Brent Bennett

Molly Brown

Jed Cox

Susan Cox

Darrel Gardner

Bill Gordon

Jessica Graham

Bill Granger

Ben Hofmeister

Cam Leonard

Hanna Sebold

Robert Stone

Diana Wildridge


 

Name: Brent Bennett

Position: Attorney Member

Board member since: 2017

City: Fairbanks

Alaska resident since: 2006

Law School: University of Cincinnati

Firm or Agency: Office of Public Advocacy

 

  • My wife and I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • We have three children.  They keep us very busy with all of their activities:  soccer, hockey, dance, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, ice skating, violin lessons…
  • I grew up riding horses.  My grandparents had a horse farm.
  • I consider myself somewhat of a foodie.  I love to cook.  I love to go out to dinner.
  • I belong to a rock climbing gym.

Name: Molly Brown

Position: Vice President

Board member since: 2015

City: Anchorage

Alaska resident since: (almost) lifelong Alaskan

Law School: University of Kansas

Firm or Agency: Dillon & Findley, P.C.

 

5 things you might not know about me:

 

  • I attended elementary school in Ketchikan, middle school in Juneau, and high school in Anchorage. 
  • During all of those years, I was an avid competitive swimmer (and in college at Duke University, as well).  I rarely ever swim at all now.
  • I love all things Duke University, where I received my undergraduate degree.  I even chair the volunteer Duke alumni association for Alaska, and interview high school students / prospective Duke students every year.  If you went to Duke (undergrad, business, law, or whatever) and are interested in volunteering, contact me!
  • I like to ride my bike, ski, run, walk, hike, and spend time with my husband, Jason Criqui, and our son Alex. 
  • Watching Alex grow up has been the greatest joy in my life.  

Name: Jed Cox

Position: Public member

Board member since: 2019

City: Anchorage

Education: University of Montana (BS) Business Administration, Ashford University (MBA) Finance

Firm or Agency: State of Alaska

 

  • Lecturer, professor, and teacher in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Republic of Korea, and the People’s Republic of China for eight years.
  • Candidate for Montana House District 99 in 2008.
  • I keep busy hiking, hunting, fishing, fossil hunting, and exploring Alaska.
  • Volunteer arranging the shipment of fictional children’s books to rural Alaska schools and libraries.
  • Employed by the State of Alaska Department of Commerce in the Division of Community and Regional Affairs.

Name: Susan Cox

Position: Attorney member

Board member since: 2014

City: Juneau

Law School: UC Davis School of Law

Firm or Agency: Attorney General’s Office

 

  • Most people are surprised to learn I’m Canadian. My family emigrated to the U.S. when I was almost 6. I became a naturalized American citizen when I was in college.
  • I love to travel. My first adventure outside North America was to Turkey as an exchange student for a summer when I was 18. My most recent trip abroad was to Turkey a year ago with my family. 
  • Like so many others, I initially came to Alaska for just a year. I clerked for then-Superior Court Judge Bud Carpeneti after law school; after the clerkship I went back to California for a job, but returned 9 months later, for good. 
  • I like to garden and have fairly good luck growing tomatoes year-round in my office. I also enjoy almost all kinds of music, singing, cooking, entertaining, boating, and spending time at our cabin in Tenakee Springs. 
  • I’m the worst skier in my family. My husband Tom Nave and our children Julia and Peter have all been ski racers and are excellent skiers. Now Julia competes in extreme/free ride events and Peter is a professional ski guide, in Japan and Haines, Alaska.

