Excellence in Service

The Excellence in Service Award is given to AC members who perform a service that is of high value to the AC or board process. Up to five awards are made each year. Criteria for selection include:

  • The service resulted in an action that improved the economic or community health of Alaska or a region, or the sustainability of Alaska's resources.
  • The service was unique, innovative, and commendable in the face of diverse opinions, and difficult or unusual circumstances.
  • The service demonstrated leadership in conducting AC functions.

Examples include strong recruitment of new AC members, re-establishing a dormant AC, exemplary work across diverse user groups or the public, and working towards consensus on divisive issues.

Nominations for Excellence in Service certificates may come from Department of Fish & Game staff, Game and Fisheries board members, and other AC members. Members of the public who would like to nominate an AC member can work through ADF&G staff, AC members, or board members. Nominations are accepted each fall, and awards are presented during the winter-spring meeting cycle.

Current Winners

Year Name Advisory Committee About Awardees
In the words of the nominators
2023 Willow Hetrick Anchorage AC Willow Hetrick was voted onto the Anchorage AC in December of 2015 as an alternate during one of the most contentious times in the Board cycle in the last 10 years which was proposal 206 restricting aerial sheep scouting statewide. Willow is serving as secretary of the game subcommittee and for the entire AC. Willow always steps in without hesitation and provided the direction we needed. She deserves recognition for her broad knowledge in sport fishing and hunting across the state. She takes comprehensive and clear notes during meetings and turns them around to the group for approval timely and efficiently and in consistent fashion that allows us to get our job done. Willow is respected by her peers on the committee and brings professionalism, focus and fairness to all our meetings so we can best serve the people and resources of Alaska. She participated in the Wood Bison Planning Team and Western Arctic Caribou Herd Working Group.
2023 Randy Alvarez Lake Iliamna AC Randy has served on the Lake Iliamna Fish and Game Advisory Committee for well over 20 years, much of this time as chairman. Randy has extensive knowledge of the area and has shown strong commitment to the sustainability of fish and game resources for all user groups. Randy’s long service includes instrumental work in advocating for many local issues such as the creation of RB525, the year-round, near-village permit hunt for resident brown bear, which allowed communities to harvest problem bears more easily, and the extension of the lynx and wolverine seasons from February until the end of March. More recently, Randy has worked with committee members over multiple board cycles to advocate for the extension of the RM272 resident moose season fall closure date in GMU 9B to its current closure date of September 25th, and to successfully address unforeseen consequences of a change in brown bear fall season dates in GMU 9B through the Agenda Change Request process.
2023 Mike Kramer Fairbanks AC Mr. Kramer has been a member of the AC for over 20 years, and has served as chair and vice-chair. Mike has had a lifelong passion for both hunting and fishing in Alaska. He served as chair and vice chair for the AC when dealing with diverse issues such as antlerless moose hunting and Copper River dip net fishing issues. He represented the committee at many contentious meetings from Anchorage to Cordova where finding common ground was very difficult. Mike worked on several management plans always trying to avoid the battle over the last fish or moose by finding those innovative solutions that look impossible when you start the process. He continues to serve and is a valued resource for newer committee members.
2023 John Renner Copper River/Prince William Sound AC John has been a very active member of our AC for 32 years serving as a member, Secretary, and most recently Co-Chair. John is a multi-generational commercial fisherman, hunter, and subsistence user. His knowledge and experience have made a huge difference in the issues that are important to our area. His sons carry on his legacy and are passing it on to their children. John is well-recognized and respected by many board members and ADF&G staff, and his tireless work on the Advisory Committee and Board of Fisheries meetings have ensured that Cordovans will be able to continue our commercial fishing lifestyle. His presence at BOF meetings is well-documented, as well as serving on other boards and organizations. We would like to recognize Mr. Renner for all of his time and commitment.
