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ALASKA AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST | TELECOM & TECH | URBAN AND RURAL EMS

July 2015

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Anchorage Centennial Tent City to Corporate Metropolis Special section begins on page 85


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CONTENTS ABOUT THE COVER

DEPARTMENTS From the Editor���������������������������������������� 7 Market Squares������������������������������������� 84 Right Moves�����������������������������������������118 Inside Alaska Business���������������������� 120 Agenda �������������������������������������������������123 Alaska This Month ���������������������������� 124 Events Calendar�����������������������������������125 Alaska Trends���������������������������������������126 Ad Index �����������������������������������������������130

Anchorage Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Bill Popp stands larger than life in front of the iconic Fourth Avenue Theatre, recently renovated Legislative Information Office, and Hotel Captain Cook in Downtown Anchorage. We’re celebrating the Anchorage Centennial this month with a special section (begins on page 85). Cover design by David Geiger Cover photo © Chris Arend Photography

ARTICLES

Healthcare

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© Chris Arend Photography

16 | Urban and Rural EMS Crews Quick to Respond Saving lives, limiting injuries, making a huge and positive difference By Tom Anderson

Jennifer Thompson and part of her team in conference at Thompson & Co. Public Relations headquarters in Anchorage.

Entrepreneurs

Courtesy of Chaundell Pilburn, City of Craig

8 | Jennifer Thompson and Thompson & Co. Public Relations Anchorage media mogul finds success in a ‘New York minute’ By Julie Stricker

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Visitor Industry

12 | Flightseeing Options in Alaska Alaskans show off the 49th State By Tasha Anderson

24 | Emergency Medical Services in Southeast: Neighbor Helping Neighbor Mostly volunteer squads of first responders meet Panhandle challenges By Will Swagel

Environmental Services 28 | Alaska DEC Challenge Rethink water and sewer By Rindi White

Expanded in Digital Edition

Construction

30 | Smart Building Technologies Building Automation Techniques Deployed in Alaska By Russ Slaten

Participants at the first EMS mini-symposium for Prince of Wales Island; hosted by City of Craig, October 2014. Front: Robert Omstead, Gunther Erhmann. Second row: Mrs. Vaught, Dr. Rodney Vaught, John Moots, Tim O’Connor, Dave Duffield, Beccy Moots, Ann White, Irving Woods, Carrie Melton, Elizabeth Clause. Third row: Dr. Patrick Ballard, Keturah Sadler, Felicia McAuley, (unknown), Anna Frizby, Nan Stumpf, Roberta Patten, Chaundell Piburn, Teresa Grey, Bobbi Leichty, Doug Craske. Fourth row: Vanessa Richter, Zach West, Jessica West, (unknown) Jenny Vasser, Connie Plante, Shelley Gurera, John Gurara, Travis Tuttle, Collin West, Allen Thompson.

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Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


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special section

special section

Pacific Northwest

Telecom & Technology

60 | Alaska and Pacific Northwest Closely Linked ‘Ties That Bind’ details economic connection By Rindi White special section Anchorage Centennial 85 | Centennial Special Section Begins 86 | From the Editor 88 | Port of Anchorage Engine of growth for Anchorage since the begining By J. Pennelope Goforth

CONTENTS

36 | Alaska Telecom Infrastructure Expands Advancing at the speed of sound By Julie Stricker 40 | Anchorage Fire Department Establishes Life Lines Making a difference with innovative digital technology By Tom Anderson 42 | Head to Head in High Definition Channeling HDTV in Anchorage By Aaron A. Weaver

44 | UAA CIS Department Produces High-Demand MIS Grads Award-winning students succeed with real-world projects By Tasha Anderson 45 | Alaska Business Monthly’s 2015 Telecom & Technology Directory

DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE 10 Ridiculous Things Smartphone Users do Behind the Wheel AT&T Study

ARTICLES

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90 | From Tent City to Corporate Metropolis The growth of business and industry in Anchorage By Tasha Anderson 114 | The Next 100 Years 115 | Anchorage Centennial Events Calendar Compiled by Tasha Anderson

June Corrections Due to an editorial error, Weaver Bros. Vice President Jimmy Doyle’s name was misspelled in both “From the Editor” on page 7 and “Economy, Labor Shortages Big Issues for Trucking Industry” beginning on page 38. The rendering on page 26 of Alexandra West’s patented fish grinder should have been credited to Brandi Opsahl, Jennifer Baker, and Nathan Harris, courtesy of UAA. The photo on page 59 of the article “Southeast Alaska Maritime Economy Grows,” incorrectly identified the bow of a ship under construction at the Ketchikan Shipyard; it is the F/V Arctic Prowler. 6

© Exxon Mobil Corporation

Point Thomson modules that were trucked in from Anchorage.

Oil & Gas

48 | Building Blocks: Alaska’s Oilfield Modules Facilitating a multi-billion dollar industry By Kirsten Swann

Expanded in Digital Edition 54 | Legacy Oilfield Reinvestment Producers getting every obtainable drop By Mike Bradner

Expanded in Digital Edition

Alaska Native Business

80 | Alaska Native Corporations Sponsor Minerals Exploration Grassroots efforts uncover new prospects By Mike Bradner

HR Matters

117 | How to Choose the Right Consultant for Your Alaska Business By Kevin M. Dee

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


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Volume 31, Number 7 Published by Alaska Business Publishing Co. Anchorage, Alaska Jim Martin, Publisher 1989~2014

EDITORIAL STAFF

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

BUSINESS STAFF

President Billie Martin Vice President & Jason Martin General Mgr. VP Sales & Mktg. Charles Bell Senior Account Mgr. Anne Tompkins Senior Account Mgr. Bill Morris Account Mgr. Janis J. Plume Accountant & Melinda Schwab Circulation 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.

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Anchorage Centennial Celebrating the past and the present

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rom the shores of Ship Creek and Cook Inlet spawned a city, an anchorage to the last frontier, a construction camp for the railroad named by the US Postal Service, and it is an apt name. Anchorage is the anchor of Alaska. It’s been a staging ground for progress for the last one hundred years and so it will be for the next one hundred. Let’s go back a little further in history to 10,000 BC, about twelve thousand years ago; that’s when the First Peoples of Alaska discovered Anchorage. As soon as the glaciers from the Ice Age retreated enough to expose the shore lines and allow passage and habitation the Dena’ina Athabascans began living in the area, thriving for thousands of years and joined throughout times by Alaska Natives from other areas of the state whose nomadic migrations and early adventures brought them to Anchorage as well. A testament to the fact is Cook Inlet Region Inc., the Anchorage-area Alaska Native regional corporation formed as a result of the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971. CIRI’s shareholders are made up of descendants of “Athabascan, Southeast Indian, Iñupiat, Yup’ik, Alutiiq/Sugpiaq, and Aleut/Unangax descent—a unique cultural diversity that represents shareholders from all Alaska Native groups, from throughout the state.” Much like CIRI’s shareholders came to Anchorage, so have many of the other Alaska Native regional corporations. They’ve established offices and operations and contributed vastly to the growth of Anchorage, making it a more sustainable community. Just as CIRI’s people make up a “unique cultural diversity,” so do the people of Anchorage. It’s been said that 2030, fifteen years from now, will be the year the minority becomes the majority in Anchorage. It’s already a fact in the Anchorage School District and has been since the 2008-2009 school year; the 2014-2015 school year saw a 57 percent minority population. The people of Anchorage are from all over Alaska, the United States, and the world—we are an international city, both in stature and in population. This great diversity of people contributes to new possibilities to further diversify business and industry—the knowledge base, new ways of thinking, and different ways of doing things. For a city that is one hundred, Anchorage is quite young and spry. So is the team at Alaska Business Monthly; we’ve put together another really great magazine. Enjoy! —Susan Harrington, Managing Editor July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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© Trent Swanson / AlaskaStock.com

FROM THE EDITOR


ENTREPRENEURS

Jennifer Thompson and Thompson & Co. Public Relations Anchorage media mogul finds success in a ‘New York minute’

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By Julie Stricker

on’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.” The advice by basketball great Michael Jordan is one of Jennifer Thompson’s favorite sayings and is a blueprint for how she runs her business, Thompson & Co. Public Relations. “I love that quote,” Thompson says. “I use that personally because every day I try and do something that makes me a little afraid. I try to do something that’s a little bit risky. It’s OK if you fall flat on your face, because at least you tried.” So far, the strategy has paid off for Thompson, who was named one of PR News’ Top Women in PR in early 2015. Thompson, alongside public relations executives from CNN, Coca Cola North America, and Time Warner Cable, is one of the “women who have made bold advances in managing crises, developing brand messages, protecting and building brand reputations, and creating content for digital platforms for their own organizations or for clients,” according to PR News.

‘Heart of Anchorage’ In April, Thompson took home the George M. Sullivan Award from the Heart of Anchorage Awards in Anchorage. That award recognizes members of the Anchorage downtown community “who demonstrate strong leadership qualities and work well with a team.” Thompson says she was “completely and totally blown away” by the honors, giving much of the Jennifer Thompson © Chris Arend Photography

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Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


© Chris Arend Photography

Jennifer Thompson and part of her team in conference at Thompson & Co. Public Relations headquarters in Anchorage.

credit to her staff for putting together “an impressive entry.” “I really believe our little agency is pretty top notch,” Thompson says. “Collectively, at the end of the day, it really is the agency in its totality that’s much more impressive than me.” Thompson’s career has grown hand in hand with the company. She started as an intern at respected Anchorage public relations firm Bernholz & Graham in 2000. Roberta Graham says she hired Thompson on the recommendation of a trusted staffer at a time when the agency was in transition. “I really needed someone who was fearless, who could think, and think creatively, and someone who had the desire to succeed both professionally and personally,” Graham says in an email. “From her first day on the job, it was apparent that Jen possessed all of those qualities. But even more importantly, she had strong values and an ethical standard, and that was very important to me.” One of Thompson’s first assignments was to handle the logistics for a threewww.akbizmag.com

day live broadcast by “Martha Stewart Living” in Southeast Alaska and the Yukon for a tourism client, Graham says. “It would have been a daunting task for the most seasoned pro,” Graham says. Thompson “pulled it off flawlessly.” Over the next few years, Thompson moved up in the company. In April 2009, she bought Bernholz & Graham, becoming president and CEO of the renamed Thompson & Co. Public Relations, which has offices in Anchorage and New York and continues to grow. Clients include many in the Alaska tourism, healthcare, and telecom industries, as well as government agencies and nonprofits. “Jennifer is a strategic thinker and is creative in her strategies; she is a perfectionist who always does her homework; she’s very loyal to her clients and her staff,” Graham says.

‘First Impression’ Sarah Erkmann, external affairs manager for the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, was working at Bernholz & Graham when Thompson was hired.

“My first impression was of someone who was extremely energetic, a real go-getter who wanted to know the hows and the whys of the industry,” Erkmann says. “She’s obviously proved that she has learned a lot and can apply it strategically to her clients. From intern to president and CEO of your own agency in nine years speaks volumes on her talent.” Even as an intern, Thompson had no hesitation in going after some of the biggest media in the country, Erkmann says. For instance, she didn’t see being a small, relatively-off-the-radar state as barrier to getting the “Today” show and some of their reporters to come to Alaska. “She has that enthusiasm and passion for Alaska and sees no reason why small PR agencies in Alaska can’t do the same things that big firms in New York can.” Thompson grew up in Homer and says her Alaska background is an advantage because many of the people with whom she went to school or met during student activities are now Alaska’s business and government leaders. July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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erybody does everything. This staff is really nimble, really willing to roll up their sleeves to get everything done. And they are brilliant.” Opening the office in New York in 2008 helped the agency establish a presence on the East Coast, which is where most of the major news and travel media are based. “It’s very important to have a presence there and establish relationships,” she says. Despite the distance, Thompson tries to keep the New York team in the loop as to what is happening in the Anchorage office and brings them to Alaska at least twice a year. Culturally, the two offices are similar because both are usually staffed by Alaskans, she says, and a job in the New York office is a coveted spot. “To work in the New York office, it’s corporately considered to be PR heaven,” she says.

© Chris Arend Photography

Jennifer Thompson and team.

“Alaska is such a small state,” she says. “I kind of grew up with an inherent knowledge of the politics of the state. I have a lot of connections, a lot of deep, standing relationships, and that helps me. When I’m pitching media or talking about Alaska, there is an authenticity about me because I have lived here my whole life.” 10

Team Loyalty Thompson says one of her company’s greatest strengths is the loyalty of her team. “We have a very low turnover rate,” she says. “I am equally loyal to them. They are just a team that is very cohesive. No job is too unimportant to the most senior person in the agency. Ev-

Evolving Industry One of her biggest challenges is keeping up with how the public relations industry has evolved in the past decade, Thompson says. “We have felt the effect of the demise of the newsroom,” she says. “So many newsrooms only focus on the really hard news and we had to really adapt. I think that social media and digital media is a lot about storytelling. It’s a medium we could quickly adapt to, because we are really good storytellers.” In an increasingly crowded and noisy digital landscape, Thompson says her company’s philosophy is to not be annoying. “We really do try to operate by the highest and best ethics,” she says. “We try to pitch things that are newsworthy. We try very hard to be respectful. A lot of my friends are in the news business and I don’t want them to think I’m anything but ethical and above-board.” One of the requirements Thompson has for her team is that they must come up with one idea every month for their clients that is a little bit risky. “I want them to come up with ideas that are really brave,” she says. “If we’re going to be successful, if we’re going to continue to be the top PR firm in the state, we have to bring in ideas that make us feel a little uncomfortable at first.”

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


Thompson says she makes sure her staff attends at least one professional conference each year. She also strives to make sure her employees maintain a healthy work/life balance.

‘Family First’ “My best advice is family first,” she says. New parents are encouraged to bring their babies to work for the first six months. They work a “flex Friday” schedule, so everyone gets at least one three-day weekend every month. Thompson believes strongly in the concept of “leaning in” and that women and men should receive equal pay. “I’m just a really big believer in that everyone on the planet should have their cake and eat it too,” she says. “PR has a reputation for burning people out because it’s very high-paced, high stress. I believe if you get burnt out employees, you’re not really getting good quality for your clients.” Thompson says she also sometimes struggles to balance both. “I traveled eighty-five thousand miles last year,” she says. “There’s definitely some days I say I am a horrible mother, and other days I say I’m a horrible boss. “A lot of my success I owe to my housekeeper,” she adds, laughing. Mentoring Wisdom When Thompson bought the agency, Graham gave her some advice: “Make sure you have a good lawyer and a good accountant; embrace vision over visibility; do what you know and don’t pretend to be what you are not; be fair and honest in your dealings with clients and staff; and always ask for help if you need it from others.” Thompson regularly touches base with public relations colleagues and frequently speaks to Graham, whom she regards as a mentor. Graham says the relationship works both ways. “I believe a teacher always learns as much, or more, from her student as the student learns from the teacher,” she says. “Over time, it becomes difficult to distinguish one from the other.” R

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

July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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VISITOR INDUSTRY

Flightseeing Options in Alaska Alaskans show off the 49th State By Tasha Anderson

Photo by Tasha Anderson for Alaska Business Monthly

An Alpine Air helicopter set down on Colony Glacier during a glacier tour.

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here is too much to see on any single trip to Alaska; Alaskans know that there’s too much of Alaska to really take in over a lifetime. But that doesn’t stop a thriving tourism industry from doing its absolute best to show everyone—local or guest—how stunning Alaska can be. One unique way to see the state is by flying over it, and Alaska’s long history with aviation means the collected experience of our small fixed wing and helicopter pilots is an amazing resource for stunning, safe, and informed flightseeing tours. Flightseeing tours range from half an hour to several hours, all depending on destinations and associated activities. There are many options for flightseeing in Alaska this summer; here are a few.

Alpine Air Alpine Air Alaska (alpineairalaska.com), owned by Keith and Deb Essex, has been providing tours in Alaska since 1991. It currently operates seven helicopters and Kim Van Sickle, Alpine Air Alaska’s office manager at their Girdwood base of operations, says they’re ideal for flightseeing: they can fly lower than other aircraft, can fly slower, can hover, and are 12

able to land almost anywhere including on mountain tops and on glaciers. Alpine Air Alaska offers flightseeing options throughout the year, though their winter staff of about fifteen fulltime employees increases to twenty-five in the summer to accommodate the tourism season, with eight of those employees being pilots. In terms of flightseeing areas, “we are statewide,” Van Sickle says, “and the bulk of our flying is in the Chugach Mountains surrounding Prince William Sound.” “We customize each tour to the client’s goals, whether it would be seeing wildlife versus walking on glaciers, etc.” Their Girdwood location is a benefit. Van Sickle says that within about thirty seconds of the tour’s start, the glacier viewing begins. “We are surrounded by the third most glaciated mountain range in the world,” she says. “The scenery is so breathtaking that many times the clients are speechless—and the wildlife doesn’t hurt.” One of the great options that Alpine Air Alaska provides is on-glacier dogsledding in partnership with IdidaRide Sled Dog Tours, though it’s only available in the summer season. Guests are flown

to the Punch Bowl Glacier: “Punch Bowl is a giant snowfield consisting of sixty feet of snow on top of a few hundred feet of ice,” according to Deb Essex. Once there, guests learn about sled dog culture and have an opportunity to take a ride. Alpine Air Alaska also partners with Ascending Path to provide helicopter rides to glacier hiking and ice climbing; with Chugach Adventures for rafting; and with Winterlake Lodge and Deep Creek Lodge for heli-fishing and sightseeing. “Other great flights I have witnessed have been surprise proposals; Father’s Day flights with lawn chairs and a few Alaskan Ambers; flying to a remote site to scatter ashes; [and] remote mountain-top weddings,” she says. “We live in a superlative rich environment,” Van Sickle says. “Our goal is to match Alaska’s grandeur with over-thetop customer service.”

Ellison Air John Ellison and his wife own Ellison Air (ellisonair.com), which Ellison founded with his father twenty-three years ago after working for others in the industry for a short time. “We realized

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


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Photo by Tasha Anderson for Alaska Business Monthly

that we had a gift and we enjoyed interacting with people, so we decided that we wanted to do our own thing because you learn stuff from other people, but nobody does it exactly like you would if you had the choice.” Ellison currently has one fixed-wing aircraft which can seat up to six, including the pilot. Ellison does most of the flying while his wife runs the office. Ellison Air only operates during the summer months, so seasonally he hires a second pilot as well as a dockhand that helps with grounds maintenance, refueling, and basic upkeep at the business based at Lake Hood in Anchorage. Ellison’s plane has three rows of two, meaning every passenger has a window seat, optimizing viewing opportunities. The plane is equipped with a headset system, so the pilot can narrate and interact with the guests easily. Ellison Air has several glacier and wildlife viewing tours and a set of unique tours giving aerial views of Anchorage, Cook Inlet, and the Susitna Valley; the Susitna River tour flies along the Susitna River and over some of the homesteads, fish camps, and a section of the Iditarod

Colony Glacier, outside of Girdwood, as seen from a helicopter.

Trail, all in the shadow of Mount Susitna, known locally as “Sleeping Lady;” the Chugach State Park II tour takes guests into the Chugach Mountains to view Knik and Colony glaciers; a bear viewing tour consisting of the opportunity to observe bears from the safety and convenience of a small boat; and the Mount McKinley tour over Denali National Park includes landing on a remote lake for up-close photo opportunities.

“Sometimes I’ll do a special trip if the conditions are favorable for it. For example, if the berries are good there will be bears in certain spots feeding on them and I’ll incorporate that into a special trip,” Ellison says. While the sights certainly make the trip, Ellison’s knowledge and experience and his joy in sharing both certainly adds another level to any tour. “In Alaska we take float planes for granted,

July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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but for most people the main attraction is taking off from and landing on water, and the whole experience is unique and exciting. I love delivering more than they expect, rather than less.”

VS Helicopters VS Helicopters (vshelicopters.com) was founded in 2010 and is owned by Leigh Coats, Mike Williams, and Douglas Foulton and operates out of Valdez. The company has three helicopters. Coats is the chief pilot at the company; she both takes guests up on flights and does all the hiring and training of additional pilots. “I train each pilot to give the best tour possible and our customer service is really a top, top priority,” she says. “Obviously safety is our number one, but our customer service is what we’re really proud of.” In addition to the owners, VS Helicopters has three additional employees, two pilots, and a mechanic. VS Helicopters offers tours yearround, primarily in the Chugach Mountains and Prince William Sound

next day and wanted to do it again. And then came back again,” she laughs. “On that particular trip we went exploring and found an ice cave. We actually went inside this cave and it was massive. We explored for an hour in this ice cave and when we came out there was a herd of goats on the hill; because we’d been there and everything was quiet, the goats felt very comfortable, and we got some fantastic animal viewing at the same time.” Coats says that one of the benefits of touring with them is that they customize: “Everything is personalized; the pilot has no set route, so he/she talks to the passengers to find out their interests,” and will adjust the tour to view different glaciers or even historic mines.

Tanalian Aviation Tanalian Aviation (tanalianaviation. net), which is headquartered in Anchorage, is owned by Joel Natwick, originally from Port Alsworth, near which is Tanalian Mountain and River (Tanalian is the Dena’ina word for “where rough

Eklutna Lake, Whiteout Glacier, Colony Glacier, Lake George, and Knik Glacier, including a glacier landing. One of their unique tours is actually over Anchorage. In the summer it’s the Anchorage City tour, but in the winter it’s called the City of Lights. “Anchorage is beautiful and lit up in the wintertime,” Natwick says. “It’s brief and economical. People do it to kick off a fun night out on Friday. It costs less than going out to an expensive meal for four people.” Duncan says that this year on Valentine’s Day alone they went up for nineteen City of Lights tours. The advantage of their quick tours, and being headquartered in Anchorage, is that people don’t have to make a day out of a tour; it can be just one part of an amazing day. “People can get up, have breakfast at their hotel, and we can have them on a glacier by 10:30 in the morning and back in time for lunch, right from downtown Anchorage,” he says. Their custom tours can also include gold panning, fishing, bear viewing, photography, or “whatever the client has in mind,” Duncan says.

“I train each pilot to give the best tour possible and our customer service is really a top, top priority. Obviously safety is our number one, but our customer service is what we’re really proud of.”

Photo by Tasha Anderson for Alaska Business Monthly

—Leigh Coats, VS Helicopters

area, “but we do custom tours in the Wrangell/St. Elias area, Cordova, etc.,” Coats says. A few of their set tours include the Valdez/Shoup Glacier tour; the Glacier Landing tour, which includes viewing multiple glaciers and an opportunity to land on the glacier to explore; and the Columbia Glacier tour. “Our main attraction is the Columbia Glacier, which is in a catastrophic receding phase… it’s retreating so fast that there’s hundreds of thousands of tons of ice falling into the ocean every day,” Coats says. “At Columbia Glacier we actually land on a beach with a front row seat to watch the face of it… it’s one thing to fly over the glacier and see it calving, but to be on the ground in the serene silence and listen to this thunder of the calving is the most magical experience ever.” Additionally, VS Helicopters offers the Everything and the Kitchen Sink tour. “Last year I had a couple that went out with me one day, and they loved it so much they came back the next day and wanted to do it again. And they came back again the 14

water meets the calm”). According to Jarius Duncan, Tanalian’s lead pilot, the company has been operating for twentytwo years, but started offering helicopter flightseeing services five years ago. Tanalian operates flightseeing year round with about twelve employees in the summer and six in the winter and shoulder months. For flightseeing they use five helicopters, which Natwick thinks are perfectly suited for the job. “The visibility is unbelievable in the helicopters… and they’re fun. It’s like the best ride at the state fair.” “Clients can choose our standard tours or we can put something together just for them, lasting fifteen minutes to five days,” Duncan says. A few of their standard tours, which are offered year round, include the Mountains & Missiles tour, which travels over abandoned missile silos; the Eagle Glacier tour, which travels east from Merrill Field over the Chugach Mountains to Eagle Glacier; and their most popular package, the Knik Glacier Landing which includes flying over

Natwick and Duncan are both enthusiastic about providing every guest the best experience possible. “Everybody at Tanalian loves what they’re doing,” Natwick says. “The employees are fantastic; they’re just happy people. It’s good service at a fair price.” One of the services Tanalian is happy to provide is transporting brides and grooms to their glacier-top weddings. “In three of the four weddings [scheduled for] this year, I’m actually the officiator,” Duncan says. “One couple called and said, ‘We’re getting married in Alaska on a glacier, and we don’t know a soul in the state. What can we do?” Well, go fill out the paperwork; I’ll marry you,” Duncan laughs.

Rust’s Flying Service Through its iconic jingle, Alaskans are familiar with Rust’s Flying Service (flyrusts. com). Founded in 1963 by Hank Rust, it is still operated by the Rust family today and is located in Anchorage. Rust’s exclusively flies fixed-wing aircraft, of which they have eleven with various capacities rang-

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


Era Helicopters Era Flightseeing (eraflightseeing.com) is just one division of Era, which has a long history of operating in Alaska. An Alaska-grown company, it has now reached international levels of operation, becoming publicly traded in 2013, according to Mandy Nelson, Era Helicopter’s flightseeing manager, who has www.akbizmag.com

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been with the company since 2009. “I’m lucky that I get to manage the most fun division,” Nelson laughs. Era Flightseeing provides tours during the summer months. Flightseeing is headquartered in Anchorage, but offers tour operations in Juneau (seven helicopters), Denali National Park (three helicopters), and, starting this year, Anchorage (one helicopter). Nelson, who is herself a fixed-wing aircraft pilot, says, “Helicopters are the best for flightseeing: you have 180 degree views, visibility isn’t blocked by wings or props… It’s a very different sensation [than a small plane]. It tends to be a smoother flight; it’s more like a floating sensation. It’s a magic carpet ride through the mountains.” Nelson says that in Denali National Park, where access is restricted for most vehicles and aircraft, they have a few tours that are just flightseeing. However, most of the tours they offer “incorporate some sort of on-ground activity.” One of their unique tours is a heli-hiking experience with a naturalist guide. “We take guests out to the backcountry above the tree line, we drop them off in

a different location every day. There are no trails and no set distance they have to cover, the guide just gives us a call on the radio when they’re done and the helicopter picks them up.” Era Flightseeing has glacier landing tours out of all three of their locations. “Our biggest draw is definitely Dog Sledding Adventures down in Juneau. We partner with Alaska Heli-Mush and Linwood Fiedler, who is an eighteen time Iditarod veteran; he is serious about dog mushing,” Nelson says. “You get the entire flightseeing experience, and then you get this entirely different experience culturally up on the ice— mushing and meeting and interacting with the dogs.” In addition, Nelson says Era Flightseeing is currently the only company in Juneau that flies to the Taku Glacier, the largest and only advancing glacier on the Juneau ice field, and adds, “We really try to focus on taking people to a remote, exclusive experience.”  R Tasha Anderson is an Associate Editor at Alaska Business Monthly.

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ing from three to ten people. One of the aircraft is a ski plane and the rest are float planes, meaning most of their flights take off and land on the water. “There are over 3 million lakes in Alaska,” says Rust’s Director of Sales and Marketing Cole Ouellette. “We get to some really incredible remote locations that other people can’t reach.” A great benefit to Rust’s fleet of aircraft is being able to transport larger groups. “We can take as little as three people if you have a family that wants to do a private charter, but we can also take a group up to ten, and because we have so many aircraft we can take up to thirty people to one location in a series of planes,” Ouellette says. Rust’s does both set and customized tours, ranging from Katmai National Park to Lake Clark National Park, Redoubt Bay, Prince William Sound, Denali National Park, Knik Glacier, and the Anchorage area. The majority of Rust’s tours include landing on a remote lake or waterway, and many have options for ground activities such as hiking, kayaking, and wildlife and glacier viewing. Ouellette says they have a brand new, all-day photo safari tour. “We have a photographer pilot who’s been featured in national publications, Mark Stadsklev. He’ll take you to remote lakes and waterways to photograph mostly scenery… There’s a briefing involved, and it’s for amateurs and professionals. We go for the entire day, have lunch, and visit a couple different locations.” Rust’s does operate all year, though not all of their tours are available at all times. The floatplanes can be fitted with skis for winter takeoff. “Winter flightseeing is pretty incredible as well, it’s a whole different ballgame,” she says. Rust’s is iconic in Alaska for more than just it’s jingle: “Our equipment makes us stand out. Our planes are absolutely beautiful,” Ouellette says, mentioning that Rust’s aircraft were part of a recent Verizon commercial.

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July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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HEALTHCARE

Urban and Rural EMS Crews Quick to Respond Saving lives, limiting injuries, making a huge and positive difference By Tom Anderson

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t wouldn’t be uncommon for a family or adventurer to drive north from Anchorage to Fairbanks along the Glenn and Richardson Highways. Considering the Alaska scenery, wildlife, and well-maintained highway system, it could be the trip of a lifetime. From planes to trains, and everything in between, Alaska has the allure to visit and explore. But what if there is an accident with serious injuries? Who responds to the emergency and from where?

Levels of Care and Transportation Alaska has myriad treatment levels should an emergency or accident occur. Response comes from the largest urban departments and hospitals to village emergency medical technicians (EMT) and health aides, many of whom are volunteers. Hospitals in the state range in size and service. The Alaska State Hospital & Nursing Home Association, led by President and CEO Becky Hultquist, lists twenty-eight facilities that handle the gamut of emergencies and treatment, from initial services to major surgery across the state in all regions. The hospitals and acute care facilities are central in hub communities. The surrounding villages and cities depend on the facilities and air transportation therefrom when a higher level of treatment is necessary. The facilities’ management includes nonprofit, corporate, military, and Alaska Native. The Federal Indian Health Service works with Alaska Native tribes to provide medical and emergency services to 143,078 Alaska Natives throughout the state. There are 44 tribal health centers and 160 tribal community health aide clinics, with the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage as the central overseer for outreach and services. Ap16

proximately fifteen thousand healthcare professionals staff the hospitals, clinics, and centers, serving exigent and emergency needs of community and visitors. Village residents are well-served. As part of the commercial transportation component to emergency services, flight service companies offer comprehensive medevac coverage across the state. Guardian Flight is the largest medevac provider in Alaska, transporting medical, surgical, cardiac, trauma, and other emergency patients from rural facilities to tertiary care facilities throughout the year, 24/7. Guardian has bases in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Ketchikan, Prudhoe Bay, Dutch Harbor, and two in Southeast. The medical staff includes nurses and paramedics, trauma and ICU trained. The company has mutual aid agreements with the US Coast Guard (USCG) and Alaska State Troopers. Its twenty-one fixed-wing aircraft are a mix of Learjets and King Airs, with two new Beach Jets and a Cessna Caravan stationed at the Dillingham Hospital. LifeMed Alaska also provides 24/7 critical care transportation services across the state. The company has a fleet of Learjets, turboprops, and helicopters, with headquarters in Anchorage and bases in Fairbanks, Soldotna, Bethel, and Palmer. LifeMed’s emergency services medical support staff has expertise in critical care, high-risk, and pediatric/neonatal ICU, with advanced and continuing training like Guardian Flight’s staff. In concert, these two critically necessary private carrier services continuously link rural and urban medical facilities to those in the most vulnerable health conditions.

Urban Centers So, if one could choose a place to get

injured or in an accident, Anchorage and Fairbanks remain the best locations because, as Alaska’s two largest cities, they have all the emergency and fire personnel and infrastructure to respond to and treat the cases, whether an injury, accident, or fire. Anchorage has an abundance of hospitals including Providence, Alaska Regional, Alaska Native Medical Center, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Hospital, and the Alaska Veteran’s Administration Healthcare facility. With myriad urgent cares and clinics, practitioners, and mental health facilities, the city is primed for nearly any accident or emergency. The Anchorage Fire Department has a 100 percent record for arrival and mitigation of incidents in the Municipality last year. The department has instituted Criteria Based Dispatching since April 2014 that is designed to rule out cardiac arrest on every call and identify medical compromises in the cardiovascular, respiratory, and nervous systems. The department has thirteen stations dispersed throughout the municipality (1,961 square miles) from Eagle River to Girdwood. Emergency service hospital facilities in and near Fairbanks include Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, Denali Center, and Bassett Army Community Hospital on Fort Wainwright, as well as numerous urgent cares and practitioners who can assist during scheduled hours. In Fairbanks, Battalion Chief Brian Davis explains that his department covers the city jurisdiction, with 100 percent career professionals that include five administrators and thirty-nine suppression and firefighting professionals. The force has two fire stations and received 4,500 calls last year. The Fairbanks North Star Borough has fire

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


departments at North Pole, the University of Alaska campus, and Chena Goldstream, as well as volunteer departments at North Star, Ester, and Steese.

The Layers of Emergency Service Infrastructure and Training Essentially every single community in the state has some level of response and protocol for an emergency. The state meshes multiple levels of government and private entities to provide timely, productive emergency services to those in harm’s way and injured. Volunteers and community members are most involved. The federal government plays a role, local boroughs and cities effectuate action, for-profit and nonprofit associations and corporations provide comprehensive care and treatment, and the State of Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Service’s Emergency Medical Services Unit oversees the streams of communication and response delivery. Andy Jones is the acting section chief and manages three units administering multiple programs in emergency management: Public Health Preparedness, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and Alaska Trauma Data. The programs within these units include development of community health programs to improve primary care, surveillance, and medical services and trauma care in rural and underserved regions. “My job is more about coordination, control, and supporting our communities. Our section has the necessary resources and capabilities in a time of need, and it’s my role to ensure the right personnel are at the emergency scene to complement resolution of the problem,” says Jones. The state has an emergency medical plan and an Emergency Operations Center that Jones oversees, should an incident commander be necessary in a disaster involving mass fatalities and injuries. If rural emergencies don’t have direct support or require heightened attention, the State utilizes its health and public safety departments, Alaska National Guard, Department of Defense branches (particularly USCG), and Alaska Native corporate and nonprofit associations in conjunction with www.akbizmag.com

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Alaska 2-1-1: A Critical Tool in Times of Disaster

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hen tragedy strikes—as it did most recently in Nepal when not one but two devastating earthquakes struck—our hearts go out to those whose lives have been changed so suddenly. Some of us will be moved to help with recovery and rebuilding efforts on the ground. Many more of us will donate money to support those efforts. And all of us can and should revisit our own emergency preparedness plans. If Alaska 2-1-1 is not part of your preparedness plan, it needs to be. A critical tool in times of disaster, Alaska 2-1-1 is here for you. One call to 2-1-1 will connect you and your family to timely information and important relief and recovery resources. When United Way of America and the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems petitioned the FCC in 2000 to designate 2-1-1 as the official information and referral phone number, advocates described its value largely in terms of the ease of a three-digit number capable of connecting citizens with needed services. People need a simple and efficient way to learn about and access services during emergencies. Since then, 2-1-1 systems have grown to cover 92.6 percent of the country. Over the ensuing years, 2-1-1’s have played vital roles in all types of disasters including hurricanes in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas, California wildfires, and avian influenza. Through 2-1-1, those affected by such events were able to get relevant, up-to-date information on such things as shelter availability, location and hours of response centers, road closures, evacuation routes, and where volunteers were needed. Here in Alaska, our 2-1-1 call center is co-located in the Municipality of Anchorage Emergency Operations Center for ready integration into emergency response. The Municipality refers Anchorage residents to 2-1-1 for assistance and the 2-1-1 staff is directly coordinating with the Public Information Officer to provide up to date, accurate information to the community. Working together with the Municipality supports a connected culture for

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2-1-1

Help starts here. Dial 2-1-1 1.800.478.2221

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emergency response and recovery that is vital to ensuring effective communication flow. In addition to co-location, the 2-1-1 staff participates in Municipality-run trainings as well as FEMA and AIRS training to ensure consistency in protocols that facilitate process execution in chaotic situations. Because of these trainings, 2-1-1 staff are equipped to be deployed anywhere in the United States to support 2-1-1 efforts in emergency situations. In fact, Alaska 2-1-1 has helped in emergencies across our state including support for Interior flood relief, H1N1 Immunization Clinics, and the Juneau avalanche. When not serving in an activated emergency situation, Alaska 2-1-1 answers calls for help from Alaskans throughout the state looking for information and referrals from our list of thousands of health and human service providers. Alaska 2-1-1 maintains the most comprehensive community services database in the state. Alaskans seeking help can speak directly with a trained Information and Referral Specialist by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-800-478-2221 from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Calls are confidential and free of charge. A special partnership with Language Line allows specialists to communicate with limited English speaking callers in more than 170 different languages including all Alaska Native languages. Alaska 2-11’s website is available 24/7 at www. alaska211.org. Living in Alaska, we’ve seen our fair share of natural and man-made disasters over the years. We know a major earthquake is always a possibility. And while no one can predict what the future holds, it’s good to know Alaska 2-1-1 will be there to help. R

private and public hospitals and municipal/borough fire and paramedic personnel. In concert, the team reduces injuries and saves lives.

Matanuska-Susitna Borough Mat-Su covers twenty-five thousand square miles with a population nearing one hundred thousand. The Borough’s Department of Emergency Services covers Sutton, Butte, Wasilla, Big Lake, Willow, Caswell, Talkeetna, and Trapper Creek. Greater Palmer and the City of Houston have their own departments, and Lake Louise has volunteer EMTs and first responders. Mat-Su has the entire road system for access and support, and mutual aide agreements, along with a hearty volunteer contingent, makes for substantive coverage for vehicular, airport, lake, and river emergencies. The depth of ambulance, fire truck and equipment, hazardous material, and water rescue apparatus makes for a safe and responsive system. Once the patient is secured and stabilized with emergency responders’ assistance, the closest hospital, Mat-Su Regional Medical Center with a 24hour emergency department, offers a full-service twenty-two-bed unit with full surgical and cardiac intensive care. Whittier Pegged the “Gateway to Western Prince William Sound,” the City of Whittier has less than three hundred residents. It supports the Alaska State Ferry and Railroad, as well as sport and commercial fishermen, and more than seven hundred thousand tourists every year primarily because of its sixty mile distance from Anchorage. It’s hit-and-miss by way of air for rescue and transport because the turbulent Memorial Tunnel is the primary access route. Chief of Police David Schofield is at the helm of emergency services in the city. Previous to Whittier he was the police chief on St. Paul Island. Schofield says in smaller communities like Whittier and St. Paul Island cross-training is most effective, so police, fire, and EMS personnel capabilities are multi-tasked. If an accident occurs in Whittier, the first line of medical support is the city’s medical clinic with a physician’s assis-

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


tant on staff Monday through Friday. The clinic is owned and operated by the Eastern Aleutian Tribes. Eastern Aleutian Tribes manages eight community health centers in the state. Absent the clinic, the city has two ambulances and EMTs to stabilize an injury then transport to an Anchorage hospital. The community and the Alaska Railroad also assist because of the proximity to water for marine accidents absent a regular USCG presence and because of the tunnel and its close times, when Schofield and Railroad employees have to activate the tunnel opening off-hours. The city’s emergency responders helped a person stuck in the mud off of the Seward Highway on the Anchorageside of the tunnel in May. Schofield notes that in past medical emergencies the Alaska State Troopers, USCG, LifeMed, and the Girdwood Fire Department have assisted Whittier. “As emergency responders we’re out here trying to help Alaskans and visitors, so it’s important to see all the involved agencies come together and often seamlessly. Lives have been saved as a result,” says Schofield.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Not far from Whittier are the communities of Seward, Soldotna, Kenai, and Homer on the Kenai Peninsula. These cities and the outlying communities surrounding them are some of the most popular havens for fishermen and outdoors enthusiasts and are the most traveled to destination over the Alaska summer tourism season by vehicle. Homer Chief Bob Painter has been with the Homer Fire Department for more than fifteen years. He explains the department’s jurisdiction is within its city limits, including the 4.5 mile Homer Spit which juts into the Kachemak Bay and is home to the Homer Boat Harbor, serving up to 1,500 commercial and pleasure boats at its peak. When an injury or accident occurs, his contingent of five paid emergency response employees and forty volunteers is on top of logistics and coverage. The city has two Type 1 ambulances, two tanker/ pumper trucks with two thousand gallon capacity, two fire engines, and small brush and utility trucks.

South Peninsula Hospital is a critical access nonprofit facility in Homer licensed for twenty-two medical beds and employing more than three hundred people. In conjunction with the fire department and law enforcement, Painter explains that a 911 call initially goes to the Soldotna State Trooper call center and secondarily to an answering center in Homer, and his responders activate, including at Beluga Lake and the nearby airport, which is State operated. If a boat is on fire in Kachemak Bay, typically locals will assist with their marine equipment. At the airport, State rescue personnel are there for fires and first-response to stabilize before Painter’s department is on scene. When higher care is needed, medevac is available to Anchorage or Seattle via LifeMed and Guardian medical flight services. Additionally, Maritime Helicopters owned by Don and Mary Ann Fells has been in business since 1973 and operates a fleet of Bell helicopters. Painter cites how helpful the Fells’ emergency services support has been to the Homer community, providing rescue and firefighting assistance and ac-

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tually modifying their aircraft with litter (stretcher) kits at their own expense for purposes of transporting patients not ambulatory.

Kenai/Soldotna/Seward While the cities of Homer, Kenai, and Seward have fire and police departments covering emergency services in their jurisdictions with equipment and multi-tiered lifesaving accreditations, the Peninsula’s hub city Soldotna is part of the Borough’s Central Emergency Services, protecting more than one thousand square miles and nearly 22,500 residents with both employee and volunteer responders. Central Peninsula Hospital has a 24hour emergency department; obstetric, and surgical services; and is the go-to for Kenai Peninsula’s residents and tourists if an accident befalls them. Scott Walden is the retired Kenai Fire Department chief and now the director of Emergency Management for the Borough. He describes the coverage by Central Emergency Services as just short of Cooper Landing to Clam Gulch. In the case of vehicular accidents or injuries in the wilderness or fires, there are employed and volunteer responders across the Borough, in and outside of the Central Emergency Services jurisdiction, to assist. Emergency service areas include Nikiski, Ninilchik, Anchor Point, Kachemak, Bear Creek, Cooper Landing, Moose Pass, and Hope. That translates to equipment and EMS personnel in all major communities in the Borough, with mutual aide agreements to back up support from the Borough, Seward, Kenai, and Homer. Add Seward’s small trauma hospital and collective of ambulances and EMT 1 to EMT 3 volunteers on communication standby 24/7, and suddenly travel on the Kenai Peninsula is evidently safe, and emergencies are responded to expeditiously. The last resort is medevac to Anchorage with all aforementioned communities accessible by plane and helicopter. Dillingham Largely a Yupik Eskimo community, the City of Dillingham is approximately 350 miles south west of Anchorage with more than 2,200 residents and is considered the hub for the Bristol Bay re20

gion, which is home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery. Industry in the area includes commercial fishing, hard rock mining exploration, and hunting and tourism at nearby Katmai National Park and Preserve. Stephanie McCumber supervises fire and EMS services, overseeing the volunteer fire department. McCumber is an EMT 2 and the only employee. She has thirty volunteers assisting with both fire and rescue. Dillingham has a mutual aide agreement with Aleknagik, connected to the city via bridge. Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation operates the local Kanakanak Hospital. There are thirty-four villages surrounding the city, each with a health aide and most with a clinic that treats basic medical needs and minor injuries. McCumber explaines that with three emergency room bays at the hospital, if someone were injured from a bear mauling or equipment use, for example, it becomes a network of the village, Dillingham, and any commercial or government agency that has transport capability to assist. Once the injuries are stabilized, the patient is either treated at the Kanakanak Hospital or brought via medevac to one of Anchorage’s hospitals. McCumber explains that if an accident such as a plane crash occurs, USCG might be needed for remote locations. She notes outlying communities like Togiak and Clarks Point are trying to build fire service programs as well. Dillingham has three ambulances and seven fire trucks, including one hydraulic tool truck and spreaders.

Lake and Peninsula Borough Comparing Alaska borough and US county sizes, Lake and Peninsula Borough is the second least densely populated in the nation with less than 1,900 residents. However, fire and emergency services are just as important across its 32,922 square miles, roughly the size of West Virginia. There are eighteen villages and each has firefighting capabilities. The larger communities like Illiamna, Newhalen, and Port Alsworth have health aides and the majority have a fire truck, yet most are off-road and can only be accessed by flight. Most of the remote communities have approximately sixty people or less.

Susan Edwards, director of finance for the Bristol Bay Native Association, adds that the association ensures health clinics are available for residents and visitors. The range of services depends on the size of the village, such as Port Alsworth with 140 people compared to Ugashik with only 11. The health aides and communications to state and federal departments are the safety net that can transport a person out of the village to an appropriate hospital, but transportation is always weather-dependent.

City of Unalaska For twenty-one years Unalaska Fire Chief Zack Schasteen has been instructing and supervising and remains a certified EMT 3. He oversees the Division of Fire and EMS on the Aleutian Islands’ largest community of Unalaska, which includes Dutch Harbor on Amaknak Island. The city has nearly 4,400 people and a strong fishing and commercial processing contingent. The city has a small medical clinic, and the State Troopers field calls that can be referred to a local physician. The department has two stations with fire response, search and rescue, and water rescue. There are four paid staff and thirty volunteers, with the bulk of the personnel EMT 3s and a mixture of EMT 1 and EMT 2, and layers of firefighter certifications. “One of the real inherent strengths in smaller community fire department is the volunteers,” says Schasteen. Since the community members work at processing plants, they have hazardous materials training and can handle problems with ammonia and chlorine, should release or injuries occur. Schasteen reminds that the Aleutians are spread out over the chain. Akutan, sixty miles from Unalaska where Trident Seafoods is headquartered, has a physicians’ assistant and clinic with health aides overseen by Aleutian Pribiloff Island Association. The further out one goes, such as Nikolski, Village Public Safety Officers and health aides handle emergencies. Rarely does USCG assist with city health emergency issues, but when hikers or climbers or vessels at sea experience problem or injury, typically a USCG cutter’s helicopter will be deployed. If USCG isn’t transporting an injured party, Guard-

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


ian and LifeMed will assist, and even the National Guard helps if a person is too large to fit in the private jets.

Valdez George Keeney has been leading various departments in the City of Valdez for more than fifteen years, and prior to that he served as an EMS Captain in Cordova. Since 2005 he’s been the fire chief and emergency manager for Valdez. The Valdez Fire Department has state certified EMS, EMT 1 through EMT 3, and paramedics. The department has two ALS ambulances and one BLS ambulance with cardiac drugs. The main fire station is in downtown Valdez and includes a swift water rescue vessel, and USCG can assist with two forty-fivefoot motor lifeboats. The department has three additional fire stations at the airport, Rogue River, and at Mile 10 on the Richardson Highway. Keeney notes that his department’s range is expansive, with more than 164 square miles of highway and road systems, rough terrain, and mountains. Backcountry and water rescues are common, and his team of ten paid staff and forty volunteers are trained for such emergency circumstances. He recalls two years ago when a school bus with cross-country skiers collided with a semi-truck at Mile 48 of the Richardson Highway with fifty-one patients and the driver requiring extrication. From the 2014 avalanche that blocked the Richardson Highway to technical rescues through glaciers, rock, and ice walls and mountains, Keeney’s attentions vary from city emergencies to rescues requiring local and State Trooper helicopters. His department makes an effort to work and share equipment and resources with neighboring communities like Glennallen, McCarthy, Chitina, Kenny Lake, and Copper Center. In 2013 Valdez assisted Glennallen battle its Caribou Hotel fire 120 miles away with a fire truck and ALS ambulance. The city has a medical clinic open during work hours and the Providence Valdez Medical Center with 24-hour emergency services and eleven acute care swing-beds and a small collective of medical practitioners. Injuries requiring advanced treatment are flow by medevac to Anchorage. www.akbizmag.com

Glennallen Dave Abbott is an RN and EMT 1 who serves as administrator coordinator for Copper River EMS, subcontracted the Southern Region EMS to oversee stretches of the Richardson and Glenn Highway through EMS and Fire Departments. The coverage area is three hundred miles of highways and elevated terrain, from Nelchina to Glennallen to Grizzly Lake and from Maclaren River Lodge and Mile 60 towards Valdez, as well as the Edgerton Highway to Kenny Lake and Chitina.

Abbott has two volunteer squads. Thirteen responders are in Glennallen and eleven are at Kenny Lake. Each team has basic life support training and an EMT 2 for ambulance service. 911 calls go first to Mat-Com in the Mat-Su Borough. The call is dispatched over a repeater system and via radio a medic, driver, ETT, or EMT can respond. Crossroads Medical Center, a clinic and urgent care facility, is also in Glennallen. “For tourists coming through, this area is not like Anchorage or urban centers in the Lower 48 where 911 is

July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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called and an ambulance immediately appears,” says Abbott. “Out here it’s all volunteers, and if it’s a weekend where our local emergency responders are fishing or hunting, it takes longer to assemble a team to address the accident.” When an accident or injury occurs that requires a higher level of medical attention, LifeMed, Guardian, and even the National Guard have landed at the airport in Gulkana to retrieve and deliver patients to Anchorage.

Bethel City Manager Ann Capela is on task when it comes to emergency services in Bethel. Four hundred miles west of Anchorage with just under 6,500 residents, Bethel is the main port on the Kuskokwim River and hub to fifty villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta with fifty-eight recognized tribes. Capela has a long history in municipal management, from Illinois to California. She admits to feeling privileged working “on the edge of the continent, isolated and within a community where structure and emergency services are self-sustaining.” There’s no mutual aid agreement with adjacent communities to Bethel because there are no communities nearby. The city is geographically isolated with even the National Guard over an hour away. The city, as a result, has a cadre of ambulances and trained EMT and firefighters that cover emergency services. There are forty-one staff members, the majority of whom are volunteers. Capela adds, “Some of the greatest emergencies in Bethel and the surrounding region have involved flooding, fires, and air disasters.” Her responders are trained in the various levels of rescue and treatment. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation has a regional hospital in Bethel as well as community health aides. The hospital is a fifty-bed facility including swing beds with comprehensive emergency services and healthcare. The hospital has 1,350 employees, so one of six people in the city works in the health industry and related emergency fields. Medevac comes through LifeMed and typically delivers patients to Alaska Native Medical Center. The region’s villages, small clinics, and health aides control emergency 22

response and treatment. Mobility is weather dependent and it’s not uncommon for a toboggan to be used and pulled behind snow machines or ATVs to bring patients or supplies to a facility. All the tribes and health clinics have emergency response plans and protocols, with central operations in Bethel.

Barrow Some of the most modern and technologically advanced equipment and personnel is in a place least expected in Alaska, yet Barrow has the newest hospital and a full array of personnel in the northern most community in the United States. Barrow is the economic center and transportation hub for the North Slope Borough. Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital is state-of-the-art. It has approximately one hundred thousand square feet, two-stories, and is rated for fourteen occupancy and full emergency services. The North Slope Borough Fire Department is overseen by Fire Chief/ Director Gary Carlson, who has more than twenty years’ experience, and is a combination of 50/50 paid staff and volunteers totaling more than one hundred people. There are two fire stations in Barrow in conjunction with full ambulance service. If someone lives or is working or traveling in surrounding villages, the North Slope Borough ensures a full accompaniment of ambulances and fire trucks, including tanker trucks. There are seven outlying villages including Point Lay, Point Hope, Wainwright, Kaktovik, and Anaktuvuk Pass on the southern border of the borough along the Brooks Mountain Range. There are ninety thousand square miles of area to cover for firefighting and emergency services. The logistics can be tenuous absent roads connecting the communities. Lacking a year-round USCG presence, Barrow has an emergency diving team because of proximity to the Chukchi Sea. The Borough’s emergency services capabilities include two helicopters and a Learjet that can transport a patient to Anchorage in seventy-five minutes. Medevacs also deliver patients to Fairbanks. The hospital and services in Barrow support the surrounding villages, all of which have health clinics and community health aides.

Nome The City of Nome is the emergency service hub for fifteen regional villages. Its hospital, Norton Sound Regional Hospital, handles emergency services for residents and visitors. The Village Health Services manages clinic operations for all villages in the region with trained health aides serving as firstresponders following an emergency or accident. Nome has two ambulances, and staffing is entirely volunteer, from driver to paramedic, says Vickie Erickson, chief of the Ambulance Department for the city. When a village can’t cover treatment, a medevac crew is activated and flies the patient to Nome or south to Anchorage. The synergy and networking is cohesive so the region can stabilize any accident or emergency promptly and in communication with the Borough and state. The fire chief in Nome is Jim West Jr., who notes his staff responds to mountain accidents, injuries, and problems on the tundra and on nearby rivers, whether it be a downed plane, an injured rock climber, or a snow machine that doesn’t return to its village or intended destination. Water rescues include USCG’s assistance at times, as well a deep pool of local volunteers with water and rescue craft. The city’s department has six fire trucks and a ladder truck as well as an ambulance and smaller equipment. Thirty-three volunteers with ETT or EMT 1 through EMT 3 training make for a comprehensive emergency team overseeing the region. Kotzebue Kotzebue is the largest city in the Northwest Arctic Borough with just under 3,500 people. The city’s fire department handles emergency services with an eight-person full time staff managing ambulance and fire service, using a mix of ambulance, engine, and tanker/ladder truck equipment. The department’s minimum staffing of an EMT 1 and Firefighter 1 serve 24/7, and training is integral to day-to-day operations says Lieutenant Kelly Marcus. Marcus explains a 911 call goes to the dispatch center at the city jail managed by the Kotzebue Police Department. Fires and accidents are promptly addressed, dependent on location. The

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


Department covers up to five miles outside the city center, where there are several houses and some winter/summer cabins and camps. Like many rural hub communities, the outlying villages network with Kotzebue. Maniilaq Health Center is the region’s hospital at over eightyeight thousand square feet and has an emergency room and national support for trauma and accident victims. The Community Health Aide/Practitioner program operates eleven remote village clinics in Ambler, Buckland, Deering, Kiana, Kivalina, Kobuk, Noatak, Noorvik, Point Hope, Selawik, and Shungnak. The Community Health Aide/ Practitioner administration maintains contact with the hospital as needed for treatment and emergency direction with physicians. The communities surrounding Kotzebue have village members ready to supervise a firefight or an injury. The city also has an air boat to assist with boaters stuck on sand bars or injured, as well as a search and rescue team of volunteers using their personal watercraft. USCG trains in and around Kot-

zebue but doesn’t have a regular presence there, particularly because the community is iced-in from October to June on the Noatak and Kobuk Rivers.

Denali Within Denali National Park, which is federally managed, an emergency or injury during mountaineering operations initiates the help from a US park ranger. The first call is typically by satellite phone direct to a ranger station or to 911 if possible. Park rangers are trained in mountaineering search and rescue and available at base-camps and Talkeetna’s ranger office near the mountain, as well as throughout the Park itself. The Rescue Coordination Center is also contacted via an emergency locator beacon (by a climber or downed pilot), with JBER and the National Guard available to assist in rescue. Temsco’s high-altitude helicopters may also be employed to retrieve climbers and injured parties. If it’s a fire at hand, the National Park Service has a regional fire staff and personnel. Denali only allows tourists to drive fifteen miles into Denali Park, so rang-

ers are the first-responders beyond fellow citizens and staff. LifeMed transportation is utilized for severe injuries, most often delivering patients to Fairbanks or Anchorage dependent on location within the Park. If an injury occurs pre-climb in Talkeetna, there is a clinic in the city and Mat-Su Borough EMS can transport patient via ambulance to Mat-Su Regional Hospital.

Structured and Precise It’s clear that the layers of emergency service professionals in Alaska make a huge and positive difference in public safety and health preservation. The enormity of volunteers is particularly endearing, as a matter of community support and concern, and allows for much faster assistance. From the federal and state collectives to local and private organizations, Alaska emergency services are structured and precise. That equates to lives saved and injuries limited. R Tom Anderson writes from across Alaska.

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HEALTHCARE

Emergency Medical Services in Southeast: Neighbor Helping Neighbor

Courtesy of SEREMS

A new version of the patient transport the Code Blue program is putting into smaller villages. The trucks are durable on rough roads, can access places traditional ambulances cannot, and are more familiar for village “grease monkeys” to maintain.

Mostly volunteer squads of first responders meet Panhandle challenges

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By Will Swagel

he town of Pelican on the northeast corner of Chichagof Island spans only about a mile and a half end-to-end—mostly along a raised boardwalk that serves as the Main Street of the town. Residents don’t have cars; their preferred method of motor transport is by four-wheeler. With a population of about one hundred year-round, everybody knows everybody else. So it wasn’t unusual that Allen Stewart, riding his four-wheeler down the boardwalk one day some years back, would see a friend riding the other way on his fourwheeler. Then, the friend unexpectedly

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stopped his ATV. He had suffered a heart attack. But the friend was very lucky. Stewart, an EMT 2, is the leader of a small group of volunteers who are called upon to be the first responders in times of medical emergency. He and a few others were on the scene immediately and quickly moved the still-breathing man to their tiny clinic building located in the center of town. Although there was no resident health provider in Pelican at the time, Stewart and other responders were able to use the clinic’s equipment. Then, the man’s heart stopped and he stopped breathing. But Stewart and the others were able to restart his heart with defibrillator paddles and stabilize him. A US Coast Guard helicopter was summoned and arrived about two hours later. The man was flown to Mt. Edgecumbe hospital in Sitka. He was gone from Pelican for a few months. And then Stewart felt satisfaction one day when he saw the man astride his four-wheeler again, riding down the boardwalk.

“When he came back to town we were glad to see him,” says the plain-talking Stewart. “We know we’ve done the best we can when we get them out of here breathing. And if they come back, great.” Stewart is a prime example of the first responders who comprise the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) squads in small towns and villages up and down the Southeast Panhandle. Stewart’s day job is directing the City of Pelican Public Works Department. He says the city is very supportive of his role as a responder, letting him take the time he needs when emergencies arise. Another EMS call Stewart answered circa 2000 couldn’t have been closer to home. Stewart was having lunch when a call came in that a fishing boat had run aground nearby. He and a few other responders were halfway to the scene when Stewart realized it was his family’s boat that had had the accident. His daughter had fractured her skull. He rode with her in the US Coast Guard

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helicopter to Sitka, where she was stabilized. By midnight, she was being treated in a trauma unit at a Seattle hospital. She recovered fully and, recently, graduated from college. Stewart moved to Pelican in 1986 and has been head of the EMS squad since 1995. Telling the story of his daughter’s close call elicited a comment. “Family is the reason I got into EMS,” he says. “Too many times there was no medical out here. So, I thought, well, somebody’s got to do it.”

Neighbor Helping Neighbor Bobbi Leichty sees her job as making sure seeing that people such as Stewart have the equipment and training to do their jobs. Leichty is the executive director of Southeast Region Emergency Medical Services (SEREMS), one of seven regional EMS organizations in Alaska. “SEREMS works to make sure they are trained and equipped and have plans and to understand the management of small volunteer services,” Leichty says. “If they respond to a resident or visitor in need—and stabilize the person—then they have to figure out a way to get them, for example, from Elfin Cove to Sitka.” Southeast Alaska is a one-thousandmile long maze of islands and bays. While temperatures in Southeast are mild, by Interior Alaska standards, the weather is by no means unchallenging. Autumn gales may make a village unreachable by air for two or three days. Roadless wilderness starts at the edge of town. Due to the constant rain and nearby ocean, hypothermia is a threat twelve months of the year. EMTs might have to double as wilderness searchers, and first responders may sometimes have only the equipment they can haul up by hand. “It’s a very intricate network of being able to take a sick person from a small, remote place and get them into what we call definitive care,” Leichty says. “It’s like a spider web—you have to be sure that this point contacts to that point. The network that we have designed doesn’t fit the national design for best care. If you are in Seattle you are trained for ‘seven minutes to the scene, seven minutes on scene, and seven minutes to the hospital.’ Unfortunately, that model doesn’t fit here.” The protocol is to do what is necessary to get the patient to the next higher www.akbizmag.com

level of care. That may involve being in the care of several groups. “You have to call for local help and then Search and Rescue comes and gets you,” she says. “You may be taken back by the first responder to a village that has a health aide. From there you are assessed and handed off to a small fixed wing that can get you into a regional hub. And then you may take a medevac flight to a trauma center in Seattle or Anchorage.” SEREMS was started in the 1970s by two doctors, the late Dr. George Longenbaugh of Sitka and Dr. Michael Copass

of Seattle. Leichty says the two doctors met when Copass came to Sitka to teach a class in advanced trauma life support. While the physicians were there, three children who had been badly burned in a village house fire were flown into Sitka. All three children died. The two doctors surmised that the children might have had a better chance of survival if there had been a better response before they were brought to the hospital. SEREMS was the result of their concerns. Today, Copass still helps guide the organization, Leichty says. SEREMS is

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now advised by Dr. David Carlbom of Seattle’s Harborview Hospital and Medic One program. Dr. Rodney Vaught of Washington also works with SEREMS, as well as volunteering in several places in Southeast, where he used to live. The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association, also based in Sitka, received crucial support from SEREMS in its earliest years, says executive director Jerry Dzugan. The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association is now a now a model for other marine groups around the United States and even worldwide. Alaska Marine Safety Education Association trainers teach classes or give talks in in the majority of US coastal states and in ten foreign countries. Among other activities, the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association conducts a mariner’s first aid course for commercial fishermen and recreational boaters. They also conduct more advanced marine/wilderness EMS classes. “The situation that a boater or a fisherman faces is more of a wilderness environment context than a first responder in the community,” Dzugan says. “So we use a lot of wilderness protocols.”

Volunteer Challenges The Juneau Fire Department has 42 paid employees covering five separate fire stations, along with volunteers. The Ketchikan Fire Department has 18 career staff and volunteers in the city, with largely volunteer squads located at two fire stations both north and south of town. Sitka has 9.5 paid positions and 105 volunteers working out of one fire house in the center of town. Wrangell has only 1 full time and 1 part time professional staffer and 67 active and reserve volunteers: The smaller the community, the larger its reliance on volunteers. The volunteers are for the most part uncompensated. Sitka Fire Department volunteers man a search-and-rescue squad, operate the ambulances, and provide EMS and can deploy rescue divers, as well putting out fires. Volunteers receive only gas money to come out for calls—less than $5 per event. “Volunteering is a huge time commitment,” says Sitka Fire Chief Dave Miller, who began as a volunteer in 1988 and worked his way through the ranks. He says volunteering numbers are sagging nationwide.

But he also described job satisfactions similar to Stewart’s. About fifteen years ago, Miller and another Sitka firefighter rode a US Coast Guard helicopter to the scene of a fire aboard the state ferry Columbia. When the fire was out, they switched to EMS mode. Miller helped transport to the hospital a Sitka local who was having heart problems. “He’s still kicking around,” Miller chuckles. “I see him every other day.” Miller reserves his highest praise for the US Coast Guard. Air Station Sitka helicopter crews rescue countless residents and visitors from both land and sea. “They do yeoman’s work for Southeast and make Alaska a lot safer,” Miller says. “We have [commercial] medevac services between communities or to Anchorage or Seattle. [But] when those others can’t fly because of weather or something else, the Coast Guard always jumps up and does it.”

A Culture of Cooperation One of the three ambulances Sitka Fire Department uses was partially paid for by a program called the Alaska Code Blue Project.

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SEREMS Director Leichty says that during the “easy money” days of the 1970s and early 1980s it was simple to appeal to a legislator for a new ambulance or other EMS equipment. Later, funding became more difficult to obtain at the same time the ambulances were wearing out. “In the mid-to-late ‘90s it became very obvious that those 1970s ambulances were falling completely apart,” Leichty says. “It was like a $6 million need.” She said EMS planners put their heads together and came up with the Code Blue program, a series of protocols that allow funding requests to be prioritized by representatives of all seven EMS regions. The prioritized lists are presented to legislators in a united front, rather than by competing groups. Code Blue also has received funding from the Denali Commission and the Rasmuson Foundation. Communities that receive Code Blue funding are required to come up with a local match. Leichty says the program is in its twelfth round of funding and has distributed more than $20 million. Code Blue also seeks to tailor equipment to community needs. A standard ambulance can cost more than $175,000

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and may not be appropriate for EMS squads that need to traverse potholed logging roads. The answer was dubbed a “patient transport” vehicle. One iteration is basically a four-wheel-drive truck with a club cab. A fiberglass canopy covering the back contains a gurney for patients, light and heat, oxygen, and EMS supplies and equipment. The rigs are easier for rural mechanics to maintain and can cost about a third of a standard ambulance. Other types of specialized ambulances may have tank treads or are meant to be towed by an ATV. In Whale Pass on northern Prince of Wales Island, Jenny Vasser and five volunteers answer calls for about a thirtymile area with a patient transport vehicle of the pickup type. On one call to help an older man who had broken his back in a fall, the sides of an old logging road were crumbling as they drove over it. “The rig was invaluable because it had all the equipment we needed,” Vasser says. “If we had had a regular ambulance, we would have never made it up there.” Vasser has to make a bumpy two-hour ride to Craig, where she can pick up

EMS supplies, fill oxygen tanks, and attend training classes. Chaundell Piburn, Craig’s EMS director, says city leaders have allowed her to set up community supply cabinet where the smaller EMS squads can order or borrow supplies. “On Prince of Wales, it’s all volunteers,” Piburn says. “Neighbors helping neighbors, and we would have it no other way.” Piburn is SEREMS’ Prince of Wales Island coordinator. She hopes to use a newly snagged grant to provide laptops, televisions, and collaboration software to responders in the widely-spaced communities, so they can attend training classes close to home. Making things easier for volunteers could make it easier for Vasser to get some new members for the Whale Pass squad. Vasser notes that half her squad members are sixty or older. “I’m so grateful to these people for volunteering,” she says. “They give their time and money. And they get no compensation for anything. Except a thank you.”R Author and journalist Will Swagel is based in Sitka.

July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES

Photos Courtesy of Alaska DEC

Toilet maintenance in Atmautluak, from left to right: Honeybucket (collects urine and feces). Hauling honeybucket to transport hopper. Pouring honeybucket contents into transport hopper.

Alaska DEC Challenge Rethink water and sewer

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ore than 3,300 homes in rural Alaska still lack running water and a flush toilet, according to the state of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Many more rely on deteriorating piping systems or hauled water services. The cost of installing community-wide systems, like a public sewer system or piped water system, is more than many rural communities can afford. Although these have typically been the type of system funded in the past, some communities are finding it difficult to strike a balance between reasonable rates and bringing in enough funding to maintain the water or wastewater system. According to the state, there’s a $660 million gulf between what rural Alaska communities need for water and wastewater infrastructure and the amount of money available. That gap continues to widen. Recognizing these trends, the state launched an effort to “develop innovative and cost effective water and sewer systems for homes in remote Alaska villages,” according to DEC’s Alaska

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By Rindi White Water and Sewer Challenge website (watersewerchallenge.alaska.gov). The goal is to reduce overhead costs for in-home water and sewer systems in rural Alaska. The solutions may well be applicable in other areas that face hurdles to community water and sewer systems, organizers say, including in more urban areas of the state. “Many areas outside rural Alaska still don’t have complete plumbing,” says Bill Griffith, facility programs manager for DEC. “And a lot of people have cabins and seasonal, recreational type homes and a lot of those don’t have running water and sewer.” “In Alaska alone, there are over 18,000 homes that would benefit immediately from such an approach. In addition, there are approximately 221,000 rural homes in the US [excluding Alaska], which are occupied year round and lack complete plumbing,” the DEC website states. “In other northern countries, such as Canada, Russia, and Mongolia, there are at least 1.7 million homes that could potentially benefit from the novel ap-

proaches being pursued by this project.”

