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People, Performance, and Commitment—for Alaska

Congratulations to CH2M HILL’s Sara Gould, Construction Project Resources Manager, for being recognized as one of Alaska’s 2014 Top Forty Under 40. Her dedication to Alaska’s workforce development through her innovative Employment and Training Networking Event, the Hero to Hire and the Homeless Veteran Program, leadership of the CH2M HILL apprenticeship programs and Women’s Network mirrors CH2M HILL’s people-centric culture. Because of outstanding people like Sara, CH2M HILL can help Alaska meet its energy, transportation, water and environmental needs. Anchorage Office 949 E. 36th Avenue Anchorage, AK 99508

© 2014 CH2M HILL denkm201402.079

Telephone: 907-561-4772 Fax: 907-563-4744 Regional Vice President

Lee Leschper Managing Editor

Andrew Jensen (907) 275-2165 Production

Maree Shogren (907) 275-2162 Layout Designer

Nadya Gilmore (907) 275-2163 Reporter

Tim Bradner (907) 275-2159 Reporter

Elwood Brehmer (907) 275-2161 Reporter

Molly Dischner (907) 275-2158 Advertising Director

Tom Wardhaugh (907) 275-2114 Account Executives

Ken Hanni (907) 275-2155 Dustin Morris (907) 275-2153 Jada Nowling (907) 275-2154

Every year the Alaska Journal of Commerce honors the talent and outstanding efforts of individual Alaskans in their professions and in their community involvement. We take great pleasure in presenting this year’s Top Forty Under 40 ®.

Congratulations to the 2014 Top Forty Under 40 ®! Rick Allen Page 5 Kyle Aramburo Page 6 Suzanne Armstrong Page 7 Joshua Arvidson Page 8 Andrea Bean Page 10 Cynthia R. Berns Page 11 Jonathan Bittner Page 12 Leah René Boltz Page 13 Slavik Boyechko & Travis Gilmour Pages 14-15 Dr. Guy Burk Page 16 Darrell Leroy Clark Page 17 Mark Edwards Page 18 Jehnifer Quinn Ehmann Page 20 Sara J. Gould Page 21 Rollin S. Hansen Page 22 Margaret Olin Hoffman David Page 23 Jon Iversen Page 24 Jakob W. Johnsen Page 25 Scott A. Johnson Page 26

Ed King Morten Kjerland Tamika L. Ledbetter Carrie J. Lindow Amanda Metivier Harry W. Need IV Katie M. Pesznecker Ann Potempa Lance Pruitt Brenda Riley Dr. Ghazal Ringler Jeffrey Roberts Maya Salganek Raju Shankar Chad Steadman Viola Stepetin Russell Thomas Dale Tran Ethan Tyler Buddy Whitt

Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 32 Page 33 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49


platinum SPONSOR


bronze SPONSOR

table SPONSORs


Business, Community, Life, Travel,

Telling Alaska’s story for more than 75 years.

Special Thanks to



Richard K. Allen Director, Office of Public Advocacy, State of Alaska PALMER

Hometown: Fairbanks

How has your career as a prosecutor influenced your current position, and what sort of changes have you made as director of the Department of Public Advocacy? OPA represents vulnerable Alaskans. This includes children and elders who have been victims of abuse, disabled adults that are wards of the state and indigent citizens accused of crimes. Having experience as both a criminal defense attorney and a prosecutor has been a tremendous asset to my work as Public Advocate because it has provided me with a very broad perspective.

What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Harding Lake. We have a small cabin that my Grandfather built in the early 1960s. Our family continues to make great memories there.

We have instituted a number of changes in the three years I have served as Public Advocate. Most notably we have created three new units without adding any additional positions or budget. The new units are

Education: Lathrop High, Fairbanks; BA, Political Science, University of Texas at San Antonio; Juris Doctor, University of Idaho College of Law Community work: Past President, Palmer Rotary Club; Current member, Anchorage East Rotary Club

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

Family: Wife, Stephanie, Director of United Way of Mat-Su; sons, Rhys, 10, Houston, 4

Favorite quote:

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” — Abraham Lincoln What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Presenting President Reagan and the First Lady with mukluks at University of Alaska Fairbanks.

providing better service to our clients while saving OPA money. OPA has also changed the way we contract with private attorneys. These changes have given OPA much more budgetary predictability and oversight.

Name the person you most respect and why. Abraham Lincoln, for having the courage to do what was right.

What are your major selling points when you encourage young law clerks to pursue public service? Working as an attorney in public service provides a number of unique opportunities that cannot normally be found in the private sector. Prosecuting criminal cases, representing poor people accused of crimes, representing children in Child in Need of Aid cases, representing elderly victims of fraud and assisting disabled adults are some examples. No one will get wealthy as a public service attorney but the work is important and challenging. The collegial atmosphere and terrific mentorship also draws law clerks to public service.

What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Coaching youth sports What was your first job? Housekeeper at a hotel in Fairbanks. I cleaned up after fire fighters all summer. Who is your favorite superhero? Captain America

PAGE 6 | 2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® Favorite quote:

Kyle M. Aramburo Founder/Director, Hybrid Color Films ANCHORAGE Education: Public Communications, University of Alaska Anchorage; Motion Picture and Television, Academy of Art University (San Francisco) Community work: Taught an after school film program to youth in the Anchorage Area Neighborworks Anchorage “Home Matters” Fundraising Video Family: Parents, Karen and Alvin Aramburo; sister, Ariane Aramburo; brother, Kaylan Aramburo Hometown: Born in Wichita, Kan.; grew up in Eagle River What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Homer is my favorite place because I remember it as the first place I ever caught a salmon the year we moved up to Alaska; I got the fishing bug and have been hooked ever since. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Would have to be hanging out of a chase helicopter filming in Solomon, Alaska. Name the person you most respect and why. I would have to say my Dad, as I have gotten older I have started to realize I am much more like him than I had originally thought and am OK with that as he has taught me so much in my lifetime and been the rock in our family.

What was your first job? Library aide Who is your favorite superhero? Spawn Describe the feeling of winning an Emmy for your documentary on Ketchikan, and what it is like telling Alaska’s stories? It was a complete honor to be nominated. When I got to the awards show with all

the lights and cameras it was a bit nerve racking and intimidating. Sitting in my seat reading the program and waiting for my category to come up was the whitest-knuckle period I have ever had in my entire life. I will never forget when my category was announced the screen came up and I saw my name everything around me just fell away like I was the only person sitting in that room as my eyes couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Then everything came back and all I could here was everyone at our table going crazy cheering. As I made the walk up to the stage my heart was pounding almost out of my chest and after finishing my speech it really hit me that this was for real and all the hard work had finally paid off. As far as telling Alaska’s stories, I feel honored as the state has so much rich history and by making films that tell those stories I am helping carry on the legacy and cementing our history for generations to come. I love listening to people, I feel I really connect with them, which allows them to be open and comfortable with me which in turn gets to the core of their story. As someone who became interested in telling stories with pictures at a young age, what do you enjoy about mentoring youth today in the field and how much has changed since you were developing film during recess while in middle school? I was fascinated with emotion at a young age and how you could capture it on screen and bring it out in editing. I would sit in the edit lab and just lay shot after shot of home movies in a row with music to see what kind of emotions it evoked. Today I still do very much the same thing in my professional carrier always thinking and dissecting emotion on screen. Things like when to cut, what music to use, and how to say something it all has an effect on the final piece. It was interesting when I was mentoring the youth in my after school program to see how their minds interpreted things and give them my thoughts on how they were doing. It taught me a lot about different perspectives and ideas. I got a lot more out of teaching that class then I ever thought I was going to.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Always been a tinkerer and have just recently started getting into motorcycles and now own two that I enjoy taking apart and customizing. They become extensions of me and I can put personality into them and make them my own.


“If it’s important enough you’ll find a way, if not, you’ll find an excuse.”



Suzanne Armstrong

Chief of Staff, Sen. Kevin Meyer; Capital Budget Coordinator, Senate Finance Committee Anchorage, Juneau Favorite quote:

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” — Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Education: West Anchorage High School; 1995, Oregon State University, 1999 Community work: Beans Café, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Family: Husband, James Armstrong; labs, Abby and Eleanor Rigby Hometown: Anchorage

What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Ketchikan, hands down. From the first time I stepped off the plane and on to a ferry to reach the town, I was in love. Ketchikan exemplifies all of the beauty of Southeast Alaska and maintains the strong cultural influence of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian. A tight-knit community that always makes me feel welcome and right at home when I visit. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Zip lining in Ketchikan. There really is no better way to confront a profound fear of heights like soaring through the trees like Tarzan. I got a medal for completing the course too, which was kind of cool. Name the person you most respect and why. My parents. I came by my work ethic honestly, by having two great role models that instilled in my brother, sister and I the value of hard work. My commitment to giving back to my community and organizations that I care about came directly from the example that they set with their philanthropic involvement. The most important life lesson that I learned from my parents (due to hours at a cold ice rink very early in the morning!): when you fall, get back up…the music is still playing. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I am a runner. On June 1, 2013, I started with a simple goal: run 1 mile. One mile turned to two miles, and eventually, this lead to 8 miles, and then 10. I completed my first half-marathon in October of 2013, and I look forward to the next one this summer. The only thing that tops my new found love for running is my love for running in Alaska.

Who is your favorite superhero? She-Ra. She uses cunning and her wits to outsmart her adversaries and, let’s face it, what little girl in 1985 didn’t want to grow up to be a sword-wielding warrior princess? How has your extensive experience working with nonprofits informed your role in crafting state budgets? Working with nonprofits is very similar to crafting state budgets. Nonprofits have an established mission and set forth goals to accomplish the mission and serve the constituencies for which they are established. Nonprofits are always considering the resources that are See ARMSTRONG, Page 19

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

What was your first job? Teaching group ice skating classes for children that were 4 to 6 years old. And my husband says I have no patience.



Joshua Arvidson Director, Alaska Child Trauma Center at Anchorage Community Mental Health Services EAGLE RIVER Education: Master’s in Social Science; Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.

Community work: Served for 10 years on the Board of Directors for FOCUS Inc., an organization serving individuals in Chugiak, Eagle River and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson with special needs; served five years as Board President as FOCUS grew from 40 to 110 fulltime employees and expanded to serve JBER. Family: Wife, Kathryn Arvidson; St. Bernard, Duke. Hometown: Chugiak/Eagle River What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? On the deck of my old sailboat in Ziegler Cove, Prince William Sound.

winter, backcountry snowmachining/exploring. What was your first job? My first real job was working in a homeless shelter/transitional housing program in Philadelphia. What led you into the field of childhood trauma, what improvements has Alaska made and how much more remains to be done? A better understanding of trauma changes the way we think and the way we act. So much of what people suffer from, addictions, health and mental health, social and functional problems are impacted and driven by trauma. When we better understand what people have experienced, we can better understand who they are, and we can better help them. The question changes from “what is wrong with you” to “what happened to you?” The promise of trauma-informed care in Alaska is a more humane more effective health, mental health and service system that sup-

Favorite quote:

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

“Be the change that you want to see in the world.” — Ghandi What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Being charged by a moose that was running from a brown bear. Name the person you most respect and why. My parents and wife. My mom — nurse, teacher, artist. My dad — bush pilot and lawyer, prison chaplain and deacon. My wife — social worker, therapist and teacher. She has unparalleled perseverance, dedication and intelligence. They all have devoted their lives to service. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? In the summer, sailing in Prince William Sound. In

ports recovery and a full life in the community for everyone. How do you stay positive when dealing with the effects of childhood trauma, and what do you find to be the most rewarding part of your work? What keeps me going is faith, hope, the resiliency of the children and families that we work with and the intelligence, dedication, kindness and commitment of the people I work with. I get to work with a team of amazing people and for a well-managed organization that shares my values. I can’t imagine doing anything else or being anywhere else.


UAF ALUMNI ASSOCIATION Congratulations to the following UAF alumni honored by the Alaska Journal of Commerce as among the 2014 “Top Forty Under 40” Alaskans: ANDREA BEAN, ’98, ’12 CYNTHIA BERNS, ’11 DARRELL CLARK, ’97

Josh Arvidson Thank you for being a hero to our most valuable resource - our kids.


Your years of dedication have helped Alaska’s kids soar to great heights. UAF is an AA/EO employer and educational institution. 02/2014

Great leaders inspire our communities In every community, there are people who can inspire others to work for positive change. True leaders know how to forge a consensus and create a lasting legacy of success. Scott and Rollin, you are appreciated and admired every day. Thank you for all that you do in our communities. We proudly celebrate your achievements. © 2014 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. (1175053_11266)

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Andrea Bean Regional Coordinator, JL Properties Inc. Fairbanks Education: Bachelor’s in Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks; MBA, UAF Community work: UAF Alumni Association Board Vice President; Treasurer of the Fairbanks North Star Bureau Toastmasters; affiliated with the Master Gardeners of the Tanana Valley and a grant through UAF and the USDA educating pre-school age children on where foods come from and promoting healthier eating habits. Family: Partner, Megan; two rescued mutts. Hometown: I spent most of my childhood growing up in Hydro, Okla. What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? There is no place better to be than in my garden on a beautiful, sunny Fairbanks summer day. I refuse to leave the state except by necessity during the summer months. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Off of a small creek on the Yukon River, I was fortunate enough to battle a 48-inch northern pike and land it. The fishing was catch and release but I remembered to get my photo taken with the pike. Several office colleagues are still trying to catch a fish more impressive than that pike! 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.”

Todd Paris / Paris Photography

— Maya Angelou Name the person you most respect and why. My grandfather is still one of the people I look up to the most. Even now several years after his passing, I often reflect on the example he set throughout his life. My grandfather was a humble

39 intellectual. He maintained a disciplined well-balanced life and put nothing ahead of his family. Despite his conservative lifestyle, he was always open even at age 93 to learning new ideas and challenging his perspective of the world. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Spending time with family and friends is my favorite pastime yearround. I also enjoy running, berry picking, and gardening during the summer months. During the winter months, I can be found watching sports, especially the NFL, traveling, and working on home improvement projects. What was your first job? I held a variety of jobs growing up. During the months of the year that I lived with my mother, I was working many typical jobs on a family farm including bottle-feeding calves, gardening and driving tractor. When I was with my father, my sister and I would help with various aspects of his mail order business. My first job that didn’t involve one of the family businesses was as a pari-mutuel teller at Remington Downs, processing gambling wagers on horse races. Who is your favorite superhero? My favorite superheroes were the Wonder Twins. Not only did I think it would be amazing to have a twin but they could also turn themselves into any animal, creature, or force of nature they wanted and they had a purple pet monkey. What inspired you to found the first LGBT scholarship at UA Fairbanks, and what are your goals for this program? The idea to create the LGBT scholarship came up pretty spontaneously amongst me and group of close friends. We had a desire to do something positive for our community and creating this scholarship became a great way to do that. It was an added bonus that this was the first scholarship of its kind at UAF. It seemed a natural fit to help students reduce their financial burdens while attending school and it’s a great opportunity give back to my alma mater. My hope is to continue supporting this scholarship for years to come and perhaps even encourage others to consider donating to it as well. I hope someday we’re able to provide larger scholarship amounts and to give them to more students each year. In leading the “Going Green” effort for JL Properties in Fairbanks, what were some of the energy-saving measures you discovered? We experimented with various new technologies and had many successes and failures. However, the largest impact in reducing JL Properties Inc.’s energy footprint was communicating our intentions with as many stakeholders as possible. Behavior modification has been the single most surprising and successful energy-saving measure we discovered. New applicants as well as seasoned employees and everyone in between are made aware of JL Properties Inc.’s Going Green efforts. It is still quite impressive how many people are interested in participating in this endeavor.

