Find out how supporting local business helps the Fairbanks economy.
$ OUR TOWN, OUR BUSINESSES News-Miner file photo $$ $ INSIDE: Find out how supporting local business helps the Fairbanks economy. $ 2 Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, May 31, 2013 Buying locally supports the whole community By SEAN O’SHEA Why should you buy local? Why should you, a hard-working person in the prime of your life, waste an ounce of time in a stuffy old store when you can get what you want online in your pajamas while you watch cats fall off things? Why should you give a hoot about where something is made, or who sells it to you, or where their shop is located? Why should you care? Well, these are great questions. It is entirely possible that when you have asked yourself or someone else these questions you have received unsatisfactory answers. Maybe you were told it’s just the right thing to do. Or someone wearing burlap pants with a twig overcoat told you it was good for mother earth. Or, quite possibly, you’ve heard “local” spoken like a mystic eastern mantra and are just jumping on board because of creative slogans and really cool orange mascots. Sit down for a second. Turn down Pandora and let yourself get lost in this thought experiment. You are a really poor college student who is looking for a wooden frame to give your significant other for their birthday. They stood by you when you had that O’Shea little nervous breakdown during finals and even when you decided to go on a ginkgo and fish oil cleanse for all of February. So, they really deserve something nice. You can either buy this frame at Frames.com or you can go into town and buy it at the Frame Store. Frames.com has their corporate office in Sacramento and contracts with a large distribution company in Omaha for their shipping and logistics. The Frame Store is owned by a News-Miner file photo A consumer inspects jewelry at the Sew Trashy Art booth during a Downtown Market in June 2011 in Golden Heart Plaza. The Downtown Market takes place each summer, offering consumers locally produced artwork, clothing, food, and other goods and services. lifelong Alaskan whose grandfather lived here back when a dry cabin was just called a house. If you buy the frame online, that money ends up in California. It gets spread around pretty far and wide. A little goes to Omaha, some of it is spread around Sacramento; Please see LOCAL, Page 3 Mayan Palace Mexican Restaurant & Cantina The finest Margarita Bar in Town! Appetizers Mayan Combos Seafood Chicken & Steak Burritos Fajitas Ala Carte Salads Soups Side Orders Children's Menu Drinks & Desserts! LOCAL… is what the Fairbanks Community Food Bank is all about! As you are out working in your garden, please PL ANT A ROW for the Fairbanks Community Food Bank! We need the best food in Alaska for those in the Tanana Valley who request food assistance, and we can accomplish that goal by SHARING what we have with our neighbors. Each day we serve about 200 people and nearly half of those people are local children. Freely given food given freely! 17412054-5-31-13MLW For daily stories, Fairbanks Community Food Bank follow us on Facebook. 725 26th Avenue • 45-SHARE (457-4273) What Will You Discover at Gulliver’s Books? New, Used, & Bargain Books Made in Alaska & Fair Trade Gift Items FREE 3401 AIRPORT WAY in Washington Plaza 455-MAYA • 455-6292 Second Story Cafe WI-F I! Featuring Locally Roasted Coffee 3525 College Rd, Fairbanks AK e, 907-474-9574 t Her See I Here, (Near the corner of College & University) t Buy I s Here! www.ShopGulliversBooks.com U Keep 11410924-5-31-13MLW Buy It Online, Pick It Up At The Store! Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, May 31, 2013 3 ‘Made in Alaska’ promotes local products LOCAL Continued from Page 2 that are not commonly available anywhere else in From wrought iron cabinet hard- the world: qiviut ware and drawer pulls to counteror muskox wool tops made from glass recycled in woven into beautiAlaska, there is a wide variety of ful mittens, hats Alaska-made products available in and scarves; walrus the marketplace today. The state’s ivory displaying the Made in Alaska program works exquisite artistic with manufacturers large and skill of our Arctic small, from carpenters to crafters, carvers; glacial silt Bell to help raise awareness and prosoap for invigoratmote the availability of locally made ing skin exfoliation; and devil’s club items in the marketplace. salve to heal burns and cuts. Local manufacturers understand Supporting Alaska manufacturthe challenges of Alaska’s