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SOM Speaks: Hear Us Roar – David Hale


David Hale is a family man and community leader in Fairbanks, Alaska. David was the winner of the 2013 Business Leader of the Year and is well known for his great involvement in the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce. David is the president of Hale & Associates, where he assists clients with commercial coverage for construction, public, and municipal entities. David Hale understands the importance of education and offers SOM students uplifting advice on the opportunities ahead.









Alumni Giving – Henry Bolanos

Army to Alumnus
Henry Bolanos

After enlisting as a junior in high school, I served six years as army infantry. First stop was Fort Benning for basic training; followed by an assignment at Fort Wainwright and then Washington State. I was deployed twice. In 2008 I served in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom and the second time in 2011 in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. After the army, I moved back to Fairbanks, where my family has made our home.

When I began my university studies, I explored several career options, including nursing or history. I eventually found my way to the School of Management (SOM) and decided the business program fit well with my military background, given my experience with organizational strategy and management.

Opportunities to learn beyond the classroom is one of the best things about SOM. Joining the Associated Students of Business student organization enabled me to travel to San Francisco with the National Millennial Community. It was one of my most impactful experiences as a student. During this trip, I met students from other universities and networked with executives from wellknown organizations including: the Golden State Warriors NBA team, Google, Verizon, and eBay.

Another standout experience was working as a student assistant in the SOM Dean’s office. Although I have an outgoing personality and am comfortable with people, it was my first post-army job and I had no actual office experience. This position prepared me for the professional workforce by giving me the knowledge, skills, and confidence to interact in an office environment and relax. I learned that if I don’t know how to do something, I can simply ask for help and guidance. These are skills that employers look for, and I believe that SOM helped me gain those skills.

After graduating this semester, I will officially be a SOM alumnus. Looking back, the best advice I can give to students is to put in the hard work. For example, in my marketing class we were able to choose an option that required more work, but also offered more experience and a challenging group project. I can honestly say I learned so much more than I would have if I had taken the easier option. I also created a feasibility study for an entrepreneurship class, which involved writing a business plan for a company that I would want to start. I did my plan on a donut shop and learned a lot through trial and error.

Networking is essential to success and I recommend students start networking as early as possible. I wish I would have gotten involved earlier in my studies. It feels good to be building a professional network with people at this early stage of my career. I am proud to say my hard work and networking paid off and I recently accepted a position as an HR Analyst for UA Statewide.

My sense of loyalty to SOM is strong and I want to stay connected. I enjoy mentoring students and I would love to come back as a guest speaker. In addition, I hope to support the school financially as much as I can. Please join me in staying connected to SOM, and give any way you can.

SOM Speaks: Hear Us Roar – Hayden Nilson

Hayden Nilson is a UAF alumnus who graduated in the spring of 2016 with a double major in finance and accounting. Hayden was very involved with the GAAP (Great Alaskan Accounting People) student organization during his time at UAF, participating in events like the Alaska Native Corporations Seminar and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. After graduation, Hayden took a position with Robinson & Ward, PC in Fairbanks. Hayden understands the importance of staying involved with UAF after graduation and gives current students advice about how to get more involved at SOM.





Steve Lundgren honored as Business Leader of the Year

Steve Lundgren is President and CEO of Denali State Bank, a locally-owned community bank. Steve’s career in the financial services industry is a true success story spanning over three decades, during which he has served the Fairbanks business community as a leader, mentor, and influencer. He demonstrates the mission, vision, and goals of Denali State Bank every day as he reaches out to our community.  One only has to step into his banking facility to recognize his focus on customers and their needs.

Steve began his career in Oregon as a management trainee at a small S&L after graduating from Oregon State University. Young, single, and adventuresome, Steve then signed a three-year contract in the early 80s to relocate from Portland to Fairbanks and work for Alaska USA FCU.  Finding winters cold in Fairbanks, and finding Susan Virgin, a native Fairbanksan with long-term Alaskan roots, Steve convinced Susan to marry him and they decided to make Fairbanks their home. Steve next accepted a position at Key Bank working with Mike Milam, who would become a lifelong friend. After nearly 15 years at Key Bank, Bart LeBon offered Steve a position at Mt. McKinley Bank, where he worked for six years before moving to Denali State Bank.

