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DEC Commissioner Ballard Leaves State Service


October 16, 2004

Juneau, Alaska - Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski announced Friday that he regretfully accepted the resignation of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Ernesta Ballard, who leaves state service on October 25th to accept a position as a senior vice president at Weyerhaeuser Company.

jpg Ernesta Ballard

Commissioner Ernesta Ballard says she is living her dreams - first, by helping Governor Murkowski realize his vision of responsible resource development in Alaska, and then by working for one of the world's largest integrated forests products companies.

Ballard, formerly of Ketchikan, said the new position with one of the world's largest integrated forest products companies fits perfectly with her long career in public and private sectors.

"It has been an honor to serve Governor Murkowski. Together we have demonstrated that development and resource protection are compatible," Ballard said. "I urge Alaskans to support the natural resource development policies of this remarkable team. Alaska's interest will always be my interest."

Ballard will serve as Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs with Weyerhaeuser, headquartered in Federal Way, Washington and will report directly to Steven R. Rogel, chairman, president and chief executive officer. She will be a member of the company's senior management team. In her new role, Ballard will lead the functions of corporate communications, corporate philanthropy, government affairs and environment, health and safety.

"As a company whose license to operate depends upon the will of the public, the leader of our Corporate Affairs function is critical to our success," Rogel said. "Ernesta has a deep understanding of environmental issues, regulatory processes and the role of communications that makes her an ideal person to lead this important function. Her broad and varied management experience, combined with her reputation as an implementer, makes Ernesta a strong addition to our senior management team," said Rogel.

Governor Murkowski said he is sorry to lose the service of Ballard, who has been a valued cabinet member and outstanding state environmental regulator.

"Ernesta has shown integrity and commitment in fulfilling the regulatory responsibilities of the Department of Environmental Conservation. We wish her well in her new assignment," Governor Murkowski said.

Commissioner Ballard explained that her husband, Deputy Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development Ed Fisher had some medical issues that needed attending to and he will be having surgery in Seattle the week of October 25th. She said he will be returning to Juneau after that and returning to his position at the Alaska Department of Labor. Ballard said that Fisher and the Governor will then discuss the most orderly transition for him. Fisher was unable to be at the news conference Friday.

Ballard, who joined the Murkowski administration in 2002, came from Ketchikan where she headed a consulting practice specializing in regulatory strategy that emphasized integrated management systems to protect the environment, health and safety.

Ballard served as Budget Director for the University of Washington, and subsequently as Senior Vice President for Retail Banking at Seattle Trust and Savings Bank. From 1983-86, she was Regional Administrator of Region 10 of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Ballard moved to Alaska in 1989 to become CEO of the Village Corporation for Saxman, Alaska. After leaving Cape Fox, Ballard became a consultant offering clients strategic planning and environmental management services. She was appointed in 1997 by President Clinton to serve on the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service where she chaired the Audit Committee.

Ballard has also served on the boards of the University of Washington Medical Center and the Ketchikan General Hospital. She was founding member and current chair of LifeCenter Northwest, an organ procurement organization for Washington, Montana and Alaska. She is past board member and officer of the Alaska Forest Association and founding member of the Ketchikan Humane Society.

Ballard replaces Mack L. Hogans at Weyerhaeuser who previously announced his plans to retire after 25 years with the company. During his career, Hogans held numerous positions in the Wood Products business and Government Affairs. Hogans was responsible for leading the integration of MacMillan Bloedel into Weyerhaeuser and establishing the company's entry into an electronic commerce joint venture.

Weyerhaeuser Company incorporated in 1900 is one of the world's largest integrated forest products companies. In 2003, the company reported sales of $19.9 billion. Weyerhaeuser has offices or operations in 18 countries, with customers worldwide. Weyerhaeuser is principally engaged in the growing and harvesting of timber; the manufacture, distribution and sale of forest products; and real estate construction, development and related activities.

Governor Murkowski has named Deputy Commissioner Kurt Fredriksson as acting commissioner. "Kurt was instrumental in drafting our recent comments on the report of the U.S. Oceans Commission and he will be a good steward of the department and, most importantly, of the environment," Governor Murkowski said.



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