Alaska SeaLife Center CEO stepping down

Board members of the Alaska SeaLife Center announced on Sunday that Tara Riemer will step down after 20 years at the Center, the last 11 years as president and chief executive officer. 

A national search is planned to find her replacement, said board chair Josie Hickel who is also the president of the Chugach Alaska Corp. The board said it is seeking an individual who will carry forward the center’s mission into a new phase of growth and development. The Foraker Group will assist a board transition committee in the search, Hickel said. 

Reimer plans to stay on the job until her replacement is found.  

Riemer joined the center 20 years ago, and reflected on her time at the Center. 

“I leave with many fond memories of my work at the Center,” 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.” 

She also recalled the tribulations faced by the Center during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


“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.”