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Alaska Business

December 2018 | 3

Š2018 Alaska Communications. All rights reserved.




The ins and outs of Internet in Alaska

Collaboration and communication get the job done

Expansion, Innovation, and Evolution By Tracy Barbour

Behind the Scenes of Heavy Hauls By Brad Joyal


‘Protect, Detect, Respond’ Keeping clients safe from identity theft By Tracy Barbour

Arctic Solar Ventures


Same Sun, Superior Science

Better tech makes renewable energy systems more affordable By Julie Stricker

28 OIL & GAS Optimism in Oil

How Alaska’s policies work against, but could work for, its largest industry

78 MEETINGS & CONVENTIONS 2019 Convention Calendar: Alaska's Industry Meetings and Trade Shows Where to meet, greet, and learn all year long By Sam Friedman

By Tasha Anderson


Southeast Alaska Construction Holds Steady Completed, ongoing, and upcoming projects By Vanessa Orr


48 WAREHOUSING Wide Open Spaces

Newtok to Mertarvik

How an entire village is being evicted by climate change

When warehouse space is your best construction bet By Vanessa Orr

By Isaac Stone Simonelli

H E A LT H C A R E SPECIAL SEC TION Alaska Structures


A safe place for Alaska’s most vulnerable victims

64 DEVELOPMENT The Most Stable Industry in Alaska Fierce demand increases healthcare construction By Julie Stricker

KPB Architects | Providence

By Isaac Stone Simonelli


Connecting to Healthcare Money, time, and limited services increase women’s health risk By Isaac Stone Simonelli

ABOUT THE COVER Chad Carpenter, the very talented, very Alaskan artist whose work is featured on our cover, is the cartoonist responsible for Tundra, which was named the best newspaper panel of 2007 by the National Cartoonists Society and nominated for the same award in 2011. According to Carpenter, he was “born at an early age” and has been “beating Tundra into the psyche of every man, woman, child, and houseplant that roamed the four corners of the globe.” We’re excited here at Alaska Business to aid that mission. In fact, if you take a quick break from reading the magazine to catch up on all the Tundra you may have missed, we understand.








VOLUME 34, #12 Published by Alaska Business Publishing Co. Anchorage, Alaska


Kathryn Mackenzie 257-2907 Associate Editor

Tasha Anderson 257-2902 Digital and Social Media Specialist

Arie Henry 257-2906 Art Director

David Geiger 257-2916 Art Production

Linda Shogren 257-2912 Photo Contributor

Judy Patrick


Billie Martin VP & General Manager

Jason Martin 257-2905 VP Sales & Marketing

Charles Bell 257-2909 Senior Account Manager

Janis J. Plume 257-2917 Advertising Account Manager

Christine Merki 257-2911 Accounting Manager

Ana Lavagnino 257-2901 Customer Service Representative

Emily Olsen 257-2914 501 W. Northern Lights Boulevard,Suite 100 Anchorage, Alaska 99503-2577 Toll Free: 1-800-770-4373 (907) 276-4373 Press releases:

ALASKA BUSINESS PUBLISHING CO., INC. Alaska Business (ISSN 8756-4092) is published monthly by Alaska Business Publishing Co., Inc., 501 W. Northern Lights Boulevard, Suite 100, Anchorage, Alaska 99503-2577; Telephone: (907) 276-4373; © 2018 Alaska Business Publishing Co. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Alaska Business accepts no responsibility for unsolicited materials; they will not be returned unless accompanied by a stamped, self addressed envelope. One-year subscription is $39.95 and includes twelve issues (print + digital) and the annual Power List. Single issues of the Power List are $15 each. Single issues of Alaska Business are $3.95 each; $4.95 for the October issue. Send subscription orders and address changes to To order back issues ($8.95 each including postage) visit AKBusinessMonth AKBusinessMonth alaska-business-monthly

6 | December 2018




A Contentious Election Could Mean a Brighter Future


ast month’s mid-term elections were fraught with tension for most of the nation. Emotions ran high on all sides of the fence. Across the country democrats, republicans, and all parties in between felt they had a lot on the line. It was no different here in Alaska. One of the most contentious measures Alaskans voted on was Ballot Measure 1 (colloquially known as “Stand for Salmon”). The ballot measure was roundly defeated by about two-to-one, much to the relief of the more than 500 Alaska businesses, trade groups, and organizations that opposed the measure. Ballot Measure 1 called for sweeping—and many say onerous— changes to permitting laws in the name of increasing salmon habitat protections. The measure’s defeat is being celebrated by many industries and the companies within them that have large-scale development projects planned or in progress and who say responsible development and rigorous salmon habitat protection laws are already an intrinsic part of every project. Another hot topic in the voting booth was the governor’s race. While Republican Mike Dunleavy ultimately prevailed, the race was not without its own controversy. Just three weeks before voters hit the polls, Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott resigned after admitting to making inappropriate remarks to a woman and Governor Bill Walker withdrew from the race shortly (three days) after that. That left Dunleavy and Democrat Mark Begich running head-to-head. Begich lost, but not by the landslide that Ballot Measure 1 saw; the final count put Dunleavy at roughly 52 percent of the votes and Begich at nearly 44 percent. So what can Alaskans expect from our new governor-elect? Perhaps one of the most important issues to many residents is the PFD, and Dunleavy vows to protect the PFD program, saying, “I believe that no change to the structure of the Permanent Fund Dividend program should be made without a vote of the people—now or at any time in the future.” He also supports paying back PFD dividends that are “owed but not paid.” Jobs are vital to the state’s health and Dunleavy’s political stance is to “create a business climate that encourages investment” instead of making it more difficult by imposing a statewide income tax, as he says Governor Walker had planned. Other important issues on Dunleavy’s agenda are reducing state spending; protecting families from government overreach; reducing violent and property crime; increasing rural education opportunities; and upholding Alaskans’ constitutional rights. Now that the elections are over, and we’ve done our part as voters, it’s our responsibility to make sure our elected politicians uphold their end of the bargain by following through on their campaign promises. Whether you supported Begich, Dunleavy, or none of the above, it still behooves us all to check in now and again to make sure our new governor-elect and all elected officials are keeping Alaskan interests at the top of their agenda because, as Dunleavy says, “I’m not using the issues to become governor. I want to become governor to address these issues.” Let’s see how he does.

Kathryn Mackenzie Managing Editor, Alaska Business

Now that the elections are over, and we’ve done our part as voters, it’s our responsibility to make sure our elected politicians uphold their end of the bargain by following through on their campaign promises.


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United Way of Anchorage


Expansion, Innovation, and Evolution The ins and outs of Internet in Alaska By Tracy Barbour


oday, many organizations depend heavily on having access to secure and reliable data networks to support their operations. A data network—often referred to as a computer network or simply a network—is a telecommunications network  that allows computers to exchange data. Telecom providers give businesses and consumers access to the exterior and interior equipment they need to transfer  data  between various points. For example, Advanced Physical Therapy relies on GCI for its Internet and intra-office

8 | December 2018

connection, according to Jesse Berg, the practice’s systems administrator. GCI handles the network connection between the company’s Anchorage location and four other sites in Wasilla, Soldotna, Seward, and Fairbanks. Advanced Physical Therapy has 150 to 170 devices connected to its network, ranging from laptops and desktops to switches and routers. Almost everything Advanced Physical Therapy does depends on the security and reliability of its data network. For instance, the company’s electronic medical records are hosted in Anchorage, including critical


“Our footprint looks a bit different in Alaska due to the very remote and isolated areas that cannot even be accessed by roads, but the services are typically the same. In fact, Anchorage is one of our 239 5G Evolution markets across the country. 5G Evolution technologies serve as a foundation for our future 5G wireless networking.” —Shawn Uschmann Director of External Affairs Alaska, AT&T

Alaska Business

December 2018 | 9

fiber optic cable systems. “Where it’s going to go is anybody’s guess, but it’s clear that the demand for greater speeds and greatly expanded customer use cases will continue,” Boyette says. For most people speed and capacity are the key metrics, according to Boyette. They’re concerned about how quickly their data is transmitted and the quantity of the data they can transmit or receive. But what exactly equates to “fast”? Fast Data Service not Behind in Internet or broadband service is defined by Urban Alaska the Federal Communications Data transfer has evolved Commission as offering a significantly over the years, minimum of 25 megabits per especially as it relates to the second (Mbps) download Internet, according to Dan speeds and 3 Mbps upload Boyette, vice president and speeds. That speed can supgeneral manager of GCI’s port email, research, video TERRA Aleutian Program. streaming, and graphics for In the mid-90s, there were dial-up modems that used Dan Boyette, Vice President more than one device at a time. and General Manager While it’s faster than old dialphone lines to transport of the TERRA Aleutian up connections—which are data—the beginning of the Program, GCI generally less than 1 Mbps—it’s Internet for consumer purGCI slower than the service that’s poses. Technology has progressed from dial-up connections via available in most American cities. Technologically, Alaska has a longtwisted copper pairs originally used to carry voice traffic to delivering up to standing reputation of lagging behind the gigabit-per-second connections over Lower 48. So how do data networks in patient schedules. And everything must be compliant with the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA), so maintaining reliable and secure access to data is essential. “There is nothing more important than making sure everything on our network is as secure as can be because we deal with such important information,” Berg says.

Fairbanks | February 15

Anchorage | February 27

Alaska actually compare to those in other states? It depends on the location, Boyette says. First, within Alaska, data network speeds vary greatly—which is also the case with the rest of the country. Remote areas of Alaska that are fed by latency-prone satellite service rather than terrestrial networks do tend to lag behind other parts of the state. However, data services in some parts of America—particularly in rural areas— are equal to, slower than, or even behind those in Alaska. Places like Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau are not behind when it comes to data service, Boyette says. In fact, 77 percent of Alaskans have access to Internet speeds of 1 gigabit (Gb) per second with GCI. But only 19.3 percent of Texans have access to 1 Gb speeds, and it takes ten providers to give them that access. “It’s really hard to quantify where we stack up with the Lower 48,” he says. “But I think that with all of rural America, there’s still a lot to be done to get good reliable broadband services.” Data networks in Alaska’s urban areas compare favorably to networks in the Lower 48, having the same structure and quality, says Tom Simes, senior manager

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of network and systems engineering at Alaska Communications. What makes Alaska unique is the challenge presented by our remote population density. He explains: “Moving further away from urban hubs, it can be challenging to serve remote communities. It’s not uncommon in rural areas to have your closest neighbor living miles away.” Providing services in a place like Alaska calls for a combination of expansion, innovation, and evolution. Alaska Communications is always innovating and seeking new technologies, such as employing satellite-based service and exchanging copper for fiber, to expand its network to remote areas. “A new technology we are piloting right now is Fixed Wireless or FiWi,” Simes says. “As part of the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund, we’re installing FiWi in remote communities to expand high-speed Internet access. Currently, installations are underway in Chena and Ninilchik. We’re also partnering to provide high-speed Internet via fiber to the North Slope.” AT&T generally deploys most of the same network technologies in Alaska that it does across the country. Most of its wireless network in Alaska has 4G LTE capability, and the company continues to invest in upgrades and additional capacity to support customer demand, according to Shawn Uschmann, AT&T’s director of external affairs in Alaska. “Our footprint looks a bit different in Alaska due to the very remote and isolated areas that cannot even be accessed by roads, but the services are typically the same,” he says. “In fact, Anchorage is one of our 239 5G Evolution markets across the country. 5G Evolution technologies serve as a foundation for our future 5G wireless networking.” Telecom providers in Alaska are continually upgrading, expanding, and evolving to give Alaskans access to network services at higher speeds and greater volume. Here’s a closer look at what GCI, Alaska Communications, and AT&T are undertaking in these areas.

work is crucial. As such, the In the Western Alaska comcompany employs multiple munity of Bethel, for example, tiers of both physical and digGCI can offer an array of prodital protection. ucts due to a terrestrial delivery In terms of improvements, system that employs fiber optic GCI is constantly striving to cables and terrestrial microenhance its network. It has wave systems, thus providing built its terrestrial network out the speed and capacity and to Western Alaska; built addilow latency required. Shawn Uschmann Director of External Affairs tional fiber optic cables up and Boyette says redundancy Alaska, A&TT down the Dalton Highway to is also a major component of AT&T provide redundancy for Prudproviding a secure and reliable network to customers: buried cables with hoe Bay; brought 3G technology to coma low propensity to break, satellite backup munities that had sparse or no service; for TERRA and other terrestrial networks, and is wrapping up a massive $6.3 million and two undersea fiber cables running wireless project on the Kenai Peninsula. The company is also working on a down to the Lower 48. Boyette explains: “You try to build redundancy into your major infrastructure project to bring fiber network wherever possible and, with that, to about 1,700 homes in the Meadow you also have to make sure you have Lakes area, just north of Wasilla. The restorable capabilities that are easily imple- $4 million project encompasses sixty square miles. And the company continmented just in case there is an issue.” GCI uses numerous metrics to measure ues to make significant upgrades to its the performance of its network. While no Anchorage cellular network. Data networks all over the world will do company can claim 100 percent reliability, GCI says it comes close. “We measure our nothing but grow and continue to explode network reliability in greater than 99 per- in the future, Boyette says. And compacent of the time increments,” Boyette says. nies like GCI will continue to increase the “What we want to do is to improve on that.” capacity of their networks to match rising Boyette says the security of GCI’s net- customer demand. GCI works hard to

MTA is proud to be a technology leader and remains focused on partnering with the communities we serve to make a positive impact. Our company is proud of its rich history in Southcentral Alaska and embraces our vital role as a technology provider in the world around us.

Life. Technology. Together.

GCI Offers Diverse Technology GCI’s network is comprised of diverse technology that has steadily advanced over the years. The company has built its terrestrial broadband network—TERRA—to reach communities throughout Alaska. “We reach almost every community in the state in one way or another,” Boyette says. Alaska Business


Life. Technology. Together. December 2018 | 11

Big Firm Experience. Small Firm Approach Approach..

ensure it remains a technology leader, Boyette says, adding: “That’s always been one of our goals, to provide high-quality and high-tech services to our customers, and we will continue to try to do that.”

Alaska Communications Continues to Evolve

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Alaska Communications’ pedigree goes back more than 100 years to the days of the first Juneau telegraph. Since then, it has evolved its network as shown by a series of “firsts” in Alaska, according to Simes. He explains: “We were the first in Alaska to launch Metro Ethernet in 1996. In 2000, Alaska Communications was the first in the state to launch MPLS [Multi-Protocol Label Switching]. Fastforward to 2009, we were the first to offer geographically diverse connectivity to the Lower 48—tripling the bandwidth leaving the state. In 2013, we were the first Alaskan company [second in the US, third in the world] to achieve Carrier Ethernet 2.0 certification for reliable, scalable, and secure business data services. In the nine years since installing AKORN [Alaska-Oregon Network], we’ve increased speeds ten-fold.” Alaska Communications’ network is diversely routed within the state and through undersea fiber to the Lower 48. The network is not only diverse and redundant, but it is extensively peered with other service providers for high bandwidth/low latency access, Simes says. The company’s network also extends to private and public cloud providers to offer new cloud capabilities. And it is expanding in Alaska using IP-based satellite and fixed wireless technology to offer high-speed, unlimited Internet to remote communities. “Our network brings the highest level of technology, reliability, security, and cloud enablement to Alaska businesses,” Simes says. Alaska Communications applies the same level of standards and cutting-edge technology as companies in the Lower 48. The company secures customers’ employee and business information from malicious attacks with a defense-in-depth security strategy. “We design our network to be redundant and diverse and monitor it continuously,” Simes says. “People are just as important as the technology. We have expert people planning, monitoring, and maintaining our network and our customers’ networks.”


Alaska Communications Network Map. Alaska Communications

However, Simes emphasizes that providing and maintaining secure and reliable data services starts with sound planning. Alaska Communications adapts its network to the forward-looking needs of its customers and communities. It comes down to diversity, resiliency, redundancy, and security, along with perpetual monitoring, Simes says. “We have expert personnel monitoring our network 24/7, 365 days a year,” he explains. “Additionally, should a disaster strike, we have business continuity plans in place and exercise them regularly, so we can help our customers recover as rapidly as possible.”

AT&T Considers Many Factors AT&T serves its wireline customers in Alaska as an interexchange carrier by providing the connections between villages, towns, and cities across the state. Local phone companies, also called local exchange carriers, provide the “last mile,” which is the portion of the network that connects its network directly to consumers. In many cases, these local carriers also provide the connection between its interexchange network and cell sites. Approximately 80 percent of Alaska’s population lives on or near the Alaska road system or in Alaska’s Southeast, Uschmann says. Wireline customers in these locations are connected through

“We design our network to be redundant and diverse and monitor it continuously… People are just as important as the technology. We have expert people planning, monitoring, and maintaining our network and our customers’ networks.” —Tom Simes, Senior Manager of Network and Systems Engineering, Alaska Communications

fiber optic cables or digital microwave radio systems. For the remaining customers, in harder to reach places where fiber and microwave radio systems aren’t practical, AT&T delivers services via its satellite network with approximately 170 earth stations. AT&T also provides wireless service to communities in Alaska. “As the first to connect all Alaskan villages to the rest of the US and the rest of the world, the AT&T network continues to reach more locations in the state than any other,” he says. AT&T takes many factors into consideration when designing its wired and wireless networks. Infrastructure, population, Alaska Business

accessibility, and even weather conditions can affect which technologies it deploys to provide customers with the most reliable service. One of the main considerations for wired and wireless network maintenance in Alaska is in the design of network delivery locations. Travel to many locations can be difficult—especially in the winter— so remote diagnostic and repair capabilities are built into the network, allowing quick access to its technical staff. In addition, special techniques are required to make certain repairs in Alaska, and AT&T’s technicians are well-trained on maintaining its network, Uschmann says. December 2018 | 13



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For example, repairing an underground fiber optic cable in the winter might require the use of large heaters to soften the ground enough to reach the cable without causing further damage. In warmer weather, AT&T might have technicians and a helicopter staged to travel to a mountain top cell site, which may be fogged in for days at a time. “Due to many factors like these, we use remote maintenance and alternate routing in our network to allow prompt service restoral until our technicians can safely reach a site and affect repairs,” he says. AT&T’s network is also designed with security in mind. Uschmann explains, “The Ethernet transport that carries data across our network from cell towers to switches and between them is configured to avoid sharing Ethernet capacity. This is one way we enhance data security and maintain data throughput.” The network has evolved tremendously since AT&T began providing service in Alaska in the 1980s. Within the past few years, the network has gotten much smarter and easier to manage remotely through advancements in software and software-controlled network elements. Uschmann says, “Our software-based network can help with tasks ranging from diagnosing an issue to repairing it. And we’ll continue to incorporate these technologies where practical to improve efficiencies and increase the reliability of our network.” In recent years AT&T has invested more than $150 million to enhance its network in Alaska. In 2017 alone, it made more than 350 upgrades that have improved wireless coverage, capacity, and speed. It has also added cell sites, expanded its LTE footprint, and deployed additional LTE spectrum. The company is also planning additional upgrades as part of its FirstNet deployment. AT&T is working in a publicprivate partnership with the First Responder Network Authority to bring public safety a much-needed technology upgrade. As part of that, it will expand coverage in key areas of the state. “The network will be used exclusively by first responders during emergencies but available to provide additional speed and capacity to our customers when not in use by FirstNet,” Uschmann says. AT&T will continue to make upgrades as part of its efforts to meet an everincreasing customer demand for mobile and wireline data services, he says. 


