Cory Borgeson with his family
Cory Borgeson earned a B.A. in psychology from Oakland University and a Juris Doctorate from Drake University. He is currently President/CEO of Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA). He serves on the SOM Business Advisory Council and is a SOM instructor retiring from teaching after more than 30 years in the classroom.
What brought you to Alaska?
I came to Alaska to take a job with Alaska Pacific Trust company which was associated with the First National Bank of Fairbanks. I actually worked with Darlene Tragis. I really enjoyed the work handling corporate retirement plans and personal trusts.
What do you enjoy about Alaska?
I enjoy the people who call Alaska home. People in Alaska are adventurous, active (even when it is 20 below zero), and know how to work and play hard. Hunting and fishing are lost on me, but I do enjoy one or two trips each year to Valdez to catch rock fish, salmon, or halibut.
When and how did you start teaching at SOM?
A co-worker had promised to teach Financial Investment Strategies for Dr. Besoit and then took a different job. Dr. Besoit told my friend John Blackmon that he had to find his replacement and I agreed to do it. That was in September of 1983.
What classes have you taught over the years?
I started teaching the Intro to Business class (BA 151) for a few semesters until the business law class opened up. In 1998, I was given a half-time faculty position and began teaching two courses a semester while also practicing law with Borgeson and Burns.
Share an outstanding SOM memory after teaching for three decades?
I spent three weeks teaching with a group of SOM faculty in Yakutsk, Russia. It was a wonderful experience bringing different educational ideas to the recently opened up Russia. Yakutsk, which was considered the gateway to Siberia, was still building basic infrastructure.
Being a part of the initial accreditation with the AACSB was very exciting. I still remember Dean Mike Rice and Business Department head Peter Besoit having their picture taken on the top of Bunnell holding brooms – declaring it was a clean sweep because all three programs at the SOM were accredited.
What advice do you have for current students?
Students should be thinking five years or ten years ahead. It is important to set goals to be successful. As an assignment in my employment law class, I asked students to draft an employment agreement for their dream job. Although good writing is essential, I felt that asking students to articulate where they want to work, how much they want to make, and the types of responsibilities they want to take on was the most valuable part of the assignment.
What will you miss most about teaching?
Meeting new students. I taught the online courses for a while but it didn’t seem that fulfilling.
What would you like to tell us about your family?
My wife Diane and I have been married for 35 years. She retired as the CEO of the Interior Community Health Center at the end of 2014. We have four children. Our youngest, Nicole, graduated from Bennington College in December of 2014. Our oldest is graduating from a nursing program in Michigan; Brad has three children (see picture of our grandchildren). Our son Bret (32) lives in New Orleans and works on TV shows and films. He has just finished a 7-month work effort on the FX Channel’s American Horror Story, working in the camera department. Gavin, who is 24, lives in Fairbanks and works for Alasconnect as a desktop computer technician. He is in the Computer Science program at UAF.
Any stories you’d like to share?
One semester, I had a student approach me saying she was having trouble with the class because she was going through a divorce. Two weeks later, I had a student comment that they were having trouble with the class because he was getting married.
I was lead counsel for a client in a trial where my client was accused of construction fraud and misrepresentation. The plaintiff was seeking over 25 million in damages. The trial lasted the entire month of May. The jury came back with a defense verdict and actually awarded my client 1.2 million dollars against the plaintiff. Waiting for a jury to make a decision is a nail-biting experience.
In June 2012, I accepted the CEO position at GVEA. I find the job very challenging. I came to realize that as a lawyer, I did not have to make decisions; I gave advice. Making decisions is tougher work.
Favorite place to vacation? Our home in Las Vegas
Book you are currently reading? “Change the Culture, Change the Game” by Roger Connors and Tom Smith. Real exciting, right?
Your last music download? “Sing” by Ed Sheeran
If I granted you one wish to change the world what would it be? I would swap guns for books