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Congratulations to all the Achievement in Business Tourism & Transportation Honorees! AIB, presented by Northrim Bank and Anchorage Daily News, is all about recognizing the awesome people who live in our community — it’s our way of giving the many outstanding citizens in Alaska a welldeserved and much-needed pat on the back. AIB takes place four times a year, with a different industry of focus every quarter. ADN reaches out to the community to nominate their family, friends, co-workers, employees and upstanding citizens, and winners are chosen by the event committee. Keep and eye out for next quarter’s industry and nomination period, as well as event news once our community is able to gather again.


Cyrus Aldeman Anchorage Trolley Cyrus Aldeman was born into tourism. He and his father Caleb founded Anchorage Trolley, and Cyrus learned at an early age what work ethic meant. Cyrus has been working for Anchorage Trolley for the past 15 years and has followed in his father’s footsteps, taking over the company. His love for Anchorage’s history and passion to be the best city tour in Anchorage has made his family proud. Cyrus cares deeply that every customer has a stellar experience, and he does everything he can to achieve that. Said of Cyrus Aldeman: “Cyrus is amazing to work with because he leaves you feeling inspired, appreciated and energized. He loves working in tourism and it shows. He’s an excellent representative for Anchorage.”

Joshua Biringer ESS Support Services for the Alaska Railroad Joshua Biringer put in an impressive amount of thought, research and personal effort put into best protecting his staff and railroad passengers in preparation of launching the Alaska Railroad season during COVID-19. He showed how he both takes great responsibility and expresses great empathy for those he supports in his team and the tourists and locals who ride the Railroad. Said of Joshua Biringer, “Josh has always invested greatly and put a high value on continuous personal and professional growth.”

Jared Cummings Golden Eagle Outfitters Jared Cummings is a third generation Alaskan and a second generation bush pilot. Since taking over Golden Eagle Outfitters from his father, Jared has expanded the business to the Northwest Arctic and has become a premier resource for wildlife managers, professionals scientists, solitude-seeking hunters, fisherman and adventure-seekers of all stripes on the Last Frontier. Jared has worked extremely hard to build his business into what it is today. His hopes are to continue doing what he loves for as long as he is able. Said of Jared Cummings, “Jared is perpetually enthusiastic to help and always goes the extra mile to help facilitate whatever endeavor he is helping support.”

Anchorage Daily News | Sunday, September 27, 2020

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Colin Daugherty Sundog Charters LLC A 25-year mariner with a 200-ton captains license, Colin Daugherty co-founded Sundog Charters to bring needed supplies and support to those living and working in remote Alaska. Colin strives to ensure the success of his employees through training and coaching. He gives them the tools to do their jobs safely and effectively. As a team, the company strives to ensure the success of customers.

Said of Colin Daugherty, ”Colin has overcome numerous challenges to continue marine freight services to remote locations as the last leg of logistics for numerous customers with no other option.”

Sam Dinges Palmer Museum of History and Art Sam Dinges is the Executive Director at the Palmer Museum of History and Art, serving in that role since February 2018. As director of the Palmer Museum, he has overseen the launch of the Palmer Visitor Guide, the development of Palmer’s Historic District Tour Program and the launch of the Matanuska Susitna Valley Historical Photo Project — a web database with more than 400 images depicting the history and times of the Mat-Su Valley area. Said by Sam Dinges, “(I am) honored to be nominated for this award, and thankful to work with such wonderful folks in the travel industry.”

Jimmie Jack Drath Jimmie Jack Fishing Inc. Jimmie Jack Drath is the founder of Jimmie Jack Fishing Inc. He started with a single guide boat on the Kenai River, and a dream to see people smile. He now owns and manages Jimmie Jack’s “Original” Alaska Fishing Lodge and Jimmie Jack’s Alaska SeaScape Lodge, both on the bluffs of Cook Inlet in Kenai. Currently, he operates these two lodges, and 15 boats on the Kenai Peninsula. Jimmie Jack’s Alaska Fishing Lodge has received seven TripAdvisor “Certificate of Excellence” Awards in a row, with the latest being called the “Traveler’s Choice Award,” and this has given the business the honor of being in the “TripAdvisor Hall of Fame.” Said of Jimmie Jack Drath, “(He is) just a fantastic human being.”

