We are delighted to extend an invitation to shareholders to attend the 50th Annual Meeting of Ahtna Shareholders. The event will take place on June 3, 2023, at the Glennallen High School gymnasium. Those who are unable to attend in person can watch the meeting live stream at www.ahtnavote.com. Stay up-to-date with the latest meeting information by following us on Facebook and visiting the Ahtna website.
It is truly an incredible accomplishment for Ahtna to be holding our 50th Annual Meeting. Achieving this milestone is a testament to the strength, resilience, and perseverance of the Ahtna people, who have been working tirelessly to protect and preserve our culture and traditions for generations. The annual meeting is an opportunity for us to come together and celebrate our achievements. It is also a chance to reflect on the challenges and obstacles we have overcome in the past and to acknowledge the contributions of those who have made this milestone possible.
The theme for this year’s 50th Annual Meeting of Shareholders is “Our Heritage, Our Land, Our People.” Our traditional and customary practices have instilled a deep connection between our people and the land. For generations, we have relied on the abundant natural resources in our region, including fish, wildlife, and plants. Our families have preserved our customary and traditional Ahtna ways, such as hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering, passing them down through generations. These activities not only provide us with physical nourishment but also form an essential part of our cultural identity and spiritual well-being.
We invite shareholders to share comments, questions, and concerns before the meeting. To do so, please fill out the comment card enclosed with your proxy packet and mail it back or submit online at www.ahtna.com/shareholder-comments-and-questions by May 12. Please note that, due to time constraints, we may not be able to address all questions during the Annual Meeting.
The primary responsibility of the Ahtna Board of Directors is to serve the best interests of current and future Ahtna shareholders by making informed and balanced decisions that align with the Corporation’s mission and vision. As an Ahtna shareholder, one of your most important duties is to participate in Ahtna elections and select well-qualified shareholders to serve on the Board. Proxy voting will open on April 28. Your proxy materials include information on how to vote your proxy; the easiest way to vote is online through the eProxy website (www.ahtnavote.com).
New this year, shareholders can look up their unique online voting PIN on the eProxy website. For the best chance of winning a proxy prize, vote online by the May 12 early bird deadline. You can also attend the meeting and vote in person.
Shareholder employee development is a key focus for us this year. As part of this initiative, Ve’dra Bechtol has been promoted to the position of Shareholder Employee Career PATH Supervisor. In this role, one of her primary responsibilities is to assist our shareholder employees in developing their skills and advancing their careers within Ahtna. Ve’dra has created the Ahtna Career PATH program, which provides participants the opportunity to gain valuable experience and learn new skills while supporting various departments. Through this program, shareholders receive exposure and mentorship that can help them create a career plan within the Ahtna family of companies. More information about the PATH program can be found here. Additionally, Ve’dra has established a shareholder employee resource group to provide our shareholder employees with valuable information and resources.
Another main goal for this year is to create more direct opportunities for shareholders to engage with staff here at Ahtna. Our Shareholder Enrichment and Shareholder Services departments hosted a series of open houses in Washington and California. The open houses were an opportunity for shareholders to learn about our various shareholder benefits, opportunities, and programs. Shareholder Enrichment spoke about career counseling and development, scholarships and vocational training, and assistance with finding gainful employment. Shareholder Services assisted with testamentary dispositions and other shareholder records matters.
In addition to the open houses, Shareholder Enrichment has hosted a series of Facebook Friday live events to showcase our various shareholder programs, including the Helping Our People Excel (HOPE) program. Two live sessions were held last year highlighting our Vocational Scholarship Program and local Union Apprenticeship opportunities. Please visit the Ahtna Facebook page for information on upcoming live events and to check out the recordings from past events.
Ahtna’s Shareholder Services Department will be hosting Testamentary Disposition Workshops this year in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Cantwell, Cheesh’na, Chitina, Kluti-Kaah, Gakona, Gulkana, Mentasta, and Tazlina. A Testamentary Disposition form provides clear and concise instructions to Ahtna for determining the heirs of your Ahtna shares. This process is different from gifting shares when a shareholder is still living. A Testamentary Disposition is not a complete personal will, but directs us on your wishes for your Ahtna shares. It is extremely important for shareholders to prepare and have a valid Testamentary Disposition on file with Ahtna. Testamentary Disposition Workshop dates and times will be announced soon — please check our Facebook page and visit the Ahtna website for more information.
We are still actively recruiting for the Ahtna Special Forces summer internship program. This program provides college students with an intensive look into our Corporate departments and subsidiary operations. The program offers a hands-on experience that can create a significant and lasting impact.
Previous participants have engaged in field projects and taken trips to the region to learn about Ahtna lands, history, and culture. For more information on the program and how to apply, please visit www.ahtna.com/ASF.
This summer marks the second season of our partnership with the National Park Service in operating the Ahtna Cultural Center (ACC), C’ek’aedi Hwnax ‘Legacy House’ within the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve. The ACC provides the public an opportunity to learn and connect with Ahtna Athabascan history, culture, and people through Alaska Native exhibits, a hand-built fish wheel, a food cache, and a museum. We staff the ACC with three Ahtna shareholders, including a supervisor and two interns, to manage the ACC’s day-to-day operations and answer visitor questions. If you are interested in working this summer at the ACC, please apply at www.ahtna.com/careers or reach out to our Shareholder Enrichment department.
Michelle Anderson, President