Heather and her son, Leo
Tradition of Excellence
My name is Heather Rauenhorst (formerly Lesko), and I am the current chair of the SOM Business Advisory Council. I received my MBA from SOM in 2003, and it was a life-changing experience. It enabled me to achieve my personal goals and also prepared me for opportunities I never imagined. Not a day goes by that I don’t apply the knowledge and skills I gained through the MBA program in my leadership position at the school district. I hear far too many people say they don’t feel their college experience adequately prepared them for their careers. I had a different experience, and am thrilled I didn’t have to leave my hometown to do so. How lucky are we as Interior residents to have such a high caliber school in our own backyard?
I found my MBA classes challenging and relevant. Then, as now, there were brilliant faculty members who truly cared their students learned. And I can say without any bias, my classmates at SOM were the very best and brightest in all of UAF. Actually, one classmate in particular was a bit unique. My dad returned to school later in life, and the last year of his bachelor’s degree was my first year in the MBA program. We took a marketing class together, which was a memorable experience for both of us!
SOM also offers incredible opportunities outside the classroom. I signed up for an internship course when the program was just beginning, and it allowed me to experience a completely different type of business than any of my previous jobs. I believe so much in the value of these experiential learning activities, and in the potential benefits for both the student and the host business, that I created an internship position in my own small department. I’ve had two terrific SOM interns so far, and my coworkers have been very impressed with the caliber of the students and the quality of the work they’ve done.
So that was then, but what about now? In my opinion, the school has only gotten better. Today, SOM boasts even more engagement with local businesses, more student organizations and activities providing practical experiences, and more opportunities for students to make meaningful connections in the community.
I am thrilled to be an SOM alumna, and grateful for the time invested in me by the faculty and staff. I ask you to join me as I give back and enable SOM to continue its tradition of excellence, so today’s students have the opportunities they need to develop into tomorrow’s leaders.
The sixth annual UAF School of Management Spring Etiquette Seminar & Dinner, sponsored by KPMG and the UAF Alumni Association, was held on Friday, March 4. Professionals from across the state sat on the etiquette panel to share their wisdom with students. Experts included:
- Bill Bailey, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company
- Sabrina Binkley, Sprucetree Montessori School
- Doug Bishop, Doyon Utilities
- Amy Cooper, UAF School of Management
- Jim Culley, Northrim Bank
- Lisa Herbert, Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce
- Mark Herrmann, UAF School of Management
- Jessica Hill, TDL Professional Staffing
- Steve Lundgren, Denali State Bank
- Wes Madden, Madden Real Estate
- Roxy Marcy, GCI
- Daniel Mitchell, KPMG
- Oran Paul, Utility Services of Alaska
- Tammy Randolph, State Farm Insurance
- Lorna Shaw, Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo
- Tammy Tragis-McCook, UAF School of Management
- Peter Van Flein, UAF Alumni Association
The purpose of this event is to help students learn valuable lessons in the social graces. Once students graduate, they are expected to know how to act in formal situations, such as business dinners and social functions. This annual event provides them with the tools needed to conduct themselves as well-rounded professionals. SOM students learned about the rules of etiquette, from cell phone courtesy to punctuality to what to do with a napkin when leaving the table.
After a presentation by Daniel Mitchell of KPMG and a Q&A with the panel, professionals and students headed over to Lavelle’s Bistro where students were able to practice their newly-learned skills at a formal dinner.
View some photos from the event:
Mathew with his dog, Beezlebub
Mathew Carrick graduated from UAF in December 2015 with a BBA in economics and a minor in mathematics; he is currently pursuing his MBA at the School of Management. Mathew worked for the UAF Alumni Association in the fall of 2015.
Why did you decide to pursue your economics degree?
I wanted to learn business and management skills, but I also wanted a more quantitative, measured view than I thought I would get from a business administration degree, at least without going into finance. I also had an interest in economics before I came to UAF, so it seemed a natural fit. Finally, I liked my professors; UAF has some excellent faculty members. One professor who had an especially strong impact on me was Dr. Joe Little, whose introductory classes helped me decide that economics was something I wanted to pursue more seriously. After I declared my major, my interactions with Joe in and out of the classroom helped convince me I made the right choice.
