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August 2015


Energy & Power Environmental Services & Recycling


Dalton Highway CLOSURE Crisis on the Haul Road

BUDGET TALKS Viable state spending

Scott Goldsmith ALASKA


August 2015 TAB LE


CONTENTS ABOUT THE COVER At a time when the Alaska economy is on the precipice of another transformation, we thought it fitting to feature Alaska economics guru Scott Goldsmith on the cover. He is the subject of this month’s Iconic Alaskans (page 8), by Shehla Anjum.

DEPARTMENTS From the Editor���������������������������������������� 7 Right Moves���������������������������������������� 100 Inside Alaska Business���������������������� 102 Agenda ������������������������������������������������ 105 Alaska This Month ���������������������������� 106 Events Calendar���������������������������������� 108 Alaska Trends���������������������������������������110 Ad Index �����������������������������������������������114

Cover photo: © Chris Arend Photography Cover design: David Geiger


Iconic Alaskans 8 | Scott Goldsmith By Shehla Anjum


© gov.akaska.gov/sustainablefuture

14 | The Budget Talks Observing the ‘Fairbanks Project’ By Shehla Anjum

Visitor Industry

Legal Speak

38 | Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs Changes Coming Your Way By Melanie K. Curtice


40 | Expediting Cargo A closer look at two companies By Kirsten Swann


State Senator John Coghill, former Lieutenant Governor Jack Coghill, and Vic Fisher at the governor’s June budget talks in Fairbanks.



52 | Creating Jobs in Alaska’s Mining Industry Exploration and development activity plays a huge role By Tasha Anderson

42 | Dalton Highway Closure Ice, water, and backed up lines of supplies By Julie Stricker


DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE Photo courtesy of Within the Wild Adventure Company

16 | Chasing Relevance: Marketing Alaska as a Visitor Destination By Judy Griffin

Internationally recognized chef Kirsten Dixon addresses a cooking class at her Tutka Bay Lodge. 4


The FERC Process in Four Phases Energy Department clarifies role at roundtable By Tasha Anderson Expediting the Alaska LNG Project Interagency Working Group Streamlines Permitting By Russ Slaten


Q & A with Lynden One company’s Dalton Highway disaster response

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

August 2015 TAB LE



special section

special section

Energy & Power

Environmental Services

20 | Update on Small Hydro and Hydrokinetic Energy Projects By Rindi White 26 | Municipal Light & Power Sets New Standard George M. Sullivan Power Plant 2A expansion project shines By Russ Slaten 30 | Healy Plant 2 Fired Up By Julie Stricker

32 | Alaska Microgrid Technologies: Micro-Industry or Big Business? By Samuel Callen, Marc Mueller-Stoffels, and George Roe 34 | Railbelt Electric Grid Power Struggle Reform needed for aging infrastructure and inefficiencies By Mike Bradner


77 | Shell‘s Arctic Response Plan Intensive efforts balance risk By Julie Stricker 82 | Turning Trash into Electricity: Methane Power Municipal landfill creates energy for military, utility jobs, and income By Jessa S. Joehnk 86 | Community Recycling Services By Julie Stricker 90 | Alaska Business Monthly’s 2015 Environmental Services Directory



© Jon Taylor, Artistic Puppy

In the June issue, two photos were incorrectly captioned.

Oil & Gas

58 | Beneath the Surface of Alaska Exploring the strata with petroleum geologists By Kirsten Swann

Expanded in Digital Edition 62 | Unconventional Oil Plays in Alaska New technology and better economics needed By Mike Bradner 6

Telecom & Technology

68 | Mobility Service Providers Offer an Array of Wireless Solutions By Tracy Barbour


72 | LEED Sets a Rising Bar for Efficient Buildings By Will Swagel

Expanded in Digital Edition

Financial Services

96 | Alaska’s Business Banking Services Helping small to mid-sized companies thrive By Tracy Barbour

Photos © Chris Miller / Courtesy of ASMI

Snug Harbor Seafoods owners Brenda Dale (left) and Paul Dale (right) give the Wells Fargo Kenai Peninsula’s Business Relationship Manager Steve Manley and Manager Tim Redder (center) a tour of their fish processing facility in Kenai.

On pages 6 & 22, the wild salmon were troll-caught in Cross Sound out of Elfin Cove in Southeast Alaska, not Prince William Sound, where it is illegal.

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com


Follow us on and

Volume 31, Number 8 Published by Alaska Business Publishing Co. Anchorage, Alaska Jim Martin, Publisher 1989~2014


Managing Editor Associate Editor Associate Editor Art Director Art Production Photo Consultant Photo Contributor

Susan Harrington Russ Slaten Tasha Anderson David Geiger Linda Shogren Chris Arend Judy Patrick


President Vice President & General Mgr. VP Sales & Mktg. Senior Account Mgr. Senior Account Mgr. Account Mgr. Accountant & Circulation

Billie Martin Jason Martin Charles Bell Anne Tompkins Bill Morris Janis J. Plume Melinda Schwab

501 W. Northern Lights Boulevard, Suite 100 Anchorage, Alaska 99503-2577 (907) 276-4373 Outside Anchorage: 1-800-770-4373 Fax: (907) 279-2900 www.akbizmag.com Editorial email: editor@akbizmag.com ALASKA BUSINESS PUBLISHING CO., INC. ALASKA BUSINESS MONTHLY (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, ©2014, 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 Monthly 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 Monthly, PO Box 241288, Anchorage, AK 99524. Please supply both old and new addresses and allow six weeks for change, or update online at www.akbizmag.com. Manuscripts: Send query letter to the Editor. Alaska Business Monthly 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. Address requests for specific permission to Managing Editor, Alaska Business Publishing. Online: Alaska Business Monthly is available at www.akbizmag.com/Digital-Archives, www.thefreelibrary.com/Alaska+Business+Monthly-p2643 and from Thomson Gale. Microfilm: Alaska Business Monthly is available on microfilm from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48106.


Energy and Power O

Symbiotic synergy

ne of the special sections this month is “Energy & Power” and the other is “Environmental Services,” and the two are somewhat synergetic. A good portion of state government has been dependent on the success of the upstream energy sector and for the most part, the environmental services sector depends on the ongoing success and activities of the upstream energy sector for work and for funding. Just about everybody depends on downstream energy and power to function, including communities, government agencies, businesses, schools, organizations, and residents alike. The high cost of energy is a limiting factor, thus the constant search for renewable, alternative, and more efficient means of generating and using power. The biggest deterrent to doing that is the high upfront cost and, in some cases, expensive and specialized maintenance and operations, which offset some of the gains of using “free energy” such as the sun, wind, and water. Alaska was well on its way to the goal of using renewable energy to produce 50 percent of its electricity by 2025 as long as the state and federal governments were paying for the projects; the absence of government subsidies has caused a hiatus in the construction and deployment of many renewable power sources in Alaska. Ironically, the worldwide glut leading to $40 oil and $2 natural gas is causing a steep decline in the amount of funds available to bankroll implementation of renewable energy resources. The slam dunk of building a multi-billion dollar 700 MW dam is off the table for now. As always, funding is the big issue—along with a bit of technological fine tuning. We’ve been fine tuning our digital edition all year, and, in case you haven’t checked it out, this might be a good month to be sure you do. If you’re getting the magazine in the mail but not in your inbox then let us know. We’re adding digital delivery email addresses to our database of subscribers. Look on your mailing label and send an email to us at subscribe@akbizmag.com with the first and last name that’s on your label, along with the email address you want to use to access the digital edition. Then, in addition to the print edition you can read it online or via an app on just about any device. The apps are free, of course. We’ve been expanding the digital edition a bit more every month and are fine tuning video implementation. It’s the beginning of a revolution for readers and advertisers; soon video ads will be available as well. It’s powerful—and so is the August issue of Alaska Business Monthly. The team has put together another really great magazine. Enjoy! —Susan Harrington, Managing Editor August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly



© Chris Arend Photography

Scott Goldsmith

By Shehla Anjum


ow many economists can talk about working with former headhunters in the hot, steamy jungles of Borneo, even learning a few lessons from them? One can—Scott Goldsmith. “After I got my BA in 1967, I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do. I planned to go to graduate school, but not immediately. I was left with two choices: go to Vietnam or join the Peace Corps.” His choice got him a two-year assignment as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sarawak, Malaysia, in northwest Borneo. Goldsmith’s job was to persuade people in rural areas to adopt modern public health practices—vaccinations, toilets, and water systems. The work also took him upriver into areas where tribes of former headhunters lived, and sometimes he met with them “in traditional longhouses where old, dustcovered heads hung from the rafters.” The two years in Borneo were not a big success. Peace Corps volunteers received 8

little local support and, Goldsmith says, he probably got more out of the experience than the locals. It was difficult to persuade people to accept changes such as bathing in fixed places rather than rivers and using latrines rather than the jungle, Goldsmith says. But he learned from that experience. “Sometimes it is best to let people do what they have been doing even if it may seem primitive to us. But they are not dumb. They taught me to look at both sides of an issue and to not entirely dismiss an opposing point of view,” he says. After two years in Borneo, Goldsmith spent another travelling the “hippie trail” across southern Asia. After returning to the United States he started studies for a PhD in economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, not far from Chicago, his hometown.

40 Years in Alaska

Goldsmith, sixty-nine, has lived in Alaska for much of his life—forty years—but grew up

in Chicago in a family that valued education. Both parents were graduates of Northwestern University. His older brother attended Princeton, and Goldsmith followed him. His brother chose religious studies, but Goldsmith picked economics. His reason: “It offered a logical way to think about how the world worked. I wanted to understand that and then help others understand it too,” he says. Making people understand Alaska’s important fiscal issues has been Goldsmith’s goal since he arrived in 1975, the year he finished his PhD. When he began his job search one possibility was at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute of Economic and Social Research (ISER), he says. An offer came from George Rogers of ISER who met Goldsmith at an economics conference in San Francisco. Goldsmith was married by then and the idea of moving to Alaska intrigued him. But it was his wife Yvonne who really wanted to come. “Her mother worked for Pan Am, which entitled the family to discounted

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travel. When Yvonne was in her teens she went on a round-the-world trip with her family. They got bumped for twenty-four hours in Fairbanks, but that stay left an impression on Yvonne. She thought it was better than New York City, where she lived, and was excited about moving to Anchorage.” He accepted the job and they moved to Anchorage, where their two daughters were born. They meant to stay for only a few years but the outdoor opportunities, the diversity of people, and the challenges kept them here, Goldsmith says. Over the years Goldsmith built his reputation as the state’s leading economic and fiscal policy analyst. In addition to his ISER work on fiscal analysis, energy economics, and regional economics, he also taught classes. He started as an assistant professor and then became full professor. From 2001 to 2005 he served as ISER’s director. The university recognized his achievements and bestowed several honors on Goldsmith, including the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Service in 1999 and the Edith Bullock Award for Excellence in 2006. He became professor emeritus when he retired in 2012, although not fully.

Scott Goldsmith has educated Alaskans on financial realities through the years.


© Chris Arend Photography

Financial Reality

Through the years, Goldsmith became adept at educating Alaskans on financial realities. “Scott has been our educator, our mentor, our tutor for years. He is the state’s eminent educator on fiscal issues,” says Larry Persily, former deputy commissioner of revenue. When Goldsmith arrived in 1975, the transAlaska oil pipeline was two years away from taking North Slope oil to market, and ISER was at the forefront of the debate on how the state would deal with its finite oil wealth. “People were discussing ways to deal with both the oil from Prudhoe Bay and the revenues they felt were not sustainable,” Goldsmith says. The solution Alaskans arrived at was the creation of the Permanent Fund in 1976 and, later, the dividend in 1980. Lee Huskey, UAA professor emeritus of economics and Goldsmith’s colleague at ISER, worked with him “on one of the first studies in 1977 that looked at the Permanent Fund and growth of the Alaska economy and how to deal with the oil wealth.” A lot of money was at stake, and people realized that the tendency would be to spend it unless it was locked up and very hard to get, Huskey says. That study started Goldsmith’s long involvement with the Permanent Fund and fiscal policy. One important question needing resolution in those early years was the management of the Permanent Fund. “ISER was part of the debate about managing the Fund portfolio: Should it be an economic development bank investing in

Alaska’s projects or an account that invests in assets outside of Alaska? ISER came down on the second alternative,” Goldsmith says. He is glad for that choice: “If we had set up an investment fund, we could have opened up the Fund to raids by people thinking of all kinds of projects, and we would have lost a lot of money,” he says. Setting up a dividend program was a good decision too, Goldsmith says, and it serves a good purpose. “The residents like their dividends and they keep the politicians from taking out money from the Fund because people don’t want the dividend to be reduced.” But he regrets the elimination of the state income tax in 1980, the same year the dividend program was started. “That was a big mistake. It took away fiscal discipline. If Alaska had an income tax, people would pay more attention to how the Legislature is spending their money,” Goldsmith says. Ever since, he has reminded people of the consequences of the state’s dependence on oil. But Goldsmith is more than just a messenger with a consistent message.

“I would put Scott on the list of Alaskans who make a difference,” Huskey says. “The great thing about Scott is that he provides analytical support for what he says. Some people can be consistent by just saying the same thing over and over again, but Scott updates the message to fit the circumstances of a particular time.”

Constant Need to Educate

Goldsmith realized the need to educate people, not just perform analysis, soon after starting at ISER. “Most of our population comes from someplace else and a lot of people move in and out of the state. There is a constant need to educate people, both old-timers and newcomers, about the heavy dependence of the state’s economy and the state fiscal structure on petroleum.” “That dependence on one resource made our state economy much like that of an island,” Goldsmith says. He uses the Pacific island nation of Nauru as an example. Comparing Alaska’s economy to that of an island is entirely appropriate, says Persily. “Scott

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

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talks about Nauru because of its experiences with the overharvesting of guano, its only resource. It didn’t have a sustainable fiscal plan and went broke,” Persily says. Goldsmith and ISER staff also write reports and do economic analyses for the Legislature, agencies, and non-government entities, including Associated General Contractors of Alaska and banks such as Northrim and First National Bank of Alaska. For the past twelve years, Goldsmith has worked with the Associated General Contractors of Alaska on its annual construction spending forecast. John MacKinnon, the association’s executive director, praises Goldsmith’s ability to back up his projections with analysis. “Scott is able to see the numbers and comes up with a rational explanation.” It’s not easy for most academics to make complex information understandable to people, according to Pamela Cravez, a friend and a colleague of Goldsmith’s. “He has the facility to make really complex economic issues easily understandable, and that is the mark of a brilliant person.” MacKinnon echoes Cravez when he talks about the association’s 2014 construction forecast. Goldsmith had estimated a sharp increase in construction partially due to the Legislature’s change of the state oil tax law in 2013 through Senate Bill 21. At the time there was a voter initiative pending to repeal the tax change in the 2014 elections, which failed. “I knew that some of my member companies were holding back [because of the uncertainty], but I had noticed the change [in construction spending] and Scott’s research validated my thinking. Scott showed how the change in the law had worked and he made a connection between the 18 percent increase in construction spending and the passage of [Senate Bill] 21.”

Transparent Work

His work for banks and other private entities might raise eyebrows, but Goldsmith says there is transparency in what he does. Such work is essential because ISER is par-

tially funded through contractual work. Northrim Bank, for example, supported the research used in a 2008 paper in which Goldsmith highlighted the three parts, or legs, of the state’s economy, the legs being petroleum, the federal government, and everything else. A few years later, “First National Bank [of Alaska] came up with the ‘three-legged stool’ idea and ran the campaign to publicize it,” Goldsmith says. The bank wanted to educate Alaskans about how their economy worked and to show what Alaska’s economy was like before the petroleum industry—one of the three legs—became a major force. Alaska has changed since he arrived, Goldsmith says. ISER was once the only game on economic research in town, but today other firms also doing research and issuing forecasts. “The work for Northrim or FNBA is transparent. They are in Alaska for the long haul. We are all interested in maintaining the health of the Alaska economy for the future. There is a commonality of interest.” People might think that Goldsmith spends most of his time crunching numbers. He does, after all, radiate gravitas, with his frequent presence in the media or at conferences. But there is another side. “Scott is not opposed to having fun,” says Huskey. “He does have this whole outside life, including going on long bike trips with his wife. And he once played second baseman on the UAA economics co-ed softball team called, appropriately, ‘The Invisible Hand.’” The staid economist also confesses to a weakness for Marvel comics. He amassed a vintage collection of Spider-

Man, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulk, and Silver Surfer. “They kept me sane at Princeton,” he says. His favorite, Silver Surfer, features a character who surfed between planets. It is one of the few that is not a movie yet, and Goldsmith looks forward to seeing it on the big screen. Mary Killorin, who worked with Goldsmith as a research associate at ISER for many years, described him as a “self-effac-

Scott Goldsmith is an avid bicyclist. © Chris Arend Photography


Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

ing, compassionate guy with a terrific sense of humor who is always fun.” ISER staff parties provided several occasions for levity, Killorin says. One party saw a performance by the “Beach Guys” with “songs by Scott and vocals by three other ISER staff—Lee Gorsuch, Lee Huskey, and Matt Berman. They sang original songs, including ‘Kalifornsky Girls’ and ‘Surveys USA,’” she says

Sustainable Choices

Questions about Alaska’s long-term fiscal sustainability are being raised again. But Goldsmith is confident that Alaskans will make the right choices. The population is less transient than in the mid-1970s or the 1980s, and people of his generation are apt to stay around because “our kids are more likely to now come back to live in Alaska after school,” he says, speaking from experience. His daughters, Anmei and Anli, attended school in the Lower 48, but both are now working in Anchorage. His confidence rests on the achievements of the last four decades. “We have the dividend and a lot of physical infrastructure. Institutions such as the Native nonprofits and Native for-profit corporations, AIDEA [Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority], AHFC [Alaska Housing Finance Corporation], are all helping to build the state, and we have other Alaskanminded private corporations that are not from Outside.” Even the current low price of oil gives Goldsmith little cause for concern. “I think that the petroleum industry, which is the real driving industry in the economy, will continue to be strong unless we really do something to screw it up. We have lots of petroleum resources and the oil industry will continue to be interested. The industry has figured out ways to cut costs and to make use of new technologies to get more oil and gas out of the ground.” The state’s fiscal crisis, while a concern, can be handled, Goldsmith says. It is time to consider “using the Permanent Fund. We have $50 billion in this fund and it was created for times like what we are now facing.” That should be the first step in closing the gap. Any taxes—sales, income, or both—should come after that, he says. www.akbizmag.com

In his latest paper for ISER, released in April, Goldsmith argued for just that approach. He advocated for using a portion of the fund earnings to reduce the deficit next year by $2.2 billion and also keeping a full dividend for eligible Alaskans. Even in semi-retirement, Goldsmith continues to work at ISER, but he has more time for other pursuits. Both he and Yvonne are now serious bikers. Their bike trips take months and cover thousands of miles. Last year’s trip was a three-month, four-thousand-mile trip from Kashgar to Istanbul. Next year it will be St. Petersburg to Lisbon.

In addition to his continued work at ISER, Goldsmith also serves periodically at Bean’s Café, where he has worked for five years. “It was a way to give back to the community and to connect with part of the community to get a sense of their lives,” he says. There is no thought of leaving Alaska. “Yvonne is retired and I am semi-retired and our kids are here. We are going to stay here. We love Alaska. R Writer Shehla Anjum is based in Anchorage.


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August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


The Budget Talks

© gov.akaska.gov/sustainablefuture (flickr.com/photos/akgovbillwalker/sets/72157651771472184)


Alaska Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallot shakes hands with former Lieutenant Governor Jack Coghill while at the governor’s June budget meeting in Fairbanks, also attended by Vic Fischer (center) and State Senator John Coghill (partially obscured).

Observing the ‘Fairbanks Project’

Gunnar Knapp, Director and Professor of Economics, ISER, UAA

By Shehla Anjum

Unrestricted revenue $6.9 billion Available for any use

Restricted revenue $8.9 billion May be used only for specific purposes

A table from “A Brief Introduction to Alaska State Revenues and Spending” shows restricted and unrestricted revenues in the Alaska state budget. 14


n the first weekend of June in Fairbanks Governor Bill Walker gathered about two hundred Alaskans for his “Building a Sustainable Future” meeting to discuss the state’s financial problems as oil revenues keep declining. Participants included Walker’s top administrators, his transition team, and other Alaskans. I went not as a participant but rather as an observer, arriving with some doubts about the meeting. Our state’s finances certainly seem critical. Oil revenues, which pay for 90 percent of our budget’s unrestricted general fund expenditures, have dropped by more than 50 percent. Fortunately, we have cash reserves to draw on, but by 2019 our reserves may be exhausted, except for the Permanent Fund. On the Friday opening, participants heard about state services, the grim budget math, and a revenue model developed by the Department of Revenue. Many shared my skepticism that much could be done. However, that skepticism was noticeably absent at the session’s conclusion on Sunday. The governor gathered a disparate group of people, laid the issues on the table, and told the participants to discuss options. The meeting was to be no more than “a healthy discussion about different options,” Walker

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

said. “We didn’t ask you to come here so we could sell you a product.” In his overview, Gunnar Knapp, director of UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research, warned of the fiscal crisis that will result if nothing is done. The revenue department’s projection of oil prices recovering significantly, to $100 per barrel or above, is too rosy, Knapp said, and not supported by oil market analysts. The state cannot depend on increases in oil prices. Alaskans don’t know what future oil revenues will be like because oil prices are unpredictable, Knapp said. The state’s fundamental challenge is this: Oil production is falling, the population is rising, and it’s hard to support the state’s economy with falling oil revenues. “We should not talk about not what we ‘don’t’ want to do [no taxes, keep dividend] but focus on what we should do.” Alaskans should use their assets and raise new revenues through taxes and make more spending cuts. One such asset, Knapp pointed out, is the Permanent Fund’s income. This year, the Permanent Fund “brought in more income than oil revenues” and all options, even unpopular ones, need to be considered, he said. On Saturday, participants were divided into seven groups to scrutinize state agencies’ services—Resources and Environment; Health and Social Services; Education and Training; Economic Development and Infrastructure; Public Protection; Government; and Finance and Capital. Each person received sheets of green, yellow, and red dots and asked to perform two tasks: First, assign each government service a value or priority of critical (green), medium (yellow), or low (red). And, second, assess the current service level—not enough (green), about right (yellow), or too much (red). Not surprisingly most services received green dots. The group considering the services of the three resource departments— fish and game, environmental conservation, and natural resources—put more green dots than red for most services (forestry, facilities, water quality, etc.). They considered those services as top priority and at the right level. At the end of that day the groups were only able to cut $20 million from the budget. On the final day, the groups tried to balance the budget using the revenue department’s model. They first selected the revenue options that could help balance the budget and then worked with the model. One group engaged in vigorous debate during both the options selection and modeling phases. Some people wanted no or little modification of oil and gas taxes and credits. Others voiced concern about a statewide sales tax, fearing that municipalities www.akbizmag.com

that already have one would lose revenue. Vic Fischer, who helped write the Alaska Constitution sixty years ago, joined the group and quietly watched, contributing only when he felt it was necessary. During the modeling exercise, when the group squabbled about what to cut or to leave, Fischer spoke out: “It’s a modeling exercise, not a vote on the budget.” In the end, several groups actually achieved a balanced budget by using a combination of new taxes (income or sales tax), capping the Permanent Fund dividend at $1,000 to $1,200, adopting a state lottery, and using some of the Permanent Fund income. I was pleased with the conference overall. It showed Alaskans can indeed come

together and, given the information, develop solutions to our pressing problems. The feeling of optimism was clearly palpable when former Lieutenant Governor Jack Coghill, a Republican, and Vic Fischer, a liberal Democrat, stood arm in arm in front of the audience. The audience rose to give them both a resounding applause. The two men represented the accomplishments of the past and the hope for unity in the future that we need to solve our problems. R

Writer Shehla Anjum is based in Anchorage.

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly



By Judy Griffin Photo by Frank Flavin Photography/ Courtesy of CIRI Alaska Tourism


merging electronic tools and changing consumer communication habits are morphing the way Alaska is marketed as a visitor destination. Selling tourism today requires nimbleness and immediacy. The polished copy of rack cards, brochures, and vacation planners still plays a role, but the content of electronic vehicles such as websites, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube increasingly serves as the tool for closing sales and tailoring visitor experiences. Frequent postings of fresh content and dialog with the audience attract new business and keep those interested engaged. The ability to retarget with online advertising even reminds shoppers about products and services they’ve viewed. As a visitor destination, Alaska retains tremendous appeal among travelers and would-be travelers. The vision of a trip to the 49th state is often nurtured for decades before the dream is realized. Although the Alaska mystique is an enticing notion, other grand adventures, alluring scenery, and wildlife habitats beckon. Repeated and refreshed messages are often needed to close the sale in destination marketing. “Alaska is still very relevant in the marketplace,” says Julie Saupe, president and CEO of Visit Anchorage. Research funded by the State of Alaska has profiled the typical traveler as age fifty-five and older, but a lot of young people are interested in Alaska. Often that interest doesn’t turn into travel until the person is older because of time and money issues, explains Saupe. 16

Every individual and organization selling tourism-related products and services benefits from the collective sowing of and sustaining the notion of an Alaska visit. A wide array of advertising media, sales programs, and public relations activities feed the desire to experience Alaska as well as communicate the possibilities for packaging travel. Businesses providing lodging, transportation, tours, and activities work together to create travel options that appeal to varied preferences for adventure, cultural experiences, and comfort. “We work as partners in the industry,” says Bruce LaLonde, director of Guest Services and Passenger Marketing for the Alaska Railroad Corporation. He notes that as part of keeping products fresh, new offerings added to the railroad’s packaged tours this year include zipline tours in Seward and Talkeetna and a Mahay’s Jet Boat Adventures trip to a camp demonstrating Alaska Native culture.

Cooperation Provides Advantages Marketing Alaska as a travel destination is a cooperative effort—in spirit, affiliations are forged to create attractive itineraries and especially shared costs for promotions. Destination marketing organizations (DMOs) at the local, regional, and state level provide marketing that benefits members, offer cooperative advertising, and provide opportunities such as shared trade show space and participation in sales missions. Dee Buchanon, Director of Marketing for CIRI Alaska Tourism Corporation, says,

“We rely heavily on the State of Alaska Department of Commerce and Economic Development program, as well as the local DMOs such as Visit Anchorage, Seward Chamber of Commerce, and Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau to generate interest in travel to Alaska. The memberships we have in those organizations provide us with opportunities for cooperative marketing, and we take advantage of those to reach potential visitors who are interested in traveling to Alaska.” The State of Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development and the Alaska Tourism Marketing Board work together to guide Alaska’s tourism marketing program. Created in July 2014, the Alaska Tourism Marketing Board is composed of members who represent different segments of the tourism industry, businesses of varying sizes, and representation of all regions of the state. The Alaska Travel Industry Association, the only statewide DMO, represents more than seven hundred tourism businesses and partners throughout the state. “With strong investment in tourism marketing, we know Alaska businesses and communities see benefits through the number of visitors choosing to visit our state from the hundreds of destinations around the world,” says Sarah Leonard, president and CEO of the Alaska Travel Industry Association. “And when they are here, they are spending dollars in communities at local restaurants, gift shops, hotels, and bed and breakfasts, as well as tour activities.”

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

Photo courtesy of Ketchikan Visitors Bureau/Seanna O’Sullivan Photography

Above: One attraction enjoyed by visitors in Ketchikan is the world’s largest collection of totem poles. Left: The “Best of Kenai Fjords National Park” catamaran tour, offered by CIRI Alaska Tourism out of Seward, was rated one of fifty “Trips of a Lifetime” by National Geographic Traveler magazine this year.

Shanon Hamrick, executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council, which has about three hundred members, says, “As a regional organization, we buy into the state’s program, gaining access to a larger budget, access to research, and more staff. We leverage the dollars we have by working with the state.” She adds that the community members of regional DMOs enjoy similar buying power. “It’s a good umbrella structure that enables leveraging tourism marketing dollars,” says Hamrick. The Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council also generates revenue by offering group and one-on-one services to help members learn how to prepare newsletters and become tech savvy in building and maintaining social media and websites. The Matanuska-Susitna Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), a thirty-year-old organization, also has about three hundred members. It serves as the DMO for Wasilla, Palmer, Talkeetna, and other MatanuskaSusitna Borough communities. Casey Ressler, Marketing and Communications manager for the Mat-Su CVB, explains that there is a great deal of sharing among DMOs. “We realize that when visitors come to Alaska, they will go other places,” he adds. Among the opportunities afforded by piggybacking on state efforts have been sharing

booth spaces at trade conferences and appointments with national tour operators. The Mat-Su CVB also partnered with the state on an international sales mission to the world’s largest trade fair, ITB Berlin, where Ressler joined the state contingent at appointments with European operators. Explore Fairbanks represents Fairbanks, Denali, and communities in the Interior and in Arctic Alaska. The 375-member organization, which has operated since 1977, changed its name from Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau in January 2014. Deb Hickok, president and CEO of Explore Fairbanks, notes, “The more succinct and contemporary name will assist in promoting the Fairbanks region in the competitive destination marketplace.” The Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau, which was founded in 1975 and has one thousand members, similarly became Visit Anchorage about a year and a half ago. Saupe notes that the new name eliminates the hint of government bureaucracy and works more effectively for search engine optimization. Lorene Palmer, executive director of the Southeast Alaska Tourism Council (SATC), says that since the 1980s the regional DMO has “gone through an evolution” and now acts as a portal to reach Southeast com-

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August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


Tapping Expanding International Markets By Judy Griffin


n addition to taking advantage of efforts by national organizations, such as Brand USA and US Travel Association, to attract a share of the growing international market, Alaska is actively pursuing foreign visitors. Sarah Leonard, president and CEO of the Alaska Travel Industry Association, explains that Alaska has local contractors in top international markets, including Australia, Japan, Korea, Germany, the United Kingdom, and China. “These contractors are tasked to reach out to tour operators, travel agents, and media to increase awareness, interest, and knowledge for Alaska in their respective countries,” says Leonard. “They also represent Alaska at select trade shows and organize workshops or sales missions that highlight different tour products in Alaska.” The State of Alaska plans to produce a state vacation planner for the German and Japanese markets, and a travel planner was recently printed in Korean and Chinese, according to Leonard. “Likewise, TravelAlaska.com is available in multiple languages: German, Japanese, Spanish [Spain and Mexico], Korean, and Chinese,” she adds. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, China ranked first in spending on international tourism in 2013. The amount, $128.6 billion, marked an increase of 24 percent from 2012 spending on international tourism by the country. A sustained Chinese tourism boom is anticipated. Lisa Syme, Vice President of Product Management for Princess Cruises, says that in the cruise company’s pan-Asian strategy, the most energy has been put into developing China and Japan markets. Princess is moving some of its ships to China in 2016 to provide voyages starting and ending there. “By developing the love of cruising, we expect that people will want to try other cruise products, like Alaska,” says Syme. “It’s easier from Asia to reach Alaska than Europe. We feel there is a high potential to grow business from Asian countries to Alaska.” Chinese travelers are already among Asian tourists cruising to Alaska from Pacific Northwest ports. In 2016, one round-trip on the Crown Princess departing to Alaska from Seattle has special features to attract travelers from China. The journey will be tailored to accommodate Chinese customs, including Southeast Alaska shore excursions available in the Chinese language. The state’s regional and local destination marketing organizations are also positioning to capture a share of growing international markets. Deb Hickok, president and CEO of Explore Fairbanks, states, “Internationally, our core markets are Japan, German-speaking and Northern Europe, United Kingdom, and Australia/New Zealand. In 2015 and beyond, we will invest more resources into the growth markets of China and Korea.” Alaska Travel Industry Association members have reported dramatic growth in Chinese travelers, who are interested in both summer and winter travel and the natural wonders of Alaska, Leonard says. “We know at least one of our members, Alaska Skylar Travel, formed in Anchorage to specifically cater to this market.” R munities. One of the early regional cooperative marketing programs, SATC once had two hundred members. As regional tourism funding was directed to the state’s own tourism marketing program, the DMO changed; today it represents eight CVBs and the Alaska Marine Highway System. Palmer indicates that SATC expects to add private-industry members. Patti Mackey, president and CEO of the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau, an SATC member, says, “When tourists are traveling independently in Southeast, they visit more than one community. SATC provides onestop shopping.” She adds that use of the website and cooperative marketing reduces costs for members. 18

Economic Benefits of Tourism

The economic impact of Alaska’s visitor industry on the state economy—generated by tourism jobs, visitor spending, and revenues paid to local and state governments—was reported at $3.9 billion for the 2013-2014 season in the McDowell Group study prepared for the Alaska Division of Economic Development in the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. Regions of the state that are harder for visitors to reach see smaller shares of visitor spending and have less structured tourism marketing programs than the major recipients of tourist spending. Not surprisingly, because availability of road trans-

portation makes tourism access less costly and provides more options, Southcentral attracted the largest piece of the pie, $2.06 billion in the 2013-2014 season. Cruise ship traffic enabled Southeast to attract the next largest portion, at $1.09 billion. The Interior saw $626 million; the Southwest (including Western Alaska), $121 million; and the Far North, $30 million in economic impact from visitor spending. Bonnie Bradbury, administrative assistant for the Bethel Chamber of Commerce, says the City of Bethel, a regional hub for the Yukon-Kuskokwim area, does not have a program to attract tourism. “Five or six years ago, we tried to package tours with Alaska Airlines, but we didn’t succeed in getting businesses on the ground to tie in,” she notes. In its role as an economic development organization for the Southwest region, the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference promotes tourism in the region but does not have dedicated monies for promotions. Brianna Dym, office administrator, notes that Unalaska and Kodiak, both communities with larger populations, airline routes, and regular ferry service, have CVBs. She adds that because tourism in Southwest communities is constrained by access, the area is negatively affected when ferry routes are reduced. “Lack of transportation is a barrier,” Dym says. “When cuts are made to ferry visits to the Aleutians and Southwest Alaska, tourism numbers drop.”

Worries about State Spending

With the state budget shrinking, Alaska businesses and DMOs are bracing for the hurt. “The funding that we rely on for the overall promotion of Alaska through the State of Alaska is in jeopardy due to the fiscal crisis Alaska faces at this time,” says CIRI Alaska Tourism’s Buchanon. “The investment made at the state level to promote tourism will significantly impact Alaska’s ability to grow tourism in the coming years.” The $10.2 million budget for tourism marketing in Fiscal Year 2016, consisting of about $7.5 million from the state and $2.7 million from the visitor industry, is reduced from an $18.7 million budget in Fiscal Year 2015. Alaska Travel Industry Association’s Leonard says, “The current budget situation at the State of Alaska will impact Alaska’s tourism marketing program and in particular, marketing strategies geared toward international visitors. Recently, the Alaska Tourism Marketing Board met to review and adjust budgets for Alaska’s tourism marketing program, with television advertising and international and

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

domestic travel trade programs taking the deepest cuts.” SATC’s Palmer says, “It’s disheartening to see the state have to take a step backwards in terms of marketing effort because of ripple effects to the CVBs and privatesector partners.” Local DMOs are concerned about their budgets as well. Christa Hoover, executive director of the Cordova Chamber of Commerce, says funding allocated in the city budget is integral to funding tourism promotion. She says, “We are hoping to hold steady on funding from the city, but city budgets are in crisis.” Kirsten Dixon, an owner of Within the Wild Adventure Company, an adventure tourism business operating remote lodges, says, “Alaska won’t be on the minds of people, unless we are in front of them. Selling tourism will be more of a struggle.” She adds that the state’s success in attracting travelers to Alaska affects operators of all sizes because “we are all interconnected.” Buchanon of CIRI Alaska Tourism is concerned that the state is cutting back on funding for tourism and eliminating film incentives, which attracted productions that showcased Alaska’s beauty and wildness. “The combined effect of both in the same year creates a more dramatic change

that may be more significant than the state is anticipating,” she says.

