Southeast Conference Presents
2021 Southeast Alaska Community, Person and Business of the Year Awards


2021 Southeast Alaska Community of the Year: Haines

The Southeast Alaska Community of the Year for 2021 is Haines Alaska. Haines has exemplified community resilience over the past year, coming together in the wake of natural disaster, pandemic disaster, closed borders, food and supply shortages, lack of transportation, and economic disaster.

In December 2020 the community experienced a tragic landslide. Lives were lost, homes were destroyed, and households were displaced. The Haines Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG) was established a few weeks after the slide to help households and organizations recover from the disaster on a case-by-case basis. They have taken on assisting 107 households, two organizations, and took charge of debris removal. The community was able to re-open Beach Road 5 months after the accident. The community is currently organizing a new playground in honor of a young kindergarten teacher killed in the disaster.

Haines also experienced the COVID-19 crisis, along with the rest of the region. However, Haines is leading the region on vaccination rates, and is the most vaccinated community in the region – using the new 2020 US Census numbers. Of the 2,080 residents in Haines, 1,564 are fully vaccinated – or 75%. Only 2 communities in Alaska have higher vaccination rates. Haines managed the pandemic crisis well, protecting the health of community member, while focusing on reopening the economy.

Haines has weathered economic disaster with the shutdown of the visitor economy and the closing of the Canadian border. There was a gap of 622 days between cruise ship visitations when the 175-passenger American Constellation was the first cruise ship to dock in Haines this summer. Fisheries in Haines received a double blow last year, with historic low harvests coupled with low market prices.

But throughout it all, the Haines community managed divisive political issues, but managed to come together, and come through stronger than ever, exemplifying this year’s theme of Southeast Strong!


2021 Southeast Alaska Person of the Year: Karl Amylon

Southeast Conference honors the public service and amazing accomplishments of Ketchikan’s City Manager Karl Amylon.
Karl died September 15.

Karl began working as the City Manager of Ketchikan in 1995. In 1999, he also took on the role of Ketchikan Public Utilities General Manager. From his obituary: “In his 26-year career, Ketchikan went from a lumber mill town to a world-class cruise destination. And in his last year as chief executive, he helped lead the city through a global pandemic. His accomplishments were many and varied, but he would say that his greatest accomplishment was creating a team that was dedicated to professionalism and always striving to do what was in the best interest of the community. That was always his focus and mission.”

The entire Southeast Conference community is saddened by his loss.


2021 Southeast Alaska Business of the Year:
Ward Cove Dock Group, LLC

Ward Cove Dock Group, LLC is a partnership of the Spokely Family of Ketchikan (Power Systems & Supplies of Alaska LLC), and the Binkley Family of Fairbanks (Godspeed, Inc.). The dock project became operational in August of 2021, and represents a $50M investment into the community of Ketchikan. In addition to the construction of the dock, the future holds a multitude of tourism and transportation employment opportunities for the community with the development of the Mill at Ward Cove, and the Uplands renovation project. When acquired by the Spokely family in 2011, the Ward Cove industrial site was under strict control of the EPA due to its level of
contamination. In the time since, the Ward Cove Dock Group has made enormous strides toward restoring the area, with a focus in ecological preservation. In 2021, the Ward Cove Dock design was awarded the Associated General Contractors of America’s National Environmental Enhancement Award, in recognition of its design’s compatibility with and protection of the
environment. To further demonstrate their commitment to the community, the WCDG has taken great care to preserve the important role of Timber in the community’s history. The interior design of the facility pays homage to the history of the Mill – including pictures and testimonials from local residents, as well as a live forest inside their structure, where visitors can experience walking through the Tongass upon their arrival in Ketchikan.