Successful, young Seawolves — it doesn’t seem to get better than that.
The Alaska Journal of Commerce recently announced the winners of this year’s “Top Forty Under 40” awards. UAA’s Kyle Hampton, assistant professor and director of the Center for Economic Education, made the list along with many UAA alumni, including the captain of the Anchorage Fire Department and presidents and directors of various companies.
The program recognizes the state’s top professionals younger than 40 years old. Recipients are also honored for their positive contributions to the community.
“It shows a lot about the university,” John Sims, director of business development for Enstar Natural Gas Company, said. Sims is also a UAA alumnus with a master’s degree in business administration that made this year’s “Top Forty Under 40” list.
“I decided that UAA was the best place. It was really great — the caliber of individuals and quality of education in the master’s program. They provided the opportunity for you to dive in and take advantage of what they are offering.”
The hallways of the UAA Economics Department are strung with pictures of Hampton and “congratulations” posters, bringing a sense of pride to the atmosphere. Despite recognition, Hampton’s focus was on everyone but himself.
After praising the people in his department as “really great people who are extremely student focused,” he thanked Jim Mercy for nominating him and spoke about how instrumental Mercy has been in his life.
Hampton offered advice for future “Top Forty Under 40” candidates.
“Don’t expect to make any money in your twenties. A vast majority of your learning, besides living on low wages, is to create relationships with people doing things you are interested in,” he said.
He also gave simple advice that often seems hard to follow, yet vital for life in Anchorage where everyone knows each other.
“Always be nice to people,” he said, “because you never know how it’s going to work out.”
“Don’t let things happen to you, let things happen for you,” Captain Jason Dolph of the Anchorage Fire Department advised.
Dolph is a UAA alumnus with an associate of science in fire administration, his third degree, and is on this year’s “Top Forty Under 40” list. He is also an adjunct professor of UAA who has taught various courses such as the fire fighter 1 program, offered only once before.
Dolph shared stories about nitrous oxide exploding, ceilings melting and hot tar searing into his fire fighter hat. Yet, the one memory that stood out the most was about cake, toys and children’s laughter.
The story started with a mother and her children walking down the driveway as flames devoured their home. Her husband was deployed in the Middle East, her son’s birthday was the next day and all his presents were destroyed.
“The next day we went and replaced all the presents and all the toys that they lost. We had a birthday party for the son at the fire station,” Dolph said. “We had pizza and cake. I had hands full of cash from all the guys and gals in the department.”
Dolph’s wife, Bree Dolph, a kindergarten teacher at Tudor Elementary, said that her husband doesn’t just put on fires to save lives he also touches lives. She said that he regularly gets his department involved with cancer awareness and is also involved with the St. Baldrick’s foundation for children’s cancer.
“You just find ways to find happiness and know that you made a difference,” Jason Dolph said.
Each award recipient has qualities of success and determination. The one quality that stands out however, is their selflessness and genuine care for others.
They all said they were proud to carry that Sealwolf pride.
Other UAA alumni honored this year:
Justin Charon (B.B.A. ’98), President, Vitus Marine
Erin Kinavey (B.A. Languages and Psychology ’02 & M.Ed. ’06), Part C Coordinator, State of Alaska
Zuzana Rogers (B.S. Natural Sciences ’99), Vice President, Advanced Physical Therapy
Ann Schaack (Graduate Certificate, Social Work Management ’07), Director of Business Development, North Star Behavioral Health
Stephen Trimble (B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies ’08), Mining and Power Business Leader, URS Corp.