I can remember 50 below wind chill weather as a kid growing up in Willmar, Minn. I know parts of Alaska may get that cold, so I feel right at home here in the Land of the Midnight Sun!
This is my twenty-second year working in television news. Watching news in high school I was always fascinated with the concept of live, on-the-spot news. At the same time, I also became interested in photography. I used a $50 gift certificate to help purchase a Pentax K-1000 fully manual camera, after being named “Employee of the Month” at a Hardee’s fast food restaurant. I later enrolled in black-and-white and color photography classes in college, because the first pictures I snapped with my new camera were horrible! Those classes led me to St. Cloud State University’s mass communications program, which included a television station on campus run by students.
I landed my first job after college while covering a murder trial as an intern for KGAN-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Someone from another station was surprised that I was covering the trial as an intern. That station hired me, and that was the official start of my long journalism career. I have also anchored and reported at TV stations in Lawton, Oklahoma and Lubbock, Texas, but the bulk of my career was spent working in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There, I covered dozens of ferocious wildfires, including the destructive Cerro Grande Fire that threatened Los Alamos National Laboratory and destroyed numerous homes.
I have been honored with numerous journalism awards, including for my wildfire coverage. I have been named Top News Reporter in New Mexico. I have also received different awards for a number of in-depth investigations, including two separate first place awards for my reporting on structurally deficient bridges in Oklahoma. Another long-term investigation in New Mexico resulted in the arrest of more than 50 convicted sex offenders who broke the law by failing to update authorities where they were living.
I learned long ago that journalism can lead to change. I do what I do because I care about my community. I am here in Alaska because of the new KTVA. The chance to tell stories about the people in Alaska and the station’s commitment to exceptional journalism made for an opportunity I could not pass up. Anchorage is a perfect place for my family, considering we all love to hike and bike. I also enjoy golfing and fishing. I am married and have two young children, who will love the snow!