Right Moves
Anchorage Opera
A Headshot of Ben Robinson
The leading professional performing arts company in Anchorage has a new General Director. The board of trustees of Anchorage Opera concluded a worldwide search to find a successor for the retiring Reed W. Smith by hiring Ben Robinson. Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Robinson has appeared on stage in Anchorage Opera productions of South Pacific, Macbeth, Tosca, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Magic Flute. He has also served as Artistic Director of Raylynmor Opera in New Hampshire and Opera Ithaca in New York. Robinson expects to move to Anchorage in early June with his husband, bass-baritone Michael Scarcelle, who has also performed in Anchorage before.
Thompson & Co. Public Relations
A Headshot of Kailee Stickler
Thompson & Co. Public Relations (T&C) created a new executive position and promoted a team member to the leadership ranks. Kailee Stickler is T&C’s first Vice President of Digital Services. Stickler joined the T&C team immediately after graduating from UAA and has spent the last six years growing the agency’s digital services, now T&C’s fastest-growing department. Having helped develop the path for digital services offered at the agency, she now oversees all aspects of the digital department, including digital advertising, social media strategy, video, photography, graphic design, and more.
Alaska Testlab
Construction materials testing and inspection firm Alaska Testlab (ATL) added four new shareholders as Owners.
A Headshot of Blake Aro
Blake Aro is the Field Supervisor for ATL. A second-generation inspector and lifelong Alaskan, Aro has nearly twenty years of experience in construction materials testing and inspection, certified by the International Code Council, Precast Concrete Institute, American Concrete Institute, Western Alliance for Quality Transportation Construction, and more. Aro has extensive experience in all facets of horizontal and vertical construction.
A Headshot of Stephen Brewer
Stephen Brewer is a senior Special Inspector for ATL with more than twenty years of construction experience. A former US Army Paratrooper, Brewer enjoys the challenge of working on remote projects across the state. When not on a remote site, Brewer serves as ATL’s resident troubleshooter and maintenance man. He maintains numerous certifications from the International Code Council, Precast Concrete Institute, American Concrete Institute, Western Alliance for Quality Transportation Construction, CESCL, HAZWOPER, and more.
A Headshot of Ashley Kampsen
Ashley Kampsen is the Operations Manager for ATL. A lifelong Alaskan, she has nearly ten years of experience in administration and operations. A graduate of UAA, Kampsen is responsible for the day-to-day management of the office and is an expert in multi-tasking, accommodating short notice projects, logistics, bookkeeping, and scheduling.
A Headshot of Brandon Ukena
Brandon Ukena is a senior Special Inspector for ATL and has more than twenty-five years of experience in construction materials testing and inspection. He maintains many certifications from the International Code Council, Precast Concrete Institute, American Concrete Institute, Western Alliance for Quality Transportation Construction, and more. A former mason, Ukena is an expert in all things concrete, especially girder construction for bridges, pre-cast elements, mix designs, and troubleshooting concrete issues in the field.
Landye Bennett Blumstein
The law firm of Landye Bennett Blumstein (LBB) hired a new attorney and promoted another.
A Headshot of Anna Chapman Crary
Chapman Crary
The firm’s newest Partner, Anna Chapman Crary, focuses her practice on Alaska Native corporations, business organizations, nonprofits, and public entities. She joined the firm as an associate in 2015. Chapman Crary earned her undergraduate degree from Smith College in Massachusetts, where she majored in art history and African American studies. She received her law degree from the University of Washington School of Law in 2012. As a law student she participated in the Tribal Court Public Defense Clinic, representing tribal members against misdemeanor criminal charges in Tulalip Tribal Court. She also worked as a legal assistant for immigration law firms in Seattle and Boston. Chapman Crary began her legal career in Alaska clerking for Superior Court judge Anna M. Moran in Kenai.
A Headshot of Ryan J. Thomas
Ryan J. Thomas is LBB’s newest Associate Attorney. Thomas’ practice focuses on real estate transactions, business law, and Alaska Native corporations. Thomas was born and raised in Fairbanks and lives in Anchorage with his wife and two children. He attended the University of Colorado School of Law and practiced commercial real estate law in the Lower 48 before returning to Alaska. He also worked for the Alaska Department of Natural Resources before returning to private law practice.
Davis Wright Tremaine
A Headshot of Sarah Gillstrom
The law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine hired Sarah Gillstrom as a Partner in its real estate group in Anchorage. Her duties focus on real estate transactions and construction law, handling all aspects of property ownership, acquisition, financing, and sales. Gillstrom earned a bachelor’s degree in finance at DePaul University in Chicago and received her JD from the University of Minnesota Law School. She previously worked at Perkins Coie, where she spent almost a decade representing construction companies, public utilities, telecoms, and other clients.
Northrim Bank
Northrim Bank is staffing up its newest branch in Nome and also promoting a new hire to the role of a corporate officer.

Ken Hanley joined Northrim in January, and already the bank is making him a Vice President, Commercial Loan Officer. The promotion is based on Hanley’s twenty-five years of experience in the financial industry in Alaska and Illinois. A veteran of the US Coast Guard, Hanley is a past board member for Junior Achievement of Alaska and the Salvation Army.

John Baker started at Northrim in December as Associate Vice President, Assistant Branch Manager in Nome. Baker also brings twenty-five years of experience in the banking industry. A longtime Alaskan, he volunteers as a basketball referee for the Nome Community School.

Another new hire, Dunbar Anders, joined Northrim as Commercial Loan Officer. Anders has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and economics from UAA and is pursuing an MBA in finance from Alaska Pacific University. He has three years of experience in commercial lending.

Travaris Bell started at Northrim in December as Assistant Branch Manager at the West Anchorage branch. Bell has eight years of experience in the financial industry. A longtime Alaskan, he volunteers at a local high school, teaching financial literacy and planning.

Coffman Engineers
A Headshot of Michelle McGinnis
A project manager in Coffman Engineers’ corrosion control department earned her Project Management Professional certificate. Michelle McGinnis joined Coffman in 2014 and has provided project controls and management services for numerous projects in the oil and gas, commercial construction, and hospitality industries. Apart from being a certified cathodic protection technician, McGinnis is also the corporate safety coordinator for Coffman. McGinnis graduated from UAA with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is currently working toward a master’s degree in business administration.
Tlingit & Haida
A Headshot of Amelia Rivera
The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska promoted Amelia Rivera to Senior Director of the Cultural Heritage & Education division. Rivera previously served as manager of the employment and training department. She retains this department within her leadership, merging post-secondary educational funding options while overseeing child care and language immersion programs. Rivera grew up in Juneau and carries her great-grandmother Emma Frances Marks’ Tlingit name, Jiyal’áxch. She has a bachelor’s degree in the humanities from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and a master’s degree in secondary teaching from UAS and taught social studies with the Juneau School District.
National Park Service
A Headshot of Vernon Cody
A 29-year veteran of the National Park Service is the new Deputy Superintendent of Denali National Park and Preserve. Vernon Cody was previously detailed to Alaska in 2018, working at Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve. However, most of his service has been in the Desert Southwest. His previous assignment was superintendent of Hovenweep and Natural Bridges National Monuments in Utah, and he recently completed an assignment as deputy superintendent at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.