CIRI Spotlight: Dean Kvasnikoff

Protecting Alaska forests and CIRI-owned land is no easy feat, but it is what CIRI and Ninilchik Native Association shareholder Dean Kvasnikoff does on a daily basis as the president of his company, Alaska Native Resource Consultants Inc. Kvasnikoff’s main client for the past nine years has been CIRI, where he works “in the field” safeguarding CIRI’s land interests. 

Kvasnikoff began working for CIRI 20 years ago after seeing “things I did not care for” on CIRI and Ninilchik Native Association land. He took action by writing a letter to CIRI expressing his sincere concerns as a shareholder and invited CIRI management to take a first-hand look.  CIRI responded by sending representatives down on a flight to Kenai the next week to spend the day touring areas of concern with Kvasnikoff.

The week after the tour, then-CIRI land and resource director Margie Brown mailed Kvasnikoff a two-paragraph contract employing Kvasnikoff to serve as an on-site CIRI land consultant. Today, Kvasnikoff explains that what he saw happening was evidence to him that large land projects needed ground-support as well as behind-the-scenes management.

Kvasnikoff says that working for CIRI means more to him than a paycheck. His experience as an employee for the then-Klukwan Forest Products, a now-closed logging company, revealed to him the need for onsite representation at logging sites to protect landowner interests. Kvasnikoff explains that he wants “to see forests still around for future generations of CIRI shareholders.”

“My job is to help my clients be good stewards of their resources,” says Kvasnikoff.

Kvasnikoff acts as an intermediate between corporations and other contractors they employ to ensure that land projects comply with state and federal regulations and are carried out in the best interest of the party he represents.

Kvasnikoff has consulted for numerous corporations and entities on a variety of land issues. His work ranges from consulting on major trespass issues, encroachment, construction, gates, right-of-way, grazing leases, roads, bridges and “everything in between.” He currently focuses his work on CIRI lands.

Kvasnikoff says that his work is a 24/7 job that includes dealing with unexpected issues like fires. He also helps to answer shareholders’ questions locally. Because he is very comfortable and familiar with CIRI land, he often helps CIRI shareholders who hunt on the Kenai Peninsula with directions and other information.

Kvasnikoff considers working to raise the Alaska Native hire numbers of CIRI timber contracts one of his biggest professional achievements. Kvasnikoff is also proud that he has worked hard to change state land policy, and says that he “stands his ground and has been to Juneau many times.”

Kvasnikoff has served in many governor-appointed positions, including the Brown Bear Task Force and the Spruce Beetle Task Force. Kvasnikoff encourages younger generations to be involved with their Alaska Native corporation and to “look where we started and where we are today instead of focusing on negativity.”

Kvasnikoff celebrated his 50th anniversary of marriage to his wife Lynda on Sept. 2. As Kvasnikoff tells it, they met on a Friday night at a dance while he was on leave from the Navy in 1960, he took her out on a date on Monday, and they were married by the following Friday. Together they raised five children, including three Eyak sisters who they adopted from Cordova, Alaska.

Born in the old village of Ninilchik, Kvasnikoff says that his family is one of the original founding families with deep roots in the Ninilchik area. Kvasnikoff’s hobbies and interests include playing golf, snowmachining, hunting for moose, fishing and playing the accordion and guitar old-fashioned style.