Steve has been a progressive leader in the local banking industry and is also well recognized nationally. He’s the Alaskan representative on the American Bankers Association Community Bankers Council, and he’s past president of the Alaska Bankers Association, representing all seven banks that operate within the state of Alaska.

Steve serves on the board of directors, is a past board chair, and currently chairs the Finance Committee of the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce. He’s a member and past president of the Fairbanks Sunrisers Rotary Club, and a former board chair of Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation. Steve has also served in leadership positions for many other community and service organizations, including the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s Community Advisory Board, the Interior Builders’ Association, Junior Achievement of Fairbanks, and the United Way of the Tanana Valley. He also chaired the American Heart Association Heart Walk in 2016.

Dozens of local businesses have benefited from Steve’s expertise, business savvy and excellent business and social judgment. In the setting of volunteer board venues, Steve impresses others with his ability to access, organize, and prioritize effectively to bring consensus to the board action.  He is able to lead business groups to the best business decision without sacrificing the goal, quality of outcome, or integrity of the individuals working in the group; he’s advocated issues important to his industry and to the community to our elected leaders locally, in Juneau, and in Washington, D.C.

Steve also has a long history of supporting the military. He’s a member of the Alaskan Command Civilian Advisory Board, and he currently serves as National Treasurer of the Air Force Association, headquartered in Washington, D.C. Steve is also the Alaska vice-chair and Northern Alaska region chair for the Alaska Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

Steve served for many years on the Fairbanks Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee, and the fruits of his efforts are apparent in the announcements regarding military expansion. He was active in promoting Eielson AFB during the threats of closure or realignment, as well as promoting the F-35s introduction to Eielson AFB. Steve understands the economic impacts on the community and the needs for housing, financing, and community services that adding several thousand new residents will entail. In the year 2000, Steve received the prestigious Jim Messer Award, given by the Fairbanks Chamber at the Military Appreciation Banquet to an individual who best promoted military/community relations over the years.

Steve is a remarkable advocate for education. He serves on the UAF Advocacy Committee and in this capacity, has provided testimony to the UA Board of Regents and other legislative bodies in support of the University’s mission. Steve provides support and mentorship for university students and local young professionals. Steve is proud that 16 of his 80 employees at Denali State Bank have degrees from UAF, many from the School of Management, and others are currently attending school at UAF.

It’s not all work and community service for Steve. He and Susan have three children. After finishing college outside, their daughter Ashley and her husband Mike Strum recently returned to work at Tanana Valley Clinic and are expecting their first child in April 2017; son Derek works in Fairbanks at the Boys and Girls Home; and youngest daughter Kira is a senior at Western Washington University. Steve is an avid racquetball player. He and Susan enjoy spending time in Hawaii, and the entire family, along with close friends the Carsons, enjoy an annual four-day float trip down the Gulkana River.

Join us in celebration! The Business Leader of the Year banquet and award ceremony will be held on Saturday, April 15, 2017 at the Westmark Hotel.

Marketing class helps businesses showcase tasty bites and beverages


Local coffee roasters and cafés showed off their specialty items Friday, Nov. 18, at the 2016 Roast and Boast, an event organized by students in a University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Management marketing class.

For the fifth year, the School of Management partnered with Northrim Bank to host this community event, which featured music, baked goods, fresh pressed juices and plenty of hot beverages.

Students in the Principles of Marketing class helped organize and market the event, gaining organizational management, budgeting, team building and event-planning experience.

Aaron Cottle is a senior majoring in business administration and part of the student team who worked on the class project. “I am really grateful to have this opportunity to work on a solid community event,” said Cottle. “It is an ideal way for students to learn outside the classroom while networking and working with local businesses.”

Five businesses showcased their wares at the event: Go Wild Superfood Café and Juicery, Great Harvest Bread Co., 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. The grand prize was a Viper remote start system from Street Sounds.

