to build self-worth through the power of education and opportunity. And then to really tackle community issues and be inspired by the folks volunteering with you and the people you serve...that’s how you stay motivated and happy to continue the fight. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? We are all busy and stressed, but you have to make a conscious effort to be present in the moment and bring your best self when you come home to family, for they deserve nothing less. I also strive to have a positive outlook and attitude. My head coach in college always said that we can’t control everything that happens to and around us, but we can choose how we respond to it. When asked how he was doing he would always, 100 percent of the time, respond with “I’m GREAT!” Michael Dinneen Photography
Executive Director The Alaska Native Heritage Center
Education: Currently a third-year Ph.D., Indigenous Studies, University of Alaska Fairbanks; Executive MBA, Strategic Leadership, Alaska Pacific University; Bachelor’s degree, Journalism and Public Communications, University of Alaska-Anchorage. Community work: I feel extremely blessed and thankful that my professional and academic work is my community work. Several years ago, I was taught a very important lesson by Ayyu Qassataq, a fellow 2020 Top Forty awardee. The lesson is grounded in the understanding that I don’t belong to myself, I belongs to her community. Therefore, I have a responsibility to grow my skills in benefit to my community. It is this lens that guides my work every day. Family: Devin, husband; three beautiful sons and two adventurous daughters Hometown: My family roots begin in Emmonak, I was born in Fairbanks, and raised between Fairbanks and Texas. Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? I love being on the water with family in Hydaburg on a hot summer day. It’s absolutely breathtaking, and a ton of fun! What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Going home to Emmonak for the first time in my life in 2017. This trip was part of a work program at First Alaskans Institute. This trip allowed me an opportunity to meet family, visit the community, and learn more about my family history. It was a very healing experience to walk on the land of my Ancestors. I’m planning to go back to Emmonak in 2020. Name the person you most respect and why. Elizabeth Medicine Crow. Because she always gently reminded me that I needed to check myself before I wrecked myself. She is a selfless leader with a deeper love for our community than anyone I know. She also has the best laugh on the planet. Liz not only changed my life, but she changed my daughter Anya’s life, too. I will always cherish the years I was able to work with her and the rest of my FAI Family. I hope one day I can be half the leader she is today. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Dancing Ballet. Favorite quote: “When you feel like your wheels are spinning in life, get out and walk.” – Elder Vernita Herdman (Inupiaq)
What was your first job? Waitress in Texas What is the book you most often recommend? “Research is Ceremony” by Shaun Wilson What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? Serving as one of the founding Directors of the Forget-Me-Not Group. At the heart of this group was the goal to use social media to create social change with our brothers and sisters who are on the streets of Anchorage. Although I loved working with the board, Forget-Me-Not allowed me an opportunity to connect with other people, and myself, on a level I didn’t even know was possible. I hate to admit it, but for years, I held a stigma about the homeless population when I didn’t even know the first thing about being homeless. Forget-Me-Not allowed me an opportunity to confront my own bias while truly seeing these people for who they are, which is more than being homeless. It also reminded me that I need to ALWAYS question the system, whether it’s the justice system, educational system, health system, or the social service system. One of my favorite memories took place when I was handing out fish strips to an older man located at the corner of New Seward and Benson. I parked my car and went and sat with him on the corner of the street. We visited and then I gave him fish strips. Before I left, he started crying because he had not eaten salmon strips in over six years. As I was leaving a group of people came up and he immediately started sharing his strips with them. When I got to my car I started crying because the guy I was visiting with had so little to give but he wanted to share with others. My one pitch is this: Look beyond what’s in front of you. Each person on the street has a story, and the closest distance between two people is a story. Interesting how life work in that I wanted to help change other peoples’ lives and they changed mine. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? My ongoing boarding school research. Reason being, there is not one Alaska Native person who is alive today who isn’t impacted by the Boarding School era. Like many other instances, the Boarding School history is not being told. My goal is to continue researching the intersection between truthtelling and cultural tourism with the end goal of creating a boarding school exhibit at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, a true community place of healing and learning. I’ve learned that a part of history is telling our stories, and in order to heal you have to hear the truths, both good and bad. I hope one day these stories are widely shared so that history does not repeat itself. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Find a job you love and you’re passionate about. Always be the hardest working person in the room. Remember, our kiddos are always watching, and when you hold yourself back, you’re holding the next generation back. Give other people grace and give yourself grace. As you grow as a leader, become more comfortable with being uncomfortable. In the words of First Lady Michelle Obama, “When people go low, you go high.” Use your education and professional work for the most good. Our world needs a little more love and kindness. Michael Dinneen Photography
Education: Eastlake High School, Sammamish, Washington; Brewing Diploma, Siebel Institute of Technology Community work: National Ski Patrol, Senior Alpine Patroller, Toboggan Instructor Family: Leah Ellis, wife; two amazing dogs, Sven (Alaskan Shepard) and his son Ole (Shepard/Malamute/ Siberian Husky Mix). Hometown: I was born in Orange, California; grew up in Sammamish, Washington Current city: Girdwood What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? This is a difficult question to answer as there are so many places in Alaska that my wife and I like to spend our time. My favorite town is probably a tie between Haines and Sitka. However, if there was a place my wife and I could spend most of our days, it would be somewhere in the Upper Copper River Valley and anywhere on the Nabesna Road. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? The most memorable experience would have to be meeting my wife Leah. We were introduced by some Canadian friends while at the Haines Beer Festival. Our mutual friends from the Yukon asked if I could give their friend a ride to Anchorage from Haines. A concerning proposition requiring us both to spend four hours together on ferry (we both took a short trip to Juneau after the festival), followed by a 13-hour ride in my truck, crossing two international borders. By the end of the ride we decided that we both very much enjoyed our time together. Our first date was a multiple day backpacking trip in Denali National Park. Our second date was a multi-day kayaking trip through Kachemak Bay. A few more dates of fly fishing, camping, and traveling to Manley Hot Springs were followed by Leah deciding that my 190-square foot cabin in Girdwood was big enough for the two of us. The first six months of our time together was by far the most memorable experience of my 13 years in Alaska. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from
Presiden T • Midnight Sun Brewing Company Board President• Brewers Guild of Alaska
work?: Alpine skiing has always defined my life and how I live it. However, I have found passion in cross country skiing and hunting, often doing both at the same time. Being in the wilderness, on skis, with my wife and dogs is always my favorite way to spend time. What was your first job? The first job where I received pay and was not working for a family member was landscaping. The first place I ever mowed lawns professionally was the Redhook Brewery at age 15. What is the book you most often recommend? “Norwegian Wood” by Lars Mytting What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? My year of service in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps 2007-2008 was spent working fulltime at Bean’s Café in Anchorage. Spending an entire year of life with the folks in Anchorage who call the streets home, was immensely impactful. While I would never describe it as “rewarding”, I would define it as incredibly meaningful. The work was an emotional rollercoaster of lives saved and lives lost. I gained a profound respect for those who work in the trenches every day trying to help people who never enjoyed the chance to live healthy lives. Personally, I like to encourage people that I share my life with to just remain open to the opportunity to help. I don’t think volunteering is the only way to contribute to a better society. Being a great parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or partner can have huge impacts just the same. Looking out for your neighbor, advocating for a friend, and choosing to take good care of our elders is something that we all can do and should, in my opinion, come from a place of empathy, not necessarily the desire to be of service. I also encourage people to do something they like to do for volunteering. Share your hobby or passion with someone else. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Before I came to work at Midnight Sun Brewing Co. I was very impressed with their products and the quality of the beer. I knew I wanted to work there and applied at my first opportunity. While working at Midnight Sun I knew that the company was growing fast and without some serious commitment from the staff, the company would Michael Dinneen Photography
See ELLIS, Page 50
Director, Marketing & Communications Chugach Alaska Corporation
Education: MBA, Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management; bachelor’s degree, University of Utah Community work: Mentor at Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Volunteer at Thunderbird for Good; Lead or co-coordinator for Chugach community service events including the Alaska Run for Women, YWCA, Anchorage Chamber City-Wide Clean-Up, American Heart Association Family: Chris Crosta, husband; Drama (labradoodle), Bernie (bernedoodle) Hometown: Fairbanks Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? My back deck overlooking Mountain Lake in the summertime, paired with a good book, a glass of wine and my dog at my feet. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? All the time I spent racing up and down flat top with my dad (often with my mom yelling at us to slow down). Name the person you most respect and why. There’s too many to name, but first and foremost would be my parents, who gave me so many experiences and opportunities for self-discovery growing up. They’ve also showed me what it means to selflessly serve others. My father served in the Army before becoming an Alaska State Trooper for the majority of his career; and my mom is the most generous, kind-hearted person you’ll meet. Both of them are a model for what it truly means to succeed – living a life with compassion, grace, humility, intelligence and respect for all. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? International travel; hiking; reading; and just about anything involving heights (rock climbing, skydiving and bungee jumping) Favorite quote: A rising tide lifts all boats. What was your first job? Various summer gigs at the Capt. Cook Hotel What is the book you most often recommend? ”Drive” by Daniel H. Pink
Randi Jo Gause What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? Working with the Cherie Blair Foundation as a mentor to female entrepreneurs has been tremendously impactful to me. It’s given me perspective on unique challenges that women face across the globe, and I’m grateful to work with entrepreneurs on the front lines of advancing that cause. The best advice I can offer is to find the intersection between the things you’re skilled at and the things you’re passionate about. Once you find that, you’ll find that your ability to teach and inspire others comes naturally. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? articipating in my International MBA while working fulltime and still volunteering was one of my most challenging – and also most gratifying – life experiences. It allowed me to view my life and service work through a global lens and exposed me to new perspectives and people from all walks of life. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Balance means something different for everyone, and for me it means choosing meaningful work and also investing in personal self-care. Unplugging and getting outside, exercising and meditating keep me grounded. Ultimately, the more balanced I feel, the better I perform at work. Michael Dinneen Photography
State Director • Congressman Don Young REALTOR • DWELL REALTY
Education: Lumen Christi High School (Anchorage); Bachelor’s degree, Political Science and History, Gonzaga University Community work: Federation of Community Councils, vice chair; Mountain View Community Council, past president and treasurer; Housing advocacy through RurAL CAP supportive housing advisory committee, etc.; Bird TLC, Food Bank of Alaska, Anchorage Coalition of Community Patrols. Highlights include tackling neighborhood blight and fighting for improved schools, economic opportunities, and living and working conditions for all.Worked with a fellow Top 40 classmate in the adoption of a Mountain View neighborhood plan, along with park plans and capital improvement campaigns. Most fun: annual Mountain View neighborhood cleanup. Family: Rebekah Kiester, partner; Jamilia George & TW Patch, Rick George, parents; Lily George, sibling. Animal Family: Link and Bella (Newfoundland dogs); Trip Hazard and Arya (cats); Annik (Snowy Owl) Hometown: Anchorage and Girdwood Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Hiking with friends, whether it’s Williwaw Lakes trail or Eagle and Symphony Lakes. Sunburn or soaking wet, as long as there’s good company and bug dope, Alaska doesn’t disappoint. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Camping with family and friends over the years at Anchor Point and Clam Gulch. Name the person you most respect and why. I can’t limit it to just one. My father taught me the values of hard work and humility and the support that makes a family. My mother instilled in me faith and an obligation to serve others with my gifts. TW helped me refine my practical abilities and supported my core belief that you should never stop learning and growing new skills. Bekah has supported me through careers that require commuting throughout Alaska, sometimes thankless endeavors, and more ambitious renovations than any one person should ever have to put up with. I respect all these people and owe them a debt of gratitude; they have each contributed to my successes. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I love playing basketball. On my own, I’m a tinkerer and enjoy taking things apart to fix them and learn how they work. Putting them back together correctly often proves more challenging.