Favorite quote:

“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” — William Ernest Henley

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 11


Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Old Harbor Native Corp. Anchorage

Education: Bachelor’s of Psychology, University of Alaska Anchorage; Master’s of Rural Development, University of Alaska Fairbanks Community work: Established and manages the Old Harbor Imagination Library and provides support to the Old Harbor Scholarship Foundation in fundraising and student development. Family: Spouse, Nikkia Atkins; son, James; parents, Rick and Wilma Berns; grandparents, Alexandria Sasha Christiansen and Vernon and Shirley Berns Hometown: Old Harbor What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? My favorite place is my hometown Old Harbor. Old Harbor is a very special place that is not only majestic but has very friendly and kindhearted people. It is also the best place in Alaska for fishing, hunting, and gathering. Old Harbor has so much to offer at every season of the year. My Grandma Sasha had 24 children so we have a very large extended family and I enjoy spending time with them in our hometown. I hope to move back to Old Harbor with my family someday. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Commercial fishing with my parents Rick and Wilma, brother Travis and two sisters Melissa and Katherine on our family boat F/V Melissa Rae. It was the most rewarding and happiest time in my life — working together to make a living and spending so much time together as a family. It instilled a strong work ethic in my siblings and I and brought us close together.

and example that my parents have provided me throughout my life. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? My favorite hobby is gardening. I enjoy working in the soil, maintaining a garden and seeing the results at the end of our short summer season. What was your first job? Working as a waitress, dishwasher and housekeeper at the Sitkalidak Lodge. Who is your favorite superhero? I would have to say Spiderman because my son James loves him so much. What was life like growing up in Old Harbor, and how does it feel to now work for the Native corporation for your hometown? Growing up in a small rural village there was always a strong sense of community where family and friends were essential in your everyday life. Being able to work for my community at the Old Harbor Native Corp. has been the most rewarding job in my life. I strongly believe in the mission statement of OHNC, which is, “to preserve and protect the culture, values and traditions of its community, shareholders and descendants; and to work together to create economic and educational opportunities while promoting self-determination and pride.” I am thankful to have a position that allows me to work towards achieving this goal for our community. It is very rewarding to work collabortively with our leaders to improve our infrustructure, strengthen our economy and promote health and wellbeing for our future generation. What are the challenges facing Old Harbor, and is there a project you’ve worked on you have found most satisfying? We face many challenges in our community but one that concerns me the most is education. I would like to ensure that our students are obtaining a strong education from the time they are born to elementary school through post-secondary. One of the most satisfying projects that I’ve worked on is establishing and managing the Old Harbor Imagination Library. Through this program we promote early childhood literacy and development in our community. In collaboration with Best Beginnings and The Dolly Parton Foundation, we are able to mail free books to all children ages up to age 5 every month. We collaborate with families by providing books, resources, and family events for parents to work with their children in preparation for elementary school.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

Name the person you most respect and why. I respect and admire my father Rick Berns because of his strong character and generosity towards others. He is a very intelligent person who can teach himself how to do anything he puts his mind to. Growing up he was very loving but also stern and worked very hard to provide for our family. In addition to being a year-round commercial fisherman and family man, he gives back to his community by working tireless hours serving as the city mayor. In a rural community this role includes everything from administrative, maintaining roads and sewer to emergency response. I wouldn’t have grown into the strong leader that I have become today without the guidance

Cynthia R. Berns

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Jonathan Bittner

Favorite quote:


Vice President, Anchorage Economic Development Corp. Anchorage Education: BS, Geology, University of Alaska Anchorage Community work: West High Alumni Board, UAA Geology Advisory Board, Alaska Makers Group, Anchorage Community Works Board, Winter Olympics Advisory Committee, various entrepreneur related activities across the state. Family: Wife, Juli Lucky; daughter, Charlotte, 5; son, Atticus, 3 Hometown: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Loussac Library! Growing up I had really eclectic interests and Loussac was the place I went to learn about everything. Now I love going with my kids and watching them explore like I did. I also love the new programs like the Teen Underground and the Innovation Lab.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

What is your most memorable Alaska experience? I spent a few years as a geologist after I graduated UAA, working primarily in remote areas of the Alaska Range. My job consisted of jumping out of helicopters onto mountains or glaciers and hiking through some of the most extreme wilderness on Earth without another soul for miles. It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time, which I think sums up what being Alaskan is all about. Name the person you most respect and why. My wife, Juli Lucky. Besides the fact that anyone that has to live with me deserves a healthy amount of respect (and more than a little pity), she’s amazing in so many ways. Her compassion and willingness to help others really inspires me, and her devotion to our kids is the benchmark I use whenever I wonder how I’m doing as a parent. She balances all of her family and community time with being an amazingly successful professional. I honestly don’t know why she married me, but I suspect it has something to do with her charitable nature. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Spending time with my kids is my number one favorite pastime. Whether it’s introducing them to all the amazing technology all around them, explaining why it’s important to watch Episodes 4-6 of the Star Wars movies before episodes 1-3, or getting them as excited about comic books as I am, the time I spend with them is the best time of my day.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a ride!’” – Hunter S. Thompson

What was your first job? I started a snack stand at my elementary school with a friend. We sold homemade brownies and rice krispies, then branched out into juice, candy and gum. We did well enough to hire another classmate to walk the halls with a tray so we could capture the afterschool program market. The PTA shut us down once they realized what we were doing, but it was a lot of fun while it lasted!

Who is your favorite superhero? Batman. He’s a normal guy that can do amazing things, not because he has special powers, but because he works hard. Plus he’s a billionaire that gets to ride around in the Batmobile. How cool is that? What is a Maker Space, and why have you made it a priority for Anchorage to have one? A Maker Space is a shared workspace that gives members access to tools and services they couldn’t otherwise afford. These spaces serve as educational centers, incubators, collaboration spaces and community centers and have been responsible for launching a number of amazing products and businesses over the years in the Lower 48. Alaskans are an amazingly creative and innovative people and by giving them access to spaces like this I think we will spur an amazing outpouring of inventions that could change the foundation of our economy. As a fifth-generation Alaskan, what has been your most rewarding experience in mentoring youth in entrepreneurship? I recently was asked to talk to an elementary class as part of a Junior Achievement educational series. When I asked who wanted to be an entrepreneur, I expected two or three hands. I actually got almost the entire class! When I asked what kinds of businesses they wanted to start I heard ideas for apps, video games and music production. It was amazing and inspiring at the same time. Those kids were ready to change the world, and that’s what entrepreneurship is all about.

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 13


Leah RenÉ Boltz Director of Marketing & Business Development, Bettisworth North Architects and Planners Inc. Anchorage

Education: Bachelor’s degree, Journalism & Public CommunicationsPublic Relations & Advertising emphasis, minor in business and professional writing, 4.0 GPA, University of Alaska Anchorage

Who is your favorite superhero? My daughter. (She likes to wear a cape; does that count?) Her superpower is having a love for every little thing in life unlike anyone I’ve ever met, with the power to transfer that positive energy to everyone she meets.

Community work: Co-founder Parks for All; The Duct Tape Ball, Anchorage Rotary (90% by 2020 mentorship committee Power Lunch co-chair); Society for Marketing Professional Services Immediate Past President; TEDx speaker; AEDC Live.Work.Play. committee member; Challenge Alaska volunteer; UAA Alumni of Distinction Awards Chair Family: Husband, Nate Boltz; daughter, Anna Boltz, 7; basset hounds, Flash and Rosco Hometown: Born in Idaho Falls, Idaho, grew up in Island Park, Idaho; graduated from Eureka, Mont. What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Challenge Alaska at Alyeska. Because it’s impossible to pick just one beautiful, memorable place in Alaska to love most, but what makes Alaska really special is its people. At Challenge, we have a second family. We have met some of the most incredible volunteers, athletes, families and friends, with stories of true Alaska spirit. I know this place will continue to change our lives for the better for many years to come. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? The most memorable always involve airplanes or boats. If you’re in one in Alaska, it means you’re going somewhere special. But the first most memorable was when I moved here from Montana. Flying in to Anchorage on a bluebird May day, joining the excited tourists gawking at the sparkling glaciers below, and smiling to myself knowing I was one of the lucky ones who gets to call this spectacular place “home.” I get that same feeling every time I fly in. Name the person you most respect and why. My grandfather, Jack Burke, a Marine and Rotarian, who taught me the importance of finding a job you love and working incredibly hard every day, putting family and service above self, always helping wherever help is needed, staying active and enjoying life, keeping a sense of humor and cherishing every person you meet throughout your lifetime. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Alpine skiing with my family on a sunny March day, and running among the falling golden leaves along the Coastal Trail in late September What was your first job? Hydrologist, U.S. Forest Service, Rexford Ranger District in Eureka, Montana. I spent three summers living in hip waders, hiking through devil’s club, surveying and mapping every stream in the area, counting fish, sampling water, re-seeding landslides, sleeping in a trailer in the woods and running from the occasional lightening storm.

What was the greatest challenge in starting Parks for All and how did you overcome it? Starting Parks for All was the easy part. Put a few tenacious moms together fighting for their kids, and you can accomplish anything. However, the project process takes quite a while, from concept to public education to funding to finished project. But I credit every person who has shown support for the success of this movement so far. Alaskans are great because we all have that pioneer spirit that says we will decide our own destiny and make our community what we want it to be, and we will support other Alaskans doing the same. That’s what has made Parks for All successful.

Favorite quotes:

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” — Walt Disney.

That, and, “I love you, Mommy.” — My daughter

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

Please describe the Parks For All initiative and how it is progressing. Parks for All was started by three moms whose children experience mobility and developmental challenges. We realized there were no accessible places for our kids to play, so rather than move away, we decided to fix that. Parks for All is a grassroots community initiative bringing accessible, inclusive play to Alaskans of ALL ages and abilities. Parks for All helped build Alaska’s first fully inclusive Boundless Playground in Anchorage in 2013. With several key community partners, we are now working on several more accessible playgrounds and a strategic plan to further the mission, set sustainable standards for universal play and provide more inclusive recreation in Alaska.

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Slavik Boyechko Digital Media Director, Alaska Public Media ANCHORAGE Education: BA, English, Portland State University

What was your first job? Pizza delivery man.

Community work: Filmmaking out in the community connects me to so many people and organizations long after the camera is put away.

Who is your favorite superhero? Too Much Coffee Man.

Family: My lovely wife Krystal Hometown: Born in Lviv, Ukraine; grew up in Portland, Ore. I moved up to Anchorage right after graduating from college, looking for opportunities above being a pretty good Barista.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Talkeetna — perfect for a quiet (or not so quiet) weekend with friends. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? When it took me over five brutal hours to finish last place in the Oosik Classic, and my wife drove to Talkeetna to surprise me at the finish line with a PBR. Or when I made the long trek to China Poot Cabin with some friends, and my wife chartered a plane to surprise me with a case of PBR and cheesecake. I sense a trend… Name the person you most respect and why. When I was five, my parents had the remarkable courage to flee communist Ukraine to establish a new life for me and our family, and I try to honor their gift by living my life with as much intensity and adventure as possible. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Miraculously I’ve managed to make filmmaking my 9-to-5, so anytime I’m not sleeping I’m working on videos or learning ways to get better at my craft. Actually even when I’m sleeping I dream of gear unboxing videos. Favorite quote:

I don’t know, but here’s one of my favorite tweets: @skullmandible most cutting thing you can say is “who’s this clown?” because it implies they’re a) a clown & b) not even one of the better-known clowns.


What is the favorite story you’ve either told or heard in the last several years chronicling Alaska? Honestly, even though it sounds cliché, every Alaskan really does have an incredible story to tell, and I’m so lucky that I get a chance to find and help tell those stories around the state. Like the band Gerygone & Twig, for example (from the episode “I Am A High School Indie Rock Star”), Travis (Gilmour) and I pointed our cameras at these kids, and out comes this story of eccentric youths banding together to create music that is so inspirational, at precisely the tragic moment before they leave high school and part their ways. You can’t plan for that kind of a touching story, but you can do your best to present it in the most honest and touching way possible, in under seven minutes. Please describe some of your efforts to help other nonprofits with their digital storytelling efforts, and how you used a Rasmuson grant to create a filmmaking training course. Today, just about everyone has access to a cinema quality camera, and there are so many Alaskans that deserve to have their story told — that realistically, I and the Indie Alaska team can’t even skim the surface. So when I received the Rasmuson Individual Artist grant, I looked for a way to share it as much as I could with other budding filmmakers. After flying my most favorite filmmaker out to Alaska (Carl Crum, of One Square Mile films based in Texas), I got to spend a week with him learning to shoot a documentary on a bunch of people in Ketchikan. But thanks to additional funds, and Carl’s generosity, we also got to keep Carl for another week to train other Alaska filmmakers to help tell all of these stories. So yeah, I want to do as much as I can to develop an army of Alaskan documentary filmmakers, so together we can expose the rest of the world to the real Alaska, one story at a time.

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 15

Travis Frank Gilmour


Director of Public Media, Alaska Public Media ANCHORAGE

Education: BA, English, 2006, Oregon State University; Foraker Certificate in Nonprofit Management, 2008 Community work: I could list all the places I volunteer my time, but honestly I’m lucky enough to say that most of what I do falls in to this category. Family: Wife, Taylor; daughter, Hazel; dog, Stella; cat, Ruby Hometown: Jefferson, Ore. Slavik (Boyechko), my wife and I all drove up from Oregon together in my Mazda. We’ve all been here since.

What was your first job? Farmer Who is your favorite superhero? This is embarrassing. I used to collect comic books as a kid, but I never read them. I think I just thought I should because that’s what boys did, so I did it. Same deal with sports cards. You and your partner Slavik at Alaska Public Media have taught yourselves how to code, make films and tell Alaska stories — which of these has been the toughest to learn?

Favorite quote:

“The distinction between children and adults, while probably useful for some purposes, is at bottom a specious one, I feel. There are only individual egos, crazy for love.” — Donald Barthelme, “Me and Miss Mandible” What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? My rumpus room. I’ve been to some beautiful, remote and otherwise unique places across the state, but I still enjoy my couch time.

Name the person you most respect and why. My parents own and operate a farm in Oregon which has been in our family nearly 100 years. I owe them a lot of things, especially respect. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? The line between what is work and what is play has become increasingly blurry over the past few years. Whatever it is, I try to give it my all.

However, nowadays, especially with film, I am striving to be actually good. I think that can be accomplished with a lot of work, some failure and Googling. What can public media in the rest of the country learn about how you have used digital tools to reach a larger audience? I think that public media, like a lot of organizations and businesses, does a lot of navel-gazing and think-tanking, especially when it comes to new technology. And, for better or worse, it doesn’t get much done. My advice is simple: find high quality, passionate people and do your best to get out of the way.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

What is your most memorable Alaska experience? I have to say having the opportunity to do meaningful work that I honestly and truly enjoy. That, or the time I was almost killed by a bull Musk Ox.

The goal was never to become a true expert in a certain area. At the beginning, we just wanted to be good enough — just good enough — that people couldn’t tell the difference between my work and that of, say, a slightly distracted professional.

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DR. Guy Burk CEO, Anchorage Midtown Dental Center anchorage Education: Dimond High School, 2000; BS, 2004, Oregon State University; DMD, 2008, Oregon Health and Science University

32 Community work: Alaska Mission of Mercy Family: Wife, Jessica Burk, DMD; mini-goldendoodle, Chewy Hometown: Anchorage

Favorite quote:

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” – The Shawshank Redemption

What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Big Lake. I love the water. Describe your most memorable Alaska experience? The first time I flew over the Chugach. Name the person you most respect and why. My stepfather, Don Burk, raised my sister and I to be good people and to appreciate our education. He was not overbearing and is a truly good person. I have never heard him speak ill of anyone and he truly lives up to the saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.” What is your favorite pastime away from work? Flying and scuba diving. What was your first job? Working in my father’s dental office. Who is your favorite superhero? Real life heroes are so much more interesting. Our troops and the many people in our society who go above and beyond for their fellow citizens.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

How did you get interested in dentistry? My Dad was my hero and I wanted to be just like him. What inspires you to donate so much time to the less fortunate, including performing more than $100,000 worth of pro bono services over the years? Dental care can be expensive. I am in the unique situation of having an intimate relationship with my patients and I often get some insight into their personal lives and financial situation. I try to help out when I know someone is in an especially tough situation financially. People who have very poor dental health or no teeth at all often have a hard time getting a job. I have donated dentures or smile makeovers that allow them to interview well and get a job. This can turn their whole life around and is the most rewarding part of my job.

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 17


Darrell Leroy Clark

Owner, Glow Putt Alaska; Anchor/Reporter, KTVF Channel 11 Fairbanks (NBC); Marketing Manager, Spirit of Alaska Federal Credit Union Fairbanks Education: BA, English and Theatre, 1997, University of Alaska Fairbanks

love is singing. We are both former karaoke hosts/DJ’s, so when we have the time, out comes the karaoke player.

Community work: Mentoring and Job Shadowing outreach programs with KTVF 11, key coordinator for annual Youth Safety Day at Spirit of Alaska Federal Credit Union, Community giving and fund-raising events coordinator for my private business, Glow Putt Alaska.