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Jason Ellis Mo’s Deli Born in Anchorage the day after the 1964 earthquake, Jason Ellis wanted to open a deli since he was a kid, when his family went back to New York to meet relatives and was introduced to “Deli” Mo — his grandfather, Morris. As a tribute, Jason opened Mo’s Deli in May 2018 with his wife Betty Sheldon. The great food and atmosphere of the delicatessens his family visited in New York have stuck with him, as he now provides an authentic deli style restaurant with high quality deli products and service to his community in Anchorage. Said of Jason Ellis: “He works hard to make out of state customers feel welcome to Alaska and give them a taste of home. He will take time to talk with them one-on-one and answer any questions they may have about Alaska.”

Mandy Garcia Salmon Berry Travel & Tours Mandy Garcia started working at Salmon Berry Travel & Tours as a tour guide, taking guests on day trips from Anchorage providing Alaska history, highlighting areas of interest and sharing life in Alaska. She soon advanced into a leadership role developing new tours which eventually led to becoming the co-owner of Salmon Berry Travel & Tours. Since that time, SBT has experienced significant growth employing a team of year-round Alaskans in one of Alaska’s sustainable pillar industries. Mandy and the team have been creative with their use of resources this past summer organizing partnerships with Food Bank of Alaska, Alaska Mill & Feed and the State of Alaska. Said of Mandy Garcia: “Mandy has been a leader in promoting the best of Alaska to tourists building Salmon Berry tours. Mandy is a solution seeker ... she is community-minded and driven.”

Scott Habberstad Alaska Airlines Scott Habberstad is a lifelong Alaskan. In 2001, Scott went to work for Alaska Airlines as an account executive in Anchorage and was later elevated to Manager of Regional Sales, Alaska; today, he is the Director of Sales and Community Marketing, Alaska. He donates his time to many nonprofit organizations working to achieve safe and healthy places for Alaskans to live, work and play. Said of Scott Habberstad, “Scott Habberstad is a man committed to Alaska and making Alaska a better place for his family.”

Anchorage Daily News | Sunday, September 27, 2020

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Kirsten Hershlieb Alyeska Resort As the Controller at Alyeska Resort, Kirsten Hershlieb was instrumental in the successful, yet complex, transaction process of selling the Resort to a new parent company in December 2018. Additionally there was a subsequent operating transition in May 2019 as a result of the sale that Kirsten played a key role in finalizing. Her operating environment and systems changed literally overnight, and she was able to adapt and improve upon those systems to make them fit Alyeska and provide the insight necessary for the transition to be successful. Said of Kirsten Hershlieb: “Kirsten is a rising star in the tourism and accounting sectors in Alaska. As a CPA, Kirsten lends valuable knowledge to the organization and helps keep Alyeska Resort running smoothly. She puts in countless hours and gives a lot of herself in service to both the resort, the community and the industry as a whole.”

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Holly Hobson Girdwood Center for the Visual Arts Holly Hobson is the Gallery Director for the Girdwood Center for Visual Arts (GCVA), an institution that requires a delicate balance of running a financially successful nonprofit organization while promoting a passion for the arts. She brings a great sense of humor and tremendous organizational skills to her role, keeping the gallery operating smoothly with 25-plus artists involved. Holly is fiercely committed to ensuring the GCVA thrives, and feels lucky to work for an organization that enriches community and supports local arts and artists. Said of Holly Hobson, “She is willing to drop by and help new co-op members that are required to work one day a month, even though this is a part-time job for her.”

Brent Huntington Alaskan Splendor Limousines Brent Huntington knows that life is to be enjoyed: he doesn’t let fear hold him back, and helps others through positive influence. With the upheaval of the economy due to COVID-19, he has taken on running his beloved limousine company and working a separate full-time job to maintain his business and support his family. The way he treats clients, friends and family should be celebrated, as he is always making wins happen for others. Said of Brent Huntington: “(He) has consistently provided service for locals and visitors with a positive attitude, regardless of what is going on in his life. He always has a smile and a joke or funny story for clients, even on the worst days.”

Sally Huntley Alaska Travel Source Sally Huntley has been the co-owner of Alaska Travel Source for more than 30 years, and has served the community on many different levels. She is a rock and a pillar in the tourism and travel industry and beyond. Sally is the person called upon for advice and leadership in the travel industry, but her scope extends far beyond as she has helped countless Alaska families and businesses. Said of Sally Huntley: “She is always the calm in the storm. She can put anyone at ease in the most desperate of situations, and is a true leader.”

