ONLY CERTAIN THINGS can people count on anymore. One of them is a high-powered attorney partial to bow ties who carries a clown nose in his pocket and a photo in his wallet, not of his wife and kids but of a fungus and a nematode.

Jeff Lowenfels, 56, spent the better part of his adult life working to develop Alaska’s natural gas, first as a lawyer and eventually as president and chief executive of Yukon Pacific Corp., which sought to build a gas pipeline from the North Slope to Valdez. This was all-consuming work. Which explains the clown nose. Things get too serious, on it goes.