About the Task Force
- Michael J. Baker Director of Information Technology, Alaska Pacific University
Michael Baker has over 20 years experience within Information Technology and Education, and currently serves as the Director of Information Technology at Alaska Pacific University where he coordinates technology solutions and collaborative learning communities for the university.
As former Director of Technology for Maine School Administrative District No. 75, Mr. Baker spent the majority of his time leading and supporting solutions for academic institutions in K-12 and higher education. While maintaining the technical infrastructure between district schools, he accepted the challenge of regional coordinator for the Electronic Learning Market Place (ELM) funded by a five year U.S. Department of Education Technology Innovation Challenge Grant. This project focused on demonstrating improvements in student learning and further led to the development for collaborative efforts to share skills, practices, and resources as a state. During the mid 90's Mr. Baker participated in a National Science Foundation grant establishing high speed broad band access to the schools of the Mid Coast region of Maine.
As Alaska Pacific University's Director of I.T. Mr. Baker has led sustained growth in services for the past three years supporting the education of Alaskan students across the state.
- Brigadier General Leon M. Bridges serves as the Assistant Adjutant General - Army, Alaska National Guard. He also serves as the Commander, Alaska Army National Guard.
General Bridges received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Oregon Army National Guard in 1981 after graduating from Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Prior to receiving his commission he was an enlisted Soldier in the Oregon Army National Guard. General Bridges served in the Washington Army National Guard from 1982-1986 as an officer in a mechanized infantry unit. He transferred to the Alaska Army National Guard in 1986.
- Chris Brown Business Planning Management, AT&T
Chris Brown has been in the telecom industry for more than 30 years, starting with six years of communications engineering for a power utility. He joined the organization that evolved into Sprint in 1981, where he held various management roles in technical and business areas. Mr. Brown had several years of international experience with British Telecom and was later an executive with a local phone company in the early days of local competition. He has been with AT&T in Alaska since 2004. Mr. Brown earned a BSEE from the University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, and an MBA from Emory University in Atlanta, GA.
- Joseph Davis Member-at-Large
Joseph Davis partners his practical experiences in business, education, and technology with his work history in interdisciplinary education. He's lived in rural Alaska for 20 years during which time he has worked with small business ventures and taught classes ranging from kindergarten through college. He is formally trained in bilingual cross-cultural education, and leverages experience in telecommunications, photography, journalism, radio, drama, music, ventriloquism, carpentry and mechanics in his training approach.
Mr. Davis' expertise is in international telecommunications and developing school technology platforms in rural communities. He has volunteered with Solace International as a teacher in Sheberghan, Afghanistan - installing satellite systems, computer labs, developing curricula and delivering training to public schools. He has taught during his extensive travels throughout Russia, the Former Soviet Union, Japan, Southeast Asia, and Europe. He was an Apple Forum Consultant on America Online for supervising the "Bering Bridge" Russian/Former Soviet Union Board. Mr. Davis founded and managed the Soviet American School Network, a private non-profit organization to assist schools in networking.
Committed to sustainability and the need for technology in education, Mr. Davis pioneered Internet in a Box an innovative approach providing ongoing funding to rural school computer labs. He served as a teacher and computer specialist for African AIDS Orphanages in Malawi and Kenya developing the internal capacity to run a community Internet Cafe as a local micro-enterprise. He currently works with urban and rural Alaska Native communities to cultivate local art, culture, and develop entrepreneurial teams to build economic development opportunities. His Internet business workshops have been given in more than 30 villages, with participation from approximately 60 additional villages.
- Brad deMontfort Business Representative, IBEW
Brad deMontfort is a Business Representative for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1547, a labor organization, representing over 4800 workers in the electrical, utility, telecommunications, government and medical industries statewide.
Brad has been in the Telecommunications Industry for more than 39 years. Brad started out in the Air Force as a Tele. Lineman in 1973. In 1977 he started work for the IBEW; and in 1981 he went to work at ATU as a Telephone Lineman, became a Shop Steward in 1986 through 1996, and then served as Chief Steward in 1996 through 2003. Brad was an ACS OSP General Foreman starting in 2003, and became an IBEW Business Representative in 2007.
- Rich Gazaway Advisory Section Manager, Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA)
As the advisory section manager for the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA), Mr. Gazaway supervises accountants, engineers, telecommunications specialists, and other agency personnel. Mr. Gazaway has been employed by the RCA for the last 14 years, and previously served as a telecommunications specialist and as an administrative law judge.
Since 2003, Mr. Gazaway has been the lead RCA staff member for the Rural Alaska Broadband Internet Grant Access Program. This federally-funded grant program, administered jointly by the RCA and the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, is designed to facilitate long-term affordable broadband Internet services in rural Alaska communities where those services do not exist. Mr. Gazaway's experience includes knowledge of communications infrastructure and market conditions in rural Alaska.
