2018 Speakers

More to Come!

Frans Johansson, The Medici Group

An author, entrepreneur, and acclaimed international speaker, Frans Johansson has inspired readers and audiences worldwide with his ideas on leadership and success, innovation, and diversity, while his practical insights have empowered thousands to take action. Innovation legend Clay Christensen cited Frans’s debut book THE MEDICI EFFECT as “one of the most insightful books on managing innovation that I have ever read,” while his follow up, THE CLICK MOMENT, was hailed by Fast Company as the book that challenges traditional business-school thinking, and has been charged with destroying the 10,000 hour rule. Since its publication in 2004, THE MEDICI EFFECT has become the definitive book on diversity driving innovation, influencing numerous industries and fields such as architecture, design, economic development, education, and investing.

In his role as thought leader and CEO of The Medici Group, Frans has advised executive leadership at Fortune 500 companies such as Disney, IBM, Nike, and Synchrony (formerly GE Financial). Frans has been featured on ABC, CNN, CNBC, the PBS Newshour, and National Public Radio. He has spoken to audiences on six continents, in virtually every industry and across disciplines, from creatives to engineers, financiers to scientists, and politicians to humanitarians.

Raised in Sweden by his African-American/Cherokee mother and Swedish father, Frans has lived all his life at the intersection. He has written articles on healthcare, information technology, and the science of sport fishing. He has founded a software company, an international healthcare firm, and a hedge fund. Frans holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Brown University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.


Rosita Worl, Ph.D. President, Sealaska Heritage Institute

Rosita Worl, whose Tlingit names are Yeidiklasókw and Kaaháni, is Tlingit, Ch’áak’ (Eagle) moiety of the Shangukeidí­ (Thunderbird) Clan from the Kawdliyaayi Hít (House Lowered From the Sun) in Klukwan. Yeidiklatsókw serves as the President of Sealaska Heritage Institute. She is an anthropologist and for many years served as Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alaska Southeast. Yeidiklatsókw has a Ph.D. and a M.S. in Anthropology from Harvard University, and a B.A. from Alaska Methodist University. She also holds an honorary doctor of sciences degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Dr. Worl has received many honors and works with several different Native organizations. She is an accomplished lecturer and author.


Richard Peterson

Richard (Chalyee Éesh) Peterson is Tlingit from the Kaagwaantaan clan. He grew up in Kasaan, Alaska and is a life long Alaska Native resident of Southeast Alaska. Prior to being elected as President of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Central Council) in 2014, Richard served as Chief Executive Officer of Prince of Wales Tribal Enterprise Consortium, LLC (POWTEC), president of the Organized Village of Kasaan (OVK), mayor/city council member for the City of Kasaan, and member of the Southeast Island School District Board of Education.

Richard has developed the skills necessary to effectively represent and communicate the needs of Southeast Alaska Native people. He is adept at negotiating and team building and has worked to continually build lasting relationships that prove to be mutually beneficial to all stakeholders. Richard believes in a proactive approach to achieve win-win scenarios and continues to shape the future of the economic and social well-being of our tribal citizens through collaborative efforts and local economic development initiatives.


Congressman Don Young

Congressman Don Young was re-elected to the 115th Congress in 2016 to serve his 23rd term as Alaska’s only Representative to the United States House of Representatives.  First sworn in as a freshman to the 93rd Congress after winning a special election on March 6, 1973, Congressma n Young is today the Dean of the House Republicans and second longest serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Young served as Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee from 1995 to 2001 and then as the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 2001 - 2007. 

In the 110th Congress, Representative Young returned to the helm of the Resources Committee to lead his fellow Republicans as the Ranking Member. In the 112th Congress, he was chosen to serve as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs (IIANA) – a position he held until January 2 017. After fulfilling a successful 6-year term as Chairman of the IIANA Subcommittee, Congressman Young was named Chairman Emeritus of the full House Committee on Natural Resources – a role that allows him to bring his years of experience and knowledge to all five of the panel’s Subcommittees.

Today, Congressman Young currently serves as the most senior Republican on both the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and House Natural Resources Committee.


Senator LIsa Murkowski

Senator Lisa Murkowski is the first Alaskan-born Senator and only the sixth United States Senator to serve the state. The state’s senior Senator, Lisa Murkowski is a third-generation Alaskan, born in Ketchikan and raised in towns across the state: Wrangell, Juneau, Fairbanks and Anchorage. Since joining the Senate in 2002, Senator Murkowski has been a strong advocate for Alaska on the important issues facing the state, including energy, health care, education, military/veterans’ affairs and infrastructure development.

