CoEng Advisory Board Members
Bios and Photos
Owner / Principal Engineer, Big City Engineers, LLC
Anchorage is home to Melissa, despite having grown up as an Air Force brat. She graduated from Bartlett High School and obtained her civil engineering degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage in May 2000.
Melissa recently found herself following her father's advice again (he's the one who encouraged her into engineering). She made the leap and is now the proud owner and principal engineer of Big City Engineers, LLC, a boutique civil engineering firm. Melissa prefers site design, working with a team of architects and other engineers to design sites that complement the building use and connect the site to the community. She has worked on several projects at UAA, including the ANSEP and Integrated Science buildings and appreciates the full circle of growing the university that helped mold her.
Melissa brings connection, accomplishment, and integrity with her as an engineer and an active member of the community. She is passionately involved with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) - mentoring new leaders, raising funds for scholarships, assisting the UAA Collegiate Section, and participating in SWE's many outreach events. Besides SWE, she is a long-standing member of the Anchorage E-Week Steering Committee, helping celebrate engineering in Alaska. She has recently shifted gears from fundraising chair to scholarship chair, giving away the money she worked so hard to help raise. She was honored by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce as one of 2009's Top 40 under 40.
Melissa's most challenging project to date is motherhood. Her son, Dominic, was born in July 2013 and keeps both her and her husband, Robert, on their toes.
- Paul Brooks
Manager, Alaska Office, AC Global Air Ambulance
Paul Brooks retired from the U.S Geological as Chief of the Alaska Office and Director's Representative for Alaska and most recently from the AeroMectic Corporation as the Government Liaison Director. Paul is currently working for Beacon OHSS on Shell Oil and EXXONMobile projects in the Arctic.Paul received a BS Degree in Forest Management from the University of Maine and a MS degree in Geodesy and Photogrammetry from Iowa State University.Paul also earned an ASS degree in Paramedic Technology from UAA. Throughout his career Paul has been actively involved in the surveying and mapping profession through leadership positions in the professional societies, academia, national and regional committees, conferences, and workshops. For the past three decades Paul has served as the Chair of the Geomatics Advisory Board at UAA. Paul's other activities include Training officer for the National Disaster Medical System, Alaska Disaster Medical Assistance Team, member of the Disaster Services Team for the American Red Cross, Ski Patroller for the Alyeska Resort, and Training Center Faculty for LifeMed Alaska.
- Derek Christianson
Project Manager, Michael Baker International, Inc.
Derek is a project manager with Michael Baker International's Alaska offices. He has more than 29 years of professional experience. He graduated from Michigan Technological University in 1991 with a BS in Civil Engineering. Upon graduation, he was employed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) where he designed and constructed transportation projects on federally owned lands in the western United States. After traveling back and forth across the Lower 48 and moving 23 times during the eight years he worked for FHWA, he decided to move to Alaska in 1999 and has not looked back since. He worked for CH2M Hill's Anchorage office from 1999 to 2010 and managed their transportation business group. He has worked for Michael Baker International for the past nine years. Derek's experience includes transportation, site civil and pipeline projects located across Alaska. Example transportation projects include the Whittier Ferry Access Road, the Glenn-Parks Interchange, Elmore Road in Anchorage, and road projects in Denali National Park, McGrath, Akiak, and Kotzebue. His site civil experience includes work on JBER for two C-17 hangars and numerous projects in support of the Alaska Air National Guard's relocation from Kulis ANG Base to Elmendorf AFB. He has extensive experience facilitating Alaska DOT’s emerging program to deliver construction projects via the CMGC procurement method.
