2018 Annual Meeting  *   September 12-14, 2018  *  Ketchikan, Alaska

We needed all hands on deck and you came through for us! Our annual meeting had nearly 250 attendees during our 2.5 days together in Haines. That was great attendance with excellent speakers in an amazing venue. We are especially grateful to our many sponsors and to all the generous contributors throughout the annual meeting – but especially to those who helped raise over $17,650 in our scholarship auction!
If you missed the conference or want to see a presentation again, click on the links below.

Annual Meeting Presentations

The bulk of the following links are PDF files.

Tuesday September 19

Wednesday September 20

Thursday September 21





Chelsea Goucher was born and raised in Ketchikan and recently completed her B.A. in Social Sciences (Economics) through the University of Alaska Southeast. She is employed at Alaska Marine Lines as an Account Representative for businesses in Ketchikan, Wrangell and on Prince of Wales Island.

Chelsea is passionate about promoting a healthy business climate and high quality of life in the region; in addition to serving as the President of Southeast Conference, she also serves on the Ketchikan Chamber Board, the PeaceHealth Foundation Board, the Board of Rotary 2000 and the UAS Ketchikan Campus Advisory Council.

When she isn’t busy working, Chelsea enjoys fishing, cooking, playing guitar, dancing, singing, gardening, and traveling.

Micaela has served as the Legislative Liaison for the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development for the last four years, and previously served in various capacities in the Office of the Governor for the prior four years. Her policy experience has centered on health insurance, licensing, municipal issues, and economic development. She holds a B.A. in Social Science from the University of Alaska Southeast. She is a fourth generation Juneau resident, grateful to be raising her web footed children in the alpine meadows and mountain ridges of her hometown.

Meilani Schijvens is the owner and Director of Rain Coast Data, a Southeast Alaska-based research and consulting firm specializing in regional economic analysis, publications, socioeconomic impact studies, survey research, and public outreach. Meilani is also the Economic Development Director for Southeast Conference (and past Executive Director). She previously taught Alaska economic history at the University of Oregon, worked as an environmental technician at the Greens Creek Mine, and was a staffer in Washington DC for the US Senate Minority Leader.  She holds a Master of Science from the University of Oregon and a B.A. in history from Colby College. A lifelong resident of the region, she believes there is no better place on the planet.

Britteny A. Cioni-Haywood holds a Master of Science in Natural Resource Economics from the University of Arkansas. She has lived in Juneau since 2006, and was previously a professor of economics at the University of Alaska Southeast.  Ms. Cioni-Haywood has been with the State of Alaska since 2012 and currently serves as the Director for the Division of Economic Development.

Myrna Gardner works for Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska as the Manager of Business and Economic Development. The department supports economic self-sufficiency for the tribe and its citizens. Ms. Gardner is an Alaska Native, Tlingit and Haida. She belongs to the Taakwaaneidi Hit out of Klawock and she hails from Ketchikan. She has three children, is an avid fisher and lover of Seahaw

Patti Mackey is the President and CEO of the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau, and has directed the organization’s operations and destination marketing strategies for twenty-two years.  Mackey is past chair and one of three Southeast Alaska representatives to the Alaska Travel Industry Association board and past president of the Southeast Alaska Tourism Council. She chaired the ATIA Marketing committee- predating the Alaska Tourism Marketing Board, to which she was appointed in 2014 by Governor Sean Parnell. In March 2017, Patti was appointed to the tourism seat of the Marine Transportation Advisory board by Governor Bill Walker. Patti was born in Ketchikan, and has lived in the community for 35 years. She has been actively involved in many local organizations and is past president of the board of the Ketchikan Medical Center Foundation. Patti and her husband Charles have raised two sons, both of whom live and work in Alaska.

Matt Eisenhower serves as the Director of Community Health Development for PeaceHealth and lives in Ketchikan. His early involvement with rural healthcare and overseeing multiple projects focusing on the triple aim of healthcare reform gives him a unique perspective on the evolving changes in healthcare and healthcare costs. Healthcare plays an important role in the economic environment in Southeast Alaska and Matt knows how healthcare costs and quality care can serve as a driver in economic development. He has spoken nationally to various audiences on the changing trends in healthcare, change management, and population health care models. He is married and has six boys, serves on the school board, and is active in youth baseball.