Why did you want to intern for the UAF Alumni Association?
I had a few reasons. First, I love learning about UAF’s history, and I thought the Alumni Association would be a great place to do that. Second, I knew UAF has many talented alumni who know a lot about being successful, and I wanted the chance to learn from them. Third, I wanted to work in a traditional office environment and learn all the support skills that I’d be expected to know after graduation.
What did you learn through your internship?
All that I set out to learn and more: I’ve learned about UAF history, met some wonderful, experienced alumni, and improved my general office skills. I’ve also learned management practices through observation and have grown in the areas of fundraising and membership management. My past sales experience has been primarily retail-oriented, but through my internship at the Alumni Association I’ve gained a much better understanding of what motivates people to join an organization.
What advice do you have for students interested in internships?
Apply! There are so many internships available at UAF and elsewhere that often receive only one or two applications, if any. Don’t get discouraged by the job description – the worst anyone can do is say “no,” and your chances may be better than you think. At the same time, don’t just flip through job listings looking for anything, or you’ll be terribly bored and you probably won’t learn much. Think about what you’re interested in – even if it’s not directly work-related – and seek opportunities that will help you learn more about those areas or topics.
What was the best thing about your internship?
Definitely the people I work with. My office only includes three people, but we’re also a part of UAF’s Development team and we have the support of a nonprofit board of directors made up of alumni. Everyone is so positive and supportive that I always feel refreshed after a day in the office, no matter what I was doing. It’s an enjoyable atmosphere that’s inspired me to always try my best.
Mathew with his fiancée, Ashley, and his dog, Beezlebub
Panelists Miranda Wright of Doyon Limited, Lia Patton of BDO, Jim Hasle of BDO, and Garry Hutchison of Kohler, Schmitt, and Hutchison applaud Julie Stricker at the opening of the seminar
On February 2, 2016, the Great Alaskan Accounting People (GAAP) student organization hosted the 4th Annual Alaska Native Corporations Seminar. Panelists spoke to about 55 students, accounting professionals, and Fairbanks community members about Alaska’s native regional corporations, 8(a) contract issues, settlement trust, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANSCA), and the future of the corporations.
This year’s speakers were:
• Jim Hasle, Assurance Office Managing Partner, BDO
• Garry Hutchison, Partner, Kohler, Schmitt & Hutchison, PC
• Lia Patton, Assurance Office Partner, BDO
• Miranda Wright, Board of Directors Treasurer, Doyon Limited
Julie Stricker served as Master of Ceremony for this year’s seminar.
Hayden Nilson, accounting student and GAAP officer, organized this event; Hayden and several fellow accounting students and faculty answered the following questions.
This is the fourth year GAAP has hosted the Alaska Native Corporations Seminar.
Why do you think this is an important event for students and the community?
The Native regional corporations are a vital part of the Alaskan economy, and it is important for more people to understand their history and their role in our state. Heidi Pichler, GAAP member and accounting student, noted that this event gives students and the community greater insight into the impact these corporations have on the Alaskan economy. From an accounting perspective, it allows students to learn about the diversity in careers that an accounting degree can provide. What a many people don’t recognize is that in some form or another, whether in the areas of public or private accounting, there is a very high likelihood of working with or for a native corporation. And when there is a chance to learn more about such a crucial part of our economy, everyone should take advantage of the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of this topic.
What do you think students took away from this seminar?
One of the key things we heard from students over and over following this seminar was that they were amazed at the diversity offered by accounting degree. Most people think of accountants simply as the person you take your tax documents to each year. For students like Victoria Adams, GAAP member and accounting student, this event helped demonstrate the many potential options a degree in accounting can offer. This seminar played a pivotal role in showing that there is a whole lot more to accounting than the annual April 15th tax deadline.
Jim Hasle and Garry Hutchison join Candace Crews, former GAAP member and seminar originator, during the social hour before the seminar
What was the most important or enlightening thing you learned at this seminar?
