I have been living here in Fairbanks since 1966 when I came up straight out of high school in New Haven, Connecticut and moved into the UAF dorms (as a freshman majoring in Wildlife Management). In 1971, I began a local wooden toy manufacturing business, then went back a few years later to UAF, this time at what would grow into a 30 year career in Campus Facilities.
It wasn’t until I retired in 2004 as Superintendent of Building Maintenance and Facilities Planner at UAF that I first ran for Borough Assembly because I believed that serving on the assembly deserved my full attention, but long before that I raised my hand and got involved in local government and community issues.
While at UAF I was elected to the staff council and served for one year as president of the UAF Support Staff Council. In my final year at UAF, I was appointed to the Campus Master Planning Committee. It was Mayor Jim Sampson who first asked me to join the FNSB Planning and Zoning Commission in 1977, and I was elected by the Commission to serve as Vice Chair from 2000 until 2004.
In October, 2004 I ran and won a 5 way race for Seat B on the FNSB Assembly, and was very proud when, during my second year in office, I was elected by my fellow assembly members to chair that body as Presiding Officer, and to be re-elected to that position the following year as well. Members of our Borough Assembly are elected to area-wide, non-partisan seats for 3 year terms and I ran, and was again elected to serve our community for a second term in 2007.
In addition to serving as Presiding Office, I successfully ran for a district seat on the Board of Directors of the Alaska Municipal League (AML) a member organization representing 145 communities across the state. Our borough is a member of the National Association of Counties (NACo) where I also serve on the Public Lands steering committee that develops positions on federal legislation pertaining to US public land policies; the position fits since Alaska has the greatest acreage and percentage of public land of any state in the nation.
In 2007 I was asked by Mayor Whitaker to join the Alaska Gasline Port Authority as a board member. Currently, I serve as secretary on the board's executive committee. The voter mandated Port Authority was formed by a vote of the North Slope Borough, the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the City of Valdez in 1999 to deliver natural gas from Alaska's North Slope to Prince William sound for Alaskan and global markets.
Also in 2007, I had the unique opportunity to serve as a member of Governor Sarah Palin’s Sub Cabinet Panel on Climate Change, Immediate Action Work Group. Working on that panel, I helped develop two annual reports that assisted in funded construction and new policies to protect at risk communities in place and to plan for possible relocations due to the impacts from climate changes, whether from erosion, flooding, subsidence or forest fire threats.
Of course, most important to me is my family. I have been happily married to Elyse Guttenberg for 32 years. We built our home together in Goldstream Valley, and raised our two children here. I have always bragged about the education they received in our district schools, and the pleasure we take in having four generations of our family call Alaska home.