Deantha Crockett is the Executive Director of the Alaska Miners Association, which advocates for and promotes responsible mineral development in the state of Alaska. She was born and raised in Alaska and came to AMA from the Resource Development Council, where she led issues and policy for the mining and tourism industries for seven years.

Liz Cornejo is a geologist who began her Southeast Alaska career at the Niblack Project on Prince of Wales Island. Liz has worked with Constantine at the Palmer Project since 2009 and now serves as the Company’s Manager of Exploration & Community. Liz travels frequently between the Vancouver office, the summer field office, and the Haines town office. She was raised in North Dakota and, as a citizen of both the US and Canada, has spent a significant amount of time living and working in both countries, which has been especially valuable in building meaningful relationships across the Company and in the communities where she works. Liz has attended other Southeast Conference meetings in Petersburg and Sitka and looks forward to seeing everyone in Haines. 

From 1973 to 2002 Clark represented the timber and mining clients in Southeast Alaska. He was Alaska counsel for Alaska Pulp Corporation in Sitka, Alaska. In that capacity he handled environmental matters and natural resource litigation. He was involved in the State and Federal permitting for the Pogo Mine near Delta, Alaska, the Fort Know Mine near Fairbanks, Alaska and the environmental “cleanup” of the pulp mill after it closed in 1994. For their efforts to keep the Capitol in Juneau, the Juneau Chamber of Commerce named Mayor Bill Overstreet and Clark as joint Persons of the Year in 1982. In 2002, Clark was appointed Chief-of-Staff by Governor Frank Murkowski. As Chief-of-Staff he managed the Governor’s cabinet and served as the State’s chief gas pipeline negotiator. In 2006 the State’s gas line team successfully negotiated a draft contract between the State and the North Slope producers to construct a gas

Anthony Mallott was named Sealaska president and CEO in May 2014. Mallott earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Stanford University. He came to Sealaska in 2006 to serve as Sealaska’s chief investment officer and treasurer. As a result he has deep experience in financial and investment management. As chief investment officer, he was responsible for the direction of treasury activities of the company and the management of corporate investment funds. Prior to Sealaska, Mallott was a vice president within Bank of America’s capital markets, working in the portfolio and risk strategy group for 10 years.
Mallott is chair of the Kootznoowoo Permanent Fund Settlement Trust, which benefits Kootznoowoo, Inc. shareholders. He has served as a board member of the Rasmuson Foundation; and an investment committee member of the Alaska Community Foundation.

Frank Murkowski was Alaska's US Senator from 1981 until 2002, and the eighth Governor of Alaska from 2002 until 2006.

Ken Alper is the Tax Division Director for the Alaska Department of Revenue, having been appointed to that position by Governor Bill Walker in 2014. In addition to administering the division and the 25 tax programs it oversees, he is part of the administration’s policy team for fiscal restructuring. He was the primary presenter for HB247 and HB111, the two Oil and Gas Tax Credit reform efforts that passed in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Prior to this he spent ten years at the Alaska State Legislature, mostly as the oil and gas aide to the House Minority. In this role he developed legislation and amendments as well as providing bill analysis, technical assistance, and revenue modeling to multiple legislators. He had input into all major production tax and gas development efforts during that time.

Originally from New Jersey, Ken has a BA in Regional Science from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Washington. After several years of back and forth, he moved to Alaska permanently in 1997. Ken and his wife Jill Ramiel own and operate the Silverbow Inn in downtown Juneau where they live with their three children.

Mr. Mertl is a Landscape Architect with a strong background in the design of Alaskan coastal communities and environmental solutions for the region. He is the principal of the Southeast office of Corvus Design in Juneau. His work stretches from Ketchikan to Unalaska. He has assisted communities to revitalize their downtown and economy, found the balance for developing waterfront and cruiseship facilities while providing opportunities for residents, provided environmental determinations and obtained permits for difficult projects, and worked with Native artists in the development of cultural landscapes. Mr. Mertl has lived in Southeast Alaska for nearly 20 years in both Juneau and Sitka and is fascinated by the coastal environment, its challenges, and the opportunities it presents.