Alaska Business

December 2018 | 15


An Anchorage residence gains power from the sun through a solar power array. Arctic Solar Ventures

Same Sun, Superior Science Better tech makes renewable energy systems more affordable By Julie Stricker


hen Alex Papasavas started her restaurant, Turkey Red, in Palmer a decade ago, her goal was to locally-source as much meat and produce as she could. Papasavas and her staff of thirty-four make nearly all of their main dishes, desserts, bread, and mozzarella from products grown or raised within the Mat-Su region. “I planned the restaurant to where we reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible,” she says. “The food industry is one of the most polluting industries on our planet because everyone has to eat.” The next step was turning to renewable energy. “I have at least ten refrigerated units, 16 | December 2018

a lot of cooking equipment,” Papasavas says. “We just use a lot of energy. We recycle here. We have LED lights. I have my refrigerator units serviced quarterly. I feel like it’s so important right now for everyone to do whatever they can to reduce our carbon footprint.” In December 2017, a solar energy system that consists of forty panels on the roof of Turkey Red went online with help from Anchorage-based Arctic Solar Ventures. So far, the panels have generated up to 100 kilowatts in a day, more than one-third of the restaurant’s daily energy usage of 230 kilowatts. Papasavas says she was able to get tax credits and a grant to pay for a portion of the project and expects it to pay for itself in less than eight years.

The Solar Balance That kind of calculation is becoming more common in Alaska, as residents weigh the costs and benefits of renewable energy, especially solar, for their homes and businesses, says Stephen Trimble, who founded and co-owns Arctic Solar Ventures with his wife, Jacqueline Savina.

Solar power is an underserved and emerging market in Alaska, Trimble says. He started the company in 2015 and specializes in grid-connected solar and battery solutions, with projects located from Homer to Talkeetna. Residential solar power is a quickly growing business in Alaska, which many people find curious because of the state’s reputation for long, dark winters, Trimble says. Much of this growth is due to decreases in the cost of solar equipment globally, which reduces the amount of time it takes for a homeowner to break even on project costs. “Solar in Alaska is interesting,” he says. “We don’t produce power at a very steady rate over the course of a year. It’s obviously more seasonal than in other parts of the United States.” Trimble says his first mission is to let customers know that solar does work in Alaska. While the disparity between the summer and winter months is obvious, over the course of a year it tends to balance out. Alaska net metering laws help balance the costs, he says.


Because you run a business security is not an option. In Alaska, your office can be just about anywhere, making communication and security paramount. At AT&T, it’s our business to help protect your business. By offering multiple layers of security across applications, devices, networks and platforms, we help reduce your risk of exposure from malicious attacks, so that companies like yours can stay Connected & Secure. Discover the Power of & with AT&T. Speak with an AT&T representative about Network Security solutions today. 907-264-7387 1-800-955-9556

Source: Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, Volume 20 Š 2018 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners. This document is not an offer, commitment, representation or warranty by AT&T and is subject to change.

Alaska Business

December 2018 | 17

Workers install solar panels on a residence in Anchorage. Arctic Solar Ventures

In 2009, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska approved net metering regulations, which went into the effect the following year. These rules allow a customer to install and use certain types of renewable energy while connected to the grid. They can use the renewable energy to offset their monthly energy use and sell any excess power to the utility, which uses it to supply other customers. Homeowners can get credits on their monthly bills during periods of high generation and use those credits to offset costs during the winter months. Trimble says a typical residential solar setup can cost about $20,000, but tax credits and grants can offset some of the initial costs. “Typically, we can provide anywhere from 75 to 100 percent of a home’s annual energy with solar in Alaska, which is pretty amazing,” he says. “Most people don’t think we have that much of a resource here.” Current tax credits, which expire at the end of 2019, can cover up to 30 percent of the initial investment. “We see solar pay for itself on a home typically between nine and ten years,” he says. “That’s a good solar payback for pretty much anywhere.”

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Arctic Solar Ventures installed solar panels on the roof of this office building located at 880 H Street in downtown Anchorage. Arctic Solar Ventures

20 | December 2018

Improvements in Tech In Homer, veterinarian Dorothy Sherwood turned on a new solar system at her clinic on winter solstice last year, “So the only way was upward from then!” she says. She also has a solar system installed at her home. The system at her clinic includes two arrays and twenty-two microinverters. To date, it has produced 5.8 megawatthours of electricity. “I wanted to reduce my clinic’s dependence on non-sustainable energy systems, which would not only reduce the clinic’s carbon footprint but ‘walk the walk’ when addressing my concerns regarding climate disruption/change,” Sherwood says. “I think the advantages of solar energy are widely understood... low carbon footprint/reliable source of energy for a large portion of the year, clean energy at installation, and providing business to local solar energy businesses.” Sherwood also used a grant from the Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP) to help offset the initial costs. Sherwood says a second system at her home includes ten arrays plus microconverters. “We have worked on creating our home to be as energy efficient as possible over the years, and our monthly electric bill before solar is averaging $80 with two teenage sons in our home,” she says. “We look forward to seeing how solar will provide for our needs into 2019.” Technology improvements in the past decade are another reason solar and renewable energy is taking off in Alaska, Trimble says. Today’s solar arrays have no moving parts, unlike past systems that required solar sensors that would move the array during the day as the sun passed overhead. Solar panel efficiencies and capacities have gone up in recent years, and the tracking mechanisms are no longer needed, Trimble says. “It’s cheaper to add a few more stationary, no-moving-parts panels than to add a tracking mechanism that will require replacement in a few years.” Battery technology also has improved. Trimble uses lithium-ion batteries in gridconnected solar systems. The batteries can provide power in times of outages or low generation. “Instead of having a gas generator, you have a battery that is charged from your


Alaska Business

December 2018 | 21

solar array from excess solar energy,” he says. “That’s a pretty unique concept for Alaskans. It’s basically a generator that’s rechargeable from an unlimited energy source.” Until recently, battery systems were less stable and required ventilation. Today’s batteries are similar to the batteries used in cell phones, which can be tucked away and don’t require any special handling. Another advance is the use of module or panel power technologies. In the past, solar panels would be hooked up to an inverter. Since solar produces direct current, the inverter changes it to alternating current, which is what common electronics use. But if one of the panels was blocked, the whole array would go dark. Today, with the advent of module/ panel power level electronics, a device goes under each panel that regulates its power production independently of the others. If a panel is blocked, the other panels will continue to produce power. “That’s been a really big change for enabling solar power in areas that tend to be more cloudy,” Trimble says. “The technology has also matured a lot since it was introduced—there used to be a lot of equipment failures. Now technologies are very robust and the equipment is warrantied for twenty-five years.” Trimble says he has installed more than 4,000 devices and none have failed. And solar isn’t the only renewable energy option for Alaskans.

Wind, Biomass, and Heat Pumps In rural Alaska, wind farms have sprung up in many villages, reducing their reliance on expensive diesel systems. In Buckland, a large solar array just went online, boosting the village’s wind and diesel systems. In Tanana and Tok, biomass systems are producing energy for schools and village facilities. All of these systems are scaled to work in villages with a few hundred to thousands of residents, says Chris Rose, REAP’s founder and executive director. Rose is looking at a different technology, an air-source heat pump, which works as a kind of “reverse air conditioner” to provide heat for individual homes. It takes outside air and condenses it, which creates heat. “That’s not renewable energy, but it’s technology that’s super-efficient,” Rose 22 | December 2018

Veterinarian Dorothy Sherwood installed solar panels at her clinic and her home to reduce both locations’ carbon footprint. Arctic Solar Ventures

says. “People as far north as the Arctic Circle are now using it. These devices now are so efficient that one unit of electricity that you use to run the pump is getting four units of heat out at certain temperatures. “The colder it gets, the lower that ratio is, until you get to a one-to-one ratio and it’s no longer doing you any good as a heat pump.” Heat pumps are fairly ubiquitous in the Lower 48, Rose says, and even in Southeast Alaska. Now people in Southcentral are discovering that they make sense for them. There’s even a homeowner in Shungnak, above the Arctic Circle, who’s using it. “The owner says, ‘This is still worth it to me because I can use it a couple of months in the spring and a couple months in the fall when it’s not too cold yet, and in those four months I would have burned so much heating fuel that I’m paying for this device in two and a half years,’” Rose says. “In Southeast Alaska, you can use a heat pump like that year-round, and it’s a much better choice than heating oil.” It works economically in places with lower electricity costs. In Southeast Alaska, electricity costs are low because of hydropower, but heating costs remain high because of the use of heating oil. In Shungnak, the price of electricity is subsidized through Alaska’s Power Cost Equalization program and the cost of heating oil is so high that the economics still work, Rose says.

“One of the things that we try to emphasize is that heating is the biggest part of most people’s energy budget in the state of Alaska,” he says. “And efficiency is the number one thing we should all be doing.” Homeowners can buy more efficient appliances such as refrigerators, update old heating systems, tighten up their homes, and use LED lights. “These things are no-brainers,” Rose says. Another benefit of renewable energy for the homeowner is that once the system is installed, costs do not fluctuate, unlike the cost of fuel oil and natural gas, which can be volatile, Rose says. And in communities in which residents are putting excess generation back into the grid, it’s a boon for the utilities, who are receiving clean energy from systems they don’t have to operate or maintain. “It’s a really sort of unique and exciting emerging market opportunity,” Trimble says. “Solar in the Railbelt, it’s more of a nice thing to have than a necessity in a lot of ways, but it’s really opening people’s eyes as to where their energy comes from. “I think it speaks to the resiliency of the Last Frontier experience for Alaskans. They enjoy being able to choose where their energy comes from and like producing it themselves. It speaks to the culture of self-reliance for Alaskans.”


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Alaska Business

December 2018 | 23


‘Protect, Detect, Respond’ Keeping clients safe from identity theft


By Tracy Barbour

dentity theft is one of the fastestgrowing crimes in America, and it’s the number one complaint reported to the Federal Trade Commission. Personal identity theft involves using another person’s name and other personal information to steal his or her persona and financial security. Identity thieves often use a stolen Social Security number to open accounts in someone else’s name and make purchases using that person’s good credit. The perpetrators typically have invoices and bills sent to a phony address—generally a post office box number—so unsuspecting victims often don’t discover the crime for years. Usually, identity theft victims become aware of 24 | December 2018

the problem only when they receive bills Legal Protection for goods and services they didn’t buy, no- Consumers are covered by a number tice suspicious bank account withdrawals, of federal and state laws designed to or detect new accounts they didn’t open safeguard their private information. For on their credit report. example, a key protection at the federal Thankfully, identity theft is less prevalent level is covered by the Gramm-Leachin Alaska than in the Lower 48. Alaska Bliley Act. In addition to reforming ranks favorably—40th out of 50—in the  financial  services industry, the  act  a national comparison of identity addresses concerns relating to  consumer  theft reports compiled in 2017 by the financial privacy. It includes a Privacy of Federal Trade Commission, according to Consumer Financial Information Rule Assistant Attorney General Cindy Franklin that requires financial institutions and cerof the Alaska Department of Law’s tain other businesses to notify customers Consumer Protection Unit. about their informationHowever, identity theft is a sharing practices. They also devastating crime, she says, must inform customers about adding: “Alaskans can spend their right to “opt out” if they years cleaning up the mess don’t want their information made by an identity thief, shared with certain third parties. and the frustration level with At the state level, the Alaska this crime is off the charts. Personal Information Protection Whether it is theft of personal Act is designed to protect identifying information or the “personal information” of Assistant Attorney General business identities, identity Alaska consumers. Personal inCindy Franklin, AK DOL Consumer Protection Unit theft is a high priority for the formation includes information AK DOL Consumer Protection Unit AG.” on an individual that is not Alaska

encrypted and consists of the individual’s name and one or more of several other pieces of information including a Social Security number, driver’s license number, account number, password, or other access codes. Passed in 2009, the Alaska Personal Information Protection Act requires businesses and government agencies to expeditiously notify people if their personal information has been compromised. It also restricts the use of Social Security numbers and requires records containing personal information to be destroyed as soon as it is no longer needed. In addition, the law allows individuals to place a security freeze on their credit report, which can prevent a third person from accessing their credit report. And it enables people to petition the court for a declaration of factual innocence after identity theft—if the perpetrator was arrested, cited, or convicted of the crime.   The reporting of breaches by information collectors is a serious matter, according to Franklin. Case in point: Alaska was recently part of the multi-state, multimillion-dollar settlement with ridesharing giant Uber, which failed to report for a year that its drivers’ personal information was compromised in 2016. “We encourage reporting of identity theft through our  consumer complaint  process,” she says.

Attacks on Major Entities When it comes to thwarting identity theft, individuals can take steps to protect themselves by not clicking links or opening attachments from unknown sources and applying unique and complex passwords. However, for businesses, rapidly-growing threats to employee and client information include ransomware, crypto mining, and spear fishing attacks. Corporate data breaches are happening nationwide—even to the largest entities. For instance, on July 29, 2017, national credit reporting bureau Equifax notified the public about the improper access of consumer information that included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. Credit card numbers and credit report dispute documents were also accessed. Ultimately, the data breach resulted in a class action lawsuit—which included two Alaskans—that sought a permanent injunction against Equifax, a full review of its data security procedures, and restitution to the millions of Americans affected.

Even tech giants like Apple and Amazon database and filing a report that changes allegedly became the targets of hackers. the ownership from the actual owners According to a Bloomberg report, Chinese to themselves or their shell companies. operatives surreptitiously installed tiny “Because businesses rarely revisit the site microchips onto the Supermicro server other than to file biennial reports, it can be motherboards being supplied to dozens years before the theft is discovered,” she of US companies—including Amazon and says. “The thief uses the business identity to Apple—in an effort to spy on them. Apple get credit or for other nefarious purposes.” and Amazon officially denied being victims of the microchips. How to Protect Information In Alaska, there have been a number of So what steps do companies need to attacks to steal information. For example, take to protect the sensitive information Seattle-based Alaska Airlines was hacked of their employees and customers to in December 2016, shortly after it acquired minimize identity theft? Virgin America. A  malicious threat actor First and foremost, Franklin says, they known to the US Defense Department should carefully review their credit report. abused a loophole in Virgin's security to Because identities—both personal and gain access to the system, according to commercial—are stolen primarily to get or Avionics International. Resolving the issue use credit cards or bank accounts, a credit cost Alaska Airlines $2.5 million dollars report will provide the best picture of in aggregate and three months—plus, whether an identity is being misused.  employee information might have been Business owners should also check the compromised. Corporations, Business, and Professional In 2015, GCI was also the target of a Licensing database in every state their significant attack. A file containing names company is registered, Franklin says. And and Social Security numbers of employees they should do so at least quarterly, as who worked for GCI as of June 30, most state business registration portals— 2015, was swiped by an employee of a like Alaska’s—are open portals that allow GCI contractor, the Siegfried Group. All anyone to file a report on behalf of employees of the company at that time— the business. “The person making any 2,200 to 2,300 people in Alaska and changes certifies under oath as to their the Lower 48—were affected. However, authority to do so,” she says. “For this there was no evidence that the Siegfried reason, businesses should periodically Group employee disclosed the informa- check their registrations to make sure that tion to third parties or otherwise used the all ownership and member information information for illicit purposes, according is in order. This serves the dual purpose to a written statement from GCI. of making sure businesses do not slip up GCI is constantly and proactively on any required reporting or updates.” assessing and responding to security The first step to protecting information, risks, says Information Security Officer Strong says, is so basic that many Michael Strong in a recent interview. companies forget to consider it. He While GCI’s IT and network systems explains: “Only ask for the information you truly need, only store it were not hacked due to for as long as it’s needed, and the Siegfried Group-related then securely destroy it.” incident, it did have an impact However, once a company on the company. “The issue has sensitive information to with the Siegfried Group’s protect, no single protective contractor didn’t directly measure is sufficient. “You need cause us to make changes, multiple tiers of protection, but rather it caused us to or what’s known in the cyberaccelerate projects that were Michael Strong security industry as ‘defense-inalready in progress,” Strong Chief Information Security depth,’” he says. explains. Officer, GCI The complexity of securRecently, Alaska has been GCI ing business systems and hit by a business identity thief, Franklin says. The crime occurs when protecting company data is growing daily; a business identity (corporation or LLC) the threats are constantly evolving and maintained by the Division of Corporations, the attacks are relentless. Consequently, Business, and Professional Licensing is businesses should enlist the aid of experts stolen by someone entering the online to effectively address security issues, Alaska Business

December 2018 | 25

Strong says. He adds: “If we look at other aspects of running a company, businesses employ professionals to help them with their accounting and taxes, and now it’s reached a point where companies should look to engage dedicated or external security expertise for help. I don’t expect my dentist or accountant to be able to protect the data I provide them without help from a security professional.” Steve Gebert, director of enterprise security at Alaska Communications, also thinks that companies should collect the least amount of personal information possible from customers and employees. He says, “They should not gather information the company does not need to have, which can greatly lower risk exposure.” Once a company has personal information in its possession, it must protect it and have proper data-handling rules in place for how the data is accessed and controlled. For example, access should be highly restricted and encrypted at rest and in transit. Gebert explains: “Businesses should restrict access to only necessary employees. Information classification— which tags different types of information and flags it as critical—allows systems to handle sensitive data differently. Businesses should have data loss prevention systems in place and regularly scan email servers looking for signs that sensitive data may have been exfiltrating the network.” Protecting customer information should be highest on all companies’ priority list, Gebert says. For this reason, employees of Alaska Communications do not have access to its customers’ credit card information. Also, the company uses a third-party service to house credit card information, which lowers its risk exposure. “Credit card providers, like VISA and MasterCard, are increasingly tightening the criteria required for companies to process their cards,” Gebert says. “Businesses need to tighten up how they handle credit card data to be compliant.” When it comes to protecting information from employees who may seek to misuse customers’ information, Strong advises starting with the basics. “Establish a clear corporate policy that sets expectations of how confidential data and private client information can be used and the consequences for misuse,” he says. Franklin says businesses should invest in credit card readers that block all but the last four of credit card numbers, both on the readers and receipts. This 26 | December 2018

“Only ask for the information you truly need, only store it for as long as it’s needed, and then securely destroy it.” —Michael Strong, Information Security Officer, GCI

protects consumers and the employees. She points out that all businesses that collect combinations of information listed in the Alaska Personal Information Protection Act are obligated to report breaches, including an employee taking the information. “For this reason, businesses should have policies requiring employees to report inadvertent disclosure [such as emailing a Social Security number] and prohibiting the intentional taking of information,” she says. “Shredders should be available and their use should be required if paper forms or information is collected. Finally, encryption should be used on electronic transmission. A combination of technology and good old-fashioned supervision is the best protection.”

A Broad Data Security Strategy Strong says businesses need to truly understand how their private client information is being gathered, how it flows through the company, where it is stored and for how long, and when it finally gets destroyed. “Then look at how you protect the information along each step, physically securing it and encrypting electronic data,” he says. “Also, don’t forget to think about how you securely dispose of the information. Don’t sell a server or laptop without first securely wiping [data from] the device or rendering the device unusable.” The emphasis on preventing identity theft often centers on digital data, but it’s equally essential to protect information that’s printed on hardcopies. It’s important to remember how much paper is still used in business, Strong says, and any physical record containing sensitive information needs to be tightly and securely managed. “We don’t want our personal information left on printers in a doctor’s clinic or left out overnight where unauthorized eyes can read it. So we can’t focus solely on the digital information, we must still consider the physical information.”

Strong urges companies that are dealing with identity theft and other data security issues to seek professional assistance—just like they do for tax advice. “Security threats are so complex and evolving so quickly that companies either need dedicated security professionals or should engage expertise from outside companies,” he says. Gebert encourages businesses to think of security as layers of an onion. Locks and controls are just one layer of defensein-depth on the onion, he says, adding: “Other needed layers include firewall protection, education of users, encryption at rest and in transit, strong credentials and two-factor authentication, network segmentation, data tagging for data classification, strict governance, and security around passwords and credentials. Companies cannot depend on just one layer of the onion to protect their data.” Without a cybersecurity strategy even the smallest businesses are at risk. Companies must invest in technologies that minimize the attack surface and reduce exposure to that data, such as encryption, firewalls, and segmentation, Gebert says. Security awareness is also critical to protecting sensitive data. Employers should host recurring and frequent training to keep security awareness at the forefront of employees’ minds. Security, Gebert says, is everyone’s business and responsibility. Everybody in the company should be concerned and educated about security and protecting themselves, their company, and customers. He adds, “Businesses must have plans in place to protect, detect, and respond.” Consumers—whether employees or customers—who fall victim to identity theft can turn to, a one-stop resource from the federal government. The site provides streamlined checklists and sample letters to guide victims through the recovery process.



