Chugach President Josie Hickel has announced that she will retire in early 2024. During her nearly eight-year tenure with Chugach, Hickel served the employees and shareholders of Chugach in numerous leadership roles and as President since 2022.
Hickel has been a vital team member of Chugach’s leadership team, overseeing Chugach’s lands and land resources, community and regional development, and cultural resources. Her drive and determination were instrumental in advancing many strategic initiatives that created lasting and meaningful value for the Chugach shareholders.
“Chugach is a better and stronger company today thanks to Josie’s many contributions,” said Chugach’s Chairman Sheri Buretta. “We want to celebrate with Josie the exciting news of her well-deserved retirement, and we express our gratitude for her amazing leadership and the profound impact she has had during her time with Chugach. With an executive tenure that spans more than 30 years, Josie is now ready to spend more time with her family, and we are blessed that Josie has given us ample time for her transition.”
Prior to her departure at the end of first quarter in 2024, Hickel will work with Chugach’s Executive Team and Board of Directors to ensure a smooth transition of her duties to others that will position Chugach for future success. One of those individuals is Chugach Shareholder Katherine Carlton, who was recently promoted to Chugach’s Vice President of Operations for Chugach Commercial Holdings (CCH).
Carlton will assume the new role of Vice President of ANCSA and Community Affairs, which will encompass many of the president’s former responsibilities. “Katherine is a talented, nimble leader with a passion for Chugach’s mission, shareholders, and cultural heritage,” Buretta stated. “She is a staunch advocate of Chugach’s rights as an Alaska Native Corporation and currently represents Chugach as a co-chair of the Native American Contractors Association.”
Buretta continued, “Katherine possesses many leadership skills which can be utilized in various areas of the organization, making her the right leader to assume the responsibilities for Chugach’s important community and cultural initiatives. Her appointment to VP of ANCSA and Community Affairs, along with Josie’s extended transition period, will make for a seamless transition that will continue the critical work of advancing community development within the Chugach region.”
Gwen Welch, who has risen through the ranks of Chugach during the last 20 years, will step into the role of CCH’s Vice President of Operations. “Gwen has served the last three years as the finance leader for CCH. She is a versatile leader whose skills both in finance and operations are a perfect combination to take on this important leadership role. Moreover, she is very respected throughout the organization, and I look forward to her leadership as we continue to build momentum and grow CCH,” stated Angie Astle, Chugach’s Interim Chief Executive Officer.
Astle concluded, “We want to express our deep appreciation for Josie’s service and commitment as a valued member of the executive team. We are blessed to have strong, talented leaders within our organization that have the experience and capabilities to keep Chugach on the path toward continued success and who are committed to creating prosperity for the Chugach region and its people.”