BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kootznoowoo, Inc. is overseen by a seven-member Board of Directors who are responsible for establishing the direction, strategy, and policies for the corporation. Each Director is elected to a three-year term by shareholders with voting status. Directors are all Alaska Native and enrolled shareholders in Kootznoowoo.
MELISSA M. KOOKEESH
Melissa M. Kookesh was elected to the Kootznoowoo Board in 2016 and began serving as Board Chair. In addition to her role as Chairwoman, she also serves as ex-officio on all committees.
From 2005-2014, Melissa worked in the Office of the President at the Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. Currently, she is employed as a Legislative Aide for the Alaska State Legislature. Melissa holds an Associate of Arts and Sciences and certification in Tribal Management from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Melissa is the daughter of Lena Woods and the late Floyd M. Kookesh and is the granddaughter of the late Matthew and Ramona Kookesh. Melissa is Raven Dog Salmon from the Central House in Angoon, and her Tlingit name is X’eetoow.
Melissa’s term ends in 2019.
“It is an honor to serve the shareholders of Kootznoowoo and to be a part of leading the corporation into a new direction of success. Working to make the corporation profitable and one that we can all be proud of has not been an easy task, but we continue to make significant advancements towards our vision.”
FRANK JACK III
Frank Jack III was elected to the Kootznoowoo Board in 2017 and is currently a member of the Executive Committee. In addition to serving the Board as Vice Chair, Frank is also on the Chatham (8a) and Fortress of the Bears committee.
Frank is a resident of Angoon and is employed as a Miner with the Hecla Greens Creek Mine. Previously, he worked as a Site Supervisor for 12 years with Tlingit Haida Regional Housing and also was a member of the Angoon City Council. Frank is committed to supporting the community with strong involvement in local cultural activities and preservation.
Frank is the son of Frank Jack, Jr. and Martha Henniger-Jack. His paternal grandparents are the late Frank Jack, Sr. and Elizabeth (Beth) Jack and his maternal grandparents are the late Bernard Henniger and Marion Valle-Henniger. Frank is Galyàx Kaagwantaan from Yakutat.
Frank’s current term ends in 2020.
“My priority for Kootznoowoo is to think outside of the box and develop a portfolio of diverse businesses that are strong and viable. It is our responsibility as Directors to ensure that our corporation is profitable in order to safeguard continued benefits and dividends for not only the shareholders of today, but also the shareholders and descendants of tomorrow.”
EDWELL JOHN, JR
Edwell John Jr. holds the position of Board Treasurer and was re-elected to the Board in 2016 after having previously served from 2001-04. In addition to the Executive Committee, he also serves as Chair on the Finance Committee. Edwell is also Vice Chair of the Kootznoowoo Cultural & Educational Foundation.
As an experience professional in Information Technology, Edwell has held multiple IT positions with the State of Alaska and is currently employed as the IT Manager for the Department of Transportation. He is a retired U.S. Army Staff Sargent with twenty-two years of service. Edwell has earned an Associates of Science in Computer Engineering from Ocean County College; a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship from the University of Alaska Southeast; and he is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration from Alaska Pacific University.
Edwell is a member of ANB-Angoon Camp, clan leader of the Dakl’aweidi (Angoon), and through his mother a descendant of the Deisheetaan (Killer Whale Chasing the Seal House). His Tlingit names are Tlei ya keet, Yeetsaa, and Woochx’aduhaa.
Edwell’s current term ends in 2019.
“As an IT professional, I understand the importance of finding innovative solutions to challenging technical problems. I believe the same process in finding solutions can also apply to Kootznoowoo as we work to transition the corporation to financial independence.”
H. JEAN HOGUE
In 1987, after a long and dedicated career, Jean retired from Pacific Medical Center in Seattle, Washington where she also served as a Union Steward. She began her nursing training in 1961 and eventually earned her Operating Room Technician certification from Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Illinois. Jean is a graduate of Sheldon Jackson High School.
Jean is the daughter of Andrew Gamble Sr., Deisheetaan Yeil’ Hit and is a grandchild of Deishu Hit. Through her mother, Matilda Gamble, Jean is Kaagwaantaan of the Sitka Multiplying Wolf House. Jean is married to David Hogue, retired air force, and they have four children, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren who Jean proudly shares “are all shareholders.”
Jean’s current term ends in 2019.
“As a director, I believe the Board is responsible for protecting and managing shareholders’ interests in the company. Shareholders are our owners, it is our duty and role to listen to our owners as we work to grow and expand Kootznoowoo’s businesses.”
Sharon Love was elected to the Board in 2017. Previously, she was employed at Kootznoowoo as its President/General Manager from 2014-17 and also as Corporate Secretary from 2011-14. As a Director, Sharon is on the Committee of the Whole.