See more photos from Roast and Boast 2016.




SOM Speaks: Hear us Roar – Daniel Mitchell


Daniel Mitchell is the managing director for KPMG, where he specializes in providing audit and accounting services to Alaska Native corporations and financial institutions. KPMG is a distinguished audit, tax, and advisory firm that has participated in many SOM events and has recruited many SOM accounting students. Daniel understands the challenges ahead and advises students to part of the solution during these difficult times.

Interning at Alyeska


Tara McGrogan at Pump 1 (Milepost 0) of the Alyeska Pipeline

Tara McGrogan graduated from UAF in May 2016 with a BBA in marketing and a minor in music performance; she is currently pursuing her MBA at the School of Management. Tara worked for the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company in the summer of 2016. 

Why did you decide to pursue your BA degree?
When I first started attending UAF in 2011, I had no idea which industry I wanted to work in, but I knew a business degree would give me options because of its diverse applications. After working at SOM as a marketing assistant, I was motivated to get a concentration in marketing and continue in that field of business. The business degree I received gave me a versatile education and I will be able to contribute and have an impact on my local community in the future.

 Why did you want to intern for Alyeska?
I wanted to intern for Alyeska because they have such an impact on small communities in Alaska. They have provided job and career opportunities to people all over the state, not only through their own employment but through strong partnerships with other organizations. Alaska’s economy is highly impacted by oil revenue, and working for Alyeska over the summer gave me insight into the steps that they take toward protecting the state’s economic and environmental future.

Working for Alyeska was a great experience because I was immediately drawn to the corporate culture they have developed over the past few years. They have core attributes that each employee has embraced and integrated into their daily workday. Every employee is treated as a vital part of the organization. I had heard about Alyeska’s great relationship with its employees, and it was one of the reasons I applied for the internship.

What did you learn through your internship?
My internship at Alyeska was full of new learning opportunities, and the best part was that my department was so willing to teach and collaborate. I was placed in the Corporate Communications department, and I was first tasked with learning the basics of Adobe products, such as Photoshop and Illustrator. I was able to contribute to social media and both external and internal newsletters by the end of the first week. After a few months of sharpening my design skills, I helped my department create the posters and displays for Alyeska’s month-long food drive campaign for the Food Bank.

During my initial interview, I had mentioned my work with Business Leader of the Year and other events hosted by SOM, so I was excited when I was asked to help with a few events at Alyeska. I put my event coordination skills to use during a few of Alyeska’s award ceremonies, the Atigun Awards, and was a part of the coordination, execution, and post-event activities of the Fairbanks and Anchorage ceremonies.

Working in the communications department allowed me to sharpen my writing skills and produce pieces for Alyeska’s monthly newsletter. I was able to meet people in the engineering, environmental, and health and safety departments and learn how to communicate information that they provided – including steps that Alyeska takes to make its daily operations efficient, safe for employees, and friendly toward wildlife and surroundings. By writing about new projects, I gained the real-world experience needed to work with people in other fields that I might not be familiar with. Everyone at Alyeska was happy to take time to answer questions about their role in a project for my next writing piece.

What advice do you have for students interested in internships?
I received the best piece of advice on my first day from both the Alyeska President Thomas Barrett and from my mentor for the summer, Josh Niva: What a student gets out of an internship is entirely up to them. Make the decision to learn as much as the company is willing to teach, because an internship is an excellent opportunity to ask questions and expose yourself to a potential career field.

What was the best thing about your internship?
The best part of my internship was the trip to tour Pump Station 1 in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Not only did I get a broad tour of daily operations at the station, but I also got to meet many people I had interviewed on the phone over the summer and see the progress of the projects we had talked about in person. I ended my tour by participating in the annual Pump 1 Fun Run, which was a cold jog, but worth the new views!


