The Sealaska Board of Directors met on July 28 and 29 to discuss investments, business momentum and review financial statements. The board continues to meet via a hybrid model, with some board members appearing in person and others via video call.
Global and US economies face many difficult issues this year – most importantly, high inflation, rising interest rates, and declining consumer confidence. While Services businesses are on track to report the division’s highest net income on record at nearly twice that of 2021, Sealaska’s food-based platform is working through supply chain disruptions and inflation issues, which will likely be reflected in this year’s results for seafood companies worldwide. Our management team has successfully navigated similar challenges before and is working diligently to create immediate solutions while maintaining progress on longer-term strategies.
“Sealaska businesses are performing well overall, especially when accounting for market challenges that have unfortunately impacted our economy this year,” said Sealaska President and CEO Anthony Mallott. “While the downturns we are seeing in some areas are unavoidable, they reflect the current economic environment. Sealaska is focused on the long-term, investing for growth and stability over time.”
Geotechnical and marine science-based businesses are compelling growth areas driving Sealaska’s Ocean Health platform. Working within renewable energy development, such as rapidly growing offshore wind energy, is leading to significant growth opportunities.
“We’re seeing a lot of the excitement we’ve created with the Ocean Health platform come to life here in this success – excitement that we share,” said Mallott. “Despite the challenges of the current economy, growth continues, especially in renewable energy, and we are pleased to continue to be a part of it.”
Investment income continues to be volatile this year, not surprising given the state of the global market. The Sealaska board of directors is working closely with investment advisors to navigate these challenges.
“The good news is our growing business platform is helping Sealaska to be less reliant on investment and 7i income,” said Sealaska board chair Joe Nelson. “This year’s short-term challenges should not distract us from our long-term focus: improving ocean health while generating returns for shareholders.”
In addition to financial updates, the board is working to address shareholder concerns about those family members omitted from receiving shares as original shareholders due to their blood quantum percentage. This is a complex issue related to ANCSA law that would require amendments to ANCSA to be changed. While the board is seeking clarity as requested by shareholders, more work needs to be done.
Shareholders have made clear that streamlining log donations is a priority, making cultural logs more accessible to shareholder carvers and educational programs. In response, the board has approved updates and improvements to the log donation application.
“Ensuring greater inclusivity for this program is crucial,” said Sealaska Lands Manager Michele Metz. “We revised the application to make it easier for the applicant. Instead of asking that applicants work with the USFS or local village corporation, we ask that the project has community support, such as sponsoring apprenticeships, so we can continue growing these art forms. Sealaska also asks on the application if funding is in place, to assure that the project will continue to move forward.”
The board continues to revisit shareholder priorities, working together to find creative ways to meet the needs expressed by shareholders. The board’s next meeting will take place on September 1-2, when it will look ahead and set strategic priorities for the next year. Sealaska’s board of directors remains focused on weaving traditional values, shareholder priorities and economic growth together in our shared vision for the future.