What was your first job? I was a busboy at 14 for Royal Fork Buffet. I still worked there through college as head cook.

Family: Wife, Dionna Clark; son Kaiden Clark, 8, daughter, Kira Clark, 4; cats, Claudius and Gertrude; puppy: Sparky Barkley Hometown: Born in Farmington, New Mexico, moved to Alaska in 1976; lived in Juneau, Aniak, Kaltag, and Tanana before settling in Fairbanks What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? There’s no better place to be than Fairbanks. Our gorgeous midnight sun in the summer months provides countless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and to really get the most out of our short summer seasons. Our winters can be cold and severe, but it takes only a glimpse of the brilliant northern lights to truly be in awe of nature’s wonders and thankful for the time given to us on this earth.

Favorite quote:

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right!” – Henry Ford

Name the person you most respect and why. I turn my thoughts to a great man and Fairbanks icon we lost in 2012. I first met John “Jack” Townshend at a karaoke night in Fairbanks when I was 22 years old. Jack was a distinguished geological and seismological professional at UAF for over half a century, yet when he took the stage to sing Sinatra’s “My Way,” he was as giddy as a schoolboy. Jack reminded me to hold great passion for work, for family and for the pleasant surprises of life. Jack was a believer of Serendipity, or “fortuitous happenstance.” Jack sang the Star Spangled Banner before the 2012 Midnight Sun Run and delivered such an epic rendition my six-year-old son ran up to him and gave him a spontaneous hug. That was the last visit my family had with Mr. Jack, but it is a wondrous memory for all of us and we think of him often. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? My wife and I both come from performer backgrounds, but our true

See CLARK, Page 19

Todd Paris / Paris Photography

What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Having to haul drinking water from streams and rivers in the middle of winter. This would take the entire day just for a week’s supply. The whole family would help. In summer, we would all go out and cut multiple cords of firewood. I didn’t know this at the time, but my fondest memories of Alaska and of my family were created from the hardest work experiences of my childhood. This is the basis of my current work ethic. Truly, to deserve the comforts of this earth, you’ve got to be willing to put in the work to earn them.

Who is your favorite superhero? My wife. She is a partner in everything I do, but she is also the inspiration that keeps me going, long after others have called it a day. She can’t fly, but she makes my heart soar. She doesn’t have super strength, but she has lifted me up in the lowest of times. She doesn’t have x-ray vision, but she can see right through to the heart of the matter. She’s not bulletproof, but is invincible with her courage, compassion and care. She is my superhero, I’m just the sidekick.

PAGE 18 | 2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40®

39 Favorite quote:

“Respect is not earned, it’s lost.” You should always start by giving everyone your utmost respect. I try hard not to judge others unless they have done something offensive.

Mark Edwards Vice President, Commercial Loan Unit Manager and Bank Economist, Northrim Bank anchorage Education: BA, Economics, minor, Government, International Relations, University of Virginia; Master of International Management, Distinguished Honors, MBA program, Thunderbird School of Global Management; student exchange program, University of Valencia, Spain Community work: Vice Chair of the Board, Alaska Council on Economic Education; Member and past Treasurer, Alaska Chapter of the International Association for Energy Economics; Adjunct professor of Economics, Alaska Pacific University; Volunteer basketball coach, Boys Club and YMCA; Former volunteer English teacher, Anchorage Literacy Project Family: Wife, Dr. Irma Edwards; sons, Alexander, 6, Derek, 5 Hometown: Born and raised in Anchorage. What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Counter B at the Lucky Wishbone. Always great food and stories told from a huge cross-section of Alaskans. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Helping my friend to the hospital after breaking his arm coming down too fast his first time climbing Mt. Marathon. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? My favorite interests have been running, basketball, computers, photography and music. Most of my time now is spent on a variety of activities with my two sons.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

What was your first job? Delivering newspapers for the Anchorage Daily News around age nine. Then I moved on to busboy and dishwasher at the Lucky Wishbone at age 13. What drew you to the field of economics? I love complex puzzles. Economics is a social science studying human behavior that leads to the allocation of scare resources. It touches on all aspects of life and leads to debates over fairness and efficiency. It includes business and politics, as well as individual choices we make every day. It is a field that attempts to make sense of the most complicated issues faced by a modern society. You have also been highly involved in both teaching and coaching. Was there a person or an event that led you to these fields? Learning should be a life-long endeavor. When you teach or coach you share knowledge with the next generation and pass on important ideas given to you by those who came before you. This is the essence of human evolution. We cannot advance as a species if we do not share and push ourselves to learn something new. Anyone who has taught realizes how rewarding it can be when you see the comprehension in your students’ eyes when you help open their minds to new ideas.

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 19


« f o c u s e d«









Frontier spirit


As someone who is so heavily involved in the nonprofit sector, what advice would you give to others on time management? Time is a commodity — it is limited and has a value. With every nonprofit that I have worked for and volunteered with, there is always a lot of work to do and never enough time or people to do it. Time management is important because it gives you the power to define priorities, define the jobs that need to get done to meet the priorities, and find the right people to do the job. Taking 10 minutes a day to chart the course and plan the next step, will always result in a more efficient use of your time, the organization’s time, and your volunteers’ time. Volunteers commit time to an organization because they care. To show that you care about them, always make their time worthwhile and important. They will continue to support you and your organization, because you value their support and their time.

tions Mark Ed a l u wa rat Community g r n MINDED


available and how best to maximize them — whether that is staff, volunteers, or dollars. The same is true with crafting state budgets — you are always considering how best to maximize the resources available for the benefit of our communities and state whether that is education, health, public safety, energy, or capital improvement projects. For both, there is a finite set of resources to serve the constituencies and communities of our state, and that is why strategic planning and prioritization play a key role.



continued from Page 7



Mark Edwards continued from Page 17

One of your nominators said you run on “an entirely different clock” than most people. With three jobs and extensive volunteer work, how do you find the extra time during the day to attend to them all? I get up earlier and get to bed later. I’d like to say it’s all in the timing, but I’ve found that a regimented schedule leads to burn out. I’ve always been a multi-tasker so I find ways to consolidate time where I can and not waste time that I’ve been given. Tiring, yes, but I’m fortunate to have found professions that energize me as much as the energy I put into them. Variety truly is the spice of life. It is also extremely important for me to spend quality time with my family. With family time, the outside world is put on hold and I can just enjoy being a husband and a father. How did you come up with the idea for Glow Putt and what have you learned as an entrepreneur and business owner? My father-in-law deserves the credit. He and his best friend are the original owners and got the idea after vising Hawaii in 2005. He made friends with the owners of the original Glow Putt and they partnered to bring Glow Putt Alaska to Fairbanks. The idea was to provide a wholesome and affordable indoor family fun activity Interior Alaskans and visitors could enjoy in the coldest, dark days of our winters. My wife and I took full ownership in 2011. As owners, we have had success and we’ve made our fair share of mistakes. Mistakes aren’t always a bad thing. Mistakes have taught us to approach business situations with enthusiasm, but with care, to view opportunities from multiple angles and not just with wide-eyed abandonment. For our business, and for any small business I would think, you must be one part P.T. Barnum, another part Steve Jobs, with a healthy pinch of Scrooge McDuck for good measure, … a promoter and politician, an innovator and a money-wise philanthropist.

Vice President, Commercial Loan Account Manager & Bank Economist

NAMED ONE OF ALASKA’S TOP 40 UNDER 40 We’re happy to congratulate Mark Edwards on his outstanding accomplishment. Mark’s passion and commitment to our community makes him an asset, not only to Northrim Bank, but to the state of Alaska as well. We’re extremely proud to call you one of our own, Mark. Way to go. You earned it.

PAGE 20 | 2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40®

Jehnifer Quinn Ehmann


Clinic Liaison, Excel Physical Therapy; Co-Owner, Ehmann Outdoors PALMER Education: Colony High School, Palmer. Community work: President, Greater Palmer Chamber of Commerce; Chair, Mat Valley Fish and Game Advisory Committee; Mat-Su Borough Fish and Wildlife Commission; Alaska’s Healing Hearts; Mat-Su Chapter, National Wild Turkey Federation; Certified Hunter Education Instructor; Mat-Su Kids Ice Fishing Derby; MISS Foundation (Mothers In Sympathy and Support) Family: Husband, Butch; children, Max, Callie, Kaylee; mother, Katherine; dogs, Lucy and Max Hometown: Palmer What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? There are at least a thousand places in Alaska that I consider my “favorites,” however my first trip on a boat in Prince William Sound took my breath away.

Michael Dinneen Photography/AJOC

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 Name the person you most respect and why. The person I respect the most is my husband, Butch. He has overcome a life-threatening cardiac condition and endured multiple surgeries. He has a remarkable ability to stare death, discomfort, and uncertainly in the eye, call on his faith in God, and search for a way back to the surface. His strength, kindness, and perseverance is something I will always admire. Without his support I wouldn’t have had the faith to step out of the boat onto the waves and find my passion in life. He is my greatest supporter, and I will forever be grateful for the faith he has in me. I also have a tremendous amount of respect for my mom. She is such an unending source of strength and encouragement. She’s taught me the true meaning of love and resilience and she has always been there to pick me up and dust me off. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Ice fishing. It’s the one place I can “unplug.” What is your most memorable Alaska experience?

Catching a 40-inch lake trout through the ice. I get chills just thinking about it. For me it was better than winning the lottery.

What was your first job? Gottschalks, Cottonwood Creek Mall What was your biggest challenge in life and how did you overcome it? My son Max was born still. There are so many parts of me that died that day. I prayed that if I was forced to live a life without him that God would give me opportunities to help people in his honor. I believe that God provides these opportunities daily and this is how I keep my son’s legacy alive. What led you to become involved in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Advisory Committee and Fish and Wildlife Commission for Mat-Su? There was a sport fishing regulation being proposed that, if passed, would save a fishery that is near and dear to me. I felt strongly enough that I presented the case to both groups and asked for their support. During this process I realized how valuable and hardworking the members of these groups were, and I wanted to get involved. I attended their meetings for the next year and decided to run for a seat. I was appointed to the commission by the Mat-Su Borough Mayor, and voted on to the AC by the public in 2011. It is one of my proudest accomplishments because I am entrusted to represent the constituents of the Mat-Su and protect fisheries in Alaska. I consider this role one of my greatest responsibilities and highest priorities. How have you found hunting and fishing to benefit both youth in your area and wounded military veterans? Seeing a child react to catching their first fish is enough to convince any person of the benefits of fishing. Seeing a veteran, whose wounds may or may not be visible, react to catching their first fish will change your life. In our family we believe in the power of time spent in the outdoors, specifically time in the outdoors fishing and hunting. These activities have a way of grounding a person, taking them back to time in their life where they had hope, and helping them prioritize the things in life worth fighting for and the things in life worth letting go of. We feel so strongly about the power of this connection that we started an outdoor education business: Ehmann Outdoors. Our mission is simple: remove barriers so people can experience Alaska’s wonder.

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 21

Born March 1


Sara J. Gould

Manager of Project Resources, Construction, CH2M HILL CHUGIAK Education: BS, Business Management, University of Phoenix; MBA, Human Resource Management, University of Phoenix

What was your first job? Fast food.

Community work: Craft Training Trust of Alaska Member (201314), Associated Builders and Contractors; Construction Volunteer (2011), Habitat for Humanity; Diversity Director (2006-2007), Board Member (2006-2008), Anchorage Society for Human Resource Management; Mayor’s Diversity Month Planning Committee Member (2007-2008), Municipality of Anchorage; Volunteer (2008), Alaska Academic Decathlon.

Who is your favorite superhero? Ruger the Super Pup

I’m fortunate in that my job allows me to work with many organizations that support local job training and employment for Alaskans. I am particularly excited about a current project partnering with Hero2Hired, Alaska’s Healing Hearts and Northern Industrial Training. Together we are identifying 25 current and veteran US military service members for job training and employment in North Slope construction positions.

Where does Alaska stand at present in terms of women in the industry workforce, and what do you believe the future holds for getting more women into the oil services fields? Women holding leadership position within the industry is increasingly more common. With such strong role models, I think we will see more women entering the industry. What inspired you to become involved with veterans issues in the workforce? Many family members, friends and neighbors are, or have been, members of the U.S. Military. It is their service, sacrifice and dedication that inspires me.

Family: Husband, Steven Gould; daughter: Madison, 17; English Springer Spaniel, Ruger Hometown: Vacaville, Calif. Current city: Chugiak (10 years this summer!) What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? My favorite place in Alaska is my home community, the Chugiak/Eagle River area. In addition to beautiful mountain views, I enjoy access to nearby lakes and recreation areas. I love the strong sense of community among neighbors.

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” — Willie Nelson

Name the person you most respect and why. My husband, Steve. He is dedicated to his family and does everything he can to support us in achieving our dreams. He isn’t afraid of hard work and always achieves what he sets out to do. He is a resilient, trustworthy, dependable and committed to his family. That and, my car is always clean, my gas tank is never empty and I get to park in the garage. Did I mention his great sense of humor? What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Quilting is my favorite hobby away from work. It gives me the opportunity to reflect, relax and recharge. There is something comforting about fitting together all the pieces, following the patterns, and knowing that even the smallest piece is important to the final outcome.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

What is your most memorable Alaska experience? It’s hard to choose just one, I’ve had some great 4-wheeler rides with great friends. Catching my first salmon was memorable as well, it was such a beautiful day spent with my husband.

Favorite quote:

PAGE 22 | 2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40®

Rollin S. Hansen

Favorite quote


Assistant Vice President, Business Sales Consultant, Wells Fargo Merchant Services ANCHORAGE Education: Bachelor’s degree, Organization Leadership, 2005, Chapman University; transferring to the MBA program at Alaska Pacific University soon to complete graduate school.

cliché, the birth of my son stands out the most. Knowing that Everett was born here exactly where I was means a lot. I know there are many other very memorable moments but that memory is in the lead!

Community work: Board positions with Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Boys and Girls Club of Alaska and the Advisory Board for the University of Alaska Anchorage College of Business and Public Policy; active member with Junior Achievement, Youth Employment in the Parks; youth mentor at the Alaska Military Youth Academy.

Name the person you most respect and why. Those men and woman that put on a military uniform and serve their country with Honor, Courage and Commitment and those family members that are supporting them while they put themselves in harm’s way.

Family: Wife, Heather; son Everett; daughter, Violet. Every day I feel very lucky and blessed that I married the most beautiful woman in the world who puts up with me. My wife has given me two of the greatest gifts in life, our children. Hometown: Born in Anchorage at Providence Medical Center. Part of my family heritage originated in the Russian village of Ninilchik. Although I didn’t grow up here I spent most of my summers and a few winters down on my grandparents’ homestead just north of Anchor Point. It was those years of playing in the woods, fishing, camping, four-wheeling and various other adventures that provided me the reasons to raise my children here in the great state of Alaska. Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

“If success was easy, then everyone would be successful.” That’s a saying I’ve lived by for decades now. I have yet to read that in a book or internet blog so I’m tempted to copyright the quote.

