Advisory Board Members [2021-22]
Anchorage Chamber of Commerce
Bruce Bustamante is the President of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and has lived and worked in Anchorage for over 28 years.
Previously, he was Vice President of Community and Public Affairs for Princess Cruises where he served for 8 years. Prior to that Bruce was President and CEO of the Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau, now known as Visit Anchorage, where he served in that capacity for seven years.
Bruce worked for Alaska Airlines for 17 years and lived and worked in Seattle, Tucson, and Los Angeles before moving to Alaska as Regional Sales Director where he managed three sales offices in Alaska from 1992 - 2000.
Bruce has served as chair of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. He continues to serve on the Alaska Department of Labor’s Workforce Investment Board, Anchorage Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors and is chair of the University of Alaska Anchorage Chancellors Advisory Board.
Bruce holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration/Marketing from the University of Alaska Anchorage.
School of Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks
General Communication Inc. (GCI)
Lori Davey is a Vice President at GCI Business leading the Enterprise and Midmarket commercial sales teams.
She is a life-long Alaskan who was raised in Tok. She is a partner/fund manager at Alyeska Venture Management, an Anchorage-based angel fund investing in startup businesses. Lori’s prior experience includes executive roles in telecommunications, data mining, and oil field services.
Lori is deeply involved in the Alaska community and serves as a U.S. Representative on the Arctic Economic Council focused on telecommunications and responsible resource development; as a trustee for the Alaska Chapter of the Nature Conservancy; as vice president of Education Matters; and on the finance committee of the Alaska Community Foundation. Lori earned both BA and MBA degrees from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and was recognized in 2009 as an Alaska Journal of Commerce “Top 40 under 40”.
Municipality of Anchorage
Robert Doehl is the Building Official and Development Services Director for the Municipality of Anchorage. As part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Doehl temporarily stepped up as the Mass Care Branch Director for the Anchorage Emergency Operations Center during the forecast surge. He serves on the Advisory Board to share governmental perspectives and priorities. Over 4 decades, he has served as a military officer as well as in civilian positions in federal, state and local government and on the staff of a United States senator. Since 1989, Mr. Doehl has been an Anchorage resident. Committed to making Anchorage the best possible place to live, Mr. Doehl also serves on the board of directors for a non-profit organization, Anchorage Cops for Community. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Russian Linguistics from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois in Champaign, IL.
Bond Filipenko Commercial Properties, LLC
Mark Filipenko has been a licensee in the State of Alaska for the last seventeen years and the broker for Bond Filipenko Commercial Properties, LLC since 2012. Bond Filipenko Commercial Properties is one of the most successful commercial real estate brokerage companies in Alaska, handling all aspects of commercial real estate including acquisitions, dispositions, valuations, and tenant and landlord representation. With focus on all sectors of commercial real estate including office, industrial, retail, land, and multifamily properties.
Mark is a recognized expert in commercial real estate and has written for the Alaska Business Monthly and The Scotsman Guide. He has also presented numerous times to BOMA and has spoken for both the Appraisers Association and the Board of Realtors annual forecast. He is currently the president of the Alaska CCIM Chapter, and on the board for the Weidner Property Management & Real Estate Program and the Business of Public Policy at UAA. He was formally the Vice President of the UAA Alumni Association.
Mark received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance, with a minor in Economics, from UAA in 2000. Through continuous recognition of his qualifications, expertise, and success in real estate, he earned his CCIM Designation in 2015 and achieved his SIOR designation in 2018.
Brian Franklin is founder and managing member of Frontier Tutoring LLC, the largest Alaska-based test prep and tutoring brand.
After establishing Frontier Tutoring in 2008, Brian served as Executive Director through 2012. From 2012 to 2013, Brian was a management consultant at LeighFisher, where he advised large hub U.S. airports on strategic planning and financial analysis engagements. Brian returned to Frontier Tutoring as CEO from 2013 to 2016. He led Frontier’s business unit operations managers and had primary responsibility for the company's marketing, finance, and strategy functions.
Brian serves as a member of the Dean's Advisory Boards for the UAA College of Business and Public Policy and the UAA University Honors College. Previously, as Frontier Tutoring's CEO, Brian served as a member of the board of directors for the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, where he also co-chaired the Anchorage Business Committee.
