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Hitachi ZX470LC Excavator Valdez, Alaska

Kirk Currey

Equipment Sales Rep. Anchorage Branch

Wade Gies

Fairbanks Branch Manager

When choosing shovels, consider this – Hitachi doesn’t build all kinds of equipment. We specialize in shovels. The result? An easier choice – shovels specifically designed to work harder, more efficiently, and deliver more uptime. THAT’S ALL.

Anchorage Branch 5400 Homer Dr. Anchorage, AK 99518 (907) 563-3822 (907) 563-1381 F

Fairbanks Branch 2615 – 20th Ave. Fairbanks, AK 99709 (907) 455-9600 (907) 455-9700 F

Juneau Branch 5302 Commercial Blvd. Juneau, AK 99801 (907) 780-4030 (907) 780-4800 F

Ketchikan Branch PO Box 1434 Ward Cove, AK (907) 247-2228 (907) 247-2229 F

Largest selection of RVs, campers and trailers in Alaska


BC RV Sales is the only RV company in Alaska that sells motorhomes, travel trailers, 5th wheels, toy haulers, truck campers, and utility trailers. In June, it added another level of distinction: ABC opened an indoor showroom that can display 25 to 30 motor homes and travel trailers. The 25,000-square-foot building allows people to browse in comfort year round. “In the winter when it’s 10 degrees out, they can shop for RVs in a climate-controlled environment,” says General Manager Patrick Nutter. “It makes going in and out of them a lot more pleasurable.” In March, the showroom will have a weeklong official grand opening, replete with prizes, special offers, and factory representatives. The spacious facility is part of the vision ABC’s owner, John Marquardt, has to enhance the RV business. “He wanted a sales lot that was viable twelve months out of the year,” Nutter says. BEST PRODUCT LINES ABC also distinguishes itself by having the best product lines in the business. The company carries about 25 different RV vendors while most of its competitors have three to ten. “There are more RV manufacturers out there than will ever be shown in Alaska,” Nutter says. “The top ones usually come to us first to try to get us to carry their line, then they go to our competitors.” In addition, ABC goes the extra mile for its customers, many of whom are from other countries. They may be unfamiliar with Alaska or unaccustomed to operating motorhomes. So ABC makes every effort to assist them to ensure they enjoy their visit to the state. The company’s exceptional service and premium products have resulted in numerous industry awards for being the Top Dealer of the Year and Most Improved Dealer of the Year. Established in 1985, ABC is deeply entrenched in Alaska. Today, its corporate umbrella includes ABC RV Sales, ABC RV Parts, ABC Motorhome Rentals, and ABC Alaska Car Rental. ABC maintains a combined staff of 75 employees in the summer and 20 during winter.

NOT YOUR FATHER’S RV RVs have come a long way over the years, and ABC’s products reflect this evolution. Modern units offer many of the amenities and comforts of home, including Corian countertops, solid wood cabinets, stainless steel appliances, washers and dryers, electric beds that can be tilted for reading, and even memory foam mattresses in the master suite. Some also have heated steering wheels, blue tooth, automatic defoggers, and sunroofs. “Several units have electric fireplaces,” Nutter says. “On a chilly night, you can sit inside one of these units and watch your 50 inch TV. You can even get satellite dishes put on top.” Luxurious RVs are ideal for “glamping” (glamorous camping), but ABC has products to suit all tastes and preferences. “If you have not shopped for RVs in the last 10 years, you really have to come down and see what is being produced now,” Nutter says. “It’s a whole new world.”

– PA I D A D V E R T I S E M E N T –

RV SALES Patrick Nutter, General Manager 8103 Old Seward Highway (907) 250-5792

©Judy Patrick Photography

ABC RV Sales

February 2018 Digital Edition TA BLE OF CONTENTS



ABOUT THE COVER: Engineering is omnipresent and facilitates countless common marvels from electric lights to clean water to efficient highways. The 2017 Engineer of the Year, Joe Taylor is “inspired by the role engineering plays in our everyday basic lives.” Taylor is featured on our cover with the staff of Lounsbury & Associates, an engineering company that’s been in continuous business in Alaska since 1949. Taylor is an associate at the firm, which states, “Our staff is quality conscious, production oriented, and equipped with the latest industry advancements.” Our Architecture & Engineering Special Section coincides with the 2018 E-Week, which runs from February 17-24 (

6 88 89 90 91 94 96 98


Cover design by David Geiger

Architecture & Engineering Special Section




14 | ExxonMobil Receives

Approval for Point Thomson Expansion State’s approval will increase oil production; drive Alaska LNG Project forward By Kathryn Mackenzie

20 | Cook Inlet Oil & Gas Profile

Despite challenging year plans move forward for independent operators By Tasha Anderson


78 | Alaska Airlines

and the 2020 Great Land Investment Plan

$100 million infrastructure upgrade shows long-term commitment to state By Sam Friedman


80 | Independent Living:

Offering Hope When Times are Tough Alaska’s Centers for Independent Living change lives for those with handicaps, disability, or health issues By Judy Mottl


84 | Touring the Wintry Great Beyond

Sled dogs, snowmobiling, and pie making By Judy Mottl


Image courtesy of UAS

Large or small and in every industry, cybersecurity is vital By Tracy Barbour

In the University of Alaska Southeast’s Maritime & Multi-skilled Worker program, students learn the basics of welding as well as diesel mechanics, hydraulics, refrigeration, and marine electrical maintenance and repair.

24 | Educated Engineering

and Construction Workers in Demand

Training options abound with vocational and apprenticeship programs, two- and four-year degrees By Vanessa Orr

36 | The Best of the Best: An

Introduction to the 2017 Engineer of the Year Award Nominees Competition highlights Alaska’s engineering talent and good works By Joseph Taylor

Joe Taylor, 2017 Engineer of the Year, at the New Seward Highway; he performed engineering work for the DOT&PF project.

42 | 2017 Engineer of the Year Joseph Taylor 44 | Engineering Excellence— Project of the Year Submissions 52 | Alaska Grown Architecture Architectural trade critical to keeping unique Alaska-style alive By Tom Anderson

60 | The Alaska Business 2018 Architecture & Engineering Directory

International Trade Special Section 66 | Alaska’s Arctic Update ‘New Arctic Realities—The Path Forward’ By Alex Salov

70 | Japan–Alaska’s Old and Reliable Trading Partner

Since statehood in 1959, Japan remains among Alaska’s largest trading partners By Alex Salov

72 | Alaska’s International Airport

Serving Europe, Asia, and North America, Anchorage airport plays vital role in air cargo business By Greg Wolf


Photo by Carleen Dawn

8 | Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Provides a Rational Strategy for Protecting Technology Assets

74 | Tech Exporters Provide Much-needed Economic Diversification, Job Opportunities Alaska’s high-tech companies find success overseas By Greg Wolf

76 | Sovereign Wealth Update

Number of funds and assets continue to grow By Greg Wolf

Alaska Business | February

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FROM THE EDITOR VOLUME 34, NUMBER 2 Published by Alaska Business Publishing Co. Anchorage, Alaska EDITORIAL STAFF Managing Editor Kathryn Mackenzie 257-2907

Associate Editor Tasha Anderson 257-2902 Digital and Social Media Strategist Arie Henry 257-2906 Art Director David Geiger 257-2916 Art Production Linda Shogren 257-2912 Photo Contributor Judy Patrick BUSINESS STAFF President Billie Martin VP & General Manager Jason Martin 257-2905 VP Sales & Marketing Charles Bell 257-2909 Advertising Account Manager Janis J. Plume 257-2917 Advertising Account Manager Holly Parsons 257-2910 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 (907) 276-4373 | Toll Free: 1-800-770-4373 Fax: (907) 279-2900 Editorial email: 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; Fax: (907) 279-2900, ©2018, Alaska Business Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Subscription Rates: $39.95 a year. Single issues of the Power List are $15 each. Single issues of Alaska Business are $3.95 each; $4.95 for October, and back issues are $5 each. Send subscription orders and address changes to the Circulation Department, Alaska Business, 501 W. Northern Lights Boulevard, Suite 100, Anchorage, Alaska 99503-2577. Please supply both old and new addresses and allow six weeks for change, or update online at Manuscripts: Email query letter to Alaska Business is not responsible for unsolicited materials. Photocopies: Where necessary, permission is granted by the copyright owner for libraries and others registered with Copyright Clearance Center to photocopy any article herein for $1.35 per copy. Send payments to CCC, 27 Congress Street, Salem, MA 01970. Copying done for other than personal or internal reference use without the expressed permission of Alaska Business Publishing Co., Inc. is prohibited. Email specific requests to Online: Alaska Business is available at Digital-Archives, and from Thomson Gale. Microfilm: Alaska Business is available on microfilm from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48106.



t’s hard to believe we’re already in the second month of 2018. It seems as if we were just featuring the best places in Alaska to purchase holiday gift baskets. But we’re not looking back because we’re far too excited about the news and information in this spectacular issue. We are fortunate to feature the 2017 Engineer of the Year, Joseph Taylor, PE, who shares with us his passion for engineering and reminds us of the many, many ways engineering touches every part of our daily lives, from the roads we drive to the gadgets we love, the buildings in which we work, and the houses we call home. Take a second to look around and there’s a very good chance you’ll see yet another feat of engineering that has improved all of our lives in one way or another. In addition to interviewing with Alaska Business, Taylor also introduces us to a few of this year’s Engineer of the Year nominees, who have taken the time to share a little about their engineering education, work history, and passion for the industry. The five nominees featured in our Engineering Special Section include men and women who turned a love of learning how things work into a career that makes everyday life a whole lot better for all of us—each one was nominated by a highly respected engineering association. We hope their stories inspire students to consider engineering as a career. And for those students who are considering engineering as a career path, we offer two articles about the benefits of engineering internships and how to find a job in the industry. This month we present our story on engineering internships as a web-exclusive at Advice on how to find work in the industry can be found on page twenty-four of this issue. We are also honored to present the International Trade Special Section written by World Trade Center Anchorage Executive Director Greg Wolf and Business Manager Alex Salov. Together Wolf and Salov provide insight and analysis into the reality behind Arctic opportunities, the state of the world’s sovereign wealth funds, trade relations with Asia, tech exporters, and international cargo operations at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Wolf and Salov are uniquely positioned to give us all an inside look at international trade relations between the United States and Japan, as well as ongoing Arctic developments, how the PFD measures up against other wealth funds, and the unique and vital role of the fourth largest cargo airport in the world. World Trade Center Anchorage is a wealth of information for anyone interested in international trade and business opportunities in Alaska. The nonprofit’s entire mission is to help the business community successfully compete for trade and investment in the global market place and the articles offered in this issue are filled with knowledge for businesses looking to do just that. Thank you again to everyone who contributed to this jampacked issue. So relax, enjoy the lengthening days, and dig in because this is a not-to-be-missed issue of Alaska Business. Happy reading,

—Kathryn Mackenzie, Managing Editor, Alaska Business

Alaska Business | February



Whether you’re shipping fresh seafood out or necessities in, we’ll soon provide more routes and more capacity for the state of Alaska. Our new freighters will provide over 45,000 lbs of capacity with enhanced cargo service to 20 Alaskan communities, including Dillingham and King Salmon. For more information or to book your shipment, visit or call us at 1-800-225-2752.


Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Provides a Rational Strategy for Protecting Technology Assets Large or small and in every industry, cybersecurity is vital


By Tracy Barbour

rganizations of all types and sizes have been rocked by security breaches and other cyber attacks, including large corporations (Merck, Maersk, and FedEx), government agencies, and even a credit reporting bureau (Equifax). And given the growing threat from botnets, malware, ransomware, worms, and nefarious hackers, companies need an organized method for assessing and addressing cybersecurity risks. Cybersecurity is the technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs, and data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access. A cybersecurity risk assessment identifies the gaps in an organization’s critical risk areas and determines actions to close them. The evaluation typically involves considering the primary types of information being handled—whether Social Security numbers, credit or debit card numbers, patient records, industrial control system data, designs, or human resources data—and then making a priority list of what needs to be protected. Cybersecurity assessment also entails identifying where information assets reside, such as file servers, workstations, laptops, removable media, smartphones, and databases, and then classifying them. The top-rated assets are further considered for additional risks they may face from threats such as identity spoofing, data tampering, information disclosure, or denial of service. From there, an organization can weigh the probability of a threat actually being carried out against a particular asset and the potential impact of a successful cybersecurity attack. A cybersecurity risk assessment exercise can take anywhere from one full day for smaller organizations to several days or weeks for larger firms. The cost of an assessment can run tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the size and complexity of the system as well as the time involved making the assessment. Ultimately, a cybersecurity risk assessment can yield a comprehensive, prioritized ranking by risk of threats and vulnerabilities that can help organizations create a strategy for sensible risk mitigation. They can then focus their efforts on the most critical areas and 8

prioritized recommendations, and a mitigation plan.” When conducting assessments, aeSolutions will evaluate an entire enterprise or the security of a particular system at one facility. The Assessment Process aeSolutions also makes a distincCybersecurity risk assessments tion between IT (laptops, printare often done by an organizaers, and accounting systems) and tion’s IT department or their OT (computers and networks that internal audit groups. However, control production). Most commany organizations opt to use John Cusimano outside consultants. There are Director of Industrial panies assess IT and OT separately because the systems and arguments for both approaches, Cybersecurity the personnel who support them says John Cusimano, CISSP, GICaeSolutions are very different, Cusimano says. SP, CFSE. Cusimano is the direcImage courtesy of A cybersecurity risk assessment tor of industrial cybersecurity for aeSolutions cannot be performed without a Applied Engineering Solutions (aeSolutions), a provider of industrial process solid understanding of the system being assafety, cybersecurity, and automation life- sessed, Cusimano says. This means having cycle solutions and tools. “The main thing is up-to-date network diagrams and system inthe person facilitating the assessment should ventory, an understanding of data flows, an have some independence from the group that understanding of how the system is configured actually designs and operates the system,” he and maintained, and site specific operational says. “You want a third party that can come practices. “This homework must be done up in with no biases...You want as close to the front before sitting down to perform a risk assessment,” he says. “The risk assessment must real version of the truth as you can get.” That’s the type of service aeSolutions incorporate input from personnel who are fastrives to provide its clients. The company miliar with the configuration and operation of specializes in industrial control system (ICS) the system so they can reasonably estimate the cybersecurity or what is often referred to as consequences and severity of compromise.” operational technology (OT) cybersecurity. The primary service it offers is a combination Northrim Bank Prioritizes of vulnerability and gap assessment followed Risk Assessment by a formal risk assessment. The vulnerability Cybersecurity risk assessments are particularand gap assessment involves physically visit- ly critical for organizations that manage highly ing a site and gathering data about the system sensitive and private information, such as hosand operational practices. The data, such as pitals and financial institutions. At Northrim Windows system information, network con- Bank, for example, cybersecurity risk assessfigurations, and packet captures, is collected ments are extremely important. And they are passively to ensure that there is no completed on a frequent basis, acpossible impact to production. cording to Vice President, Security “We then analyze the data offsite and Business Continuity Manager and prepare up-to-date network Douglas Frey. diagrams, dataflow diagrams, In fact, whenever Northrim is zone and conduit diagrams, and a contemplating a new network, hirvulnerability register,” Cusimano ing a new vendor, or making other says. “This information is then significant changes, it conducts used in the risk assessment phase a risk assessment. This is an esof the process. We refer to our sential part of protecting valuable ICS cybersecurity risk assessment assets like customer information process as a Cyber Process Hazard as well as the bank’s reputation, Douglas Frey Analysis, or CyberPHA, because brand, business secrets, and funds. Vice President, it links cybersecurity vulnerabili“Any time our landscape changes, Security and ties and threats to process safety Business Continuity we look for potential risks,” Frey consequences to identify realistic says. “It’s like a process we’ve Manager Northrim Bank cyber risks. The result provides baked into our culture.” management with a roadmap Northrim makes cybersecuImage courtesy of highlighting a ranked set of risks, rity risk assessment a priority that Northrim Bank

avoid spending resources on security technologies or activities that are less essential and irrelevant to addressing the highest risks.

Alaska Business | February

Security Risk Assessment Resources By Tracy Barbour


he Alaska Department of Military and Veteran Affairs Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management offers a number of resources to help organizations assess their security risks. For example, they can take advantage of the Cybersecurity Vulnerability Analysis (CSVA), which is a non-regulatory review of cybersecurity management practices within an organization. Primarily, the CSVA is designed to build a risk matrix, threat indicators, maturity model. and prioritized recommendations. It also is intended to build the relationships necessary to foster cooperative arrangements during both normal operations and in times of crisis. Incidentally, the CSVA is not an examination of all the IT business operations or a technical assessment.  Also, all information collected by the CSVA Team becomes protected from public dissemination under the Homeland Security Act.  Organizations associated with industrial control systems can use the Cybersecurity Evaluation Tool (CSET), which is a Department of Homeland Security product that can be used by federal and private-sector entities. CSET assists users with protecting their key national cyber assets. The tool provides organizations with a systematic and repeatable approach to assessing the security posture of their cyber systems and networks. It includes both high-level and detailed questions related to all industrial control and IT systems. CSET is designed to contribute to an organization’s risk management and decision-making process. It also:  Raises awareness and facilitates discussion on cybersecurity within the organization;  Highlights vulnerabilities in the organization’s systems and provides recommendations on ways to address the vulnerability;  Identifies areas of strength and best practices being followed in the organization;  Provides a method to systematically compare and monitor improvement in the cyber systems;  Provides a common industry-wide tool for assessing cyber systems.


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Organizations can download CSET through the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team’s website at  R starts at the top with its board of directors. And it trickles down to the lowest employee because they are the ones who often times have to implement the controls that are established for security. As a financial institution, Northrim is heavily audited and examined. The bank is

February 2018 | Alaska Business


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continuously conducting internal as well as external risk assessments, Frey says. Its staff contains an architecture and cybersecurity manager backed by a team of highly skilled engineers, technicians, and other professionals who constantly test and monitor the bank’s system. In addition, their work is regularly checked externally by state and federal examiners. So exactly what kind of security breaches and other risks is Northrim trying to prevent? The answer: countless. There’s no shortage of the type of attacks that bad actors could use to breach the system. And those risks change daily. That’s why the bank’s system features multiple layers of defense. “If one layer doesn’t stop the risk, another layer can control it,” Frey says. “Those layers of defense are the key to protecting against a wide array of threats as well as future threats.”

A Decision-Making Tool A cybersecurity risk assessment is primarily an exercise for management. It can help them determine the potential exposure of their assets, how well protected they are, and the consequences of a security breach. And it can be used as a decision-making tool to help managers identify what their worst vulnerabilities are and how to address them. This can help organizations get the most bang for their buck when spending money on security. Without a cybersecurity risk assessment, a company could either spend way too much money on security or spend money in the wrong areas and still wind up getting attacked. “What companies are trying to optimize is how much they spend versus how much risk reduction they achieve,” Cusimano says. “There’s typically a break-even point.” aeSolutions uses tailored methodologies to help organizations identify and address their cybersecurity risk concerns. The company, which specializes in control system security (or operational technology) for production facilities such as oil and gas companies, pipelines, and refineries, helps clients who are often concerned about protecting against a process safety, loss of production, or interruption of service. For example, a pipeline would want to ensure no one tampers with the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) or control systems that regulates the functioning of values, pumps, and other elements. Such a data breach could result in major safety and health problems. Cusimano emphasizes that a cybersecurity risk assessment does not have to be done all at once; it can be broken into phases. A multiphased approach can be ideal for larger companies with numerous facilities involved and small companies concerned about funding. “For larger companies, we often do a pilot assessment on a typical system or facility,” he says. “Then they [clients] review the results and decide how they want to scale that across their operation. For smaller companies, we break the assessment into phases, starting with a vulnerability phase. We’ll always encourage them to follow through and perform all the phases of the project when they can, as every phase yields good information.”

Alaska Business | February


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No One-Size-Fits-All Solution Cyber risk assessment requires a completely customized approach because every company’s computer network is different, Frey says. Some companies allow mobile phones to connect to their network; some allow iPads to connect; and some allow people to dial in remotely. The key to addressing these different scenarios is to ensure layers of defense are in place and adequate enough to provide protection. “It’s not as simple as installing a program and calling it good,” he says. “There’s no one-solution-that fits all, except perhaps with some of the simplest companies.” Northrim applies multifaceted tactics with its cyber risk assessment plan. It uses the industry-specific Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) cybersecurity assessment framework as a foundation. The FFIEC offers a Cybersecurity Assessment Tool (CAT) to help financial institutions identify cybersecurity risks and determine their preparedness. The CAT—which tailors its guidance specifically for banks and credit unions—consists of two parts: Inherent Risk Profile and Cybersecurity Maturity. The Inherent Risk Profile addresses the level of risk posed to the institution by technologies and connection types; delivery channels; online/mobile products and technology services; organizational characteristics; and external threats. Institutions can use their completed profile to categorize their risk in levels ranging from least inherent to most inherent.


The Cybersecurity Maturity component of the CAT helps institutions measure the level of risk (from baseline to innovative) and corresponding controls. Cybersecurity Maturity includes statements to determine whether the institution’s behaviors, practices, and processes support cybersecurity preparedness within five domains: cyber risk management and oversight, threat intelligence and collaboration, cybersecurity controls, external dependency management, and cyber incident management and resilience. Northrim Bank also employs cybersecurity techniques from the SANS Institute (officially the Escal Institute  of Advanced Technologies)  and the Center for Internet Security. SANS is a private, for-profit company that specializes in information security training. “We feel this hybrid approach gives us the flexibility to counter many threats while remaining focused on threats in the financial sector,” Frey says. However, business continuity and resilience plans would be totally incomplete without incorporating some type of insurance, Frey says. Therefore, Northrim carries insurance coverage written by Lloyds of London to round out its cybersecurity efforts. “We carry enough insurance to help restore our systems, maintain customer confidence, and assist our customers with identity theft service,” he says.

And No Single Silver Bullet Organizations should be careful when choosing a provider to conduct a cybersecurity risk

assessment. Cusimano advises companies to avoid selecting a vendor who, in addition to providing the risk assessment service, offers cybersecurity products. “It’s like hiring a general contractor to perform a home inspection,” he says. As another word of advice: Cusimano cautions against being lured by “silver-bullet” solutions from vendors with good sales pitches. “There really is no single silver bullet,” he says. “Take your time and understand where the real vulnerabilities and risks are and put together a plan to address those.” However, companies must go beyond just developing a risk assessment plan. They need to “operationalize” their risk assessment plan down to the lowest levels, which includes employees using good passwords, not discussing sensitive information at public forums, and other prudent practices, Frey says. Today, everything is connected through technology. And security-related weaknesses exist across a wide spectrum of platforms and devices, ranging from smartphones and home computers to gas pumps. But the biggest security weakness is people, Frey says. Every day people are being lured into clicking on a link or opening a malicious attachment, possibly giving control of that system to potential hackers. “We must all do a better job against social engineering,” he says.  R Tracy Barbour is a former Alaskan.

Alaska Business | February

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ExxonMobil Receives Approval for Point Thomson Expansion State’s approval will increase oil production; drive Alaska LNG Project forward By Kathryn Mackenzie


xxonMobil moved one step closer toward boosting production at its Point Thomson facilities after an approval from the Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil & Gas in December ended months of negotiations. State and company officials say the approval is “a positive step” toward the company’s goal of increasing condensate production and transporting gas to Prudhoe Bay to produce additional crude oil. 14

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“Our approval of the Point Thomson to Prudhoe Bay pipeline plan adds to the momentum of the Alaska LNG Project and demonstrates the commitment of the Point Thomson working interest owners to move gas from Point Thomson into Alaska Gasline Development Corp.’s 800-mile pipeline,” said Governor Bill Walker in a press release. Walker went on to say the expansion project will increase oil production out of Point Thomson to 50,000 barrels per day (bpd). The Division of Oil and Gas previously approved ExxonMobil’s plan for continued liquid condensate production from Point Thomson but did not approve the expansionrelated portion of the Plans of Development (POD) due to “the conditional nature of the expansion planning work,” according to Chantal Walsh, director of the Division of Oil and Gas. In her letter to ExxonMobil, Walsh said there were too many conditions and too much that was dependent upon the economy and the company’s partners’ decisions. There were additional factors behind the division’s denial of the expansion POD including the state’s belief that ExxonMobil was not meeting its Point Thomson development commitments, as per the Point Thomson Settlement Agreement reached between the state and ExxonMobil in March 2012. Walsh also said the settlement did not clearly lay out ExxonMobil’s infrastructure plans for the North Slope and potentially allowed ExxonMobil to reverse course on the 2012 Point Thomson settlement with the state that


Flowback of North Tarn 1A Well Successful


By Brooks Range Petroleum

rooks Range Petroleum Corporation successfully completed a flowback of the North Tarn #1A well in its Southern Miluveach Unit in late November. The well naturally flowed 24 degree API sweet crude from the prolific Kuparuk C formation. The peak rate averaged 1,292 barrels of oil per day with only trace amounts of water. The independent engineering firm DeGolyer and MacNaughton estimates the economic 2P reserves in the Southern Miluveach Unit at 33 million barrels. North Tarn #1A was drilled to a depth of 6,197 feet and is located on the Mustang pad approximately forty miles west of Deadhorse on the North Slope. The Southern Miluveach Unit shares a common lease line boundary with the 3 billion barrel Kuparuk River Unit and produces from the same horizon. Mustang pad is connected to the Prudhoe Bay infrastructure via an all-season gravel road and is adjacent to a common carrier pipeline providing direct access to the Trans Alaska Pipeline System and the world’s oil markets. The strategic location minimizes impacts to the environment and reduces construction costs. The flowback confirms reservoir assumptions as well as facility design parameters, and Brooks Range anticipates development of the new field will accelerate as a direct result. The next phase of work includes installing an oil processing facility and drilling up to eighteen horizontal production and injection wells. “This recent success is very encouraging and highlights the dedicated and persistent support invested by the Working Interest Owners, state agencies, and the contracting community,” said Bart Armfield, CEO of Brooks Range Petroleum Corporation. “These results confirm we are on the right track with our development plans.” R

guaranteed ExxonMobil’s involvement in developing the project. In October 2017 the company addressed the state’s issues and shortly thereafter the Revised Expansion Project POD was ap-

proved by the state, allowing the project to move forward. Still, Walsh also stated in the approval letter that the expansion project is expected to move forward, regardless of potential speed

Alaska Business | February

bumps. “If the Point Thomson Unit working interest owners do not fund the planning work or enter a commercial agreement with the Prudhoe Bay working interest owners, those events will not in any way absolve Exxon from fulfilling its obligation to complete the planning work promised in the revised planning POD,” she wrote.

Expanding at Point Thomson In order to move forward with the expansion of its Point Thomson facilities, ExxonMobil is going to have to install a huge amount of infrastructure in an extremely harsh, remote environment. Point Thomson is located on the North Slope near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on state acreage near the Beaufort Sea, about sixty miles east of Prudhoe Bay and sixty miles west of the Kaktovik. The Point Thomson project would not only increase oil production to more than 50,000 bpd compared to the facilities’ current capacity of about 10,000 bpd, it would also allow ExxonMobil to transport 920 million standard cubic feet of gas per day to Prudhoe Bay. And it would address the ongoing problem of pressure at Point Thomson. The project involves production of liquids-rich gas, stripping off the condensates and injecting the lean gas back underground. However, because Point Thomson is under such high pressure— estimates say 10,000 psi—produced gas must be pushed back underground at a pressure higher than that, which is nearly beyond the current compression technology available.

Even the two compressors built specifically for Point Thomson, the first of their kind, experienced technical problems that have kept ExxonMobil from reaching its 10,000 bpd goal average until recently when the company worked through the compressor problems, according to the state. The company’s ultimate plan is to increase pressure in the Point Thomson reservoir to the point that oil is pushed to the surface. In the meantime, gas will be stored until the required infrastructure is constructed. The Point Thomson gas reservoir is particularly challenging to develop because it is at least three times the pressure of the Prudhoe, Alpine, or Kuparuk fields, according to a state-produced fact sheet. The facilities needed to accommodate the project are “designed to minimize the project’s footprint,” according to ExxonMobil’s website. Since 2012 the company has completed a significant portion of needed infrastructure including housing and facilities with capacity for more than 200 people onsite; expanding existing gravel pads to support onsite facilities; installing a twenty-two-mile pipeline to transport new gas condensate resources to the Trans Alaska Pipeline System; fuel tanks to support onsite activities and project expansion; an onsite airstrip; a service pier; and infield roads for onsite transportation. The Point Thomson reservoir holds an estimated 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 200 million barrels of natural gas condensate,

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a high-quality hydrocarbon similar to diesel. The Point Thomson gas represents about 25 percent of known gas resources on the North Slope. In order to move gas to Prudhoe Bay, ExxonMobil will have to build a nearly sixtythree-mile, thirty-two-inch diameter pipeline between the two fields, according to the POD. “It’s clear that ExxonMobil is committed to commercializing North Slope gas, particularly from Point Thomson. This helps align the company’s work in Alaska with the State of Alaska and [Alaska Gasline Development Corporation],” said Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack in a press release announcing the expansion approval.

