Birch bark texture.

Ahtna Kanas Winter 2020

Meet Doug Tansy — Shareholder, Electrician, Leader

Doug Tansy

What is your full name?

Douglas Alan Tansy

What are your parents and grandparents’ names?

Parents are Roy and Irene Tansy, Jake and Lily Tansy Paternal Grandparents (Cantwell), Alfred and Carmel Widmark Maternal Grandparents (Klawock). Doug is originally from the Ahtna village of Cantwell, Alaska and a member of the Udzisyu (Caribou) clan. Mr. Tansy’s father is also from Cantwell and is Ahtna Athabascan of the (Naltsiine) Sky clan. His late mother was from Klawock and was Tlingit of the (Yéil /L’eeneidí) Raven/Dog Salmon clan.

Where did you grow up?

My childhood was primarily spent in the Copper Valley (Copper Center), going to school there, but every summer was enjoyed in Cantwell. For high school, my parents allowed for me to move to Fairbanks with my cousin Paul Mayo so that I could attend a larger school and have the opportunity to play football and wrestle at a higher level.

Where do you live now?

Fairbanks, Alaska

What is your work position title and what are your duties?

I am the Assistant Business Manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1547, covering the entire state of Alaska. My main responsibility in the organization is to represent and work for the membership of our Union, but this representation happens in many ways. I am perpetually working in politics and policy making at the Municipal, State, and Federal level; advocating for good jobs/projects, pushing for policy that will benefit the middle class, and fighting for equity in opportunities for all people. Some of my administrative work in the organization involves negotiations of labor contracts, administering the agreements which means representing the workers under the contract, either individual or as the whole group for any disputes or issues. Some of my responsibilities are the oversight of some Trust plans, like Health and Welfare, Apprenticeship, Pension, and Legal; which are benefit plans for the membership. Some of my favorite and most rewarding work to me is my impact on our Apprenticeship Schools statewide. I serve on the Trust which helps chart the direction of the entire program, as well as on the Local interview and disciplinary committees. These duties put me out in the community promoting the opportunities we have to offer, speaking at all the area high schools, job fairs, military transitions events, University of Alaska, etc.; and affords me the chance to interview the candidates which is something I absolutely love. I find all aspects of our training and apprenticeship to be fulfilling and rewarding because it is all a part of helping people succeed professionally with careers that can provide so much good fortune.

What made you want to work for the company?

I am absolutely in love with job that I get to do every day and I honestly don’t know how I got so lucky. My career in the electrical trade took me far, extremely fast, and well beyond my greatest expectations. Just before I was asked to consider this job I was working towards a different goal, which was to become an electrical contractor. My skills and experience had me well prepared to pursue this path with confidence, because of the investment made in me…the curriculum, the instructors, the training and hands on teaching, and the mentoring on the job. I had already been provided the chance to bid work, elevate through the ranks from apprentice, Journeyman, Foreman, General Forman, Project Manager/Estimator; traveling the state and country while doing it. My professional and personal life had benefited so much since my decision to apply for my apprenticeship, there was no way I could pass my moment to give back to something that had rewarded me so much. I believe in what my Union does and what it stands for, following my marriage and the choice to go for this career, accepting this position has been one of my best decisions.

What knowledge or skill do you hope to gain through your position and how do you see it supporting your personal or career goals?

Throughout my time with the IBEW, I have had the good fortune to continually learn and develop different skills. I haven’t always known how they’d serve me in the future, but they seem to continually do so. I’ve learned the electrical trade earning a Journeyman Electrician License, and the State of Alaska Electrical Administrators License for Unlimited Commercial Wiring, which is required to be an electrical contractor and I have not let go of that dream yet. This job has given me insight to the broader business community and world, allowing me to build relationships that will help my current job but would definitely benefit my chances to succeed in contracting. I have also been intrigued by the political and public policy process, and my involvement in this arena sets me up to pursue other ideas in the future whether it be in politics or business that overlaps with policy making. As a future personal goal, I know that there will be issues that I want to advocate for in our local governments, for example adoption. My family had the blessing of adopting one of our children which is its own reward but as time permits in the future I want to be a champion for this cause now that I know more about it, including how challenging and cumbersome it can be. There is a disproportionately higher need than availability of adoptive/foster homes in the State and my job today is teaching me how I can affect the positive changes I want to see.

What role has Ahtna played in your education or career pursuits?

During my apprenticeship I was supported by many elders who advised and encouraged me along the way. I also receive financial help during my schooling from the Walter Charley Scholarship. Ahtna helped my development on the job through subsidiary Ahtna Construction, where I was able to earn money while I learned the trade and work for my corporation at the same time.

Doug Tansy and family

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

My wife, Kristine and I have five children, so we are non-stop at their sporting events or school activities. We also enjoy hunting, fishing and berry picking as a family. Now that the kids are getting older, we are enjoying skiing, hiking, 4-wheeling and snowmachines. I also enjoy volunteering in the community – coaching wrestling, working at the food bank, soup kitchen, senior center, etc.; and the kids have started joining us there too now.