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Governor Dunleavy Announces Denali Peak Performance Award Winners

Sep 8, 2023

Today Governor Mike Dunleavy announced the winners of the 2023 Governor’s Denali Peak Performance Awards.

“The State of Alaska depends on hardworking and dedicated professionals to serve the people of Alaska with excellence,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “I’m grateful for the service of these employees. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition.”

The Denali Peak Performance awards recognize State of Alaska employees for their exemplary public service. There are multiple categories of awards.

Co-Worker Recognition: Monroe Mize, Public Safety
Monroe Mize is an Emergency Services Dispatcher assigned to the Alaska State Troopers North Operations Center. She is the grave shift lead and her incredible dedication to the dispatch center, other dispatchers, troopers and citizens of the State of Alaska is truly admirable. Monroe’s sense of duty to her co-workers and ensuring the safety of Alaskans is beyond compare.

Honorable Mention: Lisa Farrell, Fish & Game

Crisis Responder: Mat-Su Kidnapping Response Team, Public Safety
There are few situations more stressful than the report of a kidnapped minor. The Mat-Su Kidnapping Response Team dealt with that very situation in November of 2022. Due to their tireless work ethic and commitment to the safety of Alaskans, they were able to ensure the safety of the child and the apprehension and confession of the suspect.

Honorable Mention: Fairbanks Correctional Center, Corrections

Customer Service Excellence (Individual): Michael Sutton, Public Safety
Michael Sutton is a Criminal Justice Technician with the Alaska State Troopers in Ketchikan. Michael represents the standard of excellent customer service State of Alaska employees strive to meet. Michael ‘s professional, empathetic and patient attitude shines even under challenging situations. His “can-do” and positive attitude helps his department tackle difficult tasks and has helped keep Alaskan’s safe throughout the state.

Honorable Mention: Gladys West, Corrections

Customer Service Excellence (Team): CARES Act, MSFCMA, and IFA Funds Distribution, Fish & Game
Developing a disaster relief program is complex and hard to navigate. Deputy Commissioner, Rachel Baker, Extended Jurisdiction Program Manager, Karla Bush and Special Projects Assistant to the Commissioner, Kari Winkel tackled that task all while putting struggling Alaskans at the forefront of their efforts. They developed spend plans and distributed federal funds associated with the CARES Act, the MSFCMA and IFA totaling nearly half a billion dollars of relief. The funds helped address impacts from the covid pandemic and various fishery disasters across Alaska. In all steps of navigating the situation, the team demonstrated a respectful equal and empathic attitude to all those needing assistance.

Honorable Mention: Anchorage/Eagle River Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling Team, Labor and Workforce Development

Exceptional Performance (Individual): Jeremy Douse, Natural Resources
Jeremy Douse is the Northern Regional Forester based out of Fairbanks. During changing times, Jeremy has been a steady guiding force of institutional knowledge. That knowledge helped meet the Governor’s request of DNR to find a solution to the timber supply problem in Alaska by developing a local lumber grading program. Jeremy’s commitment to solving the problem involved meeting with the lumber industry, communities throughout Alaska and traveling to places that have implemented similar programs. Due to Jeremy’s vision and perseverance, Alaska communities will benefit from more affordable local lumber while also creating more local jobs and healthier living conditions for Alaskans.

Honorable Mention: Delma Chapa, Military and Veterans Affairs
Honorable Mention: Dani Evenson, Fish & Game
Honorable Mention: Lauri Jemison, Fish & Game

Exceptional Performance (Team): ANC Maintenance and Operations “Snow Team,” Transportation and Public Facilities
The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport “Snow Team” has historically provided the highest caliber snow removal service of any airport in the United States. Their performance during the 2022-2023 winter exemplifies their commitment and expertise to keeping the world’s third busiest air cargo airport in the world operational while enduring incredibly challenging conditions. With three runways, all exceeding 10,000 feet in length, the snow removal process was precisely maneuvered to ensure runways remained open throughout a record snowfall over an eight day period in December.

Honorable Mention: Economic Research Group, Legislative & Forecast Support Team, Revenue

Innovation in Cost-Savings: Burns Building Move Team, Education & Early Development
The Department of Education and Early Development began a process of reducing their Juneau footprint and facility leasing costs. Their first step was to organize, reduce, recycle and surplus so that almost 3000 square feet of the Juneau Burns Building could be released from a building lease. This task saved the State of Alaska over $150,000 in FY2022 alone and has the anticipated annual savings of $624,213.

Honorable Mention: Joshua T. Bowen, Military and Veterans Affairs

Leadership: Mia Kirk, Natural Resources
In changing times within the Division of Agriculture, Mia Kirk worked as Acting Director while continuing her duties as Manager of the Inspection and Certification Program. Mia’s natural leadership capabilities brought the level of management to a new high within the Division of Agriculture. Many of her management practices are still in place today. During Mia’s time as Acting Director, she was a critical driver in rolling out the Food Security Cost Assistance program. The program helped offset the excessive feed costs of barley. Over forty commercial farmers in Alaska benefitted from close to $450,000 which kept Alaskan livestock fed. Mia Kirk exemplifies what can be done through inspiration leadership.

Honorable Mention: Lawrence J. Swanson, Transportation & Public Facilities