Moving Alaska LNG Forward Because Point Thomson is primarily a natural gas field and is home to about one-fourth of the gas that would feed Alaska’s $43 billion LNG (liquid natural gas) export project, it is expected to help move the LNG project forward. “The Alaska LNG Project has been endorsed by the Trump Administration and the Chinese government. Interest in this project has grown immensely… due to the historic Joint Development Agreement between the State of Alaska, Sinopec, the Bank of China, and the Chinese Investment Corp.,” said Walker. In November, China’s largest oil company, Sinopec, signed on with China Investment Corporation, the Bank of China, the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, and the Alaska government to explore development of a the giant natural gas pipeline and LNG export terminal. The pipeline would carry natural gas from the North Slope to the state’s southern coast, where it would be liquefied and exported. Walker and other stakeholders say the LNG pipeline could bring some $2 billion in annual revenue to Alaska, as well 10,000 to 12,000 jobs during construction. ExxonMobil was previously involved in the Alaska LNG project, but after estimating in 2012 that it would cost as much as $65 billion and take more than a decade to construct, the company backed off the deal, focusing instead on Point Thomson. “Point Thomson marks a new era both for ExxonMobil in Alaska and the North Slope. The investments made will open the eastern North Slope to new development and lead to increased production into the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. With our Alaskan partners, the ongoing work and investments in Point Thomson are also laying the foundation for future gas development. Alaska has the opportunity to become a global natural gas leader. We are excited to be contributing to the next chapter in Alaska’s energy legacy,” the company states. R

Kathryn Mackenzie is Managing Editor of Alaska Business. 18

Alaska Business | February


Alaska Energy Services


laska Energy Services, LLC (AES) has three main lines of business: specialty leasing, support for the resource development industry, and services provided to the telecommunications industry. Owner and President Diane Bachman says, “I recognize the need to provide true leasing services to our clients where the risks are carried by AES; this benefits our clients significantly by freeing up cash flow, provides tax benefits, and allows our clients to focus on their daily core operations.”

Diane Bachman, Owner & President Alaska Energy Services, LLC

Bachman founded AES in 2010, specializing in equipment leasing. Over the years, the company’s leasing has expanded to include equipment for use in the oil and gas, resource development, and construction industries; leasing real property and facilities; corporate vehicles; office furniture and equipment; and medically related equipment. “We’re growing; any Alaskan business that requires utilizing equipment can benefit from being an AES client,” she says.

In 2013 AES expanded its services to support the Alaska telecommunications industry, providing “full drive testing, network trouble shooting, and measurement assessments.” AES offers offers engineering services along with project and construction management for their telecommunications industry clients, in addition to site acquisition and system analysis services. “AES is a quiet company with steady growth each year,” Bachman says. The company’s third business line, in particular, has significantly increased in the past three years. “Recently AES has committed to a more-than $15 million investment on the North Slope by building state-of-the-art warehouse and shop facilities.” Construction was finished on a new shop and office building the second week of December 2017, both within budget and ahead of schedule, Bachman reports. “When our clients lease a building, other structures, equipment, or furniture inside of a facility, they don’t have to pay huge upfront costs, and AES takes on the risk of owning that property.” AES sets itself apart from its competitors because they work to quickly understand each client’s expectations of their project. “We focus on our client’s specific requirements from the start of the project to the end,” Bachman says. “We research and understand current market conditions, and AES builds and maintains solid, lasting business partnerships, focusing on exactly what our clients require for their particular company.” Bachman also feels strongly – PA I D A D V E R T I S E M E N T –

about supporting Alaska Native Corporations through shareholders benefits programs such as First Alaska’s Institute fund raising events, Aleutian Pribilof Island Association galas, and Afognak Native Corporation Youth Charity Golf events. AES is based in Anchorage with satellite offices in Deadhorse and Nevada. Bachman says the AES team is comprised of contracted staff, which allows the company to source industry experts from job to job, building the right-sized team of Alaska professionals for any project. “The AES philosophy is to maintain strong and steady growth,” Bachman says. “Looking forward, we’re examining a variety of acquisitions on the North Slope and outside of Alaska. We continue to invest in our clients through acquiring more equipment and expanding our telecommunications and oil and gas related business partnerships.” Bachman emphasizes that AES focuses on forging highly-valued relationships: “Our goal is to stand the test of time, to provide excellent services, and maintain quality relationships with each and every client with whom we interact.”

For more information, please visit the AES website:


Cook Inlet Oil & Gas Profile Despite challenging year plans move forward for independent operators By Tasha Anderson

Work deck on Osprey platform in Cook Inlet. Image courtesy of Cook Inlet Energy


Alaska Business | February


laska generally focuses its oil and gas attention on the North Slope, where international oil giants operate worldclass discoveries and routinely explore for the next major field. But Cook Inlet is a vital part of the Alaska oil and gas industry, and the many independent operators that work there have felt the effects of several tumultuous years. Many have stated that low oil and gas prices and the state’s failure to make good on tax credit payments have severely hindered their ability to explore and operate. On December 15 Governor Bill Walker released his proposed FY 2019 budget, which includes an Oil & Gas Exploration Credit & Repayment Plan. As part of this plan, the state would pay off the remainder of its outstanding future obligations to Alaska’s independent oil and gas exploration companies in FY 2019 at a small discount rate (roughly 6 percent to 10 percent), issuing bonds to fund payment of the debt. According to the governor’s office, paying these tax credits on an abbreviated schedule (in 2019 instead of by 2025) will give “small operators confidence in Alaska,” without costing the state additional funds. And any additional confidence in Alaska’s oil and gas industry is welcome. While oil prices have risen (this year the ANS West Coast Average Spot Price rose from $53.90 in January 2017 to $63.79 in December 2017), projections are that they won’t climb much further. In a December 12, 2017, letter to the Governor, Alaska Department of Revenue Commissioner Sheldon Fisher said, “Oil markets appear to have come into balance over the past year, and the Department of Revenue projects that annual average prices will stabilize around $60 per barrel in real terms going forward.” Alaska’s legislature continues to argue how to address the state’s ongoing fiscal instability, which has impacted the repayment of tax credits, and the passage of HB111 in 2017 marks the seventh change in tax policy in the Last Frontier in twelve years.

pany. According to BlueCrest, Rig #1 is “the most powerful rig in Alaska.” BlueCrest anticipates up to seven years of future expansion drilling at Cosmopolitan based off target wells already identified. As of June 2017, Cosmopolitan Unit had cumulatively produced 111,000 barrels of oil and 16,422 cubic feet of gas, with an average production rate in 2016 of approximately 136 barrels of oil per day and 439 cubic feet of gas per day. The company has stated it anticipates Cosmopolitan could produce thousands of barrels of oil per day if it can bring more wells online.

Furie Operating Alaska In early 2017 Furie Operating Alaska had an aggressive season scheduled for Cook Inlet, including plans to complete a gas production

well (A-1) and drill two more wells, including a 20,000-foot-plus test to assess Jurassic-age rocks in the Kitchen Light Unit (KLU). While Furie completed many projects, including installations, upgrades, and repairs at its offshore production platform; stabilizing the fifteen-mile pipeline that runs from the production platform to its onshore facilities; and upgrades and installations at the onshore production facility, the company did not complete the KLU A-1 well nor did it drill either of its planned wells. In the “Kitchen Lights Unit—Fifth Plan of Development” report that Furie submitted to the Division of Oil and Gas in October, the company says, “Several factors outside of Furie’s control precluded Furie from drilling additional exploration or development wells in 2017. The major contributing factor was the lack

BlueCrest Energy Industry projects statewide have felt the effects of uncertainty and instability, especially in Cook Inlet. In September Texas-based BlueCrest Energy paused a drilling program at its 100 percent-owned Cosmopolitan oil and gas asset in Cook Inlet approximately three miles offshore and five miles north of Anchor Point. BlueCrest leadership stated in August, when the company announced the brief suspension of the drilling program, that the state’s failure to repay tax credit refunds had a direct impact on the company’s ability to continue operations. At the time, BlueCrest had been paid $27 million and was owed an additional $75 million. Work has since resumed, and in September the company submitted “Cosmopolitan Unit—Fourth Plan of Development” to the Alaska Division of Oil & Gas, which indicates the company’s plans to drill at least one well in 2018 in addition to performing evaluations of well H14 and H16. The plan was approved in November. BlueCrest has invested significantly in the Cosmopolitan Unit, including its BlueCrest Rig #1, a drilling rig that was completed in 2017 and was specifically built for the

February 2018 | Alaska Business


of any meaningful appropriation to the oil and gas tax credit fund for the purchase of Alaska oil and gas production tax credit certificates.” Completion of KLU A-1 is slated for 2018, “if advisable based on logs, data, and market conditions,” the plan states, and Furie also has plans this year to evaluate a new development well. As an alternative to that evaluation, the company may continue exploration, potentially drilling and logging a new exploration well or re-entering, deepening, and logging the previously-drilled #4 exploration well. This plan was approved in late December, with the stipulation that Furie must “complete the KLU A-1 well and either (a) drill, evaluate, and test a new development well to the Sterling Formation; (b) drill, evaluate, and test KLU #4; or (c) drill, evaluate, and test KLU #6-Deep Jurassic” by December 31, 2018, or the company will default on their lease agreement with the state. KLU currently has two operating wells, KLU #3 and KLU A-2a, drilled in 2015 and 2016, respectively that produce approximately 14 million cubic feet of gas daily. Furie supplies gas to Homer Electric Association and Matanuska Electric Association and sells gas to ConocoPhillips and Aurora Gas. The company has a contract to begin supplying 6.2 billion cubic feet of gas per year to ENSTAR.

Hilcorp Hilcorp had an active year in 2017; in addition to other ongoing work, the company drilled two stratigraphic test holes at their Deep Creek Unit; drilled Kalotsa #3 and #4 development wells and seven Pearl stratigraphic test holes in the Nini-

lchik Unit; and drilled seven stratigraphic test holes at Seaview, near Anchor Point. According to the Division of Oil and Gas, the company plans to drill up to six wells at their Kenai Unit and one well in the Swanson River Unit by March of this year. The company also anticipates restarting production at its Birch Hill Unit. In December Hilcorp filed with the Division of Oil and Gas a proposal for the termination of the Stump Lake Unit (SLU) since the company has been unable to resume production in the SLU 41-33RD well. As of December 2017, the well had been cemented to the surface and no longer capable of production, though due to permitting and weather delays Hilcorp has been granted permission to conclude onshore location clearance by May 1, 2018, according to the SLU Termination Approval. Remediation of other site infrastructure such as pads, roads, and pipelines is yet to be determined.

Aurora Exploration In December 2017 Aurora Gas submitted its resignation as the operator of the Nicolai Creek Unit (NCU), located on the west side of Cook Inlet that was formed in 1968 and has produced approximately 9.44 billion standard cubic feet of gas. Aurora Gas filed for bankruptcy in 2016 under Chapter 11. As of December, operations of the NCU were transferred to Aurora Exploration, which then submitted a Plan of Development and Operations for 2018 on December 8, 2017, the 44th plan for the unit, which was approved. In addition to continued production, Au-

rora Exploration has coil tubing cleanouts of NCU #9, NCU #10, and NCU #11 planned for the first quarter of 2018. In 2018 Aurora Exploration plans to drill a 900-foot directional well, NCU #12, targeting Beluga and Upper Tyonek sands productive in NCU wells #3 and #10. The company may possibly convert NCU wells #2 and #9 into a gas storage and injection-production well. It does not have any exploration wells planned for 2018. Aurora Exploration disclosed in the 2018 plan that it anticipates the NCU will become “uneconomic to operate” by 2022, in which case the company would plan well abandonment and surface equipment removal for the summer of that year. In December, the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) agreed to allow Aurora Exploration to post a $200,000 surety bond for the plugging and abandonment of the wells in the NCU as a condition of approving the change of field ownership from Aurora Gas to Aurora Exploration. AOGCC had ordered a $6 million bond, which was found to be illegal under US bankruptcy law and so was reduced to $3.6 million. Aurora Exploration stated the high bond would make it uneconomic to operate the NCU, so the $200,000 bond was agreed on with the stipulation that Aurora Gas and Aurora Exploration release the state and AOGCC from liability arising from any aspect of the bankruptcy case. R Tasha Anderson is the Associate Editor for Alaska Business.

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Congratulations to Geokinetics New state-of-the-art Facility in Deadhorse, Alaska

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Image courtesy of AVTEC


Architecture & Engineering

AVTEC’s industrial electrical program is an intensive, ten-month course that teaches hands-on disciplinary skills and exposes students to concepts that they will encounter in a university engineering program.

Educated Engineering and Construction Workers in Demand Training options abound with vocational and apprenticeship programs, two- and four-year degrees


By Vanessa Orr

here are plenty of reasons to enter the engineering or construction fields, especially in Alaska. While some sectors of the industry are experiencing a downturn, others remain in high demand, and in some instances companies are having trouble filling certain positions. Depending on one’s area of focus, there are a number of training options available ranging from vocational and apprenticeship programs to two- and four-year college degrees. 24

AVTEC The Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC) prepares students with career and technical skills in a number of areas including construction technology and industrial technology. “In our construction technology program, students learn all aspects of the trade—all the parts and pieces that an entry-level construction worker would need to walk onto the job and be a highly qualified candidate,” explains AVTEC Director Cathy

LeCompte of the program operated by the State of Alaska Department of Workforce & Development. “While we concentrate mainly on residential maintenance, some of our students have gone into commercial construction as well.” While some students enter the workforce directly after the ten-week course, others go on to apprenticeships or enroll in the Construction Management program at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). Those

Alaska Business | February


The Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC) prepares students with career and technical skills in a number of areas including construction technology and industrial technology. Image courtesy of AVTEC

who enroll in AVTEC’s industrial electrical program, which teaches students computer programming and some pre-engineering, may also move on to higher-level learning. “It’s a very intensive, ten-month course where they learn hands-on disciplinary skills and are exposed to concepts that will suit them well in a university engineering program,” says LeCompte. 26

The majority of AVTEC’s students are between the ages eighteen and twenty-four and come directly from high school or have a couple of years of work experience. Students need to have a high school diploma or GED and are required to take an adult basic education assessment to enroll in AVTEC programs. “If a student is within a few points of the cut score, we will enroll them in our

Foundations program to bring up their skill levels,” says LeCompte. Tuition varies, though an average tenweek program can cost between $10,000 and $18,000, including room and board. The diesel program is a little more expensive, as it includes a $6,000 toolkit. “What really sets us apart is how we deliver the program; it’s very intensive and

Alaska Business | February

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Photo by T. Bart Quimby

The Bart and Sandy Quimby Steel Design Teaching Sculpture is a 3D representation of structural engineering principles that can be used for up-close, hands-on engineering instruction.

“Employers reach out to us because they know the quality of our graduates. A lot of our students go to work before they even complete their training—they’re plucked right out as they are finishing school.”

—Cathy LeCompte, Director, AVTEC

hands-on and caters to kinesthetic learners,” says LeCompte, adding that AVTEC has a fifteen-to-one student-to-faculty ratio. “Our full counseling staff, including a recreational specialist, work very hard to get students to where they want to be.” AVTEC’s placement rate is more than 90 percent, which can be credited not only to the job skills they teach but also to the career readiness and employability skills that students learn, including interviewing, networking, problem-solving, and time management. “Employers reach out to us because they know the quality of our graduates,” LeCompte says. “A lot of our students go to work before they even complete their training—they’re plucked right out as they are finishing school.”

they are training,” explains John Plutt, training director, Fairbanks Alaska Area Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 375 Joint Apprenticeship Training Program. “Our five-year program requires approximately 1,600 hours of training with another 8,500 in field, but

those can be done a block at a time. A person might train for forty hours a week for eight to ten weeks a year, then work in the field the next year, then go back for their second year of training. At the completion of the program, they can be designated as a plumber or a pipefitter and also have earned thirty-two college credits toward an associate’s degree.” Compared to the cost of a college or trade school, an apprenticeship can be much less expensive. “In Alaska, the cost is minimal,” says Plutt. “Tuition is free, but apprentices pay for books and license fees. Over the five-year period, they are out-of-pocket about $2,500.” Apprentices also get paid a starting percentage base, making 50 percent of journeyStudents experiment with a augmented reality sandbox; as the sand is moved within the box, the topographic color map and contour lines are updated in real time. Image courtesy of UAA

The Apprentice Advantage Apprenticeships are another option for students entering the construction trade. “One of the advantages of an apprenticeship is that students are able to work while 28

Alaska Business | February

—Denise Runge, Dean UAA Community & Technical College

Caixia Wang is an assistant professor of geomatics at UAA and teaches principles of mapping; spatial information analysis and modeling; fundamentals of surveying; and design and management of spatial data. Image courtesy of UAA

man’s scale their first year. After 1,500 hours, they receive a 10 percent raise, with raises every year of about $3 to $4 an hour. A Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC), made up of three Local 375 members and three contractor members, oversees the program and conducts applicant interviews four times a year. “As we see the need for more apprentices, we accept them into the program to keep up with the demand,” says Plutt. Approximately eighty- to one hundred people apply every year, with twenty to twenty-five apprentices accepted. On average, 65 percent complete the program. “Most all stay in the trades, though some might go into supervisory positions,” says Plutt. There are JATCs for more than sixteen different union construction crafts, including boilermakers, bricklayers, carpenters, ironworkers, insulators, and more, and all of the programs are run differently, though most construction trade apprenticeships run four to five years.

Constructing an Education at University of Alaska Students can also attend the University of Alaska for engineering or construction degrees. “We offer two separate degrees: an associate of applied science and a bachelor of science, and students can build one on the other,” says Denise Runge, dean, UAA Community & Technical College. “Students may start with an associate’s degree, but if they want can seamlessly go on to finish a fouryear degree.” In the construction management program, students learn about codes and standards, CAD basics, costs and estimating, and more. Base tuition for Alaska residents runs $202 per credit hour, with upper courses costing $244 per credit hour. “Our students range from recent high school graduates with limited to no work experience to mid-career professionals,” says Runge. “Some have been on the labor side and want to move into management.” “The vast majority of our students find work in construction-related industries, though some are hired in fields you wouldn’t think of, like the telecom industry,” she adds. “What

February 2018 | Alaska Business



“The vast majority of our students find work in construction-related industries, though some are hired in fields you wouldn’t think of, like the telecom industry. What students learn here serves them well in a number of positions.”

—Robin Gilcrist Associate Professor and Department Head UAS Construction Technology Department

students learn here serves them well in a number of positions.” The construction management program has an advisory board made up of people working in the industry. “These are actual hiring authorities—some of the bigger players in the field,” says Runge. “They meet two to four times a year with our faculty to talk about changes in the industry and what skills we need to be teaching.”


Image courtesy UAA


“Many of our students have gone on to work with contractors, in architectural or engineering firms, or to complete apprenticeships. We’re a high-touch program with small classes, so we really get to know our students well. And since we know all of the employers in town, we can help them when they’re looking for internships or jobs.”

Last year, 174 UAA College of Engineering students received certificates or degrees, an increase from 150 the year before.

As for education quality, UAA’s student competition team took first place last year in the Associated Schools of Construction Competition for the region. “They had to complete a very complicated project in a dayand-a-half,” says Runge. “The fact that they won is pretty impressive.” For more academically focused students, UAA’s College of Engineering offers various degrees at the undergraduate and graduate

level, including bachelor’s degrees in civil, mechanical, electrical, and computer systems engineering; computer science; and geomatics (surveying and mapping). The college also offers a two-year associate’s degree in surveying, as well as a graduate program in project management. “Our students range from traditional eighteen-year-olds to forty-year-olds with long military careers or those looking to change direction,” says Fred

Alaska Business | February

Image courtesy of UAA

Barlow, dean, UAA College of Engineering. Last year, 174 students received certificates or degrees, an increase from 150 the previous year. “We’ve gone from 500 students a decade ago to approximately 1,500 now,” says Barlow. “Although there is an ebb and flow with-

in various disciplines, most disciplines—like mechanical engineering and computer science—are growing significantly.” Barlow credits the mounting interest in engineering degrees to a number of reasons. “Historically, unemployment for our graduates

is much lower than the rest of population, and they have a set of skills that are easily transferable to various jobs,” he explains. “Starting salaries are also significantly higher.” According to UAA’s Academic Year 20162017 Senior Survey, roughly 74 percent of

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February 2018 | Alaska Business



Roughly 74 percent of UAA’s engineering students who applied for jobs in 201617 received one or more job offers prior to graduation, with an average offer of approximately $60,000.


Students at the University of Alaska Southeast’s Maritime & Multi-skilled Worker program can earn a US Coast Guard marine oiler credential, or QMED. Image courtesy of UAS

engineering graduates who applied for jobs received one or more job offers prior to graduation, with an average offer of approximately $60,000. According to Barlow, getting a degree at UAA makes financial sense. “Costs at other universities are much higher for Alaska residents, and the quality of education they re-


ceive here is as good as they’d get anywhere,” he says. “And particularly in surveying [or] civil or mechanical engineering, employers are looking for people who understand Alaska and want to stay here.” Students can enroll at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) to earn an associate’s degree in its construction technology pro-

gram, which focuses on residential construction including the most current technology for creating energy-efficient envelopes to retain heat in structures. “Most classes are experiential with students actually taking part in the building process while in class,” explains Robin Gilcrist, associate professor and department

Alaska Business | February


Image courtesy of AVTEC

An AVTEC student gains valuable hands-on experience.

head of the Construction Technology Department. “One of the most interesting things about our program is that we partner with the high school and the Juneau Housing Trust to build small, affordable homes that are put into a land trust.” UAS students range from high school graduates to people who have previously been in college or the military, as well as contractors who often take specialized courses such as cold climate construction. “Many of our students have gone on to work with contractors, in architectural or engineering firms, or to complete apprenticeships,” says Gilcrist. “We’re a high-touch program with small classes, so we really get to know our students well. And since we know all of the employers in town, we can help them when they’re looking for internships or jobs.” The course costs approximately $4,000 for a two-year degree, and students need to have a high school diploma or GED to apply. “If they don’t have a GED, we can help them through our partnership with the Juneau Construction Academy through the Southeast Regional Resource Center,” says Gilcrist, adding that there is also funding available to help those who earn their GED take the construction course. UAS also offers a maritime and multiskilled worker program on its Ketchikan campus, which is a series of courses that leads to the US Coast Guard Marine Oiler Credential, or QMED. Students learn the

February 2018 | Alaska Business



basics of welding as well as diesel mechanics, hydraulics, refrigeration, and marine electrical maintenance and repair, which relates to other industrial jobs in ship building, heavy machinery, and construction. “The benefit of this program is that after students complete their coursework and exams, they can get the oiler endorsement after 120 days of sea time versus 180,” explains Priscilla Schulte, UAS Ketchikan campus director. In addition to partnering with Vigor Shipyard to offer an intense twelve-week program, UAS Ketchikan also partners with the Alaska Marine Highway System and other employers to offer sea time internships. “This program has been very successful in providing our students with an entry into good industrial jobs,” says Schulte. “Our students work not just with AMHS and Vigor, but also Tyler Rental, NOAA, and more.” More than 90 percent of students in the program find quality employment, Schulte says. “This is great for our area; these are jobs on which you can support a family,” she says. “We have a number of students from small communities where the unemployment is high, so it’s a big deal if people can get good jobs. They may start at an entry level, but they can move ahead quickly with this background.”  R Image courtesy of UAS

In the University of Alaska Southeast’s Maritime & Multi-skilled Worker program, students learn the basics of welding as well as diesel mechanics, hydraulics, refrigeration, and marine electrical maintenance and repair.

Vanessa Orr is a freelance writer and former editor of the Capital City Weekly in Juneau.

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University of Alaska Fairbanks Walsh Hall


Alaska Business | February

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LAST FRONTIER Local expertise backed by nationwide support


eal Property Management (RPM) Last Frontier focuses on providing services for residential rental properties with one to ten units. Its comprehensive service offerings include accounting, leasing, advertising, lease management, evictions, collections, landlord-tenant law expertise, and rental property consulting. “We do so much more than cash rent checks and call plumbers,” says President Kassandra Taggart. “We are professionals who maximize the return on your investment through a proactive approach to an otherwise antiquated industry.” RPM’s services are particularly suited for architects, engineers, and other working professionals who are limited on time due to managing family, careers, and personal goals. The company understands that many working professionals want to grow their retirement accounts, cash flow, and overall net worth using rental property—but with little stress or time commitment. “RPM is a locally-owned and veteran-owned franchise that offers top professional rental property management with the latest technology, making the ease of doing business for working professionals a win-win relationship,” Taggart says. TRAINING AND EDUCATION With ever-increasing industry regulations, property management requires landlords to do more than just shake

hands and cash rent checks. That’s why RPM Last Frontier offers The Landlord’s Almanac, free monthly classes that address critical topics like landlord-tenant law, tenant relations, and evictions. The Landlord’s Almanac—which has exceeded 600 members in just two years—strives to keep do-it-yourself landlords from making mistakes so they can foster trust with their tenants. “We are building a legacy, so that there is no longer a war between landlords and tenants,” Taggart says.

RPM is North America’s largest property management company, boasting more than 25 years of experience and 300-plus locations in 46 states. The RPM Last Frontier franchise is one of the largest property management firms in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. The company, which started in 2012 and now has 20 employees, has experienced explosive growth through its use of technology and stellar service. Consequently, RPM Last Frontier has garnered various awards: 2017 Woman of Excellence in Business from WEOA, 2016 RPM Franchise of the Year, 2015 National Rising Star Award, and 2014 HUD-VASH Landlord of the Year. – PA I D A D V E R T I S E M E N T –

EXPERTISE AND SERVICE RPM excels at delivering a high level of service through its proactive stance, best practices, and knowledgeable employees. The company also tracks statistics closely to help clients make informed and profitable decisions. Its vacancy rate is 4.2 percent, compared to 6 to 12 percent for others in the industry. “We are not full-time sales agents moonlighting as property managers or trying to compete solely on price while sacrificing the level of service,” Taggart says. “We are striving to set a new standard for our industry.” Essentially, RPM seeks to raise the bar in making property management a professional industry that sets higher standards for service levels and financial protection for landlords. Ultimately, the company will comprise part of the solution and support for the community as Anchorage’s housing needs change. As such, its recent projects have encompassed finding financial wins for clients during the market shift. “The next undertaking is to expand our market share, so we can have a larger footprint while raising the standards and allowing more landlords to also have financial success in Anchorage,” Taggart says. Real Property Management Last Frontier Kassandra Taggart, President 288 W 34th Ave. Anchorage, Alaska 99503 (907) 268-4779


Architecture & Engineering

The Best of the Best: An Introduction to the 2017 Engineer of the Year Award Nominees Competition highlights Alaska’s engineering talent and good works By Joseph Taylor


ach year Alaska’s professional engineering societies nominate candidates for the Engineer of the Year Award. The competition is an opportunity to highlight the incredible

engineering talent and good works that are taking place in our state. Each candidate’s credentials are reviewed by an independent panel of judges who select the overall winner. The competition culminates with the recognition of each candidate at the annual Engineers Week Banquet and Awards Ceremony in late February, at which the winner is revealed. The judging criteria include:

 Significant engineering work over the past two years;  Historical significant engineering work;  Publications and professional presentations;  Contribution to the professional societies;  Other service to the professional community;  Service to the broader community.