Current Approach Untenable The challenge got its start in 2013 with a worldwide solicitation of project teams. It was kind of a last-ditch effort, Griffith says. “We’ve got about thirty communities [without community water and sewer systems] out there, and most of those 3,300 unserved homes are in those thirty communities. At a certain point it looked like we were going to have to just give up [funding new sewer and water systems],” Griffith says. And although the department does its best to keep systems already in place operating, the list of requests for water and wastewater treatment funding for repairs is growing. Sewer and water infrastructure in many communities is reaching the end of its useful life, having been installed forty or fifty years ago, he says. “The gap that exists between the need for upgrades and the available funding just continue to get wider and wider. If you carry that out for a few years, the whole thing seems like it’s going to col-

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


lapse under its own weight,” Griffith says. It appeared that the department’s efforts to fund projects in a few communities each year might never be enough. “But throwing in the towel is not possible,” Griffith says. “We have to find a way to do this.” So the state set up a challenge, similar to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.” The goal: to rethink water and sewer and come up with ideas that might work, both in communities that don’t have access to running water and sewer and that might supplement or supplant aging or very costly existing systems.

Proposal Deadline Just Passed Eighteen teams initially applied, Griffith says. Those initial teams, made up of research institutions, engineering firms, manufacturers, and others, were evaluated and the field narrowed to six. Each of those six teams was given $60,000 to create written proposals that meet certain performance targets set by the state and the project steering committee. Next, the teams began developing their written proposals. They will present the proposals to the steering committee this month. Each proposal will be scored according to its ability to meet the performance targets, and the steering committee and DEC will choose the top three proposals that best hit those targets.

The performance targets are pretty straightforward. The proposed systems should be durable enough to withstand daily use and easily controlled by the average homeowner. It should have a low overhead cost. It should be able to provide at least fifteen gallons of water suitable for cooking, drinking, washing, and flushing per person each day, and it shouldn’t cost more than $135 each month to operate. That number reflects 5 percent of median household income for most rural residents. The system should be able to be left in an unheated home for weeks at a time and start up again with ease, and it should be as modular as possible, so parts of the system can be removed and taken elsewhere for repairs. The system should be feasible to build in existing homes in rural Alaska, taking into account the cold climate, off-road and remote locations in which many residents live, permafrost, and other factors. The system should comply with Alaska’s plumbing code, wastewater discharge requirements, and other applicable regulations; it should be made with readily available and reasonably priced parts; and it should be ultimately acceptable for use by rural Alaska residents. “The targets were developed with some knowledge of potential funding sources and what kinds of operational costs tend to be affordable,” Griffith says.

Emptying contents of transport hopper into sewage lagoon, Atmautluak. www.akbizmag.com

Challenge May Provide Hope for Lower Rates For many communities, the struggle between keeping water and wastewater rates reasonable and keeping up with capital and operational costs is difficult. In Bethel, city leaders have asked the state for help with more than $30 million in infrastructure projects, most of which is to pay for a needed upgrade to the city’s sewage lagoon. Earlier this year, the city was also grappling with a proposal to increase its utility rates. It already has some of the highest rates in the state, at more than $300 each month for some city residents. The system serves about 1,500 customers. Both the water and wastewater systems are, for most residents, tank-andhaul systems in which the city delivers potable water by the gallon weekly, semi-weekly, or monthly, and other city trucks pump tanked septic waste by the gallon on a similar timeline. “Bethel is a place that we’ve talked about” where technology developed through the Challenge may help, Griffith says. “When people are paying … by the gallon, if there’s anything we can do to allow them to do the same amount with less water, it would help.” R Rindi White is a freelance journalist living in Palmer.

Urine and feces from honeybucket hopper poured into sewage lagoon, Atmautluak July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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CONSTRUCTION

Smart Building Technologies

Building Automation Techniques Deployed in Alaska By Russ Slaten

B

efore the emergence of digital controls and smart building technologies, most buildings controlled the HVAC system—heating, ventilation, and air conditioning within the building—through a pneumatic or air-based control system. Most existing buildings still use pneumatic controls, limiting the opportunities to monitor the other systems of the building and often burning more energy in the process. Smart building technologies, typically controlled by a building automation system, link the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems of the building and give the operator a window into the inner workings of nearly all the systems that influence a building’s operations.

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Through smart building technologies, operators are equipped to ensure safety, provide comfort, and especially important to Alaskans— monitor efficiency.

Paper to Operator Some companies know what they want in an automated control system to operate their buildings. Sometimes that is not always the case. Some people just want their buildings to keep them comfortable without having to think too much about it. Mark Frischkorn, principal mechanical engineer at RSA

Engineering, Inc., is part of an engineering firm that has taken the role of designing many smart systems for schools and businesses in Alaska. Recently RSA Engineering designed the mechanical systems of the West Anchorage High School addition under the architects Kumin and Associates. The project is currently under construction by Cornerstone General Contractors.

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


Mechanical systems of the West Anchorage High School addition are tied into the school’s building automation system. On the left, the outside air louver is outlined in red stripes, and the air handler is dark grey with green ducts, it distributes air (including heating and cooling) throughout the building. Floor drains are designated in pink, and return air grilles are designated in blue. Rendering courtesy of RSA Engineering, Inc. and Kumin and Associates, Inc.

Frischkorn says the contractors will install the system, complete the project, and hand it over to the building owner. The contractor responsible for the automation control system provides the owner an Operations and Maintenance manual detailing the systems installed for that particular project. “The contractor is then supposed to train [the building operator] on the systems and say, ‘Here is what you have to know, here’s how it’s supposed to work,’” Frischkorn says. www.akbizmag.com

Due to the complexity of the systems involved, most building control suppliers offer supplemental training and even classes at the factory for building operators that really want to know their systems and operate them to optimal efficiency. They also offer service contracts for the people that want their systems to work without having to worry about the details. Most construction contracts have a one-year warranty, and if something doesn’t work, the contractor would have to come back and fix it, Frischkorn says. This also helps with the learning process for the building operator as they learn how their building reacts to the seasons. “Here lately commissioning is the latest and greatest thing now. They usuJuly 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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ally hire an engineer to commission the building, which essentially means to turn everything on and walk it through all of the things it’s supposed to be doing and make sure it does in fact do all of those things,” Frischkorn says. RSA offers commissioning as a service, and in 2013 Frischkorn commissioned the UAF Margaret Murie Building. “The whole commissioning process can be rather sophisticated. It took me a week to check every point in that building to make sure it was doing what it was supposed to be doing. I didn’t get it all; I got all the major ones, because that is a very big, very sophisticated building,” Frischkorn says. Even though the mechanical and control contractors on that project were very conscientious, there were still a fair amount of adjustments to be made to get everything working just right. The commissioning agent provides a second set of eyes and the time to study the systems that helps ensure everything gets adequately tested before being turned over to the owner. Before the process of installing and utilizing smart building technologies, be-

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cause of its innate complexity, a building owner must first realize the benefits of designing with or converting to a building automation system. Some buildings benefit more from high levels of technology than others, Frischkorn says. Buildings must be viewed on a caseby-case basis before making the first steps toward reducing energy use and being smart, says Jack Hébert, founder and CEO of the The Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC). “Every building in itself has a personality,” says Hébert. “The personality is reflected by the way it was built, who built it, when it was built, the kinds of systems that were put in it at that particular time, the behavior of the people that use the building, and the education of the operators of the building. When addressing energy efficiency and being smarter, every building has a story of its own.”

Applied Research CCHRC in Fairbanks is a nonprofit, industry-based corporation that demonstrates smart building technologies, among other building efficiencies, through statewide research. Hébert

says it utilizes product development and testing for research and works with homeowners and building managers to incorporate smart building technologies and other efficiencies in buildings throughout the state. CCHRC’s facility in Fairbanks utilizes a Siemens Apogee system to monitor and control building functions and provide data for researchers. As an applied research facility, CCHRC demonstrates its research in its use. “If you can’t feel it, touch it, and see how it performs, if you’re just doing a study, it’s just one more study on a shelf,” Hébert says. “What really has an impact is being able to show folks what’s been done. Let them kick the tires.” The research facility is equipped with more than 1,200 sensors to study techniques and technologies for use in cold climates. “In our world, what we call ‘smart technologies’ are technologies that are effective without being overly complex, so they can be affordable and regular folks can operate them. Building technologies on commercial buildings can get quite complex, but sometimes they have to be

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


that way in order to achieve efficiency. In any case, the technologies should complement the systems in the building in a way that reduces the amount of energy that’s used,” Hébert says. Hébert points to the use of outdoor sensors in radiant floor heating as a smart technology. Outdoor sensors read the temperature of ambient air outside the building and adjust the temperature of fluids in the heating system to maximize efficiency in the transfer of heat to the building. If the outside temperature drops, the temperature of water going through the radiant floor system rises to more effectively transfer heat, but runs at the lowest temperature needed to satisfy the heating needs of the user. Radiant floor heating is operated by computer-controlled valves that interface with the main system to optimize efficiency. At the CCHRC facility the Siemens Apogee system adjusts boiler operation times and temperatures based on outside temperature. The aspect of lighting plays a major role in smart building technologies in commercial buildings, Hébert says. Smart technologies sense the amount of ambient light received through win-

dows. The building adjusts the lumens— the amount of visible light—to balance the level of lighting necessary for the building’s occupants without wasting energy. Along with those controls are occupant sensors that tell the system if a person is in the room and whether the room should be lit. The amount of lumens a light should produce depends on the amount of natural light in the room. The HVAC system is most often connected to the electronic smart building controls. Hébert says indoor air quality is a major issue in commercial buildings. Occupancy sensors read the number of people in the room by the amount of carbon dioxide produced from breathing and adjusts to ventilate fresh air for that number of occupants. If there are no occupants in the room, the advanced system only ventilates to keep a minimum air change going through the building to promote efficiency. Because Alaska is relatively cold throughout most of the year, buildings in the state are more equipped to handle heating rather than air conditioning needs. One way of keeping air quality high while keeping the building heated

is the use of heat recovery ventilation, Hébert says. The heat leaving the building that would have been lost to the atmosphere preheats the cold, exterior air coming into the building, creating an interchange between the stale, warm air and incoming fresh air. If the exterior temperature is too cold for heat recovery, the system adds heat to the airstream to ensure the occupants are comfortable. “One of the biggest expenses of operating a commercial building in cold environments is the number of air changes that occur, so you are constantly changing the air inside a building, and unless you have smart controls or use heat recovery of stale air, it can be a tremendous energy cost just ventilating a commercial building,” Hébert says. Hébert says the controls of a particular system should complement the appliance, whether it is lighting, heating, or ventilation. The system shouldn’t be too complex for the appliance or the user. The Siemens Apogee system in the research facility allows the operator to adjust indoor temperatures and provide data on fuel usage and energy generation. The smart building system at the

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CCHRC facility is equipped with controllers that transmit and receive information through the field level network.

Automated Building Controls Anchorage-based AMC Engineers specializes in the design of mechanical, electrical, and telecommunications for commercial and institutional facilities utilizing smart building technologies. The firm’s clients include federal, state, municipal, and private businesses throughout Alaska. “Our systems ‘breathe life’ into a facility. We measure outside air temperature, relative humidity, and the systems always bring fresh air inside. All of those dynamics are constantly managed by the building automation system,” says Dave Shumway, principal mechanical engineer at AMC Engineers. For the most part a smart building controls itself, and the occupant relies on automated systems to set a comfortable environment, Shumway says. As the occupant enters a room, the lights flip on automatically. After the occupant leaves the lights are set to a time delay that turns off the lights to save energy. The use of LED

lights further aids in energy efficiency. “In Alaska, we’re really concerned about energy. It gets really cold here, so we try to limit the amount of outside air entering a building,” Shumway says. “You’re required to bring in a certain amount of outside air just to meet indoor air quality standards, so we design our buildings to provide that amount of air into the building.” AMC Engineers is working on several large scale projects including the new University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Engineering Facility currently under construction. The $118.1 million project is a six floor, 119,000-square-foot building. Shumway says the UAF Engineering Building features an “engineering on display” concept. “Students and visitors will be able to view the actual inner workings of the building automation and control system on large LED display monitors located throughout the facility. Displays will include HVAC and electrical system operation, energy consumption monitoring, photovoltaic panel power generation rate, building structural component stress, and strain and building ‘stack effect,’” Shumway says.

“It turns out to be a huge advantage for the university as new buildings come online and as we see how the emerging technologies can be used. We can then reverse engineer it back into old buildings to help with things like energy reduction and safety.”

—Cameron Wohlford Senior Project Manager, UAF

Interconnected Systems A key advantage of using smart building technology is that large, complex buildings can be continuously monitored for scheduled maintenance and immediate system fault identification in the event of a system component failure. “The building automation system monitors many aspects of the building,” Shumway says. “So if there is a problem, the building automation system can send a message to the maintenance staff so they can correct the prob-

Special Olympics Alaska Training Facility 34

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


lem before it becomes worse.” At UAF, individual campus building automation and control systems are designed to “speak” to one another, each programmed with control strategies that have been standardized to fit the specific needs of the university. Operators at the university have established relationships with consulting engineers to assist in achieving the university’s smart building goals, unlike some businesses that simply look to the design engineer for a smart building systems approach. “UAF has a strict set of design guidelines for our mechanical and electrical systems. So much so that we’re actually driving the design of the consultants; the reason being we know what works in our extreme climate, and we want it standardized for our maintenance technicians to occasionally fix and repair the buildings when issues arise. We utilize the horsepower of our consultants to look at system sizing, system capacity, ensuring that our systems are utilizing our energy wisely because it is so expensive to heat and cool a building in Fairbanks,” says Cameron Wohlford, senior project manager at UAF. Not only does UAF drive the design side of its building controls, it also drives the technology side through its relationship with Siemens. Wohlford says the university is always looking for the latest and greatest when it comes to energy reduction, user comfort, and other priorities. “It comes down to all three parties [operator, engineer, and technician] leading the design together. I think it turns out well,” Wohlford says. UAF connects the lighting, HVAC, security, fire alarms, and various systems of all its new buildings through the Siemens automated building system. Wohlford says the advantage of interconnected systems is a wholesale look at building assets and the ability to monitor operations from a global standpoint. “It turns out to be a huge advantage for the university as new buildings come online and as we see how the emerging technologies can be used,” Wohlford says. “We can then reverse engineer it back into old buildings to help with things like energy reduction and safety.” R Russ Slaten is an Associate Editor at Alaska Business Monthly. www.akbizmag.com

July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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special section

Telecom & Technology

Alaska Telecom Infrastructure Expands Advancing at the speed of sound By Julie Stricker

I

n Alaska, telecommunications advances are being made at the speed of sound. Networks are expanding and getting faster, with more capacity. Over the past five years, the state’s major wireless and Internet service providers Alaska Communications, AT&T, GCI, and Verizon have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to build and improve infrastructure. Network speeds and accessibility along Alaska’s urban core and road system rival those of much of the Lower 48. And more improvements are in the works.

Competition ‘Driving Force’ Competition is the driving force behind the speed of the changes, says David Morris, vice president of corporate services at GCI. “Competition is good thing,” says Demian Voiles, vice president for Verizon Wireless Alaska, the state’s newest telecom. “It keeps the competitive juices going. It makes us all strive to be better.” And while the advertisements tout network speeds with terms like LTE, 4G, and even 5G, Voiles cautions that those are marketing terms. “What you really need to do is pay attention to the technology underneath that,” he says. “LTE is a worldwide standard that stands for Long Term Evolution of wireless, again a marketing term, but it refers to the type of technology that’s being used. 5G really hasn’t even been defined yet. There are advances in LTE that you’ll see coming before you’ll see 5G. We’re entering the realm of speculation here because we have to determine as an industry what 5G is, but there’s always advances coming.” Those advances mainly address improvements in speed, decreases in la36

“Competition is good thing. It keeps the competitive juices going. It makes us all strive to be better.”

—Demian Voiles Vice President Verizon Wireless Alaska

tency, and increases in capacity and throughput, he says. “Then we have to have devices that can support them as well,” Voiles says. Step into any of the retail stores for Verizon, GCI, and AT&T and enter a techie wonderland filled with phones of all flavors, tablets, household gadgets, and accessories, all with that new-car smell. It’s competition at work, and Alaska has been enjoying the benefits since former Senator Ted Stevens helped push the Telecommunications Act of 1996 through Congress, Morris says. The act effectively opened the industry to competition. Before 1996, “up in Alaska, it was an exclusive monopoly,” Morris says. There was no incentive to invest in new equipment as long as the profit margin remained steady. Today, with multiple major telecoms in the state, “if your competitor comes up with something newer, faster, something more whizbang, you’re going to have to upgrade.” GCI has spent “north of $150 million to $170 million every year for at least five years,” Morris says. Its network offers download speeds of 250 MB (megabit) per second in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kenai, Ketchikan, and Soldotna under its re:D program. This year, some customers in Anchorage will have access to fiber-optic 1 GB (gigabit)

service, with the superfast network expanding to Fairbanks and Juneau by the end of 2016. That’s one hundred times faster than a typical Internet connection. It would allow users to download instantaneously and stream multiple high-definition movies at once. Billing itself as the largest telecommunications company in Alaska, GCI’s extensive undersea and terrestrial fiber optic and microwave network is accessible to 80 percent of the population. Rural communities are linked via its satellite network and its mobile wireless network covers both rural and urban Alaska.

Partnerships Abound In April, GCI announced a partnership with Ericsson, a wireless technology and services company, to bring high-speed fixed and mobile service to Alaska’s North Slope. Its LTE network, expected to begin construction this year, will include nine sites from Kuparuk to Point Thomson, more than 3,738 square miles. GCI also recently bought Alaska Communications’ wireless business, with about 109,000 subscribers, and a one-third interest in the Alaska Wireless Network for $300 million. The deal was finalized in February. In addition, GCI has developed a hybrid fiber-optic/microwave TERRA system that links to rural communities such as Dillingham, Bethel, and Unalakleet. “What we’re trying to do is complete the ring eventually, most likely in the Nenana area,” Morris says. That will create a fully redundant system, effectively doubling its capacity. Ideally, terrestrial networks one day will link all the communities in Alaska.

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


“It’s not just an issue of the capacity, it’s equally important for consideration of latency. With terrestrial connectivity, you get rid of all that difference and it becomes instantaneous.”

—David Morris Vice President of Corporate Services, GCI

“It’s not just an issue of the capacity, it’s equally important for consideration of latency,” Morris says. Even at the speed of light, the distance between the earth and satellites creates delays in information transfer. “With terrestrial connectivity, you get rid of all that difference and it becomes instantaneous.” Today’s gizmos are also built with terrestrial connectivity in mind. For example, a regional health corporation tried to get new equipment to meet HIPAA requirements, but it wouldn’t work at all on a satellite connection. As far as wireless, today GCI has the only statewide network, Morris says. It will continue to expand its LTE network on the road system. “It’s always kind of exciting,” he says. “If you don’t move, you kind of sink to the bottom of the pool. They’re constantly coming up with new acronyms. Used to be everything was circuitbased. Now everything is softwarebased. It’s changing daily.” Big changes may be in store for communities in interior and northern Alaska with a partnership between Quintillion Holdings and Alaska Communications. In April, the companies acquired a fiberoptic network on the North Slope from ConocoPhillips. The network will improve broadband access to major North Slope oilfields, in partnership is Alaska Communications’ IT solutions. The companies also plan to make the network available to other telecom carriers. Quintillion is looking at building high-speed fiber-optic connections between Deadhorse and Fairbanks, as well as a subsea fiber-optic cable from Prudhoe Bay to Nome in connection with Canada’s Arctic Fibre project. The latter network is a section of subsea fiber that will connect Britain with Japan. Quintillion plans to construct spurs to Prudhoe Bay, Barrow, Wainwright, Kotzebue, and Nome that will bring super-fast connections to much of remote northwest Alaska. “This investment is a critical step in delivering on Quintillion’s plans to imwww.akbizmag.com

prove the availability of high-speed carrier-class services in rural Alaska,” Elizabeth Pierce, Quintillion Holdings CEO, says in a news release. “Over the next two years Quintillion will expand its network increasing the availability of services over fiber optic cable in remote regions of

Alaska by making access available to all telecom service providers.” AT&T also is expanding its wireless service on the North Slope, announcing a partnership with the Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative in March, according to Chris Brown, di-

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“In terms of growth, we’ve invested about $200 million in our wireless network: expanding the density, increasing the backhaul as well as expanding the wireless spectrum so more users can access it.”

—Chris Brown Director of Network Services in Alaska, AT&T

rector of network services in Alaska. Under the agreement, AT&T will upgrade eight cell sites on the North Slope in 2015, improving wireless coverage in the region “Ours is the only telecom network that covers the entire state,” Brown says. “In terms of growth, we’ve invested about $200 million in our wireless network: expanding the density, increasing the backhaul as well as expanding the wireless spectrum so more users can access it.” In the past decade, technology has dramatically changed the way telecoms see themselves. No longer are they telephone networks, they’re computer networks, he says. “It’s all based on IP address,” Brown says. “It’s simply defined by what device you choose to plug into it.”

Network Upgrades AT&T also has roaming agreements with other carriers in other communities and provides service to Nome. The state’s population centers are served by AT&T’s fiber-optic network. “We’ve extended the technology we use in the Lower 48 up here in Alaska,” Brown says. “All of the major nodes in our network have some really sophisticated equipment that manages the traffic.” Brown says AT&T also provides the most secure network in Alaska. “There are four major fiber links from Alaska to the Lower 48, and we’re the only network that is on all four of them,” he says. “It’s a very secure and robust network.” AT&T made more than fifty network upgrades throughout the state in 2014.

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LTE service has been available in Anchorage and Fairbanks for a while and was added in Ketchikan, North Pole, and Seward. It boosted its wireless capacity in Kodiak by 50 percent and brought high-speed Internet to customers in Delta Junction. On its fiber network, AT&T delivers speeds of 300 Mbps (megabits per second) and plans to upgrade to 1 GB service in the near future. “We won’t see that for a while, but it’s coming,” Brown says. Verizon is the new kid on the block, officially launching its Alaska network in June 2013 with the latest in technology, including high-definition audio and the ability to stream video in the middle of a phone call. “We have a pure LTE network,” Voiles says. “We have the 700 MHz (megahertz) spectrum. Every inch of the state is covered by our spectrum lease. That gives us the ability to light up service wherever it’s feasible from a business standpoint to do so.” Starting from scratch gives Verizon an advantage, he says. “We’re not in a place where we have to upgrade from an old 1G, 2G, 3G network. So we were able to come in with brand new equipment, brand new gear, a brand new switch center in Anchorage.” Verizon’s network includes partnerships with some of Alaska’s regional telecoms. While the Mat-Su area is covered by its LTE network, residents on the Kenai have 3G service through a roaming partner. In Southeast Alaska, Juneau and Ketchikan are covered by Verizon’s network and Skagway will be coming online this summer, he says. “We’re constantly looking for other places to expand,” Voiles says. “Girdwood comes on this summer. We’ve got more sites coming on in Anchorage; we’ve got more sites coming on in the Fairbanks area this summer as well. We had to wait until the weight restrictions were lifted on the highways before we could go do some things.” Verizon has about 120 towers, more if counting partnerships with regional telecoms such as MTA, Copper Valley Telecom, and Ketchikan Public Utilities. Those are part of Verizon’s LTE in Rural America program, which also includes thirty participants in the Lower 48. “They’re business partners of ours,” Voiles says. “We lease our spectrum

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


to them. We give them access to our switch. They put up LTE gear on their towers, their infrastructure. In exchange for that, when our customers use that network, we pay them. So it’s a business for them. It allows us to expand our coverage much more quickly with less capital involvement.” Through the partnership, the Copper River Valley, including Valdez, Cordova, and Prince William Sound, is covered by Verizon’s network. “It looks and feels just like a Verizon network because it’s built to our specifications and customers never know the difference,” Voiles says. It also allows the regional telecoms to future-proof themselves and get into the 4G game. “It’s all new. It’s state of the art,” he says. “You go to our switch in Anchorage, which is the heart of the network, and everything is fiber. There’s no copper.” It’s also an all LTE network, which makes the network more efficient. “We know how LTE propagates,” Voiles says. “We know how it penetrates buildings, especially at the 700 MHz range. So we’re able to place all our cell sites in such a way that it’s optimized and creates the best experience. That’s a key differentiator.” Verizon’s network is concentrated on Alaska’s road system but is already planning for its next development phase with an eye on taking advantage of potential network upgrades, such as Quintillion’s fiber-optic projects. “It’s very exciting,” Voiles says of the Quintillion fiber project. “It opens up all sorts of possibilities for customers in those areas. It’s also competitive against TERRA, so hopefully it can drive prices down for some of the folks out in these areas.” Besides competitive pressures, the telecoms are also watching how teens and young adults are using technology, a process that changes faster than a teenage girl changes hairstyles. “They don’t have home phone service,” Voiles says. “They don’t even have home cable service. They might have Internet, but most of them don’t have a TV. It’s all web-based. It’s amazing.” R

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

July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

39


special section

Telecom & Technology

Anchorage Fire Department Establishes Life Lines Making a difference with innovative digital technology

T

By Tom Anderson

here isn’t much worse in life than experiencing a medical emergency, either first hand or through a loved one. Some exigent circumstances may be as simple as a broken finger, while others can be as traumatic as a house fire. The thought is unnerving. The reality is terrifying. Resolution most often comes from a team of dedicated firefighting and paramedic professionals who arrive expeditiously, ready to engage the problem. But who directs the process? Is there a conduit between the crisis and the solution where some of the most remarkable and unsung heroes can make a difference? Welcome to the job of saving lives through the purview of the Anchorage

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Fire Department (AFD) dispatcher unit.

Changing Dispatch Models With technical progress and notable expertise blossoming over the last decade, the most recent success within the AFD Dispatch came in April 2014 after a researched and deliberate revision to the 911 EMS call intake process was made. Fire Captain and Dispatch Supervisor Mark Monfore notes, “Our new model for intake and response is Criteria Based Dispatching, which is guidelinebased and contoured around medical knowledge instead of pre-scripted protocol inquiries, and it is saving lives.” Monfore adds that the intent is to identify and rule out critical body sys-

tem failures in the cardiovascular, respiratory, and nervous systems. “We want to assess if the problem is a cardiac arrest, first and foremost, because every minute that goes by the patient has a 10 percent less chance of recovery, so time is truly of the essence for dispatchers and responders,” he says. Monfore has been at the helm of the Dispatch team since April, taking over for Al Tamagni who, prior to retirement, worked to build and modernize the systems and protocols. Monfore embraced the results his team has been generating as cardiac arrest survival rates in Anchorage have doubled the national average because of the Department’s pre-arrival instructions to initiate early and continuous CPR.

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


© Julie Rychetnik, Rychetnik Industries Courtesy of Anchorage Fire Department

Anchorage Fire Department dispatch control center.

Monfore started as a dispatcher when he joined AFD twenty-two years ago, so he understands the nuances. As does Lead Dispatcher Stephenie Wolf, who delineates the fact that dispatchers have to be a “rock in the storm” while controlling and assessing an emergency or problem to provide the fastest response. Wolf explains there are a total of sixteen dispatchers and four lead dispatchers, all of whom are working twelve-hour shifts throughout the week in a control center at Fire Station 12 near Dimond Boulevard and Old Seward Highway. The initial emergency call is routed to the Anchorage Police Department and transfer occurs if the incident is fire or medical in nature. Emergency units are assigned and dispatched with an arrival goal of four minutes. Even more impressive, firefighters turn out and prepare within ninety seconds and arrive on the scene to mitigate the incident 100 percent of the time. The control center is sprinkled with lights and phones, computer systems and terminals, and a spread of monitors and alarms painted across the walls, with dispatchers and a lead in a separate modwww.akbizmag.com

ule assiduously monitoring screens. The room looks similar to an aircraft carrier or mission control command center. Monfore and Wolf proudly refer to the AFD’s 2014-2015 Report to the Community, which states Anchorage had only two fire-related fatalities in 2013-2014. Since the new system was installed, dispatchers and responders have experienced a 65 percent survival rate in patients found down in a shockable cardiac rhythm that also received bystander CPR. When it comes to statistics from 2014, there were 20,998 emergency medical cases: 777 relating to a fire, 391 relating to hazardous conditions, 2,141 false alarms, 7,115 service calls, and in excess of 20,000 calls for the Anchorage Safety Patrol. “We have a system that’s working efficiently and with the best result possible: preventing tragedies and helping our community maintain safety while saving lives and [preventing] further injury to those in an emergency circumstance. It’s a very rewarding job that is unique because beyond voice, the primary sense we use is our line of sight on the computer and screens, so training, alertness, and thinking skills are what make the best dispatchers absent being on scene or at the emergency,” says Wolf.

Innovative Technology Walk into any of the fire stations in the Municipality of Anchorage and there are huge flat screen monitors displaying geographic imaging of streets and neighborhoods with scrolling data updates of what responses and equipment are where. Alaskans can thank Steven Rychetnik, a Fire Information System Data Analyst and the designer of the state-of-the-art system, for modernizing a critical component of the lifesaving chain of events the AFD follows. “The status display boards were an evolution of presenting information to our responders. It started with equipping our apparatus with computers and modems to receive data from our computer aided dispatch system, allowing responders to have access to electronic maps and documents while en route to a call,” says Rychetnik. “With the usefulness of the computer program in the vehicles, we approached providing the same data to larger display screens at Headquarters, Fire Station 1, and our Battalion Chief offices. These screens will show an address of

the incident, what type of incident, call up a Google Street View if available, and a Google Map of the location when a unit is dispatched,” he adds. Monfore and Rychetnik value the fact that when personnel are being dispatched, they’re afforded a snapshot of the call they have been assigned to. Rychetnik notes that the driver knows before starting the apparatus if they need to turn left or right out of the station.

Digital Eyes and Ears Fast forwarding to this summer, a major success has been to scale out to all the stations. “We identified using a web-browser enabled TV as the best way to present the data. We can hang a TV in the hallway, have it connected to the Municipal network, and it talks to a web server that pushes the updated data every fifteen seconds, and that is all tied back to our CAD [computer aided dispatch] system,” says Rychetnik. “The overall intent of this, and all the related elements, is provide our responders with the most accurate and upto-date information as possible to aid the decision making process in the field.” The difference in preserved and protected property and life is huge and notable at a national level. Dan Holsman recently received the American Legion “Firefighter of the Year” Award for a cardiac arrest save, which is in conjunction with the new paradigm applied through Dispatch protocols. The Municipality of Anchorage has more than three hundred thousand residents—almost half the state’s population—plus an abundance of commuters, business visitors and travelers, itinerant workers and shoppers, and tourists and is nearly two thousand square miles in size. Balancing geographic enormity, population, and accessibility obstacles, AFD’s Dispatch team and Control Center have their work cut out for them. Despite the challenges, they’re making the grade with the newest systems, most competent staff, and camaraderie that inspires excellence. Without question, these professionals are the lifeline to our rescue, treatment, and survival, and the remarkable statistics prove it.R

Tom Anderson writes from across Alaska. July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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special section

Telecom & Technology

© Aaron A. Weaver

KTVA’s master control room where the master control operator operates GCI’s six television stations located throughout Alaska, including KTVA Channel 11 in Anchorage.

Head to Head in High Definition Channeling HDTV in Anchorage

O

By Aaron A. Weaver

n December 2, 2013, the Anchorage television market changed for the better. KTVA Channel 11 began broadcasting all locally produced content in high definition. This innovation marked a watershed change for all Alaskan television viewers who could, for the first time, enjoy never-before seen local news, weather, and sports broadcast in high definition. Their 1080x1920 signal transmits into homes across Alaska from their studio in East Anchorage in the former Anchorage Daily News building, just west from Bragraw Street. Less than one year later, KTUU Channel 2 began its inaugural high definition broadcast on September 28, 2014, from its new, state-of the art facility on East 40th Avenue in Midtown. Anchorage viewers can now enjoy the benefit of true high definition from 42

highly competitive news agencies, each seeking to bring comprehensive television coverage of news in Alaska.

