BBNC shareholders elect independent candidate to board

Oct 6, 2015

Large number of BBNC shareholders cast votes in board of directors election.

The Bristol Bay Native Corp. board of directors will have a new face this fall after shareholders elected three incumbents and one newcomer at the annual meeting in Naknek.

Dillingham’s Peter Andrew Jr., Naknek’s Melvin Brown and Shawn Aspelund, who now lives in Anchorage were re-elected. Dillingham’s Kim Williams was elected for her first term at the meeting, which was held at the Bristol Bay Borough School Oct. 3. Former board member Robert Clark did not run for re-election this year. He told KDLG News that he wanted to focus his time on the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation, where he is the president and CEO.

Williams was not on the slate of board candidates, and ran an independent campaign, including collecting proxy votes. She said Oct. 5 that it was a relief to have the campaign over, and get down to work on the issues before the board.

“It’s been a two-month campaign, knocking on doors and visiting with shareholders from around the region and asking for their support to run as an independent candidate for BBNC board,” Williams said. “And I’m so thankful that many of them stopped and talked to me and they gave me their support, and for that, I’m grateful. But I think the work starts now.”

BBNC CEO Jason Metrokin said about 150 shareholders attended the meeting in person, with more submitting their proxy to be used for voting for either one of two independent candidates, or the board slate of candidates.

“It was a extremely high year of total proxy returns,” Metrokin said. “I think we almost reached the 73 percent level, which we haven’t seen in some time now.”

Metrokin said he thought the increased participation was related to the independent candidates, as well as general interest in the corporation.

The board has had nine new members in about the past nine years, so it’s become accustomed to some turnover, Metrokin said.

“The company is doing very well in arguably some very challenging times economically, but it’s always good to have fresh eyes and fresh perspective on the board.”

Metrokin said the election was the primary business of the meeting. BBNC made a presentation on its financial status . Winners of three awards were also announced: Megan Aspelund was named student of the year, Nancy Gamechuck Sharp won citizen of the year and elder of the year went to James "Billy" Brandon. 

The BBNC Education Foundation also held a fundraiser in Naknek the night before the meeting, which Metrokin said was well-received by the community.

“The folks in Naknek were extremely welcoming and friendly, it was a fairly quick annual meeting this year,” Metrokin said.

KDLG’s Dave Bendinger contributed to this story.