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

SWAMC Economic Summit:
A Networking Adventure

With the holidays in the rear view mirror, it is time to plan for the new year ahead! We hope that your plan includes registration and attendance at the 2017 Economic Summit and Membership Meeting scheduled for March 2nd and 3rd-3, 2017. Our focus this year is on Turning Challenge into Opportunity.

With packed schedules and tight budgets among our members and attendees, we have squeezed our three day conference into two jam-packed days of information and networking. On Day One we will hear from several Walker Administration Commissioners on how smaller State budgets will affect vital services in Southwest Alaska, Public Safety Commissioner Monegan addressing the recently-enacted criminal justice reform bill, and in the afternoon we look forward to learning about the new strategies that will be necessary to sustain rural communities and start new business ventures.

Day Two will focus on one of our favorite topics: Fish! The Governor is invited to kick off the day followed by area Legislators that can break away from Juneau. The lunch discussion will include updates from a few CDQs, and we will wrap up the Conference looking at value-added strategies and hear from a world renowned expert on global fisheries. March will be here before we know it so make your plans and join us at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage!


(Photo of Senior Advisor to the Alaska Governor, Gerad Godfrey, at SWAMC's 2016 Membership Meeting)


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

SWAMC Energy Workshop on Tuesday, February 28th

If you are interested in being a part of the energy conversation, we invite you to join us at our Energy Workshop on Tuesday before the Annual SWAMC Conference!

Similar to last year, we will hold a technical advisor “Mixer” session in the morning, which we describe as similar to “speed-dating” where community representatives are matched up with technical experts to briefly discuss their renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in 15 minute sessions. We will invite program managers from AEA, ANTHC, USDA, etc., plus some of the consultants on the Technical Assistance Panel established under our new Department of Energy grant. These will be people with expertise in diesel powerhouse and integration issues, biomass, wind, hydro, heat recovery, community planning and financial management, and energy efficiency. This can be a great opportunity to talk to an energy expert face-to-face about your community’s desired renewable energy or efficiency projects, or to discuss solutions to roadblocks that you have hit while pursuing these projects.

In the afternoon, we plan to hold Bristol Bay and Aleutian Energy Committee meetings to allow for a round-table energy discussion with attendees from each region. This gives the new DOE grant team – Regional Energy Coordinators Bruce Wright, APIA; Stephanie Aikins, BBNA; and Tyler Kornelis, KANA – the chance to meet community members and hear from them directly. They, along with Laura Vaught, SWAMC Energy Coordinator and grant manager, will be looking for an update on the energy priorities and projects that each community is pursuing. This meeting is one of the only annual opportunities for the Bristol Bay and Aleutian communities to come together as a region and hear what one another is doing to reduce the high cost of energy and transition to cleaner, locally-sourced renewables.

The Energy Workshop is free to attend, and we will be providing lunch. Please let Laura or your regional Energy Coordinator know if you are interested, and we hope to see you there!

AEA Energy Project Finance Seminar & Energy Project Deal Room

On Wednesday, March 1st, AEA is hosting their second annual Energy Project Finance Seminar & Energy Project Deal Room at the BP Energy Center in Anchorage. This event will bring project developers together with lenders from both the public and private sectors to learn about financing for building efficiency and energy generation projects, with the intention of sparking new investment in projects around the state. The latter half of the day is reserved for the Energy Project Deal Room, where four energy project developers selected from an applicant pool will have an opportunity to pitch their project to lenders in the room, fostering group discussion on innovation in project financing and making connections that ultimately lead to closed deals, constructed projects, saved energy, and economic development. We encourage those community energy champions who are already attending our Tuesday workshop to look into AEA’s exciting event. More information and registration on the Alaska Energy Authority's Website. Communities with an energy project that is ready to be funded should consider applying for the Deal Room!


Shining Light on Bristol Bay

Bristol Bay now houses the largest solar array in Alaska. CapStone Solutions developed and installed Naknek Electric Association’s 80.08 kW array that proudly sits in the tundra near Pederson Point.

CapStone Solutions claims the array has outperformed their estimates so far. The unit has produced approximately 15,000 kWh since it was installed in mid-September. The Washington-based company has had quite a bit of interest in rural Alaska where power is most expensive. “It’s in our best interest to make sure that everyone involved is thrilled with the project. We want to make sure that our client gives a positive report of us which has been the case thus far,” stated Capstone’s Solar Division Director David Nicol.

Nicol believes what would really help these projects take off in rural Alaska is good powerhouse monitoring data (which is often unavailable) but claims that the biggest barrier to installation in Alaska right now is education. “The technology works, it’s tried and true and it doesn’t come with the integration maintenance challenges that small wind projects can have. We need to educate the public, help people understand that this can work. The primary misconception is that it’s too expensive to use in many places. Also, it’s not what springs to mind when you think 'Energy in Alaska'. That said, we need to use lessons learned in the Lower 48 and apply them to solar in Alaska.”

