Alaska State Chamber Message from Chair, Kip Knudson
Dear Alaska State Chamber Member:
Thank you for your investment in Alaska's premier business advocacy organization. The Alaska State Chamber has a venerable 52 year history of improving the state's business environment. Recently, the organization has initiated a number of programs to provide even more value to our members - we partnered with the Foraker Group to provide a new health insurance program to Chamber members, we initiated the Alaska Business Week program for Alaska youth and we have reinvigorated our political action committee to enhance our advocacy program.
Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement. Late last year State Chamber members heard from the CNBC reporter who ranked states on their business environment. Alaska was dead last. We learned, however, that we can improve most of the factors contributing to our ranking.
The Alaska State Chamber's vision should be to elevate Alaska to the top of any business ranking list. We can get there as long as we continually review our efforts and track our progress. This is an ambitious goal and though the year ahead will include some change, I predict many successes and some good policy outcomes for business.
After six and half years of yeoman's effort as our President and CEO, Wayne Stevens stepped down effective December 31, 2010. Alaska business owes Wayne a debt of gratitude for his service. Please thank him for his service and wish him well in his next endeavor. The Board Executive Committee has been engaged in an executive search since November, and I am pleased to report we have identified finalists from an outstanding field of interested candidates. We will engage in an extensive interview process on the 19th and 20th of January and intend to make an offer on the 21st. You can all meet our new executive at our Juneau Fly-In on February 22 and 23.
The search committee is asking the new CEO to:
· Manage a successful advocacy program;
· Grow the State Chamber membership;
· Arrange interesting and fun events; and,
· Communicate the results of the above to membership and the public.
The Board and new CEO expect to achieve measurable results on our priorities outlined in the next section.
Business Report Card
The Chamber will continue to coordinate with other business organizations to "grade" state legislators on their efforts to improve the business environment. An interim report card will be issued following completion of the 2011 session. A final report card will be released after the 27th Legislature adjourns sine die in the Spring of 2012.
Alaska Business Week
One hundred high school students will gather on the UAF campus on July 31 - August 6, 2011. For the second Alaska Business Week camp. Under the guidance of State Chamber Board member Ann Ringstad and in cooperation with the Washington Business Week and the Northern Leadership Center at UAF's School of Management, these students will learn the fundamentals of business, expand their team building skills, test their leadership and public speaking abilities, and become fast friends with peers from Barrow to Ketchikan. But wait, there's more! They will also have the opportunity to earn two college credits.
The Alaska Business Political Action Committee will continue to seek donations from voters interested in supporting candidates who favor growing Alaska's economy. In the recent state elections, ABPAC donated nearly $15,000 to pro-business candidates. We expect to increase this amount substantially for the 2012 elections.
Foraker Health Plan
Chamber members will continue to have the option to purchase a health care plan aimed at helping employees live healthier lifestyles.
In the 2011 session our priorities are:
· Alaska Coastal Management Program (ACMP): the Chamber will oppose any changes to the ACMP that diminish the program's ability to provide concise, streamlined, and predictable permitting in Alaska's coastal zone.
· Oil Taxes: the Chamber will support meaningful reform of Alaska's oil production tax system that reduces the state's tax burden on all Alaska oil and gas exploration and development activities and encourages increased production.
· Transportation Endowment: the Chamber supports a state-financed transportation program that is adequately and predictably funded, provides continuity between succeeding administrations, and addresses all modes of transportation.
Additionally, during our priority-setting process held in October of 2010, members identified 20 issues that are important to growing Alaska's economy. Those can be found at www.alaskachamber.com
We are calling all members to Juneau on February 22 and 23 to put an exclamation point on our priorities and positions with legislators and the executive branch. I look forward to seeing all of you there.
Feel free to contact me at email@example.com or 907-261-7221.Thank you again for your investment.