Governor Names Natural Resources and Health Commissioners
Heading into his second term, Governor Mike Dunleavy appointed new cabinet heads for the Alaska Departments of Natural Resources and Health.
The governor appointed oil industry attorney John Boyle to lead the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). DNR has been led since June by Acting Commissioner Akis Gialopsos, who was the governor’s deputy chief of staff when he was named to take over the department for the retiring Corri Feige.
Boyle studied management and finance at Brigham Young University and then earned his JD at Brigham Young’s J. Reuben Clark Law School. He moved to Alaska in 2010 to serve a judicial clerkship in Fairbanks. He then moved to Utqiaġvik to work as an Assistant Borough Attorney and later Chief Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the North Slope Borough’s Government and External Affairs department.
In 2016, Boyle took a job with BP as Director of Government Affairs before joining Oil Search (now Santos) as Government Affairs Manager.
“Commissioner Boyle will serve both the department and Alaskans with distinction,” says Governor Dunleavy. “His legal training, knowledge of Alaska’s resource industries, and commitment to developing our resources to the maximum benefit of all Alaskans—and in the safest possible manner—make him an excellent choice to lead the department during my second term.”
Boyle and his wife live in Anchorage with their two children. His appointment as commissioner takes effect January 6, 2023.
The new Commissioner of the Department of Health has held the position in an acting capacity since November. Heidi Hedberg was the Director of Public Health when she took over for Adam Crum, who was named to lead the Department of Revenue.
Hedberg has been with the state since 2009, before the Department of Health and Social Services split in two.
“After working with Commissioner Hedberg the past four years, she has impressed me with her management skills and ability to enact public health policies that make Alaskans healthier and safer,” Governor Dunleavy says. “Alaskans can be confident that the department responsible for their health and welfare is in good hands.”
Hedberg moved to Alaska from Seattle in 1995 and earned a BS from Alaska Pacific University. Prior to her state service, she worked with various nonprofit organizations for twelve years. She also chairs the Governor’s Advisory Council on Opioid Remediation and serves on the Governor’s Council on Homelessness and State Emergency Response Commission.
“I am greatly honored to be chosen as Commissioner for the Alaska Department of Health,” Hedberg says. “With oversight of public health, behavioral health, services for seniors and Alaskans experiencing disabilities, public assistance programs, and health care services, this department aids every single Alaskan at every stage of life. Our over 1,500 employees are the backbone of the work we do, and I am thankful for their dedication to serving the people of Alaska.”
The appointments are subject to confirmation by the Alaska Legislature.