This year’s seminar covered many topics. Our speakers’ extensive background and experience with Alaska native regional corporations provided those in attendance with a better understanding of the impact and importance these entities have on Alaska. A few of the topics of most interest to GAAP students included; Land in Trust, ANSCA Tax Provisions, and 8(a) contracts. I personally learned a great deal while organizing this event, because I had to research the topics in order to understand the basics and work with our seminar panelists to decide what they would discuss. I can’t stress enough how useful and important all of their discussions were for the students, professionals, and community members in attendance.
How has your experience with the Great Alaskan Accounting People (GAAP) helped you as an accounting student at UAF?
GAAP is a great organization. It has a clear mission – to prepare accounting students for their careers – and I believe it does just that. The majority of our members receive internship offers before they graduate, and often continue on with the firm as full time associates. Students can be involved in GAAP in many different ways. Beau McClain has been a GAAP officer for two years, and will be starting his career as an accountant at the KPMG Anchorage office next fall. Beau credits GAAP for his accomplishments and his success as a student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, saying “I can honestly say that no other student organization comes close to the professionalism and dedication of GAAP in preparing students for their future career.” The more speakers GAAP can share with students through their weekly meetings and special events like the Alaska Native Corporations Seminar, the brighter UAF students will shine when they enter the professional world.
Additional photos from this event can be found on the GAAP Facebook page
Are you interested in being a guest speaker for an upcoming GAAP meeting?
Would you like a copy of the recording of the seminar? Contact Hayden Nilson or GAAP advisor Amy Cooper
More information about this student organization can be found on the GAAP website
Kim grew up in Miami, Florida and San Diego, California. Her career started at the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, where she represented American businesses operating in China. She went on to work in emerging markets asset management at HSBC, then moved to General Electric, where she led GE Capital’s global public affairs function.
- Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Vanderbilt University
- Master of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs
- MBA from the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business
What brought you to Alaska?
While completing my MBA, I went on a spring break cross-country skiing trip in Alaska’s White Mountains. I fell in love with the area and all the great things you can do outdoors. I also fell in love with a very special Alaskan guy, Sam Alexander, who runs his own adventure travel company when not teaching. Sam didn’t have to do much convincing to get me to move.
What do you enjoy about Alaska?
Two things strike me most about Alaska – first, this state offers boundless opportunities for someone with an entrepreneurial mindset. Second, the sky is amazing! The Lower 48 doesn’t get brilliant sunrises and Northern Lights like we get here.
You have a good amount of professional experience in finance, leadership and marketing.
How does that translate into the classroom?
I relate examples from my own work experience. One of the first lectures I gave was on mergers and acquisitions. Having gone through a number of acquisitions and divestures at GE, I can share a practioner’s perspective to complement the academic view. I’m connecting with my former colleagues and professional contacts to come to Fairbanks so students can hear their perspectives, as well.
Which previous research / project are you most proud of?
While at GE, I launched a marketing campaign that was so successful in the U.S., I got to oversee its implementation in six additional countries. The success was nice, of course, but it was also a great opportunity to work with colleagues across the globe.
What advice do you have for current students?
Stay curious and approach your career – and your life – with an open mind. As a corollary to that – if you get the opportunity to travel, do it.
What would you like to tell us about your family?
Sam and I live in a dry cabin. I’m hoping to add a puppy to our family soon. And maybe running water some day!
UPDATE: The puppy has arrived! Still waiting on that running water….
- Next TV binge watch in queue? Archer and House of Cards are my two guilty pleasures.
- Book you are currently reading? I am re-reading “The Great Game” by Peter Hopkirk. It is a non-fiction account of the 19th century British-Russian rivalry in the Central Asia. It is just as exciting and full of intrigue as any work of fiction.
- Your last music download? The latest addition to my Spotify playlist was “Hotline Bling” by Drake.
- If I granted you one wish to change the world what would it be? I’d wish for every single person to live in a culture other than his or her own for a while. I think it would go a long way toward breaking down the barriers between us.
Chris is the owner of Allstate Insurance, Chris Marok Agency. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2010 and an MBA in 2012.
Why did you choose to attend UAF?
There were many factors, but one of the biggest was the ability to stay in my hometown, close to family and friends. I was also able to continue enjoying the outdoor activities unique to Alaska while working on my degree. Both my parents were teachers and emphasized the importance of a good education. I knew UAF was a great school and provided the perfect setting for both my personal and educational interests.