Monumental Investments Both companies’ new facilities and the accompanying high definition infrastructure represent a monumental investment in Alaska. Gary Donovan, KTVA’s chief operating officer and general manager, asks rhetorically, “Why hasn’t it been done sooner? It’s not only the technology, it’s also the lighting. The colors, the depth of color is so much better.” The answer is cost. The investments of both companies represent nearly $50 million in building construction, infrastructure, equipment, and new personnel. Transitioning from standard definition to high definition required a topdown upgrade of virtually every piece

of equipment in the news acquisition, production, and distribution chain. Andy MacLeod, president and general manager of Northern Lights Media, the parent company of KTUU, explains the challenge of building a new station from the ground up. “There’s very little that can migrate over to the new platform. Because when you build a new platform, you’re trying to build into the future. So if you have a piece of equipment, you could use it but it’s three years old—you don’t want to use it because you’re integrating a new facility.” One challenge that both companies had to tackle head-on was maintaining operations, including continuous broadcasting while construction and integration was occurring. While both companies moved to new locations as part of the transition to high definition,

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


‘Ratings are Key’ Can the greater Anchorage television market sustain the viewership necessary to justify the investment these stations have made? During the early 1990s, a similar clash of news titans occurred when the Anchorage Times was purchased and the new owners began a substantial reinvestment into the Anchorage Times. Concurrently, the Anchorage Daily News also stepped up its game with massive investment. The resulting paper wars lasted for several years until the Anchorage Times folded. Donovan says, “It’s up to the viewer to determine. We don’t get to dictate how many TV stations should be doing news. Either people will embrace what they are doing or they won’t. But they ultimately make that decision.” Ratings are key. Described as the gold standard in the television business, ratings dictate advertising rates broadcasters can charge for airtime during the broadcast day. KTUU has been the ratings leader for years. Donovan believes that can change with a renewed focus on content Alaskans want as well as improved measurement technology that may be forthcoming in the near future. He also says, “You can’t turn a battleship on a dime” and that it will take investment and staying the course for the ratings battle between the two stations to yield change. Delivering Local Content “Local content is still critically important to citizens. So, that’s always going to be the differential,” Donovan says. “We’ve spent an enormous amount of money improving the news product, and we’ve raised the bar significantly in the market. And others came along. So what do you have? You have a much better news market, now, for the viewer. The viewer is the www.akbizmag.com

person who benefits. It’s a better product all the way around than it used to be.” KTUU’s MacLeod argues that the bond with viewers is key. “Channel 2’s comparative advantage is content and context of that content and how it impacts and serves the viewers. If you look at it and you say, ‘You’ve got an audience’—why do you have an audience? Why do the bulk of the people turn to you for news?’ We don’t have a monopoly. The only thing we have is a bond with the consumer. People have grown up with us so it’s a trusted relationship where it’s built over time.” Going forward, both competitors are looking at expanding statewide news coverage and delivery platforms. KTUU has multiple apps for both Apple iOS and Android operating systems that enable viewers anywhere in Alaska to view live newscasts as well as previous newscasts on-demand, as well as conventional news and weather apps. Donovan says KTVA’s app for both Apple and Android platforms will be an all-in-one app and will provide users a one-stop destination for his station’s news content. “It took us a little while to put this together because I didn’t want to use something off-the-shelf. I wanted to make sure there was a one-point location.” With the myriad of media consumption options, how will these two companies remain relevant in the future? Twenty-four hour cable news channels, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other content providers offer a buffet of media consumption options to the viewer at a very low cost. MacLeod summarizes, “That’s what the news business is. You’ve got to be their choice because tomorrow is what, two hundred, three hundred channels? The consumer has an ocean of choice in front of them. Every day we have to be at the top of our game and the best source, the best independent source of news and information on Alaska. It’s a business of a thousand details. It’s a business where the consumer decides whether to reward your product with their time or not. It’s all consumer choice. We work tirelessly to drive the product forward.” R

Communications Engineered for Alaska and Beyond

Arctic Communications

the stations had to essentially remain broadcasting in standard definition until they were ready to flip the switch. MacLeod states, “The other part that makes it tough...you’ve got to be on the air over there, while you’re building this one out. The integration of the new building started in July...the equipment going in. We didn’t really have it done until the last weekend in September. So, you have to still be operating and then you have to have a facility that can go on the air with minimal downtime.”

Safe | Experienced | Reliable

...Trusted Since 1980

www.NSTIAK.com

907.751.8200

Aaron A. Weaver is an independent journalist living in Anchorage. Disclosure: Weaver provides content to news agencies and news footage to KTUU on a contractorvendor basis. July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

43


special section

Telecom & Technology

UAA CIS Department Produces High-Demand MIS Grads Award-winning students succeed with real-world projects

I

By Tasha Anderson

n April 2014, students from UAA (University of Alaska Anchorage) traveled south to Atlanta, Georgia, to participate in the Association of Information Technology Professionals’ National Collegiate Conference, winning first place in two contests: Database Design, against sixty-eight other teams, and Web Project, which had nine finalists. The UAA students competed against universities such as Texas State, Purdue, BYU, and Missouri State; in total more than fifty universities and colleges were in attendance. The Web Project that won was researched, designed, and implemented by a team of three students, Colleen Zink, William Taff, and Kaden Galvez. “It was a phenomenal experience,” says Taff, speaking of the conference. “It was great to see all of these different programs from around the nation and to compete against them—and to win, that was fairly great as well,” he laughs. “You have schools such as Purdue, Texas, all of these large schools, and to go there and compare our skillsets that we were provided at UAA and to come out on top was really great.” It is, in fact, a testament to the instruction taking place through UAA’s College of Business and Public Policy’s Management Information Systems (MIS) degree program in its Computer Information Systems (CIS) Department, from which all three students have now graduated. Zink and Taff work for ConocoPhillips, and Galvez is employed with Northern Aviation Services, where he’s currently helping to implement SharePoint Online to the entire company. While many college graduates may struggle with placement after graduating, none of the members of this team had any problems. Galvez says he interviewed with Northern Aviation Services the Friday before graduation and ended up graduating with a full-time job. Galvez says that Northern Aviation Services, in fact, has a history of hiring out of UAA’s MIS program. “They always look at the MIS program for new interns to come through.” His current IT director and manager are both UAA MIS alumni.

44

Grads in Demand How is this program producing awardwinning, highly sought-after graduates? Hands on learning. All students who graduate from the program complete a final real-world project with an actual deliverable. Students spend three semesters developing this project, taking a different course each term. Zink says the first course is analysis: “That’s when we dig in and find out more about the as-is process of the business and how it can be improved. The second semester is project planning; that’s when we actually build out a plan for what we’re going to execute in the coming semester. In the third semester we execute the project.”

her optimal solution was. “She wanted something she could use on her phone, because she is an on-the-go kind of person,” Zink says. “We thought about the possibility of the app versus a website, but later when we got to executing we realized that we could just build a site that was optimized so it could be used on any device.” Zink continues that, in addition to thinking about the project, the group carefully considered how the website would be used moving forward. “Working for a nonprofit, especially,” she says, “the solution has to be easy to support going forward and scalable because they cannot afford to hire someone to support or make changes. We kept that in mind throughout the project.”

Shoes Solution Students then graduate from the program having conceptualized, planned, and produced a real-world product that can be immediately implemented (final grades for the project are based both on completion and customer satisfaction). Zink, Taff, and Galvez’s project was for Kicks for Kids (kicksforkidsak.com), a nonprofit shoe recycling program “that collects used sneakers and boots for redistribution to children in need throughout Alaska,” according to its website. The nonprofit’s organizer, Colleen Franks, needed a solution to address growing inventory tracking and organizational issues. “She wasn’t able to keep an up-to-date inventory to know exactly what she could send out the moment a request came in—she had to go physically to her storage location and find what she needed, and that took a lot of time,” Galvez says. “Organization was a problem for her in general,” Taff says. “Organization of communications between herself and the teachers and PE teachers and other people within the district was one of her primary issues. Another was advertising, having somewhere for the teachers to go and see this program and interact with it and see the benefit it offers.” The students, in the process of meeting with Franks and learning about her needs, spoke with her as well about what

Preparing for Careers Over the course of the project, each of the three students clocked more than four hundred hours. “We got to know each other well,” Zink laughs. “There’s really a sense of camaraderie in the group.” Taff agrees, saying that students and professors were all on a first-name basis through the entire program. The MIS BBA program doesn’t just produce students who are technically skilled; they’re also instructed in several “soft skills,” including how to give presentations to large audiences, critical thinking, and resolving group conflicts. “I would say feedback from management has really been that those soft skills are something valuable to have and that critical analysis skill is really what they’re looking for,” Zink says. In addition, each of the students say they found immense value in the opportunities they were given to network with the business community throughout the course of completing their degrees. “It was very tightly ingrained with the business community, and I think the professors aim for that,” Taff says. “That’s their goal, to have tight integration with the professionals that you’re going to be working with and for.”  R Tasha Anderson is an Associate Editor at Alaska Business Monthly.

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


ALASKA BUSINESS MONTHLY’S

2015 TELECOM & TECHNOLOGY DIRECTORY Top Executive

Applied Microsystems, Inc. 3909 Arctic Blvd., Suite 201 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-261-8300 Fax: 907-562-8507

Ross Toole, Pres.

Expert Approach, Inc. 11723 Old Glenn Hwy., Suite 206 Eagle River, AK 99577 Phone: 907-726-5333

LD Herrera, Pres./CEO

HiSpeed Gear 610 Attla Way #2 Kenai, AK 99611 Phone: 888-283-5136 Fax: 907-283-4713

Mary Daly, Pres.

Immersive Video Solutions 907 E. Dowling Rd., Suite 14 Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-279-4000 Fax: 907-274-4000

Kenn Kadow, Pres.

NorthWest Data Solutions 2425 Leary Bay Cir. Anchorage, AK 99515 Phone: 907-227-1676

Christoper M Howell, CEO

Optima Public Relations PO Box 101134 Anchorage, AK 99510-1134 Phone: 907-440-9661 Fax: 907-376-9615

Tom Anderson, Mgr. Partner

Resolution-3D LLC (Res3D ) 2301 Merrill Field Dr. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 350-3546

Dov Margalit, Owner

Sundog Media LLC 5033 Sillary Cir. Anchorage, AK 99508 Phone: 907-338-1847 Fax: 866-521-0355

Joe Law, Founder

Talking Circle Media PO Box 90398 Anchorage, AK 99509-0398 Phone: 907-245-3209 Fax: 907-245-3339 Company

Jonathan Butzke, Owner

COMPANY

TOP EXECUTIVE

FOUNDED/ESTAB. AK

plus.google.com/+Amicro amicro.com

linkedin.com/in/ldherrera expertapproach.com

hispeed@hispeedgear.com hispeedgear.com

info@immersivevideosolutions.com immersivevideosolutions.com

sales@nwds-ak.com nwds-ak.com

info@optimapublicrelations.com optimapublicrelations.com

dov@res3d.com res3d.com

info@sundogmedia.com sundogmedia.com

info@talkingcirclemedia.com

Alaska Directional LLC PO Box 871130 Wasilla, AK 99687 Phone: 907-750-9025 Fax: 907-357-9027

Billy Long, Pres./Member

Alaska Power & Telephone PO Box 459 Skagway, AK 99840 Phone: 907-983-2202 Fax: 907-983-2903

Robert Grimm, Pres./CEO

Allied GIS, Inc. 8600 Spendlove Dr. Anchorage, AK 99516 Phone: 907-333-2750 Fax: 907-333-2751

Gail Morrison, Pres./Sr. GIS Analyst

letsbetteralaska@acsalaska.com alaskacommunications.com

akdirectional@alaskadirectional.com alaskadirectional.com

aptalaska.com

gmorrison@alliedgis.com alliedgis.com Daryl Allaman, Market Leader www.apple.com/retail/ anchorage5thavenuemall/

SERVICES

12 11

Complete business technology solutions. 20+ years serving Alaska. Outsourced IT and managed services. Private cloud, hosting, secure off-site backup and data replication. Hardware/software sales & integration. PCI and HIPAA compliance.

2006 2011

3 3

We provide high level web development for our government and commercial clients. Our creations typically involve a high degree of functionality, complexity, and integration with other systems. Through user interfaces and data manipulation, we use modern technologies to build web functionality.

1998 1998

7 7

An Alaskan owned technology hardware and service company providing support to individuals, small business, and enterprise organizations. We service Kenai, Soldotna, Homer, Seward, Anchorage, and Juneau. At HiSpeed, We Speak Geek so you don't have to.

2005 2005

22 10

Geo-spatial mapping using 360 degree HD video cameras and LIDAR technologies.

2003 2003

5 5

Web development, custom software and database development. Aviation safety management systems. Temporary staffing of professional software engineers. Responsive Web design. Search engine optimization.

2011 2011

4 4

Optima specializes in graphic/website design, audio/TV production and media relations. Optima infuses branding with communications for award-winning results. Clients include corporations, utilities, trade associations, non-profits, boroughs/cities and candidates. Offices are in Anchorage and Mat-Su.

2005 2005

10 4

Provide 3-dimensional computer renderings and animation Web design for marketing and corporate websites, interactive media and video products.

1996 1996

5 2

AnchorageÕs Website Design Studio. Small businesses, non-profits, native corporations & companies just like yours count on our Sundog team to meet website design, management, hosting & domain management needs. Alaskan & family owned since 1996, we design & manage brilliant websites.

1989 1989

4 4

Video production, live video webcast, conference A/V, Internet video and website design. A/V equipment rentals.

Services 1999 1999

830 803

AlaskaÕs leading provider of Internet, data networking, IT solutions and voice communications for businesses and consumers.

2012 2012

25 20

Horizontal directional drilling, trenching, utility installation.

1957 1957

143 112

Service provider for Power and Telephone (local and long-distance), broadband DSL, WiFi, networking, key system sales and support, Southeast Alaska Microwave Network (SAMN) providing regional access for voice and data. facebook.com/ alaskapowerandtelephone

2002 2002

3 2

GIS/mapping for oil & gas industry, spill response training and plume modeling - CIOSM and GNOME - environmental, land ownership, permitting, utility, programming, web services, ArcGIS Online, mobile apps, software sales, training, ESRI Business Partner & Adapx software resellers.

1984 2011

70,000 The Apple Store has a Business Team committed to helping you find the perfect 70 solution, from selecting the right hardware to leading customized training programs for you and your employees. Joint Venture is a program to help you use Mac, iPhone and iPad to improve the way your business runs.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES

Anand Vadapalli, Pres./CEO

Services

1987 1987

talkingcirclemedia.com Top Executive

Alaska Communications 600 Telephone Ave. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-297-3000 Fax: 907-297-3052

Apple Store 320 W. 5th Ave. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-257-1900 July 2015 | www.akbizmag.com

WORLDWIDE\AK EMPLOYEES

CROSS PLATFORM

Company

45


INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES

ALASKA BUSINESS MONTHLY | 2015 TELECOM & TECHNOLOGY DIRECTORY

46

Company

Top Executive

Applied Microsystems, Inc. 3909 Arctic Blvd., Suite 201 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-261-8300 Fax: 907-562-8507

Ross Toole, Pres.

Borealis Broadband, Inc. 2550 Denali St., Suite 512 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-563-3278 Fax: 907-337-4695

Horst Poepperl, CEO

Bristol Bay Resource Solutions LLC 111 W. 16th Ave., Suite 100 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-793-9200 Fax: 907-375-2924

Terri Bozkaya, Pres./CEO

Business Application Developers 2826 W. James T. Cir. Wasilla, AK 99645 Phone: 907-373-7773 Fax: 907-373-7773

Kenneth Farmer, Pres.

Business Technology Solutions 504 W. 56th Ave. Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-561-6161 Fax: 907-563-1616

Mark Lambert, CEO

Cloud49 PO Box 112250 Anchorage, AK 99511 Phone: 855-256-8349

Nathaniel Gates, CEO

Copper Valley Telecom PO Box 337 Valdez, AK 99686 Phone: 907-835-2231 Fax: 907-835-2387

Dave Dengel, CEO

DanTech Services, Inc. 14321 Jarvi Dr. Anchorage, AK 99515 Phone: 907-885-0500 Fax: 844-887-8975

Dan Foote, CEO

DenaliTek, Inc. 1600 A St., Suite 105 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-865-3100

Todd Clark, Pres.

Expert Approach, Inc. 11723 Old Glenn Hwy., Suite 206 Eagle River, AK 99577 Phone: 907-726-5333

LD Herrera, Pres./CEO

GCSIT 4600 Debarr Rd., Suite 150 Anchorage, AK 99508 Phone: 907-474-8306 Fax: 907-474-8307

John Powers, CEO

GCSIT Solutions 4600 Debarr Rd., Suite 150 Anchorage, AK 99508 Phone: 907-474-8306 Fax: 907-474-8307

John Powers, CEO

HiSpeed Gear 610 Attla Way #2 Kenai, AK 99611 Phone: 888-283-5136 Fax: 907-283-4713

Mary Daly, Pres.

Lewis & Lewis Computer Store 405 E. Fireweed Ln. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-743-1600 Fax: 907-274-1221

Philip Fontana, Pres.

NorthWest Data Solutions 2425 Leary Bay Cir. Anchorage, AK 99515 Phone: 907-227-1676

Christoper Howell, CEO

Resolution-3D LLC (Res3D ) 2301 Merrill Field Dr. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 350-3546

Dov Margalit, Owner

Resource Data, Inc. 560 E 34th Ave., Suite 100 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-563-8100 Fax: 907-561-0159

Jim Rogers, Pres.

Sundog Media LLC 5033 Sillary Cir. Anchorage, AK 99508 Phone: 907-338-1847 Fax: 866-521-0355

Joe Law, Founder

COMPANY

TOP EXECUTIVE

plus.google.com/+Amicro amicro.com

info@borealisbroadband.net borealisbroadband.net

bbrsinfo@bbrs-llc.com bbrs-llc.com

badinc@mtaonline.net badinc.net

btsak.com

info@cloud49.com cloud49.com

vdzcustserv@cvtc.org cvtc.org

info@dantechservices.com dantechservices.com

info@denalitek.com denalitek.com

linkedin.com/in/ldherrera expertapproach.com

info@gcsit.com gcsit.com

sales@gcsit.com gcsit.com

hispeed@hispeedgear.com hispeedgear.com

info@lewisandlewis.com lewisandlewis.com

sales@nwds-ak.com nwds-ak.com

dov@res3d.com res3d.com

info@resdat.com resdat.com

info@sundogmedia.com sundogmedia.com

FOUNDED/ESTAB. AK

WORLDWIDE\AK EMPLOYEES

Services

SERVICES

1987 1987

12 11

Complete business technology solutions. 20+ years serving Alaska. Outsourced IT and managed services. Private cloud, hosting, secure off-site backup and data replication. Hardware/software sales & integration. PCI and HIPAA compliance.

2002 2002

6 6

Borealis Broadband owns and operates a completely independent wireless broadband network in Anchorage and in rural areas. Our network delivers professional quality, highly reliable symmetric Internet service to business and residential customers.

2013 2013

61 38

We bring Accounting, Contract Administrative Services, Human Resources, Information Technology & Marketing & Communications together into a center of expertise, providing critical infrastructure & enhancing your capabilities. Our services are specialized & tailored to our clientsÕ needs & budgets.

1990 1990

2 2

Custom software development and consulting services. Requirements analysis, database design, data architecture. Software programming, service, documentation and support.

2010 2010

10 10

Business Technology Solutions (BTS) is a full-service IT consulting and IT management firm based in Anchorage, Alaska. We apply unique technology solutions to your small or medium-sized business. BTS is an Alaskan owned and operated technology sourcing company.

2010 2010

15 4

Cloud49 is the premiere provider cloud computing solutions including hybrid cloud storage and pay as you go virtual servers. Cloud49 sells through a network of trusted service providers. Although Cloud49's roots are in Alaska, they have since added locations in Seattle, Los Angeles, and Austin.

1961 1961

50 50

CVT provides business & residential telephone, long distance, high speed Internet, wireless voice and 4G LTE data. CVT provides special access including T1 and Ethernet over a fiber & microwave network. The company serves Valdez, Prince William Sound, Cordova, and the Copper River Valley.

2005 2005

2 2

Computer network & IT support; hosted VoIP, layered approach to security & threat detection; network protection; server & Cloud data backup & recovery; business continuity; consulting & training; remote monitoring & onsite service; service to rural & urban businesses; office & remote staff coverage.

1991 1991

14 11

We believe every technology experience must be business driven, well planned and predictable; the actual costs should match the budget. We leverage 3 specific services to meet our vision: Flat-Fee Support, Design & Project Planning, and long-term Technology Management Planning.

2006 2011

3 3

We provide high level web development for our government and commercial clients. Our creations typically involve a high degree of functionality, complexity, and integration with other systems. Through user interfaces and data manipulation, we use modern technologies to build web functionality.

1989 1989

52 14

Practice Areas Include: Software Defined Data Center, Networking, End User Compute, Business Resiliency/DR, Security, Microsoft. Deep technical competency in Dell, VMWare, CISCO and more.

1989 1989

42 13

Leading provider of IT solutions to business, government and education customers for over two decades. Expert staff of certified technicians and engineers based locally in Alaska. Three-time Dell Partner of the Year, Cisco, VMware, Juniper, Palo Alto Networks, Managed Enterprise Support.

1998 1998

7 7

An Alaskan owned technology hardware and service company providing support to individuals, small business, and enterprise organizations. We service Kenai, Soldotna, Homer, Seward, Anchorage, and Juneau. At HiSpeed, We Speak Geek so you don't have to.

1987 1987

12 12

Lewis & Lewis is a full-service provider of HP, Lexmark, and Xerox printers, supplies, and services.

2003 2003

5 5

Web development, custom software and database development. Aviation safety management systems. Temporary staffing of professional software engineers. Responsive Web design. Search engine optimization.

2005 2005

10 4

Provide 3-dimensional computer renderings and animation Web design for marketing and corporate websites, interactive media and video products.

1986 1986

205 110

We use technology to solve complex business problems in many sectors incl. oil & gas, utilities & government. Services: project management, business analysis, SharePoint, network support, system integration, software development, web and mobile development, and GIS. Anchorage, Juneau & Fairbanks.

1996 1996

5 2

AnchorageÕs Website Design Studio. Small businesses, non-profits, native corporations & companies just like yours count on our Sundog team to meet website design, management, hosting & domain management needs. Alaskan & family owned since 1996, we design & manage brilliant websites. July 2015 | www.akbizmag.com


Don Wright, Strategic Accts. Exec.

Talking Circle Media PO Box 90398 Anchorage, AK 99509-0398 Phone: 907-245-3209 Fax: 907-245-3339

Jonathan Butzke, Owner

TelAlaska 201 E. 56th Ave. Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-563-2003 Fax: 907-565-5539

Dave Goggins, Pres.

Tex R Us LLC 2525 Blueberry Rd., Suite 206 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-248-3978 Fax: 907-563-2948

Andrew Zhelayev, GM

Weston Technology Solutions 139 E. 51st Ave., Suite 200 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-375-8324 Fax: 907-375-8325 Company

Greg Freeman, VP

TOP EXECUTIVE

FOUNDED/ESTAB. AK

don.wright@sungardas.com sungardas.com

info@talkingcirclemedia.com talkingcirclemedia.com

customerservice@telalaska.com telalaska.com; facebook.com/telalaska

info@texrus.com texrus.com

weston@weston-tech.com

1978 1983

WORLDWIDE\AK EMPLOYEES

4 4

Alaska Power & Telephone PO Box 459 Skagway, AK 99840 Phone: 907-983-2202 Fax: 907-983-2903

Robert Grimm, Pres./CEO

Video production, live video webcast, conference A/V, Internet video and website design. A/V equipment rentals.

1968 1968

235 82

TelAlaska is a full service telecommunications company serving 25 rural communities and providing advanced network services to urban markets. Services include local, long distance and cellular telephone service; advanced data services; cable modem, DSL and wireless Internet service; and cable TV.

1998 2000

34 15

Antivirus, data communications, disaster recovery, E-commerce solutions, Internet/web connectivity, leasing/renting, network design, network installation, network security, network upgrades, relocation services, remote access, web/software development, training, ongoing maintenance, hosting.

1994 1994

14 3

Weston offers unlimited business hours support for a single flat monthly fee. Ideal for businesses with 10 or more computers. Call or visit our website at Weston-tech.com.

Services 1999 1999

830 803

Alaskaテ不 leading provider of Internet, data networking, IT solutions and voice communications for businesses and consumers.

1957 1957

143 112

Service provider for Power and Telephone (local and long-distance), broadband DSL, WiFi, networking, key system sales and support, Southeast Alaska Microwave Network (SAMN) providing regional access for voice and data. facebook.com/ alaskapowerandtelephone

Arctic Slope Telephone Association Coop. Stephen L. Merriam, CEO/GM 4300 B St., Suite 501 Anchorage, AK 99503 info@astac.net Phone: 907-563-3989 Fax: 907-563-1932 astac.net

1981 1981

50 50

ASTAC, headquartered in Anchorage, is a member-owned telecommunications services cooperative providing local, long distance, internet, wireless and LAN/WAN services to residents in the North Slope Borough of Alaska since 1981.

AT&T 505 E. Bluff Dr. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 800-478-9000

Bob Bass, Pres. Alaska

1876 1971

Borealis Broadband, Inc. 2550 Denali St., Suite 512 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-563-3278 Fax: 907-337-4695

Horst Poepperl, CEO

Copper Valley Telecom PO Box 337 Valdez, AK 99686 Phone: 907-835-2231 Fax: 907-835-2387

Dave Dengel, CEO

GCI 2550 Denali St., Suite 1000 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-265-5600 Fax: 907-868-5676

Ron Duncan, CEO

Inmarsat 804 NW 200th Seattle, WA 98177 Phone: 206-633-5888

Dave Brengelmann, Dir.

Microcom 129 W. 53rd Ave. Anchorage, AK 99518-2353 Phone: 907-264-0005 Fax: 348-0426

Sandra Blinstrubas, Pres.

MTA, Inc. 1740 S. Chugach St. Palmer, AK 99645 Phone: 907-745-3211 Fax: 907-761-2688

Greg Berberich, CEO

ProComm Alaska LLC 2100 E. 63rd Ave. Anchorage, AK 99507 Phone: 800-478-9191 Fax: 907-261-2663

Gary Peters, Pres./CEO

TelAlaska 201 E. 56th Ave. Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-563-2003 Fax: 907-565-5539

Dave Goggins, Pres.

Verizon Alaska 188 W. Northern Lights Blvd., Suite 901 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-777-9800 July 2015 | www.akbizmag.com

letsbetteralaska@acsalaska.com alaskacommunications.com

aptalaska.com

@ATTCustomerCare att.com, facebook.com/ATT

info@borealisbroadband.net borealisbroadband.net

vdzcustserv@cvtc.org cvtc.org

facebook.com/gciak gci.com

maritime.orders@inmarsat.com inmarsat.com

sales@microcom.tv microcom.tv

facebook.com/MatanuskaTelephone mtasolutions.com

sales@procommak.com procommak.com

customerservice@telalaska.com telalaska.com; facebook.com/telalaska Demian Voiles, VP Verizon AK alaska@vzw.com verizonwireless.com/alaska

247,700 AT&T Inc. helps millions of people and businesses around the globe stay connected 531 through leading wireless, high-speed Internet, voice and highly secure cloud-based services. Our U.S. wireless network offers customers the nationテ不 strongest LTE signal and the nationテ不 most reliable 4G LTE network.

2002 2002

6 6

Borealis Broadband owns and operates a completely independent wireless broadband network in Anchorage and in rural areas. Our network delivers professional quality, highly reliable symmetric Internet service to business and residential customers.

1961 1961

50 50

CVT provides business & residential telephone, long distance, high speed Internet, wireless voice and 4G LTE data. CVT provides special access including T1 and Ethernet over a fiber & microwave network. The company serves Valdez, Prince William Sound, Cordova, and the Copper River Valley.

1979 1979

2,255 Integrated communications provider offering facilities-based local and long distance 2,094 telephone services, Internet and TV services, statewide wireless service, data, video conferencing, tele-health, enterprise network design and IT professional services support.

1993 0

800 0

Global satellite telephone and data service provided through local offices around the world.

1984 1984

125 80

Satellite communications, satellite delivered Internet, television and telephone communications.

1953 1953

271 271

Alaskan owned, non-profit coop. delivering advanced communications products: wireless, HD digital TV w/ video-on-demand & local community content, high-speed Internet, local & long-distance, online directory, IT business support, directory & television ads. The only company offering rolling gigs.

2000 2000

15 13

ProComm Alaska is proud to service all of Alaska with personalized, cutting-edge twoway technologies & operations communications. From FCC Licensing assistance to Public Safety Dispatch Centers, not to mention our digital, commercial network, ProComm Alaska is your one-stop communications company.

1968 1968

235 82

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OIL & GAS

Building Blocks: Alaska’s Oilfield Modules

Module construction at the ASRC Energy Services shop in Anchorage. Š Matt Hage, HagePhoto | Courtesy of ASRC Energy Services

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Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


Facilitating a multi-billion dollar industry

S

By Kirsten Swann

ome of the most basic building blocks of Alaska’s oilfields begin as metal frames on a shop floor. They can weigh up to several thousand tons. They’re pieced together, loaded onto a truck or a train or a barge, and hauled out to some of the more remote parts of the state where they become part of the infrastructure that keeps Alaska’s petroleum business afloat. Oilfield modules—self-contained production, power, and support systems— help facilitate a multibillion-dollar industry. Once in operation, they house the technologies and workforce that run some of the most valuable industrial operations in the state. But those modules pass through many hands before they ever go into commission. The companies that build them are multifaceted businesses with deep ties to the state’s oil and gas industry. In Alaska, modular construction employs hundreds of people and a plethora of skillsets. It keeps shops busy from Anchorage to Big Lake and beyond. While some projects still use modules built outside the state, the in-state industry is alive and well. In Big Lake, spanning more than twenty-eight acres, NANA Construction’s fabrication facility handles a steady flow of business. The facility is operated by NANA subsidiary GIS (Grand Isle Shipyard) Alaska. According to Sagen Juliussen, president of GIS Alaska, the fabrication plant currently has around 120 employees, “about the same number as last year at this time.” Nondisclosure agreements with the facility’s customers prevent the company from talking about current clients or projects, but past work has included everything from camps and light commercial projects to Arctic-grade, blastresistant modules built for major oil companies, independent explorers, and producers. Last spring, the shop was packed with work for BP, according to local newspawww.akbizmag.com

per reports at the time. It has produced more than three hundred truckable modules since 2009. “With the capabilities of GIS now in Alaska, we are offering a wide range of services to the market in Alaska and have thirty to forty people working in Cook Inlet and the same number at the Red Dog Mine, plus fifty people working on the North Slope,” a NANA spokeswoman writes in an email. “We now also provide onshore and offshore operations and maintenance services, steel pipe, skids, modules, and installation services.” A little more than an hour down the road from the Big Lake fabrication facility, several other businesses produce oilfield modules in Alaska’s largest city.

Full Menu of Equipment SteelFab, which operates an eightyfour-thousand-square-foot facility on a ten-acre site near downtown Anchorage, uses a full menu of heavy-duty equipment to fabricate an array of industrial necessities. To cut, shear, and punch, the company works with a controlled-flame plasma cutting machine, a controlled automation plate duplication/hole punch, and a handful of specialized shears and saws. To form, it works with two press brakes of differing lengths, plate rolls, and a pipe and tube rolling machine. The equipment allows SteelFab to build nearly anything: tanks, cranes, rails and walkways, structural steel buildings, and special-design items, not to mention module buildings for Alaska’s oilfields. Besides the long list of equipment, the company boasts multiple certifications from the American Institute of Steel Construction, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Welding Society, the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors, and other industry organizations. The combination of professional experience, equipment, and on-site capability leads the company to call itself “the fabrication facility of choice for all major oilfield support companies.” But it’s hardly the only Anchorage choice. Large-Scale Work At the AES (ASRC Energy Services) Anchorage Fabrication and Construction

facility, a fifty-thousand-square-foot shop allows the company to provide a wide variety of products and services—including truck-transportable modules for North Slope customers. The fabrication facility stays busy. On any given day, it employs anywhere between 60 and 120 people, according to facility manager Dan Massie. While the shop sees consistent business, module fabrication work tends to correspond with the ice road schedules. That often means a surge of work in the third and fourth quarters and completed projects by the first quarter, the facility manager says. Turnaround times average twelve to fourteen weeks. The shop comes equipped with an impressive range of fabrication capabilities. It can take on heavy bore pipe welding jobs, as well as stainless steel or duplex welding. The facility can also build haulable modules up to one hundred tons—approximately twenty feet wide by eighty feet long—large even for Alaska’s oilfields, Massie says. The shop has decades of experience and deep ties to Alaska’s oil and gas industry. AES itself, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, employs more than three thousand people nationwide and places a focus on Alaska hire, according to a spokeswoman. The company has built truckable modules for nearly thirty years, Massie says. The Anchorage facility has been in business for more than fifteen years. Since 2003, the company has fabricated more than 150 modules, according to AES. Between 2004 and 2010, workers put in more than 1.5 million man hours at the Anchorage facility. The work ranges from test separator, control, and chemical injection to production, pigging, metering, pump, well containment, and pipe racks. The Anchorage facility has enough space to fabricate and assemble multiple modules simultaneously, prearranging them to duplicate onsite installation. That kind of large-scale work requires space and equipment. The Anchorage Fabrication Facility is home to four 50-foot by 250-foot bays rigged with jib and overhead bridge cranes. There’s automated plate-cutting equipment and semi-automatic welding stations manned by AWS and July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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ASME-qualified welders, according to AES. Customized computer software helps guide fabrication. The facility also has several certifications from ASME and Underwriters Laboratory, a global independent safety science company. The shop can process up to one thousand tons of structural steel fabrication and five hundred tons of pipe fabrication monthly. The key to success, Massie says, is experience, safety, and an emphasis on quality work. “Then everything else will fall into place,” he says.

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Wellhead Control Systems Within a few miles of the AES shop, at a twenty-thousand-square-foot shop in Midtown, Dowland-Bach leverages decades of experience to design and build modular control systems and other products for Alaska’s oilfields. The company fabricates stainless steel equipment and industrial control systems: equipment built to withstand the extreme conditions and harsh climate of Alaska’s North Slope, equipment that can be hauled hundreds of miles then mesh flawlessly with oilfields’ larger production units. Since its founding forty years ago, DowlandBach has produced more than seven thousand wellhead control systems, according to the company. In 2008, the company was purchased by Alaska Native Corporation Koniag, Inc. Dowland-Bach builds products that are automated for added convenience, and the company trains employees who can do it all—engineer, design, and manufacture—a concept known as vertical integration. The people who work at Dowland-Bach are skilled in an array of trades; They’re welders, fabricators, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and other specialists. Besides being one of the only companies in the state permitted by the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to certify electrical products meet National Recognized Testing Laboratory standards, Dowland-Bach is also a distributor for a number of stainless steel product lines ranging from pumps and pipes to tubing, valves, and flanges. Farther south, the Kenai Peninsula is also home to a full-fledged fabrication industry.

