Message from Sealaska President and CEO Anthony Mallott, September 23, 2014
At the 2014 Sealaska annual meeting, I vowed for transparent communications on Sealaska’s financial status. Today I want to provide an update on Managed Business Solutions (MBS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Sealaska.
MBS, based out of Colorado, recently lost a major contract. This resulted in a decrease of about one third of MBS total employees. Staff reductions took place in Colorado and Kake, Alaska.
We are disappointed to make this announcement. During the last four years, MBS has operated a remote office in Kake employing three positions. The Kake office, which shut down September 15, 2014, was a test model that provided marketing support, project documentation and general administrative support. Two factors drove the decision: a remote office in a small community is currently unsustainable; the MBS loss of a significant contract.
Sealaska’s goal is sustainable profitability. We are guided by a six point strategic plan and core Native values as we make decisions on a daily basis toward this goal.
The MBS remote office is not the only investment in Kake. Other economic development activity is continuing and Sealaska participates in, evaluates and develops economic sustainability opportunities through Haa Aani, LLC, the Haa Aani Community Development Fund, and the Sustainable Southeast Partnership.
The collaboration between the Kake community and Sealaska is showing economic benefits, according to State of Alaska labor and economic data. In 2013, the number of private sector jobs was up 9 percent with total wages totaling $5.8 million, an increase of 18 percent from just 5 years ago. Fishing and fishing related jobs made up 28 percent of all 2013 private sector jobs in Kake, compared to 7 percent in 2008. Manufacturing activity, which is largely attributable to Rocky Pass Seafoods, is Kake’s second largest industry behind local government.
What’s notable about this activity is that the population continues to rebound, up 12 percent from 5 years ago and there is a steady increase in resident workers. This is an encouraging trend that Kake can be proud of, and Haa Aaní, LLC and Sealaska are willing partners to help the community continue their improvement.