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A message from the Executive Director:

As I write this, AMA is fresh off the finish of another incredibly successful Annual Convention.

We enjoyed a full week of renewed, refreshing excitement about our industry throughout the halls of the Dena’ina Convention Center. Longtime attendees tell me that learning the latest news, reuniting with longtime friends, and telling stories of the field season is one of the year’s highlights for them. We’ve devoted this issue to coverage of the event, so please read on for features on our fantastic convention.

Months of planning, and just like that, it’s over.

A stellar committee brainstorming, inviting, preparing, and implementing to bring Alaska’s mining industry an immensely valuable event. The AMA Convention Committee, who I couldn’t possibly thank enough, are squarely to credit with the quality of the week’s events.

Running it all is Kevin Adler (you might know this guy – he’s been organizing the event since 1993!) and very deservedly received the AMA Volunteer of the Year award for his contributions. Our Program Chair, Steve Teller, ensured timely, relevant Technical Sessions for three full days; all of which were packed with an interested audience.

Michelle Pearson and Traci Hartz synced up the Convention App, which was better than ever as they implemented new features to help convention-goers find their way throughout the event. Michelle Pearson also designed our program and abstract booklet, and kept our website updated (throughout multiple schedule changes that still hurt to think about).

Sue Karl and Dick Mylius arranged our short courses, which always offer continuing education for members on technical subjects that are hard to find elsewhere. Janyce Ibele helped prepare the take-away and handson materials for those courses. Varina Zinno keeps building an even better Core Shack and new this year, produced the Prospectors Tent. Deedre Nicola and Traci Hartz decorated the banquet room, and it was absolutely beautiful!

Michelle Johnson helped market our event, ensuring new attendees visit the vendor booths and sessions, growing our industry. Eric Cannon and Sue Karl organized our poster session, which I saw many folks huddled around throughout the week. Tom Bundtzen put on a fantastic History Night program, which was jam-packed. Mark Huffintgton again chronicled the whole event with hundreds of great photos as our official photographer, and Lee Leschper as our magazine publisher gathered the convention reports for this Journal you’re reading now.

Last but certainly not least, Christy Andresen handled registration and exhibitor arrangements leading up to the event, and her expertise in event management has made us a lot better.

And, while I know we get paid to do so, I would be remiss in not recognizing my staff for their significant efforts in ensuring the Convention goes without a snag. Alicia, Jennifer, and Darlene are bright, kind people and love working with AMA members, and we are truly blessed to have them on the team.

I also have someone else really important to thank. You.

All of you have significant contributions to AMA year-round, but it is no more apparent than at the Annual Convention. Many of you leave your homes for an entire week, set up exhibit booths, compile presentations, sign sponsorship checks, provide volunteer support, bring colleagues, employees, and friends, and so much more.

The Annual Convention’s success is crucial to AMA’s success year-round – it is by far our largest revenue source and ensures we can carry out the Alaska Miner mission, promoting responsible mineral development in Alaska. Your participation and support of the Convention ensures that mission can be met, and I can speak on behalf of the entire Board of Directors in thanking you.

Back in the AMA office, we’re busily tending to the advocacy of Alaska’s mining industry on the federal and state fronts, as well as preparing for the end of 2017. I am excited for what 2018 has to bring, including our Biennial Convention held in Fairbanks March 26-30. Please mark your calendars, and we’ll be in touch soon with that event information.

The Holidays are a great time to reflect upon what you are grateful for, and because they follow our Convention, I’m a pretty happy camper this time of year. Again, thank you, for what all of you do to support the organization, the industry, and each other.

Deantha Crockett