Alaska Business July 2017

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J ul y 2 017 Digit a l Edition TA BLE OF CONTENTS



ABOUT THE COVER: For our second annual Best of Alaska Business Awards, Alaska Business connected with local graphic designer and artist Mike Kirkpatrick, owner of Screamin’ Yeti Designs, who is well known for his chalk art (he creates the fantastic chalk board menus at Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria). Kirkpatrick’s work highlights our Best of Alaska Business special section (starts page 42), in which we feature Alaska businesses that have excelled in various categories, as determined by our readers through an online survey.

7 95 96 98 99 102 104 106

Cover Art: Mike Kirkpatrick, Screamin’ Yeti Designs Cover Design: Art Director David Geiger Cover Photo: @Judy Patrick Photography

Photo courtesy of Coastal Villages Region Fund



8 | Financial Institutions

Expand and Remodel to Better Accommodate Staff and Customers Alaska banks/credit unions making major capital investments By Tracy Barbour


12 | Community Development Projects Enhance Resources, Quality of Life for Alaskans

Nonprofits, local businesses, and government entities work together By Tracy Barbour


20 | Business Needs Good Design

And good design requires professionals By Tasha Anderson


Coastal Villages Region Fund provides many opportunities for youth to learn and explore education options; here youth participants execute a simulation exercise at AVTEC’s Maritime Training Center in Seward.


38 | Alaska’s Growing Urgent Care Treatment Option: Not Just a “Doc in the Box” Demand for after-hours urgent care services growing in Alaska By Tom Anderson


72 | The CDQ Program CDQ groups build and support Alaska’s western communities By Tasha Anderson


74 | The Life Cycle of a Small Business

How to ensure a small business survives the first five years By Mike Branham


78 | Advice for Small Business Owners: How to Insure for Your Future Exit

Plan now for the inevitable: Finding the right insurance before it’s too late By Mel Bannon


80 | New Regulatory

Environment Will Benefit Oil & Gas Downstream Operations Alaska LNG project offers opportunity for more downstream operations By Al Tuttle

84 | LNG Market Could Get

Worse Before it Gets Better

Worldwide experts gather to report on supply, demand, and the future of LNG By Larry Persily

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

When you see Alaska through Robert Murphy’s eyes, you see a world of possibilities. Jaime Kissner, First National Bank Alaska, Vice President/ Loan Officer

Robert Murphy started Alaska Excursions with a single van, a lot of imagination and a simple mission: Offer visitors from around the world the Alaska experience of a lifetime. Robert could bank anywhere but he chooses First National Bank Alaska. Today, Robert operates Alaska Excursions in Skagway, Haines and Juneau. And First National has helped him grow every step, tour, cruise, zipline run and charter along the way. If you have a vision and need a local bank that knows how to navigate Alaska’s changing economy, give us a call. We’d love to explore your possibilities and discover new ways to help your business – and Alaska – succeed. For the rest of Robert’s story visit 907-777-4362 / 1-800-856-4362

Jaime Kissner Vice President/ Loan Officer

Robert Murphy CEO/ Founder Alaska Excursions

NMLS# 640297

We Believe in Alaska

J ul y 2 017 Digit a l Edition TA B L E




An Alaska Railroad train awaits departure at the Seward depot; it is returning to Anchorage for the second leg of the round-trip Coastal Classic route.

86 | The Rebirth of Corporate Retreats

Why Alaska is the ideal location to energize, motivate, and inspire By Kathryn Mackenzie


90 | Touring

Southcentral Alaska

Photo by Tasha Anderson

Revealing some of Southcentral Alaska’s secret tourism treasures By Tasha Anderson

92 | The Alaska Zoo:

Amazing animals, superb staff, affordable admission


By Tasha Anderson


Telecom & Tech Special Section 24 | Telecommunications Acquisitions and Partnerships

The Alaska Zoo has two polar bears, Ahpun and Lyutyik, which can be seen live through the zoo’s polar bear camera at live-polar-bearcamera. Photo by John Gomes

Alaska’s telecommunications industry works together to improve service and accessibility by Tasha Anderson

26 | Bristol Bay

Industrial Connects to Telecommunications Industry through Alaska Directional Acquisition By Tasha Anderson

30 | Website Development: Multiple skills come together to create a dynamic industry By Julie Stricker

32 | Mobile and Cloud

Solutions Benefit Alaska Business and Consumers Life with mobile apps changes the landscape of how and where people conduct business By Julie Stricker

36 | E-Commerce Connects Business to Alaska and Beyond Design, marketing, and investment lead to success By Julie Stricker


Best of Alaska Business Special Section 42 | Best of Alaska Business 2017

By Kathryn Mackenzie and Tasha Anderson

54 | Business Lunch 56 | Business Dinner

43 | Place to Work

58 | Catering for Meeting

44 | Place to Work

60 | Customer Service

250+ Employees

25-250 Employees

46 | Place to Work

or Event

62 | Convention or Tradeshow

1-24 Employees

64 | Family Owned Business

47 | Alaska Ad Campaign

65 | Best Brewery

48 | Charity / PR Event

67 | Best Distillery

50 | Corporate Citizen

68 | Coffee Shop

51 | Business Take-Out

69 | Best Bakery

52 | Business Breakfast

70 | Travel Destination in Alaska

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

FROM THE EDITOR VOLUME 33, NUMBER 7 Published by Alaska Business Publishing Co. Anchorage, Alaska


EDITORIAL STAFF Managing Editor Kathryn Mackenzie 257-2907

Associate Editor Tasha Anderson 257-2902 Art Director David Geiger 257-2916 Art Production Linda Shogren 257-2912 Photo Contributor Judy Patrick BUSINESS STAFF President Billie Martin VP & General Manager Jason Martin 257-2905 VP Sales & Marketing Charles Bell 257-2909 Advertising Account Manager Janis J. Plume 257-2917 Advertising Account Manager Holly Parsons 257-2910 Advertising Account Manager Christine Merki 257-2911 Accounting Manager Ana Lavagnino 257-2901 Customer Service Representative Emily Olsen 257-2914 Photo Contributor Kerry Tasker Photo Contributor Carly Witzke 501 W. Northern Lights Boulevard, Suite 100 Anchorage, Alaska 99503-2577 (907) 276-4373 | Toll Free: 1-800-770-4373 Fax: (907) 279-2900 Editorial email: ALASKA BUSINESS PUBLISHING CO., INC. Alaska Business (ISSN 8756-4092) is published monthly by Alaska Business Publishing Co., Inc., 501 W. Northern Lights Boulevard, Suite 100, Anchorage, Alaska 99503-2577; Telephone: (907) 276-4373; Fax: (907) 279-2900, ©2017, Alaska Business Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Subscription Rates: $39.95 a year. Single issues of the Power List are $15 each. Single issues of Alaska Business are $3.95 each; $4.95 for October, and back issues are $5 each. Send subscription orders and address changes to the Circulation Department, Alaska Business, 501 W. Northern Lights Boulevard, Suite 100, Anchorage, Alaska 99503-2577. Please supply both old and new addresses and allow six weeks for change, or update online at Manuscripts: Email query letter to Alaska Business is not responsible for unsolicited materials. Photocopies: Where necessary, permission is granted by the copyright owner for libraries and others registered with Copyright Clearance Center to photocopy any article herein for $1.35 per copy. Send payments to CCC, 27 Congress Street, Salem, MA 01970. Copying done for other than personal or internal reference use without the expressed permission of Alaska Business Publishing Co., Inc. is prohibited. Email specific requests to Online: Alaska Business is available at Digital-Archives, and from Thomson Gale. Microfilm: Alaska Business is available on microfilm from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48106.


eing the best at anything is difficult. It’s easy to float through life, never taking chances, just getting the job done—but reaching the peaks of greatness requires a mix of initiative, ingenuity, strategy, and creativity. Being the best takes strength and the ability to think independently and take risks. In our second annual Best of Alaska Business issue we honor Alaska businesses and their employees who take the extra steps every day to reach the highest heights of their respective fields. You remember the bank teller who gave you an extra sincere smile, making your day just a little more pleasant: that bank is represented here. You contribute to making your community a better place by attending fundraisers and donating to philanthropic organizations: those organizations are here. The coffee shop you count on to get your day started with a hot, rich cup of coffee is here. All because you took the time to vote for the Alaska organizations that help make your business, your community, your economy—and your life—better by demonstrating the qualities it takes to be the best. Congratulations to all of this year’s Denali, St. Elias, and Foraker recipients who offer up the very best Alaska has to offer through a hardy work ethic, dedication to community, and inspiring commitment to greatness. This year we invite you to join us on July 13 to celebrate in person and meet with your favorite business owners, operators, and employees at our first-ever Best of Alaska Business Party at 49th State Brewery (one of our readers’ absolute favorite places to mingle and a multiple-category winner), where we’ll spend an afternoon drinking, dining, dancing, and celebrating business in Alaska. Also in the July issue we explore Alaska telecommunications efforts in our Telecom & Technology Special Section, offer up some tips to visiting Southcentral Alaska, and discuss the business of Urgent Care. (And make sure you read our insider’s view of the Alaska Zoo—it’s not-to-be-missed!) It’s been quite a month for us here at Alaska Business, and I can’t say enough how proud I am to be part of such a hard-working team, each of whom works every day to give our readers the best. Happy Best of Alaska Business Month,

Kathryn Mackenzie July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly



Financial Institutions Expand and Remodel to Better Accommodate Staff and Customers

Tongass FCU Wrangell Branch. Courtesy TFCU

By Tracy Barbour


anks and credit unions throughout Alaska are making major capital investments to enhance their presence and better serve their customers, staff, and communities. Institutions from the Interior to Southeast Alaska have opened and remodeled a number of locations around the state, making it easier for Alaskans to manage their financial needs. One such firm is Tongass Federal Credit Union (TFCU), which established a new branch in Wrangell and revamped its Klawock office last year. TFCU operates five branches on four islands in southern Southeast Alaska. It has a main office in Ketchikan, along with branches in Wrangell, Metlakatla on Annette Island, and in Klawock and Thorne Bay, both on Prince of Wales Island. The Wrangell branch opened July 15, 2016, in a rented space in the Kadin Building on Front Street. The 1,046-square-foot space required significant renovations, which included removing and installing walls, repainting, and new carpet. A teller line, furniture, fixtures, supplies, and equipment also consumed a large chunk of the budget for the project, according to TFCU President and CEO Helen Mickel. The credit union received a $24,000 grant from the National Credit Union Administration Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives to assist with the cost of setting up the branch. TFCU is “very delighted” with the results in Wrangell and the community has been “kind” and “welcoming,” Mickel says. She adds, “The community is a wonderful fit for our credit union, and we are pleased with our continued growth there.” 8

The Wrangell office was part of TFCU’s strategic plan for a long time. Although two commercial banks offer services in Wrangell, TFCU felt the community needed the benefits that credit union members receive from being part of a financial cooperative, benefits that typically include higher rates on deposits and lower rates on loans with a focus on personal and local service, according to Mickel. Benefits such as these are especially important given that Wrangell has a relatively low median income compared to the rest of the state and an income that is markedly less than the median income in Ketchikan. “TFCU is a Community Development Financial Institution and a Low-Income Designated credit union,” Mickel says. “As such, we feel that we play a vital role in enhancing the quality of life in our island communities. A credit union provides affordable services to people of modest means.”

City Improvements Lead to Financial Expansion The city of Wrangell has had some recent economic success in its maritime industry, which was a positive driver for the credit union’s decision to expand there. “Their 150-ton marine travel lift and the 300-ton ASCOM boat lift have brought more mariners to the community to have their boats hauled out and repaired,” Mickel says. The remodel of the Klawock branch was also a much-needed project for TFCU. The renovations—completed the first quarter of 2016—involved adding a new teller line, installing new carpet, updating the bathroom and breakroom, and replacing desks and equipment. The credit union had previously

made minor improvements to the branch by adding an office, sprucing up the breakroom, and repainting. But a more comprehensive remodel was long overdue for the branch, which had been experiencing a steady increase in members, shares (deposits), and loans consistently over the last several years, according to Mickel. “When we opened the Klawock office, we did so on a very tight budget using a used teller line we pulled from the main office,” she says. “Initially, we completed only minimal improvements at the location, and it was time to give the space an update.” In the near future, TFCU will be making significant renovations to its facilities in Ketchikan. Plans include having exterior work done to its main office and loan center building. Work on these neighboring buildings will begin later this year or in 2018. “We will be reworking the parking and traffic patterns between both buildings, adding awnings to the buildings, and repainting both buildings,” Mickel says. “We intend to consolidate the properties to bring a cleaner, more cohesive look to the TFCU campus in Ketchikan.” TFCU is also considering relocating its Thorne Bay office—a part-time, micro branch open just three days a week—to a more suitable space. However, property availability and budgetary factors will determine the timing of the potential relocation, Mickel says.

Credit Union 1 Completes Significant Remodel in Anchorage Credit Union 1 (CU1) is a not-for-profit cooperative that serves anyone who lives or works in Alaska. CU1 has more than 80,000 members and fourteen branches throughout the

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

state. Earlier this year, the Anchorage-based institution engaged in a makeover of its DeBarr Branch, one of its most-used branches in Anchorage. Renovations to the interior were completed in February, while improvements to the exterior of the building will be complete this summer. During the remodel, the overall square footage of the DeBarr Branch technically didn’t change. However, the credit union was able to add close to 1,330 square feet of usable space by relocating IT equipment and the employee breakroom, as well as removing certain walls. The modification has greatly improved employees’ ability to smoothly serve members through an intuitive branch layout and enhanced behind-the-scenes resources, according to Chrissy Bell, senior vice president of communications and culture. Specifically, the enhancements make it possible for the branch to accommodate up to six more tellers and up to four more desk-based service areas. The branch also installed two kiosk “smart bar” areas, improved Americans with Disabilities Act-related access to the facility, added another drive-through lane, and enlarged the waiting areas for the teller line and desk-based service to improve customer flow. For staff, CU1 expanded the breakroom and personal storage area. It also added additional restroom facilities and a dedicated “mothers’” room for employees, as well as an isolated IT COLO backup server room on the second floor. “Remodel efforts have helped improve the flow of traffic within our branch and drive-

through to serve members in a more speedy and efficient manner,” Bell says. “Many of our Anchorage members highly value the ability to visit this particular branch in person for their banking needs, so we’re excited to offer a better experience to them via this remodel.” The DeBarr Branch remodel was prompted by member feedback and practicality. “As our DeBarr Branch has aged, we’ve encountered a practical need for updates as well as critical input from our members on changes that they would like to see,” Bell says. “Furthermore, our credit union’s membership base has continued to grow, and we identified the need for additional space, personnel, and resources within this branch to accommodate growth.” CU1’s members are an active, on-the-go group that value timeliness and efficiency—particularly during in-branch and drive-through visits. The credit union recognized that a branch remodel would allow it to better meet member needs and expectations while positively impacting their financial well-being, Bell says. “We can now serve more members, with less wait time, in a smart and accessible way,” she says. “For our independent and tech-savvy members, we’re also excited to offer a kiosk-based ‘smart bar’ in keeping with our commitment to cutting-edge technological offerings.” Remodels can pose logistical challenges to daily branch operations, and the credit union has worked hard to minimize any inconvenience to its members, Bell says. So far, CU1’s members have reacted positively to the revamped DeBarr Branch. “We’ve greatly

appreciated their comments and questions about the remodel progress, and we’re always happy to receive compliments on the improved amenities and service they’ve received thanks to these efforts,” she says. CU1 also recently began a remodeling project for its Kodiak Branch. To best serve its fellow Alaskans, the credit union continually assesses expansion and remodel opportunities while also recycling its income toward low-cost loans and services for CU1 members statewide. “We look forward to sharing new plans when available,” Bell says.

Denali State Bank Renovates Main Office in Fairbanks Last summer, Denali State Bank transformed the second floor of its main office on North Cushman Street in Fairbanks into a more usable space. The bank took the existing square footage and repurposed it so it works better for the departments that were occupying the space. “We created a branded, warm welcoming area for our visitors on the second floor, which contains the mortgage loan, consumer loan, mortgage servicing, and finance departments,” says President and CEO Steve Lundgren. “The dysfunction of our previous floor plan was that each of those separate areas had separate entrances, so we consolidated the waiting/greeting areas for all of those departments.” Now with the centralized greeting station, customers know exactly where to go, and the traffic flow is much smoother. The remodel has also allowed staff to be more productive.

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July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly


Photo courtesy Denali State Bank

Remodeled greeting/waiting area on the second floor of Denali State Bank’s main office at 119 North Cushman Street in Fairbanks.

“The entire loan application process is more seamless,” Lundgren says. “Logistically, we’re better aligned. We’d like to think the customer’s experience has been enhanced because of our renovation.” As part of the $600,000 remodel, Denali State Bank took advantage of recent file room technology to reduce its requirements for file space. This, along with other consolidation efforts, freed up valuable office space and enabled the bank to move the construction loan department to the second floor and consolidate it with the mortgage team. “We had been wanting to make that move for quite a while, but we just didn’t have the space to put them up there,” Lundgren says. The renovation also included making the interior design of the waiting/greeting area more reflective of the Denali State Bank brand. This encompassed updating the artwork and color scheme in the space to match the bank’s corporate identity and the local area. Images of iconic people and places in Interior Alaska were incorporated into the decor, including photos of Fairbanks’ first family, the Alaska Railroad, and Denali. Like at CU1, the second-floor refurbishment was driven by the need to make the space more useful for staff and customers. “We wanted to make the space more functional and productive from the bank’s perspective and to provide a better customer experience,” Lundgren says. Though the idea behind the renovations was customer-based, the project’s timing was completely strategic. Eielson Air Force Base—located about thirty miles from Fairbanks—will be receiving two F-35 squadrons by 2020. This will bring to the area approximately fifty new aircraft as well as additional military personnel, civilian and contractor employees, and military dependents. “We’re anticipating some construction and mortgage lending activity with the buildup of Eielson,” Lundgren says. “We’re expecting an influx of about 3,500 people over the next few years.” The remodel at Denali’s main branch was part of its ongoing facility, renovation, and maintenance plan. Several years ago, the bank spruced up the first-floor lobby of the main office. Future improvements will likely be made 10

to other locations of the bank every other year, Lundgren says. Denali State Bank operates five branches in Alaska.

Wells Fargo Features Community Murals throughout Alaska Over the past several years, Wells Fargo has remodeled many of its branches in Alaska. This year, the bank refreshed its Minnesota-Benson Branch, adding new furniture and reducing the size by 1,100-square-feet. “We recently sold the building to the State of Alaska, so the remodel is an effort to accommodate the needs of the new owners,” says Alaska Regional Communications Officer David Kennedy. “We are now leasing the branch space, which includes a drive-up teller and ATM.” In 2015, Wells Fargo renovated seven of its Alaska branches: Cottonwood Creek (Wasilla); Eagle River; Fifth Avenue and Gambell; Huffman; Palmer; Russian Jack; and Wasilla. Of those, interior remodels were completed at the Eagle River, Fifth Avenue and Gambell, Huffman, Russian Jack, and Wasilla locations. The scope of the work done at each of those branches primarily included new lighting, carpet, and paint, as well as a teller line counter facelift. At the Eagle River Branch, the interior remodel also involved a new elevator and refurbishment of the second floor with new carpet and paint. Cottonwood Creek received new lighting, carpet, and paint, along with relocation and upgrade of a teller line. The remodel created more space for additional bankers, including a home mortgage representative, a premier banker for wealth management, and business banking services, under one roof. And the Palmer Branch was treated to an interior and exterior makeover featuring new siding, exterior signage, carpet, and paint, as well as second-floor tenant space improvements. Kennedy says the bank decided to remodel the Alaska branches to create a more inviting, welcoming, and comfortable atmosphere for customers. “Our goal is to provide our customers with an outstanding banking experience,” he says. “We want every customer to feel at home when they walk in our branches.” During the remodel, some of the Wells Fargo branches were adorned with one-of-a-kind murals created to reflect the culture and history

of the community. Wells Fargo Community Murals, which illustrate a visual narrative, are custom-made for each location. No two murals are ever the same. The murals are graphicallydesigned photo collages, printed on a variety of materials, and incorporated into many different environments. For example, the Fifth Avenue and Gambell Branch, as well as the Russian Jack location, installed community murals honoring Anchorage’s 100-year history, Alaska Native cultural heritage, and Wells Fargo’s connection to gold mining in Alaska dating back to the early 1900s. The mural at the Huffman location honors Anchorage’s 100-year history and Wells Fargo’s connection to dog mushing and gold mining in Alaska dating back to the early 1900s. And the Wasilla Branch installed a mural celebrating Mat-Su’s dog mushing, gold mining, and farming heritage. Wells Fargo customers seem to be enjoying the branches’ makeovers. “Customers appreciate the bright, open feel of our remodeled branches and added comfort of the new furniture,” Kennedy says. “Many customers share positive comments about the community murals as well.” Community murals were also placed on display in Wells Fargo’s Kodiak and Barrow locations—but not as part of a remodel. The mural in Kodiak includes images of cannery workers from the 1940s, Alutiiq men engaged in the Russian Orthodox Christmas tradition of starring (still practiced in many Yup’ik villages in Southwest Alaska), a salmon seiner, and Kodiak’s designation as an official Coast Guard City. Wells Fargo collaborated with the Alutiiq Museum and Baranov Museum to select and compile the images for the mural. The artwork is located at Wells Fargo’s downtown Kodiak store in the ATM vestibule. The Barrow mural depicts the Point Barrow fire department from 1950, Barrow school kids sewing circa 1915, an umiak and whale jaw bone arch on the beach circa 1930, and a townsite photo from 1940. The Inupiat Heritage Center provided several images for the mural collage, which is on display in the bank’s lobby. In addition to its recent remodeling activities, Wells Fargo is undertaking a significant rebranding effort that features new signage. The bank is replacing the exterior signage at all forty-eight of its branches in the state. This includes large signage on street corners and signage directly on branches and office buildings, as well as new drive-up and ATM signs. “Our Alaska signage refresh project is an effort to update our branding to reflect our current company image,” Kennedy says. “The signage refresh is specific to Alaska.” Wells Fargo is also initiating a major remodel of its Anchorage headquarters building. Construction should begin this summer. Wells Fargo & Company is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.7 trillion in assets. In Alaska, Wells Fargo has 115 ATMs in twenty-eight communities and 820 team members who serve customers through a network of fifty-three banking, mortgage, and investment offices. R Tracy Barbour is a former Alaskan.

