September 9, 2011

Experienced Alaskans join UA President Pat Gamble’s team

Attention Business Editors
For Immediate Release

Sept. 9, 2011

Carla Beam-Vice President for University Relations

University of Alaska President Pat Gamble recently announced the selection of Carla Beam as the UA System's new vice president for university relations. The UA Foundation, a separate non-profit organization that manages all private donations to the university, also appointed Beam as its new president.

The dual appointment demonstrates a strong relationship between the foundation and the UA system that university leaders anticipate will become even stronger. The foundation is governed by its own Board of Trustees and is entrusted with the management of all private donations to all 16 UA campuses, with $320 million of assets under management. Beam’s duties for the foundation will be to serve as day-to-day manager of the organization.

The governing body for the UA system is the 11-member Board of Regents, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislature. As vice president for university relations at the system office, Beam will oversee public affairs, government relations and the overall advancement of the university. She has offices in Anchorage and Fairbanks, and replaces longtime university executive Wendy Redman as system vice president and Mary Rutherford as president of the UA Foundation. Redman recently retired after 40 years of service to the university and Rutherford recently accepted another position at Boise State University in Idaho. 

Beam, a 35-year Alaskan, has an extensive resume in corporate, non-profit and community based public relations. She worked in public relations for Wien Air Alaska from 1980-1985 and in community and external affairs for BP (Exploration) Alaska Inc. from 1997-2009. She also ran her own public relations firm in Alaska from 1985-1997. 

She’s served on numerous boards and committees, including the United Way and Alaska Community Foundation. She was the 2011 recipient of the University of Alaska Anchorage Meritorious Service Award, and has received numerous YMCA and YWCA awards over the years, including the YWCA’s Outstanding Woman in Philanthropy Award in 2005. In 2009, she received the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Gold Pan Award for Community Service. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Reed College in Portland, Ore. For a high-resolution image of Beam, go to

Mike Hostina-General Counsel 

University of Alaska President Pat Gamble recently appointed longtime Fairbanks attorney Mike Hostina to the position of General Counsel for the UA System. Hostina will replace retiring General Counsel Roger Brunner in October. 

“Finding an attorney and advisor of Roger’s caliber was shaping up to be a very tough task. I’m really pleased that Mike agreed to step into this important role as adviser to the Board of Regents, the chancellors and to me,” Gamble said. “The fine work that I’ve seen from Mike over the last year leaves no doubt about his strong capability to serve UA well as our legal team leader.” 

Hostina has been associate general counsel for UA since 2002. He served as the university’s director of labor relations from 1998-2002, and as regional director and legal counsel for the State of Alaska Ombudsman’s Office in Fairbanks from 1989-1995. He is a 1983 graduate of Temple University Law School. The General Counsel serves as the chief legal officer of the Board of Regents, the statewide administration and the campuses throughout the university system. For a high-resolution image of Hostina, go to

Donald Smith-Executive Director of Labor and Employee Relations

UA President Pat Gamble recently filled a two-year vacancy in Labor and Employee Relations with Donald Smith as executive director. Smith has over 30 years of experience in human resources and employee and labor relations.

The position, previously under the purview of the university’s chief human resources officer, now reports directly to Gamble. The move was made in recognition of the importance Gamble places on labor and employee relations. 

Smith worked as director of labor relations for the Alaska Railroad Corp. for 10 years. Prior to that, he worked as director of labor relations for the Municipality of Anchorage. Much of his career was spent with Bell, later AT&T, in human resources, labor relations, project management and other services. He received a Bachelor of Science in finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University, graduating magna cum laude.   For a high-resolution image of Smith, go to

Chris Christensen-Associate Vice President for State Relations

Chris Christensen, a longtime employee with the Alaska Court System, recently joined the University of Alaska System as associate vice president for state relations.

Christensen served as deputy administrative director of the court system since 2000 and as the court’s general counsel since 1990. In these positions he’s served as the court system’s liaison to the Alaska State Legislature. Prior to his time with the court system, he worked in a variety of positions with the legislature, including serving as committee counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee and staff counsel to various leadership positions, including Senate President and Senate Finance Committee Co-Chair and House Majority Leader.

The state relations position at UA has been vacant since August 2009, with other staff filling in on a temporary basis. Christensen will work seasonally and be based primarily in Juneau and Anchorage. Christensen has lived in Alaska since 1971. He earned a bachelor’s degree in government from Cornell University and a juris doctor from the University of Texas School of Law. He’s been a member of the Alaska Bar Association since 1982.  

For a high-resolution image of Christensen, go to


For more information, please call Kate Ripley at 907/450-8102 or 907/388-3506.