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TRS Newsbreak:
July 2013, Issue 109

July 1, 2013

Meet the New CFO:

Lee Hullinger

Lee Hullinger, the new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) joined the Division in April.

He selected the Division of Retirement and Benefits because it was appealing to find a leadership team with a “can-do” attitude. He was also pleased to find a great overall fit for his background, experience and personal interests. Lee looks forward to fulfilling the Director’s and Deputy Director’s expectations of his role within the Division.

Lee’s experiences include fifteen years serving as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in the public and private sectors. He has spent the past six years with the State of Oregon in the Oregon State Hospital System and at Health Share of Oregon, the state’s largest Coordinated Care Organization, formed to improve the quality and cost of healthcare.

Lee was raised on a cattle ranch in Nebraska and earned degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His degrees include a Master’s in Business Administration with a major in Finance, a Master’s in Actuarial Sciences, and a Bachelor’s in Agriculture. His agricultural experiences helped him learn the importance of discipline and hard work at a very early age. He has used these character-building experiences as building blocks throughout his life and professional career.

Lee enjoys spending free time in the outdoors with his family. He and his wife, Rebecka, enjoy hiking, fishing, exploring, and playing chess. The fact she beats him 95% of the time proves she is lucky – and serves as a good source of humility. Alaska’s excellent salmon fishing, majestic landscape, wildlife, and cleanliness of the environment all were very enticing factors in their decision to relocate. As Lee meets new people here in Alaska he often has an initial feeling of comfort and trust in folks he doesn’t even know. It reminds him of Nebraska – where the overall perception of people is they are solid, believable, hardworking, and have good intentions.

Lee is eagerly getting familiar with the current systems and programs and is working to develop strong relationships with his colleagues throughout the Division. Lee will apply lessons-learned and knowledge gained from his years of fiscal management in the healthcare industry and with the State of Oregon to make necessary adjustments and develop a plan. Lee’s goal is to have a positive and meaningful impact within our Division to benefit our members and stakeholders.

Lee states, “As you may already know, the Division anticipates a major wave of retirees in Alaska and across the nation as the “Baby Boomer” generation continues to retire over the next decade. Furthermore, the unsustainable, ever-increasing costs of healthcare in Alaska are another issue on the horizon. Fortunately, for Alaskans, the State’s retirement and benefit plans are in the hands of very strong leadership.” Lee is committed to doing his best to uphold the values, purpose and vision already established and set in motion by the Division leadership team.

Report from the Field:

Natalia Golovatiuk

Natalia has been with the Division since February of 2011. She spent her first two years working with members in the Member Services Contact Center. She was promoted to Regional Counselor for the Fairbanks area in February of this year. This spring, Natalia traveled to Fairbanks to visit employers and employees of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District and the State of Alaska, Department of Transportation. Her travel season will resume in September, which is the beginning of the travel season for all counselors in the Division.

Natalia grew up in the Odessa region of the Ukraine. Odessa is an international seaport city with a population of 1.3 million. The charming city boasts sophisticated architecture, the Black Sea and plenty of sun. It is famous for the friendly, easy-going nature and sense of humor of its residents. She spent most of her young adult years there and graduated from Odessa Academy of Public Administration with a Master’s degree in Business Administration with a major in Management.

Previously Natalia worked in the hospitality and tourism industry. She spent time as a reservation manager for an international hotel and founded a family-owned travel company. Being a small business owner, she quickly realized how crucial the quality of customer service can be. Customer service impacts not only the company’s financial results but the very existence of a small business depends on satisfaction or dissatisfaction of each and every customer.

Natalia loves to hike, it’s her passion. She feels close to nature, relaxed and inspired when she’s on a hike. Her fiveyear-old daughter also shares this passion and they often enjoy hikes together. In turn, being a mom has introduced Natalia to her newest hobbies including reading to her child and arranging play dates.

Natalia says falling in love led her to leave the Ukraine and accompany her husband to the Republic of Panama, a very beautiful and exotic country in tropical Latin America. This is where her daughter was born. Being immersed in the local culture motivated Natalia to learn Spanish and these language skills helped her land a job as administrator for the high-end resort hotel “Villa Camilla.”

When her husband decided to move on to Juneau, Natalia approached this new adventure with excitement. When she arrived in the rainy capital of Alaska, she discovered the fascinating world of mountains, ocean, hiking, and living in a small but friendly and cozy community.

Natalia has learned a lot from these diverse and often contrasting cultural environments. But what has been the most constant is her willingness to learn new things, whether it is a new language or a section of the PERS statutes, is a skill of vital importance in almost any career. As a retirement counselor, Natalia feels her learning never ends. She says, “this job provides countless opportunities for training, in-depth research and improvement of individual professional qualities.”

She often thinks of the Ukraine, a country with a developing retirement market economy often associated with a sunset of a person’s life. A person who is retired receives a governmentprovided retirement income which is often insufficient to support them financially and limits their after-retirement choices and quality of life. In contrast, retirees in the United States, and in particular Alaska, have an amazing level of freedom to pursue retirement and directions to take after retirement. Natalia knows with wise choices and proper financial planning at a young age, you can live out your retirement dreams.

