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  6.  | Wright Steps Up as AEDC President and CEO

Wright Steps Up as AEDC President and CEO

Sep 12, 2023 | Nonprofits, Right Moves

Anchorage Economic Development Corporation

The board of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) found a successor to longtime President and CEO Bill Popp close at hand. The organization’s vice president, Jenna Wright, can keep the job, a few weeks after she was named to the position on an interim basis.

“The board has worked closely with Jenna since she joined AEDC in 2022 and is pleased that she will assume this important role for our community in the interim,” says AEDC Board Chair Laura Edmondson. “Her professional background and experience in economic development is key to advancing our city and maintaining the momentum of AEDC’s strategic initiatives.”

Wright holds bachelor’s degrees in marketing and finance from UAA, as well as a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in business intelligence and data analytics. She applied her background in the private sector and in government, most recently as deputy director of the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles and Director of Business Operations at Microcom.

As AEDC vice president, Wright hosted the Economic Outlook in January and Three-Year Forecast in August. She is also vice-chair of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Group. She is also a runner, having participated in the Mt. Marathon race and Gold Nugget Triathlon.

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Popp, a former Kenai Peninsula Borough assembly member, announced in June that he would depart from his role after sixteen years of leading AEDC, and he has worked closely with the board to develop a transition strategy.

“Bill has taken AEDC from an advocacy organization to one of action, and the entire board is grateful for Popp’s sixteen years of service,” Edmondson says. “He’s provided a framework to make Anchorage more attractive to business owners and desirable for young people while remaining grounded to reality and the limitations of a young state that is distant from the rest of our country.”

During Popp’s time at AEDC, the corporation launched its Live.Work.Play. effort that focused on identifying Anchorage’s key assets and barriers to attracting businesses and population growth. Live.Work.Play. has evolved under Popp’s leadership into a Choose Anchorage initiative, launched in January.

“It’s been a pleasure serving my community and working hand in hand with businesses that are passionate about improving Anchorage,” says Popp. “I believe in this city, and I believe in Jenna, the AEDC staff, and the board of directors’ ability to continue the momentum of Choose Anchorage.”

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The track of oil and gas development in Alaska shows the footprints of bold companies and hard-working individuals who shaped the industry in the past and continue to innovate today. The May 2024 issue of Alaska Business explores that history while looking forward to new product development, the energy transition for the fishing fleet, and the ethics of AI tools in business.

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