Juneau Assembly members interview Mike Satre (lower right), chair of Eaglecrest Ski Area’s Board of Directors, on Tuesday night. The Assembly reappointed Satre to a third three-year term, along with appointing two other members. (Screenshot from City and Borough of Juneau meeting on Zoom)

Juneau Assembly members interview Mike Satre (lower right), chair of Eaglecrest Ski Area’s Board of Directors, on Tuesday night. The Assembly reappointed Satre to a third three-year term, along with appointing two other members. (Screenshot from City and Borough of Juneau meeting on Zoom)

Two Eaglecrest board incumbents reappointed by Assembly, along with AEL&P’s CFO as new member

Stability during transition at ski resort following GM’s controversial resignation cited as key factor.

Two incumbents on Eaglecrest Ski Area’s Board of Directors, including its current chair, plus a top local power company executive were appointed to new terms by the Juneau Assembly after 10 candidates were interviewed Tuesday night.

Michael Satre, the board’s chair, and Hannah Shively, head of the board’s Human Resources Committee, were appointed to the two full three-year terms available. Brandon Cullum, chief financial officer of the Alaska Electric Light and Power Co., was appointed to a one-year term to fulfill the term of a departing member.

The appointments come a month after former Eaglecrest General Manager Dave Scanlan resigned at the request of the board for reasons not made public due to personnel confidentiality rules. The board’s request sparked considerable protest and a petition signed by more than 500 people that, among other things, expressed concern about the ski resort’s ability to be ready for operations during the coming season and carry out future development plans.

Some of the applicants interviewed expressed such sentiments and said the board of directors needs to restore public confidence with a change of direction in leadership. Assembly member Greg Smith, chair of the Assembly’s Human Resources Committee, said in an interview Wednesday stability is the key thing currently needed on the board.

“I think we all should step back and realize that we all have the same goals which are getting a good GM, a successful ski season, keeping the gondola on track,” he said. “We felt the best way to do that was stability with the board, and adding a new member with strong financial and project management experience.”

Cullum, a Juneau resident since 2008, told Assembly members he is trying not to take a position personally on Scanlan’s resignation.

“I don’t know exactly what the board was dealing with,” Cullum said. “I understand that personnel issues are confidential and there’s always more on the other side of the curtain than might be apparent to outside observers. I think moving forward they need to be diligent, very intentional, about the general manager that they choose, and they need to look for skill sets that help Eaglecrest achieve the goals and the real challenges that are in front of it right now.”

Cullum, referring to AEL&P as “essentially a really big construction company that sells power,” said issues such as timely completion of the gondola that is a cornerstone of the resort’s plans for year-round operations and more widespread marketing are among priorities he believes the board needs to focus on.

“I think I have a particular set of skills and a body of experience that could contribute to Eaglecrest’s efforts to move through its current phase of growth, and come out on the other side more sustainable and an even more permanent fixture in the community than it than it is now,” he said.

The Assembly during the evening also interviewed three candidates for two open seats on the Juneau International Airport Board, and on Monday considered seven candidates for five vacant seats on the Docks and Harbors Board.

All of Tuesday’s candidates participated in 10-minute Zoom interviews with the Assembly, answering nearly identical questions, with participants asked not to sign on until their scheduled interview time to avoid eavesdropping on other candidates. The Assembly announced its appointments after going into executive session for about an hour after the final interview.

Satre, who has completed two terms on the board, told Assembly members he was considering not running for a third term, but changed his mind due to recent circumstances.

“Given where we’re at, where we’ve been in the past few weeks and what we have in front of us I certainly want to place my name back in the hat to share a little bit of continuity as we move forward,” Satre said.

Scanlan, when his resignation was announced, said it appeared “the current board has a desire to find a more office-process, paper-oriented general manager.” Mayor Beth Weldon asked Satre what characteristics he is seeking in a new general manager.

“Project management experience is fantastic. We are undergoing a complex and expensive capital improvement project that’s taken all the headlines,” Satre said, referring to the gondola. “But we have lots of other capital improvement projects that we need to get done as well. So someone with that project management experiences is critical. Obviously we’re trying to build our team and the general manager, some of our key director positions, (so) people with human resources experience is incredibly important, too. And then having financial experience, especially as it relates to how city budget processes work, can be extremely helpful.”

Assembly member Christine Woll asked Satre how the board should move forward from the controversy surrounding Scanlan’s resignation. Satre responded by noting one of his roles as board chair is “to be a bit of a lightning rod for that and to help deflect some of the community criticism from the other members of the board, and help make sure that that we can continue to move forward.”

Satre said his intent is to make the hiring of a new general manager “a very public process as we go forward, just as we did in the last hiring of a general manager.” He also emphasized transparency when asked by Assembly member Wade Bryson how to keep the ski resort profitable.

“We’re planning on bringing in some outside assessments of our lift infrastructure as well as some of our snowcats, our mobile infrastructure,” he said. “We’re going to be looking at our snowmaking system, we’re going to be going through all of this to make sure that everything’s ready for the winter. And we’re going to make darn sure that we’re communicating that to the public through mail distribution lists, certainly through our meetings, or whatever else we need to do to give the public confidence that regardless of who’s there — whether it’s me on the board or anyone else on the staff — Eaglecrest is an institution that’s going to keep going. It doesn’t depend on any one person. We’re going to have the systems in place to make this go forward.”

Staffing at Eaglecrest — for both managerial and seasonal jobs — has been a struggle in recent years due to factors including below-average wages that have seen some increases and a broader workforce shortage affecting Juneau. Shively, as the other incumbent board member, said her decade of work in human relations is among the reasons she’s qualified and interested in continuing to serve.

“The most important thing is to kind of seize the opportunity of changing environment, and changing flux, and changing business model to really set us up for success strategically,” she said. Aspects of that “could very well look at kind of revamping what positions do we need, what people do we need, how are we strategic about recruiting talent and capturing talent, and using the year-long model that we’re moving to?”

Shively, originally appointed to the board in 2022, said what she’s looking for in a new general manager is “a track record of managing specific teams with a wide and diverse range of skills.”

“There are employees at the ski area ranging from everything from dropping fries, and doing software analysis, and running lifts, and doing really specific heavy machinery,” she said. “I really hope that we can find a person who will not necessarily be an expert in all those positions, but be good at directing and supporting and building a team that has multiple layers of expertise and fail-safes.”

Other board appointments made by the Assembly on Tuesday:

• Docks and Harbors Board: James “Jim” Becker and Matthew Leither were reappointed to full terms, and Nicholas Orr was newly appointed to a full term. Clayton Hamilton and Thomas “Tyler” Emerson were appointed to unexpired terms that end June 30, 2026.

• Juneau International Airport Board: Danial Spencer was reappointed to the board’s public seat and Charles Williams appointed to the tenant seat for full terms ending June 30, 2027.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

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