2016 Employer Conference Speakers
- Roberto Aceveda
- Erika Burkhouse
- Marla Christenson
- Ron Nichols
- Larry Davis
- Melanie Helmick
- Doug Gray
- Kathy Lea
- Sondra Meredith
- Kevin Worley
- Nimeri Denis
Roberto Aceveda is the Counseling and Benefits Education Manager for the Division. He joined the Division in April 2010. Born in California, Roberto came to Alaska at a very young age. He grew up in Juneau and Kake. He received his degree in Business Administration from Lewis & Clark College in 2000. Before coming to DRB, Roberto worked in the insurance, financial and banking industries, obtaining his Washington, Oregon and Idaho State Insurance licenses and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Series 6 and 63 security licenses.
Erika Burkhouse is the supervisor of the Active Payroll section for the Division. Active Payroll processes retirement contribution payrolls for all of the retirement funds. This includes the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), Supplemental Benefit Annuity System (SBS-AP), and Deferred Compensation (DCP).
Erika Burkhouse is a life-long Alaskan, born in Seward and raised in Pelican and Sitka. She attended college in Seattle, working summers in Sitka on her father’s tender. Erika joined the Division in 2002 and has held a number of positions in the Finance section. In 2006, Erika moved to a leadership position in the Active Payroll section and has served as the supervisor of this section since 2008.
Marla Christenson has been with the Division since 2009. She has worked as a Specialist in the areas of disability, death benefits, and retirement processing, and was a field counselor for Southeast Alaska. She currently manages the Member Benefits processing section and the employee Voluntary Benefits plans. Prior to joining the Division, Marla managed nonprofit behavioral health agencies for 20 years in Oklahoma and Alaska.
Ron Nichols is a 1971 graduate of Santa Barbara College and a 40-year veteran of the financial services and retirement plan business. Ron built a business focused on public sector retirement plans, which grew to encompass more than 450 public entities, with more than 100,000 participants. He is one of the founding members of the National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators (NAGDCA).
A retiree since 2004, Ron’s experience in the public sector pension business, plus his experience as a retiree, gives him an informed perspective. He is keenly focused on the needs of public sector retirees and those nearing retirement. “For the past 40 years, the public and private sectors have focused most of their efforts on the accumulation phase of retirement savings. It is now time to focus more attention on the retirement income portion of the market, and the unique and growing needs of public sector employees,” Ron says.
Larry Davis is the Appeals and Risk Mitigation Manager for the division. He was born in Sitka and has lived in Juneau since 1967. After graduating from college with a degree in Economics he worked for the State of Alaska in human resources and as a labor economist, and then decided to start his own small business. Larry joined the Division in 1997, where he has been able to put all of his life’s lessons to good use, making sure employers, and current and future generations of employees, retirees, and survivors receive complete information and excellent customer service.
Melanie is a lifelong Southeast Alaska resident who grew up in Petersburg. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Alaska Southeast and worked in private accounting for several years before coming to the State. Melanie's ten years of State employment include auditor work with the Division of Legislative Audit and accountant work with the Department of Administration at both the Division of Retirement and Benefits and the Division of Finance, as well as with the Department of Environmental Conversation. She is currently an Audit and Review Analyst for the Division and is the State Social Security Administrator.
Doug Gray is a Retirement and Benefits Specialist in the Active Payroll section. Prior to working in the Division, Doug worked for five years in the Human Resources Payroll section for the State. Born and raised in Sitka, he moved to Juneau in 1995. Doug earned his Bachelor of Business Administration Management from the University of Alaska Southeast in 2011. Doug processes payrolls for Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) and Supplemental Benefit Annuity System (SBS), and works on documenting and writing instructions on how to process the various procedures within Active Payroll.
Kathy Lea is the Chief Pension Officer for the Division. She is a life-long Alaskan from Ketchikan. Kathy has worked for the Division in various capacities for 27 years. Kathy's areas of responsibility involve the administration of ten pension plans and the State Optional Benefit plans, which include disability and life insurance benefits.
Sondra Meredith administers the Office of Teacher Education and Certification for the State of Alaska. She has worked in this capacity for the past five years. Before accepting her current position in certification, she managed the Alaska Teacher Performance Review, served as the Alaska Homeless Liaison, and oversaw the Right Start and Even Start programs, which are also housed within the Department of Education & Early Development. Prior to her work at the department, Sondra taught for 15 years in rural Alaska.
Kevin Worley became the Division’s Chief Financial Officer in October 2013, after transferring from the Department of Corrections where he worked as an Internal Auditor. Kevin has worked for the State of Alaska since 1990, serving in various accounting and leadership positions, including two terms with the Division from 2000 to 2004 and 2007 to 2009. Kevin oversees all accounting functions within the Division, including PERS & TRS payroll processing, refunds, payments to retirees, preparations for and audits of all retirement and health systems’ financial statements, and working with the retirement systems’ consulting actuary.
Nimeri Denis moved to Alaska from Zambia (Southern Africa) in November 2008. While in Zambia, he worked in different capacities: as community school teacher, a microfinance loan officer and as a business owner. At a young age, Nimeri developed an interest in helping contribute to a family business. This led him to work with women entrepreneurs who had poor credit records, helping them to obtain small business loans and start and grow their small businesses.
Nimeri obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Technology with a concentration in Accounting and has a Masters of Science in Finance from Charter College and Kaplan University. Nimeri considers Anchorage, Alaska home. Prior to joining Division in October 2015, he worked for private companies and nonprofit organizations for more than seven years. He is currently an Audit and Review Analyst II for the Division.