- Dr. Jack Colonell
Dr. Jack Colonell
Principal, JMColonell Associates
Joseph M. (Jack) Colonell, PE, PhD, F.ASCE, has more than four decades experience as a consultant, business manager, and teacher. As a consultant, he has provided engineering and environmental science support to industrial and governmental clients throughout Alaska, the Lower-48, and several locations abroad. His consulting practice has focused on design and performance monitoring of coastal and offshore resource developments with the objective of ensuring their safety and engineering integrity, while also assessing and mitigating their potentially adverse environmental effects. Jack is an experienced business operations manager, having served in that capacity for three environmental consulting firms in Alaska for more than 20 years, including establishment of project offices in Azerbaijan and Venezuela, where he was responsible for conducting business in accordance with local regulations and customs, and for recruiting, hiring, and managing the local staff.
Prior to his consulting career, Jack was Professor of Civil & Ocean Engineering at University of Massachusetts Amherst, and of Marine Science at University of Alaska Fairbanks. As an academic, his research interests included ocean waves, coastal processes, and estuarine hydrodynamics. Jack developed and taught the inaugural course in Coastal Engineering at both UAF and UAA, and subsequently, as Adjunct Professor at UAA. He has published numerous papers on his research and consulting activities.
Jack earned BS, MS, and PhD in civil engineering, respectively, from Univ. of Colorado, Washington State Univ., and Stanford Univ. As a Fulbright Scholar, he studied coastal engineering at Delft Technological University, Netherlands. He is a registered Professional Civil Engineer in Alaska and Washington. He is a Fellow and Life Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and he also holds Diplomate status in Coastal and Ocean Engineering from the ASCE Academy of Coastal, Ocean, Port and Navigation Engineers.
- Bruce Davison
President, Davison & Davison, Inc
Bruce Davison is an attorney with the Law Offices of Davison & Davison, Inc. in Anchorage. He represents architects, engineers, owners, general contractors, subcontractors and insurers needing legal services related to design and construction matters.
After attending the University of Fairbanks in the early 1970s, Bruce received B.S. (1974) and MS (1975) degrees in Civil Engineering from Michigan State University. He received a J.D. cum laude from Thomas Cooley Law School in 1982. Bruce is a registered Professional Engineer in Alaska. He is a licensed attorney in Alaska and Washington.
For many years, Bruce worked as a civil engineer in Alaska on design and construction projects including the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, the Red Dog Mine Project, and North Slope Oilfield development.
Since establishing his law practice 1985, Bruce has focused on design and construction law. He has been a principal of the Law Offices of Davison & Davison, Inc. since its founding in 1988.
Bruce also works as part-time Adjunct Professor in the School of Engineering at UAA. He teaches a graduate course titled "Legal Environment for Project Managers" and occasional "Technical Writing" short courses.
Bruce has authored and published numerous technical papers regarding Permafrost Engineering and many legal treatises dressing Design and Construction Law in Alaska.
- Mark "Rock" DeRocchi
Mark "Rock" DeRocchi
Chief of Engineering, Construction & Operations Divisions, Alaska District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Mark (Rock) DeRocchi assumed responsibility as Chief of the Engineering, Construction and Operations Division for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Alaska District in June 2019. In this position, he oversees the organization’s engineering, construction and operations activities across Alaska and throughout the Asia-Pacific Region. He also serves on the district’s Corporate Board and as a member of the USACE Pacific Ocean Division’s Regional Management Board.
Previously, Mr. DeRocchi served as chief of the Alaska District’s Missile Defense Branch. In this role, he managed and oversaw all aspects of planning, designing and executing the Missile Defense Agency’s construction program in Alaska.
Before entering civil service, Mr. DeRocchi worked as the principal owner of an Alaska-based consulting firm that specialized in engineering and construction following his retirement from the U.S. Army.