climate, ers and crafters stimulates Alaska’s transportation, and small communi- economy by keeping money spent ties. They offer many unique goods, on local purchases circulating in bringing competition and diversity communities. Locally produced to the marketplace, meaning more products mean more income, jobs choices for consumers. Many Alasand taxes for communities. Alaska ka-made products are manufactured manufacturers are more likely to specifically to withstand the rigors use local banks, hire local media of our cold climate, keep our homes companies to advertise, and conwarm and cozy during sub-zero tract for other local services to temperatures, withstand the rain support their businesses, keeping of Southeast Alaska and not detedollars within the state and buildriorate. They are also packaged for ing wealth. shipment via many modes of transThis spring, the department disportation including rail, truck, ship, played Alaska forest products and bush plane or dog sled. Alaska’s Alaska-manufactured home prodcrafters work with specialty items ucts in a “Made in Alaska Home” By SUSAN BELL booth. Making its debut at the Anchorage Home Show in March, and another appearance at Alaska’s World of Log and Timber Frame Home Show in Anchorage in May, the booth has garnered positive attention from consumers, building industry professionals, and retailers. In addition to the Made in Alaska Program, there are tools for businesses and manufacturers such as financing, technical assistance and training, and marketing available. The department works to reduce the high cost of energy, develop transportation infrastructure, generate market demand for Alaska goods and services, and to create an attractive business climate in Alaska. So the next time you’re shopping, embrace the peerless Alaska-made items available in our local markets. They embody the hardy and unique character that Alaskans display with such fierce pride. Each purchase helps a local business, a local family, and an Alaska community. Susan Bell is commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. a bit even ends up in China where those frames are manufactured. Not a single penny stays in Fairbanks, the North Star Borough or the great state of Alaska. It’s gone in a puff of smoke like some old time magic trick at a seedy Vegas joint off the strip. Now suppose you buy that frame in town. A good chunk of that money stays right here. It pays the employees and the GVEA bill. The Frame Shop owner is a big sports fan, so a little bit of your dollar goes to support a local Little League team. That Frame Shop owner even uses a tiny part of your money to buy a coffee at the hut where you work and then tips you with it. It cycles around. It benefits you in some way. So, not only do you have a great frame but you have neighbors with jobs and a Little League team and tips. You have a strong and vibrant community for which you can be proud. Ultimately, the decision to buy local is a decision to help your friends and neighbors. It’s a decision that says you like where you live and you want it to grow and prosper. In the end, deciding to put Fairbanks first is a decision to put your community first, and then you can just sit back and reap all the good things that come your way. Sean O’Shea is program manager of Fairbanks First, a program of the Fairbanks Economic Development Corp. NORDIC WINDOWS • CUSTOM Fiberglass & Vinyl Windows Locally Manufactured • Energy Efficient Your Local Dealer Nordic Windows Serving Fairbanks since 1981 No charge for delivery to the airport Free delivery to Nenana Barge Lines www.hoffer-glass.com Made in Fairbanks, Alaska, USA for the Arctic Climate 11410935-5-31-13MLW outpostalaska.com Open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1450 Karen Way, Fairbanks, AK 99709 1-800-656-3265 or 907-456-3135 3740 Braddock St • Tel: 907-456-6200 Fax: 907-456-8295 • 1-800-478-6204 18412066-5-31-13MLW 4 Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, May 31, 2013 Small businesses drive local hiring By DIANA CAMPBELL For the News-Miner During Glen Risse’s busy season at Risse Greenhouse, sleep is a luxury. As a co-owner, his job is fairly simple and that is to make sure his 35 or so employees have everything they need to get flowers and vegetable plants potted and ready to sell. Sometimes that takes all night. In the greenhouse business, there is always something to move, check on or fix. “We’re basically farmers,” Risse said. “I make sure everything is lined up: the trays, the pots, the soil. Making sure the equipment works.” Small Fairbanks