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UAF School of Management Blog

Our quality education prepares students for professional success.

42nd Business Leaders of the Year – Cliff and Robert Everts

The UAF School of Management will honor Cliff and Robert Everts as its 42nd Business Leaders of the Year during a dinner and award ceremony at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 7, in the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel’s Gold Room, the first ever father-and-son duo to be recognized together.

Cliff Everts was born in Yonkers, New York to parents who had both emigrated from Germany. The youngest of five children, his interest in planes started in childhood and he took his first ride in an airplane at the age of 12. He started flying when he was 15, and soloed in a 1939 Taylorcraft before he even had a driver’s permit. When WWII began, Cliff signed up for the Civilian Pilot Training Program, which allowed him to attend ground and flight school.

Cliff traveled to Anchorage, Alaska in 1943 to work for Alaska Star Airlines (now Alaska Airlines). Soon after, he moved to Fairbanks and worked for Wien Airlines for 35 years. He married Betty Dailey in 1959 and together they have six children – five daughters and one son. In 1980, Cliff founded his own aviation enterprise, Everts Air Fuel. Cliff possessed an entrepreneurial spirit and launched several additional businesses over the years, including Alaska Rental and Sales (1960) and Airport Gas & Oil (1996).

In October 2007, Cliff received the Federal Aviation Administration Master Pilot Award. In 2011, the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska International Airport System honored Cliff with a plaque at the East Ramp entrance to the airport, in honor of his commitment and support for aviation in Alaska. In 2013, he was inducted into the Alaska Aviation Hall of Fame, receiving the Alaska Aviation Entrepreneur Award.

Sadly, Cliff passed away on Dec. 7, 2017 at the age of 95. However, his and Rob’s nomination for the BLOY award was already underway and the Everts family agreed to accept the award for father and son as a memorial for Cliff.

Robert Everts followed his father Cliff into the aviation business, working for the family businesses while growing up and learning to fly at the age of 14. He first flew solo that summer in a Schweizer 233 Sail Plane, and earned his private pilot’s license at the young age of 17. He earned a BS in aeronautical science and became vice president of Everts Air Fuel in 1982. In 1992, he married Paula Bettano, and together they have two daughters, Claire and Caroline, who are both currently in college.

In 1993, Robert purchased Tatonduk Outfitters Limited, a Fairbanks-based air carrier providing scheduled services to interior Alaska villages, and expanded it to include large aircraft operations. In 2000, Robert purchased the former Mark Air Terminal – a 70,000 square foot facility that includes an aircraft hangar, maintenance shops, administrative offices, and more at the Fairbanks International Airport. He has continued expanding the business over the years, which now does business as Everts Air Cargo and Everts Air Alaska flying throughout Alaska, the Lower 48, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean Islands.

Everts Air businesses are proud to employ over 300 Alaskans, as well as additional employees in the Lower 48, and Robert credits the success of his business in large part to his employees. He believes in treating his employees well and in giving them a voice and the ability to share their views with him and the others who manage the company. Through tough times of building businesses, the family has pulled together. This is a very close family, evident from the roster of people who work for various companies that are part of the Everts’ ventures. The expansion of these enterprises following Robert’s entry has been phenomenal.  The entire family takes a keen interest in all of their employees and the employees’ welfare, viewing them as friends. Personally, both Cliff and Robert are people who place traditional family values quite high in a day and age where many owners simply do not have the time to devote to that most important thing in life. When asked what Cliff was most proud of, a smile would spread across his face and he would say: “I am most proud of my family, just who they are and everything they do.”1

Together, Cliff and Robert have done much to develop air cargo services in Alaska. They have mentored young pilots and those involved in the aviation industry, as their businesses have become training grounds for aspiring pilots, mechanics, and airline workers of all sorts. They have built a multimillion-dollar company in Alaska that provides service around the state, serving primarily Alaskans in both urban and rural areas; it has expanded to cover multiple air travel needs (cargo, passenger, fuel hauling, etc.), while still remaining based in Fairbanks. Their success can be credited to the foresight, tenacity, resilience, and sheer willpower of Cliff and Robert as they built and sustained these businesses. They serve as great models for the entrepreneurial spirit that is embraced by the Business Leader of the Year Award.

Join us in celebration! The Business Leader of the Year banquet and award ceremony will be held on Saturday, April 7, 2018 at the Westmark Hotel.

