Roger Blakeley

Roger Blakeley- PCR Director 

Roger Blakeley took on the top job in early January 2017, and now he oversees the city’s community center, aquatics center, parks and library.

Originally from Utah, Blakeley began his career as a park ranger in Eugene, Oregon. He patrolled the Willamette River Greenway in a jet boat, exploring far-flung corners of the state park and fishing along the way.

“One day, I brought home a steelhead and laid it on the table," said Blakeley. "The kids were there, and it was wonderful. Then my wife said, "Honey, I love you, but you’re not living up to your potential."

I said, "What? Look at this! This is a Norman Rockwell moment with the kids, the dog, and the fish."

She said, "Why’d you go to school? Why’d you get a degree?"

I said, "Well, what would you like me to do?" and she said, "See if there’s something out there you’d like to do."

So, he did. Over the next three decades, Blakeley worked across the country.

In Arizona, he helped create the West Wetlands Park, an oasis in the middle of the Yuma desert. After that, he moved to Virginia, where he developed parks for the richest county in the country.  Developing Athletic fields, Recreation Centers, and Parks in a city of 150,000 people who lived in a 15-mile radius. He also lost his first wife to heart failure with complications from diabetes.

Eventually, Blakeley ended up in Tennessee as their Parks and Recreation Director, running the parks department for Johnson City and getting remarried to his high school sweetheart. Roger and his wife Shelly had a great time in the Tennessee mountains. 

“One day Shelly turned to me and said, ‘We don’t have any kids at home anymore. Want to do something really crazy? Let’s go somewhere exotic!'"

Looking for a new adventure, Blakeley and his wife considered moving to California, Wyoming, and the Florida Keys before settling on Unalaska.

“It’s not only met my expectations, it’s better," he said. "People are more friendly than I thought they’d be, and the whole experience here is like being in a National Geographic movie.”

Blakeley has spent the last few weeks getting to know his new home and his new job. He said he’s beginning to understand just how important PCR is to the island.

“This recreation center is the hub of all activity in this community," he said. "Not many people go to City Council meetings, but everybody comes here to PCR or to the library. We are the face of Unalaska. We are the health of this community. We are judged everyday by the citizens who pay taxes to make this happen, and we take that seriously.”

He already has plans to update the island’s playgrounds, make sure the department is staffed sufficiently, and create a long-term improvement plan for the library.

Albert Burnham

Albert Burnham, CPRP- Recreation Manager 

Albert Burnham has more than 15 years of experience in the Parks and Recreation Field.  He started as a Camp Programmer and Counselor for New Life Bible Camp, a small nondenominational Christian camp in south central Pennsylvania. During his time there he decided to pursue recreation as a profession.  He attended Frostburg State University and double majored in Parks and Recreation Management and Philosophy. 

After graduating from Frostburg he moved to Harrisonburg, Virginia and took a position with the Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation Department as a Recreation Assistant.  After nearly 2 years in Harrisonburg he moved to Unalaska, Alaska where he has held several Recreation Program Coordinator positions before advancing onto the PCR Management team first in operations and currently as the Recreation Manager. 

Albert loves to use his skills in art and design to create promotional materials for the department’s programs.. Albert believes that parks and recreation is a vital part of every community and that a vibrant and diverse parks and recreation department serves to increase the quality of life for all community members. He believes that few things are more fulfilling than seeing people actively engaged and enjoying programming opportunities he worked hard to create. 

Albert may be reached by calling the Community Center at (907) 581-1297 or by email at aburnham@ci.unalaska.ak.us.

Karen Kresh

Karen Kresh- Librarian 

Karen Kresh holds a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BA in Biology from Grinnell College. In her first library job, from 2001-2004, she ran the tiny public library in her home town of Healy, Alaska. From 2004-2014, she worked as a Children's Librarian for the King County Library System in Washington State.

Karen fell in love with Unalaska the very first time she flew to the island (after a 3-day weather delay), and she has lived here since November 2014. She volunteers locally with USAFV and Unalaska Community Broadcasting. Karen has loved libraries all her life, and she especially enjoys story time and seeing new books come in. She loves to read all types of books, but her favorites are fairy tales, horror, science fiction, and classics. She would love to hear about the latest book you read.

Karen may be reached by calling the library at (907) 581-5060 or by email at kkresh@ci.unalaska.ak.us.

Jolene Longo

Jolene Longo-  Operations Manager

Jolene Longo grew up in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania. At the age of 18 she joined the navy where she met her husband, Anthony.  Jolene and her family have been residents of Unalaska, AK since 2011. She became the Operations Manager in December 2022. She is a certified Yoga instructor through the International Yoga Institute. She enjoys Hiking, beach combing and hanging out with her friends.

She plays an active role in the community and has been a member of the Unalaska City school board since 2020, and Is currently serving her second year as School Board President.

Jolene may be reached by calling the Community Center at (907) 581-1297 or by email at jlongo@ci.unalaska.ak.us.

Amanda Schmahl

Amanda Schmahl-  Aquatics Manager

I moved to Unalaska in 2014 and fell in love with the community here. I started working for the Parks, Culture and Recreation as a Recreation Assistant. I later became a Recreation Coordinator for Kids and then for Arts and Culture. Currently I am the Aquatic Center Manager. During my time here, I have obtained a Certified Pool Operators Certification, an Aquatics Facility Operator Certification and an International Lifeguard Instructor Certification. I strive to keep our Aquatic Center safe and clean for our community members as well as offer a wide spectrum of activities that is appealing to all age groups. 

Amanda may be reached by calling the Aquatics Center at (907) 581-1649 or by email at aschmahl@ci.unalaska.ak.us.