2012 Alumni Achievement awards

The Alumni Achievement Awards were created in 1991 to recognize outstanding contributions made by graduates and former students of UAF. The areas of recognition include community support, university support, and business and professional excellence. A maximum of five awards in each category can be presented annually. Nominations may be made by alumni, faculty, staff and by the general public. The nomination letter should include information to support the nomination.

The 2012 Annual Awards were presented at the annual awards Rendezvous Dinner on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012.

2012 Alumni Achievement award winners

Business and Professional Excellence

Robert Ritchie

Robert Ritchie, '76

Robert "Bob" Ritchie established himself as a biologist and small-business owner in Alaska in the mid 1970s. His interests focused on conservation of endangered birds, especially Peregrine Falcons. Ritchie received his Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife biology from UC Davis in 1972 and, mentored by David Klein, his Master of Science degree in natural resource management from UAF in 1976. That same year, Bob co-founded Alaska Biological Research, becoming the sole owner in 1986. Today, ABR, Inc.—Environmental Research & Services employs 60 scientists and staff (including 25 UAF graduates) in offices in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Oregon, and Massachusetts.

One of Ritchie’s passions is his 37-year relationship with ABR. Supported by great employees and business partners, including his wife, Bobbie, Ritchie’s responsibilities include scientific research, company leadership and monitoring the company’s triple bottom-line: economic success, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility. Although many of ABR’s studies have been environmental assessment studies for industrial developments, others have included long-term monitoring of wildlife and land restoration. ABR is a vibrant research firm offering unique employee benefits: socially-responsible retirement investments, profitsharing bonuses, volunteering support, rebates for hybrid-vehicle purchases, and pay for biking or walking to work. ABR has received numerous awards and commendations from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, the Alaska State Legislature, and the Alaska Public Health Association for its creativity in the workplace.

Ritchie also is active in the Fairbanks community through work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and supporting and volunteering with organizations like Fairbanks Counseling and Adoption, the Alaska Bird Observatory and the Calypso Farm and Ecology Center. Bob and Bobbie raised three children (Amy, Jacob and Chad) and have been foster parents for a few more in Fairbanks. They regularly mix family vacations with volunteering activities in Australia, Papua-New Guinea, and Africa and now hope to do the same with their grandchildren.

It is with great pleasure that the UAF Alumni Association presents Robert Ritchie with the 2012 Alumni Achievement Award for Business and Professional Excellence.

Charles Swanton

Charles Swanton, '83, '84

Charles "Charlie" O. Swanton came to Alaska in 1979 from Lexington, Massachusetts, driven by an interest in salmon. In 1981 he began his career with ADF&G as a fisheries technician, progressing to area and regional research and management positions after completing his formal education. Swanton earned Bachelor of Science degrees in biology in 1983 and in fisheries science in 1984 from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a master’s degree from the University of Washington-Fisheries Research Institute with an emphasis in salmon population dynamics and statistics. His graduate and subsequent research efforts involved sockeye salmon but shortly after transitioned to the other salmon species as well. Swanton has served as the director for the Division of Sport Fish for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game since August 2007, before which he was involved with field activities and commercial and sport fisheries throughout the state while residing in Kodiak, Fairbanks, and presently Juneau. He met his lovely wife, Deborah Uotila, ’82 while attending UAF. They were married at Harding Lake in 1989 and have two sons, Gus, born in Kodiak, and Owen, born in Fairbanks.

It is with great pleasure that the UAF Alumni Association presents Charles Swanton with the 2012 Alumni Achievement Award for Business and Professional Excellence.


Community Support

Terese Kaptur

Terese Kaptur, '76, '86

Before coming to Alaska in 1970 to fight forest fires and live in the woods, Terese Kaptur never wore blue jeans or had tasted moose. She transferred to the University of Alaska at Fairbanks in 1971, lived in a dry, walk-in cabin for 10 years and earned her Bachelor of Music in 1976 and Master of Arts in Music Composition in 1986 at UAF while being the General Manager of the Fairbanks Symphony. In 1980 she moved to Anchorage for a job in opera and then ran the Bach Festival. A job with an orchestra took her to North Carolina where she instantly realized she had to find her way back to Alaska.

While Outside, she used what she had learned at UAF in North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Colorado. “UAF provided me with the job skills and educational foundation to work in arts administration and composition with world-renowned artists at major institutions including The Pittsburgh Symphony, North Carolina School of the Arts, Sphinx Foundation and Bravo! Vail Music Festival,” Kaptur notes. Kaptur was delighted with the opportunity to return to Fairbanks as Director of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in 2009. The intense abundance of arts and culture, the incredibly warm community, the beautiful land and radical weather revived a love affair with Fairbanks that had never waned. In December 2009, Kaptur established the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Caroline A. Kaptur Memorial Scholarship in honor of her mother to benefit UAF’s talented music students.

Kaptur has spent her entire career in arts administration and music composition. Passionate about the use of music as therapy for healing, pain management, relaxation and rehabilitation, she has composed music for use in her own surgery without anesthesia. Her dream for UAF is to someday grow the music program by offering an arts administration and music therapy concentration.

Recently married to UAF alumnus Mark Sherman, ’80, ’83 at the UAF fire station where he worked when they first met as students in the 70’s, Kaptur is the mother of two daughters. She still enjoys cabin solace, plays piano, writes some, composes a little, and enables the artistic growth and appreciation of others at Festival. She indulges her passion for advocacy for arts and cultural tourism as an economic driver in Alaska through her work with the Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Alaska Travel Industry Association.

It is with great pleasure that the UAF Alumni Association presents Terese Kaptur with the 2012 Alumni Achievement Award for Community Support.


University Support

Dan Flodin

Dan Flodin, ’94, ’97

Daniel "Dan" Flodin is a lifelong Alaskan. Flodin grew up in Chugiak and graduated from UAF with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in Finance and a Master’s of Business Administration. While at UAF, Flodin was involved in the launch of the UAF Student Ambassadors and was heavily involved in campus life with various roles in Residence Life. Dan was president of the UAF Student Investment Fund in the School of Management and received the Blue and Gold award as a student. Dan’s academic career spanned 10 years in student, staff, and adjunct faculty roles at UAF. Flodin’s professional career includes 10 summers commercial fishing in Bristol Bay, Kodiak, and Prince William Sound, and 12 years working in business planning and supply chain management at Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. Since graduating from UAF, Flodin has served for six years on the UAF Alumni Board and five years on the Business Advisory Committee for UAF’s School of Management. Flodin has recommended several UAF graduates for hire at Alyeska (with several landing positions and internships with the company) and has actively encouraged and supported Alyeska’s support of UAF scholarships.

Flodin’s most important achievement at UAF was meeting his wife Debbie while they were students living on campus. They have been married for 19 years and have three beautiful children ages 12, 10 and 8. Flodin and his family currently reside in his hometown of Chugiak.

It is with great pleasure that the UAF Alumni Association presents Daniel Flodin with the 2012 Alumni Achievement Award for University Support.

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