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

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Community Development Projects Enhance Resources and Quality of Life for Alaskans Nonprofits, local businesses, and government entities work together By Tracy Barbour


variety of vital community development initiatives are underway across Alaska to improve the resources of citizens statewide. The projects include repairs to domestic violence shelters throughout the state, cozy reading spots for Anchorage elementary-school children, a new communityuse park in Anchorage, a community garden in Seward, a Cultural Immersion Park, and housing for economically vulnerable citizens in Juneau. Each of these community development initiatives are making improvements to communities throughout Alaska, addressing important issues and enriching the quality of life for all of the state’s denizens.

Alaska Community Foundation Facilitates Humanities Projects Established in 1995, The Alaska Community 12

Foundation (ACF) cultivates, celmestic violence shelters around ebrates, and sustains various forms the state. The shelters are in great of philanthropy to strengthen Alasdemand, providing more than ka’s communities. The organization, 98,000 bed nights to families and along with its affiliates, connects individuals in 2015 alone. Since people who care with causes that operating funds at such facilities matter. “A lot of people have done are limited, maintenance is often well in Alaska, and they want to give low on the funding priority list. back to and build their communities Fortunately, the $5 million Doin unique ways,” says President and mestic Violence Shelter Initiative CEO Nina Kemppel. “It’s an honor project was formed to address Katie St. John to get to be part of that.” monetary issues, with funding Director of Programs ACF supports local communities from the Rasmuson Foundation, and Grants for the Alaska Community statewide, and meeting the philthe state of Alaska, Alaska Mental Foundation anthropic needs of Alaska’s widely Health Trust Authority, Murdock Photo courtesy of diverse population and making the Charitable Trust, Calista CorporaThe Alaska Community best use of available resources can tion, Bethel Community Services Foundation be a complicated process, says DiFoundation, Mat-Su Health Founrector of Programs and Grants Katie St. John. dation, Walmart Foundation, and Wells Fargo. To help, ACF relies on regional affiliates with a Initial funding for the initiative has been deep understanding of the unique fundraising allocated to first address life, health, and needs of their communities. “Anchorage is cer- safety concerns, followed by building integtainly the hub, but there are such unique needs rity and client comfort items. So far, repairs in rural Alaska and communities off the road and improvements have been carried out at system,” she says. “Even something that works domestic violence shelters in Barrow, Bethel, in Haines wouldn’t work in Sitka.” Emmonak, Homer, Juneau, Kenai, Kotzebue, ACF is partnering with a number of fund- Nome, Palmer, Unalaska, and Valdez. Aning entities to perform long-overdue renova- chorage, Fairbanks, and Kodiak are schedtions and repairs at seventeen nonprofit do- uled for completion in calendar year 2017,

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

Anchorage School District Superintendant Dr. Deena Bishop (left) with Nina Kemppel, President and CEO of The Alaska Community Foundation, at Susitna Elementary School in Anchorage. Photo courtesy of The Alaska Community Foundation

with work in Dillingham, Ketchikan, and Sitka scheduled for completion in 2018. GCI’s Suicide Prevention Fund is also addressing a serious issue in Alaska, which in 2015 reported the second-highest suicide rate in the country, behind Wyoming, with a rate of 27.1 suicides for every 100,000 residents, according to the latest full-year data from Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Alaska GCI, in partnership with ACF, made a landmark $100,000 donation last year to nine suicide prevention groups in Alaska. “It’s a wonderful partnership to address an issue that affects every Alaskan,” St. John says. More than forty organizations expressed interest in the initial application process, which was managed by ACF. After a competitive review process, nine programs were awarded grants, ranging from $5,000 to $15,000. Program recipients were AK Child & Family, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Covenant House Alaska, Juneau Youth Services, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Native Village of Paimiut, Native Village of Tununak, Perseverance Theater, and Wellspring Revival Ministries. Anchorage School District Reading Oases is another project that was recently facilitated by ACF. The program—launched at Susitna Elementary School—was awarded an initial $5,000 donation to provide books and a place designed to help stimulate student interest in reading. The program was later expanded with an additional $25,000 donation to

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly


port five more schools including Airport Heights Elementary School, Tyson Elementary School, Williwaw Elementary School, Mountain View Elementary School, and Fairview Elementary School. These particular elementary schools were chosen because they teach some of the highest percentages of students from low-income families.

Muldoon Town Square Park in Anchorage Muldoon Town Square Park is Anchorage’s newest park, located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Muldoon and DeBarr Roads. The twenty-seven-acre communityuse park is a long time in the making. Formerly the site of the old Alaska Greenhouses, the property was dedicated as municipal parkland in 2015. The dedication followed nearly a decade of advocacy by East Anchorage residents who were concerned about the possibility of more strip mall development along Muldoon Road and urged the Anchorage Municipality to develop the property into a community park. “In 2016, we completed the master plan for the park and began design and engineering for Phase 1 of development immediately,” says Anchorage Municipality Parks Planner Steve Rafuse. “This was necessary, as there were two state legislative grants totaling $1.5 million that would expire if construction did not begin by summer of 2016.” Phase 1 focused on the “front parcel” along Muldoon Road, creating an area that serves as a community hub and gathering space. The


“During the master-planning phase, we worked closely with residents to develop a vision for the park that celebrates the diversity, history, and culture of East Anchorage. The park will not only be a community gathering place but will have activities for all ages and abilities to enjoy.”

— Steve Rafuse Parks Planner, Anchorage Municipality

area includes an all-inclusive playground, custom picnic shelter, space for the Muldoon Farmers Market, an ice-skating ribbon, access to Chester Creek, a parking lot, and green infrastructure for managing storm water. In April 2017, Anchorage voters passed the Park Bond, which included another $500,000 for Phase 2 development, which focuses on the “Core Area” of the park. This phase includes a parking lot and utilities to support future development, along with a community garden and orchard to be developed next summer. Future phases of the park will be designed and developed as more funding becomes available, according to the Muldoon Town Square Park Master Plan. The master plan for the park is a twentyyear vision to transform the property into a community space that meets the residents’ needs and wants for the Muldoon area. “During the master-planning phase, we worked closely with residents to develop a vision for

the park that celebrates the diversity, history, and culture of East Anchorage,” Rafuse says. “The park will not only be a community gathering place but will have activities for all ages and abilities to enjoy.”

Community Development Projects in Anchorage Another recent community development project in Anchorage involves the new Elizabeth Place Housing Development. The project, to be developed by Cook Inlet Housing Authority, will be built on three city-owned, downtown lots located at 7th Avenue between I Street and K Street. At five stories, the trendy mixed-use development will include forty one-bedroom apartment units—priced at both market and subsidized rates—and street-level stores and a roof-top patio. “This project is exciting because it is the first new residential development in downtown An-

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

chorage since 2006,” says Chris Schutte, director of economic and community development for the Municipality of Anchorage.

504 Loan Program Promotes Development The US Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 Loan Program supports community development in Alaska through Evergreen Business Capital, which finances the purchase, renovation, and new construction of owner-occupied commercial properties in areas that have revitalization and development plans in place. Evergreen Business Capital is a private, nonprofit organization authorized by the SBA as a Certified Development Company. It facilitates the SBA 504 Loan Program and other business loans in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Northern Idaho. In Anchorage, Evergeen has financed commercial building projects in areas including Fairview, Creekside, Downtown, and Spenard. For example, Evergreen worked with Blaine’s Art on a community development project in Spenard. The art shop took a blighted property with environmental issues and revamped it into a positive fixture for the neighborhood. “Blaine’s Art building is a great addition to this community and a testament to the business owners’ dedication to contributing to the revitalization of Spenard,” says Barbara Gill, an Anchoragebased senior loan officer with Evergreen Business Capital.

Essentially, Blaine’s Art turned Front Street Community Health an otherwise unusable piece of Center, and CCTHITA. “We property into a place that can benwere honored to help in any way efit area residents. “It enabled the we could,” says Myrna Gardner, business to expand, and that rebusiness and economic develsulted in job creation,” Gill says. “It opment manager at CCTHITA. also allowed the business to stay in “The $600,000 CSBG grant we the Spenard area, where the owner obtained was one component of is very active in the community.” a strong community effort.” To be eligible for the 504 Loan Under the Housing First projProgram, a project has to meet at ect, CCTHITA and THRHA are Myrna Gardner least one of several job creation, Business and Economic building a 6,400-square-foot community development, or public Development Manager facility with thirty-two units depolicy goals. Under the community for Central Council of signed for Juneau residents who the Tlingit and Haida development goals, the project must have barriers to housing stabilhelp improve, diversify, or stabilize Indian Tribes of Alaska ity. Beneficiaries of the project the economy of the locality; stimuwill include people who are exPhoto courtesy of CCTHITA late business development in the periencing homelessness, mencommunity; bring new income into tal health issues, developmental the community; or be a manufacturing firm disabilities, chronic alcoholism, and other and be in a labor surplus area, among other substance-related disorders. requirements. The Housing First facility—being built by Triplette Construction—will cater espeJuneau’s Housing First and Cultural cially to tribal citizens who are experiencing Immersion Park Projects or have experienced chronic homelessness Some of the most economically vulnerable in Southeast Alaska. The facility will offer residents in Juneau are receiving new housing, meals, case management, community buildthanks to a $600,000 federal grant awarded ing, therapeutic community and ceremonial last year to Central Council of the Tlingit and activity, employment potential, and onsite Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA). medical, behavioral, and substance abuse The resulting Housing First project was treatments. It will be co-located on the botled by Juneau Housing First Collaborative tom floor of the Juneau Housing First Colpartners including St. Vincent DePaul Soci- laborative project to minimize construction ety, Juneau homeless shelter The Glory Hole, costs and maximize the efficiency of service Juneau Alliance for Mental Health, THRHA, delivery and continuum of care collabora-

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly


Seward’s Garden by the Bay. Photo courtesy Alaska Aerial Technologies






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Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

tion. “We anticipate move-ins starting July 31 and being staggered throughout the month of August, eight tenants at a time,” Gardner says. “Although we have not set the Open House in stone, we are planning for the week of September 4.” In another recent development, the City and Borough of Juneau awarded CCTHITA a thirty-five year land lease on a property that encompasses the former Thane Ore House Salmon Bake. CCTHITA also acquired the AJT warehouse property adjacent to the Ore House. The organization is planning to transform the properties into a Cultural Immersion Park for tourists and is busy conducting due diligence activities to make that happen. Clean up at both facilities will begin soon and will provide work experience and training opportunities for unemployed and underemployed tribal citizens. “The project is a longterm investment in sustaining our culture [and] creating job opportunities while promoting self-sufficiency for our tribe and our citizens,” Gardner says. “The Cultural Immersion Park will utilize arts and other cultural resources to help revitalize our native community, promote economic development, [and] increase livability while presenting the uniqueness of the Tlingit and Haida people to visitors in a way that celebrates the diversity.”

Seward’s Garden by the Bay The Seward Prevention Coalition recently launched Garden by the Bay, a community garden ideally situated on University of Alaska Fairbank’s Seward Marine Center property. The location offers “amazing southern exposure,” according to Callie Stark, chair of Garden by the Bay. “There’s Callie Stark, Chair of nothing blocking us Seward’s Garden by the Bay at all, so it gets sunshine all day—as long Photo courtesy of Seward Garden by the Bay as the sun is shining,” she says. “We’re really excited they were willing to let us build a garden on the property.” Plots at the garden are available—one per household—for a nominal fee to help defray maintenance and other costs. Gardeners select a bed in one of three sizes: three-feetby-twelve-feet ($50 annually), three-feet-bysix-feet ($35 annually), and three-feet-bythree-feet ($25 annually). The beds are going quickly, warns Garden by the Bay: of the initial thirty beds, only seven were still available at the end of May. Members of Garden by the Bay are encouraged to plant a row of food to donate to the local food bank. “We want to increase access to healthy food for everybody in our community,” Stark says. “We have some people who are growing their whole bed for the food bank.” Garden by the Bay is providing its members with soil, educational workshops, and other resources in an effort to eliminate some of the barriers that keep people from

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly


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ing their own food. Gardeners provide their own selection of plants and perform the work to help their gardens thrive. “We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for people to get involved,” Stark says. Ultimately, Garden by the Bay also plans to include beds for flowers and herbs as well as fruit trees and benches for the entire community to enjoy. “My hope is this garden will truly become a fixture of the community and be a gathering place where people can come and relax,” she says. Garden by the Bay is sponsored by UAF’s Seward Marine Center, Seward Community Foundation, Seward Wellness for All, Providence Seward, and Seward Prevention Coalition.

Community Development Block Grant Program The Alaska Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program facilitates a wide range of projects around the state. In February, the program approved funding for projects including Eek Electric System Improvements Electric 3-Phase Conversion in Hughes; Santa’s Senior Center Remodel in North Pole; and Saxman Seaport Public Marina Improvement. CDBG competitive grants are singlepurpose project grants, with a maximum of $850,000 available per community. Any Alaska municipal government (except Anchorage) is eligible to apply for the CDBG grants, and nonprofits may apply as co-applicants. The Alaska CDBG program requires a municipality to have 51 percent or higher of low moderate income (LMI) persons, according to Grant Administrator III Pauletta Bourne of the Division of Community and Regional Affairs, which is part of the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. The program generally targets rural Alaska due to a greater need for resources and high concentration of LMI residents. Each project that was recently approved for CDBG funding was identified as a priority by the local government, and each project will have significant impact on the improvements of the infrastructure the municipality identified. “This is important because it actually affects the day-to-day health and safety of communities around the state,” Bourne says. “With less state money available and a lack of resources in the communities, I feel this program provides the additional help needed.” The Alaska CDBG program assisted nearly 2,800 people from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, surpassing its original goal to serve 1,511 people. “We assisted 2,772 individuals, with a completion rate of 184 percent,” Bourne says. “Of the 2,772 people served, 1,809 were in the very low-to-moderate income range, meeting the state’s objective to support projects [that] benefit low-to-moderate income persons.” R Tracy Barbour is a former Alaskan.

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017


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Photo courtesy of Mad Dog Graphx

Internal reports, annual reports, letters to shareholders, and more all benefit from the eye of a professional graphic designer; the examples above were designed by Mad Dog Graphx, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Business Needs Good Design

And good design requires professionals By Tasha Anderson Note: This is part two of a three part series exploring the graphic design industry in Alaska. Part one was published in April.


raphic design is a skill which means business and professional organizations should expect to pay for quality design services. Plaid Agency Creative Director George Meyer says it is sometimes a battle within the graphic design industry 20

to assert the value of an experienced and talented graphic designer. “There’s a mindset that graphic design can be done by anyone because of the availability of stock imagery online, and you can pay to subscribe to all the Adobe software at home, and there’s access to as many fonts and faces as you want,” Meyer says. The problem is amplified in situations where people or organizations simply don’t see the difference between bad, mediocre, or excellent design. “If someone just wants to do something very cheaply, it’s hard to fight against that and convince them to pay a premium [for good design].” Meyer uses flying a plane as an analogy for why this can be a

problem: “Nobody would go play a lot of flight simulator games and then, when they walk on Alaska Airlines, take a left when boarding the plane and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to fly today because I’ve been practicing online.’” David Taylor, creative director for Element Agency, likens the situation to a doctor and layperson examining the same X-ray; they may have differing opinions on what it means, but generally the common sense course is to allow the doctor’s opinion to guide a plan for medical care. Graphic design may not have the same life-threatening consequences as a bad landing or botched medical procedure, but graphic designers are

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

trained professionals, and how a company presents itself through marketing, internal and external documentation, reports, and website design can absolutely contribute to that business’s ability to thrive or die.

Designing with Purpose Mad Dog Graphx Owner Michael Ardaiz says, “If you’re doing everything right, a graphic designer worth their salt will tell you you’re doing everything right; if you’re doing something that can be improved on, why wouldn’t you want to improve on it, especially if it means your bottom line is improved.” Mad Dog is known for their logo designs, but in addition to services often attributed to graphic design—websites, branding, posters, advertising campaigns, environmental graphics, trade show displays—they also provide design services for projects that have more targeted audiences, such as annual reports, newsletters, internal corporate communications, or brochures. “We do a lot of annual reports, especially for nonprofits. Because they’re generally tight budget projects, we like to enter them into competitions to show our clients that their money is being well-spent, or at least the final product is well reflected on by the design community,” Ardaiz says. He says the most fundamental step in the beginning of a design process is to understand the final product/design’s purpose. “If you don’t know the purpose up front, then how do you gauge its effectiveness at the end?” He says one service that Mad Dog Graphx provides to their customers is helping them pinpoint or refine a project’s purpose. “Some clients will come in and say they’d like a rack card, but they don’t really know why they would use one, they just know that they need to put something out; those are the sorts of projects that might end up as a rack card or might end up as a brochure, or a poster, or a postcard, because we talk to them and find out what they’re really trying to achieve,” Ardaiz says. Design Is a Process Spawn Ideas Associate Creative Director Amanda Strickland says that for design projects, the design phase isn’t the beginning or the end of the process. “It definitely starts with strategy first.” The end of the project, she says, is “measuring the results and coming back and applying those to the metrics that we’ve set for ourselves.” Spawn Ideas provides the gamut of marketing services, from creating web banners, television spots, and digital, print, or radio advertisements to planning and buying media, “and then we track all of it and we see the whole picture; we handle all of our clients’ marketing needs,” Strickland says. Among all that work, she says design falls somewhere in the middle. “It’s incredibly important because if you can’t visually get someone’s attention, then it doesn’t matter what your message is.” Spawn has forty-two employees, nine of whom are graphic designers, though Strickland says many of them have specialized skill sets. For instance, “we have some designers that we call art directors; [Spawn Ideas Creative Director and VP] Mike Weeds’ line

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly


tions with already established branding, the creative process often takes place within certain limits, but she enjoys that challenge. “The cool part of graphic design for business… is that it’s interesting how much you can put a personality forward through design,” she explains. “I love that graphic design kind of gives businesses a face, a character almost, and a personality that people can respond to.” That, she says, is branding in a nutshell.

“The cool part of graphic design for business… is that it’s interesting how much you can put a personality forward through design. I love that graphic design kind of gives businesses a face, a character almost, and a personality that people can respond to.”

— Amanda Strickland Associate Creative Director, Spawn Ideas

about art directors is that their job is to protect the idea. While they may not be the one doing the editing on a TV spot, for example, they are the one overseeing it to make sure the idea is coming to life.” Strickland continues that art directors are the people “coming up with ideas, and then designing, and then executing, and then overseeing the process,” although others may have hands on the project at various times. She says the creative process is like a funnel, in that you “throw out all the ideas you have and you refine, refine, refine until you come to one.” Strickland loves the strategy around designing. Especially at an agency like Spawn Ideas, which often works with large corpora-

Using Design for Success Spawn Ideas provides services to a range of industries in Alaska, including telecommunications, education, oil and gas, nonprofit, and finance. She says while it may be unique in the Lower 48 to have such a diversity of clients, it’s necessary in Alaska. Taylor of Element agrees: “In Anchorage, you have to do a little bit of everything.” He explains that Element is not a “straight-up advertising [or graphic design] agency.” Element doesn’t generally buy media or have a media buyer; typically Element’s clients are focused on brand development. He says that other media companies are profitable operating more traditionally, but Element focuses differently on how to stay profitable. For example, “We keep our overhead down, which is why we operate out of The Boardroom instead of having our own building,” Taylor says. Additionally, Element has a different strategy when approaching clients: “Our process is a little bit different from a lot of agencies—we vet our clients for what we want to

work on.” Specifically, since their clients are looking for quality design, the Element team in turn requires that the client respect their education, experience, and expertise. Taylor says that for their clients, the design is just one part of the whole picture. “Graphic design is the process of creating something useful using design elements; brand development is the process of making that symbol meaningful,” he explains, and creating and explaining that meaning is also a skill. Taylor taught at the University of Alaska Anchorage for a time, and he says he would instruct his students that a good, or even fantastic, design isn’t always enough to make a project successful. “I can show you sketch book after sketch book of really great graphic designers, and some of the best work they ever did never saw the light of day because they didn’t know how to get someone to understand why it needed to be used, how it needed to be used.” Ardaiz of Mad Dog Graphx says that regardless of what the project is, how it’s used is significant. “We’ve had many, many clients who feel like they’ve hired us to design a logo—and they love the logo—but they walk out the door and never use it and wonder why customers aren’t knocking down their door. The logo is just a foundation, it’s a visual foundation of your brand, and you have to have an entire brand in place; there has to be marketing. You have to let people know you exist.” In essence, a logo is not a marketing strategy. “And that’s true of any piece that comes in the door,” he explains.