2022 Joe Chythlook Nushagak AC Joe Chythook is a revered Bristol Bay elder, serving as a voice of unity and reason in the region. Having commercially fished through many decades, Joe has an intimate knowledge of the interactions between salmon and people which he passes broadly to other AC members and agency staff. Joe has helped navigate the societal and technological changes in hunting and fishing methods, and assists in maintaining the strength of the social fabric embodied in the subsistence way of life. Joe’s channeling of empathy and tolerance for all is emulated by others during discussions. Composure, selflessness, and tireless dedication to all, are traits that Joe shares with his neighbors and Alaskans.
2022 Dan Dunaway Nushagak AC Dan Dunaway has served on the Nushagak Advisory Committee for 16 years, including as secretary for many of those. He is meticulous in compiling AC minutes, and always comes prepared. As a former ADF&G employee, Dan brings a biologically-based critical thinking approach to the process. Dunaway’s active participation in sport and subsistence fisheries, and hunting makes him an asset to the AC. Dan also serves on the Bristol Bay Subsistence Regional Advisory Council, and his service extends to ADF&G where he is known to help with issuing hunting permits, and answering phone calls, discussing issues with staff, and promoting outreach.
2022 Heather Bauscher Sitka AC Heather Bauscher is the chair of the Sitka AC, elected in the fall of 2020 following the resignation of a long serving chairman. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she embraced the new Zoom meeting format, and created additional opportunities for members of the public to participate in the AC process. Through web-conferencing technology, the Sitka AC held more than 15 meetings to address the Board of Fisheries Southeast Finfish & Shellfish proposals. Under Heather’s direction, the Sitka AC held weekly meetings, sometimes meeting twice a week, to weigh in on local proposals and topics relevant beyond southeast Alaska. As Chair, Heather uses her position to facilitate constructive dialogue between members and helps focus AC activity into tangible formats including letters, resolutions, and comments to governing bodies.
2022 Leif Wilson Upper Tanana/Fortymile AC Leif Wilson is a strong chairman committed to do what is right for the diverse communities of the Upper Tanana/Fortymile AC (UT40 AC). He continually seeks ways to get participation from all communities so that everyone interested may have a voice on the AC. The UT40 AC is a very active AC, meeting several times over the course of a meeting cycle. During the 2020-2021 year, ACs were not able to meet in-person due to the pandemic. Leif maintained a positive attitude about the shift to virtual or hybrid meetings. This attitude assisted immensely in making virtual meetings less daunting for other members. After the first few virtual meetings, the committee realized the new format increased accessibility for people in the area. Leif’s leadership during the pandemic not only resulted in meeting the AC’s normal business, but embraced a new meeting format that fostered greater representation and participation for the AC.
2022 Allan Mortenson Middle Nenena River AC Allan has served on the AC for ten years, with the last six as chair. As chair, Allan keeps apprised of the fish and wildlife issues, and members informed. He makes sure all the diverse views on the AC and from the public are heard, as the AC is spread very far along the Parks Hwy – McKinley Village to Clear/Anderson. Mortenson is known for having AC members prepared before arriving and conducting a succinct and effective meeting.
2022 Dan Montgomery Matanuska Valley AC Dan has served on the Mat Valley AC for over 11 years with a strong record of great attendance. He is very helpful to the chair in structuring conversations and deliberations. Dan is always extremely prepared and provides great information on hunting and fishing areas that other committee members may not have experienced. Dan is a guide, and approaches guide-related subjects in a fair and cordial manner. His ability to withdraw from bias is respected and appreciated, and makes the information he has to share all the more welcome by the committee. Dan will frequently represent the committee at board meetings. His overall commitment to the committee has been extremely diligent and appreciated by all.
2022 Jack Reakoff Koyukuk River AC Jack is an active participant in fish and game management in his region, Unit 24 - the upper Koyukuk River. Jack is the chair for both the Koyukuk River AC and the Western Interior Alaska Regional Advisory Council. Jack works closely with staff from agencies, tribes, and the university to help inform the AC meetings. His leadership over complex issues have helped work out issues between state and federal regulatory boards. He freely shares his lifetime of knowledge living and surviving in rural Alaska.
