Who We Are

Board of Directors:

Neil MacKinnon –  President

Neil was born in 1949 in Juneau, graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in 1967 and from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1972 with a degree in Mining Engineering. Neil has been general manager and president of the family business, Alaska Laundry and Cleaners, since 1979. He is president of Hyak Mining Company and is managing partner of MacKinco, the family partnership that leases commercial property in Juneau. Neil has been a director and officer of both the state and local miners associations, Alaska Light and Power, Alaska Energy and Resources Co, Douglas Volunteer Fire Department. He is married and has three grown children.

Rosemary Hagevig – Vice President

Retired Executive Director of Catholic Community Services, Rosemary is also a former Juneau Assemblymember and Planning Commissioner.  She has lived in Juneau since 1962. Rosemary is a former president of the Alaska Municipal League, Southeast Conference, League of Women Voters, Juneau Gastineau Rotary Club, and Catholic Community Services. Rosemary serves on the Alaska Committee and worked for 27 years for the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, ten years as executive staff to the State Board of Education.

Joe Kahklen – Secretary

Joe is a Tlingit member of the Raven clan and Dog Salmon tribe.  He grew up in Angoon, attended high school at Sheldon Jackson in Sitka, and in Snoquomish, Washington.  He graduated from Northern Arizona University in 1962. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Goldbelt, Inc., where he has been a director since 2002. Joe is a Retired Alaska Liaison Officer with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He has two sons, Keith and Craig. He enjoys fishing and skiing.

Frank Bergstrom – Treasurer

Having lived 22 years in Juneau, Frank has been the permitting manager for the AJ and Kensington Gold Mines. He is the owner/operator of Amerikanuak, Inc. mine services company and has been a Senior Land Manager with the Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office. Frank holds an M.S. in Geological Sciences, volunteers as a Big Brother, and is a ballroom dance instructor.

Corey Baxter – Director

Corey is a born and raised fourth generation Juneau resident. He graduated from Juneau Douglas High School in 1996 and attended the University of Alaska Southeast. He started his career as an apprentice with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302 and has been a heavy equipment operator for 14 years, operating for both private contractors as well as serving as an operator for the City & Borough of Juneau at the Juneau International Airport for seven winter seasons. Additional service includes working as a pipeline training instructor for the Alaska Operating Engineers Employers Training Trust in Fairbanks for four years as well as operating on the North Slope for four winters. Corey is currently the Southeast District 8 Representative for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302. Corey has been a member of the Juneau Snow Mobile Club since 2006. He is married to Juneau Douglas High School Dance Team coach Christa Baxter and they have two children Brayden and Haylee.

Richard Burns – Director

Richard is CEO of Alaska Broadcast Communications, which operates eight radio stations broadcasting from Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka and serving all of SE Alaska. He was named the Juneau Chamber of Commerce 2010 Citizen of the Year.  He is a board member of the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau. His wife is Sharon Burns.

Naomi Hobbs – Director

Naomi is third-generation, born-and-raised Southeast Alaskan. Her great-grandfather came to Southeast during the Gold Rush, her grandfather was a commercial fisherman, and her father was an engineer, finishing up his career as State Harbors Engineer. Naomi graduated JDHS in 1990 and acquired a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks in 1994. Immediately after graduation she came home and went to work for R&M Engineering, Inc. After ten years of designing and inspecting construction projects, she decided it was time to see what it was like on the other side. Naomi spent three years with Marion Hobbs Construction, Inc. working as pipe layer, laborer, equipment operator, and engineer in three design-build contracts. Naomi joined DOWL HKM in 2007 as an associate engineer, and was promoted to Manager of the Juneau office’s Civil Engineering Department in 2010. Naomi served as President of ASCE and ASPE early in her career and stays involved in the organizations activities throughout the year. She also manages the Adlersheim Wilderness Lodge and occasionally helps her husband, Marion Hobbs, on construction projects. Naomi also enjoys snow machining, jet skiing, and spending time with her grandson Xander.

