A message from the Executive Director:
As I write this, AMA is fresh off the finish of what was undoubtedly our most successful Annual Convention in AMA history.
I’m not exaggerating. We slid into day one, Election Day of all things, and held on tight while a ballot initiative with detrimental impacts to our economy was defeated by nearly a 2-1 margin. While the energy in the halls of the Dena’ina Convention Center was high that day, it was buzzing the remainder of the week with renewed, refreshing excitement about our industry and peaked when Governor-Elect Mike Dunleavy held his first Press Conference at our podium. Prior to making gubernatorial announcements, he addressed Alaska’s miners by telling us, “Your industry is important. Alaska is open for business again.”
Walking over to the Marriott Hotel for the Banquet, Don Stevens pulled me aside and said, “Best. Convention. Ever.” So it’s confirmed – and recapping the week in this column gives me goosebumps all over again. We’ve devoted this entire Journal to coverage of the event, so please read on.
Months of planning, and a few days of thinking on our feet, and just like that, it’s over. And there are a lot of credits to give:
A stellar committee brainstorming, inviting, preparing, and implementing to bring our entire industry together: the AMA Convention Committee.
Chairman for Life Kevin Adler leads a good team including Program Chair, Steve Teller, who very deservedly received the AMA Volunteer of the Year award for his contributions; Michelle Pearson who designed our program and abstract booklet, and kept our website updated constantly; Sue Karl, who arranged the highest-attended short courses ever; Varina Zinno who somehow improved upon the already phenomenal Core Shack and Prospectors Tent (perhaps it was the beer?); Traci Hartz who managed the better than ever event App, decorated our banquet room, and so much more; Tom Bundtzen put on a fantastic History Night program; Eric Cannon who managed our Poster Session; our Session Chairs Joe Kurtak, Liz Cornejo, Curt Freeman, Wescott Bott, Mr. Ghosh from UAF, Dave Hedderly-Smith, Ron Rimelman, Lorali Simon, and Jeremy Brans; and Brian Bayless for ensuring our technical needs were always met and no error was ever made public!
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. On the same vein, we made the wise decision to bring in Sarah Erkmann Ward, Kailee Wallis, Stephanie Plieness, and Heather Haffner this year for marketing and communications and their tireless efforts made us look amazing and exposed AMA and the event to newer and larger audiences than ever before.
And, while I know we get paid to do so, I would be remiss in not recognizing the AMA staff for their significant efforts in ensuring the Convention goes without a snag. Jennifer and Darlene are talented people and they love working with AMA members, and we are truly blessed to have them on the team.
I want to thank all of you, for your significant contributions to AMA year-round. It is no more apparent than at the Annual Convention when 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 responding to the changing political climate and the return of Alaska being open for business.
Again, thank you, for what all of you do to support the organization, the industry, and each other. Merry Christmas, and I am so excited for what 2019 has to bring!