Tara at the Fairbanks Atigun Awards with (left) Robyn Brune, Alyeska’s health and safety coordinator, and (center) Michelle Egan, Alyeska’s corporate communications director



Tara fishing in Homer

SOM Speaks: Hear Us Roar – Amy Cooper



cooper-amyAmy Cooper is an acclaimed UAF School of Management accounting instructor who is passionate about accounting and teaching. Amy was named one of the Top 40 under 40 in accounting by CPA Practice Advisor magazine in 2015 and was named the 2015-2016 Faculty Mentor of the Year by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC).


In the videos below, Amy discusses the challenges ahead in the future and gives advice on the opportunities ahead and the importance of investing in your future.





Ideas win big at UAF Arctic Innovation Competition


Vincent Castro, UAF Chancellor Dana Thomas, UA President Jim Johnsen, Eric Solie, School of Management Dean Mark Herrmann, Frank Paskvan of BP and Professor Ping Lan pose with the grand prize check at the 2016 Arctic Innovation Competition.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Management awarded more than $28,000 in cash prizes Saturday, Oct. 22, after the final round of presentations in the 2016 Arctic Innovation Competition.

The competition, now in its eighth year, invites innovators to propose new, feasible and potentially profitable ideas for solving real-life problems and challenges.

The top prize of $10,000 in the main division was awarded to Vincent Castro and Eric Solie for Attently, a cloud-based software service for speakers and presenters. Attently uses a video feed from a standard webcam or smart phone to detect the number of faces in an audience and calculate the percentage of people who are paying attention.

Castro is a UAF senior in computer engineering, and Solie lives in Fairbanks. Their idea also won the Startup Weekend Fairbanks competition in September.

“The prize money is a huge aspect of the competition, but when you are on stage you are thinking of something else,” Solie said. “Like how good it feels to have your idea validated by well-respected, professional judges.”

With a record 27 Cub Division entries from youths ages 12 and younger, the competition was intense. Kyle Fischer, Keiveri Flannery-Schutt and Paul Melchert, who traveled from Anchorage, took first prize for their Lightning Lawn Razor, a sleek, remote-control mower.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough Recycling Commission sponsored a special cash award this year. Harrison DeSanto, Andrew Ladd and Nathan Bauer received the $2,000 Recycling Kicker Prize for Activate Alaska LLC, a project to manufacture activated carbon from Alaska biomass. Such carbon is used in water filtration systems.

A complete list of winners is available on the AIC website.

A $75,000 gift from Usibelli Coal Mine was announced at the ceremony, making the mine the lead sponsor of the competition for the next three years.

UAF Photos by JR Ancheta

See more photos from the Arctic Innovation Competition 2016.



UAF Chancellor Dana Thomas, UA President Jim Johnsen, Shalane Frost, School of Management Dean Mark Herrmann, Professor Ping Lan, and Bill Staley of Northrim Bank pose with the 2nd place and Fan Favorite awards at the 2016 Arctic Innovation Competition.



UA President Jim Johnsen, UAF Chancellor Dana Thomas, Paul Melchert, Allysa Wood of Kinross, Keiveri Flannery-Schutt, Celine Graas of Kinross, Kyle Fischer, Professor Ping Lan, and School of Management Dean Mark Herrmann pose with Cub grand prize check at the 2016 Arctic Innovation Competition.

ASB Students Visit San Francisco through the National Millennial Community


Henry Bolanos poses next to next to “Larry” – the 2015 NBA Championship trophy

Henry Bolanos is a senior graduating in December, 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in accounting. After working for a year as a student assistant in the front office of the School of Management, he just began a new student position in the UA Statewide Human Resources department in the fall of 2016. He plans on taking a break after graduating and then returning to pursue his master’s degree in a few years. Henry shared this story in September 2016.

In the summer of 2016, three Associated Students of Business (ASB) students had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco to tour a number of organizations. Huckleberry Hopper, Claressa Ullmayer, and I spent three days on this trip, which was sponsored by ASB and the National Millennial Community. We joined about 20 other students from eight other schools for the trip of a lifetime.

Our first stop on this whirlwind tour was the Verizon Innovation Center. Only two of these centers exist, with the other located in Boston, and access to the centers is very limited. We received a tour of the facility and learned about the extensive research and development activities that go on there – far beyond just cell phone technologies. For example, one project involves an advertising tool that can detect multiple faces simultaneously and identify their age, gender, facial expression, how long the person focused on the ad; this system is intended for use as a rapid advertisement feedback tool.

