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SaltchukSaltchuk People

NAC warehouse lead doubles as prominent local artist

Jessica Klotz’s calligraphy drawings on display in Girdwood, Big Lake

By Hilary Reeves

In Jessica’s Klotz’s 13 years at Northern Air Cargo, she’s held four different job titles.

“I worked as a barista before my foster brother introduced me to NAC,” she explained. “I have held four different job titles in my 13 years: Warehouse Agent, Customer Service Agent, Flight Support, and my current title, Warehouse Lead. I found that the warehouse is where I like working the best.”

Northern Air Cargo is the lifeline of 14 stations, many of them remote Alaskan villages with no road access and limited access to supplies – especially during the winter when weather can close flight paths for days, even weeks, at a time.

According to Ben Amspacker, Cargo Service Manager and Klotz’s supervisor, warehouse work can be demanding.

“We’re not like FedEx,” he said. “A lot of the freight we move doesn’t come to us pre-packaged in small boxes. We move ATVs and snow machines. We move lumber. We move cars and boats. Whatever the customer brings in, our warehouse agents greet them, discuss the details of the shipment, weigh it, get it tagged…basically, accepting the freight and handling it. Our warehouse leads are working as well; they do the job as well as supervise the employees.”

“I am constantly moving, and I like the interaction with customers and the relationship we build with our regular customers,” Klotz said. “I find it to be very fulfilling.”

Amspacker agrees.

“(Klotz) likes the get-up-and-go, the moving, the forklift operations,” he said. “She’s got the capabilities with the forklift to be able to offload cargo and make sure its properly weighed. She knows the job well.”

Klotz was born in Marysville, Calif. and soon after moved to Maine. Her father was in the military and, at nine years old, the family made its final move to Alaska. And while Klotz has excelled at NAC, her true talent often appears in a quiet room completely devoid of forklifts.

“My passion growing up has always been art,” she said. “I have always been so passionate about it, ever since I could hold a pen. My parents have said that I could sit for hours and create. My in-home art room is my escape from the world around me. In the past few years, I have discovered that it is strongly spiritually and emotionally nourishing.”

Klotz's 2013 NAC Coloring Contest Illustration shows a jumble of snowmen, presents, Christmas trees, candy canes, and an NAC airplane. In large letters spells "MERRY CHRiSTMAS"
Klotz’s 2013 NAC Coloring Contest Illustration

Klotz’s counts herself fortunate to have her art showcased at the Visual Arts Center in Girdwood and at the Crystal Mandala in Big Lake. In April, she will have another opportunity to showcase her work at the Laroma Bakery. Her drawings have also been featured in local “First Friday” art events, and she was chosen to illustrate the NAC’s annual children’s Christmas coloring contest page.

“I really just want to get my art work out and seen,” said Klotz, whose medium is primarily copic/calligraphy drawings.

When she’s not working, sketching or volunteering in the community, Klotz enjoys flying down Alaska’s miles of scenic highway on her Harley Davidson Sportster Low 1200.

Klotz smiles on her prize motorcycle "Jezabelle"“Her name is Jezabelle, and she is my baby,” Klotz laughed. “Riding brings me such joy. Everything is so serene, like I’m in a piece of art, and not just looking at it. I also absolutely love hiking, especially because it’s the one thing I can do with my dog, Gypsy Rose. We love to be outside.”

When asked where she sees herself in five years, Klotz responses simply: “I see myself happy. I have always been that ‘determined’ type of person. When I start something, I am determined not only to get it done in a timely manner, but to exceed other people’s expectations of me.”