Optimism in Oil How Alaska’s policies work against, but could work for, its largest industry By Tasha Anderson


here’s been positive news coming out of Alaska’s onshore and offshore Arctic oil operations. ConocoPhillips Alaska’s Greater Mooses Tooth 1 (GMT1) produced first oil on October 5—ahead of schedule, according to the company. GMT1 is the first drill site on federal leases within NPR-A, with an approximate cost of $725 million and an estimated peak monthly production of 25,000 to

28 | December 2018

30,000 barrels of oil per day. ConocoPhillips Alaska also released positive news about Greater Mooses Tooth 2 (GMT2) in northeast NPR-A. On October 17, BLM and US Army Corps of Engineers released a joint Record of Decision for GMT2, which is anticipated to produce approximately 40,000 barrels of oil per day for an estimated thirty years. ConocoPhillips Alaska approved GMT2 for funding October 25 and is beginning construction in the 2018-2019 winter season, planning for first oil in “late 2021.” The company anticipates investing just under $1 billion on the development. According to ConocoPhillips Alaska, “Both GMT1 and GMT2 will generate new revenue for federal government, the State of Alaska, Native corporations, and the North Slope Borough.” Offshore, Alaska welcomed the

long-awaited news in late October that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued conditional approval to Hilcorp Alaska for its Liberty Project development and production plan. The proposed oil and gas project would entail the construction of a nine-acre artificial gravel island in the Beaufort Sea approximately five miles off the coast. It’s been a long time coming. The first Liberty exploration well was drilled in 1997 by BP; Hilcorp acquired 50 percent ownership of the Liberty project in 2014; and the companies (with third partner ASRC Exploration) released a draft EIS in August 2017, with the final EIS published in August 2018. It’s anticipated that Liberty could produce 60,000 barrels of oil per day. In a Hilcorp release about the approval,


“The Hilcorp Liberty Project, if completed, will be the first production facility ever located in federal waters off Alaska… American energy dominance is good for the economy, the environment, and our national security. Responsibly developing our resources, in Alaska especially, will allow us to use our energy diplomatically to aid our allies and check our adversaries.” —Ryan Zinke US Secretary of the Interior

US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said, “The Hilcorp Liberty Project, if completed, will be the first production facility ever located in federal waters off Alaska… American energy dominance is good for the economy, the environment, and our national security. Responsibly developing our resources, in Alaska especially, will allow us to use our energy diplomatically to aid our allies and check our adversaries.”

New Talent at NANA There’s a general atmosphere of cautious optimism around oil and gas development in the Last Frontier for 2019 as oil prices remain steady and projects like these move forward. While the projects themselves are exciting, the opportunities they create in Alaska for employment through support services contracts, fabrication and manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and other

general and specialized services have positive repercussions that ripple throughout the economy. “Right now what we want to do is provide support to the oil and gas industry so they can efficiently develop [and produce] oil and gas,” says John Hendrix, president of NANA’s Commercial Group, which includes NANA Construction (fabrication, installation, maintenance), Kuna Engineering, Tuuq (exploration drilling), NANA WorleyParsons (capital projects and program management), NMS (facility and camp services), NANA Lynden Logistics, and Paa River Construction, all of which have experience in the Arctic, in the oilfield, in the mining industry, or in all three. “With the diversity of expertise and capabilities, NANA has proven to be a strong resource development support company to the extraction industry. Additionally, as the

Alaska Business

development challenges grow, NANA continues to evaluate internal capabilities to ensure our service delivery is operationally excellent in terms of safety and meeting client expectations.” Hendrix is fairly new to NANA, joining the corporation’s Commercial Group team in May, but he has a long history— almost four decades—in the energy industry in Alaska, the Lower 48, and internationally. Right out of college, Hendrix was hired by Schlumberger to work in Prudhoe Bay, and he interned for a summer for Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. Over the course of his career, he’s held positions with Apache and BP and has consulted for private and government entities. Previous to joining NANA, Hendrix was on the governor’s cabinet as chief oil and gas advisor to Governor Bill Walker, where he worked to facilitate growth with Alaska’s oil and gas December 2018 | 29

companies. Hendrix says he was drawn to NANA because of the company’s values and integrity, and, being a life-long Alaskan, because of the company’s presence and commitment to the state. “It’s nice to be with an Alaskan company and trying to give something back,” he says. As president, his responsibility is to make sound investment decisions and move the Commercial Group’s companies forward responsibly. Resource development support is a natural fit for NANA, which has a long history in Arctic oilfields and a personal stake in the mining industry through Red Dog Mine, which is located on NANA lands. “We do a lot of different things… but people need to look at NANA as a company that can do everything that’s needed to help resource development in Alaska, from providing catering services to industrial fabrication and design to engineering and installation.”

Royalties and Taxes To Hendrix, when NANA supports responsible development in the oil and gas industry, the company supports Alaska as a whole, believing that oil development benefits every Alaskan.

“We need to continue to be thoughtful in how we, as Alaskans, stand together regarding industry and be truthful about the oil industry… Oil prices are right, but there are still a lot of issues that we have to solve when it comes to getting access for oil companies to their oil and gas reserves. There are a couple plays up [on the North Slope] right now that, every year they are delayed, cost Alaskans $200 million a year in royalties.” Royalties, he clarifies, are separate from taxes. “Royalties come right off the top, and then we tax [oil companies] on the net.” To illustrate his point, in July 2018 Alaska oil production was 13.4 million barrels, according to data from the Alaska DNR Division of Oil & Gas. Of that, the state’s royalty was 1.63 million barrels, or 12 percent, which translates to a value of approximately $128 million. In fact, in July 2018, just one month, total funds received from oil from rents and bonus bids, net profit share leases, royalties, federal shared royalties, and interest was $153 million. Year-to-date as of August 2018: $943 million. And then add taxes. Royalties, combined with production taxes, property taxes, and corporate

income taxes from the oil and gas industry, have traditionally funded 90 percent of the state’s general fund, which is the state’s primary operating fund and provides for basic government services. The fund is flexible, which allows Alaska’s legislatures to determine how it should be best used or saved, depending on current circumstances.

Decline in a Difficult Environment But since its peak in the late 1980s, Alaska’s oilfield production has been in decline, seeing relatively small upward movement only in recent years, which some North Slope operators attribute to a specific effort to encourage investment. According to ConocoPhillips, “The positive investment climate created by SB21 was an important factor in ConocoPhillips Alaska’s decision to invest in and develop GMT1.” Kara Moriarty, president and CEO of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association (AOGA), has consistently expressed concern that Alaska’s lawmakers have created an unstable tax policy environment—in which taxes are generally increased—that makes responsible,

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long-term planning in the oilfield difficult at best and impossible at times. SB21, passed in 2014, was the most recent piece of oil tax legislation that made any effort to attract investment. HB247 (2016), HB111 (2017), and this year’s proposed HB288 all called for tax increases on the oil industry. Overall, there have been eight tax policy changes (six of which AOGA opposed) in thirteen years in an industry where a project—like Liberty—can span more than twenty years from the initial exploration well to conditional approval and still not be in operation. It’s hard to believe Alaska’s oil and gas companies find that encouraging. Hendrix says, “Unless you have a pathway of where the future may lie, you can’t start putting risk analysis and probabilities on it.”

Make a Plan Hendrix advocates for Alaska, as a state entity, to look at its oil and gas resources and make a plan for development. “We have no master plan,” he says. “We need an economic plan because that’s why we always have one-off permitting issues… we wait for one-off projects and then we have NGOs [non-government organizations] protest this and protest that.” Instead, if there were a master plan for the state or even for individual 32 | December 2018

regions, all key parties, including local and subsistence users, could participate in a streamlined conversation about what and how development takes place, including a long view of a consistent tax structure that allows oil and gas companies to function productively while appropriately supporting the state through royalties and taxes. He also envisions the state being more proactive in development: as part of tax credit incentives, the state routinely receives seismic data that are held in trust for ten years and then released to the public. Hendrix says the state does not process or interpret these data. “If we spend a billion dollars in tax credits, shouldn’t we know what’s under the ground instead of just locking [that data] up? ... Let’s pre-permit an exploration well and sell it to the highest bidder... And if we see a lot of these potential places [for development], maybe we could justify building a road versus an ice road every year.”

New Dollars Hendrix sees a lot of wasteful and repetitive activity going on as part of oil development that discourages actual projects from moving forward: “There’s more people making money off permitting nowadays than engineering, and

that’s a problem.” He continues, “Every Alaskan needs to understand that, if you can make the state a place where [oil and gas explorers and producers] can invest capital dollars, capital dollars drill new oil and gas wells; the big bucks are in attracting new dollars here for major projects. That’s what gives big jobs and new royalty payments to the state.” One project in which Hendrix sees potential, for NANA and Alaskans in general, is AK LNG. In fact, NANA President and CEO Wayne Westlake was one of a group of Alaskans that traveled to China this year and met with President Xi Jinping, government officials, and other economic development representatives about the gasline. “They’re serious about taking care of their air emissions, and they need natural gas,” Hendrix says. Plus, there’s a lot of gas stranded on the North Slope: according to Hendrix, the amount of oil injected back into the ground every day on a BLE basis is more than the amount of oil produced in North Dakota every day. “If the gas pipeline goes in, Point Thomson could probably make another 60,000 barrels of oil a day because of oil condensate,” he says. He doesn’t see a downside to the AK LNG project, just potential. Locations along the route of the line would be able to “tap into” it, reducing the cost of energy in Interior and other rural areas of Alaska, with the effect that “mines aren’t burning diesel, houses aren’t burning diesel, and the air quality in Fairbanks goes up.” Hendrix is also bullish on Alaska transitioning from being a state in which raw resources are extracted and shipped out to becoming a state in which value is added locally, saying, “The state must go from being a raw product producer to manufacturing products and then by-products.” He thinks a major step that will allow Alaska businesses to move forward in this way is addressing the significant cost of energy across the state. “A low cost of energy will drive a lot of things: can you imagine if the heating bill went down by 50 percent, especially for a business?” According to the Alaska LNG site, the pipeline could create up to 10,000 jobs during design and construction followed by about 1,000 operational jobs. “The gasline could significantly reduce barriers to further exploration on the North


Slope and provide reliable, reasonably priced fuel for domestic projects. It will also provide Alaskan residential consumers with long-term affordable gas supply for power generation,” the organization states.

Local Labor, Local Value NANA has taken steps to produce items like this, specifically through its 80,000-square-foot fabrication building located in Big Lake, the largest fabrication facility in Alaska, according to Hendrix. The shop is capable of making everything from a pump house to a separation facility to a medical building. Items shipped to the North Slope or Red Dog Mine are generally limited in size by the roads they travel on, but the building’s location in Big Lake has a strategic advantage: from the building, there aren’t any major bridge crossings when hauling modules north. The facility currently employs about 150 people, but Hendrix says NANA would love to double that amount, which the facility can support. It’s this ability to scale up quickly that allows NANA to be responsive to the needs of the oil and gas or mining industries. “We just shipped out 146 modules for Red Dog about a month ago, and we’re building stuff for BP, ConocoPhillips, and Hilcorp now,” Hendrix says. “The place is humming, and there’s a sense of pride when you go to our fabrication facility in Big Lake because you see Alaskan workers.” Hendrix shares NANA’s dedication to employing shareholders, their descendants, and local Alaskans whenever possible. The company proudly reports that 60 percent-plus of the workers at Red Dog Mine are shareholders, and Tuuq, NANA’s exploration drilling company, boasts nearly 80 percent shareholder hire. Tuuq is one of the Commercial Group companies for which Hendrix has a vision to move forward. Primarily Tuuq conducts drilling services within the NANA region, but “we’re doing everything we can to get them out of our region,” and into work in other parts of the state, Hendrix says. “We don’t need drill rigs coming from Canada, coming from the Lower 48, or coming from Paris, France, to drill when we have rigs here. We’re pro-Alaskan. We have the tools and the expertise and the people, and we’re showing up.”

Alaska Business

December 2018 | 33


Southeast Alaska Construction Holds Steady

Completed, ongoing, and upcoming projects By Vanessa Orr 34 | December 2018


espite the downturn in Alaska’s economy, construction in Southeast Alaska has held steady. And according to John MacKinnon, executive director, Associated General Contractors of Alaska, that looks to hold true in 2019 as well. “It’s interesting when you’re looking at the overall Alaska economy how construction in Southeast has remained steady, in part due to the seafood and visitor industries,” he explains. “In the past year,

there have been a number of good-sized projects completed, including expansion projects at Kensington Mine and Greens Creek Mine. Right now it looks like 2019 will remain steady, and there might even be some bigger projects put out to bid.” MacKinnon made mention of the Katlian Bay Road project in Sitka, which was proposed in late September. This project, which engineers estimate will run between $10 million and $20 million,


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An excavator removing debris and contaminated soil from the Virublennoi Landfill, part of the Fort Rousseau Formerly Used Defense Site located in Sitka. The large rock causeway connecting Virublennoi and Sasedni Islands is visible in the background, along with Sitka Sound. ©Will Mangano | USACE

would include construction of approximately nine miles of a new, single-lane gravel road, beginning at the end of Halibut Point Road in Sitka and continuing north to its termination within Katlian Bay at the eastern property boundary of Shee Atiká, an ANSCA urban corporation. Work would include the installation of approximately 300 culverts and the construction of two bridges over the South Katlian River and Katlian River.

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“I believe this is a segment of a future road connection across the island so that someday the ferry run can be significantly shortened, thus reducing costs and potentially increasing service,” says MacKinnon, noting the success of the day ferry that currently services Metlakatla from Ketchikan and includes a 14.5-mile road route. MacKinnon also notes that increased investment in Southeast’s downtown areas— particularly in Juneau—is not only adding to the construction budget but to the community’s economy as a whole. “A lot of cities suffer from what’s called ‘center rot,’ which happens when businesses move to the suburbs,” he says. “While Juneau’s influx of tourism is good in the summer, in the winter most of the shops used to close and the downtown area was dead. “Now, people are reinvesting in downtown, and businesses are attracting resi-

Haines The Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, is continuing work on the Haines Highway project, upgrading it to current standards from Milepost (MP) 3.9 to 25, which includes realigning, widening, and straightening portions of the roadway. The roughly $40 million project is expected to last until 2024. SECON is currently widening the roadway between MP 3.9 and 12.2, which is expected to be completed by July 2019. Another large project, the $12.8 million Portage Cove Harbor Expansion, was completed in June 2018 by contractor Pacific Pile & Marine. PND Engineers was the engineering firm. The project included harbor basin dredging works, a steel pile supported wave barrier, moorage pile replacement, and upland parking area works. During the dredging

year at the airport, courtesy of the FAA,” says MacKinnon, “and the airport recently got a grant to build a sand storage building.” The FAA picked up roughly 93 percent of the cost of the Snow Removal Equipment Building, with state and local funds paying the rest. F&W Construction was the contractor. Projects currently underway include a $16.5 million biosolids dryer, with Dawson Construction overseeing the demolition of the existing Activated Bio-filter building and construction of a new, 18,734-grosssquare-foot, metal-clad building on top of the existing foundation. Coogan Construction will be continuing work on the $3.9 million Pederson Hill Subdivision construction, a new residential subdivision in the Mendenhall Valley, and CBC Contractors will be completing Phase 2 of the $1.8 million downtown street improvement project,

“In the past year, there have been a number of good-sized projects completed, including expansion projects at Kensington Mine and Greens Creek Mine. Right now it looks like 2019 will remain steady, and there might even be some bigger projects put out to bid.” —John MacKinnon Executive Director Associated General Contractors of Alaska

dents in the evenings,” he says. “It was tough at first, but now that the area has reached critical mass, things are taking off. Juneau has a brewpub and is planning another, and there’s a distillery in the old AEL&P building on Second and Franklin Streets. Investors are also putting money into mixed-use development: putting tourism businesses on the first floor and apartments for industry workers above. It gives people a reason to visit—and live—downtown again.”

Recently Completed and Upcoming Projects Construction projects are taking place all over Southeast from city-funded facilities to Department of Transportation (DOT) improvements to clean-up projects led by the US Army Corps of Engineers—Alaska District. Following is a list of some of the more recently finished projects, as well as current builds and plans for the future in amounts totaling $1 million or more. 36 | December 2018

portion of the project, approximately 130,000 cubic yards of marine sediment was removed from seven acres below the Mean High Water mark to provide sufficient water depth at all tidal ranges.

Juneau A number of projects were recently completed in Juneau, including the $1 million Eagles Edge Subdivision water and street improvements with Enco Alaska as the general contractor; the third phase of the Seawalk from the JuneauDouglas Bridge to Gold Creek ($11.8 million) by Admiralty Construction; the $1.5 million downtown street improvements Phase 1 project by Arete Construction Corporation; Aspen Avenue reconstruction ($1.5 million) by SECON; and West Douglas Pioneer Road ($1.7 million) by Enco Alaska. “A new Snow Removal Equipment Building was also completed this past

which includes replacing storm drains, sanitary sewers, and domestic water systems. Also on the agenda is the $1.2 million Birch Lane street construction project, awarded to Admiralty Construction, which will include pavement and drainage improvements. Phase III of the Aurora Harbor project will also begin this spring and is budgeted at $7 million. According to Michael Vigue, director of Engineering and Public Works for the City and Borough of Juneau, a few projects will be advertised for bids and under construction in the 2019 season: the $2.5 million Columbia and Poplar Street reconstruction; the $2.5 million Douglas Highway water system replacement; and $2.5 million of infrastructure improvements at the Juneau Douglas Treatment Plant. The City and Borough is also planning a $2 million equipment de-muck and wash facility.


Authority. “The project entailed clearing a wooded area, excavating, refilling, and paving, and also included new lighting and re-striping of the lot. There were also modifications made to the ramp to get on to the ferry.” Haida Energy is continuing its construction of the $22 million hydroelectric project on Reynolds Creek, located 10 miles east of Hydaburg. The system includes a diversion structure, a 3,200foot penstock with a drop of 750 vertical feet, a powerhouse, and 12 miles of 34 kilovolt transmission line. The Reynolds Creek project will be connected to the

existing grid to serve the communities of Craig, Klawock, Hollis, Hydaburg, Thorne Bay, Kasaan, and Coffman Cove, with a future intertie connection to Naukati Bay. Premium Aquatics has plans for a multi-phase project, which would begin operations in 2019. “The first phase is a 100-acre kelp farm and the first two years are projected at $2 million, which includes capital and operating costs,” says Markos Scheer, CEO and general counsel. “I should add that there isn’t a ‘facility,’ per se, being constructed yet. These are farming

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Petersburg In July 2017, Petersburg dedicated its newly-remodeled municipal building and police station. MCG Constructors/ DCI Joint Ventures was the contractor on the project, which was completed in two phases. The construction cost around $6.6 million, with the overall project price tag hovering around $10 million. The work was funded by a combination of state grants, proceeds from land sales, and the municipality. The renovated building houses the Borough’s administration and finance offices along with an expanded police station.

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In July 2018, Southeast Road Builders finished the $1.4 million expansion of a parking lot for the inter-island ferry in Hollis. “We share the parking lot with the Alaska state floatplane dock, and it was already undersized for the [Inter-Island Ferry Authority] alone,” explains Dennis Watson, general manager of the Inter-Island Ferry

Alaska Business

December 2018 | 37


Ketchikan Ongoing DOT projects in Ketchikan include the $20 million Shelter Cove Road construction project, which includes the construction of 7.26 miles of new 14-foot wide, single lane gravel road along the northern end of George Inlet. The project includes the installation of more than 200 culverts, of which seven are for fish passage, and placing a gravel surface course. The $13 million Front Mill & Steadman reconstruction is also continuing, as is the $23 million Water Street Bridge #1 replacement. City-funded projects include a $1.5 million HVAC and fire sprinkler remodel at the Tongass Heritage Museum; $1.5 million HVAC remodel at City Hall; and construction of a $1.4 million solid waste equipment facility. Upcoming projects include the $9 million Waterfall bridge project, which would include replacing the first and second Waterfall Creek bridges to meet current design  standards. According to Kara Jurczak, PE, senior project engineer for the city of Ketchikan, work is also underway to secure loans for Phase 1 of the Schoenbar Road reconstruction, which is budgeted at $6.5 million, and the $2.7 million Ketchikan Lake Road reconstruction.


