Who We Are
Board of Directors:
Joe Kahklen – President
Joe is a Tlingit member of the Raven Moiety Dog Salmon Clan. He grew up in Angoon, attended high school at Sheldon Jackson in Sitka, and in Snoquomish, Washington. He graduated from Northern Arizona University in 1962. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Goldbelt, Inc., where he was been a director for over 15 years. Joe is a retired Alaska Liaison Officer with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He has two sons, Keith and Craig. He enjoys fishing and skiing.
Corey Baxter – Vice President
Corey is a born and raised 4th generation Juneau resident. Graduated from Juneau Douglas High School in 1996 and attended the University of Alaska Southeast. Started his career as an apprentice with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302 and has been a heavy equipment operator for 22 years, operating for both private contractors as well as serving as an operator for the City & Borough of Juneau at the Juneau International Airport for seven winter seasons. Additional service includes working as a pipeline training instructor for the Alaska Operating Engineers Employers Training Trust in Fairbanks for four years as well as operating on the North Slope for four winters. He is currently the Southeast District 8 Representative for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302. Corey is married to Christa Baxter who owns Fusion Dance Company. They have two children Brayden and Haylee.
Scott Spickler – Secretary
Scott has been a Juneau resident since 1959. He is married to Sandy (Kendler) a third-generation Juneauite. Their son Kyle is a miner at Greens Creek and son Kasen is a sheet metal worker at Behrends Mechanical. Scott, now retired, has been an agent with New York Life since 1984 and the owner of Spickler Insurance Agency. He is past president of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce and Bartlett Regional Hospital board of directors. Scott enjoys skiing, fishing, spending time at their cabin, photography, and spoiling his three Grandkids.
Frank Bergstrom – Treasurer
Having lived 30 years in Juneau, Frank has been the permitting manager for the AJ and Kensington Gold Mines. He is the owner/operator of Amerikanuak Alaska, LLC. mine services company and has been a Senior Land Manager with the Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office. Frank holds an M.S. in Geological Sciences, volunteered as a Big Brother, and is a ballroom dance instructor.
Don Habeger – Executive Director
Don Habeger has lived and worked in Juneau, Alaska, for more than forty years. His career includes executive management roles in small businesses, corporations, and state government. Habeger owns RiverRock Alaska, LLC, a government and community relations service company; First Things First Alaska Foundation is one of his several clients. Habeger is developing a start-up company, Appanage Fishing, bringing to the sportfishing market a new lure called Scent StrikerÒ. Habeger has a B.A. degree in Behavioral Science from North Central University in Minnesota.
Richard Burns – Director
Richard is CEO of Alaska Broadcast Communications, which operates eight radio stations broadcasting from Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka and serving all of SE Alaska. He was named the Juneau Chamber of Commerce 2010 Citizen of the Year. He is a board member of the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau. His wife is Sharon Burns.
Wayne Coogan – Director
Wayne Coogan grew up around his father’s construction business in Juneau and began his trade apprenticeship in 1968. After becoming a journeyman in 1974 he continued working in the trades gaining field experience on projects in Alaska and Washington state. Mr. Coogan graduated from the University of Washington (BS-1979) and is both a mechanical and residential administrator.
Since 1979, Mr. Coogan has been co-owner/general manager of a regional construction company, Coogan Construction, based in Juneau. During that time, he was responsible for bidding, management, and completion of over $ 350 million in public works and infrastructure projects with over $ 100 million in payroll throughout Southeast Alaska.
Mr. Coogan also co-owned and managed local gravel pits. He co-founded and manages a real estate investment firm that now owns and manages over 270 residential and commercial rental units.
His pastimes are hunting, traveling, art, history, and striving to enable others to have a fulfilling life in Juneau.
Denny DeWitt – Director
Denny DeWitt has been active in government relations from outside and inside government for over 40 years. He came to Alaska in 1980 to head the state hospital and nursing home association. He has served in the Hickel, Murkowski and Palin administrations as well as 8 years as senior staff to the Alaska State Legislature. DeWitt has also done a stint in Washington DC serving in the Reagan administration and as an employee benefit consultant. DeWitt is owner of DeWitt & DeWitt, LLC, a government relations consulting firm. First Things First is one of his several clients. DeWitt is a graduate of California State University at Sacramento with a degree in State and Local Government and a minor in Economics. DeWitt is married and has 5 children, all married.
Neil MacKinnon – Director
Neil graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in 1967 and from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1972 with a degree in Mining Engineering. Neil has been general manager and president of the family business, Alaska Laundry and Cleaners, since 1979. He is president of Hyak Mining Company and is managing partner of MacKinco, the family partnership that leases commercial property in Juneau. Neil has been a director and officer of both the state and local miners associations, Alaska Light and Power, Alaska Energy and Resources Co, and Douglas Volunteer Fire Department. He is married and has three grown children.
Scott Bergmann – Director
Born and raised in Juneau. He is a husband and father of three. His family started Alaskan Fudge Co. in the spring of 1980. In 2022 Scott assumed co-ownership responsibilities for the family business.
Mac Meiners – Director
Mac worked in the commercial fishing and construction industries and is a small business owner. He graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in 1970. In the early years of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, Mac was a Teamster for Local 959. Mac and his wife have three sons.
Ed King – Director
Ed was born in Bremerton, Washington. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in 2010 and a master’s degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2012. His professional experience includes working as the State of Alaska’s chief economist, an infantry team leader, a restaurant general manager, a small business owner, and staff in the Alaska State Legislature. He served in the U.S. Army from 1998 to 2008. Ed and his family have lived in Alaska since 1998 and Juneau since 2016.
Rosemary Hagevig and John Sandor – Directors Emeritus
Rosemary and John are past board members and are honored for their tireless work in making Juneau and Southeast Alaska a better place to live and raise families. The First Things First Alaska Foundation honors them with the Director Emeritus status in perpetuity.