Mr. DeRocchi concluded his military career as Deputy Commander of the USACE Alaska District. Earlier, he served as both operations officer and executive officer for the 92nd Engineer Battalion at Fort Stewart, Georgia. Before then, Mr. DeRocchi taught civil engineering and eventually became an assistant professor for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
In his prior position, Mr. DeRocchi functioned as chief of the Military Transition Team for 1/2/6 Iraqi Army in Baghdad, Iraq. Previously, he served as commander of both Company D, 326th Engineer Battalion and Company A, 4-101 Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment as well as the logistics officer for the 326th Engineer Battalion – all units in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Mr. DeRocchi’s other assignments include executive officer for the commanding general of the USACE Pacific Ocean Division at Fort Shafter, Hawaii as well as platoon leader and executive officer for Company B, 65th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Mr. DeRocchi is a registered professional engineer. He earned a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of New Hampshire, master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Missouri and bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York.
Mr. DeRocchi is originally from Lee, New Hampshire. He is married to the former Melissa Boucher of Sabattus, Maine. They have two sons and reside in Eagle River, Alaska.
- Shawn Fitzpatrick
Vice President of Engineering, Pacific Dataport, Inc.
Shawn has been on the forefront of bringing modern communications to all parts of Alaska for 30 years. In his current position with Pacific Dataport Inc., he is on the ground-floor of planning and delivery of a new generation of satellites and associated broadband services to all parts of Alaska in early 2021.
Prior to this Shawn spent 27 years with General Communication Inc. (GCI) in technical, engineering, engineering management and executive leadership roles. Shawn held pivotal positions in the development and delivery of many of the modern communications systems in-use in Alaska today. He is a steadfast advocate for the education, hiring and continued professional development of University of Alaska engineering students and graduates.
Shawn, his wife Shannon and two children continue to enjoy the opportunities and challenges that come with living in Alaska and all look forward to helping create a bright future for the place they love.
- Mark Frischkorn
Vice President, Associate Principal, RSA Engineering, Inc
Mark has been working in the building design and construction field in various capacities since 1990, including a time in USAF Civil Engineering, as well as time as a building maintenance mechanic and a construction contractor . He has been with RSA Engineering, Inc since 2000. RSA Engineering is a mechanical and electrical consulting firm that has been providing designs around Alaska since 1983. As Vice President of the mechanical department and the Principal Mechanical Engineer, Mark is responsible for all the mechanical projects and is extremely capable of designing and leading projects including HVAC systems, plumbing systems, fire protection systems, and building automation systems.
Mark has served on the Municipality of Anchorage IFC code review committee since the 2003 code cycle. Since 2005 Mark has been an instructor for the mechanical design portion of ES A411 Northern Building Design at UAA, the course that Architects and Engineers take for licensure in Alaska. Mark graduated with a Bachelor in Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1990. Mark is a registered mechanical engineer in Alaska and Idaho, and is a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, the National Fire Protection Association, and the International Code Council.
- Virginia Groeschel - Chair
Virginia Groeschel - Chair
Consultant Coordinator, Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) – Central Region, Aviation Design
Virginia graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. She recently graduated from UAA College of Engineering (CoEng) in May, 2020, with a Master of Science degree in Project Management. Virginia has over 13 years of experience in civil and transportation engineering and construction. Prior to engineering, she spent 5 years as a manager for AT&T Wireless, managing up to 6 retail locations and 18 employees. Virginia's engineering experience includes primarily aviation and roadway design, water and sewer design, project management, aviation planning, utility conflict analysis and coordination, and construction administration.
Virginia volunteer work includes: Past-President of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Alaska Section and ASCE Anchorage Branch as well as Past-Chairwoman for the US Fencing Association (USFA)-Alaska Division. She is a Past-President and Co-Founder of the Engineers Without Borders UAA Student Chapter. Most recently as a graduate student, Virginia was the UAA Robotics team Project Manager and Engineer Mentor, helping the team qualify for the first time to the international robotics competition, the University Rover Challenge. As a competitive fencer and coach, she volunteered as a fencing instructor with the Woodland Park Boys and Girls Club Sports Program. Virginia is also an active parent-volunteer at her son’s school. Virginia is the 2014 UAA Alumni of Distinction Emerging Leader recipient and is currently the President of the UAA CoEng Alumni Chapter.