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Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

Mad Dog Graphx wants their designs to be successful, and they want their clients to be successful. “The client is happier in the end if their project is successful: if their lecture is well attended or if their product is selling well,” which is why Mad Dog Graphx focuses on helping clients develop the right end deliverable.

One Good Design Is All You Need In terms of the deliverables, Taylor of Element and Meyer of Plaid both say they have a policy of presenting just one final proposal. Taylor says, “We design tons of options, but when we get to the end and my whole team is looking at it and says, ‘That’s the one,’ well, then that’s the one we present.” Meyer explains, “When I started in this industry, I would create three distinct designs and then pitch those three. [An annual report, for example] would be a cover and a one-page spread. Over time, it became apparent that I was spending a lot of the design time that I had for the overall project just working up these three unique designs, so I started trusting my artistic gut.” Sticking to a strict three-design policy meant that he ended up just throwing things together for one or two of the designs instead of focusing energy on the design he found the most promising. “And, if they hate it, I always have other designs in my head that I can easily tap into,” he says. Meyer says that his current clients are predominantly in the retail industry, though he also does a lot of work for Alaska Native Corporations and is capable and willing to perform work for any of Alaska’s industries. For new projects, “The first thing I do is have a conversation,” Meyer says. He says that he’s old school in that the majority of his work starts on paper. “I think some young artists will jump right on the computer, and that can be successful, but I think you get a better product when you work out a lot of the kinks on paper and then get it solid when you get on the computer.” Meyer works regularly with local print shop GraphicWorks to create environmental graphics, which in the graphic design industry refers to designed projects that exist in an environment, such as a display or sign. Environmental graphics can be an opportunity to combine design, building, engineering, and unique materials. “I don’t often get to do a ton of them, but they can be fun.” He cites a current project he’s working on that will provide a company’s history and other information through the use of multi-layered, floorto-ceiling columns that will utilize wood and acrylic as materials. Meyer advises, for businesses that want a good outcome for a design or branding project, “come in understanding that it is a professional service, and that there isn’t some magic buttons we push on our computer that makes it happen. Also, come in with as much information as you can give to the artist or the agency; share all you can and then trust what the artist is telling you.” R

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July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly


Photo courtesy of Quintillion


Telecom & Technology

A crew lays subsea fiber optic cable; pictured here is a branching unit, which allows a fiber optic cable to branch from the main trunk line to a specific community such as Kotzebue or Wainwright.

Telecommunications Acquisitions and Partnerships Alaska’s telecommunications industry works together to improve service and accessibility By Tasha Anderson


elecommunications are vital to every community; however, in Alaska, whether or not a satellite phone is available or the Internet is working can easily be the deciding factor for whether a project suffers delays; a person can be treated at home or must spend hundreds of dollars traveling to access healthcare; or, in extreme scenarios, whether a person lives through the day. So it’s a huge benefit to Alaska’s residents and businesses that the telecommunications industry is continuously investing in Alaska 24

to build networks, improve service speeds, and increase service areas through a multitude of technological and infrastructure solutions. One important tool telecommunications providers use is each other by forming partnerships, entering into mergers, participating in joint ventures, or acquiring assets (or even whole companies) to ensure every Alaskan—no matter where, no matter when—has the communications access he or she needs.

Working on Wireless Alaska Communications and GCI have a recent history of working together. In 2013, Alaska Communications and GCI combined their respective wireless assets to form the Alaska Wireless Network (AWN). Alaska Communications owned one-third and GCI owned the other two-thirds of the company. “AWN managed those wireless network assets and then provided wholesale service to both GCI and Alaska Communications,” explains Greg Chapados, executive vice president and COO at GCI.

In 2015, Alaska Communications sold its wireless subscriber business and its one-third share of AWN to GCI. “Having the AWN structure with two owners—in a relatively complex structure of reselling wholesale service back to those two owners—meant that the organization didn’t have the ability to keep up [with the fast pace of industry change and innovation] from our perspective,” says Chapados of the AWN acquisition. “And that’s not to say that partnerships don’t work; it’s just that sometimes partnership structure is not the best way to approach a market. And we believed the best way to approach the market and have the maximum ability to meet customer demands, which is obviously the number one issue here—customer demands and needs—was to have it under a single owner and have those operations unified with a single retail presence.” With that acquisition, GCI became the only state-wide wireless provider in Alaska that is Alaska-based. Other telecommunications providers such as Copper Valley Telecom, Tel-

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

Photo courtesy of Quintillion

—Greg Chapados Executive Vice President and COO, GCI

Alaska, Cordova Telephone Cooperative, and ASTAC provide wireless services in specific areas. Although GCI is the biggest Alaskabased wireless services provider, AT&T has the largest number of wireless subscribers in total. During the first quarter of 2017 GCI reported having 222,000 total wireless lines in service, including consumer and business lines.

GCI Partners with Liberty Interactive Of course, the big news concerning GCI is their recently-formed relationship with Liberty Interactive, announced in April. Liberty

Quintillion’s subsea fiber optic cable is buried to protect it from various environmental factors, including sea ice scraping the seafloor; the apparatus above is one tool used to bury the cable.

Ventures Group is a tracking stock that represents the performance of a large number of assets, one of which is Liberty Interactive, according to Chapados. While the new agreement has been called an acquisition, Chapados says, “[GCI] thinks of it as a combination or a merger, because basically we’re taking our operations and combining them

with a large number of assets.” He says those assets include a large stake (nearly 6 percent) in Charter Communications, “which is the second largest cable operator in the United States,” and other minority stakes in companies like FTD Companies (online floral deliveries), Evite (online event invitations), and LendingTree (loan and mortgaging services).

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly



“We have a continuous effort going underway here at GCI to modernize [and simplify] our networks and our systems: modernization, simplification, retiring what we call technical debt—all those things make your networks and systems stronger, increase availability, and increase performance.”


Bristol Bay Industrial Connects to Telecommunications Industry through Alaska Directional Acquisition By Tasha Anderson


n March, Bristol Bay Industrial (BBI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bristol Bay Native Corporation, finalized the acquisition of Alaska Directional, which specializes in providing design, construction, and support services for the utility and telecommunications industries, including directional drilling, underground utility installation, cellular tower construction, and cathodic protection. BBI President and CEO Mark Nelson says acquisitions “begin with strategic planning and flow from relationships and reputations.” He continues, “For some time, we had heard great things about Alaska Directional and had seen their incredible performance. There’s significant excitement at BBI about Alaska Directional. Our strategic plan is focused on expanding not only our initial core, which is the upstream oil and gas support services, but to grow and expand our services into similar industries, particularly here in the state of Alaska when possible. Telecommunications and utility services are industries we had targeted, so it is a great fit.” Nelson says that BBI always has an eye open for good acquisition opportunities. “In the industrial space, we’re not looking for companies that require big turnarounds.” He says strong ownership, strong management, and leadership teams that would be Moving forward, GCI will change its name to GCI Liberty. “The transaction is, in a sense, the bestof-all-worlds for us as a company in that it’s obviously a good transaction for our shareholders and it helps diversify risk beyond the Alaska market [an obvious boon considering Alaska’s current financial difficulties] and it’s good for GCI’s customers, because the company’s day-to-day operations remain in the hands of the existing management team.” That includes CEO Ron Duncan, who founded the company in 1979. GCI has been, and will continue to be, an Alaska-grown business, and this relationship in many ways will enable GCI to be even more of an asset to its Alaskan employees and consumers. “We will be, putting aside the change in stock prices that’s taken place since the transaction was originally announced, part of a company that’s four times larger than our current size, and that helps give us more economic financial strength when dealing with an uncertain market up here in Alaska,” Chapados says. Moving forward, GCI will continue to focus on growth in Alaska, looking for opportunities in their consumer and business segments, according to Chapados. GCI is examining how to become more “effective and 26

interested in continuing their roles are important factors that BBI considers. “We’re looking for companies in our industrial sectors that do things right, that serve their clients well, and that live our core values— safety, innovation, and excellence.” The acquisition of Alaska Directional included approximately twenty-five core employees (with additional employees during the construction season) and a “significant and impressive” fleet of equipment. Alaska Directional Founders Billy and Melissa Long will continue on in leadership roles at the company. Nelson sees the Longs as an asset and is excited for how BBI can support Alaska Directional moving forward. “What makes someone like Billy great, and what makes his team great, is that they focus on the client: they’re close to the client, they know the industry, and they anticipate what’s happening before it happens. They see around corners and meet operational challenges in really creative and innovative ways.” Meanwhile, BBI will provide many of the office services that can create bottlenecks for expanding businesses, such as payroll, HR onboarding, recruiting, and tax issues. “The back office is usually the brake on the engine,” Nelson says. “Our goal isn’t to buy a struggling company and then remake it or rebrand it, it’s to buy a company that’s performing really well and does everything excellently operationally but is looking for efficient,” Chapados says. “We have a continuous effort going underway here at GCI to modernize [and simplify] our networks and our systems: modernization, simplification, retiring what we call technical debt—all those things make your networks and systems stronger, increase availability, and increase performance.” For example, GCI is working on improving and upgrading their back-office systems, including their billing platform. Because of how the company’s billing system has developed over the years, many customers with multiple services receive multiple bills, which is inconvenient for everyone involved. “We’re in the process of changing that out so that people, going forward, will see a single bill from us on a monthly basis and it will be much easier for them to interact with us in terms of setting up service, changing service, and paying for service.” GCI will also be increasing their e-commerce services. For many years GCI has also been growing its out-of-state operations. GCI’s business division opened a Seattle office in August 2016, and in January GCI announced that it acquired Northpoint Consulting, a Seattlebased network consulting firm that has provided network solutions for companies such as the Seattle Seahawks and Costco. “We’re

more horsepower behind it financially and in the back office… What we’re able to do is provide clients a large company’s horsepower behind a company that still thinks like an entrepreneurial small company.” An example of that entrepreneurial spirit is Alaska Directional’s innovative approach to installing a continuation of a fiber optic cable for Quintillion from Coldfoot to mile 300 on the Dalton Highway. Alaska Directional developed and deployed a new methodology whereby they cut a pathway in the tundra using a trencher and plow instead of ripping up the root mat. The result is a six-foot pathway through the tundra versus a twenty-foot pathway that results from traditional methods of laying cable. The work also progresses faster allowing Alaska Directional to complete their portion of the work in twelve months instead of the scheduled eighteen. Nelson says BBI has been pleased with the acquisition and subsequent transition and is excited looking to the future. “I’ve found, working in [the telecommunications] space, that there are a number of great telecommunications companies that want to and understand how to make Alaska even better… They engage their contractors as true partners, listen to innovations that the contractors might have, inspire us to create those innovations, and approach projects in a partnered way—work with them to improve the state.” R taking the expertise we’ve gathered in Alaska and combining it with the expertise we’ve gathered in the Lower 48 to provide nextgeneration managed solutions for business,” Chapados says. GCI’s merger with Liberty Interactive will be finalized in 2018, pending approval from the FCC and RCA, says Chapados, who notes those applications have been submitted and are under review.

Alaska Communications and Quintillion Partner on the North Slope In 2015, Alaska Communications and Quintillion entered into a partnership to acquire a fiber optics network from ConocoPhillips. “Our partnership with Quintillion was essential to acquiring the North Slope fiber network and increasing our investment in the Arctic… in the area where most new development is happening,” according to an Alaska Communications spokesperson. Quintillion Founder and CEO Elizabeth Pierce says a partnership in this situation made sense. “In their request for proposal [ConocoPhillips] had a strong requirement for introducing competition to the market. We felt that a joint effort would address that” and ultimately increase their chances of acquiring the network. “[The joint venture] led

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

Map courtesy of Quintillion

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July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly



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us to offer a carrier class commercial network so that anybody wishing to provide services on the North Slope to the oil and gas industry could purchase capacity on the network and do so,” Pierce says. According to Alaska Communications, “The network that resulted from the acquisition and partnership enables businesses to have high-speed connectivity for the first time. Previously, only high-cost microwave and satellite communications were available from one carrier.” The company goes on to say that North Slope companies benefit from increased competition by gaining access to the latest technology applications, “enabling them to operate at greater efficiency, have redundancy, reduce operating costs, and maintain the highest safety standards.” Quintillion, Pierce says, has been deliberate in opening access to networks to increase market competition, which benefits commercial and residential end-users. “We’re proud that our broadband, in addition to improving business needs, allows workers on the slope to access fast, reliable Internet on their offhours. It allows Alaskans in Deadhorse and beyond to do video calling such as Skype, stream Netflix, play online games, surf the web, and more—faster,” according to Alaska Communications.

Value in Partnering Alaska Communications says that when they’re considering partnering within the industry, “we depend on our partners to serve businesses of all sizes. We look for partners whose capabilities, when paired with our network, help us provide the most value, Revolutionize TV and distribution. highest levelsyour of security reliability, and customer to Alaska Smartboxgreat ™ saves you spaceservice and money, while businesses.” providing a single TV solution your entireare property. Some of theirforpartners industry leaders in cloud-based, hardware, and software solutions, such as Microsoft, Aruba, Nimble • AlwaysStorage, up and running with 24-hour remote monitoring and Cisco. In May, Alaska Commu• 93% less space than standard systems* nications announced that they signed • 90% less power for maximum energy efficiency* a memorandum of understanding to needed become the • No bulky cooling racks or equipment rooms • Up to 96 HDreseller channelsof plus customizable guides first OneWeb-enabled broadband • Priced 50% below current configurations* access in Alaska, starting in 2019. “This new *Comparisons to previous DISH platforms. All comparisons as of 6/19/14. high-speed, low latency broadband service will be available to every Alaska home, school, business, and community center.” OneWeb’s system includes 900 ultra-high throughput Low Earth OrbitUniversities, satellites that are capable of Hospitals, Apartments providing more than 7 terabytes per second of capacity. “Even more unique is that OneWeb is specifically designed with aCall polar to information fororbit more ensure coverage of 100 percent of the United States, including Alaska, which has historiRestrictions apply. Call for details. cally, because of its high latitude, had poor coverage from the satellite industry,” Alaska Communications states. “Partnerships help us bring added-value to our customers,” the company continues. “By partnering with OneWeb, we can bring high-speed broadband to new communities in Alaska that we previously haven’t been able to serve.”

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Quintillion Subsea Cable System Pierce says Quintillion is always considering partnership opportunities. In the case of the ConocoPhillips fiber optics network, “[Alaska

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

the size of human hair, but they are enclosed in a steel composite conductor surrounded by an insulated sheath, two layers of galvanized steel, and an insulated water-resistant membrane. Woolston says that in certain areas the cable, which is approximately the size of a garden hose, was laid within a steel conduit to protect it further. The cable, without the steel conduit, withstands up to 1,000 psi. “Alaska is a unique and challenging place to install [cable], but once we have this system completed and in service later this year, that will be a tremendous win for Alaska and for the industry,” Woolston says. “I think we’re going to see a lot of evolution in the telecom industry,” Pierce says. “Major constraints for the industry have been the

lack of the ‘big pipes’ connecting the major markets and then the neighboring markets, and as we conquer that we’re going to see an evolution in communication services in Alaska, which has really lagged—even urban quarters of Alaska—compared to Lower 48 and global standards. We’re fast moving for Alaska to be a major center as far as communications networks and technology centers, and we’re seeing a lot of interesting activity that’s going to be very promising for Alaska if we can be responsive as a state to that tech center opportunity.” R Tasha Anderson is the Associate Editor for Alaska Business.

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July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly



Communications] had the size and scale to step up to the obligations of the acquisition and then the formation of the network and the ability to partner. Often times partnering is challenging because one party wants control, and this joint venture is 50/50, it’s a true partnership; not every company has the culture and the structure that can allow that to happen.” Quintillion at one time was the US partner for Arctic Fibre’s subsea cable system project. “As the [Quintillion Subsea Cable System] project matured and evolved, it required a different focus, a different approach… It basically led to Quintillion taking the lead and then acquiring Arctic Fibre’s assets, which included the system design and the original plans,” Pierce says. The acquisition, announced in May 2016, was “a natural evolution given the nature of the project and certain complexities.” Today, Quintillion plans to manage its fiber optic network, selling wholesale access to other telecommunications providers. The subsea fiber optic cable network will go into service later this year, though it’s been in operation since November, running in test mode, Pierce says. Quintillion Vice President of External Affairs, Kristina Woolston, says that Phase I of the project, which includes a main trunk line and branching lines into Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow), Wainwright, Point Hope, Kotzebue, and Nome, is complete with the exception of forty miles off Prudhoe Bay that will connect the main trunk to the terrestrial part of the network running from Prudhoe Bay to Fairbanks. That forty-mile portion was slated for completion last summer, but design plans called for a burial depth “that protects the system and adds resilience and security over the life of the system” that was not reached in the available open water construction season. “We’re coming back this summer to get the desired burial depth on that short stretch,” Woolston says. She says Quintillion’s scheduled service date for Phase I of the network is December 1. “Personally I’d be very happy if we were done with all three phases in five years,” Pierce says, “but Mother Nature is a major consideration, and she doesn’t always have our interests in mind. There’s a lot of variability that has to be managed, especially when working in the Arctic.” Both Pierce and Woolston tout the benefits this fiber optic system will provide to Alaska; Phase II, which will connect the main trunk line to Japan, will provide a diverse communications path not just for Alaska, but for North America as a whole. “Right now we have four fiber systems that head to the Pacific Northwest; while the cables are laid separately, for industry standards it’s not considered fully diverse because they go to generally the same location,” Woolston says. The cable that Quintillion is laying has a design life of more than twenty-five years, and Woolston says that capacity on the line can be increased with a change of equipment at a cable landing station. The cable itself is built to be durable; the fiber optic strands are roughly


Telecom & Technology

Website Development: Multiple skills come together to create a dynamic industry By Julie Stricker


ack in the days when the Internet as we know it was barely out of its DOS diapers, building a website was a fairly easy proposition. Two decades ago, the sites making up the World Wide Web were largely digital bulletin boards with little more than a business description, logo, and maybe a couple of photos and an email link. All a website designer needed was a basic program, an eye for graphics, and a flair for communication. That world was already changing in 2000 when Steve Vick decided he wanted a career in website design. At the University of Alaska Fairbanks, he pursued a course of independent study, taking classes in technology, art, and journalism en route to a degree in multimedia development and design in 2004. He started Web907 in Fairbanks and is still going strong today, but his company, the Alaska marketplace, and the Internet bear only a slight resemblance to their humble beginnings. “More and more businesses are discovering they need a good website,” Vick says. “The web and online marketing, digital marketing, in Alaska is about ten years behind [other places], but even small businesses are finding they need to live up to the expectations of larger businesses online.” Vick and other Alaska-based website design businesses are busier than ever. Most of the companies are small, with independent contractors filling specialized niches such as videography, search engine optimization, or graphic design that are necessary to design today’s websites. While Alaska’s university and community college systems offer classes that can provide the basic skills necessary 30

for a career in website design, it’s not a static field. Vick advises those interested in website design to “be prepared to always be learning. Don’t expect to learn it all in college.” The field is constantly changing and always growing, he says. “So keep learning or you will be left behind.”

The Dawn of Sundog Media Joe Law, founder of Sundog Media, earned a bachelor of fine arts degree with a focus on graphic design. “I actually worked at the university newspaper and was part of that transition from the old cut and paste days of newspapers to going digital with the early Macs,” he says. “I am very much the designer/artist of the team, and thankfully have a team that is much smarter than me and able to turn my designs into powerful and functioning websites.” Law started Sundog Media as a graphic design business and soon started focusing entirely on building websites. It’s a familyoriented business, and Law has kept his team small by design. “We are a virtual team working from our own home offices, so one of our biggest qualities is the ability to be selfmotivated and disciplined. Working virtual is not for everyone, and I have found over the years quite a few employees who have not been able to handle it. At Sundog, we really strive to find a good balance between life and work and put quality first beyond a focus on growth.” The ability to work virtually means that two of his six current team members live outside Alaska. Keeping Up With the Times In addition to an eye-catching design, a successful website marketing business also must

offer services such as website hosting, search engine optimization, digital and social media services, and video production. “That is a good thing about the field: it’s always evolving,” Vick says. “Google is changing their algorithms all the time. Now everything has to be mobile-friendly to get a good ranking on Google. We’re always playing catch-up with that and staying on top of that. When your website performs better, your business performs better.” Keeping up with Google, as well as a host of ever-changing digital marketing, search engine optimization, e-commerce, and social media needs, requires a wide skillset, says Kristen Fowler Lindsey, who runs Anchorage-based Thrively Digital, which has been in business since 2003. Alaska is a market of small businesses, Lindsey says. “You could say it’s a small market, except most businesses today understand they need a website,” she says. “But there’s a lack of understanding on how that website contributes to the bottom line. “We have people who come to us and say ‘We want WordPress,’” she says of the popular website design platform. “[WordPress] is just a tool. It’s just a platform. You can get anything with it, from the level of a toddler with finger paints to a Michelangelo. That’s the range of skillsets you can find.” For a small business, there may be the temptation to go to an online website creator such as Wix or Squarespace that use templates to build simple sites in just a few minutes. But there are risks with that, Lindsey says. Once built, those sites still require regular maintenance and security upgrades. Someone on staff must be able to keep up with those changes, and if a staffer leaves

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

Web Design Offers Huge Job Opportunities for Alaskans Finding employees or contractors who can keep up with technology can be a challenge because the pool in Alaska is limited, Lindsey says. But for those with the skills, “the opportunity for a person in graphic design and software development is pretty big. If someone wants to work on their own, they’ll be able to find clients. Do good work, get more work, for sure.” Lindsey says she has been fortunate to keep talented staff members over the years. Even so, it can be “extremely difficult” to find qualified people to develop the software needed to build today’s websites. “We’ve found that contracting out the development and having multiple people that meet our requirements is a little bit safer from our standpoint,” she says. “A developer who knows what they’re doing, they can kind of write their own ticket.” It’s important for people to remember to charge what they’re worth, Vick says. “Web design, web development, digital marketing—all of it is an acquired skill, a valued skill,” he says. “And it’s a needed skill. To be good at it takes time, and you should be paid like a professional.” Alaska itself may be a draw in the future for people in the technology industry. “I do think there is a really big opportunity to develop technology as an industry here in Alaska,” she says. “This conversation has been going on forever. Especially with the Internet, that whole physical location [for a business] is less important.” The state’s time zone is advantageous from a global standpoint. In Anchorage, in particular, there is easy and relatively inexpensive access to broadband. Co-working spaces such as The Boardroom in Anchorage offer digital entrepreneurs a place to work independently and in collaboration with others. Lindsey makes sure her staffers have time built into their schedules to keep up with changing technology. “The great thing about our industry is there’s an incredible amount of good-quality educational opportunities online,” she says, noting the Alaska university system offers online marketing classes. Another popular professional platform is, which her company uses frequently. “The other interesting thing is the skill sets,” Lindsey says. “You’ve got such a changing market. You have to keep an eye on how relevant you’re going to be in three to five years.” R


after a year, that can leave the owners in a technological bind. “The market is really about creating a skill set that allows business owners to feel comfortable with what we’re doing,” she says.

