Mark Begich, Founding Board Member, President
In addition to his long career in the private sector, Mark has dedicated several decades of his life to public service. He served in the United States Senate from 2009 to 2014 for the 111th, 112th and 113th Congresses. Before that, he served as Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska from 2003-2007 and spent ten years as an elected member of the Anchorage Assembly.Over the course of his career, Mark has worked on key issues related to telecommunications, Arctic policy, technology, the U.S. military, transportation, tribal affairs, fisheries, infrastructure, labor & workforce development, education, natural resource development, veterans’ affairs, housing, business development and economic growth. Mark is married to Anchorage businesswoman Deborah Bonito, president and owner of Sourdough Mercantile Inc. and several other small businesses. Their son, Jacob will start his freshman year of college this year.
Vicky Nash, Founding Board Member, Vice President
Vicky Nash established the tourism communications firm Resort Trends, Inc. nearly 20 years ago and has worked with over 50 clients.
Specializing in geothermal tourism, she oversees the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop and recently founded two businesses, Hot Springs Connection Inc. and Hot Springs of America Inc., thus providing expertise and perspective on the global hot springs industry.
She is actively involved with the Global Wellness Institute’s Hot Springs Initiative and an affiliate of FEMTEC - World Federation of Hydrotherapy and Climatotherapy.
Schawna Thoma, Director, Hot Springs Business & Trade Association
Schawna has worked on policy and legislation in the areas of aviation, transportation infrastructure, worker’s rights, travel and tourism, fisheries, public lands and more. Schawna served under Mayor Mark Begich from 2003-2008 as Deputy Director of Economic and Community Development for the Municipality of Anchorage where she worked on a variety of major economic development projects including the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center, museum expansion and downtown redevelopment. Schawna spent five years as Chief of Staff for Senator Johnny Ellis in the Alaska State Legislature and has served as campaign manager and field director on many political and bond campaigns.