Alana Peterson grew up and resides in Sitka, a small island community in Southeast Alaska. Professionally, Alana earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration at Charleston Southern University. After graduating from college she joined the Peace Corps where she served as a Small Business Development volunteer for two years on the southern coast of Peru. She obtained her Master’s degree in Business Administration from Northern Arizona University. She continues work in economic development in her current role as Program Director at Spruce Root, Inc.  

Marc Luiken serves as the Commissioner for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Under his direction, the department is responsible for the planning, design and construction, as well as the maintenance and operation of Alaska’s transportation system, public buildings and facilities. He previously served as the department’s Commissioner from December 2010 to October 2012; a position he took after serving as DOT’s Deputy Commissioner for Aviation. Most recently, Commissioner Luiken was employed as a project manager and performance coach with RLG international, a consulting firm supporting the oil industry in Alaska with ConocoPhillips and BP Exploration Alaska. Prior to his public service to the State of Alaska, Luiken served 29 years with the U.S. Air Force, retiring June 1, 2010. His career as an Air Force fighter pilot spanned the globe with multiple assignments in the United Kingdom and Germany, and an assignment in Japan. He is combat veteran with service in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Joint Forge and Operation Enduring Freedom. Commissioner Luiken holds a bachelor’s in Human Factor’s Engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy; a master’s degree in Management from Troy State University and a master’s in Strategic Studies from Air University in Alabama. He is a Certified Member of the American Association of Airport Executives and a member of the Air Force Association. He lives in Anchorage with his wife Suzanne. They have five children; each of whom are Alaska residents.

Captain John Falvey is a graduate of the Maine Maritime Academy. After graduation Captain Falvey spent 25 years operating offshore deep sea oil tankers for the Union Oil Company of California, the majority of those years were spent sailing as a Captain. Captain Falvey retired from UNOCAL Corporation and went on to operate fast ferries for 5 years as a High Speed Code Type Rated Captain in both New England and South American waters. Captain Falvey was next employed by AMHS in early 2003 as a Port Captain , and was appointed to the position General Manager of AMHS in May of 2004, where he currently serves.  

John D. Reeves joined Elliott Bay Design Group in 2015 as a Project Manager and Senior Engineer, bringing extensive field experience gained through 23 years of operating and maintaining some of the most complex vessels in the U.S. Coast Guard fleet, 11 years in and around Alaska.  John's wide-ranging background includes five years as port engineer and manager of four industrial repair facilities, including Ketchikan.  Since joining Elliott Bay Design Group, John has provided engineering and design for new ferries, modifications to vessels in operation, and feasibility studies.  Clients include the Alaska Marine Highway System, Pierce County, WA, and Water Emergency Transportation Authority in California

McDowell Group Principal Jim Calvin has 30 years of experience in Alaska conducting economic and socioeconomic impact analyses, benefit/cost studies, market assessments, and business feasibility studies. Jim’s project experience includes more than 30 research and consulting assignments related to ferry service in Alaska, including private and public ferry system feasibility studies, travel demand studies, and analyses of the local and statewide economic impact of AMHS. Jim has conducted community and regional-level economic analyses in nearly every community served by ferry service in Alaska.  Jim and Principal Susan Bell lead a team of 17 McDowell Group professionals in offices in Juneau, Anchorage, and Bellingham.

John Waterhouse serves as Chief Concept Engineer, and was a founding partner, at Elliott Bay Design Group, and has over 30 years of experience in naval architecture and marine engineering.  Throughout his career, he has made significant contributions to the industry through innovative design and engineering achievement.  His ferry experience includes vessel design and engineering for various clients including Washington State Ferries, Alaska Marine Highway System, and The Steamship Authority.  John's expertise includes analysis and development of transportation studies, including operational and business plans and analyzing long-term financial strategies for both public and private operators including Alaska Department of Transportation, Delaware River and Bay Authority, and Alaska's Inter-Island Ferry Authority.  