Only the 32nd female to serve in the United States Senate since its founding in 1789, Senator Murkowski has assumed leadership roles quickly. She is the Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and also serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, where she is the Chairman of the Interior and Environment Subcommittee. Senator Murkowski is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee – the first Alaskan to serve on that panel – and also is a senior member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

She earned a B.A. in economics from Georgetown University in 1980 and a law degree from Willamette University in 1985. Prior to her appointment to the United States Senate, Senator Murkowski practiced commercial law in Anchorage and was elected to three terms in the Alaska State House of Representatives. She was elected to a full six-year U.S. Senate term in 2004, and was re-elected in 2010 in a historic write-in campaign, the first successful write-in effort to the Senate since 1954.

Senator Murkowski is married to Verne Martell and they have two sons. She enjoys spending time with her family in the Alaska outdoors.


Governor Bill Walker

Governor Bill Walker was born in Fairbanks and raised in Delta Junction and Valdez. His parents, Ed and Francis Walker, were Alaskan pioneers. Ed Walker was an Alaskan Scout with Castner’s Cutthroats in the Aleutians in WWII, and his mother worked on the Alcan Highway project. As a family, the Walkers celebrated Alaska Statehood in 1959, survived the 1964 Earthquake, and worked together in the family construction and hotel businesses.

Governor Walker also worked as a carpenter, teamster and laborer on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline construction to pay for his education. He earned his bachelor of science degree in business management from Lewis and Clark College and his juris doctor from the University of Puget Sound School of Law (now Seattle University). Prior to taking office, Governor Walker and his wife, Donna, owned a law firm that focused on municipal and oil and gas law.

Married since 1977, the Walkers have four children, and five grandchildren. Governor Walker is an avid downhill skier and enjoys fishing, boating, snow-machining, campfires with the family at the lake, and taking the grandkids ice skating.


Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallot

Governor Bill Walker and Lt. Governor Byron Mallott took office in December of 2014 as the first non-partisan administration in Alaska history. They are also the first Alaska-born Governor and Lt. Governor to serve together.

Mallott oversees the Alaska Division of Elections, and is the Governor’s Fisheries Advisor as well as the Administration’s lead on critical issues such as stewardship of transboundary waters and climate change. His focus on elections includes the landmark settlement of a Alaska Native language assistance case and expansion of language outreach to Alaska voters, as well as leading a coalition of Alaskans on issues such as future ballot delivery options and ensuring robust elections security. He co-chairs the federal Denali Commission, and serves on numerous other boards including the Governor’s Opioid Task force. As chair of Alaska’s Historical Commission, he spearheaded the 150th Anniversary of the Treaty of Cession of the State of Alaska, which included events in Washington, D.C. as well as statewide.

An Alaska Native and clan leader of the Tlingit Raven Kwaash Kee Kwaan Clan, Mallott entered public life as mayor of Yakutat at age 22 and has since held many positions of responsibility in the public, private and non-profit sectors. He has served every Alaska Governor since statehood. He was president of the Alaska Federation of Natives; founding president of the First Alaskans Institute; trustee, chair and executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation; and chair of the Nature Conservancy of Alaska. Currently, Mallott serves on the Polynesian Voyage Society’s Board of Directors.

In the private sector, Mallott has served as chair, president and CEO of Sealaska Corporation; served on the board of Alaska Air Group; Bank of America subsidiary boards in Washington and Alaska; and, as a director of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco. Mallott has also been a small business owner and commercial fisherman.

Yakutat remains the lifelong home of the Lt. Governor and his wife Toni, who was born and raised in the Athabascan village of Rampart on the Yukon River. Together they raised their blended family of five children. The Mallott’s ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild live close by – a true blessing.


Mayor Ken Koelsch

Ken Koelsch grew up on a farm in Michigan and learned the value of hard work at an early age.  He moved to Juneau in 1968 to take a teaching job.  In addition to teaching English, history, and government classes at Juneau-Douglas High School, he produced and directed the annual school musicals and advised the student councils, interacting with hundreds of students over the years.

He also served as Port Director for US Customs and Border Protection for 18 years, retiring in 2014.

Mr. Koelsch holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and a Master’s degree in Administration from the University of Alaska Southeast.

He was elected mayor of Juneau in March, 2016.  He and his wife, Marian, have two grown children and three grandchildren.