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Julie Stricker is a journalist living near Fairbanks.

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly



Telecom & Technology

Mobile and Cloud Solutions Benefit Alaska Business and Consumers Life with mobile apps changes the landscape of how and where people conduct business By Julie Stricker


tanding in the checkout aisle of the grocery store with a loaded cart, it suddenly occurs to you that your checking account might not have enough funds in it to cover the cost of that bulging cart’s contents. What to do? If you’re one of the 2,000 people with the Mt. McKinley Bank mobile banking app, you whip out your phone, put your finger on the touchpad, and quickly check your balance. If your suspicions were correct, you can transfer money from another account and be ready to go by the time the clerk has tallied your haul.


Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

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“It’s very nice. Especially with our younger customers; they really like it. The younger population is using their phones for more and more things, and online banking fits right in. They like the fact it’s twenty-four hours and right at their fingertips. It’s ultraconvenient.”

—Amy Richards Executive Vice President and COO Mount McKinley Bank

A few seconds after you swipe your debit card, a notification on your phone lets you know that the card has been used, a security feature that could come in handy if the card gets stolen or your teen goes on an unauthorized shopping spree. The app, which has been out in its present form for less than a year, has proven to be very popular, says Amy Richards, executive vice president and COO for Mount McKinley Bank. “It’s very nice,” Richards says. “Especially with our younger customers; they really like it. The younger population is using their phones

for more and more things, and online banking fits right in. They like the fact it’s twenty-four hours and right at their fingertips. It’s ultraconvenient.”

There’s an App for That Over the past couple of years, mobile apps have changed the landscape of how and where people conduct online business. Phones are one accessory that nearly everyone carries, and these days, if you want it, there’s bound to be an app for that. Richards says bank employees tested several different apps before choosing the current iteration, which was developed by Fiserv. One of the most popular functions is the low-balance alert, she says. And connecting the account to a mobile phone is also a good way to combat fraud. “Our adoption rate was faster than when we first rolled out Internet banking years and years ago,” she says. “Once people hear about it, it spreads quickly.” Over the past several years, more Alaskans have been able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by improved access to technology. Since 2010, GCI’s TERRA (Terrestrial for Every Rural Region Alaska) network has made land-based broadband Internet available to eighty-four villages across rural Alaska, including remote Red Dog mine and Noatak in northwest Alaska. The Quintillion network will bring highspeed fiber-optic internet to Prudhoe Bay and Deadhorse this year, with operations coming online at other northern Alaska vil-

lages in the coming months. And in May, Alaska Communications signed a memorandum of understanding with OneWeb to bring high-speed satellite broadband across Alaska starting in 2019. That means Alaskans across the state will be able to access high-quality healthcare, educational, and business opportunities, as well as cloud technologies such as Microsoft Office 365, says Mary Gasperlin, spokeswoman for managed service provider Arctic Information Technology, based in Anchorage and owned by Doyon, Limited. The “cloud” is a network of computers that are set up to provide different tasks and services. Arctic IT works with businesses to find solutions to everyday accounting and personnel issues, among other things. Accessing the cloud also adds a layer of security, Gasperlin says. “We’ve really harnessed the cloud for backups,” she says. “Cyber threats are at epidemic levels.” Even if a company’s on-premise servers get hit by a virus like Wanna Cry, which shut down hospital and company networks across Britain and Europe in early May, having cloud-based back-up provides a way to rebuild any losses quickly, she says. “What we are seeing is that there seems to have been a bit of a tipping point, a willingness to adopt cloud technologies,” says Mark Mathis, senior account executive for Arctic IT. “One of the challenges in Alaska to this point has been access to technology and bandwidth.”

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Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

“At the highest level, the cloud is about economies of scale. The abilities to leverage solutions, being able to leverage that public cloud infrastructure to achieve the goal at tremendous cost savings, that’s the promise of the cloud.”

—Mark Mathis Senior Account Executive, Arctic IT

Alaska residents in remote villages can use iPads to quickly reach emergency room physicians at Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. A program called Doctor on Demand allows patients who have downloaded its app on a smart phone equipped with a camera to interact with board-certified physicians in a manner similar to a FaceTime chat. Greater access to broadband also opens up opportunities for businesses in communities well off the road system. “I could open a homebased business and have the same functionality as a big company as far as how I relate to my customers and they relate to me,” Mathis says. “Shared calendaring: for a small business to do that as recently as ten years ago was thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars. Now it’s about $12.50 per month. It’s pretty amazing. It’s quite a different paradigm.”

Staying Secure in a Mobile World When it comes to security, Arctic IT encourages businesses to not rely on a single

solution, Mathis says. “You want to assemble appropriate layers of security,” he says. Everyday data and information should be protected with appropriate anti-virus and anti-malware programs. Backups should be scheduled on a regular basis and automated as much as possible. Companies also must be careful to protect their clients’ data. It’s not enough for a business to buy a bunch of computers and say it’s just “going to subscribe to this cloud thing,” Mathis says. Systems need to be maintained and monitored. “At the highest level, the cloud is about economies of scale,” Mathis says. “The abilities to leverage solutions, being able to leverage that public cloud infrastructure to achieve the goal at tremendous cost savings, that’s the promise of the cloud.” R

Julie Stricker is a journalist living near Fairbanks.

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly



The Cost of Connectivity With projects like Quintillion, he says, people in hub communities are eager to adopt the higher quality of connectivity. “I really think that’s going to be a contributor to economic development in these communities and regions,” he says. “We’re not sure what it’s going to cost yet. We’re waiting with baited breath.” To date, projects such as the TERRA network have been instrumental in moving the needle ahead, Mathis says. “There are still some issues related to latency and bandwidth and it’s really expensive,” he says. In some ways, it’s analogous to the old party telephone lines. But the continued expansion of the smart phone market gives consumers access to almost everything on the Internet without having to go to the expense of buying a desktop computer. In order to stay relevant in Google search rankings, the acknowledged gatekeeper of the Internet, websites must be mobile friendly. At its most basic, connectivity means communication. The number one online collaborative tool is still email, although higher bandwidth brings opportunities for video conferencing and telemedicine. In 2016, Governor Bill Walker signed a bill that expands the use of telemedicine in Alaska so that providers no longer have to be in-state to prescribe treatments. Telemedicine can also be used for clinical practices such as speech pathology, counseling, family therapists, social workers, and occupational therapists.


Telecom & Technology

E-Commerce Connects Business to Alaska and Beyond Design, marketing, and investment lead to success By Julie Stricker


long with thousands of photos of mountains, glaciers, and wildlife, visitors to Alaska often leave with Alaska-made chocolates, smoked salmon, or an Alaska-themed pendant tucked snugly into their luggage to share with friends and relatives back home. And if they find they haven’t procured quite enough Alaska bounty, visitors and residents can easily find more Alaska goodies online thanks to the world of e-commerce. In Alaska, e-commerce websites are indispensable for most businesses and consumers, allowing both to sell and receive products previously unavailable because they are located so far off the beaten path. “Alaska is great for e-com,” says Dennis Zaki, website designer and search engine optimization expert for LiquidAlaska Design, an Anchorage-based website design company. “We have clients in the Bush that sell all over the world. Alaska Glacial Mud was on ABC’s ‘SharkTank.’ Every time a rerun pops up worldwide, the sales start coming in on the website.” While books, music, and widgets galore are available through countless online shopping behemoths, certain specialty products require shoppers go to the—virtual— source. “Sites that have unique or hard-to-find products can do really well online,” Zaki says, noting that another client is using its e-commerce site to sell tickets directly to customers instead of paying a 22 percent commission to a ticket broker. “Ideally, the plan is to get all of his sales online and save over $100K next year in commissions,” Zaki says. Over the years, Zaki has taught himself what works best when building websites. He started LiquidAlaska in 2002 after a long career as a chef. “I taught myself how to build websites with my best friend, Google,” he 36

says, adding that he’s kept the operation small. “I have two employees that help when I’m in the weeds.” Since 2002, LiquidAlaska has built more than 400 websites, about a quarter of which are e-commerce sites. Simply put, he says, a well-designed website is key to e-commerce success. “The most important factor for a good ecom site is one that has good navigation and a simple checkout,” Zaki says, a lesson he learned from years of research and client and customer feedback. “The easier it is for a visitor to get in and out, the more likely they are to purchase and return again. “We all have developed the attention span of a mosquito when we go online,” he adds. “We know what we want and we want it right now.”

Content Matters “Great pictures and videos help sell products,” Zaki says. “Terrible product pictures make the product look weak and kill sales.” When Alaska Wild Berry Products designed its website, the company chose to use a designer from outside Alaska, but they flew him up for a visit first, says manager Dawee Lor. “We wanted him to get a good feel for Alaska and we wanted him to see our store

and get it right,” she says. Alaska Wild Berry Products is known for its jelly-centered chocolates made from Alaska fruit. Its flagship store in Anchorage is home to a one-hundred-foot chocolate waterfall and is a popular spot for tourists. The website features a berry-colored background and large, luscious-looking photos of its unique candies. “The candies are special because they are local,” Lor says, noting the company buys berries from Alaskans and uses local products whenever possible. “It’s limited, too. If we have a bad season in berries, we just don’t have that product.” That attention to quality has earned the company fans around the world. For most of the year, website sales account for about a tenth of total sales, but at Christmas that jumps to a quarter of sales, she says. About 70 percent of online sales come from outside the state. Of the rest, much of it is Alaskans sending the candies out of state.

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

she’s able to update item descriptions to take advantage of that knowledge.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All Internet marketing is another key component to successful e-commerce, Zaki says. Facebook and Google ads bring in a lot of business for his clients. “It takes research and time, but they get business from all over the world using Google.” For example, Bill Starr with FlyAkAir. com uses Google ads to reach clients in other countries who are headed to Alaska for a bear tour. An Eagle River greenhouse owner at posts pictures of seasonal plants and flowers. In May, Mile 52 featured a picture of a lemon tree. Businesses should not

skimp when building their sites, Zaki says. A local company that understands the business and can build the site so that potential customers can easily find it will generally be more successful than one built by an online, one-size-fits-all program. You can’t build your business online for $100, he says. “I guess a quick analogy would be Lincoln Logs versus Legos,” Zaki says. “If you build a house with Lincoln Logs, it’ll look great as a log cabin—no floor and a plastic roof. It is what it is. But if you use Legos, the sky is the limit.” R Julie Stricker is a journalist living near Fairbanks.

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly



Know Your SEO Zaki says that after he helped build an ecommerce website for Copper River Seafoods, the company’s sales shot up. In that case, he says, it’s not just the photos but the videos that make the site compelling. “A properly constructed video can boost your product tenfold,” he says. He heard that claim from an Amazon representative who was visiting another of LiquidAlaska’s clients. In the years since, he has devoted thousands of hours to developing videos for clients, and, in most cases, the effort has paid off in higher viewership and increased sales. For most e-commerce websites, what’s going on in the background can be just as important as the user interface. Google and other online search engines use regularly updated algorithms based on keywords, site links, and a host of other proprietary information to sort through the billions of pages on the Internet to find the websites most relevant to a given search query. Websites that are “search engine optimized” will rank higher in search and become more viewable than those that have not been optimized with keywords. Judie Gumm has been designing natureinspired jewelry from her studio in Ester, outside Fairbanks, for decades. She has customers all over the world, most of whom first discovered her jewelry while visiting Alaska. She has had a website for more than twenty years and is in the process of updating it again this spring. “We’re just trying to keep as up-to-date as possible because the algorithms have changed,” Gumm says. “If you don’t stay on top of it, nobody can find you.” She also sells her jewelry on, an e-commerce site that caters to crafters. It’s a vast site used by more than 45 million people to sell their wares. In general, Gumm says, she sells one piece on Etsy for every two pieces on her website. “Etsy does a substantial portion of our retail sales,” she says. “I’m not sure at this time what makes Etsy tick. But I think that in order to be successful on it, you have to spend some time on it.” Etsy uses its own proprietary program to guide its search results, but Gumm can see which keywords people use to find her site, so


Alaska’s Growing Urgent Care Treatment Option: Not Just a “Doc in the Box” Demand for after-hours urgent care services growing in Alaska By Tom Anderson


hen a medical emergency crops up, most people’s first thoughts aren’t about convenience or cost; they’re thinking about how to get help as quickly and efficiently as possible. In many cases this means visiting an emergency room, especially if lives are in danger. However, long wait times and increasing healthcare costs have some people turning to urgent care centers for injuries that—up until recently—would have landed them in the ER.

Urgent Care Model Gaining Popularity The decision about where to go for healthcare depends on a number of factors including the seriousness of the condition, whether the patient’s regular doctor is available, and whether the person needing care is insured. If a life is at stake, the ER is clearly the first and best choice. But what if you just need to see a doctor after hours for something minor? Enter the urgent care center. According to health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield, an urgent care center may be appropriate if the condition isn’t life threatening but still needs immediate attention. Along with the ability to visit a doctor after hours, in most cases urgent care patients also save time and money because urgent care centers aren’t equipped to handle the multiple, high-level traumas ERs are equipped to treat, so they carry less overhead and can therefore afford to charge lower prices. Additionally, urgent care centers don’t treat life or death cases, meaning their patients will likely never have to wait hours because an ambulance has just pulled in with a trauma case that pushed them and their cold or sprain further down the list. According to the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine (AAUCM), a nonprofit organization representing medical providers in the urgent care arena, the US urgent care market is booming, surpassing $15 billion in revenues in 2017. The website says that the United States could need “52,000 additional primary care physicians by 2025 to meet the country’s healthcare utilization needs.” Meanwhile, healthcare research organization Kalorama Information reports that urgent care clinics first emerged as early 38

as the 1970s and have grown rapidly over the past few decades as consumers seek out convenience and a way to beat rising healthcare costs. Kalorama also reports that some urgent care industry growth can be attributed to hospital systems opening their own urgent care centers. A hospital that operates its own stand-alone urgent care facility often does so to alleviate some of the pressure from overpopulation due to patients using ERs after-hours for minor injuries, such as scrapes, sprains, allergies, and minor lacerations. When hospitals are able to divert nonemergent cases to urgent care facilities, they reduce the overall waiting time, cut costs, and free up resources for traumatic injuries.

Urgent Care Options in Alaska Along with the rest of the United States, demand for urgent care centers is growing in Alaska, with the majority of them opening in the state’s most densely populated areas, including Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, and Fairbanks. The typical family practice or physician collective of specialists may be able to treat or stabilize an ailment, but, for the most part, the state’s options are rural community health centers, local and regional hospitals, and urgent care facilities. There are several urgent care centers in Fairbanks, including Steese Immediate Care, Fairbanks Urgent Care Center, and US HealthWorks Medical Group. Mat-Su, Eagle River, and Anchorage offer myriad urgent care clinics. Mat-Su Regional Medical Center has a stand-alone urgent care facility in the heart of Wasilla, while Lake Lucille Urgent Care has been serving the Mat-Su Valley for decades. Capstone Clinic remains one of the largest non-hospital, full-service medical providers in the state with multiple specialty clinics, physicians, and urgent care centers open seven days a week, offering expanded services in Anchorage with state-of-the-art communications technology. Eagle River also has an assortment of medical practices, some of which brand themselves as urgent care facilities, albeit with limited hours of operation. Anchorage is home to the lion’s share of urgent care centers. Some are owned by a partnership of entrepreneurial physicians and investors, while others are stand-alone operations designed and managed by medical doctors. Beyond their comprehensive ERs, at this time neither Providence Alaska Medical Center nor Alaska Regional Hospital own or operate an offsite urgent care center.

First Care Medical Centers More than thirty years ago, in 1985, two physicians launched an urgent care clinic named Merchant and Mackie Enterprises in South Anchorage. The goal of the business was to offer neighborhood emergency medical services to the community as an alternative to hospital emergency rooms. Access and affordability were the targets for patients, as well as convenience for South Anchorage residents and tourists. In 2003, the clinic rebranded its name to “First Care Medical Center” and transferred ownership to Richard Wright and retired physician Scott Mackie. With one location, at 1301 Huffman Road, the center employs three medical doctors, two physician assistants, three advanced nurse practitioners, four nurses, three laboratory and radiology technicians, and a four-person clerical and medical billing team. “Our emergency services range from treating severe allergies and flu-season problems to addressing recreation and work-related injuries,” says Vanessa Rodriquez, the center’s director of finance and administration. “[These] services are comprehensive, including diagnosis and treatment of animal and insect bites, minor fractures and contusions, infections, lacerations, and burns, as well as minor surgical procedures like stitches and wound stabilization.” Rodriguez notes the center also specializes in work-related injuries such as emergency healthcare services including foreign-body removals, fracture and injury care, burn treatment, and needle-stick injury response. Rodriquez also believes there is a definite opportunity to expand urgent care services in Alaska communities. “Being that we are more than just an urgent care clinic, we can take advantage of the growing healthcare industry and meet the needs of our city and state through a broadened menu of health services,” she says. “We find that our patients appreciate convenience, same-day service, and fast, affordable emergency healthcare. Add in-house lab and x-ray support, with immediate results for review, and injured, sick patients receive state-of-the-art treatment.” First Care’s medical staff is available 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week, with no appointment necessary. “A Communal, Know-Your-Doctor, Healthcare Ecosystem” Quick access to quality medical care and practitioners make all the difference to a pa-

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

tient and make for a winning business model in urgent care, according to Dr. Layne Crowe, the founder of Urgent Care Medical Clinic (UCMC). Crowe opened his first treatment center in 1998 at Boniface Parkway and Northern Lights Boulevard in East Anchorage. As a former flight surgeon in the US Navy, and still serving in the Navy Reserve, Crowe’s focus is accessibility and comprehensive urgent care. When he conceived of the idea for UCMC, it was because he saw a need for neighborhood health services and saw an opportunity to deploy an alternative for patients. UCMC has two clinics since a second facility opened in Southwest Anchorage in 2002 at Dimond Boulevard and Jewel Lake Road. Both clinics are open seven days a week and provide access to four doctors, two nurse practitioners, and seven medical assistants. “Our focus has always been to offer a convenient, friendly, professional medical option to an emergency room,” says Laura Bailey, UCMC’s office manager. “If you consider the spectrum of medical treatment, there’s lots of room for niche urgent services in neighborhoods across the larger cities, beyond hospitals. Urgent care clinics benefit both the patient and employees. The patient gets close, quick, less expensive care. Employees get a job, salary, and benefits, and they often live in the same neighborhood so it evolves into a very communal, know-your-doctor healthcare ecosystem.” UCMC treats minor emergency and urgent situations ranging from basic lacerations that require stitches or tissue adhesives to run-of-the-mill sprains and strains. The centers’ staff members diagnose broken bones and splint them. The East Anchorage facility provides basic radiologic x-ray services for arms, legs, hands, and feet. Other treatments offered include sudden illness, severe cold and flu, worker injuries, and bites and burns, among many other services. “The advantage of the urgent care model is we can save a patient significant time, money, and resources with a simplified treatment process,” says Clinic Physician Dr. Laura Johnston. Johnston says there is an obvious and absolute necessity for full-service hospitals and ERs, and her clinics work to complement higher-level emergency services. “We work as a team with emergency rooms. If a mom brings her daughter in with a laceration that needs stitching, we’re fully capable of [that] treatment. If a medical problem is beyond our aptitude, we don’t hesitate to transfer the patient to an emergency room and have done so via ambulance for events such as a heart attack or major injury. Both urgent care and emergency room paradigms are needed and useful,” she adds. For the team at UCMC, the bottom line is quality patient care at a reasonable price. To that end, they also offer routine health physicals, school and employment physicals (such as CDL exams), and vaccinations.

