A word from the president, May 2014

SophieBy: Sophie Minich, CIRI president and chief executive officer

It was great to be back in Kenai last month for the Kenai Shareholder Information Meeting. I was happy to see so many of you come out to learn about CIRI’s business and to share your ideas for how to continue to make CIRI a successful company.

While in Kenai, it was gratifying to hear about the progress of the new Dena’ina Wellness Center, a project two years in the making that is meant to address all dimensions of wellness for Alaska Native and American Indian people on the Kenai Peninsula. With the grand opening slated for next month, the building looks extraordinary, and CIRI is proud to have played a part in supporting this project.

The Dena’ina Wellness Center, designed and constructed by the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, was one of three projects nationwide to receive the highly competitive Indian Health Service Joint Venture award. The program will provide funding for the Wellness Center for a minimum of 20 years. This is a fantastic achievement for the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, who will see the end result of years of hard work and planning as the Wellness Center opens its doors in June. And this “end” is only the beginning of many years of service to the people of the Kenai area.

People are what make any organization great, and I’m thrilled to report that the employees of both CIRI and CIRI Alaska Tourism Corporation (CATC) recently voted the companies the #7 and #1 best places to work in Alaska, respectively. The Alaska Journal of Commerce conducted the survey and recently published the results. The survey allowed employees to anonymously answer detailed questions that measured employee satisfaction.

That CIRI companies took not one but two spots on the list means both CIRI and CATC employees believe in the companies they work for. CATC not only showcases Alaska’s natural wonders but allows visitors to our state to appreciate our people and the relationship between our traditions and the natural world. CATC is also an employer of many CIRI shareholders and descendants, and a strong contributor to CIRI’s bottom line.

At CIRI, the commitment and enthusiasm of our employees – many of whom are CIRI shareholders, descendants, family members and other Alaska Native individuals – is an important ingredient of our success. Companies achieve better results when its employees want to go to work, embrace challenges and strive for greatness. While the accolades are fun, the real reward of being named one of Alaska’s best places to work is the recognition that CIRI is able to attract and retain the diverse expertise among our employees that has allowed CIRI to grow. With the company’s goal sharply focused on growing shareholders’ equity to enable larger shareholder dividends, we need a committed and enthusiastic team working together to make that possible.

Finally, as a reminder, the 2014 CIRI Annual Meeting is scheduled for June 7 at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. If you are in the Anchorage area, I hope you can join us. More information about the annual meeting can be found on the CIRI website.