What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Juneau so far! Simply because you could be fishing for silvers, dropping pots for crabs in the summer or skiing/ snowboarding in the winter all within minutes of your front door or office. The community is so nice and the rain isn’t so bad for those like us who grew up on the Oregon coast. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Running the risk of sounding too

What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Fishing would be the obvious choice, but spending time with my wife and kids right now doing ABC’s, walking to the park, cross-country skiing, or chasing my daughter through the house is currently the best past time for me. What was your first job? Cleaning golf carts for a couple years when I was 15, but the first real job that counts was as an Aviation Boatswain Mate on a USS aircraft carrier. Who is your favorite superhero? Batman. The movies are always good and it’s just cool to say “Batman.” Please describe some of the programs you developed for Alaska Native corporations unique to the state that have helped improve financial education. There was a program specifically designed for employees of our business clients, but understanding our unique geography and cultural differences, I worked with Wells Fargo’s Alaska senior leadership to extend those programs and benefits to shareholders and lineal decedents of our Alaskan Native corporations. One of the major components of the program was financial literacy. Once Alaska Region was granted the ability to extend these services to those individuals, it was then just the continuous outreach to the Native organizations, Tribal councils and other affiliated groups to get the information out and resources to those in the field. I will say that these partnerships and others of similar kind were and are only successful because the Wells Fargo employees in Alaska do care about their communities and want to make a difference. I’m proud to work with such amazing team members that are willing, able and driven to give back to those in need. How has your naval career impacted your job today, and as a veteran what was it like being part of the USS Anchorage commissioning? You can never put a price tag on the knowledge and experience one gets from serving in the military. That experience has helped me be a leader and know that failure is really not an option. Those two items drive me every day to make sure I’m always progressing myself and influencing those around me to improve. I felt honored and very lucky to be being a part of the USS Anchorage commissioning ceremonies. Because of my position with Wells Fargo, I was allowed to be a bigger contributor and participant during the weeks leading up to the commissioning events. The ceremony was emotional and cold but as a veteran and an Alaskan, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 23


Margaret Olin Hoffman David

Health Promotion Program Manager, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium ANCHORAGE Education: BA, Biology, 2003, Willamette University; Peace Corps Nicaragua, Health Education, 2004-06; Healthy Native Communities Fellowship, 2011; Doula/Childbirth Educator/Lactation Educator, ongoing since 2009. Community work: Volunteer doula, ANDORE (Alaska Native Dialogue on Racial Equity) host group member, and through my work I get to serve the community as a digital storytelling trainer, maternal child health advocate, and through traditional health projects such as Alaskan Plants as Food and Medicine and Women’s Rites of Passage Family: Husband of almost seven years, Eric John “EJ” Ramos David; son, Rio Isaac Malakas David “Laka,” 4 ½; daughter, Manu Lila Kalayaan David, 3; son Jace Ketl’e Kaluguran David “Kalu,” 1 ½; parents, Dee Olin and David Hoffman; siblings, Tara Parton, Helena Jacobs, and Dewey Hoffman; grandparents, the late Lillian and late Fred Olin Jr., Lorraine and the late John Honea, and the late Helen and late George Hoffman; auntie and niece of many Favorite quote:

“We are free to be who we are — to create our own life out of our past and out of the present. We are our ancestors. When we heal ourselves, we also heal our ancestors, our grandmothers, our grandfathers, and our children. When we heal ourselves, we heal Mother Earth.” — Grandma Rita Pitka Blumenstein

Current city: Anchorage, since 2007, longest I’ve lived in one spot What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? My Grandma Lorraine’s fish camp 23 miles upriver (Yukon) from Ruby because it’s where I feel most connected to the

Favorite quote: “When you lead with love, you never stand alone.” — Valerie Davidson, quoting her grandmother Annie Taurluq David What is your most memorable Alaska experience? I have many favorite memories running around the beaches and rainforest in Juneau, the beaches and tundra in Nome, and the riverbanks and woods on the Yukon as a child. It’s hard to choose one, but one of the most memorable was floating down the Yukon River from the bridge to Galena (a few hundred miles) for our honeymoon in a tandem kayak. It was my husband’s first time really out in the wilderness, and it was so fun camping and adventuring every day. We took our time, stopped and visited in all the villages and many fish camps along the way, and then stayed at my grandma’s fish camp for a few weeks before finally continuing on to Ruby and Galena. Word travels fast on the river and everyone was waiting and looking out for us. People were so great everywhere we stopped. We have many stories about the wildlife, the river, each other, and even woodsmen from that trip. Name the person you most respect and why. Again, that is a hard one to pin point. I respect and learn so much from my husband, my family, and many others in my community. I would have to say my grandmothers, all three of them, because they are the definitions of resilience and love, each in their own ways. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Being in nature and traveling What was your first job? I started babysitting probably when I was 9 or 10, but my first official job was when I worked at Alaska Village Initiatives the summer I turned 16. I organized a library for Carrie Brown. Who is your favorite superhero? My kids What led you to make the challenges facing rural Alaska mothers a focus of your career? My own rites of passage of becoming a mother See HOFFMAN DAVID, Page 50

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

Hometown: I was born in Juneau while my parents where there for the summer working in between graduate school semesters in Boston, where we lived until they graduated and moved home to Ruby when I was 1. We lived in Ruby until I started school, then moved around to Juneau, Nome and Barrow. I went to Mt. Edgecume High School in Sitka, and then Anchorage where I finished high school, and then moved back to after college and the Peace Corps.

land and people I come from. I am forever grateful that my parents made it a priority to bring us home to Ruby and to fish camp every summer growing up, for telling our family stories over and over again, and rooting us in our traditional values, from which I continue to draw strength in my daily life.

PAGE 24 | 2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® Favorite quote:

Jon Iversen Attorney/Partner, Stoel Rives, LLP ANCHORAGE Education: B.A., with honor, 1997, University of Wyoming; MBA, with highest honors, 2002, University of Colorado Graduate School of Business; Juris Doctor, University of Colorado School of Law, J.D., 2002 Community work:Pro bono coordinator for the Stoel Rives’ Anchorage office and serve on the pro bono committee to help develop policies encouraging pro bono activity. My wife and I support the community together to instill that ethic with our children. We are very involved with and supportive of Chugach Optional Elementary School. We also regularly participate in various community events that benefit charitable organizations. Family: Wife, Allison Iversen, a wonderful person. Two energetic, comical daughters, Emelia, 7, and Evelyn, 4, and a dog, Obi. Hometown: Cheyenne, Wyo. What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? We have a small cabin in the Talkeetna area. It is off the grid, quiet and simple. We have a lot of fun there and I enjoy working on it.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

What is your most memorable Alaska experience? The summer before our last year of law school, my wife and I took time off to visit Alaska for the first time. We flew here, rented a compact car and tent camped for almost a month. We camped at Wonder Lake, traveled most of the road system, lived on canned tuna and beans and had so much fun that we came back for judicial clerkships. We have been here ever since. Name the person you most respect and why. My grandma. She came to Wyoming in a covered wagon as a child and endured great hardship. She taught us about unconditional love, never taking anything for granted, the value of sense of humor and keeping a stiff upper lip when things get tough. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Outdoor activities with family, like fishing, hunting, hiking and camping. I also enjoy introducing my daughters to the important things, like Laura Ingalls Wilder and Star Wars. What was your first job? Laborer at a landscaping company. My second job was laborer at a concrete company.


“Dance with the one that brung ya.”

Who is your favorite superhero? Ironman Being a member of the bar in both Wyoming and Alaska, can you describe the unique characteristics of the oil and gas and tax practice in Alaska? I originally became involved with Alaska’s tax regime as an Assistant Attorney General, later as Director of the Tax Division at the Department of Revenue, and currently represent the private sector; I have often been reminded that Alaska has a unique tax regime. Unlike other states with production taxes on the gross value of oil and gas, Alaska taxes net profits. Alaska has tax credits and other incentives for exploration, development and production that are vital to many companies and often critical to financing. The corporate income tax treats oil and gas taxpayers differently than other corporations. There are state property taxes on oil and gas properties, as well as local property taxes for other assets. There are also certain property tax exemptions under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. In other jurisdictions, it is common to have private ownership of the subsurface minerals. In Alaska, most oil and gas production comes from state lands where the state retains ownership of the subsurface minerals. Accordingly, the government plays a much greater role in Alaska in regard to oil and gas leasing, royalty and permitting. What has been most rewarding about performing pro bono work in Alaska, and how did you get involved with asylum cases for Trique people? I have been involved in a number of pro bono cases over the years. As the pro bono coordinator for the Anchorage office of Stoel Rives, I work with Alaska Legal Services, including through the “Adopt a Region” program. I became involved in asylum cases for Trique people because I am fluent in Spanish and these types of cases require unique litigation experience. These were very rewarding cases that make one feel very grateful to live in a safe environment.

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 25


Jakob W. Johnsen

Special Assistant to the Commissioner, Alaska Department of Military And Veterans Affairs ANCHORAGE Education: West Valley High School, Fairbanks; BS, Political Science, United States Military Academy at West Point Community work: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, West Point Society of Alaska Family: Parents, Jim and Mary in Fairbanks; older sister, Greta in North Carolina; a one-year-old cat, Sitka Hometown: I was born in Juneau and raised in Fairbanks What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? My favorite place is being home with my family in Fairbanks. After going to college in New York and then living in Georgia, Iraq, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C., it was hard to get the whole family together at one time and place. I also just love being in Fairbanks, as I always end up bumping into a coach, a teacher, or a friend.

Name the person you most respect and why. The person I most respect is my late grandfather, John L. Johnsen, as he personified the “American Dream.” He was born into a working class family in central California, went to West Point, served in the Army for 20 years including two deployments to Vietnam, and after retirement got his Ph.D. and taught mechanical engineering at a university. He was a great father to my dad and his three brothers and a loving husband to my grandmother. He also served as a great role model and mentor to me throughout my life.

What was your first job? My first job was serving as an umpire for Fairbanks Little League. It was a lot of fun, and gave me an opportunity to see the game from a different point of view. It also gave me an appreciation of how hard it is to officiate a game. Serving as a referee or umpire is a thankless, but crucial, job. Who is your favorite superhero? Superman. He can do everything. What led you to become so involved with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and what has been most rewarding about the work? I first became involved with IAVA after I got back from Iraq, learning they gave tickets to sporting events to returning veterans. However, as I transitioned from the army to civilian life, I saw how helpful they are to my brothers and sisters in arms. They know the challenges Iraq and Afghanistan veterans face. They know firsthand how difficult it can be, and help provide the tools necessary for us to succeed. While I had a relatively smooth transition, I want to ensure other veterans are in a position to reach their full potential. The most rewarding part of working with IAVA was participating in their annual Storm the Hill campaign last year. Along with about 50 other veterans from around the country, we met with over 100 senators and congressmen in less than a week, educating them on the issues important to us. It was incredible meeting these other veterans, and working with them to speak on behalf of the 2.5 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. You were entrusted with great leadership at a young age; was there anything in your past you feel helped you handle that much responsibility while serving? I credit my leadership ability to both playing team sports in my youth and my time at West Point. I played baseball and See JOHNSEN, Page 42

Favorite quote:

“Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.” – Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

Michael Dinneen Photography/AJOC

What is your most memorable Alaska experience? My most memorable Alaska experience was going to Gov. Parnell’s inaugural reception in Fairbanks in 2010. I was home on R&R Leave from Iraq and I appreciated that the governor made the effort to personally thank me for my service. I believe this speaks to the accessibility of Alaskan leaders and to the opportunities we have as Alaskans to interact with them. Our leaders are connected with the population; they are normal people like all other Alaskans. It also made me truly appreciate the respect that Alaskans have for the military and those who serve our nation.

What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I love spending time in the gym, lifting weights. As I played football in both high school and college, lifting weights has always been a big piece of my life. It offers me a chance to relax and to unwind after work, and focus on getting that next repetition or 10 more pounds.

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Scott A. Johnson

Area President, Northwest Alaska, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. NOME Education: Bachelor of Business Administration with Accounting Emphasis, University of Alaska Southeast

Family: Wife, Lindsay; daughter, Emmaline

Community work: Currently Nome Volunteer Ambulance Department, EMT-3; Rotary Club of Nome, Treasurer; Bering Straits Development Council, Board Member. Past Copper River EMS (Volunteer), EMT-1; Copper Valley Economic Development Corp., Treasurer

Hometown: Anchorage, born and raised! What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Chugach State Park. Being born and raised in Anchorage, I spent many an evening and weekend camping, hiking, and enjoying the vast Chugach range. From Anchorage, to Portage/Whittier, Eklutna, and all points in between. Beautiful country and accessible to explore. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? A week-long rafting trip on the Kenai River with Boy Scout troop circa 1999. We put in on the extreme southeast shore of Kenai Lake, went down the upper Kenai River, across Skilak Lake, down the lower Kenai River, all the way to the City of Kenai. Camped on various shoreline, on islands in the middle of Skilak Lake/the river. Was a blast. Name the person you most respect and why. My mother, for her sacrifices in raising me as a single parent. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Reading, puzzles, and spending time with family. What was your first job? National Bank of Alaska as a clerk/secretary while still in high school.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

Favorite quote:

“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God.” — Scripture

Who is your favorite superhero? “Gladiator” in the Marvel universe. How did you get involved with the Nome Volunteer Ambulance Dept., and what has been your most unusual or memorable experience in that role for the community? Before I came to Nome, I managed our Glennallen office for Wells Fargo. They have a volunteer EMS agency there as well. Copper River EMS had a recruiting drive, and I decided to join up. In a small community such as Glennallen (or Nome), if you don’t volunteer, who will? The need was there so I stepped up. My most memorable experience would be an airplane crash in Nome that I responded to as the first ambulance on scene. Everyone survived (a miracle!) but boy was I nervous until we figured out that everyone was alive.

Considering the location and size of Nome, what was the key to you ranking among the top 3 percent for Wells Fargo in loan production nationwide for five straight years? Top notch customer service. By being responsive and delivering top customer service, customers were more inclined to call me for their needs, then to call the competition. Getting in front of customers and asking for the business also helps. Working long hours and being dedicated to getting the job done.

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 27


Ed King

Petroleum Economic Policy Analyst, State of Alaska Department of Revenue; Adjunct Professor, Alaska Pacific University, Economics ANCHORAGE Education: BA, Economics, University of Washington; MS, Applied Economics, University of Alaska Fairbanks Community work: Joel’s Place, Junior Achievement, Fairbanks Rescue Mission, Small Business Development Center Family: Son, Nathan, 10; mother, Laureena Peterson; sister, Michelle Rhynes; brother, Justin King; sister, Amanda King Hometown: Born in Bremerton, Wash.; graduated high school from South Kitsap High in Port Orchard, Wash.; “grew-up” in Fairbanks What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Fairbanks will always feel like home, but how can you not love being surrounded by ocean and mountains? What is your most memorable Alaska experience? So many! Probably salmon fishing in Seward as the bald eagle flies overhead; or climbing a glacier; maybe hiking in Denali; or watching the northern lights dance across the crisp night air on top of Murphy Dome. Name the person you most respect and why. Unquestionably my grandfather. He showed me that anything is possible if you work hard and never quit. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without his wisdom and guidance. And his rags to riches story will always inspire me.

As someone who works closely with the petroleum industry, what do you believe the future holds for Alaska’s lifeline? Alaska has been extremely fortunate to benefit from the resources she has. While the days of seemingly infinite oil flow are probably behind us, there is still tremendous potential for Alaska’s future. There is also a lot of risk of that potential not being realized. Time will tell whether or not we can provide a business climate and positive relationship with industry to attract investment dollars away from other opportunities in the world or if we simply ride out the investments that were already made. I am Favorite quote: personally optimistic “Many that the next generapeople don’t tion will continue to reap the economic answer when benefits that resource opportunity development has knocks because provided to the last one or two, but feel it’s dressed in that we also need to overalls and be prepared to transilooks like work” tion away from the expectation that oil – Thomas Edison can continue to fund all our hopes and dreams.

What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I enjoy teaching, so my adjunct position is basically a hobby. I also enjoy watching football, shooting pool, and am a pretty decent bowler. What was your first job? When I was about 9, I saw some Girl Scouts selling cookies and decided I could do that too. I made some chocolate chip cookies (with some help) and took them door to door. Over the next couple years I learned that people were more willing to pay for newspapers and yard work! My first “real job” was sweeping the floor of a local mechanic shop.

You served in Anbar Province in Iraq, went to school in Fairbanks, have traveled to Mexico to assist those in poverty and worked to aid people in India. How have your varied life experiences contributed to who you are today? Well, I grew up very poor and always felt pretty hopeless. When I went Mexico in high school, I learned what poverty really meant. I grew compassion for the less fortunate and stopped complaining about how little I had. I saw this again in Iraq. I also had a great mentor in my grandfather that showed me that I could reach any goal I worked toward. That made me relentlessly persistent and garnered respect for people that had tenacity, regardless of where they were at the moment. “Work hard, never quit, and protect those that cannot protect themselves” pretty much sums up who I am.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

Who is your favorite superhero? As a kid, it was He-Man. I think I switched over to Superman at some point.

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Favorite quote:

Morten Kjerland Managing Principal, Waddell & ReeD ANCHORAGE Education: BA, Economics, University of Alaska Anchorage; BBA, Finance and Management, UAA Community work: Volunteer Assistant Coach, UAA Ski Team; Soccer Coach, Gladys Wood; Treasurer, Alyeska Ski Club; Board Member, Alyeska Mighty Mites; Member, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors; Member, Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Family: Son, Bastian, 10; daughter Nikolina, 6 Hometown: Geilo, Norway What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Alyeska Ski Resort on a sunny day in late March. Do I really need to say why? What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Two friends of mine were visiting from Norway and a good friend of mine who is a pilot took us on a trip in his private plane. It was in June and the weather was absolutely amazing. We took off from Anchorage and flew all the way up and around Mt. McKinley. We then landed in Talkeetna for lunch before we flew back to Anchorage. Name the person you most respect and why. I don’t have a single person I respect the most. Sports and athletics have always been a major part of my life and I have a tremendous amount of respect for athletes that not only were really, really good at their sport, but who were able to stay at the top of their game for an extended period of time.