Anchorage Daily News | Sunday, September 27, 2020

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James “Jim” Kubitz Alaska Railroad James “Jim” Kubitz has been working with the Downtown Partnership and the Alaska Railroad for many years to help develop Ship Creek and corresponding downtown industrial corridors into an urban extension. His vision has helped to jump-start the transformation of Ship Creek into an intersection of tourism and local business activity through numerous projects. Jim has long believed in the benefit of locals exploring and rediscovering parts of our city and state they may not have experienced before. Said of James “Jim” Kubitz, “His visions and hopes for downtown Anchorage are steeped in firsthand experiences of Alaskans building and enjoying a community to be proud of that would draw visitors from around the world.”

Kristen Labrecque Saltwater Excursions Captain Kristen Labrecque holds a master’s license with the United States Coast Guard and has more than 41 years of vessel experience. Her experience ranges from small 6-pack vessels to large ocean-class vessels within the Alaska Marine Highway System. Kristen is also a licensed Airline Transport Pilot and a licensed Flight Instructor in both helicopters and airplanes. In 2010, she decided to start her current business, Saltwater Excursions, a fishing charter business located in Whittier, running charters from April to September. In the winter, she still works as a professional pilot. Said of Kristen Labrecque: “She provides a truly Alaskan fishing experience. On my next trip to Alaska I booked again with her. She doesn’t disappoint!”

Casey Long Airventures Alaska Casey Long is living his dream of being a pilot and followed his passion for bush flying. He makes a difference in visitor’s lives through Airventures Alaska. In 32 years since, Casey has logged over 8,000 hours of flying time. His passion for Alaska, bush flying and fishing lured him to the Great Land where he continues to share this with his clients. Said of Casey Long, “He’s the full meaning of someone who has the entrepreneur spirit by starting his own company outside of construction.”

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Dov Margalit Northern Air Cargo Dov Margalit was learning to fly the 767 for Northern Air Cargo in Florida when the COVID-19 pandemic started, keeping him away from home longer than expected. He soon completed his training and became a first officer, returning to Alaska, and has volunteered to help his company with improving internal systems to benefit pilots. Dov also started the Alaska Mountain Soaring Association, working collaboratively to form a nonprofit, to help others in Alaska learn to fly gliders out of the Wasilla Airport. Said of Dov Margalit, “He is a hard worker and will go to great lengths to be a productive worker, employee and continue to provide for his family, all during this pandemic where we are thankful that he has work in the cargo industry right now.”

Albert Marquez Planet Earth Adventures Albert Marquez believes that each of his clients is important and has personal needs, and that he should accommodate these needs as much as humanly possible throughout the tour. Albert’s intelligence, sense of humor and love of Alaska combine to make him a friend to all who meet him. He encourages Alaska tourists to challenge themselves and become lifelong lovers of the beautiful state. Said of Albert Marquez, “Albert is an outstanding tour guide who has extensive knowledge about Alaska and who is genuinely interested in making his clients want to come back to Alaska again!”

David McCarthy 49th State Brewing David McCarthy is the CEO of Northern Hospitality Group (NHG), parent company of the 49th State Brewing Co. and a group of restaurants, venues and hotels in Alaska. His deep understanding of brewery, restaurant and hospitality operations is leading NHG towards its vision of sharing Alaska hospitality worldwide. During COVID-19, David conceived and implemented the Alaskans for Alaskans Program which provided over 17,000, to-go meals in roughly six weeks for $5 or less to those who were unemployed and those working in health care and emergency services. Said of David McCarthy, “David McCarthy is completely laserfocused on the Alaska hospitality industry and through it, the community as a whole.”

Anchorage Daily News | Sunday, September 27, 2020

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Mike McCartney The Odom Corporation Mike McCartney has been with The Odom Corporation for 20 years, and has been involved in all of Odom’s milestone developments and expansions, spanning across four states, various facilities and cohesively utilizing an array of transportation mechanisms. His promotion to Alaska’s Director of Warehouse Ops encompasses all mechanisms of transportation and logistics within the organization. Mike’s expertise oversees all warehouse, delivery and transportation within Alaska, encompassing a total of 142 team members across all warehouse and transportation roles within seven locations throughout the state. Said of Mike McCartney: “His leadership amongst our organization has profoundly affected his mentoring roles and his collaboration within the company. Without Mike’s impeccable sense of direction and precision, our team would not bet where it is today.”

