Our Mentors

Interested in mentoring with Launch Alaska? Email: info@launchalaska.com


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 gurantor and board member of MCE Social Capital. He is focused on leveraging market solutions to address poverty and global warming. 


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.


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Carol Howarth

Carol Howarth is a manager with the 49th Fund. Born and raised in Anchorage, she returned to Alaska in 1999 after having worked in Europe and the Lower 48 on global strategy, business development and general management with large and start-up companies. Deepest experience:  manufacturing and  tech.


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John Collins 

John Collins is the Founder and Chief Catalyst at 10xCat, a real estate investing and business development consulting firm for start-ups, entrepreneurs, and impact projects. He is also a Cost Segregation Specialist at Segregation Holding, LLC, a member of Peter Diamandis’s Abundance 360 Digital executive mastermind, and a Syndication Mentoring Club member (a national real estate investing club aggregating private capital for commercial real estate investments, creating real returns for real people).


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daken vanderburg

Mr. Vanderburg, Chief Investment Officer & Managing Partner, founded Granite Peak Asset Management, with three partners in 2013. Prior to founding Granite Peak, he spent four years as a Senior Investment Associate for Bridgewater Associates. Between 2008 and 2010, Mr. Vanderburg was Head of Research and a Portfolio Manager at Chartwell Investment Partners, a $5B investment manager. Prior to Chartwell, he served as Partner at Gamma Capital Partners (2000 to 2008), a quantitative hedge fund where he served eventually as Chief Executive Officer, overseeing all aspects of the investment strategy. Mr. Vanderburg attended both the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University for mathematics and statistics coursework, and is in the final months of a Master of Business Administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance from the University of New Mexico where he was a Men’s Soccer Scholar All-America. Mr. Vanderburg also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation.

 


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stephen trimble

Stephen Trimble is the founder and CEO of Arctic Solar Ventures, Alaska's only turnkey residential & commercial solar company, and second Certified B Corporation. Stephen has served on the 49th State Angel Fund, Minerals Commission, Arctic Policy Commission, Emerging Energy Tech Fund, and several other public and private sector boards, and has received the following honors: Alaska's Top 40 Under 40, Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Gold Pan, and UAA's Alumni of Achievement.


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Nigel Sharp

Nigel is the current Global Entrepreneur in Residence (GEIR) at the University of Alaska. A lifelong entrepreneur, Nigel engages as a mentor, adviser, guest lecturer, and panelist. Prior to this role, he served as the University of Colorado Boulder GEIR, where he co-founded a University spin-out company which raised venture funding and was accepted into the Techstars business accelerator in 2017. In recent years, Nigel co-founded software companies working on technologies ranging from voice recognition, gesture control to IT Network security. He's spoken at TEDx, judged, mentored or organized 18 Hackathons/StartupWeekends, started businesses in six countries, and participated in four business acceleration programs.

 


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Allen Haddadi

Allen Haddadi is an entrepreneur, currently affiliated with a fintech startup in Alaska and working on special Aviation projects in Alaska and Hawaii.

 


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Kathleen cronen

Kathleen Cronen is a retired Health Care Administrator. As CEO and Owner Operator of North Star Behavioral Hospital and Health System, Kathleen has 20+ years of experience in management (of over 300 people), long-term strategic planning, funding and financing, and capital acquisition and improvements. Prior to her work at North Star, Kathleen worked as a CPA for Price Coopers (formerly Coopers and Lybrand) specializing in tax and small business development.

Kathleen maintains a small consulting practice specializing in executive coaching, mentoring, strategic planning, fund raising and general small business development. She is currently a member of the adjunct faculty at University of Alaska. In the summers, Kathleen and her family commercial fish in Bristol Bay, Alaska.

Kathleen is on the board of several domestic and international nonprofits, including: Anchorage Opera, Micro Credit Enterprises and Indego Africa.


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Christine Resler

Christine is a General Manager of Schlumberger- Alaska. She was a professor at the University of Houston for 14 years. At Schlumberger in Katy, Texas she was the Director of Mergers and Acquisitions, then the Vice President of Advanced Technologies from 2006-2011. She holds an MBA from the University of Chicago with concentrations in Finance, Operations Management, and Entrepreneurial Business. 


Andrew Mitton

Andrew Mitton is a local small business attorney and graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Law, currently affiliated with the Vellum LLC.


