My parents met at Mount McKinley during World War II. My dad fought in WW II on Alaskan soil with the Scouts in the Aleutians and my mother worked with the Corps of Engineers during the construction of the Alaska Highway and later was the Women’s Page editor for the Fairbanks Daily News Miner. I am the youngest of four children and I was born in Fairbanks and spent my childhood in Fairbanks, Deltay and Valdeze.
My family lost everything in the ‘64 earthquake, we buried our friends, classmates and neighbors. I will never forget my parents gathering the family to explain that we had the option of declaring bankruptcy or of pulling together as a family with everyone doing their part to pay our debts and rebuild our lives. We chose the latter and everyone went to work. At twelve years old, I was awarded the janitorial contract with the post office, which I performed by going to work every morning before school started. After school and throughout the summer, I also worked tirelessly with our small family construction company and others salvaging homes and buildings and later helped relocate the town of Valdez to a new town site.
I put myself through my first year of college on a meager basketball scholarship, living with a former elementary school teacher and her family. All my family lost materially, we regained as the TransAlaska pipeline boom hit our town. I worked as a Carpenter, Teamster, and Laborer each summer to earn the remainder of my college tuition. I graduated with a business degree from Lewis and Clark College in 1973.
Barely out of college, I was selected to represent my community and state on an OMAR (Organization for the Management of Alaska’s Resources, which is now RDC, the Resource Development Council) delegation, lobbying key elected officials around the country to support an Alaskan gas line. Thus began my thirty-year progression of efforts to develop Alaska’s natural resources. In 1977, I was elected to the Valdez City Council. In 1979, at the age of 27, I became Valdez’ youngest mayor during those early, exciting yet challenging years when oil first began flowing into Valdez.
In 1980, Donnana and I headed to the University of Puget Sound School of Law (now Seattle University) and upon graduation in 1983, we both worked for the Hughes, Thorsness law firm where later I was elected by the 50+ attorneys to the management committee. Donnana and I started our own firm in 1995 where we have focused primarily in municipal and oil and gas law. We have managed and/or owned several successful businesses over the years and are well acquainted with the challenges confronting Alaska’s small business owners. On a national level, I am no stranger to the Capitol. Over the years, I have made numerous trips to represent Alaska’s interests, meeting with various administrative agencies and representatives.
As the project manager and general counsel for the Alaska Gasline Port Authority for the past fourteen years, I have traveled the globe to meet and negotiate at the highest level with various international companies, including all of the Alaska North Slope(ANS) producers. I have studied the North Slope leases and have retained some of the best legal minds in the country to advise me of the Alaska North Slope producers’ obligations under their leases.
I am on the steering committee of the North American Gas Summit and have been a presenter at their annual Washington DC conferences as well as at the Alaska Oil & Gas Congress and participated in the World LNG Summit in Rome in 2011.
Donnana and I have been married for thirty-six years and have raised four wonderful children, primarily in Anchorage where we have resided for over twenty-five years. While the children were young our lives centered around church, school, sports and enjoying all the Alaskan adventures. They are all West High graduates. Lindsay, 32, is an attorney at our firm and mother of our two precious grandchildren; Tessa, 29, is a Public Health Nurse and fulfilled her dream of climbing Denaly last year; Adama, 28, is an Anchorage dentist and sports and fitness enthusiast; and Jordan, 25, has studied construction management at the University of Denver and UAA and is a pipeline radiology assistant on the North Slope. We have two great sons-in-law, Greg and Dennis, and a sweetheart daughter-in-law, Sabrina, who is part Tlingit Indian and belongs to the Raven moiety in the Deisheetaan clan. We are so blessed by the rich Alaskan heritage Sabrina brings to our family. Our favorite times now as a family are long weekends at our Nancy Lake cabin. We attend Faith Christian Community Church. We have also had the joy of serving with our children in many volunteer and community efforts, as well as on foreign medical mission trips, most recently to the prisons in Guyana.