SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Ketchikan Named Southeast Alaska Community of the Year

Alaska Airlines Named Business of the Year


October 06, 2016
Thursday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - Petersburg laid out the red carpet for over 200 members of Southeast Conference participating in the organization’s 2016 Annual Meeting held September 20th-22nd. Highlights of the meeting included the release of the annual Southeast by the Numbers report prepared by Rain Coast Data, along with the new regional 2020 Economic Plan, a Maritime Works panel discussion, the roll out of new community energy planning concepts, energy efficiency and project highlights from around the region, along with numerous presentations on a variety of topics ranging from mariculture to education to mining.

2016 Southeast Community of the Year - Ketchikan
Pictured are Glen Thompson, Chelsea Goucher, Stephen Bradford, & Bob Sivertsen all of Ketchikan & Shelly Wright the Executive Director of Southeast Conference.
Photo courtesy Southeast Conference

Particular focus was given to the group discussion on the conference’s Alaska Marine Highway Reform Project. The Annual Meeting doubled as a working meeting of the AMHS Reform Project Steering Committee to review a ferry governance analysis. A special thank you is extended to Lt. Governor Byron Mallott for his inspiration and leadership to bring real change and sustainability to the ferry system as well as his recognition of our work on the statewide Marine Highway System Reform Project during his keynote remarks.

Ketchikan was awarded the Community of the Year award in honor of their enthusiastic and meaningful support of the Alaska Marine Highway Reform Project both through individual participation and financial support. “On behalf of the Assembly as well as all the citizens in Ketchikan, I would like to say that we’re both thrilled and proud of this exceptional honor,” said Mayor David Landis. “Ketchikan is a vibrant and charming community within the region, and we welcome visitors and new neighbors alike."

The award of Business of the Year was given to Alaska Airlines for their exemplary service to the people and communities of our region, and leading our region to a record number of air passenger arrivals in 2015. Alaska Airlines is honored to have received the Business of the Year Award from Southeast Conference," said Marilyn Romano, regional vice-president. "Like many places in Alaska, we realize the important role air transportation plays in keeping our Southeast communities economically vibrant. We take our commitment seriously and appreciate the recognition of so many that mean so much to us. Thank you on behalf of all of our employees that call Alaska home."

The membership passed one resolution in support of and urging passing of the Alaska Mental Health Land Exchange Act of 2016, and the membership were also encouraged to explore changes to the State of Alaska Mariculture Loan Fund program. Haines has been selected to host Southeast Conference’s Annual Meeting in 2017.

Each year, Southeast Conference members hold an auction to raise money for local college student scholarships. This year Southeast Conference members raised $17,000 for scholarships. A portion of the funds will go into the University of Alaska Southeast fund and the rest will go into the Southeast Conference Student Assistance fund.

The Annual Meeting is the time for changes in the Board of Directors’ lineup, and this year there were quite a few; six new board members were elected.

Board Roster:

President - Chelsea Goucher Sales Representative, Alaska Marine Lines
First Vice President - Jan Hill, Mayor of Haines
Second Vice President – Dennis Watson, Mayor of Craig
Secretary - Stephen Bradford Assembly member for Ketchikan Gateway Borough
Treasurer – Alec Mesdag Director of Energy Service for AEL&P
Past President – Garry White Executive Director, Sitka Economic Development Association
Director – Bryce Dahlstrom Vice President Transportation, Viking Lumber
Director – Carol Rushmore Wrangell Economic Development Director
Director – Liz Cabrera of Petersburg Economic Development Director
Director – Rorie Watt City Manager of City and Borough of Juneau
Director – Graham Neale Project Manager Niblack Project
Director – Mark Scheer of Sitka Attorney
Director – Dennis Gray Jr. City Administrator for City of Hoonah

Southeast Conference has 180 member organizations representing 1,200 people from 32 regional communities. Southeast Conference began 58 years ago with a group of people supporting the establishment of a regional transportation system in Southeast Alaska, which led to the formation of the Alaska Marine Highway System.


On the Web:

2016 Southeast Alaska by the Numbers

2016 Event presentations

Southeast Alaska Conference: Alaska Marine Highway Reform Project


Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Southeast Alaska Conference



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