Share with us an outstanding teacher or class.
It’s hard to pick just one, but Business Law with John Burns stands out. The course was extremely challenging and very stimulating; it really pushed me to want to better myself. I have found that much of what I learned in that course is relevant to the insurance industry and has made me a better agent.
What is a favorite SOM memory?
While in the MBA program, I was a teaching assistant and worked directly for Dr. Ping Lan on many projects, the biggest of which was the Arctic Innovation Competition. However, another project Dr. Lan assigned to me directly was to help create a video series for a new leadership course he was developing. During the 2011 spring semester, he tasked me with scheduling interviews with nine leaders in nine different major industries here in Alaska. I met with each of them one on one, asked them all the same questions, and then edited the recorded interviews into a video series. It was an awesome experience sitting down with the various CEOs, presidents, directors, and other heads of organizations throughout Alaska, and listening to the advice and stories from these men and women. The one bit of advice every single one of them mentioned was how important clear communication is to the health of their organizations – which is advice I still use every day.
How did SOM prepare you for your professional career?
The best preparation I got from SOM was my time working as the President of the 2011 Arctic Innovation Competition. It was the culmination of everything learned in the classroom and putting that information to use in the real world. I led a team, met deadlines, maintained a budget, and accomplished all the goals necessary to put on a successful national event. That experience helped me grow as a leader and translates to all the things I do on a daily basis in my own business.
What does being an alumnus mean to you?
For me, being a UAF alumnus means I am a part of something huge – a gigantic family with ties all over the world. It brings me closer to the City of Fairbanks and the great people here in the Golden Heart of Alaska. I love telling people from the Lower 48 that I am a Nanook, and watching the look of confusion take hold.
What keeps you enthusiastic about your career?
The constant ability to learn and grow. With the changing needs of my clients, corporate policies, and industry regulations, I am constantly driven to learn new things; otherwise I’ll get left behind. I get asked something new almost every day, which helps keep things interesting. I would go crazy in a monotonous career with no change or variety to the everyday routine. I feel blessed to have a career that keeps me stimulated and pushes me to continuously better myself and those around me.
What’s the number one skill or practice that has contributed to your success?
Being able to visualize a completed goal, no matter how big or small, and formulate the necessary steps to get there. When it comes to the goals, setting expectations to stay the course – no matter the obstacles that may arise, and hopefully the carrot at the end of the stick – will be worth it in the end.
What advice would you give to current students?
Ask questions. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for clarification or further information. Knowledge is power and questions keep the lines of communication open to gain more knowledge. I tell everyone in my office the old cliché, “there is no such thing as a dumb question” all the time. As long as they are asking me questions, it means they are learning and growing. They all know they can ask me any question at any time.
- Favorite breakfast food? Toss-up between French Toast or a Philly Cheesesteak omelet.
- Dream Vacation Destination? Australia and New Zealand
- What book are you reading? Re-reading “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything,” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.
- Go to music streaming channel? The Black Keys Radio on Pandora.
After making a career in local government, Judi Slajer, at the age of 39, enrolled at UAF to finish her degree. Her eldest daughter, Veronica, had graduated from high school, and her youngest daughter, Francie, was entering middle school. Judi and her daughters packed their bags and headed to Fairbanks. Judi and Veronica both attended UAF and even lived on the same floor in Bartlett Hall at one point. Veronica returned to UAF in 2013 for her M.A. in rural development.
The big move and the pursuit of a degree came after 18 years of residency in Ketchikan and employment with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. Judi moved to Ketchikan in 1962 and became the borough’s first employee, working as municipal clerk and then as borough manager. Judi was the first woman to hold a borough manager position in Alaska. She says it was the best job she ever had.
Just before graduating, Judi left two months early to accept a job at the Municipality of Anchorage as a budget director, and worked for Mayor Tony Knowles for the next four years. She finally received her diploma that summer of 1982.
