Oil prices hit $30 per barrel today, I’m nervous about our states future, but I believe oil is not our only resource. With a global economy, advanced shipping methods and some relative geographic advantages, I believe there is a promising future for our state. The one resource that will be absolutely critical in realizing that future however is the bright minds of the next generation.
Our founder, Dave Rose, believed strongly in giving practical experience to those just entering the work force and then getting out of their way. When Dave was the first director of the Alaska Permanent Fund he can be quoted as being frustrated that he had to look outside the state for investment professionals/management. This was his motivation for creating a company that hired experts and made decisions within the state for the state. To put that in perspective, this decision was made in 1992 as Alaska was experiencing its greatest economic downturn ever, and the Permanent Fund balance was less than $15 billion.
I believe this model is even more important today as we may have let our ingenuity grow soft because relying on oil as our dominant revenue source has been much easier. Here at APCM we have hosted over 15 interns some of whom have become permanent employees. Their fresh perspective has served our company well as is evidenced by our nearly double top line revenue in this last decade.
So what can you do? Start an internship program. This does not have to be an expensively advertised program. Define what skills you may be able to foster in a young person then tap into your community connections and local resources, like the University. The university may be able to provide students that they have come to know over a semester, who are interested in pursuing a career in your field, they will already know their work ethic. If appropriate for your company, consider developing the career of one of these employees.
Our most recent intern started on Monday. A bright young woman with an undergrad degree in Economics from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is working on her MBA and smart enough to explore all fields that Alaska has to offer before graduation. So far, great, and I believe she represents many of the Alaskan young adults of today.
What is our company philosophy on surviving low oil prices and any other volatility? Take our own advice – invest for long-term, keep the score, and diversify (mentoring Alaskans and a well-rounded staff). As a newly appointed trustee of the UA Foundation, I’m putting my time where my mouth is.
Laura Bruce, CFP®, ChFC®
Director, APCM Wealth Management for Individuals