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Name: Neimeyer, Joel
Current Position: Federal Co-Chair


With 25 years of experience in planning, designing and constructing rural facility projects,
Joel Neimeyer serves as federal co-chair of the Denali Commission, a position he has held since January 3, 2010. A pet project of Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the Denali Commission is modeled on the Appalachian Regional Commission, operating as a federal-state partnership to improve services and facilities for Alaska’s remote communities.
Because his mother was a member of the Yup’ik group, Neimeyer is the first member of an Alaska Native group to head the Commission. He is a shareholder in the Calista and Akiak village corporations.
His father was half-Norwegian and half-German. His grandfather was a Sami reindeer herder who was brought to Alaska, at age 13, by the U.S. government in 1898 as part of an effort to introduce reindeer husbandry to Alaska Natives.
Growing up in an Air Force family, Neimeyer was born in California in 1959, but graduated from high school in Corpus Christi, Texas. Both his grandparents and parents lived at one time or another in Alaska. While attending the University of Texas at Austin, he began working summers in Alaska, first joining his brother in Juneau in 1977. Neimeyer dropped out of college in 1979 and moved back to Juneau. He decided to return to school in Austin and switched his major from chemical engineering to civil engineering. He completed his undergraduate degree in 1984 and relocated to Alaska.
But jobs were hard to come by during that year’s oil-price slump, and after being unemployed for more than seven months, Neimeyer wound up going to work as a construction engineer for the Indian Health Service in both Alaska and Washington.
He spent 15 years working at the Alaska Area Native Health Service, and then five years with the Denali Commission as a health facilities program manager. According to Neimeyer, the proudest achievement of his career was launching the program that has installed almost 100 health clinics in rural communities.
In 2005 he took a position as a program officer for the Rasmuson Foundation with a primary focus on health services. There, he oversaw the pre-development program, which is a collaborative project with the Foraker Group, The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and the Denali Commission to identify technical support and funding for non-profit/tribal/municipal organizations that want to develop new capital facility projects.
Neimeyer is a retired commissioned corps officer with the U.S. Public Health Service.
He has served as a board member for United Way of Anchorage and chair of the board of directors of the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center. He has been chair of the Municipality of Anchorage On-Site Wastewater Systems Technical Review Board and co-chair of the Alaska Dental Action Coalition.
Neimeyer and his wife, Jill, a high school drama teacher, have a son, Kevin, and a daughter, Katie.
Joel Neimeyer (Denali Commission)
Adding Value in Villages (by Alex DeMarban, First Alaskans)
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