2021-22 Alaska Travel Industry Association Board of Directors Candidates
3 year term, 1 seat available
Wells Fargo Bank
My interest in serving on the ATIA board comes from having lived in Alaska my entire life, coupled with my 40 year commercial banking career. I’ve seen the travel industry grow and prosper, and I’ve experienced, alongside my tourism clients, the incredible challenges stemming from COVID. The development of tourism brought diversification and vibrancy to SE Alaska (and across the state) that was needed, along with significant positive economic impacts. Knowing this, and with great respect for the travel industry, I offer to ATIA my lifelong SE Alaska residency; both my familiarity with and longtime connectivity with clients working directly in the industry, and my commercial banking background in general. There is no person, community, or business sector that hasn’t been impacted in a positive way by our vibrant and sustainable travel industry. I want to contribute my time and experience to an organization committed to maintaining that vibrancy.
Four years ago, I made Alaska my home after seven years of destination marketing while traveling to over 65 countries. As an ATIA Board Member, I would utilize my international marketing and travel experience to obtain more funding while focusing on building back post-pandemic Alaska tourism for businesses big and small. I will also search for creative ways to help ATIA members maximize their products and services during this challenging time. Embracing Alaska’s diversity is crucial. We attract worldwide visitors and are, ourselves, a vibrant community of Alaska Natives, native Alaskans, out-of-state arrivals, foreign nationals, as well as immigrants from around the world, such as myself. I collaborated with countless state and international travel businesses, organizations, and tourism bureaus during my career at Visit Anchorage. Most recently, I have become a small-business entrepreneur, using my expertise to elevate Alaska tourism on the national and international levels.
Juneau Food Tours
I am the owner and Chief Eating Officer of Juneau Food Tours, located in Juneau. I am passionate about sharing the Alaska story, whether through food or as part of the bigger story of visiting our amazing state. In 2020, like many of my colleagues and friends, I expected to host thousands of guests on my tours. I faced the challenge to pivot my business and launched Taste Alaska!, a subscription box service that delivers Alaska to your door. I believe that possessing tenacity and perseverance are key elements to success, and I am eager to put my passion for promoting Alaska to work as an ATIA board member. The visitor experience has changed significantly, and I look forward to navigating these new waters as we roll up our sleeves to further develop and share the great story of the Last Frontier.
I’m thrilled to announce my candidacy for ATIA’s At-Large seat. I have one main reason for throwing my hat into the ring: the importance of the visitor industry to Alaska’s future.
ATIA is in a terrific position to develop solutions for issues facing our industry as we rebound from COVID, like our post-pandemic growing pains. I want to work with ATIA to:
- identify innovative ways to incentivize seasonal and year-round workers;
- identify and promote best practices from our experiences this year that, post-pandemic, can help keep staff, guests, and our communities healthy;
- explore ways to engage with our communities to overcome perceived capacity and quality of life issues;
- explore ways to encourage Alaska residents to visit parts of this great state that they haven’t visited in a long time, or at all.
I would appreciate your vote and the opportunity to serve on the ATIA board. Thank you.
Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises
Colleen Stephens is the President of her family’s business, Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises. Colleen’s career in the tourism industry began at the “experienced” age of seven as she worked alongside her parents and sisters as they shared the glaciers and wildlife of the Sound with travelers. Today she is responsible for the company’s marketing, coworker hiring, safety program development and training, and community outreach.
Colleen is completing her second full term as an Alaska Travel Industry Association Board Member and her seventh year as the chair of the ATIA Marketing Committee. If reelected, Colleen looks forward to working with the AITA team and members to ensure that the Alaska Tourism Industry has a strong and healthy future. There is no better time than now for tourism to lead the way in Alaska’s economic recovery and Colleen looks forward to being a part of that journey with your support.
3 year term, 1 seat available
A lifelong Alaskan and 34-year resident of Fairbanks, Scott McCrea has served as President and CEO of Explore Fairbanks since June. He worked for the organization as director of tourism since 2014. McCrea spent most of his career working in marketing and public relations, primarily for UAF where he graduated from in 1995 with a degree in journalism. He serves on the board of directors of the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Fairbanks.
“As we all know, the impact of COVD-19 on our industry has been nothing short of devastating, pushing the resiliency that defines us as Alaskans to extreme limits. But resilient we are, and resilient we shall be as we work together on the road to recovery and towards a better and more promising future. I am running for the Interior Seat so that I can work with the board, the ATIA team, and our valued partners to make that promising future happen, utilizing both my passion and experience in the industry.”