Sixth Annual Northrim Roast and Boast

School of Management students and staff. Photo by Greg Martin.

Local coffee roasters and cafés showed off their specialty items on Friday, Nov. 17, at the 2017 annual Roast and Boast, an event organized by students in a School of Management marketing class. For the sixth year, the School of Management partnered with Northrim Bank to host this community event, which featured baked goods, fresh pressed juices and plenty of hot beverages.

Six businesses showcased their creations at the event: Bagels & Brew, Diving Duck at Lunch Café & Eatery, Go Wild Superfood Café and Juicery, Little Owl Café, North Pole Coffee Roasting Co., and Sipping Streams Tea Co. All participants donated homemade baked goods or gift certificates for the door prizes, and the first 100 attendees received a special “goodie bag.” The grand prize was a Viper remote start system from Street Sounds.

Students in the Principles of Marketing class helped organize and market the event, gaining organizational management, budgeting, team-building and event-planning experience. Mitchell Brower is a senior majoring in business administration and part of the student team working on the class project. “I learned quite a bit while doing this project,” said Brower. “I knew there was a lot that went into hosting and throwing an event, but I didn’t realize there was quite as much as we were doing.”

A cumulative gift of $75,000, from Joe and Barbara Beedle and Northrim Bank, to honor Joe Beedle, SOM alumnus, upon his retirement from Northrim Bank was presented to School of Management at the event.

See more photos from the event!


School of Management students and staff and executives from Northrim bank pose with the generous donation from Northrim Bank and Joe and Barbra Beedle. Photo by Greg Martin.

AIC Where Are They Now? Attently

Vincent Castro and Eric Solie were the 2016 UAF Arctic Innovation Competition Main Division 1st place winning team for their idea, Attently. This idea is a cloud-based software service, which utilizes a video feed from a standard webcam or smart phone camera, calculating both the number of faces in view and the percentage of those faces which are actively paying attention in the direction of the camera.

Inspired Development
The idea for Attently came out of Startup Weekend, an event held every year for aspiring entrepreneurs in Fairbanks. Attently’s creators were fascinated by facial recognition technology, which falls under the category of computer vision – or when computers understand how to see and pull information out of images. They were also drawn to public speaking, so trying to think of a technology that could combine those two ideas was key.

Taking a Chance
“At the time of the AIC competition, we had won the Startup Weekend, and I was very excited to have won that and getting a spot in AIC was the cherry on top,” said Eric. “As we got closer to the competition, I realized it was a much bigger deal, a much bigger competition with a lot of people, a lot of competitors, and a lot of money on the line. I started getting a more excited for it and a little bit nervous. Walking onto stage there with a big crowd looking at us and giving our pitch – which we had refined somewhat by the time we got there – was a very cool experience.”

Into the Future
The group’s plans for the next year is to finish the customer discovery phase, figure out who their first focus target market is, and then to develop their product. Their dream for the company is to develop something that is effectively and efficiently solving big problems for a lot of customers in various segments of the market. They want to develop a product that everyone is talking about, so that when people are giving a speech or speaking to an audience they will immediately ask: “What was the Attently score on that?”

Words of Wisdom
“The advice I have for anyone looking to compete is to go for it,” Eric said. “It can be a little bit intimidating with the application you have to fill out and the people you have to get up in front of to pitch your idea to, but it is also a hugely valuable experience.”

Hear more about what has happened over the past year from the expanded Attently team!


AIC: Where Are They Now? Shalane Frost & The NoseHat

The UAF Arctic Innovation Competition (AIC) team recently caught up with Shalane Frost, AIC 2016 2nd Place winner and Fan Favorite award winner in the Main Division for her innovative idea, The NoseHat. It is a malleable nose and cheek cover for use during outdoor recreation in winter. It’s ergonomically designed to fit any face shape or nose size, while allowing unobstructed breathing during vigorous activities like Nordic skiing.

Shalane designed The NoseHat when she couldn’t find a product that met her own needs. While she was creating, prototyping, and testing her design primarily for use by skiers, she was surprised to find that there was a lot of interest in the idea from participants in other sports such as mushing and fat-biking. Now that she has been marketing and selling her finished product, The NoseHat has appeared in every major endurance race in Alaska and has customers from all over the world.

