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SITKA - The head of Alaska's ferry system is retiring.
Jim Beedle tells Alaska Public Radio Network he will leave his job as Department of Transportation deputy commissioner for marine operations at the end of December.
Beedle, as a college student, was hired by the ferry system for a summer job in 1973.
He started full-time two years later and worked his way up to chief purser on the LeConte and the Malaspina ferries.
He was promoted to operations manager six years ago and has been head of the Alaska Marine Highway System for two and a half years.
He announced his decision to retire Monday and says was not pressured to leave. Beedle informed outgoing Transportation Commissioner Leo von Scheben and Gov. Sean Parnell of his retirement plans a few weeks ago.