Governor Announces Appointments to Boards
June 17, 2013, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today announced appointments to the Alaska Commission on Aging, Alaska Mental Health Board, Alaska Workers’ Compensation Board, Aviation Advisory Board, and State Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors.
Alaska Commission on Aging
Governor Parnell appointed Edna DeVries to the Alaska Commission on Aging. The commission makes recommendations to the governor and Legislature regarding legislation, regulations, and appropriations for programs and services that benefit older Alaskans.
DeVries, of Palmer, is an instructor for Charter College where she received the Instructor of the Year Award in 2012 and the President’s Award in 2011. She has formerly served as an Alaska state senator, mayor for the Mat-Su Borough, and assemblywoman for the Mat-Su Borough. DeVries has been a board member for the Human Rights Commission and the Alaska Commission of Postsecondary Education. She holds her bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage in business administration with an emphasis in accounting. DeVries is appointed to an at-large seat.
Alaska Mental Health Board
Governor Parnell appointed Shelly Thomas to the Alaska Mental Health Board. The board serves as the state planning, coordinating, and advocacy body for federal and state laws relating to mental health services for Alaskans with mental disorders. The board also prepares a comprehensive plan of treatment and rehabilitation services, and an annual implementation plan.
Thomas, of Wasilla, is a partner and licensed counselor for Olive Tree Counseling and clinical director for Set Free Alaska, an outpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation agency. She is a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Thomas received vocational nurses training from Grossmont College in California and her bachelor’s degree in business administration and master’s degree in counseling from National University in San Diego, California. She is appointed to serve as a mental health professional.
Alaska Workers Compensation Board
Governor Parnell appointed Michael O’Conner to the Alaska Workers Compensation Board. The board members serve on quasi-judicial hearing panels that hear and resolve disputed benefits claims.
O’Conner, of Anchorage, has been the president and chief operating officer of Peak Oilfield Service Company since 1988. He is a member of Commonwealth North and cabinet member to the United Way of Anchorage. O’Conner is a former member of the Long Range Financial Planning Commission, past president of the board of directors for the Petroleum Club of Anchorage, former president of the board of directors for Alaska Special Olympics, former board member of the Resource Development Council, and former director and chair of Special Olympics World Winter Games in 2001. He has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Ohio State University. O’Conner is appointed to fill an industry seat from Southcentral Alaska.
Aviation Advisory Board
Governor Parnell reappointed James Dodson, Tom George, Thomas Nicolos, and James Stedman to the Aviation Advisory Board. The board advises and provides recommendations to the commissioner of the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities on public policy related to the department's aviation functions.
Dodson, of Fairbanks, is president and chief executive of Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation and owner of Dodson Development. He was former president of the Denali Group moving and relocation companies, and president and pilot for Frontier Flying Service. Dodson is former chairman of the board of the Fairbanks Industrial Development Corporation, past chair of the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, and past chair of the Alaska Air Carrier’s Association. Dodson earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Alaska. He is reappointed to a seat representing the mayors of the City of Fairbanks and the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
George, of Fairbanks, is the Alaska regional manager of Airplane Owners and Pilots Association and owner of an aerial photography business since 1982. His extensive involvement in Alaska aviation organizations includes service as a director of the Alaskan Aviation Safety Foundation since 1987, president of the Northern Alaska Aviation Symposium, Inc. since 1996, past chair of the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce’s transportation committee, and past chair of the Alaska Aviation Coordination Council. George earned a bachelor’s degree in general science from Oregon State University and a master’s degree in geology and land resources management from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is reappointed to a seat representing general aviation pilots.
Nicolos, of Barrow, has been a manager of airports and landfills for the North Slope Borough since 2006. He previously worked 25 years for Cape Smythe Air in Barrow, including five years as general manager and operations vice president, and 23 years as maintenance inspector and director of maintenance. Nicolos also worked as an aircraft mechanic in Kotzebue, Barrow, and California. He is a member of the borough’s zoning commission, past member of the Barrow City Council, and past vice president of the Alaska Air Carriers Association. Nicolos is reappointed as a member with special experience in aviation.
Stedman, of Juneau, is co-owner of aviation companies Wings Airways, Alaska Seaplanes, and Air Excursions. He previously spent 22 years with Wings of Alaska as vice president of flight operations, operations director, chief pilot, check airman, and line pilot. Stedman holds an Airline Transport Pilot license and has more than 32 years of aviation experience in Southeast Alaska. He currently is president of Alaska Air Carriers Association and serves on the board of directors for the Medallion Foundation. Stedman is reappointed to a regional air carrier’s seat.
State Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors
Governor Parnell appointed Luanne Urfer to the State Board of Registration for Architects, Engineers, and Land Surveyors. The board controls registration and revocation of applicants in the architectural, engineering, land surveying, and landscape architect professions.
Urfer, of Eagle River, is a business owner and licensed landscape architect with professional experience in numerous states. She is the treasurer and president of the Alaska chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and a member of both the Anchorage Urban Design Commission and the Alaska Professional Design Council. Urfer holds a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture and environmental horticulture from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in environmental land planning and landscape architecture from Conway School of Landscape Design. She is appointed to the board as a landscape architect.