For Michels, Former Nome Mayor and Kawerak Higher-Up, New Job at DOWL Brings Familiar Clients

Denise Michels (center) at a Nome City Council Meeting in 2014. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM.

Denise Michels has taken a new job with DOWL, a consulting firm that works with clients from Montana to Alaska. Michels is former Mayor of the City of Nome and, most recently, Director of Transportation for Kawerak.

For her position, Michels says being a Senior Project Manager for DOWL involves working with the Village of Newtok, which is similar to what she was doing at Kawerak:

“It’s a similar approach to (how) we’ve been helping with Shishmaref on their relocation efforts. Newtok is a lot further along; they’ve received funds for an emergency shelter, (for) which the pad was built, and they’re going to use their tribal transportation road funds to build a new community development with a road system.”

According to DOWL’s Geo-Construction Practice Area Leader, Kendall Gee, Michels will be tasked with managing high-profile, rural projects that require senior leadership.

In an email, Gee said of Michels, “she’s adept at all things development: from developing policy, to creating and implementing visions, to negotiating through conflict; she can do it all.”

DOWL’s previous Senior Project Manager in Alaska, Michel’s predecessor, was Nome resident Randy Romenesko.

Before taking the position with DOWL, Michels worked with Kawerak for more than 15 years up until early November. As Michels explains, even though her new job is not based in Nome, she isn’t leaving the community just yet:

“The transition is, I’m working from home for two weeks, and I go to Anchorage and work there for two weeks. But the end goal is to be fully down there, full time, by August of next year.”

DOWL serves a wide range of clients, including private developers and land owners, as well as federal, state, and local governments.

Image at top: file photo: Denise Michels (center) at a Nome City Council Meeting in 2014. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM.