Movers and Shakers for July 28
Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy announced his selections to fill Alaska Superior Court judgeships in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Brent Bennett has been appointed to the Fairbanks Superior Court. Bennett has been an Alaska resident and practiced law for 13 years. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 2006, and is currently the supervising attorney of the Office of Public Advocacy, Fairbanks Defense Section. Earl Peterson has been appointed to the Fairbanks Superior Court. Magistrate Judge Peterson has been an Alaska resident for more than eight years, and has practiced law for 23 years. He graduated from Chicago Kent College of Law in 1995, and is currently a magistrate judge in Fairbanks. Peter Ramgren has been appointed to the Anchorage Superior Court. Magistrate Judge Ramgren has been an Alaska resident for 17 years, and has practiced law for over 21 years. He graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 1997 and is currently a magistrate judge in Anchorage.
Maj. Gen. Peter B. Andrysiak assumed command of U.S. Army Alaska in a ceremony at Pershing Field on July 16. Andrysiak will replace retiring USARAK commanding general, Maj. Gen. Mark J. O’Neil. Andrysiak returns to Alaska from Fort Shafter, Hawaii, where he served as the Chief of Staff for U.S. Army Pacific. He previously commanded USARAK’s 2nd Engineer Brigade at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, including a combat rotation to Afghanistan in 2015. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a master’s degree in environmental and water resources engineering from the University of Texas, and a master’s degree in national security strategy from the National War College. Andrysiak was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers upon graduation from the U.S. Military Academy and has led a career spanning more than 29 years. His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal. He has earned the Combat Action Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, and Ranger Tab.
Alaska Family Services Inc. announced that longtime Mat-Su Valley health professional Desiré Shepler has accepted the position of president and CEO. Shepler was chosen from a national field of applicants to lead one of Alaska’s largest nonprofits, serving more than 12,000 Alaskans annually with programs and services focused on the family. Shepler comes to AFS from the Mat-Su Health Foundation, where she has served since 2013, most recently as Director of “Raising Our Children with Kindness” (R.O.C.K) Mat-Su. As a student working on her associate’s degree in human services from Matanuska-Susitna College, Shepler completed her practicum hours at Alaska Family Services’ domestic violence shelter. She earned a master’s of public health degree and a bachelor’s degree in psychology, both at University of Alaska Anchorage. Shepler also earned a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from The Foraker Group. Shepler, who was named to the Alaska Journal of Commerce Top Forty Under 40 in 2018, replaces Donn Bennice, who retired as president/CEO in April after leading AFS for 17 years.
Vitus Energy LLC (Vitus Marine) has hired Jessica Pestrikoff as human resources manager, Charlotte Long as inventory manager and Jonathan Bloomquist as controller. Pestrikoff has more than 12 years of administrative experience, with eight in the HR field. She came to Vitus from Chugach Alaska Services where she was the staffing program manager working directly with Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. to provide contingent staff to support their field operations. She holds two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Alaska Anchorage in marketing and management. She is a Society of Human Resources Management Certified Professional as well as a Professional of Human Resources. Long joined Vitus Energy with more than 20 years of inventory/sales/accounting experience. Most recently she served as the sales representative for 40 Western Alaska Villages at JB Gottstein. She has two bachelor’s degrees in business and logistics management from the UAA. Bloomquist has a master’s of accounting degree, as well as two bachelor’s degrees from Central Washington University. He comes to Vitus from Vigor Marine where he served as the corporate finance manager with more than 10 years of experience.
Wasilla resident Sammye Pokryfki has joined the Mat-Su Health Foundation board of directors. Pokryfki is a lifelong Alaskan who has lived in the Mat-Su Borough for more than 36 years. She was senior vice president at the Rasmuson Foundation until 2017, where she worked for 12 years. Currently she works as a consultant and adjunct faculty member in the University of Alaska Anchorage Honors College. Previously, Pokryfki was executive director of United Way Mat-Su and Denali KidCare rural outreach coordinator for Chugiak Children’s Service. She has also served as a volunteer leader on nonprofit boards, government boards and commissions, blue ribbon committees, and in soup kitchens, domestic violence shelters, faith communities, mentoring programs, recreational events, and as a Court Appointed Special Advocate. Pokryfki holds a master’s degree in social work and two bachelor’s degrees, one in social work and one in English literature, all from UAA. Lebron McPhail, who joined the MSHF board in 2016, was chosen as vice chair.
The Alaska Trucking Association has announced top management changes effective Aug. 1. Lifelong Alaska resident and business leader Robert Shake has been named the new executive director of the 300-member association, and Joe Michel was named deputy director. After serving ATA for 13 years, Aves Thompson will officially retire as executive director on July 31. Thompson had spent 24 years regulating commercial vehicles for the state of Alaska and retired as division director of commercial vehicle enforcement in the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. He also served as chief and director of Weights and Measures and was presented a lifetime achievement award from the National Conference on Weights and Measures. He chaired the AMATS Freight Advisory Committee and served on the Port of Alaska Commission, the UAA Advisory Boards for the Engineering, Logistics and Diesel Schools as well as the Governor’s Road and Highway Advisory Board. Shake brings nearly 40 years of commercial finance and management experience to ATA having held executive management positions in commercial banks, credit unions and the commercial insurance industry. A graduate of Colorado College with a degree in business administration, he has served on and held leadership positions on various boards and commissions including Providence Alaska Foundation, Municipal Light &Power, World Trade Center Alaska and Boys and Girls Club Alaska. Michel, the newly appointed deputy director, has more than a decade of experience in Alaska State Government. He has worked in the governor’s office and both the House and Senate of the Alaska Legislature. He has coordinated the capital budget for the House of Representatives and the operating budget for DOTPF.