Favorite quote: “Good leaders must first become good servants.” — Robert Greenleaf What was your first job? Walking neighborhood dogs when I was 13. What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? The most fulfilling experience so far has been helping bring together a diverse group of volunteers, neighbors, and stakeholders over several years to lay out a shared vision for the Mountain View community and set it into action. My pitch to get people involved is to ask other neighbors and community members to share their experiences. Not surprisingly, many of the people I’ve met through community councils in Anchorage became involved because they first encountered a problem and complained or wanted it solved. By purposefully involving them with the process of working toward a solution, they become connected and invested in the community as a whole. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Despite the numerous accomplishments I had while working for the Alaska Legislature and Alaska’s congressional delegation, the achievement in my professional life that I’ve found the most rewarding has been implementing my construction and general housing background to become a successful realtor and helping people achieve their goals and dreams. In my first year as a licensee I managed to become one of my brokerage’s top-three in monthly sales volume. Thanks to the advice of my father who shared his experience in finance, and to my broker Connie Yoshimura at Dwell Realty who generously shared her counsel and wisdom with me as I continue to grow in the business. Finding success as a full-time small business owner is something I hope to again someday replicate following my public service career. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good worklife balance? It’s an ongoing process. I don’t have all the answers to that challenge, but I do know that making time for the things you love and having people in your life who can give candid feedback to help you stay grounded is key to finding the right balance that works for you. Michael Dinneen Photography
Principal Consultant Information Insights
Education: Master’s degree, Resource and Applied Economics, University of Alaska Fairbanks; master’s degree, Arab Studies, Georgetown University; bachelor’s degree, International Studies, Earlham College (Richmond, Ind.) Community work: Current: Serve on the Fairbanks North Star Borough Trails Advisory Commission; Co-Director, Solarize Fairbanks Campaign. Previous: Community Manager, Lemonade Day; Tutor, Literacy Council of Alaska; UAF booth at Tanana Valley Fair, KUAC Fundraiser volunteer Family: Steven Hansen, spouse, Madeline (6), Lillian (4), children Hometown: Houston, Texas Current city: Fairbanks What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Chicken. I go during the music festival. I love the scenery along the drive there and the people and activities once we arrive. We are able to disconnect from work and phones and settle into music, swimming/canoeing, walking, and exploring an old mining town. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? There are many memorable experiences, but they usually have some element of “we thought we were going to die when…” My first experience with that was in Denali Park when my husband and I were very tired after several wrong turns up scree fields and streams. We finally got to a spot close, but not too close, to the park road. It was July, the temperature dropped, and it started snowing. Our boots and wet clothes froze. As I laid down in my sleeping bag, I thought ‘hmm, guess it’s possible I may not wake up the next morning.’ We did and we have continued to enjoy camping and hiking in the backcountry and along roads. But always aware that the weather/situation can change in the blink of an eye. Name the person you most respect and why. Barbara Jordan. Growing up in Texas, I learned of Mrs. Jordan’s work in elementary school. She was a lawyer, orator, and served in the Texas Legislature and U.S. House. She was introduced to us as an extremely intelligent, influential, and hard-working person who served in critical roles at a time when women and African Americans were largely absent in
those spheres. As I learned more about her, I found her commitment to her principles and to the interests of her constituents remarkable. I respect her because she stands out as a courageous and careful leader. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Running or hiking outside. A close second is gardening. Favorite quote: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” — Benjamin Franklin What was your first job? File assistant, Houston Geological Log Library What is the book you most often recommend? “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? This is a little premature, but I am finding the effort I’m putting into the Solarize Fairbanks campaign very rewarding. My pitch for getting others involved is: Action and effort are the way to reach people and effect change. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? On this I would call work most fulfilling when I am certain that someone benefits at a personal level. Right now, that is the project I work on with Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference helping building owners and commercial fishers access energy audits and grant funding to upgrade their buildings and vessels. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? To have a good work-life balance, you have to value your personal time and the time you have with your family. That sounds simple, but it’s easy to let work, volunteer or professional, crowd in. TODD PARIS PHOTOGRAPHICS
Executive Director Kodiak Historical Society & Kodiak History Museum
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Liberal Arts, University of Alaska Southeast Community work: Treasurer of Museums Alaska; Focus on organizational sustainability, established a non-endowed fund through ACF; Expanding state-wide and national partnerships to better support Alaska’s museum professionals; Re-envisioning partnerships by expanding beyond the annual convening to include symposiums and workshops offered around the state each year. Chair of the 2019 AHS/MA Conference Committee, statewide convening of museum professionals and historians in Kodiak. Discover Kodiak Board Member, Representing Kodiak cultural institutions’ interests in the sustainable development of the tourism industry on Kodiak Island; Kodiak Fire Station Steering Committee, Assisting City Council & Staff in pre-development of a new Kodiak Fire Station; KIB Planning & Zoning Committee; School Lunch Volunteer at St. Mary’s Catholic School. Past activities: VP of Kodiak Public Library Association throughout the development of the new Kodiak Public Library ($13 million dollar City facility opened in 2013); Kodiak Community Foundation Board Member Family: Home life is devoted to raising my sweet Eliza, who is 4 years big and loving preschool at St. Mary’s Catholic School. Her father, Brendan Harrington, is an artist and fisherman who also volunteers at her school and is in the process of acquiring his Masters of Arts in Teaching through UAS. I come from a long line of Kodiak Natives, reaching back many generations from Mary Metrokin, a Kodiak Kreole woman of Alutiiq and Russian descent, and Charles Madsen, Danish explorer and Kodiak bear guide. Parents are Bruce Short of Kodiak and Leslie Wheeler of Olympia, Wash. Hometown: Born in Kodiak. Raised primarily in Washington State (Montesano and Olympia) with summers spent on Anton Larsen Island of Kodiak. Current city: Kodiak What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Kodiak. It’s not a place for the faint of heart, which means we’re all similarly strange and wild and it makes for a wonderful community. Its unpredictable weather upends travel plans and outdoor adventures frequently, but the space and peacefulness one can find at the beginning of the Aleutian Chain keeps and cares for the hearts of 22
Alaskans. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? My most precious memories are based on an elemental experience for many of us: harvesting. My first deer harvest was at six years old in Uganik Bay. I post a photograph of the milestone proudly on my refrigerator: bug bitten, covered in dirt and blood, and relishing every second. What was your first job? Teaching piano lessons at 14 years of age to neighbor children. What is the book you most often recommend? “Alaska: Saga of a Bold Land” by Walter R. Borneman What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? Working with the stellar group responsible for the development of the new Kodiak Public Library. As a young woman still unsure of her life’s course, this opportunity granted me the skills and the faith that a meaningful life of service in Alaska provides boundless opportunities for anyone willing to do the work. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? As the Executive Director of the Kodiak Historical Society and Kodiak History Museum, we secured $750,000 to fund the From Storehouse to Story House Permanent Exhibits Redesign and Facility Upgrade Project and rebranded Kodiak History Museum focuses on accessibility and inclusion through decolonization of the beloved community center. The effect brought renewed support for the beloved institution, facilitated meaningful personal connections for all Kodiakans in our beloved community center and the oldest building in Alaska, attracted new members to the Kodiak Historical Society, and diversified board and committee members increasing cultural competency and community connections. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Follow your heart. A satisfying work-life balance is different for everyone. Be good to yourself first, learn to say no, ask for help, and be proud of the incredible work you do in every environment.
CAROL SCOTT Photography
President/Owner • Uqaqti Consulting Founder/Owner • Joy Huntington, LLC
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Dartmouth College, 2006 Community work: Motivational Speaker for Students, 2005-Present; Resource Development Council Board of Directors, June 2019- Present; Fairbanks City Council, October 2015-18 Fairbanks; North Star Borough Planning Commissioner (Chair), 2010-14; Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center Board, September 2009-May 2010; UAF Tribal Management Program Council of Advisors, October 2009- 2011; UAF Advisory Council to the Chancellor, March 2009-2010; Morris K. Udall Foundation Congressional Internship Review Committee, Spring 2008; Doyon Foundation Scholarship Review Committee, 2007-10; Alaska Youth for Environmental Action Advisory Board, 2006-07 Family: Avery and Emma, daughters; Dorothy Shockley, mom; late Barry Shockley, dad; Kris Woods and Joseph Shockley, brothers. Hometown: Manley Hot Springs, Fairbanks and Stevens Village Current city: Fairbanks What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Manley Hot Springs is my favorite place, because it is the most beautiful community in Alaska in my opinion, and yes it is my hometown. The landscape is comprised mostly of birch trees, which are stunning all seasons of the year especially autumn. There is a bridge in the center of the community over the Manley Hot Springs Slough. We take pride in our community, which is evident with the manicured lawns throughout the public areas in town, the community parks, planted flowers everywhere, and the historic Manley Roadhouse & Lodge, which is still operational. The people are the very best part though. Manley residents are a tight knit, loving, fun, and quirky bunch. Some of the best people in the world live in Manley Hot Springs! What is your most memorable Alaska experience? At age 16 I lived with my mom for a year in a cabin on the north bank of the Yukon River a mile upriver from Stevens Village in a small 24x30-foot cabin without running water, a telephone, electricity, or a road to our house. We packed a 30-30 rifle to walk to the village in the summer in case of bears, and we had Michael Dinneen Photography
JOY HUNTINGTON to ski to the village in late spring when the snow was too soft on the river for our snow machine. This was a major milestone in my life because I learned how strong my mother and I were, and it was very peaceful on the Yukon River. At night, when we turned off our generator our world became completely silent, and I would write in my journal by candlelight. Most 16-yearolds do not experience that kind of peace and stillness. I needed that time to figure out who I wanted to be, and to build the courage to leave Alaska on my own for my junior year of high school. Name the person you most respect and why. I respect my mother most because she worked very hard to provide for her children as a single parent, and she taught me to be an emotionally and spiritually aware person. She worked tirelessly to overcome her own limiting beliefs and taught me about self-care on a much deeper level. She also moved us to a small village when I was 16 in order to help me connect with my cultural identity and pride. She is amazing! What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Writing is my favorite activity outside of work. I have written poetry since I was 12 and I have written in my journal since I was 16. Writing is my most important creative outlet in life. It is the way I connect to my spirituality and my emotions. I finished a book in 2011 that I am hoping to publish this year, as well as a book of poetry. I hope to integrate writing into my life on a much larger scale in the future. Favorite quote: “Celebrate we will, ‘cause life is short but sweet for certain.” — Dave Matthews Band
What was your first job? My first job after graduating high school was the Environmental Intern for the Stevens Village Tribal Natural Resources Program. It was my job to test the quality of the Yukon River and to inform the community of our natural resource programs and efforts. This job experience gave me direction for college as well, I majored in Native American Studies and minored in Environmental Studies and wrote my honors thesis on “Tribal Natural Resource Management of the Yukon River Watershed.” I am so thankful the Stevens Village Tribe gave me that opportunity. What is the book you most often recommend? “On Writing” By Stephen King is one of the best books I have ever read. He encourages everyone to stubbornly and passionately believe in their dreams. He shares a lot about his life and the many “failures” he See HUNTINGTON, Page 50
to everyone who nominated me for the Top Forty Under 40 award! I love working with a very diverse cross-section of people across our state and hope to continue contributing to our collective progress and momentum. We are a statewide family in my opinion, with much more in common than we may realize. Letâ€™s keep working together and building relationships. Hereâ€™s to our bright future, Alaska!