Brian is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. He is an instrument-rated private pilot and enjoys flying and tennis.
Brian earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he graduated with highest honors. He received his MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School and is currently an MD candidate at University of Michigan Medical School.
State of Alaska, Department of Labor
Neal Fried's primary duty is to produce economic data and analysis on a variety of economic issues facing the Alaska.
He is a primary author of articles appearing in the monthly magazine Alaska Economic Trends, published by the Alaska Department of Labor. This publication is distributed to over 5,000 subscribers. His articles cover a wide variety of the State's economic issues. Some of the topics on which he has performed economic analysis and written articles include: annual economic forecasts, the cost of living, the military, the health care industry, transportation, oil industry issues, rural economic trends, economic impact of the Prince William Sound oil spill, the Mat-Su Valley's economy and many other issues.
Neal served on the Alaska Public Media Board, the King Career Center’s Business Industries Advisory Committee and others. Was on the Pacific Northwest Economic Conference board. He received the Governors Denali Peak Performance award. Alumnus of the Year Award, 2019-UAF.
Alex Hofeling joined TOTE Maritime Alaska in 2013, initially serving as Regional Sales Manager and Director of Marketing before taking over the Vice President and Alaska General Manager role located in Anchorage.
Alex has worked in the Alaska Jones-Act trade since honorably discharging from the US Coast Guard in 1999.
After graduating from high school in Beatrice, Nebraska, Alex joined the United States Coast Guard and served on the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Sea out of Seattle and at Coast Guard Group Grand Haven in Michigan.
Alex holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration with a finance focus from the University of Washington (2003) and an MBA from Seattle University (2010).
Alex previously served on the board of the Northwest Fisheries Association and the the Transportation Club of Tacoma. Currently Alex serves on the AEDC Investor’s Council, the Alaska State Chamber and volunteers as a mentor at Covenant House.
Alex lives Anchorage, AK with his wife, Mariana, and two boys.
Continental Auto Group
Marten Martensen is a primary owner of Continental Auto Group in Anchorage, Alaska. Marten was born and raised in Alaska. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Pacific Lutheran University in 1992. He’s worked as a carpenter, real estate broker, and commercial property manager before joining Continental Auto Group 19 years ago. Martensen is also an Honorary Commander for the Alaska National Guard 176th Operation Group. His hobbies include mountain running, Nordic skiing, hunting and fishing, and playing and coaching youth hockey.
Thomas Head & Greisen, PC
Sophie Minich became CIRI’s president and chief executive officer in January 2013. As CIRI president and CEO, Sophie is responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s corporate strategies, programs, policies and procedures. She oversees all the company’s business operations and is the primary contact with the company’s stakeholders.
Sophie is Athabascan and a CIRI and Doyon shareholder who grew up in Seward, Alaska. She joined CIRI in 1993 and has served as chief operating officer, senior vice president of business development, chief financial officer, vice president of administration and director of accounting.
Sophie serves on the University of Alaska Anchorage College of Business and Public Policy Advisory Board, the Premera Blue Cross Board of Directors, and on the Anchorage Homelessness Leadership Council. She holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Anchorage School District
Alaska Oil and Gas Association
Kara came to Alaska from her home state of South Dakota to teach elementary school in Atqasuk, an Inupiaq village in the North Slope Borough. After working in Washington, DC for then South Dakota Congressman, now U.S. Senator John Thune, she moved back to Alaska and lived in Fairbanks for seven years. She has served as legislative staff in Juneau to Senator Gary Wilken and was the President/CEO of the Fairbanks Chamber for four years. She joined the AOGA staff in April 2005 and been the head of the association since 2012. She is a member of the Athena Society, a recipient of Alaska's Top 40 Under 40 Award and was the Honorary Iceman at Eielson Air Force Base. She is a member of the Lumen Christi School Board and the Downtown Rotary Club of Anchorage and serves on the Executive Committee of the Resource Development Council. In her spare time she can be found serving as a taxi driver for her three children, Joseph, Maggie and Garrett to their many church, school and sporting events. She and her husband Gerry, an Alaska Airlines pilot, also enjoy their personal plane and exploring Alaska with the kids.
