Who We Are


The University of Alaska Center for Economic Development (CED) is a university based partnership promoting economic diversity through entrepreneurship, community building, and action oriented strategy. CED is a program of the University of Alaska Anchorage Business Enterprise Institute and is one of 52 University Centers designated by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.



A team of lifelong learners and intellectually curious creators, we are action oriented and results driven. 


Nolan Klouda, CEcD - Executive Director

As Executive Director, Nolan provides overall leadership for the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development, as well as support for other programs of the UAA Business Enterprise Institute. Prior to taking his current role in 2014, Nolan served as Associate Director. He has been a strategic advisor to tribal governments, municipal governments, non-profits, Alaska Native Corporations and private business groups, assisting them in realizing their economic goals. Nolan’s areas of professional interest include feasibility analysis, rural economic development, entrepreneurship and innovation policy, and engagement between the public and private sectors. He is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) through the International Economic Development Council, is a board member for the University Economic Development Association, and serves on the Municipality of Anchorage Budget Advisory Commission. Nolan was named to Alaska’s “Top 40 Under 40” in 2015. He holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor of Arts, History and Political Science from Gustavus Adolphus College.


Gretchen Fauske - Associate Director

A marketing minded economic developer fueled by a passion for entrepreneurship, innovation, and small business, Gretchen is the associate director for the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development. She is responsible for leading the entrepreneurship, marketing, and outreach efforts of CED as well as providing strategic leadership for both CED and the UAA Business Enterprise Institute. Prior to joining CED, she worked in the State of Alaska Division of Economic Development, for U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, and in the private sector. From this experience, she developed keen insight to private, political, and governmental drivers and their impact on the economy. Gretchen has worked on a number of award-winning economic development projects, spoken at TEDx Anchorage, and was named to Alaska’s “Top 40 Under 40” in 2013. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Whitman College and serves on the boards of Launch Alaska and the Anchorage Downtown Partnership.


Margo Fliss - Manager of Strategic Engagement

Margo leads facilitation, strategic planning, and client services for CED. Previously, she served as CED's Lead Analyst and worked in the education sector for numerous school districts and universities in California and Alaska, as well as served as a VISTA volunteer with UCLA BruinCorps. These experiences provided Margo with expertise in stakeholder engagement, consensus building, action-oriented strategy, public speaking, grant management, outcome based metrics, and policy analysis. Margo holds a Master of Public Policy from Mills College and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is currently on the board of thread and is the executive director of the Miss Alaska Scholarship Foundation.

Richelle Johnson - Lead Analyst

As Lead Analyst, Richelle uses her expertise in quantitative analysis, economics, and research to advance economic development on behalf of CED’s clients. Prior to joining CED, Richelle worked with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, the Alaska Energy Authority, and the SouthWest Alaska Municipal Conference, where she helped rural communities solve energy and development issues. She is experienced with regression analysis, feasibility studies, and SWOT analysis. Her professional interests include energy policy and development, rural development, and discovering ways to use the strengths of our communities to create new opportunities. Richelle holds a Bachelors of Arts in Economics from the University of Alaska Anchorage and received the Fran Ulmer Transformative Research Award for her undergraduate capstone project.

Julia Casey - Entrepreneurship Specialist

Julia focuses on assisting startups through education, technical assistance, and identifying finance opportunities. Her background is in e-commerce and she is experienced in working with entrepreneurial ventures at varying stages of development and scope. Julia focuses on capacity building within Alaska’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and developing digital tools for use by startups across the state. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in International Business and in Management: Entrepreneurship from Creighton University.


We’re home to residency programs and Americorp VISTA that provide subject matter experts or capacity builders for a discrete amount of time. 


Randy Moore - Professional in Residence

As CED's Professional in Residence, Randy brings his 40-plus years of experience as an attorney to the team. His focus is creating linkages between startups and the legal community, as well as developing a legal resource library for the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem in Alaska. When Randy retired from his legal career in 2015, he was the senior partner in a twelve-lawyer firm headquartered in San Diego, CA with a nationwide practice and significant activity on behalf of Alaska clients. During that time, Randy also was engaged in a variety of other business activities – from commercial and residential real estate investment and development, to business and financial consulting and software development. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of California, Irvine.


Nigel Sharp - Global Entrepreneur in Residence

As the Global Entrepreneur in Residence (GEIR), Nigel is a resource for staff, students and faculty as well as the broader Alaskan entrepreneurial community. A lifelong entrepreneur, Nigel engages as a mentor, adviser, guest lecturer, and panelist. Prior to this role, he served as the University of Colorado Boulder GEIR, where he co-founded a University spin-out company which raised venture funding and was accepted into the Techstars business accelerator in 2017. In recent years, Nigel co-founded software companies working on technologies ranging from voice recognition, gesture control to IT Network security. He's spoken at TEDx, judged, mentored or organized 18 Hackathons/StartupWeekends, started businesses in six countries, and participated in four business acceleration programs. He is here to #GiveFirst to the Alaskan startup community, and welcomes your engagement. Nigels holds a Master of Science and a Bachelor of Engineering from King's College London.



CED is a nimble organization with access to graduate students, temporary employees, and contractors, allowing us to quickly assemble project teams to meet clients’ needs or take deep dives into specific areas of study.


Ciara Zervantian - Research Assistant

Ciara works as a research technician for UACED. Her previous research includes a project for the Undergraduate Research Symposium at UAA titled Stepping off the Consumption Treadmill: Hunting for Tiny Houses with HGTV. She believes it is vitally important to help protect the environment and hopes to expand the scope of her project so she can inform individuals about tiny houses and the voluntary simplicity movement. Ciara completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Alaska Anchorage in December 2017.


Katrina Chertkow - Research Assistant

Katrina is a research technician for UACED. Her previous research includes a funded project through the honors college at UAA which looked at media coverage of NFL arrests from 2000-2015, and is currently working on a project in association with the Anchorage Community Land Trust which looks into how the media portrays the neighborhood of Mountain View. She has presented at the Undergraduate Research Symposium for UAA and hopes that her work will continue to shed light on issues surrounding race, socioeconomic class and inequality. Katrina completed her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Alaska Anchorage in May 2018.