2019 Convention Calendar: Alaska’s Industry Meetings and Trade Shows
Aerial view of Juneau
When it’s time to network, learn, and even pick up some swag, there are a bevy of annual conventions held statewide to inform and entertain.
Where to meet, greet, and learn all year long
The schedules are out—or at least starting to coalesce—for many of the state’s largest and most anticipated conventions taking place in 2019.
The twenty conferences listed here include some of the main annual events for Alaska’s largest industries and areas of interest: oil and gas, mining, Alaska Native corporations, healthcare, fisheries, telecommunications, transportation, the Arctic, and utilities.
In addition to local conferences, several national industry conferences will come to the 49th State in 2019, including a Chinese tourism convention in March, a large international data analytics convention in August, and the first-ever American meeting of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds Conference in September.
Alaska Native conventions taking place in 2019 include Southcentral Foundation’s annual gathering in February and the Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention in October.
- Meet Alaska Conference and Trade Show from the Alaska Support Industry Alliance is taking place on January 18 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center.
The Alaska Support Industry Alliance is the trade group for the industries that support Alaska’s oil and gas industries. The Alliance has more than fifty members, including construction, transportation, and banking businesses. All together those fifty member companies employ more than 50,000 people. Admission to the Meet Alaska Convention is $250 for members, $275 for non-members, $100 for legislators, and $200 for other government officials and staff.
- Southcentral Foundation’s 22nd Annual Gathering is on February 2 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Egan Civic and Convention Center.
The annual gathering of this Alaska Native-owned, nonprofit healthcare organization attracts between 1,800 and 3,000 people. Southcentral Foundation is the largest of the nonprofit organizations associated with Cook Inlet Region Inc., Southcentral Alaska’s regional Native corporation. The event includes speakers and a health-focused trade show with about eighty booths. The 2019 gathering’s theme is “Commitment to Quality for our Children’s Children.”
The ground floor lobby of the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.
- The Alaska Air Carriers Association’s Annual Convention and Trade show is being held February 27-28 in Anchorage at Anchorage International Airport, Concourse A Upper Level.
The trade group for Alaska’s aviation industry is moving its yearly event forward in the calendar year, from May in 2018 to late February. About 200 people attend the annual convention, with a mix of members of the aviation and support industries. During the reception, the Alaska Air Carrier Association announces award winners, including pilot and mechanic of the year. Registration for trainings and presentations is expected to be about $500, although there will be group rates for companies. The trade show is free and open to the public.
- The Alaska Tribal Transportation Symposium is taking place March 11-13 at the Hilton Anchorage.
Now in its 17th year, this annual conference of the Alaska Tribal Transportation Work Group brings together about 150 leaders of tribal governments, as well as officials and representatives from state and federal governments to talk about transportation projects. Vendors from the construction industry also attend. Major issues up for discussion in 2019 include the reorganization of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs and the renewal in 2020 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, a major federal transportation spending bill.
- Active America-China’s Grow Your Chinese Market is being hosted in Alaska for the first time March 26-28, also at the Hilton Anchorage.
This “boutique networking” conference brings together US and Canadian travel/tour operators and travel/tour buyers from mainland China. Registration starts at $3,495 for first-time attendees. Attendees must have a business description and other materials available for translation into Chinese by February 11. The conference is expected to attract about 200 people.
- The Alaska Trucking Association’s Annual Meeting is on April 17-18 at O’Malley’s on the Green.
About 125 people are expected at the Alaska Trucking Association Association’s 61st Annual Meeting and Trade Show. Confirmed featured speakers include Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, and Ray Martinez, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at the US Department of Transportation. In 2018, registration was $150 for the meeting day and $75 each for each of the evening social events.
The Dena’ina Center, as seen from Town Square in Downtown Anchorage.
- The Alaska Native Village Corporation Association Conference (ANVCA) is taking place in mid-May in downtown Anchorage.