What About Communities Without an Urgent Care Center? While urgent care and emergency center options make business and practical sense in

Alaska’s populated regions, there remain many rural regions where a “doc-in-a-box” isn’t financially viable. Alaska’s enormity, in concert with transportation and weather considerations, make exigent medical services complex. Absent access to a smaller, 24/7 privatized medical clinic, it’s up to local boroughs, cities, villages, and nonprofit Alaska Native organizations to consolidate their efforts to offer healthcare alternatives. In the Bethel region, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regional Hospital is available to address a medical emergency. For Kotzebue, the Maniilaq Health Center is open for emergencies. Barrow’s Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital, Dillingham’s Kanakanak

Hospital, Ketchikan’s PeaceHealth Medical Center, Dutch Harbor’s Iliuliuk Family & Health Services, Homer’s South Peninsula Hospital, and the Kenai Peninsula’s Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna all have comprehensive emergency services, and there are many more smaller facilities in communities throughout the state. Along the southern Seward Peninsula coast of Norton Sound at the Bering Sea sits the iconic dog sled and gold mining city of Nome. Norton Sound Regional Hospital is responsible for serving approximately 10,000 people in the region, including 3,300 people in Nome, fifteen surrounding villages, an itinerate summer workforce, and tourists.

Like out of town hospitals, we know how to repair the T2 thoracic. But we know something they don’t – You. FMH provides patients with exceptional surgical care. We are dedicated to continuously updating our facilities with the most advanced surgical technology available. But we know more than the latest technology. We know our patients. Which means we’re not only caring for a specific part of you. We’re caring for the whole you. Because here, people come first.

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly


Deanna Jackson, RN, CEN, is the hospital’s emergency department nurse manager. Jackson explains that while there may not be an urgent care facility in the region, the emergency department helps keep area residents healthy and safe by offering four cardiac monitoring beds and four additional beds for urgent care. Upstairs from the emergency room is the inpatient acute care unit with eighteen beds and two labor/delivery beds. Norton Sound Regional Hospital is also home to a cadre of ER staff, including medical doctors and nurses as well as technicians, radiological, and laboratory personnel who operate the hospital’s ultrasound and radiological equipment. The hospital doesn’t perform surgery at this time. “Our emergency protocol is unique in Alaska because an injury response, particularly in one of the fifteen neighboring villages of Nome, starts with the Norton Sound Health Corporation Nurse Call Line, the first in the state to provide locally-based, afterhours advice and emergency support to patients in our region,” says Jackson. The hospital treats heart attacks, injuries and trauma, fractures and bone breaks, abdominal and respiratory problems, and basic pediatric medical issues including childbirth. Norton Sound Health Corporation focuses first on stabilization, diagnosis, and treatment and then makes decisions about transferring severely-injured patients. “We’re a critical access hospital. While we don’t have urgent care facility models like Anchorage, our paradigm and telephonic connectivity is as good or superior to the smaller, private sector urban emergency offices. If a patient needs a higher level of care, we coordinate with other facilities, particularly in Anchorage, to ensure patient transfer is expedited and proper medical treatment received,” says Jackson.

Thank you, Anchorage. 40

Alaska Regional Hospital’s Take on the Business of Urgent Care Hospital ER and urgent care models can work together to coordinate a continuum of care, says Julie Taylor, CEO of Alaska Regional Hospital. “Urgent care and emergency care facilities provide different levels of care, and it’s important for healthcare consumers to use the least expensive, yet most effective level of care,” says Taylor. “For instance, an urgent care center is a good choice when the diagnosis is known, but a same-day appointment with a primary care physician is not available or for conditions that are not life-or limbthreatening but require immediate care.” Taylor cites examples such as sprains, sore throat, or urinary tract infections as good cases for urgent care clinics. Taylor says an emergency department is appropriate for treatment of broken bones and dislocated joints; deep cuts that require stitches, particularly on the face, head, or eyes; severe flu or cold symptoms; fainting or loss of consciousness; severe pain, particularly in the abdomen; or bleeding that will not stop. She adds that the Alaska Regional emergency department is staffed with board certified emergency physicians and teamed

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

with experienced clinical and support staff to provide fast diagnosis and treatment of timesensitive medical conditions such as stroke, heart attack, and sepsis. “An important distinction between these two models of care is that emergency care is more expensive than urgent care because the level of care is higher, and emergency departments are open 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-ayear,” she says. While Taylor acknowledges healthcare can be expensive, she says that expense is why it’s important to seek out the appropriate level of care. “Different than an urgent care center, an emergency department is intended for more acute conditions that require medical interventions such as cardiac monitoring, respiratory support, and injury evaluation,” she says. Urgent care centers generally are not open 24/7 and often do not accept Medicare, which is an important factor for seniors, the largest growing population in Alaska. Alaska Regional Hospital is supportive of the urgent care option because urgent care centers provide an important level of care to the community, according to Taylor. “The only concern we have is that not all urgent care centers take patients with Medicare or Medicaid. However, our Alaska Regional Senior Clinic in South Anchorage and our recently-opened Alaska Regional Community Health Clinic in Mountain View are available for these populations of patients,” she adds.

The Future of Urgent Care in Alaska The American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine highlights the attributes of the urgent care option on its website under a “Future of Urgent Care” section. The benefits are compelling. “The extended hours and immediate availability of care at urgent care centers provides convenience for patients. As the specialty of urgent care medicine grows, the public is learning that urgent care is a better choice over the emergency room for their immediate, non-life threatening healthcare needs. There are an estimated 20,000 physicians practicing urgent care medicine at roughly 10,000 locations, and those numbers continue to grow.” UCMC’s Laura Bailey notes that with Alaska’s large and diverse population, the more options there are for medical treatment, the more communities gain access to healthcare. “When people are in pain and need treatment fast, they want a medical provider who is knowledgeable, competent, fair in price point, and can remedy their problem,” she says. Together, urgent care clinics and ERs can work together to offer patients every level of healthcare possible at price points and times that fit their specific needs and allow every Alaskan to receive the best care possible, no matter the emergency. R

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Tom Anderson writes from across Alaska.

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly MPFC_AD_4.625 x 4.875_221.indd 1

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Welcome to the Second Annual Best of Alaska Business Awards You voted, we listened, and here we present your favorite Alaska businesses


By Kathryn Mackenzie and Tasha Anderson


elcome once again to our Best of Alaska Business Special Section! We launched this special section last year to give our readers the opportunity to honor their favorite Alaska companies by voting in nineteen categories. We also want to give Alaska’s business community an inside view of how their efforts are resonating with their customers and communities. We’ve borrowed from Alaska’s landscape to organize our Best of Alaska Business winners. It isn’t coincidental that we chose Alaska’s three tallest peaks to represent the heights Alaska businesses can reach. Our Best of Alaska Business companies are resilient,

excel in their fields, and are a vital part of the fabric of Alaska. For our part, we offer special congratulations to every one of our winners—through your significant efforts, you’ve connected with our readership and your customers, who were given the opportunity to vote online for Alaska companies that make a difference in their daily lives; whether you help them start the day by serving up the perfect cup of coffee or make their lives a little better by offering exceptional customer service, they spoke, we listened, and here we present the results. Alaska’s businesses provide our jobs, stimulate our economies, and allow us to live and play in the Last Frontier. Alaska Business is honored to celebrate all those who work so hard to keep Alaska climbing. R

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017


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From left to right: Mike Scott, Phavana Kovin, Cat Bundy, Ryan Strong, Andrea Huffman, Bill Kaltschnee, Robert Tannahill, Jay Page, Carina Tuver, Rachael Carlson at the South Center Branch in Anchorage.

First National has 660 employees in Alaska and was also voted the best place to work by Alaska Business readers in 2016. Chair and President Betsy Lawer says, “This award is testament to the environment we’ve created, allowing our employees to do the best possible job for our customers.” First National seeks out employees who Photo courtesy of First National Bank are focused on customer Alaska service; are honest and dependable; detail oriented; flexible and adaptable; community leaders; and committed to workplace diversity. The bank offers a bevy of benefits to its employees, including competitive salaries, training and development opportunities, generous leave, healthcare plan choices, flexible spending accounts, career advancement, and a professional environment.

————————————————————— 101 West 36th Avenue, Anchorage (Headquarters) | 800-856-4362

Alaska Airlines PLACE TO WORK 250+ EMPLOYEES


alaskaairlines |


Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines





Photo by Kerry Tasker



Alaska Airlines has 15,200 worldwide employees, of which 1,825 are located in Alaska. According to the company’s website, “We offer a comprehensive benefits package to help you keep your life on track. You’ll receive marketdriven pay, bonus programs, and extras unique to our industry.” The airline’s employee benefits include travel privileges; healthcare; a 401(k) program with company match; quarterly and annual bonus programs; an employee stock purchase plan; employee giving and volunteer programs; paid time off; employee discounts; and work/life employee assistance. Above all else, Alaska Airlines is focused on safety, both for their guests and their employees.

GCI is an Alaska-grown telecommunications company that was established in 1979. The company has 2,300 employees and 2,100 are located in-state. According to the company, “GCI’s mission is to create value for our customers, opportunities for our employees, and growth for our shareholders.” Employment opportunities at GCI include sales and marketing, customer relations, engineering, systems, and programming. Some of the company’s benefits include medical, dental, vision, and life insurance; educational reimbursements; paid annual leave and holidays; discounted GCI services; a health and wellness program; employee assistance program; and a 401(k) program. GCI also provides internship and externship opportunities.

19300 International Boulevard, SeaTac | 907-252-7522

701 West 36th Avenue, Anchorage (Business Center) | 907-265-5454


————————— July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly


First National Bank Alaska




cookinletalaska |

Established in 1983, Cook Inlet Tribal Council’s (CITC) mission is “to work in partnership with Our People to develop opportunities that fulfill our endless potential.” They accomplish this through child and family services, youth empowerment, employment training, and recovery and re-entry services to address substances abuse issues. CITC serves 9,000 people, primarily in the Cook Inlet region. CITC looks for talented, energetic, innovative, and creative employees that have the drive to make a difference. “People are what make CITC great. Every employee is a valued member of the Cook Inlet Tribal Council family and plays a vital role in advancing CITC’s mission,” according to CITC’s website. “CITC strives to be a premier career destination where people are rewarded for their contributions with good benefits, a stimulating and supportive work environment, and opportunities for professional growth and advancement.”


————————————————————— Photo courtesy of CITC

3600 San Jeronimo Drive, Anchorage | 907-793-3600


49th State Brewing Co. is owned by David McCarthy and Jason Motyka. McCarthy says, “In the hospitality industry, you want to exceed expectations—even with a simple hamburger or sandwich, you can exceed that expectation, and that wow factor is really why I do what I do.” It’s the day-to-day goings-on of any business that meet or fail those expectations, and that’s why having quality employees is so important. Of course, quality employees are attracted to quality workplaces such as 49th State Brewing Co.

49th State Brewing Co.

—————— 49statebrewing |



Advanced Physical Therapy

—————— APTAlaska

Photo by Jeffery Kinzel


Cook Inlet Tribal Council

————————— Photo by Kerry Tasker

717 West Third Avenue, Anchorage | 907-277-7727

Advanced Physical Therapy was established in 2000 and has approximately 200 employees at their five Alaska locations providing services such as hand therapy; headache diagnosis and treatment; manual lymphatic drainage; neurological therapy; pelvic health; sports training and rehabilitation; wellness massages; work and occupational rehabilitation, postpartum Pilates; interactive body maps; and temporomandibular disorder therapy. The company says, “Our therapists enjoy potential to grow, opportunities to work as a healer, a thriving community with unique cultural experiences, 401(k) profit sharing, IAOM education reimbursement with paid travel, and generous vacation benefits.” No matter the position, working at Advanced Physical Therapy is a unique and exciting career.

————————— 1917 Abbot Road, Anchorage | 907-279-4266

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017



Cook Inlet Tribal Council graciously acknowledges our staff, leadership and Board for helping make CITC one of the best places to work! “It touches me greatly that CITC is named as one of the best employers in Alaska. The recognition exemplifies that when we share, listen and learn together, challenges become opportunities and lead the way for adaptive change and the fulfillment of our individual potential. Thank you, CITC employees, for all you do for our Mission!” —Gloria O’Neill, CITC President & CEO

Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc. @CITCAlaska CITCAlaska


ounded in 1983, CITC is an evolving, dynamic organization moving from a conventional to a progressive employer and committed to attracting, developing and engaging employees across multiple generations. Our strength is manifested in our partnership models and the relationships forged with our participants, staff and communities.

By infusing our organizational values of interdependence, resilience, accountability and respect throughout all CITC programs and partnerships, we advance our mutual objectives and reach a wider audience with greater impact. CITC’s sustainability depends on its ability to establish meaningful investments in human potential and be innovative in staff recruitment, development and retention. v


Peppercini’s Deli & Catering DENALI PLACE TO WORK 1-24 EMPLOYEES



Peppercini’s Deli & Catering is owned by brothers Jeremy Kimmel and Jason Kimmel, who have lived in Alaska since 1981. Their long history in the restaurant and hospitality industry and their passion for food and food service were the impetus for Peppercini’s. Peppercini’s offers eat-in dining options, as well as a full range of catering services for breakfast, lunch, or both, including hot and cold beverages; deli trays; box lunches; soups; appetizers; pasta bar; and individual hot entrees. Their website says, “Our fun and energetic staff is courteous and professional. We pride ourselves on customer service and your satisfaction is our goal.”

————————————————————— Photo by Carleen Dawn

3901 Old Seward Highway, Suite 20, Anchorage | 907-279-3354


Odd Man Rush Brewing

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La Boum Events

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Photo by Jeffery Kinzel Photo by Carleen Dawn

Odd Man Rush Brewing is a neighborhood craft brewery located in Eagle River that was established in 2015. “Our beers represent our interpretation of craft brewing. We brew both beers that are true to style as well as unique ales that showcase our creativity and passion for brewing,” their company’s website says. Three local Alaskans started the company with a shared passion for brewing. What started as a hobby grew into a full-blown brewery “after much encouragement and positive feedback on our craft.” The brewery has a variety of beers, ranging from “smooth yet hoppy IPAs to darker, robust porters and stouts,” as well as seasonal beers, such as a smoked oyster stout, a citrusy Gose, and a variety of IPAs.

La Boum Events is a boutique event planning company serving the entire state and specializing in full service planning with professional design, including weddings and wedding proposals. The La Boum team brings a combined fifty years of experience to event planning. Some of the events they’ve planned include Chinese tea ceremony, Great Gatsby event, 1920s gangster celebration, ‘80s themed murder mystery birthday party, and a reception at a modern art museum. La Boum can also provide services for corporate events and has organized holiday parties, cocktail receptions, networking events, and brunches with a variety of themes and goals.

10930 Mausel Street, Eagle River | 907-696-2337

701 West 41st Avenue, Anchorage | 907-952-5982



Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017


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Photo courtesy of First National Bank Alaska

Knowing the needs and wants of your customer base is key to creating an exceptional advertising campaign, and First National Bank Alaska has proven how well it knows its customers with its “We Believe” campaign: “One bank believes in Alaska: our home, our pride, our future. One bank believes in a healthy economy, our quality of life, the success of our neighbors. And since 1922, First National Bank Alaska has believed in you. Your hard work, your strength, your spirit. You make Alaska a special place to live. First National Bank Alaska—We Believe in Alaska.” Other aspects of the campaign focus on community and business. Whether they saw one ad or all, our readers loved the We Believe campaign from First National Bank Alaska.

————————————————————— 101 West 36th Avenue, Anchorage (Corporate Headquarters) | 907-777-4362


—————— pickclickgive |


Photo by Josh Stone


Alaska Airlines: Merger with Virgin


alaskaairlines |


Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines

The statewide Pick.Click.Give. (PCG) campaign allows Alaskans to share their Permanent Fund Dividend with the causes they care about. With just the click of a mouse, donations of all sizes go directly to the nonprofit of the giver’s choice. As of April, more than 26,000 Alaskans pledged close to 45,000 individual charitable gifts totaling more than $2.7 million to roughly 700 nonprofits through the Permanent Fund Dividend charitable giving program. PCG is coordinated through a partnership including the Permanent Fund Dividend Division of the Alaska Department of Revenue, the Rasmuson Foundation, the Alaska Community Foundation, United Way of Anchorage, and The Foraker Group.

When Alaska Airlines announced it would acquire Virgin America, some industry insiders wondered if the two were in for a culture clash. Alaska Airlines quickly set the skeptics straight with the “Different Works” campaign, created by San Francisco-based ad agency Mekanism. The campaign seeks to highlight how seemingly odd pairings can create surprising results with taglines that read, “Salt and caramel was an unlikely combo, too.” Or, “Electricity and guitars was a surprisingly great combo, too.” The campaign’s bright colors, catchy combos, and huge social media presence, #differentworks, caught the eyes and ears of our readers and landed Alaska Airlines a Best of Alaska Business award.

3201 C Street, Suite 110, Anchorage | 888-785-4438

19300 International Boulevard, SeaTac | 800-252-7522



First National Bank Alaska: We Believe

————————— July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly



Bean’s Cafe: Empty Bowl Project DENALI CHARITY / PR EVENT

————————————————— beanscafe

This snippet from the Bean’s Cafe mission statement speaks volumes of the organization our readers chose for Best Public Relations Event for Charity: “The underlying premise of Bean’s Cafe is a deep belief in the inherent dignity of every person, a belief that people respond with kindness when treated kindly, with trust when trusted, and respectfully when respected,” from Bean’s Cafe Founding Documents, 1979. This year Bean’s Cafe held its 23rd Empty Bowl Project annual fundraiser at Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center, raising an estimated $100,000 for Bean’s Cafe and its programs. The event features hundreds of handmade bowls donated by dozens of artists and purchased by attendees for $30. Empty Bowl Project attendees enjoy live music, a variety of exquisite bean soup and cornbread options, art exhibits, live music, and more, all with the ultimate goal of the filling bellies of and giving hope to Alaska’s underserved populations.

Photo by Paul Younger

————————————————————— 731 I Street, Suite 201, Anchorage | 907-433-8600

Thank you,

Covenant House Alaska Supporters! You have a made a difference in the lives of our youth.

Foraker Award Winner Best PR Activity for Charity "Fire and Ice Ball"

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017 SpecialOlymAK |

SpecialOlymAK Photo courtesy of Fitzgerald Photography




Covenant House: Fire & Ice Ball

—————— CovenantHouseAK |


Photo by Andre Horton

It takes a special cause to inspire more than 1,000 people to cannonball into 32 degree water in the middle of a frigid Alaska winter. The Special Olympics Alaska Polar Plunge is just that cause, motivating thousands of locals and visitors alike to dress up or strip down year after year to take the plunge into the icy waters of Goose Lake in Anchorage. The 2016 event raised more than $300,000 to fund Special Olympics Alaska programs designed to help people with intellectual disabilities learn “new strengths and abilities, skills, and success” through the power of sports. The 2017 Special Olympics Polar Plunge is being held on December 17.

Covenant House Alaska provides “compassionate, sustainable services and shelter to homeless or at-risk youth in Alaska.” Founded on the belief that homeless children have the right to food, a safe home, and, most of all, love, the organization provides a range of services to homeless, runaway, and atrisk youth throughout Alaska. The annual Fire & Ice Ball is a time when donors and supporters don their finest gala-wear and come together to dine, dance, and help make a permanent difference in the lives of the youth served by Covenant House. Each year the Fire & Ice Ball raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to contribute to Covenant House’s efforts to “get our homeless youth off the dangerous streets and into safe shelter.” Resources include emergency shelter, street outreach, transitional living programs, and associated services, including housing services, healthcare services, youth enrichment, pastoral ministry, and employment/education assistance.

3200 Mountain View Drive, Anchorage | 907-222-7625

755 A Street, Anchorage | 907-272-1255

————————— es – Gov er n

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LEADER In All We Do Doyon operates more than a dozen for-profit companies driving hundreds of jobs in Alaska and beyond. WWW.DOYON.COM | 1-888-478-4755

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly



Special Olympics Alaska: Polar Plunge




————————————————— FNBAlaska |


Kippy Lane and Rachel Carlson, bankers at the U-Med Branch in Anchorage, present the traveling First National Bowl trophy to high school football champions during the 2017 First National Bowl in Anchorage.

Once again showing it is deeply in tune with its community, First National Bank Alaska was voted Best Corporate Citizen by our readers for all the work it has done to make calling Alaska home a little easier. “First National Bank is committed to Alaska and Alaskans and to their economic and cultural growth. We support nonprofit community groups and activities and encourage First National employees to become actively involved in their communities.” First National Bank Alaska focuses on community or public service, health and education, arts and humanities, and youth and senior citizens. The bank contributes about $1 million annually to charities and community events.

Photo courtesy First National Bank Alaska

————————————————————— 101 West 36th Avenue, Anchorage (Corporate Headquarters) | 907-777-4362


ConocoPhillips Alaska

—————— conocophillips |


Photo courtesy of ConocoPhillips



rasmusonfoundation |


In 2016 the Blood Bank of Alaska was awarded a $25,000 grant by the Rasmuson Foundation for the purchase of a vehicle for their mobile blood drive program in Anchorage. Photo courtesy of the Blood Bank of Alaska

Oil companies in Alaska are a vital part of our communities—they create jobs, help bolster the economy, and they give back. ConocoPhillips donates millions of dollars to community organizations each year. Since 2000, the company has donated more than $106 million to Alaska-based nonprofit programs and projects, including more than $35 million to the University of Alaska. On average, about half of its philanthropic dollars go to programs dedicated to education and youth. Approximately one quarter goes to social services organizations, and the remainder goes to support civic and arts groups as well as environment and industrial safety programs, according to ConocoPhillips Alaska’s website. The company also provides contributions to organizations supported by its employees through volunteerism.

