High achiever:Motivation leads KCHS grad to state commissioner's job

Posted: Sunday, April 03, 2011

Becky Hultberg was always one of those super kids. You know, the scarily motivated, hyper-involved, "Why can't you be more like Becky?" kind of teenager that all the parents adore and the slackers deride.

Photo By M. Scott Moon
Photo By M. Scott Moon
Becky Hultberg, in town last week for the "Choose Respect" walk, is the governor's administration commissioner.

And now, as the Commissioner of the Department of Administration for the State of Alaska, Hultberg is reaping the rewards of her past hard work. The Anchorage-born, Kenai-raised 37-year-old was appointed to the position by Gov. Sean Parnell in December 2010 and says she enjoys working with the different teams and department directors to problem-solve and navigate through a world constantly in flux.

"I've always been interested in the public process," Hultberg said. "I've always been interested in the way the world is changing and how we as organizations and people respond to that change."

Hultberg attended Kenai Central High School from 1988 to 1992, where she played sports, sang in the choir and participated in a variety of clubs. During her high school career, she had the opportunity to travel abroad twice: once to Mexico with the Spanish club, and once to Eastern Europe on a choir tour.

"To be able to broaden your perspective at that age is so critical," she said of the trips. "We all see things through the lens of what we know, and it's really only through stepping out of that and seeing that life can be completely different that you can really reflect on the assumptions you have that you're not even aware of."

Hultberg's father, a lawyer, and mother, a stay-at-home mom turned teacher and librarian, fostered critical thinking and awareness in their three children, prompting dinner table discussions and other discourse.

"I had a family that really encouraged intellectual curiosity," Hultberg recalled. "So our family has always been really interested in the world and current events. We spent a lot of time talking about those things."

After high school, Hultberg received a full scholarship to Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. She received her bachelor's degree in history after only three years -- complete with minors in economics and public service -- and moved back to the Kenai Peninsula to marry a local chiropractor named Jeff Hultberg, with whom she now has three children.

In late 2002, Hultberg took a job working as press secretary for Gov. Frank Murkowski, so her husband sold his practice and the two moved to Juneau. After three-and-a-half years there, Hultberg continued to climb the professional ladder, moving to Anchorage for a job as vice president of public relations and strategy for Bradley Reid & Associates. That stint lasted a little less than six months, at which time Hultberg joined Providence Health & Services as the regional director of communications and marketing.

And now, Hultberg is going back to Juneau. Even though her job as commissioner officially started on Jan. 1, her family just finished moving this past week and is excited about returning to a city so rife with outdoor recreation.

"I'm extremely proud of her and her husband and her family," said Bobbie Baldwin, Hultberg's mother, "and that she is getting to apply her talents in a way that is satisfying to her."

With three kids, a successful husband, and several highly coveted jobs under her belt, it's probably safe to say Hultberg is a good role model for super kids everywhere.

Karen Garcia can be reached at karen.garcia@peninsulaclarion.com.

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