Michael Dinneen Photography/AJOC

What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Without a doubt skiing with my kids and friends. What was your first job? Ever since I was 14 years old I always had temporary jobs in the summer, but my “real” first job was with my current firm, Waddell & Reed, which I joined right after I graduated from UAA in 2000. As a non-English speaker when recruited to the UAA, how did you learn the language while a student-athlete with the ski team and pursuing a double major? Since they start teaching English in school in Norway in third grade, I obtained a basic understanding of the English language at a relatively young age. I also travelled in


“Successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people will not do … repeatedly.”

Europe training and competing in ski races the last few years before I moved to Alaska and that definitely helped my English language skills. However, with that said I don’t believe you fully learn a language until you are exposed to the language 24/7. The first few semesters at UAA were challenging, but with good teammates and understanding professors at UAA it all worked out in the end. How do you manage your work while also traveling extensively as a volunteer coach for your alma mater? One of my mottos has always been to “work hard and play hard.” For me helping the UAA Ski Team out is playtime. I am able to do that as I am fortunate in that I, for the most part, control my own schedule at work. However, my responsibility at work doesn’t stop if I am on a trip with the ski team, nor do I expect anybody else to do my job while I am gone. I try to exercise good time management skills — work ahead before I leave and catch up quickly when I come back. Modern technology is also helping out. For example, I always bring my computer, a small printer, and a scanner with me when I travel and every evening on the road I spend considerable amount of time making sure my job duties and responsibilities are completed in a satisfactory and timely manner. Please describe the shark attack incident in Hawaii? I was in Maui with my two kids this last November and we were sitting on our favorite beach eating lunch. I suddenly noticed a middle aged lady waving and screaming for help just at the outskirts of a rocky area on the left side of the beach. She was also trying to hold her right leg above the water as we could clearly see that her leg was injured. From where she was located, my first thought was that she must have hurt her leg on one of the sharp rocks where she had been snorkeling. Three other men and I ran immediately into the water and started to swim towards the lady to help her. We brought a boogie board with us. It wasn’t until we got close to her and saw the damage to her leg that we realized that she had been attacked by a shark. We laid her down on the boogie board and used the rope from the boogie board to tie a tourniquet around her leg and then we started to swim back to the beach as fast as we possibly could (knowing that there was a shark in the area). When we got closer to the beach we were able to signal to some of the other people on the beach to call 911. An ambulance arrived shortly thereafter. Luckily for the lady she made a full recovery.

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 29


Tamika L. Ledbetter

Employment Service Manager III, Department of Labor and Workforce Development Wasilla Education: BA, History/Political Science, Virginia Union University; M.Ed., Education/Adult Education and Training, University of Phoenix; Doctoral Candidate, Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, University of Phoenix Community work: Mat-Su Housing and Homelessness Coalition; Mat-Su Prisoner Re-entry Taskforce; Mat-Su Economic Development Advisory Committee Workgroup 4A (Expanding Business and Educational Partnerships); and Mat-Su Christian Center, Women’s Discipleship Ministries Family: Husband, Fred D. Ledbetter, Jr., children Fred D. Ledbetter, III, 15, Jordan Ledbetter, 13, Amariah S. Ledbetter, 8; mother, Sharon L. Pearson Hometown: Bronx, New York What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Though Alaska is very beautiful, due to my busy lifestyle, church and community commitments; my favorite place is being at home with my husband and children. We LOVE sharing our precious moments together!

Favorite quote:

“Good is no longer good once greatness shows up...”

Name the person you most respect and why. Fred D. Ledbetter Jr., my wonderful husband and partner in this blessed life we have. Over the last 16 years, I have been married to the most amazing MAN. Fred is not only a wonderful provider, a great father to our children; he truly is my best friend and greatest supporter. I respect him because he exhibits godly character and faithfully walks in integrity. He would never ask anyone to do what he him-

What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? My favorite pastime is reading…I love a great book! My favorite hobby away from work is traveling out of state for a “shopping spree” at least one time a year with family. What was your first job? Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers Please describe the key to the turnaround in performance at the Mat-Su Job Center. The key: I have a very relational, yet direct, management style that allows for honest interaction and positive engagement. Treating all people with dignity and respect is a personal core value; therefore with my team I was able to quickly gain their trust and respect by imploring compassion, not intimidation. Ultimately, my staff understands I am committed to their professional success and will do all I can to help them promote into higher level positions. Creating that professional environment where feedback is encouraged allowed me to challenge the staff to work to their greatest potential and render their best efforts. Also, promoting an atmosphere of friendly competition where staff actually enjoys coming to work helped to build higher performance and greater productivity. How has your faith inspired you not only in your professional performance but in your community service as well? My faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation of who I am and all that I am able to accomplish in my personal, professional and community life. This faith helps me to understand that I am simply an imperfect person whose broken life has been completely changed and reshaped by the Hands of an ALL PERFCT God. With the realization of this great grace He has bestowed upon me, I feel privileged to honor Him with my entire life and “called” to serve others by helping to make their lives better.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

What is your most memorable Alaska experience? My most memorable time is when we took a family road trip to Homer during a beautiful summer weekend. We packed lunches, sang songs and enjoyed the majestic scenery (stopping in towns like Girdwood and Soldotna, along the way).

self is not willing to do. More importantly, he is strong enough in his own manhood to allow me to be my most authentic self. Due to Fred’s own myriad of professional and personal accomplishments, he understands how important setting, meeting and exceeding goals are. Therefore, Fred is not intimidated by my successes; yet encourages and motivates me to always press forward to the next level, then celebrates me once the achievement is gained.

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Favorite quote: “To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Carrie J. Lindow


— Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Education: Proud 1996 Service High graduate; BS, Kinesiology, University of New Hampshire; MBA, 2004, University of Alaska Anchorage; MS, Project Management, 2010, UAA

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

Community work: YWCA Board President; YWCA Women of Achievement Board Chair 2012 & 2013; UAA Alumni Gala Committee member 2014 Family: Husband Brock Lindow; daughter, Will (nickname Willabean); Pups, Boxer Nikademus “Nik” or “Stinkademus;” Westie, Eruzione or “Ruzzo” Hometown: Anchorage

President, ChemTrack Alaska, Inc. anchorage

What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? I love the community feeling in Girdwood. I love being able to walk to Moose Meadow and the slopes; to go for a bike ride, run, and kick sled or cross-country ski. I appreciate it that my neighbors there feel free to stop by and just visit, that dinners aren’t scheduled, they just happen, that the kids play outside all day and that adults don’t mind curling up in sleeping bags on the floor. It’s a great vibe that keeps my family and me at our roots. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Fishing at the mouth of the New Halen and having a young bear come down the ridge and continue to steal fish off of our catchline as if he were part of a circus act that we weren’t privy to. Name the person you most respect and why. Two people: Sig and Gayl Jokiel. Any one that knows Sig knows why I respect him so much. I respect Gayl because of her quiet inner strength and unfailing support of her family. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Traveling on ski trips to far off places with friends and family. What was your first job? Interning for Dick Ebersol with NBC Sports in New York. Who is your favorite superhero? I think it’s disappointing that there aren’t more female super heroes. To steal the title from Noah Berlatsky’s Dec. 5 article in The Atlantic Magazine — “Wonder Woman Shouldn’t Be a Sidekick.” What was it like taking over ChemTrack after your father’s injury in 2012 and how have you grown the business since then? The first summer was a very challenging period because he wasn’t easily accessible to us to talk to, bounce ideas off of or double check a takeoff. My other partner and entire office rallied around the challenge and we all grew as people and professionals. For me, it was a safety net being taken away, and though scary, a silver lining is that I came out of that season with a new sense of confidence as a business owner. I have set a stage for our company to grow by diligently looking at the different markets, diversifying our clients and going after and being awarded contracts that will allow us to forecast for more than one season. What has been your proudest moment in growing women’s hockey locally since being part of the first team in Anchorage? I am so proud of my previous teammates Pam Dreyer and Kerry Weiland who both played for the U.S. National Team and competed at the Turin and Vancouver Olympics, respectively. I’m proud of the Anchorage U-14 All Stars and Fairbanks Icebreakers that won Nationals the last two years. I’m enjoying Wednesday nights, skating with girls (now women) that I used to coach, reconnecting and telling stories now that they are old enough to hear it from “the other side of the bench.” My most proud moment, though, is watching my four-year old daughter cruise around Westchester with my college number on her back. I can’t wait to see all the places she will go.

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 31

Congratulations, Jon from your friends and colleagues at Stoel Rives

vorite Some of your fa

Jon Iversen litigation partner community advocate

Stoel Rives salutes the hard work and community spirit of all the Top 40 Under 40 honorees.

(907) 227-1900 Alaska


ns arty congratulatio chorage sends he An ka as Al 14 of 20 g ity r earnin The Univers ts and alumni fo UAA staff, studen g in w llo fo these recipients e ll th ca to is proud to A UA . rs no ho ” r 40 cap for this “Top Forty Unde special tip of the a s nd se d an A family a part of the UA the community. are receiving in ey th on iti gn co impressive re IER AMANDA METIV Care in or, Facing Foster tor, Executive Direct di or ucation Co na Alaska; Youth Ed emy ad Ac re fa el W UAA Child l Work ’08, Bachelor of Socia ork ’12 lW cia So Master of


Idaho Minnesota Oregon and Washington, D.C.


Alaskans are S


ficer, Development Of ement iversity Advanc Un of e fic Of A UA ’13 n tio ra Administ Master of Public


Congratulations to the following UAA alumni and students Kyle Aramburo (coursework toward degree), 32, Anchorage Owner, Hybrid Color Films

Cynthia Berns (B.A. Psychology ’03), 32, Anchorage Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Old Harbor Native Corp.

Jon Bittner (B.S. Geological Sciences ’08), 35, Anchorage Vice President, Anchorage Economic Development Corp.

Leah Boltz (B.S. Geological Sciences ’08), 34, Anchorage Marketing and Business Development Director, Bettisworth North Morten Kjerland (B.A. Economics ’00, B.B.A. Management ’00), 39, Anchorage Managing Principal, Waddell & Reed Carrie Lindow (M.B.A. ’05, M.S. Project Management ’10), 35, Anchorage Owner/Project Manager, ChemTrack Inc.

Ann Potempa (B.S.W. ’09, M.S.W. ’12), 38, Anchorage






Public Health Communications Specialist, Alaska Department of Health and Social Service



Carrie J. Lindow

Lance Pruitt (B.A. History ’03), 32, Anchorage House Majority Leader, Alaska Legislature Ghazal Ringler (B.S. Biological Sciences ’01), 39, Anchorage Dental Director, Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center Viola Stepetin (A.A.S. Welding Technology ’04, B.S. Technology ’05, M.S. Science Management ’08), 39, Anchorage Contract Specialist, Department of Defense, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Chad Steadman (M.B.A. candidate), 38, Anchorage Vice President, Commercial Lending, First National Bank Alaska

on your Top Forty Under 40 award! Your dedication to ChemTrack’s success and your community involvement are very much appreciated and inspiring.

(907) 349-2511 •

UAA is an EEO/AA employer and educational institution.

PAGE 32 | 2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40®

Amanda Metivier


Executive Director, Facing Foster Care in Alaska; Youth Education Coordinator, Child Welfare Academy, University of Alaska Anchorage ANCHORAGE Education: Bachelor’s degree, Social Work, 2008,UAA; Master’s degree, Social Work, 2012, UAA Community work: Foster Parent 2008-12; Planner/Facilitator, Youth Policy Summit (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013); Board Member, Friends of Alaska CASA (October 2008-November 2012) Family: Husband, Anthony Hernandez; dogs, Bella and Cooper; cats, Felix and Pita Hometown: I grew up in Anchorage, I was born in Arizona What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? I’m fortunate to be able to travel the state for my work, but my favorite place in Alaska is the Coastal Trail in Anchorage. I love the water, the view, and our beautiful city.

Favorite quote:

“For those who say it cannot be done, get out of the way of those who are doing it.” — I heard this one year at the CASA Conference in Denver.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

What is your most memorable Alaska experience? My wedding, last June 15, in Homer at the Seaside Lodge. It was beautiful; the weather was great, and we were surrounded by friends and family from all over. Name the person you most respect and why. I have a lot of respect for Rep. Les Gara. He’s been a strong advocate for foster care reform in our state. He has been a great role model and mentor to me and other foster youth throughout Alaska because he shares his personal experiences about life in foster care and pushes for change. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? One of my favorite pastimes would have to be 4 wheeling with my good friend Becca in Kotzebue. What was your first job? Cashier/Hostess/Waitress at Momma O’s Seafood Who is your favorite superhero? Wonder Woman Please describe how helping foster youth became such a passion for you. I became passionate about helping foster youth when I was a foster youth myself. I know the hardships foster youth in our state face, and

what the community can do to help. I’ve seen so many of my peers face terrible adversity, and I want to continue to see that change. We have the resources, and ability to ensure every youth in our state is rewarded with a loving permanent family, we just need to work harder to ensure this happens for all foster youth. What has been your most rewarding experience or accomplishment while serving foster youth in Alaska? One of my most rewarding experiences of working with foster youth in Alaska is being able to offer them opportunities to realize their full potential and the importance of the power of their voice. Last year, FFCA took a group of youth to the State Capital in Juneau. It was humbling to see the excitement of youth to share their experiences with lawmakers and know that that had an opportunity to impact change for others.

Favorite quote: Sheila Selkregg, Ph.D. concluded one of her first semesters teaching public administration at UAA by sharing the following quote by the cultural anthropologist, Margaret Mead, Ph.D.: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 33


Education: BA, Political Science, 2001, University of Colorado Boulder; University of Tulsa College of Law; Leadership Anchorage, 2008, Alaska Humanities Forum; Certified Fundraising Executive, 2013, C.F.R.E. International; MPA, Policy Analysis and Public Management, 2013, University of Alaska Anchorage Community work: Presently: Arctic Valley Ski Area, Ski Patroler; Association of Fundraising Professionals, Alaska Chapter, Board Member; Denali Ski Patrol, Trustee; Fairview Community Council, Executive Board Member; and Federation of Community Councils, Delegate. Formerly: Anchorage Ski Club, Board Member; Big Brothers and Big Sisters of AK, Big; Habitat for Humanity Anchorage, Board Member; et al. Family: Wife, Leslie agreed to let me tag along; dog, Shuksan, and two chickens. Hometown: Aiken, S.C.; Jefferson City, Mo.; Rochester, NY; Wynne, Ark.; Ponchatoula, La.; Boulder, Co.; Tulsa, Okla. What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Arctic Valley chair two at triple towers offers a view, on a clear day, from Iliamna to Denali. Below, Anchorage still seems to be just barely emerging from the dense mass of trees. To my left, I reliably find a skier being a little cagey about where he accumulated the evident knee-deep powder, but we share anticipation of another run with first tracks somewhere off the high traverse.

Name the person you most respect and why. Leslie has bravely faced and is overcoming significant adversity. She is the sharpest, cheeriest, loveliest and most loveable person I’ve ever

Development Officer, University of Alaska Anchorage ANCHORAGE known. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be in partnership with my best friend. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Improving and using my 1987 VW Syncro, a four-wheel drive Vanagon with a locking rear differential, a granny gear and safari sunroof. It is quite possibly the perfect weekend-mobile for a base camp at Teklanika River, catching some Z’s in the long-term parking at the Russian River without a reservation, or watching the northern lights through the open top with a group of friends while cranking the heat and some Pink Floyd. What was your first job? Pulling weeds and picking pinecones for $1 per five gallon bucket. Who is your favorite superhero? I don’t know much about superheroes, but Carol Comeau must have some sort of superpowers. She lead and steadily improved the Anchorage School District for two decades, under tremendous odds at times. Her legacy as a practicing communitarian who firmly believes in investing in young people is aspirational. What led you to shift from a path toward a law degree to one focused on philanthropy? I realized that I wanted to help people. Not to bash attorneys, I know and respect more than my share and almost all of them want to help people. It was Krista Scully, my first boss in Alaska (and later my dear friend and mentor), who helped me realize my passion was best suited in social entrepreneurship and connecting good people to accomplish great things. What was your greatest challenge in learning the field of fundraising? Forgoing the six-figure salary that I could earn doing very similar work in the private sector causes a bit of indigestion. Still, I sleep well because the field of fundraising is invigorating. I help good people when they are acting at their best by facilitating their discovery, involvement and investments in their own personal passions. And it is getting better all the time because I surround myself with donors, colleagues and mentors who are advancing a culture of collaborative, ethical and professional philanthropy.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

What is your most memorable Alaska experience? On my 30th birthday, my best friend and I shared the McNeil River Game Sanctuary and Refuge with the largest concentration of brown bears in the world. We were on a first name basis with dozens of incredible and individual bears, distinguishing their fishing techniques and complex interactions. And the fuzzy cubs would purr joyfully while they suckled.