The Rasmuson Foundation’s mission is simple: “To promote a better life for Alaskans.” The group’s primary areas of interest include arts and culture, health, social services, housing, and promotion of philanthropy throughout Alaska. The foundation seeks to act as a catalyst for change by helping Alaskans help themselves while embracing Alaska’s diverse culture. Its grant making goals include “civic responsibility and individual philanthropy amongst Alaskans; economic possibilities for Alaskans; educational opportunity for Alaskans: healthy Alaskan families; quality healthcare for Alaskans; strong leaders; [and] vibrant arts and culture in Alaska.” Since 1955 the Rasmuson Foundation has made $300 million in charitable payments. In 2015 it paid $25 million in grants.

700 G Street, Anchorage | 907-276-1502

301 West Northern Lights Boulevard, Suite 601, Anchorage | 907-297-2700




Rasmuson Foundation


Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017


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Moose’s Tooth General Manager Dan Fiacco smiles for the camera in front of the ultra-popular pub and pizzeria in Anchorage.

Moose’s Tooth, founded in 1996, serves pizza and Broken Tooth Brewing beer. The company strives to offer a truly gourmet pizza experience, focusing on creative, high-quality food in a casual environment, according to its website. Moose’s Tooth was founded by Rod Hancock, who went from rock-climbing world wanderer to master pizza inventor, and fellow adventurer Matt Jones. The two spent their college days dreaming about the day they would offer crowds of diners their own special take on pizza and microbrews. Warren Hancock, Rod’s brother, rounds out this trio who pride themselves on taking Anchorage pub cuisine to the next level. The trio also operate the Bear Tooth Theatrepub, an ideal spot to take in a movie while enjoying fine pizza and craft beer in the heart of the Spenard area in Anchorage.

Photo by Kerry Tasker

————————————————————— 3300 Old Seward Highway, Anchorage | 907-258-2537




Photo by Carleen Dawn


Peppercini’s Deli & Catering

Getting take-out doesn’t mean settling for second-best with Peppercini’s Deli & Catering around. For those craving something healthy, delicious, and quick, Peppercini’s offers online ordering for carryout or delivery. Their giant takeout menu includes hand-crafted salads and sandwiches with fresh, local ingredients; loaded potatoes; pasta including the Mediterranean served with artichoke hearts, black olives, chives, diced tomato, feta cheese, Italian cheese blend, roasted red peppers, and virgin olive oil; toasted Po’boys; and a wide variety of beverages and sides. Peppercini’s Deli & Catering is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

————————— 3901 Old Seward Highway, Suite 20, Anchorage | 907-279-3354




Urban Greens likes food. And it shows with every sandwich, salad, and soup they create. The company’s sandwich and salad platters are made within one hour of delivery to ensure every client receives a fresh, delectable dish with each and every order. Urban Greens helps create the perfect menu to complement any event. From their famous Thai chicken soup to fresh fruit platters and homemade, daily-baked cookies, Urban Greens has something for everyone. Other choices include a huge range of submarine sandwiches (turkey, ham and cheese, pastrami, the Brooklyn Ave, Bootlegger Club, and The Salamanoff with spicy garlic aioli, Italian salami, provolone, pickles, lettuce, tomato, and onion), salads, soup, and sides— dine-in or carry-out.


Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria

Urban Greens General Manager Noam Schulgasser helps keep the sub and salad shop running smoothly.

————————— Photo by Kerry Tasker

304 G Street, Anchorage | 907-276-0333

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly




————————————————— snowcitycafe |

Snow City Cafe was established in 1998 and is a well-known breakfast spot in Downtown Anchorage, serving breakfast all day. “Our mission is to use the freshest ingredients available and buy from local vendors whenever we can. Most everything we serve is made from scratch, and with plenty of love. We care about good food, our community, the environment, and making people happy.” The restaurant has vegan and gluten-free options as well as other health-conscious choices such as egg whites, fat-free cooking spray, or fruit. Their menu features a variety of benedicts, from the classic preparation to the Kodiak benedict, with poached eggs, Alaska king crab cakes, toasted English muffin, house made hollandaise, and green onion. Snow City Cafe also serves other egg dishes, French toast, pancakes, oatmeal, granola, and all the good breakfast sides.


Photo by Carleen Dawn

————————————————————— 1034 West Fourth Avenue, Anchorage | 907-272-2489

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017


Photo by Kerry Tasker




Gwennie’s Old Alaska Restaurant



Photo by Kerry Tasker

South Restaurant and Coffee House offers a variety of delicious breakfast and brunch options in addition to their lunch and dinner menus. The restaurant features a selection of fresh smoothies, from the So Green (pineapple, spinach, avocado, basil, orange juice) to the Gingerberry (triple berries, banana, cranberry juice, fresh ginger). For breakfast South serves up everything from egg dishes (crab frittata, steak & eggs, egg white veggie omelet) and benedicts (including the crab benedict, featuring sautéed crab, poached eggs, and hollandaise on brioche) to steel cut oats, Croque Madame, and sourdough pancakes.

Gwennie’s is an old Alaska favorite and after three decades has become a true Anchorage landmark. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner at their Spenard location, which is bursting with Alaska charm. Gwennie’s offers generous portions of traditional favorites like steak and eggs, Belgian waffles, biscuits and gravy, and eggs benedict, as well as Alaska favorites including reindeer sausage and crab benedict. Breakfast is served all day at the two-story restaurant.

11124 Old Seward Highway, Anchorage | 907-770-9200

4333 Spenard Road, Anchorage | 907-243-2090



“We’re bringing in BDO. The partner’s already on it.” People who know, know BDO.SM

BDO provides assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting services to a wide range of publicly traded and privately held companies. We offer a sophisticated array of services and the global capabilities of the world’s fifth largest accounting and consulting network, combined with the personal attention of experienced professionals. BDO 3601 C Street, Suite 600, Anchorage, AK 99503 907-278-8878



South Restaurant & Coffeehouse

Accountants and Consultants © 2014 BDO USA, LLP. All rights reserved.

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly



49th State Brewing Co. DENALI BUSINESS LUNCH

————————————————— 49statebrewing |


49th State Brewing, with ground-level and upstairs dining areas, always has room for the business professional looking to grab a bite. The restaurant takes reservations for small or large parties, making it a convenient stop for a quick business chat or a longer business meeting over delicious food. Their lunch menu provides a selection of elevated pub foods, made with locally-sourced and other excellent fresh ingredients, featuring some unique treats. For example, bacon-wrapped roasted jalapenos filled with blended crab, cream cheese, pepper jack, and dried mango, served with poblano mayo and pico de gallo; a Bavarian handmade pretzel, served with 49er cheese sauce; avocado fries; and the King Salmon Caesar salad.

Photo by Kerry Tasker

————————————————————— 717 West Third Avenue, Anchorage | 907-277-7727


Glacier BrewHouse

—————— GlacierBrewHouse |



Simon & Seafort’s Saloon & Grill

—————— SimonandSeaforts |

simonseaforts General Manager Bridget Tatalias. Photo by Kerry Tasker

Photo by Kerry Tasker

Glacier BrewHouse is “Alaska’s first choice for wild Alaskan seafood, rotisserie roasted meats, and handcrafted ales,” according to the company. In addition to the restaurant and brewery’s flagship, specialty, and seasonal beers made in-house, Glacier BrewHouse has a wide range of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages to accompany their business-perfect lunch menu. The menu features fresh Alaska seafood as well as items from their wood-grilled rotisserie: chicken with succotash, alder wood-grilled flat iron steak, and BBQ baby back ribs. Glacier BrewHouse also offers brick oven pizzas and tasty appetizers.

Simon & Seafort’s doesn’t just have amazing food; it also offers stunning views of Cook Inlet, the Alaska Range, and Mount Susitna. Established in 1978, Simon & Seafort’s bills itself as a classic American grill, but the restaurant is known for its fresh, quality seafood dishes, making it a great option for a business lunch among locals or to treat visiting guests. Lunch features house-made soups, including smoked salmon bisque, and starter and entrée salads—try the roasted chicken Cobb and the grilled smoked sirloin. Entrées include beer-battered fish and chips, steamed fresh clams, crispy cod tacos, and grill class macaroni and cheese.

737 West Fifth Avenue, Anchorage | 907-274-2739

420 L Street, Anchorage | 907-274-3502




Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017



Simon & Seafort’s Saloon & Grill DENALI BUSINESS DINNER

————————————————— SimonandSeaforts |


Simon and Seafort’s is an excellent choice for a business dinner, combining atmosphere, views, and quality Alaska cuisine. It’s also a fantastic venue for events and private dining in the restaurant’s “Room 49.” The private dining option is available for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and can accommodate up to 65 guests for a seated event or up to 125 guests for a reception-style gathering. According to the company, “Our new banquet facility offers private dining with an array of menu options to suit your function and impress your guests. Our event manager and culinary team will artfully craft an experience that is unique, delicious, and memorable.” Simon and Seafort’s is a partner with Alaska Supreme Ice Cream, Kaladi Brothers Coffee, and Favco Seafood and sources seasonal produce from local and regional growers. Photo by Kerry Tasker

————————————————————— 420 L Street, Anchorage | 907-274-3502


Glacier BrewHouse

—————— GlacierBrewHouse |

GBrewHouseAK General Manager Will Warren.


—————— 49statebrewing |


Glacier BrewHouse was established in 1996 by Chris Anderson and Bob Acree. “The brewery is a 15bbl single-infusion mash system and constantly ranks in the top ten (out of about 1,200) in the United States for brewpub beer production” according to the company. Glacier BrewHouse specializes in English and American West Coast-style beers, using an oak aging program. In 2012, half of the company’s barrels of draft were served on premise and the other half were sold for distribution throughout Alaska and Washington. Glacier BrewHouse’s dinner menu features items from their wood grill and rotisserie (such as petit filet and prawns and alder wood-grilled ribeye) and brick oven (Brewer’s pie and wild mushroom and truffle arugula pizzas).

49th State Brewing has a plethora of dining spaces, including private event and dining options, ranging from space for an intimate party to a large Photo courtesy of DV3 Corp. reception or business meeting. Interested parties can reserve a table, room, outdoor space, or the entire restaurant depending on their needs. For those planning a private or business event, brewery tours and tastings can be added to pair with the restaurant’s already stunning array of food and beverage options. The brewery and restaurant features local ingredients such as pork sourced from Delta Junction and yak that is raised specifically for 49th State Brewing Co. in the Wrangell-St. Elias area.

737 West Fifth Avenue, Anchorage | 907-274-2739

717 West Third Avenue, Anchorage | 907-277-7727

Photo by Kerry Tasker




49th State Brewing Co.


Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

Give your employees a benefit upgrade today. Enroll in the Payroll Deduction Option offered by the University of Alaska College Savings Plan. The Payroll Deduction Option is an easy, no-cost employer benefit program that adds value to your benefits package while contributing to the overall financial well-being and college savings goals of your employees.


It’s easy. You give your employees an added benefit. I get a college savings plan.







When it comes to catering, Peppercini’s Deli & Catering delivers the goods. Founded by brothers Jeremy and Jason Kimmel, Peppercini’s Deli and Catering offers fast, fresh, and affordable lunch options for dining in, delivery, and catering. The company prides itself on its “ultra-fresh” menu and “culinary sensations.” The Kimmel brothers each have a long history in the restaurant and hospitality industries and share a passion for food and food service. The company offers catering for groups of eight or more. Services include all food delivery and set-up; all serving essentials (silverware, plates, bowls, napkins, etc.); menu coordination in which a catering expert will help craft the perfect menu for each unique workplace; same-day orders; and a wide variety of fresh, delectable dishes. Peppercini’s also offers full-service catering with linens and uniformed staff, as well as elegant menu selections to fit all budgets and occasions, the company says. Peppercini’s can comfortably serve groups of 2,000 or more.

————————————————————— Photo by Carleen Dawn

3901 Old Seward Highway, Suite 20, Anchorage | 907-279-3354

GET YOUR TICKETS NOW! Alaska Business Monthly’s










49th State Brewing Company

T H U R S D A Y , J U L Y 13 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. BEER FUN Tickets $35

Pur c ha s e O nline a t a k b izm a g . c om /B O A B 2 01 7 Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017


—————— alaska coastal catering llc


Dianne’s Wild Fork Catering

—————— WILDFORKCatering |


Alaska Coastal Catering is comprised of culinary artists serving the needs and special dietary requests of all of its clients. The company provides upscale catering for corporate events and private affairs at client homes, as well as event venues and corporate offices, serving parties of 10 to 500 guests. Specialty menus include gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan dishes. Alaska Coastal Catering prides itself on keeping every event upscale, elegant, and private. “Our staff is confidential about who our clients Photo by Carleen Dawn are, what was said at events, and absolutely no photos of clients or their guests [are allowed],” the company says. And, maybe the best service of all for anyone who has ever thrown a dinner party, Alaska Coastal Catering always leaves the kitchen “spotless.” The company works with Alaska Natural Organics to provide fresh, organic, hydroponic produce for client events.

Formerly known as Dianne’s Restaurant, Dianne’s Wild Fork Catering today operates solely as a catering company offering “feel good food–fresh, delicious, and creatively displayed.” Dianne’s Wild Fork Catering team of culinary experts serves clients at business meetings, open houses, and other events in and around Anchorage. Wild Fork Catering partners with clients to create an experience not to be forgotten. The company’s services include gourmet trays to-go, fully-catered functions, and customized menus. Dianne’s Wild Fork Catering caters to groups as small as 10 and as large as 500 or more. “Our food will enhance your special event. Whether you are planning a celebration of life, a rehearsal dinner, or a retirement party, we will please your guests with our feel good food. Life is a celebration; let us help when you gather around the table,” the company says.


3002 Spenard Road, Suite 205, Anchorage | 907-279-7243







Thank you to our amazing team!

pErCiNi’ eP




Photo courtesy of Dianne’s Wild Fork Catering

C aT e R

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly



Alaska Coastal Catering



First National Bank Alaska DENALI CUSTOMER SERVICE

————————————————— FNBAlaska |


Alaska Rubber Group’s Chuck Cartier, Janeece Higgins, and Scott Boyle (far right) regularly discuss business with First National Bank Alaska’s Interior City Branch banker and Senior Vice President William Renfrew.

Once again First National Bank Alaska has proven its dedication to its customers, this time by winning Best in Customer Service. Exceling in customer service means listening to and anticipating customers’ needs, hearing their concerns, implementing change when necessary, and, perhaps most importantly, making their day a little easier by going that extra mile. “We are honored…and humbled, by this recognition. It’s a tribute to our 670 employees statewide, who deliver superb customer service, Alaska-style, day-in and day-out. Thank you,” says First National Bank Alaska Chair and President Betsy Lawer.

Photo courtesy of First National Bank Alaska

————————————————————— 101 West 36th Avenue, Anchorage (Corporate Headquarters) | 907-777-4362


ConocoPhillips Alaska

—————— conocophillips |




rasmusonfoundation |


ConocoPhillips Alaska operates on the foundation of SPIRIT: Safety; People; Integrity; Responsibility; Innovation; and Teamwork. It is this culture that permeates throughout the organization, setting the tone for how every Photo courtesy of ConocoPhillips ConocoPhillips Alaska team member behaves. By respecting one another, their stakeholders, and community, the company and its workers have proven to Alaska Business readers that they give exceptional customer service. ConocoPhillips Alaska employees work to “anticipate change and respond with creative solutions.” They are also flexible and able to respond to the changing needs of their customers, using the “can-do” ConocoPhillips Alaska SPIRIT to deliver peak performances, while they continue to “build and nurture” long-standing relationships, the company says on its website. ConocoPhillips is Alaska’s largest crude oil producer and one of the largest owners of state, federal, and fee exploration leases, with approximately 0.5 million net undeveloped acres at year-end 2016, according to a March 2017 fact sheet.

The Rasmuson Foundation is focused on philanthropic efforts to promote better lives for Alaskans. The organization’s activities are based on Elmer Rasmuson’s belief that helping others is an Alaska tradition and that a community that invests in itself is a healthy community. To that end, Rasmuson Foundation oversees initiatives designed to address systemic issues such as a lack of housing, access to medical care, and addiction. The organization also works to grow philanthropy throughout the state and help nonprofits build sustainable facilities. Rasmuson Foundation’s Plan4Alaska is a statewide campaign developed and funded by the foundation to “educate and engage Alaskans about the need to close Alaska’s $3.5 billion fiscal gap” through budget cuts, changes to the permanent fund, and a variety of other measures.

700 G Street, Anchorage | 907-276-1215

301 West Northern Lights Boulevard, Suite 601, Anchorage | 907-297-2700

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Rasmuson Foundation


Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017


P Dale Burke, DDS, and Mark Williams, DDS Offering our patients best-dentistry options


onfidence in your smile shows! To improve the appearance of your smile by resolving gaps, discoloration, or broken or missing teeth, you will want to employ today’s leading-edge dental techniques delivered by professionals proficient in top-level skills. Dr. Dale Burke and Dr. Mark Williams bring 32 and 34 years of applicable dental experience, respectively; excellent reputations for patient satisfaction; and the expertise to create winning smiles and improve comfort. The office of Dale Burke, DDS, and Mark Williams, DDS, opened in May 2017 at the convenient Midtown location off Tudor Road where Dr. Williams has worked since 1983. Dr. Williams opened his former practice the same year he received specialty certification in prosthodontics, the field of dentistry focusing on restoration and replacement of teeth and other parts of the mouth. Following his 1985 graduation from Dental School, Dr. Burke served with the Indian Health Service for nine years. He came to Alaska in 1992 to complete a two-year Advanced General Practice Residency, before entering private practice in Eagle River. Dr. Burke also has worked in Northwest Alaska and is currently the itinerant dentist for the community of Unalakleet. Both

Drs. Williams and Burke continue to attend training on new advancements in dentistry. Other highly qualified team members in the practice provide clinical, administrative, and financial support for patients: Angela Cayce, Registered Dental Hygienist; Eileen Frey, expanded function Dental Assistant; Bristyl Bailey, Office Manager; Pam Dailey, Sterilization Technician/Administrative Assistant, and Sam Cristobal, Dental Lab Technician. A dental lab onsite provides the advantages of excellent quality control, quick completion of dentures and dental restoration components, and greater opportunities for patients to give feedback to customize the appearance and fit for maximum comfort. Dental health and appearance are affected by age, environment, lifestyle, accidents, and illnesses. In addition, with wear and time, teeth can break, dentures become less comfortable, and other dental restorations can lose functionality. Often, such changes can lead to a sunken or collapsed-face appearance. For every patient, Drs. Burke and Williams are committed to careful assessment and communication of available options and outcomes. They agree that it is important to spend time –



working with every patient to clarify expectations and possible outcomes; they want to provide exactly what the patient wants, not what they think the patient wants. “We provide an honest appraisal of possible improvements,” says Dr. Burke. “We believe that our patients should be presented with and be able to choose from all options that the best dentistry can offer in this age.” Among solutions offered are cosmetic dentistry (veneers), replacement and restoration of teeth (crowns, bridges, implants), dentures with or without implants, diagnosis and treatment of TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders, repair of oral damage from disease or accidents, and even total reconstruction. “We want our patients to look good and feel good for a long time,” says Dr. Burke. The improved self-confidence from a beautiful smile promotes self-esteem and well-being. To find out more about the options that could provide rewards of comfort, function and attractive appearance, call 907-562-1686 or visit the website at Dale Burke, DDS, and Mark Williams, DDS 907-562-1686 4450 Cordova St., Suite 130 Anchorage, AK 99503




The Great Alaska Sportsman Show was held this year at Sullivan and Ben Boeke Arenas over four days in late-March/early-April. Billed as “one of America’s most extraordinary gatherings of men and women who love the great outdoors and the Alaska exhibitors and experts who seek to equip and prepare them for a season afield,” the show “draws crowds of people who care passionately about fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, climbing, and virtually all other outdoor activities,” according to the convention website. Offerings such as the children’s fishing pond, archery and laser ranges, and hands-on air rifle range make The Great Alaska Sportsman Show a fabulous family attraction.


Photo by Steve Shepherd





The Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Convention is the largest representative annual gathering of Alaska Native communities in the United States, according to the organization’s website. The AFN Convention draws between 4,000 and 5,000 attendees each year, and the event is broadcast live to seventy countries worldwide. In addition to memorable keynote speeches, expert panels, and special reports, the convention features several evenings of cultural performances known as Quyana Alaska. Audiences are treated to native dance and music groups from throughout the state. The AFN Convention is also known for its popular Alaska Native Customary Art Show, “renowned as one of the best places to find Alaska Native and Native American artwork.” This year the convention will be held October 19-21 in Anchorage.

————————— 3000 A Street, Suite 210 | 907-274-3611


Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival

—————— beer-barley.html

Photo by James Roberts


Alaska Federation of Natives © Chris Arend Photography


Great Alaska Sportsman Show

The Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival offers guests the opportunity to join in celebrating the local brewery scene. Held in Anchorage, the festival features more than seventy-five of the area’s finest breweries and 400 of their most popular products. Chances are any beer lover will find several new favorites at this event. In addition to sampling the brewers’ best, attendees are treated to the musical stylings of local musicians providing live entertainment. The entrance fee includes a commemorative glass, tickets for thirty samples, and non-stop musical entertainment. The next Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival will be January 19-20, 2018.

————————— 907-562-9911

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017


Cool Chain... Logistics for the Seafood Industry!