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


Nikiski Facility Besides its Anchorage facility, AES owns a fabrication and assembly facility in Nikiski that’s capable of 250 tons of structural steel fabrication and 125 tons of pipe fabrication every month. It has room for up to four hundred craft and staff personnel, according to the company, and it uses mobile cranes, barge cranes, and module transporters to handle materials. Sitting on twenty-five acres of land thirteen miles outside the city of Kenai, the 41,400-square-foot Nikiski fabrication facility encompasses a 26,000-square-foot fabrication shop and heated warehouse, office space, staff quarters, and a storage area. Like the Anchorage facility, the AES fabrication operation in Nikiski handles a range of work—including semi-automated pipe and structural steel fabrication—besides truckable modules for Alaska’s oilfields. One notable project—a truckable chemical injection module for a BP development on the North Slope. The Kenai Peninsula is also home to another major player in Alaska’s fabrication field: CH2M Hill, a do-it-all com-

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pany with international reach. Since it was founded more than fortyfive years ago, CH2M Hill has provided numerous services to clients working to develop the state’s oilfields, including building hundreds of production modules. With offices in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Kenai, the company’s experience in Alaska’s oil and gas industry runs deep. It’s worked on the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, providing everything from engineering expertise and installation services to repair and maintenance work. It employs more people than most other private employers in the state, with approximately 2,900 Alaskan employees, according to the company. Over the years, the company’s investments in facilities, infrastructure, and equipment have totaled more than $300 million. It maintains a massive North Slope equipment fleet, with more than two thousand items including cranes, forklifts, generators, vacuum trucks, light plants, and various other heavy construction equipment. Between Anchorage, Kenai, and Deadhorse, CH2M Hill’s work takes place across more

than 80,000 square feet of shop space and 125 acres of pad space. CH2M Hill calls itself a project delivery company, capable of providing any service an advancing energy, mining, transportation, environmental or facility project might need, from conception to operation. Oilfield modules rank high on that list. The company is capable of producing more than 10,000 tons of truckable modules annually; up to 120 tons each. When it comes to sealift modules, the number quadruples: CH2M Hill can build approximately 40,000 tons of sealift modules annually, according to the company. One of its largest weighed in at more than 3,700 tons. All told, CH2M Hill has fabricated more than 1,000 modules, including metering units and manifolds, launchers, generators, test separators, and electrical and instrumentation modules.

More than Modules While much of Alaska’s oilfield module fabrication work takes place in shops throughout Southcentral, Fairbanks has its own industry.

July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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Flowline Alaska, the family owned and operated company founded nearly thirty-five years ago, runs four production facilities spanning forty-two acres of land and sixty-two thousand square feet of enclosed production space. Like many of the companies that provide module fabrication services for the state’s oil business, Flowline does more than just modules. Services include pipe spool fabrication, double-joint welding, and corrosion coatings. A union employer, Flowline works with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302, Laborers Local 942, and UA Local 375 Plumbers & Pipefitters. Its engineers are licensed through the State of Alaska, the National Association of Corrosion Engineers, and the American Welding Society, according to Flowline. The company also employs an AutoCAD drafter, a dedicated materials coordinator, and two full-time quality assurance personnel, all in order to provide continuously high-quality products and services to the state’s oil industry. A local company, Flowline has gone on to complete projects for the largest oil companies in the state: names like ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc.; BP Exploration Alaska, Inc.; Eni Petroleum; and Caelus Energy. Two of Flowline’s shops, coupled with “significant yard capacity,” allow the company to simultaneously produce multiple skids in any truckable size. Four production modules weighing one hundred tons each and measuring twentythree feet high, sixty-five feet long, and eighteen feet wide are some of the largest Flowline’s built to date, according to the company. Doing business in Fairbanks comes with its advantages. Less restrictive heavy-haul transportation limitations between the Golden Heart City and the

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North Slope allow more flexibility when it comes to hauling oilfield modules north. And the company has done plenty of work for that part of the state, fabricating everything from electrical control and drag-reducing agent modules to shutdown valve, test separation, and production modules.

Massive Modules Hauling oilfield modules by road or rail is common. But what happens when a module is simply too massive to travel by land? That’s when Alaska’s expansive coastline comes into play. When a module is too large to travel by faster means, it goes by sealift. In 2013, the Seattle-based Foss Maritime completed a sealift between Anacortes, Washington, and the Alaska Arctic, traveling more than 2,300 miles in twenty-seven sailing days. The project involved two barges, two ocean-going tugs, two shallow-draft assist tugs, and more than 1,250 tons of tank modules. The Point Thomson project is still trucking along, built on modules that arrive by both sea and land. “Eight truckable modules designed and built for standby power generation, export metering, and electrical controls, among other things, were successfully delivered to Central Pad, West Pad, and Badami after traveling more than eight hundred miles on the Haul Road and the Point Thomson ice road,” ExxonMobil’s Alaska Public and Government Affairs Coordinator Kim Jordan wrote in an email April 30. The modules were fabricated in Anchorage, she said.

“When the truckables were leaving Anchorage, one of them was so big that it had to be transported on the largest trailer available in the state, the Cozad, arranged by PRL Logistics and Carlile Transportation,” Jordan wrote. “The weight of Switchgear Module 110, with trailer, was more than one hundred tons, eighty feet long, twenty feet wide, and fifteen feet tall.” The giant building blocks will help develop one of the largest natural gas reserves on the North Slope. Point Thomson holds an estimated eight trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and ExxonMobil has invested $2.9 billion to date to develop the project. Since 2012, the company has built permanent onsite housing and facilities for more than two hundred people, added fuel tanks and a twenty-two-mile pipeline, expanded existing gravel pads, and built a new airstrip and service pier. It’s a hefty load. Still, it’s only a fraction of the total weight of all the modules that have traveled from fabrication facilities to Alaska’s oilfields via rail, road, and waterway. Together, those modules and the companies that build them create the framework of the state’s most lucrative industry. R Point Thomson modules that were trucked in from Anchorage. © Exxon Mobil Corporation

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


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OIL & GAS

Legacy Oilfield Reinvestment Producers getting every obtainable drop By Mike Bradner How long will Alaska’s oilfields last?

P

eople have been asking this question for years, but there’s no clear answer. Oil is considered a nonrenewable resource, which leads to the idea that it will eventually be depleted. Sounds logical, but the earth’s endowment of hydrocarbons and other minerals appears much more ample than previously believed, and when deposits of oil and gas, or minerals, are discovered, improved technology almost always leads to more of the resource being extracted than originally estimated. When the North Slope oilfields started up in 1977, the common assumption is that they would be drained by 1999, with the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) shut down. That didn’t happen. Instead, the large “legacy” fields of the slope, which are the economic anchors for critical infrastructure like the pipeline, are still going strong thirty-eight years later, and new fields are even being found. The same is happening in Cook Inlet, fields that date from the late 1950s and early 1960s. Like anything else, how long oilfields will last depends on circumstances like the size and quality of the oil reservoir in question, the price of oil and the cost of producing oil in the field (which will vary over time), taxes of course, and finally, the aggressiveness of the owner in pursuing redevelopment, enhanced oil recovery, or other strategies aimed at coaxing more oil out of the rocks. Typically, oilfields have a “flush” early stage where production peaks, or in the case of most producing reservoirs, plateaus at a steady rate. Decline then sets in, and companies employ a variety of technologies to minimize the decline as much as possible. In their late stages of life field production typically tapers off to a low, but actually fairly stable rate, with a

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decline curve that is much more modest. Again, industry has become very inventive in finding ways to coax more oil out of the rocks, extending the life of even aged fields. New ideas and a fresh approach count for a lot, too. In their older stages of life oilfields are sometimes sold to companies with fresh ideas of how to rejuvenate them. This has happened in Cook Inlet and is now happening on the slope.

Notable Examples Alaska has notable examples of oilfields that are producing well beyond their expected economic lives and some where production has even been increased by a new operator with fresh ideas. Two examples of this are in Cook Inlet, where Hilcorp Energy, a Houston-based major independent company that entered Alaska in 2012, has invested and reworked two aged fields in the Inlet basin, one being offshore at Trading Bay, which is served by the Monopod platform, and a second with the small onshore Swanson River field, on the Kenai Peninsula. Swanson River was the first modernera commercial oil discovery in Alaska, made in 1957 by Richfield Oil. The discovery confirmed Alaska’s resource potential, enough to convince a doubtful Congress that Alaska, then a territory, could financially support itself as a state. Through an aggressive program of well improvements and new drilling, Hilcorp has increased production in both fields after taking ownership from Chevron Corporation in 2012. Trading Bay is an example. The field produced thirty thousand barrels per day when it was first developed in the 1960s, but its output had dwindled to about six hundred to seven hundred barrels per day when Hilcorp purchased it in 2012 (the economic limit of the platform was estimated at three hundred to four hundred barrels per day).

Hilcorp invested about $73 million in Trading Bay between 2012 and 2014, and the field is now producing about fifteen hundred barrels per day. Alaska’s most dramatic example of an oilfield pushed far beyond its preconceived limits is on the North Slope, where oil recovery in the large Prudhoe Bay field was originally estimated to be 9.6 billion barrels. The field has now produced over 12 billion barrels since it started up in 1977, and its ultimate recovery is almost certain to reach 13 billion barrels and possibly more. Thirty-eight years after its production started, Prudhoe is still the nation’s largest oilfield. However, the Kuparuk River field on the slope, second largest in Alaska and also in the nation, is also a maturing field that has been pushed well beyond its original estimate. Kuparuk started production in 1981, four years after Prudhoe Bay. Prudhoe Bay is important because it is still the largest oilfield on the slope and is still the “anchor” producer that keeps TAPS economically viable. Without Kuparuk it is doubtful that the other oilfields on the slope would be able to produce enough oil to keeps TAPS operating, at least in the near term until there is a large supply of oil coming from the federal Outer Continental Shelf or some other source, which will take years.

Predictability Why is the recovery of oil from an underground reservoir so difficult to predict? First, although oil reservoirs are sometimes called “pools,” they don’t exist as a pool, as in an underground cavern that acts like a big oil tank. Instead, the oil is saturated in porous rock like sandstone or limestone where the oil lies in microscopic pores in the rock. The pore must be connected by tiny channels, too, which allows the oil to move (or natu-

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


ral gas, for that matter, which exists in liquid form under pressure in the rock) through the rock to a nearby well. The reservoir does exist as a kind of “trap” however in that the oil typically migrates upward from some deeper source, often from hydrocarbon-rich shale rocks where the oil formed, to accumulate, becoming trapped, in the porous sandstone or limestone rock formation. This requires a “cap rock,” or an impervious rock layer that becomes a seal over the reservoir. This reservoir is thus capped and becomes a kind of tank. But if there is no cap rock the oil seeps out of the reservoir rock and is diffused upward through other rocks, sometimes even reaching the surface as an oil seep. There are countless, and even famous, examples of oil explorers and geologists finding all the right conditions for an oilfield only to discover, when the exploration well drill bit finally reaches the reservoir, that the oil was drained away due to a hole in the cap rock. The most dramatic case of this was “Mukluk,” a very expensive well drilled by Sohio Petroleum (now BP) in 1981 in Harrison Bay off the Colville River delta

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of the North Slope. All the right geologic conditions were there for a giant oil discovery, and indeed the oil had once been in the Mukluk formation, Sohio found. But it had long since escaped due to a hole in the cap which Sohio’s geologists missed in their research. Even where the right conditions occur and an oilfield is successfully found and tapped, it’s impossible to capture all of the oil locked in the rock. A typical recovery is 40 percent, which was estimated originally at Prudhoe Bay, where the “oil in place” in the rock totals about 23 billion barrels. BP, the Prudhoe Bay field operator, has steadily improved the ultimate recovery, however, and it may wind up being 60 percent, which is outstanding performance for an oilfield.

Recovery Boosting Tools There are several tools typically used in boosting recovery in an oilfield. Which ones are used, and the sequence in which they are used, depends on the technical characteristics of the reservoir and, as always, the economics—whether a particular project undertaken to boost production pays for itself and makes a

profit. In a maturing field the operating company always looks at these discrete projects on their own, even new drilling. When an oilfield is first tapped it often produces oil up the wells through its own energy of natural gas dissolved in the oil. Also, many oil accumulations sit atop layers of underground water, which are also under pressure. As the oil deposit is produced through wells, and the oil reservoir pressure drops, the water layer rises. Since oil and water don’t mix, the water becomes another force pushing the oil up the wells. Both of these natural “drives” are present in Cook Inlet and many North Slope fields. When natural forces begin to dissipate, and usually before (operating companies want to get ahead of the game), the first step most field operators take is to inject water from the surface (“waterflood” in industry jargon) to supplement the natural water force in the reservoir. This was done at Prudhoe Bay in the mid-1980s, soon after the field started. Having a source of water is important, and in the case of the North Slope, sea water was, and still is, taken from the nearby Beaufort Sea. It must be treated

July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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before being injected, which adds some costs. Some of the water occurring in the reservoir also winds up being produced up the producing wells with crude oil and must be separated at the surface. This is often injected back underground to supplement the natural water drive. In many fields there is also a freestanding “gas cap” or deposit of pressurized natural gas that overlies the oil deposit. If there is no market for the natural gas, which is now the case on the North Slope (a pipeline is planned but not yet built), the gas cap becomes a source of energy to produce oil. As the oil is produced the pressure in the oil reservoir drops and the pressurized gas from above expands and helps drive more oil into the producing wells, just like the water rising from below. The gas cap can be repressured with gas injected from the surface, also. Using Prudhoe Bay as an example, gas that is produced with the crude oil in wells must be separated from the oil at the surface. Since there is no gas pipeline yet and state laws will not allow the gas to be flared, or burned, the operators inject the gas back underground to repressurize the field and produce more oil. This has been going on for years at Prudhoe and the field operators have added several billion barrels of additional oil recovery by reinforcing the reservoir pressure with gas injection.

Enhanced Production There are many other production enhancement tools—“Enhanced Oil Recovery,” or EOR in industry jargon—that can be used to prolong the economic lives of fields. When the field is very large, such as the case with Prudhoe Bay, the potential gain with a new, innovative, or even exotic EOR technique is worth the investment. Prudhoe Bay had about 24 billion barrels of oil in place (locked in the reservoir) when production started in 1977 and about 12 billion barrels have been produced so far, leaving a huge prize—another 12 billion barrels—for new technology to squeeze out more oil. BP, the field operator, believes that 13 billion barrels, perhaps 14 billion barrels, might eventually be produced, but getting another 1 percent equals 240 million barrels, the equivalent of a major oil discovery if it were in a separate field.

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


Because of these financial incentives, Prudhoe has become a kind of laboratory for EOR. One technique developed early on is injecting a mixture of natural gas liquids, called “miscible injectant,” or MI in industry shorthand, into the rocks to help lubricate the oil movement through the pores. When this is combined with waterflood, in pushing the oil through the rocks, it becomes a very effective tool. The use of MI combined with waterflood has resulted in several hundred million barrels of additional oil recovery, BP says. Another innovation in EOR is “Bright Water,” a proprietary technique developed by BP in its corporate laboratories, which involves a chemical, a polymer, that when injected into the rocks swells up and blocks the pore spaces at critical points where waterflood has been underperforming. That forces the waterflood into alternative paths where there are small deposits of oil bypassed earlier. Bright Water has been used by BP in several North Slope fields and is also being used worldwide by BP, an example of a technology developed and tested on the North Slope and then used elsewhere as well as in Alaska. Sometimes there are techniques developed and tested here but not used, for various reasons, and then used successfully elsewhere. One example, again by BP, is “Low-Sal:” or injection of low-salinity (fresh) water in water injection, in lieu of the briny water typically used in water injection (the fresh water can be more effective in flushing out the oil). The cost of obtaining fresh water on the slope has inhibited Low-Sal here, although it proved very effective in tests at the Endicott field.

Innovation and Strategy Another innovation that has worked well at Prudhoe Bay, however, is the injection of water from the surface directly into the large gas “cap” that overlies the reservoir. This has not been done previously, at least on the scale that it was implemented at Prudhoe. While most waterflood is done from below the oil, pushing it up into producing wells, or from the sides, pushing the oil laterally, the gas-cap water injection is done from above. Its purpose is to repressurize the gas, making it more effective in pushing oil down into the wells. A lot of study was done on this idea before it was implemented, both by BP www.akbizmag.com

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and other Prudhoe Bay owners and the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state agency that regulates oilfield practices. The commission is charged with, among other things, maximizing total recovery of oil and gas from producing fields and must approve the development plans of companies to ensure that this happens. The risk was that the water being injected would break through the gas, developing channels through the rocks that reduce its effectiveness, and even damage the gas cap as a mechanism to drive out the oil. This hasn’t happened, at least to any large extent. The project has been a great success in improving recovery. A fundamental strategy in getting more oil out of the rocks is in drilling more wells and different kinds of wells. For example, horizontal drilling of production wells, to tap very thin layers of oil in the reservoir, was done at Prudhoe Bay in a way not done elsewhere. “Multi-lateral” wells were also developed by ConocoPhillips and BP for the North Slope oilfields. These are wells where several separate producing “legs” are drilled underground off a single well to the surface. “Sidetracks,” or new wells underground, and now commonly drilled of older wells. These wells, which can be drilled with great accuracy to their designated endpoint, have allowed the companies to tap small pockets of oil bypassed earlier with conventional wells. The credit for all of these innovations must be shared among all the owner companies, but mainly BP, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil, which share their considerable technical expertise in developing and implementing innovations like multilateral wells and gascap water injection. Alaska’s fortune is not only in having such a large fields like Prudhoe to economically anchor the North Slope infrastructure, but in having the field as a laboratory for intensive field development and enhanced oil recovery, the learning from which is being applied to Alaska’s other oilfields and even worldwide. R

Mike Bradner is publisher of the Alaska Economic Report and Alaska Legislative Digest. 58

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special section

Pacific Northwest

Alaska and Pacific Northwest Closely Linked ‘Ties That Bind’ details economic connection By Rindi White

The Norwegian Pearl at Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66 in Seattle. Port of Seattle image by Don Wilson

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P

uget Sound could rebrand itself as the gateway to Alaska. Whether it’s a box of cereal, new bridge beams, or a vanload of visiting relatives, chances are they’ve all passed through Seattle, Tacoma, or another Puget Sound community on their journey to the Last Frontier. The two regions are closely linked and have been for generations. Gold miners provisioned in Washington before heading north to strike a claim in Alaska and timber from this state has for generations been shipped to Washington markets. Almost all of Alaska’s oil is refined in Puget Sound, and nearly a thousand Puget Sound-owned fishing vessels participate in Alaska commercial fisheries each year. The Chambers of Commerce of Alaska and Seattle have long recognized this important economic connection and, for the past thirty years, have commissioned regular studies of the impact Alas-

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ka has on the Puget Sound region in order to better characterize the relationship. “We use this to bolster our advocacy efforts, advocating for policies which are pro-business, whether in Juneau or Washington or Washington, D.C.,” says Rachael Petro, president of the Alaska Chamber of Commerce. “It underscores how important the economic ties are for us.” Juneau-based consulting firm McDowell Group in February completed the fourth update of the report, each of which has been titled “Ties that Bind.” The $50,000 update was sponsored by a long list of businesses, including: Alaska Airlines; Lynden; the ports of Seattle and Tacoma; Shell Oil Company; Totem Ocean Trailer Express; Alaska Oil & Gas Association; Banner Bank; Foss Maritime Company; GCI ConnectMD; Jones Stevedoring Company; Alaska Railroad; At-Sea Processors Association; Manson Construction; the Port of Anchorage; Schnitzer; The Wilson Agency/Albers & Company, Inc.; Transportation Institute; US Bank; Alaska Salmon Alliance; Fifth Third Bank; and Nexus Northwest.

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CMA CGM Don Carlos, container ship registered in Liberia, working at Terminal 18.

The list of sponsors reflects the broad interest and support for those Alaska and Puget Sound connections, McDowell principal Susan Bell says. Part of the mission of the report was to present the information widely, she says, and her company has worked to do so. Presentations have been made at the Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Juneau chambers of commerce, as well as at the Seattle and Tacoma/Pierce County chambers and at smaller groups such as the Seattle-based Propeller Club, which is a maritime industry support agency. Bell and others also presented the report in Washington D.C. at the thirtieth annual “Washington to Washington” conference, a gathering of business leaders, community members, and elected officials from Pierce County, Washington, in the nation’s capital. The Washingtonians meet with federal agencies, Congressional members, and others. “It was a nice great to share the information at that forum. Especially at the 62

federal level,, it helps to have a broader message and a broad base of support. This report helps people understand who their allies are across industries and geographic borders,” Bell says.

Economies Linked for Generations Business owners in the Pacific Northwest have long recognized the important ties between the two regions. Eric Schinfeld, chief of staff and executive vice president of the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce, says when the Seattle Chamber was formed more than 130 years ago, one of its first activities was hosting an Alaska business forum. Likewise, the Alaska Chamber holds five of its board seats open for Puget Sound members. It’s done so since the group was founded in 1952, prior to statehood. “They had the foresight and understood [the connections],” Petro says.

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


Port of Seattle image by Don Wilson

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Consider this: for every four jobs in Alaska, there’s an Alaska-related job in Puget Sound. That’s 113,000 jobs in six counties in Washington State, which are directly or indirectly linked to Alaska. It might be dockworkers loading Alaska-bound goods on container ships or a flight crew flying daily trips to Alaska, or it could be a Seattle-based company benefiting from Alaska-based business travelers heading to the Puget Sound region to attend business conferences, meet with Washington-based coworkers, or for other reasons. Over the thirty years the Seattle Metro Chamber has been tracking the regional economic impacts, the number of direct and indirect Alaska-related jobs in the Puget Sound region has nearly doubled from fifty-seven thousand jobs in 1985. Petro says the ties are obvious to most Alaskans, like they are within www.akbizmag.com

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her own family. She hails from Puget Sound originally. Long before Alaska became a territory, her family operated canneries, processing Alaska fish. She’s the first member of her family (that she knows of) to actually live in Alaska, she says, but the connection runs deep. Schinfeld says most Puget Sound residents are likewise aware of the economic connections between the two regions, but it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when they think about businesses that are key to the Puget Sound economy. “The business between Puget Sound and Alaska is huge, but I think that, for whatever reason, it is very invisible to the average person. We certainly know that international trade is a big portion of our business, we see our ports out there, but we don’t realize that trade with Alaska is just as important as international,” he says. According to the report, 57 percent of Puget Sound businesses with ties to Alaska say they expect their Alaska-related activities or sales to become more important to their bottom line. Puget Sound, a region with about 4.2 million residents, boasts a diverse and

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vibrant economy, the report states. Its annual total output in 2013 was $475 billion, “larger than most of the world’s national economies.” Boeing and Microsoft, with seventy thousand and forty thousand employees respectively, are the region’s largest employers, but the area is also home to numerous other Fortune 500 companies, including Alaska Air Group, Amazon, Costco, Nordstrom, Starbucks, and Weyerhauser. By contrast, the Alaska economy has an economic output of about $75 billion and about 735,000 residents. The annual output is driven mostly by oil production, “but the seafood industry, tourism, mining, the military, and other federal government are key drivers of the state’s economy,” the report states. Alaska represents about 60 percent of all domestic US seafood production by volume and, although it previously accounted for about a quarter of US oil production, today Alaska’s share is less than 10 percent of the whole. According to the report, the value of exports to Alaska from Puget Sound was estimated at nearly $3.8 billion in 2003. In 2013, that number was $5.4 bil-

lion, a 44 percent increase, or 12 percent when the rise is adjusted for inflation. The report estimates Alaska accounted for about 74,000 export-related jobs in Puget Sound in 2013 and $3.8 billion in labor earnings, about 16 percent more than estimated in 2003. In the seafood industry, it estimates 24,000 Alaska-linked Puget Sound jobs and $1.3 billion in labor earnings. The report estimates about 12,000 more Alaska-connected jobs in the petroleum industry, and 3,400 Alaska-linked jobs in the cruise ship industry in 2013. The total labor earnings of the Alaska-linked direct and indirect jobs were $6.2 billion, up from $4.3 billion in 2003, a 16 percent rise after adjusting for inflation. Petro, with the Alaska chamber, says one of the most encouraging aspects of the report is that, despite the changing and growing economy in Puget Sound, Alaska continues to have a significant impact on the region’s economy. “Their economy… originated with some of the industries that still thrive in Alaska, but let’s be real, Microsoft and Boeing are kind of big deals in

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Washington state. It’s easier for politicians and elected officials to make decisions that benefit their main industries and easier for them to forget about our industries,” she says. That’s where the report comes in handy. It shows, she says, that “when we do well in Alaska, the Puget Sound area does well also.”

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probably came through the Port of Anchorage first.” And if it came through the Port of Anchorage, it probably originated at a port in Puget Sound. The Port of Anchorage says 90 percent of the goods that supply 85 percent of Alaska are shipped through its port. The remainder shipped to Alaska also mostly come from Puget Sound, but stop in Southeast or other regions of Alaska, never docking at the Port of Anchorage. In short, without Puget Sound, Alaska stores would quickly have empty shelves and many construction projects

would never get off the ground. But shipping Alaska goods is a pretty big deal for Puget Sound, too. The report states that 3.4 million tons were shipped to Alaska in 2013, 97 percent of which shipped by water. Trucking represented 2 percent of the total tonnage and airfreight picked up the final 1 percent. “Seattle-Tacoma is a very important cargo origin for Alaska,” says Jim Jansen, chairman of Lynden, Inc. “The vessel operators originate service in Seattle and Tacoma. Much of the cargo originates in

other states and moves through Seattle.” Lynden moves freight by barge, ship, rail barge, truck, and air. Shipments to Alaska represented 80 percent of the domestic containerized shipments out of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, and Alaska-bound containers represented 20 percent of all goods shipped through those ports. “The amount of Alaska-Puget Sound waterborne cargo increased in each of the last five years since the economic recession, for a total increase of 23 percent between 2009 and 2013,” the report states.

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It attributes some of that growth to increased activity in Cook Inlet and North Slope oil fields. About 80 percent of the tonnage moved between Alaska and Puget Sound was headed to Alaska, with about 20 percent moving from Alaska to Puget Sound. Most of that was seafood, the report states. Household goods, recyclables, and scrap materials make up the rest of the backhaul, according to the report. More than half of the goods traveling between Puget Sound and Alaska are moved by ship. Moving goods by water

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is the slowest and least expensive way to ship goods north. Ship companies Totem Ocean Trailer Express and Matson (formerly Horizon) have two weekly sailings between the two regions. The Alaska Marine Lines barge also hauls freight to Alaska, traveling between Harbor Island in Seattle and Whittier. It’s generally loaded with rail cars bound for the Alaska Railroad and stacked high with containers above them. According to the report, the rail barge typically serves the natural resource industry, hauling machinery, building materials,

and oil and gas drilling fluid and mud. Cargo barges supply most of the goods shipped to and from Southeast Alaska, hauling consumable goods and bringing back seafood. Barges headed both directions are often loaded with commercial fishing equipment. Goods that need to reach Alaska faster, such as fresh produce, are often transported by truck. “Trucking companies like Lynden and Carlile operate out of Puget Sound and deliver to destinations throughout Alaska’s highway system,” the report states. The one-way journey generally takes fewer than three days. Southbound trucks often carry Alaska seafood. The smallest share of the shipping sector, air freight, is also the fastest shipping mode. According to the report, air cargo represented one percent of the total tonnage shipped between the two regions. This doesn’t always mean tapping into industry leaders such as Northern Air Cargo. “A large volume of goods and mail flown between the two regions are loaded into the bellies of passenger planes. Parcel shippers like Fedex and UPS contract for space in the bellies of passenger airlines that service Alaska from Puget Sound,” the report states. Alaska Airlines regional vice president Marilyn Romano says cargo is a significant part of Alaska Airlines’ business. Cargo revenue is approximately 10 percent of the passenger revenue into and out of Alaska, she says. The freight business is not just about the freight. Many of the larger freight companies have offices in both Alaska and Puget Sound. Jansen says Lynden’s workforce is about equally split between the two regions. “Lynden employees have the opportunity to live and work in Seattle or Alaska. Much of the administration of Alaska’s transportation industry is in Seattle, due to the vessel origin in the Pacific Northwest and that many of our customers are based in Seattle,” Jansen says. “My home is in Alaska, but I spend a lot of time in Seattle. It is unfortunate that the political structure in Washington does not treat Alaska better than it does.” Shipping seafood is a major component of the Alaska-Puget Sound freight picture. Frozen and canned seafood mostly moves by ship or barge, says Jansen. Fresh

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seafood, mostly salmon and halibut, is taken to market via truck, Alaska ferries, by air, and sometimes by ship or barge. Romano says Alaska Airlines last year moved more than 16.5 million pounds of seafood from Alaska to market, mostly to Seattle and Portland. Romano says Alaska Airlines ships seafood from Kodiak, Bristol Bay, Sitka, and elsewhere in the state. Most of that flew in the bellies of planes carrying passengers, she says, although the company does operate one cargo plane, and it’s looking to add two more. While the report shows overall cargo shipments increased between 2010 and 2013, it projects those numbers will fall over the next few years as federal and state construction spending remains flat or declines. The lower price of oil will likely “place significant downward pressure on the Alaska economy and could constrain population growth,” the report states.

Seafood: Fertile Ground for Economic Ties Puget Sound has long been a home base for commercial fishing in Alaska. It’s also home to most Alaska seafood processors and a number of fishing-related

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government and industry workers. In total, Alaska fishery-related jobs in Puget Sound number twenty-four thousand with labor earnings of $1.3 billion. “Most large vessels participating in Alaska commercial fisheries are owned by Puget Sound residents and home-ported in the area, resulting in many indirect jobs at shipyards, machine/fabrication shops, equipment sales companies, and marine engineering firms. Puget Sound has an extensive network of service providers and moorage space which cater to large commercial fishing vessels,” the report states. The report states that 890 active Alaska fishing vessel permit owners and about 3,260 crewmembers live in Puget Sound. Another 190 jobs represent the management and staff of fishing companies and cooperatives, according to the report. In total, commercial fishing in Alaska accounts for an estimated 10,150 jobs and $600 million in labor earnings. About 82 percent of fish processed out of Alaska waters is done so at Puget Soundowned processing companies. Puget Sound residents own thirty-six processors. While the fish are processed in Alaska, many of the jobs and, according to the report, “vir-

tually all senior-level management and sales positions are based in Seattle.” The report estimates seafood processors accounts for 5,700 jobs for Puget Sound residents directly, and generates about $336 million in labor earnings. Many more indirect jobs in arenas such as trucking and shipping, processing, equipment sales, manufacturing, etc. are also related to Alaska seafood processing. In total, the report estimates 13,100 Puget Sound jobs related to Alaska seafood processing and $690 million in labor earnings. Then there’s the fishery management and marketing industry. According to the report, Seattle is home to three fisheries-related government entities and eleven industry associations. “Together, they directly generate approximately 310 jobs and $35 million in labor earnings,” the report states. When indirect and induced jobs are added, the sector boasts 650 jobs and $50 million in labor earnings. Tyson Fick is the communications director for Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, a state of Alaska-operated industry support agency. Six Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute employees are based in Seattle.

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A fisherman mends a net at the Fishermen’s Terminal net yard. Port of Seattle image by Don Wilson

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Fick says the Seattle-based jobs represent the Institute’s domestic marketing arm. “When you have such a large portion of the processing that happens there in the Seattle area, it does make sense to have a marketing office that represents the industry there, where the fish are being sold,” Fick says. Fick says the data compiled for the report can be useful talking points when he and other Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute workers are out in the field, seeking to increase the value of seafood from all regions of the state. “We’re the local seafood provider for most of the country,” Fick says. “Ninety-five percent of the salmon [produced in the United States] comes from Alaska. If you want to have more local, more domestic American good food, look for Alaska salmon. And that’s just salmon. Other species tell a similar story, with Alaska producing more seafood than the rest of the U.S. combined.”

Supporting Role in Oil and Gas Production Puget Sound’s connection to the Alaska petroleum industry is long and rich.

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For decades, refineries in the region have refined Alaska crude oil. A decade ago, Alaska provided 90 percent of the crude oil refined in Puget Sound. Thanks to declining production, Alaska crude now represents 46 percent of the oil refined in Puget Sound. “The amount of crude oil shipped from Alaska to Puget Sound dropped by 37 percent between 2004 and 2013, from 420,000 to 265,000 barrels per day,” the report states. The report estimates twelve thousand Puget Sound jobs are linked to the petroleum industry and refining Alaska crude oil, with about $780 million in labor earnings. Shell Oil Company operates the second-largest refinery in Puget Sound, based on refining capacity. The study estimates the Shell refinery’s capacity at 145,000 barrels per day. But Shell’s impact on the Puget Sound region isn’t limited to its refinery. Shell spokeswoman Megan Baldino says Shell uses the area to stage for its drilling work, a move that has been the source of controversy in Seattle, as protestors turned out to greet Shell when

a drilling rig arrived there in May. The company hopes to drill this year on its offshore project in the Chukchi Sea. That project has meant millions in investment in the Washington area. “Since 2006 we have spent $179 million in Washington state related to our Alaska offshore program,” Baldino says. “We’ve worked with more than thirtyfour companies and helped create hundreds of jobs.” For the Puget Sound area, Shell’s work has continued to provide jobs and investment. Baldino says the company refurbished two drilling rigs since 2012 and also built the Arctic containment system. The system, a barge-mounted containment dome that would suck up escaping oil and transfer it to a ship to be processed, is one of four ways the company proposes to address a blown-out well, should one occur. “Together, those projects contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to the economy and created more than one thousand jobs,” Baldino says. She added that another four hundred jobs were created among Foss Maritime, Shell, and its contract companies in preparation for this drilling season.

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More work and staging was done in Bellingham, Port Angeles, and Port of Everett as well, she adds. In 2012, Baldino says, 1,941 people worked on the Shell Alaska program, 767 of which were Alaskans. Shell’s efforts, and Alaska’s own plans to build a natural gas pipeline and other facilities related to the petroleum industry, may provide the Puget Sound with an economic boost while North Slope crude oil continues to decline, the report says.