Rob is the CEO of the Sitka Community Hospital. Rob graduated from Harvard College in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts in U.S.History and from Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2007 with a Masters in Public Administration.

Rob grew up in Sitka. For many years he was President of the family business, Allen Marine Tours. From being a Captain to overseeing a fleet of vessels in Sitka, Juneau, and Ketchikan, Rob helped the company grow from a truly Mom and Pop operation to over 200 employees.

Currently, Rob serves on the Board of Directors for Sitka Sound Science Center and The Piatagorsky Foundation. He's been active in the community and throughout Alaska over the years, serving on the boards of Rasmuson Foundation, Southeast Conference, Sheldon Jackson College, Island Institute, Sitkans Against Family Violence, Foraker Group, Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the City and Borough of Sitka Assembly.

Maxine was born in Juneau and raised in Angoon in a traditional Tlingit environment by her father, Matthew Fred, Sr., and mother, Elizabeth (Bessie) Fred. Maxine earned her B.A. in sociology from University of Alaska, Fairbanks. In addition to serving as the Mayor of Angoon for two terms, Maxine has owned her own company, Angoon Oil, for more than 2 decades.

Senator Bert Stedman is a fourth-generation Alaskan. In 1908, the Stedman family homesteaded in Kake, where Bert's great-grandfather operated a fox farm and worked as a hunting guide and shipwright. Senator Bert Stedman attended Sitka High School, where he was a founding member of the Sitka swim team. He long-lined and seined throughout Southeast Alaska. After graduating in 1974, he worked in the heavy construction industry and continued to fish commercially for several years. Senator Stedman graduated from the University of  Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He then returned to Sitka and founded Pioneer Capital Management. Bert has  successfully operated this personal investment services firm from 1986-2016. Bert  served eight years on the Sitka Planning and Zoning Commission and four years on the Sitka Assembly, including one year as deputy mayor. In 2003, Governor Frank Murkowski appointed Senator Bert Stedman to the Alaska State Legislature as a State Senator. Senator Stedman was then elected to the seat in 2004 and reelected in 2008, 2012 as well as in 2016. Senator Stedman is currently the Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and is a member of the Senate Resources Committee, Senate Community & Regional Affairs Committee, and the Legislative Council Committee.

In 1994, Julie Decker arrived in Ketchikan to work in a cannery during summer break from college, and she has worked in Alaska’s seafood industry ever since.   Her work experience has been varied and includes: deckhand, diver, vessel owner, and management of both for-profit and non-profits. 

Julie has also served on various boards and committees working toward economic development in the seafood industry, including the Southeast Conference, United Fishermen of Alaska, and the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.  In 2016, Julie was elected to a second term on the Wrangell Assembly.  Currently, Julie is the Executive Director of the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation (AFDF).  In the summers, she takes vacation time to commercial fish with her family on the F/V McCrea out of Wrangell.

Joe Plesha has worked at Trident Seafoods Corporation for thirty years, first as its General Counsel (1987 through 2009) and since 2009 as Trident’s Chief Legal Officer. Mr. Plesha previously worked at a law firm in Seattle (1986 and 1987) and on Capitol Hill in Washington DC as Counsel to the Senate Commerce Committee covering fishing and oceans issues (1985 and 1986) and as a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Frank Murkowski (1983 through 1985). Joe also worked each summer at a salmon cannery in Ketchikan while earning his undergraduate and legal degrees.

Rick Harris was the Executive Vice President of Sealaska until July 2014 when he retired after 34 years with Sealaska Corporation. During his tenure with Sealaska he had an active role in legislation and regulation development, environmental management and lobbying in both Alaska and in Washington D.C.  Prior to his employment with Sealaska he was responsible for salmon harvest management and enhancement  programs in Washington state and in Alaska he lead the Southern Southeast Aquaculture Association salmon enhancement brood stock collection program and regional salmon enhancement planning. Since his retirement from Sealaska, Rick provides consulting service which includes Sealaska Heritage Institute where he is working on strategies to create policy authorizations and appropriations to support SHI Northwest Coast arts initiative.  

