Right Moves
Altman, Rogers & Co.
A photograph of Heather Savery grinning (Chief Operating Officer at Altman, Rogers & Co.)

Alaska’s largest locally owned accounting firm promoted Heather Savery to the role of Chief Operating Officer. In this position, Savery works with the leadership team of Altman, Rogers & Co. on strategy and execution with a focus on the firm’s employee engagement and support initiatives. Savery previously served as the firm’s administrator, overseeing finance, administration, and public relations. She also held accounting leadership roles in the areas of aviation, nonprofits, and government contracting.

Resource Data
A photograph of Ariel Gibson smiling (President at Resource Data)

Custom software company Resource Data named Ariel Gibson to succeed Jim Rogers as President. “Ariel is the right person to take over as president,” says Rogers. “I am confident she will steer Resource Data into the future while maintaining our mission and values.” Rogers is retiring after twenty-five years as president, remaining on the board of directors to support Gibson’s transition. Gibson has more than twenty years of experience in information technology and project management, the last ten at Resource Data. Gibson received her MBA from the University of Alaska.

The retirement of a financial industry veteran from the top management of First National Bank Alaska (FNBA) leaves room for other executives to move up a notch. Doug Longacre served as President from 2018 until his retirement in February. He remains a member of the board.
A photograph of Betsy Lawer smiling (President at First National Bank Alaska)

To replace Longacre as president, the FNBA board appointed Betsy Lawer, who previously was president in 2013. When Longacre was made president in 2018, Lawer took on the titles of Board Chair and CEO. Lawer’s father and grandfather previously led FNBA. After she earned an economics degree from Duke University, Lawer returned in 1974 to work her way up.

A photograph of Darren Franz grinning (Chief Credit Officer/Senior Executive Officer at First National Bank Alaska)

The board of directors promoted Chief Commercial Lending Officer Darren Franz to Chief Credit Officer and appointed him Senior Executive Officer. Franz oversees FNBA’s lending division. Franz holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics and is a graduate of Pacific Coast Banking School.

A photograph of Cheri Gillian smiling (Senior Executive Officer at First National Bank Alaska)

Chief Administrative Officer Cheri Gillian was appointed Senior Executive Officer. Gillian oversees the central administration division. Originally part of FNBA’s marketing team, Gillian has spent nearly thirty-five of those years building the brand and helping shape the bank’s unique workplace culture.

A photograph of Ryan Strong smiling (Senior Executive Officer at First National Bank Alaska)

Chief Banking Officer Ryan Strong was appointed Senior Executive Officer. Strong oversees the retail banking and treasury management division. Some of his new duties were previously performed by the bank president. Strong brings more than twenty years of hands-on operations experience and detailed knowledge of Alaska’s economy.

Northrim Bank
Northrim Bank is adding two new hires to its statewide team, and a company veteran gets a promotion.

Melissa Galloway has been with Northrim since late 2020 and has thirteen years of experience in the financial industry. She is promoted to Associate Vice President, Loan Officer at the Soldotna Financial Center. Galloway earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from Utah State and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Davina Napier, the new Vice President, Consumer Lending Manager, comes to Northrim with twenty-four years of lending experience, most recently as chief lending officer at Credit Union 1. Napier earned a bachelor’s degree in management from University of Phoenix.

Clark Bihag, the new Vice President, Loan Officer at the Fairbank Financial Center, joins Northrim Bank with nineteen years of experience in both government and private sectors, most recently with the US Small Business Administration. Bihag holds a master’s degree in business administration from UAA.

Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt
A photograph of Lee Baxter grinning (Shareholder at Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt)

The law firm of Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is promoting an attorney in its Anchorage office to Shareholder. Lee Baxter is part of the firm’s Indian Country and Alaska Native Corporation and Natural Resource industry groups. Baxter studied at University of Montana Law School and clerked for the Montana Supreme Court and the US District Court for Alaska.

A photograph of Travis Ross smiling (Senior Geotechnical Engineer at R&M Consultants)

Travis Ross recently joined R&M Consultants as a Senior Geotechnical Engineer in the firm’s Earth Sciences department. Ross has a BS in civil engineering from Northern Arizona University. Ross’ focus over his career has been on transportation and infrastructure. He is experienced in working with a variety of public agencies, including the Alaska Railroad Corporation. Since joining R&M, Ross has been involved with several Alaska Railroad projects, including the Bird Creek and Cottonwood Creek bridge replacements.

A photograph of Thom Aparuk Leonard smiling (Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Calista Corporation)

A shareholder of the regional Native corporation for Southwest Alaska is moving up to the veep suite. Thom Aparuk Leonard was recently promoted to Calista Corporation Vice President of Corporate Affairs. In that role, he oversees Calista’s daily communications activities. He was previously director of corporate communications and shareholder services. A shareholder born in the Calista region, Leonard received his undergraduate degree from Gonzaga University and is attending Alaska Pacific University in pursuit of an Executive MBA in information technology.

A photograph of Brittany Brown smiling (Director of Marketing and Communications at Sitnasuak)

The Native village corporation for Nome is bringing back a shareholder as Director of Marketing and Communications. Brittany Brown comes to Sitnasuak Native Corporation (SNC) with more than eleven years of experience in public and community relations. After graduating from UAA with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Brown earned a master’s degree in industrial distribution from Texas A&M University. She began her professional journey as a shareholder relations intern at SNC, and over the last decade Brown served in a variety of public relations and community development roles with oil and gas companies, Native village and regional corporations, and state and federal government.

Blueprint Alaska
A photograph of Malia Barto smiling (Junior Account Executive at Blueprint Alaska)

Anchorage-based communications firm Blueprint Alaska hired Malia Barto as junior account executive. In that role, she works in copy writing and editing, social media content, and research. Barto earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public communications from UAA, with a concentration in digital media and a minor in justice. Barto brings experience as a former copyeditor at KTVA 11 News and a digital reporter and producer at Alaska’s News Source, KTUU/KYES. She returns home to Anchorage from Juneau, where she worked as the deputy press secretary for the Alaska State Legislature’s Senate Majority.

UA System
A photograph of Pat Pitney smiling (President at UA System)

Pat Pitney is ‘interim’ no more. The University of Alaska Board of Regents formally appointed Pitney as the UA System’s seventeenth President, a job she’s been doing since 2020. She is the first woman to lead the statewide university system in its 100-year history. Pitney, who won a gold medal in women’s air rifle at the 1984 Olympic Summer Games, has held administrative positions with the UA System for twenty-three years. From 2014 to 2018, she was director of the Office of Management and Budget for the Walker administration.

Alaska Pacific University
A photograph of Janelle Vanasse smiling (President of Alaska Pacific University)

Effective June 1, Janelle Vanasse is the new President of Alaska Pacific University (APU). Vanasse has twenty-nine years of education experience in Alaska, most recently serving as superintendent at Mt. Edgecumbe High School since 2016. She was previously director of secondary education for the Lower Kuskokwim School District and founding director of Yuut Elitnaurviat—the People’s Learning Center. Vanasse earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Gonzaga University, a superintendent endorsement from UAS, a master’s in educational leadership from UAA, and a bachelor’s in special education at St. Cloud State University.

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport
A photograph of Craig Campbell smiling (Interim Manager of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport)

Craig Campbell is stepping in as Interim Manager of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, replacing Jim Szczesniak, who departed the job in February. Campbell led the Alaska National Guard as Adjutant General from 2003 to 2009, when he was appointed to fill a vacancy as lieutenant governor. He served as CEO of the state-run Alaska Aerospace Corporation from 2012 to 2018.