Scott McMurren Alaska Travelgram Scott McMurren, a 42-year resident of Anchorage, is a full time “Alaska Travel Evangelist,” extolling the virtues of travel inside, outside and all around Alaska. Scott’s longtime travel boosting history speaks for itself; He is the go-to guru Alaska media seeks on all topics travel related. He is committed to helping travelers see more of the world and has spent decades sharing presentations, events, travel advice, newsletters and extraordinary good humor while attracting visitors to and promoting travel within Alaska. Although many of those efforts now are on “pause” during COVID-19, Scott has been spending time on virtual calls with travelers from around the state to continue sharing his travel knowledge. Said of Scott McMurren: “Scott lives and breathes Alaska travel. It is a heart and soul crusade he never stops campaigning for.”

Marty Metiva Extreme Fun Centers & Coming Attractions Theatres Marty Metiva has demonstrated dedication and commitment to keeping the doors open and staff employed at Extreme Fun Centers & Coming Attractions Theatres during COVID-19. His positive demeanor has kept not only staff but the public at ease as the industry has closed, opened and navigated the most challenging times. Marty’s style of communication and care has assured confidence with our guests providing a consistent, quality experience. Said of Marty Metiva: “His personal philosophy is to help people reach their full potential professionally and personally. Marty is loyal to family, friends, staff, customers and his faith.”

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Henry Munter Chugach Powder Guides Henry Munter has been a leader in the field of helicopter skiing and avalanche forecasting for well over a decade. He rapidly rose through the ranks of a competitive guide community to establish himself, first as lead guide and avalanche forecaster, and then on to become General Manager of Chugach Powder Guides in 2015. As manager, Henry has dramatically transitioned the business plan of the company to one that is profitable, sustainable and addresses guest, staff and community needs in a way that few tourism operators have been able to do. Said of Henry Munter: “Henry is well-known and highly respected throughout the international guiding and snow science community, but maintains humility and humor during day-to-day operations. He is truly an industry leader in his field.”

Becky Ourso ACE USA Becky Ourso recently took over as head of ACE USA, and has been met with numerous challenges facing COVID-19s impact on the travel industry. She has a positive and encouraging style of leadership, and is keeping the company functioning until better times come. Becky is a take-charge leader who has risen up through the company because she took it upon herself to learn all aspects of the company. Said of Becky Ourso, “Becky is always striving to better our product line to serve our many clients who provide products for our many tourists.”

Dan and Josie Owen Alaska Air Transit Dan and Josie Owen have been operating a commercial aviation company in Alaska since 2012. They started Alaska Air Transit (AAT) with a single run between Anchorage and McGrath and have grown the business to a fleet of five aircraft performing both scheduled and charter air service across all of Alaska. For the past three years, AAT has been a major sponsor for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, moving passengers and cargo along the race route in support of the iconic event. Dan and Josie have a dedicated staff of air and ground support personnel, and their operation supports the incubation of the next generation of Alaskan air industry professionals. Said of Dan and Josie Owen, “AAT’s customers are also their friends — spend an hour in the lobby and you will see the long term relationships that have formed between the Owens, their staff and the folks who rely on their service to get to some of the most remote places in Alaska.”

Anchorage Daily News | Sunday, September 27, 2020

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Jaimie Palmer Captain’s Lady Boutique & Gifts and Allen Marine Tours Jaimie Palmer is both the owner of The Captain’s Lady Boutique & Gifts, and the Division Manager for Allen Marine Tours Ketchikan division. She is the epitome of the spirit of community and everyone succeeding together. Jaimie’s goals are selfevident as she works daily to bring back the downtown steering committee to help organize events that will draw more locals downtown. Said of Jaimie Palmer, “Jaimie is a smart business woman who thrives on developing and promoting new tours and businesses in the greater Ketchikan area.”

Enterprise Rent-A-Car Enterprise Rent-A-Car as a whole have been fantastic partners of United Way of Anchorage, and thus the community. They strive to increase their workplace campaign every year — a campaign that brings in thousands of dollars for important and crucial nonprofits in our community. This culture of giving starts from their leadership, and something that each employee feels is important to their own personal philosophy, goals and influences. Said of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, “At each presentation that I give as the representative of UWA for Enterprise, multiple employees stand up and speak to their own experiences of how they once used a program that United Way of Anchorage supports through that campaign: they are all success stories.”

Max Schillinger All Points North Engineering and Surveying, Hatcher Alpine Xperience and Skeetawk Ski Area Max Schillinger is a licensed professional engineer and land surveyor in the states of Alaska and California. He founded All Points North (APN) Engineering and Surveying in 2008, with the goal of providing a wide variety of professional services based from a small and accessible company. True to that goal, APN provides full service surveying and civil engineering throughout Alaska, including land development, boundary surveying, environmental permitting and drone surveying. In 2016, he became a founding board member and lead engineer for the Skeetawk project, a new ski area at Hatcher Pass. Said of Max Schillinger, “Max should be considered for this achievement award based on his volunteerism and commitment to our project by using his professional experience to benefit the community, local recreation, tourism and mountain transportation systems.”

