For years, we’ve been saying our economy is stagnating and that we lack opportunity. This is a problem not of reality, but of perspective.
We have more opportunities in Alaska than most states, but we look toward outside corporations and/or government to provide the solutions. It’s time we stop looking for others to hire us and hire ourselves.
There are opportunities aplenty waiting for the right Alaskan. Let me give you a few examples:
Most Alaskans think of tourism as the four months of the year when the cruise ships are operating even though 26 percent of U.S. respondents in a recent survey said they would “absolutely” go on vacation to see the Northern Lights. Borealis Basecamp near Fairbanks can’t keep up with the demand for staying in their domes for $455 per night, yet few others have jumped in. Imagine eight months more of a busy tourist industry centered around winter activities.
We get less than $1 per pound for our cod. Iceland gets more than $3 per pound because they process the whole fish. Imagine if our fishing industry tripled in revenue without having to catch more.
Oil Search, an Australian company, is investing in Alaska’s oil fields. We have both the institutional knowledge and the capital for multiple decades, but why don’t we have Alaskan companies developing resources here and the rest of the world and bringing the profits home? I applaud Australians for taking the initiative, and so should we.
The path forward isn’t easy. We’ve been going down the easy one for far too long. However, Accelerate: Alaska on Aug. 29-30 at the Loussac Library will make the path clearer. You’ll hear insights on where we can capture value from Alaska’s competitive advantages from people like ACS CEO Anand Vadapalli, University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen, Anchorage Economic Development Corp. CEO Bill Popp, Anchorage School District Superintendent Deena Bishop and many others.
Those who are interested shouldn’t be intimidated by the time commitment of a two-day conference. Think of Accelerate: Alaska as 10 smaller conferences focused around Alaskan opportunities. There are tracks on tourism, transportation, energy, resource development, ocean economy, food systems, education, government, innovation, and entrepreneurism. You’ll find that many of the tracks are connected like ocean economy, food systems, and transportation. Thanks to a gracious sponsorship from Alaska Communications, if you are an educator, education faculty or a student, tickets are only $15.
In addition to great good topics, through panel discussions and workshops, you’ll learn how you can be part of the solution.
Please join your fellow Alaskans in creating a better economy.