By Melinda Munson
Cody Jennings looks to the future, literally. The current tourism director has an enormous dry erase calendar on her office wall, ready with next season’s plans, as the last ship of the year departs. Someone else will fill in the remaining details as around Nov. 1, Jennings becomes Skagway’s first port director.
‘What’s coming is exciting,” Jennings said. “Skagway will manage its port for the first time in 55 years.”
As the lease with White Pass expires and the municipality takes control of its port in March 2023, the municipality will have a new stream of revenue and an enormous responsibility.
“It’s going to be a great deal of learning but I understand our community and I understand where we want to go,” Jennings said.
“I am a problem solver by nature.”
Jennings, an alumnus of Skagway High School, spent seven years working for Hamilton Construction, where her main job was logistics and planning. She was then employed by White Pass & Yukon Route Railway for 11 years before moving on to work for the Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau.
While working as tourism director, Jennings said she built relationships that will help her as port director.
“I’ve been really engaged in port planning. I find the topic fascinating.”
The job is so new, Jennings is unsure where her office will be located. The position was advertised at a salary of $80-$110,000.
“As a member of the hiring committee I can say with 100 percent certainty that we hired a competent, motivated and a qualified individual for this very important position,” Assemblymember Reba Hylton said as the body approved the hire.
“It was unanimous who our first choice was, and that was Cody,” Hylton said.
Jennings worked for the visitors bureau for about six years. In that time, she rebranded the department, oversaw a bathroom upgrade to comply with accessibility laws, got a new website running, started a multimedia library and utilized social media for the first time in the department’s history.
Jennings is excited to see where Skagway is six years from now.
“We’ve got a great supporting cast,” she said, pointing to the hundreds of hours of work done by the Ports and Harbor Advisory Board.
When she’s not working, Jennings can be seen hiking with her two dogs, camping, and four wheeling with her husband, Mark.