Alaska State Committee for Research announces four inductees into the Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame class of 2020

The Alaska State Committee for Research (SCoR) will add four inductees into the SCoR Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame in 2020. 

“The Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame celebrates the individuals and inventions that impact the lives of Alaskans and inspires future generations of problem solvers,” said Dr. Paul W. Layer, vice president for academics, students & research at the University of Alaska. “Alaska’s complex environment is a proving ground for new technology. These innovators lead the way in developing science and technology to meet the challenges facing our state and the world.”

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place during the Juneau Economic Development Council’s Alaska Innovation Summit held on Feb. 26-27 at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center. The public is invited to attend the ceremony which will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 26 in the Sea Alaska Ballroom. There is no cost to attend only the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

The Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame class of 2020 includes:

  • Alutiiq/Sugpiaq Angyaq: Crafted for Kodiak’s notoriously rough waters, these historic, skin-covered, open boats were used in Alutiiq society for harvesting and traveling more than 400 years ago. The boat’s bulbous bow decreases the amount of force needed to propel the boat forward and ensures stability, a design that is now considered the standard in ship building worldwide. Although the construction of angyat was set aside after the Russian conquest of Kodiak, anthropologist Dr. Sven Haakanson Jr., in collaboration with the community of Akhiok and Burke Museum, is leading the effort to reawakening the art of angyaq building.  

  • Dr. Robert “Trey” Coker: After a debilitating ATV accident left him bedridden for about a month, Dr. Coker started thinking about what could be done about to prevent physical decline in older adults. Now, his company, Essential Blends, LLC, is testing nutritional products that prevent muscle loss without gaining fat. The company received the first Small Business Innovations in Research grant from the National Institutes of Health, with a subaward to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and has filed two patent applications for their products.

  • August G. (Augie) Hiebert: Known as the father of Alaska television, Hiebert’s vision laid the foundation for the evolution of mass communication in the Last Frontier. His greatest and most lasting contribution to Alaska was his vision to use telecommunication and satellite communication technology to connect Alaskans throughout the state and to Outside. Hiebert led negotiations with U.S. Military and Alaska’s congressional delegation to bring live satellite feed of Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon July 20, 1969 to Alaskan television viewers.

  • Dr. Ping Lan: A decade ago, Dr. Lan created the Arctic Innovation Competition to stimulate innovative ideas and bring a pipeline of creative solutions to Alaska, the Circumpolar North, and the Arctic. The competition has provided more than $240,000 to budding entrepreneurs of all ages, to build prototypes and encourage their business ventures. Dr. Lan is a professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Management, where he researches and teaches mass innovation.

Visit the Innovators Hall of Fame at

For more information on the Innovation Summit, please visit or contact Dana Herndon at or (907) 523-2324.