Our team is comprised of experts in small business development and finance working to address rural economic development challenges in Southeast Alaska. They are trusted advisors and partners who live in and care deeply about Southeast Alaska – its people, communities and ecosystems.
Ed currently serves as the Executive Director for Spruce Root, Inc. With the Sealaska organization for over 24 years, Ed started out as a forest engineer technician in Southeast Alaska and worked his way up to Marketing Management leading multiple international accounts for Sealaska’s timber division into Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Pakistan. He has degrees in Business Administration and Economics from Southern Oregon State College. He serves as the Chairman of the Board for his village native corporation, Huna Totem Corporation, and has successfully developed marketing programs for several First Nations’ supporting local economic development. Ed is a Tlingit from Hoonah, Alaska and his Tlingit name is Koox Koo-Naak.
Favorite thing about Southeast Alaska? Despite its vast size, it maintains its small town feel and, of course, the fishing is great!
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 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 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 is the Economic Development Coordinator 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.
Favorite thing about Southeast Alaska? Having the Tongass right out my front door.
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.