In September, the newly formed Haines Economic Development Corporation got $95,000 from the Assembly. Now, they’ve hired an executive director.

Margaret Friedenauer is looking forward to starting as the HEDC part-time executive director.

“Especially for a community our size that struggles with keeping residents and year-round employment, I think it’s important to nurture this idea, and I think just show a lot of initiative and a lot of creativity to addressing economic development and economic growth,” she said.

Friedenauer has lived in Haines for seven years. She currently works as the Program Director at KHNS. She served on the Haines Assembly between 2015 and 2017, before resigning.

Kyle Gray, President of the Corporation, said they’re lucky to have her.

“Margaret has had extensive experience in the community serving with a variety of nonprofits and community groups, and she’s been successful in all of those things. She’s had feet on the ground enough in Haines to know the inner-workings and navigate those environments in the right way. She was just all around the right fit.”

Gray says Friedenauer will start working on HEDC’s application for nonprofit status. Friedenauer sees the job as a good opportunity to keep things moving forward in Haines.

“It’s going to be about facilitating and helping organize the young organization to get its strategic plan in place, to get some guiding documents in place, to do some baselines economic studies of the community.”

HEDC was created eighteen months ago when a group of local business owners banded together to tackle community issues like economic research, analysis, and strategic planning.

“If you look around to Juneau, Sitka, Skagway, Petersburg, those areas  that was a model we went with, Grey said. “So instead of the Haines Borough more or less employing a development director, the HEDC takes over those responsibilities.”

The Corporation received $95,000 earlier this year from the Haines Borough.

Friedenauer was on the Assembly at the time and voted in favor of the funding.

“I had no intention of ever applying to be executive director of the HEDC when I was voting to fund the organization because I think at the time the Executive Director position was going to be something a little different,” she said.

Friedenauer will continue to work at KHNS after she starts with HEDC in January.