Katherine Hennigan – Bio
District 7 Candidate
Nominated by committee
Years in Alaska: 24 years
Occupation/Employer: Retail sales and service associate, United States Postal Service
Education: B.A. Psychology, Wesleyan University (1983)
Personal interests/hobbies: My love of scuba diving has taken me on adventures worldwide; my passion for bicycling brought me to Alaska; my fascination with intricate detail has led me to be an accomplished knitter and calligrapher; and a lifelong enthusiasm shared with my Dad has made me a dedicated baseball fan (Go Sox!).
Organization affiliation: American Postal Workers Union, member (2005-present)
Special interest/Community service: I am especially interested in the ongoing health of our natural environment, and would welcome the opportunity to be involved in work that balances responsible stewardship of our most fundamental resources of earth, air, and water with conscientious and eco-conscious business management.
Meet the Candidate Q&A
Why are you interested in running for a seat on GVEA’s board?
With sixteen years of service in the local Post Office, I have come to know a significant portion of the local community, and this has also made me known to most of them. Given these relationships, along with my various business experiences, I feel that I am ideally suited for the position, and could make meaningful contributions to GVEA while advocating for my community.
What business, technical and governance knowledge, skills and experience will you bring to GVEA’s Board of Directors?
While I have never sat on a Board, I do have extensive experience in business management. At the age of 24, I was the Executive Vice President of a corporate finance company that managed stock conversions, startups and acquisitions for client banks. Since then, I have held a variety of management positions in IT and software design, marketing, transportation, personnel, retail sales, training, and customer service. I am adept at seeing the big picture, as well as having an eye for the details. I have been a full-time, year-round resident of the Denali Borough for over twenty-four years (the first three in employee housing in Denali National Park, and then as a homeowner in Healy), and look forward to serving my community by representing District 7’s members on GVEA’s Board of Directors.
What do you perceive as your role and responsibilities as a GVEA Director?
I see the position of director as one of tremendous trust and responsibility, helping to steer the company along a narrow path forward at the intersection of viability, sustainability, and profitability. Fiscal responsibility, environmental responsibility, and fiduciary responsibility must all be exercised and integrated in the decision making process, and so the director must be informed and knowledgeable. The recent power outage events in Texas related to temperature extremes have highlighted the need for creative and forward-thinking planning that responds to and anticipates changing climate and weather patterns, as well as evolving science.
What specific things would you like to accomplish as a GVEA Director?
As a newcomer to the board and to GVEA, my first responsibility would be to get up to speed as quickly as possible. I am a very fast learner, and take pride in being able to “go from zero to sixty” with exceptional speed. I will become a student of the industry, and become familiar with the current challenges and opportunities at hand, while at the same time learn the ropes of being a board member. I will learn the concerns of those I represent, and how best to advocate for those concerns and be responsive to the community. In the last year, for example, the use of technology to facilitate remote meetings has greatly increased the opportunity for member involvement, and has the potential to be utilized to an even greater degree and to greater effect.
What do you think should be GVEA’s energy goals and objectives?
Firstly, the basic tenet is to provide quality electric service at a fair price in a way that provides a high level of satisfaction to the customers. Beyond that, I think it important that the company should strive to remain on the cutting edge of new technology, always seeking to improve the product and the relationship with consumers. Our world has an insatiable appetite for electricity, and I expect GVEA will always be pursuing alternative energy sources and resources to further the goals of MORE, FASTER, BETTER, CLEANER, CHEAPER power (and HAPPIER customers). A recent initiative by GVEA to reduce carbon emissions by a significant amount, and another to develop and increase the use of renewable sources, are two great examples of meaningful commitment and contribution to productive change. Not just talking the talk, but walking the walk. More like these, please!
What would you do to position GVEA for the future?
Environmental stewardship is of the utmost importance in the future. That insatiable appetite for electric power mentioned above will need to be fed responsibly, minimizing the cost to the earth as well as the cost in dollars. Moving forward will always depend on maintaining safety and sustainability, and also on innovative strategies, such as the promotion of beneficial electrification. To that end, education (of directors, of management, of employees, of customers) is imperative, and I would advocate that research and dissemination of knowledge to all parties is a key component of success.