Meet the Board of Directors — Craig Fleener

Craig Fleener

Craig Fleener was elected to the ARCUS Board of Directors in 2018 and his term expires in 2021.

Craig is the Executive Director of the Alaska Ocean Cluster. His goal is to create value in Alaska’s Blue Economy and discover new opportunities by connecting entrepreneurs, businesses, governments, universities, and knowledge in ocean and inland waters industries.

His background includes working in tribal and state government and the U.S. military. Early in his career, he worked on tribal and village corporation land issues. Then, at his regional tribal consortium, he worked on wildlife and fisheries issues, environmental stewardship, climate change research, vocational training, and healthcare. From 2008–2018, Craig worked as the Director of the Division of Subsistence, then Deputy Commissioner of Wildlife, Subsistence, and Habitat Divisions at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and ultimately serving as the Arctic Policy Advisor and Director of State and Federal Relations in Washington, D.C. Craig has served 32 years in the U.S. military. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1986, transitioning to the Alaska Air National Guard in 1991. He was enlisted for 16 years then received his commission in 2002. Currently, he holds the rank of Lt. Col. with the 176 Air Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf in Richardson, Alaska.

Craig holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (1999). His research focused on managing chronically low moose populations. In 2013, he earned a Master of Arts in Intelligence Studies from American Public University where his research was on developing a more effective U.S. Arctic Policy. In 2019, Craig completed Air War College at Air University with research that focused on resolving regional conflict in the South Atlantic.

Craig and his family currently live in southern Maryland, but he’s originally from Fort Yukon, Alaska, and is a Gwichyaa Zhee Gwich’in Tribal member.

His priority areas include tribal self-determination, economic independence and diversification, Arctic Policy including Arctic sub-national leadership, collaboration, research, and infrastructure. Craig’s ongoing interests include ensuring a better understanding of the Arctic including the needs of its residents, adaptation due to rapid climate changes, understanding the ocean, strong U.S. and Alaska leadership in developing Arctic Policy, and greater virtual storage, access to, and utilization of Arctic research that has been conducted but is difficult to uncover.

Craig is honored to serve with ARCUS because of its cross-regional/dimensional nature working to create a holistic understanding of the Arctic in partnership with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), universities, tribes, government agencies, and research entities. ARCUS is perfectly situated to advance Arctic understanding and promote research findings for the benefit of humanity.