Meet the Board – Franklin John

Published October 2018

1. Describe your family:
I’m the youngest son of Katie John. I’m married, and I have 5 children and a bunch of grandchildren. My wife’s name is Nona. My children’s names are Romonia John, Michael Jordan, Shannon Sanford, Adrien Ewan, and Davina Goodlawtaw. All my children are grown and are out of the house. From my oldest Romonia I have 5 grandchildren, from Michael Jordan I have 3, from Shannon I have 3, from Adrian I have 1 and Davina 4.

2. What clan are you a member of?
Northern Ahtna clan – Raven – ‘Alts’e’tnaey.

3.What are some defining/influential moments in your life?
My mom, Katie John, was an influence on me growing up. She taught us the old ways that involved living off the land. She started the Katie John case that went on for 30 years. That was a big influence on me.

4. Is there anyone in particular in your life that has inspired you?
As a young guy I looked up to a guy named Fred Rungee. He used to take us younger kids out camping and take us out to lakes to go fishing. He taught us how to fish and when he went along with us we always enjoyed it. He was one guy that inspired me as I was growing up. He was eventually adopted into the clan by my mother and was like an uncle to me.

5.What are you most passionate about in your life?
I believe in the highest God and he guides my life. I’m passionate about that. My present passion as a board member is for shareholder hire.

6.What hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
Potlatches and the dancing. I also like to go fishing and build fish wheels. I am learning to make native drums; I just started a few years ago.

7. What are your hopes for the future of Ahtna?
More shareholders into higher paying jobs within Ahtna and eventually to have our shareholders take the company over.

8. How long have you served on the Ahtna Board?
12 full years and going on 13 right now.

9. What is the Board’s vision for Ahtna, Inc?
Right now, our vision is for the shareholders, their dividends, greater profit and better shareholder hire through employment.

10. What made you want to join the Board?
I was influenced by a couple of village council members and at first, I didn’t really think I would do a good job. Some of the village council members encouraged me to join and I just got my 10 signatures and I surprised myself and I won!

11. What excites you the most about the Board’s work?
It just seems like I’m doing something for the shareholders. It seems like I’m trying to help them by being on the Board and that’s what I like – to know that I’m helping shareholders.

12. What are some key things you wanted to change/implement when you joined the Board?
I want to focus on more shareholder hire and more shareholders in higher positions at Ahtna. I worked for Ahtna before I joined the Board and what I saw was shareholders not getting hired. We don’t get promoted enough to the management or foremen positions. That’s what I’d like to change and implement.

13. What is one or a few things you would love for all shareholders to know about the Board?
I would like to let the shareholders know that we all sometimes disagree but at the end of the day we are all friends and stick together for the shareholders.

14. What message would you like to share with the youth of today?
Education is a good thing, but I’d like to encourage them to look to the Lord; to open their eyes to understanding and let the Lord guide them in what they do. Don’t just follow the world and let the world guide you, follow the Lord and pray. Pray for us, pray for the shareholders and pray for themselves.

15. Can you tell me more about your work history and community involvement?
I worked for Ahtna Construction for 22 years and when I lived in the village of Mentasta I was on the village council; now I live in Tazlina.

16. Anything else you would like to share?
I’d like to encourage shareholders to get the best education you can. Finish high school if you are able and if you haven’t finished, at least get your GED. You can go and try to join a union apprenticeship if you don’t have a higher education. You can still work towards a good retirement even if you don’t have degree. I’d also like to encourage parents of younger ones to get them outside doing more physical work, so they can learn what hard work is. Growing up our swimming pool was the lake – we got outside and learned how to work hard.

Franklin John, Ahtna Board of Directors, Mentasta Lake, Seat H