Meet the Staff
ED WARD, General Manager
Ed was raised in Kodiak and is of native Alutiiq descent. Throughout his 40-year storied career he has commercial fished the waters from Kodiak to the Bering Sea for crab, salmon, bottomfish and halibut, co-founded Kenai Coastal Tours to operate wildlife and glaciers tours to the Kenai Fjords National Park onboard an innovative high-speed and stabilized 149 passenger vessel he helped design. Ed served as CEO for his native village corporation until he was lured away to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to work on a DARPA-funded research project to develop a hydrogen gas launcher system capable of launching satellites and other consumables into low earth orbit. After the DARPA project Ed was recruited by ENSTAR Natural Gas in Anchorage, Alaska as their Distribution Supervisor to oversee all distribution pipeline construction and gas service to over 345,000 customers. Ed’s prior workplace experiences coupled with the broad base of competencies he has acquired over the years brought him full circle back to his roots in Kodiak when he was recruited in 2010 by his native regional corporation, Koniag, Inc., to help design, construct and manage a world class, multipurpose facility (the Kodiak Brown Bear Center) on their native ancestral Alutiiq homelands in the Karluk Basin. Ed is proud to manage this special place that embodies his native Alutiiq culture and heritage and serves as a platform and base for guided bear viewing, fishing, meetings, Alutiiq cultural and preservation activities and wildlife and environmental studies.
NATASHA PANAMARIOFF, Head Chef
Tasha was born and raised in Ouzinkie, Alaska, a coastal village on Spruce Island near Kodiak city. She comes from a family of cooks and her kitchen experience started early, standing on a chair watching her mother and grandmother at work. Tasha relishes remote living in the place her Alutiiq ancestors called home. She enjoys talking to guests from all over the world and sharing stories of her life growing up in a small, remote community. Her love of her culture and environment led her to become an advocate and protector of all that she holds dear.
JENNIFER CULBERTSON, Lead Guide
After graduating from high school in 1989, Jennifer began her career by volunteering as a Backcountry Ranger for Wood-Tikchik State Park, the largest state park in the nation. Jennifer continued on as a park ranger for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service and finally, as a ranger for the Alaska State Parks in Kodiak, Alaska.
As Lead Guide for the Kodiak Brown Bear Center, Jennifer hopes to continue protecting Alaska’s natural resources through education and instilling the same sense of awe and wonder of this amazing land to our guests which she feels very fortunate to experience every day.
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.
DARIA SIMEONOFF, Reservations/Guest Services Coordinator
Daria joined the KBBC in 2017 as their Reservations/Guest Services Coordinator. She hails from the glorious city of St. Petersburg, Russia. After visiting Kodiak in 2011, Daria fell in love with Kodiak Island and decided to call this Emerald Island her home. As for bear expertise, Daria has received a full load of it by spending summers with her husband, Walter Simeonoff, at their fish camp on the south end of Kodiak Island. At the KBBC, Daria prepares your venture into the Land of the Great Bear by managing and processing your reservations and providing other guest services to help plan your trip and the legendary experience that awaits you at the Kodiak Brown Bear Center.
SYDNEY STOCKFLETH, KBBC Assistant Guide Intern
Sydney is the proud recipient of a joint Koniag Education Foundation /Kodiak Brown Bear Center Workforce Development Intern & Scholarship in the role as an Assistant Guide for KBBC’s 2017 season. Sydney has an unbridled passion for wildlife and for our Native Alutiiq Culture. Conservation and education of the environment hold a high importance for her as a millennial, and this internship is providing her with the opportunity to make an actual difference. She will be spending 6 weeks with the KBBC as she aspires to learn more about the Kodiak Bear’s, their environment, and engaging in new skills such as tourism, marketing and educating others about Kodiak’s wildlife and the incredibly pristine environment in which they live.
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.