Maritime Services, Essential to Alaska and Puget Sound While previous iterations of the “Ties that Bind” report lumped maritime services jobs—boat construction and repair companies, marine suppliers, and other shipyard services—in with fishing or transportation or other sectors of this report, McDowell elected to give maritime services its own category in order to draw more attention to this important industry. “This was a new element, and it was very well received,” Bell says. Petro, with the Alaska Chamber, says every other industry relies in some way

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on the services provided by the maritime industry. “All those resource-based industries that Alaska has, they all necessitate that maritime support,” she says. “Puget Sound, at its base, has always been a maritime community.” Schinfeld agrees that the industry is vital to the Puget Sound region. “For Washington state, the maritime industry is the third largest statewide industry. It’s a frustration for those of us who work with that industry that it doesn’t have the profile of industries like aerospace because of the lack of a bigname employer like Boeing. It’s hard for people to notice the maritime industry if they’re not near the waterfront.” According to the report, 9,416 vessels over twenty-eight feet long operate in Alaska. About 10 percent of those are registered in Washington and travel to Alaska frequently. The Washingtonbased vessels account for 56 percent of all gross vessel tonnage, meaning the Washington vessels tend to be larger than the Alaska vessels in the fleet. The report explains that the heavier a vessel is, the more marine industry ser-

vices are required to maintain it. “Consequently, the 940 Puget Soundbased vessels making regular trips to Alaska provide a significant amount of vessel maintenance and repair employment and other economic activity in Puget Sound,” the report states. In addition, many of the larger Alaska-based vessels travel south to Puget Sound for maintenance and repairs. While ship repair facilities do exist in Alaska, there aren’t as many to choose from as in Washington. “Vigor industrial operates four facilities in Puget Sound, and offers four dry docks, one marine railway and twenty-eight cranes. The Lake Union Drydock Company operates two dry docks in addition to hydraulic, metal, electronics, rigging, and marine-coating shops. Foss Maritime operates two shipyards with dry dock capacity up to 2,000 tons, a marine railway with a capacity of 640 tons, and full machine and metal fabrication shops. For comparison, the entire state of Alaska has five dry docks,” the report states. According to the report, about 5,300 jobs in Puget Sound are linked to maritime services for vessels in Alaska. The

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labor earnings for those jobs are estimated at $390 million. Doug Ward, Vigor Alaska’s director of shipyard development, says the operating agreement for Ketchikan Shipyard, where he worked for more than twenty years before it was acquired by Vigor Industrial in 2012, provides some competition for the work Alaska vessels need. The Ketchikan Shipyard is owned by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, or AIDEA, a staterun public corporation supporting economic and workforce development. The shipyard operated by Vigor Alaska is a unique public-private partnership. The shipyard has a 10,000-ton floating dry dock that’s 430 feet long and a second floating dock with a 2,500-ton capacity that is 250 feet long. The larger dock can service the largest ferry in the Alaska Marine Highway fleet, Ward says. Vigor also operates the Seward Shipyard, with a 5,000-ton ship lift. The city of Seward owns the shipyard, and Vigor operates it under lease. But Puget Sound and Portland will remain important players in the maritime services industry, he says. Vigor, a presence in the Pacific Northwest (although previously under different names) for more than twenty years, is going through a period of rapid expansion, Ward says. In addition to the Ketchikan Shipyards, the company recently purchased Kvichak Marine Industries, a company that has been building fishing boats for Bristol Bay for more than twenty years. “We’re now the largest group of shipbuilding and repair yards in the Northwest, all united under the Vigor banner” Ward says. “After competing with the Puget Sound yards for many, many years, now we’re all in one family.” Ward says Vigor provides maintenance and repair services for almost all of Alaska’s various fishing fleets, from factory trawlers to smaller boats. Some of that work is done in Alaska, he says, but much of it happens in Puget Sound. “Puget Sound and Seattle has one of the most well-developed and diverse marine industrial support sectors of all of the western ports because of its long association with Alaska,” he says. “Alaska will have to rely on Puget Sound to keep running.” Although it’s compelling to put the Alaska and Puget Sound maritime ser74

vices industries in competition with each other, Ward says a more important role would be for the two areas to work together to compete with the Gulf of Mexico maritime services industry. “There’s an amazing industrial complex in Louisiana, Texas, etc., all supporting oil and gas, fishing, and marine transportation. Oil and gas is really driving huge amounts of investment,” he says. “We think because we live in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, we can build better boats for our region.” Ultimately, however, Ward says boosting the maritime industry benefits everyone. Maritime jobs are family-wage jobs, he says, and the industry “provides a very stable workforce and provides employment stabilization,” he says. The report predicts continued growth in the Alaska-related maritime support services industry in Puget Sound. “By 2025, more than two-thirds of vessels operating in Alaska will be more than forty-five years old. Some of the oldest vessels are commercial fishing vessels built in the 1940s and 1950s. Over the following decades, replacement of aging Alaska vessels, especially among the commercial fishing fleet, could require spending of more than $14 billion,” the report states.

Connecting Alaska to the World Love it or hate it, travel by boat or air is a reality for most Alaskans headed out of state. And most of that travel includes a stop in Puget Sound. More than a million passengers fly from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Alaska communities every year. Almost a million more make the flight south. That’s 11 percent more travelers than ten years ago and 4 percent more than just five years ago, according to the report. Romano says the number of Alaskabound travelers rises dramatically in the summer. Tourism, including individual travelers and cruise ship passengers traveling a combination land-water trip, accounts for a lot of that summer increase, she says. But business travelers occupy many of the seats between Puget Sound and Alaska, she says. “We in the transport sector, particularly Alaska Air, understand the amount of business that Alaskans and Alaska businesses have on the Puget Sound area,” Romano says.

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The transportation and tourism sector accounts for 14,100 jobs and $554 million in labor earnings, the report states. The airline industry portion makes up 10,600 of those jobs, the report states, and represents $373 million in labor income. Alaska Airlines carries more passengers to Alaska than any other airline operating in the state. The report states that, between October 2013 and September 2014, about two-thirds of all passengers flying to Alaska did so on Alaska Airlines. According to the report, the US Travel Association expects to see slow growth in

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domestic and business travel, about 1.3 to 1.8 percent per year. Alaska is expected to keep pace with that estimate. Cruise passengers are a significant portion of the transportation sector between Puget Sound and Alaska. More than 430,000 Alaska-bound cruise passengers traveled from the Port of Seattle in 2014, almost half of all Alaska cruise ship passengers. Seven major cruise lines have passengers embark and/or disembark in Seattle, the report states, including Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian, Oceania, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. Travel through Seattle has increased markedly since 1999, the report states. That year, six cruise vessels

called on the port. In 2010, the peak year of the study, 223 vessels visited the port. Vancouver, B.C. has historically been the primary home port for Alaskabound cruise vessels. After the high in 2010, the number of Alaska cruise ship passengers in the past five years has declined by nearly 20 percent, from 223 vessels to 179 in 2014. According to the report, the Port of Seattle expects the trend to reverse, however, and it estimates passenger traffic will increase by nine percent this summer, and the

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number of vessels docking there to increase by 7 percent. However, the report states Alaska-bound passenger numbers aren’t likely to increase that much. “Competing markets, particularly in Asia, are gaining momentum. Growth capacity is also limited by the ports themselves: the most popular ports of Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway are limited in terms of the number of ships they can accommodate,� the report states. The Alaska Marine Highway System represents a smaller but significant share of

travelers. In 2013, the report states, fourteen thousand passengers and 5,800 vehicles boarded Alaska-bound ferries at the Port of Bellingham. The number of ferry travelers has declined over the last decade, the report states, a reality linked to the length of time it takes for the ferry to make the journey from Bellingham to Alaska, among other reasons. In recent years the number of travelers has grown, but it has not regained all of the ground it lost. The report estimates the number of ferry passengers will likely stay flat or dip slightly.

Saving Alaskan Lives A somewhat unexpected economic tie to Puget Sound is in the healthcare field. The report estimates that more than two thousand Alaskan residents traveled to the Puget Sound region in 2013 for medical treatment at thirty-three Puget Sound healthcare facilities. The most common facilities used were the University of Washington Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center (First Hill/ Ballard), and Virginia Mason Medical Center, according to the report. Some sought treatment for condi-

An Alaska Airlines 737 taking off from Sea-Tac Airport with Mount Rainier and Central Terminal in the background. Port of Seattle image by Don Wilson

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tions not available in Alaska, such as major burns, complex orthopedic procedures, and specific cancers. Providence Alaska is a nonprofit corporation that, since 2012, is affiliated with Swedish health system facilities. Providence Alaska spokesman Mikal Canfield says sometimes referral to hospitals outside Alaska is shaped by many factors. “Providence Alaska Medical Center, a tertiary hospital and Level II trauma center, provides the most comprehensive and highest level of health services in the state. For patients who require an even higher level of care—such as care for severe burns or organ transplants—referrals to hospitals Outside are based on the patients’ needs and are frequently shaped by existing relationships among physicians or geographic proximity. For example, communities in Southeast Alaska are proportionately more likely to utilize the Pacific Northwest for certain care needs,” he says. That said, Canfield reports that collaboration between facilities happens frequently. “In a few cases, specialists based in Washington travel to provide services in Alaska,” he says. “Additionally, provider training sometimes occurs in Washington but also in other states as necessary.” According to the report, in 2013 at least two patients from every borough in Alaska were admitted to a Puget Sound hospital. Of the 2,085 treated in the region, 409 came from Anchorage, 350 from Juneau, and 343 from Ketchikan. A quarter of those patients were in the hospital for more than a week and 12 percent were in the hospital more than two weeks. Alaska patients using Puget Sound medical facilities account for about 1,200 jobs in Puget Sound—about $87 million in labor earnings. “When patients are in the hospital for an extended length of time family members often join them, spending money in hotels, restaurants, and elsewhere. The medical care patients receive may also influence long-term plans and prompt some Alaskans to move to the Puget Sound area,” the report states. In addition to Alaska patients heading south, some Washington physicians, nurses, and other clinicians work at least occasionally in Alaska. The report states that 10 percent of physicians with active Alaska licenses report 78

a Washington address as their primary residence. And Alaska participates in the WWAMI regional medical educational network, in which Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho pool their resources to train new physicians through the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Washington Higher Education—Many Choices Close To Home Due to confidentiality rules held by educational institutions, it is hard to get precise numbers, but the report estimates about 6 percent of Alaska residents enrolled between 2005 and 2011 at colleges, universities, and trade schools chose to further their education in Washington. About six hundred Alaska residents reported attending postsecondary schools in the Puget Sound region between 2009 and 2012. According to the report, that accounts for about 250 jobs and $11 million in labor earnings. When student spending on tuition, room, and board is factored in, the report estimates Alaska students spent about $12 million in education costs in Puget Sound in 2012. Why Puget Sound? Its proximity to Alaska is one reason, the report states, and the broad range of postsecondary choices is another. “For Alaska students who are seeking an education out-of-state, want more institutions to choose from, but want to remain close to home, the Puget Sound postsecondary institutions are, and most likely will remain, an attractive possibility. In particular, without medical and law schools in Alaska, students who want to pursue a graduate degree in those fields will continue to attend Puget Sound institutions,” the report states. Many Other Ties Keep Economies Entwined The federal government, which often has regional offices in Seattle supporting services in Alaska, is another factor of the Puget Sound-Alaska economic picture. The Alaska Fisheries Science Center, a division of National Marine Fisheries Service, employs 72 percent of its employees, 240 full-time positions, in Puget Sound, the report states. The Region 10 US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) office has a staff

of more than five hundred employees and implements and enforces EPA regulations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska, the report states. The military is another area of connection. Alaska is home to one US Air Force base, two US Army bases, one joint Air Force/Army base, and the 17th District of the US Coast Guard. Almost twenty-three thousand active-duty military personnel are stationed in Alaska and, according to the report, the most recent numbers show US Department of Defense spending in Alaska was $5.2 billion in 2010. Puget Sound is home to one joint Air Force/Army base, Naval Base Kitsap, Naval Station Everett, and the US Coast Guard’s Sector Puget Sound. In 2013, the report states, more than sixty-nine thousand active duty personnel were stationed in Washington. Department of Defense spending was estimated at $15 billion in 2010. The report states that personnel, equipment, and resources are often shared among the states, and the two regions participate in joint training and joint exercises, although their command structures are separate. Finally, business and professional services is another area where the two regions are linked. Many professional services firms have offices in Alaska and Puget Sound. Some of the offices collaborate on projects all over Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Services are across many sectors and among them are firms in engineering like HDR, Inc. and CH2M Hill, legal such as Perkins Coie LLP and Dorsey & Whitney, accounting such as PwC LLP and Ernst & Young, public relations and consulting such as Edelman PR and Pyramid Communications, and insurance such as The Wilson Agency/Albers & Company, Inc. Schinfeld says the abundant ties between the two regions gives everyone a reason to support further investment in the ongoing relationship, and says: “It’s important to find opportunities to focus on mutually beneficial topics that can appeal to everybody.” R

Rindi White is a freelance journalist living in Palmer.

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


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Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


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81


five miles each direction—from the road system, so as to reduce costs and risks for potential partners. Another area is more remote, east of the Dalton on the south flanks of the Brooks Range. Yet another area Doyon will explore is north of Rampart west of the Dalton Highway. Doyon is also interested in oil and gas exploration and has led efforts to explore the Nenana Basin, which is west of Fairbanks, and in the Yukon Flats north of the Interior city. As with its current mineral exploration, Doyon has put substantial amounts of its own financial resources toward its exploration. In the Nenana Basin Doyon has drilled two exploration wells, one in a consortium with partners and a second on its own. The results have been encouraging although a commercial oil or gas deposit has not yet been found. Doyon is now planning a third well that the company will fund as a result of very encouraging results from a 3D seismic program completed late in 2014. Significantly, the Nenana Basin project is on lands on which Doyon has conventional oil and gas leases and is also near existing infrastructure such as a road built near the site as well as the Parks Highway and electrical transmission facilities near Nenana. Doyon holds over four hundred thousand acres in state of Alaska oil and gas leases, but also owns the subsurface minerals estate to about forty-three thousand acres of ANCSA lands, of which the surface is held by the village corporation Toghotthele. In the Yukon Flats, however, Doyon is exploring lands owned by itself and village corporations in the area. Doyon has not done as much exploration there as in the Nenana Basin, but the areas being explored are relatively near the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, which is a big advantage.

NANA Regional Corporation NANA Regional Corporation also has its own mineral exploration program underway this summer, focused on gold prospects, in an area in the northeast Seward Peninsula, southeast of Kotzebue, where NANA is headquartered. Significantly, the exploration is being done on state-owned lands. Another venture, in which NANA could be involved, is a renewed exploration program in the Ambler mining district of the western Brooks Range by NovaCopper, Inc., a small “junior” 82

exploration company. NovaCopper has a 2015 field program planned for more work at the Arctic deposit, a known large, high-grade copper deposit. NANA is in a joint-venture exploration agreement with NovaCopper which gives NANA the rights to buy into a mining project at Arctic if one develops. The joint-venture agreement also includes Bornite, another known large copper deposit a few miles southwest of Arctic, but the 2015 work is focused on Arctic. The NANA-NovaCopper venture is long range, although NovaCopper says the Arctic deposit is rich enough and far enough along in development planning that it could become a mine in a few years. Bornite has big potential— an additional copper resource was discovered there in recent years—but it will need additional exploration. However, these projects are immensely important to the region. If they can be developed, and if the infrastructure to support them can be built, the development of other known mineral deposits in the area will likely follow, and there could be several mines in the Ambler and eastern Kobuk River area. The infrastructure that is most likely is construction of an access road from the Dalton Highway to the east. The state of Alaska has been pursuing this through its economic development corporation, AIDEA (Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority). AIDEA has done preliminary work on permits and had started on an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) when Governor Bill Walker halted the project in a budget move early this year. However, AIDEA would fund only the permitting and EIS for now. The actual construction of the road, which would require several hundred million dollars, would likely be paid for by revenue bonds issued by the state authority and backed by agreements with mining companies that would contract to use the road, paying toll fees. In other words, the road wouldn’t be built unless the mines are actually going to be developed. Like Doyon, NANA is also interested in oil and gas, in its case in the Selawik Basin, a large sedimentary basin south of Kotzebue where NANA owns lands, according to Lance Miller, NANA’s lands and resources vice president. The Selawik Basin, covering twenty-eight thousand square miles, is large and virtually un-

explored except for two early exploration wells drilled by Chevron Corporation, which were disappointing at the time. With new technologies available, NANA has relooked at the basin and believes it has considerable potential, Miller says. Using reprocessed seismic, the presence of several large potential structures has been indicated. Selawik likely holds natural gas, but the presence of oil is possible. Although the distances might present economic challenges, there is a potential large customer for gas in the NANA Region. That is the Red Dog Mine, the large zinc/lead mine operated by Teck on lands owned by NANA. Teck now uses large amounts of diesel oil to fuel power generation for the mine, and switching to natural gas could lower mining costs. NANA is best known in the mining industry for its partnership in development of the mine at Red Dog, which is in the DeLong Mountains ninety miles north of Kotzebue. Originally NANA worked with Cominco in developing the mine, but when Teck purchased Cominco several years ago Teck continued at Red Dog and is now NANA’s partner. Red Dog is one of the world’s largest zinc and lead mines, and production there began in 1989—with the reserves now known, the mine can operate until at least 2030. There are also other undeveloped zinc prospects in the area.

Calista Corporation Another major minerals project involving Alaska Native corporations is the Donlin Gold venture on the mid-Kuskokwim River near Crooked Creek, 145 miles upriver from Bethel. Barrick Gold, a major mining company, and NovaGold, a junior company, are in a 50-50 joint venture to develop a large gold mine. The project is now in the permitting phase and a Draft EIS is now due to be released later this year. This would be followed by a Final EIS and a decision on whether or not to construct the mine. Barrick and NovaGold have found about 30 million ounces of gold, and as it sits Donlin Gold is one of the world’s largest undeveloped gold resources. There is potential for more gold to be found in the area, also. The mineral resources at the Donlin Gold site are owned by Calista Corporation, the Alaska Native regional corporation for the Yukon-Kuskokwim region, while surface lands at the site are owned by The

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Kuskokwim Corporation, a consortium of village corporations in the region. If a mine is developed Calista would share 70 percent of the mine royalties with other Alaska Native corporations, and both Calista and The Kuskokwim Corporation are likely to be substantially involved in support activities. The project cost is estimated at $6 billion including a 315-mile natural gas pipeline built from Cook Inlet that would supply natural gas for mine operations.

Ahtna, Incorporated One other oil and gas project involving an Alaska Native corporation is with Ahtna, Incorporated, the regional corporation for the Copper River basin in the eastern Interior. Ahtna is based in Glennallen and is exploring a block of state-owned lands west of Glennallen and near the Glenn Highway. Ahtna drilled one exploration program with an industry partner on nearby Ahtna-owned lands. The well discovered gas, but technical problems, including the presence of a high-pressure water formation, complicated its development. The corporation shifted its focus to a nearby location on a forty-fourthousand-acre block of state lands, and Ahtna is now working with two industry partners with plans to drill another exploration well. One large prospect, most likely natural gas, has been identified through seismic. Ahtna has several advantages in its exploration project, the most important being that the presence of natural gas has been demonstrated through drilling several wells. While there are technical problems presented by the high-pressure water, these are now better understood, so solutions can be developed. Finally, there is a local market for gas if only a small discovery is made. The Copper Valley Electric Association could become an “anchor� customer to use gas for power generation, which would also help make it available for local homeowners. R Mike Bradner is Editor and Publisher of the Alaska Legislative Digest.

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


Alaska Business Monthly’s

Anchorage Centennial

1915-2015

100 Years of Business

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July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

85


20,000 BC

8,000 BC

Alaska Native peoples may have first started coming to Alaska

Ice Age ends, Bering Land bridge submerges

500 AD Dena’ina Athabascans inhabit Anchorage coastal area

1778

1867

1904

Captain James Cook explores Cook Inlet and Turnagain Arm

USA buys Alaska from Russia

AT&T Established in Alaska (WAMCATS Completed)

FROM THE EDITOR

Sidney H. Hamilton, Sidney Hamilton Photograph Collection; Anchorage Museum, Gift of Emily Turner, B1976.082.87

Follow us on and

Volume 31, Number 7 Published by Alaska Business Publishing Co. Anchorage, Alaska Jim Martin, Publisher 1989~2014

The Anchorage docks, before there was a port.

A

nchorage has come a long way since 1915, and we’re commemorating the first one hundred years with an Anchorage Centennial special section, which we’re also overprinting for additional distribution. Below are the credits for photos used on the cover, many of them historical. In addition, we’d like to thank our advertisers for making this special section possible. Cover design by David Geiger

Cover Photo Credits Left: Alaska Railroad Corporation headquarters in Anchorage. © Chris Arend Photography

Top right: The Government Hill view of Anchorage Tent City. © Pyatt-Laurence Collection; Anchorage Museum, B1983.146.4

Middle right: An early morning in the Anchorage rail yards at the S.L. Co. © Pyatt-Laurence Collection; Anchorage Museum, B1983.146.119

Bottom right: Unloading freight in Anchorage for the railroad construction. © Pyatt-Laurence Collection; Anchorage Museum, B1983.146.325

Additional Credits

Much of the timeline material was culled from “Anchorage All-America City” by Evangeline Atwood, published in 1957 by Bindfords & Mort, Portland, Oregon. Also the US Census Bureau, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development Research & Analysis Section, and the Permanent Fund Corporation. Most of the photos in the Anchorage Centennial special section are from the Atwood Resource Center in the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. We’d like to extend a special thank you to the folks there for all their help.

86

EDITORIAL STAFF

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

BUSINESS STAFF

President Billie Martin Vice President & Jason Martin General Mgr. VP Sales & Mktg. Charles Bell Senior Account Mgr. Anne Tompkins Senior Account Mgr. Bill Morris Account Mgr. Janis J. Plume Accountant & Melinda Schwab Circulation 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.

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mobile communications wherever you need it AT&T Remote Mobility Zone – critical communications for dark zones and disaster situations When your organization needs cellular and Internet service and none is available, the AT&T Remote Mobility Zone can get you connected, typically in less than 30 minutes. It’s a highly portable cellular communications site that links to the AT&T cellular network, providing service where you need it most. att.com/armz 800.955.9556

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1914

1915

President Woodrow Wilson signs Government Railroad Bill (March 12)

First contingent of railroad survey teams arrive (June 7)

President Wilson selects Susitna Route for railroad (April 10).

Port of Anchorage

Anchorage Chamber of Commerce founded

Engine of growth for Anchorage since the beginning By J. Pennelope Goforth

T

he port is the engine of growth for Anchorage. The tents and the people who lived in them, selling goods out of them, and the building materials for the town, complete with the horses that moved them up the hill, all came by ship. Thousands of people debarked from the popular steamship lines out of San Francisco, Portland, Port Townsend, and Seattle headed to Cook’s Inlet. Enterprising local miners hastily built rafts to ferry all the people and their goods from the ships, anchored in deep water, to the muddy shoreline of the creek. By the time the word went out that Ship Creek would be the terminus of the railroad, workers began the arduous task of building a “corduroy” road made from birch logs that ran for a half mile from the silty mud tideline all the way up to more solid ground. At least where wild grasses held the mud down and rocks held the grasses down. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of building materials were sent by cargo and barge to be offloaded in the roadsted just off Ship Creek. Ships’ cranes offloaded pallets of goods and building materials like cut lumber, spikes and nails, and hundreds of yards of canvas onto hastily built rafts that were poled a few hundred yards right up to one of the mouths of the meandering Ship Creek where the corduroy road began. Tent cities were a common site across the United States during the railroad building years. Most towns began as tent cities for the workers then evolved into support shacks for the workers, finally followed by wooden buildings for banks, churches, stores, and homes. Anchorage was no different. It just looked 88

© Daryl Pederson / AlaskaStock.com

Artillery is fired from the Port of Anchorage during the May 4, 2013, commissioning ceremony of the USS Anchorage (LPD 23); the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship is the second US Navy Vessel named after Anchorage.

more exotic in the wild beauty of Ship Creek with its flashing red and silver salmon and glorious flames of fireweed. Once the workers were established in their makeshift tent city, the Alaska Engineering Commission rapidly replaced the primitive corduroy road with the first tracks of the railroad right down to the tideline. Building progressed quickly after that. Dredges were brought in by ship and floated in to the meandering byways of the creek digging out the bottom to make it deeper for setting piling and putting in buildings. The mouth of Ship Creek changed to accommodate larger ships coming right up the new planned docks. And come they did, loaded with railroad ties, steel beams, more building materials, and more people. The fledging port was the pipeline for materials even after the railroad had been built from Anchorage to Seward. Had the port of Anchorage not been in place in 1964 the future of Alaska would have been very different. Nearly all the docks, except Anchorage, were severely damaged, if not washed away entirely. All supplies of medicine, food, clothes, medical and military personnel, and most important-

ly, rebuilding supplies were routed over the Port of Anchorage. Without the port, Alaska may not have survived that earthquake to go on and become a major city. Even the ballyhooed arrival of the airport owes its beginnings and its continuation to the Port of Anchorage. The city couldn’t have built itself, nor its airport runways and buildings, without the countless barges of cement that continuously delivered the building material to the dock. In fact, one of the barges was sunk into the face of a dock just to handle the movement of cement. Then there is the jet fuel—based on the laws of physics mentioned earlier, millions of gallons of jet fuel are cost-effectively brought in the holds of special tankers and piped out at the Anchorage dock to an elaborate system of pipes and trucks to supply the fuel that flies the planes. Oh, yes, and the cars and trucks fuel, too. Even Chevron with Techron Regular arrives by ship! Without the port of Anchorage, there would be no corporate metropolis on this bluff above Cook’s Inlet. R Alaskan author J. Pennelope Goforth is home ported in Anchorage.

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


1915 Anchorage established as a community

Post Office erected

President authorizes 350 acre townsite

665 townsite lots auctioned

Wolf’s opens (Pioneer Sheet Metal Works)

1916

1917

1918

Historic Anchorage Hotel Established

Anchorage has 1,349 buildings; 162 businesses; Population 5,000

First trains between Anchorage and Seward

From Tent City to Corporate Metropolis

The growth of business and industry in Anchorage By Tasha Anderson

W

e still refer to Alaska as the Last Frontier; the spirit of moving out and building up was Anchorage’s core in 1915 as people gathered to bid on lots, anticipating a new railroad and a future of nothing but opportunity. And what an opportunity it was: Tents lining the shores of Ship Creek have transformed into an international hub of transportation and commerce, the largest city in a state that has and continues to imagine, plan, and implement global-scale projects. While many towns in Alaska experienced boom and bust as natural resources were discovered, extracted, and eventually

exhausted, Anchorage has managed a history of mostly steady growth, taking advantage of its geographical location as a hub for transportation, business, technology, and community. There’s no one date or event in the city’s history that steered it from booming and busting to instead growing into a modern city, just a conglomerate of projects, events, and passionate groups building Anchorage from the ground up. The Anchorage Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2015. “In looking through the archives, as best as we can determine, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce was formed shortly after the tent city was cre-

Innovating Since 1915

1917

1915

1930 1945

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– 1915 Pioneer Sheet Metal Works near Ship Creek, Anchorage – 1917 Pioneer Sheet Metal expands – 1930 Pioneer Sheet Metal becomes Wolfes Department Store – 1945 Wolfes Dept. Store, 5th & C St. – 1965 Wolfes Home Furnishings – 2015 Wolf’s Distributing Company

1965

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1919

1920

First ocean going vessel to tie up to Anchorage dock (September 13)

Anchorage incorporates as a city. Population 1,856

1921

1923

First train from Seward to Fairbanks (November 26)

First municipal airport (May)

Going out to lunch in July 1915 in Anchorage. © Anchorage Tent City; Anchorage Museum, B1978.014.74

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1926

1927

1930

1934

NC Machinery established

Commercial flight operations beguin

Anchorage unemployment 30% Population 2,277

The Odom Corporation opens

ated,” says Bruce Bustamante, president of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. “Anchorage was actually incorporated a few years later as a city, but our history runs parallel.” Bustamante says that the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, in its early stages, was comprised of members from the railroad and mining industries, quickly also including the businesses that inevitably spring up in the wake of the development of natural resource industries—real estate, construction, banking, retail, and other support services. He says in many ways the Chamber acted as a liaison between local business owners and the federal government.

Anchorage, Alaska’s Hub The federal government has always been a significant presence in Alaska, and specifically Anchorage, in one way or another since the state was purchased. In 1915 a route was chosen by President Woodrow Wilson, with funding approved by Congress at the estimated cost of $35 million, from Seward to Fairbanks, providing a federally operated transportation route from the southern, ice-free harbor at Seward to the Interior. This route established Anchorage as a railroad construction town. “Really the tent city was established for crews to build the railroad; so of course the railroad would have been prominent in the business community back then,” Bustamante says. Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC)

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First US Army bombers arrive

1939

1940

President Franklin Roosevelt withdraws 50,000 acres for military base

First soldiers arrive to build Elmendorf Air Force Base

President Bill Popp also speaks on how significant the railroad was to Anchorage’s humble beginning: “Being at the center point of the railroad was one of the key elements to [Anchorage’s growth] because it became the staging area where you could finally get from there [Southeast] to here,” Popp says. Construction of the Alaska Railroad was completed in 1923. In 1985 it was purchased by the State of Alaska for $22 million, and remains state-owned to date, still headquartered in Anchorage. In 1915 another major Alaska access point was established in Anchorage; the Lathrop Dock was constructed in Cook Inlet to meet the needs of the start-up city, a dock which would eventually become the Port of Anchorage. “The development of the Port of Anchorage really kind of kick-started a lot of growth over time,” Popp says. “It wasn’t meteoric growth; it was long, steady growth with booms created initially by the railroad and the construction of the railroad.” It wasn’t until 1961 that the Port of Anchorage officially commenced activities. Not three years later, Alaska was devastated by The Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964. The epicenter of the earthquake was approximately seventy-five miles east of Anchorage. The second largest earthquake ever recorded in the world, the four-minute quake was felt all throughout Alaska, in parts of Canada, and in Washington state. The earthquake destroyed the docks, tracks to the docks, and small boat harbor located at Seward, a significant rail

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1940

1945

1946

Population 3,496

South Addition annexed

Arctic Office opens

Government Hill recognized as part of city

port facility. After the earthquake, many shipments that had been transported through Seward instead were routed through Whittier or directly to Anchorage, which in comparison was not significantly damaged, establishing Anchorage as a regional marine hub. Additionally, “a lot of federal money came in to help rebuild the city at that point,” Bustamante says, adding to Anchorage’s continued growth. A little over a decade before the Port of Anchorage bloomed into a marine transportation hub, in 1950 Anchorage International Airport (renamed Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport by the Alaska Legislature in 2000) opened. “At that time passenger services in Anchorage International Airport was huge; we were the ‘air crossroads’ of the world from a passenger point of view,” says Popp. “To get to Asia from North America or from Europe coming over the pole, you had to stop in Anchorage. The aircraft couldn’t get there from most destinations, into Japan, Korea, and beyond, because of the closed airspace of the Soviet Union,” as a result of the Cold War. Anchorage was now an international crossroads by land, sea, and air.

US Military When the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War ended, “Anchorage went from this massive international passenger hub to nothing in a very short period of time,” Popp says. “We were the number one duty-free sales location in the world for a number of years and then that all vanished.” Of course, today

94

Zoning ordinance passed

Loussac Foundation established

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is thriving. “It was just about the time that the passenger industry collapsed that there was a recognition with the growing air cargo [industry] that Anchorage was a phenomenal location geographically—basically a gas-and-go for air cargo jets,” Popp says. The huge benefit to stopping in Anchorage is that less fuel can be loaded on a plane, allowing more cargo to be shipped per plane instead. “You could make north of $100,000 of extra revenue per flight; when you’re talking five hundred to six hundred flights a week, that’s some pretty serious revenues for the air cargo industry,” Popp says. “That geography continues to benefit us to this day.” Military considerations contributed to the growth of Anchorage in significant ways other than through the airport. “The Cold War era also created significant investment in Alaska from a military point of view, [Alaska] being the closest point in the United States to Russia, which made us a significant strategic area,” Popp says. Even before the Cold War, the US military had an interest in Alaska, specifically in the 1940s and through World War II because of the state’s proximity to Japan. “After the military bases were established, they played a huge role in expanding Anchorage in the early twentieth century,” Bustamante says. In 2013, there were 23,000 military personnel and 33,000 dependents stationed in Alaska, which includes members of the US Air Force, US Army, US Marine Corps, US Coast

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


1947 Big Ray’s/Army Navy opens

Independent School District approved

City Planning Commission created

First parking meters on city streets

Businesses along First Avenue, Old Town Anchorage, in August 1915. © Pyatt-Laurence Collection; Anchorage Museum, B1983.146.7

a r m y

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In 1947 two servicemen, Glenn Miller and Dick Cruver, founded Big Ray’s and Army Navy. In the Anchorage area Army Navy began by selling surplus war materials to the public. The original 4th Avenue store continues to thrive today. bigrays.com

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July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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1948

1949 Associated General Contractors of Alaska established

Alaska Highway opens to public

First traffic lights on 4th Avenue

First attempt to pass sales tax fails

Fort Richardson activated

Daily passenger railroad service between Anchorage and Fairbanks

Š Pyatt-Laurence Collection; Anchorage Museum, B1983.146.272

Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union Chartered

1950

A team of horses moving a building into Downtown Anchorage from its Tent City location.

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Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


1951

Population 11,254

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport established

Home mail delivery begins

Highway completed between Anchorage and Seward

Ward Wells, Ward Wells Collection; Anchorage Museum, B1983.091.S1214.2

1950

Businessmen shake hands at Yukon Equipment over an Allis Chalmers dozer in 1951.

Guard, and National Guard. Of those, 12,295 personnel were stationed in Anchorage along with their 19,067 dependents, according to the latest population estimates released by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development released in February this year.

Happy 100th Anchorage!