- David J. Goggins Vice-President of Operations, TelAlaska
Dave Goggins is responsible for managing the operations of TelAlaska's NetWorks advanced data division, TelAlaska cellular operations, the company's 25 telephone central offices, two CATV Headends, 25 outside plant facilities and technicians and construction employees for four subsidiaries. He is also responsible for the company's technical and safety training standards, developing department budgets and coordinating work between operations and the organization.
He had been a TelAlaska employee for more than 30 years and has worked in all of TelAlaska's communities. Mr. Goggins thoroughly understands the company's operations in culturally diverse and geographically challenging areas of the state. He has served on the Western Telecommunications Alliance (WTA) executive board and committees for the Alaska Telephone Association (ATA).
- Renee Johnson Director of Business Programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Renee has worked for Rural Development for eleven years focusing her efforts in business and community programs. She administers a variety of Federal loan guarantee, direct loan, and grant programs designed to create and retain jobs, support businesses and cooperative development, and promote sustainable economic progress in Alaska. Prior to joining Rural Development, Renee spent 15 years in the commercial banking industry in Alaska and Minnesota. USDA Rural Development provides financing and technical assistance for housing, business development, and essential community and technology infrastructure projects in rural Alaska.
- Karl Kowalski Chief Information Technology Officer, University of Alaska
Karl Kowalski is the Chief Information Technology Officer for the University of Alaska system. Mr. Kowalski has over 20 years experience in public education and technology integration in Rural Alaskan schools. Mr. Kowalski is a UAF graduate, holding degrees in Education and Biology. He earned a Master's degree in Educational Technology Leadership from George Washington University. Most recently, Mr. Kowalski served as Director of Technology and Information Services for the Northwest Arctic Borough School District. He has also served as adjunct professor for Chukchi College designing and implementing technology courses for K-12 educators and as consultant to the State of Alaska Department of Education, reviewing statewide technology plans. He teamed with state and local agencies and the Lt. Governor's office to design and help pass the Alaska Waiver of the Federal E-Rate Program. Mr. Kowalski was appointed member of the Alaska Information Infrastructure Policy Task Force, State of Alaska UNITY project and is a founding member of the Alaska Distance Learning Partnership.
- Maureen Moore Vice President, Consumer Services, GCI
Maureen Moore has held this position for more than five years. During her 13-year career with GCI, she has served in several capacities including Director of Internet Marketing and was part of the GCI team that launched cable modem service in 1998, which expanded services throughout Alaska. In this role, she helped GCI grow to be the largest Internet Service Provider in the state.
Born and raised in Alaska, she is a graduate of Seward High School. She earned a degree in Business Administration from Georgetown University with a double major in Finance and Management.
- Stephanie (Stevi) Morton Chief Information Officer, Providence Health & Services Alaska
Since joining Providence Health & Services Alaska in 1998, Ms. Morton has led the organization's initiatives in information systems, technology and biomedical engineering services. Her responsibilities include leading a division of more than 100 employees responsible for clinical and financial systems, infrastructure engineering, interface engineering, project management, training, customer service desk and biomedical engineering. This division serves more than 4000 employees, approximately 800 hundred physicians and their offices, as well as thousands of patients from across the state.
Prior to joining Providence, she worked for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company for 25 years in various leadership roles. She currently holds memberships in the Health Information Management System Society and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. She serves on the Board of Directors of Imaging Associates of Providence and on the Board of Directors of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, and she is currently the acting Board member to the Alaska Electronic Health Network (AeHN).
Raised in the Cleveland, Ohio area, she holds a BA degree from Alaska Pacific University.
- Myron P. Naneng, Sr. President, Association of Village Council Presidents
Myron Naneng, Sr., is the president of the Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP) - a tribal consortium representing 56 villages in the Yukon/Kuskokwim Delta. He has held positions as AVCP vice president, special staff assistant/ Office of the Governor in Bethel, in various roles with the state's Community and Regional Affairs and with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
He is president and chairman of Sea Lion Corporation, chairman of Sea Lion Management Group, United Companies, Inc., and a board member of the Alaska Federation of Natives / Human Resources Committee.
Mr. Naneng was born in Hooper Bay, Alaska and graduated from St. Mary's High School in 1970. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks majoring in Natural Resources. He also attended Kuskokwim Community College and received an AA degree in Land Resource Management.
