Anchorage, AK - The Iron Dog announced last Friday its selection of a new executive director.
Citing his vision for the long term, commitment to building increased awareness of the race and a strong entrepreneurial drive, the board of directors selected Kevin Kastner as the new executive director of the Iron Dog.
“Kastner brings a wealth of experience in marketing, sales, new media, business and management skills that we believe are essential to the future success of the Iron Dog,” Marianne Beckham, board of directors president, said.
As a business owner, long-time resident of Alaska and notable experience with some great Alaskan companies, Kastner is familiar with the challenges of what it takes to succeed in Alaska—both in the office and in the field. Leading the world’s longest and toughest snowmobile race will be a new direction for Kastner, opening the opportunity to combine his passion for marketing, management and finding new ways to grow the Iron Dog brand.
“The Iron Dog has the potential to be a high profile event with international appeal,” Kastner said. “My vision for The Iron Dog is to develop the brand, the event and its image to become the foremost extreme winter racing sport event on the planet. I believe we will achieve that success by focusing on the people and businesses who really make it happen. One of my top priorities is to create new and innovative ways to recognize our sponsors, fans, racers and volunteers. They are the Iron Dog and I’m excited to join them in propelling this event to the next level.”
Also new in the Iron Dog office is Laurel Hickel. On July 5, Hickel joins the Iron Dog management team as the Iron Dog’s new office manager. Hickel brings many years of accounting, office administration, vendor management including snowmachine manufacturers and event management experience. While working for a local powersports dealership, she had the opportunity to work with Iron Dog racers and knows first hand the work that goes into getting a racer from start to finish. She also has more than ten years experience working as a volunteer, volunteer coordinator and raising funds for non-profit
“Hickel’s deep roots with the Alaska community and her strong record of managerial experience and volunteer experience will be invaluable to the success of the Iron Dog. We’re truly excited to have her on our team,” Beckham said.
Hickel moved to Alaska with her parents at the end of the pipeline boom, where she met her husband. They have three grown children and five grandchildren, who are third generation Alaskans. After high school, she attended the University of Alaska Anchorage and went on to work in the lending industry for ten years as a loan officer and assistant manager. Hickel spent the next seven years of her career in the recreational vehicle industry, assisting at all levels of operation, including, customer service, hiring and training new employees, as well as general manager.
"I have spent many years as a fan, supporter and sponsor of this race,” Hickel said. “I am excited to have the opportunity to work internally with the Iron Dog family. I look forward to meeting this challenge."