businesses, such as Risse’s Greenhouse, find a niche among the big box stores and markets. The dream and drive of a small business owner is a necessary ingredient to economic health in Fairbanks, said Sean O’Shea, project manager at the Fairbanks Economic Develop Corp. They can bring more than jobs and specialized services. They are invested in the community, and by that, part of the community. “People who create things and have ideas are definitely large drivers of new economic activity,” O’Shea said. In the Fairbanks North Star Borough, 2,200 businesses are listed with sole proprietors, out of 4,943 with active business licenses from the state, according to the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing public database. O’Shea adds that the Interior’s gross regional product, or the market value of goods and services, is more than $5 billion. Overall in Alaska, businesses that employed 100 people or fewer made up 98 percent of Eric Engman/News-Miner file photo Sean O’Shea, of the Fairbanks Economic Develop Corp., says small businesses do exports and buy locally exceptionally well. He pointed out Bucher Glass, a local company that just opened a manufacturing plant, which will be housed in this former JCPenney warehouse. 17,000 Alaskan firms in 2011, according to the September 2012 edition of the Alaska Economic Trends. Of that amount, 60 percent were businesses with four or fewer employees. The oil and gas industry is the biggest employer in the state, followed by hard rock mining and manufacturing, such as the seafood industry, according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. 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EAST RAMP AIRPORT WAY 21411094 5-31-13MLW Open 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Monday–Friday • Saturdays 11 a.m.–6 p.m. www.alaskarawfur.com firstname.lastname@example.org 4 1 0 6 B o a t St r e e t , Fa i r b a n k s , A l a s k a 9 9 7 0 9 Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, May 31, 2013 5 They’re adaptable and agile, able to change quickly, something a larger business with a Lower 48 head office may not be Continued from Page 4 able to do, O’Shea said. “You can move on a dime,” annual paycheck of $43,751 to $52,314. By contrast, those who he said. “You can really find out what people like and change work for Alaska’s largest firms, your whole game plan.” make $46,982 to $57,453 annuHe explains that there are ally three ways a community gets “Small businesses do most money: exports, government of the hiring in general nationwide,” said Alyssa Shanks, econ- funds and buying less imported items by supporting local busiomist with the state Departnesses. ment of Labor and Workforce Small businesses do exports Development and co-author of and buy locally exceptionally the report. well, he said. Look at Bucher Nationally, about a quarter Glass, a local company that just of the U.S. working population opened a manufacturing plant. earns a paycheck from a small “Most of what they’re makbusiness, according to Paychex, ing is used in Fairbanks,” a payroll and human services O’Shea said. “It cut out that company. The businesses genwhole distribution stream from erate more than $11 billion in receipts each year, or 40 percent China.” Small businesses tend to be of all business receipts in the charitable, donate time, services U.S. and money to the community The money generated by a small business stays in the com- they operate in. “Speaking broadly, they are munity longer and diversifies family owned, don’t have many the economic pot, O’Shea said. employees and they know each “The more small businesses other,” he said. “You’re more a community has, the more invested in the place you’re diverse your economy is,” he doing business. You have a said. “It’s better off in the long deeper understanding of the run.” According to Fairbanks First, community.” For Glen Risse, providing is operated by FEDC, if everyone one of the best reasons to work spends $10 locally, about 1,700 hard. Sometimes times are lean, new well-paying jobs could be created. Buy Alaska, a program but people need what Risse’s Greenhouse has to offer, whethof the University of Alaska Anchorage and the Alaska Small er it’s a job or a garden full of flowers and vegetables. Business Development Center, “It’s rewarding for everybody suggests that if Alaskans kept involved,” he said. “They’re sup10 percent of their Lower 48 porting members of the commupurchase in Alaska, the econonity that rely on them. You’re my would increase by $1.1 bilgiving the customer what they