Heather Handyside, GCI Senior Director of Corporate Communications

As the senior director of corporate communications and lead spokesperson at GCI, Heather Handyside is responsible for protecting and promoting the telecom company’s reputation in Alaska as well as its growing nationwide markets. She is responsible for answering the tough questions as well as finding new and innovative ways to tell GCI’s Alaska-born-and-raised story. Before joining the team, Heather served as deputy municipal manager for the Municipality of Anchorage and as Anchorage’s director of homeland security and emergency management where she learned a thing or two about communications that she now incorporates into GCI product and service launches touching the far corners of the state.


Dr. S. Bradley Moran

Dr. S. Bradley Moran is Dean of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and Professor of Oceanography at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Prior to his appointment as Dean, he served as Acting Director of the Obama Administration’s National Ocean Council, Assistant Director for Ocean Sciences in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Program Director in the Chemical Oceanography Program at the National Science Foundation. He focused on implementing federal ocean science policy and facilitating interagency efforts and partnerships on a broad range of ocean policy, resource, economic, and national security matters. In his previous academic position as Professor of Oceanography in the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, he served as Co-Director of the Rhode Island NSF Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research and as Assistant Vice President for Research at the University of Rhode Island.

Dr. Moran’s principal research interests focus on the application of uranium-series and artificial radionuclides as tracers of marine geochemical processes and fostering economic development partnerships in energy and environmental research, technology, policy, and education.  He has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and secured over $40M in research grants and contracts.  In 2007, he envisioned and implemented the nation’s first Masters of Business Administration-Masters of Oceanography dual degree, the “Blue MBA”. He is an Editor for the Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans and Editorial Board member of the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering and the Journal of Marine Research.

Dr. Moran is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, the Board of Directors of the Alaska Ocean Observing System, the Alaska Sea Life Center Board, the Advisory Board of the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center, the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and the Board of Directors of the North Pacific Research Board.

Dr. Moran received a B.Sc. in chemistry from Concordia University, a Ph.D. in oceanography from Dalhousie University, and conducted his postdoctoral research at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.


Nolan Klouda

As Executive Director, Nolan provides overall leadership for the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development, as well as support for other programs of the UAA Business Enterprise Institute. Prior to taking his current role in 2014, Nolan served as Associate Director. He has been a strategic advisor to tribal governments, municipal governments, non-profits, Alaska Native Corporations and private business groups, assisting them in realizing their economic goals. Nolan’s areas of professional interest include feasibility analysis, rural economic development, entrepreneurship and innovation policy, and engagement between the public and private sectors. He is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) through the International Economic Development Council, is a board member for the University Economic Development Association, and serves on the Municipality of Anchorage Budget Advisory Commission. Nolan was named to Alaska’s “Top 40 Under 40” in 2015. He holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor of Arts, History and Political Science from Gustavus Adolphus College. Nolan was born and raised in Alaska, and has lived in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Kodiak Island.


Britteny A. Cioni-Haywood

Britteny A. Cioni-Haywood holds a Master of Science in Natural Resource Economics from the University of Arkansas. She has lived in Juneau since 2006, and was previously a professor of economics at the University of Alaska Southeast.  Ms. Cioni-Haywood has been with the State of Alaska since 2012 and currently serves as the Director for the Division of Economic Development.


Scott Habberstad

Scott Habberstad is a lifelong Alaskan currently residing in Anchorage with his lovely bride Amy, daughter Catheryne and son Jack.   Scott graduated from Ketchikan High School in 1989, attended flight school upon graduation from high school.  Scott earned his multi engine commercial land and sea ratings.  He returned to Ketchikan to fly for Taquan Airlines in the summer and attended college in the fall at Boise State University.  Scott graduated with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing in 1997 and returned to Ketchikan to continue his flying career; shortly after returning, however, he went to work for the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau as the Director of Marketing.  In 2001, Scott went to work for Alaska Airlines as an account executive in Anchorage and was later elevated to Manager of Regional Sales, Alaska and is now the Director of Sales & Community Marketing-Alaska. Scott is active in the community, sitting on the boards of the Resource Development Council, Visit Anchorage – past chair, Alaska Travel Industry Association – chair, Providence Foundation, Alaska & Alaska Air Carriers Association.


Captain Dan Blanchard, CEO of UnCruise

We've all heard a tall tale or two, but when it comes to Captain Dan Blanchard—well, he's the real thing. Growing up in Washington State, he has always been around boats. Even as a kid, Dan worked alongside other family members restoring the family's wooden tug. And the reward of all that hard work paid off in a big way—exploring winding waterways, beachcombing on remote shores, oyster picking and clam digging, learning to skin dive, incredible wildlife and cultural encounters, and a lifetime on the water. At this point, it's just part of his genetic makeup.