Refocusing Marketing Efforts

Throughout the tourism industry, businesses such as CIRI Alaska Tourism and the Alaska Railroad Corporation are investing in website development to respond to Google’s changes to its search algorithm that favor mobile-friendly sites. Bing also is adopting this strategy. Website redesigns are focusing on making content compatible with cell phones and tablets, including user friendly considerations such as readable font sizes and accommodations for scrolling and touchscreen use. DMOs are redesigning websites, too. Visit Anchorage’s Saupe says in addition to becoming more responsive on smaller devices, the DMO’s redesigned site will address two different visitor needs: advanced planning and finding options while in Alaska. In 2015, the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau also acknowledged these dual needs, printing two versions of its visitor guide, targeted for planning and for use while in Ketchikan. Cindy Clock, executive director of the Seward Chamber of Commerce, says the organization’s website, Facebook page,

and other social media are increasingly powerful marketing tools. Reflecting the decreasing importance of printed promotional content, the number of Seward visitor guides dropped from 115,000 to 80,000 since 2008. Relationships are another avenue for promoting tourism. “At the end of the day, a personal meeting goes a long way,” explains Dixon of Within the Wild Adventure Company. Business owners Kirsten and Carl Dixon make sales calls during freeze-up and breakup when the lodges are closed. Personal contacts have helped them gain recognition for Carl’s guiding skills and Kirsten’s cooking classes and culinary achievements in national publications. Reflecting on more than thirty years promoting tourism businesses, Kirsten Dixon remarks, “Airline routing, seats into Alaska, the economy; all of these things influence a good year. You don’t know how well you will do until the last day of the season and you can count up the dollars. After all, a volcano could erupt!” R

Judy Griffin, a former editor of Alaska Business Monthly, is a freelance writer in Anchorage.


907.257.2349 meet@anchorage.net www.akbizmag.com

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


special section

Energy & Power

Update on Small Hydro and Hydrokinetic Energy Projects


By Rindi White

he state’s largest hydro project, the $5.6 billion Susitna-Watana Dam is on hold indefinitely while the state digs out from its $4 billion budget shortfall, except to spend about $6.6 million through 2017. However, thanks in part to the state Renewable Energy Fund and the Emerging Energy Technology Fund, plenty of other alternative energy and power projects are moving forward. Eight more mid-sized hydropower projects are in construction or have recently wrapped up around the state, with several more in the final design phase. All of those were funded by the state’s Renewable Energy Fund, which aims to “produce cost-effective renewable energy for heat and power to benefit Alaskans statewide,” according to the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) website. “There’s really not any other funding source available,” says Dan Hertrich, hydroelectric program and project manager for AEA. “With hydro, every project is unique and custom and different. The Renewable Energy Fund has really been a great asset to the state.” Even in a year of tight budgets, state worker layoffs, trooper post closures, and 20

other cost-cutting measures, the Alaska Legislature allocated $11.5 million for Renewable Energy Fund projects.

Smaller Projects Move Forward

While a $5.6 billion project is difficult to accomplish even in good fiscal times, smaller hydro projects can often be completed for less than $10 million and may provide a measurable boost for Alaska communities in the long run. AEA’s Renewable Energy Fund has helped finance several hydroelectric projects that augment existing hydro projects in some communities and, in other areas, help communities reduce or even eliminate the need for costly diesel generation.

Gartina Falls

The most recent project to be commissioned is the Gartina Falls project in Hoonah, which will serve Hoonah, Kake, Angoon, Chilkat Valley, and Klukwan through the Inside Passage Electric Cooperative. The project has a 455 kilowatt capacity and is being built at Gartina Falls, about 4.5 miles outside Hoonah. According to AEA, the project includes construction of a penstock, access road, and powerhouse at the base of the falls.

The $8.2 million project was fully funded by grants and is expected to cut the power cooperative’s need for diesel generated power by about one-third. According to Inside Passage Electric Cooperative, the communities affected use about 331,000 gallons of diesel per year, at a cost of about thirty-one cents per kilowatt hour. Gartina Falls, which was expected to be commissioned in July, should reduce diesel usage by about one hundred thousand gallons and save the community about $400,000 per year in diesel costs.

Stetson Creek

Also set to be commissioned in July was Chugach Electric Association’s Stetson Creek diversion project. Following a relicensing of its Cooper Lake hydroelectric project, Chugach was required to build a diversion at Stetson Creek to reduce by a few degrees the temperature of the water flowing out of the dam, an act that was aimed at improving fish habitat. The project, funded in part by Chugach and by the Renewable Energy Fund, will have a side benefit of increasing the amount of electricity the cooperative gets from Cooper Lake by about 10 percent. The project was estimated to cost $12 million.

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

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Packers Creek

The Packers Creek hydro project near Chignik Lagoon was commissioned this winter, Hertrich says. The project has been a long time in the making but was finally completed with funding from the state. The 167 kilowatt run-of-river project serves Chignik Lagoon, which has a population of about seventy people. According to the state, the project will almost completely offset the community’s diesel generators and should displace about forty-three thousand gallons of diesel fuel each year. The project cost was about $5 million. “Packers Creek is a nice resource because it runs right through town, so that was a nice project to develop,” Hertich says. “It wasn’t far away. But there was still a fair amount of cost due to the tight site constraints of bringing a transmission line along the public right-of-way that had been set aside.” Hertrich says the project is expected to operate through the winter but likely won’t have enough water to meet the community’s demands due to lower water levels, so residents will have to supplement with diesel-generated power.

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Blue Lake

The Blue Lake project, commissioned in December 2014, is a fairly large project by rural standards. Owned by the City and Borough of Sitka, the expansion project adds about 27 percent more electricity to the existing Blue Lake Dam, in part by raising the height of the dam by eighty-three feet. It also replaced two 3-megawatt generators with three 5.3-megawatt generators. According to the city of Sitka, the Blue Lake Dam is one of two hydroelectric projects licensed by the federal government. It was licensed in 1958, and the other, the Green Lake project, was licensed in 1979. The community of about ten thousand receives almost all of its electrical energy from the two projects. The community requested the expansion project to keep up with growing demand. “Generally, recent fuel oil cost escalation in Sitka has driven an unforeseen rise in electrical demand because home and business owners have found that electrical energy for heating has become cheaper than oil heating. Concurrently, recent additions of new fish processing businesses in Sitka significantly increased electrical demand,” city officials stated in a website outlining the expansion project. The roughly $140 million project required the use of a 660-ton crane—the largest in Alaska, according to information the Sitka Electric Department project manager reported to KCAW in September 2013.

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ter supply and better maintenance of the Whitman dam.

Tenakee Springs

Two projects are in the midst of construction: Tenakee Springs and Allison Creek. Tenakee Springs has a population of about one hundred residents and is presently 100 percent reliant on diesel generation. The run-of-river hydroelectric project the community is building on Indian River will supply 180 kilowatts of power, offsetting about 90 percent of the community’s annual diesel consumption. The community also plans to displace 6,500 gallons of heating fuel by heating buildings with excess energy from the hydro project. Construction was estimated at $3.3 million, funding that came mostly from the Renewable Energy Fund.

Allison Creek

Photo by Denise Ferree, Chena Hot Springs Resort

Steaming Rock Lake at Chena Hot Springs Resort, site of a geothermal power plant demonstration project.

Geothermal Power Testing, testing: one, two, three


laska leads the nation in its abundance of geothermal resources, but we haven’t yet realized the potential to any large scale degree. In fact, the resource is virtually untapped because for the most part geothermal is stranded, located far away from major population centers—and expensive to explore and develop. The cost of the technology to produce the power is also expensive. Pilgrim Hot Springs on the Seward Peninsula is a geothermal power project that is awaiting results of more testing before progressing to a development decision. Akutan, an island in the Aleutian Arc, is another such project. More testing is expected in 2016 when the City of Akutan expects to The project will be paid for in part by a 35 percent per kilowatt-hour rate increase.

Whitman Lake

Whitman Lake is a 4.6-megawatt hydroelectric project near Ketchikan that utilized an existing but unused dam to produce about 16,000 megawatts per year and offset about 1.1 million gallons of diesel fuel annually, according to AEA. It was completed in fall of 2014. According to the city of Ketchikan, a timber crib dam was initially built on Whitman Lake in 1912. That was later re24

award work for a confirmation well at the resource after a bid is let this fall or winter. Chena Hot Springs Resort in the Interior near Fairbanks is the site of a working geothermal power plant demonstration project. The resort and its partners United Technologies Corporation, the US Department of Energy, and the Alaska Energy Authority teamed up eleven years ago to bring a moderate temperature geothermal power plant to the resort, which began operations in 2006. The resort will hold a Renewable Energy Fair on August 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Attendees will be able to tour the facility and learn more about geothermal energy and the other renewables that provide energy to operate the Chena Hot Springs Resort. placed with a thirty-nine-foot gravity arch dam in 1927, which Ketchikan Power Utility purchased in 1957. A hatchery was built at the former powerhouse site in 1979, using the dam to supply water to the hatchery. Ketchikan Public Utilities has been studying the hydro project since 1997. The utility estimates the project will displace 1.1 million gallons of diesel fuel each year, saving about $3.96 million. The total project cost is estimated at $19 million. In addition to offsetting diesel costs, the project will add more reliability to the fish hatchery by providing a redundant wa-

Allison Creek is a 6.5-megawatt power project near Valdez. Copper Valley Electric owns the run-of-river project, which is on target to be commissioned in 2016. Copper Valley aims to reduce power costs to its customers by adding the hydroelectric project. The utility, on its website, states that the Allison Creek project should displace 725,000 gallons of diesel each year, reducing annual fuel costs by $2.4 million and increasing the electric cooperative’s renewable energy portfolio from 50 to 64 percent. Hertrich says a number of other hydroelectric projects are in the final design phase, being readied for construction as soon as funding is available. For some projects, relying on the Renewable Energy Fund for construction funding can be difficult. “Allocating funding through the Renewable Energy Fund, which is limited, means the money goes to the best economic value projects,” Hertrich says. “Some of the projects struggle because the economics are low.”

State Funding Supports Hydrokinetic Recognizing that rural residents need broader access to low-cost energy, the state in 2010 initiated the Emerging Energy Technology Fund. This year, that fund is underwriting the testing for two hydrokinetic projects generating power from the motion of water, one in the Tanana River near Nenana and the second in the Kvichak River near Iguigig: both by out of state firms. “Alaska has a rural population with such a high energy cost, because it’s so far off the grid. It’s kind of unique in that way,” says Ned Hansen, chief engineer with Washing-

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

ton D.C.-based Oceana Energy Company. Hansen says the hydrokinetic industry is so young, a lot of testing remains to be done before products will be available at relatively affordable prices. His company is testing hydrokinetic generators in the ocean as well as in rivers, but he says riverbased systems have an advantage because they can be smaller and, therefore, less expensive to build. Ocean Renewable Power Company, or ORPC, is testing its hydrokinetic project, dubbed the RivGen Power System, in the Kvichak River at Igiugig. It’s the second year the company has tested there. Last year the community of about sixty people was able to use power generated by ORPC’s RivGen system. Oceana is, for the second year, testing its project in the Tanana River near Fairbanks at a facility run by UAF (University of Alaska Fairbanks) and hopes to find out how salmon and other fish behave near the hydrokinetic equipment. They’ll also be studying how well the generated power transfers to an electrical grid, Hansen says. And every testing period is an opportunity to see how the equipment performs. “The more data I can get with it running, the more I’m learning if there’s going to be an issue with wear,” Hansen says.


An Ideal Testing Ground

Hansen says the UAF testing facility on the Tanana River, the Alaska Hydrokinetic Energy Research Center, or AHERC, is the first of its kind at a university in the United States. The testing center allows hydrokinetic developers to focus on their project and not, for example, on obtaining permits. Perhaps more importantly, the testing facility includes equipment that blocks river debris from crashing into the hydrokinetic equipment. Oceana is AHERC’s first commercial customer. Director Jeremy Kasper says university researchers have also used the two-year-old facility. The impetus for the facility, he says, was a project by AT&T in nearby Eagle that Kasper says was cut short because of river debris. “In 2011, because of the previous summer’s experience, they initiated a project with us to reduce the effects of debris,” Kasper says. AHERC’s senior research advisor, Jerry Johnson, came up with a debris diversion platform, Kasper says. It’s a buoyant V that floats on the surface of the water, facing upstream. Debris hits the buoy or an incorporated debris diverter and slides off to the side. The AHERC team has done considerable testing on the river velocity and other de-

tails so data gathered there by Oceana and other researchers can be accurately represented. UAF obtained permits from the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Natural Resources to operate the facility, he says. AHERC staff hopes to eventually obtain FERC, or Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, approval to run the power generated to shore. “That’s in the future, down the line, maybe,” Kasper says. Kasper says the university isn’t making any money on the site—daily fees charged to Oceana (and covered by the Emerging Energy Tech Fund) just cover the cost of running the facility, he says. This summer, UAF will have three university employees at the site, more if a project requires additional hands. Two Department of Fish and Game observers will be there to oversee fish/equipment interactions, he says. “Our goal is really to demonstrate that our facility is what people need,” Kasper says, “and to help Oceana and UAA get their measurements done.”  R

Rindi White is a freelance journalist living in Palmer.

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


special section

Energy & Power

Municipal Light & Power Sets New Standard George M. Sullivan Power Plant 2A expansion project shines By Russ Slaten


nchorage Municipal Light and Power (ML&P) is poised to commission into operation one of the most energy efficient thermal generation power plants in the world. The brand new 120 megawatt power plant sits next to the George M. Sullivan Power Plant 2, built in the ‘70s, in East Anchorage. The combined-cycle generation plant is known as the Plant 2A expansion project. Power generation in Alaska is unlike much of the Lower 48 in that the utilities are landlocked. Although utilities along the Railbelt can provide each other with electricity when necessary, ML&P cannot get power at the same capacity as utilities in the Lower 48, former ML&P General Manager and COO Jim Trent says. The George M. Sullivan Plant 2A expansion project allows ML&P to provide for itself and its customers. “Every one of my thirty-one thousand customers out there has the expectation that whenever they turn on the switch, the light should come on, and we foster that belief, so we work hard to make sure we have redundant power,” Trent says.

Combined-Cycle Efficiencies

ML&P’s goal to bring online its flagship power plant will not only provide energy needs to its Anchorage customer base, it will be the most cost effective and energy efficient plant in Alaska. Plant 2A will assist in heating the city’s water supply while significantly reducing natural gas use and emissions, says Eugene Ori, ML&P’s project manager assigned to the expansion project. “With the new plant coming online we’re going to reduce nitrogen oxide pollution by 97 percent less emissions, and 80 percent less carbon monoxide emissions, and about 30 percent less carbon dioxide emissions. We did a rough calculation and that’s like taking approximately one hundred thou26

Photo by Russ Slaten for Alaska Business Monthly

GE LM6000 Combustion Turbine at the George M. Sullivan Plant 2A combinedcycle facility.

sand cars off the road,” Ori says. The main reason for the increased efficiency and lowered pollution is the technology. The natural gas burning turbine is a variant of an aircraft engine that powers the Boeing 747-400 and 767, except it’s in a configuration to make electricity, not thrust through the air, Ori says. Beyond the gas-fired turbine generator, combined-cycle facilities like this only see natural gas as the beginning of the power generation cycle, Ori says. The gas turbine produces part of the plant’s power, so instead of sending the hot exhaust gases out into the atmosphere as would happen in simple cycle generation, the heat exhaust from the gas turbine is used to heat water, turning it into steam. The steam then powers a steam turbine generator set to produce more electricity. The process results in both more electric-

ity from the same amount of fuel and fewer emissions per megawatt of generation. “In simple cycle generation, about 40 percent of the energy in natural gas is turned into electricity. And the best combined-cycle plants in the world use 60 percent of the energy in natural gas when it uses the heat exhaust to produce steam, which then generates electricity through a steam generator,” Ori says. “It may be surprising that 40 percent gets rejected to the environment when combined-cycle generation is best technology available for burning fuel, but that’s just a fact of life. That’s why we are so excited about the waste heat recovery project with [Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility].” In the power generation process, the oncethrough steam generator cycles water in a loop. After cold water in the steam generator is warmed by the heat exhaust of the gas-fired

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

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turbine, it creates steam for the steam turbine generator. The remaining steam is sent to a condenser, which would typically send warm water to a cooling tower to resupply the once-through steam generator with cold water. Instead of sending the warm water to the cooling tower, losing heat to the atmosphere, ML&P will duct warm water from the surface condenser to the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility energy recovery station into heat exchangers. “The city water supply is glacial fed from Eklutna Lake and is anywhere between thirty-five and forty-two degrees, and we’re going to heat that water up to fifty-nine degrees,” Ori says. “To quantify that, we’re going to produce over 100 million BTUs per hour of the waste heat that would have gone back to Mother Nature, which will instead go into heating the city’s water supply. Given that the average home furnace is about 100,000 BTU, that’s about a thousand times more than the average home furnace.”

Building Power

To build its combined-cycle plant, ML&P chose Price Gregory, subsidiary of Houston-based Quanta Services, to be the general contractor for the Plant 2A project. Price Gregory is known for energy projects across Alaska and the United States includ-

ing Golden Valley Electric Association’s Healy Unit 2, multiple federal projects, and oil and gas projects on the North Slope. “Price Gregory got its start building part of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline [System] in 1975,” says Robert Stinson, senior vice president of Price Gregory. The contract for engineering, procurement, and construction started in December 2013, with the groundbreaking for construction in April 2014. “We had a good summer for earthwork and moved right into fall with building erection. We had a great winter thanks to one of the mildest winters we’ve had in years, so we continued our construction activities throughout the winter [and] had an early spring, so it worked out great for us,” Stinson says. Structural steel went up last fall and, thanks to the mild winter weather, the siding and roofing was completed in February, Stinson says. The installation of the steam turbine generator marked one of the last major pieces of construction after a busy summer season. With a June 2016 completion date, this year’s fall construction is aimed at commissioning activities. Employment for the project was two hundred workers at peak construction, and ML&P plans to operate Plant 2A with the existing

workforce of twenty-two at the legacy plant. A unique challenge for the construction of the new power plant was building it on the same plot of land meant for the George M. Sullivan legacy plant. “[Plant 2A] is big, and it’s on a very small lot,” Stinson says. “Logistically, we had to plan and coordinate a lot more often compared to many other projects. We have three storage facilities, and we only bring items in from off-site when we need them.” As ML&P’s most ambitious project to date, the utility hired IEC Corporation to represent them in the Plant 2A expansion project, Trent says. IEC Corporation is experienced in handling combined-cycle projects just like Plant 2A and has managed projects with some of the same specs, like the use of the GE LM6000 gas-fired combustion turbines. “We want to make sure that our ratepayers get full value for their money,” Trent says. “And the only way we can do that is by staying on or under budget and on schedule. We need to spend dollars wisely, to cut corners wherever we can without sacrificing quality, and we micromanage the project to the nth degree.” R Russ Slaten is an Associate Editor at Alaska Business Monthly.

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Dale Carnegie Training


Igniting Workplace Enthusiasm

ounded in 1912, Dale Carnegie Training has been serving Alaska since October 2011. Now the world-renowned training company is ramping up with online classes and three-day immersion courses that are ideally suited for the expansive Alaska market. “We’re open for business in Alaska,” says Chelsea Nespor, co-owner and vice president of the Dale Carnegie Training franchise that covers Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan and Alaska. “We want people to know we are looking forward to the opportunity to partner with them to help them achieve their goals.” Dale Carnegie Training offers engaging and interactive courses on leadership, sales, communication and presentations. Its enthusiasm-infused training represents the teachings of Dale Carnegie, the famous author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” The Dale Carnegie franchise network encompasses more than 90 countries. Incidentally, the franchise that Nespor co-owns with her mother, Heather Klein-Swormink (president), and her sister, Becky McGee (vice president), is one of the top Dale Carnegie franchises in the world. New Online Courses Online training is a recent endeavor for Dale Carnegie Training. But unlike typical webinars or lecture-style classes, the “live” digital courses bring a level of interactivity to simulate a real classroom as much as possible. Participants can interact through breakout groups and chat boxes and even raise their hand for help. The seminars, which are one to four hours long, are available in various topic combinations. “You can have everyone on your team virtually in the same place at the same time sharing information,” Nespor says. “This is a cost-effective way to keep everyone

moving forward and focused on being the best they can be.” Alaskans who prefer in-person instruction can leverage a Dale Carnegie immersion seminar. This powerful training packs all the content of a standard course into three consecutive days, enabling participants to maximize their time. Whether in-person or online, Dale Carnegie courses—and custom workshops—are conducted by certified trainers who are passionate about helping people succeed. “We’re always looking at how to become leading-edge, and our trainers and facilitators are a big part of why we’re so successful,” Nespor says. Excelling at Employee Engagement Employee engagement is a major part of what distinguishes Dale Carnegie Training. It’s a new buzz word, but the concept is more than 100 years old at Dale Carnegie Training. Not surprisingly, an independent study by MSW-ASR Research found that Dale Carnegie Course graduates are 62 percent more engaged than the –



general population. In addition, more than 95 percent of Dale Carnegie training participants say the classes met or exceeded their expectations. “We’ve been focusing on the people side of the business since 1912,” Nespor says. Dale Carnegie strives to make its training sustainable for participants, so learning extends into their professional and personal lives. Nespor explains, “You don’t take the Dale Carnegie course; you live it because the course is just the beginning.”

Dale Carnegie Training Southern Alberta & Saskatchewan, Alaska Chelsea Nespor, Vice President 110, 215 – 12 Avenue S.E. Calgary, AB T2G 1A2 (403) 265-5344 x222 alaska.dalecarnegie.com

special section

Energy & Power

Courtesy of GVEA

GVEA plant operator Blake Walker prepares to bring the Healy 2 power plant online. Looking on, from left, are Richard Lusby, GVEA Operations Supervisor; Lynn Thompson, GVEA Vice President for Power Supply; and Gil Strong, Restart Manager for Black & Veatch, the startup contractor.

Healy Plant 2 Fired Up By Julie Stricker


n May 28, the boiler at a long-mothballed power plant in Healy rumbled to life. It was a milestone for the beleaguered facility, which started out more than a decade ago as a highly touted high-tech clean coal experimental facility. But the technology didn’t prove out, and Healy Unit 2, housed in a square white building on the banks of the Nenana River, went dark in 2000 after only a few months of testing. Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA), the nonprofit rural cooperative that supplies energy for ninety thousand residents in Interior Alaska, bought the plant, dubbed Healy Unit 2, from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) in 2013 and immediately set to work retrofitting the equipment. 30

When complete, the plant will provide fifty megawatts of coal-fired energy for Interior Alaska, while stabilizing rates, says GVEA spokeswoman Corrine Bradish. “It’s really the first step in bringing it back online,” Bradish says of the dieselpowered startup in May. “It’s a pretty good accomplishment.” Since the sale was finalized after four years of negotiations, GVEA crews have been busy updating systems, retrofitting, and refurbishing the plant. It was expected to start producing small amounts of energy in June and full coal-fired operations are planned for late July. The US Department of Energy chose the Healy site in 1989 to showcase experimental technology intended to show that low-grade coal could be burned efficiently, with low

emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulates. The Healy Clean Coal Plant, as it was called, used a multi-stage burning process designed to reduce emissions. The $300 million plant was built between 1995 and 1997 using a combination of state, federal, and private funding sources. AIDEA owned the plant with the understanding that GVEA would run it. But after a ninety-day test, GVEA raised questions about the safety and reliability of the technology and refused to take over operations. The plant was shut down amid a legal dispute between GVEA and AIDEA, which was resolved in 2009 when the utility agreed to purchase and operate the plant, with retrofitted technology. GVEA will spend more than $150 million to buy and refurbish the plant, about

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

half the cost of building a new coal-fired plant from the ground up. “What they’ve been doing over the last year is bringing up systems,” Bradish says. “What happened [in May] is they ignited one of the burners to start burning diesel fuel. They’ll continue testing systems, but now they’ve got a fire in the boiler. “Then they’ll eventually transition to coal at the end of July and go through the whole testing process again.” Work on the plant is expected to continue through 2017. A new warehouse is planned and new environmental controls will be added. Bradish estimates ninety people are working on the restart and the plant will employ about thirty full-time workers when it’s running at normal capacity. “The project is on schedule and on budget,” says Lynn Thompson, vice president of power supply for GVEA. GVEA says the plant will help flatten recent rate fluctuations for its customers. Unit 2 will ease GVEA’s reliance on diesel fuel, which can cause rates to spike, Bradish says. “It’s low now,” Bradish says of diesel prices. “When it goes high again, we’ll be able to burn more coal.” GVEA’s contract to buy relatively inexpensive natural-gas fired electricity from Chugach Electric Association in Southcentral Alaska is expiring and Bradish says the next contract price is unknown, “so that’s another example of stabilizing rates,” she says of the move to more reliance on coal. Healy Plant 2 will double the amount of coal-fired generation in GVEA’s energy mix. In 2014, 28 percent of GVEA’s power was generated by burning coal; 25 percent from diesel; 6 percent wind, mostly from GVEA’s Eva Creek Wind Farm; 35 percent from natural gas; and 6 percent hydro generated in southcentral Alaska plants and delivered to the Interior via an intertie. Unit 2, which sits next to the coal-fired, twenty-five megawatt Healy Unit 1, is only about three miles from Alaska’s only working coal mine, Usibelli Coal Mine. Bringing the plant online is likely to mean a few extra jobs at Usibelli, says spokesman Bill Brophy. Unit 2 will burn about three hundred thousand tons of coal annually, he says. Over the past five or six years, Usibelli has produced about 1.4 million tons per year, so the addition of Unit 2 is welcome. “We’re a little bit down [internationally,]” Brophy says. “Our domestic customers stay pretty steady and adding on Healy Unit 2 is definitely good for business.” R Julie Stricker is a journalist living near Fairbanks. www.akbizmag.com

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special section

Energy & Power


Alaska Microgrid Technologies: Micro-Industry or Big Business? By Samuel Callen, Marc Mueller-Stoffels, and George Roe


ne of the most pressing (and frequently noted) challenges in Alaska is the cost of energy (both heat and power) in isolated, rural communities. Many are faced with inefficient energy systems that come at a considerable cost not only to community residents but to the state as a whole. In the 2014 fiscal year, the State of Alaska issued $39.6 million in disbursements to communities through its Power Cost Equalization program, which pays a large share of the electrical costs for rural residential consumers in an effort to keep rates low. The crippling cost of rural energy also inhibits the development of community businesses, which must pay market rates and are ineligible for Power Cost 32

Equalization reductions. Adding the cost of heating and transportation fuels drives a large portion of the remote community population into energy poverty, a term generally used for those that expend more than 10 percent of their income on basic energy needs. This adversity has spurred innovation, however. One emerging market to arise from this challenge is in the development of new microgrid technologies. According to market research firm Navigant Research, the estimated global microgrid market will reach $20 billion by 2020, with Alaska’s market share potentially accounting for over $290 million. These projected trends indicate a growing opportunity within the state—the commercial-

Components that may be part of an Alaska microgrid system include both distributed and centralized generation from one or more sources, energy and power storage in the form of flywheels or battery storage, and managed loads such as plug-in electric vehicles.

ization of microgrid research and innovation. Such advancements could not only reduce the costs of energy for thousands of Alaskans but the technologies developed here could be implemented in other developing parts of the world where microgrids are common.

What Are Microgrids?

Microgrids are small-scale electricity systems aimed at achieving a particular local goal such as reliability, carbon emission reduction, energy diversification, and cost reduction. Essentially, microgrids function like a small-scale version of a traditional power grid—they generate, distribute, and regulate the flow of electricity to consumers, but do so

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

locally rather than as part of a much larger integrated system. A growing trend is to take a more holistic approach to energy systems within microgrid communities and also consider ways to leverage heating and water and waste water services as part of the systems that can be utilized to balance supply and demand within these microgrids. Alaska’s microgrid context provides a “living laboratory” unique in its scope of grid size, energy resource diversity, and operating environment. Alaska’s high cost of power, which so often functions to its disadvantage, actually provides the state with a unique asset in the field of microgrid testing and research. Many novel technologies that have not reached maximum cost efficiency yet, and thus are cost prohibitive in other parts of the nation, are cost effective in Alaska’s rural communities, where power can cost as high as $1 per kilowatt hour. This provides Alaska with an early adopter and first mover advantage in developing integration and operational expertise that so far has not been fully exploited. These advantages have allowed the state to emerge as a leader in the integration of renewable energy into microgrids with diesel-powered systems and implementation of energy storage and demand response solutions to maximize the effectiveness of the renewables. These advancements that were pioneered in Alaska take on global importance, as small-scale grids are widely used in developing countries. The US Department of Defense also utilizes them when working in remote locations where reliable energy from a large-scale grid is either unavailable or insecure. These trends are fueling the growth of the microgrid market.

tion. This center aims to take a two-pronged approach in accelerating development of relevant and viable microgrid technologies. The Alaska Center for Energy and Power’s Power Systems Integration Team, through a competition, will award sixty days of engineering consulting, with research and development support and testing in their five hundred kilowatt hybrid-diesel microgrid laboratory. The technology development effort will be augmented by business model, marketing strategies, and intellectual property development support by the Business Enterprise Institute and the Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization to improve the chances for viable microgrids technologies commercialization.

This fully integrated support system is well positioned to power the next wave of microgrid commercialization and research in Alaska. With the recent news of Alaska’s i6 designation, one thing has become clear—Alaska’s microgrid designation could generate a lot of energy within the business community. R Marc Mueller-Stoffels and George Roe are both research professors at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Center for Energy and Power, and Samuel Callen is Associate Director for the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development.

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Microgrid Advancement in Alaska

A recent effort has been launched to strengthen Alaska’s role in the microgrid landscape. In early 2015, Alaska received a special designation as an i6 Innovation Center through the US Economic Development Administration. The i6 challenge, a competitive, nationwide grant application, issued twenty-six awards to fund the creation of regional innovation centers aimed at supporting startup creation, innovation, and commercialization. One of those i6 challenge awardees was a team led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The team includes partners from the Alaska Center for Energy and Power, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization, and the University of Alaska Anchorage Business Enterprise Institute. The award will fund the establishment of the Alaska Center for Microgrid Technologies Commercialization, aimed at further strengthening Alaska as a leader in the area of microgrid research, development, and innovawww.akbizmag.com

Mick Heitman, ChFC© President, WSA Registered Principal, RJFS Chartered Financial Consultant 4300 B Street, Suite 507 Anchorage, AK 99503 907-561-4423 mick.heitman@raymondjames.com wealthstrategiesalaska.com RETIREMENT PLANNING I ESTATE PLANNING I TAX PLANNING I WEALTH MANAGEMENT Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. member FINRA/SIPC August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


special section

Energy & Power

Railbelt Electric Grid Power Struggle

© Kevin Smith/AlaskaStock.com

Aerial view of the power transmission lines connecting the Beluga Power Plant to the underwater lines where they cross Knik Arm to provide electricity for the Railbelt power grid.

Reform needed for aging infrastructure and inefficiencies By Mike Bradner


ome things take a long time to change. Electric utility restructuring and reform along Alaska’s “Railbelt” power grid is one of them. In February 2014, Chugach Electric Association CEO Brad Evans briefed a state legislative committee about issues facing the railbelt utilities, and Evans’ words ring as true today as they did almost a year and a half ago. The Railbelt refers to Alaska communities along the route of the Alaska Railroad from Southcentral to Interior Alaska. The term is used loosely because it includes the Homer Electric Association (HEA) service area on the Kenai Peninsula. In short, nothing has happened yet to resolve problems Evans spoke of in early 2014 despite years of talk. Power is being generated and distributed across the power grid safely and reliably, but it is being done inefficiently, the utilities and independent experts agree. About $1.5 billion in new power generation facilities have been built by individual utilities in recent years, but not in ways that will most benefit consumers across the entire region. Finally, the transmission infrastructure is aging, which raises the threat of a breakdown of the system. The problems are now becoming more severe, and the state’s regulatory commission appears to be finally ready to step in with a big stick, possibly backed by the Legislature. Evans explained the situation this way in early 2014: 34

“The interconnected Railbelt electric system is in transition. Legacy agreements [the older wholesale power contacts] are coming to an end [those ended in 2015]. New and upgraded transmission lines are needed but are not being constructed. Commonly accepted ‘rules of the road’ are needed for the transmission network, along with a means of enforcing them. Non-utility power providers [mostly private independent power producers] want access to the grid,” Evans said. “Above all, studies by the Alaska Energy Authority have shown that ratepayers in the Railbelt could save significant amounts of money each year if the most efficient generating units could be dispatched first and if there were not transmission bottlenecks restricting their output,” he said. A new business model is needed for the Railbelt utilities, Evans said. In other states, regulators, typically state utility commissions, solved similar problems by creating Independent System Operators, or ISOs (also called Unified System Operators, or USOs) to manage the grid and ensure that different generating units were used in the most efficient way. Alaska needs a similar approach, Evans said.

Current Business Model

Six different utilities now provide service to customers on the Southcentral-Interior Railbelt grid, regions with a population

base that in the Lower 48 states would be served by one medium-sized utility rather than six small ones, each of which have their own managements, boards, and local priorities. For many years Chugach Electric provided power for Matanuska Electric Association (MEA) and HEA, serving the function of a regional power generation entity, but a major change occurred when MEA and HEA ended their contracts to buy wholesale power from Chugach and built their own new power plants, further balkanizing the system. Chugach Electric and Anchorage’s cityowned Municipal Light & Power also built a large new plant, and it was jointly-owned by the two, but that was done because Chugach’s Beluga power plant was aging and a replacement was needed. Economists have pointed out that from a regional efficiency standpoint, it would have made more sense for MEA and HEA to have co-invested with Chugach and ML&P in one large regional plant, and own their own shares of the Southcentral Power Plant, sharing the power and the costs. But that didn’t happen. MEA and HEA wanted to have their own power generation and to control it. Situations like this have occurred elsewhere, but in other states regulatory commissions require pre-approval of major new utility construction that affects consumers’

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

rates. The commissions generally approve only the new construction that would be most efficient and most cost-effective for consumers. That hasn’t been done in Alaska, however.

Time to Wade In

Ideas for better coordination have been advanced before, including ISOs, as well as the idea of a jointly-owned entity that could finance and build new power projects. Several studies have showed the financial benefits. Basically the utilities have balked at giving up control of their independent generation units, some of them which operate at high-cost. The state regulatory commission, for its part, has been reluctant to wade into this because it is uncertain whether it has the legal authority to force the issue. The Legislature, which could clarify the regulators’ powers, has been reluctant to wade in because influential legislators, protecting the interests of utilities in their districts, have largely blocked any action. This may now be changing. The problems are exacerbated today, and the Regulatory Commission of Alaska issued a set of long-awaited recommendations June 30 that put the utilities on notice that change is now needed. At the top of the commission’s recommendations are that the utilities should form an ISO plan to efficiently dispatch power as well as a jointly-owned entity to finance and build upgrades to the transmission systems. The Regulatory Commission of Alaska said the utilities should be given six months to voluntarily take these steps. If they are unable to do so, the commission should step in with compulsory orders and also ask the Legislature for clarifying legislation if it is needed.

