2018 was a busy year for AEDC. In advocacy, we took positions on three issues, two municipal initiatives and one state ballot initiative. At the local level, we stood with our partners at the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and Visit Anchorage to lobby against Proposition 1, also the “bathroom bill,” which failed. We also supported Proposition 10, approving the sale of Municipal Light and Power to Chugach Electric. Readers may recall we originally formed an Electric Utilities Working Group of business leaders in April 2017, which recommended the merger to align power generation, power pooling, and shared fuel supply management. At the state level, we, with hundreds of Alaska businesses, opposed Ballot Measure 1 to establish new permitting requirements for projects in salmon habitat. It was defeated.

Most importantly, in early December, after months of discussion with AEDC staff, our Board of Directors adopted a new 10-year strategic direction. AEDC believes that if Anchorage is to grow and succeed in the future, we must focus on improving our community. As a result, our Live.Work.Play. initiative is being reworked. Over the next decade AEDC’s primary focus is now targeted on developing new strategic partnerships centered on making Anchorage a community that grows, attracts and keeps skilled workers and innovative entrepreneurs. AEDC will still market Anchorage to national and international business interests and assist Anchorage businesses with research, analysis and general business support; but we will pivot to focus on making Anchorage a thriving community.

We made strides in this regard in 2018, with the Live. Work. Play. Housing group playing a pivotal role in the passage of the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) ordinance, and completing the second housing survey of Anchorage citizens. Live. Work. Play. also surveyed Anchorage millennial workers for the first time ever and developed the first of its kind Internship Playbook, helping to connect employers and job-seekers. AEDC was also part of the Alaska Governor’s trade mission to China in May 2018, and is continuing to follow up on international opportunities generated from that trip.

In 2018, AEDC produced and distributed nearly 20 monthly, quarterly, and annual research reports on employment, economic trends, business and consumer optimism, in addition to dozens of on-demand reports for business-related economic metrics. We engaged with members and the public through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, MailChimp, and our website, AEDCweb.com, where all our reports are available.

AEDC staff, Board of Directors, and our Investors Council look forward to continuing to promote a prosperous and diverse Anchorage economy. Although our strategy is changing, our commitment to our members and our community remains steadfast. We look forward to another productive and successful year.