Steven Auch will step down from his position as Haines Borough tourism director next week after three years on the job.

Auch marshaled Haines’ tourism department through the pandemic and two years of cruise cancellations, border closure and economic uncertainty. This summer, he helped coordinate one of Haines’ busiest cruise seasons in recent years.

“There was a lot of staying on top of what was going on and keeping people informed of what the changes were and what was coming down the pipeline,” Auch said.

Auch moved to Haines about five years ago and was hired as tourism director in the fall of 2019. His last day will be Nov. 15.

“Steven’s had an interesting challenge going from almost zero tourism during COVID to this comeback season that just ended. He’s been an extremely valuable asset to the borough and we are glad he’ll be staying in Haines,” borough manager Annette Kreitzer said.

Auch declined to comment on what he’ll be doing next, but he said he planned to stay in Haines. Before taking the borough job he worked with Alaska Mountain Guides.

“I hate to leave the position because I do enjoy it a lot and I like the people I work with. But unfortunately I’m not going to be able to retire in the position,” Auch said. “I just wish there were more growth opportunities in the long run.”

Auch said his decision to step down emerged from a desire to further his professional development and did not reflect compensation or management issues. He praised the culture of the tourism department and said he would miss working with his colleagues.

The tourism director is a union position that saw a wage increase under the borough’s new collective bargaining agreement, which was finalized over the summer. The job’s starting wage is $25.62 an hour, up $1 from last year.

Carolann Wooton served as tourism director for two years before Auch took the job, and Leslie Ross was in the position for three years before Wooton.

“We’re going to take some time to evaluate how we operate before advertising for a position,” Kreitzer said.