Judi met her husband, Tom Rosadiuk, at a Gold Kings hockey game in Fairbanks. Tom (UAF ‘59, College of Engineering) founded a Fairbanks engineering/surveying firm, which he grew to become PDC Inc. Engineers, with offices in Fairbanks and Anchorage. Judi moved back to Fairbanks to join Tom and develop and teach governance courses in rural Alaska for the UAA’s extension program. After a spring and summer of teaching, she accepted the chief financial officer position at Fairbanks North Star Borough.
Judi and Tom both retired in 1997 and took off on a road trip that fall. When Judi’s replacement at the borough did not work out, Mayor Sampson called and asked her to come back to work. After another nine months on the job, Judi’s successor was hired.
While Judi and Tom thought that they could relax in retirement and enjoy their travels, more challenges lay ahead. Returning from a trip to New Zealand and Australia in 2000, Judi found a registered letter waiting for her from her doctor. The letter said that her mammogram results were alarming and that she needed to consult with a surgeon. Within three days, she was diagnosed with cancer and made arrangements for surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Judi continued her treatment in Fairbanks and Palm Springs, California.
With only one grown child now living in Alaska, Judi and Tom decided in 2002 to make parallel moves, one by purchasing a winter home in La Conner, Washington and the other to make a rural lot on an island 25 miles southwest of Ketchikan their permanent residence. Developing the remote lot as a residence has been a major project. Judi and Tom purchased a historic float house—built sometime between 1928 and 1938—for the property. Tom has spent years improving the house and adding outbuildings, including a greenhouse, as well as water, sewer, and electrical generating systems, a ramp, and a 40-foot dock.
Always grateful for her second chance at higher education, Judi has contributed to UAF for years through donations to the School of Management and through her membership in the American Association of University Women. She and Tom also invest money into 529 College Savings Plans for all of her and Tom’s eight grandchildren. Maintaining her connection with UAF, Judi said that education plays a large role in determining how she and Tom approach life and all of its challenges.
For the immediate future, Judi and Tom will maintain their Alaska residency, travel to their south Kona fruit and macadamia nut farm in Hawaii, and monitor their health. Judi also looks forward to spending more time with her children, grandchildren, and friends, enjoying them as much as possible. She stays busy volunteering for several community committees, after spending nine years on the board of directors. She tries not to worry about the future, and just enjoys the adventures that life brings!
In 1984, Bob Hajdukovich was one of 12 employees at Frontier Flying, the company owned by his father, John Hajdukovich. Today, he is CEO of Ravn Air Group, Inc., the parent company for Frontier Flying Service, Corvus Airlines (previously known as Era Aviation), and Hageland Aviation Services. As a business leader, Bob demonstrates a commitment to his employees and the success of his company, but above all else a deep commitment to service for the people of the great state of Alaska.
Bob has vast experience in numerous aviation jobs working his way up from ramp agent, operations agent, computer programmer, office manager, general manager, first officer, pilot in command, director of operations, vice president, and finally to the current CEO of Ravn Alaska. Ravn has been flying for about as long as Alaska has been a state. Bob took the family commuter and freight airline business from a small affair to a regional airline with nearly 1,000 employees serving 100 communities across Alaska.
Bob is active in several aviation-based community organizations. He serves on the Governor’s Aviation Advisory Committee and is also active in progressive safety programs and innovative risk management. He served as president of Alaska Air Carriers Association (AACA), as a board member of the Medallion Foundation, and as chair of the AACA Joint Safety Committee. However, not all of Bob’s accolades are aviation-based. In 2011, the Fairbanks Hockey Hall of Fame recognized the Hajdukovich family as having the Best Backyard Rink.
Bob received his BA in business administration from the University of San Diego. Although Bob did not graduate from the UAF, two of his sons, Alec and Connor, are current students and will graduate from UAF. His eldest son, Nick, graduated from University of Alaska Southeast.
As a part of a well-respected aviation family, Bob is keenly aware of the importance of giving back to the community that means so much to him. Whether it is donating $100,000 to the UAF Aircraft Maintenance School Program, giving to the Fairbanks Community Food Bank, or helping to deliver emergency food and supplies to neighboring villages, Bob’s philanthropic contributions are an example to all who know him. In 2013, the first University of Alaska themed commercial airplane in the world was welcomed to the fleet, affirming the strong partnership between Ravn and the UAF and UAA campuses.