An excavator filling a nine-cubic-yard bulk bag with diesel-contaminated soil, part of the Yakutat Formerly Used Defense Site, near Yakutat. The Ankau Slough Bridge is visible in the background. ©Jake Sweet | USACE

assets, such as boats and anchoring systems.” The second phase of the project will be a shellfish operation, with a $6 million capitalization, which also includes capital and operating expenditures. The plan is to bring that online in 2020.

Sitka In Sitka, the US Army Corps of Engineers—Alaska District is working on a $4 million Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) environmental cleanup project at Fort Rousseau. According to Lisa Geist, chief of environmental engineering, removal action was completed during the 2018 field season, which included removal of contaminated soil and an eroding landfill on Virublennoi Island. The project is now in the reporting stage. 38 | December 2018

A project at Fort Babcock on Kruzof Island (west of Sitka Sound) is now in the feasibility study phase, with the Corps evaluating alternatives to address PCBcontaminated soils. The plan is expected to be put into place in 2020 with contracting taking place in 2021. Fort Pierce on Biorka Island is also in line for a future site inspection and remedial investigation to determine what Department of Defense contamination needs to be addressed.

Skagway will also be starting a $1.8 million sewer upgrade project, which will take place in two phases. The State Street sanitary sewer upgrades project will replace existing sewer mains and manholes and install new sanitary sewer services to reduce inflow and infiltration due to aging infrastructure. The first phase of the project is estimated to be completed in summer 2019; Phase II will be done in conjunction with an Alaska DOT project and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2020.

Skagway In late October, construction of an almost $1.3 million redwood water tank was completed in Skagway. According to Heather Rodig, Borough treasurer for the Municipality, the construction of the new 200,000 gallon tank will increase storage capacity to meet periods of high demand.

Wrangell Each year, the City and Borough of Wrangell develops a long-term Capital Improvements Priority list. This year’s list, approved by the Borough assembly, includes the following top priority projects: $13 million in water treatment


in the old AEL&P building on Second and Franklin Streets. Investors are also putting money into mixed-use development; putting tourism businesses on the first floor and apartments for industry workers above. It gives people a reason to visit—and live—downtown again.” —John MacKinnon Executive Director Associated General Contractors of Alaska

plant improvements; $2 million in pool facility improvements; $2.6 million water main distribution system replacement, Phase II (Zimovia Highway); $1 million Ash/ Lemiux water main replacement; $2.7 million Community Center life and safety upgrades, Phase II; $4.2 million in Wrangell boat yard improvements; and a $2.7 million backup diesel generation project.

Yakutat The Corps is addressing multiple sites in Yakutat and in 2017 awarded a $4

million contract to Bristol Environmental Remediation Services to remove petroleum-contaminated soil in the area. That project is now in the reporting phase. A debris removal project valued at $1.5 million over two years is also taking place in Yakutat as part of the Native American Lands Environmental Mitigation Program (NALEMP). “NALEMP, which operates out of the office of the Secretary of Defense, provides funding for tribes to clean up [Department of Defense] impacts,” says

Andrea Elconin, Alaska NALEMP program manager. “We have entered into a cooperative agreement with the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe to remove debris at several different sites using their equipment. It’s similar to the FUDS program, but has a smaller funding pot with the money going directly to tribes.” NALEMP also has a cooperative agreement with the Metlakatla Indian Community for contaminated soil removal on Annette Island.

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“Juneau has a brewpub and is planning another, and there’s a distillery


Newtok to

The sun sets over Mertarvik, the location being developed for the relocation of the Newtok community. ANTHC

40 | December 2018


How an entire village is being evicted by climate change


By Isaac Stone Simonelli

n October, the Yup’ik community of Newtok braced itself to lose four homes to rapid erosion as storms from the southeast removed dozens of feet of shoreline no longer protected by ice and permafrost due to climate change. During a three-day storm at the beginning of October, twenty feet of shoreline was lost, putting the closest homes within twenty-five feet of the Ningliq River. “With these October storms and as the rate of erosion grows, the consensus feeling within the community is worried; those closest to the erosion feel the anxiety most, as they witness the effects on a day-to-day basis,” says Andrew John, the Newtok Village Tribal Administrator. “Nearly the entire community feels on edge. I know [I] have had a lot of sleepless nights. “We as a community have no time for debate over climate change anymore. It’s here: we see it, live it, and currently with these storms that we are having right now, we feel the direct impacts of it.” Since 1994 the village of about 400 people nestled between the Ningliq River and Newtok River has been working toward fleeing the slow-moving disaster zone, acquiring a new site, Mertarvik (on Nelson Island) in a

Alaska Business

December 2018 | 41




“We as a community have no time for debate over climate change anymore. It’s here: we see it, live it, and currently with these storms that we are having right now, we feel the direct impacts of it.” —Andrew John, Tribal Administrator, Newtok Village

land trade with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 2003. Developing the new site, putting in basic modern infrastructure—running water, power, sewers—is an incredibly costly endeavor made even more difficult by the limited resources and commerce within the community. “Newtok is an incredibly traditional Yup’ik subsistence community,” says Gavin Dixon, community development manager at Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), which signed a resolution with the Newtok Village Council earlier this year to become the overall manager of the relocation project. “They 42 | December 2018

spend a lot of time gathering their own food and taking care of themselves.” There are few paying jobs in Newtok. Available local positions include commercial fishing, seasonal firefighting, and government jobs at the local health clinic, schools, and tribal government, Dixon explains.

Slow-moving Disaster “There’s a limited economy, and that’s the case in most of these rural villages… Some villages have a big fishing industry or a local mine nearby or forestry or something that gives them a tax base,” Dixon says. “And Newtok doesn’t really

have that. That makes it hard to fund a lot of these efforts. The village can’t save up the amount of money that’s needed to build all this infrastructure; they need the support.” With no single source of funding for the project, Newtok has needed to navigate various bureaucratic systems at the state and federal level to identify grants and other sources of funding for individual projects associated with the move. One grant through the Bureau of Indian Affairs helps to build a couple hundred feet of road per year, and a small grant from USDA Rural Development paid for the investigation into establishing a clean


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The Newtok shoreline is eroding at an average rate of seventy feet per year. ANTHC

water source at the new site. “The State of Alaska has been an early investor in the community through legislature and general obligation bonds. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, primarily through their 638 contracting program and their Tribal Transportation program, has been incredibly flexible and supportive in the relocation. And, then, the largest single funder has been the Denali Commission,” Dixon says. Introduced by Congress in 1998, the Denali Commission is an independent federal agency designed to provide critical utilities, infrastructure, and economic support throughout Alaska. One key aspect

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December 2018 | 43


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of funding coming to Newtok through the Denali Commission is the amount of flexibility there is in how it is used. Rather than tracking down grant money to do the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the power plant or any other single element of the village, the Denali Commission is able fund the EIS for the entire village site, increasing efficiency. This year also saw a windfall of cash flowing into the project. The Denali Commission received an additional $15 million in the FY2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill for the development of Mertarvik. The Commission is combining these funds with $5 million of prior year funds and $3.5 million of match funding from the state, according to an ANTHC news release. Last year, Village Relocation Coordinator Romy Cadiente said that the US Army Corps of Engineers had estimated that it would cost $80 million to $130 million to relocate key infrastructure. Though the number sounds astronomical for a community of 372 people, Dixon points out that it makes a lot more sense when deferred maintenance and deferred investment in the community, which has seen very little development in the last fifteen years, are factored in. “If Newtok had not ever had the need to relocate, how much would they have received, as other villages have, to bring them up to modern standards that they’ve missed out on for the last fifteen years? How many millions of dollars has Newtok missed out on that their partner villages have seen?” The lack of investment in the overcrowded community, as well as the permafrost melt—that is turning much of it into a swamp—is evident and taking a toll on residents already suffering from

sleepless nights due to a severe lack of infrastructure. “Newtok has no running water and sewer; they have honey buckets in everybody’s home, they don’t have any place to do laundry. Their power plant is probably in the worst condition of any power plant in rural Alaska. They’ve got boardwalks that are sinking into mud from the permafrost melting and the ground subsiding,” Dixon says. “They’ve got sixty-five houses and almost 400 people. The average square footage is 800 square feet. Do the math there: you have more than six people per house and single room houses with no running water and sewer.” Between major flooding from the Newtok River and pools from melted permafrost, the village suffers from increasingly high rates of black mold. “When it floods, the water gets into the residents’ homes and then it waterlogs the floor. Under the home, where it remains damp and cool, this becomes a perfect breeding ground for black mold— which is why Newtok has [a very high] incidence of influenza and respiratory ailments,” Cadiente says.

What to Move, What to Build Dixon points out that given the condition of most of the small plywood houses, there is no reason to include them or the power plant in the relocation process. “There are a few structures in Newtok that are worth relocating. For the most part we’re building minimal infrastructure at the new site to support people more than we are moving the infrastructure,” Dixon says. Among those buildings deemed worth moving are about three houses built in the last ten to fifteen years, the health

“In my younger years, where I stood in the community, I would look miles and miles away but never see the river’s edge. Today, if you look out from my home, the edge is really just a few steps away.” —George Carl, Vice President, Newtok Village Council

44 | December 2018

clinic, and the National Guard armory, which is rented out to the Newtok Village Council. However, moving these structures would require ice that is thick enough to support putting the buildings on skids and dragging them nine miles upriver to the new location— thicker ice than the area has seen in the last two years. At this point, those structures are considered bonuses rather than critical items. If the buildings aren’t moved, it will be necessary to establish a place to provide medical services, as well as somewhere for the tribal government to operate. By the end of the year, eight homes in total are expected to be built and ready for occupation, Dixon says, noting that the village is using a “pioneering approach” for the move, which means residents will arrive in waves as infrastructure allows. “They’re going over there next year without an airport, and they’re going over there without running water and sewer yet… They won’t have all the full infrastructure that would [meet] normal expectations, but they’re going over there in advance to make it happen, to make it real. And then we’ll slowly build up from there,” Dixon says. The hope is that with residents putting down roots in the new location, Mertarvik will be classified as a permanent community, opening up traditional facets for funding infrastructure development. The Newtok Village Council has decided that the residents who are to move first are those closest to the eroding shoreline of the Ningliq River. “Second are the homes on the northern end of our village which experience the worst effects from flooding, our Elders, and [then] working our way towards those homes towards the center of our community, working from south to north, away from the eroding Ningliq River,” John says. The goal is to have a sixty-five-house village with basic infrastructure by December 2023, Dixon says. Ultimately, the hope is to have one hundred homes in the village to accommodate the growing population. “We’re not looking to build a metropolis out there: mostly what we’re looking at is basic infrastructure. An airport, a school, a health clinic, a church, housing, and infrastructure/utilities to support all of those facilities,” Dixon says. “The 2019 season is a big construction season for us, so we’re expecting to


Traditional Land, Traditional Life Though establishing basic utilities to improve quality of life is an important part of the relocation process, the subsistence lifestyle of the Newtok people played a significant role in the decision of where to relocate. A subsistence map was drawn up early in the relocation process. “Some things will be farther away and some things will be closer,” Dixon says. “The village hunts muskox in the winter, and muskox will be closer to the new village, and there’s more berry picking by the new village. There’s a lot more ground-based access to subsistence resources across Nelson Island.” Inland water resources, such as pike, black fish, white fish, and a lot of the

salmon the community traditionally harvests will also be closer. However, some ocean resources, such as halibut and seals, will be farther away. “One of the reasons Newtok picked this site is because it is such a traditional site. It was part of their seasonal rotation of movement of tracking subsistence resources,” Dixon says. Another boon for Mertarvik, which means “place to gather water from a spring,” is a year-round natural spring that comes from an aquifer on the island. “There is a vast freshwater supply. Unfiltered, it is very cold and delicious. And that’s something we really need to sustain, not only the livelihood of these wonderful people but the health concerns,” Cadiente says. A full battery of testing performed on the aquifer revealed that it doesn’t need to be treated prior to consumption, though it does have some secondary contamination of iron, which is not a health concern, Dixon says. The site also avoids making the unforeseeable mistake made with regard to the original selection of Newtok. “It’s known that there were two Elders in the past who selected the current site

“The new site still allows us to practice our traditional lifestyle and to stay together as a community. Erosion and moving is hard, but we are still together and still living on the land we have always lived on, as our ancestors have done before us.” —Andrew John Tribal Administrator, Newtok Village

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put in thirteen homes, a power plant, a bulk fuel facility, a water plant. We’re expecting to do some extra work to accommodate the school, [using] the Mertarvik evacuation center as the primary school house,” Dixon says. “We’re looking at likely expanding the construction camp. We’ll run power lines and roads to all those facilities that are being constructed.”


“With these October storms and as the rate of erosion grows, the consensus feeling within the community is worried; those closest to the erosion feel the anxiety most, as they witness the effects on a day-to-day basis… Nearly the entire community feels on edge. I know [I] have had a lot of sleepless nights.” —Andrew John, Tribal Administrator, Newtok Village

of Newtok. Back then, the land was high and solid… Those two Elders have since passed… and over years the land has definitely changed. Now, it’s marshy and soggy and the land is much lower in elevation than it used to be,” says George Carl, vice president of the Newtok Village Council. “In my younger years, where I stood in the community, I would look miles and miles away but never see the river’s edge. Today, if you look out from my home, the edge is really just a few steps away.” Now, aware of at least some of the impacts of climate change on the Arctic, Mertarvik is being built on solid ground—Nelson Island is a volcanic island with limited, shallow permafrost. “We can put real foundations out there, and not have to do expensive and hard engineering design for building on 46 | December 2018

permafrost,” Dixon says. “Also, they have access to a rock quarry, so they can make rock right there.” The new site is located about thirtyfive feet above the river, avoiding possible issues from flooding. Being located on a hill also allows for the community to be designed with a gravity-based sewer system, which is significantly cheaper than the alternatives. Another feather in Mertarvik’s cap is access to a categorized wind resource. “[For] the first stage we’re going to have a really small electric grid, and that’s really hard to manage with dispatchable renewables, like solar and wind. So they’re going to start with diesel, and the goal is to start to work in specifically wind,” as the grid grows and can accommodate fluctuating energy generation, Dixon says.

Newtok has been a well-publicized example of climate-change induced relocation, but it isn’t the only community facing this challenge and will not be the last. “Newtok is lucky in that a lot of their traditional grounds include a place like this that has rock and clean water resources. Some communities that are facing similar challenges do not have such a clean place to go to,” Dixon says. Cadiente says he worries about what will happen to other communities. “What happens to the other thirty communities that are next in line, who see the progression of what this erosion, this climate change has does to their community?” he asks. “Not only that, but what about the people in the Lower 48 who are suffering from flooding, what happens to all of them?”


What are the steps you are going to undergo for a land exchange?” And, at the heart of it all is the desire to preserve a culture and a way of life. “Regardless of the move, our culture is the same, our traditional lands are the same. The new site still allows us to practice our traditional lifestyle and to stay together as a community. Erosion and moving is hard, but we are still together and still living on the land we have always lived on, as our ancestors have done before us,” John says.

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Flooding and melting permafrost have led to an environment where black mold thrives. ANTHC

Saint George, Alaska storm repair post-construction aerial inspection.

Lessons Learned and Shared In many ways, the rapid erosion of the Newtok Village shoreline has put them at the forefront of the conversation about slow-moving disasters as the council attempts to find additional federal funds for the relocation through the Stafford Act, a “federal law designed to bring an orderly and systemic means of federal natural disaster assistance for state and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to aid citizens.” However, that funding has not materialized for Newtok. “There are certainly language limitations in the Stafford Act that have prevented FEMA from helping the tribal community, and there needs to be something done to address the fact that slow-moving disasters should be covered under the funding available,”

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explains Paul Charles, president of the Newtok Village Council. Attempting to change the wording in the Stafford Act is just one of thousands of legal hurdles the Newtok Village Council is attempting to clear. And, with each attempt, lessons are being learned—and shared. “Newtok is very concerned with how they can share everything they’re doing and help other villages that are facing the same problems,” Dixon says. “The biggest thing for Newtok is learning and sharing how can you access different funding: What are the rules out there?


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Wide Open Spaces When warehouse space is your best construction bet By Vanessa Orr


hen you’re standing in line at Costco, you may not think much about the building that you’re in—you’re probably only reflecting on what a bargain you got on your 2,400-count case of paper towels. But what’s interesting about warehouses, other than how massive they can be, 48 | December 2018

is how many unique ways they can be used by different industries. According to William Hansen, director of marketing for Alaska Structures, there is no limit to a warehouse’s versatility. “Warehouses are used by oil and gas companies as pump station enclosures; by mining companies for onsite warehousing; by the auto industry as manufacturing facilities; by airports as hangars, maintenance and repair facilities, and luggage sorting and handling facilities; and by shipping companies as distribution warehouses,” he says. “Warehouses are perfect for pretty much any industry that requires a large, free-span building.”

Warehouses can be built in a number of ways using steel, pre-cast or tilt-up concrete, or with durable fabric, such as Alaska Structures’ proprietary architectural membrane that can be tensioned over high-strength galvanized steel or lightweight aluminum frames. “Our clients’ structures can be custom-designed and engineered to meet specific building requirements,” says Hansen, adding that Alaska Structures’ warehouse buildings have been used in more than sixty-five countries around the world. “Just like in a conventional building, we can add windows, equipment or personnel


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doors, lighting and electrical systems, insulation, and HVAC systems.” The company’s modular buildings, which are designed to be easily relocated, can be used permanently, semipermanently, or as temporary warehouse structures for companies working in remote locations or for short periods of time. The structures can be safely anchored to nearly any level surface— including dirt, gravel, and sand—or anchored to concrete footers, slabs, precast blocks, wood pilings, or spanned across shipping containers. Once set up, the structure is virtually maintenancefree. “Our tensioned membrane will not rot, offers a greater abrasion resistance than other PE- or PVC-based fabrics, is UV-stabilized to withstand prolonged exposure to the sun and high solar loads, is mold and mildew resistant, and exceeds the fire safety requirements outlined in the California Code of Regulations for membrane structures,” says Hansen. “For projects or locations that are near the coast and where sea spray is present, or if the structure is being used for storing corrosive materials, we offer powder coating to create a high-strength frame system that will resist corrosion.”

To Build or Not to Build There are many advantages to building a warehouse, including the fact that it can cost less than a typical brick-andmortar building and it takes less time to construct. “A typical warehouse probably costs 65 to 75 percent of the cost of a regular building, and you’re saving time because there’s not as much to do to finish the interior,” says Garrett Burtner, AIA, director of Technology & Innovation and principal architect at McCool Carlson Green. “While you might spend about the same amount of time on site development, foundation work, structural erection [for a steel building], and enclosure, you’ll spend less time creating office space or other enclosed areas.” Fabric warehouses take even less time, according to Hansen. “Our warehouse and storage facilities can be set up in a fraction of the time compared to steel buildings or conventional construction,” he says, adding that shorter construction schedules save time and allow companies to begin operating (and generating revenue) faster. He gives the example of Alaska Structures’ double-arched gabled buildings that are commonly used for onsite warehousing and storage facilities. A 30 by 130 by 21.5-foot building can be Alaska Business

“Warehouses are perfect for pretty much any industry that requires a large, free-span building.” —William Hansen Director of Marketing, Alaska Structures

set up in seven days; a 120 by 150 by 41.25-foot warehouse can be set up in fifteen days. An added benefit to using any type of warehouse is that it provides unfettered space. “Most warehouse buildings have a long span structure with few columns and no internal bearing walls, so you have freedom of layout,” says Burtner. “You might find other facilities in the area with similar square footage, but with a warehouse, you get more height and there are no walls to take out.” While rehabbing an existing warehouse might take less time than building a new one, it comes with its own challenges. December 2018 | 49


An Alaska Structures warehouse being used as a vehicle storage facility.