Core Competencies We provide comprehensive community relations and communications services to a variety of clients across the state and beyond. We are highly capable facilitators and project managers, leading complex and high pressure programs seamlessly. Our specialized services include: PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT COMMUNITY RELATIONS STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT LOBBYING AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS MEETING FACILITATION MEETING PLANNING AND LOGISTICS SUPPORT CONSENSUS BUILDING COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES
Company Data We have worked in over 50 communities across the state working directly with tribes, native corporations, municipalities, development projects, and state agencies. We have a proven track record in building consensus among diverse groups with multiple interests and perspectives. Joy is an excellent facilitator with experience leading even the most difficult discussions effectively and thoughtfully.
Why Companies Hire Uqaqti We are facilitators, stakeholder engagement strategists, and consensus optimization specialists for companies and organizations with dynamic stakeholder engagement and communication needs that are critical to their success. We have the cross-cultural understanding, the solid reputation, and unique communications skills to be specialists in this field. Hiring Uqaqti Consulting can save projects time and money by addressing stakeholder concerns and engaging people at the right time with the right information. Misunderstandings or disagreements that go unresolved will only become bigger, more costly issues in the future. In a world where misinformation is just one Facebook post away, companies need to be just as aggressive in sharing the facts with key stakeholders. We develop the strategy, rally the team, handle the logistics, and facilitate the discussions. Our President and Principal Consultant Joy Huntington is Alaska Native (Koyukon Athabascan) and she spent 15 years in rural villages. She connects with all audiences seamlessly. She also has a highly engaging and positive personality, which is a unique driving force for achieving consensus and building relationships even in the most challenging discussions. Our team has the communication skills, technical background, cultural understanding, and solid reputation across the state to address any stakeholder engagement and communications challenges.
We Would love to hear from you.
Joy huntington President & Principal Consultant
OWNER LEGACY ELECTRIC LLC REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER Peninsula Hangar Associations
Community work: Board member, Kenai River Sportfishing Association, Alaska Men’s Run and American Cancer Association; Appointed official, Kenai Airport Commission
and on the weekends. The knowledge I acquired in regard to building and trade products while employed there was invaluable.
Family: Jacob Leichliter: 17 years old and a Junior at Cook Inlet Academy. He is also currently studying to achieve his dream of becoming a minister; Ayla Leichliter, 4 years old and on track to becoming an amazing future pilot/sport fisher woman; Parents Judy Leichliter, a retired school teacher of 30 years, and Harold Leichliter, a retired Alaska State Trooper of 25 years; Lucy, a miniature dachshund/ meerkat
What is the book you most often recommend? “The Long Game” by Sen. Mitch McConnell
Hometown: The Kenai Peninsula Current city: Soldotna What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Homer, a quaint ocean town located on the south end of the Kenai Peninsula, has always been my favorite weekend getaway. While looking out over the waters of Kachemak Bay, problems seem to fade away.... the incredible fishing is an added bonus. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Growing up fishing the Kenai River with my friends; catching and releasing some of the biggest salmon in the world. Name the person you most respect and why. Bob Penney, president of Penco Properties. Bob Penney moved to Alaska in 1951 at the young age of 19. By thinking outside the box and always staying positive, he became one of the top Real estate developers in our state. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Fishing and flying, or flying to go fishing, especially on the south end of Iliamna Lake in the Kvichak River. Casting lines into those waters with an amazing crew of friends has been on the highlight reel of the past few years. Favorite quote: “Always wear the other guy’s shoes.” — Bob Penney. I believe that in every business deal you make, you should look at it from every perspective. Knowing what the other person wants is key to a favorable outcome. What was your first job? Growing up I liked to keep busy and was fortunate enough to work at Spenard Builder’s Supply in Kenai. I began this job at a very young age and worked after school
What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? The Kenai River Sportfishing Association is one of my favorite non-profits that I currently sit on the board of. It was founded by some of my greatest role models. Part of the association’s mission statement is, “Fish come first.” I always inform people of that when I’m around. In Alaska, sport fishing keeps us healthy, active, and outdoors. It helps to keep us unified as a people in this great state, in general. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Since starting Legacy Electric in 2011, we have done many amazing projects in all sectors of the economy, both large and small. They’ve all been rewarding, but none so much as working in the health care sector: building hospitals and bringing beneficial technology to the state that has in turn helped many Alaskans is extremely valuable to me. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Always remember that a good work life is part of a larger foundation composed of a balance between work, family, fishing and friends. All the elements must be tended to for any single one to thrive. And if you can’t seem to find the time, combine: your family and friends can go fishing with you, so always set aside time to go fishing. Plus, there’s something so therapeutic about looking out over beautiful Alaskan waters: they clear the mind, and a clear mind is good for business. Michael Dinneen Photography
Radiation Oncologist Advanced Oncology Associates Medical Director Alaska CyberKnife Center
Education: Fellowship, Stereotactic Radiosurgery, Yale University; Residency, Radiation Oncology, University of Wisconsin; Medical School, Saint Louis University; Bachelor of Arts, Biological Sciences, University of Alaska, Anchorage; Bachelor of Science, Exercise Physiology, Lake Superior State University Community work: South Anchorage Hockey Association and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church Family: Married to Katherine with children Luke (6) and Noah (6). We also have a wonderful, 3-year old Karelian Bear Dog named Toby. Hometown: I was born in Anchorage and raised in Chugiak, Eagle River and Anchorage at various times. Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Turnagain Arm and Girdwood. Whether itâ€™s hiking Bird Ridge, driving to Girdwood or skiing at Alyeska, the juxtaposition of the rugged mountains and water is spectacular, particularly on a sunny day. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Visiting and hiking in Denali National Park Name the person you most respect and why. Tim Tebow. He is the epitome of living the gospel and an incredible role model for those of us trying to follow Jesus Christ to the best of our ability. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Exercising, hiking, downhill skiing and Nordic skiing Favorite quote: Love God, love people What was your first job? Drilling water wells for my father What is the book you most often recommend? The Bible What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? Working as a camp counselor with Hockey Ministries International. I donâ€™t 26
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have a pitch per se, I just try to emphasize the internal gratification that they will experience in helping others and giving of themselves. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? During my time at Yale, I was the lead author and primary investigator on a multi-institutional study evaluating the efficacy of stereotactic radiosurgery compared to systemic therapy for the treatment of patients with brain metastases from lung cancer. Fortunately, it was published in arguably the most impactful cancer journal in the world, the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good worklife balance? Be very intentional in how you allocate your time, as it is your most precious asset. Set aside time every day to care for yourself spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Be very intentional in how you allocate your time, as it is your most precious asset. Set aside time every day to care for yourself spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Michael Dinneen Photography
Dr. Sarah Murphy
Weâ€™re proud to have Dr. Murphy as part of the UAA WWAMI School of Medical Education.
Preparing Alaskan residents to be the future physicians and surgeons for our state. uaa.alaska.edu/wwami
Rural Energy Manager Tanana Chiefs Conference Owner Daylight Energy Services LLC
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Cornell University, 2008; MBA, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2012 Community work: Director on the Golden Valley Electric Association board of directors; Volunteer with the Solarize Fairbanks Team and KUAC; and serve on the board of the Renewable Energy Alaska Project Family: Heidi Wood, wife; Maddie and Theo Messier, children Hometown: Derry, New Hampshire Current city: Fairbanks What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? My father in-law’s fish camp at the Yukon River rapids. My wife spent her summers there as a kid when there were commercial openings on the Yukon and we take our kids out for a week each summer. It’s pretty cool to see three generations of Alaskans putting away fish for the year. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? My first successful Alaskan Moose Hunt. I had a winter hunt tag and went out with two friends at -20F only to have my gun misfire twice with a moose in my sights 30 yards away! The last day of the season I went out alone and took a moose just after dawn but was so excited I managed to drop my knife somewhere in 3 to 4 feet of snow. After an hour of looking for it I gave up and had to quarter and skin the whole moose with my leatherman. Lessons learned: don’t over-oil your gun in cold weather and ALWAYS bring a backup knife. Name the person you most respect and why. At various phases in life I’ve respected different people “the most.” Right now it’s hands down my amazing wife Heidi. She’s juggling our two young kids (solo when I have to travel for work), a full time job as a Doctor of Physical Therapy and getting her master’s in Public Health.
What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Spending time with my wife and kids is highest on the list but after that I love to build things — generally home improvement projects either on my home or a friends. Favorite quote: “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” — Colin Powell What was your first job? Growing up I worked at a farm near our house and got to learn a variety of skills from carpentry to equipment maintenance. I think that job was key to a solid work ethic. What is the book you most often recommend? “Good to Great” by Jim Collins What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? After college, two friends and I spent a few months teaching English in a tiny Nepali Village. When the village needed an addition on the school, every family had to send people to carry rocks from the quarry to the school on their back using a headstrap pack and imported teachers were no exception. It took a few days but slowly the village moved the giant pile from the quarry to the school yard. It was a good lesson that nothing is impossible if you have everyone moving in the same direction and doing their part. That’s my pitch, if you want to see something change, be a part of it. No matter how small your role, if you have enough people moving in the same direction you can do big things. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? I’m currently leading a project in Hughes where we installed a 120-kilowatt solar array using 100 percent local labor. We’ll be installing a large battery system this summer and plan to run the community’s electrical grid “diesel’s off” for parts of the year. When we get that project finished this summer, it will take the cake. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Life is a team sport, pick a good teammate and always try to do more than your fair share of the work. Michael Dinneen Photography
Learning and Development Consultant Wells Fargo
Education: Master of Business Administration, Emphasis: Strategic Leadership, Alaska Pacific University; Bachelor’s degree, Communication Studies, Minor, Journalism and Mass Communication, Iowa State University; Certificate: Financial Foundations: Managing for Financial Strength, University of West Florida Community work: Salvation Army of Alaska, Advisory Board Member; Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis, Board Member; Covenant House Alaska, Youth Mentor; United Way of Anchorage, Employee Campaign Coordinator; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Soldier and Family Readiness Group Volunteer Family: Jon Michaelsen, loving, supportive husband and best friend; Hershey and Daisy, our four-legged fur-babies; Rance and Rocely Lund, proud parents; Buddy and Janet Buenaventura, proud father and bonus mother; Kyra Buenaventura and Raelyn Lund, loving sisters; Dante Buenaventura, encouraging uncle; Mark and Barb Michaelsen, supportive in-laws Hometown: Grimes, Iowa Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Homer. My husband, our dogs and I love to spend time on the spit, we love the scenery, the food is always amazing and we love the sense of community whenever we visit. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? During a summer leadership course we were whitewater rafting on the Matanuska River and we hit a strong rapid that knocked me out of the raft. Throughout the course of our trip, this happened twice. Luckily, everyone was quick to action and I was safely in our raft in no time. The water wasn’t as cold as it’s been during the Special Olympics Polar Plunge, but it sure feels different free-floating in rapids! Name the person you most respect and why. I’ve been blessed with 4 grandmothers in my life. All possess qualities that I admire and strive to replicate. Maternal grandmother: Cecilia Schaul, one of the hardestworking women I know. A nurse in her professional career, she always has and continues to prioritize personal time for selfless service to others and her community. My desire to volunteer, serve others and community service focus stems from her devotion. Paternal grandmother: Cecilia Buenaventura, she was Michael Dinneen Photography
Mary Rosal Michaelsen a true matriarch of the family. Education was very important to her and all eight of her children pursued higher education. Her mentality motivated me to complete my masters. Bonus grandmother: Marge Lund, in her early 60s she rekindled her love of singing and released two CD albums and traveled around the Midwest to perform. Known also as a yodeler, she was inducted into the Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame. Her courage reminds me to always follow my passion. Bonus grandmother: Cindy Bergthold, a talented and creative artist. She inspires me to not only see the beauty in art but in all things in life, to not overlook the attractiveness in small details. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? In the almost five years I’ve lived here, Alaska has turned me into someone that thoroughly enjoys the outdoors. Favorite pastimes include: camping with our campfire cookery crew, traveling and exploring around the state and thanks to my friends, paddle boarding. Favorite quote: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.” – Attributed to Mahatma Gandhi What was your first job? Retail clothing store associate What is the book you most often recommend? “The Positive Dog: A Story about the Power of Positivity” by Jon Gordon. It’s a simple and easy read that reminds me of valuable principles to apply in everyday life. What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? Recently, helping lead our internal Community Support Campaign. The result of our efforts contributed to hundreds of volunteer hours and funds raised for various nonprofit organizations across our state. When engaging others to get involved, it becomes effortless by connecting to the individual’s emotion towards a particular cause. Once that spark is ignited, impact is endless!