Virginia grew up in Kodiak, Alaska after her father was stationed there with the US Coast Guard. She now lives in Anchorage with her husband, Mark, and son, Stefan. Virginia currently works for DOT&PF, Central Region (CR)-Aviation Design, primarily as a Consultant Coordinator, but is also the DOT&PF-CR Aviation Specifications Engineer, and DOT&PF-CR Design & Engineering Services (D&ES) Internship Program Manager.
- James Hemsath
James R. Hemsath
Managing Director, IntegrityOne, LLC
Dr. James (Jim) Hemsath has forty years' experience managing large projects and economic development in the Arctic. As Director of Project Development and Asset Management AIDEA, Jim had responsibility for nearly $500 million in key infrastructure, including the Red Dog mine Port Complex. In addition to his time at AIDEA, Jim has thirty years' experience managing large projects, predominately in the oil and gas fields. As a member of the U.S. Department of Energy's Arctic Energy Office he managed research projects at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. As a Senior Fellow at the Institute of the North he developed and led an International Polar Year project on Arctic Energy. He was a recipient of a NASA Faculty Fellowship to Kennedy Space Center.
Dr. Hemsath has an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and Master’s degrees in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management). Jim received his Doctor of Management from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University where his research focused on understanding multiparty collaboration that crosses borders and spans cultures; specifically looking at collaboration as an emergent property from the interaction of empathy, trust, identity and shared vision. His current research is looking at how an iterative adaptive shared vision could trigger collaboration in a teaming environment.
He was appointed by the Secretary of the Interior to serve on the Science and Technical Advisory Panel of the North Slope Science Initiative, is a member of Alaska’s State Committee on Research (SCoR), and a member of the Board of Directors for the Alaska Aerospace Corporation. He also sits on advisory boards for the College of Engineering and the Honors College at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Jim is a licensed Professional Engineer and a certified Project Management Professional.
- Dr. Alex Hills
Dr. Alex Hills
President, Alex Hills Associates
Dr. Alex Hills is Distinguished Service Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Engineering & Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. He is also Distinguished Affiliate Professor of Electrical Engineering at UAA.
Dr. Hills worked in the 1970s and 1980s to build public radio stations across rural Alaska and to develop the state's telecommunications networks so that even small villages could receive radio, television and telephone service. In those days, he was known to radio listeners as "Alex in the Morning.” His work in rural Alaska and the many resulting adventures are described in his book, “Finding Alaska’s Villages: And Connecting Them.”
At Carnegie Mellon, Alex conceived and built the world's first Wi-Fi network. He tells this story in his book, "Wi-Fi and the Bad Boys of Radio." He also works to teach, mentor, and place students as consultants in government agencies and nongovernmental organizations in developing nations. For many of the students, this is a life-changing experience that causes them to refocus their lives. These students and their work appear in another of his books, "Geeks on a Mission."
A former U.S. Army Signal Corps officer and company commander in Korea, Alex is an inventor with eighteen patents, a Fellow of the IEEE, and Alaska's 2007 Engineer of the Year. In 2014, UAA awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree in 2014 and the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in 2020.
Distinguished Service Professor, Carnegie Mellon University and author.
Finding Alaska’s Villages: And Connecting Them https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Alaskas-Villages-Connecting-Them/dp/1457551101
Wi-Fi and the Bad Boys of Radio https://www.amazon.com/Wi-Fi-Bad-Boys-Radio-Technology/dp/1457505606
Geeks on a Mission https://www.amazon.com/Geeks-Mission-Their-Own-Words/dp/1457521741
- Nicole Knox
Group Manager - Site Development, R&M Consultants, Inc.