“A typical warehouse probably costs 65 to 75 percent of the cost of a regular building, and you’re saving time because there’s not as much to do to finish the interior… While you might spend about the same amount of time on site development, foundation work, structural erection [for a steel building], and enclosure, you’ll spend less time creating office space or other enclosed areas.” —Garrett Burtner, Principal Architect, McCool Carlson Green

“If a company is not changing uses— for example, if the building was permitted and built as a warehouse and is remaining a warehouse, it’s not super complicated,” says Burtner. “But if the building is of a certain age and the new owner decides to change the use, they are compelled to bring it up to current codes. Even if the use remains the same, many companies choose to bring buildings up to code for risk management and liability issues.” In addition to assessing the location and condition of the building, companies also need to decide what it will cost to make it suit their particular needs. “While the building may have raised loading

bays for trucks to use, this won’t work if you need to drive forklifts in and out, so you’ll need to install garage doors at ground level,” says Burtner. McCool Carlson Green is currently in the process of helping two clients determine if existing warehouse space is right for them: Burtner is working with the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility (AWWU) to find warmer vehicle storage space and with the Alaska Railroad to look at the old Odom Corporation warehouse on West 1 st Avenue in Anchorage. The Odom Corporation recently invested in the construction of a new $40 million, 200,000-square-foot warehouse near

West International Airport Road, one of the largest warehouses in the state. “When Odom built their new facility, it left their old building empty, and we’re looking at whether it can be reused as a warehouse for the railroad or converted to something else,” says Burtner, who is in the process of conducting a facility assessment and code study on the building.

Creating a Customer Space While most often used for manufacturing, fabrication, and storage facilities, companies such as Costco, Walmart, Fred Meyer, and more use warehouses as retail facilities.

Warehouses have many uses, including serving as maintenance facilities and workforce housing. Alaska Structures

50 | December 2018


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“For the most part, our buildings— which usually run about 150,000 square feet—are used for retail,” says Costco Vice President of Real Estate Jack Frank. “Whether we build from the ground up or use an existing structure depends on the situation. “In the case of our Juneau and Anchorage stores, we basically built from scratch,” he continues. “In Fairbanks, we adapted an old Sam’s Club building because it was in the right location and in relatively good condition. It was a question of economics and location and, ultimately, it made sense.” When determining whether to rehab a space or to invest in a new building, Costco takes a number of factors into consideration. “It usually takes about six months to construct a new building; far less if we’re just doing interior tenant improvements,” says Frank. “And if the building already exists, it doesn’t require a land use review or special permitting like what is required when you build on a greenfield site; that pretty much paves the way.” In the case of the Fairbanks renovation, for example, it took approximately two months to conduct site work and two months for the build-out, with the whole process taking roughly 120 days from start to finish. The Fairbanks Costco is the company’s fourth location in Alaska; it also has one store in Juneau and two in Anchorage. While the company works with the same architectural firm throughout North America, it typically hires local or regional engineering firms on Alaska projects. Unlike typical warehouses that are designed mainly for storage or distribution, Costco is unique in that almost all of its square footage is used for selling space. “We have no real back-of-house area; our warehouse is filled with high steel where the product is placed so that it is ready to be moved into a selling position,” says Frank, adding that Costco does have a network of crossdock freight distribution buildings placed strategically throughout North America to efficiently move product from place to place. No matter what industry a company is in, the idea of constructing or converting warehouse space—whether for customer use, high-volume sales, or simply as a storage solution—may make sense for the bottom line.


Behind the Scenes of Heavy Hauls Collaboration and communication get the job done


By Brad Joyal

etween its vast landscapes and underdeveloped or nonexistent road systems, navigating through

52 | December 2018

Alaska can be daunting. Whether driving a four-door sedan or a semitrailer, traversing the 49th state is often a tricky endeavor, especially when hauling heavy loads, an integral aspect of transportation in Alaska that STR Alaska President Curtis Spencer describes as “very challenging.”

The Regulations Before companies can even hit the road and begin worrying about the dangers

they may encounter around the state, there are restrictions and guidelines they must follow to obtain permits for their hauls. “Chapter 25 Operations, Wheeled Vehicles” outlines the regulations of 17 AAC 25, which the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) issued as a guideline for commercial vehicle size, weight, and permit regulations required to travel on public roads. In general, the width of a vehicle,



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including its load, can’t be wider than 8.5 feet or taller than 15 feet. There is an exception for vehicles traveling the Dalton and Elliott Highways, as they are allowed to have a height, including load, of 17 feet. Power vehicles may not exceed 45 feet in length, and the cargocarrying length of a semitrailer or trailer may not exceed 53 feet without arranging for necessary permits. The overall length of a combination of vehicles—for example, a truck and one cargo-carrying vehicle or a truck tractor and two cargocarrying vehicles—may not exceed 75 feet, though a combination of a truck tractor and one cargo-carrying vehicle is not subjected to an overall length limit, according to 17 AAC 25. Weight restrictions are determined by many factors, including the weight per linear inch of tire width and the weight on the axles. A single axle, for example, is limited to 20,000 pounds, while a 4-axle group has a limit of 50,000 pounds. Multi-axle groups must carry at least 6,000 pounds if the axle group weight is more than 50 percent of the legal group weight, and there are also minimum spacing requirements determined by the amount of axles that are being used.

54 | December 2018

Fortunately, the state’s transportation companies aren’t just familiar with the regulations they must adhere to, they know them backward and forward. Black Gold Express General Manager Jeremy Huffman says, “A lot of our guys have been driving for us for years, so they’re familiar with the restrictions and regulations.”

Heavy or Oversize Loads But understanding the regulations and procedures is just step one—Huffman says plenty of preparation is required to make sure hauls can take place. “When we’re looking at doing an oversize move, we’ll do a route assessment and make sure that we have the clearance to do it,” he says. “If we can, we apply for a permit through the state, and they’ll say, ‘This is how fast you can go, how many pilot cars you have to have, how many axles you have to have,’ all those precautions.” While the most visible heavy haul transports are likely big trucks carrying oversize or unusual loads, they aren’t the only hauls being conducted in Alaska. Some companies, such as Lynden, have the ability to transport heavy hauls in a variety of ways. “With Lynden’s integrated marine and air services, our heavy haul

capabilities include intermodal services that extend beyond where the road ends,” says Eric Badger, president of Alaska West Express, part of the Lynden family of companies. Because every client has different needs, it’s important for companies to be able to transport a wide variety of heavy hauls, including the machinery, pipes, and oilfield modules that operators in Alaska’s industrial sectors require. Lynden prides itself on being able to meet customers’ requirements, regardless of the project. “Most projects for which customers require transportation services will typically entail a combination of overweight and oversize transports, some oversize only, as well as a wide array of associated legal loads,” says Badger. “Lynden has provided logistic support, legal load, and heavy haul services for a number of large projects over the years. These would include oilfield modules and other commodities for various oilfield upgrades such as Lisburne, Milne Point, Kuparuk, Oooguruk, Alpine, Prudhoe Bay, and Point Thomson. Other projects Lynden has participated in are refinery construction and upgrades, pipeline building and maintenance upgrades, power generation upgrades, construction of gold mining facilities,


“Radio communication has been very, very helpful in avoiding dangerous situations… If somebody is spun out at the bottom or the top of a hill, and somebody comes roaring up the hill and there they are, it’d be good to have some advance notice.” —Aves Thompson, Executive Director, Alaska Trucking Association

wind power generation, various road and facilities construction, seismic research, and bridge girders, to name a few.” Every haul has challenges, though some are more complicated than others. Lynden cites the Pogo Mine project as a particularly interesting haul: “Lynden was contracted to oversee the movement of needed heavy machinery, oversize camp modules, and all other goods to the remote mine site over a winter ice road, with the goal to supply the construction effort through the summer, until the 50-plus-mile all season road was to be completed,” says Badger. “This required over 500 inbound loads to be collected from all directions, transferred to a staging area, and then organized into

daily supply convoys for delivery to the mine site seven days a week during a 2.5 month period.” Lynden completed the project successfully, and Badger says projects like Pogo Mine have allowed the company to continue to “build a resume of capabilities that provides customers with seamless door-to-door project and heavy haul services.” Heavy hauls are transported throughout the state, though some companies say the Dalton Highway is where the bulk of their work is typically completed. Huffman estimates that more than 50 percent of Black Gold Express’ work takes place on the notorious highway

Alaska Business

north of Fairbanks. “Most of what we do is go up and down the Dalton Highway,” Huffman says, adding that the highway presents a set of challenges that is rarely matched in other parts of the country. “That, in and of itself, is a different animal,” Huffman continues. “You don’t have cell phone service for 500 miles. When you’re doing a heavy haul in the [Lower 48], it’s definitely different than doing it on the Dalton Highway.” Spencer agrees, noting that the Dalton Highway even has an established nickname among companies and their drivers. “Everybody knows it as ‘the haul road,’” Spencer explains. “The haul road is an extremely challenging road to haul oversized loads up.”

December 2018 | 55

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Because the Dalton Highway is unique, it often attracts daring tourists who are eager (but generally lacking in experience) to make a trek up one of the Last Frontier’s most isolated roads. Their unfamiliarity with the haul road and its conditions can actually become a hazard or obstacle for professional drivers. But tourists aren’t the only obstacles drivers encounter while completing heavy hauls up the highway. “We have a lot of wildlife,” Spencer says. One solution to non-professional, inexperienced drivers and unpredictable wildlife is having open lines of communication. In order for drivers to be alerted about potentially dangerous situations, drivers rely on radio and satellite phones for communication while transporting heavy hauls, which can range from anywhere from 50,000 to more than 100,000 pounds. And communication in Alaska and throughout the country has been undergoing a change for the last several years. In 2013, the FCC issued a rule stating all VHF radios must be banded in an effort to combat overcrowded frequencies. Because so many Alaska trucking companies operate on their own frequencies, the Alaska Trucking Association (ATA) and its members began communicating with ProComm, one of the state’s largest radio communication companies, to determine how the industry could utilize radio communications without every single company entering into written agreements with the FCC. ATA applied for a license to operate up to a dozen channels, which the FCC approved. ATA member and nonmember companies can pay for access to this frequency-sharing agreement. Of the twelve channels ATA applied for, ten are ATA Talk channels, one is the ATA Alert channel (to communicate an emergency or road hazard), and the final is the ATA Hail channel (for one driver to hail and direct another driver to a talk channel). Aves Thompson, ATA executive director, says radio communication plays a crucial role in ensuring heavy haul transporters remain safe, particularly on isolated roads where there is little to no traffic. “It’s pretty much a way of life,” says Thompson. “If you don’t have communication, you’re pretty much out of luck. If you get stuck, you’re stuck.” While Thompson says

that radio communication is an important method of warning other drivers of wildlife near or on the road, he stresses its core function is to report incidents. “Radio communication has been very, very helpful in avoiding dangerous situations,” he says. “If somebody is spun out at the bottom or the top of a hill, and somebody comes roaring up the hill and there they are, it’d be good to have some advance notice.”

Answering the Challenge How to communicate with other drivers is just one obstacle heavy haul operators face when they travel through Alaska— there’s also the challenge of brutal weather conditions present for much of the year. Temperatures can plummet well below zero, so drivers take precautions against unforeseen circumstances that may result in disaster. “Tire chains, chaining up on hills, and making sure you have your cold weather gear with you” are among the precautions Black Gold Express drivers take for any haul in winter months, Huffman says. “If you break down and you’re by yourself on the road, that could mean life or death out there.” In addition to the inherent risks of winter, there is more to be aware of when hauling goods throughout the state. “In Alaska, being challenged by the environment is only one half of the equation,” Badger explains. “The other half of the equation entails the challenge presented by the geography of the road traveled getting to the delivery point. This may be the Dalton Highway, any number of other roadways in Alaska, or various ice roads to locations that would otherwise not be accessible in summer.” Despite the risks and obstacles, heavy haul transportation is a vital part of Alaska’s transportation picture, and the state’s transporters have found ways to approach these jobs safely while making a profit, with many of them seeking out heavy hauls. “We definitely like the heavier stuff,” says Huffman, noting one of Black Gold Express’ current projects is hauling a 105,000-pound load to Prudhoe Bay. “The bigger, the better. We do regular freight moves, too—moving pipe and stuff like that—but we do consider ourselves a heavy haul carrier… We’re not just limited to do that, that’s what we really like to do.”


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Alaska CARES

Alaska CARES building under construction in late October 2018. © O’Hara Shipe

A safe place for Alaska’s most vulnerable victims By Isaac Stone Simonelli


ith sexual assault and child abuse cases hitting all-time highs for Alaska CARES Child Advocacy Center and Forensic Nursing Services of Providence in Anchorage, construction is rapidly moving forward on a new multi­ d isciplinary facility in Midtown. The custom-designed center—which will continue to house detectives from the Anchorage Police Department Crimes Against Children Unit and Special Victims Unit; an investigative unit from the Alaska State Troopers; Office of Children Services; Alaska CARES; and Forensic Nursing— broke ground in February, and it’s anticipated service providers will be settled into their new offices by April 2019. 58 | December 2018

Treating Trauma “We are on track to see Alaska CARES work with about 1,000 children this year. And Forensic Nursing is also seeing record numbers,” says Bryant Skinner, manager of Alaska CARES and Forensic Nursing Services of Providence. Though the year was nearly over with about 250 cases in Forensic Nursing in October, Skinner expects to see that number jump closer to 350 by the end of December, which would be a 40 percent increase over prior years. “Unfortunately, the holidays are often the busiest time of year in Forensic Nursing,” Skinner says. Alaska CARES Medical Director Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson notes that for many years Alaska has had one of the highest rates per capita of child abuse and sexual assault in the country. “There’s probably a number of different reasons for that,” Baldwin-Johnson says. “There are a lot of people who move to Alaska who are isolated and don’t have a lot of other family or social support. We

have a lot of problems with substance abuse in our state, which certainly contributes to the problem. We also have generational and historical trauma in our state, so I think it’s multi-factorial.” The increased risk factors of maltreatment of children also include mental health issues, depression, and seasonal affective disorder. Lieutenant Shaun Henry, commander of APD Detective Team 3, which includes the Crimes Against Children and Special Victims Units, says that another reason for the higher number of reports in Anchorage could be the continued expansion of facilities and resources for victims to seek aid for sexual assault, abuse, counseling, or medical necessity. “It’s my belief that, by providing these necessary resources and making them more available to the Alaska community, more people will be able to report the incidents and get the assistance they need,” Henry says. “The new facility is a very desirable and most welcome upgrade for everyone working together as a team


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Rendering of the northwest corner of the Alaska CARES Child Advocacy Center, currently under construction. KPB Architects | Providence

inside it. As we continue to grow, so that we may provide better services to the public, more space is definitely needed and this new facility gives us one—of many—opportunities to do just that.”

Alaska CARES A big part of that picture is Alaska CARES, which is responsible for helping children who have experienced trauma from abuse. The Child Advocacy Center was established to provide comprehensive, child-centered, and compassionate care. “Victim advocates, law enforcement, child protection, tribal health, forensic medicine, and mental health professionals all work together in the same facility to support Alaska’s most vulnerable children,” the Alaska CARES website says. The Child Advocacy Center model is the brainchild of former Alabama congressman Robert E. Cramer, who was a district attorney in Madison County, Alabama, in the 1980s when he saw a need to create a better system to help abused children. What he noticed was that children were being asked to talk about a traumatic experience over and over as they

moved between different departments and agencies, from medical providers to police departments. Skinner explains the model was created as a way to bring all those professionals into one place and have them work as a team, reducing the trauma for the child. “The foundation of the model really is the multidisciplinary team that we work with, all of them really buying into this idea of putting children first in our investigations, our decision making, and how we are approaching a case,” Skinner says. “That means coming together as a team and deciding who’s best to do the interview and making sure we are traumafocused in our response. It’s very helpful for us—and we are very blessed—to have all our partners that we primarily work with under one roof.” The program was co-located in its current facility in 2007 and witnessed an almost 20 percent jump in cases that year. “I think it allowed us to better collaborate and communicate about what’s best for kids and allowed medical professionals and advocates to advocate for what’s best Alaska Business

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Alaska CARES building under construction in late October 2018.


for them and kind of have the ear of those state agencies and better serve more kids,” Skinner says, noting that it seems unreasonable to assume that the increase was a coincidence. With the leases expiring for the current building, which is owned by Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, it was necessary to find, or build, a new facility.

A polar bear exam table is part of the new, custom-built Alaska CARES multidisciplinary facility set to be operational next year. Providence Health & Services Alaska

The Upgraded Facility Construction of the new, almost $13 million facility is funded by Providence Health & Services Alaska and many community partners that have contributed roughly half of the costs to date. “We’ve gotten some really major gifts from amazing partners, including Southcentral Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, ConocoPhillips, and others that have really stepped up to support the project,” Skinner says. “It’s really a combination of Providence taking a lead and then also asking the community and our other partners to help out. “Providence sees these services as really mission driven. They’re not services that create a lot of revenue. When you’re serving sexual assault victims, whether children or adults, those aren’t services

that are billed in a way that you can have a lot of cost recovery and justify a new space like this.” With Providence supplying the necessary up-front funds, a team was pulled together to design the new space; the team visited facilities in the Lower 48 to gather ideas and determine which of those could be best implemented in Alaska.

One of the primary adjustments to the overall design for the Alaska CARES facility is how patients flow through the building. Children no longer need to walk through staff space; instead they will only be in contact with the team that is working directly with them. “You might have a child who has come here and talked about some sort

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of abuse and then comes back for therapy and has to walk through the same space where they did a forensic interview or a medical evaluation,” Skinner says. “We pulled that portion of our program out and we have a very different space designed for that. So they are not walking through that same space again, as often it might re-traumatize them or bring up those memories.” Major changes were also made to the forensic interview rooms, which are now completely soundproofed. “We put a lot of effort into making sure there is no transference of sound from the rest of the clinic or even the other interview rooms when we’re doing multiple interviews. A lot of thought went into that to make sure that children are not distracted during a forensic interview by other staff walking by or noises from the next room or the rest of the clinic,” Skinner says. The medical exam rooms were also redesigned, explains Baldwin-Johnson. The new rooms will be larger to provide staff the necessary room for forensic evidence collection. Additionally, the rooms were created to be as child friendly as possible.

“For example, one of the exam tables we use for younger kids actually is shaped like a polar bear,” Baldwin-Johnson says. “The colors in the room are going to match with the bear’s colors; the polar bear has blue eyes, so we’re kind of bringing in some of those calming blue colors

in that exam room and then the paint and everything is going to reflect that.” The exam tables were also created to help empower children and make them more comfortable. “The exam tables are fully accessible, which means that they go down really low Locations: (907) 562-0321 3851 Piper Street, Suite U340 Anchorage, Alaska

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Building equipment sits in front of the Alaska CARES construction site in late October 2018. © O’Hara Shipe

so that even a relatively small child who is mobile can climb up onto the exam table themselves and be empowered by that,” Baldwin-Johnson says. The design changes significantly in the exam room for older kids and teenagers who might be victims of sexual abuse or sexual assault. The color scheme in this room uses purples and greens, which are healing colors, explains BaldwinJohnson. “We put a lot of thought into this for forensic nursing as well,” Skinner says. “Adult victims of sexual assault have a separate entrance that is really mindful of their privacy.” Adult patients are brought into exam suites, which have an interview room, a small waiting area, and a bathroom with a shower. “If we didn’t do that work, those victims would likely go to an emergency department and be sitting—you know how it is at an ER—sitting with many different people. And then they would have their exams in an ER room where it’s noisy, there’s multiple people, there is very little privacy, so a lot of thought went into that design,” Skinner says. In addition to dealing with acute response to child abuse or child maltreatment investigations—sexual abuse, physical abuse, witness to homicide, severe neglect, abusive head trauma cases, failure to thrive, and medical neglect—the clinic provides advocacy and ongoing mental health therapy services.

