UA Journey

1983-1991 Roy Huhndorf

his information was excerpted from www.Alaskakool.org, an online source for materials on Alaska Native history, education, languages and cultures.


Roy M. Huhndorf, Yup'ik Eskimo, is a prominent leader locally, statewide and nationally for his efforts to ensure that Alaska's Eskimos, Indians and Aleuts are empowered economically and socially in the quest for an improved standard of life.

Mr. Huhndorf's family moved to Anchorage from the Alaska Interior village of Nulato, Alaska, where he was born and raised, so that the Huhndorf children could attend high school and receive the best education possible. Mr. Huhndorf has dedicated himself to the importance of education and an improved quality of life for Natives. This commitment has been reflected in his career with Cook Inlet Region, Inc. and service through the years on the boards of many corporations, foundations and public organizations.

Career

Between 1959 and 1975, Mr. Huhndorf served in the United States military, was a job-training specialist with the Alaska Federation of Natives and served as director of the Community Health Aide Program of the Indian Health Service in Anchorage.

Mr. Huhndorf was elected to serve on the initial board of incorporators of Cook Inlet Region, Inc. in 1972 and was continuously reelected to the CIRI Board through June of 1998. CIRI is a for-profit corporation established by Congress under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) in 1971 and has 6500 Native Shareholders. He was elected by the Board as president and CEO of CIRI in 1975 and served in that position for 21 years, through 1995. He served as Chairman of the CIRI Board from 1996 to 1998, when he was named chairman emeritus.

Under Mr. Huhndorf's leadership, CIRI's assets grew from $32 million to $600 million, making CIRI one of Alaska's largest companies. CIRI has investments throughout the United States in real estate, tourism and telecommunications. These investments have provided quarterly dividends to CIRI shareholders since 1980, as well as employment opportunities, scholarships and other social enhancement benefits. Educational services to shareholders were enhanced through the establishment of the CIRI Foundation in 1982, which now has an endowment of $15 million.

Mr. Huhndorf established R. M. Huhndorf & Company in 1998. The firm primarily provides management consulting and government relations services.

Public Service

Over the years, Mr. Huhndorf has served on boards of many foundations and public organizations in his efforts to expand opportunities for all Americans, Native Americans in particular, in all aspects of life including health, education, economics, social services, heritage preservation and public broadcasting.

In 1999, Mr. Huhndorf was elected cochairman of the Alaska Federation of Natives, one of Alaska's most prominent not-for-profit organizations. In 1993, Mr. Huhndorf was appointed by the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution as a member of the Commission of the Future and served as an active member of that Commission until completion of its work in May of 1995. At the behest of Alaska's Congressional delegation, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, by President Reagan, a position he held for six years.

He has also been elected to serve as a board member of several national corporations such as LIN Television, Pacific Telecom, Inc. and the National Bank of Alaska. He has been instrumental in the establishment of new Native institutions such as the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Inc., a statewide cultural center located in Anchorage; Alaska Native Justice Center, which advocates for fair treatment and justice for Natives; and Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, which operates the nation's only Native-owned Native national production unit, training center and urban radio station.

Currently, Mr. Huhndorf serves on the boards of the Anchorage Museum Foundation, Construction Machinery, Inc., National Bank of Alaska, Alaska Heritage Tours, Alaska Federation of Natives, Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, Alaska Native Heritage Center, Inc., Alaska's People and Alaska Native Justice Center.

Special Recognition

Mr. Huhndorf was recognized in a cover story in 1989 by Minority Business Entrepreneur magazine, and Forbes magazine in 1990 for his leadership in achieving economic empowerment for his corporation's more than 6,500 Alaska Native shareholders. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from the University of Alaska, Anchorage in 1984, and seven years later was conferred with the Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alaska.

The Alaska Journal of Commerce selected him as one of the top 25 Most Powerful Alaskans for 1996 and 1997. The Elaine B. Mitchell Award was presented to Mr. Huhndorf in 1994 by the Alaska Public Radio Network to honor his work which has fostered the growth of public radio in Alaska through service on the APRN Board and assisted in securing contributions to the APRN network. In 1995 the Roy M. Huhndorf Scholarship was created through an endowment by Southcentral Foundation to aid students seeking careers in health professions. In 1998 the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce named him "Alaskan of the Year". In 1999 the Alaska Federation of Natives named him "Citizen of the Year."

Mr. Huhndorf was appointed by Governor Bill Sheffield to an eight-year term on the University of Alaska Board of Regents, serving as president from 1985 to 1987.

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