Cameron Carlson after receiving his Ph.D. at UAF Commencement 2017. Photo by Troy Bouffard.
Dr. Cameron Carlson is the Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. He earned a BS in biology from Monmouth University in 1986 and an MA in international relations from Webster University in 1995. He earned his Ph.D. in security and disaster management from UAF in 2017.
How did you first get involved with SOM?
My first encounter with Mark Herrmann was when we both went to the Academic Leadership Institute in 2004. At that point, I led the ROTC program and he asked me to teach as an adjunct. I taught sports leadership for several years and then I heard SOM was considering a bachelor’s of emergency management. By then I had retired from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel and was working as an emergency manager at UA Statewide. Mark asked me to launch the program, expand it and enroll more students.
What’s the best thing to happen since you started working at SOM?
I don’t know if there has been one single thing. It sounds like such a cliché but I really do enjoy my job. I like getting up in the morning and coming in. I like teaching and the interaction with the students. I enjoyed the Ph.D. process. The other faculty members really helped me a lot to narrow my focus and realize what my field is all about. Also, I enjoyed getting into the research world and working on some of the contracts that we have had with Northcom, the US Nothern Command, and the US Alaska Command. Working with them on Arctic Domain Security Orientation, what it’s going to look like in the arctic and why it’s important. As things heat up with North Korea, people are starting to understand that Alaska is more strategically significant than we originally thought.
How do you define good teaching?
Good teaching is the ability to engage students. I make sure they are being heard and that their questions are resolved. It is our duty to make sure something of value is provided to them since their next step is to secure a job.
How do you spend your summers in Alaska?
Working on articulation agreements with college programs out of state. Outside of work, I enjoy the weather by riding my mountain bike and spending time with my wife on our deck tasting wines. We are planning our next trip to Napa Valley to visit our family.
What advice do you have for current students?
Accept some risk, push the envelope a bit and learn something that makes you slightly uncomfortable. We’re wired to seek out comfort, which is why it’s hard to let go. If you challenge yourself, it will actually help you perform at your peak.
What would you like to tell us about your family?
Every member of our family has worked for UAF at one point or another. My wife currently works at UA Statewide, but she got her start in the UAF Business Office while I was still on active duty. Our youngest daughter Shelby recently left her position with UAF financial systems, and took a job out of state. Our youngest daughter Shelby and I walked through 2017 Commencement together, she for her MBA and me for my Ph.D. Our daughter Courtney received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from SOM. Our first-born daughter Dani also got her undergraduate degree from UAF. Fun fact? Dani was the Nanook bear mascot at one point.
Cam with his daughter Shelby, her boyfriend Tom, and his wife Debbie at Commencement 2017. Photo by Troy Bouffard.
- Next TV binge watch in queue? Wonder Woman
- What is one thing you think everyone should own no matter the cost? A good mountain bike
- Latest song gone earworm? Run by the Foo Fighters
- In a next life, what would your career be? The exact same thing
- If you were granted one wish to change the world what would it be? To do away with cancer
Cam and his daughter Shelby at Commencement 2017. UAF Photo by JR Ancheta.
Marisa Sharrah after completing her first 5k in 2016
Marisa is the president and CEO of the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2001 with a concentration in marketing.
Why did you choose to attend UAF?
It was important for me to stay in Fairbanks and remain close to my family. I felt fortunate that UAF had a degree that fit with my long-term goals. The choice was easy and it felt right at the time, and I can say that over 15 years later, I still think it was the right choice.
Share with us an outstanding teacher or class.
I loved Claudia Clark! She demonstrated the right balance between being firm and flexible. She held students accountable and reminded us we live in an unforgiving world, but she was also fun to be around and kept us laughing while learning.
What is a favorite SOM memory?
Attending commencement in a sea of black caps and gowns, and having my then 3-year-old son spot me in the crowd and yell “MAMA!” from the mezzanine during the ceremony.
How did SOM prepare you for your professional career?
SOM classes covered the right breadth of issues to prepare me for my career. Everything from human resources and business law to customer service and marketing topics came in handy almost immediately and have remained relevant in the 15+ years since I graduated. The program provided a great foundation for me professionally.
What does being a UAF alumna mean to you?
Being a UAF grad adds to my sense of community. I love Fairbanks and am always proud to share that I’m a UAF graduate. I find pride by supporting our teams, reading about innovations and ideas generated by students, faculty, and graduates, and seeing our community rally to support this institution that has such an important role in our community.
What keeps you enthusiastic about your career?
Change. Change can be incredibly difficult until you accept that all great things happen as a result of change. Even during times when I had the same role in an organization for several years, I found fulfillment in trying new and creative ideas. Change keeps things exciting and fresh.
What’s the number one skill or practice that has contributed to your success?
I think my ability to foster a team environment has been one of the biggest factors that helps me feel successful. I know results are better when the right team of people are working on a common and well vetted goal, and it feels good to be able to celebrate wins with everyone that helped achieve a successful outcome.
What advice do you have for current students?
