AFDF Hires New Staff to Grow Organizational Capacity

May 24, 2022 | Fisheries, Right Moves

Hannah Wilson

The Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF) hired two new staff members and is hosting two Alaska Sea Grant fellows.

Hannah Wilson comes to AFDF as Development Director after two years as an Alaska Sea Grant mariculture fellow with NOAA Fisheries, where she helped develop the Alaska Aquaculture Permitting Portal. Her work with AFDF includes management of seafood sustainability certifications for salmon and cod, coordination and outreach with AFDF members, and collaboration with the mariculture industry. Wilson holds a master’s degree in natural resource management from the University of Montana. “AFDF is a leader in building community resilience through an impressive portfolio of projects that directly benefit Alaskans,” Wilson says.

Julie Cisco

Julie Cisco serves as Executive Administrator, supporting the executive director and providing administrative services to AFDF’s partner organization, Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers. Cisco also takes over organizing the Alaska Symphony of Seafood event. Val Motley with FPN Events is transitioning away from the event after approximately twenty years. “This is an exciting opportunity as this is a new position and the first to share duties between the two organizations,” Cisco says. “I am looking forward to developing the role as it grows. Both entities have many projects that will be fun to be involved in.”

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Ben Americus

The first of this year’s Sea Grant fellows, Ben Americus, joins as a Science Policy Coordinator. Americus grew up in Cordova, gillnetting chum salmon in Prince William Sound. He earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Montana State University and then worked five consecutive summers on the Alaska Hatchery-Wild Salmon Interactions study. His graduate studies at Oregon State University involve the genetics of salmon parasites and new fish health interventions.

Robin McKnight

A Sea Grant fellowship brings Robin McKnight to AFDF as Mariculture Development Coordinator. McKnight was born and raised in Seward. She has been in the Westfjords of Iceland earning her master’s degree in coastal and marine management while finishing her thesis on women captains in maritime tourism.

“I am thrilled to be building out the AFDF team and am proud of the level of talent that AFDF has been able to attract,” says Julie Decker, executive director. “It is a testament to the exciting and valued work that AFDF does every day.”

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The track of oil and gas development in Alaska shows the footprints of bold companies and hard-working individuals who shaped the industry in the past and continue to innovate today. The May 2024 issue of Alaska Business explores that history while looking forward to new product development, the energy transition for the fishing fleet, and the ethics of AI tools in business.

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