Rain Coast Data was founded with the direct purpose of economic story telling for Southeast Alaska projects, communities, and institutions. Rain Coast Data’s most popular publication, Southeast Alaska by the Numbers, is a “must read” for Southeast Alaska lawmakers, business leaders, tribes, nonprofits, and congressional leadership. It is often cited, not just in the region, but in publications like the New York Times, and in statements by Senator Murkowski. In 2019 alone, Rain Coast Data has worked in the communities of Ketchikan, Craig, Kasaan, Klawock, Saxman, Hollis, Angoon, Juneau, Kake, Petersburg, Skagway, Cordova, Douglas, and Yakutat telling their economic stories, and providing our clients with digestible but very effective documents they can then use to advocate for their community/tribe/project or organization.
Rain Coast Data Director, Meilani Schijvens
Ms. Schijvens is the owner and Director of Rain Coast Data. Ms. Schijvens is a lifelong Alaskan and has dedicated her professional career to Alaska economic development. In 2018, one of her projects, the Southeast Alaska Economic Plan, won a national award. She holds a Master’s in Science from the University of Oregon.
Before founding Rain Coast Data in 2014, Ms. Schijvens worked as the Executive Director for Southeast Conference. She previously worked as a Research Analyst at McDowell Group, a Program Officer at the Juneau Economic Development Council, and a Legislative Research Analyst for the State of Alaska. She taught Alaska Natural Resource Economic History at the University of Oregon, and served as a staffer to the US Legislative Minority Leader in Washington DC. Ms. Schijvens served on the Marine Transportation Advisory Board as well as chair of Governor Murkowski’s Marine Transportation Transition Team. She also worked at the Greens Creek Mine in Juneau as an environmental technician.
Ms. Schijvens has authored hundreds of economic development planning and economic analysis publications. Ms. Schijvens has written Southeast Alaska by the Numbers for the past eight years, a widely used document that provides a comprehensive assessment of the socioeconomic, demographic, and industry data impacting the regional economy, along with industry forecasting. Ms. Schijvens also authored a range of other local and regional economic publications, including Inter-Island Ferry Authority by the Numbers, the Maritime Economy of Southeast Alaska, the Southeast Alaska Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, the Arts Economy of Southeast Alaska, and tribal housing needs assessments for 12 Southeast Alaska communities.
In addition to publications, Ms. Schijvens has been conducting public and community outreach campaigns across Alaska since the 1990s. She recently participated in the the Juneau Downtown Harbors Master Plan and the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area Conceptual Development Planning project, the Wrangell Community Action Plan; and the Marine Park to Taku Dock Urban Design Plan.
Finally, Ms. Schijvens is known for her work on surveys. Each year Rain Coast Data conducts a regional business climate survey to gauge the economic confidence of hundreds of business owners and managers. Additionally, in the past year she has conducted tribal housing surveys, athletic field surveys, health care surveys, community assessment surveys, and a source audit survey.
Ms. Schijvens’ key strengths are economic development, research, analysis, publications, and advocacy.