Find people in your community who you admire and make them your mentors. You don’t have to ask them or literally assign them that role. Just start asking questions and for advice, observe how they communicate, who they surround themselves with, what they do in their spare time, etc. They will be your mentors as soon as you decide they are.
The Fairbanks Chamber team celebrates a successful Military Appreciation Event: Elizabeth Warlick, Amanda Blanchard, Elena Sudduth, Marisa Sharrah, Christina Tachick, and Alla Gutsul. Photo by Isaiah Mangum.
- Favorite breakfast food? Peanut butter protein shake or waffles
- Dream vacation destination? Beach. Book. Beverage.
- Book you are currently reading? The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
- Last music digital download or streaming music channel? Sam Smith
- When was the last time you sang out loud? Odds are I’m singing out loud right now
Marisa with her son Thomas, mom Teresa, and grandpa Tom during grandpa’s annual visit to Alaska in 2017
Jim received his bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and his JD from Texas Tech University School of Law. He is an assistant professor of business administration.
What brought you to Alaska?
Very simply put, my son. I grew up in northern Canada and I wanted him to have that same experience. There is something about the northern lifestyle that imparts a certain sense of independence and integrity in people who grow up in the far north. As the musician, Prince said when asked why he lived in Minnesota – “because it’s so cold it keeps the bad people out.” There is a simple truth to that. There are easier places to live, but few better.
What do you enjoy most about Alaska?
The people and the unpretentiousness of it. Let’s just say that I have saved a lot of money on razor blades since moving here.
This is your second year with SOM. What do you tell people in the Lower 48 about it?
I constantly tell my friends and family what a great place SOM is to work. I can truly say that I love teaching here. The administration, faculty, and staff here are fantastic and a pleasure to work with.
You’ve spent time teaching in China. How does that translate into the classroom here?
There is very little difference in the teaching component between China and here. Students in both countries want to learn and they want to be engaged. I try the best I can to strip down the material and make it relatable. What I have found to be most beneficial from my time in China is the plethora of experience I gained from consulting and working with both Chinese and foreign corporations. Many of the textbooks today contain information on doing business in China and, having been directly involved with it, I am hopefully better able to communicate the realities and dispel some of the myths associated with China.
Which research or project are you currently working on?
I am currently working on several projects with other SOM faculty members, but I recently finished an article on the Federal Court injunction that was issued against the new salary level base of $47,476 for overtime exempt employees, which was to go into effect on December 1, 2016.
What advice do you have for current students?
Get out and experience the world. Take your headphones off, put your phone and iPad away, and talk to people. I have met some amazing people who became great friends just by simply saying ‘hello’.
- What is one thing you think everyone should own no matter the cost? Nothing – one thing that I learned from traveling around the world is that there isn’t anything, other than the essentials in life (food, clothing and shelter), that people really need.
- Last music download? The new Jack Savoretti album, “Sleep No More”
- In a next life, what would your career be? Why wait for your “next life” – if there is something you want to do, go do it!
- If you were granted one wish to change the world, what would it be? Two things that shouldn’t require a wish because humans have the power to change it: End the suffering of children caused by war and hunger.
On Friday, May 5, 2017, SOM honored our Beta Gamma Sigma inductees for 2017.
Beta Gamma Sigma is a national honor society recognizing the highest scholastic honor a student can achieve in Business Administration at an AACSB accredited institution. To be eligible for membership in this distinguished
organization, a student must rank in the top of their class.
- Top 10 percent of the Junior class
- Top 10 percent of the Senior class
- Top 20 percent of MBA students
Tara Ann Ellis
On Friday, April 28th, the School of Management held our second annual induction for our Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) students into the Order of the Sword & Shield National Honor Society. These students met the rigorous academic requirements for induction into the only honor society tailored to students in the homeland security and emergency management fields.
The new inductees were welcomed into the society by previous inductees, Thomas Antal, Jason Fegurgur and Wally Murrell. This stellar accomplishment by our students is yet another example of how this nationally ranked HSEM program continues to grow and excel.
Floyd Wright Jr.
UAF Photo by JR Ancheta
On April 15, 2017, the School of Management honored Steve Lundgren, President and CEO of Denali State Bank, as the 2017 Business Leader of the Year award.
The UAF Business Leader of the Year award is given to a deserving recipient based on leadership in the Fairbanks business community, business achievements, community service, and educational support.
The event sold out for the eighth year in a row. Many SOM students worked hard to make the night a success, volunteering their time in order to earn a ticket to the event. They sold tickets, ironed hundreds of chair sashes, worked with vendors, and decorated the venue.
Funds raised through the Business Leader of the Year event support student organizations at SOM. The audience, made up of the Interior community and business leaders, demonstrated enthusiastic support for our students, collectively raising over $36,000 – all of which will go back to the future business leaders of Alaska: UAF School of Management students.
To view photos and videos from the event, click the links below:
Download the Business Leader of the Year Program.
Steve accepted his award from student committee co-chairs, Claire Everts and Zack Morris. UAF Photo by JR Ancheta.
The many student committee members and volunteers helped make the event a success. Photo by Latitude 64 Photography.