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Tim wiepking

Tim Wiepking has extensive experience leading the accounting and HR departments in businesses from start-ups to mid-sized companies. He has served in operating positions with two startups. The industry experience includes wireless communication, internet, construction, service and retail companies.  He started his career with four years project management experience.


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brian walch

Brian Walch is a project manager at Resource Data, Inc. He has worked in software development and consulting for 20 years. In addition to technical design, analysis, and project management, he has overseen HR operations including all recruiting and hiring over the last 10+ years.


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Katie Bronnenkant

Katie Bronnenkant is an independent finance and operations professional who has significant startup experience: She was employee #1 at Namely, which since its founding in 2012 has accepted $77.8M in financing (Series C). As part of leadership at Namely, Katie built from scratch business processes and teams including operations, accounting, finance, human resources and client services.

 


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frances Ball

Frances has gained extensive experience in the sustainable building industry over the last seven years through work spanning across a diverse range of sectors. She currently consults with companies in California and Alaska on sustainable building and renewable energy projects. 

Frances has learned how to approach sustainable building from many different perspectives through working for a general contractor - Webcor, an engineering firm - Integral Group, a non-profit - USGBC, and a private tech company - Google. 

Frances has experience with a variety of services, including: LEED, Living Building Challenge, JUST, Life Cycle Assessment, renewable energy design, energy efficiency, healthy materials sourcing, indoor air quality monitoring and design, and biophilia. Frances’s strengths include expertise in project management, data analysis, strategic problem solving, program design and development, planning and conducting collaborative workshops, and research and development of innovative technologies.

 


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Jimmy miner

Jimmy Miner is a project manager with JL Properties, Inc. and its affiliates First Alaska Capital Partners and the Anchorage Opportunity Fund. In this role Jimmy focuses on real estate asset development, acquisition, and disposition; private equity investments across geographies and asset classes, and venture capital investments both specific to Alaska and social impact opportunities globally. Before joining JL Properties Jimmy spent four years working at Deloitte where he consulted on a variety of projects including: New Markets Tax Credits ("NMTC") and Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credits (“48C”). Jimmy has an MBA from Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder and undergraduate degrees in accounting and real estate finance from DePaul University.

 


Dan Perpich

Dan Perpich is the founder of Vertical Harvest Hydroponics. A seasoned entrepreneur, problem solver, and deal-maker, his focus is value creation. Dan has worked on various projects as a business consultant with both small and large corporations across Europe, Africa, and the US, focusing on the oil and gas industry both upstream and midstream.


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Lori davey

Lori Davey is the U.S. Business Representative to the Arctic Economic Council, Vice President Enterprise Markets of GCI General Communications, Inc, Partner in the Alyeska Venture Management LLC, and President of Lori J Davey Inc.

 


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Douglas Johnson

Doug is an angel, early-stage technology investor and an expert in strategic planning with over 30 years of experience. As CEO of Professional Growth Systems, he and his management consulting team act as catalysts for extraordinary results. He is an expert in business development, organizational transformation, and renewable energy leadership. He was the first Alaskan investor in Ocean Renewable Power Company and currently acts as their Alaska strategic advisor. 


Randy Moore

Randy retired from a 40-year legal career in January 2015. At the time of retirement, he was the senior partner in a twelve-lawyer firm headquartered in San Diego, CA, but with a nationwide practice and significant activity on behalf of Alaska clients. During his legal career Randy also was engaged in a variety of other business activities – from commercial and residential real estate investment and development, to business and financial consulting and software development. Randy splits his time between Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula – where he enjoys time at his place on banks of the Kenai River.


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Yaso Thiru teaches, studies, and researches financial reporting and analysis, performance/social impact measures, profit models of public companies, and social enterprises. Current professional focus: social entrepreneurship education and social enterprise development. Practice (Prior to teaching career): Corporate Treasury functions, compliance and shareholder relations in a Sri Lankan public company. Specialties: Financial statement analysis, Alternate profit models, Performance measures for multiple bottom lines, Balanced Scorecards, Social Enterprise education and practice, Managing change. 


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jamie kenworthy

Jamie Kenworthy is one of three Managers of the 49th Fund, LLC, a $4.4 M seed fund based in Anchorage.  He was Executive Director of the Alaska Science and Technology Foundation from 1995-2003.  Previously he put together R&D deals involving the public and private sector for the Michigan Strategic Fund.  Her served on the Executive Committee of NSFNet, the operator of the backbone network that became the Internet and on the Board of Trustees of the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan, a $50-70 M/year focused on remote sending technology.