In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? I’ve been fortunate to find meaning and fulfillment in all positions held. One that resonates is a role in which I traveled statewide to conduct financial education workshops. Personal finance has always been a passion of mine. The ability to provide tools, resources and education to our community, in turn supporting individuals’ and families’ financial wellness goals was a very rewarding experience.
Grants Manager Providence Alaska Foundation
Education: Master of Business Administration, Webster University; Bachelor’s degree, Business Administration, Missouri Western State University; Certified Fund Raising Executive, CFRE International Community work: I serve on the board for thread, Alaska’s child care resource and referral network. Family: Zeus the Vizsla, my dog; Randall and Tina, father and mother; Natalie and Jesse, sister and brother-in-law; Darcie and Audrie, sisters Hometown: Panora, Iowa Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why?: Downtown Anchorage! It is activated, especially in the summer, and walkable to my favorite restaurants and shopping. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? A few years ago, I piloted two of my out-of-state sisters on a flightseeing tour around Southcentral Alaska. The sights were gorgeous, and my sisters were kind to disguise their anxiety until after we landed! Name the person you most respect and why: I appreciated Michelle Obama’s grace and dignity in leadership as First Lady of the United States. And she reminds me of my girlfriends: authentic and courageous. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I love to travel, and I feel very fortunate that I am able to do so regularly. Favorite quote: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” — Ian Maclaren What was your first job? My first job was rock picking on my grandfather’s farmland in northeastern Iowa. It was hard work, and after one summer, I was destined for the office! What is the book you most often recommend? I just finished “Frientimacy” by Shasta Nelson, a book 30
I highly recommend for anyone looking to deepen intimacy within friendships (or any relationship, really). What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? I serve on the board of directors for thread, Alaska’s child care resource and referral network. thread provides free resources and child care referral services for Alaskan families, as well as professional development, technical assistance, and financial supports for the early childhood education industry. In national research, the Child Care Action Campaign found that U.S. companies lose $3 billion annually as a consequence of child-care-related absences. Toxic stress and early trauma, such as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), greatly inhibit the healthy brain development needed for children to learn social and other skills, such as the ability to concentrate, express emotions, control impulses, and build relationships. In Alaska, 16 percent of children aged birth to five experience two or more ACEs. While the statistics are grim, there is hope. CCAC found that every $1 invested in high-quality early care and education saves communities between $4 and $17 in future costs of remedial and special education, the juvenile crime system and welfare support. Children who attend a high-quality early care and education program are more likely to be prepared for school, graduate, attend college, contribute to the workforce, achieve higher earnings, and refrain from criminal activities. And parents can confidently participate in the workforce, strengthening Alaska’s economy as their children receive safe, high-quality care and learning. When you invest in early care and education, Alaskans reap the benefits, both now and in the future. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Professionally, the most fulfilling project I have had the privilege to impact was a new home for Alaska CARES. Alaska CARES is the state’s largest child abuse response and evaluation services provider, serving nearly 1,000 children each year for allegations of abuse and maltreatment. Thanks to a generous community, Alaska CARES and its collocated multidisciplinary partners have a new and permanent home to care for one of our state’s most vulnerable populations. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? This feels like a lifelong endeavor, but so far, setting SMART goals, working with a supportive and collaborative team, sustainable personal relationships, and healthy self-care have proven invaluable for me. Michael Dinneen Photography
Senior Line Design Engineer Municipal Light & Power Head Cross Country Coach Anchorage Christian Schools
JAKE K. MOE, PE
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Engineering, Electrical Engineering, George Fox University
Favorite quote: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain which he cannot lose.” — Jim Elliot
Community work: Power Engineering Society Chair of IEEE Alaska Section; Race Director for Master’s 10K & 5K Race; Past Co-Race Director of the Alaska 10K Classic fundraiser for Special Olympics; Anchorage Trail Watcher,; church activities, and frequent volunteer at local running races
What was your first job? Laborer for the family concrete business, M&M Concrete. It taught me how to work hard and value personal responsibility.
Family: Brynn, lovely wife; Samantha (7), Axel (4), Madelynn (4), Koral (1), children; Autzen, black lab Hometown/Current city: Born, raised and live in East Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? My favorite places in Alaska are hiking/running trails because there is so much adventure, freedom and beauty to experience on your own two feet. Some of the best are in Anchorage and Chugach State Park; others include Trail of Blue Ice, Harding Ice Field, and Lost Lake. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Definitely being in the mountains near Sutton and proposing to my wife. She said “Yes!” Name the person you most respect and why. For teaching me how to love God and others I respect my Mom; my Dad for how to work hard and play hard; my brother Jesse for being a best friend; my grandparents for teaching me commitment; the late Marty Smith for professionalism, and lastly my wife, Brynn, for being a remarkable life partner and an awesome mother. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I love being with my family and playing with my kids. I love running and being in shape. I am a huge baseball fan of sabermetrics and the Texas Rangers. I am also ultra-competitive and struggle with relaxing as I even like to race to complete jigsaw puzzles.
What is the book you most often recommend? The Gospel According to Matthew What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? Volunteering in the running community is really fulfilling. Whether I am directing a big race, coaching athletes, or just handing out water; the satisfaction you get when someone you helped reaches a goal is unimaginable. As for a pitch to others to join a cause, hopefully the smile you see on my face when I am engaged in the community is contagious enough. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Since 2009, I have had the privilege to manage, plan, and design over $45 million of ML&P’s Title 21 Overhead to Underground Program. This program collects a surcharge from customers to remove overhead power lines and poles and install new underground lines for a safe, reliable and more aesthetic utility power system. It is very fulfilling when a neighborhood thanks you for a job well done. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Taking time to play hard, enjoy my family and friends, and serve my community refills my soul, allowing me to have a fulfilling job. I like to live by the proverb “I say ‘No’ to the good things so I can say ‘Yes’ to the great things.”
Michael Dinneen Photography
Martha Ella Qaġġun Monnin Education: Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, College of Charleston Community work: Girl Scouts troop No. 310 parentvolunteer; Diabetes Prevention program promoting healthy living volunteer Family: Mike Monnin, husband; Corin (8) and Ella Monnin (7), daughters; and two canines Basil and Tigger Hometown/Current city: Born and raised in Utqiaġvik What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? I love beachcombing along the Arctic coast with my family. We like to be outside exploring nature together. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? My husband is an outdoorsman and I enjoy the many adventures that we get to do together. One of our outings we planned a goat hunt on Kodiak Island. This particular day started at 4 a.m. and ended at 2 a.m. the next day. We hiked to the top of three different mountain peaks looking for goats. On our trek back down the mountain, we got cliff’d out in the dark and had to go straight down to the river. We had to follow the bear infested river out in knee deep water for two miles before we hit the road. The mountains were extraordinary and the experience was extremely rewarding. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Anytime I am away from work, I am spending quality time with my family. I also enjoy reading books about history, genealogy, and biographies. Favorite quote: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” — First Corinthians 25-27 What was your first job? I was 12 years old and worked at Videos R Us in Utqiaġvik. What is the book you most often recommend? “Personality Plus” by Florence Littauer What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to 32
President/CEO Arctic Slope Native Association
get involved in a cause? I feel a sense of renewal when I work with kids and new moms. Being a new parent can be overwhelming and I am really thankful when I can help connect them to resources or give them advice from my own experience as a parent. I believe being an active, responsible parent is one of the most important things we can do in our community. For my pitch, I believe in leading by example, so when I invite others to get involved in a project, I make sure we do it together. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? I get fulfillment on a daily basis through helping people. I am excited when I can help the success of others. With my time working at Ilisaġvik College, every graduation was successful when I saw our students succeed onto their next journey in life. In my role working in tribal healthcare, I am pleased every time a new baby is born at our hospital, it is a privilege to serve our new mothers and see our community grow. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? To be honest, I’m still learning to balance the two. I have high standards for myself professionally, but my family is very important to me, so every minute I am away from work; I make a point to give my loved ones 100 percent. A wise women in our community once told me to make sure to plan vacation time. This has encouraged me to plan time away from work, so that we can be together. For anyone who has a spouse, it is important to work together as a team. I am so grateful for having a loving husband because he is my biggest supporter.
I love beachcombing along the Arctic coast with my family. Michael Dinneen Photography
TENACIOUS ENTREPRENEUR WOMAN HARD-WORKER TLINGIT INSPIRATION HUMBLE STEWARD
We congratulate Spruce Root, Inc. Program Director, Alana Peterson on this prestigious nomination of Alaska’s Top Forty Under 40.
We are proud of all you’ve done and what you continue to do. All the best, your Sealaska family. One Sealaska Plaza
Recognizing extraordinary efforts Achieving great things in any community takes courage, vision, and tremendous effort. What each of us does can make life better for everyone. We proudly celebrate the great achievements of Becky More and Mary Michaelsen. wellsfargo.com © 2020 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. IHA-25885
Vice President and Community Relations Consultant • WELLS FARGO President and Lead Consultant BeMore Fundraising Consulting
Education: Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Management with a Nonprofit Management Emphasis, Alaska Pacific University Community work: Board Member of Beacon Hill; Immediate Past President and Board Member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Alaska Chapter; Planning Committee Member of 100+ Women Who Care; Volunteer work with Priceless, Downtown Hope Center, American Heart Association, Beans Café, Rolling Boxcar, Special Olympics, Victims for Justice, and Food Bank of Alaska.
some quality time with my son. We love to hike, ski, camp, fish, and take-in all that Alaska has to offer. I also love live music, live theater, game nights with friends, and a good cup of Kaladi Brothers Coffee. Favorite quote: “Do good and care not to whom.” — Italian Proverb What was your first job? Besides the standard babysitting and lawn mowing of my youth, my first official job was when I was 14 years old at The Dog Wash, a locally owned, self-service dog wash and retail store.
What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Seward. It is such a beautiful town with charismatic people and unique charm. It allows for great Alaskan experiences with hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing plus great shopping and tasty food.