These criteria demonstrate that, in addition to engineering excellence, service to the community and the profession is a value held dearly in the engineering community. This year’s candidates are no exception and they embody these values. As last year’s Alaska Engineer of the Year, it is my distinct privilege to introduce you to a few of this year’s Engineer of the Year nominees and the professional societies they represent. 36

Christine Ness Christine Ness, PE, FPE, CFPS, is a registered Fire Protection Engineer and PDC’s associate leading their fire protection services. She holds professional engineer registration in fire protection engineering in Alaska, Ohio, and Washington; is a Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS); and has Alaska Fire System Permits. Ness is the president of the Alaska Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers and the vice president of the Alaska Chapter of the National Society of Women in Construction. Ness possesses more than twenty-two years of fire protection and life safety engineering experience with extensive technical competence interpreting the model building, life safety, and fire codes, as well as state building and fire codes. She has specialized professional experience in both performance-based and detailed design for automatic sprinkler, fire detection and alarm, and building protection systems. Ness is also experienced in engineering systems for the protection of facilities using hazardous materials including flammable liquids. Her projects can be found in the United States, McMurdo Station Antarctica, Fort McMurray Alberta Canada, Egypt, Iraq, Japan, Italy, Slovakia, and Trinidad and Tobago. Project types include systems design and analysis of special industrial facilities, healthcare centers, oil and gas exploration facilities, mining facilities, military mission compounds, telecom hubs, historic buildings, university campuses, airport traffic control facilities, and post-fire event industrial site forensics. Working under a Lockheed Martin contract, Ness provided engineering support for FAA airport traffic control tower upgrades and new construction projects at a number of International Airports (O’Hare, Milwaukee General Mitchell, Indianapolis, Detroit Metro, Dayton, Cleveland Hopkins, Port Columbus), as well as several regional airports across the Midwest. She also worked on military projects as a fire protection engi-

Alaska Business | February

Christine Ness

neer on the expansion and renovation of Eielson Air Force Base, Fort Greely, Yokota Air Base in Japan, Fort Lee, Fort Hood, Blossom Point, Camp LeJeune, Naval Station Norfolk, Oceana Naval Air Station, and Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base Seal Operations Facilities. Ness has also provided fire alarm and fire suppression systems design for several dormitories and classroom facilities including at Old Dominion University, William and Mary University, Christopher Newport University, Tidewater Community College, and the University of Illinois’ five campuses. Ness received her bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Bradley University and master’s classwork in fire protection engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Ness was nominated by the National Society of Women in Construction, which provides its members with opportunities for professional development, education, networking, leadership training, public service, and more for the purpose of enhancing the success of women in the construction industry.

Tracy McKeon Tracy McKeon, PE, LEED AO BD+C, is a mechanical engineer and project manager leading the mechanical group at CRW Engineering Group. She was raised in an Air Force family, traveling around the United States throughout her younger years, and ended her high school years at Eielson Air Force Base where she developed her love for Alaska. She went on to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks where she earned her bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and was actively involved in the student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.


Image courtesy of Christine Ness

Since that time she has worked for more than eighteen years on mechanical design and construction management projects throughout Alaska. McKeon worked for mechanical contractors for six years and has hands-on knowledge of plumbing, mechanical installations, and design. She is a qualified commissioning professional and has been LEED AP certified since 2008. McKeon became an engineer to help improve the life of others and believes in developing costeffective simple and energy efficient systems for economically challenged communities. Over the past four years at CRW she has had many opportunities to pursue her goals as she worked on multiple heat recovery and sustainable and renewable energy projects, all while starting and growing a successful mechanical engineering department. She is currently designing the Anchorage School District Rogers Park HVAC Upgrades, Huslia Biomass Boiler project, and multiple PRV stations under the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility Competitive Term Contract. Recent significant projects include designing the Quinhagak Heat Recovery Project, which won the American Public Works Association Innovative Energy Solution in 2016 and both the People’s Choice and a Grand Award during 2017 E-week. It is now being used as a template for other communities. McKeon is passionate about passing on her knowledge to the next generation and advocating for STEM. She is heavily involved in coaching and mentoring multiple teams in the FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics leagues since 2010 at both the high school and elementary school levels. She has been a mentor for the Anchorage School District Gifted Mentorship program. She also volunteers and

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Prince William Sound and the Copper River Valley


Image courtesy of Tracy McKeon

Tracy McKeon

February 2018 | Alaska Business



participates regularly in programs including “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” and the “JBER Library STEM Day” in hopes of igniting their curiosity in STEM fields. McKeon is a member of the National Fire Protection Association, Society of Women Engineers, and the Society for Military Engineers. She is an active member of ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers), serving on the Board of Governors for the past two years. She was nominated for the Engineer of the Year Award by ASHRAE, a global society dedicated to advancing the arts and sciences of heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigerating to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world.

Jim Sawhill Jim Sawhill, PE, is a principal with Lounsbury & Associates and has more than thirty-five years of Alaska engineering, project management, construction management, and contract management experience. He led Lounsbury’s engineering services for twentyseven years. During his tenure at Lounsbury, Sawhill successfully designed and/or managed more than 300 projects. His combination of technical excellence and management skills enable him to successfully guide design teams to develop innovative solutions for projects. He is also well-known for his public involvement skills, effectively communicating technical issues and impacts to the public in an understandable manner. Sawhill is accomplished at completing a variety of projects including arterial, collector, and local roads for the Municipality of

Image courtesy of Jim Sawhill

Jim Sawhill


Image courtesy of Tami Hamler

Tami Hamler

Anchorage; highway projects for the Alaska Department of Transportation; Arctic roads and pads for oil development; water and wastewater projects; site designs; and subdivision development. Recently, Sawhill led the consultant team that designed improvements for Spenard Road. The project is Anchorage’s first complete street design, providing eight-foot pedestrian sidewalks, five-foot bike lanes, and improved transit stops. This controversial project included a significant public involvement process to overcome concerns about traffic congestion, parking, and private property impacts. Sawhill was a member of the Municipality of Anchorage Urban Design Commission for seven years and has been active in several professional organizations through the years, serving in a variety of positions. Sawhill spends his free time fishing, hiking, and relaxing at his Willow cabin. He is family- oriented, visiting his children in the states whenever possible—sometimes meeting them in Seattle for a Seahawks game. The Institution of Transport Engineers— which nominated Sawhill—is a professional society of more than 15,000 transportation engineers, planners, and other professionals in some eighty countries. The Institute facilitates the application of technology and scientific principles to research, planning, functional design, implementation, opera-

tion, policy development, and management for all modes of transportation.

Tami Hamler Tami Hamler, PE, MS, is a Senior Mechanical Engineer with AMC Engineers, an engineering firm specializing in the design of wellengineered, energy efficient, and sustainable mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. In 1982, Hamler earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and in 1984, her master’s degree in from the University of Virginia. Prior to joining AMC in 1996, Hamler spent five years as a full-time mom, one of her most rewarding jobs, and worked several years as a rehabilitation engineer. Rehabilitation engineering involves the use of engineering principles to develop technological solutions and devices to assist individuals with disabilities. Hamler’s twenty-one years of Alaska engineering, project management, construction management, and commissioning experience have given her the opportunity to manage and design a variety of commercial projects, specializing in heating, ventilation, and plumbing systems. Hamler strives for simple, maintainable, and energy efficient systems. During her fourteen-year career at AMC, Hamler has designed several challenging projects throughout the state including

Alaska Business | February


the UAA Engineering and Industry Building in Anchorage, Mount Edgecumbe Aquatic Center in Sitka, and the new Alaska Airlines Hangar in Anchorage. Hamler maintains a professional membership with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). When she is not working, Hamler enjoys being outside, mountain biking, cross country skiing, sea kayaking, and ultimate Frisbee. Ultimate Frisbee is a team sport Hamler began playing in college and has been a favorite pastime since. In the mid-1990s, Hamler contributed to the formation of the Anchorage Ultimate Frisbee Club, a nonprofit organization that continues to thrive. Always a “tinkerer,” Hamler took her interests to the next level by designing and building an offthe-grid home for her family near Talkeetna. The home continues to provide a quiet refuge from a busy world. Founded in 1950, Hamler’s sponsor, SWE, is a nonprofit service organization dedicated to the advancement of women in the engineering profession. SWE aims to encourage women into engineering and leadership, expand the image of engineering as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrating the value of diversity.

Gregory Latreille Gregory Latreille, PE, SE, was born and raised in the small, rural town of Malone, New York, ten miles from the Canadian

Image courtesy of Gregory Latreille

Gregory Latreille

February 2018 | Alaska Business



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border. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in civil engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute after which he moved to Alaska in 2005. He has been working as a structural engineer for Anchorage-based BBFM Engineers Inc. since then, where he is now a principal. He has designed and analyzed structures of various construction types and materials, including wood, steel, concrete, and masonry, and he is familiar with the special design constraints and demands of Arctic structures in both rural and urban settings. Notable projects he has worked on in Alaska include the new Alaska Airlines Center sports arena at the University of Alaska at Anchorage, the new Paul John Calricaraq Clinic and existing hospital renovation in Bethel, the Fairbanks International Airport Terminal renovation and expansion, the new Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau, and the revitalization and structural stabilization of the historic Kennecott Mine mill building, a National Historic Landmark. Outside of his work in Alaska, Latreille has worked on projects on Antarctica, including miscellaneous projects at the South Pole Station and a large addition to the IT Center at McMurdo Station. He is a licensed professional engineer and a licensed structural engineer in Alaska. Latreille is a member of various engineering societies, including the American Society of Civil Engineers, Chi Epsilon, the Structural Engineers Association of Alaska, and the Alaska Society of Professional Engineers

(ASPE)/National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). He was a member of the ASPE state board of directors from 2006 to 2015, serving various roles including statewide treasurer, state president, and Alaska’s representative in the NSPE House of Delegates. He has been active in the NSPE Western and Pacific Region since 2007, serving as region chair from 2013 to 2015 and region director from 2016 to the present. His work in the field of structural engineering and his extensive service to the profession earned Latreille recognition from his peers, including the NSPE New Faces of Engineering award in 2010, the ASPE Engineer of the Year Award in 2011, and a nomination for the 2011 Anchorage E-Week Engineer of the Year in 2011. In addition to service to his profession, Latreille is a very active donor with the Blood Bank of Alaska, to which he has donated more than five gallons of blood over the years. In his time away from his career, Latreille is an avid outdoorsman. He enjoys skiing, snow-shoeing, hockey, hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting. He also enjoys travel both within Alaska and abroad with his family. Latreille is nominated by ASPE, the unified voice and advocate for professional engineers in Alaska. The group says on its website is “the only engineering society that represents professional engineers from all branches.”  R

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hen it comes to global engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction, and maintenance in Alaska, there are few companies with the experience and expertise possessed by Fluor. For 106 years, the company has served clients in the energy, chemicals, government, industrial, infrastructure, mining, and power market sectors, building and maintaining capital-efficient facilities. Consistently ranked as one of the world’s safest contractors, Fluor’s primary objective is to develop, execute, and maintain capital projects on schedule, on budget, and with the highest degree of operational excellence. “We are committed to Alaska and to working in Alaska. We value our relationships and operate with the highest ethical standards and safety practices,” says Wyche Ford, Alaska Operations Manager and recentlyappointed President of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance. “Our focus on capital efficiency and cost and schedule certainty is resonating with clients and is a true differentiator for Fluor. Our ability to offer integrated solutions to our clients enables them to move forward on projects that would otherwise be uneconomic.” Fluor has ranked first in the Engineering & Construction category of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies for six consecutive years. It has also been named one of the World’s

©Judy Patrick Photography

FLUOR ALASKA, INC. Turning Concept to Reality through Efficient Capital Project Management Wyche Ford, Alaska Operations Manager, Fluor Alaska, Inc.

Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere magazine for the past 11 years. Perhaps the most well-known project executed by Fluor in Alaska was the engineering, procurement, and construction of the pump stations, remote gate valve sites, and marine terminal of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. Between 2002 and 2004, Fluor managed the construction and renovation of facilities at Eareckson Air Station on Shemya Island and at Fort Greely as part of the Alaska Missile Defense Program.

More recently, the company completed EPCM work on a new large greenfield gas project on the North Slope. And today, through its office in mid-town Anchorage, Fluor leverages its cold weather and Arctic expertise to deliver major pipeline, gas processing, and LNG projects statewide. Projects range from sustaining capital efforts to large capital investments. “Fluor is often thought of as partner to companies that are developing difficult or large and complex capital investments such as a mine or a new North Slope facility. We like to think we’re able to solve problems for these difficult and remote projects in a way – PA I D A D V E R T I S E M E N T –

that’s unique,” says Ford. “We bring capital efficiency to investments of all sizes. When our clients bring us on board we establish a team that is able to deliver capital reduction and still meet the project output requirements or performance requirements. That’s unique.” Another unique aspect of Fluor is its focus on modularization, an important component of the company’s integrated solutions approach to minimizing interfaces and creating efficiencies in every phase of each project. Fluor has a proprietary modularization technology that significantly increases the portion of a facility that can be modularized and reduces plot plan requirements. Fluor also has fabrication yards to fabricate those modules, including the Zhuhai Fabrication Yard, centrally located on the South China Sea. The Zhuhai Fabrication Yard is an efficient, state-ofthe-art fabrication facility specifically designed for module fabrication and assembly using optimized material flow and assembly techniques. Through its integrated engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction, and maintenance approach, Fluor offers clients in Alaska and globally the complete array of services and capabilities to solve all project challenges. To learn more about Fluor’s capabilities and how it will help you meet your project goals visit or call (907) 865-2000.


Architecture & Engineering

2017 Engineer of the Year Joseph Taylor


oseph Taylor, PE, is the 2017 Engineer of the Year, nominated by the Alaska Society of Professional Engineers Anchorage Chapter. Taylor has more than thirteen years of engineering experience, including projects that range from rural roadways to congested city highways. Recently Taylor transitioned from working for CH2M to his new position as an associate at Lounsbury & Associates. He values his experience working at CH2M: “It was a great work environment and CH2M has great people,” Taylor says; however, he is enthusiastic about new opportunities at Lounsbury & Associates, Alaska’s oldest surveying and engineering company, founded in 1949. “It’s a smaller firm, but it has a long history in Alaska, serving the state for more than sixty years. I’m excited to be here.” Taylor earned his bachelor of science in civil engineering from Portland State University and a master’s in civil engineering from the University of Alaska Anchorage. He’s an active member with the Alaska Society of Professional Engineers and volunteers annually for the Anchorage Engineers Week, taking place this year February 18-24. “The really cool thing about engineering is how much of it is a part of every day and no one really notices,” Taylor says, speaking of common engineering marvels that include clean drinking water, working traffic lights, or the management of storm water runoff from urban roadways. Below, Taylor shares some of his engineering background, expertise, and advice.

Photo by Carleen Dawn


What attracted you to engineering as a career? Like most engineers, I was pretty good at math and science as a kid. I participated in summer science camps and made exploding volcanos for the science fair and things like that. I took some advanced math and sciences classes in high school. I was never the best student in class, but I wasn’t afraid of taking technical courses. If I’m completely honest, I was more interested in playing sports growing up than I was in finding a career. Engineering kind of found me. The best I could do as far as college football was a small tech school in South Dakota. There were two career paths offered there, nursing and engineering. I picked engineering and before I knew it, I fell in love with it.

What kind of engineering work do you perform most often? I am a civil engineer by education. Civil engineering is a broad discipline that includes earth and soils engineering, water resources, wastewater management, site development, transportation, and some structural engineering. My primary focus is on transportation engineering and site development, with an emphasis on roadway geometric design, site grading, drainage, and utility designs. What aspect of engineering are you most passionate about? Being a transportation engineer in Alaska is unique because there are so many different modes of transportation commonly in use in our state. From pedestrian trails in our cities to our ports, harbors, and ferry systems to our highways and our rural airports, we have it all. I’m personally pretty passionate about roads. For me, there’s just something cool about connecting people and places via roadways. It’s a practice that reaches back to the engineers of some of the world’s oldest civilizations. What project have you worked on recently? The most significant project that I’ve worked on over the past year is the reconstruction of the Seward Highway from Dimond Boulevard to Dowling Road. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities [DOT&PF] is reconstructing the mainline, ramps, and frontage roads to enhance safety and accommodate future capacity. The project is also adding a new grade separated crossing under the highway at 76th Avenue, adding sidewalks to the frontage roads, improving drainage, and connecting Sandlewood Place to Lore Road, all while maintaining about 50,000 vehicles a day through the construction zone. The DOT&PF, construction contractor, and design team have all worked together in a spirit of collaboration to make this project a success. The work is on schedule to be substantially complete by the end of the next construction season. [The Seward Highway reconstruction project has several phases and is ongoing; for more information visit or] What’s an upcoming project that you will be working on in 2018? The project I’m most excited to be working on in 2018 involves the reconstruction of the interchange at Dowling Road and the Seward Highway. The DOT&PF is studying what the future long term traffic is expected to be at this location. Ultimately, they will select an improvement to accommodate the expected growth at this location. I’m on the team that is going to help with the design.

Alaska Business | February

The theme for Engineers Week 2018 is “Inspiring Wonder.” In what ways do you still find inspiration and wonder in your work? I’m inspired by the role that engineering plays in our everyday basic lives. From the time we roll out of bed in the morning and flip on a light, brew imported coffee beans with hot clean water, commute to work, ride on an elevator, enjoy air-conditioning or central heating, or laugh off an earthquake that shakes our buildings, our lives have been

Joe Taylor, 2017 Engineer of the Year, stands in front of the newly reconstructed Seward Highway, for which he provided his engineering expertise. Photo by Carleen Dawn

significantly impacted by the good work of engineers. I think that’s awesome. How would you gauge excellence in the field of engineering? What are some of the important attributes an engineer needs to have? The folks that I look up to in this profession all have the ability to see the end product in their mind as they go about their work and they manage their work accordingly. Engineering is a profession in which it’s easy to get totally hung up in the details and lose sight of what you’re actually trying to accomplish or what problem you’re actually trying

to solve. I think an excellent engineer knows when to press on the important details and when not to sweat the small stuff and has the judgement and experience to know the difference. I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by folks like this in my career. If you could receive funding for any project in Alaska, which one would you fund? Our state has so many great projects and infrastructure needs that it’s hard to single out one project. Rather than highlight one and omit so many others worthy of attention, I think I’m going to leave this one for the powers that be! R

February 2018 | Alaska Business



What advice do you have for young or prospective engineers? I would give two pieces of advice to younger folks considering engineering. The first thing I would say is don’t be afraid to take the challenging classes. Chemistry, biology, calculus, physics, geometry, and the like—they’re all good. You might not end up pursuing engineering, but these classes will train you to solve problems and to better understand the world around you, and that’s powerful and will serve you well in life. The second thing I would say is everybody needs a mentor. Seek out someone who is working on challenging projects or cool work, learn about the path they walked, and figure out what lessons they learned the hard way. Find out how to benefit from their experiences without making the same mistakes they made along the way. This might be an engineer you meet through EWeek or it might be your high school math teacher; it can be anybody.


Architecture & Engineering

AMC Engineers—State Library, Archives, and Museum © Lara Swimmer Photography

Engineering Excellence—Project of the Year Submissions


laska Business is pleased to present the following short synopses of submissions for the Engineering Excellence— Project of the Year awards; the winners will be announced at this year’s Engineering Banquet on February 25 at the Egan Center in Anchorage. For additional information about the projects, visit the Alaska Business website: 44

AMC Engineers—State Library, Archives, and Museum The new Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff State Library, Archive, and Museum officially opened its doors in June 2016. The facility brings together three separate state entities including the State Library, the State Archives, and the State Museum.

Alaska Business | February

The existing Juneau Library, built in 1964, was demolished to make room for this new 118,000-square-foot, $130 million facility. This unique and technically challenging project is designed to establish precise control and monitor three distinct and competing indoor environments, each optimized to specific library, long term archive, and display museum requirements.

BBFM Engineers—Dena’ina Elementary School The Dena’ina Elementary School is located off the Knik-Goose Bay Road in the Matanuska-­ Susitna Borough. It is an approximately 44,000-square-foot facility with classrooms, administrative offices, library, music room, gymnasium, kitchen, and a large center atrium/multi-purpose room. The structure’s vertical system is a two-story steel frame using open web steel joists, wide flange steel beams and girders, and tube steel columns. The lateral system is a series of special steel concentrically braced frames. The foundation is concrete strip and spread footings and contains an 18,000-gallon water tank. BBFM Engineers— Dena’ina Elementary School ©Kevin G. Smith

February 2018 | Alaska Business



The existing Juneau Library, built in 1964, was demolished to make room for this new 118,000-square-foot, $130 million facility. This unique and technically challenging project is designed to establish precise control and monitor three distinct and competing indoor environments, each optimized to specific library, long term archive, and display museum requirements.

Photo by Christi Meyn


CRW Consulting Group—Campbell Airstrip Road

CRW Consulting Group—Campbell Airstrip Road The Campbell Airstrip Road in East Anchorage project included a design that reconstructed the degraded roadway, widened shoulders to improve vehicle and activetransportation commuter safety, and constructed drainage ditches to handle stormwater. It eliminated a parking lot, instead re-directing parking to safer lots more visible from the road. The project, which was completed under budget, saved money by using roadway exca-

vations to build up the pathway. Focusing on sustainable design, and sensitive to the nearby Alaska Botanical Gardens, it re-used existing excavated organics as topsoil to spread over the hillsides disturbed by construction.

DOWL & PND—Seward Marine Terminal Expansion The Seward Marine Terminal Expansion Master Planning Effort was a TIGER grantfunded project led by the Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) to evaluate existing facilities at its Seward Marine Terminal and

plan for the future growth and development of the facility. The project comprised the development of Passenger Traffic, Freight Traffic and Transportation Connectivity Studies, and a Master Plan to guide future development and investment in the infrastructure, assets, and facilities. The Master Plan balanced multiple interests and set out priorities for the next twenty years to enable ARRC to make decisions as well as justify funding. All deliverables met MARAD’s and US DOT’s schedule, and the project came in under budget.

DOWL & PND— Seward Marine Terminal Expansion Photo by Renee Whitesell


Alaska Business | February

HDL Engineering— Rehabilitate Runway 16-34 Photo by Casey Witt

PND Engineers— Juneau Cruise Ship Berths Image courtesy of PND Engineers, Inc.

PND Engineers—Juneau Cruise Ship Berths To accommodate the increasing frequency of larger ships, PND Engineers worked closely with the City and Borough of Juneau to develop creative and viable cruise ship berth project alternatives to accommodate the unique site conditions of the downtown Juneau waterfront area. The selected concept consisted of two independent, floating concrete pontoons that accommodate passenger transfers from the vessels through the 25-foot tide


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February 2018 | Alaska Business



HDL Engineering—Rehabilitate Runway 16-34 A 2013 pavement condition survey confirmed that it was time to replace the pavement on Runway 16/34 at the Warren “Bud” Woods Palmer Municipal Airport. In November 2016, Palmer awarded a design contract to HDL Engineering Consultants to rehabilitate the runway pavement, extend and improve the runway safety area beyond both runway ends, and other related minor improvements. This project was anticipated to cost $7.3 million; however, through innovation, coordination with the FAA, and reuse of onsite materials, HDL was able to assist Palmer to complete a single $7.8 million project that also added six acres of paved apron, improved the runway shoulders, updated Runway 10/28 markings, added a compass calibration pad, removed obstacles from critical airport surfaces, and added a heliport.


PND Engineers— Statter Harbor Improvements Phase II Image courtesy of PND Engineers, Inc.

cycle. The combined length of both berths is 2,100 feet and will support two vessels with overall lengths of 1,063 feet and a gross tonnage of 144,000 tons each simultaneously. The design team overcame the challenges of the deep water, variable bedrock elevation, and loose/weak marine sediment overburden by using a combination of rock anchors, rock sockets, and SPIN FIN pile tips.

PND Engineers—Statter Harbor Improvements Phase II Through a cooperative agreement with ADFG Sport Fish, the City and Borough of Juneau retained PND to plan, permit, design, and administer construction for the Statter Harbor Improvements Project - Phase II. This


project constructed the second of four phases for Statter Harbor. Phase II was recently completed and includes nearly 150,000 cubic yards of fill placed over wick drain stabilized soils to create a 4.5 acre parking and marine recreation facility. The design included 3,700 tons of ACP pavement, 4,000 linear feet of curb and gutter, 2,000 linear feet of storm drain, water services, sewer force main for future restroom, a concrete marine seawall, a seawalk with covered shelter, and a multitude of landscape features.

PND Engineers—UniSea G1 Dock Replacemen PND was selected to perform all aspects of a UniSea project to improve their processing

F A C I L I Market T sector focus, I E Alaska to S Antarctica



plant, including moving the processing facilities nearer to the dock (with the goal of increasing productivity and reducing handling time), and replace the company’s aged G1 Dock. A sheet pile dock alternative was selected that provides 0.7 acres of new uplands and includes concrete surfacing and bullrail, mooring bollard piles and cleats, timber and fiber-reinforced polymer pile fenders, a concrete utilidor and fish pump pit, trench drain and drainage structures, pedestal cranes, light poles, dock galvanic anodes, crab brailer supports, and two breasting dolphins with associated catwalks and support bents. In addition, a smaller sheet pile dock and access ramp located adjacent to the new G1 Dock was designed for a new seawater intake pump system and building.

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Image courtesy of PND Engineers/by Derrick Honrud

R&M Consultants—Wembley Roundabout Public Involvement

R&M Consultants—Wembley Roundabout Public Involvement The Fairbanks Danby-Wembley Roundabout project was faced with opposition from the local trucking industry due to the project’s location along a major truck route for highway legal and Oversize/Overweight (OS/OW) trucks. After a scoping meeting with the trucking industry, the consultant team organized and conducted a truck trial, utilizing a 1:1 representation of the proposed roundabout geometry, and inviting the various design vehicles to traverse the course. The event was documented extensively, including with the use of an UAV for aerial video and ground based GPS receivers for tire

track recording. This data was used to validate the computer-generated turning movements, as well as aid in targeted stakeholder outreach. In the court of public opinion, this use of real life media was key to assure project success.

R&M Consultants—Dock Socketed Pile Value Engineering R&M Consultants was contacted by Turnagain Marine Construction (TMC) requesting value engineering on the replacement of a dock facility in Unalaska, designed by others. TMC needed to prove to the Engineer of Record (EOR) that a pile anchored to bedrock with a reinforced concrete socket would per-

Image courtesy of R&M Consultants, Inc

R&M Consultants—Dock Socketed Pile Value Engineering

form equally to one anchored with a post tensioned anchor rod. R&M worked with TMC and geotechnical engineering firm Shannon & Wilson to design an innovative and more easily constructible solution that had higher uplift capacity and lower deflections then the specified rock anchors. R&M also provided a detailed calculation package to the EOR that clearly detailed anticipated deflections of the post-tensioned rock anchor design versus a socketed shaft design. The result of the value engineering effort was the EOR accepting the substitution request as the baseline design February 2018 | Alaska Business



PND Engineers— UniSea G1 Dock Replacement


Reid Middleton— Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Patient Housing ©Kevin G. Smith

for the project, and then the EOR further using the design throughout other areas of the project to provide additional construction cost savings to the owner.

Reid Middleton—Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Patient Housing The large-scale addition to the Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC), comprised of


Alaska Business | February

Schneider Structural Engineers— Anchorage Museum Expansion The Anchorage Museum expansion provides a 30,000-square-foot addition for the permanent art housed in the Art of the North collections, a temporary gallery, new member and donor lounge, offices, and informal galleries, all connected to the remodeled atrium. The structural design presented several unique challenges, the greatest of which was maintaining seismic separation between the new and existing structures. The original museum building, a concrete and masonry structure built in the 1960s, was not designed to support the added loads from the addition above. Knowing this, Schneider Structural Engineers had to find a way to frame the new structure completely independent of the old structure. To do so, the engineers dropped steel columns through holes in the existing concrete roof, ran those columns 60 feet up to the new roof, then hung the new second floor framing off the new roof structure. The second floor actually “floats” several feet above the existing roof, suspended from heavy steel plate girders. The biggest girders are 5 feet deep, weigh 50,000 pounds, and cantilever up to 50 feet beyond the supporting columns. R


a patient housing facility, parking garage, and skybridge that links the complex to the existing ANMC Hospital, was designed and constructed to mitigate this risk of Alaska Native people not receiving care when they need it. Reid Middleton provided the structural engineering for the design/bid/build project made even more complex by requiring construction in three separate phases. The project’s first phase was the parking garage, a five-story, 165,070-square-foot, 450-stall parking structure. Phase II was the 90,000-square-foot patient housing facility with 202 guest rooms. The final phase of the project was the skybridge that connects the complex to the existing ANMC hospital.

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Schneider Structural Engineers— Anchorage Museum Expansion ©Kevin G. Smith

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February 2018 | Alaska Business



Architecture & Engineering

Alaska Grown Architecture Architectural trade critical to keeping unique Alaska-style alive By Tom Anderson


Alaska Business | February

The American Institute of Architects Alaska Chapter The number of architects in Alaska may not be skyrocketing, but the profession is respected, and the need for qualified professionals in the trade remains strong statewide. For high school or college students seeking a profession that keeps them busy and employed, architecture is an excellent option. Melissa Morse is an architect with Architects Alaska and the 2018 president for The American Institute of Architects Alaska Chapter. Morse says the organization’s 2018 membership is at 202 professionals and climbing. The majority of members are architects who are licensed and live in Alaska. “Architects are part of every public building and multi-family housing project in the

“Our industry is smaller in numbers than other places because Alaska has a low population, so it’s relative. The majority of architecture offices are small businesses with less than fifteen employees, but fortunately they’re also sophisticated in focus and niches so they can cover variables like region, soil, temperature, and structural design.”

