I grew up in the village of Golovin located on the southern Seward Peninsula. When I was 8 years old, the village school unexpectedly closed. My parents were strong believers in education, and they sent me to live in the White Mountain Children’s Home in order to complete the 2nd grade. I finished grade school in Golovin, and then attended and graduated from the Covenant boarding high school in Unalakleet.
After high school, I earned a B.A. in Chemistry at the University of Minnesota in Duluth. I then studied at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine. In 1983, I received a M.D. from Oral Roberts University School of Medicine.
I went to St. Elizabeth Medical Center, in Youngstown, Ohio, for a rotating internship that included clinical training in Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Psychiatry,
Obstetrics and Gynecology. After the medical internship, I returned to rural Alaska to fulfill a life-long dream of practicing medicine in my home area. I hold the rare distinction of having practiced medicine in all of Alaska’s remote hospitals and visited many of the village clinics.
Experiences in business emphasized the importance of a legal education and led me to attend the University of Colorado School of Law. I finished my formal education at Cambridge University School of Law in England, where I studied International law and Maritime Law.
I must admit that I do enjoy dual careers. During the cold dark arctic winters in the 1980’s and 1990’s, I was a practicing physician. Appointed by Governor Knowles in 1994, I served 6 years on the Alaska State Medical Board. During the summer, I enjoy being a commercial pilot. I currently own an operating airlines and related flying services. Established by my father in 1955, Olson Air Service carries mail and passengers throughout the Seward Peninsula region. In 1994, I established Polar Express Airways, which is an air taxi that specializes in reindeer herding, helicopter flying, and off-airport operations.
Elected in 2000 to the Alaska State Senate, I entered the arena of public service where I continue to strive to improve the conditions of living in rural Alaska. Since then, I have served on the Senate Finance Committee. Since being a legislator, I have sat on several committees with my expertise in medical, law, and business fields.
During the 27th Legislature, I am the Chair of the Community & Regional Affairs Committee. I am a still a member on the Senate Finance
Committee. I am also on the Ethics Committee, Legislative Council, Northern Waters Task Force, Education Funding District Cost Factor and the Health Care Commission. I am currently the Chair to the Fish & Game, Health & Social Services, and Public Safety Finance Subcomittees. I also am a member on the Environmental Conservation Finance Subcommitee.
State Capitol Room 508
Juneau AK, 99801
716 W. 4th Ave. Suite 560
Anchorage AK, 99501-2133
Date and Place of Birth:
June 18, 1953
Doctor, Pilot, Reindeer Herder, Businessman
Residency in Alaska:
Lifelong Alaskan – Golovin, Alaska
Various flight schools to achieve: Airline Transport Pilot License; Commercial License, Airplane & Helicopters; Airframe & Power Plant Mechanics License; Inspector Authorization;
Seattle Pacific College; University of Minnesota, Duluth, B.A. Chemistry;
University of Alaska, Fairbanks;
Oral Roberts School of Medicine, M.D.;
University of Colorado School of Law;
Cambridge University, Cambridge England
Political and Government Positions:
Alaska State Medical Board, Appointed by Governor Knowles, 1995
Business and Professional Positions:
President/CEO: Olson Air Service, Inc.; Donald Olson Enterprises, Inc.; Olson Ventures, LLC
Service Organization(s) Membership:
Alaska State Medical Association; Missionary Aviation Repair Center-Advisory Board; Explorers Club of New York; Aviation Medical Examiner
Polar exploration, ivory carving, reindeer herding, aviation collectibles, reading