President’s message: Working to ensure our seat at the table

Published October 2019

Michelle AndersonDear fellow shareholder,

Welcome back from the “busy”-ness of summer! If you are like me, our short summer season has most of us staying up much later than we normally do and planning our fishing, camping, and softball trips for every weekend in June and July. The fires we experienced this summer here in Alaska and the abnormally high temperatures challenged many outdoor activities. The increased fire activity has Ahtna, Incorporated engaging with our Delegation and state & federal agencies regarding wildfire management and the need for us to be at the table when decisions are being made that impact our lands and our shareholders. Please know that we take this responsibility seriously and we are being proactive.

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski speaks at a dinner at Kluti-Kaah Memorial Hall.

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski speaks at a dinner at Kluti-Kaah Memorial Hall.

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski visited Glennallen in early September to learn first-hand about the hunting pressures being felt in the region. For Ahtna, this meeting with Senator Murkowski was focused on wildlife management, land and trespass issues. We invited our tribes, sister sister non-profits and Chitina Native Corporation to bring issue/solution papers to a dinner which we hosted at the Kluti-Kaah Memorial Hall on Thursday, September 5. Policymakers and elected officials always appreciate a suggested solution when a constituent brings up an issue.

Ahtna President Michelle Anderson meets with the Ahtna Special Forces in Glennallen.

Ahtna President Michelle Anderson meets with the Ahtna Special Forces in Glennallen.

Our Ahtna Special Forces program has wrapped up for the summer. Several of our Special Forces participants have returned to college outside of Alaska but for those remaining in the state that are interested, placements within the company are being arranged to keep them employed and learning about Ahtna. I hope you enjoy reading about their experiences in this issue. Jasznia Marshall completed her Special Forces experience as a Kanas contributor on two newsletter articles. She has returned to Ft. Lewis College in Durango, Colorado where she is pursuing a degree in writing.

Bettisworth North has been selected as the architectural firm for the new Ahtna World Headquarters building in Glennallen. A goal of the project is to incorporate concepts that translate the heritage, priorities and strengths of our people and region into the design. We provided an opportunity last month for shareholders to take part in a survey and those results will help educate and inform the design team. We are in the early stages of the project.

We have been working to increase security measures at our Corporate offices, particularly in Anchorage where the homelessness issue has exploded to be a real crisis. We have had many issues with residents of an adjacent homeless camp that were creating safety and security issues for our employees, the Anchorage office building and cars parked in the parking lot. Badges are required to gain access to the building and all visitors must be met and accompanied by the Ahtna employee they are meeting with. We appreciate your cooperation and patience with this evolving process and please know any changes being made are with the safety of our employees, shareholders and visitors in mind.

The Ahtna Land department recently released a map app which shows property boundaries and public and private land ownership in the region. The Land department spends considerable resources on land management and trespass control, and this tool will bolster those efforts. If you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to download the app. It’s awesome! We hope the app will assist visitors in planning accordingly when exploring the Ahtna region and educate them on the importance of purchasing an Ahtna land use permit. Download instructions can be found on page 8.

Our Shareholder Records staff fields many dividend questions this time of year. We have included some dividend FAQs on page 16 to address some of the most common inquiries. The department has been encouraging shareholders to complete a testamentary disposition (TD) and did a targeted mailing to shareholders that we don’t have a TD on file for. We know it isn’t easy thinking about these things, but a testamentary disposition protects you by allowing you to determine who inherits your shares if something were to happen to you. Being prepared also takes the burden off your family by making the process faster and smoother.

Several of our amazing, talented and hardworking shareholders own a variety of businesses, from construction to restaurants and everything in between. We would like to help these shareholder entrepreneurs in their efforts to promote their products and services to potential customers by way of highlighting and showcasing in the Kanas and on our website. If interested in having your business included, there is a quick online form that you can use to submit your company information.

I hope to see many of you at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention this month in Fairbanks. We will be hosting an Ahtna shareholder reception on Thursday, October 17 at the Wedgewood Resort. I enjoy seeing you at the Convention but I really appreciate being able to visit with shareholders one-on-one at our receptions. I know I am not the only one here at Ahtna, Incorporated that looks forward to time with you! Our Board and our employees always enjoy visiting, hearing your input and catching up.

Tsin’aen,

Michelle Anderson, President
Ahtna, Incorporated