2021 Kirk Schwalm Fairbanks AC Kirk Schwalm is currently the chairman of the Fairbanks AC (FBAC). From his past experience as Assistant Attorney General for the Board of Game, Kirk’s knowledge and expertise on the state’s fish and game laws has greatly helped the FBAC navigate the Board of Game and Board of Fisheries process. His conduct at AC meetings, as chairman, is impeccable, fair, and honest. Everyone gets an opportunity to speak and the public is encouraged more than ever to participate in AC meetings. In addition, Kirk has extended great patience and calm in working with the FBAC during this pandemic. There are diverse opinions among the FBAC members on how to conduct meetings and Kirk carefully navigated the advisory committee to remain productive and respectful of all members. His embrace of web conferencing and ability to conduct a meeting has been illustrative for Boards Support in all its work with many other advisory committees.
2021 James Tilley Lake Iliamna AC Jim has served the Lake Iliamna Fish and Game Advisory Committee well for the past 20 years. He served the important role of AC secretary for much of that time and has attended numerous BOG meeting as the Lake Iliamna AC representative without regard for the difficulties of travel from his remote location. While Jim has been instrumental in many aspects of AC business over the years, one recent item of note is a successful agenda change request submitted to the Board of Game by the Lake Iliamna AC in 2018. At the March Board of Game meeting that year both the spring and fall seasons for brown bears in Unit 9 were shortened due to concern for overharvest in Subunits 9C, 9D, and 9E. Jim brought to the attention of the AC that Subunit 9B had been included in the season reduction although there was no concern in the area. Guided bear hunts are important to the economy of the region, and many had already been booked for the fall 2019 season that would need to be canceled if something weren’t done to address the issue. With the help of the local biologist, the AC was able to successfully see an ACR passed that would allow those hunts to take place.
2020 Jacob Ivanoff & Wes Jones Southern Norton Sound AC With long-standing members stepping down, the Southern Norton Sound AC’s leadership vacuum was short-lived. With a challenge to remain active, Jacob Ivanoff and Wes Jones are providing the leadership and guidance needed to keep the region’s voice active. We recognize both for their dedication to the AC process. Jacob has served as secretary for the AC and stepped up to carry out the officer duties to make sure the AC was able to meet and hold elections this cycle. His leadership and knowledge just got him elected as Chair in December. Wes has written a number of proposals for the Southern Norton Sound AC and is very knowledgeable of the regulatory issues that affect the area.
2020 Kevin Taylor Anchorage AC When the past Anchorage AC Chair stepped down unexpectantly, then Vice-Chair and head of the Fish Subcommittee Kevin Taylor filled the vacancy. His leadership saved the AC valuable time and avoided losing ground during the board cycle. He has applied his broad knowledge in commercial fishing, sport fish, and hunting for eight years on the AC and runs meetings with efficiency and professionalism.
2020 Martin Weiser Anchorage AC Anchorage AC member Martin Weiser shares a historical perspective with a background in commercial fishing and sport fish guiding. Martin is recognized because he brings diverse groups together, and clearly communicates with the general public and Fish Subcommittee that he chairs for the Anchorage AC.
2020 Mike Tinker Fairbanks AC Mike Tinker has been working with the Fairbanks AC on-and-off for over 30 years, testifying at both Board of Fisheries and Board of Game meetings. He has served as AC Chair, headed sub-committees, and represented the Fairbanks AC on the 40 Mile Caribou Harvest Coalition since its inception, over 20 years ago. Mike has also kept the committee informed and up to speed on legislative affairs concerning fish, game and habitat. Mike is recognized for his demonstration of concern for the resource and user groups.
