Jim Evans, Branch Manager and Director of International Sales at Air Liquide in Kenai since 1987, attended his last luncheon meeting of the Kenai Chapter of the Alliance last week. Jim has been the Kenai Chairman of the Alliance off and on for the last seven years.
"My association with the Alliance over the years has really enriched the time I've been in Alaska. It's been fun and interesting and has given me a feeling of accomplishment," said Evans.
Prior to coming to Alaska to work in the oil and gas industry, Jim was a professional prizefighter with 119 fights and an overall record of 113 wins, 5 losses, and 1 draw. Jim started fighting as a young boy in Golden Glove competitions in a small town in Nevada. There wasn't much competition in his age group, so his father arranged a fight with a prison inmate. "When we were in the locker room getting dressed, the guys told me the guy I was going to fight was in prison for manslaughter, having killed a guy with his bare hands. They may have just been kidding around, but I'll never forget it; I was only maybe 13, and I've never been so scared, but I went out and beat him. That gave me a lot of confidence," said Jim.
The highlight of his boxing career was being a sparing partner for the great heavyweight champion of the world Sunny Liston. "He had eyes that bored right through you and was like one huge muscle, but out of the ring he was actually a very gentle and kind person," remembered Evans. Evans also spent time in the gaming industry in Las Vegas, where he became a Casino Manager for some ten years.
When he decided to change careers and come to work in Alaska, he found it almost as challenging as being in the ring with Sunny Liston. "When they told me I had a job on the Slope, I thought I was going to be working on the side of a hill at Prudhoe Bay or something, but it didn't take me long to learn where the slope was, so getting the opportunity to come to the Kenai was just a stroke of luck and I'm so glad that it did happen," added Evans.
Over the last few years, Evans has played an important part in pioneering western investment in oil fields of the former Soviet Union and still believes that there is a bright future of the energy industry in Alaska. "It may not rebound as fast as we want it to, but I really believe it will. It's a necessary commodity, and where else can the United States get such a reliable source of energy other than Alaska," said Evans.
Larry Houle, General Manager of the Alliance in Anchorage, flew down to present Evans with a scrimshaw oosik as a special token of appreciation for his service over the many years.
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