lion and create 4,400 jobs. want.” A small business’s ability to Diana Campbell is a local freelance inject money back into the com- writer who was born in St. Joseph’s munity isn’t it’s only good trait. Hospital near the Chena River. SMALL Eric Engman/News-Miner file photo Fairbanks First members include Frank’s Menswear on Third Avenue. Want to help the local economy? Buy local. By AMANDA BOHMAN For the News-Miner A movement began three years ago in Fairbanks with the hope of pumping more money into the local economy. Fairbanks First: Think Local was started by an Americorps VISTA volunteer working for the Fairbanks Economic Development Corp. The program now has 185 members, including businesses and individuals, and a simple message: Buy local. “We advocate that people shop within the borough instead of going online or shopping in other cities,” said Sean O’Shea, project manager for the economic development corp. “The real goal is to slowly but surely change buying behavior.” Economic modeling by FEDC shows that a 10 percent shift in spending habits from outside of Fairbanks, including online retailers, to local businesses would produce a $376 million boon for the Fairbanks economy, according to O’Shea. “It doesn’t take much local shopping to generate a lot of local income,” said Dave Parks, owner of Grassroots Guitar Co. Please see FIRST, Page 6 N CO O PRO ERR OL T N TS O I S DUC SWPPP & BMP approved & recommended • 8" & 12" diameter • Locally made, wood chip filled tube Wednesdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays Produce • Crafts • Food WIC & Senior Coupons Welcome 12413440-5-31-13MLW 11410936-5-31-13 Gillmore Construction Inc. 479-5367 • 590-0598 2600 College Road www.tvfmarket.com 6 Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, May 31, 2013 FIRST Continued from Page 5 Parks joined Fairbanks First: Think Local last summer. He paid $100 for a business membership and walked away with a couple of Tshirts promoting the program. “Almost everyone agrees that shopping local when you can is a good thing,” Parks said. The T-shirts, designed by a local business, 5th Avenue Design, also a Fairbanks First member, feature an orange moose and say Fairbanks First: Buy Local. Stickers, buttons and sweatshirts are also available. Individuals can join the program for $25. All members receive a card qualifying them for discounts at participating businesses. Many businesses offer 5 or 10 percent off goods and services. Katie Johnson, manager at Sunshine Health Foods, said customers there flash the card often. “Our customers are excited to get the discount,” she said. “It just kind of gives an extra incentive.” FEDC has been promoting Fair- Eric Engman/News-Miner file photo Goat Milk Almost Edible Soap is seen at Sunshine Health Foods. Katie Johnson, manager at Sunshine Health Foods, said customers there flash their Fairbanks First member cards often. “Our customers are excited to get the discount,” she said. “It just kind of gives an extra incentive.” banks First at festivals, fairs, craft markets and on television, according to O’Shea. Members of Fairbanks First can attend business development workshops for free. Past workshops centered on customer service and social media marketing. “Buy local programs — most larger cities have them,” O’Shea said. Fairbanks First has a diverse roster of members, including Frank’s Menswear, Holm Town Nursery, 907 Organic Hair Care, Alaska Fuel Services, Blueberry Baby, Gulliver’s Books, Straight Ahead Construction, Lemongrass Thai Cuisine, Fireweed Consignment Boutique, Denali State Bank and Sipping Streams Tea Co. Karen Wilken, marketing manager for HooDoo Brewing Co., said joining the program made sense for the brewery. “Our strategy from the get-go was hyper local,” she said. “It matched with our initial business model super well.” Now the brewery is working with the economic development corporation to market the Fairbanks First program on First Fridays starting in June. O’Shea said it’s unclear if the effort to change buying habits is working. The development corporation plans to conduct a survey of Fairbanks First members this year to determine the program’s effectiveness. Contact freelance writer Amanda Bohman at email@example.com. Prize Winning Locally Owned Restaurant & Bar Banquet Facilities! Chef/Owner Miguel 30 Years Cooking in Fairbanks 11410801 5-31-13MLW Uniformed troops receive 5% discount & FREE chips and Salsa! On Airport Way • Shopper's Forum Annex • 374-8399 • 699-8226 FAX Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, May 31, 2013 7 Our