Two new advisory board members for Travois New Markets

(Pictured: Michael Bland and Joseph Lapilio)

Travois New Markets is excited to announce its two new advisory board members: Joseph Lapilio and Jason Evans. We have been considering adding to our board for some time and are thrilled to have two experienced economic development professionals and community leaders representing Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native voices.

I am personally excited to have these two individuals on Travois’ board because they are experienced economic development professionals and good friends.

I met Joe on my first trip to Hawaii in 2012. Joe and I toured Oahu, visiting hospitals, Native Hawaiian community centers and meeting with community leaders. I also learned about some Native Hawaiian cultural programs like celestial navigation, aquaculture, and Hawaiian language immersion schools. Joe shares my enthusiasm for cultural diversity and has a passion for community economic development.

Joe has worked in community organizing and economic development for more than 24 years. He has worked for Kamehameha Schools, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Department of Health, Wai`anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, and many Hawaiian homestead communities. Joe was also an integral team member, working on the project side, for Molokai Community Health Center. Joe is currently the president of the Wai`anae Economic Development Council and is on the board of directors for the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce.

I first met Jason Evans while on my first visit to Alaska in 2011. At that time Jason was working for Alaska Growth Capital (AGC), a partner CDE in our Unicom rural broadband investments, and he was vice president of consulting and chief operating officer. Similar to Joe, Jason is an excellent host and guide, and we visited several bush communities and regional hubs such as Bethel and Dillingham. But we wouldn’t have asked Jason to join our board based solely on his hosting skills.

Jason has over 15 years of economic development experience in Alaska and is responsible for more than $100 million in investments in the last three years alone. Additionally he was responsible for a $140 million portfolio while working for AGC. Jason is now the president and CEO of Rural Energy Enterprises, a wholesaler of efficient heating products in Alaska, the Northwest U.S. and Canada. He is also the president and CEO of Financial Alaska, a business consulting firm that specializes in economic and regional development. And finally, if you pick up a newspaper in Alaska, it is likely owned by Jason. He owns and publishes five area papers, including the Bristol Bay Times and Dutch Harbor Fisherman.

We hope many of you will have a chance to meet them at this year’s Travois conference or at other Indian Country conferences in the future.