How Cool is That?: Innovation in the Arctic

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Date(s) - Friday, May 12, 2017
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
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Anchorage Hilton



Special Remarks by Norwegian Ambassador to the U.S. – Kåre R. Aas
Ambassador Kåre R. Aas presented his credentials to President Obama at the White House on Sept. 17, 2013.

Ambassador Kåre R. Aas’s distinguished career with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs began in 1983. He left his position in Oslo as Political Director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to become the Norwegian Ambassador to the United States. Prior to his assignment as Political Director, Amb. Aas served as the Norwegian Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan from 2008 – 2010. From 2003 – 2008, Amb. Aas served as Director General, Department for Security Policy and the High North. In that capacity he had the bilateral relationships between Norway and the U.S., the Russian Federation and the Central Asian Republics in his portfolio, and chaired and/or was a member of several international groups working on nuclear disarmament and international peacekeeping operations. From 2005 – 2007 he also served as Norwegian Governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) Board of Governors. Amb. Aas was born on May 25, 1955 in Oslo, Norway. He has three daughters and one son.

NORWAY – Morten Brugård, Senior Advisor, Innovation Norway
Morten Brugård is a senior advisor with Innovation Norway based in Vadsø, Norway. Innovation Norway is the Norwegian Government’s most important instrument for innovation and development of Norwegian enterprises and industry. Mr. Brugård is responsible for Innovation Norway’s Arctic 2030 scheme on behalf of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Through the scheme 17,5 million USD have been made available to strengthen business cooperation with Russia and other Arctic states, Nordic neighbors, other European countries and others with an interest in the Arctic.

Mr. Brugård holds a BSc in Economics and an MSc in Strategy and Management from the Norwegian School of Economics. He was an exchange student in Russia where he learnt Russian language and studied Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Grad School of Management in St. Petersburg, Russia. Mr. Brugård also studied Business opportunities in North-West Russia at University of Nordland, Contemporary Issues of the Circumpolar World at the University of Tromsø and Understanding Chinese Foreign Policy Making at Peking University summer school. Mr. Brugård has also taken part in The International Visitor Leadership Program which is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program.

Prior to joining Innovation Norway Mr. Brugard was project manager for an EU-program aiming to facilitate cross border entrepreneurship between Sweden, Finland, Russia and Norway. Mr. Brugård’s background is in banking and finance.


Kristina Woolston is Vice President External Relations for Quintillion, a private company headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska that will build and operate the Quintillion Subsea Cable System. Quintillion’s fiber optic cable system will bring high speed internet to the Alaska communities of Nome, Kotzebue, Point Hope, Wainwright and Barrow, and expanded services to Alaska’s oil field, Prudhoe Bay in 2017. The Quintillion system will offer increased hi-speed capacity, lower latency, and critically-needed diverse and redundant communication routes at speeds faster than existing transmission rates, and operate at 50-90% less than existing satellite and microwave backhaul options. Quintillion plans to extend the system internationally to Asia and Europe, with additional spurs into Alaska and the Canadian Arctic. Once complete, the Quintillion system will provide a diverse route out of North America and between Asia and Europe.

Kristina’s diverse career includes a stint in the D.C. office of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), Assistant Director at the World Trade Center Alaska, Director of Community Relations for NovaGold, a mineral’s exploration company leading the world-class Donlin Creek Gold Project in Southwest Alaska and, most recently, as Vice President Government Relations for over a decade with Alaska’s largest Alaska Native village corporation and the fourth largest Alaska-based company, Chenega Corporation. February 2016, Kristina accepted the opportunity to be Vice President External Relations for Quintillion as they build the Quintillion Subsea Cable System and bring a fiber optic network for the first time to the North American Arctic.

Devany Plentovich has spent the last 7 years as the Program Manager for Biomass and Combined Heat and Power for the Alaska Energy Authority, focusing on project development in the 200+ rural communities that are not tied to the Anchorage-Fairbanks power grid. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science and Policy. Devany’s previous experience includes 22 years with a consumer products corporation where she managed projects in biomass co-generation, environmental sustainability, and product development.

**Additional Alaskan Innovators to be announced as confirmed.**

If you are a teacher who would like to bring a student group to a program, please visit our student page for more information, and contact us about accommodating your group at Please do not register students individually using the form below.

Online registration for this event will close at 8:00am on Thursday, May 11th. Questions about this event and registration should be directed to or (907)276-8038. Doors will open at 11:30am. Please plan to arrive prior to noon to check-in and settle-in before the program begins.

Love ARCTIC programming and want more? Check-out the North By North Festival coming to Anchorage May 12th through 14th.

North By North activities are designed to celebrate the state’s Arctic, share that Arctic with community members, and attract visitors from other Arctic states to learn, exchange and build. Together, these events form North by North—an introduction to and reclaiming of Arctic innovation, resilience and sustainability. Each is driven by local and public participation, spanning the circumpolar North.

Learn more on the North By North website and get engaged in the conversation on their Facebook page.

Get Tickets

Ticket Type Price Spaces
Non-Member Lunch Admission, May 12
General admission including lunch.
Member Lunch Admission, May 12
For current members of AKWorld. Not a member? Visit our "Join us" page to join today.
Lecture Only Admission, May 12
For members and non-members who do not wish to eat lunch.
Active-Duty Military Admission, May 12
Admission for active-duty military personnel and their spouses, includes lunch. Made possible thanks to a generous anonymous sponsorship.
Ambassador Member Lunch, May 12
For Ambassador members of AKWorld wishing to use to their complimentary admission for themselves and one guest. Interested in becoming an Ambassador member? Visit our "Join us" page to join today.
Student Lunch Admission, May 12
BP sponsored admission for full-time students. Student ID will be requested at check-in. Student groups of 5 or more must contact to inquire about space availability.