Bobbie Meszaros is Tlingit, of the Ch’áak’ (Eagle) moiety of the Sik’nax.ádi (Wolf Killer Whale) Clan from Shtax’héen Kwáan (Wrangell, Alaska) and Tseesk’iya dachxán (grandchild of the Tahltan Crow Clan). Bobbie works for Sealaska Heritage Institute as the new Development Officer. In this role, she is
responsible for the management, planning, and implementation of the philanthropy program that secures financial resources to support Sealaska Heritage’s mission and program goals. Bobbie has over ten years of fundraising and event planning experience while working for several national based nonprofit organizations. She specializes in serving Alaska Native and American Indian Tribal Nations throughout Indian Country. Prior to joining Sealaska Heritage, she worked for the American Indian College Fund as a grant writer and researcher. Bobbie holds a B.A. in Anthropology and History from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has recently relocated back home to Alaska after spending the last several years in Colorado and is excited to promote Juneau as the Northwest Coast Art Capital within the region and nationally.

Ms. Carty was appointed executive director of the Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium in March of 2015. In addition to having more than 20 years of leadership experience in Alaska, Cari-Ann has an abundance of enthusiasm for education and a deep passion for Alaska. She holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Alaska Pacific University, and a certificate of nonprofit management from University of Alaska Fairbanks. Prior to her appointment as executive director, she held several positions at APICC, including program coordinator, manager, and deputy director. Cari-Ann is a life-long Alaskan, born in Adak. She has spent most of her life residing in Anchorage, but has also lived in King Cove and the Mat-Su Valley.

Since 1994, Doug Ward has been Director of Shipyard Development for the Ketchikan Shipyard. The Ketchikan Shipyard is owned by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) AND operated by Vigor through a long term public private partnership that includes the City and Borough of Ketchikan.  Vigor is currently building the first of two Alaska Class Ferries for the Alaska Marine Highway System.  Doug is co-founder of the Ketchikan Marine Industry Council (KMIC) and Maritime Works (MWs) formed to support the growth and expansion of Alaska’s maritime industrial base.  In 2017, under Ward's leadership, Vigor partners with Maritime Works to launch the Advancing Alaska Workers demonstration of practices that are producing a best-in-class, Alaska resident shipbuilding and repair workforce at the Ketchikan Shipyard. Founded on employer-led co-investment of private, public, and philanthropic resources, the Ketchikan Shipyard sustains a regionally competitive, advanced manufacturing enterprise in an isolated, rural, and resource-driven economy.

John Clough practiced law in Alaska for over 30 years, first as a partner with Faulkner Banfield in Juneau and then as owner of the statewide firm of Clough & Associates.  Since retiring in 2014 he has spent extensive time working with a variety of local and statewide non-profit organizations, serving as President of Alaska Public Broadcasting, Inc. based in Anchorage, as well as President of Juneau Lyric Opera.  John has served on the Board of Partnership, Inc. since 2016 and is one of the primary spokespersons for the New JACC project.  He and his wife Marian have four daughters and two highly entertaining grandsons.  John is also a private pilot who enjoys exploring Alaska.

Carol Tuynman is the Creative Director of Alaska Arts Confluence in Haines, Alaska. The organization works to inspire a culture of collaboration borough wide by focusing on downtown revitalization and building positive relationships between all people through creative placemaking initiatives such as art on Main Street, First Friday, and the Fort Seward Interpretive Walking Tour and Sculpture Garden.

Sierra Callis began her career in shipbuilding and repair following completion of her technical training in welding and fitting at Alaska Vocation Technical Institute (AVTEC) in Seward.  Sierra earned her journey status while helping fabricate the new ferry M/V Tazlina at the Ketchikan Shipyard.  In January of 2017, Sierra was selected to lead Vigor’s skill building program at the Ketchikan Shipyard. As Vigor Alaska’s Work Force Development Specialist, Sierra has led implementation of the companies Registered Apprenticeship in the Occupation of Welder/Fitter (Combo Welder) while managing all other skill building activities in Ketchikan.

