• See how different people Live. Work. Play. in Anchorage on our community Instagram account, iloveanchorage!

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  • View the 2014 Economic Forecast for Anchorage - click here!

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  • Alaska’s largest city has a population of 301,134 (2013 Alaska Dept. of Labor estimate)

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  • Anchorage unemployment was 5.7 percent in February 2014.

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  • One in ten jobs in Anchorage is directly or indirectly related to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

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  • Click here to view the Business Confidence Index (BCI) Survey results.

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LWP Artwork Revised 12-1-13

Report Artwork Revised 12-1-13

Staff

AEDC has a small staff of eight personnel. Although each position is structured to provide a specialized function, the staff interacts closely on projects, combining their expertise to see a project to fruition. Listed below is a brief description of each person's background and the major focus of his or her position.

 


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Bill Popp, President & CEO

Bill Popp has spent more than 35 years in both the Alaska private and public sectors. As President & CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation since 2007, he sets the strategic direction in marketing Anchorage and Alaska to companies and global industries considering Anchorage as a place in which to do business and assists local businesses looking to expand both within Anchorage and Alaska as well as Lower 48 and international markets. 

Prior to joining AEDC, Popp was a special assistant in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor’s office focused on oil and gas policy. Popp was also an elected municipal government official for the Kenai Peninsula Borough (KPB) and presided over the KPB Assembly as president in 2000. He also has private industry experience working for large national and regional businesses, as a small business owner and as project coordinator of the Challenger Learning Center for Alaska.

Popp is currently Chairman of the Governor’s Broadband Task Force and is Chair of the 49th State Angel Fund Advisory Committee. He is a board member of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, Visit Anchorage, Anchorage Downtown Partnership, the Alaska Partnership for Economic Development and Anchorage Concert Association. He also serves on the UAA College of Business and Public Policy Advisory Board and is a member of the Alaska Film Group, Municipality of Anchorage Energy Policy Task Force, membership development committee of the International Economic Development Council and Fundraising Chair for the USS Anchorage Commissioning Ceremony.

He has previously served as a member of the Legislative Energy Policy Stakeholders Group; chairman of the KPB Economic Development Criteria Task Force; chair of the Economic Development Committee for the Municipality of Anchorage; vice chairman of the Alaska Stranded Gas Act Municipal Advisory Group; co-chair of Governor Murkowski’s Agrium Task Force; chair of the Kenai Peninsula Development Coalition; consultant for the British Columbia Provincial Government’s Offshore Oil and Gas Team; member of the Tri-borough Commission Energy Task Force; Board member of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Economic Development District; Fundraising Chairman of the 2006 Arctic Winter Games; and the Cook Inlet Natural Gas Pipeline Terminus Group.

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Jon Bittner, Vice President

Jon is a fifth generation Alaskan with over a decade of experience working in the public and private sectors within the state. He joined AEDC in early 2011 as the Director of Business and Economic Development before being promoted to Vice President in 2012. As Vice President, Jon is tasked with managing the day to day operations of AEDC as well as developing new projects and initiatives that will drive the organization forward. Those projects and initiatives are focused around bringing new industries to Anchorage through national and international outreach as well as working to grow new industries and develop existing businesses locally using modern economic development techniques suited to the unique nature of the Alaskan economy. Jon also assists the Municipality of Anchorages’ 49th State Angel Fund to help vet applicants and promote the development of venture and angel capital programs in Alaska.

Jon spent several years as a legislative aide in the State House as well as serving as the committee aide to the Anchorage Caucus. He also was appointed legislative liaison to the Denali Commission for the Alaska Clearinghouse tasked with matching Alaska organizations with federal stimulus funds. In the private sector, Jon has spent two years working for an Anchorage based Environmental Consulting company as a field scientist and GIS analyst. He also worked for two years as a field geologist/GIS specialist for a local mineral exploration company based in Anchorage. Jon is a graduate of the University of Alaska Anchorage and holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology with an environmental focus. He currently serves on the Board of the West High Alumni Association, the UAA Geology Department Advisory Committee Board, the IEDC Public Policy and Advocacy Committee and the Alaska Makers Group.