Natalia sees retirement as the beginning of the new chapter of an individual’s life. Counselors are playing an important role in this process. She notes, “When hiking in an unknown area, it’s best to follow an experienced local guide. I would compare a retirement counselor with that experienced guide. You want to follow your counselor in order not to get lost on your own in the dark forest of the laws, guidelines, rules, Statutes and Regulations.”

The most rewarding part of the job for Natalia is to receive positive feedback from members and to have the opportunity to share her knowledge with others. Natalia has such a variety of tasks each day that no one day is like the last. Counselors make one-on-one counseling appointments, provide telephonic counseling sessions, certify retirement, handle disability and survivor benefits, respond to the member questions, research complex issues, work with employers and give presentations to the members in the retirement systems. The diverse array of duties, performed in a very dynamic environment, make Natalia’s work day fly by with “supersonic speed.”

Post Retirement Pension Adjustment

The 2013 automatic Post Retirement Pension Adjustment (PRPA) will be paid with the July 2013 check.

The automatic PRPA is payable to a Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) retiree under age 60, if retired for five years or more on or before July 1, 2013, and a Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) retiree under age 60, if retired for eight years or more on or before July 1, 2013.

In addition to the above requirements, a retiree must have been receiving a benefit in the prior year (2012) to be eligible for the 2013 PRPA. Eligible recipients, who have not received pension benefits during the entire preceding calendar year, will receive a prorated PRPA.

If you meet these requirements or are age 60 to 64 on July 1, 2013, you will receive 50% (1.008%) of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) change during 2012.

Retirees age 65 or older and all disability benefit recipients receive 75% (1.513%) of the increase in the CPI. The PRPA for survivor benefit recipients is calculated based on the member’s eligibility.

The increase in CPI for the 2013 PRPA is 2.017%. If you do not meet any of the above criteria, you are not eligible.

Due to fund conditions, the Division did not recommend an ad hoc PRPA for 2013. The ad hoc PRPA is defined in statute as, “…based on the financial condition of the retirement funds.”

  • This example shows a retiree who is receiving a benefit from TRS.
  • Your statement will show more than one benefit if you worked for both retirement systems or if you are also receiving a survivor’s benefit.
  1. Prior PRPAs: The combined monthly amount of all PRPAs paid from the date you retired through June 30, 2013.
  2. 2013 Automatic PRPA: This is effective July 1, 2013, based on the change in consumer price index (CPI).

Example of monthly statement:

Monthly Benefit Summary
Base BenefitsDeductions
TRS ORIGINAL BASE$XX.XXTRS FED INCOME WITHHOLD$XX.XX
1)TRS PRIOR PRPAS$XX.XXTRS DENTAL, VISION, AUDIO$XX.XX
2)TRS 2013 AUTOMATIC PRPA$XX.XXTRS OPTIONAL LIFE INSUR$XX.XX
TRS LONG TERM CARE - RET$XX.XX

Alaska Retirement Management Board Meeting

September 19-20

Centennial Hall, Fairbanks

Alaska Retirement Management Board (ARMB) meetings are open to the public. Minutes of past meetings and meeting agendas can be found at Alaska.gov/boards. If you have questions, contact Judy Hall, ARMB liaison, at (907) 465-3749

Retirees in Touch: Jeff Babcock

Book Signings, Travel and Family are the Focus of Retirement

Since Jeff Babcock’s first trip to Alaska in 1967 at age 20, he had been planning to write a book about his experience with North American mountaineering’s worst climbing tragedy. It took him the better part of his adult life to complete his novel, Should I Not Return. But after his retirement from the Anchorage School District in 2007, he finally completed and published his work, the story of a young east coast climber who joins his brother in Alaska to climb Mount McKinley (Denali). What set their climb apart from those before it, and even those afterward, was a disaster of such magnitude that it became known as North America’s worst mountaineering tragedy.

The book explores what happened after Jeff joined his older brother Bill, who was leading an expedition on Denali in the summer of 1967. At the time Jeff was living in Branford, Connecticut and his brother wrote to ask if he would be a member of his team. Jeff traveled to Alaska that summer, and even after the tragedy that followed, ended up spending a number of years in the State.

Here is a bit of his journey:
I first started writing about my adventure on Mount McKinley in the fall of 1967, about a month after returning to the east coast from what was described as North American mountaineering’s worst climbing disaster, a tragedy that took the lives of seven young men. The Joseph Wilcox disaster was front-page news in Alaska, the “lower-48,” and for many newspapers around the world. I still have a collection of clippings stashed in a manila folder in one of my desk drawers.

That fall in Connecticut, New England’s autumn leaves were showing their full blaze of vibrant colors. By the time they faded a month and a half later, I was beginning my sophomore year at Nasson College in Springvale, Maine. The landscape turned a barren gray by Thanksgiving, yet I still remember my excitement when I discovered a complete set of slides from our Denali climb had arrived from my brother in Anchorage.

