AEDC staff is small but accomplishes much. Although each position is structured to provide a specialized function, the staff interacts closely on projects, combining their expertise to see a project to fruition. Listed below is a brief description of each person’s background and the major focus of his or her position.
President & CEO
Bill Popp has spent more than 40 years in both the Alaska private and public sectors. As President & CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation since 2007, he sets the strategic direction in marketing Anchorage and Alaska to companies and global industries considering Anchorage as a place in which to do business and assists local businesses looking to expand both within Anchorage and Alaska as well as Lower 48 and international markets.
Prior to joining AEDC, Popp was a special assistant in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor’s office focused on oil and gas and mining policy. Popp was also an elected municipal government official for the Kenai Peninsula Borough (KPB) and presided over the KPB Assembly as president in 2000. He has also served as project coordinator of the Challenger Learning Center for Alaska.
Popp is currently Chair of the 49th State Angel Fund Business Advisory Committee, He is a board member of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, Visit Anchorage, Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Alaska Public Media, Anchorage Concert Association, and membership development committee of the International Economic Development Council. Popp also serves as a member of the Alaskan Command Civilian Advisory Board, and is chair of the Mayor’s Base Economic Analysis Research (BEAR) Working Group.
He has previously served as a member of Governor Bill Walker’s Transition Committee and member of Mayor-Elect Ethan Berkowitz’s Transition Committee. He has also served as chair of the Governor’s Broadband Task Force, the UAA College of Business and Public Policy Advisory Board, and the Municipality of Anchorage Energy Policy Task Force.
Other past service includes serving on the Legislative Energy Policy Stakeholders Group; chairman of the KPB Economic Development Criteria Task Force; chair of the Economic Development Committee for the Municipality of Anchorage; vice chairman of the Alaska Stranded Gas Act Municipal Advisory Group; co-chair of Governor Murkowski’s Agrium Task Force; chair of the Kenai Peninsula Development Coalition; consultant for the British Columbia Provincial Government’s Offshore Oil and Gas Team.
Emma Kelly - Business & Economic Development Director
As Business and Economic Development Director, Emma is responsible for creating and executing strategies to help grow and diversify Anchorage’s economy. These strategies include the design and execution of AEDC’s Business Retention & Expansion program, attracting new businesses and industries to Anchorage, assisting Alaska entrepreneurs in building their businesses and helping existing Anchorage companies grow.
Emma spent her early years in Southeast Alaska but grew up in Anchorage. She graduated with a Political Science Degree from Gonzaga University and moved back to Anchorage soon after. Emma loves to be involved in her community and is the current chair of the Anchorage Chamber Young Professionals Group. Prior to joining the team at AEDC, Emma worked in Marketing and Public Involvement in the private sector.
A self-proclaimed “weekend warrior,” Emma loves to spend her time outside running, hiking, and cross country skiing with her dog, June Bee.
Moira Gallagher - Live. Work. Play. Director
As Live. Work. Play. Director, Moira spearheads the AEDC initiative to make Anchorage the #1 city in America to Live, Work and Play. Her responsibilities include bringing together partners for the initiative, enhancing community participation and providing sound advocacy to achieve this very important goal for our city.
Before joining AEDC, Moira was with the U.S. Treasury Department. Her prior experience includes working for Fortune 500 companies as a strategy consultant for Oliver Wyman.
Moira is a fifth-generation Alaskan, born in Fairbanks and raised in Anchorage where she graduated from A.J. Dimond High School in 2003. She has a bachelor’s degree in history from Dartmouth College and a Masters in Finance degree from Trinity College, Dublin. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Bridge Builders of Anchorage, the Alaska Statewide Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan Steering Committee, the 1+1 Alaska Advisory Board, and the Welcoming Anchorage Steering Committee. She is deeply passionate about economic development and community engagement in her hometown, loves Arctic Roadrunner cheeseburgers, camping in the Susitna Valley, and running, skiing, or biking on Anchorage’s amazing trails system.
Darleen Fernandez - Development Director
As Development Director, Darleen is responsible for AEDC Investor relations and events. In addition to working to attract new companies to join AEDC, she also ensures current Investors fully leverage membership benefits and opportunities. Highly committed to AEDC’s mission to grow a prosperous, sustainable and diverse economy, she works closely with the Board of Directors and Investor Relations Committee to continually improve offerings and services.
Before joining AEDC Darleen was development director at Girl Scouts of Alaska following nearly 20 years as an administrator and fundraiser with local arts organizations including the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra and Sitka Summer Music Festival. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Public Communications from UAA.
Outside of work Darleen is often found in the company of amazing friends she’s had the good fortune to make since her family moved to Anchorage from San Francisco in the mid-’70s, rarely misses the chance to walk the Coastal Trail and routinely checks Alaska Airlines’ website for travel opportunities.
Allison Meyers - Operations Manager
As Operations Manager, Allison executes the day-to-day operations of the AEDC offices including managing human resources, accounting, IT as well as grant writing and administration and plays a support role to division directors in driving AEDC’s key strategic initiatives and visions. Allison graduated from UAA with a degree in investment finance and spent three years at BP in Procurement and Supply Chain Management before moving on to restaurant management and joining AEDC in spring 2016. Allison comes from a family of entrepreneurs and owned her first business at 17; she continues to own a role in family businesses as well as personal ventures.
Allison is a lifelong Alaskan from Bethel. Because of the isolated nature of Bethel and the extreme weather, in her youth it was customary to be able to seek solutions to inordinate obstacles. Seventy-foot snow drifts separating her from the schools bus, frozen water pipes, and escaped pigs from her family’s farm — these early challenges influenced how she views the world and her ability to focus and find out-of-the-box solutions to perceived challenges.
Allison is an outdoor, subsistence and travel enthusiast. She has lived in Australia and has spent time in Indonesia, New Zealand, Costa Rica and Europe. She now lives in Anchorage with her dog, two cats, four chickens and two beehives.