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DCCED Commissioner Adds Experience to Staff

Juneau, Alaska, November 10, 2010 – The state Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development has announced the addition of two new staffers to fill key vacant positions. DCCED Commissioner Susan Bell today named Roberta Graham as special assistant, and Crystal Koeneman as legislative liaison.

Graham comes to DCCED with a broad public policy communications background and experience in developing strategic programs targeted at economic development. She will act as a policy advisor to the Commissioner’s Office and will analyze, develop, plan and oversee special projects related to the department’s wide-ranging mission.

Graham most recently served as the special assistant for public affairs with the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects in Washington, D.C. The former CEO of Bernholz & Graham, a public relations and public policy firm, Graham is also a senior fellow at the Institute of the North, specializing in Arctic public diplomacy and strategic communications issues.

She earned a master’s degree in international relations and public diplomacy from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University.

Koeneman has worked as a legislative aide since 2006. In her role as legislative liaison, Koeneman will be the department’s primary contact with the Legislature. She will coordinate communications on proposed legislation, regulations and fiscal notes, and be responsible for addressing an array of information requests and constituent concerns forwarded by legislative offices.

Her prior legislative experience has included work with the House Finance, Resources and State Affairs committees. Koeneman has also assisted with budget review and worked extensively on oil and gas issues, including the Governor’s oil and gas tax and gasline bills.

She is a Juneau native who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from New Mexico Highlands University.

“Roberta and Crystal are dedicated, self-motivated individuals who bring a wealth of knowledge and talent to our staff,” Commissioner Bell said. “I am thrilled to have such experienced, high-caliber people joining the department. We will be a better team for their contributions.”

Koeneman will be based in Juneau. Graham will be based in Anchorage.

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