community, our economy, our responsibility opportunity for employment and self fulfillment as a person advances Throughout time, man has and becomes more economically struggled with the need for sustainsuccessful. able food supplies, protection from Most of us take willing advantage danger, shelter and entertainment of the benefits a community proamong a host of other things. vides. Our children go to community Now, I’m no anthropologist, schools; we use the libraries, the but it seems to me that early man parks, the roads, bridges, medical developed a sense of community in facilities, water, sewer and electric response to these needs. Throughout services. We use community resourctime, these communities that were es and reap the advantages developed to satisfy base needs came of community, but are we sharing to offer much more than just secuthe responsibilities and doing our rity. They offered shared resources part to build our community? What and a great feeling of responsibility are we doing to make Fairbanks a for others, their well-being and care. better and more successful place to Community living provides a live? sense of belonging; similar to when The answer is that the people in we take part in civic organizations, Fairbanks do a lot to make Fairbanks church congregations or volunteer a good community. We give of our for the food bank. Communities time and money in so many areas: also offer people the ability to share Community Clean-up Day, Military resources like schools, playgrounds, Appreciation Banquet, the hundreds medical services, fire and police of volunteers at Food Bank, and othprotection and the list goes on. A er charities and activities. Fairbanks community allows individuals to is a friendly town; Fairbanksans are cooperate to accomplish missions always ready to help in time of need. and tasks that no one person could I think most of us believe we have a accomplish, like our Community good community, and it is worth our Clean-up Day. And communities offer efforts to make it better. By JIM DODSON Part of making a better community is creating a better economy. A good economy creates jobs, provides opportunities to start new business, allows existing businesses to grow and hire more people. A good economy is a cornerstone for community success. Churches, hospitals, schools, sport teams all depend on a good economy to be successful. The Fairbanks Economic Development Corp.’s mission is to help improve the Fairbanks economy. Our projects are focused on creating jobs and providing opportunities for economic expansion. Our current projects include community cost of energy; cold weather testing; technology lead economic development; mining; forestry; rural outreach; military; agriculture; and “Fairbanks First: Think Local.” Please see TOGETHER, Page 9 Dine-in/Take-out/Catering 456-2200 www.lemongrassalaska.com “Serving Alaska seafood and locally grown organic vegetables (seasonal)” For menu: 12413442 5-31-13LocalWork Re-inventing Outdoor Fun since 1945! Bob Compeau Sr. 1940’s Bob Compeau Jr. Craig Compeau Emily Compeau It all started in 1938 when Bob Compeau Sr’s wife Helen won a Chevy coupe in a church raffle in Washington state. That was all it took to convince Bob Sr to pack his bags and head for the state he had always imagined living in. Alaska! After working for the NC company for a few years, Bob Sr, a machinist by trade, opened the doors to his new business for the first time in 1945…Bob Compeau Sporting Goods. Harry Truman was President, the slinky had just been invented, and times were different for sure. Fairbanks may not be as small as it once was, but it’s still a small town in many ways. Bob Sr lived by was a simple philosophy that Compeau’s still uses today: “Treat your customers well and they’ll tell a few others. Treat them poorly and they’ll tell a few dozen.” From that 30 foot canvas covered canoe that Bob Sr used to explore dozens of interior rivers, to the new state-of-the-art SJX jetboat recently featured on Nat Geo’s Doomsday Preppers, Compeau’s has built a reputation of developing, testing and pushing the envelope to make outdoor boating and recreation easier and more exciting for Alaskans. Today, the innovative inboard jet tunnel hulls that Compeau’s designed back in the late 1990’s have re-written the definition of shallow water boating, with features like UHMW bottoms, stomp grate helm levers, and jet nozzles that can be used for fire suppression purposes. One thing is for certain. If you love the outdoors, and are interested in a boat that allows you to get away from