Jim Bates is the President and CEO of Business Improvement Group, Inc. (BIG) and an Adjunct Professor in several schools at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Jim also serves as an advisory board member to the Project Management Institute Alaska Chapter (PMIAK) and as an Executive Advisor for the Texas Technology Consortium. Jim has a vast career spanning 36 years with proficiencies in Business Management and Information Technology. Recently he spent three years (through March 2016) servings as Director of Enterprise Technology Services for the State of Alaska and represented Alaska nationally as it’s CIO. Jim has been providing business benefits for diverse organizations since the early 1990’s, including F500’s, as an employee and/or consultant. Mr. Bates has a passion for teaching and is a champion of outcome-based learning. Jim has been providing business and IT instruction since 1992 and has developed class syllabi for many courses including certification preparation. Jim currently serves as the Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt over the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Lean Center of Excellence. Jim has become in high-demand as a Speaker, Facilitator, Panelist, Trainor, Mentor and Coach for diverse events and organizations nationwide.

McDowell Group Principal Susan Bell manages a wide array projects including community development and planning assignments, market demand assessments, feasibility studies for public and private investments, public opinion research, and stakeholder outreach.  Prior to re-joining McDowell Group in 2015, Susan served as Commissioner of Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development Commissioner where she led state initiatives to market Alaska domestically and internationally; develop Alaska’s renewable and traditional energy resources; and enhance the state’s business climate. She served as State Co-Chair of the Denali Commission and as a board member for the Alaska Railroad Corporation, Alaska Energy Authority, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, and Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority.

Governor Bill Walker and Lt. Governor Byron Mallott took office in December of 2014 as the first non-partisan administration in Alaska history. They are also the first Alaska-born Governor and Lt. Governor to serve together. Byron Mallott was born in Yakutat, the ancestral home of his mother’s Tlingit clan. Yakutat remains the voting residence of the Lt. Governor and his wife Toni. Together they have raised their blended family of five children. Mallott entered public life as mayor of Yakutat at age 22 and has since held many positions of responsibility in the public, private and non-profit sectors. He has served as the state’s first commissioner of community and regional affairs under Governor Bill Egan; president of the Alaska Federation of Natives; founding president of the First Alaskans Institute; and trustee, chair and executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation. In the private sector, Mallott has served as chair, president and CEO of Sealaska Corporation; served on the board of Alaska Air Group, and Bank of America subsidiary boards in Washington and Alaska; and as a director of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco. Mallott has also been a small business owner and commercial fisherman. Mallott says his proudest service is as clan leader of the Tlingit Raven Kwaash Kee Kwaan Clan of Yakutat. The Mallotts spend as much time as possible with their children and grandchildren. They enjoy birding, hiking, fishing and boating in Alaska’s incredible outdoors, and traveling to visit friends and discover new places.

Alec is the chair of the Southeast Conference Energy Committee and board treasurer. Alec holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Oregon State University. He currently serves as Vice President & Director of Energy Services for Alaska Electric Light & Power. In his current role he manages demand-side energy programs for the utility, helping to influence customer actions to optimize the use of energy in Juneau.

An expert in rural energy systems, Jodi Mitchell has worked with Inside Passage Electric Cooperative (IPEC), known formerly as the Tlingit and Haida Regional Electrical Authority, for more than 20 years, assuming the role of chief executive officer/general manager in 2008. Prior to IPEC, she worked at Sealaska. She is currently the vice chair on the Sealaska Board. Mitchell is former chair and trustee of the Kootznoowoo Permanent Fund Settlement Trust, a director of the Kwaan Electric Transmission Intertie Cooperative, and a member of the Energy Committee for Southeast Conference. She also serves as a director of Synergy Systems, Inc., Olympic Fabrication, LLC, Kingston Environmental Services, Sealaska Constructors, LLC, and Haa Aani, LLC. Mitchell is Raven-Beaver Deisheetaan, originally from Angoon, Alaska. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Oregon and is a certified management accountant from the Institute of Management Accountants.