Harry W. Need IV

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2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 35 Favorite quote:

“Everything happens for a reason.”


Katie Pesznecker

Stakeholder Relations Manager, Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. Anchorage

Education: BA, English, Oregon State University Community work: Food Bank of Alaska board member; Anchorage Schools Foundation board member; American Lung Association Leadership Advisory Council member; Alaska Teen Media Institute Advisory Council member. Former president and vice president, Alaska Press Club. Family: Mom, Susan; father, Ralph; stepmom, Karen; siblings, Scott, Erin and Zach Hometown: Milwaukie, Ore. What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? I love Valdez. People there work hard, play hard, and appreciate what Alaska has to offer. Its beauty is incomparable. You can wander the docks, eat fresh seafood, and interact with some of the most authentic, interesting characters you’ll ever meet. While no place is prettier on a sunny day, there’s something about Valdez during the grips of noholes-barred storm. The severity and largeness of Valdez weather is pretty humbling. I’m lucky that my job takes me to Valdez often. I have many good friends there and it’s become a home away from home

Name the person you most respect and why. Berniece Siewert, my grandma. She lived by her own rules. She had a deep and lasting impact on those around her and brought fire, fun and strength to everything she did. I’m continually inspired by her relentless drive, her fearlessness, and her joyous refusal to be conventional. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Traveling is my favorite way to spend time. I believe we have an obligation to see and understand the world as much as possible. A recent highlight was Iceland, which

What was your first job? I mixed milkshakes and flipped burgers at Mike’s Drive-In, in Milwaukie, Ore. It’s a tiny diner where you worked long hours on your feet, and left smelling like grease and melted ice cream. It was character building, and I loved it. I still stop in to say hi to my former boss when I pass through. Who is your favorite superhero? I’m going with Phoenix, aka Dr. Jean Grey. I googled “top superheroes” (being behind on the topic), and learned she “has trouble keeping her nearly unlimited mental powers in check.” Who doesn’t aspire to nearly unlimited mental powers? Bonus: she can telepathically communicate with animals. What are the differences between internal and external communications, between communicating with the public and with employees? What are the common principles to each? At Alyeska, we describe our internal and external communications with two words: “no surprises.” Your audiences — internal and external — should hear your news from you first, whether it’s about an unfolding crisis or something worth celebrating. “No surprises” requires being nimble and transparent. If done right, it builds trust among your audiences. One difference between internal and external communications is that your internal audience is easily defined. Externally, it can be more challenging to connect with new groups, and sometimes means trying new tactics. Has your current job allowed you to become more involved in the nonprofit sector than you were able while working as a journalist? Both of my careers allowed a different kind of nearness to nonprofits. As a journalist, it was mostly observatory, where I could write articles that raised awareness in the community. Leaving journalism, I felt freer to volunteer for and align myself with different groups – from serving on boards to supporting fundraisers and events. Doing this, I feel like I’ve reconnected with an essential part of myself. Growing up, Mom raised us to be good neighbors and citizens. This meant being a good neighbor, an informed voter, and also giving back to our communities in whatever way we could.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

What is your most memorable Alaska experience? In winter 2008, I joined two colleagues and drove the Dalton Highway – or Haul Road – from Fairbanks north to Pump Station 1 in Deadhorse, stopping at pump stations along the way. I gained respect for our employees’ work in the field, understanding for the isolation of winter and darkness, and admiration for the unique and austere beauty of places like Atigun Pass and northern tundra. We’re a unique state in that so much of our economy is rooted in a place most Alaskans never see, and I will certainly never forget coming upon the North Slope for the first time, amazed by its expanse, all the facilities glowing off in the distance of the dark winter horizon, the gas flares burning like something off a science fiction movie. It made quite the first impression.

included driving through the remote and breathtaking West Fjords. There are also old favorite places I return to annually. I visit Oregon often because of my family and roots there, and also go to the Salmon River in Idaho every year for whitewater rafting.

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Ann Potempa


Public health communications specialist, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Anchorage Education: Bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology, 1997, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Master of Public Health, 2009, University of Alaska Anchorage Community work: Master of Public Health Alumni Association; former board member of Tanaina Child Development Center Family: Husband, Marc Lester; sons Dane and Quinn Hometown: Oshkosh, Wis. What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? I love Halibut Cove. The pier near the public use cabins gives you a beautiful view of the water and sea otters. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? My two sons were born here, seven and four years ago.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

Name the person you most respect and why. I respect Paul Farmer, the physician who helped found Partners in Health. He is featured in the book “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Tracy Kidder. Mr. Farmer, an American doctor, could practice medicine anywhere, but he has chosen to focus his work on improving health care for impoverished people living in Haiti, Rwanda and other countries. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I love to read and play piano. What was your first job? My first job was reporting for The Daily Herald in Provo, Utah. I couldn’t have been more excited to find a job in my profession right out of college. I skipped walking in my graduation ceremony and drove across country by myself to start my career in communications. It was the first job that allowed me to explore health writing, when I traveled to Guatemala to cover medical charity work in impoverished communities. Who is your favorite superhero? I’m not a big fan of superhero stories, but if I had to pick one, it would be Elastigirl from the movie

Favorite quote:

“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that’s wrong with the world.” — Paul Farmer

“The Incredibles.” A Pixar fan website defines her as the “ultimate supermom” — which moms know doesn’t really exist. The online definition of Elastigirl continues: she’s “quick-witted, resourceful, talented, passionate, driven, and supportive. Throughout the story, she is the only unwavering character, always sure of herself and always caring for those around her.” I’d say those are character qualities worth striving to achieve. Alaska has a great deal of health challenges, how are you attempting to change this through Play Every Day? Obesity is the predominant public health threat facing this generation. It is critical that we all work together to raise awareness about the health concerns linked to childhood obesity and inspire families to be physically active and choose nutritional foods for the best health. The Health Department provides services that have been shown to be effective at preventing and reducing obesity, and increasing physical activity. One of these strategies is a public education campaign. Alaska has a campaign that partners with a program that provides an easy, free, fun way for Alaska children to be physically active. I helped start Alaska’s Play Every Day campaign in 2012. Our successful partner, the Healthy Futures program, has grown from 36 elementary schools supporting physical activity challenges to 168 schools in just three years. It’s been a privilege to help oversee the Play Every Day campaign for Alaska. How has your background in journalism helped influenced your career today? I spent most of my reporting career as a feature writer. I was the health reporter at the Anchorage Daily News between 2000 and 2007, writing many health feature articles during that time. The best feature writing requires spending time talking with people, sometimes a lot of time, to listen to their story and write it for others to read. Real stories matter. They are powerful. Even when you don’t set out to write something that teaches, it often ends up doing that anyway. I have found that telling real stories is one of the best ways to communicate in public health as well. I try to tell those stories through Play Every Day.

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 37


Lance Pruitt

House Majority Leader, Alaska House of Representatives Anchorage Education: BA, History, University of Alaska Anchorage; MBA, Kaplan University

What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Skiing, camping, basketball.

Community work: Youth Soccer Coach; Executive Board, Scenic Foothills Community Council; Federation of Community Councils; School Budget Advisory Commission

What was your first job? Anchorage Daily News paperboy

Family: Wife, Mary Ann; sons, Jacob and Bryce Hometown: Anchorage What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? When you live in a state like Alaska, how are you supposed to find one favorite place? Whether it is camping in Denali, skiing at Alyeska, or visiting the Shrine of St. Therese in Juneau, I enjoy the outdoors. As someone that travels for my job a fair amount, I would probably have to say home though because that is where I find my family.

Favorite quote:

What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Getting married at Muldoon Community Assembly, the birth of my sons at Providence Hospital in Anchorage, and my swearing in for the first time at the Alaska State Capital in Juneau. Name the person you most respect and why. I will mention two: both of my grandfathers. They are both hard working, well respected and incredible examples for everyone that has had the chance to know them.

What led you to enter public service after building a successful career in the private sector? When my boys were born, I started thinking about their future and what would be available to them. I decided that instead of just thinking about it and looking from the outside, I would instead take an active role in setting the stage for a prosperous future not only for them, but for all the kids growing up in Alaska. It started out just volunteering to serve in my community council and grew from there. What were your initial impressions once you got to Juneau to serve, and how have you earned your colleagues’ respect so quickly to become majority leader? Prior to being sworn in, I had only been in the capitol during session briefly over a couple of days the year prior. I had no expectations, and had the impression that Juneau and D.C. operated like one in the same. What I found is that while we have our differences, there is a collegiality and willingness to work together that I don’t think exists in D.C. Maybe it was that initial naivety, my professional experience as a manager of people with diverse backgrounds, or the fact I cannot sit still that led my colleagues to select me as Majority Leader. Not quite sure, but it is a great group of people I get to work with in Juneau and an incredible honor to represent them as Majority Leader.

Michael Penn /Juneau Empire

“Alaska will have ups and down, but we’ll make it.” Taken from a picture in the Egan Library at University of Alaska Southeast of the Lions float in the 1959 July 4 parade, the first in Juneau after statehood.

Who is your favorite superhero? Batman, it is all about the car.

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Brenda Riley

Favorite quote:


“I wonder what would happen if….”

Executive Director, Fairbanks Children’s Museum Fairbanks Education: Bachelor’s degree, Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks

What was your first job? My first taxable income was working for a school supply store.

Community work: Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce Education Committee; Association of the United States Army-Polar Chapter Board Member; University of Alaska Alumni Association-Fairbanks Chapter Board Member; KUAC Public Radio; Rotary Club of Fairbanks; Fairbanks Families Partnership

Who is your favorite superhero? I had to research this for the purposes of this survey and decided on Ironman, because his character was based on Howard Hughes.

Family: Husband, Matt; children Tony, Jacob and Saffron; parents, Roger and Barbara Sperl Hometown: Born in Ketchikan and moved from Craig to Skagway to Tok to Fairbanks throughout my childhood. What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Anyplace where I am in a boat on the water. I could be in a canoe on the Chena River or on an Alaska Marine Highway System ferry in the Inside Passage, and I would be happy with soaking in the amazing views of Alaska. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? The summer I took an archaeological field school course was unforgettable. The first few weeks were spent excavating in Eagle, then an incredible helicopter trip (my first) over the gorgeous country of eastern Alaska delivered our group to a remote historic site on the North Fork of the 40-Mile River where, one night, I was woken up by the sounds of a caribou herd weaving their way through our tents. It was truly a special summer.

Todd Paris / Paris Photography

— curious explorers, mostly children but also wondering adults.

Name the person you most respect and why. My mother will always hold this spot. I have watched her raise a family, open a daycare center, graduate from UAF when I was in high school, begin a teaching career, earn a master’s degree, continue teaching, obtain her Administrative Certificate and ultimately become the principal of a local elementary school. Her perseverance and hard work, along with her stellar reputation, is my strongest motivator to be the absolute best community member, employee and employer that I can be. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? At home, I love to read and often have a stack of books that I alternate between (this may suggest a short attention span). Outside of the house and especially when I travel, I love to go to museums. Any kind will do, but the random and obscure ones are my favorite ones to explore.

What was your inspiration to found the Fairbanks Children’s Museum, and what challenges did you overcome to make it a success? My children were my initial inspiration to create the museum. I wanted to pass my love for museums on to them and a children’s museum is a great “gateway” museum. I knew that Fairbanks both needed and was capable of sustaining the sorts of hands-on museums that other communities had to offer. The challenge was the sheer immensity of the project. Building a non-profit company from the ground up was, and still is, an incredibly complicated process. All new nonprofits, particularly in Alaska where there are so many, have to prove the power and sustainability of both their mission and leadership to prospective donors and supporters. That realization was a strong motivator for myself, my board of directors and my staff to first develop a strong traveling program and then to build a powerful, daily presence for the museum in our temporary location at the University of Alaska that partners can be proud to support and participate in. Please describe the Museum Without Walls project, and what it was like sharing it around Interior communities. The very first Fairbanks Children’s Museum event was a Summer Carnival (with borrowed and homemade activities) held in 2011. The response from the nearly 400 attendees was so terrific that we knew we had to create a program to offer families a children’s museum experience before we even had a building. With a grant from our first major donor, the Langston Family Foundation, the Museum Without Walls program was developed to give the community a taste of what a children’s museum could offer, while promoting and marketing our cause. Exhibits and activity stations were designed to be portable, engaging and inspiring to families (our mission is to inspire and connect families through discovery and the power of play). Every month for over two years, volunteers with the program and myself loaded a rented 17-foot moving truck (even in subzero temperatures) and set up in a different location, such as schools, car dealerships or other large venues, and even took a road trip to Tok and Ft. Greely. At every event, the excitement on the faces of the children and the happy sounds of families enjoying time together was renewed affirmation that the Fairbanks Children’s Museum in a permanent location would be a welcome addition to Interior communities.

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 39


DR. Ghazal Ringler

Dental Director, Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center Anchorage Education: BS, Biology, University of Alaska Anchorage; Doctor of Dental Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University. Community work: Serving breakfast at Bean’s café; Project Homeless Connect; School-based Sealant Program; East Meets West Dental Outreach; Meals on Wheels; Providence Children’s Hospital; Give Kids a Smile Family: Husband, Chad Hometown: Tehran, Iran What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Anchorage, because it is home! What is your most memorable Alaska experience? My first canoe outing with my husband (then boyfriend) on Fire Lake. I thought I was going to fall in the water at any given moment and drown. What else would you expect from a city girl?

Favorite quote:

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” — John Lennon

What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Biking. I can listen to my music and bike forever.

Who is your favorite superhero? Tintin, the antithesis of a superhero! What was your biggest challenge in life and how have you overcome it? The hardest thing that I have ever done was to leave my parents behind and escape to the United States in pursuit of higher education. Being raised a Bahai’, I was not allowed to further my education after graduating from high school in Iran. Arriving in Anchorage in 1995, I worked three jobs while learning English (from soap operas I must add), so that I could attend the University of Alaska Anchorage. Please describe how you got involved serving rural Alaska, and how that has influenced your practice today? Alaska is a state that I love and call home. I felt that coming back to serve its people would be a great way to give back, serve the underserved, and to start my career. The village of Bethel was home for the first four years following graduation from dental school. These were wonderful years that taught me patience, understanding, and respect, all of which have shaped the way that I practice dentistry today.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

Name the person you most respect and why. It is hard to name a single person since so many great people have touched my life, but I have to say my husband Chad. He makes me a better person.

What was your first job? Secretary for Siemens. I worked with this amazing German gentleman that had more patience than anyone I have known, putting up with all of my mistakes and teaching me that anything is possible.

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Jeffrey Roberts Lead Engineer, Alaska Aerospace Corp. PALMER Education: BS, Aerospace Engineering, 2000, United States Military Academy at West Point Community work: Catechesis at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Palmer Family: Wife: Janelle; daughters, Jordyn, 10, Mckenzie, 8; sons, Travis, 5, Jaxson, 5; New baby boy due in June! Hometown: Born in San Antonio. Grew up in Rockville, Md. What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Nancy Lake because it is hot in the summer, snowy in the winter, and it is a fun and relaxing place to spend with my family. Favorite quote: “My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere of heart and steadfast, and do not be impetuous in time of adversity. Cling to him, do not leave him, that you may prosper in your last days. Accept whatever happens to you; in periods of humiliation be patient. For in fire gold is tested, and the chosen, in the crucible of humiliation.” — Sirach 2:1-5

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Returning home to Alaska in July of 2004 after 10 months in Afghanistan to see my wife of 13 months and meet my fivemonth old daughter for the first time. Name the person you most respect and why. George Washington for many reasons, to include leading the Continental Army under extremely difficult conditions, winning the War of Independence, leading our country through its first eight years, and voluntarily relinquishing power. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Spending time with my family, playing sports, and reading military history and science fiction. What was your first job? I led 40 paratroopers as an Airborne Infantry Rife Platoon Leader, B Company, 1-501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, Fort Richardson. Geronimo!

