Tom Bartels to receive 45th annual UAF Business Leader of the Year award

Tom Bartels in North Pole Coffee Roasting Co. warehouse.
UAF photo by Morrow Duszynski
Tom Bartels stands in the warehouse at North Pole Coffee Roasting Co. during a day of production.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Business and Security Management will honor Tom Bartels, owner of North Pole Coffee Roasting Co., with its 45th Business Leader of the Year award on Nov. 18, 2023, at the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel. 

Bartels has been active in the Fairbanks community for decades. He managed different departments at Safeway for 10 years, then became the regional and general manager at Odom Corp. for 16 years. In 2006, he and his wife, Janet, purchased North Pole Coffee Roasting Co. 

Today, the family-owned and -operated business employs 35 people year-round. The business roasts and distributes the coffee beans from around the world, and it sells and services espresso machines for cafés, restaurants, local offices and Alaska’s grocery stores. The company also ships its coffee around the globe. Bartels enjoys volunteering for a variety of charity functions and nonprofit organizations, including his church, True North. He is a member of Sunrisers Rotary and serves on a variety of community boards. In years past, he served on the Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board and as the president of the Fairbanks Community Food Bank. Bartels has also been a dedicated coach for youth and high school softball, and youth basketball and baseball. He has supported many hockey teams. 

Bartels’ nomination for the Business Leader of the Year award received numerous letters of support throughout the community. Recipients are chosen by a selection committee that includes students, faculty, College of Business and Security Management Advisory Council members and past award recipients. 

Former employee Tiffany Farris described Bartels as a “constant role model.”

“I cannot imagine any person that's more dedicated to his community and his university than Tom Bartels,” said Mike Kramer, chairman of Fairbanks Youth Sports. “Tom richly deserves this honor. He is indeed a business leader, a community leader and a people leader.” 

“I strongly recommend Tom Bartels for this prestigious award,” said Dr. Milan Bajmoczi. “This award honors the merits of leadership, business acumen and community engagement. Tom embodies all these qualities and more. Simply put, it is people like Tom that make a community a great one.”

Tickets for this event will go on sale in August 2023. To reserve tickets in advance, contact Mary Poe, CBSM engagement manager, at or 907-474-6518. 

ON THE WEB: CBSM website