BOARD – EXECUTIVE STAFF
APICDA & AJV Board Members
APICDA & AJV boards are primarily comprised of local Fishermen’s Association members; one representative per community in addition to a fishing industry, financial industry and legal community representative.
Hugh Pelkey – Akutan
Hugh Pelkey approaches life with unwavering enthusiasm and is a traditional hunter-gatherer,
an Indigenous rights activist, and an accomplished Unangan artisan craftsman, specializing in men’s weapons and tools. He has wholeheartedly dedicated himself to his art to support his culture and pass the knowledge on to the next generation, as his mentors, William “Bill” Tcheripanoff, Andrew Gronholdt, and Emil Berikoff, Sr., did for him. His visors, spears, and other crafts are highly sought after by art buyers around the world and command high prices. In part, this is because of Hugh’s devotion to traditional methods and styles. From books, he learned where to find ochre, which he makes into water-based paints with hues ranging from yellow to dark maroon. Hugh also uses local obsidian, from a cliff that is renowned throughout the Aleutian Islands for the quality of its stone, and local chert, a softer, slate-like material that can be carved and then hardened in a fire.
In addition to Hugh’s devotion to Unangan art, he is deeply engaged in community life. Hugh is the President of Akutan’s Fishermen’s Association (AFA) and serves as AFA’s APICDA board representative, furthermore, he serves on the Akutan Village Corporation board and is the Community Liaison for the Board of Fish, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, and the International Pacific Halibut Commission.
In his youth, Hugh was a crabber and a longshoreman, in addition to operating a commercial diving business for decades. Today, Hugh owns and operates a commercial fishing business and works as a pilot boat operator in his home community of Akutan.
Mark Snigaroff – Atka
In 2006, APICDA welcomed Mark back to the board; he first served on the board from 1992-1994. Mark was born and raised in the community of Atka and attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the late 1970s. He has served as president of both the Axtam Corporation and the Atka Village Council. Mark has served many years on the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association board, the Atka Fishermen’s Association, the Aleut Marine Mammal Commission and the Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission.
Nikki Hoblet – False Pass
Nikki Hoblet, a lifelong resident of False Pass, comes from a family that relies on commercial fishing. Nikki serves as the False Pass Fishermen’s Association’s representative on the APICDA board, in addition to many other commitments, most notably serving as the Mayor. Mayor Hoblet has dual roles with the City of False Pass, she is the chief executive and the administrator, responsible for all city projects, departments, and grants.
Nikki is used to meeting challenges and leading a life filled with activity. This busy mother of five served as the community health aide for 18 years, following in her Grandmother Anna Hoblet’s footsteps, the first health aide in False Pass. Nikki has also served her community by participating on the Aleutians East Borough School Board, False Pass Tribal Council, lsanotski Corporation Board, and the Aleutians East Borough Assembly.
Justine Gundersen – Nelson Lagoon
Justine is the secretary/treasurer for the APICDA Board. She has served on the board since the inception of the group in 1992. Justine attended college in Minnesota and lived in New York, Iowa, California and Mexico City before moving to Alaska in the 1970s. Justine began her involvement in politics when she moved to the region. In addition to serving on the APICDA board, Justine served on the Aleutians East Borough Assembly, the local fishermen’s association and various Nelson Lagoon advisory committees. Justine has lived in the lagoon for over 30 years and is currently the council administrator for the Tribe and Corporation.
Tanya Lestenkof – Nikolski
Tanya Lestenkof has lived up and down the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Chain, from Sand Point to Nikolski, for most of her life. She graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2001 with BA’s in both English and History. She is currently taking courses part-time to pursue a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, with an emphasis on accounting.
Tanya returned home to Nikolski in June of 2002, became Tribal Administrator for the Native Village of Nikolski in May of 2003, and has spent close to eighteen years in that position. She has served on various boards, including three terms with Aleutian Housing Authority. She has worked with several entities, such as APIA, AHA, and APICDA, to pursue funding for beneficial projects within Nikolski.
When Tanya’s not trapped in front of a computer for work, she spends a lot of her time with her husband, children, and dogs doing various subsistence hunting and fishing activities, enjoying the outdoors, and reading.
Mark Merculief – St. George
Mark Merculief is the Mayor of St. George, an active member of the St. George Fishermen’s Association, an Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association (APIA) board member, and a lifelong resident of St. George. He started commercial
fishing on his father’s boat at the age of 13.
Nicolai Tutiakoff – Unalaska
Nick Tutiakoff traveled extensively throughout the state when he was a student athlete with the Unalaska Raiders. Nick took to heart the traditional lessons sports teach youth in terms of teamwork, dedication, working hard, and sportsmanship. He serves on the APICDA board, is active with the Unalaska Native Fishermen’s Association (UNFA), is a Qawalangin Tribal Council Member, coaches local sports, operates his Fish on Charters business, and works for the Unalaska Public Works Department maintaining the city’s streets.
Nick’s role with APICDA has provided another opportunity to serve his community and region. Nick strongly believes that his generation needs to follow in their elders’ footsteps and embrace leadership roles and service.
Pete Crandall – Financial Institution Representative
Pete graduated from the University of Colorado with a BA in history and English literature. He served as a captain in the United States Army, is a Vietnam veteran and has been awarded the bronze star. He is the former senior vice president and regional administrator for Southeast Alaska with National Bank of Alaska/Wells Fargo. He spent 30 years with NBA/Wells Fargo prior to his retirement.
Bob Nickinovich – Fishing Industry Representative
Bob Nickinovich has over 30 years of experience in marketing, sales and executive management, mainly in the Alaska seafood industry, working in both domestic and international markets. He has experience in production and processing configurations; broker network management; strategic planning; fresh, frozen and shelf-stable product development; budgeting and finance; trading and overseas reprocessing; and domestic/international marketing. Bob has extensive experience in corporate restructuring and creating a new corporate image for companies. He has also served as a director on both corporate and association boards including the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, North Pacific Seafoods and the Pacific Seafood Processors Association.
Leslie was raised on Mt. Edgecumbe and in Sitka. After graduating from Vassar College, she worked for the Alaska Legislature and then attended the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. She practiced law in Alaska for over 30 years, advising Alaska Native Corporations, small communities, and large nonprofits. Having served as APICDA’s General Counsel from 2005 to 2018, Leslie brings to the board familiarity with the organization’s work and a firm commitment to its mission.