the crowd… you have an unmatched resource in Fairbanks. Bob Sr. has long since “buttoned up camp”, but Bob Jr, his son Craig, and Senior Certified Technician Keith Pihlaja alone account for over 125 years of product knowledge and river running experience. Craig’s daughter Emily produces most of the companies TV commercials and promotional DVD’s. So if you haven’t done it, stop by Compeau’s. You’ll find that legendary hometown customer service that takes you back to that Monday morning back in 1945 when Bob Sr first opened the doors of his little Sporting good store on Cushman St. And don’t forget to ask for your complimentary DVD of “Come Hell or Low Water” 13410489 5-31-13 Compeau’s 4122 Boat St. Fairbanks (across Airport Way from West Fred Meyers) 479-2271 compeaus.com 8 Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, May 31, 2013 Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, May 31, 2013 9 SBA of fers advice for business owners By DIANA CAMPBELL For the News-Miner FOR MORE INFORMATION U.S. Small Business Administration It takes more than a good Scott Swingle, Northern Area manager: idea and hard work to start a 478-4878, or firstname.lastname@example.org small business. Many fail within Online: www.sba.gov the first couple of years after Swingle said. These days, business startup. owners faces stiff competition. SBA A new owner needs to plan for helps with efficient and smart planeverything and anything: license, insurance, hiring and firing employ- ning to counter a tough market. They can also introduce people to ees, taxes, purchasing and paying mentors in the community, and SBA the bills. encourages owners to have a sound The best way to do this is have advisors. a good team of advisors, said Scott “Alaskans are hard workers,” Swingle, U.S. Small Business Administration Northern Area man- Swingle said. “That isn’t enough in small businesses.” ager. SBA also helps businesses navi“There can be unexpected expenses or problems,” Swingle said. gate regulations for federal contracting, which can be a good source “They take time and money. Too many in a row kicks you out of busi- of revenue. Swingle admits this is ness. You’ll have to close your doors tough. Federal paperwork is daunting. Competition for contracts is and go work for someone else.” fierce. It’s a viable option for busiThe Alaska District Office of SBA offers help for people thinking ness. “The federal government are conof starting a business, in business already or looking to shut the doors, sumers, too,” Swingle said. “They use pencils, paper and other goods.” Swingle said. SBA used to administer business “SBA is a resource,” he said. “If loans, but now the program helps we don’t know the answer, we can entrepreneurs find commercial lendfind it.” ers and will co-sign a loan, he said. SBA’s goal is build sustainable, SBA has been helping with closing successful businesses. A practical an average of 140 loans annually way is free one-on-one confidenfor the past several years. This year, tial counseling, Swingle said. This SBA has helped complete 90 loans. service helps people plan for those The only thing SBA can’t help unanticipated problems, especially with is giving a would-be business in a tight economy. SBA’s Small owner an inkling of what to sell or Business Development Center also provide. helps with this. “We’re not the idea factory,” Currently, SBA is focusing on Swingle said. “Come to us with your helping veterans start businesses, idea. We’ll help you ask the right Swingle said. questions, help you on your path to Several years ago, new business success.” owners had a chance to make some Diana Campbell is a local freelance money as the economy was good, writer. VISIT ONE OF OUR NINE LOCATIONS: • 2301 Cushman St., 907-452-6000 • 1800 Airport Way, 907-452-5412 • 514 Old Steese, 907-456-8686 • 3574 Airport Way, 907-479-8688 • Walmart Location, 907-374-7817 • 227 N. Santa Claus Lane, North Pole, 907-488-7444 • Ft Wainwright, 3703 Neeley Rd., 907-356-1481 • Eielson AFB, 451 Broadway, 907-372-1166 • University of Alaska, 732 Yukon Dr., 907-458-1012 TOGETHER Continued from Page 7 buy one get one for $ 00 Each of these projects was selected to improve our economy, to make Fairbanks a more economically successful place to live, to create more jobs or simply, to help build our community. FEDC supports “Making Local Work.” We call it “Fairbanks First: Think Local,” a program based on the idea that if we change our out-of-community buying by 10 percent to inside community we can add 1,700 new jobs and add $376 million to the borough economy. You can help take responsibility for building our economy, creating jobs and supporting all of those things make this a great community to live in. You can help make local work by choosing to think local. Jim Dodson is president and CEO of Fairbanks Economic Development Corp. 