Dan's unassailable career began early. As an accomplished Sea Scout, his leadership skills earned him honors of Regional Boatswain and National Boatswain Mate when he was 16. At 18, he received his Ship Master's License. He attended Everett Community College, and from there he's lived a storied-tale—owner and operator of Blanchard Marine; Captain of sightseeing vessels at Glacier Bay Lodge in Alaska; 14 years at Alaska Sightseeing/Cruise West working through the ranks from Captain to Director of Marine Operations to Vice President of Operations; and in 1999, he joined American Safari Cruises. Dan acquired the company in 2008 and as Principal/CEO, launched InnerSea Discoveries, a new small boat expedition company specializing in active adventures on the water. In January 2013, the company changed its name to Un-Cruise Adventures.

A natural storyteller (2012 winner of Seattle's annual "Stories of the Sea" contest), enthusiastic skier and cyclist, energetic hiker, world-explorer in off-the-chart places, accomplished sailor, ocean lover, lover of the natural world, and lover of life are just a few of the tags and feverish passions you can pin on Dan. And in May 2013, he was adopted into a native Tlingit tribe. He's living the dream and wouldn't have it any other way. For Dan, it can't get much sweeter with both of his kids in the biz working beside him—it's safe to say it's in their genes too.


Larry Cotter

Larry Cotter is the CEO of the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association (APICDA), one of six community development quota (CDQ) groups in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.  He arrived in Juneau in 1974, and went to work at Juneau Cold Storage processing fish the next day.  He spent four years at the cold storage before becoming a labor organizer for longshoremen and cannery works (and Bartlett Memorial Hospital) for the next eight years.  Larry served two terms as a voting member on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (1986-1992).  He has extensive experience in economic development and has served on numerous boards and commissions.


Julie Decker

In 1994, Julie Decker arrived in Ketchikan to work in a cannery during summer break from college, and has worked in Alaska's seafood industry ever since.   Her work experience has been varied and includes: deckhand, diver, vessel owner, and management of both seafood processing businesses and non-profits.  

Julie has also served on various boards and committees working toward economic development in the seafood industry, including the Southeast Conference, United Fishermen of Alaska, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, and the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF).  In 2016, Julie was elected to a second term on the Wrangell Assembly.  Currently, Julie is the Executive Director of AFDF.  In the summers, she takes vacation time to commercial fish with her family on the F/V McCrea out of Wrangell.


John Binkley

John is a third-generation Alaskan; he grew up in the family tour business operating sternwheel riverboats. He saw firsthand the growth of the tourism industry from its humble beginnings during the 1950’s and 60’s, to the dramatic growth of the 1980’s and 1990's when the larger cruise ships started coming to Alaska; to now having almost two million visitors a year to the state. John served as CEO of the family business, and now his sons operate the successful family tourism business through the fourth generation.

In 1977 John and his wife Judy founded and operated a tug and barge business in western Alaska  It was there that John began his public service, first as a member of the Bethel City Council in the early 80’s and then representing the region in the Alaska House of Representatives. He went on to the State Senate, serving as co-chairman of the Finance Committee. John’s extensive record of civic service includes serving as Chairman of the Alaska Railroad Corporation for 13 years, and continues to serve as a member of the Board of Directors since 1995; he serves on many other corporate and non-profit boards and also as President of CLIA Alaska (formerly the Alaska Cruise Association).

John and Judy live in Fairbanks, and have four adult children and nine grandchildren, all in Alaska.


Mead Treadwell

Prior to joining Pt Capital, Mead Treadwell served as Alaska’s lieutenant governor and was a candidate for U.S. Senate. Mead is recognized as one of the world’s Arctic policy experts. He was appointed to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission by President George W. Bush, and designated as chair under President’s Bush and Obama. Mead served in the cabinet of Alaska Governor Wally Hickel and led Alaska’s efforts to build circumpolar cooperation through the eight nation Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy. Mead has been actively involved in numerous Arctic policy focused organizations, including: Institute of the North, the Aspen Institute, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, the Arctic Circle, and the World Economic Forum’s Global Action Council on the Arctic.
As an entrepreneur and investor, Mead has served in numerous Board and executive leadership roles in Alaska resource development, telecommunications, and information technology companies that created innovative programs like “Street view” ® for Google.
Mead is a graduate of Yale University and the Harvard Business School.