Anchorage Senior Activity Center
Rebecca Parker has thirty years of recognized achievement in business, civic, and political arenas. Her professional activities include philanthropy and fund-raising program and special event management, nonprofit leadership, public relations, marketing, and advertising.
She currently serves as Executive Director for the Anchorage Senior Activity Center and has been with the organizations for six years. Previously, she served as Major Gifts Officer for Blood Bank of Alaska; Stakeholder Relations Manager for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company; Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Health and Social Services for the State of Alaska, and President of the Providence Alaska Foundation while overseeing Providence’s Public Affairs Department; and was Executive Director of Commonwealth North.
During her 20-year career with ARCO Alaska, Inc., she held progressive positions in Public Affairs, and was Director of Community Relations, where her duties included oversight of the ARCO Foundation in Alaska. Through her work in philanthropy, she was instrumental in working with statewide nonprofits and hosting Philanthropy Northwest members to Alaska.
Ms. Parker served on many community and professional boards and commissions. Alaska Public Media, the Alaska Community Foundation; Catholic Social Services; the Anchorage Opera, and Serve Alaska Commission, among others.
She is a past President of the Anchorage Rotary Club, Downtown, and the Imaginarium, a hands-on science center for children. She currently serves as President of Alaska Geriatric Exchange Network, (AGENET), a statewide association of 50 members representing hundreds of care providers across the state.
Awards include YWCA Women of Achievement and the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Athena award recipient; Anchorage School District Volunteer of the Year, and was recognized as an Oregon State University Alumni Fellow, a distinguished award.
Anchorage Economic Development Corporation
Bill Popp has spent 47 years in both the Alaska private and public sectors. As President & CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation since 2007, he sets the strategic direction in marketing Anchorage and Alaska to companies and global industries considering Anchorage as a place in which to do business and assists local businesses looking to expand both within Anchorage and Alaska as well as Lower 48 and international markets.
Popp is currently co-chair of the 49th State Angel Fund Business Advisory Committee, He is a board member of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, Visit Anchorage, Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Alaska Public Media, and the Anchorage Concert Association. Popp also serves as a member of the UAA College of Business and Public Policy Business Advisory Board, the Alaskan Command Civilian Advisory Board, the JBER Community Partnership Leadership team, is co-chair of the Governor’s Alaska Civilian Armed Services Team (ACAST) and is a member of the Municipality of Anchorage 2020 Census Complete Count Commission, the Municipality of Anchorage Senator Bettye Davis Public Facility Naming Panel.
Popp first moved to Anchorage in 1968 as a military dependent at Elmendorf Air Force Base. A graduate of East Anchorage High School in 1977, Popp and his wife Nicole married in 1979. Work took Popp to the Kenai Peninsula in 1983 where he and Nicole raised their daughter and son over the 25 years they lived in Kenai. Both of their children are graduates of UAA. They have two grandchildren who live in Anchorage and happen to be military dependents too.
Julie Saupe has been the president and CEO of Visit Anchorage since 2007; she has worked to develop visitor industry opportunities in Alaska for more than twenty years, including positions at Explore Fairbanks, Travel Alaska, and the Mat-Su Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Carin Silkaitis (Ex-Officio)
Arts and Sciences, University of Alaska Southeast
Carin Silkaitis is the Dean of Arts and Sciences and a Professor of Humanities at the University of Alaska Southeast. Prior to this appointment, Carin served the faculty, staff, and students at Columbia College Chicago as the Allen & Lynn Turner Chair of the Theatre Department. They also served for many years as the Department Chair of Art and Theatre at North Central College.
Carin was the Founding Artistic Director of Other Theatre, a not-for-profit organization committed to telling stories about persons or groups who are othered by systems of oppression. Carin has spent the last two years training in antiracism work with CROAR (a division of Crossroads Antiracism Organization) along with a number of incredible teachers around the country. This work had led to a commitment to analyze position, power, and privilege and dismantle systems of white supremacy. Carin has also been a dedicated Green Dot instructor for many years - training bystanders to help eradicate power-based personal violence. They have also served as a Certified Civil Rights Title IX Investigator at North Central College.
Carin has been a working actor from Chicago represented by Gray Talent Group and they are a proud member of AEA and SAG/AFTRA. Carin has also appeared in numerous television shows, films, commercials, industrials, and voiceovers. They are a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf, and they received their M.F.A in Acting from the Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University.