Problems Abound

Meanwhile, here are some examples of problems created by the current dysfunction: One is that there is no agreement among the six utilities on system-wide reliability standards although they all contribute and take power from the Railbelt grid (five utilities have agreed on standards but HEA is a holdout). Similar standards are needed to keep the grid in balance, preventing upsets. Second, there is a constraint moving power from the state-owned Bradley Lake hydro plant near Homer north from the Kenai Peninsula to Anchorage, Mat-Su, and the Interior, where the bulk of residents in the “Railbelt” communities live. Of six utilities in Southcentral and Interior Alaska who buy power from Bradley Lake, only one–HEA–can get the full entitlement www.akbizmag.com

for over 80 years

Municipal Light & Power | mlandp.com August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


at any time. HEA’s allocation is about 12 percent of Bradley’s 120 Megawatt capacity. The other 88 percent can be obtained by the other utilities but not always when they need it because of a capacity limit on the Kenai-Anchorage intertie. An example of a problem this creates is forcing Golden Valley Electric Association, in the Interior, to fire up high-cost oil-fired generation to meet its peak needs that should have been filled, at least partly, by using its share of low-cost hydro power from Bradley Lake. The situation forces Golden Valley Electric rate-payers to pay more for their power. The solution is more capacity on the Kenai-Anchorage intertie by building a second, parallel power line (which can also serves as an alternative in case the first line fails).

Lost Power

Another example is that when Bradley Lake is really ramped up to produce at higher output, as much as 40 percent of the power is lost because of the limited transmission system. When there is only one line with limited capacity it heats up as more power moves through it, resulting in more “line loss” of electricity. The solution for this again is a second line to share the load, which lowers the heating effect and reduces the power loss.

But who will build this line? Chugach can’t afford to do it alone. Previously the utilities looked to the state to help fund major improvements with state capital appropriations, but the state can no longer afford this. It’s an improvement that will benefit the entire Railbelt, but there’s no mechanism for the utilities to come together and build regional improvements like this. Another problem created by the balkanization of the system is that because MEA, whose service area is mainly north of Anchorage, now generates its own power and no longer buys from Chugach, the larger utility has experienced a drop in usage of parts of its transmission system that formerly served MEA. The dilemma this creates is that Chugach now has underused, but still critical, parts of its transmission system, or “stranded capacity” in utility jargon. If a repair is needed there are questions as to how they can be paid for without the previous load of customers. Replacing a submarine cable can cost anywhere from $20 million to $40 million.

Billion Dollar Solution

The Alaska Energy Authority has commissioned studies on the investment needed to finance the needed improvements to the transmission systems, south and north, and the figure comes to about $900 mil-

lion. This investment is necessary not only for the long-term reliability of the transmission system but to also move power through the system from the proposed Susitna hydro project, if it is built. It’s possible that most of what’s needed can be done for somewhat less than $900 million, Chugach Electric has said, but it’s clear that the six utilities don’t have the financial capability by themselves to take on the improvements; with its finances depleted the state is unable to step in. However, there are now large private investors interested in working with the utilities, and discussions are underway, although the status and details are still confidential. Possibilities being discussed range from simple financing to equity investment and even management and operation of regional transmission systems. This would likely require, however, the kind of reforms and changes spelled out in the June 30 Regulatory Commission of Alaska recommendations, particularly the coordinated dispatch of the most economical power which would be accomplished by some form of ISO. R Mike Bradner is publisher of the Alaska Legislative Digest.


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Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

Legal Speak

By Melanie K. Curtice

Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs Changes Coming Your Way


f you provide incentives to encourage employees to participate in wellness programs, such as discounting the cost of the medical insurance coverage for being tobacco-free, changes may soon be necessary as a result of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) proposed rules that were issued on April 20, 2015. While it is true these rules are in proposed form, we recommend that employers review their current wellness program offerings to determine whether any changes would be necessary if the proposed rules are finalized. In particular, employers should review how employees are notified of the program, the health information privacy protections that are in place, and how much of an incentive is provided. The period to comment on the proposed ended on June 19, 2015, and EEOC has indicated that it will finalize the rules following evaluation of the comments. This likely means the rules will be finalized before the end of this year.

What Is an Employer-Sponsored Wellness Program? Wellness programs take a variety of forms, ranging from payment for health club dues or informational brochures about health 38

or prevention to complex programs that give medical insurance cost reductions to employees if they participate in health risk assessments, coaching or consultation with case managers or nutritionists, or achieve some health-related outcome such as lowering their cholesterol. No matter the type of program, the goals are generally the same: to improve health, build workforce morale, and reduce health insurance costs. Regardless of the type of program, it is important to remember that various laws apply to them; one of those laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), will be impacted by the EEOC proposed rules that change existing ADA regulations. It is also important to remember that compliance with one law does not necessarily mean compliance with other applicable laws: each wellness program feature must be analyzed under each law.

What Are the Main Laws that Apply to Wellness Programs? HIPAA: Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), medical plans, referred to by all of the laws as “group health plans,” are prohibited from discriminating against an individual (e.g., charging a different premium for health coverage) based on a health status-related factor, such as a physical or mental condition. However, group health plans that contain programs of “health promotion and disease prevention,” a.k.a. “wellness programs,” may discriminate with respect to the benefits provided if the program meets certain conditions. Only one HIPAA wellness condition applies to a participatory program: it must be available to all similarly situated individuals, regardless of their health status. Example: a tobacco cessation

program that does not require an employee to quit is made available to all employees. If the wellness program is a “health contingent” program, which means it requires an individual to complete an activity or satisfy a standard related to a health factor in order to obtain a reward, four other conditions must be met: (1) an employee must be given an opportunity once per year to qualify for the reward or penalty; (2) the reward or penalty cannot exceed 30 percent of the cost of coverage (including employer and employee contributions), or, if the incentive is tobacco-related, up to 50 percent; (3) the program must be reasonably designed; and (4) there must be a reasonable alternative standard based on whether the feature is “activity only” or “outcome based.” A good rule of thumb—HIPAA always applies if an employer gives a reduction in the cost of the medical coverage it provides for participating in wellness activities or for achieving a health-related outcome, such as not smoking. GINA: The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) applies to wellness program features that ask for genetic information. If an employer asks or requires its employees to take health risk assessments as part of a group health plan incentive (e.g., waiving a deductible), GINA Title I applies. Under GINA Title I, a group health plan cannot request, require, or purchase “genetic information,” which includes an individual medical history, either for (1) underwriting purposes or (2) prior to or in connection with enrollment in a group health plan. If, however, an employer gives cash to employees for completing a health risk assessment and does not in any way tie the health risk

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

assessment to the group health plan, GINA Title II applies. GINA Title II generally prohibits employers from requesting, requiring, or purchasing genetic information except in limited circumstances. The limited circumstances include voluntary wellness programs that meet certain conditions. The Internal Revenue Code: Under the “Code,” cash and cash equivalents, such as gift cards, are always taxable income to the employee and subject to withholding requirements. This is true even if an employer’s wellness program service provider gives the cash equivalent to employees.

rules are finalized, employers that offer an incentive for both their employees and the employees’ dependents’ participation that is 30 percent of the cost of medical cover-

Melanie K. Curtice is a partner with Stoel Rives LLP, a US law firm, operating out of twelve offices, including Anchorage. Curtice regularly assists Alaska employers with their employee benefit law needs. She may be reached at melanie.curtice@stoel.com, (907) 277-1900, or (206) 386-7651. This article is provided for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal counsel.

ADA: Under the ADA, employers are restricted from obtaining medical information from employees, generally by prohibiting employers from making disability-related inquiries or requiring medical examinations, unless the inquiry or medical examination is “voluntary” and part of a workplace wellness program. Until April 20, there was no clear guidance from the EEOC, which is the federal agency responsible for regulating the ADA, on what constituted “voluntary,” especially when group health plan incentives were offered. There was always a question as to whether such a program affected the “voluntary” nature of a wellness program and whether such a program complied with the ADA.

The EEOC’s Proposed Rules

The EEOC proposes the following conditions for wellness programs that provide group health plan incentives in order for such programs to be “voluntary” under the ADA: (1) reasonable design—the program must be reasonably designed to promote health or prevent disease, (2) confidentiality—medical information that is collected can only be shared in aggregate terms that do not disclose, and are not reasonably likely to disclose, participant identities except as needed to administer the health plan, and (3) the program must be voluntary. Such a program meets the “voluntary” requirement if it does not require participation, does not deny coverage in any or all of an employer’s benefit offerings as a result of nonparticipation, does not take employment action or retaliate against employees within the meaning of the ADA, provides notice to employees about the program, and does not have an incentive cap that exceeds 30 percent of the cost of employee-only health insurance coverage (which includes both employer and employee contributions). Note that HIPAA requirements differ—30 percent is an acceptable maximum incentive for family coverage, and all tobacco-related programs can use a 50 percent threshold. If the EEOC’s proposed www.akbizmag.com

age, the employer will have to engage in a complex calculation to determine whether the incentive complies. R

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August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly



A closer look at two companies By Kirsten Swann


hen spring overflow from the Sagavanirktok River rose up and covered the Dalton Highway this spring, it cut off the only road connection to the North Slope—and some of the largest oil and gas developments in the state. The road was closed for eighteen days while crews worked to divert the water and shore up the damaged thoroughfare. Flooding washed out entire sections of the highway, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Deadhorse was inundated. Governor Bill Walker declared a disaster, and industry partnered with government to coordinate the massive response effort. While the road soaked under more than a foot of water, the Deadhorse Airport operated around the clock to help support companies working on the North Slope. And for two-and-a-halfweeks they made it work. The highway closure highlights the importance of Alaska’s transportation infrastructure—or lack of it—and the critical role of the businesses that move freight across the state. They travel by land and by sea. There are national corporations and small, Alaskagrown businesses that began in a backyard or home office. They use different terms to describe their work, but it all boils down to the same core mission: These are the companies that deliver the materials used to build Alaska. For many destinations, shipping cargo over land simply isn’t an option. Alaska’s road system is sparse. In Western Alaska, it’s all but nonexistent. But coastline and waterways come in abundance. Alaska has more miles of shoreline than any other state in the union, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and hauling freight by barge can often be the most cost-effective method for businesses working in remote parts of the state. Trips take longer by boat, but it can be cheaper than flying and more accessible than driving.

Reliable Expediting

After ten years as the logistics manager at Osborne Construction Co., Allyn Long knew the value of reliable freight expediting services. He saw an opportunity to go into business for himself. That was in 2003. Today, Alaska Logistics provides barge services between Seattle and the Last Fron40

Courtesy of Horst Expediting and Remote Operations

Horst Expediting and Remote Operations expediting a load of materials on the Dalton Highway.

tier. Besides ports in Seward, Dillingham, Bethel, Nome, and Naknek, Long’s company serves communities throughout Western Alaska. More than one hundred of them have no docks, let alone a port. Combine the lack of infrastructure with the region’s notoriously shallow waters, and marine freight companies have their work cut out for them. For Long, it’s all about having the right tools for the job. “It’s a very equipmentintensive industry,” he says. Alaska Logistics utilizes a fleet of small boats and shallow-draft vessels to deliver freight along the coast and inland as far as Nikolai, nine hundred miles up the Kuskokwim River. Boats are just one piece of the puzzle: unloading the freight is another. To do that, Long’s company keeps a fleet of forklifts at its hub facilities and relies on purpose-built loaders for work on remote beaches and rough terrain. It took about a decade to build up the current equipment inventory, Long says. “When I first started, we were basically a broker, hiring big barges and chartering them from Seattle,” the general manager says. “It worked in the beginning, but as we’ve grown we just couldn’t count on other people’s equipment.” In Long’s view, the market hasn’t changed much over the years, but his company has

enjoyed steady growth since first opening for business. Alaska Logistics now employs up to seventy people during the busy summer season. Its freight is mostly comprised of construction materials for various state and federal projects, school districts, housing projects, and other civic developments. The work has its challenges, Long says. Without any outside investors, initial business expansion proved difficult. Finding the right people is also huge. “There’s not a lot of young people going into [the business],” the general manager says. “And there’s a lot of competition up here.” Competition within the industry—and the opportunity to fill a beckoning niche in the market—was what led Long to start Alaska Logistics in the first place. There had been a big acquisition among major marine operators, and Long saw the opportunity to bring a valuable service to the region’s smaller communities.

‘That Guy’

In Fairbanks, Horst Expediting and Remote Operations has built a name on its network, leveraging long-term business relationships to meet customer needs quickly and effectively. Josh Horst, the company’s founder and president, calls it problem solving.

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

“A big part of what we’re selling is our network,” he says. “That’s the real core of the service that we can offer.” Horst established his expediting company in 2008 after working field jobs in commercial industry. He saw the value of an experienced expeditor; he “wanted to become that guy.” With his local connections, Horst Expediting soon became a reality. The first office was located in a tent in his backyard. These days, the company is housed in a rented commercial space and employs up to four people during the busy summer season. It supports a variety of fieldwork, including scientific research and minerals exploration. The business can be volatile, Horst says. “Sometimes things are red hot and sometime they’re not,” he says. “In general, business has continued to strengthen.” The Fairbanks expediting company has done business with larger-size mining projects throughout the Interior, notably NovaCopper in the Ambler Mining District. It’s become a go-to provider for small family mining companies who don’t have a big name or budget but still need quick deliveries to keep the business going. Horst’s services run the gamut. For clients working along the road system, like Cruz Construction, the company can do


equipment runs and other errands, finding and delivering crucial materials or a part needed to get some equipment back up and running. Time matters. It’s gratifying work. “It’s kind of like being the last link in the supply chain,” Horst says. “It’s cool, because those guys appreciate it.” From its backyard beginnings, the expediting company has grown to include a fleet of small vehicles, trucks and vans capable of hauling about a ton at a time. For projects beyond the road system, the company uses its local network to outsource flight transport, turning to other familiar names like Everts Air Cargo or Wright Air Service. For on-the-road projects too large for its own fleet to handle, the company might work with a third-party trucking company to make the delivery as quickly as possible. Horst has worked with many of its vendors for a while now. It focuses on building relationships with clients and contractors alike. “We really try to walk in with a good attitude and be courteous and have a smile on our faces,” he says. Those relationships help Horst move cargo fast when it counts. Expediting can be equal parts transportation and procurement. For one account, Horst says, his company keeps a real-time ordering spreadsheet listing everything

from camp necessities to equipment parts and drill supplies. When the client needs a particular item, they update the spreadsheet and the expediting company will source it, buy it, and ship it to the worksite. That’s why a local network is so important, Horst says: Knowing who to call and who to talk to saves time and money. Halting progress in natural resource sectors has had an impact on the business. According to the company’s president, growth has been slow but continuing. Horst is optimistic about the future. “I’m really very happy with the company, the way it’s slowly developing,” he says. “I think we’re on a good track.” For small regional operators, Horst offers a prompt, personal freight expediting option. For outside groups coming in to the area for the first time, the company provides the local knowledge and network to keep projects moving. It’s all about working with customers to find the best solutions, Horst says. Freight expediting is a business for problem solvers, he says, adding: “That’s what we are, every day.” R Kirsten Swann is a freelance journalist based in Anchorage.

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly



Dalton Highway Closure

Ice, water, and backed up lines of supplies By Julie Stricker © Alaska DOT&PF

Dalton Highway flooding, May 27, 2015.


n a sunny day in early April, an aerial view of Alaska’s North Slope shows a line of tractor-trailers inching across a vast flat plain of ice. The road itself shimmers between the white drifts of snow lining it. Despite the below-freezing temperatures, the roadbed is covered with water, almost two feet deep in places. It looks like a shallow river, with vehicles creating riffles in the water as they pass through. Truckers, used to dealing with high winds and drifting snow on the remote stretch of road, instead found themselves bumper-deep in ice-choked water, with more ice underneath their tires. “My front bumper is only about six inches above the ground and I’ve been pushing ice,” one driver called out over the radio. “It took me an hour plus to go maybe five miles, but we made it,” another driver noted in a video posted to Facebook. Still, they persevered. The Dalton Highway is a critical supply route for Alaska’s oilfields. If they could get there safely, they went. “It’s a challenge on a good day,” says Aves Thompson, executive director of the Alaska 42

Trucking Association. “With the flooding it became very difficult.” Drivers, however, maintained a sense of humor throughout the ordeal. “The trouble with ice roads is they are inherently slippery,” one said. Another asked, tongue-in-cheek, “Does your seat bottom double as a flotation device?”

Three-Month Ordeal

The overflow and then flooding devastated the northern portion of the Dalton Highway over a period of three months this spring. The highway, commonly referred to as the Haul Road, was shut down several times, the longest for eighteen days. Governor Bill Walker declared a state disaster twice. Between 150 and 250 trucks travel the road daily, according to the Federal Highway Administration. The closures stranded truckers and cut vital supplies of food, fuel, and drilling materials to the oilfields. The road itself suffered millions of dollars in damage. Operations for the trans-Alaska oil pipeline were not affected, but some oil workers went home early because they couldn’t access the drill sites. Diesel fuel,

fresh food, and other items were in short supply. The Dalton Highway is the only road into Alaska’s North Slope oilfields. The 414-mile, mostly gravel highway, which starts at the intersection of the Elliott Highway near Livengood, cuts a ribbon through the wilderness north of Fairbanks. Paralleled by the transAlaska oil pipeline, the highway snakes up and down the hills of Interior Alaska before crossing the Yukon River at Mile 56. Only a handful of businesses dot the road. Gas stations are far apart and expensive. The highway climbs into the Brooks Range. Sightings of moose and bears give way to glimpses of musk ox and thousands of caribou. Clouds of mosquitoes wait in attack. Skirting the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Dalton tops out at Atigun Pass, 4,739 feet above sea level. With its 12 percent grades and avalanche potential, not to mention a huge slow-moving blob of frozen rock and soil creeping toward the road, Atigun Pass is usually one of the major obstacles for truckers. But that wasn’t the case this spring. As the road descends from the pass, it

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

© Alaska DOT&PF

enters the North Slope, a giant floodplain crossed by north-flowing rivers birthed in the Brooks Range that drain into the Beaufort Sea. One of these, the Sagavanirktok River, spawned the most devastating floodwaters in the more than four decades of the Dalton’s existence. “This [flooding] isn’t something that’s common,” says Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) spokeswoman Meadow Bailey. “Really, the most challenging thing we deal with in this area is drifting [snow].” Hydrologists working with ADOT&PF, Alyeska Pipeline Service, and University of Alaska Fairbanks say the flooding has its roots in an unusually rainy summer in 2014. The heavy rains saturated the ground. As winter moved in, the Sag River continued to run, but the ground was unable to absorb any more water. Layers of ice, called aufeis, began to grow and spread across the flat tundra. “It’s a phenomenon we tend to see fairly regularly every spring, but never to this degree,” Bailey says. “You always have this flowing water, but even with the ambient temperatures below freezing, it continues to build www.akbizmag.com

© Alaska DOT&PF

Dalton Highway flood repairs, May 28, 2015.

Dalton Highway flood response, June 4, 2015. August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


ice with flowing water on top of it. In some sections, it was five feet above the road bed.” The delineators, a line of poles with reflectors that line the road to guide drivers in blizzard conditions, normally stand about five feet above the road surface. They were buried under the ice. Off the road, the ice was probably fourteen or fifteen feet deep, Bailey says. “For miles, as far as you can see, it was just this flowing water and it continued to build layer upon layer of ice.” The only solution was for ADOT&PF to build

the road on top of the ice. Snow and ice were used to build berms. But it was like playing whack-a-mole in a swimming pool. Every time one section of road was fixed, another flooded. And the water kept coming and coming. Typical North Slope winter storms didn’t help. ADOT&PF put out a notice stating the road was closed between Miles 355 and 414 due to “high winds, blowing snow, drifting snow, zero visibility, and water that has breached the road.”

A Perfect Storm

Some truckers got stuck in the drifts and had to be dug out a day and a half later when visibility cleared. Others were stranded in Deadhorse, the industrial community at Mile

Rolligon fuel caravan bypassing the Dalton Highway, April 14, 2015. © Alaska DOT&PF


414 on the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Others parked their rigs at waysides at Happy Valley and Franklin Bluffs and waited, sometimes for days, unwilling to lose their places in what became a very long line of trucks heading north. “Some of them left their loads there and came back to Fairbanks,” Thompson says. “There was typically someone that stayed there and just looked out for all the trailers. With the fuel though, you had to have someone there.” A few drivers turned around and headed back to Fairbanks with their loads. “That got a little boring for some of those guys,” Thompson says. The trucking companies flew in food and fuel and some tried to arrange crew changes if necessary. For some drivers, the closure was a financial blow. “Some of them got paid, but others who were owner/operators, ‘If their wheels aren’t turning, they’re not earning,’” Thompson says. “The drivers were eager to get back to work.” The first closure was announced March 30. The road reopened on April 2, only to close again April 5. This closure lasted until April 12. Traffic began to pile up and the impacts were felt along the highway and in Deadhorse.

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

“Our strategy was to get the stakeholders involved as early as possible,” Bailey says. Ironically, Alaska’s largest oil producers had to fly in fuel as diesel shortages became critical. Prices in Deadhorse went from about $5.50 per gallon to $9.50 per gallon. “They were flying in fuel,” Bailey says. “They were also trucking in fuel up to the flooding area and transferring it to rolligons, so there were rolligons of fuel that were going across the tundra around the flooded areas.” Weather permitting, road crews built up berms on the sides of the road to try to keep water out. That helped, but the water continued to spread, prompting the governor’s disaster declaration on April 7. Bailey says the disaster allowed ADOT&PF to waive some permits to access waterways. Extra crews and equipment helped shore up the road and divert water enough for the road to reopen one lane through a six-mile stretch where the flooding was the deepest. Loads were reorganized so that the most critical supplies headed north in convoys of thirty trucks. Northbound and southbound traffic alternated. Eventually, traffic started to get back to normal.

Normal Didn’t Last Long

“Everyone assumed there would be some issues with breakup,” Bailey says. “We were


© Alaska DOT&PF

Dalton Highway flooding, May 27, 2015.

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


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Deadhorse flooding, May 20, 2015.

hoping it would be a slower melt, and it didn’t happen.” Instead, record warm temperatures hit the North Slope in mid-May. Barrow set new records for three consecutive days, nearly twenty degrees above the average. The snow and ice in the Brooks Range began to melt rapidly, sending more water down the already ice and waterchoked river basins. There was nowhere for it to go but over and eventually through the road. The Dalton Highway closed again May 18 due to flooding and didn’t reopen until June 5, eighteen days later. This time, the businesses in Deadhorse were expecting the closure and had stocked up, according to Craig Welch, general manager for Brooks Range Supply and Brooks Camp. But they weren’t prepared for the length and severity of the floods. “It really crimped us,” Welch says. “We went twenty-one days without truck freight. We had to fly in food, fly in supplies.” Welch says they tried to stock up ahead of time, filling their freezers and trying to boost inventory in the Prudhoe Bay General Store, also run by Colville, Inc. But they wound up running out of fresh food and bottled water, among other things, and had to fly supplies in. “Our costs went up the wazoo,” he says. “We had to just eat those costs.”

Colville also runs a fleet of twelve-thousand-gallon fuel tankers, and Welch says they watched fuel costs skyrocket as supplies ran short. “How do you afford to keep selling gas when you know it’s going to run out?” He says of the dramatic price increase. Deadhorse exists to serve the oil operations on the North Slope. Although it has an “official” permanent population of a couple dozen hearty residents, usually between two thousand and three thousand people are there at any given time. Most are employees or contractors for the various operations on the Slope. “There’s two things that everyone working up here has,” says Tim Tyler, manager for the North Slope Borough camp. “The first is a round-trip plane ticket. The second is room and board.” Deadhorse is organized into camps, collections of pre-fab buildings perched a few feet off the tundra. There are no bars (alcohol is prohibited on the oilfields), no bank, and only the one general store, located on the second floor of the Brooks Range Supply. Each major oil producer has its own camp, complete with its own kitchen, recreational facilities, and other amenities. Brooks Camp is the newest, a four-story facility with 334 rooms that was completed in 2014.

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

© Alaska DOT&PF

Dalton Highway flooding, May 27, 2015.

Smaller operations usually have agreements to use rooms in the larger camps or the Aurora Hotel, one of a handful of facilities that welcome tourists. Oilfield workers stay in these camps until they go out to the oilfields where they stay in dormitories next to the drilling rigs. Sean Hannah started a new job at Dead-

horse Camp while the Dalton Highway was closed. He moved up from Atlanta “just looking to get out of my normal daily routine.” His first impression of Deadhorse was, “Wow, what a stark place I’ve flown in to.” While the road was closed, Deadhorse Camp didn’t get any food deliveries, Hannah says. He was stunned at how high gas



prices were and is looking forward to seeing what “normal” life in camp will be like. A worker at another camp noted commissary supplies, such as milk and fresh vegetables, were low, but otherwise it was business as usual. “It caused a little chaos, but nothing major,” she says. “It’s everyday life up here.”



August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


© Alaska DOT&PF

Dalton Highway flooding, May 19, 2015.


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Tyler says diesel shortages were the most notable effect of the Dalton Highway closure. He is employed by ICE Services, which is under contract to the North Slope Borough to run the camp. “There was not enough fuel up here,” he says. “We cut back on the number of vehicles that were working. Instead of sending two vehicles to a job, they’d go in one.” Staff workers that did catering jobs at the five major camps went to work in a van instead of driving individual vehicles. He notes the camp was prepared and didn’t run out of the “three most important things to camp living:” toilet paper, coffee, and ice cream. Most people in Deadhorse were reasonably well-prepared, Tyler says. Deadhorse itself did not flood, although the airport was threatened. Workers piled sandbags around the airport and the runway lights were shut off temporarily. One camp, run by Brice, Inc., was flooded and a few workers were evacuated. No injuries were reported. About eighty miles of the highway were flooded with floodwaters up to two feet deep. The rushing waters eroded the road surface and washed out culverts. The road between Deadhorse and the Kuparuk oilfield was cut when water rose above the level of a bridge over the Kuparuk River. However, the flooding caused few problems or production delays. The transAlaska oil pipeline is buried underground in the area where the worst flooding occurred. Flyovers of the area showed no exposed pipe and no other problems were reported, according to Alyeska. “BP took measures to conserve fuel use

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

© Alaska DOT&PF

ADOT&PF workers stayed in Deadhorse so they would be ready as soon as possible to assess the damage and begin repairs. Walker issued a second state disaster declaration on May 22, this time including the entire North Slope Borough in the proclamation. “I applaud the employees of the Alaska Department of Transportation and all the members of the UIC [Unified Incident Command] team for working together to address the flooding as quickly as possible,” Walker said in a statement. “I have reassured Commissioner Marc Luiken and [ADOT&PF] officials in Prudhoe Bay that I will do whatever is necessary to find a solution to this problem.” “This was a really good example of the private sector and public sector working together to solve a problem,” says Thompson. “[ADOT&PF], the producers, contractors, and trucking association, we worked together to try to make things happen.”

Dalton Highway, April 2, 2015.

and airlift supplies,” says Dawn Patience, BP spokeswoman. “There were no safety or environmental incidents.”

Further Erosion

The unseasonable warmth also eroded the temporary ice roads constructed each winter between Deadhorse and outlying oilfields.


Bailey says ADOT&PF expected “significant damage” to the Dalton Highway during breakup and had staged some gravel, culverts, and other construction material. A publicprivate command team of officials from the North Slope oil producers, ADOT&PF, the North Slope Borough, and Alyeska remained in place to oversee anticipated repairs. Some

Receding Water Reveals Devastation When the water finally went down in late May, the full scope of the devastation became clear. The floodwaters carved big chunks out of the road. Other breaches had been cut intentionally to divert the flooding. New channels were cut through the tundra, exposing the permafrost in many areas.

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


Dalton Highway flood response, June 5, 2015. © Alaska DOT&PF

“Many people were predicting the bigger flood,” Thompson says, “but we certainly didn’t expect it to be this bad.” The worst problems are on the northern end of the road, between Miles 412 and 414 just outside Deadhorse, Bailey says. “It melted down to the permafrost,” she says. “We’ll have to put down some material and try to rebuild the roadbed. We’ll never be able to dig it out. We will never be able to get the frost heaves out. Permafrost is the nemesis of road building in Alaska.” Repair costs were estimated at about $7 million, $2 million of which was appropriated by the Federal Highway Administration. ADOT&PF had already planned to raise the height of the road in order to try to get the surface above the ground blizzards that are common in the winter. The $27 million, two-year project was expected to begin this summer from Mile 401 to Mile 414. It would raise the surface of the road seven feet and replace the culverts. A similar project was expected to start in 2016 between Miles 379 and 401. That project was expected to cost $40 million to $50 million. Because of the flooding, both projects are likely to require some re-engineering to take the flood potential into account, she says. Finally, on June 5, the Dalton Highway reopened, although it was only one lane wide in spots. A steady line of trucks started moving north, with the most critical cargoes again going to the head of the line. A couple of days later, a winter storm warning was issued for the Brooks Range and North Slope, but this is normal for the region and no one even blinked. “The Dalton is always a challenging road,” Bailey says. “There are always challenges. There are always sections where it’s snowing in June, sometimes July. There always seem to be a lot of unique things about traveling on it.” More than a month after the road reopened, Welch, at Brooks Range Supply, says they’re still waiting on some deliveries. Dur50

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

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ing the closure, supplies were backed up as far south as Seattle, he says. “We came to a point here where they wouldn’t take our orders because so many were backlogged,” he says, explaining they often ordered supplies from the Lower 48 that are shipped to Alaska via Totem Ocean Trailer Express. “They had orders backed up clear to Seattle. They just had no place they could bring them. Couldn’t even bring them up to Fairbanks.” Still the bustle is welcome after weeks of relative inactivity at the camp. “We have a pretty good size warehouse,” Welch says. “We typically get a trailer a day of supplies. You go twenty-one days with no trailers and that makes a difference. The ugly side of that is that once you reopened [the road] it all comes as once.” Along with much-needed supplies came the tourists, undaunted by the news reports of the flooding and the remoteness of the drive. Welch and Tyler say they’ve seen tourists in RVs, truck campers, motorcycles, and even bicycles trickle into Deadhorse. Bailey says she’s not surprised. “There’s definitely people that are still taking that trip,” she says. “We always encourage them to recognize it’s not a road you’re going to be driving sixty miles an hour on. There’s not a lot of services, so you have to be prepared. There will be a lot of road construction.” The trucking industry is looking forward to the new construction, Thompson says. “We’re hoping it [flooding] doesn’t happen again. “This was a very difficult situation as we look back on it,” he adds. “Once you get north of Fairbanks, the signs on the trucks tend to blur and they’re all kind of looking out for each other. They’re careful. They’re safe. They all want to get home safely and we all want them to get home safely.” R

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Julie Stricker is a journalist living near Fairbanks. www.akbizmag.com

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly



Creating Jobs in Alaska’s Mining Industry

Joe Cook Sr., a NANA shareholder originally from Noorvik, works at Red Dog Mine as an electrician. Photo by Chris Arend/ Courtesy of NANA


Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

Exploration and development activity plays a huge role By Tasha Anderson


ccording to a report by the Alaska Miners Association, in 2014 there were 4,400 mining jobs in Alaska and 8,700 direct and indirect jobs attributed to the Alaska Mining industry providing $620 million in direct and indirect payroll with an average annual wage of $100,000. Mining is a year-round industry, providing steady, long-term job opportunities. “Mining is a really high-potential industry on the horizon,” says Mike Heatwole, VP of public affairs for Pebble Ltd. Partnership. Alaska Miners Association Deputy Director Alicia Amberg says, “Mining is poised to play a major role in the state’s economy, more than it does today. At present there is considerable exploration and development activity occurring in many areas of the state, led by eight major advanced exploration projects.”


Advanced Exploration Projects

The Pebble Mine deposit is located 200 miles southwest of Anchorage and more than 120 miles from Bristol Bay. It is principally a copper deposit, but also has gold, molybdenum, and silver. According to Heatwole, once the mine has been constructed, it’s estimated that it will provide approximately 1,000 direct positions. PacRim Coal LP is designing the Chuitna Coal Project, located approximately twelve miles northwest of the village of Tyonek, forty-five miles west of Anchorage on the west side of Cook Inlet. As its name indicates, it’s a coal mine. The Chuitna project is currently in the permitting process, according to the Alaska Miners Association, and is projected to provide 300 to 350 production positions. Donlin Gold mine is “one of the largest known undeveloped gold deposits in the world,” according to Donlin Gold’s website. It will be an open-pit gold mine. The Donlin Gold project is located ten miles north of Crooked Creek Village, approximately fiftythree miles northeast of Aniak, on lands leased from the Kuskokwim Corporation and Calista Corporation. Currently in the permitting process, it’s estimated the mine will provide up to 1,400 production jobs. International Tower Hill Mines Ltd. owns 100 percent interest in the Livengood Gold

Project, a proposed gold mine located seventy miles northwest of Fairbanks. It is estimated the mine will create 450 production jobs. The Niblack Project is an initiative of Healtherdale Resources, Inc. Located on Prince of Wales Island, Niblack would be an underground copper, gold, zinc, and silver mine. The mine will potentially provide 200 jobs between the mine and the mill. Constantine Metal Resources Ltd. is currently doing exploration at the Palmer Project, located in the panhandle approximately one mile from the Haines Highway. The Palmer Project has copper, zinc, gold, and silver resources; it’s estimated it could provide 300 production positions. The Wishbone Hill Mine is owned by Usibelli, which has held permits for the site since the 1990s, renewing those permits most recently in 2011. The company says that future mining will depend on feasibility and favorable world energy market conditions. Wishbone Hill is located approximately forty miles northeast of Anchorage and ten miles northeast of Palmer. If opened, it could provide a range of 75 to 125 positions. The Bokan-Dotson Ridge Rare Earth Project is 100 percent owned by Ucore Rare Metals, Inc. It is also located on Prince of Wales Island, thirty-seven miles southwest of Ketchikan. Randy MacGillivray, director of

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


Environment and Community Relations for Ucore, says the rare earth elements project would employ approximately 190 workers.

Building a Mine

Amberg says, “In addition to the actual production jobs in mines, the construction and reclamation phases [of mine development] are also notable for employment, as well as the trickle down impact should a road, pipeline, power plant, etc. need to be built. Vendors, suppliers, and local businesses also see the employment and economic impact when a mine goes into construction and operation. Mining operations strive to hire locally, as many are in remote locations, and the economic benefits are win-win for both the company and the community.” While mineral deposits occur naturally, mines and mining facilities do not. The opportunities for employment at any of the projects extend far beyond actual on-site, mine positions. MacGillivray says that the Bokan-Dotson project has two planned phases, the first of which is construction. “That

strictly an economic perspective.” Pebble’s Phase I, also the construction phase, would create 2,525 direct jobs with an average wage of $70,000 a year; 925 indirect jobs, with an average wage of $65,000 a year; and 1,275 induced jobs (an estimate of the jobs created by direct and indirect workers spending portions of their income in the economy) with an average wage of $39,000 per year, according to a 2013 study prepared for Pebble Ltd. Partnership by IHS. Pebble’s Phase II is projected to have a life of approximately twenty years; in addition to the 915 direct potential jobs, it’s estimated the number of indirect jobs would be 1,175 with 800 induced jobs.

Long-Term Workforce

One of the benefits of establishing mines in Alaska is that they’re long-term projects with a steady workforce. Bill Brophy, Usibelli’s VP of Customer Relations, says, “Our turnover is relatively small and our retention levels are extremely long. Our average number of years [that employees have been with Usi-

phases, but both companies say that the deposits have potential beyond those phases. For Pebble, “the rough estimates are anywhere from eighty to one hundred years of mining potential,” Heatwole says.


In order for a mine to have a long, profitable life, a well-trained and efficient workforce is vital. Red Dog Mine, a zinc and lead mine located ninety miles north of Kotzebue, has been in operation since 1989. In 2010, mining within the Main Deposit at Red Dog came to an end, but a new phase of work is taking place in the Aqqaluk Deposit, extending the mine’s operations until 2031. Red Dog is on land owned by NANA Regional Corporation, one of the thirteen Alaska Native Regional Corporations established by the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and is operated by Teck Alaska. In 2014, 561 NANA shareholders comprised more than half of the mine’s workforce and earned a total of $38 million in wages. Gia Hanna, vice president of Shareholder Relations, says that

“In addition to the actual production jobs in mines, the construction and reclamation phases [of mine development] are also notable for employment, as well as the trickle down impact should a road, pipeline, power plant, etc. need to be built. Vendors, suppliers, and local businesses also see the employment and economic impact when a mine goes into construction and operation. Mining operations strive to hire locally, as many are in remote locations, and the economic benefits are win-win for both the company and the community.”

