SWAMC Newsletter
February 2017
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Promoting Vibrant & Livable Communities in Southwest Alaska

Counting down to our
2017 Membership Meeting!


Turning Challenge into Opportunity
Dates: March 2nd & 3rd
Where: Captain Cook Hotel, Anchorage

Join us for the 2017 SWAMC Economic Summit and Membership Meeting March 2nd at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage. The Conference Agenda is now Live!

The Annual SWAMC Business Meeting is scheduled for 10:45 a.m. Friday March 3rd, and is our Members opportunity to raise issues of interest or concern and communicate importance to SWAMC in the year ahead. The Annual Meeting is your opportunity to vote for Board Members and Resolutions, expressing SWAMC's position on important topics affecting Southwest Alaska. There will be seven Board seats up for election at the 2017 Membership Meeting, and all members in good standing can submit Resolutions for a vote of the full membership.

Energy Workshop
Date: February 28
Where: Captain Cook Hotel, Anchorage

If you are interested in being involved in the effort to improve energy systems and lower energy costs in your community, please join us at our Energy Workshop on Tuesday, February 28th in Anchorage. Check out our newsletter from last month for a detailed description of what to expect at our workshop. It is free to attend, and we will be providing lunch! Please contact your Regional Energy Coordinator (Bruce Wright, APIA, for the Aleutians; Stephanie Aikins, BBNA, for Bristol Bay; and Tyler Kornelis, KANA, for Kodiak) or SWAMC Energy Coordinator Laura Vaught to add your name to the list. We hope to hear from you!


SWAMC Annual Meeting Info
Aleutians East
Aleutians West
Bristol Bay
Lake and Pen Borough
Kodiak Island
Pribilof Islands
SWAMC Conference 2015
SWAMC Conference 2016
Kodiak Energy Meeting 2015

SWAMC and KANA hold first Kodiak Energy Meeting under new DOE Grant

Energy Coordinator Laura Vaught traveled to Kodiak last week to support Regional Energy Coordinator Tyler Kornelis of KANA in hosting the first Energy Committee meeting held under the new Energy Providers Network grant from the Department of Energy. Icy weather hampered some rural community members’ ability to fly in but the meeting still had a great turnout, with Ouzinkie, Port Lions, Old Harbor, and Larsen Bay represented. Jessie Huff of USDA’s Alaska Rural Development office joined the meeting as well and made helpful connections between some energy projects that community members were looking into and USDA programs that could potentially be used to help finance or fund those projects. All around, it was a great meeting, helping attendees understand how KANA and SWAMC can provide support through the new grant and giving Tyler and Laura the chance to receive valuable feedback about communication methods that work best in the villages, interest and need for various trainings, and more.

Laura stayed in Kodiak to attend the Wednesday morning session of the Kodiak Rural Forum the following day. In addition to hearing more about the energy project needs in the rural villages on the island, this was a great opportunity for Laura, Tyler, and other attendees alike to hear Jessie Huff’s scheduled presentation giving an overview of the programs offered by USDA. From energy to housing to food security, the USDA has many exciting assistance opportunities available. Searching through the USDA website can be a bit daunting, so anyone interested is urged to contact Jessie directly at and she can help find a program that may fit your community’s needs. Dorinda Kewan also presented during this Forum Energy Session about the progress that Port Lions is making under their 3-year Remote Alaska Community Energy Efficiency (RACEE) grant from the Department of Energy. It sounds like they will be getting started on energy efficiency retrofits to their community buildings very soon!

Photo of stormy weather in Kodiak taken by Laura Vaught

Alaska Symphony of Seafood: Promoting Utilization

At the Alaska Symphony of Seafood, Seattle’s big seafood shindig, the Seattle People’s Choice grand prize was awarded to SeaFare Pacific’s Salmon Chowder. This award provides a fast track to huge market opportunities for new customers at America’s largest gathering of seafood interests, the Seafood Expo North America in Boston, March 19-21, 2017.

SWAMC got backstage access to this year’s event as we were asked to participate in the judging of 18 innovative products that break open new markets, exposing customers to a smorgasbord of taste… and utility, like salmon leather, chitosan-based eco-friendly pool cleaner, and heart healthy oils for man’s best friend. Don’t forget Beyond the Egg – specialty roe products that help drive higher prices for everything from Pollock to pink salmon, providing niche markets that create huge supply chain value to everyone from Egegik to Seoul. Roe is some of the highest-value products in seafood. While one’s pallet may be partial to candied smoked salmon or rich ice cream, everyone can agree that the amazing and talented companies expanding the seafood lineup in this year’s round of innovators is helping fishermen in Alaska receive a better price.