—Melissa Morse 2018 President, The American Institute of Architects Alaska Chapter

state, from man camps to churches, schools to hospitals,” says Morse. She stresses the importance of her profession to the economy, citing the necessity for architectural firms in Alaska to be comprehensive, mobile, and resilient, with multiple specialties. Especially since Alaska’s climate is a definite variable in design calculations. A building-type in Nome is very different than in Juneau. “We are forced to rethink the building envelope for each location and specific microclimate, which other states may not require as often,” Morse adds. “In addition to the exterior of the building there are often vernacular or historic building types that need to be considered, so we have our work cut out for us statewide.” Alaska architects research the locations of their projects to determine how climate and geology will affect the build and to ensure the facility suits the site and community.

“The high winds, drastic temperature range, seismic activity, and varied landscape are inspirational to each project, creating a unique building that represents its location,” she says. “Architecture firms typically hire the engineer team; working with the engineers we are able to craft a building that is contoured to the owner and community needs.” Morse estimates there are approximately thirty architecture offices around the state, and another thirty sole proprietors. Collectively, the American Institute of Architects Alaska Chapter represents the entire building design industry. In terms of process, she says architects work with clients, engineers, and contractors to build designs. “Our industry is smaller in numbers than other places because Alaska has a low population, so it’s relative. The majority of architecture offices are small businesses with less than fifteen employees, but fortunately

Patient housing for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage. © Kevin G. Smith

February 2018 | Alaska Business




he field of architecture has been an integral part of the Alaska design and construction industry for decades. The innovation of architectural and drawing craftspeople is memorialized across the state thanks to the determination of artisans who value their field and product and who are critical to the Alaska economy and building trades.


© Kevin G. Smith

A room at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium patient housing, which received an IIDA Healthcare Award.

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“The architecture industry in Alaska is as diverse as our state… Although our economy has slowed throughout the past few years, building permits are holding steady. This is a great economic indicator for our profession in Alaska.”

—Jeff Koonce Founder/Architect in Responsible Charge KPB Architects

they’re also sophisticated in focus and niches so they can cover variables like region, soil, temperature, and structural design,” says Morse. “Clients ultimately value Alaskan architect acumen and experience as a result.”

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KPB Architects Jeff Koonce is a founding member of KPB Architects. The KPB website says Koonce has “played a key role in Alaska’s urban and rural architecture scene over the past thirty-three years.” “The architecture industry in Alaska is as diverse as our state,” says Koonce. As the economy rises and falls in relation to oil and gas prices and resource development opportunities, the architectural community responds accordingly.

Alaska Business | February

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February 2018 | Alaska Business



Image courtesy of Alder Architecture & Design

ontracting. N at

Alder Architect & Design Anna M. Lee is a licensed architect in the Mat-Su Borough and sole proprietor of Alder Architect & Design. Lee has been an architect for more than twenty-three years, launching her career after graduating from Montana State University and designing in Montana. She was recruited through contacts in the profession to work for a well-established architectural firm and did so for eight years in Wasilla. But as the recent economy waned and purse strings tightened, she found herself laid off and seeking employment. She decided to stay in the Valley and open her own architecture practice.

Anna Lee, sole proprietor of Alder Architecture & Design, weathers -23 degree Fahrenheit temperatures in Kenai.

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Over the past few years some firms have seen a decrease in staffing needs or closed while other start-ups are burgeoning in niche markets. “Although our economy has slowed throughout the past few years, building permits are holding steady. This is a great economic indicator for our profession in Alaska.” Second generation owner and firm President Mike Prozeralik believes one of the big challenges faced by architects in Alaska is growing and sustaining a firm. “The talent pool here is very limited. We do not have a university system architecture program, so the graduates we talk to are either young professionals that grew up here, or they’re from out of state and seeking opportunity for a design career, often with an affinity for the outdoors and nature. Recruiting is a challenge, so retaining the talent you have is essential to your longevity,” he says. KPB is located in downtown Anchorage and is comprised of eight registered architects, four emerging professionals, one landscape architect, interior designers, and administrative support staff. Prozeralik adds that the cost of living in Anchorage is 30 percent higher than the national average. “This expense makes it difficult for Alaskan architectural firms to compete for talent with firms in the Lower 48,” he says, emphasizing salaries and benefits need to be competitive with local competition and national firms. “Relocating an architect and their family is also a difficult and expensive process, so finding the right individual that will come, and plans to stay, is always a managerial concern.” As for 2018 projects, “We are very optimistic that there will be more opportunities for our industry and our firm,” says Koonce. Over the past couple of years, a major healthcare provider retained the firm for existing and new facility developments, and under a term contract with the US Army Corps of Engineers, KPB is one of the design teams assisting with the development of facilities supporting the new F-35 mission at Eielson Air Force Base. KPB is also currently involved in the development of several new medical clinics, a large multi-family housing project in downtown Anchorage, and a rural project for building reuse in Kodiak. They’re assisting with a salmon roe plant in Emmonak and discussing other projects along Alaska’s western coast. “We’re working hard to develop our backlog for 2018. I’m happy with our progress and ready to take on more projects as the state’s economy gains momentum,” says Koonce.



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“One aspect of my occupation and industry I’m proud of is being the only femaleowned architecture firm in the MatanuskaSusitna Borough,” says Lee, though there are a few large firms with satellite offices in the Valley. Lee’s expertise is in rural developments, custom rustic Alaska homes, historical preservation, and residential remodels. “I’ve worked on projects across Alaska in remote communities ranging from Dutch Harbor and Atka to Bethel and Nome,” she says. “Experience counts in this trade. I’ve also worked on many older historic buildings in Montana. While large Alaskan architecture firms target new construction, I’m often tasked with smaller jobs like remodels that require my expertise with aged structures that might contain plaster or asbestos materials and other older construction techniques. I enjoy researching the history of buildings and the material science that goes into them.” Lee’s 2018 current contract season includes a new toilet facility remodel in a 1940s-building owned and occupied by the Mat-Su Borough, a custom Alaska residence, residential remodels, a restaurant re-build, teacher housing designs in several villages, and a marijuana grow facility. “The general public does not always understand exactly what it is an architect does. We do more than just draw. Sometimes we also contract for construction administration for an owner and/or contractor.” Lee says the Alaska building economy is dependent on new and expanding industries. “Mat-Su is thriving in commerce and residential diversity, so as far as architecture goes, I am in the right place at the right time, doing exactly what I am passionate about: architecture and Alaska.”

Coastwise Corporation Architecture isn’t just for buildings or landscape. Coastwise Corporation is unique as a naval architecture/marine engineering firm based in Alaska. Coastwise has served the Alaska maritime industry for more than twenty years, providing professional vessel design, marine structure and systems engineering, port engineering, and waterborne transportation analysis. Alaska’s short operating season and challenging weather require vessel designs to be

“Our primary challenge is to change the mindset in the vessel design world that Alaskan companies think that they need to go out of state for professional marine engineering and design services. They don’t; we’re here and capable.”

—Patrick Eberhardt Principal, Coastwise Corporation


Alaska Business | February


Klauder & Company Architects A respected architect on the Kenai Peninsula, Peter Klauder founded Klauder & Company Architects in 1994. Klauder’s experience in the constructions trades, including carpentry and landscaping, has added to his proficiency as an architect. Klauder is one of only several architects on the Kenai Peninsula. Klauder says Alaskan architects typically face a combination of unique environmental factors. An Alaska project might need to accommodate Earthquake Seismic Zone 4, the highest rated for ground movement; ground frost and permafrost issues in Arctic climes; and wind loads easily exceeding 100 miles per hour. “It’s not that other states don’t have one or two of these same environmental conditions,” says Klauder, “but dealing with all three conditions on the same work site is somewhat unique to Alaska.” Absent a formal university degree program in the state, it’s difficult to find draftsman and intern architects, he says. As a result, over the years Klauder has trained several very talented employees that had limited exposure to architectural schooling. There are advantages to working in Alaska. Alaskans are a “little bit more down to earth,” he says. Klauder recalls as a young man accompanying his father to a design meeting at an architectural firm in Ohio. His father was a general contractor and they were working on the design for a high-end custom home. It was 90 degrees Fahrenheit and 90 percent humidity: “The architects were all







highly reliable, says Coastwise Corporation Principal Patrick Eberhardt. “It is challenging for our designers to work in Alaska with inclement weather conditions like high winds, cold temperatures, and icy or near-icy areas, but we get the job done,” he says. Eberhardt adds that traditionally naval architecture/marine engineering work has been contracted to large firms outside of Alaska, primarily in Seattle. “Our primary challenge is to change the mindset in the vessel design world that Alaskan companies think that they need to go out of state for professional marine engineering and design services. They don’t; we’re here and capable.” In 2018 Coastwise will continue its work on passenger vessel design and construction projects with Allen Marine in Sitka and Bay Weld Boats in Homer. The company is also planning for design and construction of a new tug for a Western Alaska construction company. Eberhardt says the company offers 3D design and finite element analysis to develop innovative, functional, and efficient designs. Eberhardt notes that Coastwise designed the eighty-nine-foot fishing trawler Evie Grace, the first new trawler design built for Kodiak in recent memory that will begin its first season in 2018. It is unique because it is the first vessel designed pursuant to new federal fishing vessel legislation. “Coastwise is at the forefront of developing new naval architecture regulations with the [US Coast Guard] and developing the practical application of this new rule set,” he says.

U N I S E A G 1 D O C K R E P L AC E M E N T







February 2018 | Alaska Business



Z Architects provided services for the Bears Phase III project at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center that included a bear viewing canopy and restroom facility. Image courtesy of Z Architects/ ©Blue Iris Photography

The Skilling residence in Girdwood is a Z Architects project. ©Ed Faith Photography

dressed up in their long sleeve suits and ties, and as we left the meeting I told my dad I’d never want to be an architect because the dress code was way too restrictive.” Now that he is president of Klauder & Company Architects performance is his priority—not dress code. “If I wore a suit and tie to work I don’t think my clients would trust me, and that’s just fine with me.” Klauder notes that when oil prices dropped in the state, the local economy took a hit, so he adjusted his business model accordingly. “While the economy is still shaky, our 2018 projects look solid. We are bidding on an exciting project for the Kenaitze Indian Tribe that will carry well into 2018 and possibly beyond,” he says. “We hope to go back to work for one of the oil companies in 2018, overseeing master planning and then designing a major facility for them. We have several smaller private projects that are keeping us busy including one medical/surgical facility. We do a lot of private commercial projects and some public projects, splitting our hours about 50/50. Alaska has been very good to me,” he says.

Z Architects One might be hard-pressed to find a prettier workplace than at the foot of Alyeska Resort, which is where Architect Marco Zaccaro and his design colleagues focus on Alaska’s unique northern landscape. Zaccaro predicts 2018 to be a growth period for architecture, despite the relatively small industry in Alaska. Over his career he’s found that small and large out-of-state firms that bid on projects in Alaska are often surprised by the number of firms in Anchorage. “Because of the relatively small size of the construction market, most firms in Alaska 58

Alaska Business | February

Image courtesy of Z Architects

are generalists. In other states with larger markets, firms tend to specialize in one industry like healthcare and medical centers, schools, or fire stations. Alaskan firms will often partner with these out-of-state specialists in putting proposals together for local projects,” he says. Zaccaro says architects depend heavily on government agencies, Alaska Native Corporations, and the oil and gas industry. “The architectural selection process for these entities tends to be bureaucratic, so most mediumsized and larger architecture firms in Alaska spend a lot of time putting proposals together and have relatively large marketing departments. This drives up architectural fees to cover project procurement costs. Smaller firms also face this burden as they attempt to grow,” he adds. Because Alaska is relatively new, Zaccaro believes there is a fairly blank slate to create a distinct architectural language. “Alaska’s progressive design evolution over the last decade has led to some really great work, while the resulting talent is starting to give Alaskan design its own identity and national recognition.” Alaskan architects are often experts and specialize in dealing with the long distances and complicated supply chains that often affect Alaska construction logistics. “Our geographic considerations, along with higher constructions costs, play an important role in design decisions that architects in other states don’t suffer,” he adds.

more than enough room for new and aspiring architects in our state. Construction and building are vital processes, while safe and reliable structures are the foundation of our communities. Architects are the people who help make sure everything fits and works— and we all thrive as a result. It’s a profession

I’m proud of in Alaska, and one from which I wouldn’t change for the world.” R Tom Anderson owns a public relations firm in Alaska and is a freelance writer.

Home Grown Future The future appears bright and bold for the architecture industry in Alaska. “Our clients are what make our firm successful,” says Koonce. “Alaskans are downto-earth, humble, and open to working collaboratively. We have a diverse demographic and are culturally rich in terms of architecture and clientele. The best news is there’s

February 2018 | Alaska Business



Z Architects provided services to Alyeska Resort for the Gunmount 2 Rehabilitation project that included avalanche howitzer storage. Howitzers are used to trigger small avalanches in order to avoid large, unexpected ones.


Architecture & Engineering

The Alaska Business 2018


aeSolutions 3800 Centerpoint Dr., Suite 620 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-865-5992 Fax: 907-865-5993 Ahtna Engineering Services, LLC 110 W. 38th Ave., Suite 200A Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-646-2969 AMC Engineers 701 E. Tudor Rd., Suite 250 Anchorage, AK 99503-7457 Phone: 907-257-9100 Fax: 907-257-9191 Arcadis 880 H St., Suite 101 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-276-8095 Fax: 907-276-8609 Architects Alaska 900 W. Fifth Ave., Suite 403 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-272-3567 Fax: 907-277-1732 ASRC Energy Services LLC 3900 C St., Suite 701 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-339-6200 Fax: 907-339-6219 BBFM Engineers, Inc. 845 K St. Anchorage, AK 99501-3358 Phone: 907-274-2236 Fax: 907-274-2520 BDS Architects 3330 C St., Suite 200 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-562-6076 Fax: 907-562-6635 Bettisworth North Architects & Planners 212 Front St., Suite 200 Fairbanks, AK 99701 Phone: 907-456-5780 Fax: 907-451-8522 Blue Sky Studio, LLC 6771 Lauden Cir. Anchorage, AK 99502 Phone: 907-677-9078 Fax: 907-677-9079 Bratslavsky Consulting Engineers, Inc. 500 W. 27th Ave., Suite A Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-272-5264 Fax: 907-272-5214 Bristol Engineering Services Corporation 111 W. 16th Ave., Third Floor Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 800-563-0013 Fax: 907-563-6713




Chris Hickling, AK Bus. Dev. Mgr. Timothy F. Gould, PE, Pres.

1998 2008

165 26

aeSolutions is a complete system integrator specializing in safety instrumented systems, automation, process safety consulting, industrial cybersecurity, alarm management, and operations & maintenance solutions; supporting all phases of the Process Safety Lifecycle.

2003 2003

174 48

Ahtna Engineering Services, LLC is a self-performing Federal & Commercial Contractor. The firm performs services nationwide including engineering, construction, environmental, administrative & professional services. AES is positioned to support nationwide requirements with offices in AK, WA, & CA.

1981 1981

24 23

AMC Engineers is committed to the design of well-engineered and sustainable mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems, supporting the full range of institutional and commercial projects.

Pat Cusick, Pres. Kent Crandall, AK Ops Leader Mark Kneedler, Pres. Doug Smith, Pres./CEO Dennis Berry, Pres. Daniel Seiser, Pres. Roy Rountree, Pres./Principal Arch. Catherine Call, Mng. Member Tanya Bratslavsky, Pres. Travis Woods, Pres./CEO


1888 28,000 Arcadis is Alaska’s leading provider of construction and program management services and 1994 20 a leading global design, project management and consultancy firm.

1950 1950

1985 1985

1996 1996

1981 1981

22 22

Architectural design, space planning, interior design, and master planning for commercial, industrial, residential, medical, religious and educational facilities statewide.

A “one-stop shop” for quality consulting and contracting services to the energy, natural 2,750 resources, infrastructure, industrial, and power industries. AES offers a broad range of 2,600 in-house vertical integration services, self-performance capabilities, and a cross-trained craft labor pool. Structural engineering design and construction admin for new buildings, additions to 10 existing buildings, analysis of existing buildings, including seismic evaluations and condi9 tion surveys, design of tanks, modules and pedestrian bridges. Specialize in cold climates: Alaska and Antarctica. 10-20 Architecture, planning, interior design, and roof technology. 10-20

1976 1976

41 41

Anchorage Office: 2600 Denali Street, Suite 710. Architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, planning & energy services for healthcare, education, military, housing, libraries, museums, public safety, civic buildings, senior care, commercial development and recreational facilities.

2002 2002

2 2

Architecture with a focus on residential and food service projects.

1985 1985

30 30

A multi-discipline engineering and project management company specializing in full design, value engineering, tenant improvements, facility condition and ADA assessments, permitting, energy upgrades and audits, construction management and inspections, QA/ QC, and other services.

1994 1994

50 25

Civil engineering, permitting and planning; total project management encompassing planning, design and

Alaska Business | February



CH2M 949 E. 36th Ave., Suite 500 Anchorage, AK 99508 Phone: 907-762-1500 Fax: 907-762-1600 ChemTrack Alaska, Inc. 11711 S. Gambell St. Anchorage, AK 99515 Phone: 907-349-2511 Fax: 907-522-3150 Coffman Engineers 800 F St. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-276-6664 Fax: 907-276-5042 Corvus Design, Inc. 2506 - B Fairbanks St. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-222-2859 CRW Engineering Group, LLC 3940 Arctic Blvd., Suite 300 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-562-3252 Fax: 907-561-2273 DAT/EM Systems International 2014 Merrill Field Dr. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-522-3681 Fax: 907-522-3688 DCI Engineers 341 W. Tudor, Suite 105 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-257-2613 Del Norte Surveying, Inc. PO Box 110553 Anchorage, AK 99511 Phone: 907-345-8003 Fax: 907-345-8002 Design Alaska, Inc. 601 College Rd. Fairbanks, AK 99701 Phone: 907-452-1241 Fax: 907-456-6883 DOWL 4041 B St. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-562-2000 Fax: 907-563-3953 Doyon Anvil 509 W. Third Ave. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-677-3021 Fax: 907-279-4088 EDC, Inc. 213 W. Fireweed Ln. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-276-7933 Fax: 907-276-4763 EEIS Consulting Engineers 624 W. International Airport Rd., Suite 104 Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-258-3231 Fax: 907-272-1288 EHS-Alaska, Inc. 11901 Business Blvd., Suite 208 Eagle River, AK 99577 Phone: 907-694-1383 Fax: 907-694-1382 Electric Power Systems 3305 Arctic Blvd., Suite 201 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-522-1953 Fax: 907-522-1182 Environmental Management, Inc. 206 E. Fireweed Ln., Suite 201 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-272-9336 Fax: 907-272-4159 F. Robert Bell & Associates 801 W. Fireweed Ln., Suite 201 Anchorage, AK 99503-1801 Phone: 907-274-5257 Fax: 907-743-3480 Fluor Alaska, Inc. 4300 B St., Suite 210 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-865-2000 Fax: 907-865-2023 Franklin & Associates 225 E. Fireweed Ln., Suite 202 Anchorage, AK 99503-2080 Phone: 907-277-1631 Fax: 907-277-2939 Fugro 5761 Silverado Way, Suite O Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-561-3478 Fax: 907-561-5123 Golder Associates, Inc. 2121 Abbott Rd., Suite 100 Anchorage, AK 99507 Phone: 907-344-6001 Fax: 907-344-6011



Terry Bailey, Sr. VP/AK Reg. Mgr. Carrie Jokiel, Pres. Tom Looney, Mng. Principal Peter Briggs, Pres. D. Michael Rabe, Mng. Principal Jeff Yates, GM Paul Rogness, Principal Lisa Greer, Owner Terry Caetano, Pres./GM

1973 1973

5-15 Please check out our Statement of Qualifications at 5-15

1979 1979

387 103

2006 2006

5 5

1981 1981

60 60

Civil, environmental, structural, electrical and mechanical engineering, surveying, planning, permitting, and construction management.

1987 1987

10 8

DAT/EM Systems International develops solutions for the photogrammetric, engineering & GIS industries. The DAT/EM Photogrammetric Suite includes Summit Evolution 3D stereo mapping software, LandScape point cloud viewing and editing toolkit, Summit UAS for analyzing 3D UAS data, and more.

1988 2013

300 6

Structural Engineering.

1986 1986

1957 1957 Robert French, PE, PIC David Burlingame, Pres. Larry Helgeson, Principal Eng. Bob Bell, PE/LS/CEO Wyche Ford, AK GM Nelson Franklin, PE/Owner Rada Khadjinova, GM Alaska Mark Musial, Pncpl./Sr. Geotech Eng.

Civil, Commissioning, Corrosion Control, Electrical, Forensic, Fire Protection, Industrial Design, Instrumentation & Controls, Land Surveying, Landscape, Lighting, Mechanical, Pipeline Integrity Management, Pipeline & Process Facility Design, Project Management, Structural, Seismic, Sustainable Design, Energy Audit. Landscape architecture and planning services including landscape design, site planning, waterfront planning, playground design, recreation planning, community engagement, landscape ordinance and permitting, interpretive design, NEPA and visual simulations. Offices in Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks.

Professional land survey firm providing survey services to both the public and private sec2-12 tors. DNS has completed the following pipeline projects; CD5, PT Thomson, Alpine, North 2-12 Star, & Badami Pipelines. DNS services include design, ALTA & environmental surveys, Pipeline ROW Plats, subdivisions. Design Alaska provides architecture; civil, structural, mechanical, fire protection, electrical, 50 and environmental engineering; landscape architecture; and surveying. The firm also offers 50 planning, condition assessments, energy modeling, LEED, construction administration and commissioning.

1962 1962

400 145

DOWL is a multi-disciplined consulting firm that has been serving Alaska clients for more than 55 years. We offer the full suite of professional services related to environmental, land use planning, civil, transportation engineering, and geo-construction.

1984 1984

500 65

Full service consulting engineering for the petro chemical industry as well specializing in exploration, Pre-EIS and early phase development. Extensive experience in brown field revamp projects.

1980 1980

9 9

Mechanical and electrical engineering services. rural water & sewer systems, hvac & energy, fuel systems, fire protection, piping & pumping systems, facility power systems, SCADA & controls, roadway lighting.

1989 1989

9 9

Architectural services, structural, civil, mechanical, mechanical process, electrical and instrumentation engineering. Projects include camps, office buildings, warehouses, hangars and various projects for rig and production support.

1986 1986

5 5

Our staff of engineers and Project Managers are skilled in hazmat design for building remodel and demolition projects. Asbestos, lead, PCB & other hazardous building materials identification. IAQ, Welding Fume, Ventilation studies. MOA 3rd Party Plan Review and ICC & IFC Code Consulting.

1996 1996

250 200

EPS delivers complete electric power systems study, planning, design, and construction administration services from prime and emergency power production to final distribution for commercial, utility, industrial, and government clients of all sizes.

1988 1988

15 15

Environmental & civil engineering, Phase I & Phase II ESAs, wetland delineations & permitting, asbestos mgmt. & design, HUD lead paint activities, UST closure, SWPPPs, SPCCs, GIS mapping, & safety training. A team of dedicated professionals working to make Alaska cleaner & safer.

1974 1974

38 38

Engineering services, land surveying services, and 3D Laser Scanning Services.

John Faschan, Pres. Rick Button, Pres./Principal Eng.


Large firm with Alaskan environmental work in site investigations & remediation, spill plan1946 19,462 ning, permitting, facility design; skill in complex field investigation, real-time evaluation, 1962 1,242 field labs and field screening methods, and in-field GIS/CAD for wastewater, hazardous waste and vapor intrusion.

Chris Miller, Pres. Stewart Osgood, Pres./CEO


Fluor provides integrated engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction, main1912 61,551 tenance & project management solutions to clients globally. Our integrated solutions 1954 2 approach spans the entire project life cycle–improving the certainty of cost and schedule delivery with safe work performance. 1990 1990

1 1

Engineering services, structural engineering.

Fugro collects data on topography, soil composition, and environmental conditions, both 1962 10,500 onshore and offshore. We organize the acquired data and add value through processing, 2003 2 interpretation and visualization. In addition, we provide geo-related design, asset inspection, and integrity advice. 1960 1980

6,400 Arctic and geotechnical engineering, groundwater resource development, environmental 28 sciences and remedial investigation.

Alaska Business | February

HDL Engineering Consultants 3335 Arctic Blvd., Suite 100 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-564-2120 HDR, Inc. 2525 C St., Suite 500 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-644-2000 Fax: 907-644-2022 JS Redpath Corporation 16345 Lena Loop Rd. Juneau, AK 99801 Phone: 907-789-3752 KAE Inc. PO Box 91970 Anchorage, AK 99509 Phone: 907-276-2126 Fax: 907-276-2184 KPB Architects 500 L St., Suite 400 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-274-7443 Fax: 907-274-7407 Langdon Engineering & Scientific Services 318 W. Tenth Ave. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 360-620-7046 LCG Lantech, Inc. 250 H St. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-243-8985 Fax: 907-243-5629 Lifewater Engineering Company 1963 Donald Ave. Fairbanks, AK 99701 Phone: 907-458-7024 Fax: 907-458-7025 Little Susitna Construction Co. 821 N St., Suite 207 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-274-7571 Fax: 907-277-3300 Lounsbury & Associates 5300 A St. Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-272-5451 Fax: 907-272-9065 M-E-B Engineering Services 561 Iliamna Pl. Fairbanks, AK 99712 Phone: 907-457-1895 Fax: 907-457-1895 Martha Hanlon Architects, Inc. PO Box 72292 Fairbanks, AK 99707 Phone: 907-458-7225 MBA Consulting Engineers, Inc. 3812 Spenard Rd., Suite 200 Anchorage, AK 99517 Phone: 907-274-2622 Fax: 907-274-0914 McCool Carlson Green 421 W. First Ave., Suite 300 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-563-8474 Fax: 907-563-4572 Merrick Alaska 3201 C St., Suite 105 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-341-4725 Michael Baker International 3900 C St., Suite 900 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-273-1600 Fax: 907-273-1699 Michael L. Foster & Associates, Inc. 13135 Old Glenn Hwy., Suite 200 Eagle River, AK 99577 Phone: 907-696-6200 Fax: 907-696-6202 Moffatt & Nichol 880 H St., Suite 208 Anchorage, AK 99501-3450 Phone: 907-677-7500 Fax: 907-677-7577 Morris Engineering Group LLC PO Box 210049 Auke Bay, AK 99821 Phone: 907-789-3350 NANA WorleyParsons PO Box 111100 Anchorage, AK 99511 Phone: 907-273-3900 Fax: 907-273-3990 New Horizons Telecom, Inc. 901 Cope Industrial Way Palmer, AK 99645 Phone: 907-761-6000 Fax: 907-761-6001


David Lundin, Principal/Pres. Tim Gallagher, AK Area Mgr. George Flumerfelt, Pres./CEO; Facebook Cyrus Randelia, Principal/Sr. Eng. Mike Prozeralik, Pres. Albert Swank Jr., PE/Owner


1962 1991

1997 1997

1981 1981

1980 1980

Underground Mining Contractor. SMM Pogo Mine: Mine Development and Production. 3,000 Coeur Alaska Kensington Mine: Mine Development. Chugach Electric: Access Tunnel. Cop140 per Valley Electric: Allison Lake — Access Tunnel. Sitka Blue Lake. 6 6 Dominic Lee, Owner Ken Ayers, Pres. Dennis Bolz, Owner

Engineering firm providing civil designs and construction management services for boardroads, boardwalks, roads, sanitation systems, and water distribution systems. 8(a) certified.

Award winning full service cold climate/arctic design experts in architecture, planning, landscape architecture, interior design, design-build; Native, federal, housing, healthcare, K-12 schools, retail/commercial projects; client oriented pre-design and energy efficient renovation/expansion leader. Engineering, civil, structural, mechanical, machine design, manufacturing engineering, 3-30 engineering physics, nuclear engineering, accelerators, medical cyclotron developments 3 upgrade & operation, nuclear isotopes. Army, Navy, DOD systems development & upgrade. Shops and offices Alaska and Washington. 18 18

Wallace Swanson, Pres./CEO Bob Tsigonis, Pres., PE


HDL’s civil and geotechnical engineers provide planning, design, and construction 2000 75 administration services to public and private clients throughout Alaska. They specialize in 2000 75 transportation, utilities, and rural energy projects; and geological, hydrogeological, and geothermal engineering. Engineering services cover civil and structural engineering for transportation, water/ 1917 10,000 wastewater, solid waste, power, mining, federal, private land, and oil & gas infrastructure. 1979 100 Engineering supported by a full suite of environmental and planning services and 10,000+ employees worldwide.

1993 1993

15 15

LCG Lantech, Inc. (formerly Larsen Consulting Group) is a multi-disciplined firm providing architecture, structural, civil engineering, land surveying, mapping services and landscape architecture to our rural and urban client-base.