Name: Darrel Gardner

Position: Attorney Member

Board member since: 2014

City: Anchorage

Alaska resident since: Lifelong Alaskan

Firm or Agency: Federal Public Defender Agency

Law School: University of California, Hastings College of Law

 

  • My aunt and uncle, Minnie and Frank Swanda, were part of the original Palmer Colonization Project in 1935. The present day Mat-Su Borough Administration Building is named after my cousin Dorothy. Minnie’s youngest brother, my father, followed his sister to Alaska in 1949.  
  • I went to Airport Heights Elementary, Wendler, and East. To this day I live in the (highly remodeled) house that I grew up in. Three of the neighbor kids from my youth still live within a block. When I see one of them, Richard, out walking his dog, I have to fight the urge not to call him by his childhood nickname, “Dickey.”
  • My wife is originally from Houston Texas; her uncle was the famous oil well firefighter Red Adair, who was loosely portrayed by John Wayne in the 1968 movie “Hellfighters.”  Her uncle did not actually look like John Wayne. Not even close.
  • I like German Shepherd Dogs, hoppy pilsners, and BMW motorcycles. Coincidentally, I am part German.
  • In law school I wanted to be a trial lawyer. I didn’t know that a “civil litigator” wasn’t the same thing until I started working for a business law firm once I got my JD.  Ten years later and almost ready to quit the law, I took a two-week job filling in at the Office of Public Advocacy’s criminal section. A few months later the section supervisor asked me back to second chair a first-degree murder case. That was my first criminal trial.  I have been a criminal defense lawyer ever since. In those 20-plus years, I have never had a misdemeanor go to trial.

Name: Bill Gordon

Position: Public Member

Board member since: 2012

City: Salcha

Alaska resident since: Lifelong Alaskan

Firm or Agency: Retired

Education: University of  North Carolina

 

  • Lived first three years as a toddler in Pt. Hope, AK.
  • Lived in Anchorage 4 years serving as a teacher at Chugiak High.
  • Lived in Juneau 4 years working as an aide to Governor Jay Hammond.
  • Lived in Fairbanks where I have owned several businesses, most recently investor-owned public utilities.
  • Currently reside on Harding Lake in Salcha, AK.
  • Graduated from University of North Carolina and remain an avid UNC basketball fan (Duke Law School graduates who applied for judgeships during my term on the Alaska Judicial Council will remember tough examinations!).
  • Married to Bonnie. We have three children.

Name:  Jessica Graham

Position: Attorney Member

Board member since: 2019

City: Anchorage

Firm or Agency: Alaska USA Federal Credit Union – Chief Risk Officer and General Counsel

Education: Duke University Law School

 

  • My husband Jason and I have three girls ages 17, 15 and 13. All of our names begin with “J.”
  • I love big dogs and have two – a Golden Retriever and a Newfie mix.  I grew up with collies and cry every time I see one because I still miss my old collie, Tally, that died 20 years ago.
  • I grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, still have an occasional slight hint of a southern accent, and my kids make fun of me for how I say the days of the week (“Mon-dee, Tues-dee”)
  • My first paid job was cleaning toilets in the buildings of a small college. My second job was at the equivalent of a Chuck-E-Cheese where I had to don a huge bear costume for birthday parties.
  • Disneyland makes me happy.

Name: Bill Granger

Position: Treasurer

Board member since: 2001-2009 | 2011-Present

City: Anchorage

Alaska resident since: 1964

Firm or Agency: Wells Fargo

Education: Gonzaga University (Undergraduate), University of Washington (Graduate Pacific Coast Banking School), Notre Dame University (Graduate Catholic Charity Management, Mendoza College of Business)

 

  • I have been a pilot most of my life, flying a J-3 while attending Romig junior high school, and today owning a Cessna 185 and a Super Cub. Hunting/fishing and spending time at my cabin consumes most of my non-working time. My wife and I love to travel. Last year we visited Egypt, Israel, and Turkey.
  • I have always had a fascination with the law. In high school while working at Matanuska Valley Bank I would spend my spare time in the law library, studying cases and writing briefs, finding this to be fun and very interesting, but I was the only guy who wore a white shirt and tie to school every day also. Maybe by today’s standards I would be considered a nerd. The middle of my junior year at Dimond High School I was accepted into Gonzaga University. After attending Gonzaga I returned to Alaska and my work in banking. If my love of banking had not been stronger I surely would have attended law school.
  • Married 31 years (Diane Otto), three children; Suzie, Andrew, and Christopher.
  • Employed by Wells Fargo Bank N.A. Senior Vice President. Every bank I have worked for has been acquired by Wells Fargo. 40 years banking in Alaska. Currently supervise the Credit Management Groups in Alaska, Washington and Oregon.