2020 Tom Carpenter Copper River/Prince William Sound AC For more than 22 years, Tom Carpenter has served the Copper River/Prince William Sound AC by keeping careful track of issues of relevance to stakeholders in the community. Tom has connections within many diverse groups and users feel they can approach him with concerns to receive adequate consideration. Tom is co-chair of the advisory committee, serving lead on wildlife issues. In this capacity, Tom has kept Cordova’s voice in wildlife issues strong and clear in a community dominated by fisheries issues.

Past Winners

Year Name Advisory Committee About
2019 Charlie Lean Northern Norton Sound AC Mr. Lean has served on the committee for over 17 years, currently as chair. A former ADF&G Area Manager, Charlie now works for the NSEDC as the Hatchery & Norton Sound Fisheries Research & Development Coordinator. Charlie is a responsible chair who devotes considerable time bringing in the interests of the nearby surrounding villages into the committee. Charlie and his fellow AC members were very busy crafting fisheries proposals and he also represents the AC on the Western Arctic Caribou Herd Working Group.
2019 Mike Crawford Kenai/Soldotna AC Mr. Crawford is a 13 year member of the Kenai/Soldotna Advisory Committee, serving as chair for the past several years. Mike successfully manages the advisory committee in arguably the most contentious area of the state – Upper Cook Inlet. With many meetings a year (8 to 9), Mike is organized and productive, and approaches each meeting and interactions with members in a balanced and fair manner.
2019 Dave Rak Wrangell AC Mr. Rak is the Wrangell Advisory Committee’s secretary, keeping excellent minutes during his some 24+ years on the committee. Not only does Dave maintain records on file, but serves as an informal outreach provider, forwarding news releases to the full committee and interested parties.
2019 Moses Johnson Sitka AC Mr. Johnson was nominated by two long-serving advisory committee members. They both tout his wealth of experience as a highliner in both the salmon troll and seine fisheries as invaluable to the AC. Quiet, soft-spoken, respectful – Moses carries great weight and perspective at the advisory committee. Given his background and thoughtful demeanor, Mr. Johnson is very influential on the committee and serves as a great example of advisory committee service.
2019 Richard Burnham Middle Yukon AC Mr. Burnham has served on the Middle Yukon Advisory Committee since 1989. He is known for his wealth of knowledge and dedication to the Yukon resources and peoples. With difficult conservation and allocation issues going on up- and down-river, Richard is known for his wise and fair demeanor as he works to find common ground. Mr. Burnham also provides fish and game services in his area, both as a license vendor and a hide sealer.
Year Name Advisory Committee About
2018 Don Quarberg Delta AC Don Quarberg is a long-time member (since 1990) of the Delta Fish and Game Advisory Committee (AC), serving in various capacities including chair for 10 years. Mr. Quarberg spent many hours of his personal time preparing for AC meetings, reviewing discussion materials, encouraging other members to review the discussion materials, mentoring new AC members, and identifying pertinent information for the AC to consider. Along with his work on the AC, Don was instrumental in getting initial legislation established that created the Delta Junction Bison Range (DJBR). While working for the UAF Cooperative Extension Service, he contributed his agricultural expertise to ADF&G to help guide the forage management on the DJBR. His recommendations are still being used today. Additionally, Don was a member of a working group in Delta that helped create the Bison Range Youth Hunt Management Area, one of the first moose youth hunts in the state. Mr. Quarberg also served one term on the Big Game Commercial Services Board.
2018 Barbara Carlson Stony-Holitna AC Barb Carlson serves as the Stony-Holitna AC representative to the Board of Fisheries for fisheries issues. As a representative of a small population in the headwaters of the Kuskokwim River, Ms. Carlson’s ability to navigate difficult social and political issues in a manner that supports and respects all users is outstanding. From 2015 through 2017, Ms. Carlson worked with the Board of Fisheries as a panel member and at board meetings, helping to design regulatory solutions to assist in remedying Chinook salmon management. Barbara is an excellent example of an AC leader in action. Through difficult negotiations, she never sheds her smile and kind demeanor, and always works towards the betterment of all along the river in an effort to find long-lasting equitable solutions.