Today’s military presence is about 15 percent of what it was at its peak seven decades ago. Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is the amalgamation of the US Air Force’s Elmendorf Air Force Base and the US Army’s Fort Richardson. Elmendorf was built in Anchorage in 1940,

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1953

1954

Mount Spurr volcano erupts

Community College opens

Lynden Inc. begins serving Alaska

Construction of businesses on Anchorage’s Fourth Avenue started as soon as the lots were sold in 1915. © Pyatt-Laurence Collection; Anchorage Museum, B1983.146.276

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July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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1955

1956

1957

Avis of Alaska opens (Alaska Rent A Car)

Anchorage named All-America City

Swanson River oil and gas discovered

1958

1959

President Eisenhower signs Alaska Statehood Bill

Alaska admitted as 49th state

Anchorage is honored as an AllAmerica City in 1956, 1965, 1984-85, and 2002 by the National Civic League. Š William W. Bacon / AlaskaStock.com

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1960

1961

Oil discovered offshore in Cook Inlet

Population 82,833

1962

Alaska Statebank Opens (Now KeyBank, N.A.)

Anchorage Opera Established

Joe Spenard brought the first car to Anchorage in 1916. © Pyatt-Laurence Collection; Anchorage Museum, B1983.146.88

and the US military continued building its presence in Anchorage and the rest of the state through the ‘40s and ‘50s. “In 1940, about 1,000 of Alaska’s 75,000 residents were military. By 1943, 152,000 out of 233,000 belonged to the armed forces stationed in Alaska. And even though there was a post-war drop in population to about 99,000 in 1946, Cold War

military expenditures pushed it back up to around 138,000 by 1950. The war years irrevocably changed Alaska,” according to “A Brief History of Alaska Statehood,” authored by Eric Gislason.

Statehood It was in the midst of this international turmoil, perhaps in part because of the

extra attention pointed Alaska’s way because of its strategic geographic position, that Alaska became a state in 1959. “The Chamber was very involved with [Alaska becoming a state],” Bustamante says. “As a matter of fact, our board chair at the time was Bob Atwood, and he certainly got the Chamber involved. That was one their major focus.”

MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION Whether you work for yourself, a business, or in the public sector, understanding government’s relationship with citizens and industry will be critical to your success and Alaska’s future. For more information and to sign up for Fall 2015 classes, visit www.uas.alaska.edu/som or call 1(800) 478-9069. Learn where you live and work with Alaska’s online business and public administration school. www.uas.alaska.edu/som www.akbizmag.com

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July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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1963

1964

Spruce Park Auto Body opens

Anchorage Chrysler Dodge Center opens

President Kennedy assassinated

Greater Anchorage Area Borough formed

Good Friday Earthquake Anchorage rebuilding destroys much of Anchorage efforts begin immediately

US Geological Survey Photographic Library, ID eib00337

Epicenter of the 9.2 magnitude March 27, 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake (red star), caused when the Pacific Plate lurched northward underneath the North American Plate. US Geological Survey

Alaska’s statehood gave the state an opportunity to have a direct influence on the federal government and federal spending here, as well as regulations concerning natural resources such as oil, gas, timber, and fishing.

TAPS Little more than a decade later, the eight-hundred-mile Trans Alaska Pipeline System, one of the world’s largest pipeline systems, was constructed. It is almost impossible to guess

Turnagain Heights slide mass looking roughly south. Note the structures on the new bluff in the background. The ground surface was lowered about thirty-five feet from the pre-quake level.

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1965

1967

1968

Anchorage named All-America City second time

Northern Printing opens

Anchorage Museum opens

1969 Prudhoe Bay oilfield discovered

Mayors throughout the years City of Anchorage 1920-1975 Incorporated in November 1920

Leopold David M. Joseph Conroy Charles Bush Chris M. Eckmann William Clayson Grant Reed James Delaney Oscar S. Gill Thomas J. McCroskey Oscar S. Gill Herbert E. Brown Joseph H. Romig Herbert E. Brown George Vaara William Alex Stolt Ray Wolfe John E. Manders Winfield Ervin, Jr. Francis C. Bowden Zachariah J. Loussac Maynard L. Taylor, Jr. Ken Hinchey Anton Anderson Hewitt Lounsbury George Byer George Sharrock Elmer E. Rasmuson George M. Sullivan

1920–1923 1923–1924 1924–1926 1926–1927 1927–1928 1928–1929 1929–1932 1932–1933 1933–1934 1934–1936 1936–1937 1937–1938 1938–1940 1940–1941 1941–1944 1944–1945 1945–1946 1946–1946 1946–1948 1948–1951] 1951–1955 1955–1956 1956–1958 1958–1959 1959–1961 1961–1964 1964–1967 1967–1975

Greater Anchorage Area Borough 1964-1975 Formed in 1964

John Asplund John Roderick

1964–1972 1972–1975

Municipality of Anchorage 1975-Present

Created in 1975—City of Anchorage and Greater Anchorage Area Borough merged George M. Sullivan Tony Knowles Tom Fink Rick Mystrom George Wuerch Mark Begich Matt Claman Dan Sullivan Ethan Berkowitz 104

1975–1981 1981–1987 1987–1994 1994–2000 2000-2003 2003-2009 2009-2009 2009-2015 2015–Present

Apollo 11 astronauts walk on the moon

1970

1971

1973

Population 124,542

President Nixon signs Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act

Price of oil rises from $3/barrel to $16/barrel

what Anchorage would look like today if the pipeline had not been built. According to the May 2014 “The Role of the Oil and Gas Industry in Alaska’s Economy” report prepared by the McDowell Group for the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, “Including all direct, indirect, and induced employment and wages, oil and gas industry’s spending in Alaska accounted for fifty-one thousand jobs and $3.45 billion in total wages in Alaska’s private sector,” with thirty-one thousand jobs and $2.07 billion in wages specifically in Anchorage. The ramifications of building the pipeline go far beyond direct jobs and wages. Almost every support service type industry in Alaska was built on or built up to sustain oil and gas work, including banking, real estate, construction, transportation, hospitality, healthcare, retail, and business services. This huge boon to Anchorage’s economy was actually a precursor to the foundation of the AEDC, Popp says. “In 1984 the Municipality of Anchorage Economic Development Commission felt that things were getting a little too ‘wild, wild west’ in Anchorage. Massive amounts of money were being injected into the economy by the state treasury, which was creating a very significant boom in the community, and the community leadership of the Commission at that time, in addition to the administration, felt that there was a need for better planning, better strategies, if you will, to try and guide the city towards diversification—to take advantage of all the

T L  H Q P  A    A  D. – E  –

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1975 City of Anchorage and Greater Anchorage Area Borough merge into Municipality

1976 Work begins on trans Alaska oil pipeline

Exxon opens Anchorage office

1977 Alaska voters establish Permanent Fund

Alaska Pacific Bank Opens in Anchorage (Now KeyBank, N.A.)

Work completes on trans Alaska oil pipeline

In 1917, a second stage of work in Anchorage included new twelve-foot concrete sidewalks. J.J. Delaney Collection; Anchorage Museum, B1970.019.212

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1980

GCI established (General Communication Inc.)

Public and private construction boom begins

1982 Population 174,431

1983

Price of oil fixed at $34/barrel by OPEC

Permanent Fund Dividend checks begin

ConocoPhillips Tower Built

© Pyatt-Laurence Collection; Anchorage Museum, B1983.146.266

1979

The first log cabin hospital in Anchorage.

wealth that was flowing through the city and try to guide it into a long-standing economic development strategy.”

Diversification Diversification alleviates many of the risks associated with an economy that runs solely on one or two industries. “We’re pretty much a resource based economy or a federal dollars Anchorage Supply Company. © Pyatt-Laurence Collection; Anchorage Museum, B1983.146.286

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July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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1984 Alaska Business Publishing Co., Inc. established (Alaska Business Monthly)

Anchorage Named All-America City third time

Railroad equipment used during construction of the tracks. Š Pyatt-Laurence Collection; Anchorage Museum, B1983.146.308

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© Pyatt-Laurence Collection; Anchorage Museum, B1983.146.156

Egan Civic & Convention Center opens

Early canneries on the shores of Ship Creek and Cook Inlet.

based economy or both, depending on the business model that you’re in, and that means that the businesses that rely on those two components either in part or in total are at risk of things like the collapse of the price of the barrel of oil or an ounce of gold or the diminishment of federal dollars,” Popp says. Anchorage has made significant efforts since the 1980s to broaden the industries working in the city, building a varied corporate portfolio. The Alaska Native Regional Corporations, formed under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, were created

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for the purpose of providing opportunity to and preserving the culture of Alaska Natives, but their effect on the economy of all Alaska has been significant. Many have offices, branches, and operations in Anchorage, throughout the Lower 48, and internationally. “The [Native Regional Corporations] are generating wealth [Outside], but that money is coming back into Anchorage… they’re not just regionalized to their respective geographic areas,” Bustamante says. Technology has significantly influenced how Anchorage has begun to diversify its economy. “[Technology] makes

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1985

Independence Park Medical Services opens

Alaska Railroad transferred to State of Alaska

1986

1987

Price of oil drops to below $10/barrel economy crashes

Sheffield Anchorage Hotel Purchased by Holland America Line and renamed Westmark Anchorage Hotel

© R.J. Clucas | Image courtesy of AVO / US Geological Survey

© W.M.White | Image courtesy of AVO / US Geological Survey

1984

Above left: Redoubt Volcano during a continuous, low-level eruption of steam and ash December 18, 1989. Above right: The mushroom-shaped plume rose from avalanches of hot debris (pyroclastic flows) that cascaded down the north flank of Redoubt Volcano April 21, 1990. A smaller, white steam plume rises from the summit crater.

Alaska businesses more competitive in certain segments,” Popp says. “It particularly allows those in the design fields, architecture and engineering, to be competitive on a global basis. We’ve seen a number of Alaska-based businesses who’ve been extremely successful in exporting their skills elsewhere in the world. DOWL and RIM Architects are great examples that have offices elsewhere in the nation and in the

110

world, maintaining that core set of competencies and headquarters here in Alaska, but bringing those outside dollars into our state and keeping people employed here.” Bustamante, who has worked for many years in the tourism industry, notes how advancing technology has changed the face of that industry as well. “How did Anchorage promote itself twenty-five or thirty years ago? By buying an ad in a news-

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


1989

1989-90

Exxon Valdez oil spill creates economic recovery

1990

1992

Population 226,338

Mount Spurr volcano erupts, covers Anchorage in ash

Mount Redoubt volcano erupts

1997 AT&T Alaska (AT&T purchased Alascom)

Accurate Hearing Systems LLC opens

paper, maybe creating a television ad. Now they’re optimizing search results and making sure they have an impactful website: that’s the draw, that’s your billboard right there… Now we’re booking ourselves [for flights or hotels] on our cell phones and changing our seat assignments on the fly.”

AEDC’s Focus on Business Part of that tourism industry, and another effort in AEDC’s efforts to diversify, is the Alyeska Hotel and Resort; the property was developed in the mid-1980s into a world class resort. “The state made a contribution of just a little over $3 million in incentives,” Popp says, that was given in trust to AEDC to dole out on a specific payment schedule as key project components were completed, such as road and Roiling eruption column rising from Crater Peak vent of Mount Spurr volcano August 18, 1992. © Game McGimsey | Image courtesy of AVO / US Geological Survey

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1999

2000 21st Century begins

Population 260,283

Š Don Pitcher / AlaskaStock

Alaska Native Heritage Center opens

Fireworks over Anchorage.

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2002 Anchorage named All-American City fourth time

2008 Alaska Photobooth Company opens

sewer improvements, improving the lifts and overall mountain access, and the construction of what is now the Alyeska Hotel. Another was bringing FedEx to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. “AEDC helped facilitate a lot of the research that was needed; we helped to advocate for the project; we encouraged the partnership with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority in their efforts to finance the hangar. Now we’re ranked in at least the top three in terms of hubs for FedEx in the world, in terms on tonnage and transition,” Popp says. He continues, “It’s interesting how life seems to repeat itself related to the Anchorage economy and what AEDC is doing. We’re embarking on a large scale project with the airport looking at niche business opportunities that would be related to distribution, maybe some light fabrication or manufacturing, reverse logistics, the return of products from Asia into North America, with a focus towards pharmaceuticals, aerospace and aviation, consumer electronics, and perhaps auto parts, but that’s a long shot.” Additionally, AEDC is continuing efforts on business retention and expansion, “going out and doing an aggressive dive into the challenges that all businesses in Anchorage face, the opportunities that some business lines may be missing, and working to overcome those challenges or highlight those opportunities.”

Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, Networking the Way Bustamante says that the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce’s focus has shifted over the last hundred years. Its cur-

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Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center opens

rent mission is “to advance a successful business climate by attending to the civic, economic, and cultural betterment of our community. We achieve this through three channels: advocacy, connectivity, and education.” The chamber provides “tremendous” networking opportunities, allowing businesses to interact outside of their respective industries. “Networking now has a lot of value when you’re in business. We feel that’s a real strength of the chamber. There are a lot of organizations in the state and in Anchorage that are very trade specific and industry specific. The chamber, historically, has been a mix. It’s not just a banking organization, it’s not just oil and gas or tourism or cruise lines; you have representatives from all sectors. When you’re looking to network to expand your business, to advocate for or against regulations or taxes, it’s important that you get an organization like the Chamber on board because that’s a very broad representation across the business community.” Over the years, many organizations and programs have started with the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and broken off, including Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling, the Alaska Top 40 Under 40, the City of Lights Initiative, and the 1935 Fur Rendezvous, according to Bustamante. “When you’re one hundred years old, you touch a lot of things.” R Tasha Anderson is an Associate Editor at Alaska Business Monthly.

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2008

2010

2012

2013

Nonemployer establishments 19,347

Private Nonfarm businesses 8,609

2015

Anchorage: 2115

Anchorage Healthcare Jobs: 18,100 nearly double since 2000

Population 291,826

Population 300,549

‘We’ll achieve great things’

A

By Susan Harrington, Managing Editor

nchorage in one hundred years will be very different, though it’s hard to say in what ways. I remember first coming to Alaska in July 1979; I landed in Anchorage and overnighted before catching a flight out to Bristol Bay. I rented a car and drove around Downtown, ending up at the Port of Anchorage, and actually driving out on the docks to the end. It was a misty day—or night—who knows what time it was because of the endless light from a seemingly never setting sun. It was magical though, I do remember that. In one hundred years I expect the misty magic of Anchorage will still awe those who arrive for the first time and might hold throughout their stay. Fourth Avenue, an iconic corridor, will still be here, and I imagine it will be lined with vertical structures reaching into the sky. Plans are already underway to transform the Fourth Avenue Theater into a twenty-eight story mixed-use building designed to house condos, residential rentals, and various business establishments. It might be the only one like it in five or ten years when it’s completed, but in one hundred years? Fourth Avenue will be lined with even taller buildings. I see Midtown changing dramatically; the full spectrum of businesses will eventually be razed and replaced with more high rises until that’s all there is. Mixed-use will be the new norm. With the scarcity of land facing builders now, in one hundred years there will be no empty lots, and no deteriorating buildings. South Anchorage will have expanded its business district as well, and become a nearly self-contained city in itself. The city will have expanded across Cook Inlet in both di114

rections—across the Knik and Turnagain arms—the bridges doing double duty as tidal power generators. The roads will all be wide, smooth, and level with constantly resurfacing and mending nanopavement; currently under development, it will have replaced the roadways in 2115. We’re building new roads such as the Dowling extension this summer and roads into the future are anybody’s guess. There will be satellite parking lots in every geographical corner of the city with truly public transport getting people to their work sectors—quickly and on time, instead of all the constant driving back and forth. Something will be invented and implemented, perhaps electric-powered, all-weather escalator-type sidewalks connecting the mass transport stations between the various districts. All the current known reserves of Alaska oil and gas will be long gone in one hundred more years; the next round of basic industries generated money and power will be phased in and evolving as well. You can bet it will be great. Ethan Berkowitz, Anchorage’s newest mayor effective July 1, is somebody who intends to shape the future of Anchorage over the next few years and lead us toward a successful second one hundred years. He had this to say: “Anchorage has grown and developed over the past 100 years. The next 100 years will be a time of change, innovation, and an opportunity to make Anchorage safe, secure, and strong. We are fortunate enough to be both the air crossroads of the world and the gateway to the Arctic. It is time to use our strategic position to show off our city to the world. We have great opportunities because of where we are, but we’ll achieve great things because of who we are.”  R

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


2015 Matson begins Alaska service

Anchorage Centennial Events Calendar Compiled by Tasha Anderson Ongoing and Recurring Events

7/2-9/3 Anchorage: The First 100 Years—A Theatrical Tour Each week for ten weeks, Cyrano’s Theatre Company presents a different decade in Anchorage in the form of a living newspaper, highlighting the headline stories and colorful characters of the day, with authentic music of the period and film clips. Cyrano’s Theatre, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. cyranos.org

16 The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra Presents “The Cheechakos” The Anchorage Symphony Orchestra will be accompanying a screening of “The Cheechakos” silent film on July 16th at the Atwood Concert Hall. Produced in 1923 by Austin Cap Lathrop’s Alaska Moving Pictures Corporation, the silent film “The Cheechakos” was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the US Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2003. Atwood Concert Hall.

7/12 & 8/9 Stories at the Cemetery Costumed actors present life stories at grave sites in Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery. To celebrate the year 2015, fifteen of the notable founders, movers and shakers, and early notorious residents of the city will be featured at each tour. On July 12 a self-guided walking tour of the cemetery will feature a story at each of the grave sites. The August 9 program will feature the same stories presented on a stage on the cemetery grounds. Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery, 6 p.m.

25 Anchorage Tent City Festival This event will pay homage to the tent city which was the essence of Anchorage’s beginning, the businesses that keep Anchorage’s economy strong one hundred years later, and the community for “buying local.” There will be a re-enactment of the tent city lease sale in a picnicstyle celebration on the Delaney Park Strip featuring local food and drinks, door prizes, fun games for the family, live music, and stage entertainment. Delaney Park Strip.

8/1, 8/22 & 9/13 Nike Site Summit Tour During the Cold War era from 1945 to 1989 the threat of a Soviet nuclear attack against the United States kept our armed forces on constant alert. Anchorage experienced incredible growth due to its strategic and military importance during this time. Today, still visible from Downtown, there’s a magnificent remnant of America’s first line of defense in the Cold War era: Nike Site Summit. Please be aware that Nike Site Summit is located on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in an active training area. Public access is by guided tours only. To comply with Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson security requirements, reservations are required thirty days in advance. Tours are 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on each date. nikesitesummit.net

20 40th Anniversary of Municipality of Anchorage Cook Inlet Historical Society presents former Municipal mayors and charter commissioners as well as Dennis Wheeler, Municipal Attorney. This centennial celebration concludes recognizing the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Municipality of Anchorage on September 15, 1975. Former mayors and commissioners have been invited to discuss the deliberations leading to the unified government. The Municipal Attorney will discuss the Anchorage Charter and efforts to transcribe commission deliberations as an oral history of our community. Anchorage Museum, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

11/13/2015-1/10/2016 100: Images from the Archives As part of the Anchorage Museum’s program commemorating the Anchorage Centennial, this exhibit will tell the story of a growing city in a remote land told through 100 images from the Anchorage Museum’s archives. anchoragemuseum.org.

July

4 Happy Birthday Anchorage and 4th of July Celebration This year’s celebration will pay tribute to the Anchorage Centennial Celebration as the city officially turns 100 years old in July 2015. It will feature delicious vendors, centennial activities, and entertainment. Delaney Park Strip. 4 Anchorage Bucs and Glacier Pilots 4th of July Throwback Game The Anchorage Bucs and Anchorage Glacier Pilots will pay tribute to the Anchorage Centennial and the long history of baseball in Anchorage. Players will sport their throwback uniforms and feature Centennial facts about Anchorage and baseball during intermissions and before the game. Mulcahy Stadium, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. 9 Anchorage in 1915: Its Founding and Significance to the World Dr. Preston Jones, Professor of History at John Brown University of Arkansas, will commemorate a century of growth and progress, reviewing the community’s prospects at the time. When Anchorage was founded, much of the world was at war and the United States was becoming an industrial and economic power, growing rapidly with a large influx of immigrants. Since that time Anchorage has not only been Alaska’s largest city, but also the base of American power in the North. Anchorage Museum, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

www.akbizmag.com

August

September

12 ABG Harvest Day & Scarecrow Contest Enjoy a Fall Harvest Festival with presentations, chef demos, family fun, games, and food vendors. Witness the harvesting of Anchorage Botanical Garden’s new Centennial-inspired Anchorage Heritage Garden, a recreation of an early Anchorage homesite featuring the inter-planting of flowers and vegetables favored by early residents. The display is designed to educate visitors on the “lost art” of co-planting. Guests can also enter a Recycled Scarecrow in the Scarecrow Contest to win prizes. Anchorage Botanical Garden. 15 Centennial of Holy Family Cathedral Anchorage’s Catholic Cathedral is celebrating 100 years, having broken ground on September 15, 1915. The Holy Family Cathedral will be celebrating with a Mass and celebration in our Holy Family Center with photos, stories, book signing, and much more. Holy Family Cathedral, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

December

13 Oscar Anderson House Museum Oscar Anderson, who came to the new city of Anchorage in April of 1915 while it was still a sea of tents, moved with his family into their privately-constructed wood-frame house overlooking Cook Inlet just in time for Christmas 1915. Today, the Oscar Anderson House Museum has been restored to the time period when Anchorage was new; staff and volunteers annually celebrate the Swedish holiday traditions of its first family by opening the museum decorated for the season for the first two weekends in December. For 2015, a special celebration is planned for Sunday, December 13. Oscar Anderson House Museum, Noon to 4 p.m. July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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For more information, call our Alaska Support Center at 1-877-678-SHIP or visit matson.com/Alaska

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HR Matters

By Kevin M. Dee

How to Choose the Right Consultant for Your Alaska Business

W

hen you need help or expertise that is not in-house, using a consultant can be a great way to go. A good consultant can assist you through growth pains, help guide you through hard issues, help you work smarter, and guide you through the rocky path of change. Whether it’s a complex problem, change management, or as a catalyst to grow your team, consulting done well adds value and is a cost savings in most cases. In the worst cases, consultants overcharge for little value, delivering little except their bill. How do you choose a consultant that will add the most value and meet your needs, all at a reasonable cost? Why use a consultant? Why not send an employee to get the training or expertise a consultant would bring? Weigh this option seriously. If you run out of time or need the expertise to bring your group together NOW, a neutral third party consultant can be a great shortcut to higher performance. Whether you need specific expertise, training, facilitation, organizational development, or assistance with human resources—there are consulting firms available. If you follow these simple guidelines you will be well on your way to getting the assistance you need.

1

Know the result you want so you can clearly communicate it. It doesn’t matter if you do or don’t know exactly how you want your consultant to help you achieve that result. It does matter that you know the questions you want answered or the products you want delivered through using a consultant. The more you can identify and define the outcomes you want, the better your selection will be.

2

Ping your network of colleagues or professional associations for recommendations. Ask who they have used and who they might know. A referral is always the best for your business and the consultant. Our firm does www.akbizmag.com

not advertise and our business is 100 percent referral based.

3

Once you have some consultants in mind, check them out in depth. Meet in person and ask these questions: n What is their experience and education? Do they have a degree from a reputable college or was it mail order? n Do they have experience doing similar work? When and with whom? Can you contact them? n Have they ever had an engagement go bad? Why? n Is their professional background and certification appropriate for the job at hand? n Do they have and do they abide by a professional code of ethics? Do they guarantee their work? n Have they worked in Alaska long? I once saw a consultant on a flight to Bethel refuse to leave the plane when it landed. He was from Seattle and not quite prepared for the culture shock that he experienced. Cultural competence and working in Alaska with all the travel and living logistics are very important. You can hire from outside, but expect them to take some time to get oriented to the Alaska way of doing things.

4

Check for fit. Will this consultant, group or approach mesh with your culture and the way you do things? Can they “get” your situation quickly and is their proposal a good solution for your needs? Are you open to an outsider’s feedback? If you are, great consultants can give you insight into your organization and where it needs to develop that you might not see.

5

Determine a fee or cost schedule. Professionals will work at a fixed price or a “not to exceed” rate for work with clear scope and deliverables. If the work is not fully defined, an hourly rate can be used as long as progress is closely monitored so it doesn’t drag on. Consultants bill on actual time spent on task and should account for that time in their billing. For larger projects ask for a discount due to the volume of work. Is the value delivered for the costs incurred worth it? Is it a good value proposition?

6

Define the products and deliverables that will be the outcome of the engagement. Be specific here on when and how deliverables will be presented and who owns the resulting products. Some consultants will lay claim in their contracts to work you paid for and thus, you should own. Make sure ownership is stipulated up front. Working with a quality consultant or consulting group can be a cost saving measure if used properly. When you need to find answers or take your game to the next level, consultants— used properly—can add tremendous value. In Alaska there are some really great folks doing great work and there are some real poseurs who give the profession a bad name. Take the time to choose wisely and you won’t regret it.R Kevin M. Dee has a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University and is the president of KMD Services & Consulting. He has more than twenty-eight years of experience providing leadership development, organizational development, and human resource services in Alaska and internationally. Contact him at mail@kmdconsulting.biz. July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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RIGHT MOVES Alaska Business Monthly

Alaska Business Monthly welcomes Janis J. Plume, Advertising Account Manager, as the newest team member. He joins Vice President of Sales Charles Bell and Senior Advertising Account Managers Bill Morris and Anne Tompkins as an Plume advertising sales executive. Prior to joining Alaska Business Monthly, Plume spent much of the past twenty-five years working at two of the most prominent advertising agencies in Alaska.

Providence Medical Group Alaska

Harold Johnston, MD, is the new Chief Executive for Providence Medical Group Alaska. Johnston earned a bachelor’s in philosophy from Whitman, began his medical training with the University of Alaska Fairbanks WAMI program, Johnston and then completed his medical degree at the University of Washington. Johnston began medical practice in 1989 at the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center after his family medicine residency at Swedish Hospital in Seattle.

Northrim BanCorp, Inc.

Schierhorn

Frye

Martin

Northrim BanCorp, Inc., the holding company for Northrim Bank, promoted executive and senior officers of Northrim Bank and Northrim BanCorp, Inc. Joe Schierhorn is now President, Chief Operating Officer of Northrim Bank while retaining his title as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Northrim BanCorp. He is a charter employee with the bank and started his Northrim career as Vice President, Commercial Loan Officer and Regulatory Compliance Manager and has been an Executive Vice President since 2001. Latosha Frye is now Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer for both Northrim Bank

Compiled by Russ Slaten and Northrim BanCorp. Frye joined Northrim in 2006, hired as Assistant Vice President, Lead Accountant for Financial Reporting. Michael Martin is now Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for both Northrim Bank and Northrim BanCorp. Martin started at Northrim Bank in 2011 and has twenty years of experience in the financial industry.

Hartung

Amundson

Blury

Steve Hartung remains Executive Vice President at both Northrim Bank and Northrim BanCorp, and moves to lead Corporate Development and Affiliate Relations. Several Northrim Bank senior managers saw promotions as well. Audrey Amundson is now Executive Vice President, Organizational Development and Planning. Amundson is also a charter officer and was the longtime Controller for Northrim Bank and the original Human Resources Manager. Jay Blury is now Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications Director. Blury started at Northrim in 2006 in the Marketing Department.

Craig

Miller

Wolfe

Ben Craig is now Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer. Craig joined Northrim in 2009 and has worked in the financial industry since 2001. Jim Miller is now Executive Vice President, Chief Credit Officer. Miller started at Northrim Bank in 1997 as a Vice President in the Commercial Loan department and has more than forty years of experience in the financial industry. Lynn Wolfe is now Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer. Wolfe joined Northrim in 1991. She was the Assistant Controller and Assistant Human Resources Manager and worked in many different departments.

Business Insurance Associates, Inc.

Geoffrey Willis was promoted to Commercial Account Executive, where he will oversee the insurance and risk management programs for several hundred businesses in Alaska. Willis has been with Business Insurance Associates for six years. Eric Van Horne was promoted to Commercial Account Manager. He was an Assistant Account Manager for two years. Van Horne will help manage the commercial insurance and risk management needs of a diverse group of Alaska businesses. Catherine Maccabee was promoted to Administrative Operations Manager. She was an Administrative Assistant for two years. Maccabee will be responsible for overseeing internal accounting processes and insurance administrative operations in her new role.

PND Engineers, Inc.

Cogdill

Branstetter

Kopplow

Ingrid Martin Cogdill joins PND in Anchorage as the Marketing Manager. Cogdill is a former journalist and worked as PND’s marketing director from 2000 to 2008, gaining extensive engineering industry marketing experience. Cogdill earned a Chenery BA in Journalism from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Rachelle Branstetter was hired as a Marketing Associate. Branstetter recently graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a BA in English Rhetoric. Jake Kopplow, EIT, joins PND Ringler as a Staff Civil Engineer. Kopplow earned a BS in Civil Engineering from Idaho State University and has several years of experience in construction and engineering. Angela Chenery joins the firm as a Staff Accountant with more than fifteen years of accounting experience. Chenery earned a BAS in Business Administration

OH MY! 118

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


RIGHT MOVES from Wayland Baptist University. Chad Ringler, EIT, was hired as a Staff Civil Engineer and his primary responsibilities are civil design and permitting. He earned a BS in Civil Engineering as well as a BA in Biological Science from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

AEDC

AEDC (Anchorage Economic Development Corporation) promoted Brooke Taylor to Communications Assistant Director and hired Bridgette Coleman as Business and Economic Taylor Development Assistant Director. Taylor joined AEDC in 2014 as Communications Coordinator and brings more than ten years of experience in public relations, media outreach, and public outreach. Coleman first interned with AEDC in the summer of 2014. She Coleman earned a BA in business management and marketing from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Alaska USA

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union promoted Geoff Lundfelt to Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer. Lundfelt has held a variety of increasingly responsible positions over sev- Lundfelt enteen years with Alaska USA. Lundfelt earned a BA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

First National Bank Alaska

Meyer

Agee

Crow

First National Bank Alaska promoted three employees to Branch Manager positions. Jodi Meyer was named Branch Manager of the bank’s new Juneau Regional Branch. Meyer joined First National in June 2014 and has eighteen years of banking and finance experience.

Compiled by Russ Slaten Aurora Agee is now the Healy Branch Manager. She returns to Healy after gaining finance experience throughout Alaska and completing the bank’s Management Associate Program in 2014. Marty Crow is now the Eagle River Branch Manager. Crow is also a Management Associate Program graduate and arrived at First National in 2010.

KPB Architects

Jae Shin joins the KPB Architects senior staff with more than twenty years of architectural and project management experience. Shin earned an Architecture and Fine Arts degree from the Rhode Island Shin School of Design and has pursued continuing education in Arctic design, project management, and facilities management.

Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium

Cari-Ann Ketterling is the new Executive Director for The Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium. Ketterling has more than twenty years of leadership experience in Alaska. She holds a BA of Organizational Management from Alaska Pacific University and a Certificate of Nonprofit Management from University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Diamond Parking Services

Matt Samuel was promoted to Regional Manager of Diamond Parking Services Alaska division. He will oversee parking operations for Downtown Anchorage, off-site airport parking, self-storage, and Samuel real estate development. Samuel was previously with international retailer Tesco for more than ten years.

Diamond Airport Parking and Self Storage

Marcus Bobbitt is now the General Manager at Diamond Airport Parking and Self Storage in Anchorage. Bobbitt earned a bachelor’s in Business with a Bobbitt concentration in Management and a master’s in Management from the University of Phoenix.

The Tatitlek Corporation

The Tatitlek Corporation confirmed Martin Hanofee as the newly appointed President. He served as Senior Vice President of Operations since March 2009. Hanofee holds a BS in Engineering from the University of New Haven in Connecticut.

Monica Dallas Realty

Monica Dallas Realty in Fairbanks promoted Realtor Amanda Cotea to Office Manager. Since starting at Monica Dallas Realty in summer 2014, Cotea obtained her real estate Cotea sales license.

KPMG LLP

KPMG LLP named Elizabeth Stuart as managing partner in the Anchorage office. Stuart has been with the Anchorage office for nineteen years and completed a rotational assignment in KPMG’s Stuart Department of Professional Practice in its national New York office. Stuart is a University of Alaska Anchorage graduate and CPA licensed in Alaska and New York.

Credit Union 1

Credit Union 1 hires Michael McElligott as the new Facilities Manager in Anchorage. McElligott brings twenty years of extensive building maintenance and engineering knowledge to Credit McElligott Union 1. He is a US Army veteran, holds an Associate’s in Stationary Engineering, and is LEED AP Operations and Maintenance certified.

AECOM

Kat Rockwell re-joins the AECOM Anchorage office as a Certified Project Administrator after transferring from the AECOM Portland office. Rockwell has four years of experience in project admin- Rockwell istration and controls within the consulting industry, including more than three years of experience in federal contracting and FAR-compliant procurements. R

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INSIDE ALASKA BUSINESS

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PDC Inc. Engineers

DC Inc. Engineers opened new multi-discipline engineering, planning, and survey office in Palmer, complementing its offices in Anchorage and Fairbanks. The office will be fullystaffed with eighty-four representatives from its mechanical, electrical, structural, and civil engineering departments. The office will also be supported by PDC’s multi-disciplined staff of planners, GIS specialists, fire protection and environmental engineers, commissioning agents, and sustainability specialists, as well as land surveyors. PDC continues to provide professional services in the Mat-Su Valley, including the mechanical, electrical, and fire protection engineering for the new Dena’ina Elementary School and the new Iditarod Elementary School. Other current projects include a seismic evaluation of Palmer High School, district-wide HVAC upgrades, and district-wide energy upgrades to twenty-three Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District facilities. PDC’s planning and GIS team also completed a Safe Routes to School evaluation of seventeen schools in the Valley.

G

GeoNorth LLC

eoNorth LLC, an Anchorage-based firm specializing in the development of integrated solutions for endto-end geospatial decision-making, was tasked by ADOT&PF (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities) to apply their satellite imagery services in direct response to the Dalton Highway flood emergency. GeoNorth provided near real-time satellite imagery in order to help assess

Compiled by Russ Slaten

and monitor the flooding taking place, provide change detection, and support overall planning activities as conditions evolved. GeoNorth utilized its multimission satellite imagery Direct Receiving Station to distribute imagery back to ADOT&PF in less than eighteen hours from the original request and began to acquire imagery every two to three days.

