From the Editor

On the list of people I’d like to meet is whoever designed the layout for the Alaska Business Publishing Co. office. We occupy the entire first floor of 501 W. Northern Lights Boulevard in Midtown Anchorage and have done so since we launched in the mid-‘80s.

In what we call the “front office” is a reception area and three traditional offices: a door, four walls, a window or two. The rest of the office was divided into approximate thirds: a middle communal space with a kitchen and a sort of cubicle with multiple entrances and a wall several feet short of the ceiling that we lovingly dubbed “the fishbowl”; a north wing that houses production and editorial staff; and a south wing, occupied by the sales team and storage spaces.

The north and south wings have rooms with walls on three sides. The fourth side is open to a connecting hallway, creating spaces halfway between a cubicle and an office.

The overall effect is a bizarre, unintuitive series of hallways and doors that create a maze-like effect, confusing visitors and new employees alike. Whoever put this plan on paper—I’d love to ask them WHY.

It’s unlikely I’ll ever have the opportunity, a fact I am learning to accept. And, as we speak, our office space is undergoing a transformation. The fishbowl’s walls have been torn down to create space for an open, communal meeting area. Also doors are being added to the two corner offices in the north wing, occupied by myself and our art director.

I’m an advocate for the doors, as they’ll solve some issues we have with how the wing functions (though because of the nature of the hallway, they won’t make the office layout any less weird). But as the framing goes up and the drywall is installed, I am unprepared for how different my office feels. A door is a welcome change, but even so it’s an adjustment.

A door is an obvious metaphor for change and transition, and it seems fitting that one is being installed as we put the finishing touches on this June magazine. The issue unsurprisingly explores many changes, since the special section, which guides the entire publication, is focused on the state’s transportation industry, defined by forward movement. Investment and new leadership in the Alaska Marine Highway System, Span Alaska’s new service center in Fairbanks, Coeur Alaska extending the life of Kensington Mine, and Tongass Federal Credit Union’s merger with ALPS Federal Credit Union—these are all positive developments. The possible closure of the Chinook trolling fishery in Southeast and the literally growing presence of Juneau’s landfill are less so. And right in the middle is the development of artificial intelligence, which is simultaneously exciting and alarming.

Importantly, in this issue we connect with those who are driving economic development, the people who look around, think, “Hey, this could be better,” and then get up to do something about it. Whether advocating for their own business or an entire industry, they face challenges head-on and find opportunities to implement their plans. If they don’t see the door they need, they build their own, establishing a threshold to the change they envision.

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Tasha Anderson
Managing Editor, Alaska Business