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Valerie Walsh, Communications Director

As Communications Director, Valerie is responsible for all communications of AEDC and oversees all advertising, marketing, public relations, external communications, social media and online presence. She is also responsible for the day to day oversight of communications at AEDC.

Prior to AEDC, Valerie was an account executive for MSI Communications where she worked with clients in the transportation, energy and tourism industries. She also worked as an account coordinator for Northwest Strategies and as a graphic designer for Dynamic Properties. Valerie is a lifelong Alaskan and attended North Park University in Chicago, Illinois where she received her Bachelor of Science in Advertising with a creative design emphasis.

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Ruth Glenn, Development Director
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Ruth Glenn has spent over 30 years in nonprofit management, with the last 24 years in Anchorage. As the Development Director at AEDC, Glenn is tasked with investor relations, sponsorships and event coordination. She works closely with the President/CEO and the Board of Directors, coordinating Board and committee meetings.

Prior to coming to work for the AEDC, Ruth ran her own company, G&N Creative, whose biggest client was the Alaska State Council on the Arts. She worked to align the Arts in Education program with the State Arts Council and Department of Education & Early Development to streamline the grant process for schools and other interested nonprofits. As the Executive Director of Alaska Dance Theatre, Ruth led the effort to build the new five studio facility in mid-town. The facility was debt free with a fund balance established to cover startup costs for the first three years.

Ruth holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the University of Utah.

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Will Kyzer, Business and Economic Development Director

As Business and Economic Development Director,Will is responsible for creating and executing strategies to help grow and diversify Anchorage’s economy. These strategies entail attracting new businesses and industries to Anchorage, assisting Alaskan entrepreneurs in building their businesses and helping existing Anchorage companies grow. He joined AEDC in June 2012 as Business & Economic Development Assistant Director.

Prior to AEDC, Will served as prospect manager with the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Will earned a Bachelors of Arts in English, With Distinction, as well as a Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management, from the University of Iowa.

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James Starzec, Research Director

As Research Director, James is responsible for managing all research and reports at AEDC to assure staff and stakeholders have the resources on current economic and industry trends in our economy. James is a lifelong Alaskan returning to the state after receiving his Masters degree in Urban Planning at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.  He also holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Economics from the University of Alaska Anchorage and previous research positions include time with the Milwaukee Water Council (Milwaukee, WI) and the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at UAA.

James’ career path before joining AEDC included time as a firefighter in Girdwood, AK, commercial halibut fishing, and over ten years with the Anchorage School District.  He is also a former board member and secretary for the Northeast Community Council.

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 Archana Mishra, Live. Work. Play. Director

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Archana joined the AEDC team in 2013 as the Communications Coordinator before being promoted to Live. Work. Play. Director. Mishra spearheads the AEDC initiative to make Anchorage the no. 1 city in America to Live, Work and Play. In this role, her responsibility ranges from bringing together partners for the initiative, enhancing community participation and providing sound advocacy to achieve this very important goal for our city.


Prior to AEDC, Archana was the General Manager of Policy and External Affairs at Linc Energy Australia where she was responsible for the company’s goal of engaging with government and other stakeholders develop and oversee its policy platforms and provide high level advisory support to the executive team. During this time, she also revived and managed the Australian Syngas Association advocating for a reasonable regulatory framework for the Syngas Industry.


She has more than 12 years of experience working in advocacy, external relations, policy, communications and law in Australia and India. She holds a MBA and Bachelor of Law and Science degrees.

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Carrie Tough, Executive Assistant

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As Executive Assistant, Carrie is the first point of contact for Investors and visitors to the AEDC offices. She is also responsible for organizational task such as managing Investor and contract files, as well as accounting support.

Carrie is a lifelong Alaskan who has lived in Cordova, Wasilla and Anchorage. Prior to AEDC, Carrie spent more than 12 years working in the photography industry. She was a portrait photographer, studio manager and most recently an account executive and assistant sales manager at Alaska Stock Images. Currently Carrie is working to complete her Bachelor of Arts at UAA.

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