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The Farthest North Girl Scout Council receives 2.5 percent of its annual revenue from local businesses. That is just the monetary donations. It doesn’t include the in-kind donations of goods or services. At their annual Women of Distinction event, the council holds a silent auction that turns in-kind donations into cash, which is then used for services the council provides. Sixty percent of Girl Scout revenue comes from cookie sales, and that 2.5 percent from local businesses doesn’t include the space for cookie tables inside business buildings and access to customers that businesses give during the cookie-selling season. Businesses play a role in the success of nonprofit groups. “They are the ones who are vital; they are the givers in this community,” said Suellen Nelles, the executive director of the Farthest North Girl Scout Council. “They’re holding up the nonprofits of the community.” The Fairbanks Community Food Bank also receives significant in-kind donations in the form of canned food and volunteer hours. They hold food drives and other events at least once per month. “Locally, we get very little cash,” said Samantha Castle Kirstein, the food bank’s executive director, “We By KARLA L. MILLER Special to The Washington Post Q: My question is about the possible formation of a union at my workplace. Our wages are low for the type of work we do, compared with similar local organizations. Many employees are dissatisfied with management’s responses. Some have requested union representation from our parent company, which has a union in place. The staff in our office is already split; some fear losing their jobs or isolating management further, while the pro-union employees do not want to hear anything against it. I worry that a union will mean just another set of bureaucrats to work for in addition to our less-than-stellar management. Please discuss the union process and how I can avoid the tension. Is a union a good idea? A: So, it’s the devil you know vs. the devil you don’t. Let’s get to know the latter. Unions safeguard workers against abuse and often win them better pay and benefits. But as you note, management may dig in even harder against a union. Also, employment lawyer Declan Leonard, managing partner at business law firm Berenzweig Leonard, notes that dues for union members can take a bite out of those higher wages. Do some Internet research on the national organization behind your would-be union. Find out what your parent company’s union has done for workers — preferably from the workers themselves. Look at your pro-union co-workers; do you share their concerns, or do they have their own agendas? The National Labor Relations Board (nlrb.gov) is a good place to learn more. This independent federal agency oversees union elections and investigates charges against unions and employers. Your choice may not be all-ornothing. In some states, non-union workers in unionized workplaces are still protected — and may have to make payments similar to dues. Also, you don’t have to join a union to fight for better conditions; search “protected concerted activity” on nlrb.gov. I suggest you learn your rights, stand firm and listen with an open yet privately skeptical ear to each side. Q: I got a job at a unionized company and worked with the most unreasonable and combative person I’d ever met. Her nastiness was a large part of why I left a few months later, and I told the manager so. He said she had union protection and nothing could be done. Did I have any recourse? A: It’s not that union workers have immunity, but a company looking to fire them has to go through the union, “follow a progressive disciplinary policy and document ... the offending employee’s conduct,” Leonard says. Your boss evidently didn’t consider workplace harmony worth the effort needed to ditch Ms. Nastybritches. For what it’s worth, I hear plenty about indestructible nonunion jerks, too. Miller has written for and edited tax publications for 16 years, most recently for the accounting firm KPMG’s Washington National Tax office. You can find her on Twitter: @KarlaAtWork. News-Miner file photo A volunteer at the Fairbanks Community Food Bank sorts through donated cans of food and organizes them in boxes. The