- Bill Popp President & CEO, Anchorage Economic Development Corporation
Bill Popp has spent more than 30 years in both the Alaska private and public sectors. As President & CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, 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 outside of Alaska. Prior to joining AEDC, Mr. Popp served as special assistant to Mayor John J. Williams of the Kenai Peninsula Borough (KPB) with a focus on oil and gas development. From 1996 to 2002, he held an elected position on the KPB Assembly and, in 2000; he presided over the Assembly as president. He also has private industry experience as a small business owner.
Mr. Popp has served as chairman of the KPB Economic Development Criteria Task Force; project coordinator of the Challenger Learning Center for Alaska; vice chairman of the Alaska Stranded Gas Act Municipal Advisory Group; co-chair of Governor Murkowski's Agrium Task Force; chair of the Kenai Peninsula Development Coalition; consultant for the British Columbia Provincial Government's Offshore Oil and Gas Team; and, member of the Cook Inlet Natural Gas Pipeline Terminus Group. He is currently a board member of: the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau, UAA College of Business and Public Policy Advisory Board, the Alaska Film Group, Chair of the Economic Development Committee for the Municipality of Anchorage, Member of the Tri-borough Commission Energy Task Force, Member of the Board of the Directors of the Anchorage Concert Association, Member of the Municipality of Anchorage Energy Policy Committee and the Legislative Energy Stakeholders Group, and ex-officio board member of Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Ltd.
- Michael Robinson President, Alaska Library Association
As a librarian and an associate professor at UAA, Mr. Robinson has been working with technology in Alaska libraries for more than 16 years and is keenly interested in the role libraries play in providing access to technology and encouraging information literacy.
- Mike Todd Senior Vice President of Technology Services, Alaska Communications
Mike Todd is in part a group comprised of Engineering, Operations and Information Technology members with the primary mission of providing all technical support for Alaska Communications and its customers. This includes planning, engineering, delivery and support of services across traditional wireline, wireless and IP/MPLS networks within and between Alaska and the world.
Prior to Alaska Communications, Mr. Todd held various roles at Sprint; beginning in 1997 when he served as both Site Development Director and RF Engineering Director. His last position with Sprint was Director, Staff Operations for Network Services supporting the strategic and tactical planning of a 12,000+ organization. He holds a bachelor's in Engineering from Texas A&M and an MBA from the University of Texas and has more than 20 years of telecommunications experience.
- Jeffery Tucker Fire Chief, North Pole, Alaska
Jeff Tucker has more than 29- years of experience in the emergency service field including: fire, emergency medical, technical rescue and hazardous material response. He also has experience with the development and utilization of geographic information systems (GIS), computer aided dispatch, mobile data applications, and dispatch services.
Currently, Mr. Tucker is the Fire Chief for the North Star Volunteer Fire Department in North Pole, which serves a population of over 23,000 in an area of 106 square miles. The department provides fire and EMS first response as well as public education and other services to the community.
Committees and other memberships include serving as president of the Alaska Fire Chiefs Association, and as a member of the Alaska Land Mobile Radio System Executive Council representing Local and Municipal Government, the Alaska Interoperable Communications Committee (AKICC), State of Alaska 911 Senior Executive Panel, Fairbanks North Star Borough Emergency Services Commission, Fairbanks Area Dispatch Center Advisory Committee, Northern Region Alaska Land Mobile Radio Users Council and the Fairbanks North Star Borough Emergency Planning Committee.
- Robert Whicker Director, Association of Alaska School Board's Consortium for Digital Learning
Bill Whicker is the director of the Association of Alaska School Board's Consortium for Digital Learning. He recently came to this position after having served six-years as a K12 Educational Development Executive for schools in eight Western States associated with Apple, Inc. Prior to his work at AASB, Mr. Whicker gained valuable experience in Alaska's public school serving more than 21years. During that time, he was a teacher/coach, principal, charter school director, home school correspondence director, and lastly, Superintendent of Schools in Denali Borough School District. While involved with the Denali School District, he implemented a sustainable 1:1 laptop learning environment, a program still a model within the state.
Access to technology, school business partnerships and educational reform have been hallmarks of the schools and districts in which Mr. Whicker has been involved. Entrepreneurial approaches in public education, funding and program development also have been of special interests.
He has a BA/BS in business administration/physical education from the University of Northern Colorado and a M.Ed. in Exercise Science from Colorado State University. In addition, he received his Principal certificate from University of Texas and Superintendent Certificate from the University of Alaska. Currently, Mr. Whicker is pursuing a Ph.D. in educational leadership for University of Alaska, Fairbanks with the main focus of researching Alaskan 1:1 digital learning environments.
- Representative Bob Herron Alaska House of Representatives
Rep. Bob Herron, previously the government and public relations director for the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, has represented the 38th District in the Alaska State House of Representatives since 2008. His Southwest Alaska district ranges from the communities on Nunivak Island to Upper Kalskag to Bethel and Platinum.