From Sea to Serve. Lynden’s Cool Chain℠ service manages your seafood supply chain from start to finish. Fresh or frozen seafood is transported at just the right speed and temperature to meet your particular needs and to maintain quality. With the ability to deliver via air, highway, or sea or use our temperature-controlled storage facilities, Lynden’s Cool Chain℠ service has the solution to your seafood supply challenges. | 1-888-596-3361


————————————————— FNBAlaska |


First National Bank Alaska was established in 1922 by candy maker Winfield Ervin at the corner of Fourth and G Streets in downtown Anchorage. According to First National’s website, “The bank had 500 shares of stock, a single employee, and a vault filled with gold nuggets and untanned animal pelts.” In 2012, First National celebrated its 90th anniversary, and today the bank has First National more than 600 employees providing Bank Alaska financial services through branches Chair and in Anchorage, Bethel, Cordova, Eagle President River, Fairbanks, Glennallen, Haines, Betsy Lawer, Healy, Homer, Juneau, Kenai, Kodiak, center, is the Palmer, Seward, Sitka, Soldotna, daughter and Valdez, and Wasilla. The bank provides granddaughter the gamut of financial services, to former bank leaders including personal and business D.H. Cuddy solutions. and Lucy Hon First National contributes Cuddy. approximately $1 million each year to support local charities and Images courtesy of First National community events, including the Bank Alaska Alaska School Activities Association, the American Red Cross, and Public Radio which each receive ongoing support.

————————————————————— 101 West 36th Avenue, Anchorage (Corporate Headquarters) | 907-777-4362


Kriner’s Diner

—————— krinersdiner |


Photo by ABM Staff


Bearpaw River Brewing Co.



Photo courtesy of Bearpaw River Brewing Company


First National Bank Alaska

Kriner’s Diner is owned by the Kriner family: Andy and Norann and their children and grandchildren. Andy began his restaurant career in Soldotna when his mother opened Sourdough Sal’s in 1979. He managed Sourdough Sal’s for eleven years before moving to a career at Pepsi Co. Andy went back to Sourdough Sal’s in 1998 and worked there for another seven years before moving to Anchorage. A little more than five years later the family seized the opportunity to open their own restaurant, and Kriner’s Diner was born. Kriner’s specializes in American comfort food, serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Brothers Jack, Jed, James, and Jake run this Valley Brewery. Jack is the “numbers man,” bringing his expertise in business to the management and administration of Bearpaw River Brewing. Jed is the “logistics guru” and “grain-toglass specialist.” He does everything from sourcing ingredients to working in the taproom. James focuses on sales and marketing, including writing a beer blog, though he is also going to spearhead Bearpaw River Brewing’s cask ale program. Jake is the head brewer. “He’s the company tinker, drinker, and blue-sky thinker, meaning that he’s responsible for recipe development and day-to-day brewing operations,” according to the brewery.

2409 C Street, Anchorage | 907-929-8257

4605 East Palmer-Wasilla Highway, Wasilla | 907-373-2537



Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017


————————————————— 49statebrewing |


All of 49th State Brewing Co.’s small-batch, handcrafted artisan ales and lagers are brewed in Alaska, on site at their brewpubs located in Anchorage and Healy. “Craft brewing is of paramount importance at 49th State Brewing Co.,” the company states. The Healy brewery features a 15 BBL brewhouse from Premier Stainless that was installed in 2014, along with increased tank capacity. With that upgrade, the 49th State Brewing Co.-Denali is able to produce approximately 1,500 barrels. Their Anchorage location features three stories, including an outdoor deck and rooftop patio with views of Cook Inlet and Mount Susitna. 49th State Brewing Co. purchased and renovated the Anchorage location in 2016, taking the opportunity to feature various Alaska artists through custom décor, such as an extensive whisky wall, murals and chalk art, and chandeliers made of caribou antlers.

————————————————————— Photo by Kerry Tasker

717 West Third Avenue, Anchorage | 907-277-7727

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly


49th State Brewing Co.




AlaskanBrewingCo |


Alaskan Brewing Co. Founders Goeff and Marcy Larson at their Juneau location. Photo by Chris Miller, Courtesy of Alaskan Brewing

Alaskan Brewing opened its doors in 1986 and today utilizes a 47,000-squarefoot facility to conduct all of their brewing, bottling, and business operations. The company has a gift shop and tasting bar on site. Alaskan Brewing has a selection of year-round, seasonal, and limitededition beers. Year-round, they offer Amber, White, Freeride APA, Kicker Session IPA, Icy Bay IPA, Hopothermia, Imperial Red, and Big Mountain Pale Ale. Their seasonal beers include a Summer Ale, Winter Ale, and in the spring of 2017, a Husky IPA. Alaskan Brewing regularly has limited edition beers, such as Smoked Porter, Raspberry Wheat, and the Smack of Grapefruit IPA.

————————— 5429 Shaune Drive, Juneau | 907-780-5866


Midnight Sun Brewing Co.



midnightsunbrew In 1995 Midnight Sun Brewing Co. began commercially producing ales and lagers; the company’s first beer was Wolf Spirit Sparkling Ale. Today, Midnight Sun Brewing Co. produces more than forty different ales and lagers every year, including seasonal and specialty beverages. The company is “world renowned for our barrel-aged stouts and barley wines, beers that are appropriate for our less-than-temperate climate and long dark winter nights. Our core brands include IPAs and Belgian ales.” The brewery sources water for its products from the Chugach Mountains. In addition to distributing packaged alcohol, many of Midnight Sun Brewing Co.’s products are available at The Loft, the brewery’s restaurant located on the second floor of their main building. Photo by Justin Jones



Alaskan Brewing Co.

————————— 8111 Dimond Hook Drive, Anchorage | 907-344-1179

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017



————————————————— AlaskaDistillery |


Alaska Distillery Owner, Founder, CEO, and Distiller Toby Foster was raised in Alaska and opened Alaska’s first legal distillery in the foothills of the Alaska Range. The artisan distillery handcrafts spirits in small batches using grains, potatoes, and other local ingredients, including water collected from Alaska glaciers and icebergs harvested in Prince William Sound. Their products include a variety of vodkas, such as Frostbite, Rhubarb, Birch Syrup, Blackberry Syrup, Blueberry Syrup, BUAA Honey, Cranberry, Fire Weed, Raspberry, and Smoked Salmon, as well as Bristol Bay Gin. Their flagship spirit is the ultra-premium vodka Permafrost. Alaska Distillery’s HR department is a black Labrador named Hooch, who showed an early aptitude for being friendly. “It’s been a perfect fit for Hooch and he has been strengthening his interpersonal relationship skills,” according to the company. Photo courtesy of Alaska Distillery

————————————————————— 1540 North Shoreline Drive, Wasilla | 907-357-6721





Anchorage Distillery is a craft distillery that uses 100 percent locally sourced grains and Alaska’s pure water. They use Bavarian Brewery tanks and Arnold Holstein stills and are one of the largest distillery facilities on the West Coast. Their products include Arctic Ice Moonshine whiskey; Aurora Borealis gin and Aurora gin; and Benefactor Black, Benefactor Pink, Blueberry, Ghost Pepper, Glacier Melt, and Raspberry vodkas. The company says, “Anchorage Distillery Anchorage Distillery CEO was founded on old world Bob Klein. traditions, hardworking values, Photo by Kerry Tasker and a love for distilling quality spirits. We define our dedication to a superior spirit enriched with unique quality flavors that only can be derived from the pristine terrain of Alaska.”

————————— 6310 A Street, Anchorage | 907-561-2100


Photo by John Hagen


Anchorage Distillery

Port Chilkoot Distillery

—————— Portchilkootdistillery |


Port Chilkoot Distillery renovated a former bakery to house their workspace and tasting room in Fort Seward, an old army outpost “up the hill” from Haines. “On this historic site, among our stainless steel fermentation tanks, our made-in-Louisville copper still, and with our Australian shepherd, Ozzie, we mix and tinker and taste and fuss, pairing classic recipes with local ingredients to create spirits for discriminating sippers—and maybe a little history of our own,” the company says. Their products include 50 Fathoms gin, Boatwright bourbon, Wrack Line rye, Icy Straight vodka, and Green Siren absinthe.

————————— 34 Blacksmith Street, Haines | 907-766-3434 July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly




KaladiBrothersCoffee |


Kaladi Brothers Coffee is an Alaska-born company that began as an espresso cart on Anchorage’s Fourth Avenue in 1986; now a premier Alaska coffee roaster, the company has thirteen locations across the state, including one in Wasilla and two in Soldotna. Kaladi Brothers also has one location in Seattle. Most of their locations offer free Wi-Fi, and all of them have Kaladi’s unique coffee. “What makes our coffee unique? The answer is simple: we employ a mix of arts and science to create the standard by which all coffees are judged. We strive to maintain the utmost freshness and quality and educate our customers on the best methods to care for their Kaladi Coffee once it leaves our roasting facility,” the company says. Photo by ABM Staff

————————————————————— 6921 Brayton Drive, Anchorage (Headquarters) | 907-344-6510



SteamDot-Coffee-Company SteamdotLab

Photo by Kerry Tasker


—————— jitterseagleriver |


SteamDot has two locations in Anchorage; O’Malley Centre is home to the warehouse and Espresso Lab and SteamDot operates a coffee bar at 600 E. Northern Lights Boulevard. “At our core, SteamDot’s mission is to make great coffees.” The company operates a Sovetz air-roaster to develop their world-class flavors and aromatics without leaving behind the bitter taste created in some barrel roasted coffees. Their coffee is stored in air-tight bags until it’s used or purchased. SteamDot also sells coffee wholesale, with “a full line of great coffee and equipment options to satisfy even the pickiest coffee accounts.”

Jitters was established in 1994 by owners Dennis and Linda Johnson. “At Jitters we give our customers a warm and social place to meet friends, unwind, and enjoy a great cup of coffee… Our goal is to make your experience at Jitters a positive one. The satisfaction of our customers, friends, and family is the measure of our success.” In fact, the company’s motto is “Where Coffee is an Art.” In addition to coffee, Jitters provides breakfast and lunch, featuring signature and build-your-own sandwiches. Pastries and bagels are available all day.

10950 O’Malley Centre, Suite E, Anchorage (espresso lab) | 907-344-4422

11401 Old Glenn Highway, Eagle River | 907-694-5487




Photo by Jeffery Kinzel


Kaladi Brothers Coffee


Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017





Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop is a small artisan bakery established in 2009 in one of Anchorage’s oldest neighborhoods just south of Downtown. Fire Island opened a second location in 2015 in the Airport Heights neighborhood. Their line of baked goods includes crusty, traditional breads; sweet and savory croissants and scones; muffins; fresh baked cookies; frosted cakes; tarts; a variety of daily sandwiches; and holiday specialties. Because Fire Island’s first priority is flavor, the bakery uses the highest quality ingredients available. Fire Island also serves organic, freetrade coffee and tea. “We put the highest premium on the customer experience at Fire Island. Our friendly and knowledgeable counter staff will happily answer questions and make recommendations. In addition, Fire Island Photo by Kerry Tasker is proud to provide a safe and supportive working environment,” the company says. Oven Master/Creative Director Carlyle Watt and Co-Owner Rachel Pennington.



Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop

1343 G Street, Anchorage | 907-569-0001


Great Harvest Bread Co.

—————— GreatHarvestBreadAnchorage

Photo by Kerry Tasker

Great Harvest Bread Co. was founded in the seventies, growing from a Montana bakery into the country’s first family of independently-owned and operated whole grain bread bakeries and cafes. Great Harvest offers some bread flavors every day and then rotates through other bread options on a weekly schedule. The bakery also has seasonal breads and sweet treats, including cookies, scones, muffins, bars, and pound breads. The Great Harvest in Anchorage also makes premium sandwiches. Guests can choose from a menu of fresh sandwich offerings or build their own hot or cold lunch or breakfast sandwiches.

————————— 570 East Benson Boulevard, Anchorage | 907-274-3331


House of Bread

—————— hobanchorage

Bakery Manager Carson Baldiviez. Photo by Kerry Tasker

House of Bread Anchorage is one of eight stores connected with the House of Bread franchise. The company opened six years ago in South Anchorage, “When we opened the bakery we knew it would be a family affair. We all do our part in making the business run like a well-oiled bread mixer. Find us in the bakery every day of the week scooping cookies, making rolls, and handing out free samples.” House of bread has a monthly bread schedule that includes every day breads, quick breads, a rotation of specialty breads, and muffins, scones, cookies, and other treats.

————————— 8130 Old Seward Highway, Suite 108, Anchorage | 907-222-1352 July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly




————————————————— VisitHomer |


When our readers think of traveling in Alaska, they think of Homer. From hiking, fishing, and bear viewing to sea kayaking, paddle boarding, bird watching, cycling, kite surfing, and whale watching, Homer has a little something to offer every outdoor enthusiast. For those seeking something on the more restful side, Homer offers shopping, wine-tasting, brew pubs, art galleries, museums, and fine dining. “Homer Photo by Russell Campbell is a great place to relax, recharge, and rejuvenate,” says Karen Zak, executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center. She says Homer is hailed as a health and wellness destination, offering healing arts therapies including polarity therapy, deep tissue massage, and acupuncture, among many other treatments. When evening arrives, relax at one of Homer’s many B&Bs, hotels, and log cabins, open all year.

————————————————————— 201 Sterling Highway, Homer | 907-235-7740



—————— DenaliNPS |





Denali National Park and Preserve. Photo courtesy of NPS / Tim Rains

Photo by Tasha Anderson

For the past century, Denali National Park and Preserve has been offering Alaskans, their friends and family, and tourists from around the world oncein-a-lifetime outdoor experiences including hiking, mountain-climbing, wildlife viewing, and camping, to name just a few. “Denali offers six million acres of wild land, bisected by one ribbon of road. Travelers along it see the relatively low-elevation taiga forest give way to high alpine tundra and snowy mountains, culminating in North America’s tallest peak, 20,310-foot Denali. Wild animals large and small roam unfenced lands, living as they have for ages. Solitude, tranquility and wilderness await,” according to the National Park Service.

Like most of Alaska, Seward is home to remarkable opportunities to experience people, places, and cultures not seen anywhere else. One might start by exploring the Kenai Fjords National Park, home to some of Alaska’s best wildlife spotting and most beautiful fjords and glaciers. From the harbor, visitors watch as humpback and orca whales slide through the water or breach the waves, sharing the waters with sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, and puffins. At Resurrection Bay, take a water-taxi to a secluded cove for some beachcombing. For those staying over, there are inns, hotels, and cabins available between adventures of boating, fishing, hiking, climbing, shopping, and sampling the local cuisine.

Mile 237 Highway 3, Denali Park




Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

SUMMER PARTY 2017 4 9 th S tate B r e w i n g C o m p a n y Thu rsday , J uly 1 3 f r o m 4 p .m . t o 7 p .m . Ti ck e t s $ 35 (P ur chase O nline at akbiz mag.c om)


Alaska Bu s i n e s s Mo n t h l y ’s



The CDQ Program CDQ groups build and support Alaska’s western communities By Tasha Anderson


he Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program allocates a portion of Bering Sea and Aleutian Island quotas for groundfish, halibut, crab, and prohibited species to eligible communities in Western Alaska. According to the NOAA Fisheries website, “The purpose of the CDQ Program is (i) to provide eligible western Alaska villages with the opportunity to participate and invest in fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; (ii) to support economic development in western Alaska; (iii) to alleviate poverty and provide economic and social benefits for residents of western Alaska; and (iv) to achieve sustainable and diversified local economies in western Alaska.” Six CDQ groups were established to represent the sixty-five communities in Western Alaska eligible for the program, all of which are within fifty nautical miles of Alaska’s west coast. Those groups are Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation (BBEDC), Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association, Coastal Villages Region Fund (CVRF), Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, and Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association. CVRF Business Development Director Angie Pinsonneault explains that the CDQ program was first created in 1992 and in 1996 was added to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. “In 2006, the Coastguard Authorization Act basically created the framework under which we’re operating today. It set the allocations in statute for each of the CDQ groups, and then it spelled out some changes to the way that the program operated.”

Coastal Villages Region Fund CVRF is actually a successor to the original for-profit formed in the program, the Coastal Village Fishing Cooperative, which was on the edge of bankruptcy. In 1998, CVRF was created and assumed the CDQ allocations. “The company that we are today took a dramatic turn from what had been going on under the predecessor company and has become very successful both in managing Bering Sea fishing operations and taking those benefits back to the region and doing programs and projects,” Pinsonneault says. 72

Photo courtesy of Coastal Villages Region Fund

Northern Hawk crew offload frozen product in Dutch Harbor.

Today CVRF generates wealth in the Bering Sea to invest in twenty member communities. The northernmost village of the group is Scammon Bay, Platinum is furthest south, and the eastern most community is Napaskiak. CVRF’s mission is “to provide the means for development of our communities by creating sensible, tangible, and long-term opportunities that generate hope for all people who want to fish and work.” Pinsonneault summarizes, “The goal is to provide a hand up and not a hand out.”

Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation According to BBEDC, “It is the purpose of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation to promote economic growth and opportunities for residents of its member communities through sustainable use of the Bering Sea resources.” BBEDC President and CEO Norman Van Vactor says his position has two primary responsibilities: “The first piece is making money and working with our investments in the Bering Sea fishery to generate, in a very proactive and socially responsible fashion, as much revenue as we possibly can. Then the second half of my job is working with our seventeen CDQ communities to determine how best to spend the money we make to meet our mission, which is economic development and opportunities for our residents in the region.” The BBEDC region extends from Port Heiden (southernmost on

the Alaska Peninsula) to King Salmon, then westward to Togiak; BBEDC’s offices are in Dillingham, a hub-community to the region.

CDQ Groups Have Leeway in Development The six CDQ groups are directed to use funds from the fishery allocations to benefit their communities, but the groups are given leeway as to how that’s done. “It’s fair to say that the six groups do a lot of things similarly, but there are an awful lot of things we do differently,” Van Vactor says. “That’s probably a function of what our perceived needs are within our region.” He says one broad example is that many of the other groups deal with limited or even nonexistent markets for their seafood. “There are, in many instances, no commercial buyers for their natural resources. So those groups have [determined that] one of their primary responsibilities is to provide that marketplace.” Alternatively, he says, “We are blessed in Bristol Bay with having one of the most incredible natural resources in the world with the sockeye salmon run. And yes, we would like to have more buyers, but we do already have an existing industry. That hasn’t stopped us from feeling like it needs more help, and for that reason alone BBEDC is currently 50 percent [owner] of one of the largest salmon buyers in the state of Alaska in the form of Ocean Beauty Seafoods.” The regions also differ in how they decide to take advantage of their fishery quota. BBEDC

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

does not currently manage or operate any of their own vessels; all of their investment is in strategic partnerships. “We feel that we’re not necessarily the experts when it comes to running our own salmon operation, or our own longline cod operation, or our own pollock operation. So what we’ve done is we’ve gone out and we’ve invested in what we feel are very well run businesses; in almost all of our investments, we are 50 percent owners.” Van Vactor says this puts the onus of day-to-day management of fishery operations on their partners, “who are the fishermen who have the history, who have caught the crab, who have caught the pollock, who have built the longline vessels.” He says the 50 percent partnership also ensures there’s no question about BBEDC’s tax status, and that in turn allows BBEDC to ensure that their generated revenues go towards projects, programs, and grants. BBEDC’s Chairman of the Board also serves as the Chairman of the Board for three of their five major investments. “Our board and our management [are] actively engaged in the big picture: setting goals, priorities, and budgets,” Van Vactor says. Some of BBEDC’s major partners are Arctic Storm Group (pollock), Alaskan Leader Fisheries (longline cod), The Mariner Group (crab), and Dona Martita Group (in-shore pollock and cod), and the previously mentioned Ocean Beauty Seafoods. CVRF has taken a more direct approach with its allocation by acquiring its own fishing assets. The company wholly-owns and manages one pollock factory-trawler, two crab boats, and three cod longliners. Direct involvement in the management of these operations, “while scary at first,” says Pinsonneault, provides an unequivocal link between the residents of CVRF’s communities and the fishing operations that fund its programs. “Our Board of Directors, who are elected residents of their communities, call the shots,” she says. “They are directly responsible for understanding and balancing the complex issues that are involved in Bering Sea fishing. They carry the weight of knowing that, if CVRF is not profitable in our fishing operations, there will be no money with which to do projects and programs.” Pinsonneault says a factory in the belly of their 341-foot pollock vessel, the Northern Hawk, is where they produce block product that is sold to reprocessors, including the chain that supplies fish filet sandwiches to McDonalds, as well as to other processors worldwide. “We are a major player in the Bering Sea fishing industry, and we have a team of people that focus specifically on managing these operations,” she says. Building up their assets has been gradual, for example their two crab boats were purchased in 2006, but CVRF didn’t take over full management of them until 2009. Purchasing and operating such vessels isn’t without risk: “Acquiring all these operations was a big weight to take on, a lot of responsibility on the company’s shoulders… But we have worked our way up through the learning curve, and we’re now a very

cessful company. Our customers are willing to pay a premium for our product and we have a reputation as a good quality producer of seafood products.” That growth, and risk, has paid off. “Our operations generate a little over $32 million in EBITDA [profit] a year,” Pinsonneault reports. CVRF entered into a 50/50 partnership in 2001 with Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, the northernmost CDQ group, to form BSAI Partners, which owns five in-shore pollock catcher vessels (that catch pollock and then deliver the fish to shore plants in Dutch Harbor) and their associated quota. Maruha Nichiro Corporation, one of the largest seafood companies in the world, also owns a small percentage of the five BSAI Partners vessels and quota.