Fairbanks Community Food Bank receives significant in-kind donations in the form of canned food and volunteer hours. get a lot of canned food. I would say that probably $5,000 is donated through businesses.” The United Way of the Tanana Valley receives 96 percent of its annual funding through workplace and corporate giving. “That is one of the things I witnessed when I came here six weeks ago,” said Ed Parker, the interim executive director of the United Way of the Tanana Valley. “To have the local businesses support the charities the way they do, you can feel the energy of cooperation in the community.” EA K M/ MILKSHA 372 Old Chena Pump Road Chena Pump Plaza Mon-Sat Noon to 10 pm Sun Noon-9 pm DO YOU NEED AN EYE EXAM? 12413413-5-31-13MLW E Check Yearly. See Clearly. • Locally Owned • Independent Licensed Opticians • Same Day Service • Most Insurance Accepted • Appointments Available! 3453 College Road near UAF Open Daily 12–10 pm ES Serving Ice Cream, Sherbet, Sorbet, Yogurt and Hot Drinks (907) 479-7813 • www.hotlicks.net ICE CR CALL TODAY! 18411052 5-31-13 MLW 456-4822 1521 Stacia Street • www.2020ak.com Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, May 31, 2013 11 Cybersecurity starts in school with tomorrow’s hires By SANDRINE RASTELLO and JEANNA SMIALEK Bloomberg News WASHINGTON — Five dozen teenagers hunched over computers in a hotel conference room near Washington, decrypting codes, cleaning malware and fending off network intrusions to score points in the finals of a national cybersecurity contest. Just hours later, the highschool students got a glimpse of the labor market’s appetite for their skills as sponsors such as network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc. described career opportunities. Internships start as young as 16 at Northrop Grumman Corp., which reserves 20 spots for participants in the Air Force Association’s contest. “We’re the largest provider of cybersecurity solutions to the federal government, so we know that we’ve got to help build that talent pipeline,” said Diane Miller, Northrop’s program director for the CyberPatriot contest, on the sidelines of the March event. “We just have a shortage of people applying” for the 700 positions currently open. Security breaches experienced by institutions ranging from Facebook to the Federal Reserve are spurring spending on cybersecurity. President Barack Obama describes the threat as one of the nation’s most serious perils, while the Department of Defense has said the Chinese military has targeted government computers. With few specialists trained to respond to evolving attacks and most universities still adjusting to requirements, demand is overwhelming supply. “I cannot hire enough cybersecurity professionals, I can’t find them, they’re not qualified,” said Ryan Walters, who founded mobile data security company TerraWi Inc. in 2009. The company, based in McLean, Va., employs 12 people Bloomberg News/Air Force Association Participants work together at the CyberPatriot V National Finals Competition. With many specialists not trained to respond to evolving attacks and most universities still adjusting to requirements, demand for cybersecurity professionals is overwhelming supply. and plans to expand to 20. Walters, who says he has 22 years of experience in the field, helped prepare 48 students from Marshall Academy in Falls Church, Va., who competed in the CyberPatriot Please see CYBER, Page 12 More than Fairbanks’ oldest locally owned pet source! 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Listings for cybersecurity positions rose 73 percent in the five years through 2012, 3.5 times faster than postings for computer jobs as a whole, according to Boston-based Burning Glass, a labor market analytics firm that collects data from more than 22,000 online jobs sites. “You have to scratch your head and ask whether the supply could possibly keep up with that,” Burning Glass Chief Executive Officer Matt Sigelman said in a phone interview. Data show “employers literally just posting and reposting” their offers, he said. There were 64,383 jobs related to cybersecurity listed for the twelve months through April, about 3 percent of all information technology positions, according to the company. Rob Waaser found his skills in high demand. Just more than a month after graduating in December from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with a master’s degree in information security technology and management, he started working at defense contractor Raytheon Co. 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