2011 Southeast Alaska Economic Summit

Tuesday, December 13, 2011
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Centennial Hall - Juneau, Alaska

Watch the three different videos related to the Southeast Economic Summit:

Join private industry, including colleagues in Visitor, Forest, & Ocean Products, Renewable Energy, and other economic sectors, as well as government, associations, and university representatives interested in developing and pursuing achievable action initiatives to strengthen key industries of Southeast Alaska.

Background: In 2011, JEDC assembled and facilitated the work of four Cluster Working Groups (CWG) in three established and one emerging industry sector: Southeast Alaska Ocean Products; Southeast Alaska Forest Products; Southeast Alaska Visitor Products; and Southeast Alaska Renewable Energy. Over 130 individuals have participated in the effort to date. A total of 33 Action Initiatives have been developed so far: ten by the Oceans Products CWG, five by the Visitor Products CWG, nine by the Forest Products CWG, and nine by the Renewable Energy CWG. These Action Initiatives reflect priorities and steps needed to strengthen industry, commerce, and businesses of Southeast Alaska, which in turn makes communities stronger and more sustainable. The working group process aids communication and problem-solving to foster growth in jobs and businesses. (JEDC thanks the USDA for their financial support to date.)

The Event: Join us at this important event as we bring all four working groups together for the first time to advance the work of the clusters, the initatives, and by extension, the Southeast Alaska economy. This summit will include working sessions and progress reports by the individual Cluster Work Groups (CWGs), sessions on common issues impacting regional economic foundations, and an industry/government policy panel discussion. Results of cluster development processes from outside of our region will also be presented.

In addition to private industry, you will be joined by the USDA Forest Service, the University of Alaska, State agencies, Legislators, Sealaska Corporation, Southeast's Native Village Corporations, municipal governments, and more. Your participation is important to the success of the region.

Why a Cluster Approach?  

  • Impact: new research confirms that strong clusters tend to deliver positive benefits to workers, firms, and regions.
  • Paradigm: clusters reflect the nature of the real economy.
  • Policymaking: clusters provide a framework for rethinking and refocusing economic policy

An Economic Cluster is a set of firms:  

  • In the same or related field
  • Located in the same geographic area
  • Linked by service or supplier relationships, common customers and/or supporting institutions
  • Reliant on a shared regional labor market
  • Complementary but also competitive with one another
  • Productively advantaged from their mutual proximity

Keynote Speaker


Dave Klick, Cluster Outreach Executive, Northwest Food Processors Association (NWFPA) -- Past Executive Vice President, Northwest Food Processor Association.

NWFPA is a non-profit trade association that serves as an advocate and resource to enhance members' competitive capabilities. Members operate 140 food manufacturing plants, which employ 50,000 workers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho with annual sales of more than $21 billion. In addition, the Association has 325 supplier members from throughout the country. NWFPA was named by U.S. Economic Development Administration (U.S. Department of Commerce) as a national "Finalist" for the 2010 Regional Innovation Cluster of the Year.

During his 40 years with the Association, Dave has directed a wide-range of industry-led initiatives on topics including cluster and convention management, economic and workforce development, government relations, strategic planning, human resources, employee safety, ergonomics, training, marketing, membership, productivity, energy efficiency and grant management.

Dave has directed state, regional and national award winning food manufacturing workforce development, safety, education, and energy projects that have included customized skill building courses, skill standards, and classroom and on-line training for maintenance workers.

Currently Dave has responsibility for outreach to 14 local clusters that comprise the 250,000 square mile tri-state Northwest food processing cluster, which was launched in 2003. He is the project director for the tri-state USDA Rural Business Opportunity Grant Rural Competitiveness, and a bi-state USDA Specialty Crop grant Improving Food Safety, Traceability, and Productivity of Food Processors using RFID Technology.

Prior to his employment with NWFPA, Dave was a senior personnel supervisor at The Boeing Company and a Captain in the U.S. Army in Germany. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University, is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), and is a graduate of the six year Institute of Organization Management.

Industry Cluster Co-Chairs Will Lead Working Groups at Summit

The upcoming Southeast Economic Summit will be led by Co-Chairs elected from each of the four Cluster Working Groups: Visitor Products, Forest Products, Ocean Products and Renewable Energy.