Nicole grew up in Anchorage and attended UAA, earning her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 2004. She earned her professional civil engineering license in 2007. She is the Group Manager of Site Development with R&M Consultants, Inc., an entirely Alaskan-based multi-discipline consulting firm of over 100 staff, of which approximately 40% are fellow UA graduates! Over the past 19 years of her consulting engineering career she has focused on site development civil engineering, working on private and public facility projects throughout the State. She loves the synergy of working with teams of architects and engineers to design facilities that grow our community as a whole. Nicole felt privileged to fill the role of Civil Project Engineer for the design of the Alaska Airlines Center on the UAA campus.
Nicole has been involved in engineering and STEM outreach since first enrolling at UAA, with volunteer leadership roles ranging from student and professional engineering society board positions to organizing Anchorage Engineer's Week outreach to local k-12 students. She has held board positions for the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Alaska Section, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Alaska Chapter and the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Anchorage Post. She was honored to be inducted into the UAA College of Engineering Alumni Hall of Fame in 2018 and was nominated by both NAWIC and SAME for Engineer of the Year in 2018.
Nicole enjoys playing volleyball, skiing, biking and traveling. She is amazed by the beauty of Alaska and is on a constant search for cool geology spots to hike to and explore.
- Loren Leman
Owner, Loren Leman, P.E.
Loren Leman has provided consulting engineering services in Alaska for more than four decades, primarily with water, wastewater and environmental projects. In addition to owning his own civil/environmental engineering consulting firm for 19 years, he worked for 10 years with MLFA and was a project manager for 14 years with CH2M Hill. He also served concurrently for 18 years as Lieutenant Governor, Senator and Representative and is the first person of Alaska Native heritage to be elected to a statewide office in Alaska. Loren was raised in Ninilchik where he still operates a salmon fishing site with his family. He has a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Oregon State University, an M.S. in Civil/Environmental Engineering from Stanford University, and studied Arctic Engineering at UAA. In 1999 Loren received the national Civil Government Award from ASCE for his work on resource, transportation and resource issues in Alaska. He and his wife, Carolyn, raised three children (one a graduate from UAA) and have eight grandchildren.
- Ceezar Martinson
Columnist, Anchorage Press
Ceezar Martinson is a lifelong Alaskan who came to the advisory board out of a strong interest in the engineering profession. He is a community activist who has been involved in his community and state on a broad range of policy issues. Most recently he ran for office last year in downtown Anchorage. He is a student at UAA working towards finishing his degree in Political Science and is passionate about supporting the university in its mission to provide the next generation with the tools needed for success in the 21st century.
- Colin Maynard
Vice President & Principal, BBFM Engineers Inc.
While born in South Africa, Colin has called Anchorage home since 1961. He graduated from West Anchorage High School in 1975 received a BSCE from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an MSCE from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Between his two engineering degrees he worked for a consulting structural engineering firm in their New York and Anchorage offices. After returning to Anchorage from Boulder, he did contract work for a year, then worked for Tryck, Nyman, and Hayes, and ABKJ. In 1996, he and three other ABKJ employees started BBFM Engineers, which soon was one of the premier structural engineering firms in Alaska. They do work all over Alaska, plus Antarctica and Greenland.
In addition to his structural engineering career, Colin has been involved in the community and profession through numerous volunteer activities. He has been President of the Anchorage Chapter and State Chapter of the Alaska Society of Professional Engineers, Structural Engineers Association of Alaska, Cook Inlet Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute and twice served as President of the Alaska Professional Design Council. He also served two terms on the Anchorage Building Board of Examiners and Appeals and the Alaska Board of Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors. He currently serves as a founding member of the West Anchorage High School Foundation.
He has designed projects throughout Alaska, from Ketchikan to Shemya, Kodiak to Wainwright, but his most iconic project was the 43-story gothic glass tower for the PPG Industries headquarters in Pittsburgh.
