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Welcome to Spring! The days are getting longer, the snow is melting and our region is about to get very busy so life is good.

Our annual Economic Summit and Membership Meeting in Anchorage had some challenges this year due to the massive storm systems stretching from Adak to Juneau for three days straight. It was impossible to fly for two days in both regions and we missed out on the company of several communities who could not make it in as well as some of our presenters from Juneau who were also stuck. It happens. Our conference and business meeting was successful for those who were able to attend, and I was pleasantly surprised at the number of participants who enjoyed the panel presentations and the great lunch provided by Trident Seafoods in celebration of their 50th year anniversary. The membership meeting saw the re-election of three of our Board of Directors and we welcomed our new Board President, Terry Haines Kodiak and Vice-president, Mary Swain Naknek to their roles at the after conference Board Meeting on Saturday.

The work of SWAMC with the BBB Alaska Mariculture Cluster has started in earnest with the hiring of Nick Mangini (who some of you met at the conference). Nick is a Kodiak fisherman and seaweed/kelp farmer who is one of the first in Kodiak to set up a farm from scratch and harvest successfully. Nick has experience in many aspects of this new opportunity in our region and is the Mariculture Manager for SWAMC as this project gets off the ground and spreads throughout our region. He can be reached at nmangini@swamc.org. The work of the Governance Board of the BBB AMC grant will be starting soon as well. This board will review and balance proposals from our region to ensure that all of our communities are connected with opportunities and information needed to identify projects for critical funding in the next four years. Tom Panamaroff from Koniag and Chase Berenson from The Aleut Corporation have stepped forward to serve on this board and will be working with David Nelson as the SWAMC representative. Nick will be supporting the Governance Board with information and review techniques for solid decisions. Please contact Nick with any questions or interest in what kind of mariculture opportunities may be possible in or around your community. He is there to help.

Staff updates

This is my last newsletter for SWAMC. I am retiring to spend more time with my family and travel with Bob who retired two years ago. It has been an honor advocating on behalf of our unique and wonderful region for the past three years, and I will miss so many of you! You are in good hands with David, so please welcome him with the same kindness and honesty that you have always shown me. SWAMC is your best friend in the region, and is there to help.

Take care,

Shirley Marquardt

My name is David Nelson, and I am excited to introduce myself as the newest member of the SWAMC team. I recently joined as Executive Director and look forward to working with everyone.

To give you a bit of background about myself, I graduated from UAA in 2018 and have years of experience in politics and the military. In my previous roles, I was a House legislator and a staffer for Senator Murkowski for a couple of years before that. I am a Captain in the Alaska Army National Guard and am excited to bring my expertise to this new opportunity. As Executive Director at SWAMC, I am eager to contribute to the team's success. I look forward to working with everyone and learning more about the company's goals and values.

If you have any questions or would like to chat more, please get in touch with me. I am excited to get to know everyone and work together to achieve our goals.

Thank you for the warm welcome to the team, and I look forward to meeting everyone soon.


David Nelson

Getting Involved.

Serving on local state boards and commissions is an excellent way to impact your community positively. By volunteering your time and expertise, you can help shape the policies and decisions that affect the lives of those around you.

Here are a few reasons why people should consider serving on local state boards and commissions:

Influence Policy: You can influence policy and decision-making by serving on a board or commission. You can work to create positive change in your community and help shape the future.

Represent Your Community: Serving on a board or commission allows you to represent the interests and concerns of your community. It's an opportunity to be a voice for those who may not have a say in important decisions that affect their lives.

Serving on a local state board or commission is an excellent way to make a positive impact, develop new skills, and give back to your community. It's a rewarding experience that can benefit you and those around you. There are numerous vacancies on State boards, If you or someone you know are interested in serving on one, please send me an email and I can help walk them through the process.

Current openings on the

Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission

Alaska Housing Finance Corporation Board of Directors

Alaska Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee

Alaska Boating Safety Advisory Council

Statewide Suicide Prevention Council

Governor’s Advisory Council on Opioid Remediation

Alaska Food Strategy Task Force

Click here for a full list of openings

Legislative update

Sen. Gary Stevens – Senate District C

The legislative session is now past the halfway mark and the work in the Capitol continues at a busy pace. The major items on the Senate’s agenda continue to be education funding, recruitment and retention of state employees, and the Fiscal Year 2024 budget. The recent spring revenue forecast is predicting lower oil revenue which is leading to a budget shortfall for the current and upcoming fiscal years. To eliminate this deficit, the Senate has introduced SB 107: POMV/PFD 75/25 Split and SB 114: Oil Production Tax / Corporate Income Tax legislation. Both bills are getting hearings in Senate Finance. The House Majority has proposed HB 142: 2% State Sales Tax that does not include any exceptions for items such as food. To support our schools, the Senate has introduced and is hearing SB 52: Base Student Allocation Increase. The AMHS summer schedule is currently reduced due to staffing shortages. DOTPF is actively recruiting and hiring new staff. Senate Bill 88 was introduced to help address these staffing shortfalls statewide across departments by adding back a defined benefit pension plan option. The Senate should be receiving the operating budget soon and there will be opportunities for public testimony on both the operating and capital budgets. Please reach out to your regional LIO or contact my office to provide your comments or questions on state issues: Sen.Gary.Stevens@akleg.gov or 1-800-821-4925.

Rep. Louise Stutes – House District 5

The House has been working hard on the Budget. It is expected that it will hit the House Floor on Monday, April 3.


Have an announcement or story to share with the region?

Let us know! We may be able to include it in our next newsletter.

Call (907) 562-7380 or email dnelson@swamc.org.


  • David Nelson, Executive Director
  • Nick Mangini, Mariculture Manager

SWAMC Board of Directors

  • Terry Haines- President
  • Mary Swain - Vice President
  • Dennis Robinson - Treasurer
  • Steve Minor
  • Myra Olsen
  • Paul Gronholdt
  • Mayor Alice Ruby
  • Darren Muller
  • Carlin Enlow
  • Glen Gardner, Jr.
  • Aimee Williams
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