2017-2018 ATIA Board of Directors Election Candidates

At-Large Candidates, 3-year Term - *2 seats available

Jin Chen - Alaska Skylar Travel

Alaska is experiencing record tourism growth. This growth is contributing handsomely to Alaska’s economy, at a time when it is so desperately needed. This growth is directly attributed to the hard work invested by small and large companies alike.

Alaska’s unique private/public marketing partnership created the foundation for growth. The state made the decision this year to not reinvest in tourism marketing in a meaningful way. This action puts our future at risk. We must continue to educate our policy makers on the value of tourism and the need to reinvest a meaningful amount into marketing. We must do this to keep Alaska top of mind for future visitors. I believe in tourism, and the benefits the industry bestows on our great state. I want to continue to be a voice for tourism as a board member of the Alaska Travel Industry Association and I humbly ask for your vote.

Jason Criqui - Northrim Bank

My twenty year background in banking and my experience living and working in southeast and southcentral Alaska make me uniquely qualified to serve on ATIA’s board. During my career I have assisted numerous tourism and travel companies both big and small and understand the financial and economic realities facing the State and the industry as a whole. If selected to serve on the ATIA board I look forward to working on the many challenges facing the industry.

Elizabeth Hall - John Hall's Alaska

I currently serve as the Chief Operating Officer of John Hall’s Alaska focusing on unique, off the beaten path Alaska travel highlighting the entire state. Being raised in a family owned business in Alaska tourism has provided me with insight to the extreme importance on strong tourism relationships within Alaska. Small business, the cornerstone of Alaska tourism, must continue to be supported by fellow tourism businesses, tourism marketing and creating in-state awareness. As an industry, we must work and support those organizations with strong values, passion for Alaska tourism and continue to showcase the unique visitor experience year-round tourism in Alaska has to offer. The Hall family has a deep pride for the state’s beautiful offerings, and the ability and passion to share the unique offerings with visitors alike. I have served on the ATIA Board for the past three years and recently as the Membership Committee Chair. 

Kirk Hoessle - Alaska Wildland Adventures

I have been an elected board member since ATIA’s creation, and I still have the energy to serve its membership. My primary concerns continue to be to help ensure that the wide spectrum of tourism opportunities are represented in each and every decision made by the board and that, especially, small businesses and wilderness dependent businesses are adequately represented. Working together, we can find solutions for a sustainable destination marketing program and successfully navigate other challenges we face.

With your support, I would like to continue to help shape the future of Alaska tourism. Our most precious business resources, I believe, are the qualities our visitors come to experience: the wild land, viewable wildlife, unique communities, and rich cultural heritage. 

Aimee Williams - Discover Kodiak

Destination marketing needs vary a lot between different areas in Alaska. The marketing needs between businesses that are close to major transportation hubs and those areas that are considered more remote are remarkable. ATIA needs a voice that represents those remote areas and a voice that is based in Southwest Alaska. I represent over two hundred Kodiak Island based businesses that serve the city of Kodiak, the remote villages on Kodiak Island, and the Katmai Coast. I would be honored to give these businesses a voice in Alaska Tourism. 

Far North Candidates, 3-year Term

Edwin Bifelt - Koyukuk River Tribal Tours, LLC

My name is Edwin Bifelt and I am running for a seat on the ATIA board for the Far North (Arctic) region of Alaska.

I am the owner/operator of Zane Hills Capital, LLC, a strategic management consulting/contracting firm focusing on small business startups in rural Alaska, of which rural Alaska tourism has been a major part. I assisted the Hughes Village Council with a business plan project in 2016, which led to the formation of Koyukuk River Tribal Tours, LLC (KRTT). I have also assisted North Slope organizations on a business plan project for a North Slope DMO organization, which may be launching later in 2017.

Although I am relatively new to the industry, I hope to participate in positive growth and expansion of the industry and hope we are able to see tourism grow in our more rural regions of the state. Thank you for your consideration.

Brett Carlson - Northern Alaska Tour Company

It is a tremendous privilege to enjoy the rewards bestowed upon every Alaskan . . . a dynamic and spirited citizenry . . . civilization surrounded by wilderness . . . a rich heritage of traditional cultures . . . soul-inspiring scenic beauty.

Many years spent working in Alaska’s travel industry has developed within me an excited recognition of both the present reality and the future potential held by Alaska’s travel industry to provide Alaska with a viable and sustainable growth industry that [if done right] can actually enhance those aspects of our quality of life that we Alaskans cherish most.

I would consider it an honor to continue working on behalf of ATIA’s seven hundred plus businesses to help ensure that the rising tide of Alaska’s travel industry continues to lift all boats . . . . . large and small, urban and rural, north and south. 

Interior Candidate, 3-year Term

Kory Eberhardt - A Taste of Alaska Lodge

It has been my pleasure to serve on the ATIA Board the last 3 years and I am looking forward to another term if elected.

Currently I am chair of the Explore Fairbanks Board of Directors, chair of ATIA foundation and sit on the ATIA Tourism Policy & Planning Committee. The past few years have been challenging for the Alaska tourism marketing program and I hope my experience with the TID legislation, current political climate and winter tourism will be valuable to the ATIA board and ATIA.