Visitor Products: Kirby Day and Sharon Gaiptman

Kirby Day is the Director of Shore Operations for Princess Cruises in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. In his current position, Mr. Day oversees shore excursion management and development as well as port and security operations for the Alaska Region, which includes Vancouver, Seattle, and Victoria. Before joining Princess Cruises in 1991, Mr. Day worked as Port Manager for Cruiseline Agencies of Alaska from 1987-1991; for American Hawaii Cruises in Tahiti as the Director of Land and Port Operations from 1985-1987; and for World Explorer Cruises as the Shore Excursion Manager, Cruise Director, and Operations Manager from 1980-1984.
Sharon Gaiptman currently spends her days producing and hosting Capital Chat on KINY radio and as a contractor or volunteer for various businesses and organizations. She is on the boards of Perseverance Theatre and the Rotary Club of Juneau. In the past Sharon has worked with the Division of Tourism to help develop the state's trade and international marketing program and served as its marketing manager, as well as being the first marketing manager for the Alaska Marine Highway. Over the years she has been active in local, regional and national tourism activities, including the JCVB, ATIA, the National Tour Association, the American Bus Association, the Travel Industry of America (now US Travel Association), the National Park Service and National Scenic Byways.

Forest Products: Wade Zammit and Bill Thomason

Wade Zammit has been the President and CEO of Sealaska Timber Corporation for the last five years. Based in Ketchikan, Wade oversees the planning, operations, sales and marketing of timber production from Sealaska's fee land within it's timber subsidiary STC. Prior to taking this role, Wade spent over 20 years in the timber industry throughout North America in operations, sales and marketing, and executive management roles. His assignment in STC has been to reduce the harvest level and associated costs of the company, to creatively extend the life of timber in order to provide for conveyance of the remaining Sealaska land entitlements, and to explore new business opportunities leveraging STC's core competencies. Wade has a BSc in Forestry from the University of Alberta in Canada and sits on the executive of the Alaska Forest Association.
Bill Thomason is an out-of-retirement small mill owner and operator who lives in Thorne Bay, AK, where he works as a contractor building post-and-beam and log structures. Before moving to Alaska in 2001, Bill accumulated over 25 years of business experience in a variety of industries, including oil and gas, manufacturing, aviation, real estate and construction. His interest in and familiarity with wood products began over 30 years ago and led to several years as a contractor building custom homes and as an operator of a small wood boat restoration and repair business. He and his wife, Carolyn, completed the first Stewardship Contract, The Winter Harbor Wildlife Thinning, on Prince of Wales Island. His formal education includes a BA in Economics from Colorado College, a JD from Texas Tech University and an LLM in Taxation from New York University.

Ocean Products: Julie Decker and John Sund

Julie Decker has worked in the Alaska seafood industry since 1994. In the summer seasons, she owns and operates a commercial fishing vessel with her husband and two children. In the winter seasons, she has worked on sustainable development projects with organizations like United Fishermen of Alaska, Southeast Conference, and the Dive Fisheries Association. Julie graduated from Northwestern University and in December she will complete her Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in Natural Resource Policy.
John Sund is the Project Manager for OceansAlaska, a nonprofit association in Ketchikan focused on sustainable use of Alaska's marine resources. He has coauthored three reports focused on development of the mariculture industry in coastal Alaska. John is President of Stellar North LLC, a consulting and business coaching firm. He also serves on the boards of directors of several closely held companies involved in Alaska fishery and resource businesses, and is currently a member of the Tongass Futures Roundtable.

Renewable Energy: Brandon Smith and Kirk Hardcastle

Brandon Smith is Brewing Operations and Engineering Manager at Alaskan Brewing Company. A licensed Professional Engineer, Brandon manages day-to-day brewing and filtration operations, as well as process engineering for continual efficiency and quality improvement at the brewery. Prior to joining Alaskan Brewing, Brandon was a Project Engineer for an industrial wastewater treatment engineering firm in Georgia. He is a member of the Renewable Energy CWG and has particular interest in increasing private sector use of renewable energy.
Kirk Hardcastle lives in Southeast Alaska, where he operates a family commercial salmon fishing business, Taku Renewable Resources, during the summer. He has spent his 41 years working and playing in, on and around the North Pacific ocean as a captain, researcher, expedition leader and water enthusiast. When he is not working on boats up and down the Pacific Coast, he spends his time working on sustainable energy and economic development strategies for rural communities. He and his wife, Heather, explore the cost recovery and waste management of available biomass resources as economically viable energy alternatives for Southeast Alaska. Kirk graduated from UC Santa Cruz, where he studied environmental physiology and marine biology. He is also an accomplished All-American swimmer, water polo player and surfer. When not fishing or working, Kirk loves to smoke sockeye salmon and feed it to his two border collies, Choco and Bella.