WASHINGTON, D.C. – Alaska mega-investor Bob Gillam, who owns McKinley Capital Management, is in New York City today, and can probably be spotted at the Trump Tower elevator.
But over the past couple of days he has been in the nation’s capital visiting the Alaska congressional delegation and presumably others who would be key to an appointment in the Trump Administration. He’s been laying down some groundwork he’ll need in his bid to become Secretary of Interior.
“The question is, is he too much of an outsider to have a chance?” said Art Hackney, an Alaska political consultant. “Having an Alaskan in the job is attractive for us because of his strong interest is in fixing the Alaska economy.”
And Gillam surely doesn’t need the job to feather his own portfolio. His net worth is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence is going to be key to the Interior appointment, and he’s known to be a good friend of Rep. Don Young, whom Gillam met privately with yesterday.
Gillam is also a close friend of William S. Morris III, who owns Morris Communications and is the Alaska newspaper publisher with the longest tenured ownership in the state (since 1969).
Gillam graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, the same year as Donald Trump, and has spoken with Trump several times over the past year, according to people close to him.
Although Alaskans know him as an opponent of the Pebble Project mine, Gillam’s company is the majority owner of some of the largest placer mines in the world, and has stakes in as many as 30 mining companies.
He started McKinley Capital in 1990 with three employees and a penchant for quantitative, computer-analysis investment, using a model he calls Modern Portfolio Theory, which focuses on the next big growth stocks that are likely to explode, according to a mathematical model. He is unlike the typical Wharton graduate, in that he left the concrete jungle to return home to the state he loves, Alaska.
If Gillam doesn’t land the Interior post, count on him launching a bid for governor at the outset of 2017. He has all but announced his intent to run.
Former Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell landed in DC today – presumably to follow in Gillam’s footsteps for the position as Secretary of the Interior.