1998 1998

10 10

Design and manufacture of: Sewage treatment plants for man camps, homes, and lodges in the most extreme environments and remote places. We also custom fabricate plastic tanks and products for many purposes. For the Rough Duty Boats, visit

1980 1980

A general, mechanical and electrical contractor. Architects, civil, mechanical and electrical 5-20 engineers, licensed in twelve states. Construction project management. Importer, exporter 5-20 and global project consultation.

1949 1949

50 50

Civil engineering, land surveying, planning, construction management. Servicing local and state government, oil and gas industry and private development. Offices in Anchorage, Wasilla, Kuparuk and Billings, Montana.

1989 1989

1 1

Engineering services.

1998 1998

2 2

Architectural design and project planning.

1989 1989

10 10

MBA Consulting Engineers, Inc., established in 1989, is a full service mechanical and electrical consulting engineering firm specializing in Arctic, subArctic and northern maritime design.

1983 1983

22 22

McCool Carlson Green is an Alaskan-owned architecture, planning, and interior design firm. The firm focus is the design of high-quality educational, civic, commercial, military, and healthcare facilities that flourish in complex environments.

1955 2014

575 46

AE firm that provides professional Engineering and Geomatics (survey, LiDAR, GIS, aerial imagery) services.

Martha Hanlon, AIA/Pres. Bradley Sordahl, Principal/CME John Weir, Pres./CEO David Huelskamp, Chairman/CEO Jeff Baker, Reg. Dir.

1940 1942

6,000 Engineering: transportation, pipeline, geotechnical, mechanical, civil; GIS & LiDAR; Envi60 ronmental/Permitting/NEPA; public involvement.

Michael Foster, PE/Owner Shaun McFarlane, VP Mark Morris, Principal Craig Morrison, Pres. Leighton Lee, CEO

Full service architectural/engineering firm providing planning, investigation, design, permitting, oil spill cleanup, environmental remediation, construction, and expert witness/ litigation support services. Experts in civil, geotechnical, and environmental design, and cold regions construction. Moffatt & Nichol has provided waterfront engineering services to the energy industry since our founding in 1945. Today, we serve clients globally for projects ranging from piers & wharves to deep foundations, offshore floating facilities, liquid & dry bulk terminals, and offshore mooring systems.

1998 1998

18 18

1945 2012

650 3

1997 2004

3 3

1997 1997

275 275

A project delivery company focused on multi-discipline engineering and design, procurement and construction management services for the Hydrocarbons, Mining and Infrastructure Industries.

1978 1978

81 75

General, Electrical and Engineering Contractor with emphasis in telecommunications. In-house engineering, installation and project management services for urban and remote communications facilities, OSP and ISP cabling as well as electrical and communications equipment installation and integration.

Electrical consulting; engineering; design; inspection; construction administration.

February 2018 | Alaska Business






NORTECH, Inc. 2400 College Rd. Fairbanks, AK 99709-3754 Phone: 907-452-5688 Fax: 907-452-5694 Northern Land Use Research Alaska, LLC 1225 E. International Airport Rd., Suite 220 Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-345-2457 Northern Mechanical Engineering PO Box 113076 Anchorage, AK 99511-3076 Phone: 907-243-7254 Nvision Architecture, Inc. 1231 Gambell St., Suite 400 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-349-1425 Fax: 907-349-1325 PDC Inc. Engineers 1028 Aurora Dr. Fairbanks, AK 99709 Phone: 907-452-1414 Fax: 907-456-2707 PM&E Services LLC 123 E. 24th Ave., #11 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-222-5059 Fax: 907-222-5489 PND Engineers, Inc. 1506 W. 36th Ave. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-561-1011 Fax: 907-563-4220 R&M Consultants, Inc. 9101 Vanguard Dr. Anchorage, AK 99507-4447 Phone: 907-522-1707 Fax: 907-522-3403 Reid Middleton, Inc. 4300 B St., Suite 302 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-562-3439 Fax: 907-561-5319 Rodney P. Kinney Associates, Inc. 16515 Centerfield Dr., Suite 101 Eagle River, AK 99577 Phone: 907-694-2332 Fax: 907-694-1807 RSA Engineering, Inc. 670 W. Fireweed Ln., Suite 200 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-276-0521 Fax: 907-276-1751 Schneider Structural Engineers 101 W. Benson Blvd., Suite 306 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-561-2135 Fax: 907-561-2136 Shannon & Wilson, Inc. 5430 Fairbanks St., Suite 3 Anchorage, AK 99518-1263 Phone: 907-561-2120 Fax: 907-561-4483 Shannon & Wilson, Inc. 2355 Hill Rd. Fairbanks, AK 99709-5326 Phone: 907-479-0600 Fax: 907-479-5691 Stantec 725 E. Fireweed Ln., Suite 200 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-276-4245 Fax: 907-258-4653 Taku Engineering, LLC 205 E. Benson Blvd. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-562-1248 UAF Institute of Northern Engineering PO Box 755910 Fairbanks, AK 99775 Phone: 907-474-5457 Fax: 907-474-7041 VEI Consultants 1345 Rudakof Cir., Suite 201 Anchorage, AK 99508-6105 Phone: 907-337-3330 Fax: 907-338-5386 WHPacific, Inc. 3111 C St., Suite 300 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-339-6500 Fax: 907-339-5327 William Merriman Architects LLC 4011 Arctic Blvd., Suite 102 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-929-2950 Wince Corthell Bryson 609 Marine Ave., Suite 250 Kenai, AK 99611 Phone: 907-283-4672 Fax: 907-283-4676




Peter Beardsley, Pres. Lindsay Argo, GM Jay Smith, PE/Pres.


1979 1979

25 25

A multi-disciplined consulting firm with registered professional engineers and certified industrial hygienists on staff providing environmental, engineering, energy, industrial hygiene, and health and safety professional services throughout Alaska.

1991 1991

6 5

National Historic Preservation Act Sec. 106 assessments; identification, evaluation, mitigation services-prehistoric/historic archaeology, historic architecture, cultural landscapes, and subsistence; documents for NEPA and permitting; reg compliance; consultation; ground-penetrating radar.

1991 1991

1-5 1-5

Automotive engineering, accident reconstruction, failure analysis, machine design, stress analysis. Safety evaluation and education.

1997 1997

7 7

1975 1975

104 104

PDC is an all-Alaskan multi-discipline firm with five offices across the state. We specialize in designing for the Arctic with expertise in civil, environmental, geotechnical, electrical, mechanical, fire protection, and structural engineering, as well as planning, surveying, and GIS.

1999 1999

1 1

Project management and civil engineering support to a broad range of clients from municipal utilities to commercial and light industrial facilities.

1979 1979

105 70

General civil, structural, geotechnical, Arctic, marine, and coastal engineering; survey; permitting; hydrology; metocean; quality assurance; inspection. pnd-engineers-inc.

1969 1969

90 90

Civil, waterfront (marine), structural and geotechnical engineering; land surveying; geology; environmental; transportation and land use planning; construction administration; materials testing; special inspection; hydrology; right of way and lands consulting; GIS services; public involvement.

1953 1991

83 9

We offer structural engineering, civil engineering and surveying throughout all market sectors, including buildings, bridges and waterfront to public and private sector clients throughout the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

1980 1980

15 15

1983 1983

46 46

1999 2003

28 11

Paul Baril, Pres. Royce Conlon, Pres./Principal Damien Stella, Principal Jim Campbell, Pres. Len Story, CEO Bob Galteland, Pres. Rodney Kinney, Jr. PE/Pres. Timothy Hall, Pres. Daniel Folmar, Principal Stafford Glashan, VP/Anch. Ofc. Mgr. Chris Darrah, FBX Ofc. Mgr. Bob Gomes, CEO William Mott, GM/PE Bill Schnabel, Dir. Vern Roelfs, Pres. Harold L. Hollis, PE, Ops Mgr. AK William Merriman, Owner/Principal Mark Blanning, Tresurer

Full-service architectural firm.

RPKA is an Native Alaska family owned professional consulting civil engineering and surveying firm offering environmental, community infrastructure, and development solutions. RPKA has successfully combined the firm's traditional native values with a professional background. Mechanical and electrical consulting engineering services for more than 30 years. Notable projects: IDIQ A/E Services & Engineering for Various NSF Projects at Antarctica, Anchorage Museum Expansion, Tikigaq School Renovation, UAF West Ridge Animal Resources and Cape Newenham Power Station Upgrades. Structural engineering services: planning, design, construction administration, inspection, expert witness, historic preservation/building rehabilitation, peer reviews, BIM.

Shannon & Wilson is a nationally renowned engineering & applied earth sciences firm with offices in Anchorage, Fairbanks & the Lower 48. Our services include geotechnical analysis and design; frozen ground engineering; environmental compliance, assessments & remediation; earthquake analysis; etc. Environmental site assessments; soil/water sampling; hazardous materials surveys; 1954 300 regulatory compliance; remediation design; storm water management. Also geotechni1974 60 cal analysis/design; frozen ground engineering; earthquake analysis; AASHTO-accredited testing lab for soils, concrete, asphalt. The Stantec community unites approximately 22,000 employees working in more than 400 1954 22,000 locations across 6 continents. Our work includes engineering, architecture, interior design, 1972 87 landscape architecture, surveying, environmental sciences, construction services, project management, & project economics. 1954 1974

288 58

2001 2001

20 20

1982 1982

An Alaskan owned and operated Engineering firm dedicated to providing innovative Project and discipline Engineering and Corrosion Control design solutions.

The Institute of Northern Engineering (INE) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks provides 5,000 solutions for the Arctic’s intractable engineering problems. INE focuses on research and 5,000 development in civil, environmental, petroleum, mining, geological, electrical, computer and mechanical engineering.

1981 1981

<10 <10

Civil and environmental engineering, land surveying for local communities, governments and private clients. Full range of services from feasibility studies through design, permitting and construction administration.

1981 1981

250 45

Professional consulting services for energy, water/environmental, development/facilities, surveying, transportation, and construction/program management.

2013 2013

2 2

Led by Will Merriman (AIA, NCARB, LEED AP) William Merriman Architects LLC was founded to be singularly-focused on residential Architecture in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest in 2013. Licensed Architecture Practice in Alaska and Washington.

1971 1971

6 6

Civil and structural engineering, geotechnical, planning for municipal, state and private sectors.


Alaska Business | February



UP TO 45% UP TO 15%





International Trade

Alaska’s Arctic Update ‘New Arctic Realities— The Path Forward’ By Alex Salov


n October 2017, WTC Anchorage conducted the 6th edition of the annual Arctic Ambitions Conference in Anchorage. This conference is the only annual conference in Alaska focused on the commercial aspects of Arctic development. More than forty local, national, and international speakers discussed their views, experiences, and visions of commercial development of the region. Some of the discussed subjects were infrastructure development, energy and resources development, tourism, and technologies, both existing and coming. The information presented at the conference helped Alaskans outline recent Arctic trends, learn about some of the projects, and meet their colleagues from various industries involved in Arctic development.

2018—The “New” Age of Discovery Receding ice cover of the Arctic Ocean opened access to vast natural resources and has enabled maritime navigation in the region. The accessibility of the resources created opportunities that some researchers compare to the Age of Discovery. The Arctic region contains abundant reserves of oil, natural gas, and minerals. Global commercial interest in the region is mainly based on extraction of these resources. With the current US administration’s favorable position on natural resource development, this year’s conference theme was New Arctic Realities—The Path Forward. There are different assessments representing the size of Arctic natural resources. One of them estimates that more than a quarter of the world’s natural resources are located within the Arctic. Of the world’s remaining undiscovered fossil fuels, it is estimated that Arctic contains 13 percent of oil, 30 percent of natural gas, and 20 percent of natural gas liquids. Alaska, the only Arctic state in the United States, is viewed as one of the key storehouses of natural resources in the Arctic region. As Governor Walker mentioned in a recent speech, should Alaska be viewed as an independent country, it would be the eighth most mineral-rich nation in the world. For example, Alaska’s coal deposits are estimated to be 17 percent of the world’s entire coal reserves, copper reserves are 6 percent, gold reserves are 3 percent, and the list goes on. Alaska is home to some major resource development projects: Red Dog Mine is one of the world’s largest zinc mines and Prudhoe Bay Oilfield is the largest oilfield in North America. That said, most of the state’s natural resources remain untapped. Tapping Arctic Resources Several factors are significantly slowing ex66

ploration of the resources and other economic activities in the Arctic, despite the above-mentioned increased accessibility. The Arctic is a remote region, it features a harsh environment, economic activities in the Arctic demand extreme physical and financial efforts, and the region lacks infrastructure. In Alaska’s case, local companies identify additional problems: the lack of local skilled labor and the long lead time for project permitting. Even though the obstacles for Arctic development are similar, each of the Arctic nations approaches them in a different way. Norway, for example, implemented a joint national industry project—a centralized database of companies providing technologies for Arctic and cold-climate development projects. Norwegian cold-climate know-hows and solutions are being actively promoted around the world through their government offices. Russia is actively investing billions of dollars into its Arctic ports infrastructure and currently has sixteen deep-water ports along the Northern coastline that are capable of serving large ocean vessels. Alaska doesn’t have a deep water port in the Arctic yet; however, the Port of Nome was tentatively considered to become one by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Russian icebreaking fleet is, by far, the largest in the world with forty icebreakers in service (some of them nuclear-powered) and eleven in production. The United States has only two operational icebreakers with three more being planned. Asian countries such as China, Korea, Singapore, and Japan closely follow the progress of Arctic development. For these nations, the Arctic region is a source of natural resources, an alternative transportation route to European markets, as well as a major market for their own technologies. For example, Daewoo Shipbuilding Company of Korea is currently working on the order of fifteen iceclass LNG (liquid natural gas) tankers that will serve Russia’s Arctic LNG projects. According to Japan’s Arctic Ambassador, Kazuko Shiraishi, Japanese companies were involved in the design, procurement, and construction areas of the Russian Yamal LNG project and in the offshore exploration project in Greenland. In Alaska, a Japanese company, Sumitomo Metal Mining, owns and operates Pogo Gold Mine. The Arctic is seen as a part of the new Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. The Chinese Silk Road Fund currently holds 9.9 percent share of the Yamal LNG project, while the China National Petroleum Company holds 20 percent of this project. It is also expected that China-Norway and China-Finland relations will grow significantly in the near future and will result in increased cooperation and investment in the Arctic. As a matter of fact, Chinese President Xi visited Finland before his official visit to the United States, which included a stop in Alaska on his way back. Once extracted, Arctic energy and mineral resources have to be transported to the mar-

kets that will utilize them. Most of the Arctic resource development projects are export projects, and the major consumers of natural resources in the world are Asian countries.

How Resources Get from Here to There Two existing transportation routes through the Arctic are the Northern Sea Route (NSR) that goes around Russia and the Northwest Passage (NWP) that goes around Canada. In theory, there is another route, the Transpolar Sea Route that crosses the North Pole. It is the shortest link between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, but it is not currently navigable and may never become such. As Arctic ice decreases, the NSR and NWP are becoming increasingly important to world’s economy. The NSR is centrally administered by the Russian government and its major customers are the Russian companies that are involved in major projects within the Russian North. Even though the current number of transit passages though the NSR is not very high (nineteen vessels in 2016), the cargo traffic to and within the route reached 7.5 million tons in 2016 and mainly consisted of supplies and construction materials for Russia’s Arctic projects such as a giant LNG project on the Yamal Peninsula. Yamal LNG is one of the biggest LNG projects in the world: at full capacity it will potentially supply 16.5 million tons of LNG to customers in Europe and Asia. In December last year, Novatek, the lead developer of the project, announced that the first LNG shipment from Yamal was ready to leave Port of Sabetta to China via the NSR. Novatek also plans to build the second Arctic LNG project by 2023 and construct an LNG terminal in Kamchatka to transfer LNG from ice-class LNG carriers to conventional carriers for further distribution in Asia. In August 2017, a Russian ice-class LNG carrier, Christophe de Margerie, transported a shipment of LNG from Norway to South Korea via the NSR in nineteen days without the escort of an icebreaker. This was 30 percent faster than the conventional route via the Suez Canal. In September 2017, a Chinese cargo vessel delivered construction equipment from China to Saint Petersburg, Russia, via the NSR, which was the first Arctic commercial shipment of its kind between China and European Russia. These examples demonstrated the economic potential of using the NSR by largecapacity vessels. NWP sails through Canadian waters and, currently, is not being utilized commercially to a similar degree as the NSR. Even though the Canadian Arctic is rich in natural resources, there are no large resource development projects that would utilize the NWP and the region lacks icebreaking capabilities, safe navigation, and infrastructure in general. The Port of Churchill is the only Canadian deep-water port in the Arctic that provides access to the Canadian mainland (the other deep-water port is on Baffin Island). Among the recent news

Alaska Business | February

OPPORTUNITY The Arctic is changing, presenting new opportunities in our backyard through greater access, new transportation routes, tourism and infrastructure potential, and untapped natural resources. As Arctic Iñupiat, we have the responsibility to unite – to drive a vision for the future of our region that is our own, and to engage in policy that will positively affect our people for generations to come.

Our voice. Our vision. MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS Arctic Slope Native Association City of Anaktuvuk Pass City of Point Hope Native Village of Atqasuk Olgoonik Corporation Arctic Slope Regional Corporation City of Atqasuk City of Wainwright Native Village of Point Lay Tikigaq Corporation Atqasuk Corporation City of Utqiaġvik IỊisaġvik College North Slope Borough Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation Native Village of Kaktovik Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation Nunamiut Corporation Native Village of Point Hope Wainwright Tribal Council


regarding the NWP was the story of Crystal Cruises, a US cruise ship company, completing two Arctic cruises in 2016 and 2017. The cruise ship, Crystal Serenity, carried 1,700 passengers and crew. It is the largest cruise ship, so far, to sail this route. Both cruises originated in Seward, Alaska, and traversed to New York via the NWP in thirty-two days. Even though the cruise tickets ranged from $20,000 to $120,000, the first cruise was full and the second one was at 90 percent capacity. According to the company, Arctic cruises will not occur in 2018 but will resume in a year or two along the same route with a smaller vessel. Among other factors, these Arctic cruses proved to be of economic importance to Nome, Alaska, one of the ports of call, where ship’s passengers spent a day. In July 2017, a Finnish icebreaker, Nordica conducted the Arctic 100 Expedition from Vancouver, Canada, to Nuuk, Greenland, traversing the NWP in twenty-four days. The significance of this meteorological expedition was the fact that it was the earliest seasonal transit of the route. Another example of the NWP usage also relative to Alaska is a telecommunications project. A major portion of the subsea cable by Quintillion, an Anchorage-based company, will be laid along the passage. The fiber optic cable system will eventually connect Tokyo and London. As of October 2017, the first phase of the Quintillion project was completed connecting Nome and Prudhoe Bay with additional branches to several other Northern Alaska communities.

Mutual Cooperation among Arctic Nations Heads of the Arctic nations agree that the region is a territory of mutual cooperation, stability, and peace. Recent political disagreements between Russia and the Western countries did not compromise international relations in the Arctic, and the regional collaboration continues. An important intergovernmental forum for Arctic dialogue is the Arctic Council. The Council consists of eight Arctic nations, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States; thirteen non-Arctic nations (observers); as well as several intergovernmental, non-government, and indigenous peoples’ organizations. Since 2017, Finland chairs the Council and will maintain this role until 2019. Finland’s stated priorities as the chair of the Arctic Council are environmental protection, communication networks and services, meteorological cooperation, and education. On the economic development side, the Arctic Economic Council, a non-government organization that facilitates business-tobusiness activities across the region, works hard on establishing market connections between the Arctic nations. The US members of the Arctic Economic Council are representatives of Alaska companies who share their business experience and local knowledge with other international business leaders. Alaska companies are experienced in working in the North and possess unique

technologies and expertise that could be used elsewhere in the Arctic region. The time is right for Alaska to get involved in international development of the Arctic. Such involvement will result in economic benefits that could help the state to overcome the current economic stagnation. Alaska’s resources are abundant and lay within geographic proximity to major buyers of these resources in Asia. In addition, China, Japan, and Korea are Alaska’s largest trading partners and have a long-standing history of doing business with the state. WTC Anchorage continues its Arctic Ambitions program and works on helping Alaska companies to successfully compete for business and investment in the Arctic.  R

Alex Salov is the Business Operations Manager of World Trade Center Anchorage and has been working at the Center since 2004. He holds a master’s degree in global supply chain management from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Salov also teaches Japanese at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

40 Years. Countless Miles. Span Alaska provides unmatched service to the Last Frontier.

Alaska’s Premier Freight Provider Since 1978 68


Alaska Business | February

Japan–Alaska’s Old and Reliable Trading Partner

Image courtesy of JAL


International Trade

Alaska Aurora Tour by Japan Airlines.

Since statehood in 1959, Japan remains among Alaska’s largest trading partners By Alex Salov


rom statehood in 1959 until 2011, Japan was, by far, Alaska’s largest trading partner. In 2011 China’s growing appetite for natural resources reshaped the trade rankings and the Middle Kingdom established itself as the largest buyer of Alaska’s export commodities. Japan did not suddenly reduce or abandon its trade with Alaska—it remains a consistent customer with potential to grow. Japan is the third largest economy in the world, home to a populous middle class. Per capita income in Japan is similar to that in the United States. An important characteristic of the Japanese economy is its high dependence upon supply of natural resources from abroad. Currently, Japan is the largest importer of LNG (liquid natural gas) in the world, largest importer of food products, second largest importer of coal, and among world’s top importers of other natural resources. Being one of the world’s largest importers, Japan tries to diversify the origins of their supplies. Alaska, with its geographic proximity and the reputation of being a reliable partner, continues to play an important role in Japan’s international imports mix. Traditionally, Japan’s main export commodity from Alaska is seafood. According to the 70

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, in 2008, after China, Chile, and Thailand, the United States (predominantly Alaska) was the fourth largest seafood exporter to Japan. Annual Alaska seafood exports to Japan vary from $500 million to $600 million and, according to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, due to the fact that some of the seafood processing is done in the Lower 48, total annual seafood exports reach $700 million or more when the outside processing is included. Some of the seafood items are not conventional to the American palate yet are considered to be high-valued delicacies in Japan. For example, marinated herring roe, “kazunoko,” is a traditional New Year dish; pollock roe, “mentaiko,” is very popular in pasta sauces; and “ikura,” salted salmon roe, is the food item associated with affluence and luxury, while being commonly discarded by sports fishermen in Alaska. Other types of seafood exported to Japan include “surimi,” ground pollock used for fish-cakes or imitation crab meat; king crab; snow crab; sockeye salmon; cod; rockfish; and other products. While Japan’s younger generation consumes more and more meat every year, according to the UN statistics, per capita consumption of meat in the United States is 2.5 times larger than that in Japan. Therefore, Alaska seafood products remain to be common items in major Japanese supermarket chains. Since the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, the issue of whether nuclear power plants should be banished and the country should switch to alternative energy sources has been widely discussed in Japan. Prior to the earthquake and tsunami that caused the Fuku-

Japanese tourists are known for spending a lot of money at destinations that they visit, so an increase of Japanese visitors to Alaska positively impacts local economy. shima nuclear power plant disaster, such plants generated more than 30 percent of electrical power in the country. After the earthquake all Japanese nuclear plants were closed. As of today, some nuclear plants have been restarted, but they produce a fraction (7 percent) of the amount of energy that they used to produce. As a result of March 11, Japan became less selfsufficient in terms of energy, the country was forced to buy more resources from overseas, the cost of electric power went up 25 percent compared to 2010, and the amount of CO2 in the air increased. After the shutdown of the nuclear plants, LNG imports rapidly increased as LNG was considered an environmentally safe alternative to cover the shortage of electrical energy that used to be produced by the nuclear plants. Japan is currently world’s largest LNG importer diversifying its sources of gas. The main suppliers of LNG to Japan are currently Australia, Malaysia, Qatar, and Russia. In addition to LNG, Japan is a major coal importer, buying it primarily from Australia, Indonesia, and Russia. Renewable energy is a popular trend, but the usage of it falls behind

Alaska Business | February

the world’s leading renewable energy producers like Germany, UK, and Spain.

Alaska and Japan Share a Long History of LNG Trade LNG technology emerged as the first oil and gas developments started in Alaska. In the 1950s through the 1960s, large reserves of natural gas were discovered in the Kenai Peninsula and the North Cook Inlet, but the reserves were too large for Alaska’s internal gas usage. Meanwhile, Japan’s two largest utilities, Tokyo Gas Company and Tokyo Electric Power Company, recognized the potential of using LNG as an effective energy source that can help reduce Japanese air pollution, which was then a serious problem. In 1967, the Japanese companies signed an agreement with Phillips Petroleum and Marathon Oil, which went into a partnership to build a LNG facility that would export the product to Japan. At that time it was world’s second intercontinental LNG project. The facility went online in 1969 at Nikiski on the Kenai Peninsula and exported LNG to Japan for more than forty years. Until recently, it was the only LNG export facility in the United States. Kenai LNG exports significantly dropped in 2011 and came to a complete stop in 2016 due to the market conditions. Realizing the potential opportunity for the State of Alaska in Japan’s current need for LNG, Governor Bill Walker and members of his administration have visited Japan several times to present at conferences and to meet with Japanese business and government leaders to discuss the potential of Alaska supplying LNG to Japan. The Alaska LNG project is different from the historic Kenai LNG facility described above, originates from Alaska’s North Slope, and requires significant investment and commitment from buyers. Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) is formally in charge of the Alaska LNG project and participates in negotiations with the Japanese together with the Governor. In December last year, AGDC signed a letter of intent with Tokyo Gas Company regarding the sale of LNG from the Alaska LNG project to the company. In addition to seafood and LNG, Japan

Photo by Akiko Yokota

Marinated herring roe from Alaska in a Japanese supermarket.

ports a wide variety of other Alaska resources. Usibelli Coal Mine, the only operating coal mine in Alaska, shipped approximately 150,000 tons of coal annually to customers in Japan between 2009 and 2016. According to the company, these sales came to a halt because of low market prices, but Usibelli looks forward to re-establishing exports to Japan once the price of coal rebounds. Minerals, including zinc, lead, gold, and silver, are also a part of annual Alaska exports to Japan. One of Alaska’s major mines, Pogo, is owned and operated by Sumitomo Metal Mining. The mine is located outside of Fairbanks.

Alaska is a Popular Destination for Japanese Tourists Every year several airlines organize charter flights to bring tourists from Japan to Alaska. These charters are seasonal and tour companies advertise various outdoor activities to the customers. Many of the tourists are retirees aged sixty-five or older, so they prefer packaged tours with Japanese-speaking tour guides while traveling. For example, tour packages for the three winter charter flights to Fairbanks that Japan Airlines will be operating in the end of February include visiting Chena Hot Springs, staying at a mountain log cabin, and viewing Aurora Borealis. Generally speaking, Japanese tourists are known for spending a lot of money at destinations that they visit, so an increase of Japanese visitors to Alaska positively impacts local economy. Alaska and Japan Enjoy Long-standing Cultural Ties Several Alaska cities have sister-city connections with their Japanese counterparts. The local Japanese community conducts Summer

and Winter Festivals in Anchorage. Japanese language is being taught in many schools across the state including the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. UAA also houses the Montgomery Dickson Center for Japanese Language and Culture. For several decades, World Trade Center (WTC) Anchorage has helped Alaska companies in their pursuit of business opportunities in Japan. The Center has also hosted visiting Japanese business executives and government officials. For more than a year, a set of signs advertising Alaska as a place to visit and do business was installed in the middle of one of the busiest subway stations in Tokyo, Hamamatsucho Station. Alaska’s image as a pristine and unpolluted land adds to the attractiveness of food and manufactured products from Alaska, as the Japanese are increasingly conscious of health and the eco-friendliness of products that they purchase. Geographic proximity between Alaska and Japan allows for efficient shipping of Alaska products. WTC Anchorage continues to work on facilitating business between Alaska and Japan. On February 14, WTC will conduct the 6th Annual Japan Business Update and Outlook, where business opportunities for Alaskans in Japan will be highlighted. R Alex Salov is the Business Operations Manager of World Trade Center Anchorage and has been working at the Center since 2004. He holds a master’s degree in global supply chain management from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Salov also teaches Japanese at the University of Alaska Anchorage. February 2018 | Alaska Business



Alaska’s image as a pristine and unpolluted land adds to the attractiveness of food and manufactured products from Alaska, as the Japanese are increasingly conscious of health and the eco-friendliness of products that they purchase. Geographic proximity between Alaska and Japan allows for efficient shipping of Alaskan products.


