Fred Esposito AVTEC-Alaska’s Institute of Technology Director, has retired after 17 years, and has been temporarily replaced by former two-term Kenai Peninsula Senator John Torgerson. Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development Dianne Blumer appointed Torgerson Interim Acting Director, and he took the helm of the Seward-based vocational facility on March 6th. Dick Harrell remains second in command.
Esposito’s retirement was abrupt and reportedly has to do with differences over economic challenges at AVTEC, and the need to find new sources of funding for the vocational institute. SCN was not able to reach AVTEC officials, or Esposito as of this posting to learn more, but will follow up as we do.
Torgerson has had plenty of experience in the administrative oversight and funding of AVTEC and its projects during his terms in office. Most recently he was instrumental in helping to get funding for the new $16 million dormitory project. The new dorms opened to students in January. Last October, Esposito thanked Torgerson publicly for his help with the project, and gave him a plaque that declared it would name the facility “Torgerson Hall” after him.
Esposito leaves AVTEC with a great many accomplishments of which he can be proud, including construction and recent completion of the handsome new, more energy- efficient dormitory building, which represents a great improvement of the old facility and should attract students in the future. Also, he brought about and oversaw the renovation and expansion of the Culinary Arts Building and cafeteria, the wind turbine demonstration project, solar panels on the heavy industrial building, and curricula expansion into alternative forms of energy, and a greatly-improved maritime training center, with state-of-the-art training and simulations for mariners. AVTEC also received the new Marine Fire Training Facility at Seward Marine Industrial Center, (SMIC), and allowed trainings there to be available to local fire departments, and also to fire departments across the state who participated in the 2013 Marine Firefighting Symposium last October. He also innovated things like creating new family housing in Seward, and a daycare center for student’s children, which unfortunately has closed down due to the new dorm renovation.