R&M Consultants, Inc.
Andrea Story, CPSM is the Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at R&M Consultants, Inc. (R&M). Andrea has 23 years of experience in professional services marketing, including the past 15 years with R&M. She specializes in marketing and strategic planning, market research, communications and proposal development. Andrea also serves as Vice President on the firm’s Board of Directors, and as a member of R&M’s senior management team is involved in the majority of firm business decisions. In addition to her marketing and business development responsibilities, she oversees the firm’s administrative staff and human resources functions.
Andrea holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Marketing from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and in 2001, became Alaska’s first Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) through the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS). Andrea was instrumental in starting a local chapter of SMPS in 2011, and was named the Society’s Chapter President of the Year in 2014. Andrea served as a member of the UAA Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2014 to 2018, and is a current member of the UAA College of Business and Public Policy Advisory Board. She also represents the Alaska Professional Design Council and American Council of Engineering Companies, Alaska Chapter on issues pertaining to Qualifications Based Selection.
Beth Stuart is an audit partner with KPMG LLP, the international audit, tax, and advisory professional services firm. She serves as the managing partner of KPMG’s Anchorage office, overseeing office operations, people, and strategy. Stuart completed a rotation in KPMG’s national Department of Professional Practice and has 25 years of experience providing accounting and audit services to public and private companies operating throughout Alaska across a wide variety of industries.
Stuart is a graduate of the University of Alaska Anchorage (BBA Accounting, ’94) and was recognized as a University of Alaska Anchorage Alumni of Distinction in 2016. Active in the community, she has served on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement, and United Way of Anchorage. She is an avid fisherman, cross-country skier, and motocross rider and she and her husband are raising their two sons in Anchorage.
Ted Stevens International Airport
Jim Szczesniak (says-knee-ak) is the Airport Director at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC). He is the executive in charge of day-to-day operations of the fourth busiest air cargo airport in the world that was recently rated the best air cargo airport in North America. The Anchorage airport processes 3.4 million tons of cargo per year, is the strategic link between Asia and the Americas, and a base of operations for all three of the major integrators, UPS, FedEx, and DHL. The Anchorage airport is also the hub for Alaskan aviation and welcomes more than five million passengers per year. The Anchorage airport a key economic engine to Alaska providing $1.8 billion in annual economic impacts and is responsible for 1 in 10 jobs in the Anchorage area. He also oversees the world’s busiest seaplane base, Lake Hood, which is located next to the airport.
Prior to his position in Anchorage, Mr. Szczesniak was Deputy Commissioner of Aviation for the Chicago O’Hare and Midway International Airports.
Mr. Szcznesiak holds a MBA from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s in aviation management from Southern Illinois University. He is also a licensed commercial pilot and aircraft mechanic.
Mr. Thibert is Chief Executive Officer of Chugach Electric, a position he has held since July 2016. In this role, he has responsibility for the largest electric utility in the state, serving over 84,000 metered retail locations with distribution, generation and transmission services. Chugach has 531.2 MW of generation capacity consisting of natural gas turbine and hydroelectric resources.
He has led Chugach in labor negotiations, gas contract negotiations, rating agency reviews and presentations, an ownership interest in the Beluga Cook Inlet gas field, wholesale contracts, natural gas storage services as well as planning efforts and joint business discussions that led to the construction of a new 180 MW gas-fired power plant.
Mr. Thibert began working at Chugach in 1987, holding a variety of senior management positions including senior vice president, strategic development and regulatory affairs. During his long career with the utility, he has been responsible for a number of key divisions including regulatory, engineering, operations, telecommunications, power production, and power control & fuel supply.
He has also led the safety, environmental, engineering, customer service, public relations, government relations and G&T planning departments.
Prior to joining Chugach, Mr. Thibert worked in serval positions with a nation-wide electrical contractor, specializing in distribution and transmission construction and based out of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Mr. Thibert has a Bachelor of Arts in organizational management from Alaska Pacific University. He is a board member of Western Energy Institute; a trustee for the Alaska Electrical Pension Fund; serves on the Governor’s Renewable Energy Financial Advisory Council; a member of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy steering committee; and a member of the Anchorage Downtown Rotary.
