Here is the fourth installment in our series recognizing exceptional work by Alaska state employees during the pandemic. The State of Alaska is one of our closest partners. Up now: the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. This agency oversees banking, corporations, professional licensing and insurance, supports communities and business development, and houses a number of corporate agencies and regulatory bodies.

The Department of Commerce is filled with employees who are making such a difference during these difficult times, Commissioner Julie Anderson said. During the pandemic, teams are helping to get critical funds to communities and small businesses. That support can be seen on the department’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Resource Portal.

Two hard-working groups are being recognized.

Sandra Moller is director of the State of Alaska Division of Community & Regional Affairs. (Photos courtesy of the state Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development)

The Division of Community and Regional Affairs, led by Director Sandra Moller, has been reaching out to communities about opportunities to apply for aid through the Alaska CARES Act while continuing with other State of Alaska grant programs.

“It’s not only outreach, however,” Commissioner Anderson said. Staff members help communities apply. They answer questions. They provide feedback on applications. They help communities receive “grant funds so desperately needed during this time,” the commissioner said. “DCRA doesn’t just come to work; they are committed to their purpose!”

Another team, the Division of Economic Development, Investments Section, has provided invaluable help on state-administered loan programs, including “accommodating borrowers who cannot make their payments due to the COVID-19 public health emergency,” Anderson said. This team also is providing technical assistance to small businesses interested in Alaska CARES grants.

The Investments Section of the State of Alaska Division of Economic Development includes loan/collection officers Sandee Holst, Miki Rodekohr, Misty Dohrn, Amber Horton, Yvonne Fink and Drake Peterson. (Photo collage courtesy of the state Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development)

Jim Andersen, operations manager for the Alaska Division of Economic Development, enjoys Alaska when he is off work.


The division’s operation’s manager, Jim Andersen, has been an essential member of the development team for the AK CARES program since the start. He acts as a liaison between the department and program operators. Under his direction, the Commerce Department said, this division has provided reliable information, assistance and follow-up to Alaskans in need.

“On behalf of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, I want to thank you for the opportunity to ‘shine the light’ on these groups that so willingly give of themselves daily on behalf of the State of Alaska,” Julie Anderson said.


Lynn Kenealy is a local government specialist with the state Division of Community & Regional Affairs.

Coleen Greenshields is an administrative officer with the Division of Community & Regional Affairs.

About the Unsung Heroes series

The State of Alaska has long been one of our closest and most reliable partners, helping to develop workforce housing, build and renovate domestic violence shelters, improve libraries and start from scratch a philanthropy for all of Alaska, the Pick.Click.Give program. Rasmuson Foundation President and CEO Diane Kaplan recently asked State of Alaska commissioners to highlight some of those whose efforts to adapt and respond stand out for going above and beyond, often in ways not seen by the public. This ongoing series is the result. Previous posts have celebrated State employees in the departments of Transportation, Administration and Fish and Game. Next week we will recognize additional unsung heroes.