Shaping Our Region.

Thanks to so many of you for joining us at the successful Southeast Conference Annual Meeting in Haines last week. We have much to report, but wanted for now to quickly share with you the two publications that we released at last week's conference, along with our three annual awards, in case you missed them. Also, if you would like to serve on our committees this year (energy, transportation, mining, maritime/seafood, timber, tourism, mining, or economic development) or just want to stay informed, click here to sign up:

The community of Wrangell won this year's award for its successful transformation of its economy from timber to maritime 
Through nearly twenty-five years of concentrated efforts, systematically obtaining and strategically using funding, and an unwavering focus on long-term goals, the community of Wrangell worked to transform its economy from timber to maritime. Maritime now accounts for half of the private economy. Today, Wrangell is one of Southeast Alaska's fastest growing communities, and was the only regional borough to grow at all in 2016.  
Wrangell Assembly Member Julie Decker accepted the award on behalf of the community. "Wrangell Economic Development Director Carol Rushmore deserves much of the credit for this award, along with so many other residents and local leaders who worked so hard to find likely opportunities and create a locally driven process with community consensus."  
Click here to read more.

Alaska Electric Light and Power demonstrated an innovative spirit and positively contributed to the Southeast Alaska business climate in 2017.

Alaska Electric Light and Power (AEL&P) is the oldest business in Alaska (holding the longest continuously-operating business license). Throughout its 124-year existence, AEL&P's commitment to innovation and forward thinking remains nearly unmatched our private or public sectors. As such, Juneau enjoys the lowest electrical rates in the state among large regulated utilities, and ranks among the world's greenest communities. Reducing energy costs throughout the region remains a primary goal of Southeast Conference, and the economic benefit of Juneau's lower cost electricity has been enormous for households and businesses.
"AEL&P is delighted to be recognized by the Southeast Conference,'" said AEL&P Vice President & Director of Energy Services Alec Mesdag, accepting the award. "AEL&P celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2018; throughout our long history we've been committed to the well-being of Juneau and Southeast Alaska."

During the last three decades, few have contributed more to Southeast Alaska than Kathie Wasserman - if any.
Kathie Wasserman has been Mayor of the City of Pelican, Mayor of the City of Kasaan, Vice Mayor of the City & Borough of Sitka, President of Southeast Island School District, and President of the Alaska Conference of Mayors. For the last decade Kathie has served as the Executive Director of the Alaska Municipal League. "We awarded Kathie Southeast Conference's Person of the Year Award for her outstanding dedication to, and championing of, public service and local government," said Robert Venables. "Kathie is a unique individual who defies definition. She's played a significant role in community development and public policy, beginning in some of our smallest cities and now representing community issues across the entire state. We all owe her huge a debt of gratitude."

Phase 2 Report Recommendations
  • Forward fund AMHS and set performance goals for ferry system management 
  • Initiate legislative change to Public Corporation this session
  • Develop a capital plan for vessels, terminals, & transition costs
  • Identify/decide final objectives and develop a Transition Plan
The AMHS Reform initiative proposes a change in governance for the ferry system and has identified some of the challenges to overcome. Areas where operations, revenue, and planning could be improved are identified along with suggested changes to the current system. The greatest opportunity is to refresh the relationship between ferry system management and labor. This will involve new labor contracts, more direct involvement by management over the labor negotiations, and a labor representative seat on the board of directors to ensure labor has a voice in setting policies and selecting senior management. Click Here to Download.  

One-year snapshot of regional economic & socioeconomic trends

Our annual Southeast Alaska by the Numbers report shows that last year was a tough year for the Southeast Alaska economy. Jobs and workforce earnings were down for the first time since 2007. Population dropped for the second year in a row, the first losses in a decade as well. The reason for our economic distress is clear. Dropping oil prices combined with falling oil production have drastically reduced the state's share of oil earnings, which previously provided up to 90 percent of the state's unrestricted revenues. Last year was also the worst year for our seafood sector in over a decade. However, there is also good news. Tourism is booming, and 2017 will be a record year for cruise and air passengers, along with jobs and spending. Our study was prepared by Rain Coast Data. Click Here to Download.

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