Mr. Thibert has 40 years of experience in the electric services industry
Don Weckhorst (Ex-Officio)
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER)
Mr. Donald C. Weckhorst is the Executive Director, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) and the 673d Air Base Wing. In this capacity he acts as a principle advisor to the installation commander and is the senior civilian in the 673 ABW. JBER hosts the headquarters for the United States Alaskan Command, 11th Air Force, U.S. Army Alaska, and the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region. The 673d ABW maintains an $11.4B infrastructure encompassing 80,000 acres, ensuring Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson remains America's premier strategic power projection platform. Mr. Weckhorst directs and coordinates the actions of 16 wing staff agencies. The 673d ABW, with its four groups operates and maintains the joint base for air sovereignty, combat training, force staging and throughput operations in support of worldwide contingencies. The 673d ABW comprises over 5,500 joint military and civilian personnel, supporting America's Arctic Warriors and their families. The wing supports and enables three AF total-force wings, two Army Brigades and 55 other tenant units. In addition, the wing provides medical care to over 35,000 joint service members, dependents, VA patients and retirees throughout Alaska.
Prior to this appointment, Mr. Weckhorst had a distinguished military career as an officer in the United States Air Force. He served in a variety of command and staff positions with assignments as the Pacific Air Forces Inspector General, a Japan-based fighter wing Vice Commander, a Group Commander, a Fighter Squadron Commander and deputy director Combined Air Operations Center USCENTAF. He held staff positions at Headquarters Air Force, the Pentagon, Air Combat Command, 5th Air Force and Pacific Air Forces. A command pilot, Mr. Weckhorst has over 3,500 hours in the F-16, F-5 and A-10 to include combat operations during Operation SOUTHERN WATCH.
World Trade Center Alaska
Greg Wolf is the Executive Director of World Trade Center Alaska, a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to assist Alaskans in competing successfully for trade and investment in the global market place. He has held this position since December 2002. World Trade Center Alaska is a membership organization whose membership consists of more than 100 companies and individuals involved directly or indirectly with international trade and business.
Wolf is active in several trade and civic organizations. He was appointed by then-Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans to serve on the Alaska District Export Council. He is past president of the Japan-America Society of Alaska and a past president, and long-time member, of the Alaska World Affairs Council. He is a member of the Royal Asiatic Society in Hong Kong. Recently, he was appointed the Board of Directors of the Confucius Institute at the University of Alaska in Anchorage.
Wolf attended the University of Colorado and the American College in Paris, France before receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Antioch College in 1980. He is a life-long Alaskan, born in Anchorage. His also studied at the Osaka University of Foreign Studies in Osaka, Japan.
Chris Yelverton is a lifelong Alaskan, graduate of the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) with a BA in Finance as well as a Pacific Coast Banking School graduate. He joined KeyBank in December of 1998 as a teller and has held several positions in retail including Key@Work RM and Area Retail Leader. Yelverton joined the commercial banking team as a Relationship Manager in August 2013. He is also presently serving on the Board of Directors for Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche. He resides in Anchorage with his wife and two children and enjoys mountain biking, snowmobiling, and spending time in Prince William Sound.
Cook Inlet Marketing Group, Inc.
Joe Zimmermann is an owner and director of Cook Inlet Marketing Group, Inc. (Chevron/Denali Express), which owns 12 Chevron Service Stations and Convenience Stores in Anchorage, Eagle River and Palmer. He is a University of Alaska (UA) graduate, 1979, with a Bachelor of Technology, Engineering/Management and received his MBA from Pepperdine University in 1983. Over a period of 15 years, he served as an adjunct instructor for the University of Alaska Anchorage’s (UAA) College of Business and Public Policy (CBPP) teaching courses in Organizational Theory and Behavior, Management, Supervision and Marketing. Zimmerman’s career included serving as a Marketing Manager for Unocal Corporation and as the Chief Operating Officer for Tryck Nyman Hayes, Inc., a local 70-person Civil Engineering firm. He is married to Linda and they have two sons, Eric, a UAA graduate, Air Traffic Controller at Portland Tower, and Navy Reserve Chief Petty Officer, and Colin, a Navy Pilot currently stationed at NAS Patuxent River in Maryland.