First, I want to note that some of the many losses to normal life taken by COVID-19 will be the 2020 high school and college graduation ceremonies. We believe these individuals deserve their moment in the sun, and Chugach Alaska Corporation and the Chugach Heritage Foundation would like to play a hand in this recognition. We encourage shareholders and descendants to share your photos and stories, so we can share these wonderful milestones and accomplishments, and encourage others to achieve their goals. We would also like to feature them in future newsletters and publications. Please send your graduate photos and stories to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Chugach Facebook page and share these moments via private message
Secondly, it has been our commitment to communicate with our shareholders regularly and transparently. I’d like to share with you the latest COVID-19 operational, financial, employee and shareholder/regional impacts, as well as current focus areas for our team.
As soon as the outbreak began, we activated the Chugach Emergency Response Team. Every day, dedicated team members are working closely with leaders to implement coordinated measures that help us anticipate and mitigate the impact of COVID-19. We established an internal COVID-19 Informational SharePoint Site so that our team can easily see how Chugach is dealing with this issue. With both national and international operations, Chugach faces a variety of situations with regard to COVID-19. Wherever possible, employees are working remotely and leveraging our digital and IT tools to continue operating the business efficiently. Our business leaders are partnering closely with customers and vendors who are facing similar challenges, to ensure we both protect our people while also safely maintaining essential business operations. At locations where essential operations must continue, we have increased health and safety vigilance at all our sites and offices, with persistent focus on hand-washing and social distancing. We have seen a handful of employee COVID-19 cases at Rex Electric & Technologies and at Chugach Government Solutions project sites; thankfully those individuals are in recovery or stable condition, and swift action was taken to notify and quarantine people in contact with those individuals.
We also realize that we will sustain some financial impacts in 2020 as a direct result of COVID-19, as non-essential project work is delayed. It’s difficult to predict the extent of this impact as the situation evolves daily, but we are closely monitoring all of our businesses and analyzing potential scenarios. Additionally, we are leveraging the recent stimulus bills and government-provided tax relief for our eligible businesses to preserve shareholder value. Chugach is a resilient organization, and is in a strong financial position to overcome the challenging circumstances that will likely continue through 2020.
We encourage shareholders to continue to monitor our social media pages and visit our external shareholder website page, which are updated regularly with information on Chugach and the broader community. Most recently we shared a memo issuing early dividends and Elder distributions, and reallocated funds to provide community and tribal support. We also launched a Chugach Regional Resource Group, comprised of leaders from village and tribal organizations within the Chugach Region. This group is dedicated to the collective efforts to come together to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, to protect the health and economic wellbeing of people who live in the Chugach communities, and in identifying and accessing financial and other resources available to support the needs of the communities. The group meets weekly and collaborates via an informational website.
I am also encouraged by some of the stories I’ve heard of individuals going above and beyond, both in our shareholder and employee communities (like this one). Please continue to look out for one another, try to keep your spirits up and before you know it we will come through this together.
Finally, a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face…we must do that which we think we cannot.”
Chairman of the Board
Interim President & CEO