CapStone is expected to close negotiations with three villages in the new year and if the talks move forward, Bristol Bay will see a lot of positive financial and environmental changes. These projects combined could add about a megawatt of solar and batteries in the Bristol Bay Region, with the possibility to cut diesel consumption in half and double the lifespan of the generators in the villages where these solar arrays are completed.

(photos of NEA's Solar Array and Capstone’s Solar Division Director David Nicol, submitted by David Nicol)

The Aleut Community of St. Paul Island hosts Wellness Training Event in February

The Aleut Community of St. Paul Island is inviting select members to participate in their Safety and Native Community Wellness Training. This event will build practical skills within tribal government staff to address family safety in Aleut communities. It is the first of its kind held within the region and in an Aleut community.
The idea for this event began in 2015, when the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island was invited by the Department of Interior and Department of Justice to a roundtable discussion in Washington D.C. on alternative justice for Native communities. "We were one of 10 tribes in the nation asked to attend and we presented on our healing-to-wellness court," states Marissa Merculieff, Director of the Office of Justice and Governance Administration for the Pribilof Islands Aleut Community of St. Paul Island.
Healing-to-wellness court is an intensive 18-month sobriety program with a mission to promote safe and stable families through the development of holistic tribal justice and systems of care built on culture and community values to rebuild a healthy, sustainable, and resilient community. Merculieff concludes, "From this presentation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Tribal Justice Support contacted the Aleut Community of St. Paul and asked us to conduct a training on the Violence Against Women Act and safety and community wellness. We are confident the entire region, and any other interested attendees, can benefit from learning about how we are addressing substance abuse, violence, and historical trauma in our community."

The Aleut Community is targeting individuals such as tribal judges, tribal court clerks, social service/human service advocates & staff, tribal government presidents, and tribal members to attend. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Tribal Justice Support has provided the funding for the event, and travel for 2 representatives from each of the other 12 Aleut tribes in the region. Anyone else is welcome to attend at their own expense.
People may contact Marissa for more information, either via email at or telephone at (907) 717-3071.

BP Alaska Principal’s Scholarship

deadline: January 31,2017

BP has partnered with the Alaska Principals Foundation (APF) to award 25 graduating seniors across Alaska each with a one-time $4,000 scholarship. 

Every high school Principal in Alaska may nominate one graduating senior from their school for the BP Alaska Principal’s Scholarship. The APF Board of Directors selects the 25 scholarship winners.

Please help us to make this program a success by sharing information about the BP Alaska Principal’s Scholarship with teachers and students at your school.

The Alaska Seed Fund

The Alaska Seed Fund plans to award a total of $50,000 to innovators and entrepreneurs for the development of prototypes in Alaska. One grand prize winner will receive a $20,000 Seed Grant and several other applicants will receive Kickstart Grants ranging from $3,000 to $10,000.
Applications are due by January 11, 2017 at 11:59 PM.  The application and eligibility information may be found at

Northern Opportunity:
Alaska's Economic Strategy

The State of Alaska’s Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development is working with stakeholders throughout Alaska to develop a state-wide economic strategy. This effort will outline economic opportunities in the state, while identifying ways to mitigate challenges, barriers to business, and better deal with disruptions to our economy.

A critical component to developing the strategy and ensuring success is hearing from Alaskans across the state; an online survey is available for you to participate and lend your voice to this project! Share your thoughts about our economy and your vision for a prosperous Alaska at
  • January 10-13: Board of Fish, Finfish - Kodiak
  • January 17: Alaska State Legislature Convenes
  • January 18-19: DOE Alaska Regional Energy Workshop - Barrow
  • January 18: Naknek Career Fair
  • January 20: Dillingham Career Fair
  • January 23-24: DOE Alaska Regional Energy Workshop - Fairbanks
  • January 23: Alaska Marine Science Symposium - Anchorage
  • January 23: International Pacific Halibut Conference - Victoria B.C.
  • January 24: Kodiak Energy Committee Meeting
  • January 25-27: Kodiak Rural Leadership Forum
  • January 26-27: DOE Alaska Regional Energy Workshop - Gulkana
  • January 30: BP Scholarship Deadline
  • January 30: North Pacific Fishery Management Council [NPFMC] - Seattle
  • February 10: Alaska Symphony of Seafood: Seattle
  • February 13-14: HACCP Course - Kodiak
  • February 16: Alaska Symphony of Seafood: Junea
  • February 15-17: Better Process Control - Kodiak
  • February 19: Alaska Symphony of Seafood: Anchorage
  • February 28: SWAMC Energy Workshop - Anchorage
  • March 1: AEA Energy Project Finance Seminar & Energy Project Deal Room - Anchorage
  • March 2 & 3: SWAMC Conference - Anchorage
  • March 7: Boston Seafood Expo - Boston
SWAMC Board Members
Layton Lockett - President 
Carvel Zimin - Vice President 
Rebecca Skinner - Treasurer
Glen Gardner 
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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