“A lot of adult victims of sexual assault were also child abuse victims,” BaldwinJohnson says. “They have trauma in their past, and so Alaska CARES is really working to have early intervention with young people and put them on a better path in hopes that we don’t have to serve them in forensic nursing later on.” In all cases, Henry points out that having other agencies “just across the hall” will continue to be very beneficial with regard to efficiency and providing the best care to those served. “Anytime you have a team environment, as we do with everyone working out of the MDC, it just makes sense to have them close by and ready to help each other out,” Henry says. “The victims and community members that the various agencies in the building serve deserve the best response from us, and this new facility will allow us to do just that.” Though funding for the new facility wasn’t confirmed until February, Davis Constructors & Engineers started work on the site the day after the money came through, putting the project on target for completion in February 2019. Everything is still on track, and Skinner, Baldwin-Johnson, Henry, and their colleagues are set to hit the ground running in April, continuing to provide essential services to some of the most vulnerable members of our community. For more information about Alaska CARES, please visit  Alaska Business

December 2018 | 63


The Most Stable Industry in Alaska Fierce demand increases healthcare construction By Julie Stricker


ob security is likely not a concern for those working in the healthcare industry, either as caregivers or tangentially constructing healthcare facilities. Even during the worst economic times this sector shows continuous and substantial growth.

64 | December 2018

“It just grows and it’s been growing relentlessly for a very, very long time,” says state labor economist Neal Fried. “It’s still continuing to do that.” In the past decade, new healthcare facilities have been built in Alaska’s population centers, as well as hub cities for


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rural areas such as Nome and Bethel. That trend is continuing, with new construction and upgrades to facilities in Soldotna, Anchorage, Palmer, and Southeast Alaska in the works or planning stages through 2020.

Healthcare Development Healthcare is Alaska’s largest private sector employer. A decade ago, the Alaska healthcare industry employed 27,800 workers. By 2010, that number had grown to 30,200. By August 2018, 38,500 people were employed by the state’s healthcare organizations.

“That’s pretty serious growth,” Fried says. “No other industry is growing that way. There is no other industry that is growing so consistently over time. It’s kind of amazing that it’s that large and it’s growing that rapidly and it’s still on that trajectory of growth.” Alaska’s largest non-government employer is Providence Health and Services, which operates the state’s largest hospital, Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, as well as hospitals in Seward, Kodiak, and Valdez. But healthcare is more than hospitals, Fried says.

“There’s also clinics,” he says. “Hospitals aren’t really true hospitals anymore. They’re not just a place people go to spend the night. There’s a lot of day stuff going on: a lot of clinics that go on in hospitals, labs, all kinds of other things. So they’ve become more of a hybrid as well. All the doctors’ offices, nursing facilities, and other things, they’re counted in healthcare.” It also has an impact on the construction side, Fried says. “That’s expensive construction. In some places, like Bethel and Nome, it’s an even bigger player for those economies. Healthcare may be the largest single source of jobs,” he says, noting that the school district is usually the other large employer. In addition, the hospitals in those hub communities also serve many rural communities in the region. Before most medical facilities are built, however, they must go through an approval process with the State of Alaska called a Certificate of Need. The process ensures responsible development, “rational health planning, healthcare quality, access to healthcare, and healthcare cost containment,” according to the Alaska Department of Health Care Services.

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One area of great need is mental health services. Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna added six detox beds in 2017 in response to the opioid epidemic. Although the number seems small, there are only thirty detox beds statewide, concentrated in Anchorage and Fairbanks. The idea is to give patients a safe place to detox and relieve some of the burden on emergency rooms. The new Soldotna facility is called Care Transitions, which received a $1 million grant in early 2017. Central Peninsula Hospital plans to open an inpatient facility next to Care Transitions, which also will feature a program that teaches patients life skills. Addiction is often related to mental health issues. There are few treatment facilities around the state for adolescents with mental illness, so most are transferred to facilities in Anchorage, which can move those youth away from friends, family, and other support systems. “The need for substance abuse and mental health treatment resources is overwhelming and growing,” said Alaska Representative Ivy Spohnholz in a news release announcing the approval of


health service providers and services such as oncology, a pharmacy, advanced wound care, and hyperbaric therapy. Wasilla-based general contractor Howdie Inc. built the outpatient facility. When these projects are complete, they will more than double the current medical capacity in Palmer. For many patients outside the main population centers, a medical emergency usually means they must travel to Fairbanks or Anchorage for treatment. Such is the case for heart patients on the Kenai Peninsula. In 2017, Central Peninsula Hospital decided to proceed with plans to install the Peninsula’s first catheterization lab, where cardiac patients can receive angiograms and have pacemakers implanted. Currently, cardiology patients must go to Anchorage for treatment. The lab, as well as an update to its obstetrics department, is expected to be funded by $28.9 million in revenue bonds. Central Peninsula Hospital is a fortynine-bed acute care hospital opened in 1971, owned by the Kenai Peninsula Borough and operated by the nonprofit Central Peninsula General Hospital.

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Other Healthcare Construction Mat-Su officials say its other medical facilities are insufficient for its current needs and have asked for additional expansions. State officials project Mat-Su’s

population to grow another 22 percent by 2025. The current hospital, which has forty-nine medical-surgical beds, operates at capacity almost every day, according to a letter sent to Mat-Su residents. It has a total of seventy-four beds and is owned by Community Health Systems. The hospital received a Certificate of Need to expand its emergency department and behavioral health program. Under the proposal, the hospital will add twelve beds to the eighteen in its current emergency department. Eight of those would be general treatment beds and four would be rooms tailored to patients with mental health concerns. The expansion will be up to 17,600 square feet in size and cost about $14.5 million. It also would be completed in late 2020, dovetailing with the already approved mental health facility. Part of the facility will go into a third-floor space that was shelled in but left undeveloped when the hospital was built in 2006. A 40,000-square-foot medical plaza at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center was completed in summer 2018. The new Medical Plaza II is adjacent to the existing medical facility and houses

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two projects that would add dozens of mental health treatment beds in Palmer and Anchorage. Spohnholz is an Anchorage Democrat and the chairwoman of the House Health and Social Services Committee. The two facilities, Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center in Palmer, were approved to add twenty-four beds and thirty-six beds, respectively. “These new resources will help fill a well-documented gap in treatment capacity in the population centers of Anchorage and the Mat-Su Borough,” Spohnholz said. “These sixty new treatment beds will allow many more behavioral health patients to stay closer to home where they often have support structures in place to assist in their longterm recovery efforts.” Both communities have been hardhit by the opioid epidemic and do not have the appropriate resources to address it. Mat-Su Regional Medical Center in Palmer has only two beds for mental health patients and increasingly needs to turn away people suffering from mental health and drug abuse issues because of a lack of facilities. Often, the emergency room has to go on what it calls “psych divert” when it finds out a potentially violent person is being brought to the facility. In those cases, a room may have to be emptied so the mental health patient has a safe place to be evaluated. According to the hospital, it went on “psych divert” only 5 times in 2012. In 2016, it happened 234 times. The mental health facility in Palmer will be new construction with an estimated cost of $19.3 million, paid for by private funds. Completion is expected to be in 2020. The twenty-four beds in Anchorage are located in a portion of Alaska Regional Hospital that wasn’t in use. Total cost of the renovation of the 11,125-squarefoot facility is estimated at $6.8 million, paid for by the Hospital Corporation of America, which owns the hospital. Those beds were expected to be available this year.


“The fastest-growing part of our population for a number of years is people over sixty-five. As we age, we use a heck of a lot more healthcare [services]. So that very powerful demographic force is in play.” —Neal Fried, State Labor Economist

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In 2003, the hospital began a multiphase project to expand and upgrade its facilities, which includes adding the detox beds and obstetrics upgrades. The sixth and final phase includes the catheterization lab and other facilities, adding about 28,700 square feet and renovating another 26,000 square feet, according to the project description. It includes adding three beds to its intensive care facility and expanding the pharmacy. The new construction replaces an existing wing, which will be joined on three sides by existing buildings. Construction



began in summer 2018, with estimated completion in 2020. Total project costs are estimated to be about $32 million. Further south on the Peninsula, the Homer Medical Center completed a major expansion in 2018. The facilities are owned by the borough and the center is operated in partnership with South Peninsula Hospitals. The project added 5,584 square feet and an additional five examination rooms, a procedure room, phlebotomy draw room, lab, and imaging facilities. It was funded through general obligation bonds in the South

Peninsula Hospital Service Area. Steiner Construction was the contractor for the project. In Anchorage, Walsh Construction worked on a major renovation of the US Air Force Hospital on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The renovations are over two floors, about 12,000 square feet. The project includes upgrades to two operating rooms, surgical support areas, and a sterile supply facility. An MRI facility will also be renovated to provide better workflow for patients and staff. “We are proud to provide turn-key Alaska Business

construction services to the US Air Force and make a small contribution that will offer enhanced healthcare to those who provide our freedom and their families,� says Matt Clugston, senior project manager for Walsh Construction, of the project that is slated for completion in summer 2019.

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years. Two of the proposals, one from Quorum Health Resources and one from the Sitka Jet Center, were dismissed in a community meeting in August. That leaves a proposal from the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), a nonprofit made up of fifteen Southeast Alaska tribes, that operates the Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital and several clinics in the city of 9,000 residents, as well as other facilities throughout Southeast Alaska. SEARHC’s proposal would allow it to acquire the hospital business for $9 million; lease the hospital facility from the city for $140,000 per year; guarantee employment for the current staff; assume pension liabilities; and allow the city to keep the $900,000 in tobacco monies it currently directs to the hospital. In 2017, SEARHC merged with Wrangell-based Alaska Island Community Services. Under that agreement, SEARHC assumed the clinic’s property tax obligations and established a local advisory board. It set aside a percentage of surplus funds to local initiates to improve residents’ health and well-being. In late 2018, SEARHC took over operations at Wrangell Medical Center (WMC) while it builds a new healthcare campus adjacent to the Alaska Island Community Services Medical Clinic. The new facility will include a critical access hospital and long-term care facility. The SEARHC Board is unwavering in its commitment to provide the best healthcare possible for its communities, says Board Chair Kimberley Strong. “By assuming responsibility for WMC and building a new healthcare campus, we are serving all of Wrangell and ensuring access to quality, long-lasting services.” As communities continue to build and upgrade their medical facilities, Fried says the growth trend is far from over, thanks to demographics. “One of the reasons we believe healthcare will probably continue to grow, even though it’s very expensive and to some extent puts a burden on the economy, is because of our age structure,” he says. “The fastest-growing part of our population for a number of years is people over sixty-five. As we age, we use a heck of a lot more healthcare [services]. So that very powerful demographic force is in play.”




Alaska Business

December 2018 | 71


Connecting to Healthcare Money, time, and limited services increase women’s health risk By Isaac Stone Simonelli


hree of the greatest barriers of entry for women to access healthcare in Alaska are education, time, and financial restraints—whether perceived or actual. “First of all, it’s making the time, making it a priority,” says Julie Taylor, CEO of Alaska Regional Hospital. “Second is what is their out of pocket expense going to be? Is their insurance plan going to cover it with very little co-pay or deductible or do they have to pay a $5,000 deductible before they go in and get those things done?”

Medicare | Medicaid Nonetheless, with Medicare and Medicaid there shouldn’t be as many issues with 72 | December 2018

uninsured or underinsured women accessing certain preventive healthcare services, such as mammograms or cervical cancer screenings, Taylor explains. “But there are not that many clinics that take Medicare and Medicaid,” she says, noting that Alaska Regional Hospital accepts both programs. The reason many private practices will only take a limited number of Medicare and Medicaid patients is directly linked to economics. “I think we need more primary care for those with Medicaid and Medicare. I think there’s plenty for the commercially insured, but it’s because reimbursement isn’t fantastic with Medicare and Medicaid,”

Taylor says. “There are providers who limit their practice on how many [Medicare and Medicaid patients] they can afford to take. And, I understand it. The economics are not good, especially in Alaska, where it does cost more to run a business.”

CHCs | Title X As a result, many practices need to have a balanced mix of payers to keep their doors open. However, individuals—male or female, of any age, and at all income levels—can access low-cost primary care and preventive health services through more than 160 federallyfunded Community Health Centers (CHCs) located throughout Alaska, says



The Planned Parenthood facility in Anchorage. Planned Parenthood

CORE SERVICES Kelly Keeter, the Adult Health Services Unit/Family Planning Program Manager for the Alaska Division of Public Health. Included at some of these locations are comprehensive health and family planning services for women. “CHCs offer services on a sliding discount schedule based on income and family size and accept Medicaid, Medicare, and most private insurance, so ability or inability to pay for services is not a barrier to care,” says Keeter. “Although less numerous in Alaska than CHCs, Title X-funded Family Planning Centers offer comprehensive, highquality, low-cost family planning and related preventive health services to females

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Planned Parenthood’s Fairbanks facility. Planned Parenthood

and males of all income levels and ages.” Title X funding guarantees the right to family planning services regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. The Municipality of Anchorage Health Department’s Reproductive Health Clinic and the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic in Homer are funded through the State of Alaska’s Title X grant program, and Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands operates Title X funded family planning centers in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Soldotna, and Juneau. Individuals of all ages and income levels can get care at reduced rates or free, in some cases, depending on income and family size.

Other Aid Along with CHCs and Title X centers, Alaska Native-operated health organizations across the state use Community Health Aides to provide preventive, primary, and urgent care services through Village Health Centers throughout most Alaska communities, Keeter says, before 74 | December 2018

noting that her concern is about other hurdles to accessing healthcare. Keeter points out that, although there are many avenues for women to seek healthcare services statewide, a lack of awareness about these services, compounded by a lack of understanding about the importance of preventive health services (such as routine breast and cervical cancer screenings), can present barriers to

access for many women. Other, but just as important, concerns include providing proper education regarding topics such as the prevention of unintended pregnancies and how to minimize exposure to a wide range of health risks, such as unhealthy or abusive relationships and substance abuse. “Other barriers to accessing care include perceived or actual lack of confidential

“There are providers who limit their practice on how many [Medicare and Medicaid patients] they can afford to take. And, I understand it. The economics are not good, especially in Alaska, where it does cost more to run a business.” —Julie Taylor CEO, Alaska Regional Hospital


The Alaska Regional Image alliance ribbon-cutting ceremony in October. Alaska Regional

Health. “More than 585 cases of breast cancer, 62 cases of cervical cancer, and 4,316 precancerous cervical conditions have been diagnosed through this program.”

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services [like family planning and STD/HIV screening and treatment], perceived or actual financial cost of services, language, and/or transportation barriers,” Keeter says. “Finally, lack of availability of—and access to—the most effective forms of birth control, as well as non-directive, client-centered counseling and education about all methods of unintended pregnancy prevention, are large barriers for women of reproductive age in Alaska. Although all Title X-funded agencies in Alaska provide these services and methods, this comprehensive approach to women’s health and family planning varies greatly across other providers in Alaska, leaving many women at a disadvantage for preventing unintended pregnancy and/or achieving adequate birth spacing.” One program that helps low-income, uninsured, or underinsured Alaskans is Ladies First, formerly the Alaska Breast and Cervical Health Check Program, established in 1995 and funded by the CDC. “We have been around for about twentyfive years and in that time have provided over 148,000 health screening services to over 62,000 Alaskans,” says Anne Remick, Ladies First program director for the Alaska Division of Public


“Cervical cancer is preventable with the HPV vaccine and screening test [Pap smears and HPV testing]; we should be able to eliminate mortality from cervical cancer with access to these preventative services. However, we are seeing more patients in rural areas and through Indian Health Services with advanced cases.” —Dr. Tanya Pasternack Planned Parenthood

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past three years. However, in Alaska cervical cancer rates have fluctuated, whereas there has been a steady decline across the United States, says Dr. Tanya Pasternack of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands, which includes Alaska. Though many programs, including Ladies First, cover transportation costs, Alaska’s rural nature and geographical barriers do limit access, says Pasternack. “We also hear from patients who are trying to access care that the modes of transportation aren’t always reliable: the state is facing some significant budget shortfalls and that will change ferry service or other transportation services, making it difficult for people to get the services they need,” Pasternack says. “Cervical cancer is preventable with the HPV vaccine and screening test [Pap smears and HPV testing]; we should be able to eliminate mortality from cervical cancer with access to these preventative services. However, we are seeing more patients in rural areas and through Indian Health Services [IHS] with advanced cases.” And though there are programs out there to cover underinsured and uninsured Alaskan women, Pasternack sees cost as the biggest barrier to women accessing healthcare services in Alaska and throughout the nation, despite the Medicaid Expansion in the state. “We were proud to see Medicaid Expansion in Alaska, which has covered more than 40,000 Alaskans. A lot of our state’s healthcare is provided through this, and because the clinics/hospitals are federally funded, their providers cannot perform abortions at their facilities.

Alaska 11/1/18 6:51 AM

See the Need, Make the Time For women who do understand the importance of preventative healthcare services and have affordable access to such services, it can still be hard to make the time, Taylor says. In October, Alaska Regional Hospital had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Alaska Regional Imaging Alliance, which offers 3D mammography and a wide range of women’s imaging services. “You can get everything done at once, from your mammograms to your bone density to follow-up care. Everything is right there,” Taylor says. “And that’s what we need. We’re busy. We’re either carting kids around or leading busy lives and getting home in the evening and still having a home to take care of. If you can’t find a way to squeeze that in and make it convenient, we’re going to be the last ones to take care of ourselves.” Taylor points out that preventative care is essential to lowering the overall burden of health costs on an individual, as well as on Alaska’s healthcare network. “For example, breast cancer, if you catch it early, it’s probably one of the more treatable diagnoses that is out there. But if you don’t, and you end up in chemo and radiation and a mastectomy

situation, the cost of that care is just tremendous,” Taylor says. “They are doing more and more with telemedicine. So, I think that does help with some of your screening activities. I know that there is also a mobile mammogram unit that goes around.” One mobile mammogram unit is operated by the Breast Cancer Detection Center of Alaska out of Fairbanks. Another is operated by Providence Imaging Center. Screening, which takes about fifteen minutes, is applicable to women age forty years or older without specific breast concerns, though patients must schedule their exams ahead of time. “The harder thing is to get people to admit they should be tested. It isn’t a lack of access, it’s a lack of understanding of how important it is to get it done,” Taylor says. For example, it’s difficult to persuade people they need to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and infections. “Alaska is facing a public health crisis with STI infections, and the high rate of Chlamydia [highest in the nation] compared to the rest of the country is troublesome. We are working to lower this rate,” Pasternack says. “Sex education is now the most scrutinized subject in the state, and the lack of consistent sexed for Alaska youth is detrimental.” Access to contraceptives and screening for STIs is particularly important for college-age women, notes Dr. Georgia DeKeyser, director of the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Student Health and Counseling Center. “It is of the utmost importance that college-age women have access to and receive healthcare in an accessible, affordable, convenient, and confidential setting. For UAA students, the Student Health and Counseling Center offers all these options,” DeKeyser says. Though such services are available to about 8,000 UAA students, the various barriers to accessing women’s healthcare, from education to cost, leave many Alaskan women without essential services. However, even with Alaska’s rural nature and the high cost of operating a medical facility in the Last Frontier, many programs, both state and federally funded, continue to reach out to those in need to shore up the difference. Women searching for services in their communities can use the Alaska 211 directory. Alaska Business

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This limits access as most rural towns only have an IHS health clinic,” Pasternack says. “For many people, Planned Parenthood is their only source of healthcare. Fiftysix percent of Planned Parenthood health centers are in health professional shortage areas, rural, or medically underserved areas. Planned Parenthood health centers provide primary and preventive healthcare to many who otherwise would have nowhere to turn for family planning care.” In her work the Denali OB-GYN Clinic Pasternack provides care to female patients ranging from adolescents to postmenopausal women for surgical procedures, well-woman care, and preventative care. Some of the treatments provided are for endometriosis, urinary incontinence, heavy bleeding, or infertility. “What is unique about Alaska gynecologic care is that there aren’t a lot of subspecialists. For example, someone struggling with infertility would have a harder time finding a specialist, so general practice physicians with a wider scope are critical in the state,” Pasternack says.


2019 Convention Calendar: Alaska's Industry Meetings and Trade Shows Where to meet, greet, and learn all year long By Sam Friedman


hen it’s time to network, learn, and even pick up some swag, there are a bevy of annual conventions held statewide to inform and entertain. The schedules are out—or at least starting to coalesce—for many of the state’s largest and most anticipated conventions taking place in 2019. The twenty conferences listed here include some of the main annual events for Alaska’s largest industries and areas of interest: oil and gas, mining, Alaska Native corporations, healthcare, fisheries, telecommunications, transportation, the Arctic, and utilities. In addition to local conferences, several national industry conferences will come to the 49th State in 2019, including a Chinese tourism convention in March, a large international data analytics convention in August, and the first-ever American meeting of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds Conference in September.

78 | December 2018

Aerial view of Juneau. Travel Juneau


industries. The Alliance has more than fifty members, including construction, transportation, and banking businesses. All together those fifty member companies employ more than 50,000 people. Admission to the Meet Alaska Convention is $250 for members, $275 for non-members, $100 for legislators, and $200 for other government officials and staff.

Alaska Native conventions taking place in 2019 include Southcentral Foundation’s annual gathering in February and the Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention in October. ©Shelly Wozniak

In Anchorage  The Meet Alaska Convention and Trade Show from the Alaska Support Industry Alliance is taking place on January 18 from

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center. The Alaska Support Industry Alliance is the trade group for the industries that support Alaska’s oil and gas

 Southcentral Foundation’s 22nd Annual Gathering is on February 2 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Egan Civic and Convention Center. The annual gathering of this Alaska Native-owned, nonprofit healthcare organization attracts between 1,800 and 3,000 people. Southcentral Foundation is the largest of the nonprofit organizations associated with Cook Inlet Region Inc., Southcentral Alaska’s regional Native corporation. The event includes speakers and a health-focused trade show with about eighty booths. The 2019 gathering’s theme is “Commitment to Quality for our


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 Active America-China's Grow Your Chinese Market is being hosted in Alaska for the first time March 26-28, also at the Hilton Anchorage. This “boutique networking” conference brings together US and Canadian travel/tour operators and travel/tour buyers from mainland China. Registration starts at $3,495 for first-time attendees. Attendees must have a business description and other materials available for translation into Chinese by February 11. The conference is expected to attract about 200 people.

The ground floor lobby of the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. ©Mikhail Siskoff

Children’s Children.”  The Alaska Air Carriers Association’s Annual Convention and Trade show is being held February 27-28 in Anchorage at Anchorage International Airport, Concourse A Upper Level. The trade group for Alaska’s aviation industry is moving its yearly event forward in the calendar year, from May in 2018 to late February. About 200 people attend the annual convention, with a mix of members of the aviation and support industries. During the reception, the Alaska Air Carrier Association announces award winners, including pilot and mechanic of the year. Registration for trainings and presentations is expected to be about $500, although there will be group rates for companies. The trade show is free and open to the public.  The Alaska Tribal Transportation Symposium is taking place March 11-13 at the Hilton Anchorage. Now in its 17th year, this annual conference of the Alaska Tribal Transportation Work Group brings together about 150 leaders of tribal 80 | December 2018

governments, as well as officials and representatives from state and federal governments to talk about transportation projects. Vendors from the construction industry also attend. Major issues up for discussion in 2019 include the reorganization of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs and the renewal in 2020 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, a major federal transportation spending bill.

 The Alaska Trucking Association’s Annual Meeting is on April 17-18 at O’Malley’s on the Green. About 125 people are expected at the Alaska Trucking Association Association’s 61st Annual Meeting and Trade Show. Confirmed featured speakers include Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, and Ray Martinez, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at the US Department of Transportation. In 2018, registration was $150 for the meeting day and $75 each for each of the evening social events.

The Dena’ina Center, as seen from Town Square in Downtown Anchorage. ©Michelle Brown


 The Alaska Native Village Corporation Association Conference (ANVCA) is taking place in mid-May in downtown Anchorage. About 200 people are expected to attend the 11th Annual ANVCA Conference and Meeting. The specific date and venue were still being finalized as of late fall, but last year the meeting took place at the Egan Civic & Convention Center. ANVCA seeks to provide a unified voice for the state's Alaska Native Village Corporations. The conference provides Alaska Native Village Corporations with current and relevant topics such as best practices and innovations. It is unique as the only conference dedicated to Alaska Native Village Corporations collaborating, sharing information, and strategies along with providing the opportunity to meet other professionals serving in similar positions, according to ANVCA. The two-day conference is expected to include elections and about forty speakers. In 2018 topics

The Egan Center, located in downtown Anchorage. © Ken Graham Photography

ranged from resource extraction to Robert’s Rules of order to the #metoo movement.  The 2019 Wakefield Fisheries Symposium is slated for May 7-10 at the Hotel Captain Cook. The Wakefield Fisheries Symposium brings together fishermen, industries involved in marine resource extraction, and

scientists from a wide range of sectors, including state and federal agencies, universities, and research institutes. The symposium aims to provide a forum for discussion on ways to facilitate effective cooperative research, a platform for scientific talks on the application and results of cooperative research, and the opportunity to evaluate how such research might be best envisioned,

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Fishermen at Ship Creek, located in downtown Anchorage. ©Ken Graham Photography

applied, and implemented. It also provides a platform for participants from a variety of marine industries to address relevant issues through facilitated discussion including to identify best practices and articulate a set of case studies for effective collaboration. Registration is $325 (or $275 before April 12). The Alaska Sea Grant College Program has sponsored the event since 1982 in partnership with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center, and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. Conference & Event Center 6591 A Street, Anchorage, AK 907-562-2336 82 | December 2018

 The Alaska Oil and Gas Association Conference and Exhibit Hall is tentatively scheduled for May 30 at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center. The Alaska Oil and Gas Association plans to again host its spring conference and trade show that typically attracts between 400 and 500 delegates. The event features keynote speakers and the announcement of several award winners: the Contractor of the Year for Safety Performance Award; Project of the Year Award for Environmental Stewardship and Innovation; and the Marilyn Crockett Lifetime Achievement Award. The 2019 conference speakers haven’t yet been announced.  The Association for the Study of Food and Society and the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society 2019 Conference


 The Association for Computing Machinery is hosting a Special Interest Group on Knowledge, Discovery, and Data Mining August 3-8 at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center. About 1,000 delegates are expected to attend this international group’s annual conference. The conference focuses on advances in machine learning across a variety of industries including advertising, social networks, healthcare, education, the environment, finance, and more. It will feature panels, workshops, and speakers. The conference website describes the event as the “premier interdisciplinary conference bringing together researchers and practitioners from data science, data mining, knowledge discovery, largescale data analytics, and big data.”  The Northwest Public Power Association’s Alaska Utility Conference is slated for November 18-21 at the Egan Civic and Convention Center. Every other year the Vancouver, Washington-based Northwest Public Power Association (NWPPA) holds a conference in Alaska that attracts about 400 people. The public power association represents public utilities in ten western states and British Columbia, including several utilities in Alaska. The event features a trade show and training sessions. Last year’s registration was free for Alaska utilities (including non-members) and started at $450 for other NWPPAA members and $895 for non-members.

 The Resource Development Council is hosting the Alaska Resources Conference on November 20-21 at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center. More than 800 people usually attend the Resource Development Council’s annual conference, held each year the week before Thanksgiving. The council describes the conferences as the “most established and highest profile resource development forum of the year.” The Resource Development Council is a trade group for five

of Alaska’s main industries: oil and gas, mining, timber, tourism, and fisheries. The event features presentations from leaders of each of these industries and a trade show with dozens of exhibitors.

In Fairbanks  The Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Convention is October 17-19 at the Carlson Center and other venues around Fairbanks. The Alaska Federation of Natives convention attracts about 6,000

make your next meeting

stress free PHOTO: ANNA HOKE

is scheduled for June 26-29 at the University of Alaska Anchorage. The conference theme, Finding Home in the “Wilderness,” invites attendees to critically engage with and problematize the idea of wilderness. About 500 people—a mix of farmers, philosophers, and other academics—are expected to attend this conference, hosted in partnership with Alaska Pacific University. The 2019 schedule includes a mix of farm tours, food tasting events, and meetings.

Meet in Juneau, Alaska

Call today for details on planning your meeting in Juneau

907.586.1749 1.800.857.2201

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A view of Juneau from Douglas Island. Travel Juneau

delegates, vendors, and visitors each year. It’s the largest annual representative gathering of Native people in the United States. About 90 exhibitors attend the trade show and nearly 200 artists participate in the Native arts show. Keynote speakers are usually announced during the summer. In 2018, the keynote speaker was Lieutenant Governor Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson.

In Juneau  The Alaska Power Association’s Annual Meeting is scheduled for August 20-23 at Centennial Hall. About 150 delegates from power utilities are expected at the 2019 annual meeting of Alaska electricity utilities. The event mixes meetings and speeches with power plants and power infrastructure tours in the host community. In 2019, Juneaubased Alaska Electric Light & Power is cohosting with regional power 84 | December 2018

cooperative Inside Passage Electric Cooperative. Meeting registration fees haven’t yet been finalized, but in 2018 registration was $750 for members and $1,250 for nonmembers.  The International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds Conference is being hosted by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation September 10-13 at Centennial Hall. The United Kingdom-based International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF) will meet for the first time in the United States in 2019, hosted by Alaska’s sovereign wealth fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation. The organization is comprised of more than thirty sovereign wealth funds from around the world that have voluntarily adopted a set of guidelines known as the Santiago Principles. About 300 people are expected to attend

the Juneau-based meeting. The first two days are strictly for members of the IFSWF, but some guests will be invited for the third day.  The Alaska Travel Industry Association’s Annual Convention is scheduled for October 8-10 at Centennial Hall. More than 500 people typically attend the Alaska Travel Industry Association annual convention, which rotates between Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and occasionally smaller Alaska towns. One of the event’s most popular traditions is “community night,” during which attendees board a bus to a mystery attraction chosen by the host community. The convention also includes “shark tank” presentations, guest speakers, awards, a trade show, and a speed networking event. In 2018, when the conference met in Fairbanks, the convention theme was “The Great Escape” and


the keynote speaker was a Disney executive and creativity expert. The tentative convention theme for 2019 is “Legends of Alaska.”

In Ketchikan  The Alaska Forest Association’s Annual Convention is taking place October 23-25 at The Landing Hotel. The trade association of Alaska’s logging industry alternates between annual meetings in Anchorage and in Ketchikan. About 100 people attend the annual meetings. The odd-numbered years, in Ketchikan, are off years for association elections and debates but always include speakers, a small trade show, meetings, a cocktail party, and the Red Suspender Party, a signature forest association event at which members wear logging attire including red suspenders, hickory shirts, high-cut pants, and Alaska slippers.

In Kodiak  ComFish 2019 will take place March 28-30 at the Kodiak Harbor Convention Center. Alaska’s largest commercial fishing trade show celebrates its 40th year in 2019. The event brings together gear vendors, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations at the convention center overlooking Kodiak’s St. Paul Harbor. A list of exhibitors will be announced in early March.

In Valdez  Alaska Telecom Association’s Annual Meeting is scheduled for May 20-22 at the Valdez Convention and Civic Center. Between 130 and 150 people attend the Alaska Telecom Association's Annual Meeting, which represents fifteen telecommunications companies in Alaska as well as about 100 associate members, vendors, and suppliers from Alaska and Outside. The spring annual meeting is held in addition to a smaller winter meeting held every year in Hawaii (January 27-30, 2019, in Kailua-Kona) and the tech showcase trade show is held at the Hilton Anchorage on October 2324, 2019.

Your guests and business associates will enjoy the convenience of complimentary parking, a full, hot breakfast, Manager’s Reception and access to the Athletic Clubs at the Hotel Captain Cook.




Alaska Business

December 2018 | 85






Arctic Accommodations A

laska’s Arctic is a unique and spectacular destination whether one is traveling just to see the sights or to get a job done. No matter your purpose for visiting Alaska’s northern regions, venues abound that provide all the services you need to take in the wildlife, landscape, and local culture in convenient comfort.

Angel Camp by the Sea Angel Camp by the Sea is a bed and breakfast with two available suites located in Nome on Front Street at the end of the Iditarod. Amenities include free WiFi, continental breakfast, laundry, private entry, and an ocean view.

the Dalton Highway. The company offers visitors three furnished, private

on the oceanfront in Nome, overlooking the Bering Sea. Amenities include

cabins, each with a kitchenette. Guests are invited into the Hicker home every morning for a hearty, home-cooked breakfast.

television, laundry, and access to the sauna.

Aurora Inn & Suites Arctic Getaway The Hicker family operates Arctic Getaway Rental Cabins and Breakfast out of Wiseman, north of Coldfoot along

The Aurora Inn has a total of fifty-two rooms and suites available for Arctic guests and provides car rentals through Stampede Car Rentals. The inn is located

Bettles Lodge Located in Bettles thirty-five miles north of the Arctic Circle, Bettles Lodge offers guided or unguided wilderness trips including fishing, backpacking, canoeing and rafting, photography, and flight seeing in the summer and Northern


86 | December 2018


Lights viewing, dog mushing, and cross-country skiing in winter.

Bering Sea Bed and Breakfast Situated on the east side of Nome, the Bering Sea Bed & Breakfast offers views of the Bering Sea from its two room options (one with a queen-size bed and the other with two twin beds) as well as amenities such as a continental breakfast and wireless internet.

Boreal Lodge Located in the historic gold mining village of Wiseman, adjacent to Gates of the Arctic National Park and seventyfive miles north of the Arctic Circle, is Boreal Lodging, “home of the Midnight Sun and Winter Aurora.” Four rooms are available to guests in the lodge, as well as two cabins with a private bathroom and loft.

Dredge No. 7 Inn Owned and operated by an Alaskan mining family, the Dredge No. 7 Inn offers guests a mix of beauty and historic ambiance as well as modern conveniences. The hotel in Nome provides up close and personal opportunities for bird watching, biking, or just taking in the sights on foot.

King Eider Inn Opened in 1998, the King Eider Inn is located in Utqiaġvik and provides amenities such as a private sauna room, complimentary WiFi, and an in-room Jacuzzi in the presidential suite. Rooms are wheelchair accessible and options range from standard to the presidential suite.

Marsh Creek Inn Situated in the village of Kaktovik on Barter Island, Marsh Creek Inn caters to

travelers looking to immerse themselves in the Alaska Arctic through polar bear viewing, learning about Iñupiat culture, or exploring nearby resources and beauty of the North.

Nome Nugget Inn Located in Nome, the Nome Nugget Inn is a motel with forty-seven non-smoking guest rooms equipped with cable TV, a refrigerator, and free internet access. Guests are invited to relax and enjoy panoramic views of the Bering Sea in The Gold Dust Lounge, “an ideal place to have a cup of coffee and unwind.”

Prudhoe Bay Hotel Located in Deadhorse, the Prudhoe Bay Hotel provides accommodations for workers on the North Slope and guests touring the Arctic. Within walking distance of the airport, the hotel also offers a restaurant

Alaska Business

and gift shop and is surrounded by stunning scenery and wildlife.

Top of the World Hotel The Top of the World Hotel in Utqiaġvik provides spacious, comfortable standard and deluxe rooms, as well as rooms that are wheelchair accessible. Hotel services include WiFi, laundry, an onsite restaurant, guest kitchens, access to fitness equipment, and meeting rooms.

The Aurora Hotel Located in Prudhoe Bay, the Aurora Hotel offers three different suite selections, though all of the rooms are non-smoking and alcohol free. Business travelers have access to conference and training rooms available for rent, and all travelers have access to a library, game room, gym, commissary, mail services, and WiFi.

December 2018 | 87



DEC Diary of a Worm, 1-23 a Spider, and a Fly This is a musical adventure through a bug’s life, perfect for children and families. Is Spider getting too big for his own skin? Will Fly find her superhero powers in time to save her Aunt Rita from peril? Will Worm learn to stand on his own two feet…even though he doesn’t have feet? This heartwarming musical captures all of the droll humor and whimsy of the wildly popular books.

DEC Wonderfully Made 8 Christmas Bazaar Taking place at Cornerstone Church in Anchorage, this bazaar annually celebrates the unique nature of the local Alaskan artist community. In addition to shopping, guests can enjoy food at the concession stand, gourmet coffee, and live music. Admission and parking are free. WonderfullyMadeChristmasBazaar



DEC Solstice 16 Tree Tour The Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage presents the annual Solstice Tree Tour—this event encourages members of Alaska’s northern community of all ages and abilities to get outside and celebrate the winter solstice. The Solstice Tree Tour will showcase the trees along the first 2.5 k of the Mize Loop at Kincaid Park. Local businesses sponsor trees along the route and decorate them to create a winter wonderland along one of the most well-loved trails at Kincaid. Admission to the tour, which takes place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., is free.


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DEC Christmas Village 15 Christmas Village is a perfect opportunity to buy all of those last-minute gifts. Held at the Dena’ina Center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Christmas Village allows both Alaskan-made and imported items to be sold.


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DEC Colony Christmas 7-9 Colony Christmas is an old-fashioned country Christmas celebration with craft fairs, horse-drawn and reindeer sleigh rides, pictures with Santa, fireworks, and the MTA Colony Days Parade of Lights, all in downtown Palmer.


DEC Winter Solstice 22 Celebration The Nature Center hosts its annual celebration of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Guests can bring their own lantern or borrow one from the center. Dress for being outdoors and follow the lantern-lit path along the Rodak Nature Trail to the big bonfire anytime between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Please bring nonperishable food items to be donated to the Eagle River Food Bank.


DEC Design Alaska 2 Holiday Concert The Design Alaska Holiday Concert, which sells out every year, features Eduard Zilberkant conducting the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, the Fairbanks Symphony Chorus, and the Northland Youth Choir. Guests will be treated to traditional holiday favorites at the C.W. Davis Concert Hall on the UAF campus beginning at 4 p.m. DEC Winter 22 Solstice Walk Starting at 1 p.m., on the shortest day of the year, walk with a Friends of Creamer’s Field naturalist near the iconic Creamer’s barns. DEC New Year’s 31 Sparktacular Brilliant fireworks are launched from UAF’s West Ridge at 8 p.m. Celebrate the New Year and kick off UAF’s centennial with cocoa and cookies at the University of Alaska Museum of the North.


DEC Holiday 8 Drag Show Celebrate the season with a twist: drag queens and kings perform a tribute to the season at The Red Dog Saloon in Juneau from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

DEC Holiday Pops 15-16 Kick off the holiday season with friends and family at the Annual Holiday Pops Concert. Bring the whole family to enjoy an evening of favorite holidays songs performed by friends, family, and neighbors at the UAS Egan Library on December 15 and at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center on December 16.


DEC Julebukking 24-28 Taking place every year the week of Christmas, for Julebukking the streets of downtown Petersburg fill with bundled customers looking for last minute gifts for friends and family. According to Norwegian tradition, local merchants offer customers amazing seafood delights, familiar Norwegian pastries, and warming spirits in appreciation of their business during the past year.


DEC Holiday Concert 15-16 Mat-Su Concert Band, the largest and oldest musical organization in the Mat-Su Borough, presents “Holiday Sounds,” a celebration of the season that includes selections such as Carol of the Shepherds, Christmas March, and Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, with opportunities for the audience to join the band singing.



