Alaska SeaLife Center Announces Departure of Dr. Tara Riemer
September 29, 2023

The Alaska SeaLife Center Board of Directors announced today that Dr. Tara Riemer is stepping down after 20 years of service with the Center, the last 11 years as President and CEO.

Board Chair Josie Hickel said a national search will take place to find a replacement for Dr. Riemer. She said the board will seek a new leader who will carry forward the Center’s mission into a new phase of growth and development. She added that The Foraker Group will assist a board transition committee in a well-planned and expansive search for the next CEO.

“We are confident that we will find a qualified and dynamic leader to join the board and the Center’s strong management team,” Hickel said. “We expect a smooth transition. Dr. Riemer plans to remain in her position to support a successful transition effort.”

Dr. Riemer said that even though she is choosing to leave her position, she still strongly supports the Alaska SeaLife Center and its mission, and she expressed gratitude to the board, staff, and community for the support they have given her.

“I leave with many fond memories of my work at the Center,” Dr. Riemer said. “One of the best was my chance to provide hands-on help to rehabilitate a baby beluga whale. For me, that brought our mission to life. To work with our amazing animals and such a passionate staff has been an extremely rewarding experience.”

Dr. Riemer pointed to one project that demonstrates the dedication and commitment of the Center’s board and staff.

“During COVID we faced a significant funding challenge,” she said. “To meet this challenge, we launched the Save the Alaska SeaLife Center Campaign. Its goal was to raise $2 million to make up for revenue losses during the pandemic. Without the funds, the Center would have closed, and animals would have been moved to other locations. This message reached people in Alaska and beyond, and the Center is now more financially secure.”

Hickel expressed deep appreciation to Dr. Riemer on behalf of the board not only for her leadership and service but also for her commitment to a thoughtful transition process.

“When Dr. Riemer joined the Alaska SeaLife Center 20 years ago, she brought business acumen and a background in scientific research,” Hickel said. “Under her leadership, the Center has grown and developed into a world-class organization providing education, research, and programs that have improved our knowledge of Alaska’s unique marine environment.”

“Dr. Riemer is leaving the Center in a much better position than when she first started working here,” Hickel concluded. “She will be greatly missed by the board, our employees, donors, and the whole Alaska SeaLife Center community. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”


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