May 17, 2006

Key position to bolster UA's workforce development

Attention Business Editors

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Fred Villa, longtime training director at the North Pole refinery, has been named associate vice president for workforce programs at the University of Alaska's System Office.
The position has been vacant for several years. The state of Alaska, however, clearly needs the university to put a renewed emphasis on workforce development with the potential gas line and other opportunities in oil, mining and other industries, said Craig Dorman, UA's vice president for academic affairs and research.
"The university must strengthen its ability to supply trained and qualified workers for Alaska industries," Dorman said. "Fred will provide an important leadership role within the university system that should send a strong message to the private sector that we're serious about that mission."
Villa has over 19 years of experience, including training and management, at the North Pole petroleum refinery under three different owners-Mapco, Williams Petroleum and Flint Hills Resources.  He also recently served as special assistant to Bishop Donald Kettler in the Fairbanks Diocese. 
Villa, 47, will work closely with campuses and various industries to more effectively link the needs of business with the university's educational offerings.  He'll also work closely with UA's Corporate Programs office, which enlists industry partners to help shape relevant curricula; with the Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium, a UA partnership with the oil, gas and mining sectors; and with various vocational-technical education providers.  He'll be paid a $100,000 annual salary.
Other recent management changes at UA include the departure of Joe Beedle, vice president for finance, who left after nearly six years at the university to return to private sector banking.  Beedle's tenure witnessed the passage of university land grant legislation in the state Legislature, which will transfer 250,000 acres of potential income-producing state land to the university over the next several years.  Jim Johnsen, formerly vice president for faculty and staff relations, assumed duties as vice president for administration. In this new role, Johnsen will not only continue overseeing human resources at UA, but also takes over Beedle's finance responsibilities. The move reduces the number of vice presidents serving under UA President Mark Hamilton from four to three.

For more information, call Kate Ripley, 907/450-8102 or email
A photograph of Fred Villa (pronounced Vil-ya) is available at