Robert Retherford


A Certified Professional Geologist with a M.S. in Geology from the University of Colorado, Rob has 38 years experience in geologic consulting. Ten of those years were devoted to geotechnical investigations supporting civil engineering for hydroelectric projects, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, and foundations. He has spent a considerable portion of his career managing drilling camps of all sizes on native corporation lands across Alaska. Rob is a member of the Alaska Minerals Commission, a director of the Alaska Miners Association, and has been an advisor to the land managers of nine of Alaska's Native Regional Corporations. Rob oversees company and field operations.

Bill Ellis

Vice President

A graduate of the Mackey School of Mines and Certified Professional Geologist, Bill brings 39 years of primarily Alaskan experience to AES, exploring for most metal commodities and energy. Major mining company experience includes Battle Mountain Gold, American Copper and Nickel, Sunshine Mining, and Anaconda Copper. More than half of his exploration career has been involved in managing exploration on native corporation lands. He has implemented complex, multi-year programs ranging from small remote reconnaissance camps through semi-permanent drill camps with multi-million dollar budgets. He currently directs the technical efforts of the AES geologic staff.


Mike Belowich

Coal Geologist

A Certified Professional Geologist, with a Master's degree in geology from the University of Alaska, emphasizing coal science and technology, Mike runs the AES branch office in Wasilla. Mike has 30 years of coal experience in Alaska, including surface and underground coal mine exploration, coalbed methane exploration, underground coal gasification exploration, and permitting of coal related projects through Alaska's stringent Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) and associated State and Federal regulatory agencies. Mike has worked or consulted for Alaska's Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Arctic Slope Consulting Group, Evergreen Resources Alaska, Forest Oil Corporation, Storm Cat Energy, Chugach Native Corporation, Black Range Minerals, Laurus Energy, Usibelli Coal Mine, and Cook Inlet Regional Corporation. Recently, Mike's work includes the Jonesville, Chickaloon, and Wishbone Hill coal mine exploration projects, upper Cook Inlet natural gas exploration, and Beluga Coal Field underground coal gasification exploration.

Andy Angel


Andy has been performing geological and geotechnical assessments and leading exploration teams with AES since 2004. He has a B.S. in Geology and a minor in GIS from Clarion University in Pennsylvania. Most recently, Andy has been supporting geotechnical and energy projects which include Cook Inlet Region Inc.'s Underground Coal Gasification project, Ormat Technology's Mt. Spurr Geothermal project, and Koniag Native Corporation's Shakmanof Quarry investigation.

Varina Zinno


Varina received her undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon and her M.Sc. in Earth and Planetary Science from McGill University in Montreal. She has worked on a variety of projects in exploration geology in Alaska and Canada. Recent projects include working as the lead field geologist at the Springpole Gold Project, participating in the geotechnical engineering drill program at the Red Dog Mine for Teck, doing quarry assessments for regional Native Corporations, and remote project planning. In her free time, she enjoys both gem deposit and cave exploration, in addition to metalsmithing and lapidary artwork.

Greg Thurow

Senior Geologist (Semi-Retired)

A Certified Professional Geologist, Greg brings 37 years of geologic experience to AES, including seven years supervising coal bed methane drilling programs in the Powder River Basin. He has worked on a full range of metal exploration projects from grass roots exploration to feasibility studies. Greg has a Masters degree in Economic Geology from the University of Colorado.


Ryan Young

GIS/IT Manager

Ryan oversees GIS services for AES, and runs ground magnetic surveys during the field season. He has a B.S. from Trinity College in Computer Science and Math, and received his Certificate in Geographic Information Services from the University of Alaska in 2009. Born and raised in Anchorage, he has been with AES since 2007.



Sherry Shimek

Lands Technician

Sherry has worked in the AES Lands Department for three years, filing and maintaining new and existing claims, providing documentation required by the State of Alaska, and assisting with other administrative tasks. Sherry enjoys getting outside for all types of physical activities including walking, hiking, and biking.

Operations and Logistics

David Redgrave

Field Operations Manager

Since 2006 Dave has contributed extensive knowledge of bush Alaska to provide logistical support to AES field projects. He has managed a remote, aviation-supported drilling operation in Canada, mobilized 8 million pounds of oil drilling equipment and supplies from Seattle to Naknek for a deep geothermal exploration program, provided operational and logistics support to the Susitna Watana dam project, and designed, mobilized, built and managed a 24-man exploration camp in the Brooks Range. Dave has a degree in geology from Montana State University and has lived and traveled throughout southeast Asia.

Diamond Drilling Team

Benny Borowski

Lead Driller

Born and raised on the Kuskokwim River, Benny began his drilling career as a driller's helper at Donlin Creek in the late 90s and was promoted quickly to driller. He has since worked as driller at several mineral exploration projects in Alaska. Benny has worked on the River Boys Drilling team for three years, and has served as lead driller for the last two drilling seasons.

Freddie Alexie

Driller’s Helper

Born and raised on the Kuskokwim River, Freddie began his drilling career on the Donlin Creek project. His experience at AES includes lead positions as Core Cutter and Camp Manager. He has worked for three years as a driller’s helper for the AES River Boys Drilling team, and has served occasional shifts as a driller.

Community Engagement

Michelle Johnson

Stakeholder Relations and Community Engagement Professional

Michelle has worked for AES since 2006 in logistics and marketing and is currently developing and executing all community engagement and shareholder hire efforts. Michelle holds a Masters in Sociology from the University of Montana with an emphasis in Rural and Environmental Change. Michelle is certified in Mediation Theory and Practice.

Business Administration

Kevin Gray

Chief Financial Officer

Kevin is our Chief Financial Officer. He is responsible for all financial aspects of the corporation including financial management, accounting, planning, and budgeting as well as administration. Kevin is also actively involved in some of Alaska Earth Science's affiliated companies. Kevin has over 24 years of financial management experience, working primarily with Alaskan companies. Kevin holds a bachelor's of Business Administration with a concentration in accounting from Pacific Lutheran University. In his time away from the office, Kevin can be found at the family cabin on Nancy Lake, exploring the Alaskan wilderness on his snowmachine, or fishing.

Julie Saddoris


Julie is responsible for all aspects of the accounting system, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and human resources. With 22 years experience in management, accounting and benefits administration, she has a B.S. in Business Management from Ferris State University and continued education in payroll law/management and human resources. Outside of the office Julie is an explorer of the outdoors and enjoys breaking culinary boundaries.


“"Gents I must tell you I am very impressed with the AES employees they provided on our job. Very strong team player with great initiative and follow through. I dont know if he was a random pick for you or a habitual co-worker but people like him really help projects work."” Leif Christensen, General Foreman at Sumitomo Metal Mining POGO, LLC