—Alicia Amberg Deputy Director, Alaska Miners Association

would range from two hundred to three hundred people,” he says. The estimated capital cost of Phase I, building the mine and associated infrastructure, is $221 million, paying out $40 million in annual payroll. “The second phase would be the operation, the long-term, steady-state operation of the project; that’s approximately 190 workers during the projected eleven-year mine life, and that would be $20 million in annual payroll,” says MacGillivray. In addition to the mine’s direct operations, its estimated that the Bokan-Dotson Ridge project would create 150 indirect and induced jobs in Alaska, paying out an additional $8 million per year, according to a January 2013 report prepared by the McDowell Group, “Bokan Mountain Rare Earth Element Mine Impact Study.” Indirect jobs include transportation and other mine support services. Heatwole says the potential economic impact of the Pebble Mine is huge. “It’s not the same size as Shell development, for example, but for southcentral and southwest Alaska, it’s potentially transformative from 54

belli] right now is fourteen. People come to work at Usibelli Coal Mine and they stay forever. We have one employee with more than forty years and a total of 28 employees [as of January 2015] with more than twenty years’ experience working at Usibelli.” Usibelli has approximately 115 employees, so approximately a quarter of the mine’s workforce has been there for two decades. Usibelli isn’t expecting their employee pool to shrink or grow in the near future; Brophy says that this year “our export market has been relatively flat and declined a little bit,” but the loss is offset by an opportunity to provide coal to Healy Unit 2, which at press time was anticipated to begin burning coal in July. “The decline in export market and the increase for Golden Valley Electric [which operates the Healy plant] as one of our customers stabilized our workforce,” Brophy says. The longevity of many Alaska mines allows for an experienced workforce to build. Pebble and Bokan-Dotson Ridge plan to initially file permits for the two initial

NANA’s focus on shareholder hire isn’t just a commitment; it is part of the 1982 agreement between NANA and Teck (originally Cominco). “The reason our region agreed to the mine had everything to do with employment opportunities for young people,” Hanna says. “We still have more to do, but everywhere you go at the mine, you see shareholders working. Additionally, there are many training programs in place that include trade apprentice, on-the-job training, and leadership development training opportunities.” The Alaska Miners Association partners with several training entities, according to Amberg. “In December 2014, we released an entirely industry funded Mining Workforce Development Plan, which identified key high priorities… Simultaneously, the AMA Workforce Development Committee has partnered with the University of Alaska to develop career pathways to priority occupations in the mining industry.” MacGillivray says that in terms of training, there are great resources locally. “The Ketchikan Indian community is build-

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com


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ing a training center right in Ketchikan, SSEATEC, or the Southern Southeast Alaska Technical Education Center… There’s a brand new vocational training facility in Klawock on Prince of Wale Island [Prince of Wales Vocational and Technical Education Center], and UAS [University of Alaska Southeast] has the Center for Mine Training that is located in Juneau. So there’s three local, Southeast vocational training facilities that we’ll be able to make use of for the project, and that’s a huge advantage for us.” Heatwole says a great training opportunity that they anticipate for the Pebble workforce would be Phase I of the mine. “We look to construction as a key training opportunity… a lot of the technical skills required in construction can be transferred over into operations and things like that.”

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Mining Jobs Aren’t Just at Large Mines Construction work as a training program is a significant example of how workers can move into a career in the mining industry. There is lots of work that takes place long before a mine is permitted and developed that can add to a workers skillset. According to NANA’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications Shelly Wozniak, “NovaCopper, NANA’s partner at the Upper Kobuk Minerals Projects announced that they have entered into a definitive arrangement with Sunward Resources, Ltd. to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Sunward. This acquisition provides NovaCopper with cash that will allow them to move forward with a summer season at the Arctic and Bornite sites in the Upper Kobuk.” The summer season will include engineering studies and “perhaps some drilling,” Wozniak says. This program is an opportunity to hire thirty to fifty employees on a local level. The Alaska Miners Association is also quick to point out that the mining industry isn’t concentrated in large hard-rock mines. “It’s important to note that the placer mining industry has some incredible economic and employment numbers. Placer mining employs roughly 1,700 people, 75 percent of which are Alaska residents, generating roughly $150 million in statewide economic activity. Many of these operations are small scale, family run mines with an average of four employees,” Amberg says. The mining industry in Alaska has incredible potential. As Heatwole says, “Mining in Alaska has an exciting future.” R

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Tasha Anderson is an Associate Editor at Alaska Business Monthly.

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Beneath the Surface of Alaska

Generalized North Slope Stratigraphic Column displaying oil and gas reservoirs and with associated accumulations. Exploring the strata petroleum geologists LITHOSTRATIGRAPHY





M.Y. B.P.


SOURCE: Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas




Generalized North Slope Stratigraphic Column displaying oil and gas reservoirs and associated accumulations. 58

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

By Kirsten Swann


itting in the shadow of the Fifth Avenue Mall, the single-story office building in the heart of Downtown Anchorage doesn’t look like much. But when Steve Davies walks through the doors, every day brings a new adventure. The building is home to the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC), an independent, quasi-judicial body tasked with overseeing oil and gas operations on state land. One of two senior petroleum geologists on the AOGCC staff, Davies works to conduct subsurface drilling and production operations around the state. It keeps him busy. The two AOGCC geologists oversee every permit to drill in Alaska, review proposed programs, and make sure operations comply with state regulations and Commission orders. “It’s fascinating, to be honest, because it’s such a wide spectrum of different projects,” Davies says. For Alaska’s petroleum geologists, discovery comes with the terrain. It’s a field of work that plays a key role in advancing energy development projects around the state. Geoscientists lead the search for new oil and gas reserves. They find ways to safely and efficiently tap existing reservoirs, all while protecting surrounding natural resources. At AOGCC, Davies’ job description varies from other geoscientists working for private companies. “When you work with a company, you’re focused on a single project or just a small set of projects,” he says. “But here … you get to see the full gamut of projects, both exploratory and development.” AOGCC has a broad, deeply rooted role in the state’s petroleum business. Established under state statute more than fifty years ago, its mission is “to protect the public interest in exploration and development of Alaska’s valuable oil, gas, and geothermal resources through the application of conservation practices designed to ensure greater ultimate recovery and the protection of health, safety, fresh ground waters, and the rights of all owners to recover their share of the resource.” Upholding that mission requires deep knowledge of things deep below the ground. Davies and his fellow senior petroleum geologist, Patricia Bettis, have combined decades of work experience in the field. They leverage scientific education, regulatory expertise, and AOGCC’s extensive information database to make decisions regarding petroleum projects in Alaska. AOGCC keeps information on nearly every single well in the state; between six www.akbizmag.com

thousand to seven thousand files. For a new exploratory project, the geologists pull all the data on the area and review it as part of AOGCC’s due diligence, Davies says. “We’ll make sure that the operators haven’t overlooked anything, and we quality check their work to make sure everything they’re doing is complete,” he says. “These operators we have up here—we’re very fortunate in that they’re very competent and very professional.” The job isn’t all oil and gas: The Commission is also concerned with water and works to protect it from contamination from drilling operations, Davies says. When AOGCC receives a new permit to drill, the geologists look to see whether there are any freshwater aquifers in the area and how deep they are. “And then we look at the casing program to make sure that that protects those aquifers from any potential contamination,” Davies says. The two petroleum geologists ensure operators set their surface casings correctly— above any sands that could deliver a kick or blowout—and use mud weights sufficient to prevent formation influx while drilling. Mud weight refers to the density of the fluid pumped down through the drill string. Drilling a well sometimes involves

traveling down through sealed and pressurized formations, and it’s important to keep the mud weight greater than any potential formation pressure, Davies says. If the mud weight isn’t heavy enough to withstand outside pressure, fluids—water, oil, or gas—will flow in from the surrounding formation. That’s a kick. A blowout happens when those fluids reach the surface. In the oil business’s earliest days, a blowout was a sign of success. They symbolized the discovery of a rich, untapped reservoir; they were memorialized on film. Today, blowouts are one of the catastrophic events petroleum geologists work to avoid. But preventing blowouts is a science Bettis calls “a great balance.” If the mud weight is too heavy, it can leech out and damage the surrounding formation, harming reservoir flow in the production stage. Fixing those problems costs time and money, roadblocks petroleum geologists work to avoid. Operators need mud weights to be just slightly overweight while drilling the various formations, Bettis says, and that makes area knowledge especially important. Advances in technology have come a long way, allowing operators to interpret pressures prior to drilling, but human experience is still vital.



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August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


That holds just as true in the private sector.

Human Experience Vital

At Petrotechnical Resources Alaska (PRA), employees rely on expertise amassed over decades. The company’s two managing partners have more than thirty-five years of combined professional experience. Many employees retired from long careers with major oil companies before joining the firm, according to managing partner Tom Walsh. It’s one of the assets that have helped the business into one of the state’s leading oil and gas consulting companies. “We work for just about everybody and we do just about everything,” says Walsh, a professional geophysicist. “I tell people that we look like a small independent oil company now.” Before joining PRA, Walsh himself worked for BP Exploration and Standard Alaska Production Co. Today, his firm offers a portfolio of services ranging from geoscience and engineering to operations management and petrophysical services. It works with small, independent companies who don’t have their own geoscience staff and embeds employees with large companies who need specialized help for a particular project. While the larger companies account for the majority of PRA’s rev-

enue, Walsh says, the smaller clients hold a special place in his heart. “Those roles are much more compelling to me because we have more impact,” he says. For a petroleum geoscientist, the end game is to drill wells. PRA has helped create a lot of those. The consulting firm has consistently been at the forefront of some of Alaska’s largest exploration and development projects. Several years ago, the company designed, permitted, and built five wells on the North Slope, a project that had “huge impact for the North Slope Borough,” Walsh says. PRA has completing mapping and well work at Prudhoe Bay, Kuparuk, and the Alpine development—one of the last major North Slope oilfields to come online. On the opposite end of the state, the geoscience firm has worked extensively with Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage, Alaska, providing subsurface planning and drilling design and construction management for the facility’s wells in Kenai. It’s currently working with Doyon Limited to advance exploration projects throughout the Interior Basin, according to PRA’s managing partner. “That’s been a really rewarding experience,” Walsh says. A prospect around Nenana appears particularly promising.

For that project, PRA reviewed gravity and magnetic data from two existing wells—remote-sensing data that reveals the configuration of a sedentary basin. It takes a lot of data and a lot of drilling to make a commercial-scale discovery, Walsh says. To make a discovery, petroleum geologists search for several things: a source rock capable of forming hydrocarbons, a reservoir rock to hold the petroleum, and an impermeable cap rock to form an oil and gas cap. Reservoir rock—sand or limestone or some other porous material—must be permeable enough to allow the flow of hydrocarbons to a producing well. In Nenana, PRA designed programs to interpret and map seismic data, then drilled and analyzed two new exploratory wells. Walsh says they’ll drill a fifth well this coming winter, and their hopes are high. A discovery there would be a major step for both the Alaska Native corporation and the region. Of course, when it comes to the petroleum industry, there’s no reward without risk. “Your chances of finding commercial hydrocarbons outside of a known discovery are very low,” Walsh says. “You’ve got to have a portfolio that allows you to drill two prospects, and by sheer statistics hopefully you’ll find hydrocarbon.”

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In most cases, he says, explorers find nothing but water. Finding hydrocarbons is one thing. Finding a commercial-scale reserve is another matter. It’s a matter of economics: The size of the discovery, marketability, and other economic factors all come into play. But if a viable reserve is found, Walsh says, “The benefits are significant.” Helping Alaska developers reap those benefits has grown PRA from a small firm of about five people into a prominent firm with approximately seventy-five employees. According to Walsh, the company is busier than ever. “We’ve just broadened to meet the needs of our client base,” the geophysicist says. Going forward, Walsh says, his company is working on a “significant” North Slope drilling project planned for 2016. The value of secrecy that surrounds many oilfield plans isn’t limited to private companies. AOGCC is also bound by confidentiality rules, barring its staff geologists from discussing the discoveries made across the state. One recent revelation: In June, Armstrong Oil & Gas announced “significant discoveries” within the North Slope’s Nanushuk Reservoir and Alpine Formation. Although additional drilling is needed, according to the oil company, two fields are in the process of being permitted for development. It’s no secret that Alaska’s oil and natural gas production has crashed since the industry’s earliest boom days. According to AOGCC data, the number has dropped from a high of more than 2 million barrels per day in the late 1980s to approximately 500,000 barrels per day today. The chart plots a steady course downward. Yet while production numbers fall, others continue to climb. Commission data shows a steady increase in the number of active wells and reservoirs from around 1985 onward. The number of approved permits also follows a jagged path upwards. In times like this, the science of petroleum geology becomes even more important.

Down and Out Drilling

Technological advances and scientific expertise help alleviate plummeting production numbers by making oil recovery more effective than ever. “The process is the same, it’s just the efficiency has increased,” Davies says. Merely glancing at one of the Commission’s many well maps shows the changes. Years ago, wells were drilled vertically and a 25 percent recovery rate was considered lucky. Nowadays, horizontal directional drilling and geosteering have opened new doors. There’s new technology for drilling laterwww.akbizmag.com

ally, Davies says. One Alaska company has drilled wells that go only about five thousand feet deep but stretch approximately twenty thousand feet out underground. Operators can now target a twenty-foot sand and stay within it for a mile or so, Bettis says. The technology allows operators to develop reservoirs from a single pad, using a well that branches off laterally in several different directions. “What that does is minimize the surface footprint, and it maximizes the developed area,” she says. “So it’s just a much more efficient way to drain a reservoir.” The process of Enhanced Oil Recovery, meanwhile, allows companies to squeeze even more out of existing reserves. The US Department of Energy recognizes three main types of commercially viable enhanced oil recovery: thermal recovery, gas injection, and chemical injection. Thermal recovery involves using heat to lower oil viscosity and improve reservoir flow. Gas injection, the most popular form of enhanced oil recovery in the United States, involves using gas injection to either boost reservoir pressure or lower oil viscosity. Chemical injection, rarely used, involves using polymers to lower surface tension and improve reservoir flow. BP is using enhanced oil recovery processes to recover an estimated 60 percent of crude oil from its Prudhoe Bay field, according to the company. New technologies are changing the game. For Alaska’s petroleum geologists, though, the end goal remains the same: drill more wells. That combination keeps it interesting. “I love to come here every day because it’s something new and different,” Davies says, sitting at a conference table in the AOGCC office one early June afternoon. “It’s a very dynamic environment here—priorities are always changing.” The first phone call of the day usually scrambles his to-do list. There are permits to review, records to track down, and data to be analyzed. The job is a combination of routine and the unexpected, he says, “And that’s what’s part of the challenge and also part of the fun.” For Bettis, job satisfaction comes with seeing development find success. She says permits to drill lead to exploratory wells, and with luck and the help of Alaska’s petroleum geologists, those exploratory wells will lead to new discoveries. She adds: “It’s fun to see the new operators who come into the state come up with new plays and see that come to production.” R Kirsten Swann is a freelance journalist based in Anchorage. August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly



Unconventional Oil Plays in Alaska New technology and better economics needed By Mike Bradner


t wasn’t so long ago that prominent Alaska politicians were claiming that unconventional oil—“heavy” oil, for example—was the solution to declining oil production and state oil revenues that were also declining. Politics played into this, too: Why worry about the big conventional, “legacy” fields and the rates of state taxes when there were billions of barrels of heavy and shale oil that could be exploited? That this could also be done by small independents, some who were touting the resource, made the continued presence of the big oil companies or the need for changes to state taxes for the older legacy fields no longer important. Or so the debate went. Things have turned out to be a lot more complicated, and there isn’t a lot being said about unconventional oil among politicians Milne Point production facility. © Calvin W. Hall / AlaskaStock.com


these days. Low oil prices isn’t the reason for this because problems were developing long before crude oil prices went south in late 2014. Consequently, the Alaska politicians who touted it have reined in their expectations and are no longer issuing press releases about it. Mainly, the difficulty is that actually producing unconventional oil has been beset by technical and economic problems. Companies are continuing to work on it, however—ConocoPhillips is now developing a new phase of the West Sak “viscous” oil in the Kuparuk River field, for example, and Hilcorp Energy, the new operator of the Milne Point field, is interested in renewing a test program run by BP in the large Ugnu formation, which is true “heavy” oil.

Large Resource

The resource is very large, however. The “oil-in-place” estimate for the large Ugnu

heavy oil formation has been put at 13 billion to 21 billion barrels by industry, while the viscous oil deposits that are being developed in the Kuparuk River, Milne Point, and Prudhoe Bay fields have been estimated at 5 billion to 6 billion barrels. However, what matters is how much of the oil-in-place can be commercially produced. Because of technical and economic problems it is currently estimated that about 15 percent to 20 percent of the viscous oil can be commercially produced from the oil in place and perhaps, someday, 5 percent to 10 percent of the Ugnu. However, the recoverable estimate for the Ugnu must really be put at zero for now. That’s because companies are currently working on ways to just produce the oil, to get it to flow, and are not now focused on producing it at a profit. Hopefully that will come later. Meanwhile, of the viscous oil that technically and economically can be produced, the levels of production have turned out

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

to be much more modest than were earlier hoped for. The main problem has been “water breakthrough” as the producing companies have tried to use waterflood, or injection of water, to force more of the oil to move. There have been problems with the water “channeling” through the rocks to the producing wells, bypassing the oil, which foils the entire purpose of the waterflood. The potential is still there—the oil locked in the reservoir rocks is a huge resource— but it’s taking longer to find ways to produce it at any significant scale. In recent years ConocoPhillips and BP have had good success with viscous oil, mitigating the waterflood breakthrough by slowing down the rate of injecting a miscible injectant, a mixture of natural gas liquids, along with a separate alternating injection of water and natural gas. That is reducing the viscosity of the oil, allowing it to move more easily.

Different Oil

What is unconventional oil? The term is not defined precisely and is used in different ways. Mostly, it’s used to describe oil that isn’t conventional; it is either physically different—viscous oil and heavy oil fit this category—or it could refer to oil from rocks that are different than conventional oil reservoirs. Shale oil and crude extracted from tight rock formations are examples of this. There are companies working on both of these potential resources on the North Slope. ConocoPhillips and BP are working these kinds of resources, too. Great Bear Petroleum, a small independent, is working on developing shale oil south of Prudhoe Bay, but this is taking longer than expected, and the company is concentratInvites you to join us for




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ing for now on conventional oil resources on its leases. Other small independents are working on shale oil too, such as Burgundy Exploration and 88 Energy, an Australian company. On the tight rock, Caelus Energy will attempt to commercially develop oil resources in the Torok formation, a lower-quality geological formation of tight rock that is widespread in that area and contains, potentially, a lot of oil. Oil from the Torok or the shale formations might be of good quality but its extraction may require unconventional and innovative production techniques. What is termed conventional or “light” oil is typically in the 25 degrees API gravity or higher, and this oil is often found in conventional underground reservoirs of a porous rock, like sandstone. The large conventional oil fields of the slope, like the Prudhoe Bay, Kuparuk River, and Alpine fields, are of this type. API gravity measurements, an American Petroleum Institute index of the “gravity,” or weight, of oil (expressed in “degrees” of API gravity) are often used as a proxy for oil quality, although the quality issue is more complicated in reality. It works as a kind of convenient shorthand, however. In contrast, the “viscous” oils, found in Kuparuk, Milne Point, and Prudhoe fields, are typically in the range of 19 degrees. However the Ugnu oil, a true “heavy” oil, is 10 degrees to 15 degrees.


Where does viscous and heavy oil come from? How are they formed? Generally, these oils have the same sources as the conventional oil—the oilgenerating shale rocks that lie south of the Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk River fields. Hydrocarbons seeped up from the shales through rocks over geologic time—millions of years—and some of it became trapped in the sandstone formations that became the big conventional oil-producing fields we know today. However, a good bit of it migrated differently, along faults and other pathways, to bypass the deeper sandstone traps and instead accumulate at shallower levels, in most cases above the big conventional fields. Here temperatures were cooler and the oil became thicker, or viscous. This is essentially how the Schrader Bluff viscous oil formations, of which the West Sak is a part, were formed. Viscous oil is similar in general chemical makeup to conventional oil but it is just colder, thicker, and more difficult to produce (and there are other problems as well). For the true heavy oil in the Ugnu, the story is similar except that this oil bypassed

the deeper geologic traps and accumulated at even shallower levels, much of it right under the permafrost, and some of it even in the permafrost. Permafrost is the permanently-frozen layer of rock that extends to about two thousand feet, in most places, below the surface of the North Slope. In addition to being colder—and some frozen into the permafrost—the Ugnu oil has also been altered by bacterial action that can occur at shallower levels, so some of the lighter, more volatile (and valuable) parts of the oil have been, in effect, consumed by the bacteria. What is left is comprised of the heavier ends of the hydrocarbon molecules, which are less valuable.

Development Problems

The characteristics of these oils present two commercial problems that face viscous and heavy oil development. First, this oil not only costs more to produce but also sells at a discount to refiners. What actually happens is that these oils are blended with conventional oil in TAPS (Trans Alaska Pipeline System), which results in the overall value of the blended crude stream in TAPS being slightly degraded by the lower-quality oil. The difference in value is adjusted for in the Quality Bank, an accounting mechanism used by TAPS shippers and the state to settle out the differences in payments to producers. Although the oils are mixed in the oil pipeline, the bottom line to the producer is the same—the producer is paid less for the viscous oil (there is no heavy oil production yet). A second issue is that the viscous oil (and, in the future, heavy oil) will not flow by itself in TAPS. It must be mixed with conventional light oil, on almost a one-toone ratio. That means there must always be an amount of conventional oil produced on the slope that at least equals whatever amount of unconventional oil is produced. This concerns state and industry officials who see a long-term, continued decline of conventional oil, which could have the effect of limiting the potential for unconventional oil. A technical solution to this could be the use of chemicals and other means to lighten the unconventional oil and make it flow, and this is now done in Alberta (the industry jargon is using “enhancers”), but this adds costs. Not all unconventional oil will have flow problems, however. If oil can be extracted from shale its flow characteristics may be similar to conventional oil, companies working on prospective Alaska shale oil projects have said. Also, oil from tight rock, like the Torok formation west of the Kuparuk River field, behaves more like conventional light oil.

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com



For viscous oil the more important issue, as with the heavy oil at Ugnu, is not so much the actual quality or the chemical makeup as the viscosity, or thickness, of the fluids and the ability to flow. If the oil flows too slowly or needs a mechanical boost of some kind (which adds costs) the economics can be problematic. West Sak oil, properly called “viscous” oil because of its thickness, will flow, but it is like maple syrup. The issue is really whether it can be produced in enough volumes to pay the cost of the wells and make a profit. With Ugnu the issue is getting the stuff to flow at all. Some of it—now frozen—would have to be thawed. For what can technically flow from wells, which is the viscous oil for now, the flow rates in the wells are critical. Many of the early West Sak wells, for example, flowed at rates of around two hundred barrels per day, which was considered too low to be economic. Increasing the daily flow-rates was, and remains, a critical goal, and ConocoPhillips and BP (at the Schrader Bluff deposit at Milne) have developed technologies to do that with some degree of success. One technological step was the use of multi-lateral horizontal wells, or multiple underground wells drilled off one well to the surface. This technique was first developed to reach untapped pockets of oil remaining in the large conventional fields of the slope and then adapted to the shallower viscous oil formations. That has been a technical challenge for the drillers, too, because drilling high-angle and horizontal wells at shallower levels is difficult. However, it has been successful and has allowed the aggregate rates from the wells, with the added benefit of the horizontal well legs (which have more exposure to reservoir rock), to overcome the cost problems and lower flow rates.

Unconsolidated Rocks

There is one other problem with the West Sak viscous oil formation in the Kuparuk field and the Schrader Bluff formation in the Milne Point field (similar to West Sak). It is that the sandstone reservoir rocks are “unconsolidated,” meaning that they break apart and crumble easily, releasing sand into the wells. This is a serious problem because the sand can plug up the small holes that allow oil fluids into the wells and can corrode or damage well equipment like pumps. Some of the sand can rise to the surface mixed with oil. It must be removed at the surface, but can cause more problems in the oil and gas processing facilities. The processing plants in the Kuparuk field 66

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

that process West Sak viscous oil and the facilities in Milne Point that process Schrader Bluff viscous oil were designed to handle conventional light oil. The viscous oil, and the sand, has been a problem in some of these facilities. Designing a dedicated process plant for viscous oil can solve these problems, and that has been done at the Nikaitchuq field north of Kuparuk, but a dedicated plant can’t yet be justified in the two large fields where viscous oil is also produced. Meanwhile, a lot of effort has gone into research on ways to keep the sand out of these wells—various filters and “gravel packs” have been experimented with—and while no perfect solution has been found, steady improvements have been made.

Low Flow

The oil in the Ugnu formation, however, is even shallower, thicker, and colder than West Sak or Schrader Bluff viscous oil, and despite great efforts BP and ConocoPhillips, both which have Ugnu oil on their leases, have yet to find ways of getting it to flow in any significant quantities, much less quantities sufficient to make the wells economical. BP has been the most aggressive, experimenting with a system in the Ugnu oil in Milne Point known as the Cold Heavy Oil Production System, or CHOPS, a technique

borrowed from Alberta, where it is now used with heavy oil. A pilot production program was implemented using CHOPS as well as other approaches, with some success. It was discontinued by BP, however. Hilcorp, which purchased a 50 percent interest in Milne Point in late 2014 and is now field operator, has indicated an interest is resuming work with CHOPS at a limited scale, state officials have said. The CHOPS technology uses a progressive cavity pump driven from the surface. The wells are pumped aggressively to encourage sand production, bringing the oil, and the sand, to the surface. BP designed a special test process facility to separate the oil and sand at the surface. Unlike viscous oil, where the effort has been to keep the sand out of a well that uses pumps to handle fluid, sand production is encouraged in the CHOPS approach. That’s because the fallout of the sand into the well-bore opens up channels, or “wormholes” in industry jargon, in the loose rock that allow the heavy oil to flow. The principle is that as more sand is extracted, the underground wormhole network expands. The idea worked in Alberta and BP’s tests showed it can work on the North Slope, too. Some of the Ugnu well rates achieved in BP’s tests were encouraging—up to six hun-

dred barrels a day. BP suspended the program to work on mechanical problems that had developed with the auger device during the test, which included testing in a horizontal production well. The auger device suffered corrosion and other damage when used in the horizontal section of the well. Vertical production wells were tested too. The program was not restarted, although Hilcorp may pick up where BP left off. The problem that surfaced in BP’s production test was that CHOPS, as a mechanical procedure, needed regular maintenance which was affordable in Alberta but much less so on the North Slope, where costs for drill rigs and other equipment are high. This isn’t just a problem for heavy and viscous oil. Shale oil production, if done as in the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale plays, would likely not be economic on the North Slope because costs are too high. Innovations in technology and development planning will be needed to lower costs. The promise is clearly there. Huge inplace resources offer big gains if new technologies can solve technical issues and lower costs. It will take focused effort, however.R Mike Bradner is publisher of the Alaska Legislative Digest.

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August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly



Mobility Service Providers Offer an Array of Wireless Solutions


By Tracy Barbour

erhaps nowhere else in the country do businesses appreciate mobility services more than in Alaska, with its more than six hundred thousand square miles encompassing metropolitan areas, rural communities, and remote villages. Mobile communications allow users to interact—regardless of the location—without visible wires, using a host of portable devices like laptops, cell phones, smartphones, satellite phones, two-way radios, tablets, phablets, iPods, and even Kindles. Alaska’s telecommunications and technology companies offer a variety of solutions to help employees stay connected while they’re on the go. Here’s a summary of some of these mobility service providers, their offerings, and approaches to doing business. 68

Verizon Communications Customers of Verizon Communications, Inc. can connect to the 4G LTE (fourthgeneration Long Term Evolution) network through smartphones, tablets, jetpacks, and routers, plus a wide variety of intelligent sensors and other connected devices. Verizon, the nation’s largest wireless company, is the first and only carrier in Alaska to offer high-definition voice and video calling on all smartphones, according to Demian Voiles, Verizon VP for Alaska. And with one click from their contact list, customers can turn an HD voice call into a video call. “With the new advanced calling features, voice calls are delivered over Verizon’s 4G LTE network, instead of an old voice network. You need to hear HD voice to understand the difference,” Voiles says. One of the most popular Verizon solu-

tions in Alaska is business continuity, including wireless failover. This solution, which starts at $10 a month, provides wireless Internet backup for mission-critical services during storm-related outages. Customers can also leverage Verizon’s fleet monitoring services to improve efficiency and security. Verizon Networkfleet’s proprietary GPS vehicle tracking and engine diagnostic technologies provide accurate and timely data on motion, temperature, tank levels, pressure, and more. “With both cellular and satellite options, owners receive near-constant updates on the health of their fleet and assets in the field,” Voiles says. Verizon also has innovations to help companies improve communication efficiency and enable better device management for IT professionals. For instance, Push to Talk Plus service gives customers the ability to communicate instantly one-to-one or with

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

a group of team members, co-workers, or clients over 4G LTE or Wi-Fi while enjoying a faster connection and less latency. The company is also in the pilot stage with a Verizon Mobile Device Enrollment program that will enable customers to enroll all Apple devices purchased from Verizon into Apple’s Device Enrollment Program. Apple’s program is a value-added service that simplifies the mobile device management process to help businesses, schools, and other organizations easily deploy and manage iPads and iPhones. IT professionals can also leverage Verizon’s new Mobile Device Management tool. This solution integrates enterprise firmware “over the air” management and device diagnostics into a single, unified, and intuitive customer experience. “The platform offers a cost-effective way to achieve business continuity without any investment in hardware and provides access to technical data about devices, avoiding costly employee downtime and IT troubleshooting efforts,” Voiles says.


AT&T, Inc. is helping Alaskans stay connected through an array of wireless, high-speed Internet, voice, and cloud-based services. In Alaska, AT&T has five hundred employees, thirteen company-owned retail locations,


and many other authorized dealership retail stores. “We’re helping people mobilize their worlds with state-of-the-art communications, entertainment services, and amazing innovations like connected cars and devices for homes, offices, and points in between,” says Amy Merchant, Business Solutions, AT&T. “And businesses in Alaska are serving their customers better with AT&T’s mobility and highly secure cloud solutions.” When it comes to mobility services, AT&T offers the whole package-including an eight-member mobility team, according to Merchant. In addition to using AT&T’s reliable 4G LTE network, business customers can capitalize on applications such as Fleet Management, Point of Sale, Conferencing Solutions, and Microsoft Office 365 cloud technology. AT&T also offers a portfolio of devices, non-contract purchase options, and mobile share plans. AT&T’s most popular services—and the ones that are helping Alaska businesses become more productive and efficient—are Microsoft Office 365, priced from $4 to $20 per seat per month; Mobile Device Management, starting at $9.99 per seat each month; Fleet & Asset Tracking services, starting at $15.00 a month per device, plus a one-time equipment fee; and Office@Hand, starting at $56 per user (two-seat minimum required).

AT&T also automates time-critical and resource-intensive business processes into its mobile cloud to offer a number of solutions. Services like AT&T Enhanced Pushto-Talk make it easier for mobile workers in any industry to communicate with each other. AT&T Business Messaging provides SMS-based mass texting capabilities with benefits for field service, dispatch, and business continuity requirements. AT&T Workforce Management can help companies make real-time decisions about their mobile operations, saving time and increasing productivity. And field workers, such as long-haul, private, and commercial truck drivers, can access near real-time information on the status of deployed vehicles and equipment with AT&T Fleet Management Solutions. AT&T is the largest wireless service provider in Alaska, and its investment in the local wireless network continues to be a priority, Merchant says. “We’ve been a member of the Alaska community for approximately twenty years and invested millions of dollars to deliver a finely-tuned network throughout the state, must-have devices, and great customer experience,” she says. AT&T invested nearly $200 million in its network in Alaska between 2012 through 2014, driving a wide range of upgrades to reliability, coverage, speed, and performance

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


for customers. In 2014, the company made more than fifty network upgrades in Alaska.


The largest Alaska-based telecommunications company, GCI offers a wide assortment of voice, video, and data communication services. With more than two thousand employees it serves nearly 239,000 wireless subscribers, according to Gregory Schlabaugh, senior manager, commercial product marketing. The company’s footprint touches more than two hundred communities, and its network covers 95 percent of the state’s population. GCI is continuing to invest in its network in Alaska. The company recently expanded its 4G LTE network to the MatanuskaSusitna Valley, with plans to launch on the Kenai Peninsula in July, Schlabaugh says. He adds: “Later this year, we’re bringing blazing-fast 4G LTE to Ketchikan and Kodiak. In rural Alaska, GCI is bringing 3G to another twenty-nine locations this year. Next year, another seventeen rural communities are on the list to get 3G or better.” Schlabaugh says GCI differentiates itself by providing dependable local service and support. “When you pick up the phone and call us, you’re talking to another Alaskan,” he says. “We’ve got thirty-eight service locations where anyone can walk in and have

a conversation about what’s the best mobility service for them.” GCI is proud to provide businesses with popular, iconic devices like iPhones. It also recently began offering rugged phones from Caterpillar—the Cat S50 smartphone and Cat B100 standard cell phone. Both are ideal for companies with employees who work in tough environments and need durable devices. Business customers of GCI can also take advantage of Simply Share, a series of rate plans with unlimited calling and texting. Each option also comes with a large bucket of data that can be shared among employees’ devices. The plans start at $15 a month for the data, plus as low as $10 a month per device. “Our customers are loving it,” Schlabaugh says. “They’re saving money off their invoices and saving headaches from not having to manage different plans with their employees.” Another popular option is GCI’s bring your own device plans. It allows customers who come with their own device—or who purchase a phone outright—to save up to $30 a month. GCI is also helping businesses integrate laptops, smartphones, and other mobile devices into their private network. This makes the devices appear to pass into the customer’s network, which results in added security and easier management. “It’s like

taking a device you have outside your environment and plugging into a connection inside your office,” Schlabaugh says. Another area of increased interest among GCI customers is machine-to-machine connectivity. GCI’s FleetTRAQ service is a prime example. It enables businesses to use GPS technology to better manage and improve the safety of their vehicle fleet and mobile workforce. FleetTRAQ Basic allows for the real-time fleet tracking of vehicles, historical reports, and access to standard vehicle information. It provides alerts based on engine trouble codes, engine idle time, VIN changes, and more detailed reporting. FleetTRAQ Mobile Worker—which requires the use of a smartphone—offers all the basic functionality, along with work order management features. FleetTRAQ Basic costs $12.99 a month, while FleetTRAQ Mobile Worker runs $24.99.

Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative The Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative (ASTAC), Inc., headquartered in Anchorage, provides telecommunications services to the residents of the North Slope region. A full-service cellular company with two retail locations in Anchorage and Barrow, ASTAC delivers wireless services in eight of the region’s traditional villages in Barrow,



Gary Pickus,



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above Eni Petroleum, Spy Island, March 2011 top right Deballasting after barge offload, West Dock, August 2011

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Wainwright, Atqasuk, Anaktuvuk Pass, Nuiqsut, Kaktovik, Point Hope, and Point Lay and at the petroleum industry and production complex at Deadhorse-Prudhoe Bay. ASTAC also provides local and long distance service, Internet, and data services. It offers a variety of competitive and featurerich voice and data offerings, with voice plans starting at $19.99 a month. ASTAC distinguishes its service by leveraging all its assets, including 24/7 manpower—or boots on the ground—on-site, highly trained technical resources and experience operating on the North Slope since 1981, according to ASTAC Directof of Operations Jens Laipenieks. “The ASTAC wireless network utilizes 850 Mhz (megahertz) spectrum, which provides superior coverage and building penetration than that of our competitors,” Laipenieks says. “ASTAC wireless coverage typically extends over fifteen miles and further over the waters of the Arctic Ocean.” Laipenieks adds that ASTAC also has 700 MHz licensed spectrum available for nomadic data applications and coverage off the wired network, which provides greater reliability through less interference. Recently, ASTAC signed a long-term strategic agreement with AT&T to enhance its wireless service on the North Slope. The cooperative is working to upgrade all seven existing Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay sites with Ericsson HSPA+ (3.5G) base stations and plans to add four additional sites in the Kuparuk field before year end. The new ASTAC network, according to Laipenieks, will provide an exceptional customer experience, faster data speeds, and broad coverage by utilizing the latest radio technology available. “In the longer term, this evolution will expand to other ASTAC-served communities,” she says. “The agreement ensures a lockstep evolution with AT&T to LTE and VoLTE technology.”

OTZ Telephone Cooperative

OTZ Telephone Cooperative, Inc. is a member-owned entity that provides telephone, cellular, and Internet services throughout the Northwest Arctic region. The cooperative serves approximately four thousand residential and business customers and employs fortypeople. Currently, OTZ offers 2G wireless coverage to Kotzebue, Selawik, and Noorvik. OTZ cell service provides a twentymile safety umbrella around the communities it serves, according to CEO Doug Neal. Neal says customers can count on OTZ for cell phones that are compatible with LTE technology, reliable voice and text messaging, and excellent customer service and support. One of the most popular wireless plans for its business customers is Nationwide 2000, which offers a variety of features for less than $50 a month. www.akbizmag.com

Next year, OTZ customers can look forward to a new fiber optic cable spur landing planned for Kotzebue. The spur will run from a main fiber line being laid by Canadian telecommunications company Arctic Fibre. Anchorage-based Quintillion Networks will serve as the “middle mile” provider who will link the fiber optic pipeline to local telecommunications companies in Nome, Kotzebue, and other communities in the Bering Strait and along the North Slope. Once completed, the spur could bring a number of enhancements, including high-speed broadband Internet service for Kotzebue and other communities in northwest Alaska.


TelAlaska is a statewide, full-service telecommunications provider with roots established in rural Alaska more than forty years ago. Its offerings include local, long distance, and cellular phone service; advanced data services; DSL and cable modem Internet services; cable television; and wireless Internet services. Headquartered in Anchorage, TelAlaska has customer service and operations sites in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, Seward, and Nome. “I think our customers appreciate our local presence,” says Marketing Manager Celine Kaplan. ‘We’re always available if something goes wrong.” President and General Manager Dave Goggins emphasizes that TelAlaska has always been very customer-oriented. “We can offer big-company services, but we still maintain a small-company demeanor,” he says. “We have personal relationships with our customers. They’re not just a number to us. We care about the services we provide them.” While TelAlaska has historically focused on serving consumers, it also offers affordable services that can benefit businesses. For instance, with the Local and Beyond cell phone plan, a company can pay about $35 a month and add up to three additional lines for $10 each. “That’s a very economical way to get your small business set up for cell phones,” Kaplan says. Over the past few years, TelAlaska has been working on building out its network to enhance the speed and availability of its services. “We pretty much have a basic 2G network, but we’ve upgraded that to 3G in Unalaska and Dutch Harbor,” Goggins says. “We’ll be adding 3G in Sandpoint and King Cove this year, as well as to one other location.” Later this year, TelAlaska is planning to strengthen its cell phone plans. For example, as part of the enhancements, it’s hoping to offer plans without caps or limit usages for roaming.  R Tracy Barbour is a former Alaskan. August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly



LEED Sets a Rising Bar for Efficient Buildings By Will Swagel

The CIRI Fireweed Business Center. Š KenGrahamPhotography.com


Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com


atlian Street is a narrow, half-mile stretch of 15-mph road along the Sitka waterfront, lined with harbors, fish processing plants, and cold storage facilities. It’s the oldest part of town, named after a hammer-wielding Tlingit war hero, who fought against the Russian takeover in 1804. Katlian Street is adjacent to an area of old homes that some people still call the Indian Village. The Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s main office is located on Katlian Street. The headquarters of the tribally-designated Baranof Island Housing Authority (BIHA) is a few blocks south of the main tribal offices. BIHA provides more than one hundred Sitka families with affordable homes and apartments, many of which BIHA built for them. Katlian Street may be the oldest part of town, but BIHA’s headquarters is an example of the new awareness in building energy-efficient structures that one Alaska architect calls “high performance” buildings. BIHA’s building was designed by Juneau architects Jenson Yorba Lott, Inc. BIHA’s headquarters is the only building in Sitka to receive a coveted certification from LEED, the acronym for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. LEED is the most widely-used “green building” rating system in the world. It is administered by the US Green Building Council

(leed.usgbc.org) in order to distinguish those buildings that are truly built to green standards from ones that may only claim to be. LEED awards points to projects, based on things such as using sustainable materials, the efficiency of heating and cooling systems, indoor air quality and reducing the amount of construction waste, and even the availability of public transportation. Depending on the level of commitment, projects can achieve a basic certification or higher Silver, Gold, or Platinum status. BIHA’s Katlian Street headquarters received some of its LEED points for “water-efficient landscaping.” Sitka gets one hundred inches of rain per year, so the points were not for saving water. Instead, they were awarded for BIHA’s method of cleaning the oily runoff from their parking lot and roof, before the water is discharged into the ocean. Along the south side of BIHA’s building runs what looks like a garden of irises, ferns, and small maples. A trough down the center of the garden carries the runoff from the parking lot and roof through a pipe and then through the roots of reed grass and sedges, which filter the water. The partially-cleaned water then goes through an oil/water separator and the oil goes to a storage sump to be disposed of later. Only then is the water discharged. The garden sits beside soaring windows

that provide lots of natural light into the building, making it more pleasant for workers and lowering lighting and heating bills— garnering more LEED points. BIHA’s Development Coordinator Cliff Richter says all this and similar investments added significantly to construction costs, but he was confident they would pay off in the long run. “Things that sort of make sense on a small project like ours, you could see how they would really make sense on a large project like a high-rise building,” he says.

High-Rise Controls

A high-rise building such as CIRI’s new flagship Fireweed Business Center on Fireweed Lane in Anchorage, which is now accepting tenants. Tenants there are offered plenty of natural light and solar gain. But when the specific angles found in northern latitudes create a glaring afternoon sun, the tenants can control the opacity of their windows. “It’s called `dynamic glass,’” says James Dougherty of RIM Architects. RIM led the team who designed the building. “On a very sunny day, they can turn their windows into sunglasses and darken them so only approximately 5 percent of the sun’s energy comes through,” he says. The windows still provide excellent insulation.

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August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


Dougherty says that the common solution to the sun’s glare in the past had been to install adjustable blinds that block the view entirely and have an uneven appearance that mars the aesthetic lines of the building. “And if you don’t have blinds, people start taping cardboard and paper over the windows,” he says. The Fireweed Center incorporates a variant refrigerant flow heating/cooling and ventilation systems that use sophisticated controls to move heat from an overheated part of the building to an area that needs heat. Innovative solutions to light and ventilation issues are just two of the many features of the Fireweed building that are expected

to gain points toward LEED certification. Dougherty is confident the project will receive at least a Silver LEED rating. On a list of the LEED certified buildings in Alaska, most of them are owned by federal, state, or local governments. LEED got an early boost by the government taking up the standards to encourage sustainability and energy efficiency. But more and more private companies like CIRI or nonprofits like BIHA are finding the standards are a good fit for them. Dougherty reported a decided shift in builders’ thinking in the past few years. He said during the construction of the transAlaska oil pipeline and some years after,

many buildings were put up cheaply and quickly, rather than for the long haul. These days, owners are realizing that the initial construction costs mean less than operational costs when measured against the life of the building. A 30 percent savings in utility costs over several decades can be significant.

LEED Buildings in Alaska Platinum

 Eielson Visitors Center, Denali National Park  Cold Climate Housing Research Center Residence, Fairbanks


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 Alaska Railroad Freight Shed, Anchorage  Chester Valley Elementary School, Anchorage  Chevron Tenant Improvement, Anchorage  JL Tower, Anchorage  Barrow Weather Service Office, Barrow  Denali National Park Entrance Area, Denali National Park  Vehicle Maintenance Facility (FTW336C), Fort Wainwright  Warrior In Transition Complex (FTW350), Fort Wainwright  Evergreen Building, Juneau  KICHA Elder Housing, Ketchikan  Annette Island Weather Service, Metlakatla  Machetanz Elementary School, Palmer  Susitna Valley Jr.-Sr. High School, Talkeetna


 Anchorage Museum, Anchorage  Kohl’s Anchorage, Anchorage  Haines Assisted Living, Haines  Glacier Valley Elementary Renovation, Juneau  Harborview Elementary Renovation, Juneau  Kenai Readiness Center, Kenai  Kodiak Police Station, Kodiak  West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, Palmer  Baranof Island Housing Authority Headquarters, Sitka

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

SOURCE: greenbuildingwire.com/LEED-certified-building-AK


“The equation says that—over its life span—up to 85 percent of the cost of a building is its operation,” Dougherty says, with only 15 percent for initial construction. Further, companies can expect a workforce that is happier and more productive when the indoor environment is healthy and comfortable. “You spend $12 million on a building,” Dougherty says. “Think of what the payrolls are for all the people who will occupy that building. For reduced absenteeism—for employees to want to come to work in the morning—that can pay big dividends.” He says for about ten years now private developers have been looking at LEED systems as a corporate value and also something that could attract tenants who want to make a statement about their commitment to sustainability. Many of the oil and other large companies, for instance, are very interested in trying to have sustainable office space, he says. Tenants who are interesting in pursuing a LEED certification for their workplace have a leg up when the core-and-shell of their building is LEED certified. “You would think that an environmental organization would be at the cutting edge, but what we’ve actually seen is a lot of the larger corporations and business of all types are carrying the banner for LEED,” says Dough-

erty. “Many of the new buildings that’s we’ve done—with the tenants included—have been consistent in developing to a LEED standard.” Dougherty says RIM’s experience gaining LEED certification for the JL Tower and Centerpoint West projects were used in the Fireweed Business Center. As the years have passed, many manufacturers of green building materials—such as low-emission paints and sustainably-sourced lumber—have made LEED compatible products more available, even made them the new standard. But LEED is responding by raising the bar. “LEED is trying to stay ahead of the game. The `L’ stands for Leadership. Each generation of LEED is more challenging,” Dougherty says.

Green Brand

Architect Paul Voelckers, the owner of MRV Architects in Juneau, also reported a high increase in the last decade in builders’ awareness of the need for structures to be sustainable and efficient. So widespread is the sustainability concept now, says Voelckers, that there is a danger of people making excessive claims for building systems that don’t ultimately perform, which some call “greenwashing.” Going for a formal LEED certification can help to guard against such greenwashing, he says.

Voelckers’ firm has participated in at least ten projects that have obtained LEED certification or are in the process of doing so. These include a research lab and office for the USDA Forest Service and the Sealaska Heritage Institute in Juneau. They are also working with University of Alaska students to design a LEED-certified residence hall. It would be the first University of Alaska LEED building in the state, Voelckers says. Gaining the certification requires meticulous recordkeeping. Certification also requires that a sophisticated energy modeling process be done in order to predict how well the building will perform. This modeling is usually done by a third-party expert engineer—and can be expensive. “There’s a sort of discipline that makes it worthwhile to go through the whole LEED process,” Voelckers says. “[Builders] can say, `Well, we used all the best principles,’ but that means things might get simplified or compromised.” Besides the real life cost savings, LEED can enhance the brand of companies or agencies. This came into play when Voelckers’ firm renovated their own building to LEED Silver standards in 2008. He said early plans were to use LEED-type building techniques, but not necessarily pursue formal certification—a sometimes


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arduous process. “And we sort of paused and said, `What sort of example does that set?’ Maybe we’re a little mission-driven, too.” MRV’s renovated building started as a wood-frame structure built in the 1960s. Rigid insulation and triple glazed windows were installed. Voelckers is a believer in all-electric heating. The project also gained points for its efficient lighting, heating, and ventilation. They received points for diversion of trash from the landfill. That was as easy as Voelckers offering free siding on a radio call-in show—someone soon came and hauled the materials off for reuse.


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In May, the Alaska Railroad was awarded a LEED Silver for the renovation of its historic Freight Shed on First Avenue in downtown Anchorage. The Alaska Railroad Freight Shed is the first LEED-certified historic building in Alaska. The Freight Shed was built in 1941 and was in use until 2008. “If you wanted a can of peas in Fairbanks in the winter, before the Parks Highway, this is how it got there,” says Alaska Railroad Director of Facilities Paul Farnsworth. “A lot of Alaska moved through this building.” Today, the renovated shed space is used as offices for the USDA Forest Service and the Alaska Humanities Forum. Balancing historic preservation and state-of-the-art building systems was a challenge that cropped up again and again during construction, says Farnsworth. The old building had single pane windows, but LEED required double pane. The solution was to custom make double pane windows that looked like the originals. To maintain the look of the original roof and window lines, builders built a new building on the outside of the old one with the needed dimensions. They preserved the original timbers inside. Utility lines were run under the floor because a drop ceiling was not possible. There were many other creative solutions. “The architects [ECI/Hyer] did a bang-up job of taking all these competing interests and making it work,” Farnsworth says. He said that railroad officials were not sure they wanted to pursue formal LEED certification—although they committed early on to try and meet LEED standards. They always had LEED in mind. “Your buildings are more efficient, they’re more sustainable, and you make more money in the long run doing it,” Farnsworth says. “[Using LEED standards] is the way to do business and the LEED certification is like the icing on the cake.” R Alaskan author and journalist Will Swagel writes from Sitka.

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

Environmental Services special section

Shell‘s Arctic Oil Response Plan

© Shell

The Noble Discoverer has been upgraded and refurbished twice in the last ten years to work in the US Arctic.

Intensive efforts balance risk


By Julie Stricker

s Royal Dutch Shell’s drilling rigs make their way up Alaska’s coast to oil leases in the Chukchi Sea, the oil giant and its drilling procedures in the Arctic are being scrutinized closely. The twenty-five-ship exploration flotilla includes two drill ships, the semi-submersible Polar Pioneer, and the Noble Discoverer. In June, the Polar Pioneer was headed for the staging area at Dutch Harbor, while the Discoverer was still in Washington. Shell estimates the ships would arrive in the Arctic in mid-July, when the drill sites were expected to be clear of pack ice. The first, called the Burger prospect, is about seventy miles northwest of Wainwright. www.akbizmag.com

© Shell

The oil spill response vessel Nanuq is staged in the Chukchi Sea to immediately respond in the unlikely event of a spill. The Nanuq provides containment, recovery and storage for the initial operational period. (Dutch Harbor, July 2014)

Intensive Effort

The oil giant has been operating in Arctic waters for decades and says it takes great care in operating safely. “The goal of zero spills is one of our highest priorities—along with the safety of personnel and an intensive effort to

recognize the concerns of the people who live near and depend upon the resources of the Chukchi Sea,” the company states. According to the US Geological Survey, Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf may hold more than 26 billion barrels of oil. Starting

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


The Fennica (below right and inset) is the primary ice management vessel in support of the Noble Discoverer drilling rig in the Chukchi Sea. The Fennica carries a capping stack aboard the vessel. The capping stack is part of Shell’s third-tier oil spill response plan. (Dutch Harbor, July 2014) The Tor Viking II (below left) was built in 2000 and served as the primary anchor-handling vessel in support of the Noble Discoverer. Its secondary purpose is as an ice management vessel. (Dutch Harbor, July 2014) Photos © Shell

in July, Shell planned to drill as many as six wells over the next two summers in the Chukchi Sea north of Alaska to confirm if the oil is economically recoverable. It spent $2.1 billion for the leases in 2008. It’s an operation that involves not only Shell, which has eighty-seven thousand employees in seventy countries, but dozens of state and federal agencies, a cooperative agreement with other North Slope oil producers and operators, as well as regional and village Alaska Native corporations. “We partner with communities across The Harvey Explorer shuttles supplies to the drill rigs Noble Discoverer or Polar Pioneer. During the resupply trips, it’s also used to remove the mud/ cuttings and other waste streams from certain locations. (Dutch Harbor, July 2014) © Shell


Alaska by engaging with stakeholders to understand and address their concerns,” the company says. “Partnering with communities is the most valuable role Shell can take.” Shell has been involved in the Alaska petroleum industry since 1918. It has held more than six hundred meetings with Alaska stakeholders and communities since 2006.

Balancing the Risk

In July 2014, ASRC (Arctic Slope Regional Corporation) and six North Slope village corporations created a company, Arctic Iñu-

piat Offshore, that allows them to acquire an interest in Shell’s Chukchi Sea operations. The six communities represented are Atqasuk, Kaktovik, Anaktuvuk Pass, Wainwright, Point Hope, and Barrow. Rex Rock Sr., president and CEO of ASRC, will serve as president of Arctic Iñupiat Offshore. “Our region has always been a leader in strategic partnerships that provide meaningful benefits to our shareholders, to our people,” Rock states in a news release. “I am humbled to acknowledge that this arrangement balances the risk of OCS [Outer Continental Shelf] development borne by our coastal communities, with the benefits intended to support our communities and our people.” The company has community liaison officers in Alaska towns from Dutch Harbor to Barrow and publishes a monthly newsletter, the Silalliq, to discuss its operations in the Arctic. It has contracts with ASRC Energy Services and Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation Arctic Response Services, which own and operate oil spill response equipment. Protecting the environment is important for the residents of the North Slope, many of whom still hunt for whale, caribou, and walrus to fill their freezers. Shell had to create a detailed Oil Spill Response Plan before being issued permits to operate in the Arctic.

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

Primary Player

A primary player in the spill response plan is Alaska Clean Seas (ACS), a nonprofit, incorporated oil spill response cooperative. ACS is made up of oil and pipeline companies on Alaska’s North Slope, including Shell. New members pay an initiation fee of $500,000, with annual dues of $50,000. Alaska Clean Seas was created in 1979, called ABSORB, as an equipment cooperative for members to use in case of an oil spill. In 1990, it was restructured into a fullresponse organization, which responds like a fire brigade, to an emergency with trained personnel and equipment. Its purpose is to provide personnel, material, equipment, and training to its members so they can prepare, respond to, and clean up after an oil spill on the North Slope, according to the ACS website. In certain cases, ACS can also respond to non-member spills. It operates on the North Slope, portions of the Alaska outer-continental shelf and shorelines, and the first 167 miles of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline corridor. ACS has more than $75 million in equipment, including 96 vessels, sixty-one miles of oil containment boom, 160 oil skimmers, helitorch aerial ignition systems, oil storage mini-barges various storage tanks and bladders. It has about ninety full-time staff, half of www.akbizmag.com

© Shell

The Plan

Shell’s Oil Spill Response Plan describes the equipment and personnel it will have onsite for immediate response to a spill, as well as logistical support services and supplies available for a longer-term response. The company notes that any drilling will be done during the generally ice-free months of July through October. The plan was approved by the US Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which oversaw oil spill responder training and a drill that tested the deployment of the oil spill response equipment in Valdez this spring. It also weathered an unprecedented court challenge to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s approval process this spring. The plan runs several hundred pages, with lists of phone numbers, ship and equipment schematics, coastline maps, and scenarios under which different potential spill incidents are played out. In April, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement oversaw a demonstration of Shell’s undersea containment dome. Afterward, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Director Brian Salerno noted, “Arctic operations require extra effort to prevent safety or environmental incidents. We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure operators have addressed all relevant risks.”

The Harvey Spirit is used to shuttle supplies to the drill rigs. (Dutch Harbor, July 2014)

BUILDING ALASKA’S WORKFORCE Alaska Forum is helping to grow Alaska’s workforce through the Environmental Technician Apprenticeship Program. We work to develop and provide qualified and trained Alaskans to come to work as Environmental Technician Apprentices for environmental and engineering companies in Alaska. We are helping to provide a low cost, trained workforce to help businesses conduct their field work with qualified Alaskans. Is your business in need of an energetic environmental technician who is eager to learn, grow and continue to work in Alaska? Our program is certified and supported by the Alaska Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Labor, and EPA. The Alaska Forum is known for hosting the largest environmentally-focused statewide conference in Alaska. At the Alaska Forum on the Environment, February 8-12, 2016, we will celebrate our 18th Annual event, bringing together business and industry alongside environmental organizations, native corporations, engineering firms, Federal and State government agencies and individuals from across Alaska. Plan to attend AFE 2016 to stay current and aware of environmental hot topics and regulations. The Green Star Program, helps businesses to run more efficiently and environmentally. Green Star Certification can provide a positive incentive for your employees to work more efficiently, use less energy, recycle and improve your bottom line.


907-331-0271 August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly












whom are located on site performing response and environmental duties for their respective member companies. Other trained personnel are available under mutual aid agreements, as well as five hundred from private contractors and North Slope Village Response Teams. It is based in Deadhorse, where new facilities were completed this spring, as well as offices in Anchorage. Since its inception, ACS has conducted extensive research and development on spill response in Arctic conditions. It focuses on spill recovery in broken ice, as well as recovering and tracking oil on and under the ice. It also maintains permits with a variety of state and federal agencies in regard to oil spill training and emergency response impacts on wildlife.

The Scenario

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(907) 275-2800

Once a drillship reaches the oil leases, it will deploy to the drill site, while other ships are staged nearby. For instance, the Discoverer is a 514-foot drillship that can house up to 124 people. It is designed for water 125 to 1,000 feet deep and has been winterized for Arctic offshore conditions. The drilling equipment is in the center of the vessel on a turret. The Discoverer has an eight-point mooring system attached to the turret. The ship also has thrusters, which are used to rotate around the turret to keep the bow of the ship facing weather or ice floes. Several vessels will be stationed nearby for immediate deployment in case of a spill:  An oil spill response vessel, which carries several smaller workboats, oil skimming equipment, oil containment boom, storage for recovered oil, and a dispersant application system, which must be stationed near the drillship. A second similarly equipped vessel must be no more than forty-two hours away  A barge with additional oil skimming equipment and storage for recovered oil must also be nearby

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

Shell crew members conducting a containment boom training exercise in Dutch Harbor, July 2014. © Shell

 An Arctic oil storage tanker able to store at least 513,000 barrels of recovered oil must be no farther than 240 nautical miles from the drill site  Two oil spill skimmers stationed within forty-two hours of the drillship  Near-shore response and shoreline protection equipment, which includes multiple landing craft, workboats, containment boom and skimmers Shell’s Oil Spill Response Plan also identifies the contractors and service providers available in case of a spill, as well as its access to hundreds more trained workers through ACS. The nearest village to the leases is Wainwright. Its airport can handle C-130A fixedwing aircraft. It is about a one-hour flight from Deadhorse and three hours from Anchorage. Wainwright is the forward staging site for support of near-shore and onshore recovery operations, according to Shell’s spill response plan. Olgoonik Corporation is the logistics contractor that would provide support services. In a worst-case scenario, Shell says its spill response team would be deployed and recovering oil in less than an hour. In the event of a potential blowout, Shell says the weight of the drilling mud alone should prevent oil flowing to the surface due to the shallow depth of the water. However, it also would deploy a two-hundred-ton safety valve to shut in the well. A third and fourth line of defense are two sets of shear rams that would effectively cut the drill pipe in half and seal the well. If oil leaked to the surface of the water, the nearby vessels would spring into action. Personnel on shore would deploy booms to deflect the oil. Shell notes that “Alaska Clean Seas and Shell have teamed up to pre-stage boom, skimmers, and boats at Prudhoe Bay. Alaska Clean Seas has over thirty years of experience recovering oil in Arctic waters.” R Julie Stricker is a journalist living near Fairbanks. www.akbizmag.com

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


special section

Environmental Services

An excavator crushes trash at the Anchorage Landfill. The landfill provides the methane that powers the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Landfill Gas Plant operated by Doyon Utilities.

U.S. Air Force Photo by Technical Sergeant Brian Ferguson

Turning Trash into Electricity: Methane Power Municipal landfill creates energy for military, utility jobs, and income By Jessa S. Joehnk


wo years ago the Municipality of Anchorage was spending $60,000 annually to take care of a problem that every city deals with—methane gas 82

seeping out of the landfill. It bleeds off as the garbage naturally decomposes. The landfill off Hiland Road was only meeting Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations of methane by burning off the excess. The only thing being created was a hot-air lift where ravens played in the winter; Anchorage was spending money on a problem that wouldn’t simply disappear. Methane is one of the big greenhouse gases monitored closely because it captures more than twenty times the radiation that carbon dioxide captures. According to the EPA, methane gas created by landfills accounts for about 18 percent of global methane emissions.

Doyon’s Proposal

Anchorage realized that, even though the city was spending money to destroy the methane, it wasn’t going to see an end to the financial drain or environmental burden. The Municipality sent out a Request for Proposal in March 2010 asking for someone to use the landfill gas beneficially. Doyon Utilities submitted a proposal within two months, which became the system now in place. The utility company would build the infrastructure to capture and process the methane into natural gas, generate power from the gas, and distribute the power to the nearby military base.

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com




E3 Environmental Services LLC

E3 Environmental

Energy. Engineering. Environment.

Driven to Do Quality Work With nine employees, E3 is a small firm with the flexibility to adapt to meet clients’ needs. Its team members have 80plus years of combined experience and diverse expertise. They also have a distinctive approach that centers on producing the best possible outcome for clients, economically, environmentally, and culturally. Alcantra explains, “It’s about creating a company that is driven by doing good work for the community.” Her staff members are primarily motivated by their hearts, a sense of stewardship, and a personal commitment to excellence. “We’re about being proud of our work at the end of the day,” Alcantra says.

©2015 Chris Arend Photography


s an Alaska Native-owned company, E3 Environmental LLC fully understands and appreciates doing business throughout the state. Many of its staff members—about 50 percent of whom are of Alaska Native descent—are lifelong Alaskans. “We understand the logistics of working throughout Alaska,” says President Rosetta Alcantra. “We know what works, and we have the ability to get projects done on time and on budget.” E3 Environmental—a subsidiary of Calista Corporation—offers highquality, professional consulting services to assist clients with their energy, engineering, and environmental needs. Its solutions include planning and project management, stakeholder engagement, environmental assessments and regulatory permitting, logistics, and administrative services. E3 is also developing its technical expertise in water quality testing and long-term monitoring. The company has worked on projects ranging from a fuel tank installation in Napaskiak and a road project in Kwigillingok to developing a quality assurance performance plan for Anvik and planning for a community development project on Nelson Island.

That’s why E3 begins each project with the end in mind. The company wants clients to be proud of their final product. “Ultimately, they will own it, maintain it, and find value in it because it is something they helped generate,” she says. Many of E3’s staff members were born and raised in rural Alaska. They have a deep understanding of and personal experience with subsistence living, which allows them to have a unique perspective and sense of appreciation when working with clients. “We approach each project as if it’s our own community,” Alcantra says.

there doing these projects. There’s a sense of trust.” Because of its experience with the unique aspects of rural Alaska logistics, E3 was selected to support a confidential client’s extensive socioeconomic team. Last year, E3 supported 60 community meetings from the North Slope down to Nikiski and this year plans to hold approximately the same number with this same client. E3 was also recently chosen to be featured at Calista Corporation’s annual meeting. “That’s a real honor for us,” Alcantra says. The annual meeting was held on July 11 in Kasigluk, Alaska.

Building Trust throughout Alaska Currently, E3 has four team members who speak Yupik fluently, which often helps to enhance the communication process. It also improves efficiency and generates goodwill among clients. Alcantra explains: “The ability for the client to speak with a staff member in Yupik makes everything go more smoothly. There’s a real sense of pride for the villagers that we work with when they see folks who understand their lifestyle out

E3 Environmental Services LLC Rosetta Alcantra, President 219 E. International Airport Road, Suite 100 Anchorage, Alaska 99518 907-565-4200 e3alaska.com



Step 1: Municipal Solid Waste breaks down naturally in landfills, creating landfill gas which is comprised of about 50 percent methane. Step 2: A network of wells collects and prepares the landfill gas. Step 3: Landfill gas is used to fuel generators, producing renewable electricity.

Doyon’s plan would bridge the connection between Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) and the Municipality of Anchorage for the benefit of all involved. JBER had its own mandate with which to comply. Specifically, Section 203 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 ordered that by 2013 the base needed at least 7.5 percent of its energy to come from a renewable resource, provided the program was economically feasible and the technology in existence. In fact, the policy specifically cites municipal solid waste as a potential renewable energy

create this infrastructure as well as a $6.5 million grant given by the US Department of Energy; however, the combined grants came nowhere near paying for the $31 million price tag for the system. Doyon funded the rest with private financing, with the money going straight to Alaska businesses for the construction and sustainment.

Huge Benefits Even after paying for the project, Doyon Utilities is already seeing huge benefits. Bob Zacharski, site manager for Doyon’s

“This model predicted an average flow of 1,740 cfm could be expected. Our actual production in 2014 averaged approximately 2,480 cfm of landfill gas.”

‑Mark Madden Manager of Engineering and Planning Municipality of Anchorage Solid Waste Services

to harness. Even beyond the mandates, there was the potential for the Department of Defense to save money powering JBER by using renewable energy. The proposal estimated that there could be approximately $73 million in savings for the base over the fifty-year life of the contract. So in 2011, the contract was awarded by the Municipality and the Department of Defense; a short two months later, ground was broken and construction started. Fiftyseven collection wells were built throughout the 165-acre Anchorage landfill. A vacuum system pulls the methane into a processing system that removes contaminants and moisture and sends it over a mile-long pipeline to the five generating units. A $2 million grant was awarded to the program by the Alaska Energy Authority to 84

JBER Richardson Utilities branch, says, “We just get paid to convert the gas to electricity, basically. Doyon buys the gas from the Muni, then turns around and bills the military. There’s no overhead, there’s no loading on the gas price.” By spending the money on the infrastructure for the project, Doyon built a system that took care of itself. “It’s always cash-positive; Doyon’s in a good spot,” says Zacharski. The Municipality of Anchorage has already seen financial benefits too. The city is no longer paying to take care of the gas while creating nothing more than hot air but is instead getting an average of about $130,000 a month for the methane. It’s projected that the system in place will generate over $50 million in revenue to the Municipality over the course of its life. It will also provide project-associated property taxes,

over $1 million worth. The program hasn’t just been financially successful either: it has far exceeded expectations in production. The original plans were that the plant would be set up for six generating units but only built with four initially. Mark Madden, the manager of Engineering and Planning for the Municipality of Anchorage Solid Waste Services, says, “The original project plan called for installation of the fifth generating unit in about the fourth year of operation and the sixth in the thirteenth year of operation.” However, the ability to capture the gas was far more efficient than any predictions could have planned. When the initial studies were done in 2004, they showed the ability to capture an average of 1,585 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of methane by about 2014. The potential system was retested in 2006 and 2009 to try to get more accurate numbers right before the project was implemented. “This model predicted an average flow of 1,740 cfm could be expected. Our actual production in 2014 averaged approximately 2,480 cfm of landfill gas,” says Madden.

Exceeding Expectations

By exceeding expectations, the partnership immediately realized that they needed to reevaluate their schedule in order to take advantage of the significantly higher counts of useable landfill gas. Instead of waiting, the fifth generating unit was installed within a few months of opening and was put into use in July of 2013. The sixth and final planned unit is scheduled for next year, a full eleven years ahead of schedule. But before Doyon puts in the sixth unit, the company is reevaluating their long-term plans, specifically with the footprint of the power generation building. The footprint was originally designed for only six units but, with the gas predictions so surpassed, they are investigating the ability to extend the footprint to accommodate even more generating units. Once the evaluation is done and potential construction finished, they will ship the sixth unit to Alaska and bring it online, providing another 1.4 megawatts of energy. The fifth unit that was brought in is already proving to be a benefit to the program. Before it went online, the system generated 5.6 megawatts of power for JBER. “When all five of the current units are operating, the power plant can produce approximately 7 megawatts of electric power,” says Madden. All that power is going straight to work for JBER, providing over half of their energy needs, far surpassing the regulation requirements established by the nation. These numbers will simply grow when the

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

The footprint was originally designed for only six units but, with the gas predictions so surpassed, they are investigating the ability to extend the footprint to accommodate even more generating units. Once the evaluation is done and potential construction finished, they will ship the sixth unit to Alaska and bringAD-ABM_Spectrum_4.625 x 2.3125_ENV.indd it online, providing another 1.4 megawatts of energy. sixth unit and possibly more are installed. As is, the program is the largest sustainable energy project that the Air Force has running on the Pacific, so any further growth will be unprecedented. “From the Municipality’s perspective, we believe this has been a real win-win project for all involved,” says Madden. Zacharski agrees with the sentiment, saying, “It’s been a good project!”

DESIGN. BUILD. FINANCE. OPERATE. AECOM is one of the world’s largest engineering and construction firms with nearly 100,000 employees in more than 150 countries around the globe. Locally, AECOM has been providing services in Alaska for over 75 years. For more information: Anchorage, Alaska 907.562.3366 www.aecom.com AECOM and URS are now one company.


3/18/2015 10:59:23 AM

Building a Sustainable Alaska pile foundation installation communication tower construction bulk fuel system installation wind turbine installation power generation construction civil construction

Model Partnership and Program

The partnership between the Municipality of Anchorage, Doyon Utilities, and JBER shows the methane-to-energy program can be an economic boon to all groups involved. It creates vast amounts of renewable energy for the area, saving the cost of destroying the gas to stay within EPA regulations for emissions and turning those emissions into a viable source of income. Although the other landfills in Alaska have been deemed too small to sustain the system like Anchorage can right now, there is the potential of using this technology in the near future. As it is, it’s a program that the rest of the country is watching. There are visitors coming in regularly to view the system and see the possibility of implementing it elsewhere. Anchorage, Doyon, and JBER have set the standard for program and others are looking toward it as a model for programs that will be implemented soon across the United States. The partnership here in Alaska has created a system that is both economically- and ecologically-friendly. R a proud subsidiary of

Freelancer Jessa S. Joehnk writes from Anchorage. www.akbizmag.com

STGINCORPORATED.COM August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


special section

Environmental Services

Community Recycling Services By Julie Stricker

Electronic Waste

Cathode-ray tube monitors contain between four and eight pounds of lead. Flatscreen TVs have less lead, but many contain mercury. About 70 percent of the heavy metals found in US landfills come from electronic waste, according to one study. Electronics also contain precious and non-precious metals. They have significant amounts of gold, silver, and copper. Cases can be broken down to raw plastic and raw metal. In fact, the EPA estimates that for every 1 million cell phones that are recycled, 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 86

Photo courtesy of the Fairbanks Children’s Museum


emember how exciting it was in 2005 to plug in a new Dell XPS 400, with its 200GB capacity hard drive and 1GB memory? Or the iMac Core 2 Duo (with Intel inside) that replaced it two years later? Not to mention the steady stream of iPhones, iPods, iPads, Androids, laptops, tablets, and phablets that emptied everyone’s wallets one month only to gather dust the next year when they were rendered obsolete by the newest gadget or operating system. Throw in a bulky, gazillion-pound cathode-ray television set and all of the peripheral printers, scanners, and fax machines, and there’s a veritable stew of outmoded electronics sitting in office closets. But then what? Are antique TS-80s tossed in the trash? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 2 percent of the solid waste stream is made up of electronics. However, that’s a trend that may be starting to change in Alaska as businesses dedicated to recycling e-waste have heightened their profile. When it comes down to it, computers are bad trash. “A lot of it doesn’t compost down naturally,” says Gary Smith, administrator of logistics for e-waste recycler Total Reclaim, Inc. “It doesn’t belong in a landfill. You’ve got lead. You’ve got cadmium—all kinds of weird stuff in there. There’s mercury sometimes. Plastics have fire retardants that are hazardous.”

