Who we are

Board of Directors

Joe Kahklen – President

Joe is a Tlingit member of the Raven Moiety Dog Salmon Clan. 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 has served as Chairman of the Board of Goldbelt, Inc., where he was been a director for over 15 years. 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.

Vice President – Vacant


Scott Spickler – Secretary

Scott has been a Juneau resident since 1959. He is married to Sandy (Kendler) a third-generation Juneauite. Their son Kyle is a miner at Greens Creek and son Kasen is a sheet metal worker at Behrends Mechanical. Scott, now retired, has been an agent with New York Life since 1984 and the owner of Spickler Insurance Agency. He is past president of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce and Bartlett Regional Hospital board of directors. Scott enjoys skiing, fishing, spending time at their cabin, photography, and spoiling his three grandkids.

Frank Bergstrom – Treasurer

Having lived 30 years in Juneau, Frank has been the permitting manager for the AJ and Kensington Gold Mines. He is the owner/operator of Amerikanuak Alaska, LLC. 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, volunteered as a Big Brother, and is a ballroom dance instructor.

Wayne Coogan – Director

Wayne Coogan grew up around his father’s construction business in Juneau and began his trade apprenticeship in 1968. After becoming a journeyman in 1974 he continued working in the trades gaining field experience on projects in Alaska and Washington state. Mr. Coogan graduated from the University of Washington (BS-1979) and is both a mechanical and residential administrator.

Since 1979, Mr. Coogan has been co-owner/general manager of a regional construction company, Coogan Construction, based in Juneau. During that time, he was responsible for bidding, management, and completion of over $350 million in public works and infrastructure projects with over $100 million in payroll throughout Southeast Alaska.

Mr. Coogan also co-owned and managed local gravel pits. He co-founded and manages a real estate investment firm that now owns and manages over 270 residential and commercial rental units.

His pastimes are hunting, traveling, art, history, and striving to enable others to have a fulfilling life in Juneau.

Denny DeWitt – 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 the 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 five children, all married.

Neil MacKinnon – Director

Neil 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 the 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., and Douglas Volunteer Fire Department. He is married and has three grown children.

Mac Meiners – Director

Mac worked in the commercial fishing and construction industries and is a small business owner. He graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in 1970. In the early years of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, Mac was a Teamster for Local 959. Mac and his wife have three sons.

Jason Palmer – Director

Mr. Palmer’s vocational history is in the broadcasting and marketing/advertising industry. An experienced On Air Personality, Broadcast Programming, Operations, Media Sales, Marketing, Management, Production, and Digital background. R.A.B. RMP, CRMC, CDMC, CRSM certifications. Mesa College, San Diego and the University of Alaska Anchorage, Medical background, U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine Captain, Broadcast Programming, Operations, Sales, and Corporate Management. Mr. Palmer is currently the General Manager of Frontier Media.

Don Habeger – Executive Director

Don Habeger has lived and worked in Juneau, Alaska, for more than forty years. His career includes executive management roles in small businesses, corporations, and state government. Habeger owns RiverRock Alaska, LLC, a government and community relations service company; First Things First Alaska Foundation is one of his several clients. Habeger is developing a start-up company, Appanage Fishing, bringing to the sports fishing market a new lure called Scent StrikerÒ. Habeger has a B.A. degree in Behavioral Science from North Central University in Minnesota.

Rosemary Hagevig and John Sandor – Directors Emeritus

Rosemary and John are past board members and are honored for their tireless work in making Juneau and Southeast Alaska a better place to live and raise families. The First Things First Alaska Foundation honors them with the Director Emeritus status in perpetuity.