Board Corner

A Message from CIRI Secretary Louis “Lou” Nagy Jr.

My name is Lou Nagy Jr. I am Yup’ik and I received my CIRI shares as a gift from my mother, Helen. In addition to being a CIRI shareholder, I am a tribal member of Seldovia Village Tribe and a shareholder of Seldovia Native Association.

Growing up in Seldovia, Alaska, Native culture was incorporated into nearly every aspect of our lives. This was particularly true of subsistence; we always put up fish and picked berries. I still have a strong connection with Kachemak Bay and the environment in which I grew up, and I’m fortunate to have family still living in the region.

Professionally, I am professor of aviation maintenance technology at the University of Alaska Anchorage. I’ve been teaching for the past 27 years and I love my job—helping students and seeing them launch into their careers gives me great satisfaction. Before that, I worked in the aviation industry, and I didn’t realize until I started teaching how much I missed seasonal work. As an instructor, I have summers off and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. It all goes back to subsistence. Growing up, salmon fishing, crabbing, digging clams, hunting and gathering – it was all seasonal, and you had to pay close attention to what was happening in your environment.

One of CIRI’s five corporate values is respect, which asks us to embrace the history and heritage of CIRI—its land, resources and people—and promote responsible stewardship of CIRI resources. Just as our ancestors were good stewards of the land, we, too, must act as responsible stewards. Entrusted with some of the richest and most delicate lands in Alaska, your Board prioritizes striking a balance between sustainably developing resources to improve opportunities for our shareholders and protecting the land for future generations. After all, the land, with its abundant resources, is a key element of CIRI’s existence today.

When shareholders and descendants ask me what the Board looks for in selecting its Directors, I always say that number one is integrity, and number two is just being yourself. We are looking for people who are not afraid to use their voices, can help us make good decisions and are able to work effectively with fellow Board members in providing direction for the company. We’re looking ahead to the next 100 years—how do we strategically and responsibly grow this corporation while remaining relevant and managing and controlling risk?

The Alaska Native value of subsistence—knowing when and how much to harvest, utilizing resources without depleting them—also informs how we make decisions as a Board. Being grounded in our culture and working toward the collective success of our people, giving something of yourself and being proud of being able to provide—these are the types of individuals we hope will put themselves forward for Board service.

If you have questions for me or any of the other CIRI directors, I invite you to email us directly at [email protected].