What is the book you most often recommend? I’m a huge advocate of self-improvement books; I read at least one chapter each night before I go to bed. Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said “You are the same today as you will be five years from now except for two things…the people you meet and the books you read.” I have found this to be exceedingly true in my life. Some of my favorites are “Girl, Wash Your Face” and “Girl, Stop Apologizing” by Rachel Hollis; anything by Brene Brown; “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud, “Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist, “The Voice of the Heart” by Chip Dodd, and “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero.
What is your most memorable Alaska experience? I seem to be a bear magnet when I’m in the woods. I have had two close calls: one on the Russian River and one at a remote cabin a few train hours north of Talkeetna. Luckily I’ve made it out each time, but there is nothing quite like a run-in with a big Grizzly in the Alaskan wilderness.
What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? I’ve spent the past decade deeply involved in different capacities in all sorts of community service. My most fulfilling work is done when meeting the most basic needs: food, clothing, and shelter. Everyone deserves love, respect, and dignity where they are, as they are. The most persuasive way to get others involved is to do it yourself, and create a space for them to make a difference too. If you make other people the hero, they will want to be a part of the story.
Family: Logan, (9), son Hometown/Current city: Born and raised in Anchorage
Name the person you most respect and why. I am a huge fan of Dave Ramsey. I discovered him a few years ago and now teach his 9-week financial management course a multiple times a year. Seeing people gain control of their finances and experience financial freedom is one of my favorite things — it’s literally life changing. Dave’s curriculum and ongoing mentorship through his radio program and live events is inspiring. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? When I’m not working or volunteering, I am usually spending 34
In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? One of my proudest moments in my professional life was obtaining my CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive) credential, the world’s only accredited certification for philanthropic fundraising professionals, in 2016. At the time, I was the youngest individual to obtain their CFRE in the state of Alaska. To date, there are only 38 CFREs in the state. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Boundaries. Create them, respect them, enforce them, and embrace them. They’ll transform the way you live your professional and personal lives, both for the better. Michael Dinneen Photography
Family Physician • Vera Whole Health • Term Assistant Professor • College of Health Sciences, UA Anchorage WWAMI Program • Clinical Instructor • Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine
Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Harvard University, 2002; Medical Doctorate, UW School of Medicine, 2010 Community work: Mentoring, school outreach and volunteering, children’s activities. Family: Scott Pustay, husband; Quinlan (7) and Zane (5) Pustay, children Hometown/Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? We love Alaska’s parks and trails but Kindcaid Park is my favorite. My husband and I were married there on a beautiful sunny September day. As a family we spend a lot of time skiing, walking, biking, sledding, playing and exploring the trails, the sand dunes, and the beaches. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Battling a sea lion for a silver salmon out of Seward. When reeling in a salmon as we trolled, suddenly my line was being stripped. When reeling in I realized a sea lion was chasing my fish! Not wanting the sea lion to get a fish with a hook in it, I reeled in as fast as possible with the sea lion chasing it. My mom netted the silver with the sea lion not far behind. It then popped its massive head out of the water and sprayed us all with a dramatic outbreath. Name the person you most respect and why. My husband, Scott. He is a wonderful father and husband, has a great sense of humor, works incredibly hard at both work and home, and somehow manages to be present, genuine, and balanced. People seek me out to tell me how amazing he is, and I couldn’t agree more. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Spending time in the outdoors with my family, either in the mountains or on the water. Favorite quote: “Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” — Mary Oliver What was your first job? Teaching swim lessons. I swam in high school and college and was never far from a pool. What is the book you most often recommend? Lately it’s “Snow Child” by Eowyn Ivey. The story
Dr. Sarah Murphy
is captivating, and there is something both familiar and magical about the book being set in Alaska. What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? Community outreach and education to help people stay healthy. I started in high school with a peer education group and feel lucky to have turned this into a job teaching medical students. Now, I’m in charge of recruiting local physicians to speak to our students and it’s not hard to find volunteers. I’ve found that doctors and other health experts in Alaska are generous with their time and are excited to help educate the next generation. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Helping with the curriculum change at the Alaska WWAMI School of Medicine. The curriculum blends scientific principles with clinical medicine so the students are applying the science a lot earlier in their training than in the past. Wow, what an amazing way to learn and teach medicine. We have a diverse faculty that includes physicians and Ph.D. scientist experts who are doing things like cutting edge cancer immunotherapy research at UAA. I love teaching with and learning from this robust group of educators. As a graduate of the program, I recognize how important it is to be able to train in Alaska, both for our students, and the communities we serve. I am so proud of our amazing students and can’t wait to be taken care of by them some day! Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Take a long view, prioritize, and live with intention. Sometimes you can’t change your situation so you make the best with where you are, while striving for something more ideal. I had my first child during residency when I was working 80+ hour weeks. It was just the reality of our situation that some days I didn’t see her much. Now, life is still busy, but in a very different way and I have more choice in how I want to spend my time. It’s easy to get distracted and spend time on things that ultimately don’t matter much. My husband and I try to regularly make sure the way we live our lives and spend our time aligns with our values. If it doesn’t, then we work towards making a change. Sometimes lots of small changes add up in big ways. Michael Dinneen Photography
Dr. Heidi Ostby
Board Certified Pediatric Dentist JUST KIDS PEDIATRIC DENTAL CENTER PRESIDENT Alaska Pediatric Dental Society
Education: Stevenson High School (Lincolnshire, Ill.), Summa Cum Laude; bachelor’s degree in Biology, Summa Cum Laude/Valedictorian Biology Department, East Carolina University (Greenville, NC); Doctorate of Dental Surgery, University of Iowa College of Dentistry; Chief Resident Lutheran Medical Center Pediatric Dental Residency, Alaska Native Medical Center Community work: Pediatric Lead for Alaska Mission of Mercy; Alaska representative for National Oral Health 2020; Children’s oral health public awareness advocate- providing handouts, presentations and goody bags to pediatric offices, OT/PT clinics, OBGYN/ midwife offices, hospital grand rounds; Dental board member of the Medicaid Advisory Committee; Dental board member of Anchorage Project Access and provider donating thousands each year in free dental work. Family: Dr. Jesse Ostby, husband (general dentist at Ostby Family Dental); Samantha (5), daughter; Griffin (3) and Davis (1), sons; Sasha and Louie, dogs Hometown: Raised in Kildeer, Illinois Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Anywhere in Prince William Sound because we take our entire family out on our ocean boat to find new beaches to explore, hike, fish, and whale watch. A blue bird day in PWS is magical and makes you never want to leave Alaska. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Hiking Bird Ridge with my daughter in January when she was 3 months old…we didn’t bring any baby stuff on the hike and she ended up having two diaper explosions on me. I had to change her diaper in the snow, and eventually give her my shirt as a diaper since we had nothing to use. As my dad says, tragedy plus time equals comedy. This is now hilarious, but needless to say we never hike or travel without multiple changes of clothes and diapers for our kids! Name the person you most respect and why. My mother-in-law Paula Ostby. She is strong, loving, honest, supportive, and loyal. She was successful in her career, is 36
extremely smart, and is passionate about other things like quilting and knitting. In addition to her professional and extracurricular accomplishments, she raised three wonderful kids who are all now very successful. She has a great marriage, has wonderful relationships with her family, her children love her and her grandchildren adore her. I would be lucky to be like her. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I enjoy both “me time” and spending time with my kids. I love to mountain bike, fat tire bike, skate ski, downhill ski, and hike. I love doing all of those things with my kids as well, it’s just a bit harder! Favorite quote: “Don’t expect what you don’t inspect”…or “If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail.” — Dad What was your first job? Waitress at Plum Tree Bistro in Greenville, N.C. What is the book you most often recommend? “A Man Called Ove” What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? It is always rewarding to donate my dental services to children who cannot afford it. I love the fact that I own my own practice so I can make the decisions about writing costs off any time I want. I also love doing community outreach and education because it is devastating that children have to suffer from a preventable disease, and that most parents don’t know how to prevent cavities. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Building my dream office! My office manager Kristen was crucial throughout the process, and it has become our baby. It was a long, grueling, expensive process but it turned out amazing and it has set us up for a successful practice with room for growth and expansion. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good worklife balance? Decide what you want to do and do it…don’t cave to the pressures from staff, clients or finances. Time is the only thing in life that you can’t get back, so it is my most cherished possession. I don’t want to look back in life and wish I had spent more time with my family or friends. So I create my schedule with that in mind. Obviously there are times when I have to work, but I take a lot of days off and cut days short so that I can have time for me and have time for my family. Michael Dinneen Photography
Director of Behavioral Health Aide Training Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
Education: Ph.D., Clinical-Community Psychology Community work: I have served formally on committees and boards and informally, to my family, friends, and community, I am a conduit of and link to information and resources that focus on topics related to behavioral health and wellness, culture and diversity, and training/education. Family: Jennifer Burkhart, spouse; we’ve been together for 10 years, married for five. Jaeden, son, (14), Orion and Xion (2), twin sons Hometown: My parents were in the military, so early in my childhood, I lived in a few different states, but once Alaska was in the mix, it was clear that it was home. As my dad finished up his service, we made our way back to Alaska and I grew up in Wasilla. Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Any chance I get to travel to a village, I am excited because I get to see another part of Alaska, get off the road system, meet new people, learn about another community, try new foods, and get grounded in what’s important: community and connectedness. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Climbing up Yellow Hill in Metlakatla offered me one of the most peaceful and breathtaking views of Alaska I’ve ever seen. Also, on a trip to Kipnuk, I met an Elder who invited me to her home to visit and later to join her and some other women for a traditional maqii (steam)… my body still yearns for a maqii like that and my heart still holds a special place for my Elder friend. Name the person you most respect and why. My mom, Randi Owens, because despite the challenging upbringing she had and the daily battles she has with a persistent heart condition, she has accomplished so much and seems to have this unwavering optimism about life and infinite love for those around her.
Xiomara Cresensia Owens
from work? I like biking, especially when I have my boys with me. I also really enjoy having people over to our house to eat and play games or work on a puzzle. Favorite quote: “It’s ok. It’s ok when it’s ok. And it’s ok when it’s not ok.” — Dr. Rita Blumenstein What was your first job? My first informal jobs were baby-sitting, cleaning houses, and house-sitting. My first official job was working for Princess Tours on the train as a dishwasher and pretty early into my first season, I was promoted to chef when the chef in my car decided to quit mid-run on the way to Fairbanks! What is the book you most often recommend? Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life by Gary John Bishop What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? Giving food and clothes to those who are homeless… Everyone has a story and many of us are one paycheck away from homelessness being our reality. Giving someone a meal or a clean pair of clothes can do wonders for their health and feelings of self-worth. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Designing, developing, and launching our Behavioral Health Aide Training Center has been the most challenging and fulfilling project that I’ve taken on with my team. Having the Training Center allows us to deliver customized training to a workforce that provides critical healthcare services within our tribal health system. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? The work will always be there, so find a way to be efficient with the time you have and make sure you have parts of your job that fill your heart. Be thoughtful about your daily schedule; identify a task each day that you can achieve and that makes you feel accomplished — even if there are still things on your task list at the end of the day. Be present with your family and surround yourself with friends who rejuvenate you. Michael Dinneen Photography
What is your favorite pastime or hobby away 37
Congratulations Top Forty Under 40
Dr. Xiomara Owens Thank you for your dedication to behavioral health in Alaska and helping to achieve the Consortiumâ€™s vision that Alaska Native people are the healthiest people in the world. Your commitment sustains and improves the vibrancy of our Alaska communities. Best wishes to you and the rest of the Top Forty Under 40.