John Sandor – Director

John Sandor worked for 39 years in various U. S. Forest Service assignments in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Georgia, Wisconsin and Washington DC. Sandor was appointed Alaska’s Regional Forester from 1976 to 1984. After “retiring” from the Forest Service he became the Executive Director of the Alliance for Juneau’s Future and was one of the founders of the Juneau Gold Rush Commission. Governor Walter J. Hickel appointed Sandor Commissioner of Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation from 1990 to 1994 during which time he was also a member of the Exxon-Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council.

Sandor received the Alaska Federation of Native’s 1994 Denali Award for efforts to preserve Native values. He also received the Alaska Public Health Association’s Health Achievement Award for water-sanitation and clean air act initiatives. He has also worked cooperatively with Canadian officials in British Columbia and Yukon Territory on conservation, water-sanitation, and hydro-electric issues.

Sandor chairs the Juneau Chamber of Commerce Resources Committee. He is active in the Juneau Rotary Club, Gold Rush Commission, Juneau Shrine Club, Alaska Miners Association and the Douglas Methodist Church. John is a life member of the Alaska Outdoor Council. Sandor was recognized as Juneau’s Citizen of the year in 1999.

In 2007, the Society of American Foresters awarded John Sandor the Gifford Pinchot Medal “To recognize outstanding contributions by a forestry professional in administration, practice and professional development of North American forestry.”

John and Lenore Sandor were married in Juneau in 1956 and have two daughters and two grandsons.

Karen Taug – Director

Karen Taug’s heritage reigns from Yakutat, Klukwan, Juneau and Boston. Her maternal roots are Tlingit Indian and of the Raven Tribe and Coho clan. Her father was a career Army Officer who came to Alaska where he married. Because of the army, Karen grew up living in Alaska, Washington, California, Colorado, New Jersey, England and France. Karen is married to Ole and they have raised 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls in Juneau. Karen graduated from the University of Alaska Southeast with a Bachelor of Business, Accounting degree. She has spent her career primarily in for profit businesses in Juneau as an accountant progressively moving up the ladder to Controller in logging, tourism, mining and healthcare. She was a board member of Goldbelt, Inc. for 6 years, where she served two terms as Chair. Karen also serves on the University of Alaska SE Advisory Board and the Juneau Community Foundation. Her interests are sewing traditional native regalia, quilting, hiking and spending time with her grandchildren.

Scott Spickler – Director

A Juneau resident for over 50 years, Scott is married to Sandy (Kendler), a third generation Juneauite. Their son Kyle, 30, is a miner at Greens Creek miner and son Kasen, 25, is a sheet metal worker with Behrends Mechanical. Scott has been with New York Life/Spickler Egan Financial Services for 27 years. He is a past president of both the Juneau Chamber of Commerce and Bartlett Regional Hospital, where he was a board member for eight years.

Denny DeWitt – Executive Director

Denny DeWitt has been active in government relations from outside and inside government for over 40 years. He came to Alaska in 1980 to head the state hospital and nursing home association. He has served in the Hickel, Murkowski and Palin administrations as well as 8 years as senior staff to the Alaska State Legislature. DeWitt has also done a stint in Washington DC serving in the Reagan administration and as an employee benefit consultant. DeWitt is owner of DeWitt & DeWitt, LLC, a government relations consulting firm. FIrst Things First is one of his several clients. DeWitt is a graduate of California State University at Sacramento with a degree in State and Local Government and a minor in Economics. DeWitt is married and has 5 children, all married.

Liz Arnold – Special Advisor

Liz is a former Juneau resident who remains active in Alaska natural resource development issues. She is a natural resources policy advocate, a grassroots and community relations consultant working with various organizations and policy advocates for 15 years. She has been involved in numerous single-issue campaigns at the national level, such as passage of the Healthy Forest Restoration Act, prohibiting passage of numerous inappropriate mining law reform bills. She has worked to protect private property rights, advocate for multiple use of public lands and responsible development with protection of natural resources and the environment. She has staffed ballot initiatives and numerous candidates’ campaigns.