Name: Ben Hofmeister

Position: President-Elect

Board member since: 2018

City: Juneau

Law School: University of Notre Dame

Firm or Agency: Attorney Generals Office

 

I was born in Spokane, Washington.  I attended the University of Portland for college and graduated law school from the University of Notre Dame in 2001.  I clerked for the Honorable John Reese after  law school and then went on to the District Attorney’s Office in Anchorage.  Since then I have worked as a prosecutor in Dillingham, an Assistant Attorney General in Anchorage and Juneau (as of August 2018), and I have been the District Attorney in Ketchikan.  I have litigated cases from Ketchikan to Nome and taken jury verdicts in eight different courthouses….I think…

 

FIVE FUN (MAYBE) FACTS ABOUT ME:

  1. I am not a very good at it, but I love to downhill ski.
  2. My favorite condiment is sriracha mayonnaise.
  3. The thing that people like the most about me is my wife.
  4. I am a founding member of two separate book clubs in two different cities in Alaska.
  5. My favorite album in college was Sweet Oblivion by the Screaming Trees.

Name: Cameron Leonard

Position: Secretary

Board member since: 2017

City: Fairbanks

Alaska resident since: 1983

Law School: Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley

Firm or Agency: Perkins Coie LLP

 

I have been in Fairbanks since 1983 when I moved north to clerk for the late Hon. Jay Rabinowitz.  Then worked briefly at the Public Defender’s Office before jumping to the civil side, and working as an Assistant Attorney General for some 25 years. Have been senior counsel at Perkin Coie for over four years now, and my practice is exclusively in the environmental and natural resources field.  I have two grown children, one of whom is in law school in Madison, and the other finding her way in Anchorage.  For fun I go canoeing and kayaking, garden, play guitar, and try to escape from the long interior winters by going anywhere sunny whenever I can get away with it.


Name: Hanna Sebold

Position: Attorney Member

Board member since: 2008-2014 | 2016-present

City: Juneau

Alaska resident since: 2003

Law School: California Western School of Law

Firm or Agency: Attorney General’s Office

 

  • I was born and raised just north of San Diego
  • I race thoroughbred horses and go home every summer for a few weeks of racing season at Del Mar
  • This is my third term on the board
  • I have a yellow lab named Oliver
  • Current obsession: soundtrack from Hamilton; currently blaring from my car.

Name: Robert Stone

Position: President

Board member since: 1997-1999 | 2016-present

City: Anchorage

Alaska resident since: 1970

Law School: Gonzaga University School of Law

Firm or Agency: Law Office of Robert Stone, LLC

 

  • I was raised in Anchorage, graduating from Dimond High School.
  • I was raised flying, hunting, and fishing, and so it was no surprise that I took ground school for flying while at Dimond High.
  • I was a 4-year varsity wrestler for the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!)
  • I was the host of Alaska Outdoors Television, airing on the Outdoor Channel, for 8 years.
  • I have two children, Matthew and Olivia.

Name: Diana Wildridge

Position: New Lawyer Liaison

Board member since: 2018

City: Fairbanks

Alaska resident since: Lifelong Alaskan

Education: University of Oregon

Firm or Agency: Alaska Public Defender Agency

 

I was born and raised in Fairbanks.  I attended University of Oregon for undergrad and for law school (I’m a double duck!), and graduated law school in May 2017.  I always knew I wanted to be a public defender, and now I’m lucky enough to find myself doing that exact thing in my hometown.

 

5 fun facts:

  • I love languages, and studied French, Russian, and Spanish in college.
  • I have a fish in my office named Ruth “Betta” Ginsburg.
  • I actually missed Fairbanks winters when I was in Oregon.
  • I was an active member of the North Star Youth Court as a child.
  • Gordon Ramsey has apparently gifted my fiance and I a sea bass for our wedding in September.  (Even if it never arrives, it’s the thought that counts.)