Anthony Mallott

Anthony Mallott has served as Sealaska president and CEO since May 2014. Mallott earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Stanford University. He came to Sealaska in 2006 to serve as Sealaska’s chief investment officer and treasurer. As a result he has deep experience in financial and investment management. As chief investment officer, he was responsible for the direction of treasury activities of the company and the management of corporate investment funds. Prior to Sealaska, Mallott was a vice president within Bank of America’s capital markets, working in the portfolio and risk strategy group for 10 years.

Mallott is chair of the Kootznoowoo Permanent Fund Settlement Trust, which benefits Kootznoowoo, Inc. shareholders. He has served as a board member of the Rasmuson Foundation, a $600 million private foundation that promotes a better life for all Alaskans; and an investment committee member of the Alaska Community Foundation, a $60 million philanthropic fund.

Anthony is Tlingit, Eagle, Tsaagweidi (Killerwhale) Clan, as well as Koyukon Athabascan, Caribou Clan. His Tlingit name is Gunnuk.


Daniel M. White

Daniel M. White became the chancellor of the University of Alaska Fairbanks in July 2017. He joined UAF’s faculty in 1995 as a professor of civil and environmental engineering before taking on successive administrative roles at UAF and in the University of Alaska statewide office. He and his wife, Ann Marie, also an engineer, have two children.


Rick Caulfield

Dr. Rick Caulfield serves as Chancellor, University of Alaska Southeast. His previous academic positions included UAS Provost (5 years) and 25 years as a University of Alaska Fairbanks faculty member and administrator. He also worked as research specialist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Subsistence. His academic interests are in political science, natural resources management, and the political economy of resource use in the Arctic. He earned his doctorate in the UK, with dissertation research focused on aboriginal subsistence whaling in Greenland/Kalaallit Nunaat. He has lived and worked in rural Alaskan communities, including Dillingham where he worked as a commercial fisherman. Dr. Caulfield serves as Vice-Chair of JEDC and is on the board of the Alaska Development Corporation and Juneau World Affairs Council.


Alec Mesdag

Alec Mesdag grew up in Juneau and holds a degree in environmental science from Oregon State University.  Prior to returning to Juneau in 2012, he worked as a project manager for a large electrical contractor in Portland, OR, managing healthcare, high tech, and solar construction projects, as well as developing non-regulated energy projects for tax equity investors.  As vice president and director of energy services at AEL&P, Alec works to influence how customers consume energy in order to maximize the value of electric infrastructure. Alec serves as the Co-Chair of JEDC’s Renewable Energy Cluster Working Group, focused on finding applications of renewable energy in our region’s economy. He spends his time away from work explaining how he is related to the other Mesdags in town.


Kirby Day

Kirby Day is a 30-year resident of Juneau and currently holds the position of Port Manager for Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Seabourn Cruise Line, overseeing a variety of ship operations for these cruise lines in Alaska, the Baltic, Hawaii, Southern California, and Western Mexico.

Kirby grew up in Southern California and attended the University of Denver and California State University at Fullerton, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration, with a dual major in Marketing and Management.

His career in the cruise industry began in 1980 working for World Explorer Cruises as a Shore Excursion Manager, Cruise Director, and Operations Manager. In 1985, he moved to Tahiti to manage the operations for American Hawaii Cruises' year round cruise product in French Polynesia.  Upon leaving Tahiti in 1987, Kirby moved to Juneau and began work for Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska as their Port Manager. In 1991, Kirby was hired by Princess Tours to oversee Southeast Alaska motor coach operations for the company and eventually moved over to the Princess Cruises ship/marine operations side of the business, becoming responsible for ship operations in various regions of the world.


Larry Hinzman

Larry Hinzman is Vice Chancellor for Research and is Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Hinzman served as the Director of the UAF International Arctic Research Center from 2007 to 2015. Professor Hinzman’s primary research interests involve permafrost hydrology.  He has conducted hydrological and meteorological field studies in the Alaskan Arctic continuously for over 35 years while frequently collaborating on complementary research in the Russian and Canadian Arctic.  His research efforts have involved characterizing and quantifying hydrological processes and their inter-dependence with climate and ecosystem dynamics.  He has served as a member of the U.S. Polar Research Board and now serves as an Ex-Officio member of that board.  Hinzman serves as the US delegate and vice-president of the International Arctic Science Committee and as the vice-chair of SAON (Sustaining Arctic Observations Network).  He is strongly committed to facilitating national and international partnerships to advance our understanding of the arctic system.