ALASBO Annual Conference Anchorage: A nnual conference of the Alaska Association of School Business Officials. DECEMBER 7-9

ASGA Annual Conference Cape Fox Lodge, Ketchikan: The Alaska Shellfish Growers Association conference includes a banquet; movie viewing and oyster tasting; ASGA annual business meeting; tour of local farms; and discussions about oyster and kelp farming, regulations, and tips on growing a successful business in the mariculture industry. JANUARY JANUARY 10-12

Alaska Wholesale Gift Show Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: This event provides an opportunity for small business owners/ producers to grow their buyer base, meeting face to face with other business owners, buyers, and managers. There are show specials on hotels, car rentals, travel concierges, and more. JANUARY 18

Meet Alaska Conference Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: Hosted by the Alliance, this is

the largest one-day energy conference in Alaska and includes educational forums and a tradeshow. JANUARY 22-24

Alaska Health Summit

Computational Thinking and Computer Science in the Elementary Classroom, and Collaborative Leadership Collaborative. JANUARY 28-FEBRUARY 1

Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage: The 2018 summit theme is “Diverse Stories Inspiring Community Action” and the conference will highlight diverse, positive stories of community action and change as well as share successful strategies, important lessons learned, evidence-based recommendations, and additional opportunities for continued work together. JANUARY 24

Junior Achievement of Alaska Awards Banquet Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: Four new Alaskans will be inducted and recognized with this prestigious award. Attended by more than 400 business representations, the program consists of a networking reception, dinner, and awards ceremony. web/ja-alaska JANUARY 25-27

Alaska RTI/MTSS Conference Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: Featured sessions include Mindset Mathematics, Student Engagement and Self-Efficacy,

Alaska Marine Science Symposium Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage: Scientists, researchers, and students from Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond come together to communicate research activities in the marine regions of Alaska. FEBRUARY


Alaska Surveying & Mapping Conference Hilton Anchorage: The Alaska Surveying & Mapping Conference is a conglomeration of the many groups and societies that make up the professional mapping community throughout the state. FEBRUARY 16-19

ASTE Annual Conference Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage: This is the educational technology conference of the Alaska Society for Technology in Education. This year’s theme: Unplugged.


Anchorage AEYC Early Childhood Conference Hilton Anchorage: This year’s keynote speaker is Cate Heroman, author of Making & Tinkering with STEM, who will conduct workshops on Friday and Saturday. FEBRUARY 11-15

Alaska Forum on the Environment Dena’ina Center: The Alaska Forum on the Environment is Alaska’s largest statewide gathering of environmental professionals from government agencies, nonprofit and for-profit businesses, community leaders, Alaskan youth, conservationists, biologists, and community elders.


Alaska Statewide Special Education Conference Hilton Anchorage: The Alaska Statewide Special Education Conference (ASSEC) is committed to providing high quality professional development relevant to the cultural, rural, and remote characteristics of Alaska. FEBRUARY 26-28

TWS Alaska Chapter Annual Meeting Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, Juneau: This is the annual meeting of the Alaska Chapter of The Wildlife Society and brings together wildlife researchers, managers, educators, students, and administrators.


YOU HAVE EVENTS. WE HAVE SPACE. LET’S MEET. FIREWEEDCENTER.COM/CONFERENCE 725 East Fireweed Lane, Anchorage, Alaska 99503 | 907.263.5502 |

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December 2018 | 89

INSIDE ALASKA BUSINESS Northrim Bank Northrim Bank announced the opening of its newest branch, the Eastside Community Branch, located at 7905 Creekside Center Drive. The new location updates Northrim’s “branch of the future” Northrim Bank blueprint used in the design of its Lake Otis Community Branch, opened in 2015, with a focus on customer interaction in a more efficient footprint. The streamlined design continues the bank’s focus on personalized service.

Goodwill Industries Goodwill Industries of Alaska opened a new retail store at 8931 Old Seward Highway in Anchorage. The store opening means that Goodwill Industries, an organization in existence since 1902, now has a second retail presence in the state. The store is stocked with clothing, books, shoes, housewares, and more.

Chugach | MOA The Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) released the proposed term sheet related to Chugach Electric’s acquisition of Municipal Light & Power (ML&P) at a work session with the Anchorage Assembly. The term sheet is part of the previously agreed to timeline and process. The term sheet outlines the basic terms of the sale and is subject to further due diligence and negotiations by the parties. It forms the basis for the Asset Purchase Agreement, which is currently being negotiated and will serve as the final binding agreement between the parties.

DNR The Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys and Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission published a report summarizing the current state of knowledge of active 90 | December 2018

faults throughout Alaska. This is the first report of its kind for the state. It was spearheaded by the Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission, which recognized the growing need for a comprehensive, one-stop information resource summarizing the known sources of seismic hazards in Alaska. Active Faults and Seismic Hazards in Alaska is available for free download on the division’s website at and the commission’s website at ashsc_meetings_minutes/mp160.pdf.

UAF A new $20 million National Science Foundation grant will support interdisciplinary climate research throughout the state of Alaska. The award will support “Fire and Ice: Navigating Variability in Boreal Wildfire Regimes and Subarctic Coastal Ecosystems,” a five-year research project by the Alaska Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, also known as EPSCoR, which is administered by the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Fire and Ice researchers will use remote sensing, fieldwork, lab experiments, and modeling to study two Alaska regions undergoing climate-driven changes: the boreal forest, where wildfire patterns are changing, and the Gulf of Alaska, where changing physical and

chemical conditions are affecting nearshore marine ecosystems and organisms.

GCI GCI is wrapping up a two-year, $6.3 million LTE wireless expansion project on the Kenai Peninsula. The project involves more than thirty GCI technicians and engineers; upgrades at forty-three sites throughout the Peninsula; and the construction of two new towers. Though the areas served by this project target some of the state’s busiest stretches of highway, delivering connectivity still requires going off the beaten path, including two towers near Summit Lake and Cooper Mountain that are not accessible by road.

ConocoPhillips ConocoPhillips Alaska announced that the Greater Mooses Tooth #1 (GMT1) in NPR-A has achieved first oil production ahead of schedule on October 5. GMT1 is a satellite development of the Alpine field and is connected by road to drill site CD5. Oil from GMT1 is processed through Alpine’s existing facilities.

SALT Effective November 1, RIM Design and RIM First People merged their service lines and rebranded themselves as SALT. The new leadership structure of SALT includes Michael Fredericks, who will serve as SALT’s president; Natasha Schmidt, who will serve as the principal of operations; and Megan Lierman and Kelsey Davidson, who will serve as principal designers. Barbara Cash, RIM Design’s founder, will serve as SALT’s founder and business advisor. The company will continue to provide interior planning and design services, as well as transformational stakeholder engagement and facilitation.


RIGHT MOVES Bettisworth North  Bettisworth North Architects and Planners selected Colleen Kelly as its new Director of Marketing and Business Kelly Development. Kelly has a decade of experience in communication, marketing, and business development. She holds dual bachelor’s in journalism and public communications and French language from UAA and is nearing completion of a master’s degree in technical communication from Minnesota State University.

Simon & Seafort’s  Rachelle Alger joined Simon & Seafort’s as the Event and Marketing Manager. She will oversee all facets of events booked in Room 49, Simon’s private Alger dining room, and restaurant promotional activities. Alger received her master certification in contract administration from George Washington University.

Alaska USA  Alaska USA Financial Planning & Investment Services’ Michael Klopfer has earned his Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Klopfer designation. The CFP mark is recognized as the highest standard in personal financial planning. Investment Advisors who earn the CFP have met the

rigorous requirements of the CFP Board and set the standard for responsible and ethical financial planning.

Elliott Bay Design Group  Elliott Bay Design Group added a full-time marine engineer to its Ketchikan office. Sarah Nichols joins the team as a Marine Nichols Engineer and will provide onsite technical engineering support to some of the firm’s major clients. Nichols’ background includes six years of project engineer and project management experience within a shipyard environment.

Schneider Structural Engineers  Forest W. Bishop joined Schneider Structural Engineers’ Alaska office as the company’s EIT, Junior Structural Engineer I. Bishop Bishop brings with him more than fifteen years of construction industry experience. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering with a structural emphasis and minor in architecture science from Washington State University.  Steven D. Cinelli, PE, joined the firm as its Alaska Manager. Cinelli brings with him twenty years of engineering, management, Cinelli and consulting experience in the consulting engineering, oil and

gas, and telecommunications industry. He holds a bachelor of science in civil engineering from Michigan Technological University, a master of business administration from University of Alaska Anchorage, and a master of science in petroleum engineering from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  Steven Kemp joined the engineering company as Drafter II. Kemp has extensive Arctic structural experience; he also brings Kemp to the position oil and gas experience with drill site design and modification, well tie-ins, well line upgrades, and pipeline support and racks. Kemp has an AAS in architectural and engineering technology from the University of Alaska Anchorage and a certification in aviation safety, accident prevention, and technical inspection from USAER Aviation Safety.  The company also hired David Park, a thirty-year veteran in engineering and architecture. Park has a rich history in architectural Park design that spans many market segments. For the last six years Park has used his CAD skills from the environmental technologist program at Humber College in Ontario, Canada, providing design and drafting support for various commercial projects.

Municipality of Anchorage  Mayor Ethan Berkowitz appointed Donald “Ralph” Gibbs as the new Director of the Municipality of


Real Alaskans. Real cargo. 92 | December 2018



Anchorage’s (MOA) Merrill Field. Gibbs comes to the MOA from the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he’s served as the Director of Aviation since 2016. He has more than thirty years of experience in the field—both civilian and military—and holds a master of business administration degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

SeaWide Express  The SeaWide Express team welcomed Suzanne Fairbanks as a new Account Executive with primary responsibility for Fairbanks sales to the Alaska market. Fairbanks has extensive experience in the transportation market to Alaska, with more than twenty years of experience in the industry. Her history ranges from nationwide LTL carrier and ocean carrier to freight forwarding experience.

R&M Consultants  Nathan Dennis joined R&M Consultants as an Environmental Specialist in the company’s Environmental Services Dennis Group. Dennis’ experience includes gathering environmental baseline data, Phase I and II ESAs, storm water management, and field environmental services. Dennis has a bachelor of science in environmental science from the University of Idaho.

KeyBank  KeyBank promoted Jesse Wolf to Commercial Analyst, a role in which he will assist with client and sales support

to Alaska’s Commercial Bank relationship team. Previously he served as branch manager, a high-profile management Wolf position he has held since 2008. In that position, he was accountable for soliciting consumer and business accounts to grow branch profitability and was consistently honored as a top producer in Key’s Alaska district.

RurAL CAP  Rural Alaska Community Action Program (RurAL CAP) named L. Tiel Smith as its new Chief Operating Officer. Smith brings Smith more than fifteen years of management and strategic leadership experience to the agency, which works to improve the quality of life for lowincome Alaskans. Smith is an Aleut shareholder of BBNC and Choggiung. He holds a bachelor of science from Utah State University and master of business administration from Alaska Pacific University.

First National Bank Alaska Four knowledgeable experts are taking on new responsibilities at First National Bank Alaska.  Pamela Keeler was named Compliance Senior Legal Counsel and appointed Senior Vice President. She Keeler will be responsible for ensuring the bank complies with banking laws, regulations, and rules. Her legal expertise is rooted in a

diverse education, with a number of degrees in political science-public service, education, and law from the University of California, Davis, Western Washington University, and University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law.  With more than sixteen years of financial experience, Stephanie Daniels is Cash Management’s newest Daniels Services Specialist and was appointed Business Development Officer. She will utilize her background in business banking and lending to work closely with customers and offer solutions that help day-to-day operations run smoothly.  A decorated Army veteran, Rob Parrish was appointed Branch Manager of the Sitka Branch. In his new role, Parrish will be Parrish responsible for lending, customer service, branch operations, and business development. A graduate of the bank’s Management Associate Program, Parrish spent time honing his financial skills in Anchorage, Bethel, Eagle River, Kenai, Palmer, and Wasilla.  Trust Account Administrator Amy Robinson brings a wealth of experience in trust, wealth management, Robinson and estate planning to the bank. Appointed Trust Officer, she has extensive knowledge in complex commercial transactions and consumer finance regulation and will present a unique and valuable perspective helping customers reach their trust and investment goals.

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Alaska Business

December 2018 | 93

AT A GLANCE What book is currently on your nightstand? I am an fan so my nightstand is empty, but I have a list of audiobooks by my favorite authors Jodi Picoult and Simon Sinek. What movie do you recommend to everyone you know? For lighthearted fun, I am a huge fan of the “Pitch Perfect” series. My daughter and I have been watching them together over the years. What’s the first thing you do when you get home after a long day at work? In winter, I change right into my pajamas. In summer, I put on my tennis shoes. If you couldn’t live in Alaska what’s your dream locale? Anywhere in Italy! I traveled there in 2017 with my sister and loved every minute of it. 94 | December 2018



Julie Taylor J

ulie Taylor joined Alaska Regional Hospital

AB: What are you most superstitious about? Taylor: “What comes around goes around,” as the saying goes.

as CEO five years ago in December 2013.

Throughout her career Taylor has held a number of leadership positions including director of case management and admissions, interim vice president of human resources, associate chief

AB: What is your greatest extravagance? Taylor: Online shopping as the mood hits me. AB: What are your best and worst attributes? Taylor: I do not take “no” easily—it’s a doubleedged sword.

nursing officer, and chief operating officer. Taylor is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives as well as a registered nurse. She lives in Anchorage with her husband Mike and their daughter Lauren. Alaska Business: What do you do in your free time? Taylor: In the summer, my family and I love to spend time at our house on the Kenai River in Sterling. In the winter, we enjoy going to movies at the Dimond Center Theater. AB: Is there a skill or talent you have always wanted to learn or are learning? Taylor: I wish I had learned how to play the piano. AB: What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done? Taylor: Climbed a 14er [a mountain over 14,000 feet in elevation] in Colorado and bear hunting here in Alaska. AB: What’s your go-to comfort food? Taylor: Chips and my husband’s secret-recipe cheese dip. AB: Other than your current career, if you were a kid today, what would your dream job be? Taylor: I absolutely love my job, but if I had to choose another, it would definitely still be in the healthcare field.

AB: Dead or alive, who would you like to see perform live in concert? Taylor: Barry Manilow is my first choice, and I am lucky enough to have seen him twice!

Images © Matt Waliszek

AB: What is your favorite way to get exercise? Taylor: Hiking in Alaska’s breathtakingly beautiful outdoors.

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December 2018 | 95


Healthy Careers in Medicine


ealthcare is Alaska’s fastest growing industry. The growth of this industry has contributed to new jobs as well as new or expanded medical facilities and services statewide. Incomes for various healthcare industry positions vary, though generally they run from mid-range to high income. And many of the mid-range positions do not require arduous amounts of certification, training, or education, creating opportunities for industrious and competent individuals to become qualified and begin providing care relatively quickly. Below Alaska Business has gathered Mid-2017 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates-Alaska data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics that show the number of Alaskans employed in various healthcare industry positions and their mean annual and hourly wage.



Medical Records and Health Information Technicians

Psychiatric Technicians


making on average $107.26 hourly and $223,090 annually

Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians

making on average $17.91 hourly and $37,260 annually

making on average $26.04 hourly and $54,170 annually

Family and General Practitioners


making on average $31.76 hourly and $66,070 annually


Radiologic Technologists making on average $34.12 hourly and $70,960 annually


Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics making on average $23.28 hourly and $48,420 annually


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ANCHORAGE OFFICE (907) 562-5420

• Underwater Certified Welding • Marine Salvage

DEADHORSE OFFICE (907) 659-9010 96 | December 2018

• NDT Services

Alas ka I C alifornia I Hawaii

• ROV Services • Vessel Support Services


5,570 Registered Nurses

ANS Crude Oil Production 10/30/2018

making on average $42.07 hourly and $87,510 annually

520 Licensed Practical and


Licensed Vocational Nurses


making on average $27.20 hourly and $56,580 annually


440 Nurse Practitioners


making on average $60.16 hourly and $125,140 annually

ANS Production barrel per day 526,899 Oct. 30, 2018


450 Pharmacists

making on average $66.36 hourly and $138,020 annually

680 Pharmacy Technicians making on average $19.06 hourly and $39,640 annually






SOURCE: Alaska Department of Revenue Tax Division

ANS West Coast Crude Oil Prices 10/30/2018



200 General Dentists

ANS West Coast $ per barrel $75.96 Oct. 30, 2018


making on average $114.01 hourly and $237,140 annually

09/01/2000 $0




$80 $100 $120 $140 $160

SOURCE: Alaska Department of Revenue Tax Division

530 Dental Hygienists

Statewide Employment Figures 10/1976—8/2018 Seasonally Adjusted

making on average $51.53 hourly and $107,190 annually


510 500 270 270 210 190 190 160 150 140 130 100

Physician Assistants making on average $55.99 hourly and $116,460 annually Physical Therapists making on average $46.71 hourly and $97,150 annually Occupational Therapists making on average $39.81 hourly and $82,810 annually Speech-Language Pathologists making on average $44.09 hourly and $91,710 annually General Internists making on average $110.49 hourly and $229,820 annually Veterinarians making on average $53.02 hourly and $110,270 annually Veterinary Technologists and Technicians making on average $19.79 hourly and $41,160 annually Respiratory Therapists making on average $35.45 hourly and $73,740 annually Dietitians and Nutritionists making on average $32.84 hourly and $68,310 annually Surgical Technologists making on average $28.93 hourly and $60,180 annually Dispensing Opticians making on average $20.74 hourly and $43,140 annually Chiropractors making on average $51.25 hourly and $106,600 annually


Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations total

making on average $47.12 hourly and $98,020 annually.

*Includes positions not included in data presented here.

Labor Force 356,972 Sept. 2018 Employment 333,633 Sept. 2018 Unemployment 6.5% Sept. 2018

01/01/2010 05/01/2004 09/01/1998 01/01/1993 05/01/1987 09/01/1981 01/01/1976 0





SOURCE: Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Research & Analysis Section

PENCO • Environmental Response, Containment • Site Support Technicians, Maintenance • Waste Management, Environmental Monitoring • Tank Cleaning, Inspection • Petroleum Facility Maintenance & Repair • Logistics Support • 24-Hour Response

ANCHORAGE OFFICE (907) 562-5420 DEADHORSE OFFICE (907) 659-9010

A la ska I Ca lifornia I Hawaii Alaska Business December 2018 | 97

ADVERTISERS INDEX Aaron Plumbing & Heating Company.......43

CIRI..................................................................... 89

NU FLOW Alaska...........................................30

Advanced Dental Solutions......................... 70

Conrad-Houston Insurance Agency..........77

Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters..............................43

Advanced Physical Therapy of Alaska...... 73

Construction Machinery Industrial.............. 2

Alaska Air Cargo - Alaska Airlines.............. 19

Cornerstone Advisors................................... 27

Pacific Pile & Marine...................................... 91

Alaska Center For Dermatology................. 70

Explore Fairbanks........................................... 81

Parker Smith & Feek...................................... 61

Alaska Communications.................................. 3

Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.......................66

PDC Inc. Engineers........................................ 67

Alaska Mergers & Acquisitions LLC...........56

First National Bank Alaska............................. 5

PenAir................................................................ 55

Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium................................................. 31

GCI.................................................................. 100

Personnel Plus................................................. 87

Great Originals Inc......................................... 33

Petro Marine Services...................................54

Alaska School Activities Association......... 76

Historic Anchorage Hotel............................. 87

Quality Asphalt Paving.................................. 35

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union.............. 18

Hotel Captain Cook....................................... 79

RISQ Consulting..............................................68

ALSCO............................................................... 20

ICE Services..................................................... 12

Seawolf Sports Properties........................... 21

Altman Rogers & Co...................................... 12

InsulStone......................................................... 45

T. Rowe Price................................................... 15

American Fast Freight................................... 53

Jim Meinel, CPA P.C....................................... 35

American Heart Association........................ 10

Judy Patrick Photography............................ 98

The Megan Room Conference & Events Center.................82

American Marine / Penco.....................96, 97

Katmai Oncology Group............................... 62

Travel Juneau...................................................83

AMS Couriers.................................................. 71

Lynden Inc........................................................ 57

UAF - Cooperative Extension Service......63

Anchorage Sand & Gravel............................ 51

Medical Park Family Care Inc......................60

United Way of Anchorage............................. 7

Arctic Chiropractic.........................................88

Moda.................................................................. 65

Voyager Inn......................................................85

AT&T.................................................................. 17

MTA................................................................... 11

Wells Fargo Bank Alaska............................... 23

Avis Rent-A-Car..............................................86

NANA Regional Corp.................................... 14

Westmark Hotels - HAP Alaska..................33

Bradison Management Group BMG (AES)................................................... 59

New Horizons Telecom, Inc......................... 37

World Trade Center Anchorage................. 75

Calista Corp..................................................... 47

Nortech Environmental & Engineering............................................. 39

Yukon Equipment Inc.................................... 51

Carlile Transportation Systems...................99

Northern Air Cargo.................................92, 93

Wostmann & Associates Inc........................ 73


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