36 Who is your favorite superhero? The American Soldier; who endures hardships and sacrifice to protect our country and our way of life. As an engineer, please describe the unique aspects of your role working with both unmanned aerial vehicles and the Kodiak Launch Complex compared to other projects. I have a great job; I get to launch satellites into orbit from Kodiak! I get to do fun stuff like trajectory analysis, orbital mechanics, launch vehicle design review, and telemetry decommutation. I am also part of the Program Management team with a roll in performing planning, concept of operations development, and launch operations in Kodiak. I also do less fun, but still important, functions such as budget control and government regulations compliance. Alaska Aerospace has recently partnered with the University of Alaska Fairbanks to set up and operate unmanned aircraft test sites as part of the Pan Pacific UAS Test Range Complex. We hope to bring aerospace companies that manufacture and fly UAS to Alaska where they can demonstrate compliance with safety and privacy requirements. What was the experience like deploying to Mongolia with the Alaska Army National Guard? Mongolia is the nation that is partnered with Alaska under the National Guard State Partnership Program. Participating in the Multi National Peacekeeping Operation Khan Quest 2012 outside of the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar was a unique and enriching experience. I had the opportunity to work with military officers from seventeen countries as we planned humanitarian and peacekeeping operations in a notional country. Then we exercised the plan with roll players representing city leadership, non-governmental organizations, and the media. This valuable training increases the ability of the Alaska Guard to respond to natural disasters at home and abroad.

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 41 Favorite quote:

“I am the infinite. The infinite Within.” – Hanuman


Assistant Professor and Director of Film Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks

Education: BA, Photography/Media Arts, University of New Mexico; MA, Anthropology (Film Thesis Project), UAF Community work: Fox Lions Club volunteer; Founder of UAF Community Yoga Club Family: Husband/partner for 20 years, Da-ka-xeen Mehner; son, Keet Mehner, 5 Hometown: Santa Fe, N.M. Current city: Fairbanks What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Haines is probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I first traveled there to attend a koo’eex (potlatch) for my husband’s family. It is a powerful place with powerful experiences. I feel the same about Tikigaq (Point Hope) where I spent time with my sisterin-law while working on a film. Kagaruk (whale feast) in the summer and the Christmas week are amazing times in that community that I was fortunate to be a part of. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? (See above). Alaska has been a place of “firsts” — from dip netting to skijouring, blueberry picking and sea kayaking. I have been present at cultural traditions that are so moving and transforming that they have redefined what Alaska is for me. I feel that Alaska has taught me how to weave community with nature in a way that was lacking in my life outside.

What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Yoga. I’m hooked. What was your first job? Picking up nails in the parking lot of my Dad’s shop for a penny each.

Who is your favorite superhero? Wonder Woman sits on my desk, but I relate to Elastigirl. She’s a super flexible working mother with an Incredible husband, and hips! Please describe the challenges of starting a film degree program in Alaska, and how the industry is growing in the state? When the Alaska State Film Office was reestablished in 2008, it set off a chain reaction of expansion of the film industry within the state. It aligned the film tax incentives with local hire, and put pressure on any producer to find more Alaskans to work within the state on these film productions. That led directly to the University stepping up to meet the educational needs for the industry. It’s often felt like a highly orchestrated dance between the state government, the university system, private industry, and the interests and needs of the students themselves. Weighing all of these elements and trying to wrap them into a curriculum that will outlast any political agenda or commercial fad while providing a strong education in Alaskan film has been the mission. We have a lot of potential to keep developing, and so far the successes of our alumni and students speak for themselves. What has been the most enjoyable production you’ve worked on, or experience you’ve had working with the film industry? I have had the opportunity to work with so many talented students over the years. One of the best moments was working with my former student, Chinonye Chukwu on her first feature, Alaskaland (2011). It was a total thrill to see her go from a set intern/production assistant (Chronic Town, 2007) to a director running her own crew and mentoring the next generation of UAF students. As an educator first, and film producer/director second, my hope is to continue working with current and former UAF students to realize their film projects. Right now we are gearing up for our second summer of the Film Reel Alaska Mentoring Experience (FRAME) and the script will feature another UAF screenwriter. Part of our mission is to “frame” the people, stories, places, and unique viewpoints of Alaskans by Alaskans. My favorite project is always the project I’m working on “today,” but I’ve seen the work coming out of our talented students, and the best is yet to come.

Todd Paris /Paris Photography

Name the person you most respect and why. Elizabeth Peratovich, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and my parents. I admire these great leaders, and others like them, for their ability to foster a vision, speak from their hearts, and transform social inequities. My parents, Lesley Urquhart and Larry Salganek, I admire for being themselves, and sharing that with me.

Maya Salganek


continued from Page 25

basketball growing up, and then football in high school and college. Playing team sports serves as a great tool for learning how to work with other people, develop trust in others, and lead when given the opportunity to do so. West Point also played a large role. From the first days on campus, we were taught to always be responsible for our actions. We were then given responsibility over younger cadets as we progressed, until we were the leaders for the Corps of Cadets as seniors. Having leadership positions in the Corps, playing Division I football, and routinely having 20+ credit hours a semester taught me how to thrive and excel under stressful conditions. Serving as a leader on the court, field, and at West Point was paramount in developing my own leadership skills, which have been critical through my time in the Army and now with the State of Alaska.

BoostiNg AlAskA’s Bright Future

2014 Top ForTy Under 40

Congratulations, raju. We’re proud of everything you do to help strengthen Alaska nonprofits.

Congratulations Chad Steadman Vice President

Loan Officer GHAZAL RINGLER, DMD, Corporate One of the AlaskaLending Chamber of Commerce’s

Top 40 Under 40 NMLS# 842930

Chad Steadman personifies Alaska’s entrepreneurial spirit. His work and personable touch set a positive example for his fellow First National Bank Alaska employees and each one of his customers. We’re proud to call him a First National Vice President. First National congratulates Chad and each member of the 2014 Top Forty Under 40 class. Collectively, you’re proof Alaska’s future is bright.


GHAZAL RINGLER, DMD, One of the Alaska Journal of Commerce’s Top 40 Under 40 Everyone at Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center wants to congratulate our Dental Director Dr. Ghazal Ringler, DMD on this honor and her many achievements and her dedication to her patients and her community.


First National Bank Alaska is an equal opportunity employer.


Dr. Ringler Volunteering in Vietnam

Favorite quotes:

“Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” — Confucius

“Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” — Thomas Edison Education: BA, Accounting and Business Administration, minors in Marketing and E-Commerce Community work: Board of directors for Volunteers of America, Alaska. I am fortunate enough that my job allows me to work with different community builders every day. Family: Wife, Joy; children, Paige, 6, Brooklyn, 4, Dominic, 1 Hometown: Los Angeles

What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? In my opinion, Wrangell is one of the most beautiful and quaint towns Alaska has to offer. It has amazing crab, picture perfect views and a ton of character. I love its natural beauty and old town feel.

Name the person you most respect and why. My wife, Joy! She represents everything I could ask for in life. She is an amazing parent, hard worker, never gets too high or low and overall is the best friend a person could ask for. She is the complimentary force in my life.


Raju Shankar

Chief Financial Officer and Director of Shared Financial Services, The Foraker GrouP ANCHORAGE What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Playing basketball. It’s a sport that forces you to think quickly on your feet, be creative with your movement and assume your role on a team. Not to mention the added bonus of exercise. What was your first job? Usher at a movie theater in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Who is your favorite superhero? Batman. Business by day, crime fighter at night. You became a chief financial officer at a very young age of 26; what has been the difference between your work in the private and nonprofit sector, and what appealed to you about working with the Foraker Group? I was fortunate to be given an opportunity by The Foraker Group to become their CFO at a young age. They instilled a confidence in my work that I didn’t know existed. I knew they were rolling the dice with a young professional and I was determined to make sure they made the right choice. The biggest difference in profit vs. nonprofit is the change in mindset. My work in the private sector focused on margins and the bottom line. These are still important factors in the nonprofit sector but the values are more geared towards the immeasurable like impact, mission and community development. My success is not determined by how much the company makes but towards how many organizations we have influenced in a positive manner. The appeal of The Foraker Group is the staff. The Foraker staff is the best in the business. They are innovative, inspirational and compassionate. I knew that I needed to work at a place where The staff was my family. As the founder of the Anchorage Athletic Club, what advice would you offer to other entrepreneurs seeking to start their own business? I was fortunate to have good partners and a strong foundation for a business model. My advice to other entrepreneurs seeking to start their own business is to start slow, choose wisely and anticipate the unexpected.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

What is your most memorable Alaska experience? My first job as a traveling auditor was to Chevak. I had only been in Alaska for three weeks and my new employer sent me out to audit the school district located in Chevak. I was new to the professional world and was instructed to wear business casual clothes. Not having a clear definition of “business casual,” I wore kakis, a nice button down dress shirt and dress shoes. When we landed, it was pouring rain and we were picked up on a 4-wheeler. I am pretty confident the 4-wheeler didn’t have mud flaps. Needless to say, I quickly learned what “business casual” meant in Alaska.

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Chad Steadman


Commercial Lender, Vice President First National Bank Alaska ANCHORAGE Education: BS, Finance, Utah State University; diploma, Graduate School of Banking, LSU; enrolled in MBA at University of Alaska Anchorage Community work: YMCA-Youth basketball coach; Youth soccer coach; Steven’s Center board member- serving individuals with developmental disabilities; Boy Scout of America Assistant Scoutmaster Family: Wife, Rebecca, 14 years; children, Tayler, 12, Brayleigh, 10, Avery, 5, Soren 3, Cole, 1, a Yorkipoo, Oreo. Toughest one is the dog. Hometown: Born in Glendive Mont., moved to Soldotna in third grade What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? I love fishing on the Kenai River. Nothing beats the excitement of everyone coming to town and fighting with the tourists to catch your fish. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? I was here when Mount Redoubt erupted, been lost on countless hikes, collected otoliths from sockeye for a biologist as a summer job, still cold from winter camping trips and have had stand offs with moose. But the best was halibut fishing in Ninilchik and suddenly a whale approximately 100 yards away jumps completely out of the water. After thinking I would never see anything like that again the whale jumps five more times out of the water and I feel like I’m watching the Prudential commercial live. Favorite quote: “That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.”

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

— Ralph Waldo Emerson. This quote often reminds me that we are the variable and have the ability to conquer anything if we are persistent enough.

Name the person you most respect and why. My two big brothers, Jason and Reid. I always respected and looked up to them and they inspired me in such different ways to be a better person and go after what I want in life. Both have achieved greatness in their careers and most importantly in their personal lives. I look at what I have achieved and the leaps of faith I have taken in my life and I never would have done them if my brothers had not blazed the trail first for me. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I love playing and coaching sports! Nothing beats coaching when your daughters are both on the team and watching them succeed and grow on the basketball court. What was your first job? Newspaper boy for the Anchorage Times. It’s way too cold for newspaper boys in Alaska.

Who is your favorite superhero? Moon Knight — After a lifetime of bad decisions he turns his life around and starts fighting the bad guy instead of being the bad guy. Plus who doesn’t love a story of a millionaire who fights crime and while doing it in mask and tights. What is the key to balancing a full professional life along with a family that includes five children? Enjoy the chaos! Make time for your wife and take a few minutes individually with each child every day. Be focused on where you are, not where you are going and don’t worry about how much needs to get done all the time. Your education took you from Idaho to Utah to Louisiana to North Carolina. What did you enjoy about those experiences and did any of those places ever have a chance of drawing you away from your home state? I even spent two years in New Zealand. What I learned about the places I have lived is that each place has amazing sites to see and people to visit. My wife is from North Carolina and I fell in love with the Tar Heel state. What drew us back to Alaska was the opportunities for me and education for our children. My wife and children have learned to love Alaska for what it offers and I have fallen in love with it all over again.

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Favorite quote:

“Live long and prosper.”

Contract Specialist, Copper Cap Management Training program, Joint Base Elmendorf-RichardsoN ANCHORAGE

Education: AAS, Welding and Nondestructive Testing, University of Alaska Anchorage; BS, Science and Technology, minor in Alaska Native Studies, UAA; MS, Science Management, UAA Community work: Mentor/tutor for high-school and college students; Volunteer for JBER booster club. Previously: Abused Women’s Aid In Crisis Center; American Lung Association; American Indian Science & Engineering Society; Native Student Council; ANSEP Mentor and Recitation leader; Native American Advisory Council; Aleut A Team; Student Ambassador UAA; Alaska Native Science Commission; Renewable Energy Alaska Project; nonvoting member, Inuit Circumpolar Conference Youth Board; Alaska Native Science Engineering Program Family: Father, Diodor Stepetin; mother, Feckla Nevzoroff Ivanoff; stepdad, Merlin Ivanoff; brother, Larry Stepetin; Ivanoff siblings, Roland, Woodrow, Mayleen, Ben, Merlin Jr.; Fiancé, Anthony Vaska Hometown: Born and primarily raised in St. Paul Island, Anchorage, Tatitlek, Valdez and Seattle What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Homer is the closest I can get to the ocean without flying.

Name the person you most respect and why. Bella Hammond of Bristol Bay because she is a strong, intel-

ligent Yup’ik women who was also the First Lady for Alaska for eight years. She contributed mightily to defend subsistence rights of rural Alaskans throughout the state. And supported subsistence activities on all public lands in Alaska through the passage of the Alaska National Interest Land and Conservation Act. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Hiking with my dogs. What was your first job? Babysitting Who is your favorite superhero? Spock As someone deeply involved with First Alaskans, the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program and other Aleut organizations, how do you see these programs developing the next generation of Alaska leaders in these fields? I see a bright future for the youth in Alaska designing and building a sustainable home for generations to come. I see the youth taking leadership in all regions of Alaska, taking on the challenges with the wisdom of the elders and the direction of the community members. I see our youth questioning the options and creating the alternatives that will sustain our land and seas. Numerous organizations across the vast regions provide tools to empower the youth to ensure they have everything they need to charge forward making Alaska a better place. With the help of technology, communication is getting better in rural Alaska and information from the outside continues to evolve. The technology enhances communication among Alaska Natives, especially those who choose to live in rural Alaska. Technology such as renewable energy will continue to grow thus making living in remote areas more tenable. Technology is also helping Native languages maintain among the different users and can be found in many schools. See STEPETIN, Page 50

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Wearing my Unangan headdress while walking to receive my master’s degree. Generally a shy person, I took great pride standing tall reflecting and reminding myself and others that the indigenous groups in Alaska are intelligent, hardworking, individuals who deserve to be treated with respect. It was my response and statement towards the racist remarks of an old Alaskan song that was rephrased by local DJs into derogatory words towards indigenous woman of Alaska. It really motivated me to become more active in changing that tone of language towards Native women.

Viola Stepetin

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Favorite quote:

Russell Thomas General Manager, Alaska Sportfishing Expeditions Ketchikan Education: Undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University and Utah State University Community work: Past Ketchikan Gateway Borough School Board Member (2001-07), Vice President (2003-04, President (2006-07); Ketchikan Visitor’s Bureau Board of Directors; and the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Currently Vice-President of the Southeast Alaska Guides Organization, President of the Catch Accountability Through Compensated Halibut Board; LDS Church volunteer as youth chorister, Sunday School teacher, and Young Men’s leader. Former Boy Scouts of America Assistant Scoutmaster, current merit badge counselor, and Eagle Scout Project advisor. Family: Wife, Leah; children, McKenzie, 13, Carter, 11, Allison, 9, Kate, 6 Hometown: Born and raised in Ketchikan. What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? I love Southeast in general but I have always thought Sitka was one the most beautiful places on earth. I love the rugged mountains surrounding the city, the small island, the bridge — if I had to choose a place in Alaska outside of Ketchikan it would definitely be Sitka!

