Douglas Fifer, a police officer and small business owner, says his Alaska Native Tlingit family values of respect, responsibility and working hard for what one wants contributed to the success he enjoys today.
Fifer, recently named one the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s Native American 40 Under 40, is a man of many hats and the award is the most recent honor in a long string of achievements.
Fifer has been a police officer with the Anchorage Police Department for 14 years. Fifer said that in 1996, he was offered jobs with the Alaska State Patrol and the Anchorage Police Department, but Anchorage won out and Fifer has been an officer with the APD ever since. He has also served 10 years as a union representative and takes part in contract negotiations on behalf of his union and fellow officers.
Fifer is also involved in positions of responsibility with his Native corporation. He has held a number of positions with Southcentral’s Alaska Native corporation CIRI (Cook Inlet Regional Incorporated) and with the corporation’s nonprofit arm, Cook Inlet Tribal Council. Fifer was elected to CIRI’s board of directors in 2006 and his current term will continue until 2012. He serves on Cook Inlet Tribal Council’s Board, and is the chair of the Finance and Investment Committee.
Fifer has received numerous other awards and recognitions over the years. In 2000 and 2003, he was given Anchorage’s Civic Achievement award, was named the Anchorage Downtown Partnership Best Neighbor in 2002, and was honored three times by the local Rotary Club with the Public Safety Employee Recognition award. Fifer’s most recent endeavors as a small business owner also earned him recognition as one of Alaska’s Top Forty Under 40. The Alaska Top Forty is determined by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Journal of Commerce.
According to the CIRI Web site, Fifer earned a Bachelor of Science, occupation education degree from Anchorage’s Wayland Baptist University in 2004 and is continuing his education as he works toward a Master of Arts degree in management. On top of his job responsibilities and official roles with Alaska Native organizations, Fifer is a volunteer youth mentor with Cook Inlet Tribal Council, and a volunteer child counselor with Volunteers of Alaska. In the past, Fifer also served as a mentor with the local Boys and Girls Clubs.
Fifer and some of his family members are now working together in his new business, a franchise wine store called WineStyles. In the two years the Fifer’s have owned the Anchorage WineStyles franchise, their store has become number one out of 150 locations across the country. The Fifer’s pride themselves on providing quality wines to store members and customers, but perhaps their greatest accomplishment in the community is the business’ support of local charities.
Since the store opened, Fifer’s business has sponsored and helped organize events for a number of charities and has been responsible for raising at least $100,000 to date. Fifer said the business tries to have a charity event every 45 to 60 days with time off during the busy Alaska summers and the month of December. The events are so popular that the business has booked out its charity events through 2010. The list of charities assisted by the Fifers includes the Lupus Foundation of America, the American Cancer Society, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Volunteers of America, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Make a Wish Foundation.
Fifer’s Tlingit family comes from Ketchikan in southeast Alaska. They eventually moved north to Homer where Fifer was born, then to Eagle River and eventually Anchorage, where most of his family lives and works today. Fifer describes his family as close-knit and fun-loving. He and his wife Kim have three children. Their two younger children are involved with Alaska Native activities through their local schools and their oldest child is a member of Cook Inlet’s Media Educational Development Institute of Alaska.
The MEDIAK Web site says its mission is to “engage Native students in the creation of media and inspire them to realize their unlimited potential.” When it comes to unlimited potential, it would seem Fifer might have a head start.