3 year term, 1 seat available
Since its founding in 1995, CoolWorks has been proudly supporting the Alaska travel industry by helping Alaska employers promote their amazing employment opportunities to a nationwide audience of job seekers that are eager for a unique and exciting opportunity.
Attracting and retaining talent has been a growing challenge over the past several years, and the pandemic has accelerated and intensified those challenges. The employment landscape – especially in the hospitality, tourism, and travel industries – has reached an inflection point. The future success of businesses in these industries is inextricably linked to how they adapt and respond to the challenges that will unfold over the next few years. I truly believe that the ATIA membership could benefit from an employment-based perspective on the board, and I would be honored to bring my experience helping companies strengthen their employment brands to serve the wonderful community of Alaska travel businesses.
Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon
The relationship between Alaska and the Yukon has greatly helped tourism in both regions and will be crucial as both begin to rebuild from the pandemic. As the Executive Director of the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon (TIA Yukon) I am running for the ATIA Board to help continue to foster this partnership. I have the experience and drive to help further ATIA’s goals and I believe that if elected, I could be an asset to the Board. Thank you for your consideration.
Outside the Municipality of Anchorage
3 year term, 1 seat available
Premier Alaska Tours
It is my distinct pleasure to serve the membership of the Alaska tourism industry. I have been an active participant in our industry over 30 years and am proud to have witnessed the sustainable growth in hotels, tours, and attractions throughout our state. This past year has been incredibly challenging for many of us across the state. We have worked together to rebuild our livelihoods, we have collectively implemented new protocols across the state, and we have forged new partnerships that will help us be better prepared for tomorrow’s challenges. Moving forward, we need strong leadership, we need vision for the future, and we need solutions that do not further burden our industry. We are a diverse community 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.
As the President and owner of Logistics with 33 years’ experience in Alaskan tourism and an active member in our community currently serving on the Visit Anchorage Board of Directors and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, I understand the commitment required to serve on a board. The pandemic continually provides challenges and obstacles which need addressed and we must come together and work as one to ensure long-term success is reaped by everyone. As a small business owner, I fully understand that each decision made on the board level is important to the overall success of tourism in Alaska, and these decisions must be made in the best interest of the membership. If elected to the board, I am fully committed to listening to the input and any concerns of the membership and will uphold all expectations while making important decisions that are a priority to tourism in Alaska.
Outside the City and Borough of Juneau
3 year term, 1 seat available
Aspen Hotels of Alaska
I have been a member of the Alaska travel industry for twenty- eight years and have represented various hotel businesses from Denali National Park to Glacier Bay. Currently I represent 8 hotels in Alaska. I have been an advocate for equitable taxation on our industry, increasing our marketing budget to enhance our global competitiveness, and recently as President of Alaska Alliance for Cruise Travel, worked with the congressional delegation on their efforts to allow cruise ships to bypass Canada with a waiver to the PVSA. Southeast has always been my favorite place in Alaska and with three hotels supporting tourism, I hope to represent this area on the ATIA board. I would appreciate your vote.
I am passionate about the tourism industry and truly appreciate the positive economic impact our industry brings to the State. I am so fortunate to have had a 20+ year career path dedicated to the Alaska travel and cruise industry, including positions in Ketchikan, Juneau and Anchorage.
As the Vice President of Operations for Kawanti Adventures and Taquan Air, I am responsible for supporting our leadership team thru business development, marketing and sales, financial planning, and promotion of our safety management system. I have served on industry boards, including Ketchikan Visitors Bureau, Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau, ATIA’s Juneau Chapter and Destination Juneau. I believe I have a strong understanding of how diverse the tourism industry is across the State, and I cherish my strong connections throughout. With my business and industry experience I believe I will be a valuable member of the ATIA Statewide Board of Directors.
White Pass & Yukon Route
Many of our personal tourism stories start as young people working their way up through the industry, and mine is quite similar. I started in high school and college working seasonally in retail, food service and applied to the White Pass & Yukon Route as a tour guide. That guiding position launched my career at the railroad, and I have been promoted through the company over the past 15 years. From passenger operations, sales, managing various teams and as the current head of the Marketing Department, my experience in the industry is homegrown.
I have served locally on Skagway’s Visitor Advisory Board and volunteered time as a ATIA Chapter President. During the past year, I gained valuable experience on the ATIA Marketing Committee. With your vote, I would like to continue my dedicated work for the industry as a whole as a member of the ATIA Board of Directors.
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