While all product offerings are sourced from wild caught Alaska seafood, not all value-added activity takes place in Alaska. Most of the wholesale value is contributed in Alaska, and each year more and more innovators develop new offerings. Alaska is still a relatively young state, but one thing all advanced economies have in common is their ability to compete on the world stage for value-added activity. The number one manufactured product in Alaska is seafood, and SWAMC believes we can help more communities and business create an environment to supply cost-competitive, high-value marine products.

It is critical that these industries stand up on their own, but with the right mix of natural resources, human innovation and a global perspective, the opportunity awaits all of us to promote a marine cluster for manufacturing. Plus, we already have a huge head start with world-class companies processing billions of pounds annually. There are still challenges before large scale value-added finished products are produced in volume, particularly around energy and infrastructure. This is especially true for full-utilization, where squeezing value from byproducts requires supply chain efficiency. Companies need an environment which facilitates investment to convert raw resources to value-added products and to get those final products to customers. Alaska is known as a resource-rich State and through efforts to promote innovative new marine products in coordination with events like the Symphony of Seafood, we are sure to develop capacity to compete on the world stage for value-added marine products.

Maritime Works and Vigor Partner Up
to “Roll Out” New Apprenticeship Program

On January 27th In Ketchikan, Vigor hosted their “Roll Out” for their up and coming apprenticeship program. Vigor operates the state-owned Ketchikan Shipyard, and is known to be one of Alaska’s largest manufacturers. In recent years, a public-private partnership formed to re-industrialize Ketchikan out of a reaction to the collapse of the regional timber products industry in the 1990’s. Maritime Works and Vigor's new apprenticeship program will ultimately strengthen their workforce.

In recent years, in order to sustain economic diversification in response to the state’s budget crisis, Vigor worked alongside key players such as APICC and Maritime Works to take a new and creative approach. Together, they began addressing immediate talent needs in conjunction with developing regional talent supply chains through learning, sharing, and partnering. Vigor realized a competitive shipbuilding workforce is required to win new contracts and support long-term economic transition and growth within the sector, the region, and the state.
During tough economic times, what is going on at Vigor could be good example for the Southwest in turning challenge into opportunity and to focus on the strengths within the region. Apprenticeship programs in maritime have the possibility to extend throughout the state with regional collaboration and industry involvement to retain the human capital and natural resources that are very much alive in the Southwest region.

Photo of Doug Ward from Vigor provided by APICC


Submitting a Resolution for the 2017 Summit?
Do you have a Resolution to bring before the SWAMC Membership for consideration and approval? Gaining support for a Resolution with applicability to the SWAMC region gives added weight and importance to the issue raised. The sooner you get the Resolution to staff, the better; submissions are allowed until February 28. The Board of Directors needs time to review submissions to ensure that they meet the collective interests of SWAMC and to consider whether to recommend a yes, abstention, or no vote on the Resolution by the collective membership. Contact Doug Griffin ( or (907) 562-7380 if you need further information.
SWAMC Board Seats
Scheduled for Election in 2017 Due to Term Expiration or Vacancy

Municipal Seat A – Two-Year Term ending 2019 (incumbent is Layton Lockett)
Municipal Seat B – One-Year ending 2018 (balance of two-year term, Vacant)
Associate Seat – Two-Year Term ending 2019 (incumbent is Paul Gronholdt)

Bristol Bay
Municipal Seat B – Two-Year Term ending 2019 (incumbent is Carvel Zimin, Jr.)
Associate Seat – Two-Year Term ending 2019 (incumbent is Alice Ruby)

Municipal Seat B – Two-Year Term ending 2019 (incumbent is Rebecca Skinner)
At-Large Seat A – Two-Year Term ending 2019 (incumbent is Joe Sullivan)
Are you a SWAMC Member unable to attend the Annual Business Meeting?

Members who are unable to attend the Business Meeting on March 3 are encouraged to consider participating by proxy. Participating by proxy will allow us to count your municipality or organization for purposes of establishing a quorum, and you can direct a designee to vote on your behalf. Proxy applications need to be signed and emailed to Executive Director Doug Griffin ( at least one day before the March 3 meeting, but earlier submission is encouraged. 