Kids enjoying the Take Apart Station, a collaboration between Green Star and the Fairbanks Children’s Museum.

33 pounds of palladium can be recovered. The US Geological Survey estimates “one metric ton of electronic scrap from personal computers contains more gold than that recovered from seventeen tons of gold ore.” There may be gold in that six-year-old flip-phone, but the logistics of getting to it can be daunting.

Do-It-Yourself Recycling

In Alaska, recycling is available in most communities, but residents have to do most of the legwork themselves. Anchorage residents can put their recyclables in curbside containers, but that option isn’t widespread in communities such as Fairbanks, says Green Star of Interior Alaska Executive Director Becca Brado. “At the moment it’s a bit of a shotgun approach,” she says. “There’s not one centrally located recycle facility. The [Fairbanks North Star Borough] assembly has already paid for a study to understand the cost and what we need in the borough. We’re hoping within three to five years we’ll have a central recycling facility.” Green Star publishes an annual recycling guide that tells residents where they can recycle cardboard, newspaper, mixed paper, plastics, glass, aluminum cans, steel cans, and scrap metal.

“You have to go to a couple of places if you want to recycle all of the materials,” Brado says. Green Star received funding from the borough to install signs at the local transfer stations with at-a-glance recycling information, including maps. The transfer sites themselves are a popular Fairbanks recycling tradition. Most have covered platforms in which residents leave unwanted items they think others can use. Dumpster-diving is a popular, if unsanitary and unsanctioned, pastime as well. Green Star is the only organization that recycles electronics in Interior Alaska. In 2014, volunteers collected ninety-one tons of recyclable electronics, nearly to its goal of one hundred tons, Brado says. That includes “pretty much anything that plugs in or takes batteries,” she says. Exceptions include vacuum cleaners, smoke detectors, fluorescent light bulbs, exit signs, and VHS/cassette tapes. Green Star does accept ink cartridges, toner, batteries, CDs, and DVDs.

Monthly Drop-Off

On the third weekend of every month, Green Star holds an electronics recycling depot where borough residents can drop off their unwanted electronics free of charge, thanks to a $72,000 grant from the bor-

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

ough, Brado says. A small fee is charged for residents outside the borough. Green Star’s website notes, “Anyone used to dropping off other types of recyclables for free—or even getting paid for some metals such as copper or aluminum—may be shocked to learn that they need to pay to have some electronics recycled. Electronics are complex items made of many different materials mixed together. Responsibly recycling these items is labor-intensive and requires sophisticated equipment in order to break them down into their component raw materials.” Even getting the electronics ready to be recycled is a big task. “It’s a huge volunteer effort,” Brado says. “There’s no way we could do it without volunteers.” The volunteers remove all cables and wires and sort the materials into categories such as computers, monitors, televisions, etc. The electronics are stacked on pallets, and all extra plastic and paper materials are removed and recycled elsewhere. Batteries are sorted and packaged so they can be shipped safely. Data security is another concern. Green Star offers hard drive destruction at its depot, which renders the drives practically unusable and keeps data out of the hands of enterprising dumpster divers. The pallets are stored until Green Star has enough to fill a forty-foot trailer. Its partner, Air Land Transport, then ships the materials to Total Reclaim, Inc.’s facility in Anchorage. Total Reclaim then barges the materials to its recycling facilities in Washington state, Smith says.


Total Reclaim, which expanded operations to Alaska in 2005, is the only e-Stewardcertified company in the state, Smith says. Total Reclaim researches all its downstream vendors to ensure they’re environmentally responsible. The company got its start in 1991 to help industry and government recycle refrigerators and HVAC equipment to the standards set under 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act. It started recycling electronics in 1999 and is the leading recycler of computers and electronics in the Pacific Northwest. On its website, Total Reclaim has a counter that says it has recycled 425.6 million pounds and counting. “We average about 2.1 million pounds a year just out of this facility,” Smith says of the Anchorage site. Another million pounds or so is shipped directly to Seattle from communities such as Dillingham, Nome, Haines, Juneau, and Skagway, says Reilly Kosinski, environmental health and safety specialist for Total Reclaim. “We’re actually seeing close to a million, if not over a million pounds that went diwww.akbizmag.com

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Juneau Airport Slipline

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


rectly to Seattle,” Kosinski says. “We’ve seen a real trend of people taking ownership of this stuff and sending it directly.” Total Reclaim has been using a hub-andspoke concept to moving recyclables from the villages to larger coastal communities, and it’s working. “We’re seeing more poundage coming in from outside of Anchorage,” he says. “It seems like where that hub and spoke concept has been acted on things are getting quite a bit better. People are learning what can and can’t be put into their landfills.”

Disseminating Recyclables

Regional airlines such as Bering Air in Nome and Warbelow’s Air Ventures, Inc. in Fairbanks will fly recyclables from the villages free of charge. On the road system in towns like Fairbanks, trucks that would normally be empty on a southbound run haul waste electronics and other recyclables. Most materials eventually end up in recycling facilities in the Northwest. Scrap metal and aluminum are sold as commodities. A couple of Alaska companies are reusing materials in-state. A Wasilla company, Thermo-Kool, makes fire-retardant cellulose insulation out of recycled newspapers. K&K Recycling in Fairbanks recycles glass into concrete products.

Once the electronics reach Seattle, they go down a kind of disassembly line. Components such as the plastic case, steel frame, glass monitors, and circuit boards are separated out and taken to more specialized recyclers, Kosinski says. A very small percentage of the electronics can be reused as they are; the rest are broken down. “Most of the stuff we get is old,” he says. “It’s nice that once broken down, the vast majority of the material is reusable.” In the case of a circuit screen, they’ll take it and break it down to just the glass and leaded glass, Kosinski says. “The leaded glass goes to a washing facility and the uncontaminated glass goes to another facility that turns it right back into another CRT screen.” The circuit boards go to vendors with high-efficiency smelters that can separate out the dozen or so different metals in the circuits. Those metals are then sold on the open market. Locally, there is money in recyclables. A pound of clean aluminum nets about $0.30; copper about $1.50; brass, $0.99; and lead, $0.12. But it’s hard to find uses for non-metal items such as plastic milk jugs. Until 2014, K&K Recycling owner Bernie Karl accepted plastic, which he used in limited quantities to create fuel through a special process. It takes about ten pounds of plastic to make one gal-

lon of fuel. Karl was making about twenty gallons of fuel a day, but says he couldn’t justify the expense of buying a larger machine. Brado says she has also been hearing about a startup that is looking to reuse Styrofoam. “It’s still getting off the ground,” she says, “but there would be a great potential.”

Notable Results

Recycling also offers job opportunities. The Fairbanks Rescue Mission, an agency that helps the homeless, saw recycling as a way to expand its mission from just providing shelter to becoming a launching pad for residents to re-enter the working world. Residents can do tasks such as receiving and sorting recyclables, learning how to run a forklift, and even overseeing the logistics and operations of the program, which was launched in 2009. According to the Rescue Mission’s website, the program achieves several goals:  Reduces the amount of waste entering the landfill  Conserves natural resources  Reduces energy consumption  Provides job training and builds skills for the homeless  Provides free recycling services for local businesses and residents

EXCELLENCE IN ENVIRONMENTAL & EMERGENCY SOLUTIONS Emergency Response Industrial Services Marine Services Remediation Services Waste Management

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n r c c . c o m 88

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

 Teaches the community about the merits of recycling and compassion for the disadvantaged  Provides a small income for the Rescue Mission  Reduces landfill and solid waste costs for the borough Its facilities are as close as Fairbanks residents can come to one-stop recycling. In Alaska’s urban areas, curbside recycling is readily available in many neighborhoods through Alaska Waste. Starting at about $12 a month, residents can get a ninety-six-gallon recycle cart and twicemonthly curb pickup for paper, plastic, and cans. No sorting required. Several recycling centers are located throughout the city and the Anchorage landfill has designated spots for recyclables, oil, used batteries, and hazardous wastes. Curbside recycling isn’t an option for most in Interior Alaska, but even items sent to the Fairbanks landfill are sorted. The results of Green Star’s campaigns are notable. In fiscal year 2012, the Fairbanks landfill processed 913 pounds of aluminum cans. That amount was reduced to 258 pounds in fiscal year 2013 and 180 pounds in 2014. Used oil is collected and burned in many villages, such as Kotzebue. In Fairbanks, a similar program collected and reused 17,623 gallons of used oil to heat facilities at the landfill. That’s in addition to 2,475 gallons of flammable liquids such as old gasoline and paint thinner and tons of other flammable hazardous wastes. Oily water is sent to an energy recovery center where the oil is separated from the water and burned in a used oil boiler. Brado says Green Star is working hard to get the word out to Interior Alaska villages about recycling. They created a partnership with Warbelow’s to fly recyclables from the villages for free and are creating a training program for residents so they can safely transport potentially toxic or dangerous cargoes, such as batteries. Brado is also creating a recycling curriculum for Fairbanks area schools, supported by a grant from Kinross, which owns the Fort Knox gold mine northeast of Fairbanks. “The idea is we’re targeting middle schoolers,” she says. “What recycling is, what is important, and what kind of recycling can be done locally. We do special guest presentations in classrooms and for Girl Scouts.” Getting the message across to the younger generation may mean that, in a perfect world, a new iPhone 8 or Android tablet will come with a recycle plan already in place.  R

50 YEARS YOUR ALASKAN LAB | 1964 - 2014

Your dependable, long-term provider of excellent service.

SGS NORTH AMERICA | ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES 200 West Potter Drive, Anchorage, Alaska 99518 p. +1 907 562 2343 | f. +1 907 562 0119 www.sgs.com/alaska

Julie Stricker is a journalist living near Fairbanks. www.akbizmag.com

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly






Top Executive

3M Alaska 11151 Calaska Cir. Anchorage, AK 99515 Phone: 907-522-5200 Fax: 907-522-1645

Stephanie Mathers, Reg. Mgr.

Acuren 600 E. 57th Pl., Suite B Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-569-5000 Fax: 907-569-5005

Frank Noble, Dir. Ops

AECOM 700 G St., Suite 500 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-562-3366 Fax: 907-562-1297

Joe Hegna, AK Ops Mgr.

Alaska Analytical Laboratory 1956 Richardson Hwy. North Pole, AK 99705 Phone: 907-488-1271 Fax: 907-488-0772

Stefan Mack, PE/Pres.

Alaska Clean Seas 4720 Business Park Blvd., Suite G42 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-743-8989 Fax: 907-743-8988

Barkley Lloyd, GM

Analytica Group 4307 Arctic Blvd. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-375-8977 Fax: 907-258-6634

Elizabeth Rensch, Bus. Dev. Mgr.

ARCADIS 880 H St., Suite 101 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-276-8095 Fax: 907-276-8609

Roe Sturgulewski, AK Ops Leader

ARCTOS LLC 130 Int'l Airport Rd., Suite R Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-632-1006 Fax: 866-532-3915

Kirsten Ballard, CEO

Arrowhead Environmental Services, Inc. PO Box 872707 Wasilla, AK 99687 Phone: 907-229-9838

Terry Webb, Pres./CEO

B.C. Excavating LLC 2251 Cinnabar Lp. Anchorage, AK 99507 Phone: 907-344-4490 Fax: 907-344-4492

Gordon Bartel, Pres.

Bell Tech, Inc. PO Box 3467 Valdez, AK 99686 Phone: 800-537-6949 Fax: 907-835-4535

Randy Bell, CEO

Brice Environmental Services Corp. PO Box 73520 Fairbanks, AK 99707 Phone: 907-456-1955 Fax: 907-452-1067

Craig Jones, Pres.

CampWater Industries LLC 2550 Hayes St./PO Box 309 Delta Junction, AK 99737 Phone: 907-895-4309

Jon Dufendach, Pres.

Cardno 3150 C St., Suite 240 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-563-0438 Fax: 907-563-0439

Meg Thornton, Sr. Cons./Offc. Mgr.

CCI Industrial Services LLC 5015 Business Park Blvd., Suite 4000 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-258-5755 Fax: 907-770-9452

A. Ben Schoffmann, Pres./CEO

Central Environmental, Inc. 311 N. Sitka Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-561-0125 Fax: 907-561-0178

Stuart Jacques, Pres.

CH2M HILL 949 E. 36th Ave., Suite 500 Anchorage, AK 99508 Phone: 907-762-1500 Fax: 907-762-1600

Terry Bailey, Sr. VP/AK Reg. Mgr.

ChemTrack Alaska, Inc. 11711 S. Gambell St. Anchorage, AK 99515 Phone: 907-349-2511 Fax: 907-522-3150

Carrie Lindow, Pres.




innovation.3malaska@mmm.com 3m.com



klovejoy@alaska-analytical.com alaska-analytical.com

gm@alaskacleanseas.org alaskacleanseas.org

er@analyticagroup.com analyticagroup.com

cynthia.oistad@arcadis-us.com arcadis-us.com


info@arrowheadenviro.com arrowheadenviro.com

admin@bcxllc.net bcxllc.net

Randybell@belltech.org belltechconsultants.com

craigj@briceenvironmental.com briceenvironmental.com

jondufendach@gmail.com campwater.com

linkedin.com/company/cardno cardno.com

info@cciindustrial.com cciindustrial.com

cei@cei-alaska.com cei-alaska.com

bclemenz@ch2m.com ch2m.com/alaska

info@chemtrack.net chemtrack.net




1972 1972

89,800 3M manufactures a wide range of products covering many markets in Alaska. In the area 11 of natural resources, we provide products and services which support the oil/gas and mining industries in worker safety, electrical and communications, welding protection, fire and corrosion protection.

1976 2002

20,000+ Materials engineering, nondestructive examination and integrity management for the oil 15 and gas, power, mining, transportation and construction industries.

1904 1948

100,000 AECOM Alaska is a team of 200 engineers, scientists, planners & support staff providing 200 arctic-smart engineering & environmental services for the complete project life-cycle from permitting for air, water, soils & solid waste, to planning, design & construction through production & site closure.

2008 2008

3 3

ADEC certified environmental testing laboratory. Soil and water analysis for methods 8021B, AK101, AK102 and AK103.

1979 1979

98 98

We protect the environment by providing response services to the Alaska North Slope crude oil explorers and producers and the first 167 miles of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System in accordance with oil spill response agreements and plans.

1991 1991

25 15

Analytica is the largest state certified laboratory in Alaska, specializing in drinking water, wastewater, and general water quality testing. Locations in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Wasilla, Alaska. Analytica is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Aleut Corporation. www.aleutcorp.com.

1959 1994

28,000 ARCADIS is the leading global natural and built asset design & consultancy firm working 23 in partnership with our clients to deliver exceptional and sustainable outcomes through the application of design, consultancy, engineering, project and management services.

2007 2007

6 6

ODPCP plans, oil spill prevention and response planning services. API certified tank and piping inspections, QA/QC, incident management team training, HSE programs, imaging and mapping. Compliance assistance with state, federal regulations and response planning for oil and gas industry in Alaska.

1999 1999

5 5

Environmental remediation, asbestos/lead abatement, PCBs, mercury and demolition, civil, renewable energy systems. Notable clients: U.S. Air Force 3rd Contracting, MWH, Roger Hickel Contracting, North Pacific Erectors and CH2MHill.

1982 1982

45 45

Remediation services, soil farming, site cleanup for PCB, TCE, diesel/gasoline contamination, UST removal/replacement, contaminated soils hauling and disposal, etc.

1990 1990

38 14

We specialize in ecological management as it relates to the recovery & restoration of spill response activities. With over 24 years of experience, Bell Tech has developed successful procedures addressing the recovery of contamination from any surface including vessels, shoreline & frozen tundra.

1991 1991

13 13

Brice Environmental is an 8(a) and DBE certified Native owned small business specializing in remediation of contaminated soils, remote site demolition, environmental construction and remediation. Project history throughout Alaska and the Lower 48 states and Hawaii.

2009 2009

2 2

Design/build portable and emergency drinking water plants. NSF61-approved models to meet USEPA drinking water standards available off-the-shelf.

1984 1984

8,200 Full-service, consulting firm providing specialized technical services in environmental 13 impact assessments (NEPA); environmental planning, permitting and compliance, natural and cultural resources, hazardous materials and hazardous waste, due diligence, and subsurface utility engineering.

1989 1989

300 300

Corrosion-under-insulation refurbishment; asbestos and lead surveys and abatement; specialty coatings; sandblasting; tank and vessel cleaning; fire proofing; demolition and hazardous waste removal; operations, maintenance and construction; oil spill response; heat treat services.

1983 1983

200 100

Provides civil/environmental construction services including: contaminated soils handling, excavation and site restoration, asbestos abatement, lead abatement, hazardous materials abatement, handling, and demolition.

1946 1962

1973 1973

25,380 Premier Alaskan oil & gas contractor; offering consulting, engineering, procurement, 2,403 logistics, fabrication, construction, construction management, operations and maintenance service all under one roof; supporting oil & gas, mining, environmental, water, power, transportation and government. 6-25 Please check out our Statement of Qualifications at chemtrack.net/about_us.htm. 6-25 August 2015 | www.akbizmag.com

Chilkat Environmental LLC 223 Old Hart Box 865 Haines, AK 99827 Phone: 907-303-7899 Fax: 907-303-7899

Elijah Donat, Sr. Project Mgr.

Colville, Inc. Pouch 340012 Prudhoe Bay, AK 99734 Phone: 907-659-3198 Fax: 907-659-3190

Eric Helzer, Pres./CEO

CRW Engineering Group LLC 3940 Arctic Blvd., Suite 300 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-562-3252 Fax: 907-561-2273

D. Michael Rabe, Mng. Principal

Cultural Resource Consultants LLC 3504 E. 67th Ave. Anchorage, AK 99507 Phone: 907-349-3445 Fax: 480-772-4185

Linda F. Yarborough, CR Specialist

DAT/EM Systems International 8240 Sandlewood Pl., Suite 101 Anchorage, AK 99507-3122 Phone: 907-522-3681 Fax: 907-522-3688

Jeff Yates, GM

Design Alaska, Inc. 601 College Rd. Fairbanks, AK 99701 Phone: 907-452-1241 Fax: 907-456-6883

Chris Miller, Pres.

DOWL 4041 B St. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-562-2000 Fax: 907-563-3953

Stewart Osgood, Pres./CEO

E3 Environmental 219 E. International Airport Rd. Suite 100 Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-565-4200

Rosetta Alcantra, Pres.

Eco-Land LLC PO Box 1444 Nome, AK 99762 Phone: 907-443-6068 Fax: 907-443-6068

R McClintock, Sr., Pres./Member

Ecology & Environment, Inc. 1007 W. Third Ave., Suite 201 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 257-5000 Fax: 257-5000

Gerry Gallagher, III, Pres./CEO

EHS-Alaska, Inc. 11901 Business Blvd., Suite 208 Eagle River, AK 99577 Phone: 907-694-1383 Fax: 907-694-1382

Robert French, PE, PIC

Environmental Compliance Consultants 1500 Post Rd. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-644-0428 Fax: 907-677-9328

Mark Goodwin, CEO

Environmental Management, Inc. 206 E. Fireweed Ln., Suite 201 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-272-9336 Fax: 907-272-4159

Larry Helgeson, Principal Eng.

Golder Associates, Inc. 2121 Abbott Rd., Suite 100 Anchorage, AK 99507 Phone: 907-344-6001 Fax: 907-344-6011

Mitchells Richard, Mgr. AK Ops

Hart Crowser 310 K St., Suite 243 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-276-7475 Fax: 425-778-9417

Jason Stutes, AK Office Mgr.

Hattenburg Dilley & Linnell 3335 Arctic Blvd., Suite 100 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-564-2120

Scott Hattenburg, Principal/Pres.

HDR 2525 C St., Suite 305 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-644-2000 Fax: 907-644-2022

Duane Hippe, Sr. VP/PE

Jacobs 4300 B St., Suite 600 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-563-3322 Fax: 907-563-3320 August 2015 | www.akbizmag.com



chilkat@chilkatenvironmental.com chilkatenvironmental.com

info@colvilleinc.com colvilleinc.com

info@crweng.com crweng.com

lfy@crcalaska.com crcalaska.com

sales@datem.com datem.com

mail@designalaska.com designalaska.com

jpayne@dowl.com dowl.com

info@e3alaska.com e3alaska.com

nomesurveyor@gmail.com eco-land-llc.com

vmelde@ene.com ene.com

rfrench@ehs-alaska.com ehs-alaska.com

rod@eccalaska.com eccalaska.com

lhelgeson@emi-alaska.com emi-alaska.com


jason.stutes@hartcrowser.com hartcrowser.com

info@hdlalaska.com hdlalaska.com

info@hdrinc.com hdrinc.com Terry Heikkila, Dir. AK Ops jacobs.com




2007 2007

6 6

1981 1981

185 185

Colville's group of oilfield companies provide a full compliment of Arctic Logistics capabilities. Our services include fuel, aviation, waste management, transport, industrial supply and camp services.

1981 1981

60 60

Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, Surveying, Planning, Permitting, and Construction Management.

1975 1975

5 4

Specialize in identifying, evaluating and mitigating historic, archaeological, and traditional cultural property sites on private and public lands in Alaska, advises clients on cultural resource issues and assists them in complying with their obligations under federal and state laws.

1987 1987

13 11

DAT/EM Systems International is an Alaska-based developer of world-class photogrammetric software. Since 1987, DAT/EM has built tools to efficiently extract and edit 3D vector features from stereo imagery and point clouds.

1957 1957

60 60

Design Alaska provides architecture; civil, structural, mechanical, fire protection, electrical, and environmental engineering; landscape architecture; and surveying. The firm also offers planning, condition assessments, energy modeling, LEED, construction administration and commissioning.

1962 1962

460 193

DOWL provides public involvement; land use planning; environmental services and permitting; civil, geotechnical, transportation, and geotechnical engineering; landscape architecture; land surveying; GIS; construction administration; and materials testing, and construction inspection.

2012 2012

8 8

Project Management, Stakeholder Engagement, Water Quality Projects & Sampling, Environmental Document Production & Permitting, Scoping & Comment Analysis, Logistics, Community Planning, Site Assessment, NEPA Regulatory Experience, Grant Writing for Project Funding, Accounting & Funding Management.

2005 2005

4 4

Full service land surveying & mapping firm specializing in environmental investigations, remediation & mapping. Featuring 3D laser scanning, coastal/riparian hydrographic surveys and ROV high resolution multi-spectrial aerial -photography as well as full GPS & conventional surveying capability.

1970 1970

900 3

Environmental consulting, planning, environmental engineering and design services to industry and government. Committed to sustainable development through responsible environmental stewardship. E & E has 30 offices throughout the United States and 8 international locations.

1986 1986

6 6

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.

1999 1999

78 70

A full-service environmental company dedicated to providing clients with quality environmental services. Experienced in the disciplines of hazardous waste, materials management, transportation, environmental consulting, assessment, remediation, demolition, recycling of metals, oils and electronics.

1988 1988

20 20

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

1960 1980

Contaminated sites, NEPA, wetlands and permitting, fisheries studies, project management, Tribal environmental services and grant writing.


Top Executive




7,500 Arctic and geotechnical engineering, groundwater resource development, environmental 40 sciences and remedial investigation.

1974 1985

115 2

Providing natural resources; environmental and geotechnical engineering; and hydrogeology support. Includes NEPA services, environmental permitting, baseline surveys (biological and chemical), fisheries, Endangered Species Act compliance, wetlands, and shoreline and in-water restoration.

2000 2000

75 75

The HDL Environmental Group is skilled in developing NEPA documentation for federally funded projects. They are experienced in completing wetlands delineations, botanical surveys, Phase I ESAs, SWPPPs, ESCPs, and developing environmental permits for federal, state, and local entities.

1979 1979

9,000 Engineering services cover civil and structural engineering for transportation, water/ 130 wastewater, solid waste, federal, military, and oil & gas infrastructure. Specialty services in design-build. Engineering supported by full range of environmental/planning staff, and 8,500 HDR employees nationwide.

1947 1993

66,000 Our Alaska operation has the capability of leveraging our vast global resources to 65 provide a wide range of services; including environmental permitting, compliance, investigation & remediation; energy conservation; logistics; upstream design; feasibility analysis & construction management.






Top Executive

Kakivik Asset Management LLC 5015 Business Park Blvd., Suite 4000 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-770-9400 Fax: 907-770-9450

A. Ben Schoffmann, Pres./CEO

Kinnetic Laboratories, Inc. 704 W. Second Ave. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-276-6178 Fax: 907-278-6881

Mark Savoie, VP

Lifewater Engineering Company 1936 Donald Ave. Fairbanks, AK 99701 Phone: 907-458-7024 Fax: 907-458-7025

Bob Tsigonis, Pres./PE

Marsh Creek LLC 2000 E. 88th Ave. Anchorage, AK 99507 Phone: 907-258-0050 Fax: 907-279-5710

Mick McKay, CEO

Meridian Systems, Inc. 200 W. 34th Ave. #969 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-279-3320 Fax: 907-279-2369

John Fortner, GM

Michael Baker Jr., Inc. 3900 C St., Suite 900 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-273-1600 Fax: 907-273-1699

Jeffrey Baker, Reg. Dir.

Michael L. Foster & Associates, Inc. 13135 Old Glenn Hwy., Suite 200 Eagle River, AK 99577 Phone: 907-696-6200 Fax: 907-696-6202

Michael Foster, PE/Owner

Midnight Sun Environmental LLC 7941 Sandlewood Pl. Anchorage, AK 99507 Phone: 907-344-3244 Fax: 907-349-1813

Kim Kovol, Pres.

MWH 1835 S. Bragaw St., Suite 350 Anchorage, AK 99508 Phone: 907-248-8883 Fax: 907-248-8884

Chris Brown, AK Reg. Mgr.

NORTECH, Inc. 2400 College Rd. Fairbanks, AK 99709-3754 Phone: 907-452-5688 Fax: 907-452-5694

John Hargesheimer, Pres.

North Wind Group 7910 King St. Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-277-5488 Fax: 907-277-5422

Christopher Leichtweis, Pres.

Northern Ecological Services 211 Morey Ln. Bellingham, WA 98225 Phone: 360-739-7516 Fax: 360-592-4267

John Morsell, Principal/Sr. Biologist

Northern Land Use Research Alaska LLC 234 Front St. Fairbanks, AK 99701 Phone: 907-474-9684 Fax: 907-474-8370

Burr Neely, GM

NRC Alaska LLC 425 Outer Springer Lp. Palmer, AK 99645 Phone: 907-258-1558 Fax: 907-746-3651

Blake Hillis, Sr. VP NRC Alaska

O.E.S. 3201 C St., Suite 700 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-562-8738 Fax: 907-562-8751

Marty Miksch, Pres.

Organic Incineration Technology, Inc. PO Box 55878 North Pole, AK 99705 Phone: 907-488-4899 Fax: 907-488-4823

Mark Sanford, Pres.

Pacific Environmental Corp. (PENCO) 6000 A St. Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-562-5420 Fax: 907-562-5426

Brent Porter, AK Reg. Mgr.

Paug-Vik Development Corp. PO Box 429 Naknek, AK 99633 Phone: 907-258-1345 Fax: 907-222-5423

Maurice Labrecque, GM




info@kakivik.com kakivik.com


Bob@LifewaterEngineering.com LifewaterEngineering.com

gina.heath@marshcreekllc.com marshcreekllc.com

sales@msicontrols.com msicontrols.com


hlm@mlfaalaska.com mlfalaaska.com

kim@midnightsunenv.com midnightsunenvironmental.com

chris.brown@mwhglobal.com mwhglobal.com

hargy@nortechengr.com nortechengr.com

ewhitmore@northwindgrp.com northwindgrp.com


nlur@northernlanduse.com northernlanduse.com

PNielsen@nrcc.com nrcc.com

oesinfo@olgoonik.com oesinc.org

mark.sanford@oitinc.net oitinc.net

alaska@penco.org penco.org

info@pdcnaknek.com pdcnaknek.com




1999 1999

250 250

Kakivik is a full service industrial asset integrity management company specializing in Nondestructive Testing (NDT), External and Internal Corrosion Investigations, Quality Program Management and Field Chemical and Corrosion Management including chemical laboratory and coupon/probe operations.

1972 1979

30 5

Offers environmental consulting and oceanography; marine monitoring for biological, chemical, physical and toxicological parameters; oceanographic and current modeling, including APDES permit & mixing zone applications; storm water evaluations; and sediment monitoring and vibracoring services.

1998 1998

8 8

Plastic fabricators providing sewage treatment and water treatment plants for man camps in the most extreme environments and remote places. Ask about our boats, tanks, and other innovative products.

2004 2004

1997 1997

1940 1942

~140 Energy systems, environmental, construction, telecommunications. 140

17 17

We make buildings smarter by providing: Intelligent building systems, energy management & analysis, building commissioning, energy conservation measures, and ENERGYSTAR rating services.

5,000 Engineering: transportation, pipeline, geotechnical, mechanical, civil; GIS & LiDAR; ~80 Environmental/Permitting/NEPA; public involvement.

1998 1998

30 30

Environmental planning documents (EA/EIS), environmental remediation, and fullservice A/E firm with design/build, construction management, and general contracting capabilities.

2012 2012

6 6

MSE LLC is a full service environmental firm, providing expertise in environmental management, permitting, project planning, permitting, site assessment, remediation, NEPA and compliance. MSE specializes in transmission / linear construction, rail, highway, and renewable energy projects for Alaska.

1977 1982

7,000 Water, wastewater, environmental remediation, permitting and power. 30

1979 1979

25 25

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

1997 1997

400 14

Environmental investigation, restoration & remediation; engineering; natural & cultural resources; NEPA services; GIS services; construction; demolition; abatement; waste mngmt.; regulatory support; mine reclamation. We own & operate 2 direct push rigs & a UVOST soil screening system.

1987 1987

1 0

Fish and aquatic habitat surveys for Pogo and Donlin Creek mine projects. Fish research and mitigation planning for Bradley Lake, Mahoney Lake and Cooper Lake hydroelectric projects.

1991 1991

15 15

National Historic Preservation Act Sec. 106 assessments; identification, evaluation, mitigation services-prehistoric/historic archaeology, historic architecture, cultural landscapes, and subsistence investigations; documents to satisfy NEPA and permitting requirements; reg compliance; consultation.

2014 2014

1,000 Emergency spill response, hazardous/non-hazardous waste disposal, petroleum product 100 recycling, industrial cleaning services, vacuum truck services, automotive fluids recycling and sales, environmentally friendly cleaners/degreasers, site clean-up and remediation. Anchorage/Kenai/Prudhoe/Fairbanks.

1997 1997

91 5

A wide range of environmental management, remediation, training and construction services for government and commercial clients. Expert contract management support with experience working in remote regions and challenging environments. O.E.S. is a subsidiary of Olgoonik Corp.

1990 1990

30 30

Soil remediation.

1985 1994

~60 ~40

Pacific Environmental Corporation (PENCO) specializes in land and marine spill response, environmental cleanup and remediation, and marine vessel remediation. PENCO's array of environmental services includes supplying teams of highly skilled spill response technicians for emergency response.

1996 1996

9 8

General contracting and environmental services.

August 2015 | www.akbizmag.com

Royce Conlon, Pres./Principal

Quantum Spatial 2014 Merrill Field Dr. Anchorage, AK 99508-3439 Phone: 907-272-4495 Fax: 907-274-3265

Russell Faux, Chf. Science Officer

R&R Diving Services 137 Galena Valdez, AK 99686 Phone: 907-835-4375 Fax: 907-835-5996






1975 1975

84 84

PDC is a 100% employee-owned multi-disciplined firm with 80+ employees in three office locations. We specialize in designing for the ever changing Arctic environment with expertise in Civil, Electrical, Environmental, Fire Protection, Mechanical and Structural engineering and Land Survey & Planning.

1960 1960

513 39

Quantum Spatial's comprehensive capabilities encompass the acquisition, analysis, integration, and management of geospatial data. We offer a diverse portfolio of advanced imaging and remote sensing technologies, backed by powerful modeling, visualization, and GIS tools.

Rick Wade, Owner

1975 1975

3-4 3-4

Underwater inspections, salvage, spill response, environmental cleanup, and analysis.

R&R Testing Services 137 Galena St. Valdez, AK 99686 Phone: 907-835-4375 Fax: 907-835-5996

Rhonda Wade, Mgr.

1989 1989

3-4 3-4

Environmental consulting, cleanup, site analysis, monitoring and soil sampling/testing. Also human resources screening for drug and alcohol compliant programs.

Restoration Science & Engineering LLC 911 W. Eighth Ave., Suite 100 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-278-1023 Fax: 907-277-5718

David Nyman, PE/Principal

1992 1992

10 10

Environmental science and engineering firm specializing in environmental engineering and permitting, environmental remediation and reporting, phase I&II site assessments, waste water engineering, fuel system design and compliance, SPCC plans, SWPPP including CGP and MSGP work, project management.

Satori Group 1310 E. 66th Ave., Suite 2 Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-332-0456 Fax: 907-332-0457

Jill Lucas, Pres.

2001 2001

5 5

Hazardous materials building surveys, asbestos & lead remediation, whole/interior building demolition, health & safety training, groundwater services, Phase I & II ESA's.

SGS North America, Inc. 200 W. Potter Dr. Anchorage, AK 99518-1605 Phone: 907-562-2343 Fax: 907-562-0119

Chuck Homestead, GM

Shannon & Wilson, Inc. 2355 Hill Rd. Fairbanks, AK 99709-5326 Phone: 907-479-0600 Fax: 907-479-5691

Chris Darrah, Sr. Assoc/FBX Ofc. Mgr.

Shannon & Wilson, Inc. 5430 Fairbanks St., Suite 3 Anchorage, AK 99518-1263 Phone: 907-561-2120 Fax: 907-561-4483

Stafford Glashan, VP/Anch. Ofc. Mgr.



admin@restorsci.com restorsci.com

info@gosatori.com gosatori.com

charles.homestead@sgs.com us.sgs.com

info-fairbanks@shanwil.com shannonwilson.com

info-anchorage@shanwil.com shannonwilson.com

1964 1964

80,000 Environmental Services: Providing full-service environmental testing since 1964. The 60 Alaska division has branches in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Extensive experience in DoD, oil industry, NPDES, and mining.

1954 1974

310 33

Environmental site assessments; soil/water sampling; hazardous materials surveys; regulatory compliance; remediation design; storm water management. Also geotechnical analysis/design; frozen ground engineering; earthquake analysis; AASHTO-accredited testing lab for soils, concrete, asphalt.

1954 1974

310 37

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.


Top Executive

PDC Inc. Engineers 1028 Aurora Dr. Fairbanks, AK 99709 Phone: 907-452-1414 Fax: 907-456-2707




STRUCTURAL PRODUCTS Concrete Forming Hardware Insulated Concrete Forms Concrete Chemicals | Epoxies | Grouts Waterproofing | Waterstop Rigid Insulation | Vapor Retarders Firestop | Sealants GEOTECHNICAL & ENVIRONMENTAL Geotextiles & Geogrids Geomembrane Systems | Erosion Control Sediment Control | Dust Control Hydromulch | Retaining Walls Asphalt Maintenance Temporary Roadways


CORROSION PREVENTION Protective Coatings | Marine Coatings Blasting Abrasives | Pavement Markings Petroleum Tapes

Civil August 2015 | www.akbizmag.com


300 E 54th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-646-4732 Construction and Maintenance Products www.polarsupply.com







Top Executive

SLR International Corporation 2700 Gambell St., Suite 200 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-222-1112 Fax: 907-222-1113

Brian Hoefler, AK Mgr.

Spill Shield, Inc. 2000 W. International Airport Rd, #D-2 Anchorage, AK 99502 Phone: 907-561-6033 Fax: 907-561-4504

Ken Bauer, Ops/Sales Mgr.

