Advisory Board


Angela Astle

Angela is an active local Angel investor who also supports the startup community through judging at business plan competitions and other events. She currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Finance for Chugach Alaska Corporation, where she previously served as Controller-Finance. Prior to joining Chugach, Angela worked as a Senior Auditor at Deloitte and Touche.

Angela served on the Selection Committee which selected the first cohort of Launch : Alaska teams for the summer 2016 program.


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Mike Catsi

As Business Development and Communications Director for
Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), Mike has led local and statewide economic development efforts for more than ten years.


Gwen Holdmann

Since 2009 Gwen has served as Director of the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP), an applied energy research program based at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. ACEP has focused on both fossil and renewable/alternative energy technologies, with research specialties such as microgrid power systems integration and hydrokinetics, and innovative data collection and economic analysis.

Prior to joining the University of Alaska, Gwen served as the Vice President of New Development at Chena Hot Springs Resort near Fairbanks. While at Chena, Gwen oversaw the construction of the first geothermal power plant in the state

Gwen's awards include an R&D 100 award, Project of the Year from Power Engineering Magazine, and Alaska Top 40 Under 40.


Allan Johnston

As an encore to his 30+ years at Wedbush Securities, where he served as VP, Allan is the force behind the creation of the 49th State Angel Fund and its partner funds. Allan serves as Chief Encouragement Officer of TEAM, The Entrepreneur And Mentors Network, which runs the statewide Alaska Business Plan Competition. An active angel investor, Allan has been organizing local investors for more than 50 years.


Dave Lafferty

As Technology Advisor in BP’s Chief Technology Office, Dave has been a leader in applying technology to improve oil and gas development globally for more than 35 years. Dave speaks nationally on IoT (Internet of Things, especially the Industrial Internet), and helps connect Launch : Alaska to the Houston startup and investor communities.


Lucinda Mahoney

An active entrepreneur and angel investor, Lucinda's experience includes business valuation for mergers and acquisitions (she is an Accredited Valuation Analyst), due diligence analysis, contract negotiation, and all aspects of financial and budget analysis.

Lucinda has more than 25 years of senior leadership experience including Fortune 10 multinational oil companies, government agencies, Alaska Native Corporations, small businesses and non-profit organizations. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Anchorage's Community Development Authority.

She most recently served as Chief Fiscal Officer for the Municipality of Anchorage; under her leadership, the Municipality of Anchorage established the 49th State Angel Fund to provide new capital to Anchorage entrepreneurs. Lucinda previously served as Executive Director for Shared Services at Arctic Slope Regional Corp., as Director of Advisory Services for KPMG, and in management during her 12 years at Atlantic Richfield.


Eric McCallum

Eric is an entrepreneur and angel investor, who in 1983 founded Arctic Wire and Rope, Alaska's oldest and largest supplier of wire rope and rigging used in heavy lifts. He invests in early stage clean technology and third world social enterprises. He is a guarantor and board member of MCE Social Capital. He is focused on leveraging market solutions to address poverty and global warming. 

Eric served as the lead Mentor for the first cohort of Launch : Alaska teams during the summer of 2016. 

 


Rick Nerland

Rick is an entrepreneur and angel investor with over 40 years experience in marketing communications, public relations and brand building. For the last 25 years Rick served as Chairman of The Nerland Agency (now Spawn Ideas Inc) and successfully transitioned his company to an employee owned organization. He serves on the 49th State Angel Fund as Vice Chairman and as an advisor to the Alaska Accelerator Fund, a local venture capital group.

Launch : Alaska was fortunate to have Rick serve as a Mentor for our first cohort of teams during the summer of 2016.


Susan Preston

Susan has serves as General Partner for the CalCEF Clean Energy Fund for the past eight years, and is the current Managing Member of the Seattle Angel Fund. Susan has served an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Kauffman Foundation. Susan’s many honors include 2014 Small Business Person of the Year. She received her JD, cum laude, from Seattle University School of Law, and authored "Angel Financing for Entrepreneurs”. 

Susan is also the Buerk Endowed Fellow for Entrepreneurship at the University of Washington, a Trustee for the Angel Resource Institute, chair of ARI: Women First Enterprises, an Advisory Council Member  of the National Science Foundation, and on various for-profit and non-profit boards. 

She is a founder and immediate past-president of Seraph Capital Forum, the first all-women's accredited investor angel investment organization, and is the architect of H.R. 5198 and S. 3950, a federal income tax credit for private equity financing

Recent investments have included Lumetric Lighting, Allopartis, REEL Solar, Alphabet Energy, Boulder Ionics, and Novatorque; Susan currently serves as Board Chair of Allopartis Biotechnologies.

In 2014 Susan was recognized as the Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Council of America, and as 2014 Woman of Valor by Senator Cantwell and Vice President Biden.


Chris Rose

Chris is the Founder and Executive Director of REAP, the Renewable Energy Alaska Project. REAP has been a key player in the Alaska renewable energy market, which has seen 70+ new projects and more than $250M in funding since the state set up the Emerging Energy Technology Fund (EETF) in 2010. Chris received hs JD from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1990.