Our team is comprised of experts in small business development and finance, working to address rural economic development challenges in Southeast Alaska. We have roots in Southeast, we live here, and we care deeply about the region's people, ecosystems, and communities. 

alana peterson

Alana’s Tlingit name is Gah Kith Tin, from Diginaa Hit, Luknahadi. She grew up and currently lives in Sitka, a small island community in Southeast Alaska. Professionally, Alana earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration at Charleston Southern University. After graduating from college she joined the Peace Corps where she served as a Small Business Development volunteer for two years on the southern coast of Peru. She obtained her Master’s degree in Business Administration from Northern Arizona University. She has continued to work in economic development in her current role as Executive Director at Spruce Root. 

Favorite thing about Southeast Alaska? The strong sense of community and lifestyles that are closely tied to the land and natural resources. It's not easy to find that anymore… 


Caprice Pratt

Caprice was born in Southern California, raised in Idaho and after a 4 ½ -year adventure in Germany, touched down on a very short runway surrounded by water in Sitka – it’s been over 27 years and she hasn’t looked back! Her career has led to many opportunities for a broad range of experience – retail, technology, lumber/hardware, construction, marine/ground transportation, federal/state government, seafood sales, procurement, accounting, office management and bank management including personal/commercial/mortgage lending. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Management at the University of Alaska Southeast. She enjoys working with small businesses and business owners because it is a chance to be something bigger than our individual selves and, with luck and hard work, possibly something that changes our world.  

Favorite thing about Southeast Alaska? That even with its estimated 35,000 square miles of land and 18,500 miles of shoreline, Southeast is still a very “small” community.  When you hop on an Alaska Airlines jet – especially in winter – there’s a good chance you will know most of the passengers – by name! 


Paul Hackenmueller 

Paul Hackenmueller is the Business Development Manager at Spruce Root. After growing up in Anchorage, Paul earned a Bachelors degree in Mathematics from Colorado State University before heading to Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer to teach high school math in a village in central Ghana. His continued interest in economic development prompted him to get a Masters degree in Economics from Boston University before returning to Alaska where he now lives in Juneau with his family.  Paul also serves as the Program Director for the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, a diverse network of organizations and individuals working together to reach cultural, ecological and economic prosperity for our communities and region.

Favorite thing about Southeast Alaska? Having the Tongass right out my front door.


Aaron Ferguson

Aaron Ferguson is the Regional Sustainability Catalyst at Spruce Root. In this role, Aaron works with the Sustainable Southeast Partnership on business model development and implementation. After growing up in East Asia, Aaron earned a degree from the University of Washington in Geography with a concentration in International Development, spending a year in Sichuan, China, to complete a public health research project. Aaron has worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies around the U.S. and earned a Masters of Public Administration with concentrations in Strategic Planning and Environmental Policy, also from the University of Washington. He lives in Juneau.

Favorite thing about Southeast Alaska? Too many things to choose one: mountains, forests, water, culture, pace of life, snow, good friends.


Ashley Snookes

Ashley Snookes is the Programs Manager at Spruce Root. Ashley grew up in Sitka, Alaska where her experiences on the debate team prompted her interest in foreign affairs. She earned a B.S. in Political Science and went on to intern at the United Nations. After earning her M.A. in International Security and Development at Swansea University in the U.K., Ashley taught English in Japan and foreign affairs in Saudi Arabia before going on to work for the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Economy and Planning. As a consultant at the Ministry, Ashley worked on research and internal development projects. She is excited to continue and expand her focus on business development in Southeast Alaska.

Favorite thing about Southeast Alaska? I love being so close to the ocean for its beauty, its fish, and its underwater adventures! I also love the local culture and history and am thrilled to be sharing it with my husband and daughter.


Laurel Stark

Laurel Stark is the Administrative Coordinator at Spruce Root. After growing up in Juneau, Laurel studied Political Science at the University of Victoria.  She has worked with non-profit and community development initiatives in Alaska and internationally.  Laurel spent a year in Malta, earning an MS and MA in Conflict Analysis and Resolution and  Mediterranean Security from George Mason University and the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies.  She returned to Juneau to study shared transboundary resource governance in the Pacific Northwest, and enjoys exploring new communities and vistas across Alaska.

Favorite thing about Southeast Alaska? The relationships that people have with the environment and each other. And the amazing trails.

Katie Gannon

Katie Gannon is the Communications Fellow for Spruce Root and the Sustainable Southeast Partnership. She grew up in Montana going on long hikes and fishing trips with her family. She then went to school at the University of Colorado Boulder where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geography with an emphasis in Environment and Society and Biology with a certificate in Public Health. She is currently working in Juneau through the Alaska Fellows Program.

Favorite thing about Southeast Alaska? The dynamic relationship between the environment, the economy, and the communities. Not to mention the hiking trails and the potlucks!