SRK Consulting (US), Inc. 4700 Business Park Blvd., E-12 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-677-3520 Fax: 907-677-3620

Bill Jeffress, Principal Consultant

Stantec 2515 A St. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-276-4245 Fax: 907-258-4653

Bob Gomes, CEO

Sustainable Design Group 247 S. Alaska St. Palmer, AK 99645 Phone: 907-745-3500 Fax: 907-622-1505

Eric Morey, Principal

TELLUS, Ltd. 2416 Loussac Dr. Anchorage, AK 99517-1148 Phone: 907-248-8055

Scott Erdmann, Pres./Prof. Geologist

Tetra Tech 310 K St., Suite 200 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-264-6714 Fax: 907-264-6602

Bryan McCulley, Pres. Tetratech MMI




bhoefler@slrconsulting.com slrconsulting.com

spillshield@ak.net spillshield.com

bjeffress@srk.com srk.com

twitter.com/Stantec stantec.com

info@sdg-ak.com sdg-ak.com


tim.reeves@tetratech.com tetratech.com

2000 2001

1992 1992




1,175 Air permitting and measurements, acoustics, project permitting, environmental 84 compliance, site investigation, remediation, risk assessment and oil spill contingency planning. 5 5

Supplier for Smart Ash, Oil Away, Drug Terminator and MediBurn incinerators. Absorbents, water scrubbers, oil spill response kits, Super Sacks, harbor boom, nitrile gloves, MicroBlaze, absorbent pads, rolls, boom, sock, duck ponds, spill kits, and related oil spill cleanup and prevention products.

1974 2008

1,500 SRK is an internationally recognized consulting firm with 50 offices, on six continents. 8 We have been in business for 40 years. Roughly half of SRKÕs staff provides expertise related to environmental science, engineering and construction services.

1954 1972

15,000 Stantec unites more than 15,000 employees from over 250 locations. Our 93 workÑconsulting in planning, engineering, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, surveying, environmental sciences, project managementÑbegins at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships.

2009 2009

5 5

Sustainable Design Group, LLC (SDG) is a woman-owned and veteran-owned, small business, design firm offering full landscape architecture and land planning services, with a focus on Community and Economic Development specializing in environmental planning, site development and sustainable design.

1997 1997

1 1

Project management, environmental assessment and compliance, corrective action programs.

1966 1966

14,000 Water, energy, environment, infrastructure, and natural resources. 3

Travis/Peterson Environmental Consulting Larry Peterson, Ops Mgr. 3305 Arctic Blvd., Suite 102 Anchorage, AK 99503 mtravis@tpeci.com Phone: 907-522-4337 Fax: 907-522-4313 tpeci.com

1998 1998

12 12

Storm Water Management, Environmental Site Assessments (Phases I and II), LUST remediation, hazardous material management, facility compliance audits, engineering analysis and design, field sampling, surface water/groundwater evaluations, NEPA, and wetlands delineations. Michael Travis, Principal

TTT Environmental Instruments & Supplies Deborah Tompkins, Owner 4201 B St. Anchorage, AK 99503 info@tttenviro.com Phone: 907-770-9041 Fax: 907-770-9046 tttenviro.com

2003 2003

16 13

Portable gas detection, health and safety monitoring, environmental equipment. Rentals, sales, service and supplies. Warranty center. Alaskan owned small business.

Tutka LLC 5825 E. Mayflower Ct., Suite B Wasilla, AK 99654 Phone: 907-357-2238 Fax: 907-357-2215

Amie Sommer, Member

1999 1999

10-30 WBE/DBE (SOA), EDWOSB/WOSB, HUBZone, General Contractor, heavy civil 10-30 construction, environmental cleanup and consulting, oil water separator maintenance, cleaning & repair.

Waste Management of Alaska, Inc. 1519 Ship Ave. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-274-0477 Fax: 866-491-2008

Mike Holzschuh, Territory Mgr./N.Am.

1969 1969

~42,700 Hazardous and nonhazardous waste disposal, project management, complete logistical 7 oversight, complete US and Canadian manifesting, rail transportation, over-the-road transportation, marine transportation, and turnkey remedial services.

WHPacific, Inc. 3111 C St., Suite 300 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-339-6500 Fax: 907-339-5327

Harold L. Hollis, P.E., VP AK Reg.

Wild North Resources LLC PO Box 91223 Anchorage, AK 99509 Phone: 907-952-2121 Fax: 907-952-2121 Company

Melissa Cunningham, Principal

amie@tutkallc.com tutkallc.com

mholzschuh@wm.com wm.com

info@whpacific.com whpacific.com


1981 1981

300 28

Professional consulting services for Energy, Water/Environmental, Development/ Facilities, Surveying, Transportation, and Construction/Program Management.

2009 2009

37 35

WNR provides biological and environmental consulting services and wilderness safety specialist support to the public and private sectors. Our expertise includes regulatory compliance, environmental monitoring, permitting, GIS analysis, site assessments, technical writing, and client support. Services

1988 1988

125 125

Remediation of petroleum-impacted soils by thermal desorption. Our process is capable of off-site and on-site remediation projects. Results are quick and guaranteed. Soils are recycled into beneficial products after treatment; thereby complying with green and sustainable recycling (GSR) practices.

wildnorthresources.com Top Executive

Alaska Soil Recycling 1040 O'Malley Rd. Anchorage, AK 99515 Phone: 907-348-6700 Fax: 907-344-2844

Brad Quade, Operations Mgr.

Alaska Waste 6301 Rosewood St. Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-563-3717 Fax: 907-273-2797

Craig Gales, Sales Mgr.

Bin There Dump That PO Box 241311 Anchorage, AK 99524 Phone: 907-947-2844

Greg Green, Owner/Pres.

Capitol Disposal, Inc. 5600 Tonsgard Ct. Juneau, AK 99801 Phone: 907-780-7801 Fax: 907-780-4235

Eric Vance, Dist. Mgr.

Central Recycling Services, Inc. 2400 Railroad Ave. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-748-7400 Fax: 907-561-0178

Stuart Jacques, Pres.


customerservice@akwaste.com alaskawaste.com

anchorage@bintheredumpthat.com bintheredumpthat.com


crs@crs-alaska.com centralrecyclingservices.com

1968 2003

7,000 We are a Refuse & Recycling Company that provides Residential and Commercial 245 services throughout Alaska. We have a variety of containers to better serve our customers, check us out on our web-site at www.alaskawaste.com.

2013 2013

2 2

Provides waste bins for residential construction, roofing, and other projects. The bins are dropped off and picked up by a uniformed driver, who will even sweep before leaving. Four bin sizes available to fit the specific project.

1978 1978

~ 9

Landfill, sanitary.

2009 2009

25 20

Scrap metal and Inert debris recycling facility. Accepts separated and mixed loads of recyclable debris including wood, plastic, metals, concrete, asphalt, cardboard, tires, sheetrock, etc. Waste Management Plans and LEED consulting. Sales of salvaged and recycled building materials. August 2015 | www.akbizmag.com

Environmental Compliance Consultants 1500 Post Rd. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-644-0428 Fax: 907-677-9328

Mark Goodwin, CEO

Green Star of Interior Alaska PO Box 82391 Fairbanks, AK 99708 Phone: 907-452-4152

Becca Brado, Exec. Dir.

Nick's Auto Salvage & Metal Recycling 346 Sargent Creek Rd. Kodiak, AK 99615 Phone: 907-487-2755






1999 1999

78 70

A full-service environmental company dedicated to providing clients with quality environmental services. Experienced in the disciplines of hazardous waste, materials management, transportation, environmental consulting, assessment, remediation, demolition, recycling of metals, oils and electronics.

1998 1998

4 4

Green Star hosts monthly electronics recycling collections, provides recycling bins and coordinates volunteers to collect recyclables at special events, publishes and distributes the Fairbanks Recycling Guide annually, and offers waste reduction and recycling education and outreach to our community.

Nick Troxell, Owner

2002 2002

3 3

Metal, automobile, and paper recycling.

NRC Alaska LLC 425 Outer Springer Lp. Palmer, AK 99645 Phone: 907-258-1558 Fax: 907-746-3651

Blake Hillis, Sr. VP NRC Alaska

2014 2014

Recycling Solutions of Alaska PO Box 110015 Anchorage, AK 99516 Phone: 907-242-9587

Sarah Robinson, Owner

Shred Alaska, Inc. 801 E. 82nd Ave., Suite B-1 Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-929-1154 Fax: 907-929-8042

Robyn Forbes, Pres./GM

Total Reclaim Environmental Services 12101 Industry Way, Unit C4 Anchorage, AK 99515 Phone: 907-561-0544 Fax: 907-222-6306

Larry Zirkle, GM

rod@eccalaska.com eccalaska.com

info@iagreenstar.org iagreenstar.org

PNielsen@nrcc.com nrcc.com

1,000 Emergency spill response, hazardous/non-hazardous waste disposal, petroleum product 100 recycling, industrial cleaning services, vacuum truck services, automotive fluids recycling and sales, environmentally friendly cleaners/degreasers, site clean-up and remediation. Anchorage/Kenai/Prudhoe/Fairbanks.

2008 2008

2 2

We provide office, business, and residential recycling services. Paper, cardboard, aluminum, glass, electronics, and more!

2000 2000

12 12

On-site and drop-off document shredding services to all customers throughout South central Alaska.

1991 2005

250 9

Recycler for electronics, fluorescent lights, household batteries and refrigerants. Community resource regarding information on recycling matters. Also Non-Ferrous Metal Buyer.

Valley Community For Recycling Solutions Mollie Boyer, Exec. Dir. PO Box 876464 Wasilla, AK 99687 community@valleyrecycling.org Phone: 907-745-5544 Fax: 907-745-5569 valleyrecycling.org

1998 1998

8 8

VCRS operates a community recycling center receiving & processing material kept out of the landfill into bales/feedstock to make new products. We provide education via field trips, curriculum kits & outreach to our community for people of all ages to learn how recycled resources rise again & again.

W N Salvage Recyclers PO Box 82193 Fairbanks, AK 99708 Phone: 907-488-4582 Fax: 907-488-2694

1985 1985

1 1

Recycling copper and brass.

August 2015 | www.akbizmag.com

sarah@rsalaska.net rsalaska.net

info@shredalaska.com shredalaska.com

Facebook totalreclaim.com

Nancy Castle, Owner wnalaska@mosquitonet.com


Top Executive





FINANCIAL SERVICES Snug Harbor Seafoods owners Brenda and Paul Dale (center) with Steve Manley, Wells Fargo Kenai Peninsula business relationship manager, and Tim Redder, Wells Fargo Kenai Peninsula Business Banking manager, at the bow of their fish tender vessel Bering Sea. © Jon Taylor, Artistic Puppy

Alaska’s Business Banking Services Helping small to mid-sized companies thrive By Tracy Barbour


s with most companies, the banking needs of Snug Harbor Seafoods have evolved with the growth of its operations. The Kenai-based business, founded by Paul and Brenda Dale in 1990, has used an assortment of banking services from Wells Fargo to support its expansion. Today, Snug Harbor has about 250 seasonal employees and processes millions of pounds of fish from Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet. Five years ago, the Dales tapped Wells Fargo for a half-a-million-dollar loan to purchase a fish tender vessel. Last year, the bank financed $850,000 for another vessel. The couple has also borrowed about $150,000 from Wells Fargo to buy automated machinery to help modernize their plant. “They have truly helped us grow,” says Brenda. “We 96

wouldn’t be where we are without them.” Given its seasonal nature, Snug Harbor needs bankers, vendors, and other partners who can move swiftly, says Paul. Wells Fargo does just that. “They’re easy to get a hold of and respond quickly to our requests,” he says. Alaska businesses like Snug Harbor have a wide range of banking needs that include checking and savings accounts, payroll direct deposit, online banking, automated clearing house (ACH) processing, cash management, lines of credit, equipment financing, commercial real estate loans, and building improvement loans. Many businesses bank with a single institution, while others use multiple resources to meet their comprehensive needs. Snug Harbor, for instance, has dealt primarily with Wells Fargo (via the former National Bank of Alaska) since its inception for everything from deposit services to well-timed equipment financing. “Working with small to mid-sized business owners is one of the most important things we do here at Wells Fargo,” says Kenai Peninsula Business Banking Manager Tim Redder. “We’re proud to have been able to partner with Snug Harbor Seafoods.”

Redder characterizes Wells Fargo as a “relationship” bank that strives to understand its customers. “It allows us to better serve them and help them with the applicable services they need,” Redder says. Wells Fargo offers a myriad of commercial banking services beyond the standard deposit and financing solutions. Popular options in Alaska include treasury management, merchant and foreign wire services, insurance, payroll, and desktop deposit services. Recently, the bank launched The Business Plan Center as a free resource available on the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business website. And due to the booming healthcare industry and large number of baby boomers advancing toward retirement, the bank has made significant investments in its practice finance and wealth management divisions in Alaska. Now with interest rates being so low, it’s a borrower’s market, Redder says. And it’s a good time for business owners to consider using low-cost capital to help their business grow. “We want to make every loan we can to help foster that business development,” he adds. “Wells Fargo can facilitate anything they need.”

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

Buzzbizz Studios and Peppercini’s Deli Partner with Denali Alaskan As a communications and marketing firm, Buzzbizz Studios has relatively “vanilla” business banking needs, according to President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Buzinski. He relies on Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union for ACH and remote direct deposit services. “As we grow, my transaction counts grow,” Buzinski says. “Having the ability to do direct deposit or ACH with our clients has been an evolving need.” The Anchorage Midtown company’s necessity for larger equipment has also increased. Several months ago, the need prompted Buzinski to borrow more than $50,000 to update his production equipment. In the near future, he’ll also be looking into establishing a credit line for cash flow management. Buzinski, forty-one, has been banking with Denali Alaskan FCU for about six months, and it’s been a positive experience, he says. “You feel as though you are more of a customer than a number,” he explains. Jason Kimmel, who owns Peppercini’s Deli & Catering, has also had a positive experience with Denali Alaskan. “Denali made getting a loan happen pretty quickly,” says Kimmel. “It was a smooth and easy process.”

Kimmel has received several loans from the credit union, with more financing soon to come. Now that he’s nearing the end of his lease at the University Center, he’s looking for a new home for his fast-casual restaurant and its twenty-seven employees. He’s also expecting to open a second restaurant on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Kimmel also has checking accounts with Denali Alaskan, as well as Northrim Bank. In addition, he depends on a Capitol One credit card as a key source of ongoing funding. Don Clary, vice president of business lending at Denali Alaskan, doesn’t like telling people he can’t help with their loan. Instead, he prefers to give them options. The credit union offers access to a full spectrum of loan programs, including Small Business Administration loans. “Not all customers will fit with the traditional programs that we have,” he says. “We don’t have to turn away customers; we can find other avenues to help them with their financing needs.” In November, Denali Alaskan expanded its Business Financial Services department to provide a full range of deposit and payment processing programs. It offers business checking and savings accounts, merchant processing, ACH processing, and tax payments. An increasing number of Alaska businesses are taking advantage of ACH and

“Denali made getting a loan happen pretty quickly. It was a smooth and easy process.” —Jason Kimmel Owner, Peppercini’s Deli & Catering direct deposit services, according to Business Financial Services Manager Stephanie Haydn. Her department better positions Denali Alaskan to cater to the broader needs of its business members. “Most people prefer to do their banking in one place,” Haydn says. “They need a full complement of services.”

Jolt Construction & Traffic Maintenance Uses First National Jolt Construction & Traffic Maintenance, Inc. has evolved well beyond the small, family-owned business that was founded in 1996. Today, the Big Lake company is a multi-regional corporation with a portfolio of services that includes sign manufacturing and

IN YOUR CORNER Alaska USA is the perfect partner to support local business. As the largest credit union in Alaska, we offer a full range of services for members, including equipment financing. See us for low rates, flexible terms, and quick decisions. CHECKING | SAVINGS | LOANS | INSURANCE alaskausa.org/biz | (800) 525-9094 www.akbizmag.com

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


“Our employees work all over the state, and they’re not here on Fridays to pick up a check, so we deposit it directly into their bank account.” —Kathleen Cole President, Jolt Construction installation, hydroseeding, and watering. Now with more employees to manage, Jolt Construction has a greater need for direct deposit services, which it receives from First National Bank Alaska. “Our employees work all over the state, and they’re not here on Fridays to pick up a check, so we deposit it directly into their bank account,” President Kathleen Cole says. Since 2000, Jolt Construction has been relying on First National to also assist with equipment purchases, commercial real estate loans, building improvement loans, cash management, and an increasingly larger credit line for bonding purposes.


Aside from major credit cards from other companies, Jolt Construction deals only with First National to satisfy its business banking needs. “We chose them because they are a community-based bank,” Cole says. “You have access to loan officers immediately who place emphasis on character, rather than just plugging in credit scores. It’s built on a personal relationship.” Cole likes the fact that her lending professional, Craig Thorn, provides quick answers and constantly touches bases with her. And when she first started her business, First National and Thorn helped her navigate through complicated issues. “They took the time to educate me and, in the meantime, we created a great relationship,” Cole says. That pretty much sums up First National’s approach to service. “It’s getting to know business owners to help walk them through complex financial decisions,” says Thorn, senior vice president and regional manager of the Mat-Su region. Being more knowledgeable about customers and their business allows the lending professionals at First National to better anticipate and meet their needs, says Thorn, who’s been in the banking business since 1984. Recently, First National introduced several new branches to expand the delivery

of its services. This spring, it unveiled a UMed branch. Later this year, the bank will open a new downtown Juneau facility that will consolidate its existing branches in the capital. The new branch is a testament to the bank’s commitment to serve Alaskans. It also embodies the essence of First National’s new slogan: We believe in Alaska. “So, I guess we’re putting our money where our mouth is,” Thorn says.

Castable Ceramics Committed to Northrim Bank When Sean Siegel acquired Castable Ceramics from his parents, he never considered changing financial institutions. The business, which has been making crowns, bridges, and other restoration products since 1986, had been working with Northrim Bank for decades. “Northrim has been a partner of ours since the very beginning and will continue to be,” says Siegel. “Our role is to support Alaska dentists. In doing so, that mindset lends itself to working with a local guy— keeping it Alaskan.” Working with Northrim is serving Castable Ceramics very well. For example, when Siegel needed real estate financing to relocate the business to Minnesota Drive, his loan officer, Kelly McCormack, and Northrim were extremely supportive, he says. “They were more than willing to help in any way for me to realize my aspirations for growing the business,” says Siegel. About two and a half years later, the bank facilitated financing for another building. “I called Northrim, and through their coaching and assistance with marrying me with the folks in the [Small Business Administration] loan department, I was able to purchase a building three times the size of the one we were in before,” Siegel says. Castable Ceramics moved into the new location on May 1—with extra space available to lease to other businesses. Siegel says he’s amazed and pleased at the growth of the business, which now has about fifteen employees. In addition, Castable Ceramics maintains a Northrim checking account and $180,000 credit line used mainly for equipment and supplies. Siegel also takes advantage of online banking services to manage his accounts and save valuable time. Many businesses are migrating as much of their operations online as possible, McCormack says. In fact, mobile banking has become a more integral part of what customers require and what Northrim provides. “When I meet with customers, they often want to know if the bank’s online banking can ‘speak’ to their operating system,” McCormack says.

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

Snug Harbor Seafoods owners Paul and Brenda Dale (white coats) give Steve Manley, Wells Fargo Kenai Peninsula business relationship manager, and Tim Redder, Wells Fargo Kenai Peninsula Business Banking manager, a tour of their fish processing facility in Kenai and show off some of the new automated machinery. © Jon Taylor, Artistic Puppy

Remote deposit capture is also a widely requested service at Northrim. Business customers can use the bank’s mobile devices to scan their checks and deposit them from their account. (Consumers can utilize a smartphone to deposit checks.) McCormack is also seeing a high demand for purchasing cards among Alaska busi-

nesses. P-cards, as they’re often called, are a type of company charge card that make it easier for employees to purchase goods and services. These cards—which are compatible with QuickBooks—enable the business to set limits, monitor transactions, track expenses, and manage everything efficiently online. “We’re finding them to be a big

hit for medium-sized businesses that have traditionally used old-style credit cards or reimbursed employees for using their own credit cards,” he says. “It’s a great tool.” R Tracy Barbour is a former Alaskan.

SIZE. STRENGTH. SMARTS. Insuring Alaska businesses for over 25 years. Alaska USA Insurance Brokers protects businesses like yours with the right coverages, including environmental site and pollution liability.

alaskausa.org/insurance | (800) 525-9094 www.akbizmag.com

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


RIGHT MOVES PDC Inc. Engineers

Randy Williams, PE, joins PDC Inc. Engineers in its Anchorage mechanical department. As a senior mechanical engineer with more than twenty-three years of design experience in Alaska, Williams Williams holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado, as well as a MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Danny Rauchenstein, PE, LEED-AP, was promoted to PDC’s Mechanical Department Manager overseeing a staff of fifteen. As a Senior Associate of the firm, Rauchenstein joined PDC in 2001, Rauchenstein has more than eighteen years of experience as a Mechanical Engineer, and is also an Alaska registered Fire Protection Engineer.

Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP

Michael Geraghty joins Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP in Anchorage. Geraghty has focused on construction and natural resources in his thirty-six year career. He was Alaska Attorney General for three years and was a Geraghty partner at DeLisio Moran Geraghty & Zobel PC. Geraghty earned his law degree from the University of Santa Clara and his bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Hawaii.

Anchorage Police Department

Renee Oistad was promoted to t h e A n c h o r a g e Po l i ce Department, Public Affairs Unit as a Crime Prevention Specialist and will also serve as a spokesperson for the department. With the department for eighteen years, Oistad Oistad was a Community Service Officer. Oistad earned a bachelor’s in Marketing from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

GCI Industrial Telecom

Maurice Berger was promoted to Senior Manager of Construction for GCI Industrial Telecom, a

Compiled by Russ Slaten division of GCI. Berger leads the Remote Construction and Exploration teams and has completed remote installation and construction all across Alaska and the Lower 48 since 2006.

Professional Growth Systems

Jen Jarvis joins the consulting team at Professional Growth Systems in Anchorage. Jarvis was the Health Center Manager of Planned Parenthood of Anchorage. Jarvis previously partnered with Professional Growth Systems on Jarvis several projects including the facilitation of Governor Walker’s Transition Retreat and the Governor’s Cabinet Retreat.

Hawk Consultants LLC

Drema Fitzhugh joins Hawk Consultants LLC as Business Development Manager in the Anchorage office. Fitzhugh comes to Hawk with seventeen years of experience in oil and gas business development and marketing. She Fitzhugh earned a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Houston.

Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation

Theresa Phillips-Guim joins Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation as the new Human Resource Director with more than fifteen years of experience in the field. Phillips-Guim holds a bachelor’s in Business Administration, Human Phillips-Guim Resource Management from Wayland Baptist University and a UCLA Executive Human Resources Program Certification.

Nvision Architecture, Inc.

Paul Baril has become Principal/ Vice President of Nvision Architecture. He has completed award-winning designs for the Downtown Soup Kitchen in Anchorage, the Alaska Culinary Academy, and AVTEC’s new Baril student dormitory in Seward.

Sitnasuak Native Corporation

Nome-based Sitnasuak Native Corporation appointed shareholder Michael Orr as President. Orr was Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager at the Wells Fargo Global Banking unit in Seattle. He has a BA in Economics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a MBA from Alaska Pacific University.

The Lakefront Anchorage

Robert Sidro was promoted to Executive Chef of The Lakefront Anchorage. Sidro began his career at the hotel in 1989 as a dishwasher and was promoted to prep cook, line cook, and then lead cook. After two other opportunities took him away from the hotel, he returned in 2011.

Livingston Slone, Inc.

Senior staff members Robert Meyer and Scott Veerman are now part owners of Anchoragebased Livingston Slone, Inc. Together with founding Principals Tom Livingston and Don Slone, Meyer and Veerman will share in operational and financial responsibilities and continue design and project management. Meyer began at the firm in 1999 providing laboratory planning and design. He earned his bachelor’s in Architecture Technology and associate’s in Construction Management from the University Meyer of Cincinnati. Veerman was hired in 1998. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science, a registered architect in Alaska and Colorado, and a LEED Accredited Professional. Veerman


Dr. Richard Greer is now a senior biologist at AECOM’s Anchorage office. Greer has more than twentyfive years of worldwide experience, and his expertise lies in wildlife biology, Arctic development, oil and gas, the National Environmental Greer Policy Act, compliance, and World Bank/International Finance Corporation standards.

OH MY! 100

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com


Compiled by Russ Slaten

First National Bank Alaska

First National Bank Alaska (FNBA) Board of Directors elected Bank President Betsy Lawer to the position of Board Chair. Lawer takes over the role from her father D.H. Cuddy, who passed away May 12 at the age of ninety-four. Since joining the bank in 1974, she has worked in all areas including Commercial Lending, Investor Loan Production, Bank Operations, Electronic Data Processing, and Marketing. Lawer earned her BA in Economics from Duke University.

land surveying experience with F. Robert Bell and Associates. Bell earned a BA and an MS both in Psychology from Alaska Pacific University.

Municipal Light & Power




of the Muldoon Branch in East Anchorage. His banking career began more than fifteen years ago. Janice Campbell was promoted to Branch Manager of the North Star Branch. Campbell has more than nine years of banking experience.

Chugach Electric Association

Bettina Chastain, Sisi Cooper, and Bruce Dougherty Lawer


Resource Data, Inc.


Fran Ulmer joins FNBA’s Board of Directors. As mayor of Juneau, a state representative, and Lieutenant Governor, she served as an Alaska elected official for eighteen years. Ulmer is chair of the US Arctic Research Commission. She has served on numerous local, state, and federal advisory committees and boards. Ulmer earned a JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Many FNBA professionals have been hired and promoted. Lauren Caraghar was appointed to Human Resources Officer. She joined FNBA in 2013.

Resource Data, Inc., a custom software devel-




were elected to the Chugach Electric Association board of directors. Chastain and Cooper were elected to four-year terms and Dougherty was elected to a special one-year term created by a recent resignation from the board. Chastain is a selfemployed executive and engineering consultant. Cooper is a project engineer with Doyon Anvil, first elected to the board in 2012. Dougherty is a health program manager with the State of Alaska.

F. Robert Bell and Associates




Diana Morlan was promoted to Cash Management Manager and has worked the last fifteen years at FNBA. Teresa Powell was appointed the bank’s newest Senior Business Development Officer. She has more than twenty-five years of banking experience. Taka Tsukada is FNBA’s newest Vice President and is the Cash Management and Anchorage Branch Administration Manager. He has more than twenty-three years of banking experience. Stacy Sereyko joins FNBA as a Senior Mortgage Underwriter and Loan Officer. She has more than fourteen years of mortgage lending experience. Joe Steger was promoted to Branch Manager

Mark A. Johnston is appointed as the new CFO of Municipal Light & Power. He has twenty-four years of experience in senior financial positions. Johnston was ML&P’s Finance Projects Manager for two years and has also provided independent consulting services since 1999. He earned a BS Johnston in Accounting from the University of Nevada and has been a CPA in Alaska since 1996.

Kyle Griffiths joins F. Robert Bell and Associates as Business Manager in the Anchorage office. He has more than fifteen years of experience in business and finance and has contributed to several publications. Griffiths earned a BS in Business Administration from Griffiths Portland State University and a MS in Business Administration from the University of Memphis. Frank Thomas Bell has returned to the firm as the new Operations Manager. Bell holds a wealth of experience within the industry and eight years of Bell




opment, GIS. and IT consulting firm, has added four professionals to its Anchorage office staff. Jon Wojtacha was hired as a Senior Systems Administrator. He has a Networking Technology degree from Charter College in Anchorage. Wojtacha has twenty-one years of IT experience designing, implementing, and managing smallto-large complex information systems. Dave Matheson joins as a Controller. He earned a BS in Accounting from Brigham Young University and an MBA in Finance and Investments from the University of Connecticut. Matheson also has his CMA license. Emily Blattmachr joins as a Marketing Writer. She earned a BA in English Rhetoric from the University of Alaska Anchorage and has a wide range of writing and proofreading experience in the oil and gas and healthcare industries. Mark Breunig joins as a Project Manager/Senior Analyst. He has more than ten years of experience in project management and consulting and has a targeted focus in corporate IT security audit, remediation, and compliance. R

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August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly




Coastal Villages Region Fund

oastal Villages Region Fund, a CDQ corporation formed to create and support economic development in western Alaska, completed its third round of the People Propel Program. The program has made it possible for residents to purchase new outboard motors, boats, snow machines, all-terrain vehicles, fishing nets, and commercial fishing permits during the past three years. Coastal Villages Region Fund paid 40 percent of retail, or $795,732, for 201 approved applicants this year. People Propel gives western Alaskans a chance to own newer and more modern means of transportation and establish and build credit as the 40 percent provided by the program acts as a down payment that makes banks and lenders more willing to approve loans to those that may not have established credit.


The Annex

he Annex is a newly renovated, downtown Palmer coworking environment. The space features high-speed wireless Internet, printing/scanning/copying, a kitchenette, and access to a private conference room and classroom. Amenities also include whiteboards, free custom blend coffee, and plenty of shared meeting space. Members of the Annex include artists, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and independents. Its shared space model inspires the self-employed and fosters development and intermingling of ideas.



CI expanded its wireless network in Alaska by bringing 4G LTE data speeds to the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, with coverage from Willow to Palmer to Knik-Goose Bay Road. GCI added TiVo OnePass to its TiVo Season

Compiled by Russ Slaten

Pass recording option. TiVo OnePass collects all available episodes of a television show and creates custom playlists in subscribers’ folders. GCI introduced a new delivery service, GCI 2 U, available in Anchorage and Eagle River. Customers can call a GCI 2 U representative to schedule and deliver a wireless device to their home, office, or other predetermined location, often same-day.

ness-class features, dedicated voice network access, the Alaska Voice mobility app for smartphones and voicemail with web access. Alaska Communications first introduced hosted Voice over Internet to Anchorage businesses in 2012 and 2013, and earlier this year the service was enhanced with high definition voice capability and upgraded existing customers at that time.


Northrim Bank


&M (Hennes & Mauritz AB), one of the world’s largest fashion retailers based in Sweden, opened its first location in Alaska at the Dimond Center in Anchorage. The new store is about thirty-one thousand square feet. The Dimond Center location will offer collections for ladies, men, young ladies, and young men, with separate “store within store” sections for accessories, lingerie, sports apparel, maternity, and its plus-size line, H&M+. The store will also carry H&M’s children’s collection, which features clothing for kids of all ages, from newborn to fourteen years.

Alaska Travel Industry Association


he Alaska Travel Industry Association moved its offices to a building at 610 E. 5th Avenue in Downtown Anchorage. Located on 5th Avenue near Fairbanks Street, the purchase of the building makes it the new and permanent home for the organization.

Alaska Communications


laska Communications introduced businesses in Fairbanks, Juneau, and select areas of Kenai to hosted Voice over Internet. The hosted cloud-based communications solution provides phones, busi-


orthrim Bank opened its newest Lake Otis Community Branch on the corner of Lake Otis Parkway and 37th Avenue in Anchorage. The bank relocated its facility near the corner of the Seward Highway and 36th Avenue as the State prepares for a major overhaul of that intersection. The lobby will feature a warm, open environment, with areas to access Northrim’s mobile banking services, as well as “universal bankers” prepared to provide financial education and advice. The branch is equipped with a hightech conference room, intended for customer presentations with video conferencing.



panish company Repsol and its partners announced the successful completion of a joint exploratory drilling operation in the Colville River delta this winter, an effort that began in 2012. Repsol operates the consortium and holds a 70 percent interest; 70 & 148 LLC, a subsidiary of Denver-based Armstrong Oil & Gas, holds a 22.5 percent stake; and GMT Exploration Company has 7.5 percent. The activity to date has resulted in the discovery of several oil fields on the North Slope. All sixteen drilled wells have found hydrocarbons, most with multiple pay zones. In the Nanushuk reservoir, seven appraisal wells drilled to date have proven an oil pool that covers more than 25,000 acres, at a depth of 4,100 feet, with an oil column of

Your Project, Our Responsibility. 24/7 Service Pacific Pile & Marine has a robust fleet of marine equipment including our recent addition of a 600-Ton 4600 Ringer.

www.pacificpile.com I (907) 276-3878 276-3873 102

From critical lifts to platform support, PPM is sufficiently resourced to deliver a wide range of construction services. 620B East Whitney Road I Anchorage, AK 99501

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com

INSIDE ALASKA BUSINESS more than 650 feet and up to 150 feet of net pay with an average porosity of 22 percent. The Nanushuk and Alpine fields are in the process of being permitted for development.


Alaska Aerospace Corporation

arvey Spacecraft Corporation selected Alaska Aerospace Corporation’s Pacific Spaceport Complex–Alaska on Kodiak Island as host range for the next phase of the company’s Nanosat Launch Vehicle flight test program. Initial efforts will be conducted through a recently awarded NASA Small Business Technology Transfer project in which Garvey Spacecraft is teamed with the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The small Nanosat Launch Vehicle is focused on providing launches for commercial space companies. The Pacific Spaceport Complex– Alaska will serve as the company’s base of operations for high performance suborbital flight testing and ultimately for operational orbital missions. Initial pathfinder operations addressing logistics and ground operations at Kodiak began this summer.

Geographic Information Network of Alaska


he Geographic Information Network of Alaska, part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, built a web app for the Department of Natural Resources that uses soil temperatures, snow depth, and snow density data from multiple monitoring stations on the North Slope. Department managers can use the new app to post the data immediately from anywhere on the North Slope road system. The app optimizes the entire process, giving information to contractors who want to start building an ice road, need to stop until conditions are appro-

Compiled by Russ Slaten

Erickson Incorporated

priate, or need to remove their equipment.

Northern Made Creations


orthern Made Creations in the Huffman Square and the 12-100 Coffee and Communitas at 12100 Old Seward hosted the first ever First Friday Art Walk in South Anchorage. Northern Made Creations hosted Didier Lindsey and his award winning Alaska nature and landscape photography. 12-100 Coffee and Communitas featured multiple artists, including the premier of Zan Butler’s photography. Northern Made Creations will continue First Friday Art Walks throughout the summer.

Lynden Oilfield Services


new Lynden business, and a new division of Alaska West Express, Lynden Oilfield Services provides support for oilfield exploration and production, along with transportation and logistics solutions to the companies working to redevelop Alaska’s existing oil and gas resources on the North Slope. Based in Deadhorse, Lynden Oilfield Services offers in-field logistical services for Prudhoe Bay and all other North Slope oilfields. Its new fifteen-acre facility includes storage for supplies like pipe and bulk materials, a cross-dock operation, and a fullservice maintenance shop and mechanics.


Kids Foot Locker

ids Foot Locker, a Foot Locker Retail, Inc. brand, opened its first store in Alaska at Dimond Center in Anchorage. The store will be located in the recently remodeled west end of Dimond Center on the main level near the relocated, larger, and completely renovated Foot Locker store. Kids Foot Locker is approximately 2,775 square feet, almost double in size of its average store.


rickson Incorporated, a global aviation company, received two new contracts in Alaska. In Erickson’s contract with Repsol, the company will provide crew and cargo transport to the North Slope for Repsol. This agreement will guarantee the use of medium lift aircraft to support Repsol’s oil and gas operations and provide emergency response services, if needed. Erickson’s second contract with the US Department of Transportation will continue to provide weekly, year-round helicopter service for one year to people and cargo between Nome, Wales, and Little Diomede in Western Alaska. Erickson has been providing airlift services to the community of Little Diomede for more than fifty years.