- Boyd Morgenthaler
Principal (retired), AMC Engineers
Boyd Morgenthaler, P.E., retired in 2012 after 40 years of mechanical engineering consulting to pursue a long list of other interests. A specialist in HVAC system design, he cofounded Anchorage-based Adams, Morgenthaler and Company, dba AMC Engineers in 1981 and served as its president and board chairman. Prior to forming AMC he worked with Crews, MacInnes and Hoffman in Anchorage after moving to Alaska from Seattle in1975. Boyd has been involved in hundreds of projects including work on most buildings at UAA. Notable designs include the Sullivan Arena, UAA Rasmussen Center, Dimond High School, Nesbett Courthouse, Anchorage Federal Building HVAC and Control renovation, and the Providence Emergency Power Supply System (EPSS) power plant completed in 2012.
Boyd enjoys a wide range of community service including the Anchorage YMCA (pool consultant), Anchorage International Rotary Memorial Scholarship Fund (board), Anchorage District Soccer Federation (cofounder and past president), Kincaid Project Group (cofounder & past board member), Bayshore/Klatt Community Council and work with numerous professional societies. He is also a major supporter of nursing education.
Morgenthaler received his B.S degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington in 1972 and has been a licensed professional in Alaska since 1979.Over the years he has received several awards and citations for innovative design including the 2002 ASHRAE National Technology Award of Merit for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Hunter Education Building, Fairbanks.
Boyd also enjoys swimming, skiing, rowing, long distance sailing voyages, and newfound time with his wife Kathryn and their four adult children.
- Stephanie Mormilo - Vice Chair
Stephanie Mormilo - Vice Chair
Senior Civil Engineer, HDL Engineering Consultants, LLC
Raised as an Air Force brat, surprisingly only 4 years of Stephanie's life have been spent outside of Anchorage. As such, she is a product of the Anchorage School District having attended Aurora Elementary, Central Middle School of Science, and Bartlett High School. She graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 2004, and received her professional civil engineering license in Alaska in 2008.
Stephanie recently returned to the consulting world as a senior civil engineer at HDL Engineering Consultants, LLC. She has over 16 years of experience as a transportation/traffic engineer, involved in all aspects of project development, including preliminary engineering, environmental analysis, utility and right-of-way impacts, traffic impact studies, noise analysis, design (e.g., demolition, drainage, signing and striping, signalization, etc.), and construction coordination. Previously, Stephanie was the Traffic Engineer for the Municipality of Anchorage from March 2011 to March 2020.
Stephanie was honored by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce as one of 2012’s “Top 40 Under 40.” She has been an active member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Greatland Chapter for more than a decade, previously serving as their Secretary/Data Officer, Vice President, and President. Stephanie’s sister, Melissa Branch, is also heavily involved in SWE. Together, along with their mother, they sponsor an annual scholarship for young women entering an ABET-accredited college program. In 2020, Stephanie was nominated by SWE Greatland with the honor of being their E-Week Engineer of the Year candidate.
Stephanie loves to travel the world with her husband, Steve, going to such places as London, Paris, Florence, Beijing, Hong Kong, Victoria Falls, and Capetown. She also thoroughly enjoys being an aunt and devoted parent to her fur-babies.
- Seth Nicholas
Project Manager, General Mechanical Inc.
Seth Nicholas is a graduate of University of Alaska Anchorage’s Mechanical Engineering program and joined General Mechanical, Inc. in January of 2019. Seth has been blessed with experiences as an intern at several Anchorage organizations, including the State Department of Transportation (Right of Way Department), Q Engineers (Drawings Drafter), and at General Mechanical Inc. (Project Engineer). After graduation, he joined General Mechanical as a full time Project Manager. He has experience working with ventilation systems with wide application ranges from restaurants to hospitals. Currently, Seth is working to fulfill requirements to obtain his Professional Engineering License.
In his spare time, Seth enjoys biking/cycling, hiking, paddle boarding, running, and boating with his wife and family.
- John Nichols
Director of Utility Management Services, Alaska Native Health Consortium (ANTHC)
John is an engineer with 24 years’ experience with water and sewer design, construction and operations. He leads 150 ANTHC employees and hundreds of onsite construction workers providing project management, engineering, construction, energy efficiency, utility management and technical assistance services to 150 rural Alaska community water/sewer systems.