About 200 people are expected to attend the 11th Annual ANVCA Conference and Meeting. The specific date and venue were still being finalized as of late fall, but last year the meeting took place at the Egan Civic & Convention Center.
ANVCA seeks to provide a unified voice for the state’s Alaska Native Village Corporations. The conference provides Alaska Native Village Corporations with current and relevant topics such as best practices and innovations. It is unique as the only conference dedicated to Alaska Native Village Corporations collaborating, sharing information, and strategies along with providing the opportunity to meet other professionals serving in similar positions, according to ANVCA.
The two-day conference is expected to include elections and about forty speakers. In 2018 topics ranged from resource extraction to Robert’s Rules of order to the #metoo movement. anvca.biz
The Egan Center, located in downtown Anchorage.
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- The 2019 Wakefield Fisheries Symposium is slated for May 7-10 at the Hotel Captain Cook.
The Wakefield Fisheries Symposium brings together fishermen, industries involved in marine resource extraction, and scientists from a wide range of sectors, including state and federal agencies, universities, and research institutes. The symposium aims to provide a forum for discussion on ways to facilitate effective cooperative research, a platform for scientific talks on the application and results of cooperative research, and the opportunity to evaluate how such research might be best envisioned, applied, and implemented. It also provides a platform for participants from a variety of marine industries to address relevant issues through facilitated discussion including to identify best practices and articulate a set of case studies for effective collaboration.
Registration is $325 (or $275 before April 12). The Alaska Sea Grant College Program has sponsored the event since 1982 in partnership with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center, and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
Fishermen at Ship Creek, located in downtown Anchorage.
- The Alaska Oil and Gas Association Conference and Exhibit Hall is tentatively scheduled for May 30 at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center.
The Alaska Oil and Gas Association plans to again host its spring conference and trade show that typically attracts between 400 and 500 delegates. The event features keynote speakers and the announcement of several award winners: the Contractor of the Year for Safety Performance Award; Project of the Year Award for Environmental Stewardship and Innovation; and the Marilyn Crockett Lifetime Achievement Award. The 2019 conference speakers haven’t yet been announced.
- The Association for the Study of Food and Society and the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society 2019 Conference is scheduled for June 26-29 at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
The conference theme, Finding Home in the “Wilderness,” invites attendees to critically engage with and problematize the idea of wilderness. About 500 people—a mix of farmers, philosophers, and other academics—are expected to attend this conference, hosted in partnership with Alaska Pacific University. The 2019 schedule includes a mix of farm tours, food tasting events, and meetings.
- The Association for Computing Machinery is hosting a Special Interest Group on Knowledge, Discovery, and Data Mining
August 3-8 at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center.
About 1,000 delegates are expected to attend this international group’s annual conference. The conference focuses on advances in machine learning across a variety of industries including advertising, social networks, healthcare, education, the environment, finance, and more. It will feature panels, workshops, and speakers. The conference website describes the event as the “premier interdisciplinary conference bringing together researchers and practitioners from data science, data mining, knowledge discovery, large-scale data analytics, and big data.”
- The Northwest Public Power Association’s Alaska Utility Conference is slated for November 18-21 at the Egan Civic and Convention Center.
Every other year the Vancouver, Washington-based Northwest Public Power Association (NWPPA) holds a conference in Alaska that attracts about 400 people. The public power association represents public utilities in ten western states and British Columbia, including several utilities in Alaska. The event features a trade show and training sessions. Last year’s registration was free for Alaska utilities (including non-members) and started at $450 for other NWPPAA members and $895 for non-members.
- The Resource Development Council is hosting the Alaska Resources Conference on November 20-21 at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center.
More than 800 people usually attend the Resource Development Council’s annual conference, held each year the week before Thanksgiving. The council describes the conferences as the “most established and highest profile resource development forum of the year.” The Resource Development Council is a trade group for five of Alaska’s main industries: oil and gas, mining, timber, tourism, and fisheries. The event features presentations from leaders of each of these industries and a trade show with dozens of exhibitors.