The most important thing Shalane learned about product development was not to launch with a pre-defined notion of who your customer is and how they are going to use your product. She also learned how much people liked customizations. She initially assumed she would be able to make a “one-size-fits-all” product, but she soon learned that she would need to make multiple sizes, in addition to allowing people to pick their favorite colors. The customer favorite seems to be the “cheetah” design!

Shalane’s best advice to future competitors is to have a prototype! “Even if it’s not what you intend to sell or it doesn’t work or it’s not quite right – have something the judges can feel in their hands. The idea makes good sense in your own head, but in order to have it solidify in others’ they need to be able to touch your product.”

Check out this video of our interview with Shalane and see the NoseHat in action!

Mike Cook’s SOM Connection

My SOM Connection
Mike Cook

When I was a youngster, my mother, Pat Cook, took our family to the UA Museum of the North. That was the first time I stepped foot on campus, and my connection to UAF has strengthened ever since. Our accounting firm, Cook & Haugeberg, LLC, actively recruits students and all firms in the Interior would agree that there are never enough accountants in the state of Alaska.

I believe strongly in the mission of SOM and have great faith in the students and the education they receive. As Chair of the Business Advisory Council, I get to learn firsthand what is happening at the school. I appreciate that Dean Herrmann really listens to the council members. He explains the issues the school is facing and the opportunities that are available. We, in turn, let the dean know our ideas to improve the school and what we are looking for in business graduates.

SOM has transformed over the decades. As it continues to increase in size, I am impressed by how the school keeps up with industry demands; for example, SOM is now offering degrees in homeland security and emergency management. The array of majors, and thus the diversity of students, make for a stronger and more interesting school. With this increase in size and programs comes a more diverse student body in age, ethnicity and family makeup.

As a lifelong Alaskan, I believe that most of us want to do what we can to remain living and thriving in this state. SOM has a sterling reputation and I ask you to consider a new, renewed or additional gift to the school. Cook & Haugeberg sustains an annual accounting scholarship and supports the UAF Business Leader of the Year. My wife, Sharon, and I also choose to give personally to SOM. No matter the size of your gift, you can help SOM students obtain an ideal educational experience inside and outside the classroom. Your gift is also a shout out to our legislature that we are in this predicament together and we are not idly standing by for a handout. Your gift signifies the importance you – and I – place on SOM and the future leaders of our state.

Photo by Sarah Villilon.

No Microscope Required

When you think of undergraduate research you tend to think of geoscience, chemistry or biology. At UAF, the resource for undergraduate students to engage in research is URSA (Undergraduate Research & Scholarly Activity). School of Management student Esul “Pomi” Chafin recently embarked on a research project all without a microscope, lasers or counting any animals.

Pomi is a business administration major who graduated in May 2017. She learned about the URSA opportunity through Professor Josh Lupinek’s Entertainment & Sports Event Management course. “I competed against other students for the opportunity,” Pomi said. “But due to my data analysis and research experience from working at UA Statewide, I was chosen for the project.”

Pomi’s summer 2016 research project applied the 80/20 rule to the National Hockey League (NHL) to determine whether the top 20% of players, in terms of salaries, actually produced the highest performance levels – equal to 80% of the scoring in games. Overall, she found that the top players only score about 50% of the goals. She also concluded that hockey is more of a team sport and goals are spread out among all the players.

Taking her project to the next level, Pomi requested, and received, additional funding from URSA to present her completed project, “The 80/20 Experience: An analysis of NHL salaries and why ice hockey is the ultimate team game,” at the 2017 Global Sport Business Association (GSBA) conference in Cozumel, Mexico. “I did the research to get more data analysis experience but I got so much more,” Pomi said. “I gained professional development, I learned about deadlines, which is a big part of data analysis, and I improved my public speaking skills.”

Pomi also presented her research at the URSA Research Day in April 2017 (which is required for all students who receive URSA funding) and won the School of Management Dean’s Choice award of $500 for her poster. “This experience took me out of my comfort zone. It really improved my speaking and communication skills, and helped me develop professionally,” Pomi said. “I would tell current SOM students to try research because it’s not just for science students. Research is a very important part of business and it’s a great addition to your resume.”

Pomi plans to publish her work through the GSBA journal in fall 2017. She will also be entering the School of Management MBA program in the fall.

Our quality education prepares students for professional success.