John is a licensed engineer who started his career as Public Works Director in Dillingham, Alaska. This job gave him a crash course in managing the harbor, dock, roads, landfill, water & sewer, maintenance, and city politics. He then joined ANTHC in Anchorage, Alaska designing and building water/sewer systems in western Alaska villages. He also worked as a field engineer at the Indian Health Service Fort Hall Field Office in Idaho for four years, designing and building water and sewer mains on the Fort Hall Reservation, before returning to ANTHC and Alaska in 2007.
John earned a BS and MS in Civil Engineering from Kansas State University and is a commissioned officer in the US Public Health Service. He is committed to advancing ANTHC’s vision of ‘Alaska Native people are the healthiest people in the world’.
John, his wife and two children thoroughly enjoy Alaska and the many outdoor activities it has to offer.
- Sara Pate
Sara has 27 years of experience, with 25 in Alaska. She has lived in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and King Salmon. Currently Sara focuses on the mid to long-term maintenance planning for the Kuparuk Oil Field, ensuring that work is coordinated to efficiently use resources, minimizes shutdowns, and avoid operational conflicts between the production facilities. During her ten years at ConocoPhillips Sara has also worked on the North Slope as a maintenance supervisor and in Anchorage as a pipeline engineer overseeing the Trans- Alaska Pipeline. Prior to that she worked for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company in pipeline operations and conducting operational audits. Sara served 7 years in the Air Force as a Civil Engineer.
Sara has a BS in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University, an MS in Environmental Quality Engineering from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and is a Licensed Professional Civil Engineer. She and her husband Scott have two children, a dog, and a little log cabin on the Kenai peninsula. Sara is an active volunteer with Camp Fire Alaska.
- Vin Robinson
Director of Engineering, ENSTAR Natural Gas Company
Vin is a lifelong Alaskan, born in Fairbanks and raised in the Mat-Su Valley. In 1996, he earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering from UAA. He brings more than 20 years of local engineering experience to his role as an Advisory Board Member. Vin’s success stems from work on several pipeline feasibility studies on bringing natural gas off the North Slope, specialized pipeline studies on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, numerous pipeline development projects (including the Alpine pipelines and facilities, Anchor Point Pipeline Project, Red Pad Pipeline Project, Homer Trunkline/Expansion), and general expansion and capital upgrade projects to the ENSTAR natural gas system.
In addition to managing the engineering department at ENSTAR, Vin also oversees the permitting, ROW, compliance, GIS, measurement and engineering services departments. He is an active member of the American Gas Association (AGA), Western Energy Institute (WEI), and the Western Gas Measurement Short Course.
When Vin is not at work, he and his wife Denise are busy raising their two young sons, Noah and Jude. As a family, they enjoy traveling, biking, skiing, playing soccer, and exploring all that Alaska has to offer.
- George Skladal
George Wayne Skladal is an attorney and counselor at law who is a solo practitioner in Anchorage since 1978. He has served as Executive Director of the Alaska Pipeline Commission and the Deputy Director of the Alaska Division of Energy and Power Development.
He is a Lieutenant Colonel, Airborne Ranger, United States Army, Retired. He led platoons (Fort Bragg and Fort Benning), a company (Fort Benning), and a battalion (Viet Nam). Operations Research and Systems Analysis Officer. Parachutist. Ranger. Jump Master. Served in the 82d Airborne Division, the 2d Infantry Division, and the 7th Infantry Division. Instructor, Nuclear Warfare. Nuclear Weapons Employment Officer. Meritorious Instructor, Officer Advanced Courses, United States Army Quartermaster School. Designated the Honor Graduate of an Officer Advanced Course.
