About Us

About the PAO

What is the Program Acceleration Office?

The virtual Program Acceleration Office (PAO) was created to maximize the effectiveness of Statewide Change Initiatives to (1) facilitate collaboration between projects, and (2) communicate progress in a way which is regular, timely and relevant. The goal of these efforts is to ensure everyone can understand the impact DOA programs will have on them individually while also presenting the 'big picture' of State-wide progress and improvement.

What can you expect from the PAO?

The PAO will provide an external scope into DOA projects and act as a centralized hub for joint communication and messaging of project progress. We will also work to establish and maintain the Virtual Program Acceleration Office (PAO) as a sort of "Vision Room" to showcase the progress of each key project. As we build the PAO, we are working towards developing an economic analysis for projects, in order to share benchmarks, insights, impacts, and assess financial optimization. Additionally we will work to exchange knowledge while sharing good practices across projects.

Within any change initiative, the PAO will work to ensure program continuity along with resource tracking and planning. The PAO will work with project teams to provide advance identification of course correction activities and strategies. We will also facilitate effective and essential stakeholder engagement. Above all we will support and engage project managers and their wider teams from start to finish, including post implementation reviews of completed projects and phases.


Meet the Team


Raquel Solomon-Gross (Managing Director) has 25 years of experience working for the State of Alaska.  Raquel and her husband, Kenny, love to travel in their free time.  In addition to their three sons (who are grown and have families of their own) Raquel and Kenny also love spending time with their two miniature dachshunds, Mochi and Mylee, while spoiling them with love and treats. Raquel’s identical twin, Rachael, also lives in Juneau - so she has learned to answer to either name.  With traveling reduced due to the pandemic, her free time has been focused on audio books.






Brent Wittmer (Special Assistant) visited Alaska on vacation in 2013 and has remained here ever since. During that time, he has worked for the State of Alaska for seven years, in the Office of the Governor and  in the the Department of Administration. At work and at home, Brent loves to learn, explore, and create. Outside of the office these qualities have manifested in his love for reading, writing, and snow science, including (but not limited to) his love for ski touring, cycling, paddling, and boat building.

To stay healthy and resilient during all the changes resulting from COVID-19, Brent takes every opportunity (big and small) to get outside and have fun whether it be by canoe, bike, or skis. 





Alex Vrabec (Publications Specialist) is a new addition to the Department of Administration but has years of communications and publications experience working within municipal government, as well as the private and non-profit sectors. Alex loves the arts community in Southeast Alaska and has performed on stages across Ketchikan, Sitka, and Juneau in various opera, theater, and dance productions. Her hobbies also include knitting, photography, and craft beer (mostly sampling). She's been working part time for the Brewers Guild of Alaska as the Development Coordinator for two years and immensely enjoys and supports the growing craft brewing industry in Alaska. She is extremely excited to bring her love of writing and graphic art to the Program Acceleration Office to promote change, transparency, and healthy workplace environments!



AJ Pierce (Program Coordinator) is a 4th generation Southeast Alaska resident (Ketchikanite) AJ has 15+ years in the industrial construction industry and has worked her way up from helper, to journeyman, to construction management. She also is known as a "serialpreneur" who is passionate about helping others and being creative. She enjoys teaching her passions and sharing her knowledge with others. When not hard at work, AJ enjoys turning wrenches, playing piano, and serving her community in a multifaceted way.



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