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Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference

Newsletter - March 2021

SWAMC Members Meeting Screenshot _edited_.png

This "group photo" from our Membership Meeting was a fun way to capture how SWAMC members still came together this year, even though we were apart.

Conference Highlights

The Annual SWAMC Economic Summit and Membership Meeting was held via Zoom Webinar earlier this month, and we had a talented and experienced group of presenters participate in our Fisheries, Broadband, Mariculture, and COVID-19 panels. We were delighted to have the new Speaker of the House, Louise Stutes, and prior Speaker of the House, Bryce Edgmon, join us on Friday for a live update from Juneau and to answer questions from our attendees. We were also pleased to present taped messages from Senator’s Murkowski and Sullivan, and Representative Young. Hearing directly from our State and Federal Legislators is a high point of our Annual Conference, and we are always appreciative of the time and effort they put into attending in-person or sending a pre-recorded message if their schedule does not allow for live participation. 

Our Conference theme this year was "Southwest Strong" and multiple presentations proved that theme to be true throughout the SWAMC region. Our loyal sponsors made sure that our first (and hopefully only) virtual Conference was supported, with Alaska Airlines and GCI generously returning as Skipper level sponsors and a host of Southwest communities, organizations, and businesses following close behind. We are so grateful to all our wonderful sponsors who continue to be great partners in our region and look forward to being able to network with them face-to-face next March.


For anyone who was not able to attend our Conference "live" - or just needs a refresher - we are posting recordings of our panels on our Facebook page. Each week we will add another piece of the two-day agenda to the site so you can watch at your leisure and catch up on the high-value and relevant information that was provided by our great speakers. Our virtual format provided this unique opportunity to record our sessions, and we encourage you to take advantage and share with others in the region. Show them what SWAMC does! 

Our Membership approved five Resolutions during Friday's Membership Meeting. We also said goodbye to Board Member Laura Delgado and hello (and welcome back) to Glen Gardner, Jr. in At-Large Seat A, and welcomed Layton Lockett, Dennis Robinson, and Julie Kavanaugh back to their regional Municipal and Associate Seats. Overall, this year’s Economic Summit and Membership Meeting was a success and we enjoyed strong online participation around the region. Thank you!


SWAMC has contracted with McKinley Research Group to identify tools and support for regional entities, stakeholders, and individuals to recover from the significant financial and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This assessment will help SWAMC communities throughout the region strengthen preparedness for future disruptions, including natural and economic disasters. 

The opportunities and needs identified through this Recovery and Resiliency Planning process will position the region for continued strength and growth into the future. We will need all hands on deck for this process to be a true success, and Erin Harrington and Katie Berry of McKinley Research Group will be contacting people around the region in the coming month(s) with a focused survey. Regional feedback is extremely important to the design of the plan, so please be ready to engage and participate!


  • Shirley Marquardt, Executive Director
  • Laura Vaught, Economic Development Specialist
  • Brooks Duncan, AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer

SWAMC Board of Directors

  • Paul Gronholdt - President
  • Terry Haines - Vice President
  • Mary Swain - Treasurer
  • Layton Lockett
  • Julie Kavanaugh
  • Myra Olsen
  • Dennis Robinson
  • Mayor Alice Ruby
  • Darren Muller
  • Joe Sullivan
  • Glen Gardner, Jr.

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