Alaska's cruise industry
Delivering economic and environmental benefits throughout the state.
Meet the staff
John Binkley – President
John was born and raised in Fairbanks, a third-generation Alaskan whose grandfather arrived in the territory during the 1898 Gold Rush as a riverboat pilot. In 1950, John’s parents started a small tour business in Interior Alaska, hosting visitors aboard the Riverboat Discovery. John was born into the business and grew up in the visitor industry. He saw firsthand the growth of the industry from the 1950s to the 1980s, when cruise ships started coming to Alaska on a regular schedule. After graduating from Lathrop High School in Fairbanks, John attended Western Michigan University. He received his associate degree in maintenance technology – airframe and powerplant – from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2005. John served as chairman and CEO of the Riverboat Discovery for 14 years and as president of the El Dorado Gold Mine for 12 years.
In 1977, John and his wife, Judy, moved to Bethel, where they started Northwest Navigation, which hauled freight on the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers. It was there that he started his public service career, first as a member of the Bethel City Council from 1982 to 1985 and then representing the region in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1985 to 1986. John ran for the Alaska State Senate in 1986 and represented District M until 1990.
John has an extensive record of civic service, including serving as chairman of the Alaska Railroad Corporation from 1997 to 2011. He serves on many other corporate and nonprofit boards and was named president of CLIA Alaska in 2007.
Lalanya Downs – Public Affairs
Raised on the Kenai Peninsula, Lalanya worked for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation following high school. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in human development and family studies, counseling and educational psychology from the University of Nevada Reno, and joined the University of Nevada School of Medicine staff as the assistant program coordinator for youth educational programs.
Lalanya returned to Alaska in 2003, working first for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and later for the Alaska State Legislature. She served as legislative aide for former House Majority Leader Ralph Samuels and later for current Speaker of the House Mike Chenault.
Lalanya joined CLIA Alaska in August 2007.
Mike Tibbles – Government Affairs
Following his graduation from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, Mike worked for the Alaska State Legislature for nearly 10 years, serving first as a legislative aide and then as the Senate Health, Education and Social Services Committee aide, and finally as the House Finance Committee aide responsible for legislation and fiscal notes.
In 2002, Mike was hired as the legislative director for Gov. Frank Murkowski, serving as the liaison between the administration and the Legislature. Mike was also responsible for the passage of the governor’s legislative agenda. In 2004, Mike was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Administration. During that time, Mike had direct supervisory responsibility for eight divisions of state government and served as the designated legislative liaison for the department. In 2006, Mike was hired as the transition director for the new administration and then chief-of-staff for the governor.
In 2008, Mike began working as a government affairs consultant and has worked at CLIA Alaska ever since.