Crowley Offshore Services


rowley Offshore Services’ Arctic Hawk hovercraft was diverted to shuttle people, groceries, and other supplies to the Endicott drill site on the North Slope from its normal duties of supporting NorthStar Island after the road to the site was washed out. The Arctic Hawk, 38.8 feet long with a 15.5-foot beam, began transporting Hilcorp crews and supplies after the road to the Endicott drill site located on a spit of land connected by the gravel Prudhoe Bay road was no longer accessible by truck.



ugro was awarded a large geotechnical and geophysical program by ExxonMobil Alaska LNG LLC. The geotechnical scope of work includes drilling and sampling of borings for the onshore liquefaction facilities, marine terminal, and offshore pipelines. It also includes installation of monitoring wells, seismograph, and in situ measurement of soil properties. The geological and earthquake engineering scope will

Your Project, Our Responsibility. 24/7 Service

Pacific Pile & Marine has a robust fleet of marine equipment including our recent addition of a 600-Ton 4600 Ringer.

www.pacificpile.com I (907) 276-3878 276-3873 www.akbizmag.com

From critical lifts to platform support, PPM is sufficiently resourced to deliver a wide range of construction services. 620B East Whitney Road I Anchorage, AK 99501 August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


INSIDE ALASKA BUSINESS include assessment of geohazards, source characterization, probabilistic seismic hazard, and site response analyses. Bathymetric, side scan sonar, reflection and refraction surveys, and sub-bottom profiling will also be conducted to assist in developing an integrated site model. These studies will assist AKLNG and its contractors to proceed with the FEED level design of the LNG terminal and associated offshore pipelines.



eoNorth LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Tatitlek Corporation, added 24/7 operational readiness to its Imagery Coordination Center. The fully-staffed operations center is the focal point for all of GeoNorth’s imagery operations and conducts all of the satellite tasking duties, image processing, and customer fulfillment. Most recently, the Imagery Coordination Center has added 24/7 response capabilities and a service offering that allows subscribers of the center to receive alerts related to imagery acquisition of their assets. Subscribers can also direct the proactive monitoring of their interests to enable more accurate, timely, and cost effective operational decision-making.


Black & Veatch

lack & Veatch Construction, Inc. was approved by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development for the Construction Health and Safety Excellence Program Partnership, or CHASE. Participation in the CHASE program requires continual evaluation of the safety and health management system and the ever changing construction environment to enable management and workers to better anticipate, identify, and plan for appropriate adjustments toward prevention and abatement of hazards that arise or have the potential to become present.


Compiled by Russ Slaten

Icicle Seafoods

aine & Partners, LLC, a global private equity investment firm focused on investing in food and agribusiness, and Icicle Holdings, Inc. entered into agreements to sell Icicle to Convergence Holdings, Inc. and to Dominion Catchers, LLC. Convergence will acquire Icicle’s land-based wild seafood processing and farmed salmon activities, and Dominion will acquire the Company’s harvesting and processing vessels as well as the associated fishing rights. Convergence and Dominion have agreed to enter into long-term contracts to continue Icicle’s diversified seafood operations following the completion of the transactions. The transaction is anticipated to close in August, and is subject to customary closing and regulatory conditions.



he Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority Board authorized the authority to purchase Pentex Alaska Natural Gas Company LLC and its assets, including Fairbanks Natural Gas, under AIDEA’s Development Finance Program. AIDEA is authorized to invest up to $54 million in this project, which is the $52.5 million purchase price, plus working capital. Under AIDEA’s temporary ownership of Pentex, Fairbanks Natural Gas will be in a position to work closely with one or more local control entities in the Fairbanks North Star Borough to integrate the construction and operation of a natural gas distribution system, avoiding duplication between competing utilities, and reducing Interior customer’s price of delivered natural gas by an estimated 13.3 percent.


HM Bark

he locally owned HM Bark opened its new store in Downtown Anchorage inside the Hotel Captain Cook. Owner Melissa Wolf

previously co-owned the pet boutique, Paw Prince. HM Bark carries baked goods, toys, treats, carriers, designer clothing, and breed specific gift items. The shop has undergone significant upgrades, and the focus for the new boutique will remain on items made in the USA, with an emphasis on inventory made in Alaska including David Jensen Photography, Snowbound Hound, Denali Dreams, Lead Dog Collars, and Matanuska Thunderstruck.



survey from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Fairbanks Memorial Hospital seeks to better identify the strengths and needs of Alaska’s informal caregivers and to ultimately help them. The Alaska Informal Caregivers Needs Assessment Survey is an online survey that can be accessed at AKcaregiver.com through October 2015. People can also request to conduct the survey with a researcher via telephone at 907687-2962.The survey is open to any person 18 years or older who cares for other adults who are experiencing illness, disability or issues of aging—most often without pay.



he Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association initiated twice weekly ferry service between the Pribilof Islands of St. George and St. Paul, in an isolated area of the central Bering Sea. The F/V Atka Pride, owned by APICDA Vessels, Inc., will serve as a halibut tender and ferry between the two islands that are separated by 40 miles of water. The ferry will transport passengers and cargo at a reduced rate, providing another critically needed safe transportation option in the Pribilof’s from June through August. Scheduling is through the City of St. George Ferry Coordinator Naomi Philemonof, 907-859-2263. R

• General Contracting • Marine Infrastructure • Design Build

Dutch Harbor - Unalaska, Alaska

www.pacificpile.com I (907) 276-3873 104

620B East Whitney Road I Anchorage, AK 99501

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com


Compiled By Tasha Anderson Museums, Communities & Collaboration.” It will explore how partnerships bolster advocacy efforts, inform exhibit development, and complement outreach activities. museumsalaska.org

August AML Summer Legislative Conference


August 19-21—Cape Fox Lodge-Conference Hotel, Ketchikan: The Alaska Municipal League Board of Directors, Alaska Conference of Mayors, and Alaska Municipal Management Associationmeet to work on AML policies and platform and to conduct business for each group. akml.org

October IEDC Annual Conference


2015 Alaska Chapter of ASA Annual Conference


August 25-27—Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage: The Alaska Chapter American Statistical Association meeting features a workshop on Generalized Additive Models by Dr. Simon Wood (University of Bath, UK). community.amstat.org/alaskachapter

September September 21-24—Anchorage: The Congress includes critical market assessments, the latest information from key industry players, and information on key issues impacting Alaska’s energy future. alaskaoilandgascongress.com


September 24-25—Hilton Anchorage, Anchorage: Meet more than two hundred human resources professionals, office managers and administrators, directors, and adult educators representing both public and private industry. This event will bring professionals from around the state to learn more about their responsibilities as HR Professionals. alaska.shrm.org

Chapman Conference on Magnetospheric Dynamics


September 20-October 2—Fairbanks: Scientific objectives of the proposed CCEMD include magnetic storms, auroral and magnetospheric substorms, dayside and tail magnetic reconnections, and new results of the MMS mission. chapman.agu.org/ magnetospheric

2015 Arctic Energy Summit


September 28-30—Carlson Center, Fairbanks: The theme is “Security and Affordability for a Resilient North.” The 2015 Summit Tracks are: prudent exploration and production of oil and gas; renewable energy development and energy efficiency; power and heat in remote communities. arcticenergysummit.institutenorth.org


September 28-October 3—Seward: Includes training, workshops, lectures, and a firefighter competition. The 2015 theme is “Passing the Torch.” alaskafireconference.com


September 30—Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: Come honor the top ranked Alaska companies by revenue at our annual luncheon. Contact: Melinda Schwab, 907-276-4373, accounts@akbizmag.com, akbizmag.com

Museums Alaska Annual Conference


September 30-October 3—Cordova: This year’s conference theme is “Joining Forces:


October 8-10— Anchorage: A continuing medical education conference put on by the Alaska Academy of Physicians Assistants, providing up to 25 CMEs. akapa.org

Alaska Coalition on Housing and Homelessness Conference


October 12-16—Anchorage: This is the annual conference of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters & Port Administrators. alaskaharbors.org

AMA Convention & Trade Show


October 13-14—Fairbanks: Open to the public, the Alaska Chamber’s Annual Conference is the state’s premier business conference. Traditionally held in the fall, the Conference draws 200 to 225 attendees and features keynote speakers, panel discussions, and breakout sessions on issues of statewide concern to Alaska business. alaskachamber.com

October 15-17—Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: Annual gathering of Alaska Native peoples to discuss current news and events on a state, national, and international level. nativefederation.org

Alaska Math and Science Conference


October 23-25—Sitka: Biennial conference for teachers of math and science of all grade levels. This year’s theme is “Navigating the Tides of Change.” amsc2015.org

November 8-10—Hilton Anchorage, Anchorage: This conference features nationally renowned speakers from the peer movement, as well as local presenters who offer workshops about innovative projects and inspiring models of recovery and wellness for all. akpeersupport.org

Associated General Contractors of Alaska Annual Conference


November 11-14—AGC of Alaska is a nonprofit construction trade association dedicated to improving the professional standards of the construction industry. agcak.org

AAMC Conference


November 15-16—Anchorage: The Alaska Association of Municipal Clerks is an organization that focuses on providing educational training and mentoring and professional growth opportunities. alaskaclerks.org

Annual Local Government Conference


November 16-20—Anchorage: The Alaska Municipal League is a voluntary, nonprofit, nonpartisan, statewide organization of 162 cities, boroughs, and unified municipalities, representing over 97 percent of Alaska’s residents. akml.org

RDC Annual Conference: Alaska Resources


November 18-19—The conference provides timely updates on projects and prospects, addresses key issues and challenges and considers the implications of state and federal policies on Alaska oil and gas, mining and other resource development sectors. akrdc.org

December ALASBO Annual Conference


Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Convention


November 2-5—Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: Annual Alaska Miners Association convention and trade show. alaskaminers.org

Alaska Peer Partnership Conference


Alaska Chamber Policy Forum and Conference


October 26-29—Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: The conference provides a mix of education and networking, along with more than seventy exhibit booths. It also provides ample opportunities to learn about the latest best practices, innovations, and technology concerning utilities. nwppa.orgNovember


October 12-14—Anchorage: Events include keynote speakers and training sessions. alaskahousing-homeless.org/conference

AAHPA Annual Conference


Alaska Business Monthly’s Top 49ers Luncheon


October 1-10—Land’s End, Homer: Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Alaska Recreation & Park Association as well as participate in the organization’s annual conference. alaskarpa.org

All-Alaska Medical Conference

Alaska Fire Conference


October 5-8—Juneau: The 2015 “In Your Wildest Dreams” ATIA convention is for Alaska’s tourism industry leaders with delegates from tour operators, wholesalers, Alaska vendors, destination marketing organizations, and elected officials. alaskatia.org

Alaska Recreation & Park Association Conference

Alaska State HR Conference


October 4-7—Anchorage: The annual conference of the International Economic Development Council. Join economic developers from around the world to discuss the most important issues in economic development today: “Foundational Transformations: Creating Future Growth & Prosperity.” iedcevents.org/AnnualConference

Alaska Travel Industry Association Convention & Trade Show

Alaska Oil & Gas Congress


NWPPA/APA Alaska Electric Utility Conference


December 6-9—Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage: Annual conference of the Alaska Association of School Business Officials. alasbo.org

January 2016 Junior Achievement of Alaska Awards Banquet


January 28—Dena’ina Civic & Convention Center, Anchorage: Four new Alaskans will be inducted and recognized with this prestigious award. Attended by over four hundred business representations, the program consists of a networking reception, dinner, and awards ceremony. juniorachievement.org

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly



Alaskans serving Alaskans. Oxford is proud to be the only gold refiner and bullion dealer to maintain two locations in Alaska for more than 30 years.

By Tasha Anderson




1.800.693.6740 www.oxfordmetals.com


Don’t miss our #1 issue of the year. Anchorage’s new restaurant South, which serves “casual highbrow” dining.


p o T

s r e 49

The Top 49 businesses owned and operated by Alaskans and ranked by gross revenue

LUNCHEON Wednesday, Sept 30, 2015 11:30 am — 1:00 pm Dena’ina Civic & Convention Center Anchorage, Alaska Make reservations early at akbizmag.com/store or call 907-257-2901

Table of 10 - $490, Individual Seat - $49 (Space is limited. Event will sell-out)

akbizmag.com 106

Photos by Tasha Anderson for Alaska Business Monthly


new “casual highbrow dining” restaurant has opened in Anchorage. Located at 11124 Old Seward Highway, South is a restaurant and coffeehouse (6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.) serving brunch, lunch, and dinner. All of the menus offer vegan and gluten-free options. Brunch is served until 3 p.m. and includes a wide variety of egg options—four varieties of eggs Benedict, omelets, egg scrambles, a breakfast burrito, and croque madame—in addition to traditional breakfast favorites like pancakes, French toast, granola, parfait, and a pull apart monkey bread appetizer. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and features soups, such as French onion and roasted tomato and kale; salads, including kale Caesar, niçoise, and roasted beet salads; various burgers and sandwiches; and locally sourced Alaska seafood, such as various mussel bowls and vodka battered fish and chips. Many of the soup, salad, and sandwich options are also available for dinner, as is the croque madame. Additionally, dinner guests can choose from “large plates,” which include pan seared Alaska salmon, a vegetable risotto, pork picatta, and spaghetti vino e verdure. The restaurant offers a large selection of beverages, including eight rotating taps of local brews, Kaladi Bros. coffee, and red and white wines. Those with a sweet tooth can enjoy salted caramel cheesecake, blueberry skillet pie, olive oil carrot cake, or a fresh berry pavlova. The new restaurant’s coffeehouse has its own seating section, and in the beautiful Alaska weather guests can enjoy outdoor seating as well. South’s dining room is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. southak.com R

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com




© The Arc of Anchorage


n May of this year The Arc of Anchorage announced the project #St ic k Fig u reA K , part of The Arc’s 2015 goal to celebrate Sparc: A Creative Place, the organization’s art studio and gallery located at 425 D Street. “At The Arc of Anchorage our vision is to recognize and embraced people of all abilities,” says Naomi Hodawanus, visual communication specialist. She says that through Sparc and the #StickFigureAK project, “we’re letting people know this is what The Arc of Anchorage does and we’re inviting them to participate in creating with us, celebrating the ability that we all possess to create.” This project is a contest. Alaska residents are invited to create up to three stick figures made out of anything—photos on #StickFigureAK’s website include crab leg, fishing lure, and snow stick figures. Once the figure is created, a high-resolution photo must be taken and submitted to The Arc of Anchorage, either through AK.StickFigureCollective. com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or via the email AK@StickFigureCollective.com. The Arc of Anchorage is not selecting the winner; Alaskans can vote on their favorite stick figures by liking them in the submission gallery on the project’s website. The top one hundred figures will be printed in a limited-edition coffee table book, and their creators will receive a gift from The Arc. The top five contestants will get a free copy of that book, and the top three will receive a $100 gift card. The competition started in May, but Alaskans can turn in submissions until September 1, with the winners being announced on September 14. Hodawanus says that the choice of a stick figure is deliberate: “We’re often quick to dismiss a stick figure’s potential. We may not think of it as being extremely creative. In the same way, often people with a disability can have their potential dismissed as well, not just creatively, but overall, their value is dismissed as a human being. The stick figure is a way to help us all interact and realize that, just like a stick figure has great potential, so does someone who experiences an intellectual or developmental disability.” ak.stickfigurecollective.com R www.akbizmag.com

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly



7 Salmon Daze Don’t miss out on this fun-filled day in Downtown Anchorage with a festival celebrating one of Alaska’s most valuable resources, wild Salmon, as well as local Alaskan artists and galleries. Anchorage Museum Quad, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. anchoragedowntown.org 13 Book Party in the Park thread celebrates early literacy by giving away thousands of books to local children. Get free books for infants through school age kids and enjoy free activities like a cardboard box construction zone, face painting, door prizes, story time, crafts, food, live music, bubbles, and more. Garden Art Park in Mountain View, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. facebook.com/events/1652872328259202 14-15 Big Wild Life Runs Sports and Fitness Expo This event is a collection of runs including a 49K ultra, marathon, marathon walk, marathon relay, half marathon, 5K, the Anchorage mile, Kids’ 2K, and Back 2 Back Challenge. Events associated with the event include a movie, “Trails in Motion,” on Thursday and a pasta feed on Saturday at Dena’ina from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. bigwildliferuns.com 20-23 Alaska Salsa Festival Don’t miss this great weekend of dancing, workshops, showcases, banquets, and more. Get fit, make friends, find romance, have fun. Dance Champions from around the world will be in Anchorage, presenting instruction and entertainment. Hotel Captain Cook. alaskasalsafestival.com


7-16 Tanana Valley State Fair This fair features Alaska produce and competitive exhibits. Commercial, craft, and food vendors will be on site, as well as rides, games, and live entertainment. Tanana Valley State Fairgrounds. tananavalleyfair.org 7-16 Alaska International Senior Games This event includes competitive sports and activities for anyone fifty years of age and older. alaskaisg.org 28-30 Tanana Valley Sandhill Crane Festival Each August as thousands of Sandhill Cranes begin their southward progress from Alaska, the Tanana Valley rings with gathering calls. The festival includes talks, bird watching, nature walks, workshops, and many other related activities with ample opportunities for observing Sandhill Cranes and other fall migrants. creamersfield.org


8-9 Alyeska Blueberry Festival A celebration of the lush blueberry season, this family-oriented outdoors event features over two dozen arts and crafts booths and food vendors, as well as live music and all the blueberry concoctions you can try. Blueberry picking and eating is encouraged; find your own secret stash. Activities include a pie eating contest, face painting, and more. Alyeska Resort, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. alyeskaresort.com 28-30 Girdwood Fungus Fair Guest speakers will be joined by local fungi experts. Activities include lectures, mushroom forays, and various fungus activities. New this year is the Mushroom and Martini Cocktail party at the Sitzmark, which includes live and silent auctions and live music. Girdwood Community Room and Hotel Alyeska. fungusfair.com 108

Compiled by Tasha Anderson HOMER

Mid-May through Mid-September Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby This derby runs from mid-May through mid-September. To celebrate the Derby’s thirtieth anniversary, in addition to the more than one hundred tagged fish out there, including the GCI $50,000 and the Stanley Ford F-150 Tagged Fish, an extra thirty fish will be tagged; these tags will be worth $50. Catch a previous year tagged fish and win $100. homeralaska.org


29 Soup Supper & Auction The Kenai Peninsula Food Bank’s Annual Soup Supper & Auction is the organization’s annual fundraiser and begins at 5:30 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m. to allow examination of auction items. Each ticket holder enjoys delicious soup and receives a bowl hand thrown bowl by local potters. Call 907-262-3111 for tickets. Kenai Central High School, 9583 Kenai Spur Highway.


21-23 Kenai Peninsula Fair In addition to arts, crafts, and commercial vendors, the fair features a Fair Queen contest, Alaska’s Got Talent, exhibits, live music, fresh produce and food, and more. Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds. kenaipeninsulafair.com


8/27-9/7 Alaska State Fair The Fair celebrates its 79th anniversary in 2015! The heart of the Fair still centers on the things the original colonists started with—agriculture, produce, lots of food, flowers, friends and family, and an old-fashioned, good time that includes the AT&T Concert Series. Alaska State Fairgrounds. alaskastatefair.org


8-16 Seward Silver Salmon Derby This is the sixtieth anniversary of the Seward Silver Salmon Derby. There are prizes for tagged fish ranging from $1,000 to $50,000; by weight, with angler with the heaviest fish winning $10,000 and the weight of the fish in Silverhook Coffee by Kaladi Brothers; and for other categories such as mystery fish, 49th heaviest. seward.com


7-9 Sitka Seafood Festival This two-day festival celebrates wild Alaska seafood, bringing together local and celebrity chefs, bands, fishermen, foodies, and local food vendors with non-stop activities from fish head tossing to the Alaska-style Highland Games and cooking demonstrations. sitkaseafoodfestival.org


7-8 Women’s Silver Salmon Derby The Women’s Silver Salmon Derby has been going on for nine years and is the only women’s fish derby in Alaska. The Derby includes an Opening Celebration starting 6 p.m. August 7 that features door prizes, no-host bar, a wheel of chocolate, a costume contest, and fish Olympics and an Awards Party on August 8 with music, door prizes, and prizes for the Top 50 fish. Valdez Civic Center. valdezfishderbies.com/womens-derby

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com


By Amy Miller

Maintaining Energy Efficient Buildings


he Alaska Housing Finance Corporation has produced a number of publications based on audits of Alaska’s public facilities that can serve as a roadmap for building owners and managers to dramatically reduce energy costs. The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation’s 2013 report titled “Introduction to Energy Efficiency: A Guide to Managing Energy Use in Public and Commercial Facilities” states that building owners and managers could save an average of 30 percent per year by getting an energy audit and implementing energy efficiency measures. The findings were based on two large-scale audits of public facilities in Alaska, but many of the findings hold true for privately held buildings as well. Some of the biggest drains on energy are found in the simplest places. First, in many facilities, the operations plan is not routinely revisited to ensure systems are programmed to best address the way the building is currently being used. Reprogramming start and end times for lighting systems; shutting down kitchen-area ventilation when cooking is complete; ensuring ventilation rates are calibrated to the actual number of occupants in a building; and programming thermostats to reduce demand on the heating system at night or other times when the building is unoccupied are a few simple and easy ways to recognize major savings.

Another major recommendation is simply to perform routine maintenance of building facilities. Properly tuned equipment operates most efficiently and cost effectively. In the report, the authors recommend hiring an energy efficiency manager for larger facilities or sharing an energy efficiency manager across multiple smaller facilities. In many cases, the energy savings accomplished by an employee of this type more than paid for his or her salary. Establishing a policy document on energy usage priorities for facilities helps ensure all employees understand what is expected and reduces disputes over thermostat settings, lighting after hours, and other issues. The document can also include policy notes on things like whether to allow personal space heaters or fans and remind employees to turn off copy, fax, and coffee machines and other office equipment overnight. In a case study in the report, it was noted that Goldbelt Hotel in Juneau saved nearly $13,000 per year simply by having housekeepers draw the curtains in unoccupied rooms. This no-cost step was identified in a comprehensive energy audit performed by the hotel. R Alaska Trends, an outline of significant statewide statistics, is provided by the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development.

ALASKA TRENDS HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU THIS MONTH COURTESY OF AMERICAN MARINE/PENCO AMERICAN MARINE • Marine Construction/Dredging • Subsea Cable Installation & Maintenance • Commercial Diving • Platform & Pipeline Construction, Installation, Repair & Decommissioning • Underwater Certified Welding • Marine Salvage • NDT Services • ROV Services • Vessel Support Services PENCO • Environmental Response/Containment • Site Support Technicians/Maintenance • Waste Management/Environmental Monitoring • Tank Cleaning/Inspection • Petroleum Facility Maintenance & Repair • Logistics Support • 24-Hour Response

ANCHORAGE OFFICE 6000 A Street, Anchorage, Alaska 99518

(907) 562-5420


www.amarinecorp.com www.penco.org

Alaska I California I Hawaii DEADHORSE OFFICE Pouch 340079, Prudhoe Bay, AK 99734 (907) 659-9010

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com


Space Heat Loss by component



14 zone 8 9% zone 9 %

Averages across all zones with zone 8 & 9 comparisons


Ventilation/ Air Leakage

% 45% zone 8 67 zone 9



5 zone 8 2% zone 9




% 19% zone 8 14 zone 9


17 zone 8 8% zone 9 %

Alaska Climate Zones

Zone 9 Zone 8 Zone 7 Zone 6

Energy Consumption by End Use

Energy Cost by End Use www.akbizmag.com

Space Heat 72%

Space Heat 56%

Light 9%

Other Domestic Vent Clothes Cooking Refrigeration Electric 7% Hot Water 6% Fans 2% Dryer 2% 1% 1%

Light Other Domestic Vent Clothes Cooking Refrigeration 18% Electric 13% Hot Water 4% Fans 4% Dryer 2% 1% 2%

Energy End Uses and Costs: The majority of energy used in commercial sized public buildings in Alaska goes towards space heating, which on average accounts for 72% of total energy use, as seen in the figure bottom left. Since space heating efficiency is determined by ventilation rates, insulation values, and heating equipment, energy efficiency measures that change the performance of these three areas will likely have the biggest impacts. Lighting and other non-ventilation electrical use combined account for 16% of total energy use, although because of the higher relative cost of electricity, they account for a combined 31% of the total energy cost. User-behavior based energy reduction programs typically primarily target lighting and electrical use, so while still important, they have relatively less potential for reducing energy use and cost than energy efficiency measures that target space heating.

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


DATA SOURCE: “Energy Efficiency of Public Buildings in Alaska: Metrics and Analysis, November 21st, 2014� Prepared for AHFC by Cold Climate Housing Research Center




By Amy Miller



Latest Report Period

Previous Report Period (revised)

Year Ago Period

Year Over Year Change

GENERAL Personal Income—Alaska US $ 4thQ14 39,218 38,879 37,179 5.48% Personal Income—United States US $ 4thQ14 14,941,804 14,792,775 14,251,060 4.85% Consumer Prices—Anchorage 1982-1984 = 100 2ndH14 216.83 214.78 213.91 1.37% Consumer Prices—United States 1982-1984 = 100 2ndH14 237.09 236.38 233.55 1.52% Bankruptcies Alaska Total Number Filed April 39 34 48 -23.08% Anchorage Total Number Filed April 31 24 36 -16.13% Fairbanks Total Number Filed April 5 4 8 -60.00% EMPLOYMENT Alaska Thousands April 336.91 336.04 337.12 -0.06% Anchorage & Mat-Su Thousands April 190.79 190.78 188.72 1.10% Fairbanks Thousands April 43.80 43.63 43.00 1.86% Southeast Thousands April 33.55 32.75 35.61 -5.78% Gulf Coast Thousands April 35.32 34.69 36.57 -3.42% Sectorial Distribution—Alaska Total Nonfarm Thousands April 333.50 327.50 329.30 1.28% Goods Producing Thousands April 46.60 45.20 46.80 -0.43% Services Providing Thousands April 286.90 282.30 282.50 1.56% Mining and Logging Thousands April 17.50 17.60 17.90 -2.23% Mining Thousands April 17.30 17.40 17.40 -0.57% Oil & Gas Thousands April 14.90 15.00 14.30 4.20% Construction Thousands April 16.50 15.30 14.90 10.74% Manufacturing Thousands April 12.60 12.30 14.00 -10.00% Seafood Processing Thousands April 8.40 8.60 9.90 -15.15% Trade/Transportation/Utilities Thousands April 64.80 62.70 61.30 5.71% Wholesale Trade Thousands April 6.50 6.20 6.50 0.00% Retail Trade Thousands April 37.10 36.10 36.20 2.49% Food & Beverage Stores Thousands April 6.00 6.00 6.40 -6.25% General Merchandise Stores Thousands April 9.70 9.50 9.90 -2.02% Trans/Warehouse/Utilities Thousands April 21.20 20.40 20.40 3.92% Air Transportation Thousands April 5.90 5.70 5.80 1.72% Information Thousands April 6.10 6.20 6.10 0.00% Telecommunications Thousands April 4.20 4.30 4.10 2.44% Financial Activities Thousands April 11.90 11.80 11.60 2.59% Professional & Business Svcs Thousands April 28.70 28.10 29.20 -1.71% Educational & Health Services Thousands April 48.30 47.90 47.30 2.11% Healthcare Thousands April 34.60 34.50 33.50 3.28% Leisure & Hospitality Thousands April 31.20 30.70 30.30 2.97% Accommodation Thousands April 8.00 7.80 6.20 29.03% Food Svcs & Drinking Places Thousands April 19.10 18.80 19.70 -3.05% Other Services Thousands April 12.00 11.70 11.40 5.26% Government Thousands April 83.90 83.20 83.50 0.48% Federal Government Thousands April 14.50 14.40 14.70 -1.36% State Government Thousands April 26.90 26.70 27.00 -0.37% State Education Thousands April 8.60 8.60 8.70 -1.15% Local Government Thousands April 42.50 42.10 41.80 1.67% Local Education Thousands April 24.30 24.00 23.90 1.67% Tribal Government Thousands April 3.60 3.50 3.50 2.86% Labor Force Alaska Thousands April 362.23 363.15 360.60 0.45% Anchorage & Mat-Su Thousands April 202.97 203.71 199.66 1.66% Fairbanks Thousands April 46.43 46.46 45.48 2.09% Southeast Thousands April 36.15 35.71 38.14 -5.22% Gulf Coast Thousands April 38.42 38.15 39.48 -2.68% Unemployment Rate Alaska Percent April 7.0 7.5 6.5 7.69% Anchorage & Mat-Su Percent April 6.0 6.3 5.5 9.09% Fairbanks Percent April 5.7 6.1 5.5 3.64% 112

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com



Southeast Gulf Coast United States

By Amy Miller



Latest Report Period

Percent Percent Percent

April April April

7.2 8.1 5.4

Previous Report Period (revised)

8.3 9.1 5.5

Year Ago Period

6.6 7.4 5.9

Year Over Year Change

9.09% 9.46% -8.47%

PETROLEUM/MINING Crude Oil Production—Alaska Millions of Barrels April 15.3 15.84 16.09 -4.91% Natural Gas Field Production—Alaska Billions of Cubic Ft. April 7.9 7.6 8.04 -1.74% ANS West Coast Average Spot Price $ per Barrel April 58.49 52.28 107.36 -45.52% Hughes Rig Count Alaska Active Rigs April 12 13 10 20.00% United States Active Rigs April 976 1108 1835 -46.81% Gold Prices $ Per Troy Oz. April 1198.08 1179.64 1299.09 -7.78% Silver Prices $ Per Troy Oz. April 16.32 16.22 19.71 -17.20% Zinc Prices Per Pound April 2.29 2.03 2.03 12.81% REAL ESTATE Anchorage Building Permit Valuations Total Millions of $ 57.93 53.56 65.2 Residential Millions of $ 19.14 13.53 20.2 Commercial Millions of $ 19.87 34.92 38.5 Deeds of Trust Recorded Anchorage—Recording District Total Deeds April 939 858 746*GeoNorth Fairbanks—Recording District Total Deeds April 229 206 182

-11.15% -5.25% -48.39% 15.01% 25.82%

VISITOR INDUSTRY Total Air Passenger Traffic—Anchorage Thousands April 352.92 401.50 319.50 Total Air Passenger Traffic—Fairbanks Thousands April 66.70 90.38 69.09

10.46% -3.46%

ALASKA PERMANENT FUND Equity Millions of $ April 54273.30 53874.30 50789.60 Assets Millions of $ April 55353.10 54542.00 51898.50 Net Income Millions of $ April 333.90 371.60 262.50 Net Income—Year to Date Millions of $ April 367.50 258.00 320.50 Marketable Debt Securities Millions of $ April -21.60 -8.10 66.50 Real Estate Investments Millions of $ April 152.40 -0.40 69.00 Preferred and Common Stock Millions of $ April 592.40 -278.00 28.30

6.86% 6.66% 27.20% 14.66% -132.48% 120.87% 1993.29%

BANKING (excludes interstate branches) Total Bank Assets—Alaska Millions of $ 1stQ15 5,913.90 3,994.74 5,477.64 Cash & Balances Due Millions of $ 1stQ15 222.57 207.48 347.62 Securities Millions of $ 1stQ15 151.28 154.35 139.05 Net Loans and Leases Millions of $ 1stQ15 2,866.23 2,313.63 2,517.48 Other Real Estate Owned Millions of $ 1stQ15 19.95 10.57 18.63 Total Liabilities Millions of $ 1stQ15 5,109.57 3,506.48 4,731.67 Total Bank Deposits—Alaska Millions of $ 1stQ15 4,334.37 3,340.30 4,070.91 Noninterest-bearing deposits Millions of $ 1stQ15 1,779.18 1,000.84 1,612.83 Interest-bearing deposits Millions of $ 1stQ15 2,555.19 2,327.83 2,458.08

7.96% -35.97% 8.80% 13.85% 7.09% 7.99% 6.47% 10.31% 3.95%

FOREIGN TRADE Value of the Dollar In Japanese Yen Yen April 119.49 120.33 102.51 In Canadian Dollars Canadian $ April 1.24 1.26 1.05 In British Pounds Pounds April 0.67 0.67 0.60 In European Monetary Unit Euro April 0.93 0.92 0.72 In Chinese Yuan Yuan April 6.11 6.14 6.17

16.56% 18.10% 11.67% 29.17% -0.97%

Notes: 1. Source of Anchorage deeds of trust (GeoNorth) is cited in the data field. 2. Banking data has been updated to include Alaska State Banks and Alaska’s sole federally chartered, Alaska-based bank, First National Bank Alaska 3. Fairbanks deeds of trust information temporarily unavailable www.akbizmag.com

August 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly


ADVERTISERS INDEX Advanced Physical Therapy of Alaska..............................................71 AE Solutions Alaska LLC....................60 AECOM....................................................85 Alaska Air Cargo - Alaska Airlines.....13 Alaska Logistics..................................... 41 Alaska Mergers & Acquisitions LLC... 64 Alaska Procurement Technical Assistance Center............................56 Alaska Roof Coatings........................... 75 Alaska USA Federal Credit Union.....97 Alaska USA Insurance Brokers..........99 American Fast Freight............................ 3 American Marine / Penco.................110 Arctic Office Products........................ 44 AT&T........................................................... 9 Beacon Media & Marketing...............63 Calista Corporation......................80, 85 Carlile Transportation Systems...53, 115 Catalyst Marine Engineering............. 61 Chris Arend Photography................. 114 Construction Machinery Industrial....2 Cornerstone Advisors..........................27


Cruz Construction Inc..........................28 Dale Carnegie Training................ 22, 29 Design Alaska.........................................74 Diamond Airport Parking.....................31 Donlin Gold.............................................66 E3 Environmental LLC.........................83 Everts Air Cargo Tatonduk Outfitters....................... 50 First National Bank Alaska................... 5 GCI....................................................67, 116 Great Originals Inc................................63 HDL Hattenburg Dilley & Linnell......56 Helimax Aviation...................................39 Island Air Express............................... 107 Judy Patrick Photography.................. 70 Lynden Inc...............................................23 Magtec Energy.......................................59 Matanuska Electric Association (MEA).................................................. 35 MFCP Motion & Flow Control Products Inc......................................56 Millenium Hotels - The Lakefront.....17 Municipal Light & Power (ML&P)..... 35

N C Machinery....................................... 37 Nalco Energy Services.........................66 NANA Regional Corp........................... 57 NCB...........................................................98 Northern Air Cargo.................100, 101 Northwest Data Solutions..................69 Novagold Resources Inc...................... 55 NRC Alaska............................................ 88 Oxford Assaying & Refining Inc.....106 Pacific Alaska Freightways Inc..........46 Pacific Pile & Marine..... 102, 103, 104 Parker Smith & Feek............................. 21 PenAir.......................................................45 Personnel Plus.................................... 107 Petrotechnical Resources Alaska (PRA)...................................................65 Polar Supply Company........................93 Procomm Alaska LLC...........................69 Ravn Alaska.............................................51 Restoration Science & Engineering...81 Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers............ 75 Ryan Air...................................................49 Seatac Marine Service........................ 48

Seward CVB & Chamber of Commerce....................................36 SGS Environmental Services..............89 Shannon & Wilson................................95 Shred Alaska...........................................89 Stellar Designs Inc................................56 Stephl Engineering LLC.......................87 Sullivan’s Steakhouse of Anchorage.................................109 Taiga Ventures........................................31 The Alaska Forum.....................................79 The Medallion Foundation Inc..........22 The Superior Group..............................74 Totem Ocean Trailer Express.............47 United Way of Alaska...........................15 Visit Anchorage..................................... 19 Washington Crane & Hoist................25 Waste Management.............................87 Watterson Construction..................... 73 Wealth Strategies of Alaska............... 33 Wells Fargo Bank Alaska......................11 Westpac Logistics LLC........................ 48 Yukon Equipment Inc........................... 76

Alaska Business Monthly | August 2015www.akbizmag.com








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