Courtesy/Russell Thomas

What is your most memorable Alaska experience? When I was a kid my dad owned an air taxi service and he would fly Santa Claus out to all the villages and logging camps before Christmas. I can remember going with him one year and showing up to a small community. There were so many people on the dock that the dock was 1-2 inches under water. No one got off the float because everyone wanted to be there when Santa got off the airplane. Name the person you most respect and why. This would certainly be my dad. He was a dairy farmer from southern Idaho who came to Alaska to visit a friend and fell in love with the beauty and bush planes. He started with next-to-nothing and turned it into a large business enterprise that now supports the third generation of our family. He was never afraid to try something new, teaching me as a kid that nothing worth having came

without hard work.


“Don’t sit upon the shoreline and say you’re satisfied, choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides.” — The River, Garth Brooks

What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I love to play the piano and write music. It’s a creative outlet that is so different from anything I do at work. What was your first job? When I was 7 or 8, my mom let my brother and I walk down the street to a couple of local businesses and offer to wash their windows once a week for a few dollars. I’m sure my parents spent more on the cleaning supplies than we were getting paid, but they saw it as an opportunity for us to associate work with getting paid. We spent a number of years doing that job before handing it over to our younger sisters. Who is your favorite superhero? I don’t really know that I have a favorite super hero as a kid. I do remember thinking how cool it would be to swing from building to building like Spiderman. What have been the challenges of building businesses in Alaska, and how have you overcome them? I think the biggest challenge we have faced is being able to adequately develop a strong administrative side of the business that supports a strong operations side. My family is very hands-on in their approach to running things. When we have an idea, we are the ones that go out and implement it. In some cases this had led to businesses that have run very smoothly on the operational side while leaving the administrative side a mess. As our businesses have grown we’ve obviously had to address the administrative deficiencies in order to maintain profitability, protect our investment, and ensure longevity. Stepping away from some of the operations in order to focus more on the administrative side of things has been a challenge, but one that has brought big dividends to the companies we own. What has been your most exciting moment as a local broadcaster? Do you have a catch phrase? One of my favorite moments as a broadcaster came a few years back when Kayhi made the state tournament. I remember my partner and I getting our press passes and working our way down the Sullivan Arena stairs to the press table. In Southeast we call all of our games from the balcony. Being at the state tournament and courtside to call the game had a completely different feel, adding another level of pressure to put on a professional broadcast. I remember a few extra nerves as we started but the minute the ball was tipped we just went to work, calling what ended up being a great game. I don’t know if I have catch phrase, per se. I will often set up a shot, let a pause hang in the air for an extra second, before exclaiming, “Got it!”

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40® | PAGE 47

Born January 25


Dale Tran Chief operating officer, Kaladi Brothers Coffee CHUGIAK

Education: Studying marketing at University of Alaska Anchorage; Studied biochemistry at North Seattle Community College and University of Washington. Community work: Helped raise over $75,000 for The Children’s Lunchbox over the past three years; Kids’ Kitchen; Ma’o Tosi’s AK Pride; many School Business Partnerships through Anchorage School District and Anchorage Chamber of Commerce.

Hometown: Born in Bien Hoa, Vietnam; grew up in Seattle Current city: Anchorage (1996-Present) What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? Home is where the heart is. I enjoy any parts of Alaska that include my family. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? My most memorable experience is when I first met my wife. Who would have thought that I would meet a girl from Seattle who also went to the same high school? Two wandering souls, 1,774 miles from the only other home they knew, Seattle. Name the person you most respect and why. My father, Thien K. Tran, is whom I respect the most. By 40, my accomplishments can only amount to half of his by the time he was 35. In 1975, he along with my mother fled Vietnam with their 7 ½ children (6 months old to 16 years old, and bearing my youngest brother) to make a new home in America. Hardly speaking English, with only the shirt on his back and hard work — the only trade skill he had — he worked at least two full time jobs almost everyday until his retirement. In that time, he raised eight successful children and acquired the American dream of owning his home (outright). What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? I cherish all my time with my daughters. I love to photograph them play. I believe in capturing moments. Down the road, no matter how successful or wealthy I become, I will never be able to buy these moments back. What was your first job? Picking blueberries. When I was six, my father would drop my mom and my brothers off early in the morning at a blueberry orchard in Issaquah, Wash., in the summers. We would pick blueberries all day long until my father was done with his first job when he would pick us up. My mother got paid two dollars for every bucket of blueberries we’d pick. My brothers and I got paid in blueberries and memories. Who is your favorite superhero? My father. There is no other person, fiction or non-fiction, that I know of that has defied the challenges that my father faced, and accomplished as much as he did without ever complaining of the hardship. He just did it.

You’ve been deeply involved in two well-known Alaska businesses — New Sagaya and Kaladi Bros. — what has been the key to helping them grow into the successes they are today? Personal success yields professional success. To achieve personal success, I constantly inventory my level of happiness with God, work, and family and friends. My contribution to the success of those I serve are maximized when I am balanced.

Favorite quote:

“1 percent of a very big number is a very big number.” — Unknown

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

Family: Wife, Joy Mapaye; daughters, Isabella and Abigail

As a Vietnamese refugee, what challenges did your family face in the U.S. and how did they overcome them? For my parents, the biggest challenge was their inability to learn the English language that resulted in limited opportunities. Their inability was a result of not having the time after working two full time jobs each just barely making enough to feed and shelter eight kids. Because of their lack of opportunities, we overcame the challenges by recognizing any opportunities and embracing them as a blessing and taking them on with the work ethics that my father displays.

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Major Gifts Officer, The Alaska Community Foundation Girdwood Education: BS, Business Administration, Mesa State College Community work: Girdwood 2020 board of directors, and volunteer groomer for the Girdwood Nordic Ski Club; board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Alaska Chapter; previously served on the Alaska Travel Industry Association’s board of directors and the Girdwood Chamber of Commerce. Family: Wife of nine years, Margaret; daughter, Rebecca, 7 Hometown: I was born and raised in China, Maine. Yes, that’s real. What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? I love Southcentral Alaska. There are countless peaks to climb, rivers to float and fjords to paddle and at all ability levels. You can explore these areas sporting a Baby Björn, or wishing you had taken out a larger life insurance policy. As for a specific spot – there’s one place on the Girdwood Nordic Ski Trails where if you stand perfectly still, your world is immediately quiet and peaceful, but you’ll have to find that spot for yourself.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

Favorite quote: “Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am — a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space.” — Edward Abbey

What is your most memorable Alaska experience? With roots in the Alaska travel industry, I have been fortunate enough to do a lot of very cool things in Alaska. I spent a tremendous amount of time among the glaciers and wildlife in Prince William Sound and Kenai Fjords National Park. I have flown over Denali and walked on the Ruth Glacier, heli-skied in the Chugach Mountains, and floated numerous rivers throughout the state, but I can’t pick just one of those. A personal favorite is my goal

to ski at least once every month of the year. This summer, my wife and daughter joined me to seek out my July turns in Crow Pass. We spent the day together as a family, got some great exercise, and our kid slept like a rock that night. That’s a win in my book. Name the person you most respect and why. Alaska is such a young state that we are fortunate enough to have personal access to some of the great pioneers of our time. In tourism, I have been lucky to know Mark Eliason, Brad Phillips, the West family and have a glass of wine from time to time with Chris von Imhof. In philanthropy, people like Dennis McMillian, Diane Kaplan and the Rasmuson family are the pioneers of our trade, and we are privileged to have the access to them that we do. While in tourism and beyond, I was graced with a great mentor and role model in Stan Stephens. Stan started and operated a successful business, and was a devoted family man. No matter the popularity of his beliefs, he remained true to them and fought for what he believed in. In his final years, Stan was still very active and continued to do the things he loved. I strive for those successes every day. May we all be so lucky to have them. What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Anything outside. I enjoy cross country skiing, hiking, camping, fishing, surfing, and downhill skiing. I have recently started ski instructing on a part-time basis and find that I adore sharing my love of the sport with others. What was your first job? Living in rural Maine, I had several. I mowed the neighborhood lawns and did odd jobs for family friends. I worked on neighborhood farms, throwing hay bales, and driving tractors. As far as the IRS is concerned though, my first job was at a local convenience store stocking shelves and making sandwiches and pizzas. See TYLER, Page 50

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Favorite quote:

“It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit” — President Harry Truman


Buddy Whitt

Associate Executive Director, Armed Services YMCA of Alaska ANCHORAGE

Community work: March of Dimes, Toys for Tots, Special Olympics and Habitat for Humanity. I have also helped with many of my church’s outreach programs and their summer youth camps. Family: Blessed to be married to my beautiful wife Lindsey Whitt; two amazing children, Emilia, 9, and Cole, 8 Hometown: I grew up as a military brat, so we moved around a bit growing up. The longest I ever lived anywhere as a child was here is Anchorage from 1982 until 1989. Anchorage is my hometown now and has been since I returned in 2004. What is your favorite place in Alaska and why? I love taking the family to Hope for weekends in the summer. It is beautiful, close and has plenty of outdoor adventures to offer people of all ages. We also enjoy time with our extended family on the Kenai Peninsula during all times of the year. What is your most memorable Alaska experience? Thus far, my most memorable experience has to be the commissioning of the USS Anchorage. The commissioning brought a lot of challenges, but making lifelong connections with those fine military personnel plus the success of that week, is something that I will cherish always.

What is your favorite pastime or hobby away from work? Spending time outdoors with my family and fishing with my son. What was your first job? Anchorage Times delivery boy on Elmendorf AFB from 1986 to 1988.

How were you selected to be events chair of the USS Anchorage commissioning ceremony, and what was the most challenging or rewarding part of that process? Prior to the announcement of the commissioning site I had developed a relationship with many members of the Navy League, so when the commissioning location was announced, I immediately threw my hat into the ring to help with events. It seemed to be a good fit, having had about 10 years of experience with large event planning, management and operations. The most challenging part for our committee was the logistics and coordination involved with planning events on a ship that was thousands of miles away from Anchorage. I think everything turned out very well thanks to an outstanding team effort from the entire commissioning committee. Being a veteran yourself, was there an experience that inspired you to become so deeply involved with helping veterans and active duty military? While having served in the United States Marine Corps does play a vital role in my passion of serving those who serve America, I would say the one experience that stands out to me occurred while I was a military kid living in the Republic of Panama. My family and I were on Howard Air Force Base in the Panama Canal Zone on December 20, 1989, when the United States invaded that country. I don’t have the space to write down everything that I recall from that night, but I will say that it became very clear to me at that moment in time, that we have the finest group of men and women in the world that wear the uniform of the United States military. They arrive to the aid of those who are in need without hesitation and give so effortlessly that it sometimes defies proper explanation. They are the best that our nation has to offer. They are our nation’s greatest values made real, and dedicate themselves to protecting everything that we hold dear. I’m fortunate to have learned at such a young age who these great Americans are and to have seen first-hand the sacrifices that they are willing make. They are indeed worthy of whatever we can do to make their military life easier, and I am proud to be dedicated to that mission.

Serine Halverson /Aspect Alaska Photography

Name the person you most respect and why. One person who stands out among all others is my father, Ed Whitt. As a child, I looked up to him and respected him because he was a Lt. Colonel in the United States Air Force and worked very hard to do his duty to our great nation. As I have grown older and somewhat wiser, I have learned to appreciate the balance that he was able to find between his devotion to his duties as a military officer and his duty as a devoted husband and father. I continually strive to imitate that balance; giving all that I have in me to help support the military members who sacrifice so much, while being the best example that I can be to my children of what a husband and father should be.

Who is your favorite superhero? Ironman

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HOFFMAN DAVID for the first time. I was transformed. The way my midwife supported my learning throughout my time with her, the loving care of my partner, and the direct connection I felt with my ancestors inspired me to also want to support the families in our communities in that empowered way. It’s true that Alaska Native women experience many health disparities, but we also carry forward many strengths and possess the power to heal ourselves, our families, and our communities. The more I learn about the profound impact healthy prenatal and early childhood exposures have on lifelong wellness the more deeply committed I feel to do what I can to help our communities find healing one pregnancy and birth at a time. My dream is for community peer doula programs to become imbedded in our tribal health care system, to see more Indigenous midwives trained to provide our care, and ultimately for birth to return to our communities.


How did the digital storytelling program begin and what is one of the best stories you’ve read? I learned digital storytelling while I was working for RurAL CAP and then was lucky to inherit the digital storytelling training program at ANTHC when I started there again 2010. The trainers I learned from started hosting digital storytelling workshops in 2008 and are still there and still doing amazing digital storytelling training. By community request I still carry out 6-10 workshops a year and hundreds of digital stories have been created by community members throughout Alaska over the past 6 years. Although I’ve taught this workshop 30 times I am still totally energized by the courage of the participants to share their personal stories and touched by their heart felt messages. Each story is unique so it’s always interesting. Storytelling is such a powerful learning and healing tool. I am still learning a lot from my mentors, but I am always honored to help hold space for these stories to be shared.

continued from Page 45

The First Alaskans Institute has a great summer internship program that provides students with important historical knowledge of the many issues the first Alaskans encountered. Numerous Alaskan leaders have been invited to speak to the FAI leadership meetings. These active engagements provide perspective on the past and to motivate the younger generation for a better future. The ANSEP program provides a strong community and solid path for the future scientists and engineers in Alaska. The Alaska Native regional corporations and village corporations also have set up scholarships for their shareholders and their dependents to attend post-secondary training and education. In addition to the scholarship money, other institutions contribute to the future of Alaska Native through the Native Student Services at the University of Alaska


continued from Page 23

system including cultural activities through the educational system. Being able to identify with other indigenous groups was a huge part of my success. Since graduating I have had the privilege of working with many great organizations in Alaska including the Aleut Foundation and The Aleut Energy Team. My gratitude to being involved with such great organizations is to share the knowledge and guidance with the youth of Alaska. What do you enjoy about working in Defense Department contracting? Every day is different, and every project is equivalent to solving a puzzle which makes for a fun and interesting challenge. It is really great to work alongside our military members; they are a dedicated, honorable group of leaders.

continued from Page 48

Who is your favorite superhero? The Silver Surfer. I’ve always wanted to surf around the galaxy with cosmic powers, and I have to respect someone who can pull that off. That, and I bet the guy gets great pro deals on surf gear. Of all the outdoor activities you pursue, the most fascinating is surfing the bore tide in Turnagain Arm. Please describe how you began this, and what was your first time like? I started surfing the Turnagain Arm bore tide with friends that had been doing it for a while. I had surfed for years in Yakutat, Hawaii and California, but the Arm is certainly its own entity. There’s only one wave a couple times a day. If you miss it, you partake in the “Paddle of Shame” back to your car while everyone else rides along the Arm. The first time I surfed the bore tide was the same as every time after that, which is to say, intense. You stand in the water or kneel atop of your board and wait, while this massive wave approaches. You only have one chance to get it right. The truth is that the bore tide has ridden me as many times as I have ridden it, and you have to accept that as a possibility. I am happy to just be out

there, get a different view of the world and play in the water. Riding the wave is just a bonus. How has your longtime career in the tourism industry transferred into your current job soliciting donors for The Alaska Community Foundation? The tourism industry is a social business, especially the sales, marketing and public relations aspects of it. I spent my career building and growing relationships with people. I spend my days building relationships with our community members and helping them realize their charitable goals. I don’t solicit donors so much as I work with those who are passionate about and support The Alaska Community Foundation’s mission. I build and grow strong relationships with our supporters, and reach out to others that are interested in what we do. People become donors as a by-product of caring for the mission or an organization that speaks to them. I share my passion for what The Alaska Community Foundation does throughout our statewide community, which is no different than what I did in the tourism business; it’s just a different kind of organization.

2014 TOP FORTY UNDER 40速 | PAGE 51

CONGRATULATIONS Cynthia Berns on your Top Forty Under 40 award!

Kodiak Microwave Systems, LLC (KMS), is a subsidiary of Old Harbor Native Corporation. We build, own, and maintain microwave telecommunications infrastructure Statewide. Last year, KMS completed a microwave infrastructure build-out in areas surrounding Kodiak Island which provides faster, more reliable internet, as well as 3G cellular service. KMS is working diligently to continue to build out infrastructure around the State, allowing a method of delivery for ACS and others to upgrade their services to rural customers.


RIGHT DIRECTION ConocoPhillips is working on new development projects on the North Slope which could boost oil production by 38,000 barrels a day by 2018, and help offset the production decline through TAPS. These projects will employ hundreds of workers during construction. That’s what we call moving in the right direction.

2014 Top 40 Under 40  

This is the 15th annual Top 40 Under 40 event put on be the Alaska Journal of Commerce, Morris Communications Alaska. The best and brightest...

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