Learn more about one of Alaskaâ€™s largest employers at anthc.org
Nurse Manager of Caregiver Health Services, ALASKA REGION Providence St. Joseph Heath
Education: Bachelors in Nursing Science from University of Alaska Anchorage, 2013; Currently obtaining a master’s of science degree in nursing with a focus in nursing leadership in health care systems and a masters of business administration from Grand Canyon University. Last day of course is April 8, 2020. Community work: Swear to Care campaign for interpersonal violence awareness during my senior nursing project, Hear Me Now project through StoryCorps, flu vaccine administration in assisted living homes in the Anchorage bowl, state-wide flu collaborative in partnership with ASHANHA, and Culture and Diversity committee’s monthly Lunch and Learn. Family: James Welch, spouse, and we have one fur baby named Hazel, a miniature Australian Shepard. My younger brother and sister live in Anchorage along with extended family, and my parents still live on Kodiak. Hometown: I was born in the Philippines and I grew up on Kodiak Island. I moved to Anchorage in 2006 for nursing school. Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? It’s very difficult for me to answer this question, because Alaska has always been my home and I can’t pick one specific place. Having grown up on Kodiak, being near the water is very important to me. I visited Juneau for the first time last year and ran along a trail on Eagle Beach and watching the ocean made me feel like I was home in a place I had not been to before. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? My most memorable Alaska experience was when my family and I drove from Anchorage to Fairbanks one summer and on the drive back it started to snow. Name the person you most respect and why. The person I respect the most is Ron Galt, Chief Mission Officer at Providence Alaska Medical Center. Ron embodies the mission and core values of Providence and is a strong advocate for our patients and fellow caregivers. He inspires me to be a better version of myself. Michael Dinneen Photography
What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I do some form of exercise every day and get up at 4 every morning to go to the gym. Favorite quote: “I will never be perfect for you, but will always imperfectly try to be.” —Atticus What was your first job? My first job was for the Kodiak Daily Mirror as a paper boy when I was 13. What is the book you most often recommend? The book I most often recommend is “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? The most rewarding community service project I’ve participated in was during the pilot of Hear Me Now at Providence in 2017. To be a part of someone’s storytelling experience when they share deeply personal and intimate moments of their lives reminded me of my time as a bedside nurse when I was entrusted with the care of another person when they’re most vulnerable and the connection that is formed between two people. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? I have been fortunate to have been able to do so many things in the six years I’ve been a nurse and I have been in health care for 14 years. With every role I’ve served in and every patient encounter, I have experienced some form of fulfillment that has reminded me of my decision to be in the nursing profession. Helping people is what I love to do and that has transpired is so many different ways. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? My advice to maintaining a good work-life balance is to find something that brings you joy. For me, exercise is an important part of my life and my daily routine that I am excited about going to the gym or doing yoga every day. I also enjoy painting, because it allows me to use the right-side of my brain, the creative and artistic side that I don’t always get to use in my daily work. Painting also helps me focus on what I am doing in the moment and shift away from the demands of everyday life. 39
Alana Peterson Tlingit: Gah Kith Tin Executive Director • Spruce Root, Inc. Owner • Backdoor Cafe and Fisheye Cafe Education: Master’s in Business Administration Community work: Volunteer board member on the Sitka Sound Science Center Board, and Outer Coast Board of Trustees Family: Jose Carlos Figueroa Felix, husband; Lia Figueroa (8) and Esmee Figueroa (4), daughters; and currently pregnant with first son due March 18! Street Dog from Peru: Lady (10) Hometown/Current city: Born and raised in Sitka What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Sitka. I haven’t had the opportunity to travel around most of Alaska, but I have traveled all over Southeast, there are many special places in the Southeast region and each community is special in its own way, but Sitka has the best of everything Alaska has to offer… What is your most memorable Alaska experience? It’s hard to pick one considering the majority of my life has been in Alaska… Some of my most memorable experiences all revolve around being on the water. Living on an island means learning how to swim and walk are equally important, so ocean safety and survival skills are integrated into our K-12 curriculum. Going out on a skiff to play on islands or go camping, or harvesting herring eggs in the spring are some of my fondest memories growing up here. Also traveling around the SE region for sports trips in High School and again through my work in the Sustainable Southeast Partnership as an adult have been some of my best experiences. This is why saving our Alaskan Ferries is so important. Southeast Alaska is dependent on the marine highway for daily life. Name the person you most respect and why. My grandparents who I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with. I’ve always felt a strong connection to my maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather. They both taught me a lot about hard work and perseverance through the struggles they endured. I can see that my life is where it is today based on decisions they both made in life and this is an important perspective to have when thinking about one’s own life and the impact my decisions will have on generations to come. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I love sea kayaking and traveling to new places.
Favorite quote: “Too much sanity may be madness. And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be” — Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote What was your first job? Between babysitting and selling artwork to tourists on the docks, I’ve always had some kind of side hustle since I was 8 or so, but my first real paying job was a newspaper route at the Sitka Sentinel when I was 10. From there I got a job at Subway where I worked through all four years of high school. I don’t think I’ve ever been unemployed ever since. What is the book you most often recommend? I tell a lot of people who ask me about money and finance to read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki but lately I’ve been recommending the book “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Harari as a must read for everyone (it should be required reading in school). What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? My most rewarding community service is supporting other entities that I believe in through volunteering my time, knowledge or expertise on a board or committee. I don’t usually try to pitch causes to other people, but if I were to try and convince someone I would just tell them the story of how/why I got involved and why it is meaningful in my life. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Every time I make a big change or shift and take on a new challenge, I find those times and experiences to be the most fulfilling, because it is in those moments that I have the greatest growth that lead to “aha” moments. The most recent of these would probably be when I decided to apply for the Executive Director position at Spruce Root. This opportunity has pushed me to grow and working with the team at Spruce Root has been extremely rewarding. I am very proud of the operational and financial growth we achieved in 2019. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Most people spend the majority of their waking life in a stress response mental state. Figuring out how to best get myself to relax and not be in high-stress/anxiety mode all the time works wonders in all aspects of my life. I personally like to use breathing techniques, reading and meditation in order to shift from beta brain waves to alpha waves (a more creative, problem-solving, and positive mental state). ANNE RAUP • ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS
40 (FEB. 10)
Vice President & Indigenous Operations Director First Alaskans Institute
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Organizational Management with Nonprofit Emphasis, Alaska Pacific University; master’s degree, Rural Development, University of Alaska Fairbanks (graduating May 2020) Family: I have four incredible children who help me to be a stronger aaka (mom) and arnaq (woman) every day: Kutuukhuq, Talialuk, Qanigluk & Inuaathluuraq. I’m proud to be an aunty, daughter, and sister – both biological and chosen – to many. Hometown: I grew up between Dgheyay Kaq’ (Anchorage) and Uŋalaqłiq (Unalakleet) Current city: Dgheyay Kaq’ (Anchorage) What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Besides home, I love our villages across Alaska. Our indigenous peoples are so loving, generous, brilliant, funny and fun to be around. It’s always tough to come back to the city! What is your most memorable Alaska experience? One early memory that comes to mind is sleeping for the first time in the cabin my grandpa built for my grandma near the Whalebacks up Unalakleet River; he built it on 10-foot stilts to keep the bears out. Just as I was drifting off to sleep, I was woken up by a bear breathing loudly and rifling around under the floorboards beneath me. I don’t remember sleeping much after that, lol. Name the person you most respect and why. Our matriarchs. They hold our families together and keep us strong. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Berry-picking on the tundra and fishing back home with my children. Favorite quote: “We are eternal beings having a temporary experience.” – Grandpa Stanton Talialuk Katchatag What was your first job? Concessions at the University Center Theater Michael Dinneen Photography
What are the books you most often recommend? “The Tao of Raven” by Ernestine Saankaláxt Hayes and “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? Does helping our white ally family become stronger advocates count? lol. Seriously though, the work of equity and justice is shared responsibility… I encourage everyone to grow fluency in the language of social justice so we can get further, faster in our shared desire for thriving communities. A good first step is reading my top two book recommendations. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Standing alongside passionate social justice leaders in the First Alaskans Institute Advancing Native Dialogues on Racial Equity project, evolving into our current work for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation with the guidance of our communities and healers. This difficult but critically necessary work is both healing and making Alaska a better place for all Alaskans. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Each of us were born with gifts that belong to our community in order to make it stronger. Finding meaningful ways to contribute our gifts in good ways to the betterment of our world brings balance. Our Māori brother Bentham Ohia calls this our calloused hands: doing good, hard work is truly the best self-care.
We are eternal beings having a temporary experience. — Grandpa Stanton Talialuk Katchatag 41
Financial Advisor Waddell & Reed, Inc.
Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, Economics Major, University of Alaska Anchorage Community work: Ranges from coaching to teaching to fundraising and everything in between. Given my profession, I lean towards financial education through programs like Junior Achievement, as well as some “custom” classes. It’s fun to lead discussions with high schoolers and millennials alike and impart what knowledge I have to my own generation and the next. Family: Married to Zak Melms and we became parents to Jasper Alex Melms in September! Our first son is dog Archie (he came well before the royal Archie and is named after a fellow redhead, Archie Andrews). Hometown/Current city: Beautiful Anchortown! What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? The Chugach Mountains! Exploring the mountains makes me feel alive and grateful for my own backyard. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Without a doubt, hiking the Chilkoot Trail! I am lucky enough to have hiked it twice now, once as a teen and again as an adult. You walk through so many different landscapes over the course of the trail and they are all beautiful. Being out in nature with friends and family is what makes Alaska such a special place. Name the person you most respect and why. One person?! That’s so hard. I have the utmost respect for both of my grandmas. One moved up to Alaska BY HERSELF in the early 40s (she was in her early 20s at the time) and created an amazing life here. She was and is incredibly brave. My other grandma found ways to thrive in a time when women’s roles in the family were extremely traditional. She loved poetry and would always read Shel Silverstein poems to my elementary classmates growing up. She brought light and love to all those she encountered. I aspire to be brave and love deeply like these amazing women. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Watching “The Bachelor.” I know I’m not the only one. I’ve been known to run the occasional marathon as well.
32 Favorite quote: “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” — John Lubbock What was your first job? I slung ice cream at Cold Stone! We had to sing for tip money, which is probably why very few are still in business… What is the book you most often recommend? “Quiet” by Susan Cain. It’s an eye-opening book about the difference between introverts and extroverts, how we all move through the world and navigate modern society. I am an extrovert that married an introvert and I have a much greater appreciation for all the introverts in my life since reading this book. What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? Seeing a kid smile or having an elderly person thank you means the world. I seek opportunities where I can have a positive impact on people directly. The idea of giving time, talent, treasure (depending on what you have) is basically my pitch. Why not try to make someone else’s life a little better? In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? It’s not any one thing, but rather the relationships I’ve formed over the years. I am continually fulfilled by connecting with others. If I can help them as well, that’s the cherry on top.
Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Don’t look at email once you leave the office. “Leaving work at work” is getting harder these days with technology and the expectation that we always be “connected.” I know I’m guilty of these things and I don’t want my son to grow up with his parents constantly on their phones. Put them down and talk OR use them to make an actual call to a friend! Michael Dinneen Photography
Program Director Brother Francis Shelter
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Psychology, University of New Hampshire Community work: Big Brother, Big Brothers Big Sisters Family: I live with my best friend, Brady a 2-year-old Alaska mutt. Hometown: Amesbury, Massachusetts Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? My canoe in the middle of a lake or river on a sunny day with good friends, decent fishing, and cold beer. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Walking my canoe many miles upriver to harvest my first caribou in the shadow of a glacier. Name the person you most respect and why: My staff at BFS. They work incredibly hard at an extremely difficult job with grace, compassion, and empathy every single day of the year. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Getting my boots dirty or my raft or canoe wet. Favorite quote: “It’s an awful risky thing to live.” — Carl Rogers What was your first job?: Paper route for the Salem Evening News What is the book you most often recommend? “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Alfred Lansing What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? Through my time as a Big Brother I got to build a relationship with a really cool kid and watch him grow and succeed. Everyone needs someone in their life they can turn to and I learned as much from him as I hope he learned from me.
David Rittenberg In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? I have found that providing day-to-day emergency services at Brother Francis to be immensely fulfilling. I get to lead and support an incredible staff, meet some of the most resilient and interesting people and help people when they need it most. I am challenged in new and different ways and continue to grow as a professional and a person every single day. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Pay attention to the things that make you happy and make sure to make time for those things, especially when you are unhappy. That’s when you need them the most.
Pay attention to the things that make you happy and make sure to make time for those things, especially when you are unhappy. That’s when you need them the most. Michael Dinneen Photography
Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, Texas Christian University; Certified Financial Planner Designation, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.; Chartered Financial Consultant Designation from The American College
Favorite quote: “I’d rather be lucky than good.”
Community work: Volunteer ski coach for the Alyeska Ski Club; Mighty Mite Program, dedicating time bi-weekly during the ski season for the past 4 years and passionate about helping Alaska’s youth enjoy one of our state’s favorite pastimes. During the summer months I volunteer coach Little League baseball for Dimond West Little League. I also help out with a Youth Investment Club. Meeting with youth clients every quarter to teach them to invest their own real money and learn about the stock market. I’ve been a member of the Anchorage East Rotary Club, on the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Commission, a member of the Alaska Airman’s Association and previously been on the board of the YMCA (5 years). Family: Blair Robinson, spouse; Brance Robinson (9), son; Adaire Robinson (7), Twyla Robinson (4), daughters; Ryder and Finn, dogs. Hometown/Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Chugach Mountains. I have had some terrific adventures back there, whether it be skiing, hiking or just day tripping with my family. It is beautiful terrain and right in Anchorage’s backyard.
What was your first job? I worked in the warehouse of my parent’s business, J&D Interiors, doing manual labor and mixing in the occasional nap. What is the book you most often recommend? Recently I’ve been recommending “The Opposite of Spoiled” by Ron Lieber to my friends as we all have children that are starting to have interest in money and finances. I find that Mr. Lieber gives some great examples of how to educate your kids on how to be good stewards of wealth. What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? I find the most rewarding experiences for me all involve working with our youth. I relate personally and also feel a sense of accomplishment when I see them succeed. I tell others you often have more fun and will learn more about yourself when you get involved, especially with kids because they often have no filter! In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Seeing the comfort in my clients’ eyes as they discover that we can help ease the burden of financial stress off their shoulders is really the greatest accomplishment.
What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Backcountry skiing, via my Cessna 180, in the Harding Ice Field with good friends is hard to top. Name the person you most respect and why? I respect my father, Judd Robinson. He started a family and career in this Last Frontier after driving a VW bus up the Alcan. He always provided for our family through hard times and great times. His perseverance had a lasting impact on my work ethic and attitude towards life.
Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? I always keep the motto “life first.” All too often our job can define us, my family will always come first and my career provides a means for us to live our life to the fullest.
What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Depends on the season really. In the winter I love to ski, whether it is at Alyeska with my children or backcountry skiing with friends. In the summer, I love to fly in my floatplane and try to see as much of our great state as possible. Michael Dinneen Photography
40 (MARCH 28)
Senior Vice President-Wealth Management UBS Financial Services, Inc.
CEO Anchorage Community Land Trust
Education: Bachelor’s degrees, Political Science, Magna Cum Laude, Modern and Classical Languages-German, University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis Community work: Mountain View Community Council Executive Board; Anchorage Public Library Community Advisory Board; Anchorage Downtown Partnership Executive Board Family: Kate Rose, wife; and Desmond (6 months), son; Muddy, chocolate lab (11) Hometown: Spencer, Iowa Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? I love exploring Wrangell St. Elias National Park. I get so much of the Alaska magic there. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Marrying my wife on a mountain top and the champagne toast surrounded by friends and family at the Top of Chair 2 in Arctic Valley Ski Area. Name the person you most respect and why. My mom, Kayann Rose. One of the coolest things about becoming a parent for me is realizing in even greater intensity how much your own parents loved, sacrificed and cared for you. As a single mom with three kids, she brought it every day, working her butt off with a fun-loving attitude and a dogged determinism to see that we had a great childhood. Truly my hero and inspiration. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Human powered adventures on bikes, skis and pack rafts. Plus, the calorie-dense food you need to fuel them. Favorite quote: “The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” — FDR What was your first job? Whatever my mom voluntold me
to do for my elderly neighbors. The pay was scant. Then, I took my knowledge of my hometown’s streets and alleys from my brother and I’s newspaper route to become a garbage man. This was back when you had to lift the cans yourself. It was early mornings, bad coffee and good exercise. Pay still scant. What is the book you most often recommend? “Evicted” by Matthew Desmond What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? Serving on the Mountain View Community Council. I think the only thing will get others involved in your cause is your own genuine commitment to listening and being accountable. If you exemplify that, you have good footing with your neighbors for a respect-built relationship that will actually get things done. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? In 2018, the ACLT team launched Set Up Shop, a program training, financing and assisting neighborhood entrepreneurs in starting the business of their dreams. These neighborhood heroes are transforming the local economy and their home communities. Our organization is all about neighborhood heroes. That’s why I’m wearing a cape in the photo — not some Superman complex! Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? I always say there’s no prize in life given for sitting at your desk the longest. I get in as early as I can so that I can try my darndest to leave at the same time every day. That way, I can talk a walk with my family, and we can all share a fun dinnertime meal together.
Michael Dinneen Photography
Jarom J. Schmidt
Chief Operating Officer Mat-Su Regional Medical Center
Education: Master’s degree in Health Services Administration, University of Kansas School of Medicine; Bachelor’s degree, Health Care Administration, Brigham Young University-Idaho Community work: Board of Directors member for the Grammy Award winning band Imagine Dragons’ The Tyler Robinson Foundation, or TRF. We strengthen families financially and emotionally as they cope with the tragedy of a pediatric cancer diagnosis by offsetting out-of-pocket life expenses. Fighting childhood cancer across the world and in Alaska is my personal mission to help strengthen impacted communities and families. We brought TRF to Alaska and have help support many warriors and their families while rallying the community to support this cause that impacts their kids, friends, and community. Family: Jamie, spouse; Carter, Kylee, Lexi (children). Hometown: Fairfield, Montana Current city: Palmer What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? The Matanuska Glacier. Having visited this glacier by every means of transportation, the vastness of this glacier is a sight to behold and is my family’s greatest outdoor adventure. Our goal is to visit as many family accessible glaciers in Alaska. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Being a part of a community that was impacted by the 7.1 magnitude earthquake back in November 2018 was the most frightening and yet fulfilling experience personally and professionally. To see a community come together and to be a part of a hospital that responded to the medical needs was a miracle of compassion and service. Mat-Su Regional Medical Center drilled this scenario in the months prior to the earthquake and this level of readiness help our community respond without hesitation. Name the person you most respect and why. My late-father, Barry Schmidt, for the love and compassion he had for his family, career, and community. 46
What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? As an alumni of the University of Kansas, Kansas Jayhawk Men’s basketball is my family’s hobby. You can find us in our jerseys every game day yelling “Rock Chalk Jayhawk!” Favorite quote: “Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.” — Unknown What was your first job? As a teenager I was a ranch and farm hand where I learned the meaning of hard work. What is the book you most often recommend? “College Success: Networking from College to Career.” As the author of this book, I’m passionate about helping students network to find college and career success. What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? As a board member of the Tyler Robinson Foundation, my heart is in helping pediatric cancer warriors and their families battle the unforeseen costs of childhood cancer. There is no greater cause then helping the children of this world and their families through the devastation of childhood cancer. Being able to assist these families alongside the band, Imagine Dragons, is a cause and support system that is backing families through difficult times that you and I will never realize until you fight this battle with you child. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Helping Mat-Su Regional Medical Center grow from a 74-bed hospital to a 125-bed hospital by adding 35 additional medical surgical beds and a 16-bed behavioral health inpatient unit. Seeing our community rally behind the hospital to provide behavioral health services was emotional and rewarding because this diagnosis has a devastating impact to many and until now, we did not have sufficient resources in that Mat-Su Valley to care for those impacted. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? During your working hours, give your employer your all so that when you go home to your family at night or on the weekends, you can give them your all. If you fail to give one of the two your all, both are recipients of feeling the stresses of not meeting your professional and personal obligations. Michael Dinneen Photography
Executive Director Associated General Contractors of Alaska
Education: Degrees in Public Relations and Communication from University of Idaho; MBA from University of Alaska Anchorage Community work: Volunteer: Kenai River Women’s Classic; Board Member: Resource Development Council; Denali Commissioner; Member: 100 Women Who Care, Anchorage; Volunteer: Alaska Resource Education; Member: Renewable Energy Fund Advisory Committee; Former Board VP: Friends of the Campbell Creek Science Center; Big Brothers Big Sisters Family: Daniel Siira, husband; Jari and Ruby, yellow labs Hometown/Current city: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Our family cabin on Horseshoe Lake. I have such fond memories of being out on the water and tearing up the dirt roads growing up. Some of my favorite nights by the campfire have turned into mornings after solving all the world’s problems. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? I am fortunate to have so many incredible experiences in this state. Taking my husband out to our family hunting camp for the first time, travelling to Chicken with the governor and congressional delegation, fly fishing in western Alaska, field dressing moose under the northern lights, landing on Knik Glacier in a helicopter, sunbathing in Halibut Cove, snowmachining to our cabin in Petersville, and honeymooning in a travel trailer on Montana Creek are some of my favorite memories. Name the person you most respect and why: My Godmother, Kristin Mellinger. Her journey is amazing and she’s incredibly humble about her achievements and influence. Kristin has always been my “go-to” person for advice both personally and professionally. She has a unique way of interacting and communicating that empowers and uplifts everyone around her.
