Each year, springtime thankfully brings a welcome return of longer days and more sunlight. One certainty is that, as the days grow longer, we begin to experience warmer weather and the regrowth and return of subsistence-bearing plants, birds and animals. This brings fresh energy as we look forward to preparing for the busy summer subsistence season.
Spring in Alaska is a beautiful time of year, and I hope all of you are looking forward to longer and warmer days, followed by a flurry of preparation for our long-held subsistence activities. One sure sign that spring is right around the corner is the excitement and frenzy as Iditarod sled-dog teams race through our coastal villages on the way to Nome.
This year marked the 51st anniversary of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race from Willow to Nome, which pays homage to the serum run to Nome during the 1918 pandemic. I would like to acknowledge the late Joe Redington, who started a local sled dog race in Unalakleet that grew into the Iditarod. Joe wanted to ensure dog sled teams in the villages would continue to play a role in the traditional subsistence lifestyles of our villages and people. The Iditarod now brings joy to our villages and is a reminder to us that by working together, we can create good memories out of something that began as a devastating and tragic pandemic. This year, we were overjoyed to see Joe Redington’s great-grandson Ryan Redington, the son of BSNC shareholder Barbara Redington, win this year’s race. It is a fitting tribute to Joe Redington’s early efforts to ensure dog teams would remain an important part of not only our history, but also a tradition carried on for generations to come.
I am pleased to announce that Cindy Towarak Massie was recently elected by the BSNC Board as the new Board Chair. While the late Chair Henry Ivanoff will always be loved and remembered, we are blessed that we have strong and experienced shareholders like Chair Massie to lead BSNC as we transition under new Board leadership. Cindy’s long history of successful entrepreneurial leadership, coupled with her demonstrated commitment to our shareholders and descendants, makes her an ideal person for this important role. I look forward to working closely with Cindy to ensure BSNC continues to make a positive impact for our shareholders and descendants, our region and Alaska.
BSNC is blessed to have strong Board and staff leadership. In line with that, I am pleased to announce that BSNC’s business development personnel, coupled with strong support from operations and other corporate personnel, have increased the funded backlog of committed work by 23% over the last fiscal year. This is an incredible accomplishment, and I thank BSNC’s business development team and other employees, whose dedication and consistent hard work made this success happen.
BSNC will soon select a shareholder from a pool of applicants to fill another vacant seat on our Board of Directors. There was an overwhelming number of applicants, which demonstrates strong interest in our Company by shareholders. The Board plays an integral role in developing goals and comprehensive strategies for BSNC. In accordance with the corporate bylaws, the individual appointed to fill the vacancy will serve until the Annual Meeting of Shareholders in 2024. The Board and I look forward to welcoming a new Board member.
Access to educational opportunities for Our People is and has been a leading priority for BSNC. I am pleased to share that BSNC and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) eCampus have a new partnership to encourage BSNC shareholders, descendants and employees to begin or complete their college degrees online. Those individuals listed above will receive a 10% discount on all courses offered through the UAF eCampus. This partnership also opens doors for shareholders living outside of Alaska to achieve an Alaska-based education with in-state tuition rates. For more information, please visit www.ecampus.uaf.edu/corporate-partnerships.
BSNC is currently recruiting for its Summer Internship Program. For 10 years now, the 12-week program has helped prepare tomorrow’s leaders by providing paid internships and professional development opportunities to qualified shareholder and descendant students enrolled in college or technical school. The internship program has provided a career pathway for many shareholders and descendants who continue to work for BSNC today. If you are working on attaining a post-secondary education, I encourage you to apply for the program. Learn more at: www.beringstraits.com/internship.
BSNC is excited to continue growing cultural initiatives in the coming year. BSNC’s educational video series titled “Mazzaq Tigittuaq” aims to celebrate our culture and knowledge. Separately, BSNC’s Village Life Stories project is an initiative designed to share the writings of shareholders and descendants reflecting upon and remembering the Bering Strait region’s rich cultural history and lifestyles. Please send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently, BSNC and the King Island Dancers of Anchorage hosted a series of Alaska Native dance workshops at our Anchorage office. The response and encouragement for more cultural educational classes has been overwhelming and positive. Supporting cultural revitalization work is an important component of BSNC’s mission, and we look forward to continuing cultural work that is both engaging and educational.
In closing, I am pleased to share that shareholder Kevin Ivanoff has been promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. Kevin has managed the increasingly complex technology needs of BSNC during a period of rapid growth. Kevin’s strong commitment to our mission, his expertise in information technology strategies and his in-depth understanding of BSNC’s business operations have been both helpful and important to BSNC’s success. Congratulations Kevin, and thanks for your dedication, hard work and support for BSNC and its
mission over the many years.
We remain thankful to our shareholders for your continued support and involvement in BSNC. Quyana.
Gail R. Schubert
BSNC President & CEO