Served as the Assistant Joint Petroleum Officer, Alaskan Command in which he supervised bringing in petroleum ocean tankers to Haines, Whittier, Kodiak, and Adak, as well as the operation of the 700-mile Haines to Fairbanks Military Petroleum Pipeline and 65-mile Whittier to Anchorage Pipeline. He also served as the Deputy Director of Industrial Operations and the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, Logistics, United States Army, Alaska. He received the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Expert Carbine, Pistol and Rifle Marksmanship Badges.
Admitted to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court; the U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit; the U.S. District Court, Alaska; and all courts of the States of Alaska and Texas. Life Member, A.S.C.E. Member, Terminal Operations and Environmental Monitoring Committee, Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council going on 30 years. Former President, Tudor Area Community Council for 15 years. Received Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Award for contributions to quality higher education in Alaska. Received Meritorious Service Award from UAA. Former Barrister, then Master, then President, Anchorage Inn of Court. Former member, Board of Directors, UAA Alumni Assn for 25 years. Invited speaker on the impact of the Arab oil embargo before the Anchorage World Affairs Council and the Defense Transportation Association. Published The Coastal Boundaries of Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 4, Alaska Sea Grant Report No. 73-12, University of Alaska Sea Grant Program.
B.S. Civil Engineering, Texas A&M; M.S. Petroleum Management, University of Kansas; M.P.A. University of Alaska Anchorage; J.D., St. Mary's University of San Antonio; and Graduate, United States Army Command and General Staff College. Interests are arctic engineering, drawing, painting, sculpture, hand-thrown ceramics, print making, watercolor, long distance swimming, and hiking. Married to Elizabeth Gallo Skladal for 65 years, who have two sons, Wayne and Joseph, and five grandchildren.
- Jenny Sutton
Staff Reservoir Engineer, ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc.
Jenny’s high school Physics teacher offered extra credit to students who entered the Alaska State Science and Engineering Fair. She picked a project about wind turbines and entered in the “Engineering” division, without really knowing what engineering meant. After winning, and going to the International Science and Engineering Fair, she was set up with an ASD Gifted Mentorship at Chugach Electric with an impactful electrical engineer, the late Steve Gilbert. Over the course of a few months of mentorship, Jenny explored different engineering disciplines, visited several field sites, and developed a zeal for renewable energy.
This experience ultimately led Jenny to who she is today: an impassioned ambassador for STEM education outreach in Anchorage. She has mentored several ASD gifted mentorship students, and enjoys presenting to the Girl Scouts, and visiting classrooms, STEM nights, engineering camps, and science fairs. Jenny believes that moving our community forward requires developing a multitudinous, strong, diverse, capable, and empowered population of engineers to tackle our next challenges.
When she’s not encouraging kindergarteners to become geophysicists, Jenny can be found engineering a future in giant oilfield Kuparuk. As a reservoir engineer, she employs analytical methods, numerical simulation models, data science, and economics to evaluate and design developments for a system engineered by nature. She has worked in numerous oilfields across the North Slope and in Russia.
Jenny is a licensed professional petroleum engineer, with a BS in Civil Engineering from UAA, and a MS in Petroleum Engineering from UAF. As a proud graduate of both schools, her greatest hope is to fully staff the industry in Alaska: good Alaskan jobs for good Alaskan students.
- Jon Zufelt
Sr. Hydraulic Engineer, HDR
Jon Zufelt joined HDR Alaska, Inc. in 2013 as Senior Hydraulic Engineer working on water, hydropower, and ice engineering projects. Prior to that, he served 30 years as a Federal Employee working as a research engineer with the US Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. He also has served as an Adjunct Professor in the UAA School of Engineering since 2001, teaching graduate courses in Water Resources and Ice Engineering. Jon serves in many capacities with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), including the Cold Regions Engineering Division, the National Committee on Professional Advancement, and also as the Editor of the ASCE Journal of Cold Regions Engineering. He holds a B.S. degree in Forest Engineering from the State University of New York, an M.S. in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University, and a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Iowa. Jon and his wife Penny live in Eagle River.