Before the first snowfall, the vivid memories of what I endured on Denali were once again alive in my mind. As a chilly afternoon wind scattered leaves across our backyard, I carefully assembled each slide into a carousel from our family’s Kodak slide projector. Later that evening, I began relaying my adventure to my mother and my older brother, Reggie, as the large images clicked across a barren wall of our living room. This was the first of hundreds of presentations I would make over the next several years. What I endured on the icy slopes of Denali was extraordinary and most people were blown away as my story reached its climax. My adventure on Denali became a crowd pleaser, and I knew one day I would write a book about this experience.

After college, I took a position as sophomore English teacher but after a year of teaching, something was missing from my life, so packed up my 1967 Pontiac Station Wagon and said goodbye to my home in Connecticut. I began my second great quest traveling alone across the states, into the Canada and finally I forged my way up the Alcan Highway all the way to Anchorage. Clearly my adventure to the Last Frontier four years earlier was beckoning my return.

The years passed quickly—after a variety of jobs, new friends and relationships, and the furthering of my education—I became a special education elementary school teacher. Along the way, I honed my skills as a mountaineer and became an assistant outdoor education instructor in Anchorage Community College’s mountaineering program.

I eventually fell in love and was soon the father of two children. Then the terrible reality of divorce came into my experience. Yet, in spite of this great sadness, my desire to write slowly began to emerge from the recesses of my mind. While my children lived with their mother during the school year, I discovered time to reflect upon the past several years of my life.

My climb up Mount McKinley in 1967 became more than your average ‘Me-and-Joe climbed a mountain’ story. It was quickly turning into my autobiography and a story of two brothers who believed they escaped to Alaska and left behind the shadows from their past.

After acquiring an agent who spent several years attempting to sell my screenplay in Los Angeles, I was given the name of a book publisher based in Anchorage. Evan Swensen was intrigued by my story, so he encouraged me to transfer the story into a novelized format. By now, I was approaching retirement from teaching in Alaska, and my second wife and I decided to move to Green Valley, Arizona in 2007 to be near her father in his later years. Throughout our time in Arizona, I wrote the novelized version of my story.

A novel takes years of effort to complete and I have found it to be one of the greatest challenges I have ever faced. It has been therapeutic and became one of the best ways I have ever spend my time. I am grateful I decided “to return” to the roots of my beginning. Completing my novel has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. The fine art of promoting a book to the general public has also proven to be another of the greatest challenges of my life.

Jeff and his wife Margaret (Peg) now reside in Green Valley, Arizona. They live with Peg’s 96-year old father to care for his needs. Jeff’s connection to Alaska is still strong, much of his family still resides in the state and the Babcock’s still own their home in Wasilla, which they presently rent out. They often travel back to Alaska, making at least one trip each year. Recently, the trips involved book signing events in and around Anchorage as well as in the Mat-Su valley.

Jeff and Peg work part-time at the local ACE Hardware store in Green Valley. They maintain a weekly regimen of hiking in nearby Madera Canyon with its elaborate trail system, many of which lead to the summit of 9,453-foot Mt. Wrightson. Jeff is committed to his early morning ritual, consisting of a 45-minute desert bike ride, which his Scotty “Jacques” makes him adhere to every day.

Jeff also manages a Web site for his novel Should I Not Return at Should I Not Return.com. On YouTube, you can also find videos with more information about the book; just enter search term “Should I Not Return.” Jeff and his wife still reside in Green Valley, Arizona.

Where Are You?

Review this List from the Division of Retirement and Benefits

The Division of Retirement and Benefits would like to to locate people who no longer have a correct address in our system. If you have a current address or any other information for anyone listed on our website, please contact Lyn Fiehler in the Accounting Section toll-free at (800) 821-2251, ext. 5713 or (907) 465-5713. Please note: People may have the same name as you or they may have new last name due to marriage, divorce, or name change. Any information you provide is appreciated

The Division Has Gone Social

Find us on Facebook and Twitter

Want to stay up to date on upcoming events, seminars, benefits fairs, and tips for planning your retirement? “Like” our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. Find the pages at: facebook.com/AlaskaDRB and twitter.com/AlaskaDRB

Retirement Plan Education Seminars

Supplemental Benefits System (SBS) and Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP)

Anchorage

  • September 5, 2013
    • 9 - 11:30 a.m.
    • Robert B. Atwood Building
    • Room 240
  • September 6, 2013
    • 1 - 3:30 p.m.
    • Frontier Building
    • Room 896

The Retirement Process

Anchorage

  • July 25, 2013
    • 1 - 3 p.m.
    • Robert B. Atwood Building
    • Room 602
  • August 29, 2013
    • 1 - 3 p.m.
    • Robert B. Atwood Building
    • Room 602
  • September 26, 2013
    • 1 - 3 p.m.
    • Robert B. Atwood Building
    • Room 602
Register for seminars online at Alaska.gov/drb or call (800) 821-2251, in Juneau (907) 465-1875. Dates, times, and locations of seminars are subject to change or cancellation, depending on participation.

The information provided on this page may or may not be up-to-date. If you are unsure, please contact us.

Page Last Modified: 05/12/22 18:53:04

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