Briefly describe your business:
Alaska Airlines has grown from a small, regional airline to one of the most respected in the nation. Carrying more than 17 million customers a year, Alaska’s route system spans more than 80 cities and three countries.
When did you first become involved in the visitor industry?
I loaded and fueled planes for Misty Fjords in Ketchikan as a summer job prior to high school graduation. I met several cruise passengers over the years before graduating from flight school and coming back home to Ketchikan to fly float planes for Misty Fjords.
How did you get your start with the cruise industry?
In 1991, I took the position of director of marketing for the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau, which introduced me to not only cruise passengers, but to the industry and tourism. It was great seeing the boom in small business and the number of passengers on Holland America Cruises and Princess Cruises.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is knowing that we take that little kid to see family all across the country to see what the stork has brought a new family or to visit grandma.
What’s your favorite cruise-passenger story?
I don’t have a cruise-passenger story per se, but we couldn’t do it without the cruise industry. We help people get here to visit and encourage tourism; it’s an opportunity of a lifetime to visit Alaska via a cruise ship. We can have all of the flights we have because of the people who want to visit Alaska and take a cruise.
What should Alaska do to better support/protect the visitor/cruise industry?
I wish the State of Alaska would gear state tourism back to the private industry instead of to the government. We need to support the future and find a way for tourism marketing funding to go beyond them.