International Trade

©Rob Stapleton

A China Cargo Airlines carrier stops over at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

Alaska’s International Airport Serving Europe, Asia, and North America, Anchorage airport plays vital role in air cargo business By Greg Wolf


eography can be either a blessing or a curse. In the case of the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, it is very much a blessing. Poised nearly equidistant between Europe, Asia, and North America, the airport plays a vital role in the global air cargo business. The state-owned airport is located within 9.5 hours of 90 percent of the industrialized world and serves as the primary link for carriers operating trans-Pacific flights between cities in Asia and North America. It is estimated that approximately 80 percent of all cargo flights operating across the Pacific make a “technical stop” at Anchorage to refuel, change crews, and (in some cases) to transfer cargo. This strategic location led both FedEx and UPS to locate hubs at the airport to support their extensive international operations. The airport continues to be one of the busiest in the world for cargo carriers. It currently ranks as the fourth largest cargo airport in the world and second largest in the United States. Internationally, it ranks only behind Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Incheon (South Korea). Domestically, only Memphis, home


to FedEx’s major hub, sees more cargo traffic. Each week, the airport handles nearly 500 landings of wide-bodied cargo freighters. The primary advantage for the cargo carriers to make stops at Anchorage is that they can maximize their payload to fuel ratio. In other words, by being able to carry more cargo and less fuel, they can operate with more efficiency and greater profitably. A carrier is able to transport an additional 100,000 pounds of revenue cargo by making a fuel stop in Anchorage. It’s a simple, but powerful, incentive to make use of the Anchorage stopover. Another advantage is Anchorage’s unique cargo transfer authorities granted to it by the US Department of Transportation. These expanded cargo transfer rights make Anchorage extremely flexible for cargo airlines to make use of time on the ground refueling to also carry out transfers between their own planes and those of other carriers. These transfers rights include “on-line” transfers between a carrier’s own aircraft; “inter-line” transfers between one carrier and another carrier; “co-mingling” of US and non-US cargo; and “change-of-gauge” transfers from, for example, a wide-bodied freighter aircraft to one or more smaller aircraft flying to multiple destinations from Anchorage. One of the growth engines for cargo activity at the airport is the ongoing expansion of trade between the United States and China. In addition to FedEx, UPS, and several other major US all-cargo airlines, a number of mainland China and Hong Kong-based carriers also operate flights between Chinese and American cities via Anchorage. These Chinese carriers include Air China, China

Cargo Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Yangtze River Express, and Cathay Pacific. Connecting other Asian cities to US points via Anchorage are cargo carriers including Korean Air, Eva Air (Taiwan), Singapore Airlines, Asiana Airlines (Korea), and Nippon Cargo Airlines (Japan). For Alaska, and for Anchorage, the success of the airport’s international cargo operations is significant. From a historical perspective, success with cargo has helped offset the loss of international passenger operations that, at one time, enabled Anchorage to be known as the “Air Crossroads of the World”. The airport still maintains some international passenger operations, of course, but these are now almost always summer seasonal service operations. These carriers include Condor, Japan Airlines, Iceland Air, Air Canada, and Yakutia Air. Cargo operations are clearly the breadwinner these days. The airport continually works to support current cargo customers and to recruit others that may wish to enter the Anchorage market. They meet regularly with existing customers and make presentations at international air cargo conferences to highlight the airport’s advantages and attributes. The airport, overall, including both domestic and international passenger and cargo operations, is a major driver of the Anchorage economy. It is estimated that one in ten jobs in the Anchorage area are a result of business activity generated at the airport, and many local companies do business with the airport and with the airlines and service companies operating at the airport. One of the goals of the airport, as well as the Anchorage community, is the attraction of

Alaska Business | February


China Southern Cargo Airlines takes off from Anchorage. ©Rob Stapleton

ancillary businesses that can benefit from the strong air cargo connections available at the airport. Commercial activities such as transshipment hubs, third-party logistics centers, and integrated repair and return operations, to name a few, could potentially find a role at Anchorage. In other words, one way to help ensure that the cargo airlines continue to stop in Anchorage, even at such time when technological advances in aircraft design and performance no longer necessitates them to stop, will be the presence of business reasons for them to make the stop beyond fuel and crew changes. Private sector business groups like World Trade Center Anchorage and the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation are involved in such recruitment efforts, as is the State of Alaska’s Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. Also, of course, the growth of locally-originating cargo (from light manufacturing, for example) will provide ongoing motivation for the carriers to stop in Anchorage, as well. The types of manufactured goods that typically utilize air cargo are those that are low weight, high value, and time sensitive. The Anchorage airport is a valuable piece of transportation infrastructure that continues to pay dividends for Anchorage and the rest of the state. Its continued growth, and the growth of businesses that can leverage its capabilities, offers opportunities for economic diversification and portends a bright future for the Alaska economy.  R

Greg Wolf has been the Executive Director of the World Trade Center in Anchorage since 2002. Prior to joining the Center, he served as the State of Alaska’s Director of International Trade and Market Development and was the Vice President of Overseas Projects for the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation. He is the founder of the Arctic Ambitions Conference and Trade Show.

February 2018 | Alaska Business



International Trade

Tech Exporters Provide Much-needed Economic Diversification, Job Opportunities Alaska’s high-tech companies find success overseas


By Greg Wolf

hile Alaska’s international trade economy is fueled primarily by the export of its vast store of natural resources—including seafood, minerals, and metals—there is a small (but growing) high technology sector that is increasingly finding markets overseas for their products and services. While their numbers are small at present, these tech exporters are providing much needed economic diversification and job opportunities tied to knowledge-intensive businesses. In doing so, they are helping put Alaska on the map as an attractive location to start and operate tech-based enterprises. In many cases, these companies have developed cutting-edge technologies, proven them in Alaska, and are now finding customers around the world. Most did not initially contemplate exporting but, either through necessity or opportunity, found their way to overseas markets.

Tech Forward Alaska At World Trade Center Anchorage’s recent Tech Forward Alaska Luncheon, several high-tech exporters were featured. One of 74

those was Dowland-Bach, a local manufacturer of oil field control systems and fabricated stainless steel products. The company, founded in 1975 by Ed Clinton and Lynn Johnson, has a 20,000-square-foot shop located in South Anchorage and employs nearly thirty workers. The company originally gained its expertise and reputation by designing and manufacturing products for North Slope oil producers and service companies. Later, when those firms did work elsewhere in the world, they called upon Dowland-Bach to manufacture control systems and other products for those projects. In 2013, the company was the recipient of the Governor’s North Star Award for Excellence in Exporting. The award was in recognition of its successful exports to the United Arab Emirates and Columbia. The company has also exported to the United Kingdom and to Brunei. Another firm highlighted at the event was DAT/EM Systems International, an Anchorage-based company specializing in digital mapping and photogrammetric software and hardware. Founded in 1987, the firm licenses its software to companies, government, and

private-sector organizations worldwide. Their first overseas customer was a Japanese company. Currently, DAT/EM has customers in more than seventy countries. Typical customers are engineering companies and national mapping agencies that benefit from the 3D imaging capabilities offered by the company. DAT/EM utilizes a network of resellers to help market their products and services around the world. Like Dowland-Bach, DAT/EM has also been honored with a Governor’s Exporter of the Year award, receiving that distinction in 1993.

Joining the Alaska Tech Movement Two newer companies to the Alaska tech scene are BeadedStream and ADS-B Technologies. Both companies commenced operations in 2004. BeadedStream is a designer and manufacturer of customized digital temperaturesensing cables and devices used primarily to monitor and record ground and water temperatures. Their technology and devices have a wide variety of applications including engineering and construction, oil and gas, mining, and transportation. The company was started by Brian Shumaker and his father, David Shumaker. It operates from facilities located near the

Alaska Business | February


Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Currently, the company has a staff of twelve, including full- and part-time employees. BeadedStream has also found customers outside of Alaska and the Lower 48. While a current focus is on market opportunities in Canada, the company has successfully exported products to a variety of other countries including Spain, Norway, and Australia. Although the design and engineering of the company’s products are carried out locally, the firm is continually striving to manufacture a greater percentage of the final product within Alaska. ADS-B Technologies is an Anchorage-based software development company that is on the leading edge of ADS-B, the next generation of radar for the aviation industry. The company’s offices and facilities are located at Merrill Field in East Anchorage. Founded by former Navy pilot Skip Nelson, the small firm has done some pioneering work in the development of ADS-B and its related systems, including being the first company to successfully demonstrate the technology in both Asia and Africa. ADS-B Technologies has designed and constructed ADS-B ground stations and installed the technology in hundreds of aircraft. Nelson sees the success of companies like his as a way for Alaska to diversify its economy and to attract the best and brightest minds to the state. He sees opportunities for clean and light manufacturing to prosper in the state based on several factors such as the air cargo capabilities of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport; the large, expansive areas in the state for testing various technologies; and a favorable tax structure for entrepreneurs. The company has exported to a variety of countries including China, Japan, South Korea, Portugal, and the UK. Alaska’s cadre of tech exporters is paving the way for other such companies to find a home on Alaska’s silicon tundra. Companies like these need a labor force skilled in fields such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and other related areas; the state’s universities and technical colleges are graduating future employees with degrees and certificates in these fields. And Alaska’s unique character and quality of life is attractive to retain and recruit qualified workers. With a relatively small local market of just over 700,000 citizens, Alaskan tech exporters look to both the Lower 48 and overseas for scalability and expanded market opportunities. For many of them, it is the overseas markets that hold the greatest potential, especially in the fast growing markets across Asia.  R Greg Wolf has been the Executive Director of the World Trade Center in Anchorage since 2002. Prior to joining the Center, he served as the State of Alaska’s Director of International Trade and Market Development and was the Vice President of Overseas Projects for the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation. He is the founder of the Arctic Ambitions Conference and Trade Show.

February 2018 | Alaska Business



International Trade

Sovereign Wealth Update Number of funds and assets continue to grow By Greg Wolf


tate-sponsored investment funds, better known as sovereign wealth funds, continue to rise in economic clout as the number of these funds grows along with the assets they manage. While these government-controlled investment vehicles vary considerably in size and scope, as well as by their particular investment strategies and policies, they are a significant force in the financial markets and their impact can be felt in all corners of the world, including Alaska. Typically, the source of the capital for these funds originates either from excess foreign currency reserves earned through exports or from income derived from commodity sales such as oil and gas. China’s sovereign funds would be an example of the former, while Norway’s would be an example of the latter. Generally speaking, Asian funds arose from export earnings while Middle Eastern, European, and American funds arose from commodity earnings. Most of these funds invest globally. Some of them dedicate a certain percentage of their portfolio for investment in their own countries. According to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, there are now seventy-nine sovereign funds. The value of their holdings is estimated to be $7.5 trillion as of December 2017. These holdings encompass a wide variety of financial assets including stocks, bonds, real estate, precious metals, and other investable assets. They also include so-called “alternative investments” managed by hedge funds, private equity, and venture capital funds.

Alaska is Largest US Sovereign Fund While Alaska was not the first American state to establish a sovereign wealth fund—that distinction belongs to Texas—it is home to the largest fund in the United States. With assets of approximately $61 billion, the Alaska Permanent Fund currently ranks 21st among the world’s funds, ranking just below Libya ($66 billion) and just above Kazakhstan ($60 billion). By contrast, at $999 billion, Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global is the world’s largest fund and is widely expected to become the first trillion dollar fund, having touched that milestone briefly during 2017. 76

In addition to Norway, other countries with very large funds include China, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. As noted, Alaska is home to America’s largest single fund at just over $60 billion. However, Texas has two sizable funds—the Texas Permanent School Fund ($37 billion) and the Permanent University Fund ($17 billion). Taken together, Texas has approximately $54 billion is sovereign assets. The Texas funds date back to the 1800s. The permanent School Fund was established in 1854 as a way to fund primary and secondary schools while the Permanent University Fund was set up in 1876 to provide funds for the University of Texas system and the Texas A&M system. Other American states that have, for various reasons, established a sovereign fund include Wyoming, New Mexico, North Dakota, Montana, Louisiana, Alabama, Utah, Idaho, and, most recently in 2014, West Virginia. The Alaska Permanent Fund is unique among all sovereign funds with its annual cash dividends paid out to each eligible citizen from the fund’s earnings. Since the fund was established in 1976, more than $24 billion has been distributed in the form of dividend payments to its citizens. Investment policies governing the sovereign funds vary considerably. Most, of course, seek to achieve a reasonable rate of return consistent with a commensurate rate of risk. Typically, they measure the success or failure of their strategy against an index of the particular asset class invested in. Others seek not only this but also to attain “strategic objectives” to benefit their country. For example, a country that is energy poor might choose to invest in companies, regions, or projects that are involved with energy production. A country that is attempting to attract a particular industry to its shores may make investments

The Alaska Permanent Fund is unique among all sovereign funds with its annual cash dividends paid out to each eligible citizen from the fund’s earnings. Since the fund was established in 1976, more than $24 billion has been distributed in the form of dividend payments to its citizens. in companies engaged in that industry or in the infrastructure necessary to make their country more attractive to that industry. Some countries are more aggressive than others in terms of the types of investments they are willing to make in order to achieve a particular goal. A good example is Singapore and one if its funds, Temasek Holdings. This fund was established in 1974 and currently has assets of $197 billion under management. In pursuing economic development objectives, Singapore has a history of being proactive in their attainment. A recent example is Pavilion Energy. Already a major player in oil storage, refining, distribution, and trading, Singapore is now seeking to do the same with the Asian LNG (liquid natural gas) market. To accomplish this, the Singapore government, through Temasek, established Pavilion Energy. The company, launched in 2013, aims to help Singapore become an important player in Asia’s growing LNG market. It will do so through investments in key LNG assets

Alaska Business | February

Ranking 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Country Norway China UAE - Abu Dhabi Kuwait Saudi Arabia China - Hong Kong China Singapore Qatar China Saudi Arabia UAE - Dubai Singapore UAE - Abu Dhabi South Korea UAE - Abu Dhabi Australia Iran Russia Libya US - Alaska Kazakhstan Kazakhstan Brunei US - Texas

Sovereign Wealth Fund Name Government Pension Fund - Global China Investment Corporation Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Kuwait Investment Authority SAMA Foreign Holdings Hong Kong Monetary Authority Investment Portfolio SAFE Investment Company Government of Singapore Investment Corporation Qatar Investment Authority National Social Security Fund Public Investment Fund Investment Corporation of Dubai Temasek Holdings Mubadala Development Company Korea Investment Corporation Abu Dhabi Investment Council Australian Future Fund National Development Fund of Iran National Welfare Fund Libyan Investment Authority Alaska Permanent Fund Samruk-Kazyna JSC Kazakhstan National Fund Brunei Investment Agency Texas Permanent School Fund

Assets (USD Billion) $998.90 $900.00 $828.00 $524.00 $494.00 $456.60 $441.00 $359.00 $320.00 $295.00 $223.90 $209.50 $197.00 $125.00 $122.30 $110.00 $105.40 $91.00 $72.20 $66.00 $61.50 $60.90 $57.90 $40.00 $37.70

Inception 1990 2007 1976 1953 1952 1993 1997 1981 2005 2000 2008 2006 1974 2002 2005 2007 2006 2011 2008 2006 1976 2008 2000 1983 1854

Origin Oil Non-Commodity Oil Oil Oil Non-Commodity Non-Commodity Non-Commodity Oil Non-Commodity Oil Oil Non-Commodity Oil Non-Commodity Oil Non-Commodity Oil & Gas Oil Oil Oil Non-Commodity Oil Oil Oil & Other

Source: The Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute

and related LNG businesses. The company is 100 percent owned by Temasek. The company will make investments in upstream assets and, through its subsidiary Pavilion Gas, will manage downstream gas operations in Singapore. Pavilion will be involved with storage, distribution, and trading of LNG in the Asia region. So, in this case, Singapore created a new company, through an investment by one of its sovereign wealth funds, to help achieve a national goal.

Investment Horizon Hinges on Goals, Policies The investment horizon for the funds varies according to each fund’s goals and policies. Several years ago, for example, China Investment Corporation (CIC), one of China’s three sovereign wealth funds, moved to extend investment horizons from five to ten years. By creating a longer-term portfolio, this allows the fund to participate in non-public investment vehicles including direct investments, hedge funds, private equity, and real estate. Over time this fund, which at its beginning invested significantly in the US financial sector, has moved into other sectors such as energy, natural resources, and infrastructure. In recent years, CIC has indicated its interest to make more investments in the US market, looking especially to opportunities in infrastructure projects and the manufacturing industry. CIC—which was established in 2007 and today is China’s largest sovereign fund, managing some $900 billion in assets—already has Alaska on its radar screen, both directly and indirectly. This past November, during President Trump’s visit to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, a joint development agreement was signed between the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, the State

of Alaska, China Petroleum Corporation (Sinopec), the Bank of China, and CIC to advance the Alaska LNG project. China, which today is the world’s third largest market for LNG and is widely expected to be the largest in the not too distant future, is a natural partner for Alaska given China’s enormous appetite for natural resources and the state’s world-class reserves of these commodities. CIC already has a foothold in Alaska, albeit in an indirect fashion. In 2009, Vancouver-based Teck Resources, the operator of the Red Dog Mine in Northwest Alaska outside of Kotzebue, announced it had sold a 17.5 percent interest in their company to CIC for $1.5 billion. The transaction was described as a long-term, passive portfolio investment for the fund. Red Dog Mine is one of the world’s largest zinc producers and China is the world’s largest zinc customer. In another example of China’s involvement in Alaska’s mining industry, in 2010, China National Gold Corporation, Coeur d’Alene Mines, and its Alaska subsidiary Coeur Alaska, announced a landmark agreement for the state-owned Chinese company to purchase and process gold concentrates from the newly opened Kensington Mine outside of Juneau. This was the first such agreement between a US precious metals company and a state-owned Chinese entity. The Chinese company agreed to purchase approximately half of the gold concentrates produced at the mine. While not a sovereign wealth fund, many consider state-owned enterprises, such as China National Gold, to be something akin to cousins of the sovereign wealth funds because they, too, make investments on behalf of their countries. Indeed, a number of sovereign wealth funds were established, at least initially, to invest in state-owned enterprises. CIC and

Temasek are examples, though both have since expanded their scope to include significant investments outside of their respective nations. Looking ahead, as the number of sovereign wealth funds grow and their assets under management continue to expand, their presence will increasingly be felt around the world. Alaska, with its abundance of natural resources so much in demand by both developed and emerging economies, is an attractive destination for investments by these funds. It’s a win-win combination as many Alaska projects need to be large scale in scope to be economically viable. In turn, these projects require correspondingly large scale funding by investors, such as the sovereigns, with long-term time horizons. In addition, as Alaska positions itself as a focal point of Arctic trade, commerce, and investment, the sovereign funds may find benefit in participating with Alaska-based investment vehicles in order to give them exposure to investable opportunities in the Arctic region. Sovereign wealth funds, and their stateowned enterprise cousins, could be ideal partners as Alaska seeks to grow its natural resource economy and its role in Arctic development.R Greg Wolf has been the Executive Director of the World Trade Center in Anchorage since 2002. Prior to joining the Center, he served as the State of Alaska’s Director of International Trade and Market Development and was the Vice President of Overseas Projects for the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation. He is the founder of the Arctic Ambitions Conference and Trade Show. February 2018 | Alaska Business



Sovereign Wealth Fund Rankings by the Amount of Assets (December 2017)

Image courtesy of PenAir


PenAir designed their Sand Point terminal building in Washington State and had it barged to Sand Point.

Alaska Airlines and the 2020 Great Land Investment Plan $100 million infrastructure upgrade shows longterm commitment to state

Utqiaġvik—are regional hubs that receive regular service from Boeing 737 jet airplanes. It’s a world away from Alaska Airlines’ growing Lower 48 and international businesses, but the company plans to stay in the terminal business in Alaska. Over the next three years Alaska Airlines has committed $30 million in renovating and expanding its terminal buildings.

By Sam Friedman

Product of Necessity Alaska’s eleven terminals were built at stateowned airports in Nome, Bethel, Kotzebue, Kodiak, Utqiaġvik, Deadhorse, Cordova, Yakutat, Gustavus, Petersburg, and Wrangell. They’re modest facilities compared to the shopping-mall type of amenities found in big city terminals. The Alaska Airlines rural terminals provide bathrooms and a warm place out of the weather to wait for flights. None of the terminals have jetways, and only Kodiak operates a conveyor belt system to deliver luggage. But while they are simple, the Alaska Airlines remote terminals are much more comfortable than the minimal infrastructure at the smallest Alaska communities, where the airport often consists of a gravel runway and where the nearest warm building for passengers may be in town, a few miles from the airport. Alaska Airlines entered the airport terminal business through necessity as it expanded to rural hub communities, Romano says.


laska Airlines operates a side business not common among big commercial carriers: the company owns eleven airport terminals. In the rest of the United States, and in Alaska’s bigger cities, airlines are tenants that lease gate space at airports. But like in so many other ways, rural Alaska is different. Airlines, including Alaska Airlines, needed to build their own facilities if they wanted to serve smaller communities. “It’s unheard of for a commercial carrier to own and maintain its own facilities,” says Marilyn Romano, Alaska Airline’s regional vice president for the state of Alaska. But the arrangement works for the geography of the 49th State. In Alaska, 82 percent of communities aren’t connected to the road system, so air service is much more important. Bush towns with populations of less than 5,000 people—like Kotzebue and


“If we were going to provide jet service into these communities around the state, we needed facilities for our employees and our passengers,” she says. Among the current Alaska Airlines terminals, the oldest is Cordova, which opened in 1976, Romano says. The newest is Bethel, built in the early 2000s. Nearly all Alaska airports lack publiclyowned terminals; the few exceptions include state-run airports in Anchorage and Fairbanks and municipal airport terminals in Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Unalaska. Airlines and other tenants rent space at state airports with the length of the lease tied to the amount of money the tenant invests in the property. The maximum term for these leases is fifty-five years, although they can be renewed.

PenAir Terminals In Western Alaska, Alaska Airlines codeshare partner PenAir expanded its rural airport terminals and now owns four. PenAir already owned terminals in Cold Bay and King Salmon when company CEO Danny Seybert took over the family business from his father fifteen years ago. He’s since added to the company’s terminal inventory, buying terminals in Dillingham and Sand Point, and replaced an old terminal in King Salmon with a larger, 10,000-square-foot building that has a small baggage carousel.

Alaska Business | February

Four years ago PenAir sold its smaller King Salmon terminal and built this larger one to accommodate Saab airplanes, which carry more passengers. Image courtesy of PenAir

PenAir is a regional carrier based in Anchorage that flies to eight destinations in Western Alaska. The company also has a secondary hub in Boston, Massachusetts, where it operates regional flights to airports on the East Coast, although it doesn’t own any terminals in the Lower 48. The new PenAir terminals, Seybert says, are designed with the needs of an air carrier in mind. For example, PenAir expanded the King Salmon terminal four years ago in order to fly forty-five-passenger Saab 2000s to the Bristol Bay community. PenAir previously served the community with Piper Navajo airplanes, which seat seven passengers. Small aircraft terminals often have attached hangars to store airplanes, but that wasn’t necessary for the larger Saabs, which fly back to a hangar in Anchorage every night, Seybert says. PenAir sold the old King Salmon terminal to Grant Aviation, an airline with smaller planes. The new PenAir hangar in King Salmon has no hangar but has more space for passengers. “We’re flying a forty-five-passenger aircraft in and out of there; that means you can have forty-five people in and forty-five people out,” Seybert says. “You need to be able to hold at least ninety people in a room. It’s got to have booths and baggage carousel. It’s got to have room for people to check in.”

Sharing Spaces Some Alaska communities have separate terminals built by competing airlines. For example, at Benny Benson State Airport on Kodiak Island, Alaska Airlines built its current terminal in 1983, next to a Wien Airlines terminal, says Robert Greene, the Kodiak and Aleutians superintendent for the Alaska Department of Transportation. Wien Airlines, Alaska’s oldest airline, went out of business in in 1985. Today the Alaska Airlines terminal in Kodiak displays the logos of both Alaska Airlines and statewide carrier Ravn Alaska on the building. These two companies, the largest air

ers in Kodiak, share space and also employee time at the airport, Romano says. Except for one Alaska Airlines supervisor in Kodiak, the ground-based crew that checks people in for both Ravn Alaska and Alaska Airlines flights are Ravn employees, says Romano.

Accommodating TSA At big city airports, passengers find amenities such as shops and restaurants inside the security checkpoint. At the Alaska Airlines rural terminals, passengers must go through the same Travel Safety Administration (TSA) screening as anywhere else, but on the far side of security the passengers are lucky if there’s a place to sit down. This is another reason Alaska Airlines is remodeling and in some cases expanding its terminal buildings. The Alaska Airlines terminals were built before the creation of the TSA, which followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The buildings weren’t designed to accommodate the security screenings. Among its eleven terminal projects, Alaska Airlines is performing the most work in Kotzebue and Utqiaġvik, where the airline is expanding the size of the terminal buildings to add waiting rooms for passengers who have cleared the TSA checkpoint and are waiting to board. “The place where you wait after you went through TSA literally went from a nice area to four to six metal chairs kind of crammed in a corner,” Romano says, describing the way the Kotzebue terminal changed after 9/11. “By expanding the whole footprint we’ll be able to accommodate a post-TSA waiting room that will accommodate forty people.” The smaller Alaska Airlines terminals without the waiting rooms will continue the current idiosyncratically-Alaskan boarding process of passing through the security checkpoint directly before boarding the plane. Great Land Investment Plan The renovations at Alaska Airlines’ eleven passenger terminals are part of $100 million

in infrastructure investments that Alaska Airlines calls the “2020 Great Land Investment Plan.” Starting in 2017, the airline began three infrastructure projects that are scheduled for completion by 2020. In addition to the passenger terminal renovations, the airline recently added dedicated cargo jets in rural Alaska to replace its iconic “combi” cargo and passenger planes. The company is also building a new $50 million hangar at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to accommodate larger Boeing 737-900 airplanes. Alaska Airlines parent company Alaska Air Group reported $911 million in net income in 2016, its seventh consecutive year of record profits. The company also became the fifth largest airline in the United States last year with the $4 billion purchase of airline Virgin America. Even before the purchase, most Alaska Airlines flights were outside Alaska. It now flies to 118 destinations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Costa Rica. But the 49th state remains important to Alaska Airlines, and the airline’s choice to upgrade the state’s infrastructure shows its long-term commitment to the state, says Romano. “The name of the state is on the side of every airplane. There is a connection here. To many of us it’s personal,” she says. “It really goes to our start here. We got our start with one plane flying from Anchorage to Bristol Bay eighty-five years ago. When you start looking around and you look at the economy right now and then you see a $50 million hangar being built right at the airport [in Anchorage] where everybody can see it, I think it tells people we’re here for the long haul. We are investing in the state of Alaska and the people that we feel really connected to.” R Freelance writer Sam Friedman lives in Fairbanks. February 2018 | Alaska Business



Independent Living: Offering Hope When Times are Tough Alaskaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Centers for Independent Living change lives for those with handicaps, disability, or health issues By Judy Mottl

Thomas Casey and his daughter, Kira, longboarding around their neighborhood. Image courtesy of Access Alaska


Alaska Business | February


laska residents Thomas and Frank were simply going about their daily lives when tragedy struck and permanently altered their worlds. A volleyball coach and a father, Thomas was paralyzed following a slow-speed motorcycle accident on his way home from a softball game in 2003. Frank suffered a seizure in April 1998 which led to the discovery of a plum-size tumor in the front part of his brain that required intensive surgery. Since their life-changing incidents, both men share much in common, including a new lifestyle. Both have found aid through Access Alaska—one of Alaska’s four centers for independent living (CIL) — that is focused on helping those with physical, mental, or other health issues live an independent lifestyle rather than living in a nursing home or care facility. Access Alaska covers the southcentral and interior regions; the Independent Living Center serves residents in the gulf coast region; Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL) focuses on the southeast region; and the Arctic Access center provides independent living services for northwest residents. The four CILs work with all ages and all disabilities to provide five core services: independent living skills, peer support, advocacy, transition support to move out of nursing homes and assisted living, and youth transition to adulthood. While they can help residents acquire needed assistance with finding a place to live, the centers don’t own or run housing.

The Independent Living Quest “We help you identify what your independent living goals are,” explains Doug White, executive director of Access Alaska. “So, it could be housing, employment, transport, or it could be improved quality of life through increased socialization.” Enhanced quality of life is exactly what’s been provided to both Thomas and Frank. “Independent living is everything to me. Being able to be here [at home] with my wife and kids is the best thing in the world,” Thomas shares in a video on Access Alaska’s website. He receives personal care services that help him with daily needs from bathing to brushing his teeth. He’s been able to continue his coaching passion and has an active social life with family and friends. “I’m a happy camper as I can do whatever it may be. Independent living has made life just about normal,” he says. For Frank, who is an Access Alaska client and employee (he serves as the center’s durable equipment manager and ensures donated medical equipment is put back into the community to help those in need), the CIL services have played a big role in his ongoing recovery. “My independence looks different than everyone else. No one really knows from my outward appearance that I’m dealing with challenges,” he explains in his video story. The CIL advocate says the hope and support provided is critical to those wanting to live independently. “When you can give someone hope when they have none, that’s a great job,” says Frank.