Outside Candidate, 3-year Term

Dave McGlothlin - Holland America Princess

I started in this industry counting rail vouchers back in 1988 and feel it is my time to run for the Outside seat for the ATIA Board of Directors. Over the years, I have seen businesses grow and adapt as the visitors to Alaska grew. The Alaska travel industry is in the middle of another growth phase while the Alaska government is feeling the financial pressure of the lower price of oil. This puts our industry at a marketing disadvantage as compared to other destinations in the world. I would like to partner with ATIA, local communities and government officials plus our members as we navigate this new paradigm.

Southcentral Candidate, *2 seats available, 1-year Vacant & 3-year Term

Adam Baldwin - Anchorage Museum

Tourism, now more than ever, is a cornerstone of the community in much of Alaska and will continue to serve as a vital economic engine in the years and decades to come. I have been a part of the Tourism Industry since 2000, first in Southeast and for the last 10 years with the Anchorage Museum as the Director of Community Partnerships and Outreach. I represent multiple sectors of the industry that would otherwise might be underrepresented within the leadership of ATIA, namely year-round business, cultural tourism and nonprofits. 

The last 5 years I have served as the ATIA Anchorage President, the Arts and Culture Chapter Treasurer and the last two years on the ATIA Board as an appointed seat. I ask for your vote so I can continue our work to make Tourism thrive in Alaska. 

Carol Fraser - Aspen Hotels of Alaska

I have been a member of the Alaska travel industry for twenty-five years and have represented various hotel businesses from Denali National Park to Glacier Bay National Park in SE Alaska. Currently I represent 7 hotels in the state with four in Southcentral and three in Southeast. My great love is being a part of making people’s dreams of visiting Alaska a reality. I have been an advocate for equitable taxation on our industry and increasing our marketing budget to be competitive in the worldwide marketplace. I plan on continuing working in this great industry for many years and would like to continue representing members in Southcentral on this board of directors. I would appreciate your vote.

Eric Fullerton - Alyeska Resort, Hotel Alyeska

Hailing from Girdwood and Alyeska Resort, I believe there can be more efforts to promote winter and shoulder season business for Alaska. I have been involved with the tourism industry for over 25 years and bring a fresh perspective to the challenges we have before us as an industry. I love Alaska and the many things it has to offer and am deeply committed to helping creatively find the most effective channels to reach those who would make the journey here to Alaska to discover its many wonders. We are at a place where we must work together and innovate when faced with limited resources and economic uncertainty. I will advocate for more effective spend with return on investment tracked to improve our website presence, digital strategy, and help with identifying efforts for Alaska to gain traction in key emerging markets to stay competitive moving into the future.

Josh Howes - Premier Alaska Tours Inc.

It is my distinct pleasure to serve the membership of the Alaska tourism industry. I have been an active participant in our industry for over 25 years and am proud to have witnessed the sustainable growth in hotels, tours, and attractions throughout our state. As we now embark on a new era of funding for statewide marketing, we need strong leadership that will represent all members, small and large, and all geographic locations including the southeast communities, the Arctic region, Southwest Alaska, the railbelt, and our friends in the Yukon Territory. We need vision for the future and we need solutions that do not further burden our industry. We are an extremely diverse industry with common goals – to provide unique and unparalleled experiences to our Alaska visitors and to grow our respective businesses. If given the opportunity, I will work towards these goals on your behalf.

Bonnie Quill - Mat-Su Convention & Visitors Bureau

I am seeking re-election to the ATIA board because I believe the visitor industry is vital to Alaska’s future and we need experienced leadership to commit to sustainable tourism marketing solutions. For over 30 years I have worked in the Alaska Visitor industry and witnessed its growth and challenges. As the executive director of the Mat-Su CVB I represent a broad range of visitor industry businesses from rubber tire to remote wilderness lodges, bed & breakfasts and cruisetour operations. I recognize and have advocated widely for tourism awareness campaigns and communication around the economic impact message our industry contributes to our state and communities. Tourism Works!

I ask for your support and vote to continue serving our membership as an effective voice and consensus-builder. For more information go to www.voteforbonnie.com.

Fernando Salvador - The Alaska Collection

Hello, my name is Fernando Salvador, Vice President and General Manager of the Alaska Collection. As the state’s 2nd largest Alaska-based tourism company, Alaska Collection features a diverse range of lodging and tours throughout Southcentral Alaska, including wilderness lodges in Denali to day cruises in Seward. With over 19 years of experience in Alaska, I understand how the travel industry has transformed from past to present and I am able to provide relevant and authentic insight to the shifting tourism landscape in our state. I have been honored to serve on the Board of Directors for several industry associations, such as CHARR and AKH & LA, which has allowed me to collaborate with and learn from fellow industry leaders and stakeholders, both locally and statewide. I look forward to the opportunity to serve ATIA, tackle the challenges facing our industry and promote future tourism prospects in Alaska. I would appreciate your vote!

Southeast Candidate, 3-year Term

Dennis McDonnell - Alaska Coach Tours

The Visitor Industry has provided countless opportunities for me personally and I am grateful to everyone that has been part of this amazing organization. Over the past 29 years, I have seen our industry prosper greatly while adapting to challenges such as the State Marketing funding structure and the management of how that funding is spent. My time on the Alaska Tourism Marketing Board and ATIA Board of Directors has allowed me the opportunity to work closely with members to help institute changes and to ensure a continued prosperous industry. It has been my distinct privilege to serve as your Board Chair in 2017 as we continue to work on a plan that will hopefully lead us to a more sustainable marketing structure. It would be an honor to be re-elected to the ATIA Board of Directors and continue to represent your voice and the best path to our future.