2018 James Charles Lower Kuskokwim AC James Charles has spent the majority of his life serving to promote the responsible use of fish and game resources in the Lower Kuskokwim region and statewide. As current chair, his service on the Lower Kuskokwim Fish and Game Advisory Committee spans over 40 years. Mr. Charles’ service to the AC is outstanding and includes running meetings, testifying at countless board meetings, and helping to negotiate difficult allocation issues. His work on the AC scratches the surface of his contributions. Mr. Charles is a long-time member of the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group, the Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, and the YK Delta Regional Advisory Council (RAC) member. He provides frequent fisheries reports across the Delta through KYUK radio, offers his insights at youth science camps, and serves as a guiding light for all in his region.
2018 Raymond Oney Coastal Lower Yukon AC Raymond Oney serves as a long-time, Alakanuk representative on the Coastal Lower Yukon Advisory Committee, currently as chair. Mr. Oney also serves on the federal YK Delta RAC and was appointed in 2016 to serve as a Lower River U.S. Advisor for the Yukon River Panel. Mr. Oney’s leadership with the AC is captured by his encouragement to all members to voice their concerns on issues while operating in a manner that is respectful, calm, and thoughtful. Raymond serves as a steward for the health of salmon resources and all the people who rely on them.
2018 Tim McDonough Upper Lynn Canal AC Tim McDonough serves on the Upper Lynn Canal AC currently as chair. In this capacity, Mr. McDonough provides an example for all members on the importance of their work. He conducts AC meetings in a manner respectful of all with attention to order and efficiency. He consistently keeps members of the AC and public apprised of pertinent issues. His meeting preparation includes attention to public notice requirements, recruiting ADF&G staff to discuss issues, and preparing necessary material for members. Tim’s preparation and knowledge of the resource issues is critical in helping the AC provide informed decisions to promote the sustainability of our fish and wildlife resources.
2017 Percy Ballot Northern Seward Peninsula AC As chair of the Northern Seward Peninsula AC, Percy Ballot remains an active and engaged AC member and leader in his region. Percy runs organized and efficient meetings, engages thoroughly, and works in support of other ACs in the Arctic region. Percy helped create the Celebration of Life event in his home of Buckland, an event that honors Inupiaq culture while incorporating fish and game best management practices.
2017 Raymond Stoney Lower Kobuk AC Raymond Stoney has served the Lower Kobuk AC since 1991. Raymond has been a leader in the region, bringing ACs from Upper Kobuk, Kotzebue, and Noatak/Kivalina together to speak as one voice for Unit 23 efforts. In particular, Raymond was a leader in establishing the Western Arctic Caribou Herd Working Group, receiving a Bureau of Land Management National 4C Award. The C's stand for consultation, cooperation, communication, and conservation.
2017 Ray Collins McGrath AC Ray Collins has served as chair on the McGrath AC since its inception in 1976. He remains the leader behind the McGrath AC and serves as a voice for the Upper Kuskokwim River. In that time, Ray was a force behind several initiatives including the Upper Kuskokwim Controlled Use Area (an effort that mitigated user conflicts between boat and aircraft hunters), an intensive management program that significantly increased the number of moose, and the establishment of a winter sheep hunt in Unit 19C. Not only does Ray work with the state's management system, he is also on the Kuskokwim Salmon Working Group, the Western Interior Federal Subsistence RAC, and the McGrath area intensive management committee.
2017 Virgil Umphenour Fairbanks AC Virgil Umphenour is a dedicated and tireless supporter for fish and game interests in his region. Virgil has served on the Fairbanks Advisory Committee since 2004 follow a lengthy term on the Board of Fisheries. Virgil's contributions include work on the Yukon salmon treaty, contributions to younger Alaskans, and efforts in the federal arena.