Image courtesy of Access Alaska

Frank Box, manager of the durable medical equipment loan closet at the Anchorage Access Alaska location.

February 2018 | Alaska Business


(From left to right) Doug White, executive director of Access Alaska; Michael Christian, SILC Board President; and Doug Toelle, advocacy director at Access Alaska, attending the NCIL Conference, 2017. Image courtesy of Access Alaska

The two men’s stories illustrate what CILs strive to do for residents, explains White, who took on the leadership role at Access Alaska in March 2016. Alaska’s CILs were born from a situation in which a young man, suffering from a spinal cord injury, was placed in a nursing care facility with residents that were primarily elderly. It was not the right environment to meet his needs and ignited a movement that eventually led to the young man, as well as several other nursing home residents, finding housing in an independent living scenario. “We’re trying to help people get out of assisted living, to get out of nursing homes. That’s how we got started in Alaska,” White says. “We’re involved in anything that impacts the full inclusion of people with disabilities and in removing any barriers. It could be unemployment, it could be attitudes—it’s ensuring the Americans with Disabilities Act is fully implemented. “We are advocates for systems change,” he says.

Legislative Action and the Funding Scenario CILs, in an advocacy role, also keep a keen eye on federal and state legislative actions like healthcare and tax reform, as both impact funding and support. “I was on a call today regarding tax reform and the impact that will have the vulnerable Alaskans, the elderly, people with disabilities,” says White. “So, we advocate strongly on any issues that we believe will negatively impact the populations that we serve.” Legislative actions, he adds, often create unintentional consequences for those wanting to live on their own. 82

Every US state has CILs and an oversight body. In Alaska the oversight body is the State Independent Living Council (SILC), a consumer-controlled nonprofit launched in 1993 within the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. In 2002 it became a nonprofit and its thirteen-member board is appointed by the governor. In 2015, according to an annual review report, the four centers delivered 16, 941 services to 4,075 consumers who accomplished 1,645 goals (ranging from employment to learning new life skills). Services are available to all ages, from infant to elderly, but the majority were provided to those in the twenty-five to fifty-nine age range and the sixty-and-over population. Many CIL clients are dealing with a physical disability, but cognitive, hearing, vision, and mental health issues are also addressed by services. A “vast majority” of clients live in their homes and can remain in those homes and maintain or improve their quality of life because of CIL services, notes the report. The centers share a mission statement to raise community awareness, to remove barriers facing those with physical and mental challenges, to help provide needed and necessary transportation, and to be an advocate for appropriate disability policy. The programs rely mostly on federal funds, such as Medicaid, and some state grant funding and are not regulated by the state’s department of health and social services unless a state grant is in play. “State oversight depends on what services you’re providing,” White explains, giving the example of personal home care services, which are supported by a state grant.

Services can sometimes be funded by private health insurance depending on a policy holder’s plan, but a good majority of CIL funding is federal money. There are some funds via veteran’s agencies for veteran specific services. The funding and support scenario, notes White, is increasingly challenging as Alaska’s economic plight is more dire each year. “We are seeing an increase in need with a decrease in available funding resources because of our state economy as well as an uncertain federal fiscal landscape,” he says.

Who’s Being Helped As funding remains stagnant, Alaska’s population needing services is growing each year. White describes the senior population as the largest growing demographic in the state and says Alaska is home to one of the fastest growing senior populations in the country. “[Federal and state grant funding] has been flat or cut, which for Alaska, given the downturn in oil, means we’re scrambling to make ends meet,” he says, noting the costs of operating a nonprofit go up due to inflation and economic changes as they would for any for-profit business. Despite flat funding Access Alaska is managing to expand services in remote areas—no small feat as 75 percent of Alaska is without roads. Many rural communities can only be accessed by boat or plane, making it difficult and expensive to provide services. “Many areas tend to be greatly underserved,” says White, adding rural-based residents that need services often must move to where services are available. Access Alaska’s expansion is tied to a grant awarded to sister organization SAIL. Access

Alaska Business | February


Access Alaska - Fairbanks



Arctic Access

Access Alaska - Anchorage


Kenai Peninsula ILC Access Alaska - Fairbanks Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL)


Currently underserved areas


Centers for Independent Living

Access Alaska - Anchorage Existing satellite offices





Future hubs


Kenai Peninsula ILC



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Currently underserved areas



Centers for Independent Living






ANCHORAGE (undesignated hub) JUNEAU


Dillingham NOME

Future hubs





Existing satellite offices














Image courtesy of Access Alaska

Arctic Access


life skills to adults such as cooking and how led to sixty-three teenagers landing jobs. The to fix a broken toilet, and helps isolated resi- employment experiences, she says, not only ANCHORAGE gave students a taste of financial success but dents live a more enriched and active life. It was purely by circumstance that Gilroy taught them greater skills for leading an indebegan noticing a forty-two-year-old woman pendent lifestyle. She’s already getting queries BETHEL HOMER experience this year. at a local community center. The woman had on the potential for the Bethel “It had a big impact on the kids’ lives as a physical disability and seemed to be withVALDEZ-CORD drawn. In fact, as Gilroy learned, the woman many of these kids want a different lifestyle Valdez-Cord ANCHORAGE (undes DILLINGHAM wouldn’t open the door for providers deliver- than their parents. It gives them a perspecDillingham tive of what’s out in the world and how to ing her services and support check. BRISTOL BAYforward,” she says. Through Gilroy’s actions, and within just a move KENAI PENINSULA As White wrote in a recent Access Alaska few years, that same woman is now opening Saving Money is a Big Benefit CIL services help residents live a better qual- her door to service providers, visiting the bank newsletter, stories such as Gilroy’s, as well as illustrateISLAND there has ity of life and can save money, according to to handle her finances, and shopping at stores. Thomas’ and Frank’s tales, KODIAK Kodiak been great progress since Ed Roberts founded White and Heidi James Frost, SILC executive In fact, the two women are now fast friends. LAKEliving + PENINSULA movement at UC Berke“I basically imposed myself one her,” re- the independent director. “The SILC and CILs believe community calls Gilroy, with a light laugh, explaining ley in the early 1960s and lawmakers enacting living is best and most individuals can live she just kept asking the woman to have tea, the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. But while Alaska’s CILs are making strides independently if supports are in place and go shopping, and make meals together. ALEUTIANS there is much more to be done. life EAST this saves the state money,” says ALEUTIANS Frost, notingWEST “She’s now living a truly independent “We still have a long way to go,” White that housing residents in nursing care facili- and taking care of herself and doing tasks like ties is much more expensive. “Independent laundry and attending community functions, writes, as “the most marginalized in our comliving saves money, absolutely, and it adds which wasn’t the case before,” says Gilroy, munities remain excluded by physical barriers, to quality of life,” adds White, describing in- who views her job as a “true blessing” given prejudice, ignorance, and funding issues.” R dependent living as “a constitutional right, a it’s an “avenue to do so much to help people civil right, and a quality of life issue. It’s all and touch lives like I’ve never imagined.” A big part of Gilroy’s service population those things absolutely.” Judy Mottl writes about important issues The state’s growing elder population com- is the youth segment, and she was the first country-wide with an affinity for Alaska. prises the largest segment of CIL clients; CIL in Alaska to secure a unique grant that however, there are several other populations requiring independent living services, and those needs are increasing as well. “I think more and more of what we’re seeing in Alaska is people with what we would consider non-apparent disabilities. These are people with traumatic and acquired brain injuries, people with mental health issues, and other nonapparent developmental disabilities,” White says. Alaska is providing personal care services to sixteen villages that did not have access to such services. While the grant will help many residents, Alaska is home to somewhere between 240 and 250 villages, notes White. The grant is critical to helping Alaska Native residents remain within their own community as their lifestyle and heritage is closely connected to the ancestral lands, he says.


Services in Rural Areas In Nome, Denice Gilroy is pretty much a onewoman show, providing services through the Arctic Access CIL. Despite a tiny budget and no full-time staff, Gilroy has a big impact when it comes to helping a large population that encompasses thirty-seven villages. Gilroy helps youths get jobs, teaches daily


(907) 677-7890 February 2018 | Alaska Business



Image courtesy of Brian Adams

Annually artists create massive, unique ice sculptures during Fur Rendezvous in Anchorage.

Touring the Wintry Great Beyond Sled dogs, snowmobiling, and pie making


By Judy Mottl

teve Young and Diana Engel live on different continents along different coastlines. Young hails from Coffs Harbour, Australia, and Engel calls North Carolina home, but the two travelers share a compelling passion: Alaska’s famous Aurora Borealis and the exhilaration of traversing Alaska via a dog sled. A trip to Sirius Sled Dogs, situated at the edge of Murphy Dome, was long on the seventy-two-year-old Engel’s bucket list and 84

part of Young’s love for travel—so much so that Young has visited Sirius Sled Dogs twice within three years. Within the “bed and sled” recreational experience, visitors are provided a compelling Aurora view while staying at an off-the-grid cabin with just a few other guests and fifteen sled dogs that power sled excursions. Owner Nita Rae is planning on opening a B&B-style lodge in early 2018. “It is a special experience. The interaction with the dogs for me was very memorable,”

says Young, noting interested visitors should foster a love for canines since the sled dogs are a big part of the experience. “Little events also added to the magic—the dogs told me with their keen perspective that a fox was passing by below the property, and there was also an encounter with a small moose crossing the road when driving back to Fairbanks in the darkness of night after my visit,” he recalls, adding that after both visits he felt enriched and “to be honest, quite privileged” to have shared Young’s world at such close quarters.

Alaska Business | February

For Engel the excursion proved just as memorable, though sled dog travel wasn’t initially on her visit to-do list. But it was on a friend’s, so after the two found Sirius Sled Dogs online they quickly realized the trip would be a perfect choice given their separate interests. “A close friend of mine always said when I went to see the [Northern] Lights, she wanted to come too. And she always wanted to go dog sledding,” explains Engel, describing Sirius Sled Dogs’ sled dogs as the “most amazing” dogs she’s ever encountered. The excursion was “exhilarating,” says Engel, as the two learned a great deal about sled dogs and, of course, enjoyed viewing the Aurora Borealis with no city lights impacting the spectacular view. But traversing Alaska via a sled dog and experiencing the Aurora Borealis are just two of an increasing number of unique winter recreation options beckoning visitors to the 49th State.

Tourism Spikes into a Record-Setting Realm The increasing number of vacation options may be one reason Alaska is enjoying a tourism boom like none other in its history. In 2016 there were nearly 1.9 million out-ofstate vacationers visiting Alaska between May and September—the highest visitor volume on record, according to the Summer 2016 Alaska Visitor Statistics Program. The Alaska Visitor Statistics Program is a statewide study conducted by the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development the

Image courtesy of Brian Adams

A man stands on 5th Avenue in downtown Anchorage with a caribou during Fur Rendezvous.

February 2018 | Alaska Business


tourists’ attention, this winter season features new and unique excursions from travel and tour operators.

Image courtesy of the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center/by Doug Lindstrand

New Recreational Programs One such new recreational opportunity is John Hall’s Alaska Cruises & Tours new eightday tour called “Alaska’s Winter Wonders.” It starts in Fairbanks and takes visitors on an Arctic journey south through the state— offering late-night Aurora viewing and visits to sled dog kennels and the Arctic Circle before arriving at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood. For those who enjoy traveling by snow­ mobile, Nautique Sky Snowmobile Tours offers day excursions and night Aurora viewing on trails just north of Fairbanks. Fairbanks’ Last Frontier Mushing Co-Op offers dog mushing tours (mushing is the state sport) as well as a mushing school. Upon graduation students get an official certificate. For beer lovers, the top stop may be a Big Swig Tour, featuring multiple stops at local brewers. New this year is the Alaska Crafted Tour with tastings at several craft breweries including Girdwood Brewing and Double Shovel Cider Co. Those more interested in fishing than brew might want to check out Salmon Berry Travel & Tours, which is putting an updated twist on its traditional Iditarod excursion. The ten-day trip includes travelling the race path, checking out the Northern Lights, and meeting local family travel writer Erin Kirkland. There’s also a new half-day eco tour with a guided hike in the local boreal forest.

The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is home to a small herd of wood bison, the largest land animal in the western hemisphere.

agency that tracks visitors and gathers data on visitor activity, data including destinations and spending and level of satisfaction. The biggest segment of visitors in 2016, 55 percent, visited Alaska as cruise ship passengers; 40 percent visited by air travel; and 5 percent were highway/ferry travelers. A good majority, 79 percent, came to Alaska on vacation and nearly two-thirds, 64 percent, embarked on a multi-day recreational trip, with 36 percent visiting as independent travelers. The most popular region for outside travelers to visit is Alaska’s southeast followed by southcentral, the interior, southwest, and the far north—where just 2 percent of the year’s visitors headed. Juneau was the most popular port, with 61 percent of visitors hitting the city. Alaska’s tourism figures are likely going to continue increasing given that repeat travel continues to grow, from 30 percent in 2006 to 86

40 percent in 2016. The Summer 2016 Alaska Visitor Statistics Program study posed a new question to tourists regarding what activities are most anticipated during a repeat visit. Answers ranged from fishing and wildlife viewing to the Northern Lights and visiting Denali. The top three Alaska visitor activities in 2016 were reported to be shopping, wildlife viewing, and cultural activities. But this year that list of popular activities will likely expand given some unique opportunities. An ABC News report in November revealed tourists are flocking to view the increasing horde of polar bears arriving earlier than usual to feast on a boneyard located in the village of Kaktovik, situated on Barter Island on the state’s north coast. In fact, ABC News describes it as a tourist “boom” for the town that’s home to 239 residents. Yet while Alaska’s Northern Lights and natural scenic landscapes will still draw most

The Alaska Zoo is Hopping as the Train Travels On The Alaska Zoo, home to more than one hundred arctic and sub-arctic species, boasts its annual Zoo Lights display, and visitors can go beyond the zoo’s trails with a program called “Special Encounter,” which is offered from September through May. These tours provide a behind-the-scene view of zoo wildlife and those who care for the animals. The Alaska Railroad is beefing up its excursions beyond its weekly winter Aurora Express trip—a twelve-hour journey in a three-car diesel locomotive averaging thirty miles an hour through more than 300 miles of forest, mountains, and tundra between Anchorage and Fairbanks. The railroad is partnering with the Northern Alaska Tour Company on a new trip, “Denali in a Day,” out of Fairbanks. The trip includes a narrated drive to Denali National Park with a stop in Nenana and a visit to the Murie Science and Learning Center and even provides a guided snowshoe tour in Denali. There’s also the railroad’s Talkeetna Pie Making package, which is a favorite of Meghan Clemens, who serves as the railroad’s marketing and communication manager for passenger sales. Participants catch the train from Anchorage on a Saturday morning for midday arrival in Talkeetna. During the overnight stay at the Talkeetna Roadhouse visitors are offered a hands-on class on how to make a Talkeetna Roadhouse Pie. “There’s just the experience of riding on

Alaska Business | February

These two grey female wolves are residents at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Image courtesy of the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center/by Doug Lindstrand

the train itself and then there’s something to be said for being able to experience these vast winter landscapes from the comfort of a warm railcar,” says Clemens.

Recreation a Bit Beyond the Norm For those visitors not into viewing Alaska’s lights, or trekking Denali Park, or a fast spin on a dog sled, there are other, albeit slightly unique, recreational activities. The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) offers a Walk on the Wild Side tour throughout the year, which is gaining attention. Visitors to the Center can now sign up online, and the tours have almost doubled, says Robin Moore, sales and marketing manager. The tour initially began as a “behind the scene” experience but has been updated this year to be more personalized. “We also offer winter and summer daily feeding programs that are free with admission. During these programs, our animal care staff feed the specific animal scheduled at that time and do a presentation about the animal: how they came to AWCC, their wild counterparts, their diets, interesting facts, and they take questions,” says Moore. Throughout the year the center offers a wide range of education programs as well as a new workshop for volunteers to participate in called the Animal Enrichment Workshop. Volunteers participate in building and creating enrichment items for resident animals. “AWCC is a sanctuary dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife through education, conservation, research, and quality animal care. By taking care of animals and providing information about their wild counterparts to the public, we build an understanding of the animal, their environment, conservation, and more,” explains Moore. And last, but certainly not least in terms of unique recreation, there is the annual Fur Rendezvous. The ten-day event in Anchorage runs in 2018 from February 23 through March 4. Fur Rondy started in 1935 as a three-day

celebration of the end of a successful mining and trapping season and initially featured skiing, baseball, boxing, and not surprisingly, a dog sled race. But the eighty-plus-year-old event has changed with the times and now boasts nearly fifty “Rondy Round Town” events. There’s a fat tire bike race with more than 1,000 riders expected to participate, a blanket toss in which a lucky participant is flipped as high as twenty

feet into the air, and the Alaska Snow Sculpture competition that features artists crafting eight-foot cubes of snow into masterpieces. There’s something fun for everyone happening during Fur Rondy, and the same can be said for Alaska.  R Judy Mottl writes about important issues country-wide with an affinity for Alaska.


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EAT  Compiled by Tasha Anderson SHOP PLAY STAY Chocolates and Candy Confections


ome may think of February as the best time of the year to partake of Alaska’s chocolate treats, but that’s ridiculous—every month is the right month to check out Alaska’s fine chocolatiers and candy confectioners. Throughout the state, these sugar specialists source local products when possible and ship in the highest quality products for what remains, creating unique, delicious, Alaska products. Each shop offers online ordering options, so great chocolate is never out of reach in the 49th State.

The Fudge Pot 515 First Avenue, Fairbanks: Available yearround both in the store and online, The Fudge Pot, Alaska’s farthest north fudge store, specializes in making fudge. The company states, “All of our fudge is made from the finest ingredients and made with real cream and butter. Our fudge selections are the most pleasing sweets available in Alaska and they’re made right here in our Fairbanks kitchen.” Flavors range from caramel vanilla to cookie dough to fudge with M&Ms. Mrs. Claus Chocolate Bar 59 College Road, Fairbanks: The chocolate selections at Mrs. Claus Chocolate Bar are “made with the spirit of the North Pole,” spreading cheer throughout the year. Their Bacon Mousse Crunch bar was a winner at the 2017 Fairbanks Beer and Bacon festival and features peanut butter, toffee, and chewy caramel. Other offerings include the black bear crunch, dark chocolate caramel macadamia, white wolf chocolate, white chocolate cherry crunch, grizzly toffee peanut, and sugar-free, paleo, and low carb options. Hot Hot Chocolate Shoppe 550 S. Alaska Street, Palmer: Located in downtown Palmer, the Hot Hot Chocolate Shoppe “specializes in unique, gourmet truffles and chocolate, made in shop.” Guests can enjoy not just chocolates and truffles but hot drinking chocolate, gourmet baked products, and hand-made soaps and scrubs. Other treats include chocolate covered cookies and pretzels, giant peanut butter cups, and other creative treats, as well as custom requests. The shop offers gluten-free treats as well. @hothotchocolateshoppe


KetchiCandies 315 Mission Street, Ketchikan: Chocolates are handcrafted at this chocolate and treat shop, including fudge, chocolates, and novelty candies. KetchiCandies’ fudge (made using real cream and pure butter) flavors include chocolate walnut, chocolate pecan, chocolate peanut butter, vanilla, and penuche (maple) with or without nuts. Their chocolate treats include truffles, nut clusters, barks, caramels, jellies, chocolate-covered Oreos and pretzels, and fruits. Their novelty candy offerings include Jelly Bellies, licorice, gummy candies, and taffy.

Sweet Chalet Anchorage: Sweet Chalet has expanded from their first Anchorage store on Dimond Boulevard to locations in the Hotel Captain Cook and the 5th Avenue Mall. The company offers a variety of specialty bon bons and sweet treats using Maracaibo Clasificado 65% and Maracaibo Criolait 38% chocolate from Sur del Lago, Maracaibo, Venezuela. Sweet Chalet rolls out seasonal treats in addition to their chocolates, caramels, and other confectionary treats.

The Alaskan Fudge Company 195 S. Franklin Street, Juneau: Founded in 1980, the Alaskan Fudge Company has perfected their recipe, which was originally formulated as a chocolate fondue. The company says, “Our fudge and candies are made of the best ingredients. We use the finest chocolate, the highest quality nuts, fresh cream, and the purest extracts to produce the world’s finest fudge.” Their products, in addition to fudge, include truffles, taffy, and gourmet sea salt.

Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge 530 E. Benson Boulevard, Anchorage: Modern Dwellers is a chocolate lounge, offering up truffles and chocolate bars, drinking chocolate, and a full espresso bar. The company describes itself as “a chocolate and espresso experience amidst contemporary works of art and gifts. A visual treat. An aesthetic retreat. Offbeat,” and caters to eco-conscious individuals from Alaska and beyond. Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge drinking chocolates are available as a drink in the lounge and can be purchased by the tin.

Chugach Chocolates & Confections Girdwood: The company’s chocolate bars (dark chocolate with Prince William Sound sea salt; dark chocolate with Alaska birch syrup toffee; dark chocolate with espresso beans; and dark chocolate with pink Himalayan salt) are available state wide at locations in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Homer, Sitka, Girdwood, Juneau, Soldotna, Talkeetna, Ketchikan, Cordova, Haines, Portage, Denali, and Petersburg. The company says, “Using skills passed down through generations, we are committed to combining classic techniques with modern tastes.”

Sweet Darlings Seward: Located on Seward’s main thoroughfare, Sweet Darlings offers patrons a variety of sweet treats including chocolates, a huge variety of salt water taffy, fudge, and gelato made in-house. The company says, “Only the finest chocolate, nuts, fruits, native Alaskan berries, and other ingredients are used in the preparation of each of our mouth-watering morsels.” R

Alaska Business | February

Anchorage FEB


Military Appreciation Bowl-A-Thon Fundraiser

Funds raised through this event, organized by the Anchorage Chamber, will support the 25th Anniversary of the Chamber’s Military Appreciation Picnic, which takes place in June. The Bowl-A-Thon will run from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Center Bowl. FEB


Academic Student WorldQuest Competition

Academic WorldQuest is a team competition testing students’ knowledge of global issues including current events, combating infectious disease, the European Union, countering violent extremism, China, global megacities, etc. More than 120 high school students participate, and the winning team from every local competition is invited to participate at the National Competition hosted in Washington, DC. This year WorldQuest Alaska is being held at the Dena’ina Center. events/worldquest-2018/ FEB

Iron Dog

Iron Dog is the longest, toughest snowmobile race in the world, running from Big Lake to Nome and finishing on the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks. February 17 is the official start of the Iron Dog, but pre-race events include the Flying Iron freestyle show in downtown Anchorage and the Donlin Gold Safety Expo. The Pro Class restart is February 18 in Big Lake.






Young People’s Concert: World Music Jam

Journey with Maestro Fleischer, comedian Heidi Joyce, and the Anchorage

Symphony on a musical adventure that travels the globe. Explore the many ways folk and indigenous traditions are woven into symphonic music. World Music Jam delights and inspires students while transporting them from Africa to Alaska with interactivity, humor, and an array of special guests. The concert takes place at 12 p.m. at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. FEB-MAR

Fur Rondy

Come join the iconic Alaska tradition that includes winter sports, native art and culture, and many other events that celebrate life and the frontier spirit of Alaska, all in Downtown Anchorage.


Compiled by Tasha Anderson Homer Homer Winter Carnival


This weekend event of outdoor activities is fun for the whole family Enjoy a parade, community dances, outhouse race, wedding expo, hockey tournament, Mr. Homer pageant, arts and crafts, and plenty of food.




Kid’s Ice Part & International Ice Art Exhibition

This family-friendly event features interactive ice sculptures, multiple ice slides, and ice art exhibitions created by a multitude of artists at the George Horner Ice Park.

Denali Winterfest offers loads 20-25 Denali of outdoor fun and educational events such as dog sledding, a 5k race, snowshoeing, hiking, park ranger programs, and more. This engaging communityoriented festival starts off with a potluck and ends with a chili feed and cake walk—small town charm in the heart of Denali National Park at Mile 237 Parks Highway. dena/planyourvisit/winterfest.htm


Wild and Free

This is the 32nd annual Wearable Art Show in Ketchikan, taking place at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. Artists in the Ketchikan community and beyond create original wearable wonders out of duct tape, foam, sequins, trash bags, wood, milk jugs and lots of glue. The artwork comes alive modeled on the runway to music, fashion, sculpture, engineering, theatrics, dance, and music in one stunning performance.


Yukon Quest


place every February, 3 Taking the Yukon Quest is a 1,000 mile international sled dog race between Whitehorse, Yukon, and Fairbanks. It takes from ten to sixteen days to complete and has been run every year since 1984.


Sitka Jazz Festival

The Sitka Jazz Festival teaches music appreciation, skills, history, artistic expression, and crosscultural understanding through jazz in a supportive environment. Visiting artists and local educators provide clinics on history, jazz theory, jazz improvisation, as


Valdez FEB

Valdez Ice Climbing Festival

winter festival features a 16-19 This variety of winter and climbing

activities, including a welcome reception, workshops, clinics, dance party, and silent auction.

Wasilla Ice Fishing Derby for a Cure

The Muscular Dystrophy Association of Alaska is hosting its 4th annual Ice Fishing Derby for a Cure at the Palmer Elks Lodge from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Get ready to enjoy door prizes, fishing prizes for kids and adults, and activities for kids when they need a break from fishing. All funds raised in the derby help 120 Alaskan families fighting muscular dystrophy. events/169358180316356/




well as a variety of individual instrument and section-specific workshops. Student performances are non-competitive, with an emphasis on cooperation and appreciation.



Denali Winterfest




Our Town

Described by playwright Edward Albee as “the greatest American play ever written,” the Pulitzer Prize winning story “Our Town” follows the small town of Grover’s Corners through the lives of the Webb and Gibbs families as their children fall in love, marry, and eventually, in one of the most famous scenes in American theatre, die. This is an American classic that the whole family can enjoy, performed at Valley Performing Arts on Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. R
















Kotzebue Fairbanks Nome

Delta Junction

Mat-Su Anchorage Valdez Soldotna

Bethel Dillingham

Juneau Sitka

Kodiak Ketchikan Unalaska/Dutch Harbor

February 2018 | Alaska Business




Business Events FEBRUARY



Alaska Statewide Special Education Conference

Hilton Anchorage Hotel: 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.



Pacific Fisheries Technologists Conference

Girdwood: The PFT conference is an annual international event that moves between the Pacific States and Provinces of Mexico, USA, and Canada. This year’s theme is: Tools of the Trade.



Alaska Optometric Association CE Conference

Centennial Hall, Juneau: The mission of the AKOA is to influence the future of eye care by ensuring the welfare of Alaskans and promoting the continued development of the profession of optometry.



Alaska Surveying & Mapping Conference

Hilton Hotel, 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.


Alaska Forum on the Environment

Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: 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.



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: Personalize Your Playlist.


Compiled by Tasha Anderson FEB

AML Winter Legislative Meeting

Baranof Westmark Hotel, Juneau: The Alaska Municipal League is a voluntary, nonprofit, nonpartisan, statewide organization of 162 cities, boroughs, and unified municipalities that represent more than 97 percent of Alaska’s residents.

20-22 FEB

Innovation Summit

Centennial Hall, Juneau: The Innovation Summit gathers hundreds of professionals across all disciplines and includes talks, performances, and experiences designed to foster relationships and inspire new perspectives. This year the theme is “Diversity and how it Drives Innovation”. Award-winning speaker and CEO of The Medici Group, Frans Johansson, will speak on the subject.





Alaska Forest Association Spring Meeting

Baranof Hotel, Juneau: The Alaska Forest Association can be characterized as a high-profile industry trade association. Its members hold in common general business interests in the timber industry of Alaska.


SWAMC Annual Conference

The Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference advocates for its region by “providing accurate research and information, developing regional consensus on issues, and conveying local and regional priorities to government agencies, the Southwest Alaska Legislative Delegation, and the Alaska Congressional Delegation.”




Alaska Library Association Annual Conference

Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: AkLA is a nonprofit professional organization for the employees, volunteers, and advocates at academic, public, school, and special libraries of all sizes in Alaska, as well as library products and services vendors. This year’s theme is “Bridging the Gaps.”



Alaska Academy of Family Physicians Winter Update

Hotel Alyeska, Girdwood: This is the 20th annual Winter Update and opportunity for fifteen CME.



Alaska Anthropological Association Annual Meeting

Egan Center, Anchorage: This annual meeting includes workshops, an evening reception for information and registration, paper presentations, and an awards banquet, business meeting, and the Belzoni meeting.



Career and Technical Student Organization Conference

Downtown Anchorage Hilton Hotel: CTSO is the connection to Career and Technical Student Organization, the Performance Based Assessment Conference where students participate in leadership training, conduct organizational business, and showcase themselves in competitive events.


