New Goldbelt CEO is CIA, Homeland Security veteran

Goldbelt Inc. has named a veteran CIA and Department of Homeland Security officer as its next CEO.

Robert Irwin of Virginia has decades of experience in the federal government and officially begins work at the Juneau-based Native corporation Dec. 15.

Joe Kahklen, chairman of the Goldbelt Board of Directors, said Irwin was selected because of his “extensive knowledge” of federal contracting, especially with 8(a) contracts.

8(a) refers to a part of federal law that gives small, minority-owned and disadvantaged businesses assistance and special preferences for federal contracts. Subsidiaries are ineligible – unless the parent company is an Alaska Native corporation, Native Hawaiian organization, or an Indian tribe.

Goldbelt’s 2013 annual report shows contracted services generated nearly 94 percent of its revenue for the year, or about $138 million.

Outside of Alaska, the 8(a) preference for Alaska Native corporations has been controversial because it’s been exploited to secure hefty contracts without competitive bidding.

Goldbelt’s annual report says the company would aim to focus only on competitive 8(a) contracts to avoid the scrutiny and bad press. In 2013, it owned 14 subsidiaries engaged in 8(a) contracting, most based in Virginia.

Irwin is the author of a memoir published in 2010 about his decades of experience in the CIA and the Department of Homeland Security.

Outgoing CEO Bob Loiselle plans to retire to Washington state.

Goldbelt is an urban Alaska Native corporation worth about $105 million. It has about 3,600 shareholders and 900 employees in 20 states.

Jeremy Hsieh

Local News Reporter, KTOO

I dig into questions about the forces and institutions that shape Juneau, big and small, delightful and outrageous. What stirs you up about how Juneau is built and how the city works?

Site notifications
Update notification options
Subscribe to notifications