Q & A with Shareholder Employees

A Conversation with Rick Janitscheck, Informational Technology Manager

This is part of a series of interviews with NANA’s shareholder-employees.

 

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Rick Janitscheck, a shareholder with family from Kotzebue, is the IT manager for NANA’s commercial group. He’s worked at NANA for 10 years, always in IT. Photo by Chris Arend.

 

What is your Iñupiaq name?

Tiġġusi. I was named after my aana (grandmother), Ida Mae Morris.

Where is your family from?

I was born in Anacortes, Washington. When I was young I moved up to Kotzebue, where my mother is from. To be exact, she was actually born at Sadie Creek (south of Kotzebue, toward where Kotzebue Sound meets the mouth of the Chukchi Sea). Growing up, I moved back and forth between Washington and Alaska.

When you were Outside (outside Alaska), what did people ask you about Kotzebue?

I got lots of questions about the northern lights and the midnight sun.

When did you first learn about NANA and what it meant to be a shareholder?

My mother enrolled us when I was very young, so I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a shareholder.

What was your first job?

I worked as a maintenance engineer at the old hospital in Kotzebue. My duties included boiler and generator operation, building maintenance and, at times, building security. The new Maniilaq Health Center utilized a computerized maintenance management system. So before we moved into the new building, I was sent to Minneapolis for training, which pretty much kicked off my IT career.

Where did you study or train?

While working for Maniilaq and NANA, I’ve attended many IT and management classes.

What is your current job?

I’m the IT manager for NANA’s commercial group. Simply put, I manage the service team and provide metrics to senior leadership. We have our hands in everything IT-related. When there’s an issue or an outage, we’re the first to be notified.

You’re the first responders.

Staying on top of issues within the different systems and individuals can be challenging and complex. I enjoy it.

Who has inspired you?

John Daughtry comes to mind. He was the senior director of IT and my first supervisor at NANA. I admired him for his relentless pursuit of shareholder hire and for his willingness to go out of his way to help individuals. I also respected his devout faith and his community contributions.

Our shareholders inspire me. It feels good to know I’ve played a part in making a better future for our shareholders, which include my family and friends. That’s what motivated me to come to work for NANA.

Tell us about coming to work for NANA.

I’ll start with my first interview. John (Daughtry) and the entire IT team sat on one side of the room and I nervously sat alone at the other. They all took turns asking me questions. It worked out great—I was hired and I’m still here, 10 years later.

What do you like best about your job?

IT provides the services that NANA and our subsidiaries need to move fast. My job is never the same from day to day, or even hour to hour. There are always new challenges.

What advice do you have for young shareholders?

Set your goals high. Spend time focusing on the steps you need to take to achieve your goals.

What do you want people to know about NANA?

We are hardworking people with strong values. We adapt to change. We have overcome challenges. We are definitely survivors.

What is the best thing that has happened since you started working at NANA?

With the job opportunities NANA provides, I’ve been able to create a solid foundation for my family here in Anchorage.

What is your vision of NANA in 10 or 20 years?

I can envision a NANA that brings more jobs and opportunities to the region.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

Healthy, wiser and still going. I plan to run for a seat on NANA’s board of directors one day.

What would people be surprised to know about you? What do you do when you’re not at work?

I play the guitar and have been in bands. We covered old hard stuff, like Kiss, Van Halen and Mötley Crüe. I’ve owned a sprint (race) car. In the last few years, I’ve been getting into photography.

What’s your favorite time of the year?

My family and I do a lot of camping and fishing, so I’m a summer person.

What are you most grateful for?

My family and friends. They are everything to me.

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Rick Janitscheck. was interviewed by Carol Richards, Director of Brand Communications for NANA Development Corporation.