ComFish Alaska


TWS Alaska Chapter Annual Meeting

Kodiak: ComFish is the largest commercial fishing show in Alaska and the longest running fisheries trade show in the state, now in its 38th year.


Alaska Pacific University: This is the annual meeting of the Alaska Chapter of The Wildlife Society and brings together wildlife researchers, managers, educators, students, and administrators.

26-29 MAR


Copper River Delta Science Symposium

Cordova Community Center: To better integrate current knowledge and plan future research efforts, the Copper River Delta Science Symposium will focus on the delta as a system, covering topics from hydrology and geomorphology to avian nesting ecology and trophic R relationships.


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


Alaska Business | February


Alaska Business February 2018

Compiled by Tasha Anderson

mercial networks can become congested. With the power of priority and preemption, first responders will no longer have to compete with non-emergency users for a connection. They’ll be able to reliably connect to the network to get the information they need when they need it. Voice and text messages, images, videos, location information, data from apps, and more will be supported in real time, helping first responders quickly work together to save lives. Image courtesy Ravn Alaska



avn Air Group is expanding its network to provide nonstop service to Dillingham and King Salmon beginning on Valentine’s Day, February14, 2018. “The Ravn team is excited to expand our network to serve these two great communities,” said Ravn President and CEO Dave Pflieger. “We’ve heard the call from residents of Dillingham and King Salmon for more choice and more competition in air service, and Ravn is looking forward to answering that call with more flight options, lower fares, and more reliable service.” “We couldn’t think of a better way to mark the expansion of our network than sending a message that ‘Ravn Loves Dillingham and King Salmon’ and launching inaugural flights on Valentine’s Day,” said Ravn Chief Financial Officer Steve Jackson.



irstNet, the nationwide public safety broadband network, now features ruthless preemption services for first responder subscribers across the country. This highly anticipated, specialized offering is now available to first responders in states and territories, including Alaska,

that have opted in to the First Responder Network Authority and AT&T plan and have subscribed to the FirstNet service. Preemption is a mission-critical feature that enables first responders on FirstNet to communicate and coordinate during emergencies, large events, or other situations during which com-


overnor Walker included $14 million for the Renewable Energy Fund in his proposed FY19 budget, released December 15, 2017. Of that total, $11 million is for grants to projects from the Renewable Energy Alaska Project’s Round 9 solicitation. The Renewable Energy Fund grant program has been the vehicle for nearly $260 million in state investment in renewable energy since it was created in 2008. Those state investments have leveraged more than $140 million in private and federal dollars and helped build more than seventy renewable microgrids across the state that are now displacing 30 million gallons of diesel every year, making Alaska a global leader in the integration of renewables into small, isolated power grids that primarily rely on diesel fuel.



he Alaska minimum wage increased from $9.80 to $9.84 this year. A ballot initiative passed by voters raised the minimum wage by a dollar in both 2015 and 2016, and thereafter to be adjusted annually for inflation.


February 2018 | Alaska Business


INSIDE ALASKA BUSINESS Alaska Statute 23.10.065(a) requires the Alaska minimum wage to be adjusted using the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers in the Anchorage metropolitan area (Anchorage CPI-U) for the preceding calendar year. The Anchorage CPI-U increased 0.4 percent in 2016, rising from 216.909 to 217.830. As a result, the minimum wage rose from $9.80 to $9.84 effective January 1, 2018. “These modest annual adjustments ensure low wage workers don’t have to wait for several years to see their wages raised to keep up with inflation,” said Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas. The Alaska minimum wage applies to all hours worked in a pay period regardless of how the employee is paid: whether by time, piece, commission, or otherwise. All actual hours worked in a pay period multiplied by the Alaska minimum wage is the very least an employee can be compensated by an employer. Tips do not count toward the minimum wage.



ational Seating & Mobility is opening its first location in Alaska in Anchorage. “The continued growth of the company supports our goal to reach more clients in need of mobility solutions,” said Bill Mixon, NSM, CEO. “We are excited to operate our first location in Alaska and to expand our presence in the Washington area.” Assistive Technology Provider Wayne Gould, a CRT industry veteran in Alaska, will serve clients from the Anchorage branch. “NSM represents the client-focused, do-theright-thing approach that I’ve also subscribed to,” said Gould. “In today’s changing environment, I felt that NSM was the best place for me to take care of my clients, and at the same time provide me with a long term stable career.”



orthern Dynasty Minerals entered into a framework agreement with First Quantum Minerals which says that an affiliate of First Quantum will execute an option agreement with Northern Dynasty. The option agreement contemplates an option payment of $150 million staged over four years that will entitle First Quantum to acquire the right to earn a 50 percent interest in

the Pebble Limited Partnership for $1.35 billion. The option period may be extended for up to two years by First Quantum making payments to be agreed upon. The amounts will be offset against the $1.35 billion additional investment. Within five business days of the execution of the framework agreement, First Quantum will make an early option payment of $37.5 million to Northern Dynasty. The Early Option Price Installment will be applied solely for the purpose of progressing Pebble Project permitting. Pebble CEO Tom Collier said, “This represents exciting news for the project. We will soon initiate the permitting and review process with a much smaller and more environmentally sensitive plan for a mine at Pebble. We are very pleased to have the financial resources to move through that process. This thorough and comprehensive process allows everyone an opportunity to express their views about Pebble. “This initial investment by a well-established copper mining company speaks volumes about the economic opportunity Pebble represents to Alaska. Pebble development could make a significant contribution to Alaska’s economy and provide year-round jobs for Southwest Alaska. Additionally, Pebble could provide important revenue to state and local governments. “We will continue to expand our Alaska team and engage with Alaskan firms to help us advance Pebble through the permitting process. We look forward to 2018 and more open dialogue with all stakeholders about our mine plan.” On December 22, Pebble finalized documentation and filed for a US Clean Water Act 404 permit with the US Army Corps of Engineers, thereby initiating federal and state permitting for the Pebble Project under the National Environmental Policy Act.



new clinic opened in December in the Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall that plans to take the hassle out of healthcare by giving patrons easy access and less expensive options for simple treatments and check-ups. Shoppers and patients can find the Capstone Express Clinic near JCPenney and Claire’s on the 1st Floor of the mall. Capstone Express Clinic is a full service medical clinic mimicking traditional Urgent Care

facilities. Because Capstone is a telemedicine unit, patients speak with doctors via video chat and skip long lines, higher-cost check-up rates, and time. Patients can come to Capstone for a virtual doctor’s appointment with an MD based in a Capstone clinic in Boniface. The doctor will diagnose using digital stethoscopes and otoscopes, while a medical assistant can do things such as process tests via an onsite lab or administer antibiotics for common ailments like strep throat. Capstone accepts almost all insurance coverage and offers competitive rates for out of pocket transactions. Additionally, the clinic hopes having the clinic conveniently located in the mall will drive people to get the check-ups they need by removing the inconvenience of high costs or long drives.



itka Medical Center opened Sitka’s first walkin express care clinic in January. The Sitka Medical Center Express Care Clinic fills the gap between visiting one’s primary care provider and an unnecessary trip to the emergency room with clinic hours on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays until 6:00 p.m. The Sitka Medical Center Express Care Clinic doors are open to everyone in the community. It also accepts most healthcare plans— including Tricare, Medicare, Denali Kid Care, and Medicaid. The clinic also has a sliding fee scale payment option for eligible patients without insurance. Eligibility depends on income and family size, and patients may apply at the Express Care Clinic also. Express care offers an alternative for patients when their provider’s schedule is full, as there is no need to schedule an appointment. The Sitka Medical Center Express Care Clinic is located at 814 Halibut Point Road.



he National Defense Authorization Act was signed on December 12, which requires all drone owners to register their unmanned aircraft systems. Previously, two groups were exempt. Some owners were exempt due to their membership in a community based organization focused on safe and appropriate use through established guidelines and education. Owners



Alaska Business | February

Compiled by ABM Staff



he State of Alaska approved ExxonMobil’s plan to engineer the expansion of the Point Thomson project on the North Slope, with state and company officials calling it a positive step to achieve major gas sales and increase oil production. The Division of Oil and Gas previously approved ExxonMobil’s plan for continued liquid condensate production from Point Thomson but declined to approve the expansion-related plan. The division asked for additional information on August 29. In an October 2017 letter, ExxonMobil responded to the state’s decision with new information that addressed the division’s concerns. “It’s clear that ExxonMobil is committed to commercializing North Slope gas, particularly from Point Thomson. This helps align the company’s work in Alaska with the State of Alaska and AGDC,” said Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack.



ayor Ethan Berkowitz will ask the Anchorage Assembly to place a proposition on the April 2018 municipal ballot allowing voters to authorize the sale of Municipal Light & Power (ML&P) to Chugach Electric Association. The announcement comes after urging from both the local business community and Anchorage Assembly to explore unification opportunities between the two utilities. The sale of ML&P would allow the Municipality of Anchorage to pay off approximately $525 million in debt, invest additional money into the MOA trust fund, and preserve existing utility contributions under the tax cap.



S Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Representative Don Young released the following statements after the House and Senate passed HR 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. In addition to reforming the tax code, the bill opens the non-wilderness 1002 Area in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to responsible energy development. “This is a watershed moment for Alaska and all of America,” Murkowski said. “We have fought to open the 1002 Area for a very long time, and now, our day has finally arrived. I thank all who kept this effort alive over the decades, especially Ted Stevens and Frank Murkowski, and all who supported this bill. Alaskans can now look forward to our best opportunity to refill the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, thousands of jobs that will pay better wages, and potentially $60 billion in royalties for our state alone. This is a major victory for Alaska that will help us fulfill the promises of our statehood and give us renewed hope for growth and prosperity.” “For decades, Alaskans have fought for the right and opportunity—against an unwilling federal government—to allow Alaska to develop the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge so that we can strengthen our communities and build a better life for our children,” Sullivan said. “But for decades, we’ve been denied that right. Today that has changed. I want to thank all of the hundreds—if not thousands of Alaskans—who have spent countless hours over the years to get this done. I want to thank Senator Murkowski and Congressman Young for all of their hard work over the years on this issue. I also want to thank the late Senator Ted Stevens and his family, who spent much of his life on this just cause. Twelve years ago, his last attempt to open the 1002 Area of the coastal plain was blocked. Senator Stevens said that it was the ‘saddest day of his life.’ Today, no doubt, he’s looking down on us, with a smile on his face.” “This is a historic moment for Alaskans and I am incredibly proud of the work this delegation has done over the years to open the 1002 Area of ANWR,” Young said. “Congress specifically set aside this land to be used for responsible resource development and it was always intended to unleash America’s potential energy production. Opening this area will create more jobs for Alaskans, generate future revenue for this country to pay down the deficit and keep energy affordable for American families and businesses. I am especially proud to see this measure pass today because I have fought to open the 1002 area for the past forty years and today marks an important step in this process.”



laska Rainforest Sanctuary acquired longtime Juneau zip line operator, Alaska Zipline Adventures. The addition strengthens the reputation of Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary as a firstrate visitor experience company, which already owns and operates several other tours, includ-

ing three zip line courses through its company, Alaska Canopy Adventures. There are no major changes planned for Alaska Zipline Adventures this upcoming summer season. Favorite amenities at Alaska Zipline Adventures, such as its tree house platforms, axe-throwing experience, and relaxing lodge, will continue to be offered. R

February 2018 | Alaska Business


Image courtesy of the Alaska Chamber

of drones less than 0.55 pounds were also previously exempt. Now both groups must comply along with all other drone owners. Registration is not new to most current drone pilots. Since December 2015, the FAA has required drone registration. More than 300,000 drone owners signed up within the first month. Today, there are close to 1 million registered. New drones can be registered on the FAA’s Small Unmanned Aircraft Registration Service. The cost is $5. Drone owners only need register once, but each drone must display a registration number.

RIGHT MOVES Alaska Business

Alaska Business welcomes Arie Henry to our team as Digital & Social Media Strategist. Henry is responsible for providing a cohesive digital presence and facilitating online engagement via the Alaska Business website, digital app, e-newsletters, and social media platHenry forms. Prior to joining Alaska Business, Henry worked in the agency side of digital marketing, forming brand strategies and developing content. He graduated cum laude from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a BAA in marketing and management and currently serves on the board of the American Marketing Associations’ Alaska chapter.

R&M Consultants

Ben Holmstrom, PLS, is now a professional land surveyor in the state of Alaska. He successfully passed the required exams for licensure, including the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying Professional Surveying Examination and Alaska Holmstrom Land Surveying Examination. Holmstrom joined R&M in July 2013 as a Survey Technician. He has more than six years of progressively responsible surveying experience, having worked as an instrument person and survey party chief. Holmstrom holds a BS in Geomatics from the University of Alaska Anchorage. He grew up in Kodiak and has lived in Alaska most of his life. Holmstrom loves Alaska and the outdoors. He spends his leisure time hunting, snowboarding and biking.

Schneider Structural Engineers

John Oldfield has obtained his Alaska Professional Registered Structural Engineer (SE) license. He joined Schneider Structural Engineers in May 2011, earning his Alaska Professional Registered Engineer license in civil engineering in December of 2015. During his six and a half years with the firm, Oldfield has provided project management and structural engineering for some of the firm’s most significant Alaska projects. These include the 105,000-square-foot Alaska Airlines Hangar, currently under construction and highly visible at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport; the CIRI Headquarters Building on Fireweed; and the newly-opened 30,000-square-foot Anchorage Museum Expansion. Oldfield received a BS in civil engineering from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2011.


Quintillion named Timothy Leybold as CFO. Leybold began his career as a CPA with an international accounting firm and holds an MBA in Finance. He has more than twenty-five years of financial leadership experience and was previously CFO for Till Capital Ltd., Leybold ICO Global Communications, Port Blakely Companies, and RLC Industries. Leybold oversees accounting, budgeting, risk management, and treasury functions and is responsible for Quintillion’s financial reporting to investors and lenders.

RE/MAX Dynamic

RE/MAX Dynamic Properties welcomed Betsy Mehler, who is a fourth generation Alaskan with strong family roots in the community. Mehler has worked with a variety of real estate brokerages throughout Anchorage and is Mehler pursuing her career in real estate sales. The company also welcomed David Matthys. Matthys came to Alaska in 2008 and worked in the fitness industry and is pursuing his career in real estate sales. He was born in the Congo and lived in Belgium.


Business Insurance Associates

Sheba Su’esu’e, an account manager with Business Insurance Associates, earned her professional certification in construction insurance from the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI). Completing the five courses necessary, Su’esu’e is now a Construction Risk Insurance Specialist with IRMI and is a licensed property and casualty broker in the state of Alaska with Business Insurance Associates. The certification process includes courses on contracts, construction risk management, and various contractor insurance coverages such as liability, workers comp, auto, builders risk, and surety.

Landye Bennett Blumstein

The law firm of Landye Bennett Blumstein announced that attorney Michelle Boutin has joined the firm’s Anchorage office. Boutin focuses her practice on bankruptcy, collections and creditor’s rights, civil litigation, and construction law. She received a BS (with honors) from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a JD from Hamline University School of Law.

Boutin is a member of the Alaska Bar Association, the Anchorage Bar Association, and past attorney representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. She is admitted to practice for the Alaska State Bar, Federal District Court, District of Alaska, and the Ninth Boutin Circuit Court of Appeals.

Alaska Railroad

The Alaska Railroad (ARRC) named vice president of Engineering Clark Hopp to the position of COO, overseeing rail transportation, engineering, mechanical, safety, and grant administration functions. Hopp has led the railroad’s Engineering Department since February Hopp 2013. He joined ARRC in 2001 as a capital projects manager and in 2003 he became manager, civil projects. In 2011, Hopp was promoted to director of special projects, overseeing the two mega rail extension projects: Port MacKenzie Rail Extension and Northern Rail Extension, Phase One. Hopp earned a degree in construction engineering technology from Iowa Western College.

Alaska Federal Credit Union

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union appointed two individuals to executive level positions. Jessica Graham has been selected to fill the new position of Senior Vice President, General Counsel. Graham comes to Alaska USA with fourteen years of in-house corporate law experience, most recently as general counsel/chief compliance officer, Graham Koniag Native Corporation. Graham also clerked for the Chief Justice of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Graham holds a degree in law from the Law School of Duke University and has served on the board of the Alaska Bar Association. Tom Newins has been selected to fill the position of Chief Operations Officer. Newins comes to Alaska USA with more than twenty-five years of executive-level credit union experience, including president and CEO of a credit union with more than $1 billion in assets. Newins N e w i n s h o l d s a d e g re e i n accounting from the University of Colorado at Boulder and graduated with honors from the Western CUNA Management School.


Real Alaskans. Real cargo. 94

Alaska Business | February


Compiled by Tasha Anderson Chugach Alaska

Chugach Alaska Corporation appointed Josie Hickel as its President of Chugach Commercial Holdings (CCH). In her new role, Hickel is responsible for directing Chugach’s portfolio of commercial businesses and land development strategy. Hickel Hickel is a Chugach shareholder with more than three decades of experience working in Alaska for a range of commercial companies. Since joining Chugach in 2016 as senior vice president of energy and resources for CCH, Hickel has achieved a number of milestones within the division. She facilitated Chugach’s Bering River coal rights transaction and carbon offset project and helped stabilize Chugach’s energy services companies in a challenging economic environment. Hickel has a bachelor’s degree in business management and human resources. She also holds certifications in both senior and global professional of human resources.

First National Bank Alaska

First National Bank Alaska recently appointed or promoted five Alaska banking experts to different roles inside the state’s largest community bank. With more than ten years of banking experience, Rachel Carlson is the new Branch Manager at the U-Med Branch near the University of Alaska Anchorage. Carlson previously worked as a teller, customer service representative, and personal banker. Carlson “Contributing to our community by helping our customers reach their financial goals is rewarding,” Carlson said. “The U-Med area is a vibrant part of Anchorage and the branch team and I will always be excited to be part of it.” After more than a year spent managing two other Anchorage-area branches, Krissi Estrada is the new Branch Manager at the downtown Main Branch. “Making the move from one part of town to another won’t change my approach,” Estrada said. “We’ll continue to provide the best financial Estrada solutions for our fellow Alaskans.” Carlson and Estrada and will each be responsible for business development, consumer loans, branch operations, and customer service at their branches.

P a u l a G r a u w a s a p p o i n te d Vice President and is the new Cash Management Administrator. In her role, Grau oversees the Cash Management Sales and Support Units, the team behind the bank’s merchant services, Corporate MasterCard business, and Grau treasury management services for large commercial customers. She is dedicated to help make sure business customers receive the support they need. “Learning about our customers’ needs and building relationships is essential to everything we do at First National,” said Grau, a twenty-three-year banking veteran. “Working alongside the bank’s experts is motivating as is helping Alaska businesses grow.” After spending nine years with First National, including seven years in mortgage lending, Loan Officer Mike Scott has transferred to the Dimond Branch as part of the bank’s corporate lending unit. He’s now responsible for developing and maintaining business Scott banking relationships and helps companies build on opportunities through lending. Scott graduated from nearby Dimond High School in 2003 and is eager to be involved in that neighborhood of businesses. “I hope to rely on my extensive real estate knowledge when building close-knit relationships with our business customers,” Scott said. “I’ve learned from my fellow First National banking experts and no one works harder than we do.” In her position as Senior Mortgage Under writer and Loan Of ficer, Dawnette Starr will help customers secure the loans needed to support their lifestyles and fulfill their dreams. She’ll do so by examining and analyzing loan documentation to ensure accuracy and completeness and Starr that each loan meets market and company standards. Starr has worked in the industry for nearly thirty years. “Whether it’s a first-time home buyer, a refinancing or a remodel, it’s such a joy to help make sure customers come close to seeing their dreams come true,” Starr said. “Home ownerships is such a huge financial commitment, it’s an honor to play a role in the process.”

Tlingit & Haida

Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida) welcomed Kimberly Martus as the Tribe’s new Tribal Appellate Court Administrator.

This newly-created position is funded by a grant recently awarded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Tribal Justice Support, which is responsible for providing support to tribal justice systems throughout the United States. Working with Tlingit & Haida’s Judiciary Martus Committee and Tribal Court Judges, Martus will design, build capacity, and implement the first unified tribal appellate court system in Southeast Alaska. Martus has served in several tribal court related capacities, including associate appellate justice with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Court of Appeals; pro tempore judge with the Native Village of Barrow Tribal Court; Tribal Court and prisoner reentry program manager for the Bristol Bay Native Association; Tribal Court needs assessment project administrator for Kadiak; and Tribal Court training instructor for the University of Alaska’s Tribal Management Program. Martus holds a JD degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law and a BA in Native American studies from Evergreen State College.

Alaska Executive Search

Anna Plumb, lifelong Alaskan, joins Alaska Executive Search as their newest Staffing Consultant. She has more than twenty years in managing, training, and recruitment in the hospitality industry. Her background lends itself perfectly to identifying talent for both temporary Plumb and permanent staffing, statewide. Cherissa Weiland has been promoted to Recruitment Coordinator. Also a life-long Alaskan, she is in charge of sourcing candidates for positions throughout the state. With more than a decade in prior experience in Telecom/ IT, she is well positioned to identify technical talent on behalf of clients. Weiland Kyle Thacker joined the Alaska Executive Search team as a Client Liaison, working to support the company’s client retention program. He helps to identify unique qualities with each of their clients to assist with placing temporary workers that meet both technical and soft skills compe- Thacker tencies.


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February 2018 | Alaska Business



Alaska’s Culture of Safety Works Continuing downward trend of workplace deaths sets Alaska on par with national averages


he number of workplace fatalities in Alaska hit a new low in 2015, a continuation of the downward trend for on-the-job deaths since statistics were first collected in 1992. In the early-to-mid-1990s, Alaska had the highest workplace fatality rate in the nation, largely driven by commercial fishing deaths, followed by flight and logging accidents. A lot has changed since then—high-fatality industries have become smaller, regulations have changed the way some industries operate, and technology has made some dangerous activities safer. Logging, for example, which had a large number of fatalities in the early-to-mid-’90s, barely exists in Alaska today. Other changes, such as the quota system in commercial fishing and advancements in flight technology, have made many of these jobs safer. Together, these factors brought Alaska’s workplace fatality rate more in line with the nation overall.

Historical Causes of Death Alaska, 1992-2015 Average

Workplace Deaths Down Considerably Alaska, 1992-2015

100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10

19 92 19 93 19 94 19 95 19 96 19 97 19 98 19 99 20 00 20 01 20 02 20 03 20 04 20 05 20 06 20 07 20 08 20 09 20 10 20 11 20 12 20 13 20 14 20 15

0 Sources: Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Research and Analysis Section, and US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Alaska Down Near US Level 35

Other 9%

Deaths Per 100,000 Workers, 1992-2015

30 25 20

Violence 9% Fall/Contact/

Transportation 67%

Caught Sources: Alaska Department of 10% Labor and Workforce Development, Research and Analysis Section; and US Bureau of Labor Statistics



10 5 0

United States 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014

Note: US number for 2001 does not include the fatalities resulting from the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Sources: Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Research and Analysis Section; and US Bureau of Labor Statistics


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Alaska Business | February

Compiled by Alaska Business Staff Commercial Fishing Leads Decline The zero commercial fishing deaths reported in 2015 was a first. In 1992, thirty-five workers died commercial fishing in Alaska, the highest of any year available—although anecdotal figures suggest the numbers were even higher in the 1970s and 1980s. The decline in commercial fishing deaths is the main driver of Alaska’s overall workplace fatality rate decline. Commercial fishing deaths began to drop in the 1990s, due at least partly to the individual fishing quotas implemented later in the decade. Quotas meant fishermen no longer needed to scramble to get as many fish and crab as possible during openings that often lasted just a few days, with the combination of flight openings, high pressure, heavy competition, and unpredictable weather leading to more accidents. The reduced need to take extreme risk, fewer vessels, advancements in technology, and increased attention to safety have helped make fishing a safer way to earn a living.

ANS Crude Oil Production 01/01/2018 05/01/2015 01/01/2014 09/01/2012 05/01/2011 01/01/2010 09/01/2008 05/01/2007 01/01/2006

ANS Production per barrel per day 544,827 Jan. 1, 2018

09/01/2004 05/01/2003 01/01/2002 09/01/2000

No Fishing or Logging Deaths in 2015 Alaska, 1992-2015






SOURCE: Alaska Department of Revenue Tax Division

ANS West Coast Crude Oil Prices 12/28/2017 09/01/2014




09/01/2010 09/01/2008



ANS West Coast $ per barrel $65.75 Dec. 28, 2017






09/01/2000 $0




$80 $100 $120 $140 $160

SOURCE: Alaska Department of Revenue Tax Division

Statewide Employment Figures 10/1976—11/2017 Seasonally Adjusted







01/01/2010 03/01/2007 05/01/2004

92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 Sources: Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Research and Analysis Section; and US Bureau of Labor Statistics

07/01/2001 09/01/1998

Labor Force 363,111 Nov. 2017 Employment 336,951 Nov. 2017 Unemployment 7.2% Nov. 2017

11/01/1995 01/01/1993 03/01/1990

No logging deaths since 2000 At its peak, the timber industry had more than 4,000 jobs, a large slice of which were in logging, but employment has declined steadily since 1990 and so have fatalities. In 1992, thirteen logging deaths were recorded in Alaska, but with the industry decline, there were no logging deaths between 2000 and 2015.

05/01/1987 07/01/1984 09/01/1981 11/01/1978 01/01/1976 0 100,000 200,000 300,000 400,000 SOURCE: Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Research & Analysis Section; and US BLS

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February 2018 | Alaska Business


ADVERTISERS INDEX ABC Motorhome Rentals/RV Sales.......................... 3 Advanced Dental Solutions.....................................54 Advanced Physical Therapy of Alaska................ 81 AirSide Solutions Inc................................................... 18 Alaska Air Cargo - Alaska Airlines.............................7 Alaska Dreams Inc.........................................................17 Alaska Energy Services, LLC...........................19, 23 Alaska Logistics.............................................................22 Alaska Mergers & Acquisitions LLC......................40 Alaska Miners Association........................................56 Alaska USA Federal Credit Union..........................43 ALSCO................................................................................. 12 Altman Rogers & Co.................................................... 10 American Marine / Penco...............................96, 97 AMS Couriers................................................................... 57 Anchorage Sand & Gravel.........................................40 Arctic Chiropractic.......................................................89 Calista Corp./Yukon Equipment............................ 73 Carlile Transportation Systems..............................25 CBI Media Group...........................................................89 CIRI.......................................................................................90 Coffman Engineers......................................................39 Conrad-Houston Insurance Agency....................17 Construction Machinery Industrial........................ 2 Copper River Telecom................................................ 37

Dan Tech Services........................................................... 9 Design Alaska..................................................................39 Dowland-Bach Corp................................................... 21 Doyon Limited................................................................55 First National Bank Alaska........................................... 5 Fluor Corporation......................................................... 41 Foss Maritime.................................................................. 18 Fountainhead Hotels...................................................87 GCI.....................................................................................100 Great Originals Inc.......................................................59 HDL Hattenburg Dilley & Linnell...........................39 Judy Patrick Photography.......................................98 Lynden Inc........................................................................99 Mechanical Contractors of Fairbanks.................32 MFCP - Motion & Flow Control Products Inc.............................................................. 15 Michael Baker Jr. Inc....................................................51 Midnight Sun Home Care Inc.................................83 Modular Transportable Housing, Inc................. 15 N C Machinery................................................................65 New Horizons Telecom Inc......................................29 Nortech Environmental & Engineering...............31 Northern Air Cargo............................................94, 95 Pacific Pile & Marine................................ 91, 92, 93 Parker Smith & Feek..................................................... 13

PDC Inc. Engineers.......................................................48 PenAir.................................................................................85 Personnel Plus................................................................88 PND Engineers Inc....................................................... 57 Port of Alaska..................................................................69 R & M Consultants Inc................................................30 Ravn Alaska...................................................................... 75 Real Property Management.....................................35 RISQ Consulting............................................................ 10 RSA Engineering Inc....................................................56 Seawolf Sports Properties........................................ 61 Society For Marketing Professional Services Alaska.........................................................47 Span Alaska Transportation LLC............................68 Stantec...............................................................................34 Stellar Designs Inc........................................................88 Summit Consulting......................................................56 T. Rowe Price................................................................... 27 The Plans Room.............................................................50 TOTE Maritime Alaska..................................................11 Tutka LLC............................................................................51 UAA School of Engineering.....................................33 Voice of the Arctic Inupiat........................................67 Washington Crane & Hoist....................................... 16 Wostmann Associates.................................................... 9


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Alaska Business | February

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Alaska Business February 2018  

Engineering is omnipresent and facilitates countless common marvels from electric lights to clean water to efficient highways. The 2017 Engi...

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