 


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Julie Estey

Julie Estey is the Business Director at the Alaska Center for Energy and Power and the Director of External Affairs at the Matanuska Electric Association.


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Rachael miller

Rachael Miller works with Content & Partnerships for The Food Corridor and is an Assistant Professor of Business at the Alaska Pacific University. Rachael received her MBA in Global, Social, and Sustainable Business at Colorado State University.


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Robb kunz

Robb Kunz is a Founding Member of the Global Accelerator Network and has been focused on investing in early-stage technology Companies as an active Angel investor and Micro-VC. He is a founding partner of BoomStartup and an active Mentor and Limited Partner with 500 Startups, TechStars, and numerous other early-stage Seed Funds. He is Founder & CEO of several SaaS-based / Systems Integration Companies and an expert in creating, launching and accelerating emerging technology businesses. Deep experience in Systems Integration, Open Source and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) using Cloud-based technologies and architectures


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scott waterman

Scott Waterman is the Energy Programs Manager for the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) with nearly 30 years’ experience in clean energy and efficiency. He helped initiate and implement the Home Energy Rebate program, the Alaska Retrofit Information System (ARIS) housing database, a building monitoring system, and developed a retrofit program for public facilities He also manages Alaska’s Home Energy Rating System, and technical aspects of the Alaska Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Program, and the energy codes for AHFC. Scott continues to expand Alaskan markets for clean energy and efficiency by focusing on education, technology, and policy initiatives to improve the built environment in Alaska.


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sam wolfe

Sam Wolfe is a partner at The Denali Group at Morgan Stanley who focuses on closely held family business owners, executives and their families to help preserve and grow their assets. Prior to this role he was a construction manager participating in the execution of ~$170mm of projects across Oil & Gas, Commercial and Residential construction sectors as well as a small-business owner/operator. Sam has a BS in Construction Management with a Minor in Business Administration from UAA.


joel cladouhos

Joel Cladouhos is the Alaska Ocean Cluster Director of the Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association and 1st Vice Chair of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council.


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givey kochanowski

Givey Kochanowski is the Alaska Program Manager of the U.S. Department of Energy.

 


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Gerald winchester

Gerald (Jerry) Winchester is the President and Founder of Winchester Alaska, Inc. Over the years of Architectural, Design/Build and Construction Experience, Mr. Winchester has been Principal Architect, Project Managing Architect, or Construction Manager for over $280 million in facilities.


Jim Posey

Jim Posey has vast energy experience. He moved to Alaska in 1979 to start his career with Arco. More than three decades later he has spent time not only in private industry but as a regulator and later, general manager for Anchorage's public energy utility, Municipal Light and Power (ML&P). Today Jim is a consultant in private practice.


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forrest nabors

Forrest Nabors is an Associate Professor & Chair of the Department of Political Science at University of Alaska Anchorage.


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shirley kelly

Shirley Kelly is an Alaska Economic Development Representative at the US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration.


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greg mungas

Greg Mungas is the Chief Technology Officer at Hyperlight Energy. His interests are focused on developing and commercializing state-of-the-art technology that addresses fundamental business and technical challenges in the aerospace/energy sectors. He has created, managed, or provided technical oversight for about $12M in peer-reviewed government awarded grants and more in private and commercial equity investments.


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Dennis Hoffman

Dennis Hoffman is a software manager with success in a variety of environments ranging from startups to the Fortune 100, with work in mid-market and public agencies along the way. Based out of Phoenix, Dennis' experience includes software architecture, product design, sales and marketing management, Infrastructure and Operations Management, BPO and PMO Consulting, M&A, and advisory board leadership. Dennis' projects involve from integrating people, process and technology--whether that's creating a tightly-knit and high performing point of sale system, to providing state government with a comprehensive telecom or robust disaster recovery solution.


Juliet Shepherd

Juliet has over 13 years of experience collaborating with individuals and groups, across cultures, to successfully and creatively develop stakeholder relationships to maximize mutually beneficial effective strategic outcomes. Juliet manages Tech Led Development, Business Retention & Expansion, and Cold Weather projects for the Fairbanks Economic Development Corp.