EDA Announcement of Funding Opportunity
The Trump Administration is looking for Shovel Ready Projects. When providing information make sure the project is in fact shovel ready, meaning the environmental permits are in hand and the engineering is 95% complete. To expedite, ensure projects are prioritized in CIP or CEDS plans.
The Administration wants to move fast on this: send projects to EDA's Alaska Representative Shirley Kelly (

  • Project 
  • Project sponsor
  • Project description
  • Estimated total investment necessary
  • Current status/estimated date for start of construction and completion
  • Benefits to the transportation network, the regional and national economy
  • Estimate of direct and indirect job creation and private sector investment

Halibut Commission Announces 2017
Catch Limits and Seasons

The Commission approved a season of March 11 - November 7, 2017 for the U.S. and Canadian Individual Quota fisheries. The Pacific Halibut Catch limit is 31.4 million pounds. No areas had a reduction from the 2016 season.

Follow link to the official news release

Sea Grant provides Quality Control Courses to Seafood Processors
Check out the article KMXT wrote about Sea Grant's quality control activities here. Many of the quality control services at the Kodiak Fish Tech Center are funded by federal dollars under the MAKE Program at SWAMC. We are proud of the partnership and excited for things to come in 2017!

SWAMC Member Vertical Harvest wins Farm Bureau Challenge!
Here's an update on the results of the final round of the American Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. This past weekend, the 4 finalists competed in Phoenix for the top 2 awards. We are excited to say that Vertical Harvest won the Entrepreneur of the Year award. This was a very challenging but rewarding experience, and Vertical Harvest would  like to thank everyone for their continued support over the past two years. Vertical Harvest recently launched a growing unit with Belleque Farms in Dillingham. Make sure to look for their products! 
Two New “Sea to School” Resources Available
The Massachusetts Farm to School, Maine Farm to School Network, and New Hampshire Farm to School have released two new resources a Sea to School Guide and “Sea to School: A Lunch Voyage” video to help expand the use of local seafood in school meals and expand seafood/marine education. This project was made possible with a 2016 Innovation Award from the National Farm to School Network funded by Farm Credit and the Newman’s Own Foundation. Explore the new resources here.

Now Welcoming Applications for the
2017 Bristol Bay Fly Fishing & Guide Academy!

Deadline March 17, 2017

We are excited to welcome Bristol Bay residents and BBNC shareholders or descendants between the ages of 14 and 24 to apply to the 9th Annual Bristol Bay Fly Fishing & Guide Academy. Young adults with interest in learning how to fly fish & exploring a career as a sport fishing guide in Bristol Bay will be given priority placement.



  • February 1-7: North Pacific Fishery Management Council - Seattle
  • February 6-10: Alaska Forum on the Environment - Anchorage
  • February 13-14: Basic HACCP Course - Kodiak
  • February 15-16: Juneau Economic Development Council Innovation Summit
  • February 15-17: Better Process Control School - Kodiak
  • February 16: Men's Wellness Group - St. Paul
  • February 22: Symphony of Seafood, Legislative Reception and Awards Ceremony - Juneau
  • February 23: Board of Fish, Upper Cook Inlet Finfish - Anchorage
  • February 24: Fur Rendezvous Begins - Anchorage
  • February 24-25: Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor Class - Kodiak
  • February 24-26: Junior Native Youth Olympics - Anchorage
  • February 28: SWAMC Energy Workshop - Anchorage
  • March 1: AEA Energy Project Finance Seminar/Energy Project Deal Room - Anchorage
  • March 2: AEA Energy Project Finance Seminar/Energy Project Deal Room - Fairbanks
  • March 2 & 3: SWAMC Annual Conference - Anchorage
  • March 4: Start of 45th Iditarod Race - Anchorage
  • March 17: Bristol Bay Fly Fishing & Guide Academy Deadline
  • March 19-21: Seafood Expo North America - Boston
  • March 20-24: Board of Fish, Statewide King and Tanner Crab - Anchorage
  • March 30 - April 2: Great Alaska Sportsman Show - Anchorage
  • March 31 - April 2: Comfish Trade show - Kodiak

SWAMC Conference Gold Sponsors

SWAMC Conference Silver Sponsors


SWAMC Board Members
Layton Lockett - President 
Carvel Zimin - Vice President 
Rebecca Skinner - Treasurer
Mayor Glen Gardner, Jr. 
John Whiddon
Cynthia Berns
Joe Sullivan 
Myra Olsen 
Mayor Alice Ruby
Paul Gronholdt

Doug Griffin - Executive Director
Erik Obrien - MAKE Director
Laura Vaught - Energy Coordinator
Hope Broecker - MAKE Client Services Coordinator
Theresa Dayton - Office Administrator
Become a SWAMC Member!
Copyright © 2017 SWAMC, All rights reserved.

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3300 Arctic Blvd. Suite 203
Anchorage, AK 99503

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Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference (SWAMC) · 3300 Arctic Blvd. · Suite 203 · Anchorage, AK 99503 · USA

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