UAF Honors Usibelli as Business Leader of the Year

Dec 1, 2022 | Education, Mining, News

Joe Usibelli jr receiving award

Joe Usibelli Jr. receiving his Business Leader of the Year award, flanked by award committee co-chairs Ashley Plys (left) and Gavin Meggert (right).

Gabriel King | UAF

The UAF College of Business and Security Management celebrated Joe Usibelli Jr. as its 44th Business Leader of the Year.

Full Circle

“Receiving the Business Leader of the Year is quite the honor, and it brings my UAF involvement full circle,” Usibelli says. “As a student, I was a member of the Associated Students of Business and actually co-chaired this event. I am very proud of the relationship Usibelli Coal Mine has with the university.”

Usibelli’s father, the late Joe Sr., received the same honor in 1978. That puts the pair in the same company as father-and-son Business Leader of the Year recipients Paul and Dan Gavora (1977 and 2012) and Cliff and Rob Everts (both 2018).

A lifelong Alaskan, Usibelli is the president of Usibelli Coal Mine, where he has worked for more than forty years. He graduated from UAF in 1981 with a degree in civil engineering and a minor in business. Usibelli worked at the mine while pursuing his education. After graduation, he advanced through various positions with the company, including superintendent and vice president of operations. He became president in 1987 at the age of 28. Usibelli is only the third leader of UCM, following his father, Joe Sr., and his grandfather, Emil.

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In addition to leading the mine, Usibelli is active in other business initiatives, including Aurora Energy, Usibelli Investments, and Usibelli Development Inc. He also participates in several family-owned business interests, including Aurora Denali Lodge, Black Diamond Resort, and Usibelli Vineyards.

Usibelli and his wife, Marilyn, are lifelong residents of Healy, along with their daughter, Lexi, who is a business administration student carrying on the family tradition of attending UAF.

The award was presented in Fairbanks at a ceremony sponsored by Construction Machinery Industrial.

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