UA Journey

1976-1979 Conrad Frank

Fairbanks

Board of Regents' Resolution of Appreciation

WHEREAS Conrad G. B. Frank served with distinction as a member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents from early 1976 until February 14, 1979, completing the unexpired term of Regent Robert McFarland;


  WHEREAS Regent Frank, a former engineer for the City of Fairbanks and for many years an officer of a major Fairbanks construction firm, brought to the Board of Regents the considerable expertise gained from this professional employment; and


  WHEREAS Regent Frank, a civil engineering graduate of the University of Alaska, demonstrated a strong commitment to the development of a responsible, effective state university system; now


  THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Regents of the University of Alaska takes official recognition of Conrad G. B. Frank's outstanding service and extends this statement of appreciation for his contributuins to the development of higher education in Alaska; and


  BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution be appropriately engrossed and conveyed to Conrad G. B. Frank, with a copy to be incorporated in the official minutes of the April 5, 1979 meeting of the Board of Regents.

Conrad G.B. Frank, or Con, was born April 11, 1922, in Granum, Alberta, Canada. He had three sisters; his father died when he was seven years old. His mother moved to Vancouver, B.C., and rented out their ranch and farm near Granum. Con finished high school in Vancouver. In 1939-1941, Con attended Central Washington College in Ellensburg, Wash. He moved to Seattle during the summer of 1942 and worked for American Bridge Co. on the power line from Grand Coulee to Bonneville.

In December 1942, Con was drafted and had a choice of joining the Canadian or U.S. Army. He chose the U.S. Army and became an American citizen. He served overseas in Italy and Japan as staff sergeant and reconnaissance scout until February 1946.

When he got out of the Army in February, Con moved to Berkley, Calif., where he worked as a land surveyor until May 1946. He arrived in Fairbanks, Alaska, on July 16, 1946. He worked for Fay, Spofford & Thorndike as a surveyor and inspector until January 1947. He enrolled at UAF at that time and graduated in March of 1949. He previously attended military schools in Vermillion and Brookings, S.D., in May 1943 and June 1944.

While in college, Con and Al Boyd—his brother -in-law—earned a living by building and selling houses. After graduation, Con worked for the city of Fairbanks from 1948 to 1949 as a city engineer. In 1949, Con and Ed Walker partnered in Arctic Block, making concrete construction blocks. From 1954 through 1956, Con worked for the city again, plus part-time for Fairbanks Builders.

He began Ghemm Co. in 1959 as the fifth partner. He started as an estimator, becoming vice president in charge of construction by 1961. He was soon promoted to general manager. By 1990, four of the five partners had died or become incapacitated, and a new, younger group of engineers took over. They made Con the chairman of the board. He still has an office at Ghemm co. and goes to work every day.

Con married Helen Dimm on July 16, 1945, after the end of the European war. By 1954, they had five children; one boy (Derry) died in an accident in 1968; two girls (Mary Ehrlander and Andrea Gelvin) and two boys (Steve and Randy Frank) and extended families still live in Fairbanks. Con's wife, Helen Dimm, died of cancer in 1973.

Con married Helen Link Atkinson on Sept 5, 1975, and acquired four stepchildren and additional in-laws, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

2000-2001: Outstanding Volunteer for efforts to preserve Fairbanks Heritage
1996: Lifetime Achievement Award - Alaska Society of Professional Engineers
1980: Alaska General Contractors (AGC) chapter president and AGC Hard Hat Award
1976-1979: Member of University of Alaska Board of Regents
1968-1990: Member of Fairbanks Memorial Hospital Board and Construction Committee
Story courtesy of Helen Atkinson
UAF News Release: Prominent Alaska Construction Firm Establishes UAF Endowment

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