Goldbelt earns US honor for exports business

Officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce presented the Juneau-based Alaska Native group Goldbelt, Inc. with an excellence-in-commerce award Monday in Washington, D.C.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker presented the Alaskan firm with the President’s “E” Award at a ceremony in the nation’s capital. The award is the highest recognition U.S. entities can receive for significant contributions to the expansion of U.S. exports, according to a press release by the department.

“This Juneau-based company demonstrates the opportunity inherent in selling Made-in-America products to the broad customer base that exists outside our borders. Its success contributes to growth, job creation, competitiveness, and the success of the American economy,” Pritzker said.

Todd J. Kelsey, vice president for the Goldbelt subsidiary group Goldbelt Wolf, accepted the award in D.C. on behalf of the family of companies instituted to support Alaska Native shareholders.

Goldbelt Wolf is one of several Goldbelt subsidiaries concentrated on exports and conducting business with the federal government. A second major subsidiary is Goldbelt Seafoods.

Ninety-two percent of actual operating income for Goldbelt, Inc. is generated through subsidiaries such as Wolf and Seafoods managed across the nation, Goldbelt Interim President and CEO Elliott Wimberly told the Empire during a phone interview Monday.

Wimberly said this is the first time the company has won the export honor, and he said it speaks to the group’s successful diversification methods.

“It’s symbolic of a diversification of Goldbelt, and the board of directors has made it clear that they want to diversify the corporation and not be so dependent on federal contract work,” Wimberly said. “Through that diversification, we’re also interested in creating jobs in Alaska.”

Goldbelt Wolf’s focus is on exporting tactical gear across the globe from Colombia and Ecuador, to parts of the Middle East, Wimberly said. The Seafood subsidiary exports mainly to China and Japan.

Eight percent of the firm’s revenue is generated from operating companies in Alaska. Operations in Alaska are centered on tourism and include the Mount Roberts Tramway and Seadrome Marina.

According to the Commerce Department, this year’s award-winners alone contributed to the United States’ exporting $2.23 trillion worth of goods and services in 2015, and the estimated 11.5 million American jobs supported by exports.

• Contact reporter Paula Ann Solis at 523-2272 or paula.solis@juneauempire.com.

Editor’s note: The following article has been updated to accurately reflect that revunue for Goldbelt, Inc. does not include earnings from the Goldbelt Hotel.

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