William Hensley, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Department of Business and Public Policy, University of Alaska, Anchorage, joins Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment director Chris Field for a conversation on Oct. 30, 2018.
William Iggiagruk Hensley (Inupiat) was born in Northwest Alaska about 40 miles above the Arctic Circle - the NANA region. Hensley is the Chair of First Alaskans Institute’s Board of Trustees. He is also a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of Business and Public Policy at University of Alaska, Anchorage. He retired from the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company where he served as Manager of Federal Government Relations in Washington, DC for nine years.
Hensley was a founder of NANA Regional Corporation, served as a director for 20 years and concluded his career there as President. While at NANA, he directed its involvement in the oilfield services area, most specifically in the environmental services and drilling ventures. He was also active in the development of the world's largest lead and zinc mine. He was a founder of Maniilaq, the regional non-profit representing the tribes in the Kotzebue region, and was involved in the formation of the Alaska Federation of Natives and served as executive director, President and Co-Chairman.
Hensley wrote a paper in a constitutional law course at the University of Alaska in 1966 titled "What Rights to Land have the Alaska Natives: The Primary Issue" which encapsulated the land claims issue and provided the background that many Native Alaskans needed to take action to begin the land claims process.
He is also the author of “Fifty Miles From Tomorrow, A Memoir of Alaska and the Real People.” It is both the story of his life and connection to his homelands, and that of contemporary Alaska.
Prior to Alyeska, Hensley was appointed Commissioner of Commerce and Economic Development by Governor Tony Knowles. He was responsible for state involvement in tourism and seafood marketing, international trade, insurance, banking and securities as well as occupational licensing. He also served on the Oil and Gas Policy Council, the Board of directors of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, the Alaska Railroad and the Alaska Industrial Development Authority.
Hensley graduated from George Washington University in Washington, D. C. with a bachelor's degree in Political Science and a minor in Economics. Following graduation, Hensley was elected to the Alaska State House of Representatives where he served four years and was elected to the Senate for a four-year term.
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