- The Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Convention is October 17-19 at the Carlson Center and other venues around Fairbanks.
The Alaska Federation of Natives convention attracts about 6,000 delegates, vendors, and visitors each year. It’s the largest annual representative gathering of Native people in the United States. About 90 exhibitors attend the trade show and nearly 200 artists participate in the Native arts show. Keynote speakers are usually announced during the summer. In 2018, the keynote speaker was Lieutenant Governor Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson.
A view of Juneau from Douglas Island.
- The Alaska Power Association’s Annual Meeting is scheduled for August 20-23 at Centennial Hall.
About 150 delegates from power utilities are expected at the 2019 annual meeting of Alaska electricity utilities. The event mixes meetings and speeches with power plants and power infrastructure tours in the host community. In 2019, Juneau-based Alaska Electric Light & Power is cohosting with regional power cooperative Inside Passage Electric Cooperative. Meeting registration fees haven’t yet been finalized, but in 2018 registration was $750 for members and $1,250 for non-members.
- The International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds Conference is being hosted by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation September 10-13 at Centennial Hall.
The United Kingdom-based International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF) will meet for the first time in the United States in 2019, hosted by Alaska’s sovereign wealth fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation. The organization is comprised of more than thirty sovereign wealth funds from around the world that have voluntarily adopted a set of guidelines known as the Santiago Principles. About 300 people are expected to attend the Juneau-based meeting. The first two days are strictly for members of the IFSWF, but some guests will be invited for the third day.
- The Alaska Travel Industry Association’s Annual Convention is scheduled for October 8-10 at Centennial Hall.
More than 500 people typically attend the Alaska Travel Industry Association annual convention, which rotates between Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and occasionally smaller Alaska towns. One of the event’s most popular traditions is “community night,” during which attendees board a bus to a mystery attraction chosen by the host community. The convention also includes “shark tank” presentations, guest speakers, awards, a trade show, and a speed networking event. In 2018, when the conference met in Fairbanks, the convention theme was “The Great Escape” and the keynote speaker was a Disney executive and creativity expert. The tentative convention theme for 2019 is “Legends of Alaska.”
- The Alaska Forest Association’s Annual Convention is taking place October 23-25 at The Landing Hotel.
The trade association of Alaska’s logging industry alternates between annual meetings in Anchorage and in Ketchikan. About 100 people attend the annual meetings. The odd-numbered years, in Ketchikan, are off years for association elections and debates but always include speakers, a small trade show, meetings, a cocktail party, and the Red Suspender Party, a signature forest association event at which members wear logging attire including red suspenders, hickory shirts, high-cut pants, and Alaska slippers.
- ComFish 2019 will take place March 28-30 at the Kodiak Harbor Convention Center.
Alaska’s largest commercial fishing trade show celebrates its 40th year in 2019. The event brings together gear vendors, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations at the convention center overlooking Kodiak’s St. Paul Harbor. A list of exhibitors will be announced in early March.
- Alaska Telecom Association’s Annual Meeting is scheduled for May 20-22 at the Valdez Convention and Civic Center.
Between 130 and 150 people attend the Alaska Telecom Association’s Annual Meeting, which represents fifteen telecommunications companies in Alaska as well as about 100 associate members, vendors, and suppliers from Alaska and Outside. The spring annual meeting is held in addition to a smaller winter meeting held every year in Hawaii (January 27-30, 2019, in Kailua-Kona) and the tech showcase trade show is held at the Hilton Anchorage on October 23-24, 2019.
In This Issue
Out of the Mine and into the Smelter
Mining has long been a key fixture of Alaska’s economy. On a small scale, people flock to the 49th state to tour different operations. Kennecott Mine was once a booming copper mining site and is now a National Historic Landmark, attracting tourists eager to visit the ghost town and get a feel of the Gold Rush era it once dominated.