He previously served as the Bethel city manager (1998-2005), legislative aide in the office of Sen. Lyman Hoffman (1987-1994) and was the general manager/partner with Swanson's Theater/Bethel Cablevision. Herron also has owned and operated a number of businesses, including Bethel Drilling & Welding, Blue Sky Estates, Golden Eagle, Kisaralik Unlimited and North Star Gas.
He currently serves as chairman of the Economic Development Trade & Tourism Committee and as vice-chair of Legislative Council. He serves on four Finance Sub-Committees, on the Fisheries, Health & Social Services and Resources Committees, and he is a member on the Northern Waters Task Force.
- John Boucher Senior Policy Analyst, State of Alaska / Office of the Governor
John Boucher is an experienced economist, researcher and project manager with more than twenty years of experience in the management, production, research, analysis and presentation of Alaskan labor market and economic information in addition to five years of information system project management experience.
Mr. Boucher currently serves in the Alaska Governor's Office of Management and Budget as the Senior Economist. Mr. Boucher's responsibilities include fiscal matters, economic and resource development issues, state and local government partnerships, and serving as a member of the Investment Review Team- the group that supports the decision making process for the State of Alaska's information technology investments.
Previously, Mr. Boucher was the project manager for the State of Alaska, Department of Health and Social Services, Office of Children's Services (OCS) and Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS). He directed an agency-wide information systems replacement and integration project (referred to the ORCA project), while managing the information system staff for the OCS and Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Under Mr. Boucher's leadership the ORCA project garnered a national award for government funded information system implementation projects. The system was implemented to over 30 OCS offices using a web-based architecture. During the ORCA development and implementation process, he experienced first-hand the limitations that low broadband speeds place on the productivity of workers in those locations.
- Roberta Graham Special Assistant, Office of the Commissioner / DCCED
Roberta Graham currently serves as the special assistant to the Office of the Commissioner, Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. She has a broad public policy communications background and experience in developing strategic programs targeted at economic development. As special assistant, she serves as a policy advisor to the Commissioner's Office and analyzes, develops, plans and oversees special projects related to the department's wide-ranging mission.
Ms. Graham most recently served as the special assistant for public affairs with the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects in Washington, D.C. The former CEO of Bernholz & Graham, a public relations and public policy firm with offices in Alaska and New York, she is a senior fellow at the Institute of the North specializing in Arctic public diplomacy and strategic communications issues, and she works on public diplomacy issues at the Edward R. Murrow Center for Public Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy / Tufts University.
She earned a master's degree in international relations and public diplomacy from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.
- James Kohler Deputy Director of Enterprise Technology Services / Department of Administration
Jim Kohler manages both the development of enterprise-wide IT infrastructure projects, and the State of Alaska's microwave network - the largest state operated microwave network in the United States. Mr. Kohler also serves as the State's Project Coordinator for the Alaska Land Mobile Radio System, which provides emergency interoperable communications for state, municipal, Department of Defense, and non-DoD Federal agencies in Alaska. Recently, Mr. Kohler was designated as the stateside lead for an ad hoc telecom working group, established by Alaska's Governor's office.
Prior to joining State government, Mr. Kohler assisted with the build out, expansion and management of the largest commercial wireless service in Alaska, and helped bring the first state- wide wireless service to a Nome, Alaska in 2006.
Mr. Kohler began his career in Alaska in 1979 implementing a city-manager form of government in Yakutat as well as mitigating potential on-shore impacts from off-shore oil and gas development. The mitigation strategies became known as the "Yakutat Model" and were recommended to other coastal communities prior to cessation of off-shore drilling off Alaska. Subsequently he provided executive services to the charter Juneau Economic Development Council and also the Southeast Conference where he focused on economic impact mitigation immediately following the closure of the Southeast region's two major pulp mills as well as initiating a region-wide sustainable economic development planning project.
- Senator Joe Paskvan Alaska State Senate
Senator Joe Paskvan, a Fairbanks attorney, has represented Alaska Senate District E, which includes Fairbanks and Fort Wainwright, since 2009. Sen. Paskvan was born and raised in Fairbanks. After graduating from Monroe High School, he attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks, managed the family business, graduated from law school and interned for Judge Alexander O. Bryner of the Alaska Court of Appeals. He has worked as an attorney in Fairbanks for 30 years.
Sen. Paskvan currently serves as co-chair of the Resources Committee, vice-chair of State Affairs and the Labor & Commerce committees and serves as a member on the Armed Services and Judiciary Committees as well as on four Finance subcommittees.
Sen. Paskvan earned a BA in political science from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1975, and a law degree from the University of Puget Sound School of Law in 1981.