What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I love spending time outdoors with my husband, Daniel. We golf, camp, and fly fish every chance we get. I also love to cook and share meals with family and friends. Favorite quote: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” — Hebrews 12:11 What was your first job? My first job was a receptionist at Jack White Real Estate when I was 14. I went to school, followed by swim team practice, then to work from 5-8 p.m. every weekday all the way through high school. I was a relatively good kid because I had zero time to get in trouble. My parents instilled a strong sense of responsibility and work ethic in me from a young age. Everyone in my family was expected to pull their own weight. What is the book you most often recommend? “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel James Brown. What has been your most rewarding community service, and what is your pitch when you are seeking others to get involved in a cause? Each year at Christmas for as long as I can remember, my family “adopts” another family who is down on their luck. We buy them groceries, gifts and Christmas dinner, and try to remain anonymous. This is usually someone outside of the system who is just going through a rough patch, like many of us have. You don’t have to join a board or log hundreds of hours of community service to make a difference. In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? Early in my role at AGC, I realized that there wasn’t a ton of data on the construction industry in Alaska. I worked with the Construction Industry Progress Fund to commission an economic impact report this year, and the results exceeded our expectations. Construction is a huge economic driver in our state, and I’m so proud to advocate on behalf of the businesses and families who depend on the jobs and safe infrastructure we provide. Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Don’t apologize for taking R&R and shutting your phone off when you need to. Know who has your back at the end of the day and don’t compromise those relationships for another hour at the office. Michael Dinneen Photography
John Howard Thies
Owner/President • Worry Free Alaska LLC and Worry Free Restoration LLC Co-Owner • Golden Heart Waste Management Realtor • Next Home Arctic Sun
Education: Lathrop High School, Suma Cum Laude 4.0 GPA, 2006; bachelor’s of business administration, University Of Alaska Fairbanks
borhood before I could drive. First real job was working construction at 16, and while I was a junior in college at 19 helped start Worry Free Alaska.
Community work: School Board Seat E; Volunteer/ Participate in Chamber of Commerce Rubber Ducky Race, Golden Days Parade, Morris Thompson Golf Tournament, Top of the World Basketball Tournament, Pioneer Home Events
In your professional life, what has been a project or achievement you have found to be the most fulfilling? The best achievement I can say I have accomplished so far is building Worry Free Alaska from a small, two-person company to a larger company with upwards of 20-plus employees now. We have grown into a company that the community of Fairbanks can trust to help them out with a variety of their needs. It would not have happened without the endless support from my parents as well as the support and help with running the company from my incredible girlfriend. But without the support and trust from other companies in Fairbanks over the years, Worry Free Alaska would not have been able to grow into the company it is today.
Family: Melissa Richardson, girlfriend; Andrea and Howard Thies, parents; Marley and Scooter, dogs Hometown/Current city: Fairbanks What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Harding Lake. I Grew up out there in the summers, playing in the water and being with friends. Name the person you most respect and why. My Dad. Howard “Howie” Thies. My dad is an amazing person and has accomplished so many remarkable things. He has either started or helped organized countless events in our community over the years. One of the larger events that he has started and organized is The Arctic Man, which this year will be the 35th anniversary. He has dedicated his life to not just helping me do everything I have but also making the Fairbanks and Alaskan Community a better place to live All of that while being a great boss to all of the employees that has worked with him or for him during his career as well as a great father, and most importantly a great husband to my wonderful mom Andrea Thies. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Basketball. Even though I am slowing down, I still enjoy every moment I am on the basketball court. It started as a sport that I had an advantage at when I was younger due to my height. It has turned into an activity that I can go do with friends and forget about work and all the stress that comes with it. Favorite quote: I used this quote in my high school senior yearbook and still love it today. “I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.” What was your first job? Lawn mowing around the neigh48
Based on your own experiences, what advice would you give on maintaining a good work-life balance? Looking back at the past 10 years of my life and how much I have worked; I am not sure if I am the best to give advice for maintaining a work-life balance. I have lived my life with this motto always in mind, “Go hard or go home,” but I have learned recently that life is too short and at the end of the day working your life away won’t get you anywhere. I have recently been trying to spend more time relaxing and enjoying the moments. Whether they are going on vacations, playing basketball as much as I can, taking road trips, spending time on the water at the lake, or just laying around the house on the weekend relaxing. You can never spend too much time enjoying life.
I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not. TODD PARIS PHOTOGRAPHICS
ALASKA OPERATIONS MANAGER NORTHERN ENERGY SERVICES
EDUCATION: West Anchorage High School; bachelor’s degree, Civil Engineering, University of Nevada Reno COMMUNITY WORK: Alaska Support Industry Alliance Board Member; Petroleum Club of Alaska, long time Board Member and current Vice President; Condo Association Board Member; Supporter of United Way; American Lung Association Supporter through the Clean Air Challenge FAMILY: Libby Barnaby, wife; Matthew and Lindsey Wieman (4) twin children; Orso, Chesapeake Bay Retriever HOMETOWN/CURRENT CITY: Born and raised in Anchorage, spending many summer weekends in Cooper Landing WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE IN ALASKA AND WHY? Redoubt Bay/Kustatan Area, west side of Cook Inlet. This is a beautiful area of our state. Great mountains, good hunting and good fishing. WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE ALASKA EXPERIENCE? Sea kayaking in Blackstone Bay and having a pod of orcas come up all around our group. While it was exciting at the time, in hindsight the outcome could have been bad had the orcas been aggressive. NAME THE PERSON YOU MOST RESPECT AND WHY. Aside from my parents who also raised twins (which I now have another level of respect for), I most respect our armed service men and women who are deployed and prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect our country’s freedom. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PASTIME OR HOBBY AWAY FROM WORK? I enjoy flying. As a child I was always interested in flying; I built model airplanes, flew RC airplanes and simulators. I loved flying with my dad in his Cessna and with family friends who also had airplanes. In 2012 I purchased a Cessna float plane with a good friend of mine and started to fly myself. I love flying for the sake of flying, but also enjoy staying proficient and continuing to learn. I enjoy giving people the experience of flying for the first time in a small plane or giving friends who like Michael Dinneen PhotograPhy
to fly the opportunity to do it more often. It is also a great way to access remote parts of our state for sightseeing, fishing, hunting, hiking or just enjoying our beautiful outdoors. FAVORITE QUOTE: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB? My first job was mowing lawns for family friends and neighbors. My first professional job was inspecting roads for the Alaska Department of Transportation. I was assigned to a road repair project on Lake Otis between O’Malley and Abbot WHAT IS THE BOOK YOU MOST OFTEN RECOMMEND? I have trouble narrowing this down to just one. I tend to recommend the following: “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand, “Winds of War/War and Remembrance” by Herman Wouk, or “Tai-Pan” by James Clavell IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE, WHAT HAS BEEN A PROJECT OR ACHIEVEMENT YOU HAVE FOUND TO BE THE MOST FULFILLING? Working with companies to help plan and execute exploration or development projects has been very rewarding. One specific project that comes to mind was the North Slope Borough Gas Drilling Project. I helped plan the equipment needed for the project, logistics of getting it Barrow, building and maintaining ice roads, moving rigs and supporting drilling operations along with providing cost estimates for multiple scopes. Executing the project as planned for the NSB was very satisfying given the level of input we had with the project. BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE ON MAINTAINING A GOOD WORK-LIFE BALANCE? Maintaining a good work-life balance can be difficult but is critical for long term happiness. It is important to remember that while we may enjoy our work, the reason we work is to provide for our families. When we are not at work ensure that family time is quality time and we are not just present but active in what the family is doing. 49
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struggle to survive rapid growth. While I do not consider my work complete, the most fulfilling project of my professional career would simply be the last ten years at Midnight Sun. I worked hard to encourage the founders to provide health insurance, increase pay and improve benefits while working hard to create revenues that would allow such changes. I wanted to help Midnight Sun move beyond the start-up phase and become a long term, sustainable business that could flourish for decades to come. I wanted to help create a work environment where the employees were proud to be a part of our team and passionate about their craft. Again, while I do not consider my work complete, the transformation our brewery is impressive to see from the long view and I have been extraordinarily lucky to have some amazing teammates to share the journey with. I feel extremely fortunate that I could combine my passion for improving the lives of working people, craft beer, and a fun work environment into what most people describe as their “daily grind”. Few days are boring, most days are challenging, and every day is about beer. BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD
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endured along the way to becoming a successful writer, which is my dream too. The book is also very funny and entertaining. This is a great book for aspiring writers, but I believe anyone with a dream or a goal would be inspired and motivated by his story. Bottom line: never give up on living the life of your dreams. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST REWARDING COMMUNITY SERVICE, AND WHAT IS YOUR PITCH WHEN YOU ARE SEEKING OTHERS TO GET INVOLVED IN A CAUSE? My most rewarding community service by far has been speaking to young people across the state and doing poetry and journaling workshops with kids who are struggling with personal issues. I worked with young people at the Fairbanks Youth Facility for a year doing poetry and journaling exercises. They each had a unique story and their poetry was raw, honest, and incredibly powerful. I love sharing my story with young people to inspire and motivate them to set goals, work hard, and overcome life’s challenges. My pitch is the more positivity, time, and energy you give to others, the more that comes back to you. We need more than financial abundance in order to feel “successful.” We need purpose and fulfillment on a deeper level and there are so many wonderful causes out there that might need your specific skillset or contribution. IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE, WHAT HAS BEEN A PROJECT OR ACHIEVEMENT YOU HAVE FOUND TO BE THE MOST FULFILLING? My most fulfilling project thus far in my career has been spearheading and creating the Subsistence Advisory Council for Graphite One, Inc in the Bering Straits region. Our last meeting was incredible and very impactful for the whole group. The project team is relying on the community representatives to provide guidance and advice on protection of subsistence resources and way of life. Most importantly, the participants and project leadership are forming lifelong friendships and bonds. BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE ON MAINTAINING A GOOD WORK-LIFE BALANCE? This is a constant challenge for me. I have learned that you cannot successfully juggle the demands of parenthood, community service, and professional responsibilities without first taking 50
YOU GIVE ON MAINTAINING A GOOD WORK-LIFE BALANCE? Training, boundaries and trust. I really enjoy disappearing into the wild lands of Alaska, the Yukon, and Northern British Columbia for as many weeks as possible. When your passion is being absent a phone and internet, you must have trust in your team. Solid training based on mentorship and clear goals is critical to running a reliable and consistent operation. Trusting your employees to follow their training and further teaching them how to work through problems is also equally important. When employees feel trusted and reliable, they will most often make prudent decision when dealing with challenges. Which leaves me with boundaries. Boundaries are critical for establishing a healthy relationship and trust with the staff. Identify what issues are mission critical and require immediate communication and which issues the staff or shift managers are expected to deal with on their own. I have cut off times that no one can contact me unless there is a serious, life threatening emergency. I know a lot of people like to take “vacation”, but a real vacation for me is being allowed to completely disconnect. I can travel to whatever tropical paradise I wish, but if the phone keeps ringing and I’m checking the email machine, I’m not on vacation. With great help from my wife, I disconnect, trust the staff, and tell them they are on their own and hand them a detailed letter of what to expect before I head out the door.
care of yourself. I do so much better when I make time to exercise, eat healthier, drink enough water, do regular saunas, journal regularly, and get enough sleep. If you keep yourself healthy and happy by investing in yourself you will be able to juggle everything more gracefully and easily. Taking care of yourself means doing more than just meeting basic needs, it also means looking and feeling your best, which gives you more energy and confidence in everything you do.
Congratulations to Martha Monnin from your friends at Arctic Slope Native Association. Thank you for everything you do to help families be healthy and strong on the North Slope
ONWARD AND UPWARD Kara Blake joined First National as a teller more than 15 years ago. With a ﬁrm vision in mind, she took advantage of every opportunity that came her way. Today, Kara plays a key role in the bank’s Wealth Management Department. KARA BLAKE BUSINESS SUPPORT MANAGER WEALTH MANAGEMENT OPERATIONS
First National Bank Alaska is proud to have her on our team. Congratulations to Kara and the Top Forty Under 40 class of 2020.
Annual Awards Publication of the Anchorage Journal of Commerce and the Anchorage Daily News