2017 David Osterback Sand Point AC David Osterback has been on the Sand Point AC since its inception. David is noted for his ability to mediate difficult issues among the three commercial gear types (set, drift, and seine) in the area, offering a humble and modest demeanor which has led to his successful representation of the advisory committee's recommendations before the Board.
2016 The GASH Advisory Committee GASH AC With dedication, perseverance, and leadership, the GASH AC transformed a vision of re-introducing wood bison into a reality. The AC was critical to bringing together tribal, state and federal entities to ensure the bison's release. The bison will provide an alternate meat source, stimulate local economies and provide educational opportunities.
2016 Dave Martin & Steve Vanek Central Peninsula AC Serving as chair and secretary of the AC, respectively, Mr. Martin & Mr. Vanek have volunteered vast knowledge of resources, a commitment to participation, and immeasurable time and energy advocating sound management for a combined 60+ years.
2016 Frank Kelty Unalaska/Dutch Harbor AC Through 35 years of service, Mr. Kelty has been critical to the Unalaska AC, revitalizing it in 2001 and serving as chair ever since. He has long led community participation to improve resources throughout the region and has been instrumental in support of the Pacific cod fishery and protecting salmon and halibut stocks for local users.
2016 Pete Schaeffer Kotzebue AC ADF&G biologist Jim Dau testifies that "Pete has contributed more to the AC system in Unit 23 than anyone else I've worked with since arriving here in 1988." Over the course of more than 30 years of service, many as chair, Mr. Schaeffer has been instrumental in the regulatory process throughout the region, including Unit 23 subsistence wildlife management.
2016 Jehnifer Ehmann Mat Valley AC As the Mat Valley AC chair, Ms. Ehmann has demonstrated leadership through contentious issues and advocacy for protecting resources in the Mat-Su rivers. She has also been the energy behind the AC's efforts to build local participation in fish & game issues, including promoting the AC system at local events.
2015 Alex Whiting Kotzebue Sound AC Alex Whiting has served on the Kotzebue Sound AC since 1999. He wrote language for a Board of Game generated proposal in 2014 to address an important issue to many residents of the area concerning the use of snow machines to position a hunter for taking wolves and wolverine. Alex has served as AC secretary and effectively communicates recommendations to the board and takes action when appropriate to assist his committee. Alex engages with ADF&G staff on resource issues to become better informed, and with a science background, he contributes to research ADF&G efforts.
2015 Cyrus Harris Kotzebue Sound AC Cyrus Harris has served on the Kotzebue Sound AC since 2011. Cyrus demonstrated a high level of initiative to engage local IRA in the advisory committee and board process. In 2014, he contacted every IRA in the Northwest Arctic Borough to encourage comments to the Board of Game on a proposal concerning the use of snow machines for taking wolves and wolverines, which was an important issue to the local residents. Cyrus testified on behalf of three different entities at the 2015 Board of Game in Kotzebue, professionally representing himself, the Kotzebue Sound AC, and the Western Arctic Caribou Herd Working Group. Cyrus is always available for comments during meetings and actively engages with department staff and gives valuable insight from a local perspective.
2015 Eric Jordan Sitka AC Eric Jordan has been involved in the AC process since 1976, including 8 years as secretary, 6 years as Chair, and 6 more years as secretary (cumulative). He has been active in fisheries and conservation politics since the early 1970s. Eric facilitated several local fisheries collaborations in Sitka, including the Sitka Halibut Local Area Management Plan and the Redoubt Lake Sockeye Management Plan. The latter won the Forest Service's 2003 Rise to the Future Collaborative Aquatic Resource Stewardship award. As Chair, he was the first to move open seats to designated seats. As a result, other ACs today use designated seats to create a balance of representation for user groups. Eric also authored a primer on "How to propose a change to an Alaskan fisheries management regulation," a step-by-step guide to the process that starts with research, continues with the writing the proposal, and finishes with "be sure to check the Proposal Book for insertion and accuracy."