Stacey Simmons, Director of Operations
Stacey Simmons is the Director of Operations for the Kodiak Brown Bear Center. She also serves as the Senior Director of Shareholder Service at Koniag, Inc., the parent company of the KBBC.
Stacey is currently the President of Discover Kodiak, the Convention & Visitors Bureau for Kodiak and the Katmai Coast. She has served on the Discover Kodiak Board since 2015. During this time her responsibilities have included serving on the hiring committee for an Executive Director, hosting the annual 2017 Alaska Tourism Industry Association Convention in Kodiak (which drew over 300 people from the tourism community across Alaska) and approving a substantial building remodel for the Visitor Information Center. Today she serves on the Finance, Executive, and Fundraising Committees.
Simmons is a Koniag and Afognak Native Corporation Shareholder and the daughter of Olga Rowland of Afognak and Mitchell “Buddy” Pestrikoff of Old Harbor. She is a member of the Native Village of Afognak. She has five sisters and one brother. Stacey spent her youth in Anchorage, Sitka and on Kodiak in the village of Old Harbor, where her father was a commercial fisherman.
Melissa Berns, Sales & Reservations
Melissa Berns works in many capacities for our Native Corporations. She serves as Regional Outreach Coordinator for the Koniag Education Foundation, Operations Associate for Kadiak, LLC and as part of the Sales & Reservation team at the Kodiak Brown Bear Center.
Melissa was raised in Old Harbor, Alaska on the southeast side of Kodiak Island. She is a shareholder of Koniag and Old Harbor Native Corporation, as well as a member or the Alutiiq Tribe of Old Harbor. Growing up in a rural community, living with nature and the infamous Kodiak Brown Bears was a part of daily life. Melissa’s family subsistence harvested from the bounties of Kodiak’s rich land and water resources, a value she passes on to her children and community at Alutiiq Culture Camps every summer. Coming from a family and community with a rich commercial fishing background, Melissa has spent more than 21 years working on the waters surrounding Kodiak Island. She has worked as a manager for a remote fishing lodge and holds many leadership positions within her community. Her most recent endeavor has been serving as Herd Manager for the newly established Sitkalidak Bison Herd, located adjacent to the village of Old Harbor.
Melissa’s relationship and respect for Kodiak’s Brown Bears is ingrained deeply – not only from her Alutiiq roots but also from her Grandfather’s work as Assistant Manager for the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. Currently, Melissa is able to volunteer time on brown bear research by assisting her fiancé who is the Area Wildlife Biologist for the Kodiak Archipelago.
Mike Apple, Lead Guide
Introducing our Lead Guide Mike Apple. Mike is a retired Washington State Fish and Wildlife Officer. During his award-winning career in civil and wildlife enforcement, Mike gained extensive experience with a wide variety of wildlife, and even worked in Alaska on cases. Needless to say, Mike has been around a bear or two, and has his 50-ton captain’s license, so he can manage our thirty-foot catamaran just fine. One of Mike’s passions is scuba diving – in this picture Mike is wearing WWII vintage dive gear.
VIC BARNES, KBBC Guide Emeritus
Vic was raised in Colorado, attended Colorado State University, and then spent 32 years as a research wildlife biologist. The last 16 years of his career was with the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge (KNWR) where he conducted numerous studies on Kodiak Bear ecology, habitat use and bear viewing. Vic’s renowned research and studies included black bears, polar bears, brown and grizzly bears. Vic has collaborated on many Kodiak bear research and management studies.
Vic currently manages the Kodiak Brown Bear Trust (KBBT). A non-profit organization to support the conservation of the Kodiak brown bears and protection of their wilderness habitats throughout the Kodiak Archipelago. KBBT operations are made possible through public and private funding which supports their research, management, habitat protection and educational outreach programs and projects.
Say “hello” our chef extraordinaire, Jason Lloyd. Jason is originally from Arizona. He began his culinary training working and touring with Cirque Du Soleil. His tours took him all over North America, Europe and Japan. After the tour he returned to Melbourne, Australia where he worked as a sous chef at a Spanish restaurant and later at the Park Hyatt, where he become an executive chef and part of the management team. Jason now lives in Portland, Oregon, but his love of travel and work as a traveling chef for the tourist industry often takes him to new places, including to Alaska. His cooking style is international and multi-regional.
JON PANAMAROFF, CEO
Jon Panamaroff had the honor of being born on Kodiak and raised there & on the Kenai Peninsula. Prior to joining the corporate ranks, Jon worked as a commercial fisherman & logger throughout Alaska. He is an enrolled member of the Sun’aq Tribe of Kodiak and a Shareholder of Koniag, Inc. On top of his work at the KBBC, Jon also served as the Chief Compliance Officer and Senior Vice President of Koniag Government Services. When not working with his teammates at the KBBC and supporting his Kodiak community, you will find him having fun with his Alutiiq children, Katelyn & Trevor, and his high school sweetheart, Kelly.