Steven Katkus, born in 1985 in Palmer, Alaska. He is a 3rd generation Alaskan and has been involved with the Alaska Live Steamers since 1998 when he was 13 years old.
He has been actively participating in the organization now for almost 12 years, and been working on his 1/8 scale Alaska Railroad Budd RDC-3 #701 since he was 15.
Interests in railroading began with his first train ride on the Hurricane Turn flagstop service on a Budd RDC. His first train set was a HO scale Bachman freight train with a Alaska Railroad F7A and caboose that was being sold in Carrs grocery stores years ago.
From that moment he actively collected HO scale model trains to expand his hobby and building major sized layouts.
When he turned 12 years he started working with airbrushing and soon found a knack for making custom Alaska Railroad models and selling them to tourists.
At that time there was very little Alaska Railroad model trains being produced by manufacturers. He soon became quite the entrepreneur and over the years was awarded a contract with the Alaska Railroad Gift Shop and sold over 300 HO scale custom painted Alaska Railroad passenger cars and several hundred more online all over the globe including G scale garden trains.
Steve graduated from Cornerstone Christian School in Wasilla in 2004. He was a Boy Scout, an Alaska State Student Trooper with post #55 and an Explorer firefighter with Central Mat-Su fire Department. In his senior year, he was accepted into the Alaska Railroad’s Tour Guide training program at the King Career Center graduating the program in February of 2004 being the first Valley student to ever be accepted into the program.
He joined the Alaska Army National Guard in October 2003 during his school attendance and shipped off to Army basic training in the summer of 2004. He became a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crew-chief for a year and then was selected to become a flight engineer on the Army’s C-23 Sherpa cargo fixed wing aircraft.
After his deployment to Iraq in 2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he switched services and enlisted in the Alaska Air National Guard and became a C-17 heavy cargo airlift loadmaster.
His wife, Erin and he met in 2003 when they worked in the juvenile justice system in the Mat-Su youth court program. She was a judge and he a legal council advocate. They were married in October of 2004, and have two daughters Tiffany age 5 and Addison age 1. In summer of 2006, they both worked for Princess Rail Tours on their tour trains.
He is currently a volunteer firefighter for the Central Mat-Su Fire Department at station 6-1, a business owner for Real Alaska Tours, a full time college student at Charter College majoring in a B.S. Criminal Justice program and rental property manger/owner.