After Verizon, we visited SHIFT Communications, an analytical public relations firm. The open floor plan office looked like a movie set for a hip startup business, with young millennials at every computer, and the sound of footsteps as workers moved from one desk to another to discuss their projects. We were fortunate to meet with Leah Ciappenelli, the company’s HR Director, who was visiting from Boston. She gave an overview of what the firm does, answered questions, and shared some career and life advice.

The next stop on our busy day was a meeting with the millennial team at Wells Fargo, which includes representatives from their Pacific Northwest marketing team and their community outreach department, and is led by Chris Galang, Diverse Segment Manager. We students and the millennial team engaged in a long and illuminating conversation about different aspects of banking, branding, community outreach, and nonprofit management.


Henry Bolanos (left) with other NMC students from around the country in a rooftop garden in the financial district of San Francisco

Finally, the day ended at the communications firm, Spitfire Strategies. We split into smaller groups to discuss a few different topics. In one discussion group, the staff members shared advice on the job seeking process – how to find the right job fit for your career, how to prepare for interviews, how to give informative interviews, and what their firm looks for when they interview people. Another discussion topic covered an in-depth look at what the firm does on a day-to-day basis. Essentially, they work with organizations, mostly nonprofit organizations, to help promote social issues and increase public awareness. They also handle campaign work, digital strategies, communication planning, and crisis communication.

Day two was especially exciting for us, as it began at the Oracle Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors basketball team. We were treated to a tour of the facility, including the newly refinished basketball courts. Unfortunately, there were no sightings of Steph Curry working on his magical 3-pointer. After that excitement, we met with Jennifer Cabalquinto, the organization’s CFO. Cabalquinto talked about how she ended up in her role, stating that the industry attracted her because it was something she had never been involved with previously. She also shared how important it is to her to always keep learning. I was surprised by this statement, since she has had an extensive career at a number of high profile organizations. To hear her say that she is still learning really showed me how important it is to not get complacent in my career down the road.


Henry Bolanos, Huckleberry Hopper, and Claressa Ullmayer in the gym at the Oracle Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors basketball team

After the morning at the arena, it was on to the mythical land of Google. There, we met with a panel of six “googlers” who also happen to be millennials. Most of the panel members confessed to not knowing what a millennial was until they were asked to be on this panel – which I found funny, since I had the same experience when I was invited to go on this trip! But despite this, we found it extremely valuable to hear from people who look like us and are a part of such a strong organization, and we gained great insights from the panel members about entering the work force out of college.

The final stop on our itinerary was the home of one of the original e-commerce companies, eBay. After a quick tour of the new eBay facility that is under construction following the company’s split from PayPal, we met with Claire Dixon, eBay’s Vice President of Global Communication. Dixon immediately stated that they wanted to pick our brains as millennial consumers, and gathered our feedback about various preferences, such as social media, celebrities, news sources, and more. The discussion then moved on to the topic of eBay, and Dixon explored our preconceived notions about the site, squashing many of our misconceptions along the way. She then showed us a few brand new commercials that haven’t yet been aired and asked us to share our opinions on them. This was another interesting and engaging experience for us, as we were able to share our input and ask (and answer) many questions.

Overall, the trip was an amazing experience for the me and the other ASB students, as we were able to meet fellow business students from across the country and learn about their stories, including their experiences pursuing business degrees in disciplines that UAF does not currently offer. Meeting with leaders in various roles from many different organizations really helped me understand more about the qualities that are desired by all firms. This was truly an experience of a life time and I am grateful to SOM, ASB, and the National Millennial Community for the opportunity.

Henry Bolanos, Claressa Ullmayer, and Huckleberry Hopper, enjoying the night life on the trolley on their first night in San Francisco

Henry Bolanos, Claressa Ullmayer, and Huckleberry Hopper, enjoying the night life on the trolley on their first night in San Francisco