PUBLISHED: 4:36 PM on Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Gov. Palin makes forestry, arts, seafood appointments
Governor Sarah Palin today announced appointments to the Board of Forestry, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute board of directors, and the Alaska State Council on the Arts.

Board of Forestry

Governor Palin appointed Erin McLarnon, and reappointed Ron Wolfe, Rick Rogers and Matthew Cronin, to the Board of Forestry. The nine-member board's mission includes advising the governor on state logging and forestry regulations, promoting cooperative resolution of industry-related issues, recommending areas of forestry research, and suggesting improvements to state forestry laws and regulations.

Erin McLarnon of Willow fills the seat designated for a recreational organization. Along with her husband, Paul, McLarnon operates Broken Runner Sled Dog Kennel in Willow, which has 42 Alaska huskies. She works for Powercorp Alaska, L.L.C., a power controls and wind turbine re-manufacturer company. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries Science from Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka in 1995.

Ron Wolfe of Juneau fills the seat designated for a representative of a Native corporation. Wolfe has served as the corporate forester for Sealaska Corporation since 1999. He is a certified forester with the Society of American Foresters, and a former chairman of the Alaska Forest Association. Wolfe earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Resource Management from the University of Montana in 1975.

Rick Rogers of Anchorage fills the seat designated for a representative of a forestry industry trade association. A practicing professional forester for more than 20 years, Rogers has served for more than a decade with the state Division of Forestry, and as a senior forester responsible for trust land timber management for the University of Alaska. He is currently vice president of Chugach Alaska Corporation. He graduated with honors from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management in 1979.

Matthew Cronin of Anchorage fills the seat designated for a professional fish or wildlife biologist who is not employed in that capacity by a state, municipal, or federal government agency, except for by the university system. Cronin has worked as a senior project scientist. He is currently a research professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, Palmer Research Center. His previous experience includes 10 years as a manager and senior research biologist for LGL Alaska Research Associates. Cronin earned a doctorate in Biology from Yale University in 1989.

Alaska State Council on the Arts

Governor Palin reappointed Benjamin Brown and Theresa Arevgaq John, and appointed Gail Niebrugge and Aryne Randall, to the Alaska State Council on the Arts. The Council's 11 members are charged with helping enrich the cultural life of the state by encouraging the practice, enjoyment and support of the arts in Alaska, and with serving on panels which award grants to arts programs around the state.

Benjamin Brown of Douglas was reappointed by Governor Palin to serve as Council chair. An attorney with Baxter, Bruce & Sullivan of Juneau, he has worked as a state administrative hearing officer, a legislative aide, and a legislative lobbyist. Brown has served as a director of numerous arts and educational organizations, including the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association, Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, Friends of the Alaska State Museum, KTOO-FM and TV and CoastAlaska, Inc. He has long been active in local theater companies. He has a Bachelor's degree in international relations from Georgetown University, and a law degree from Northeastern University.

Theresa Arevgaq John of Bethel fills a seat representing rural Alaska. An assistant professor with the Department of Alaska Native and Rural Development at University of Alaska Fairbanks Bethel campus, she is now working on a doctorate in second-language education at UAF. A strong advocate of integrating Native culture and arts into education, she has worked at Alaska Pacific University as an assistant professor and as director of its Rural Alaska Native Adult program, and served on the Institute of Alaska Native Arts' executive board.

Gail Niebrugge serves as vice-chair of the council. A professional artist known worldwide for her pointillist watercolor depictions of Alaska wildflowers and other natural subjects, Niebrugge is a signature member of the Watercolor USA Honor Society and was the first artist-in-residence for Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

Aryne Randall fills a public seat on the council. She serves as a member and former president of the board of directors for Valley Performing Arts, a community amateur theater company that produces up to eight adult and youth theater productions in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough each year. Randall's commitment to the arts is grounded in her belief that youth involvement in voluntary community arts programs enhances the quality of life in Alaska.

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute's Board of Directors

Governor Palin appointed Tom McLaughlin and Jack Schultheis, and reappointed Kevin Adams, to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute's Board of Directors. The seven-member board includes representatives from the seafood processing and harvesting industries, and works to increase the value of Alaska's seafood resource through promotions in both domestic and overseas markets and providing the industry with food safety and quality assurance training.

Tom McLaughlin fills an ASMI Board seat representing large processors with an annual payroll of $2.5 million or greater. As president and CEO of Seafood Producers Cooperative, North America's largest fisherman-owned cooperative, McLaughlin has helped build market awareness of premium longline and troll-caught Alaska seafood. He has held senior management or marketing positions with divisions of John Labatt Ltd., Tyson Prepared Foods, and ConAgra, and worked as marketing director for several other food companies. He has also served on national and international food marketing councils, including the Frozen Food Council, the International Food Manufacturers Association, and the Beef Marketing Board. He has a master's of business administration from DePaul University.

Kevin Adams of Anchorage fills a seat representing seafood harvesters. Adams has extensive experience in fisheries and marketing, gained through 20 years experience as a Bristol Bay driftnet boat captain.

Jack Schultheis of Wasilla fills an ASMI Board seat representing small processors with an annual payroll between $50,000 and $2.5 million. A seafood plant manager with extensive experience in the Yukon River fisheries, he is currently logistics and sales manager for Emmonak-based Kwik'Pak Fisheries.

Those interested in these and other boards may find additional information, including application instructions, at the Office of Boards and Commissions website, at