Meet the Board – Ken Johns

Published April 2018

Ken Johns
Ken Johns was the President/CEO of Ahtna, Inc. from 2000 to 2011. He has served on many Ahtna committees and subsidiary boards over the years and was reelected to the Ahtna, Inc. Board of Directors in 2017.

He previously worked at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Copper River Native Association and has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Copper River School District, Indian Education Board, Alaska Village Initiatives, Alaska Commercial Company, Native American Rights Fund, and Alaska Federation of Natives. His financial experience includes serving as a Bank Advisor for National Bank of Alaska and Wells Fargo. He currently serves as Special Assistant to the President for Cully Corporation and is the former CEO.

Describe your family (married, children, grandchildren?)
I am married to Leona Johns and we have four children: Jerry, Amber, Caleb and Andrew. We also have 12 grandchildren.

What clan are you a member of?
The Udzisyu Caribou clan.

What are some defining/influential moments in your life?
Back in the days when I became a Christian that is continuing to influence my life since then.

Is there anyone in particular in your life that has inspired you?
My dad, Harry Johns, Sr. has been an inspiration to me.

What hobbies or activities do you enjoy?
Hunting and fishing; subsistence hunting. I like to go hunting any chance I get. I also like basketball; I have a game tonight! They watch my shooting! I also enjoy coin collecting with the thought that one day one of my grandkids will take up the interest in collecting and sports card collecting. My favorite team is the Boston Celtics.Now that I’m retired I have the time needed to work hard for the shareholders and elders of the Ahtna region. I’m able to truly focus on the issues and commit the time necessary to my position on the board.

What are your hopes for the future of Ahtna?
My hope for for Ahtna is that it will train and mentor our young people to be able to operate and run the corporation – in all areas of their business.

How long have you served on the Ahtna Board?
I have served off and on the Ahtna Board for about 10 years.

What is the Board’s vision for Ahtna, Inc?
First and foremost it’s the protection of land, profitability and growing the trust fund.

What made you want to join the Board?
My village, Kluti-Kaah, wanted me to represent them.

What excites you the most about the Board’s work?
The future.

What are some key things you wanted to change/implement when you joined the Board?
There was nothing I wanted to change. I wanted to make sure that there were safeguards in place for the financials of the corporation.

What is one or a few things you would love for all shareholders to know about the Board?
That it is a very important function for determining Ahtna’s future.

What message would you like to share with the youth of today?
First and foremost is to be happy in areas that you currently are. Anything past that is a plus.

Leona and Ken Johns shortly after they were married in 1972.

Can you tell me more about your work history and community involvement?
I have been involved with Ahtna since the inception of the corporation starting with enrollment and the land selections. I was an iron worker on the pipeline. I have served on state-wide boards, bank boards and economic boards throughout my lifetime. I am an active member in our Copper Center church and Wrangell Mountain Bible Conference.