Sharon is currently employed as an Accounting Technician III with the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education. She also holds a Council Member position at the Tlingit & Haida Community Council. Sharon is a graduate of Juneau Douglas High School and also attended the University of Alaska Southeast where she studied Business Administration.
Sharon is Deisheetan of the Raven/Beaver Clan.
Sharon’s term ends in 2020.
“I believe that a board member is the shareholders’ voice at the table. Shareholders deserve a board willing to work together and who make communication with our shareholders is a top priority.”
Cooney C. Star served on the Kootznoowoo Board from 2014-17. In 2018, he was re-elected to a second term as a Director.
Though currently retired, in his career, Cooney worked in the banking industry and was employed at Seattle First National Bank as a Senior Vault Teller and Trainer. Later he worked at Rudioso State Bank as a Trainer where is was responsible for upgrading security procedures. Cooney is a graduate of Mount Edgecumbe High School. In addition to having attended Haskell Indian Junior College, he earned an associate degree from South Seattle Community College.
Cooney’s term ends in 2021.
“As a Board member, we have an obligation to the to the people and the children of Angoon. ‘The children are our future’. It’s been said many times but not sure if anyone ever followed through. The children need to be nurtured and encouraged to go to college as they go thru high school. After college, they need to come home and to start taking over the Corporation. That is what we need to do. An example of this is the Kootsnoowoo Board. Our Madam Chair is one of our young shareholders. I believe we need more of our young educated or savvy shareholders to stand up and step up for Kootsnoowoo.”
Ella Bennett began her service on the Kootznoowoo Board in 2015 and was elected as Board Chair in 2016.
Throughout her career, Ella has primarily been employed in positions that provided service to the Southeast Alaska Native community. Most recently, she works as an Administrative Assistant at the Tlingit & Haida Community Council and previously was a Records Clerk at Sealaska Corporation where she also worked in the Shareholder Records Department for twenty-seven years. Additionally, Ella was a consultant with Records Management Consulting Services from 2011-2012.
Born in Angoon, Ella is a graduate of Mount Edgecumbe High School. She later earned a Certified Public Manager certification from the University of Alaska Southeast.
Ella has also contributed to the community through appointments to other boards including the Tlingit Haida Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners where she currently serves as Vice Chair; the Juneau Tlingit Haida Community Council’s Housing Committee; and the Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s Tribal Enrollment Committee. Ella is the daughter of the late Johnnie and Nadja Gamble.
Ella’s current term ends in 2018.
“I believe that the success of our corporation means pursing business ventures, incorporating our cultural and traditional values into our business plans, and embracing a future of success.”
Before joining Kootznoowoo, Mr. Dreyer‘s career spanned more than 45 years in a wide-range of disciplines, industries, and business development endeavors. In 1974, he founded and led, Underwater Construction, Inc. which would become the largest commercial diving, marine contracting, and environmental remediation firm in Alaska prior to its sale in 1992. Then, having formed Dejon Corporation and acting as President, Mr. Dreyer provided consulting services that assisted companies in the United States, Thailand, Malaysia, and Panama with business development, project management and problem resolution.
In his career, Mr. Dreyer has also served as President of Gunderboom, Inc. and UPIC International, LLC. He began his professional career at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in his hometown of Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Mr. Dreyer attended the Franklin Institute of Technology in Boston, where he studied mechanical engineering. He also holds a certification in commercial driving from the Diver’s Training Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
LEONARD G. JONES
Leonard G. Jones joined Kootznoowoo, Inc. in the fall of 2018 as the General Manager of Chatham Properties. In his role at the corporation, Mr. Jones serves as a member of the leadership team, and is responsible for business development and the management of all current Kootznoowoo’s 8(a) subsidiaries.
Throughout his career, Mr. Jones served in a variety of leadership positions at Alaska Native Corporations and state and local government where he specialized in senior level operations management with a focus in government contracting, management, and administration. Prior to joining Kootznoowoo, Mr. Jones was a Senior Contracts Manager with Trailboss Enterprises, Inc., where he oversaw their portfolio of federal, state, and local contracts. In his career, he also worked with Ahtna Technical Services where he served as Vice President of Contracts & Compliance, Gana-A ‘Yoo Service Corporation, Cook Inlet Housing Authority, and the State of Alaska Department of Correction. From 2001-04, Mr. Jones supported the City of Whittier, Alaska as the Director of Public Facilities, Harbormaster, and Interim City Manager.
Mr. Jones holds a Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and a post-Masters Certification in Education from Capella University; he also earned an Associates of Arts in Business and a Public Manager Certification from the University of Alaska. Additionally, Mr. Jones is a Veteran of the United States Army where he served in the 82nd Airborne, 307th Medical Battalion.