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By Barb Hameister

CFOS staff profile – Karl Wuoti

Relaxing during a weekend hiking trip on Douglas Island

Hanging out with the elephants in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Fiscal technician Karl Wuoti makes his living working with numbers, but don’t picture him as a buttoned-down, desk-bound kind of guy.

Raised on a small family corn farm in Massachusetts, Karl was working on his BA in Business Management at the University of Massachusetts when a friend told him about an opening for a summer job as a glacier guide in Juneau. “It was a toss-up between the glacier job and being a river rafting guide in New England,” Karl says. “I chose to go to Juneau, because it was completely different from where I am from.”

After graduation, Karl spent the next decade or so bouncing around, sometimes in Alaska and sometimes not. Along the way he was a farmer, a coffee roaster, finance manager of a nonprofit, and a kayak guide. There was even a short-term stint at a nuclear power plant, where he signed out tools to personnel doing maintenance during a scheduled plant shutdown.

In 2014, when Karl was back in Massachusetts, Alaska beckoned again and he began looking for a job that would make the move possible. Luck was with him and he landed his current position as a fiscal technician with the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences in Juneau.

Karl’s main duties involve travel and purchasing, but as with many small offices, he covers a variety of other tasks as needed. And as befits his eclectic nature, “I’ve also picked up snow shoveling and lawn mowing since we do not have a facilities person here in Juneau anymore.”

Karl appreciates the good working environment he shares with his fellow staff, and enjoys interacting with the faculty and graduate students. He especially likes working with the students, whether they’re in need of purchasing or travel assistance or, on occasion, when they just need to talk. “Grad school can be kind of stressful sometimes,” he says, “and sometimes they just need a friendly ear.”

Besides job satisfaction, Karl’s position with CFOS provides the income that allows him to live and play in Juneau, which has become something of an adopted hometown. “It’s a great place to be,” he says. “And I love the community events that make me feel connected with the town.” He especially enjoys attending local storytelling events, and has season tickets to Juneau’s highly regarded Perseverance Theatre.

But Juneau’s real draw for Karl is the great outdoors. “I really love hiking around Juneau and enjoying the wilderness that’s right outside out my backdoor,” he says. He enjoys skiing, snowboarding, camping, kayaking—“pretty much anything and everything outdoors. That’s why I live here.” He has also used his outdoor skills to give back to the community by volunteering with ORCA, an adaptive outdoor recreation program.

Karl’s love of wild places and adventure frequently takes him around the state and into Canada. Kluane National Park in the Yukon is one of his favorite destinations for camping and hiking.

When time and funds permit, he likes to go farther afield and explore new places and cultures. This past winter he went to Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. “I was blown away by how amazing Laos was,” Karl says. “Vietnam was very exciting and Hanoi is a crazy city that I fell in love with.”

While he sometimes wishes he had the time and money to travel more, Karl is glad to be where he is. “I’m pretty lucky to have a job I enjoy, the ability to travel occasionally, and a great community to come back home to.”

See previous Student Spotlight and Faculty Focus Profiles here.

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