Burns tapped as Citizen of the Year by Juneau Chamber

Posted: Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Juneau Chamber of Commerce awarded not one, but two Lifetime Achievement Awards plus its Citizen of the Year Award at this year's masquerade ball.

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Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire
Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire

Citizen of the Year went to Richard Burns, group CEO of Alaskan Broadcast Communications. Burns said the announcement of his name was a total surprise, as he's worked not for recognition but to do what's best for his community.

"We realize that media has a very important role to play in helping form and to galvanize community opinion and are just happy to be in a position to help do that," said Burns.

The Citizen of the Year Award goes to someone who recognizes the community above and beyond what others have done. The chief executive officer said his company puts a strong emphasis on community. It recently contributed $128,000 to a radio campaign promoting shopping at local stores.

"The local first campaign is such important thing for the city," he said. "To us, that's such an important thing for residents and businesses and city growth. Whenever people buy Outside, that sales tax goes somewhere else and that doesn't help our city or our services or employment."

Alaska Broadcast Communications is based in Juneau and operates eight radio stations throughout Southeast Alaska. He said it is a source of pride for the company to focus on this region.

"We do what we do for the community, because of our community," he said, adding, "Doing this kind of stuff just seems normal to me."

The Lifetime Achievement Awards went to longtime residents Lloyd Johnson and Bob Janes.

"I'm deeply honored to receive this award from the Juneau Chamber of Commerce," said Janes. "Some of my predecessors on this award have been some close friends of mine. It's really an honor to follow those friends. Some are no longer with us."

Janes is a retired, after serving in the U.S. Forest Service for 38 years. Through his work as a forester and since, he has worked tirelessly on promoting outdoor recreation in Juneau. He stays busy with the Juneau Lions Club, the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament and Eaglecrest Ski Area. He's handled training in outdoor emergency care and still provides training in it.

Recently, Janes has worked on promoting development of the Blackerby Ridge multiple-access trail in Lemon Creek and is currently working on grant applications for it.

"It will provide multiple uses for many, many outdoor recreation users," he said. "It will be a great asset to our overall Juneau trails system."

Janes said he's always felt that is an important thing for outdoor recreation. He admires the U.S. Forestry Service's multiple-use management philosophy and that remains the only agency he's worked for as a forester.

Johnson has served as southeast regional manager for First National Bank of Alaska and stays active in youth sports, the Downtown Rotary Club and Hoop Time, saying his "passion is basketball."

His award is also due to his help in the bank's contributions and accomplishments as a supporter of the University of Alaska Southeast.

"I'm very moved, just very touched this. I don't know what to say. I'm just moved by the whole thing," he said of his recognition.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or at jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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