Last year, Jameson Fisher, NANA’s corporate controller, was presented the Hunter Award, an honor given to a NANA employee who goes above and beyond to help the group succeed.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Anchorage.
What was your first job?
My grandmother started Alaskan gift shops around town. Summers and after school, I was a delivery driver, and I restocked inventory.
Where did you go to school?
I graduated from West High School and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where I earned a computer science degree.
In high school, I was interested in computer games and programming. After graduating, I went back to work for the family business. I did tech support and whatever else needed to be done.
Then you switched to accounting?
I went back to school to study accounting at UAA (University of Alaska Anchorage), while I continued to work part time.
At UAA, someone from KPMG came and spoke to our class. [KPMG is one of the Big Four accounting firms.] When I heard that manager, I thought, “Oh, maybe I should aim higher and go for a CPA.” After graduating, I worked at KPMG for 2 1/2 years and earned my CPA. [A licensed CPA can operate in virtually any area of finance.]
In public accounting, you work long hours and there’s huge amounts of travel. About half the time I was on the road, which is kind of fun at first but burns you out fast.
Where did they send you?
Kwethluk (east of Bethel) was my first trip to the Bush. I went up to Barrow (Utqiaġvik) to audit the Arctic Slope Native Association. The Usibelli Coal Mine in Healy. The University of Alaska in Fairbanks. The Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward. The Aleut Corporation had offices in Colorado Springs.
KPMG loaned me out to the Seattle office and I did work in New York, New Jersey and Wisconsin.
From Kwethluk to New York. And now NANA.
At lot of people from KPMG were at NANA. When they heard I might be interested, they brought me over. That was 10 years ago.
What do you like best about working at NANA?
I like NANA; NANA takes care of its employees. And I like working in Anchorage. It’s the right-sized place for me.
What was your first job at NANA?
When I started, I prepared financial statements. Everything must fit and articulate like it’s supposed to.
What is your job now?
As the corporate controller, I’m in charge of the accounting department. Now I’m more of a manager. I’m in a reviewer role. I make sure our team has what they need to stay on track.
Our department prepares monthly financial statements for senior management to review – and the consolidated, year-end report. Then the auditors examine these financial statements before they’re published in the annual report.
I heard you initially turned down the promotion.
They knew I was reluctant at first, but it kind of made sense, and I was kind of doing it anyway. When it was officially offered, I accepted.
Who has inspired you?
My grandmother was definitely an inspiration. The business she started is still going. It was run by my grandmother, with her son and three daughters. It’s still in the family, but now it’s my mom, one aunt, my sister and a cousin.
What important lessons have you learned?
Staying organized is important.
Try not to get too stressed out. “Keep calm and carry on.”
Before you bring a problem to your manager, try to think of a solution too. What if we do this? Even if it’s not the right way to go, at least they have something to respond to and to build on.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I like to go camping and hiking and ride my motorcycle.
I hang out with friends and we play board games – Star Wars: Rebellion, Terraforming Mars, Gloomhaven and Scythe are current group favorites. I read a lot, mostly sci-fi and fantasy. I just binged on the entire third season of “Stranger Things.”
I also like to homebrew.
Jameson Fisher was interviewed by Carol Richards, director of brand communications for NANA