UA Building to Carry Name of Longtime Resource Industry Educators
For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The University of Alaska will recognize two steadfast supporters of
mining and petroleum industry training and education by naming a Kenai
Peninsula College building in their honor Saturday.
The husband and wife team of Dennis and Ginger Steffy have nearly 70
years of service between them in support of vocational-technical
education in Alaska’s mining and petroleum industries. Since the
founding of UA’s Mining and Petroleum Training Service, or MAPTS, in
1979, the Steffys have helped train an estimated 100,000 students in
everything from underground mine safety training to oil and gas
In recognition of their contributions, the university will officially
dedicate the MAPTS building on the Kenai Peninsula College as the
“Dennis and Ginger Steffy Mining and Petroleum Training Center of
Excellence.” The dedication will occur at 10 a.m. Saturday, at 162
College Road in Soldotna. The public is invited. A reception will
follow the ceremony.
“So many people who have started a mining career in Alaska, or a
career in the oil industry, have been touched in some way by Dennis
and Ginger Steffy,” said outgoing UA President Mark Hamilton. “The
University of Alaska started as the Alaska Agricultural College and
School of Mines. Instructors and leaders like Dennis and Ginger, as
well as many others, continue our longstanding tradition of preparing
good stewards of our state’s natural resources.”
Dennis Steffy has nearly 40 years of continuous service to the oil,
gas and mining industry. He’s been director of MAPTS since 1979, when
it was known as the Petroleum Extension Program at KPC. He’s perhaps
Alaska’s most internationally recognized expert in oil and gas
drilling technology, mining and health safety education, having helped
establish and operate the Sakhalin-Alaska College in Russia.
Steve Borell of the Alaska Miners Association said Dennis Steffy has a
“passion” for training miners. “He’s unique in that he has hands-on
underground mining experience, he’s an educator and he has the
political skills necessary to work with the university system and the
legislature,” Borell said.
Ginger Steffy retired as director of Kenai Peninsula College in 2002,
a position she held for 15 years. Previously, she served in a variety
of positions at KPC, including teaching physics, physical science,
math and energy. She also developed courses in energy resource
technology. She retired after 29 years of service to the university
with emeritus director status. Ginger Steffy also was instrumental in
creating the Alaska Process Industries Careers Consortium (APICC) in
1999, which brings industry and education leaders together to form
relevant curriculum in process technology.
“Ginger led the effort in getting the process technology program
endorsed across the university system, at multiple locations,” said
Dave Rees, a retired BP employee and member of the Alaska Workforce
Investment Board. Rees also worked with Ginger Steffy as a founding
member of APICC. “That level of collaboration was something that
really hadn’t happened before. I think without Ginger, the process
tech program would be struggling in many respects. The program is
graduating about 60 to 70 percent of folks who start it, and of those,
80 to 90 percent are getting jobs in the industry. It’s been a real
The Steffys first came to Alaska in the late 1960s. They started as
teachers at Kenai Central High School and were vocational education
advocates from the beginning. Among many other contributions, they
developed several important UA petroleum industry degree programs at
KPC, including associate degrees in process technology, petroleum
engineering, industrial process instrumentation, and a certificate in
In 1979, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health
Administration designated MAPTS as its sole training agent in Alaska.
MAPTS continues today as the only MSHA-certified training provider in
the state. APICC, meanwhile, has since become a nationally recognized
organization and a model for other states to follow.
“This honor was as unexpected as it is humbling,” Dennis Steffy said.
“Anything I have accomplished was because I have had an incredibly
talented and competent staff. My staff has stuck with our mission,
'it's all about the student,' through many very challenging
Ginger Steffy added, “It has been my pleasure over the years to work
with excellent faculty and staff at Kenai Peninsula College. The
college has been fortunate to have had such strong industry support
for its programs. It’s been my privilege to have worked with industry
colleagues to help develop vocational training for Alaskans."
The MAPTS program recently moved organizationally to University of
Alaska Statewide Corporate Programs, which links industry with
workforce training in numerous disciplines.