Greg has been employed by AP&T for over 37 years. Greg has more than 35 years’ experience in electrical system design, construction, construction management and management of power operations for a hydro-diesel grid. He has been responsible for the construction of two hydroelectric projects on Prince of Wales Island. During his lengthy tenure with Alaska Power & Telephone Company, Greg has served in a variety of positions prior to being appointed by the Board of Directors as Vice President of Power Operations in 2008. Greg has also been on the Board of Trustees for Alaska Power and Telephone Company ESOP for the last 3 years.

UAC Member since: April, 2015

As Business Development Director for Alaska Power & Telephone Company, Jason Custer works to advance a wide range of utility projects, including cutting-edge renewable energy and fiber optic projects benefitting rural Alaskan communities.  Custer serves on the Board of Directors for Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP), Haida Energy, and the Lynn Canal Transmission Corporation.  He is Past President of the Chamber of Commerce in his home town of Ketchikan, and a co-founder of the Ketchikan Marine Industry Council.  Custer is a returned US Peace Corps volunteer, who served as an aquaculture/agriculture extensionist in rural NW Zambia; it was there, living in absence of electricity or running water, that he first developed his passion for utility infrastructure.

Devany Plentovich has spent the last 8 years as the Program Manager for Biomass and Combined Heat and Power for the Alaska Energy Authority, focusing on project development in the 200+ rural communities that are not tied to the Anchorage-Fairbanks power grid.   She has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science and Policy.  Devany’s previous experience includes 22 years with a consumer products corporation where she managed projects in biomass co-generation, environmental sustainability, and product development. 

Karen has recently begun work for SE Conference as the Biomass Outreach Coordinator.  She is the facilitator for the Alaska Wood Energy Development Task Group, and organizer for the Alaska Wood Energy Conference.  Her position at SE Conference involves outreach for all things biomass.  Karen lives and works from Thorne Bay Alaska.

Bob Deering has been the Forest Service's Regional Renewable Energy Coordinator in Alaska since 2015. As the Renewable Energy Coordinator, Deering facilitates the utilizatoin of forest renewable energy resources for the communities throughout Alaska. He works closely with the regiona's diverse stakeholders and communities. Deering has worked in engineering and energy roles within the Federal sector for more than 28 years. His experience collaborating with both the public and private sectors makes him well qualified for his renewable energy role. Previously, he worked for the United States Coast Guard as an environmental and energy engineer in a civilian capacity in Juneau, and for the Army Corps of Engineers in Seattle before that.  He has been active in a wide range of renewable energy and sustainability initiatives, in a professional, volunteer and personal capacity.


Jessie Huff, works as Alaska’s Energy Coordinator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, headquartered in Palmer.

USDA Rural Development provides financing and technical assistance for economic development, housing and infrastructure projects in rural Alaska.

Jessie holds a Masters of Science in Applied Resource Economics from UAF, the focus of her master’s work was super-efficient building and community design for northern climates, her Bachelors of Science is titled Renewable Energy for Alaska’s Rural Communities.  Her education also includes Associate degrees and study in Digital Media, Technical Theatre and permaculture. She has been working within Alaska’s renewable and energy efficiency sector for the last 7 years. Prior to focusing on energy, Jessie spent 13 years working seasonally in remote off grid locations within the National Park, outdoor education and eco-tourism industries.

Robert’s involvement with Southeast Conference began in 2001 and continued for 7 years as a member of the SEC Board of Directors, including one year as president before stepping down in 2008 to take the role of SEC Energy Coordinator. Robert was previously employed by the Haines Borough for nearly 8 years, the first half as Economic Development Director and the last half as Borough Manager. Before his work with the municipality, Robert was the local manager for a SE Alaska regional wholesale distributor and served 7 years on the local chamber of commerce with 2 terms as President. Robert has served on a number of local and state boards and commissions and currently is a member of the state’s Marine Transportation Advisory Board and the Municipal Advisory Gas Project Review Board.  He and his wife lived in Haines for more than 30 years, before relocating to the "big city" of Juneau. 

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2018 Southeat Conference Annual Meeting

The 2018 Southeast Conference Annual Meeting will be held in Ketchikan Alaska.

Stand by for more information about the meeting venue and dates.

More information about visiting Alaska’s First City is here: http://www.visit-ketchikan.com