Somehow, Bob juggled raising a family of three boys while running an airline that was continually growing and made it all look easy. He has the ability to conquer anything set before him. He’s mastered parenting, basketball, skiing, ping-pong, and was even the first one at Monroe High School to solve the Rubik’s Cube.
While we all know Bob is a tremendous businessman, he is also an outstanding father and husband. Bob and his beautiful wife, Leslie, enjoy spending time in the great outdoors together. Bob is truly someone who has balanced work and family well, and has gone to great lengths to spend as much time as possible with those he loves even more than aviation.
Bob Hajdukovich, a pilot, a leader, a family man, and a man of great wit, compassion, and modesty, couldn’t be a better example to SOM students and the Fairbanks community to receive the 2016 UAF Business Leader of the Year Award.
What sets SOM apart from other schools are the extensive opportunities available for hands-on experiences outside the classroom. Each year, students help run major statewide events such as the Arctic Innovation Competition and the Business Leader of the Year. Students are encouraged to join at least one of ten SOM student organizations with focuses ranging from entrepreneurship to leadership to accounting. These groups provide more opportunities to give back to the greater Fairbanks area and gain the type of experience employers desire. This semester, students were invited to several events to present on the effectiveness of their out-of-classroom experiences.
Fairbanks Downtown Rotary Club
In October, students presented at a meeting of the Fairbanks Downtown Rotary Club.
Heidi Bryan, a senior business administration student majoring in marketing, shared her experiences working on the Arctic Innovation Competition. Heidi was able to gain substantial leadership skills, saying, “Before I got to UAF, I thought leadership meant that the boss was in charge and you did not ask questions. I now see leadership as setting the direction for the team, motivating others, and inspiring vision.”
Alec Hajdukovich, a senior business administration student majoring in finance, shared his experiences with the Student Investment Fund (SIF) course. Alec came to UAF with hockey as his primary interest. When he enrolled in the SIF course in his junior year he initially felt completely out of his depth. However, he quickly found himself learning more than he ever thought possible, decided to major in finance, and his mother calls it the “turnaround story of the century.”
James Gilchrest, a junior majoring in emergency management, touched on his experiences with the Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) program. James applied to UAF after seeing a Facebook ad for the HSEM program while stationed in Guantanamo Bay. Once he arrived on campus, he felt immediately supported by SOM. James believes the greatest contribution made by SOM instructors is to mentor future leaders, and said, “The School of Management inspires me to be fearless.”
Associated General Contractors of Alaska (AGC)
Jamie Boyle, a senior business administration major moving on the MBA program, presented to AGC about her experiences as a first-semester student in SIF. A generous donation is provided by AGC in support of a SIF scholarship. Jamie shared how the SIF course helped her learn how to value a stock, think differently about a company beyond the numbers, and be comfortable and confident in presentations. She said, “I look optimistically toward the future equipped with a quality degree and ample real-life experiences.”
UA Board of Regents
In December, students accompanied Dean Herrmann for a presentation to the UA Board of Regents, where Heidi, James, and Jamie shared stories similar to those they brought to the Rotary and AGC events.
James Gilchrest, Amy Isaacson, Jamie Boyle, and Heidi Bryan ready to present to the UA Board of Regents.
Amy Isaacson, an MBA student who also holds an accounting degree, shared how glad she was to earn prestigious degrees from a university in her own hometown, and how critical her non-classroom experiences were to her education and growth. In particular, the Great Alaskan Accounting People helped connect her to the accounting field and secure employment, and participating in the Business Leader of the Year advanced her skills in teamwork, professionalism, and leadership.
Amy, Heidi, Jamie, James, and Dean Herrmann presenting to the UA Board of Regents.
The School of Management hosted its 2nd annual In My Element Shopping Spree for SOM students on Friday and Saturday, December 4th and 5th.
In My Element once again donated thousands of dollars of professional attire for our female students. This generous donation meant that students were able to select up to five items of clothing, including one pair of shoes, and enjoy them free of charge!
About 35 students took advantage of the opportunity, and were thrilled at the chance to “shop” for new clothing items.
Thank you again to In My Element for making these items available for SOM students. We appreciate your generosity and ongoing support for our students!