Tara Riemer Jones, president and CEO of the Alaska SeaLife Center

Briefly describe business:The Alaska SeaLife Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to generate and share scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems. As Alaska’s only public aquarium, only marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation center, and a cold-water marine science research center, we connect Alaskans and visitors alike to Alaska’s oceans.

When did you first become involved in the visitor industry?
I have worked at the Alaska SeaLife Center for almost 10 years, but during half of that time, my job was focused on our research and other grant-funded programs. My first introduction to the visitor side of our organization was managing our ticketing function one summer on an interim basis. It was fun and eye-opening to see the center from a visitor’s perspective.

How did you get your start with the cruise industry?
Like a lot of people, my first introduction to the industry was as a cruise passenger. Currently, my main link to the cruise industry is running the day-to-day operations at the Alaska SeaLife Center. Making sure that our facility is constantly up to the standards that we want our visitors to experience keeps everyone on their toes. Because many of our visitors are cruise passengers, cruise companies and the ACA have become very important partners and supporters of the Alaska SeaLife Center. I think that they value the educational component of what we offer their guests because we are able to share a unique perspective about Alaska’s oceans.

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