M

C

The Lakefront Anchorage

illennium Hotels and Resorts completed the third and final phase of refurbishments at The Lakefront Anchorage, formerly Millennium Alaskan Hotel Anchorage. The hotel opened its newly renovated guestrooms and corridors spanning the first to the fourth floor. The hotel kept the Alaskana moose lamps but replaced the lightbulbs and shades, and furniture and fixtures were replaced brand new. The hotel’s outdoor dining area, the Deck at Lake Hood, also re-opened with fresh paint and upgrades, and the hotel saw full exterior renovations. The entire exterior was repainted, and stone veneer was installed on both the main entrance and the Fancy Moose Bar entrance.

N

$23 million in cash for the advancement of the Arctic and Bornite deposits located in the Ambler mining district in northwest Alaska. The company plans to advance the Arctic deposit towards feasibility with an $8 million to $10 million field program this summer.

NovaCopper, Inc.

ovaCopper, Inc. and Sunward Resources Ltd. entered into a definitive arrangement agreement pursuant to which NovaCopper has agreed to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Sunward. The combination of NovaCopper and Sunward will create an exploration and development company with a balance sheet of about

AEDC

onsumer confidence in the Anchorage economy rebounded slightly in the first quarter of 2015, according to the latest AEDC (Anchorage Economic Development Corporation) Anchorage Consumer Optimism Index. The overall index increased to 58.3 from the fourth quarter 2014 score of 58.2. The sixmonth index average dropped 2.6 points to 58.2. The Anchorage Consumer Optimism Index measures the confidence of Anchorage households in the health of the local economy, their personal financial situation, and expectations for the future. Out of the three components that comprise the total score, Anchorage households exhibited the most confidence when asked about their personal financial situation, which is the only of the three indicators to increase in the first quarter, rising 2.6 points to a strong 67.1. Confidence in the local economy fell slightly to 62.1, while future expectations fell to its lowest level since 2011 with a 52-point score.

Lewis Law Firm LLC

T

he Lewis Law Firm LLC, located at 310 K Street, Suite 226, in Anchorage, opened its doors for business. The general practice firm is taking clients in business, transactional, wills, trusts, and probate matters, but also provides

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 120

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 | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


INSIDE ALASKA BUSINESS services for family law cases, criminal matters, and personal injury cases. The Lewis Law Firm values investing in the community and regularly works with the Alaska Network for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and the Alaska Legal Services Corporation. Nicholas Lewis, owner of Lewis Law Firm, returned home to Alaska after law school to open his firm in the community in which he was raised.

B

Brooks Camp LLC

rooks Camp LLC will receive a $28.6 million loan brought to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) Board by Northrim Bank. AIDEA is participating with 70 percent of the loan valued at $20 million. Northrim originated the loan and is participating with nearly $8.6 million. The loan will provide long-term financing for a 334-unit man camp in Deadhorse, on Alaska’s North Slope. The project created thirty-two to thirty-six new jobs.

X’una Kaawu Annee Corporation

X

’una Kaawu Annee Corporation will receive a $25 million loan brought to AIDEA by Northrim Bank. AIDEA is participating with 80 percent of the loan valued at $20 million. Northrim originated the loan and is participating with $5 million. The loan will provide long-term financing for newly constructed buildings and renovations at the Icy Strait Point cruise ship destination in Hoonah, plus a newly constructed large ship docking

Compiled by Russ Slaten

facility and refinancing existing loans. About fifty-two new construction jobs and thirty-five new permanent positions will be created.

BlueCrest Energy, Inc.

A

IDEA is one step closer to negotiating the terms and conditions for it to provide a loan of up to $30 million to BlueCrest Energy, Inc. for an onshore drilling rig to support BlueCrest development of the Cosmopolitan oil and gas lease in southern Cook Inlet. Rig operations will be conducted from the Hansen Pad approximately seven miles north of Anchor Point. BlueCrest will use the rig for up to seven years. The anticipated drilling program and production facility construction will provide more than three hundred jobs, ongoing operations and administration will provide about forty-five jobs, and the facility will support more than twenty-five jobs for local truckers to haul produced crude oil to the Tesoro Kenai Refinery.

Moose Horn Quarry

C

hugiak-based Moose Horn Quarry partnered with North Americanbased MB America to use MB crusher buckets at select job sites for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The crusher bucket is used to crush and recycle inert materials on-site to be reused as gravel and fill and can reduce processing costs, time, and material transports, all the while significantly contributing to environmental protection. Moose Horn Quarry will be crushing natural stones and rocks before taking the next step to crush concrete waste

and recycle asphalt. Moose Horn Quarry is a part of Alaska Divers & Underwater Salvage, Inc. that will work with construction projects around Moose Horn Pit.

T

Alaska Division of Oil and Gas

he Alaska Division of Oil and Gas received a total of eight bids from the Cook Inlet and Alaska Peninsula oil and gas lease sale. Successful bidders will have a lease term of ten years. According to preliminary sale results, the division received eight bids from three bidders on seven tracts encompassing 23,801 acres in the Cook Inlet sale area. The division did not receive bids for the Alaska Peninsula sale area. Winning bonus bids totaled $749,819.79.

Alaska Communications and Quintillion Holdings

A

laska Communications and Quintillion Holdings, Alaska’s newest provider of high-speed communication services, acquired a fiber optic network in April from ConocoPhillips on the North Slope. Alaska Communications also established a multi-year service agreement with ConocoPhillips. The network enables commercially-available, high-speed connectivity where only high-cost microwave and satellite communications have been available. Alaska Communications and Quintillion also partnered to make this network available to other telecom carriers in the market. Quintillion will place a new fiber-optic connection between

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 July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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INSIDE ALASKA BUSINESS Deadhorse, on Alaska’s North Slope, and Fairbanks, along with the construction of a subsea fiber connection from Prudhoe Bay to Nome. The fiber investment will boost connectivity to the oil and gas fields of Kuparuk River, Colville River, Milne Point, Prudhoe Bay, and Oooguruk units, among others.

A

UCI LLC

fter Omni Enterprises, Inc. closed the Swanson’s grocery store in Bethel, UCI LLC, a subsidiary of Hooper Bay-based Sea Lion Corporation, reopened the grocery store. Swanson’s, now under UCI, opened doors to its old location near the riverfront, where the store was located prior to its move to the Bethel Native Corporation building.

American Relocation Services

A

merican Relocation Services, a division of American Fast Freight, Inc., opened a new retail store in Anchorage located at 5311 Electron Drive off of International Airport Road. The new retail store expands on the current capabilities of its moving and storage services by offering customers the ability to secure moving supplies and moving services in a retail location.

J

name. Brady retained the Skagway News Depot and Lynn Canal Publishing, the bookstore and book divisions, under the banner of Skagway Book Co. LLC and subleased the upstairs office to PR Services. PR Services publishes the Skagway City Map Attraction and Service Guide for the municipality and many community visitor publications in the Yukon and manages several websites.

drainage installed for the possibility of future packaging lines as the company’s needs expand. It currently allows Alaskan Brewing to consolidate its storage to more efficiently assemble sampler packs. The expansion was made possible after the City and Borough of Juneau agreed to vacate what was Borrow Street to allow Alaskan Brewing to build its new warehouse between its two existing buildings.

Alaska Railroad Corporation

Alaska Aerial Media LLC

T

he Alaska Railroad Corporation released its 2014 annual report. Audited financial statements show $14.1 million net income on total revenues of $167.3 million, including operating and real estate revenue of $125.1 million and grant revenue of $42.2 million. The 2014 net income is about $200,000 less than 2013, a lower decrease than the Railroad expected due to the year’s declines in revenue from two major freight business lines. Continuing decreases in export coal- and petroleum-hauling business lines became clear in the spring, but with cost containing efforts implemented by the Alaska Railroad in 2012, 2013, and 2014, along with growth in other business lines, the company has been able to weather the economic downturns.

Skagway News

eff Brady, editor and publisher of the Skagway News, sold the publication to Alaska Travel Publications LLP, a subsidiary of PR Services based in Whitehorse, Yukon. PR Services will retain the newspaper’s two staff members and its

Compiled by Russ Slaten

T

Alaskan Brewing Company

he Alaskan Brewing Company expanded its warehouse and renovated its gift shop and tasting room. The warehouse expansion is a fourteen-thousandsquare-foot facility with appropriate

A

laska Aerial Media LLC has been granted a Section 333 exemption from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) allowing the company to commercially fly unmanned aircraft systems in the Anchorage area. Alaska Aerial Media has been flying unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, as amateur hobbyists for roughly two years; brief videos of sledding, construction projects, and other various Alaskan activities showcase the potential of aerial photography and cinematography. Alaska Aerial Media plans to educate people and enhance aerial photography and cinematography all over Alaska.

W

J&G Enterprises

asilla-based logistics freight business J&G Enterprises, owned by Dixie Banner and partner David Marsh, have teamed with U-Haul to offer U-Haul brand trucks, trailers, and towing equipment; support rental items; in-store pick-up for boxes; and after-hours drop-off. J&G Enterprises plans to add satellite phone rentals to give customers an additional safety option and an auto shop for hitch installations and light maintenance. R

• General Contracting • Marine Infrastructure • Design Build

Dutch Harbor - Unalaska, Alaska

www.pacificpile.com I (907) 276-3873 122

620B East Whitney Road I Anchorage, AK 99501

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


AGENDA July Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute

n

July 16-18—Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: The Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (RMMLF) is a collaborative educational nonprofit organization dedicated to the scholarly and practical study of the law and regulations relating to mining, oil and gas, water, public lands, energy, environmental protection, and other related areas. rmmlf.org

Compiled By Tasha Anderson Alaska State HR Conference

n

July 18-25—Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage: Alaska Business Week is a one-week summer program teaching the basic principles of private sector business to Alaskan high school students. alaskachamber.com

Alaska Snow Symposium

n

July 23—Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: A oneday trade show for the snow and ice management industry brought to Alaska by the Snowfighters Institute. This year’s conference will include special educational conferences targeting snow contractors, property managers, and municipalities and “Lunch and Learn,” round table discussions facilitated by sponsors and industry leaders during a buffet lunch. alaskasnowsymposium.com

Alaska Fire Conference

n

July 23-26—Hilton Anchorage, Anchorage: One of the CU Conferences, which educates the Credit Union Community, this conference provides information such as generating loans across all age groups and what types of loans can increase earnings. cuconferences.com

IEDC Annual Conference

n

AML Summer Legislative Conference

August 19-21—Ketchikan: The AML Board of Directors, Alaska Conference of Mayors, Alaska Municipal Management Association, and Legislative meet to work on AML policies and platform and to conduct business for each group. akml.org August 25-27—Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage: The meeting features a workshop on Generalized Additive Models by Dr. Simon Wood (University of Bath, UK). community.amstat.org/alaskachapter

Alaska Oil & Gas Congress

September 14-17—Marriott, Anchorage: CI Energy Group’s 11th annual Alaska Oil & Gas Congress will feature a focused pre-conference Summit Day, the Two-Day Conference, and a post-conference seminar. alaskaoilandgascongress.com

Chapman Conference on Magnetospheric Dynamics

n

September 20-25—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. www.gi.alaska.edu/2015ChapmanConference

www.akbizmag.com

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 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 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

n

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

AAHPA Annual Conference

n

October 12-16—Anchorage: This is the annual conference of the Alaska Association

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

NWPPA/APA Alaska Electric Utility Conference

n

October 26-29—Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: A mix of education and networking, along with more than seventy exhibit booths, plus ample opportunities to learn about the latest best practices, innovations, and technology concerning utilities. nwppa.org

November Alaska Peer Partnership Conference

n

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

n

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

n

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

n

All-Alaska Medical Conference

n

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

n

Alaska Recreation & Park Association Conference

n

September

n

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

Alaska Travel Industry Association Convention & Trade Show

n

2015 Alaska Chapter of ASA Annual Conference

n

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

October 13-14—Fairbanks: Open to the public, it is the state’s premier business conference and features keynote speakers, panel discussions and breakout sessions on issues of statewide concern to Alaska business. alaskachamber.com

Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Convention

n

October

August

n

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

Alaska Business Monthly’s Top 49ers Luncheon

n

Annual Strategic Lending Conference

n

September 28-30—UAF Campus, Fairbanks: The Institute of the North’s 2015 Arctic Energy Summit is a multi-disciplinary event addresses energy extraction, production, and transmission in the Arctic as it relates to oil and gas exploration and production, remote heat and rural power, and the business of clean energy. institutenorth.org

of Harbormasters & Port Administrators. alaskaharbors.org

Alaska Chamber Policy Forum and Conference

n

Arctic Energy Summit

n

Alaska Business Week

n

September 24-25—Hilton Anchorage, Anchorage: Human resources professionals, office managers and administrators, directors, and adult educators representing both public and private industryfrom around the state learn more about their responsibilities as HR Professionals. alaska.shrm.org

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

n

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

July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

123


ALASKA THIS MONTH By Tasha Anderson

ENTERTAINMENT

Photo courtesy of the Alaska Aviation Museum

Alaska Aviation Festival

A Grumman Goose aircraft coming in off Lake Hood in Anchorage after a fly-by.

W

ith more than eighty-seven thousand takeoffs and landings per year, Lake Hood is the busiest seaplane base in the world according to the Alaska Aviation Museum located there at 4721 Aircraft Drive, from which it’s possible to watch takeoff and landings from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, just a half-mile away. On July 12 from Noon to 3 p.m. the Alaska Aviation Museum, with the mission to “Preserve, display, educate, and honor the history of aviation in Alaska,” will have its annual fundraiser. It was previously the Salmon bake, but starting this year is the Alaska Aviation Festival. “The Carhartt Brothers Band will be entertaining the crowd with a variety of music along with fly-bys of various aircraft,” says Shari Hart, executive director of the Alaska Aviation Museum. Along with live music and the fly-bys, there will be a beer garden and food vendors. Inside the museum, the flight simulator will be available to all ages, along with all of the museum’s other attractions, such as whole reconstructed planes, memorabilia, interactive displays, and other fascinating parts and pieces of Alaska’s aviation history. “This is a great afternoon to share with aviation enthusiasts,” Hart says. General admission is $15; seniors are $12; children are $8; and children under the age of four are free. alaskaairmuseum.org R

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Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


EVENTS CALENDAR 17-18

Compiled by Tasha Anderson History. Sheldon Community Arts Hangar, 7:30 p.m. denaliartscouncil.org

CORDOVA

Copper River Wild! Salmon Festival

Celebrate salmon and promote the health and sustainability of local salmon runs through art, music, road races, education activities, and delicious Copper River Salmon. Mt. Eyak Ski Hill, Noon to 10 p.m. copperriverwild.org

8-12

EAGLE RIVER

Bear Paw Festival

Friday’s Teddy Bear Picnic, Classic Car Show, parade, Slippery Salmon Olympics, and the I Did-A-Duck Rubber Ducky Race. This year’s theme is “Bear Paw Paints the Town.” bearpawfestival.org

12-26

FAIRBANKS

Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival

Sing, play, dance, paint, cook, learn, listen, relax, write, stretch, and watch. It’s a multi-discipline study performance festival offering workshops, master classes, and performances. fsaf.org

15-18

World Eskimo-Indian Olympics

Indigenous people compete in traditional athletic games and celebrate through pageants, dances, and Native arts and crafts. Carlson Center. weio.org

22-26

Golden Days

Celebrate Fairbanks’ golden past with Alaska’s largest parade, sourdough pancake breakfasts, historic reenactments, beer festival, the Red Green Regatta, and rubber duckie race. fairbankschamber.org/goldendays

3-5

GIRDWOOD

Forest Fair

Alaskan artists, hand-crafted items, exotic foods, and entertainers from all over Alaska. Forest Fair Parade Saturday, July 4 at 10a.m. Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. girdwoodforestfair.com

7/30-8/2

HAINES

WRANGELL

22-26 Bearfest

Street games, salmon bake, storytellers, bear symposium and workshops, live music, gold tournament, marathon, arts fair, and photo contest. Nolan Center. alaskabearfest.org

VALDEZ

7/29-8/2

Valdez Gold Rush Days

Honors the past, present, and future of Valdez. Family Fun Saturday night, Quick Draw contest (artists race to complete a project in an hour), Dutch oven demonstrations, pioneer pastimes, and local cupcake wars. valdezgoldrushdays.org

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. BUY : SELL : TRADE • ANCHORAGE • FAIRBANKS • NOME • NEW YORK

1.800.693.6740 www.oxfordmetals.com

Southeast Alaska State Fair

The fair includes a parade, exhibits, logging show, live music, horseshoe tournament, fun-run, kids’ stage, amusement rides, Alaska vendors, food and entertainment, live animals, and puppet shows. seakfair.org

7/31-8/2

KETCHIKAN

Blueberry Arts Festival

Blueberry Pet & Doll Parade, best blueberry dish contest, art exhibit, fun run, vendors, slug weigh-in for the slug race, pie eating contest, babble of the bands, trivia contest, and the Gigglefeet Dance Festival. ketchikanarts.org

24

PALMER

Palmer Pride Picnic

Free picnic hosted by Palmer businesses and the City of Palmer with Palmer Pride hotdogs, farm fresh veggies, live music, and Citizen of the Year. Palmer Railroad Depot, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. palmerchamber.org

4

SEWARD

Mount Marathon

Since 1915 1915, the Mount Marathon race has become iconic. Competitors race from downtown to the top of Mount Marathon and back in both open and junior divisions. Downtown Seward, 10 a.m. mmr.seward.com

7/31-8/1

SITKA

Home Skillet Fest

Musicians include Breathe Owl Breathe, The Wool Pullers, Silver Jackson, Budo, Erik Blood, OC Notes, Strummin Dog, Benjamin Verdoes, Chimurenga Renaissance, Iska Dhaaf, Kirk Debique, and more. Sea Mountain Golf Course. homeskilletfest.com

25-26

SOLDOTNA

Soldotna Progress Days

Live entertainment, food, vendors, parade, family activities, Dutch oven competition, Sawfest Chainsaw Carving competition, and a free community picnic. Soldotna Little League Fields. visitsoldotna.com

3-5 & 10-12

TALKEETNA

The Complete History of America (Abridged)

Ninety minute rollercoaster ride through the glorious quagmire that is American www.akbizmag.com

July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

125


ALASKA TRENDS

By Amy Miller

Alaska’s Relationship to Puget Sound Pacific Northwest growth is stronger by the year

W

hen the steamer Portland pulled in to port in Seattle in 1897, it met depression-battered residents with a heavy load of gold from the Klondike and the prospect of new hope in the Last Frontier. Within days, word spread of the massive haul brought ashore by the Portland, kicking off a massive gold rush that lifted Seattle out of the depression nearly overnight. For nearly 120 years, Alaska and Seattle (or more broadly, the Pacific Northwest) have shared a tight economic relationship. Although gold no longer has much to do with it, the two regions depend mightily on one another for jobs, economic strength, and natural resources. A recent study published on behalf of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and prepared by the McDowell Group called “Ties That Bind: The Enduring Economic Impact of Alaska on the Puget Sound Region” quantifies the kinship between Alaska and its southern sister. According to the study, Alaska accounted for 113,000 total jobs and $6.2 billion in total labor earnings in the Puget Sound region in 2013. Top industries include shipping, seafood, petroleum, tourism, maritime support, education, and healthcare. For example, Alaska is critically reliant on the ports of Seattle and Tacoma for the goods Alaskans consume every

day, from groceries to automobiles. Between 2009 and 2013, 80 percent of the domestic containerized shipments that left the ports of Seattle and Tacoma were bound for Alaska. This activity was responsible for 5,500 jobs and $450 million in labor earnings in 2013. Another significant link between the two regions is seafood: commercial fishing was responsible for 10,150 jobs and $600 million in labor earnings in Puget Sound in 2013, and Alaska-related seafood processing led to another 13,100 jobs and $690 million in labor earnings in the same year. The trend for this relationship is that it keeps getting more significant for both regions. Labor earnings in the Puget Sound region with ties to Alaska increased from $4.3 billion to $6.2 billion between 2009 and 2013, which is a nominal growth rate of 44 percent (adjusted for inflation, the rate is 12 percent). Puget Sound business owners with ties to Alaska expect this trend to continue: 57 percent said they expect Alaska-related sales to become a more important part of their business, while 38 percent expect it to remain the same and none saw it declining. 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

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(907) 562-5420

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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 | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


ALASKA TRENDS

By Amy Miller

Alaska-Related Jobs in Puget Sound By Sector in 2013 Cruise Ship Related

3,400

All Other

4,000

Finance, Insurance, Real Estate

4,200

Manufacturing

8,300

Transportation

11,900

Petroleum Refining

12,000

Trade

19,100

Seafood Industry

23,900

Services

26,500

Alaska-Puget Sound Cargo and Freight Activity

= 1,000 Jobs

Alaska’s Alaska’s Economic Economic Impacts Impacts on Puget on Puget Sound Sound Employment Employment growth growth 2003-2013 2003-2013 120,000120,000

100,000100,000

Puget Sound hosts more than 430,000 Alaska cruise passengers annually. Virtually all of these passengers transit the area twice (once before embarking and again after disembarking). Almost half (45 percent) of all Alaska cruise passengers begin and end their cruise in Seattle.

80,000 80,000

60,000 60,000

Alaska supplies nearly half

40,000 40,000

20,000 20,000

0

0

(46 percent) of all crude oil refined 20032003 20132013 in Puget Sound. Puget Sound’s five 103,500 103,500113,300 113,300 refineries receive 265,000 barrels of Alaska’s Economic Impacts on Puget Alaska’s Economic Impacts on Puget Alaska crude oil per day. Sound Earnings growth 2003-2013 Sound Earnings growth 2003-2013 An estimated 12,000 Puget$7,000,000,000 $7,000,000,000 Sound jobs and $780 $6,000,000,000 million in labor earnings are$6,000,000,000 connected with refining $5,000,000,000 Alaska oil. $5,000,000,000

More than

$4,000,000,000 $4,000,000,000

1 million air passengers

$3,000,000,000 $3,000,000,000 $2,000,000,000 $2,000,000,000 $1,000,000,000 $1,000,000,000 $0

$0

20032003

20132013

$4.3 billion $4.3 billion $6.2 billion $6.2 billion

www.akbizmag.com

More than 14,000 ferry passengers, and nearly 6,000 vehicles, travel from Bellingham to Alaska annually; an equivalent number travel the same route south.

embark on planes bound for Alaska communities at the Sea-Tac Airport on an annual basis (with an equivalent number disembarking).

July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

127

DATA SOURCE: “Ties that Bind” Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce

Accounted for 5,500 jobs and $450 million in labor earnings in 2013.


ALASKA TRENDS

Indicator

By Amy Miller

Units

Period

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 March 34 28 48 -41.18% Anchorage Total Number Filed March 24 17 22 8.33% Fairbanks Total Number Filed March 4 8 9 -125.00% EMPLOYMENT Alaska Thousands March 335.94 334.53 336.79 -0.25% Anchorage & Mat-Su Thousands March 190.59 190.03 188.57 1.07% Fairbanks Thousands March 43.69 43.31 42.51 2.78% Southeast Thousands March 32.73 32.38 34.39 -4.83% Gulf Coast Thousands March 34.74 34.65 36.33 -4.38% Sectorial Distribution—Alaska Total Nonfarm Thousands March 327.00 325.50 324.80 0.68% Goods Producing Thousands March 45.00 44.40 45.70 -1.53% Services Providing Thousands March 282.00 281.10 279.10 1.04% Mining and Logging Thousands March 17.60 17.30 17.50 0.57% Mining Thousands March 17.40 17.10 17.20 1.16% Oil & Gas Thousands March 15.00 14.80 14.30 4.90% Construction Thousands March 15.10 14.90 14.10 7.09% Manufacturing Thousands March 12.30 12.20 14.10 -12.77% Seafood Processing Thousands March 8.60 8.50 10.60 -18.87% Trade/Transportation/Utilities Thousands March 62.60 62.40 61.10 2.45% Wholesale Trade Thousands March 6.20 6.20 6.40 -3.13% Retail Trade Thousands March 36.00 35.90 35.20 2.27% Food & Beverage Stores Thousands March 6.00 6.00 6.30 -4.76% General Merchandise Stores Thousands March 9.50 9.60 9.70 -2.06% Trans/Warehouse/Utilities Thousands March 20.40 20.30 19.70 3.55% Air Transportation Thousands March 5.70 5.60 5.70 0.00% Information Thousands March 6.20 6.30 6.20 0.00% Telecommunications Thousands March 4.30 4.30 4.00 7.50% Financial Activities Thousands March 11.70 12.00 11.60 0.86% Professional & Business Svcs Thousands March 28.20 28.20 28.60 -1.40% Educational & Health Services Thousands March 48.00 47.30 47.50 1.05% Healthcare Thousands March 34.60 34.00 33.90 2.06% Leisure & Hospitality Thousands March 30.60 30.10 29.70 3.03% Accommodation Thousands March 7.80 7.80 6.00 30.00% Food Svcs & Drinking Places Thousands March 18.70 18.30 19.30 -3.11% Other Services Thousands March 11.60 11.70 11.30 2.65% Government Thousands March 83.10 83.10 83.10 0.00% Federal Government Thousands March 14.40 14.20 14.60 -1.37% State Government Thousands March 26.70 26.60 26.80 -0.37% State Education Thousands March 8.60 8.60 8.60 0.00% Local Government Thousands March 42.00 42.30 41.70 0.72% Local Education Thousands March 23.90 24.10 23.60 1.27% Tribal Government Thousands March 3.50 3.40 3.50 0.00% Labor Force Alaska Thousands March 363.09 362.20 363.82 -0.20% Anchorage & Mat-Su Thousands March 203.55 202.99 201.08 1.23% Fairbanks Thousands March 46.52 46.31 45.37 2.53% Southeast Thousands March 35.70 35.55 37.49 -4.77% Gulf Coast Thousands March 38.21 38.17 39.69 -3.73% Unemployment Rate Alaska Percent March 7.5 7.6 7.4 1.35% Anchorage & Mat-Su Percent March 6.4 6.4 6.2 3.23% Fairbanks Percent March 6.1 6.5 6.3 -3.17% 128

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


ALASKA TRENDS

Indicator

Southeast Gulf Coast United States

By Amy Miller

Units

Period

Latest Report Period

Percent Percent Percent

March March March

8.3 9.1 5.5

Previous Report Period (revised)

8.9 9.2 5.5

Year Ago Period

8.3 8.5 6.8

Year Over Year Change

0.00% 7.06% -19.12%

PETROLEUM/MINING Crude Oil Production—Alaska Millions of Barrels March 15.84 13.82 16.43 -3.59% Natural Gas Field Production—Alaska Billions of Cubic Ft. March 7.6 7.77 8.29 -8.32% ANS West Coast Average Spot Price $ per Barrel March 52.28 53.85 107.91 -51.55% Hughes Rig Count Alaska Active Rigs March 13 10 13 0.00% United States Active Rigs March 1108 1348 1803 -38.55% Gold Prices $ Per Troy Oz. March 1179.64 1229.15 1336.32 -11.72% Silver Prices $ Per Troy Oz. March 16.22 16.84 20.74 -21.79% Zinc Prices Per Pound March 2.03 2.10 2.01 1.00% REAL ESTATE Anchorage Building Permit Valuations Total Millions of $ 53.56 32.38 65.60 Residential Millions of $ 13.53 7.15 13.30 Commercial Millions of $ 34.92 18.42 27.80 Deeds of Trust Recorded Anchorage—Recording District Total Deeds March 858 674 1110*GeoNorth Fairbanks—Recording District Total Deeds March 206 169 277

-22.70% -25.63%

VISITOR INDUSTRY Total Air Passenger Traffic—Anchorage Thousands March 401.50 311.30 356.57 Total Air Passenger Traffic—Fairbanks Thousands March 90.38 67.03 77.42

12.60% 16.74%

ALASKA PERMANENT FUND Equity Millions of $ March 53874.30 53587.40 50399.30 Assets Millions of $ March 54542.00 54604.40 51109.30 Net Income Millions of $ March 371.60 247.90 806.10 Net Income—Year to Date Millions of $ March 258.00 1198.50 288.90 Marketable Debt Securities Millions of $ March -8.10 -83.20 -17.30 Real Estate Investments Millions of $ March -0.40 -19.70 13.40 Preferred and Common Stock Millions of $ March -278.00 1055.40 5.00

6.89% 6.72% -53.90% -10.70% 53.18% -102.99% -5660.00%

BANKING (excludes interstate branches) Total Bank Assets—Alaska Millions of $ 4thQ14 3,994.74 5,781.68 5,394.16 Cash & Balances Due Millions of $ 4thQ14 207.48 299.37 141.17 Securities Millions of $ 4thQ14 154.35 146.66 143.34 Net Loans and Leases Millions of $ 4thQ14 2,313.63 2,742.89 2,543.77 Other Real Estate Owned Millions of $ 4thQ14 10.57 18.01 17.58 Total Liabilities Millions of $ 4thQ14 3,506.48 5,002.29 4,656.83 Total Bank Deposits—Alaska Millions of $ 4thQ14 3,340.30 4,346.55 4,046.21 Noninterest-bearing deposits Millions of $ 4thQ14 1,000.84 1,830.26 1,623.39 Interest-bearing deposits Millions of $ 4thQ14 2,327.83 2,516.30 2,422.82

-25.94% 46.97% 7.68% -9.05% -39.87% -24.70% -17.45% -38.35% -3.92%

-18.35% 1.73% 25.61%

FOREIGN TRADE Value of the Dollar In Japanese Yen Yen March 120.33 118.65 102.27 17.66% In Canadian Dollars Canadian $ March 1.26 1.25 1.11 13.51% In British Pounds Pounds March 0.67 0.65 0.60 11.67% In European Monetary Unit Euro March 0.92 0.88 0.72 27.78% In Chinese Yuan Yuan March 6.14 6.15 6.14 0.00% 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 www.akbizmag.com

July 2015 | Alaska Business Monthly

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ADVERTISERS INDEX Accurate Hearing Systems LLC........111 AE Solutions Alaska LLC..................... 57 Alaska Dreams Inc.................................51 Alaska Logistics.................................... 64 Alaska Native Heritage Center........ 112 Alaska Oil & Gas Congress.................58 Alaska Photobooth Co........................113 Alaska Roof Coatings...........................32 Alaska Sleep Doctor..............................17 Alaska Traffic Co...................................62 Alaska USA Federal Credit Union.....69 Alaska USA Insurance Brokers...........71 American Marine / Penco.................126 Anchorage Chamber of Commerce....................................89 Anchorage Chrysler Dodge............. 103 Anchorage Convention Centers.....109 Anchorage Messenger Service..........26 Anchorage Opera................................101 Arctic Office Products.........................94 ASRC Energy.......................................... 55 Associated General Contractors.......97 AT&T.........................................................86 Avis Rent-A-Car................................. 100 Beacon Media & Marketing...............81 Bering Air Inc.......................................125

130

Big Ray’s Army/Navy Store................95 Bowhead Transport Company LLC..72 Brand Energy & Infrastructure.......... 53 C & R Pipe and Steel Inc..................... 84 Calista Corp............................................ 37 Carlile Transportation Systems........131 Catalyst Marine Engineering..............31 Chris Arend Photography................ 130 Conoco Phillips................................... 107 Construction Machinery Industrial..............................................2 Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union......................96 Diamond Airport Parking....................63 Donlin Gold.............................................39 Doyon Limited.......................................83 EDC Inc....................................................32 Exxon Mobil......................................... 105 Fairbanks Memorial Hospital............. 19 First National Bank Alaska................... 5 Foss Maritime........................................63 GCI..........................................57, 106, 132 Global Services Inc.............................. 50 Guardian Flight Inc............................... 21 Helimax Aviation...................................25 Historic Anchorage Hotel................... 91

Homer Marine Trades Assoc............ 84 Horizon Lines........................................ 70 Independence Park Medical............110 Island Air Express................................124 Judy Patrick Photography...................56 KeyBank................................................ 105 Landye Bennett Blumstein LLP..........17 Lynden Inc........................................75, 99 Magtec Energy.......................................56 Matson Inc.............................................116 MFCP Motion & Flow Control Products Inc......................................58 N C Machinery................................59, 92 North Slope Telecom...........................43 North Star Behavioral Health............23 Northern Air Cargo.............................119 Northern Printing Inc........................104 Northwest Data Solutions..................43 Olympic Tug & Barge...........................68 Oxford Assaying & Refining Inc......125 Pacific Alaska Freightways Inc..........74 Pacific Coast Maritime........................68 Pacific Pile & Marine.......120, 121, 122 Parker Smith & Feek............................. 73 PenAir........................................................13 Personnel Plus.....................................124

Princess Lodges...................................110 Procomm Alaska LLC................... 39, 50 Ravn Alaska............................................ 11 Seatac Marine Service.........................66 Span Alaska Transportation Inc........65 Spenard Builders Supply A Probuild Company....................... 33 Spruce Park Auto Body.................... 102 Stellar Designs Inc............................... 84 Ted Stevens International Airport....98 The Odom Corp.....................................93 Think Office............................................26 Tulalip Casino Resort...........................79 Tundra Tours...........................................15 Turnagain Marine Construction........68 University of Alaska Southeast...................38, 81, 98, 101 Vigor Alaska............................................67 Washington Crane & Hoist................27 Waste Management............................. 77 Watterson Construction.....................34 Wealth Strategies of Alaska................. 3 Westpac Logistics LLC.........................66 Wolf’s Maytag Home Appliance Center............................90 Yukon Equipment Inc........................... 35

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2015www.akbizmag.com


Alaska Business Monthly July 2015  

Anchorage Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Bill Popp stands larger than life in front of the iconic Fourth Avenue Theatre,...

Alaska Business Monthly July 2015  

Anchorage Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Bill Popp stands larger than life in front of the iconic Fourth Avenue Theatre,...