The following professionals are currently engaged in projects with NSG. Though this is far from an exhaustive list of our partners, these individuals and partner firms are representative of the talent and experience that NSG can commit to clients and projects.

Core Service Professionals

Veronica SlajerPrincipal Advisor for Communities and Social Performance – leads the team of professionals at the North Star Group, an advocacy, research and community engagement firm she founded in 2002. Ms. Slajer has more than 30 years of experience with economic development, community engagement, stakeholder relations, and matters affecting rural communities and Indigenous peoples. Ms. Slajer holds a Master of Rural Development degree with a concentration on community engagement in the mining and extractive industries. Ms. Slajer was appointed by the Secretary of Interior to the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI), a federal advisory committee shaping a global standard to improve accountability of oil, gas, and mining revenues.

Amy Sparck – Community and Government Advisor – advocates in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Alaska Native, Native American and Native Hawaiian people. Ms. Sparck was raised in Bethel and Chevak in Alaska’s Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta as a member of a family noted for its involvement in rural Native education and self-determination advocacy. As professional staff to the Alaska Congressional Delegation and the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Ms. Sparck understands the complexities of the federal system.  Ms. Sparck has also worked with Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (a 56 village utility), the Coastal Villages Region Fund (a Community Development Quota fishery), the Association of Village Council Presidents, Calista Corporation, and served as rural liaison for the Municipality of Anchorage in Alaska.

Seth SivinskiOcean and Polar Affairs Associate / External Affairs Associate – Seth, who has worked with the Arctic Report in the Pacific Northwest since July 2015, joins the North Star Group full time in the Washington, D.C. office after recently completing his master’s degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington. Seth’s background is in political science and international studies as well as the Arctic, which was the focus of his graduate work. At the University of Washington, he completed a research project for the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation dealing with emerging risk in marine transportation in which the Arctic played a major role. During his time graduate school, he attended Arctic Conferences in Iceland and Alaska, in addition to meetings in the Seattle area.

Eda Keller – Business Development Advisor – promotes North Star Group services and connects stakeholders to information opportunities.  Ms. Keller was born and raised in Nome, Alaska and has family ties in Shishmaref and Unalakleet, Alaska.  In addition, she is a shareholder of Bering Straits Native Corporation and Sitnasuak Native Corporation.  Ms Keller-English is very proud of her Inupiaq heritage and keeps Alaska issues close to her heart.  Before relocating to Washington, DC in 2012 Ms. Keller was based in Alaska.  Over the course of this time frame, she has worked for Kawerak, Inc., the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), and Native American Contractors Association.  She holds a B.A. in Business Administration from UAF with a minor in rural development, focusing on management and organizations.

Karl Ohls Senior Policy Advisor – provides in-depth analysis and historical context for issues and advocacy.  A third generation Alaskan, Mr. Ohls started in Alaska journalism, covering fisheries, natural resources development, and state and municipal government which led to a successful public service career in the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of the Governor, the Department of Commerce & Economic Development, and the Alaska Department of Labor.  In both Juneau and D.C., Mr. Ohls has advocated for resource sector jobs and training, the seafood industry, rural Alaska, local government, the Arctic ecosystem, and Indigenous culture.

Heather Arnett – Principal Advisor, Advocacy – facilitates and advises on successful advocacy campaigns with local, statewide, national and global impact, leveraging her experience in community supported development, job creation and employment training initiatives, affordable housing development, and social improvement programs.  Ms. Arnett served as CEO of the Association of Alaska Housing Authorities (AAHA) and the YWCA Anchorage.  She was chair of the YWCA Northwest U.S. Region’s Advocacy Committee, which provides advocacy tools and strategies to support its members’ missions.  Ms. Arnett led the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault’s statewide Legislative Committee.  She is an Oxfam America Sisters on the Planet Ambassador, a coalition of women leaders who work to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and social injustice.

 

Strategic Partners & Organizations

Jack Ferguson has been involved with major issues and legislation that have shaped the development and history of the State of Alaska, along with a corresponding impact on the Pacific Northwest. As president of Jack Ferguson Associates (JFA) for more than 35 years, Mr. Ferguson devotes personal attention to clients and issues while maintaining JFA’s stature as a small and influential company. JFA’s specialty is a thorough understanding of the rules that govern the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, critical knowledge of the process for moving legislation through committees and subcommittees, and an appreciation of the crucial role that timing plays in planning strategy for each two-year cycle of the Congress. As former staff to Congressman Don Young and Senator Ted Stevens (deceased), and with a longstanding working relationship with Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, Mr. Ferguson is often called the Dean of the Alaska lobbyist corps. Beyond Alaska specific issues, JFA’s work covers the committees of jurisdiction for energy, natural resources, transportation, Native affairs, and commerce.

Wyatt Perry a finance and economics specialist, relocated to the D.C. metro area to join Jack Ferguson Associates.  He previously served as a special assistant to the Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Revenue under former Gov. Sean Parnell and current Gov. Bill Walker, where he acted as the project leader on developing fiscal initiatives to address Alaska’s budget deficit. Also from Alaska, Mr. Perry was born and raised in Anchorage and attended the University of Alaska Anchorage with a double major in finance and economics.

Rebecca L. Adamson is the founder of the First Nations Development Institute, as well as the founder of First Peoples Worldwide. Many of her projects involve giving Native Americans more control over their own schools and education, the promotion of Tribal economic independence, the development of Indigenous People’s sovereignty, and the creation of enterprises and entities based on original cultures and beliefs. Since 1970, Ms. Adamson’s organization has raised and distributed millions of dollars to help tribes in developing successful small businesses and economies.

 

 

Canada

Hans Matthews is Anishnawbe and a resident of the Wahnapitae First Nation, Ontario. He is a professional geologist with more than 25 years of experience in the minerals and resource management industries. Mr. Matthews has extensive experience in Aboriginal community development and in the mineral exploration industry in Canada and abroad. In 1991, he founded and continues to be a director and president of the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association (CAMA). Mr. Matthews is an advisor to governments, Aboriginal communities, and mining companies. His clients include Natural Resources Canada, Mineral Policy Center South Africa, Rio Tinto (Australia, Mongolia, and North America), Placer Dome, and many others.

 

In addition to these professional colleagues, NSG retains support and research staff at its office on Capitol Hill. For more information on NSG services, contact vaslajer@northstargrp.com or call (202) 544-6355.