Mayor, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska
Karl Kassel was elected to the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly in 2010, serving as Presiding Officer from 2013 to 2015. He was then elected mayor in October, 2015, and is currently serving a three-year term. In conjunction with the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, Kassel co-hosted the Arctic Mayors Roundtable to discuss a locally-driven future for Arctic governance with peers from around the globe.
Kassel has been a leader in sustainable development. He and his wife, Billie, built and live in one of the most energy efficient homes in Alaska, which relies on solar, wind and passive heat retention to stay warm during Interior Alaska’s long, cold winters. Kassel also owned his own construction business and worked as a construction consultant, each with a focus on renewable energy and sustainability.
Kassel has volunteered in many community organizations, including the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, the Tanana Valley Youth Sports Foundation and the Goldstream Valley Trail Users Association. He has served as the public address announcer for the Open North American sled dog race since 1980. An avid outdoorsman, Kassel has canoed the Kukpowruk, Noatak, Kobuk, Porcupine and many other rivers in northern Alaska and Canada.
The FNSB is located in central Alaska and covers 7,361 square miles, an area about the size of the state of New Jersey. It has a population of just under 100,000.