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Jeff Shoemake ESCAPE! Alaska Since 2015, Jeff Shoemake has worked with his father to design the set, gameplay and story of many different escape room experiences. In the past year, he has guided thousands of adventurers to the entrance of The Tomb, ESCAPE! Alaska’s premiere escape room, set in an ancient Egyptian burial chamber. Jeff understands the guest experience, and is a next-level pro in seeing events through the eyes of visitors and then crafting a memorable experience for them. Said of Jeff Shoemake: “Jeff was an artist before becoming a full time professional game and entertainment attraction designer. His attention to detail and understanding of what makes an experience immersive is invaluable in this industry.”

Judith Smith City of Seward Said of Judith Smith, “(She should be nominated) because she gives the best customer service and helped our whole group get (a) reservation for our event.”

Deziree Valdez D&G Charters Deziree Valdez’s passion, commitment and drive to provide opportunities to families is inspiring. This year has had some hits and Dez has jumped hurdles to follow mandates and guidelines and provide Alaskans with experiences. D&G Charters is a family-owned business: from the Captain to the office team, they have built the entire Lambert family into every Alaska summer adventure. Dez and her team take pride in bringing locals together for an unforgettable fishing trip. Said of Deziree Valdez, “Dez and her partner Garrett work together as the dream team, they love fishing, rugby and to get outside and explore.”

Anchorage Daily News | Sunday, September 27, 2020

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Mark Weissler The Anchorage Boat Show In 2014, Mark Weissler revitalized The Anchorage Boat Show, turning it into one of Anchorage’s largest events that promotes marine transportation and resident fishing. He almost single-handedly brought on the event’s return, and pursued his vision of how to produce and promote to the public an essential marine service important to the coastal community. With Alaska boaters occupying the waters, and our road system via trailer, the Anchorage Boat Show is a community festival that works to make living coastal with boats and cars on the roads go smoothly. Said of Mark Weissler, “Mark’s commitment to his community in real, tangible ways, like his current marine transportation fair, The Anchorage Boat Show, makes a positive difference in our lives.”

John White Nenana Raft Adventures, Chugach Outdoor Center, Cabins at Denali and Denali Dirtworks John White owns and operates Nenana Raft Adventures; is partner in Chugach Outdoor Center with Jay Doyle; owns and operates Cabins at Denali; and owns and operates Denali Dirtworks. Needless to say, he is constantly working. Through the course of his 25-plus years in the rafting business, John has spearheaded safety improvements in the industry, taught hundreds of students in Swiftwater Rescue classes, bought on requirements for employees to be EMT or Wilderness First Responder certified and provided thousands of comp raft trips to nonprofits. On top of his continuous efforts, his deep background in geology makes rafting with him not only safe, but informative and enjoyable. Said of John White: “John is one of the most energetic people I’ve ever known. John has a knack for seeing the potential in every person and works hard to help them achieve their goals.”

Lyle Wilde Lake and Peninsula Airlines Lyle Wilder flew Alaska Iditarod Tour guests for Iditarod 2020, making the experience of flying to McGrath and other remote villages such an amazing experience. Lyle’s philosophy is to place the safety of their passengers first, while providing an amazing aviation experience. They run a good solid company that treats guests well and encourages guests to truly enjoy flying in Alaska. Said of Lyle Wilder, “Lyle represents Alaska so well!”

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we will always bank on alaskans. We’re proud to recognize outstanding achievement in business. At Northrim, we never lose focus on serving the needs of Alaska and our neighbors who live here. We look beyond the numbers and seize opportunities to support our state, whether that be through employing Alaskans or delivering customized solutions to help finance the businesses that power the Last Frontier. We are forever proud to be Alaskan.

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Profile for Anchorage Daily News

2020 SEPTEMBER ACHIEVEMENT IN BUSINESS, TOURISM AND TRANSPORTATION  

Special section publication of the Anchorage Daily News in partnership with Northrim Bank.

2020 SEPTEMBER ACHIEVEMENT IN BUSINESS, TOURISM AND TRANSPORTATION  

Special section publication of the Anchorage Daily News in partnership with Northrim Bank.

Profile for 61degrees
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