FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The presiding officer of the Fairbanks North Star Borough has taken a job with Phillips Petroleum Alaska.
Rick Solie, who has worked as a spokesman for Fairbanks Memorial Hospital for the past six years, will work in community and government relations for Phillips. He begins the new job on Friday.
''I am going to miss the relationships at the hospital, but I am excited with the challenge,'' he told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Solie, 40, said he doesn't anticipate any conflicts with his two roles since most oil industry issues are handled by the borough administration. He'll have the borough attorney review any oil issues that come before the assembly to determine if his involvement would represent a conflict, he said.
Nadine Hargesheimer, special assistant to Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Hank Hove, said oil and gas issues are primarily handled by the administration while the assembly deals mainly with resolutions.
Solie, a former legislative aide to Sen. Steve Frank, was selected to serve as the assembly's presiding officer in 1997. He is running for re-election in the October municipal election.
Phillips officials said they selected Solie because of his community involvement.
''He is there to help us communicate with the community and help us understand what their needs and concerns are,'' said Jerry Gallagher, a company spokesman.
Solie said he will focus on community and government relations as well as interaction with various vendors who work on the North Slope. Solie said he is planning on a trip to the region this fall.
Steve Porter, who held the position for more than three years, will work in community relations in the company's Anchorage office, Gallagher said. Solie will report to Porter.
In April, the Bartlesville, Okla.-based company entered Alaska's oil market when it concluded its $7 billion purchase of Atlantic Richfield Co. properties in the state, making it Alaska's largest petroleum producer.
The company's new investment includes Kuparuk, a promising Alpine development, substantial interest in Prudhoe Bay's oil and gas reserves, holdings in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and a 23 percent stake in the trans-Alaska pipeline.
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