Community Investment Pinsonneault says that on average CVRF spends $20 million to $25 million a year on projects and programs. In total CVRF has provided $351 million in benefits to their communities since 1997. “The ability to responsibly cultivate the tremendous resource of the Bering Sea fisheries, and build our own fleet, has contributed to our ability to support economic opportunity that probably wouldn’t exist in our communities [otherwise],” says CVRF Community Benefits Manager Nathaniel Betz. CVRF invests heavily in their youth population, in particular through the Youth to Work Program. Last year was the 10th anniversary of the program, which provides summer jobs for youths ages fourteen to nineteen. In 2016, the program had a record year, employing 698 teens who earned more than $517,000. CVRF partnered with fifty-eight local organizations to provide a wide range of experiences and worked with fifty-nine expert instructors, in addition to local staff, to engage and teach program participants a variety of skills. The organization has a new youth program that began in 2016 called Ciuneq, a Yup’ik word that refers to the future. The initiative gives 9th grade students with a minimum GPA of 2.5 an opportunity to participate in activities designed to prepare them for continuing education achievement. In the first two sessions in September and October of last year, thirty-nine participants visited post-secondary institutions in Anchorage and Seward, exploring locally relevant career options and connecting with mentors from CVRF communities. Betz says over the last several decades, economic development in rural Alaska has typically been characterized by the subsidy and development of physical infrastructure, such as tank farms, runways, or public buildings. “While those types of investments are often well intentioned and can frequently yield positive benefits, they have not necessarily resulted in a significant amount of wealth accumulation and widespread prosperity amongst residents in our communities.” CVRF is focused on cultivating self-sustaining and evolving economic opportunities that allow individuals and families to pro-

vide for themselves. Ciuneq is a direct response to the issue of building wealth in the community, supporting youngsters as they identify their options and what it takes to pursue those options. “This is really priming the pump by giving youth the opportunity to kind of take a step back the moment they enter high school and say: What do I want to do with this experience?” He says the program will gradually expand to include a component for each grade level and include visits to CVRF’s wholly-owned pollock factory-trawler, the Northern Hawk, as well as educational institutions in Seattle and the surrounding areas. “We’re excited to continue investing in experiences that will help our youth grow into the future leaders of our region and continue our trajectory of ownership in the Bering Sea,” Betz says. Van Vactor points out that BBEDC invested between $110 million and $140 million in their community in the last five years alone. He says BBEDC supports more than thirty programs in their region, one of which is the Permit Loan Program. He explains that their data show that, in general, fifteen to seventeen commercial fishing permits are leaving Alaskan hands and being taken on by nonAlaskans. “I’d describe a permit as more than a permit; it’s literally a small business,” Van Vactor explains. “If I could line up all the businesses in town and we saw fifteen to seventeen permits, or businesses, being closed every year, it’d be pretty darn dramatic. It doesn’t have that visual impact because the boat harbors in Bristol Bay are not emptying out, it’s just that the ownership of these fishing operations is changing. But with that change, of course, the money flows elsewhere and largely flows out of state.” He says that’s why BBEDC places significant emphasis on reversing the trend. In the last few years BBEDC has “saved” permits, meaning they have sourced qualified, local Alaskan buyers through investment, grant facilitation, down-payment grants, and interest rate assistance programs to help locals buy a license “that would otherwise be exiting the region.” He says, even with their current efforts that have reduced the number of permits leaving local hands, the region still isn’t “breaking even.” In addition to pursuing legislation that may help, BBEDC is working on mentorship programs with captains to develop and promote interest in young people to enter the industry. “[Through these] programs we’re trying to support [the] overall economy that creates a viable region,” Van Vactor says. “That’s where the CDQ programs have filled an extremely large void in a lot of these communities. Increasingly, as federal funding is drying up and state funds are drying up, I hate to think what would be happening in a lot of these communities if it wasn’t for the CDQ groups and the programs that we’re doing.” R

Tasha Anderson is the Associate Editor for Alaska Business. July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly



Business Life Cycle Planning is Crucial for Companies Large and Small Exit



Launch Grow


By Tracy Barbour

ince businesses—like humans—have a life cycle, it’s essential that companies plan every stage of their existence to maximize their chance for success. Experts say life cycle planning should be a continuous process, whether the business is a small startup or well-established corporation. And the life cycle issues that companies focus on today will evolve over time, requiring business owners to apply different tactics for continued success and making business life cycle planning a requirement for survival. The Alaska Small Business Development Center (SBDC) categorizes the business life 74

cycle in five stages: Think, Launch, Grow, Reinvent, and Exit. Most organizations undergo these common phases in one form or another, although they may describe them in different terms, according to Jon Bittner, executive director of the Alaska SBDC, which is hosted by University of Alaska Anchorage’s Business Enterprise Institute. There are a broad range of areas business owners must consider when planning for the different life cycle stages. The more planning they can do up front, the better off they will be, says Bittner, a strong advocate of initial due diligence. During the Think stage, business owners need to devise the best plan they possibly can. “You need to get all the work

Business life cycle stages. Courtesy SBDC

you can out of the way before you launch,” he says. This involves creating a well-researched business plan that covers all aspects of operating the business. The resulting document can provide a preliminary framework for defining the product, market, competition, costs, and other important factors. However, Bittner says, a business plan is only true until the launch happens. “Once you open your doors, all of that data goes out the window,” he explains. When the Launch phase gets underway, there’s a plethora of considerations for companies to master. Business owners need a broad level of understanding on issues rang-

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

“Everything comes fast and furious, but if you’ve done the first stage correctly [and you have a solid business plan], you can rely on that. When you’re launching, you always have to be prepared to trouble shoot and make changes based on the reality of what you’re seeing. Keep your head above water and stay positive. There’s no silver bullet to having a successful business.”

—Jon Bittner Executive Director, Alaska SBDC

ing from how to get customers in the door and how to manage day-to-day operations to funding, payroll, and taxes. “Everything comes fast and furious, but if you’ve done the first stage correctly [and you have a solid business plan], you can rely on that,” Bittner says. “When you’re launching, you always have to be prepared to trouble shoot and make changes based on the reality of what you’re seeing.” It’s okay if business owners made incorrect assumptions in their business plan, Bittner says. What’s important is to show they are capable of understanding how to do the work and how to learn what they don’t know. “Keep your head above water and stay positive,” he says. “There’s no silver bullet to having a successful business.” But having a well-thought-out business plan can facilitate the process. Still, Bittner cautions owners to not get so attached to their business plan that they “ride it to the ground.” Sometimes, it’s difficult to change course, but it’s important to be nimble and make adjustments. This can help companies avoid becoming part of the large percentage of businesses that fail in the first five years. “About a third drop off in two years, and about half are out of business in five years,” he says. If the business successfully navigates the Launch stage, the operation should stabilize and progress to the Grow phase. During this stage, companies typically will need to enhance their resources and performance to reach the next level. “Eventually, owners have to address the fact that, if they’re going to grow, something will have to change,” Bittner says. “They might need additional working capital or more employees to scale the business.” Or, owners may need to revise their business plan to support new goals, such as increasing sales or attracting outside capital. But most business owners are busy with their

Photo courtesy of SBDC

Jon Bittner, Executive Director of the Alaska SBDC

top priority: running their company. And if things are working smoothly, Bittner says, their tendency is to not meddle with the business plan. But updating a business plan during the Grow stage doesn’t have to be a total rewrite. The updates required will depend on the business. “A lot of what you had initially was before you launched, and it was based on estimates,” Bittner says. “Now you can go back and plug in hard numbers on your sales and other information, and that gives you a new benchmark.” The Reinvent stage applies to the life cycle of more established companies. This can be a tough phase because the business—whether it’s a small shop or a larger organization— may be very successful but is no longer growing. And this can be a problem. “If you’re not growing, chances are you’re losing market share,” Bittner says. At this stage, the owner really has to find a way to reinvigorate the company. The goal is to stay fresh and innovative to retain market share. This can entail keeping products and services up to date, ensuring best practices are being followed, and being willing to refine the approach to doing business. “I’m not saying you have to completely change the company,” Bittner says. “But you have to say: ‘Is this the best we can do, or are we sort of cruising?’” The Exit stage of the life cycle is one that most people don’t plan. And from Bittner’s perspective, it’s one of the most important aspects of any business. “Eventually, there has to be an exit strategy,” he says. “No one wants to be ninety years old and working twelve hours a day.” In fact, company owners should define their exit strategy when they first begin the business. They should consider things like whether they’re building a business to sell or plan to bring on equity investors. And as part of making their exit, business owners July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly


“The Launch period has the most room for error; you’re putting everything to the test. Expansion [growth] is a huge part of a business, and it also has significant room for error. It’s important to focus on the bottom line and to come up with a backup or contingency plan. As part of that, it’s important to look at the economic forecasts, do your research, and look at what other businesses are doing.”

—Emma Kelly Business & Economic Development Director, AEDC

also need to be able to determine the value of their company. This will require quantifying their assets—including their reputation— and many other sometimes nebulous factors. “These are complicated issues, and these are things most people need help for,” he says. Photo courtesy of AEDC

Emma Kelly, Business & Economic Development Director AEDC

Taking a Holistic Approach to Planning Emma Kelly also thinks of business life cycle planning in terms of the stages outlined by the Alaska SBDC. Kelly is a business and

economic development director for the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC). From her viewpoint, Launch and Grow are two of the most important business life cycle stages. “The Launch period has the most room for error; you’re putting everything to the test,” she says. “Expansion [growth] is a huge part of a business, and it also has significant room for error.” Kelly says it’s critical for companies to avoid expanding too quickly. They also need to keep

The Life Cycle of a Small Business By Mike Branham


usiness cycles are well-defined phenomena that are often even more pronounced in the world of small business. There is no pre-determined frequency at which a given business will experience the ebbs and flows of the cycle, but every small business owner will navigate through each of these stages at some point. Only about half of all new small businesses stay in business for at least five years, and only about one-third of those are able to stay afloat for ten years. To use a uniquely Alaska analogy, proper planning and the ability to adapt on the fly can make the difference between a business experiencing the life cycle of a steelhead rather than the finite life cycle of a salmon. The main stages of the small business cycle that business owners should prepare for are:  Conceive—Conception starts in the mind of the founder. Whether the business provides a new idea or product, an improved method of offering goods or services, or simply adds expertise to an existing marketplace, planning and preparation are important at this stage. Every new entrant should put proverbial pen to paper and write a thorough business plan. Within the initial plan is an assessment of the current marketplace, including prospective competitors and consumers. Knowing how a new venture stands out from the crowd, and how the idea or product may be received, gives entrepreneurs a realistic sense of the probability of success.


 Ignite—Once the initial planning has been completed it’s time to launch. This is both an exciting and anxious time in the life of a business owner. A successful launch can give a business the momentum it needs to survive. Activity and action are important, but building relationships takes time. The seeds planted in the Conceive stage need care and attention. It’s critical for small business owners to spend as much time cultivating future growth as they do reacting to short-term needs.  Expand—Success and hard work in the first two stages often lead to a period of growth, both in terms of revenue and internal investment. As companies gain traction and experience revenue growth they may need to hire and train employees, build inventory, and develop efficiencies and procedures—all while maintaining a consistently positive client experience. Growing too slowly puts the business at risk of withering away, while growing too quickly may result in human capital and resource problems. The issues of managing growth aren’t totally unique to small businesses. Even large, multinational firms experience growth management issues. Be ready to read and react, and spend the requisite time working on the business, not just in it.  Plateau—Every period of growth eventually hits a wall. Whether the company burned through the “low hanging fruit” in the marketplace, reached critical mass, or is simply having a hard time keeping a consistent offering while dealing with the

growth phase, this Plateau stage will likely put a business in either the “salmon” or “steelhead” category. Innovative business owners take time to reflect on their business model and make adjustments as needed, setting themselves up for a long, prosperous life. While those that keep doing things the way they always have are the businesses that find themselves gasping for air on the banks of an Alaska river.  Breakthrough (or die)—More an outcome than a stage, success here depends on how stage four was managed. With hard work, humility, and a bit of luck, business owners will work back through the cycle. While the Conceive stage is slightly different, the innovations and adaptations made in response to the Plateau stage will launch the business into a new Ignite stage. The company will experience renewed growth in a new Expand stage, which brings the need for internal investment (or increased efficiency and productivity gains) and eventually the need to adapt to yet another Plateau. Entrepreneurs thrive on challenges, and most have a healthy amount of confidence in their ability to build a business that will last. The bottom line is that to join the ranks of those businesses that defy the odds and enjoy long-term survival, it is vital that all business owners think through the obstacles that will inevitably come their way and create a business plan that will withstand those obstacles by adapting to the changing landscape. R

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

close track of their revenue levels, product lines, timelines, and other key areas. “It’s important to focus on the bottom line and to come up with a backup or contingency plan,” Kelly says. “As part of that, it’s important to look at the economic forecasts, do your research, and look at what other businesses are doing.” With contingency planning, company owners can get a better idea about what they would do in different scenarios that could impact their business. They should try to consider all possible outcomes and develop as full of a picture as possible. “It’s important to be your own devil’s advocate and look at all of your options,” Kelly says. Life cycle planning should be done holistically, Kelly says. She feels that business plans are living documents that should be reviewed frequently. And planning for each life cycle stage is best done on the front end and continually updated throughout the life of the business. Like Bittner, Kelly considers a business plan to be a valuable asset. A SWOT analysis outlining a company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats is also a crucial tool. And it’s one AEDC employs in its own planning efforts. For example, AEDC is working on a comprehensive economic development strategy and is using a SWOT analysis to identify economic priorities and discover where the municipality needs to focus its efforts. “It’s been a hugely helpful tool in that process,” she says. Business owners, Kelly says, should also consider macroeconomic issues when making life cycle and other management decisions since the state, national, and even global economy can have a significant impact on their business. For example, companies tend to be more financially conservative when the economy contracts and invest more when it expands. Likewise, individuals often curtail discretionary spending in the face of economic trouble. Ultimately, the impact of such external factors on a business will depend on which life cycle stage it’s experiencing. However, Bittner says, there is a lot a business can do to affect change with regard to Alaska’s current economic difficulty. “There are things we can do collectively to try to mitigate some of the impact, such as getting involved with different organizations to promote Buy Alaska and helping people understand how important it is to support these businesses,” he says. “It really would behoove businesses across Alaska to band together.” So what happens if a business owner fails to do effective life cycle planning? Well, it’s not the end of the world, Bittner says. Planning is a best practice that can make things exponentially easier in the future. But owners can only do so much forecasting. “It’s about planning, but it’s also about being flexible and understanding that plans change,” he says.

The SBDC offers free planning tools and indepth information at, including a business plan cheat sheet and outline. It also provides confidential, one-on-one counseling through highly-qualified, experienced advisors. “These people aren’t just talking the talk; they have been there and done that,” Bittner says. The Alaska SBDC also conducts low-cost, monthly workshops on vital topics such as how to write a business plan, marketing, finance, and accounting. For more extensive research, it offers access to powerful tools including IBIS World for market analysis and ProfitCents for financial modeling. “We really try to be comprehensive,” Bittner says. With six locations across the state, the SBDC processes more than 1,000 businesses a year, Bittner says. “I don’t think anyone has a better understanding of Alaska businesses than we do.” Business owners can tap resources like AEDC to secure localized assistance with life cycle planning. AEDC provides a wealth of information and resources online at, according to AEDC Communications Director Sean Carpenter. Visitors to the website are able to access monthly employment data as well as annual reports, including the Business Confidence Index Survey, Economic Forecast for Anchorage, Anchorage Consumer Optimism Index, and Cost of Living Index. In addition, AEDC’s Anchorage Prospector website offers demographic data and other information to facilitate busi-

ness planning. And although AEDC offers paid memberships, it also provides initial counseling at no charge to business owners who need assistance. “We are more than willing to meet with businesses to help them,” Carpenter says. In terms of life cycle planning advice, Carpenter offers this key tip: Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions. “People who have been through your situation may have made mistakes that they can help you avoid making,” he says. Kelly extends similar advice. She recommends that business owners find a mentor, brainstorm, peruse reports—and plan for stormy weather. She also says: “Don’t be afraid to innovate. If you have a good idea, dive deep.” Bittner’s words of wisdom also relate to seeking assistance. He encourages business owners to not be apprehensive about soliciting aid from the SBDC and other resources. “It is our mission in life to help you succeed,” he says. “We really feel the work we do is what’s going to drive Alaska’s economic future.” A lot of people are looking at the economy and getting scared, Bittner says. “These are times of economic turmoil—and that can be a problem—but this can also be a time of opportunity. It’s just a matter of finding opportunity in whatever situation you’re in and pursuing growth.” R Tracy Barbour is a former Alaskan.

Resources and Advice There are numerous resources available to help companies with their life cycle planning, including the Alaska SBDC and AEDC.

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly



Advice for Small Business Owners: How to Insure for Your Future Exit Plan now for the inevitable: Finding the right insurance before it’s too late By Mel Bannon


usiness owners operate in a world of duality. On the one hand they are risktakers, with entrepreneurial spirits. At the same time, these same people often exhibit risk-averse behavior. What this means is that owners will assume risks in one area of their lives but not necessarily work to mitigate risks in other areas. The primary issue in not mitigating risks lies in the fact that, as a business owner, there are a lot of people in your world who rely on you and the decisions that you make. This article challenges the use of insurance in the singular manner of addressing a loss of life. In fact, insurance products are useful tools throughout the spectrum of advanced planning for a future exit. My intention is to discuss risk mitigation and broaden owners’ views on how and where insurance can ground and solidify your plans for a future exit (while you are still alive). 78

An Aleatory Business Contract Insurance policies are known as aleatory contracts. The International Risk Management Institute (IRMI) defines an aleatory contract as “an agreement concerned with an uncertain event that provides for unequal transfer of value between the parties. Insurance policies are aleatory contracts because an insured can pay premiums for many years without sustaining a covered loss. Conversely, insureds sometimes pay relatively small premiums for a short period and then receive coverage for a substantial loss, according to the IRMI website.” So the financial industry provides a marketplace to understand your business risks and allow you an opportunity to share those risks with another institution. In a limited sense it is a forecast of the future—in the case of insuring the loss of life. If the event/death that you are insuring occurs, you “win” and the insurance company pays. If the event does not occur, you don’t necessarily lose because you have some peace of mind. Insurance as an Asset Class Insuring for the loss of life is only a small part of utilizing insurance in an exit plan. How-

ever, many business owners fail to see the benefits of certain other forms of insurance. Insurance can serve as an asset class and a tool to harvest savings, share benefits, and leave assets on your company balance sheet, as well as sharing an asset with key people to more easily retain them at your company. Most business owners, when thinking about planning for their exit, fail to see insurance as a tool for many facets of a transition plan.

Insurance as an Accumulation Asset for a Future Exit Some typical goals of business owners who are thinking about a future exit include:  Having enough retirement income to sustain your lifestyle.  Retaining key people and aligning incentives to grow the business.  Having a tax efficient transfer of wealth as the business changes hands.  Avoiding complex tax code provisions inside of your key person incentive plan.

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

 Providing a path for key people to potentially purchase your business interests.  Having access to cash that is needed to run and grow the business. Insurance contracts can serve as a “funding solution” for the issues listed above. The primary goal here is not to provide complex details of how this can work but rather to help to re-conceptualize the role that insurance can play in your future plans. Remember that insurance is a unique asset in many respects, not the least of which is the ability to harvest tax benefits, provide disciplined savings with your planning, and to customize an agreement that retains your key people.

Solving or Not Solving for Death As mentioned, business owners too often view the purchase of insurance only as a vehicle to deliver needed cash in the event of a death. The use of funds is often to replace business income or to fund family needs and/ or estate taxes. Many business owners hold contracts that are set to address these contingencies. However, there is another way to look at insurance: as a tax-efficient, forced savings plan for you, your company, and your key people. In this case, the purpose of insurance is not necessarily to anticipate a death and for cash to be provided at the time of death. Rather, this form of insurance is for cash accumulation, either within the company or held outside of the business. And under current tax laws, this savings is accomplished on a tax-advantaged basis, similar to a Roth IRA, but without the earned income limits affecting Roth IRAs. Overcoming Immortality One of the reasons that insurance is looked down upon as an effective tool for exit planning is because many owners have survived against insurmountable odds to grow their business. Also, there is the uncomfortable issue of dealing with death. However, when insurance is viewed in more broad terms as a tool to accomplish many goals while you continue to grow your business and make plans for a future exit, the options and alternative uses begin to grow. For better or for worse, it is often said that insurance is something that is sold, not purchased. In other words, the use of insurance in an exit plan has historically required a sales process in which a purchaser of insurance needs to see a vision of what could happen to their lives without insurance. Business owners should learn about and utilize certain forms of insurance, understanding that insurance is something that is “purchased” for the benefit of you and your company and not something that needs to be “sold.” Call your insurance advisor and request a review of your existing policies for your business and your personal lines. Seek to learn about the different ways that insurance can serve as a catalyst and disciplined approach to advancing your plans for a future exit. You

worked a lifetime to build what you have. Just as you were responsible for the success of your enterprise, you are equally responsible for seeing its succession and/or transfer,

including your exit. Be sure to remember to insure your future exit. In doing so, you will advance further towards the peace of mind that comes as a result of proper planning. R

Mel B. Bannon, CLU, ChFC, RFC is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors, a broker/dealer, member SIPC, and offers investment advisory service through Sagemark Consulting, a division of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a registered investment advisor, 31111 Agoura Rd., Ste. 200, Westlake Village, CA 91361 (818) 540-6967 or (907) 522-1194 . Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. This information should not be construed as legal or tax advice. You may want to consult a tax advisor regarding this information as it relates to your personal circumstances. Exit Planning offered through unaffiliated third parties. AK Insurance License #19665 CRN-1613480-100716

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New Regulatory Environment Will Benefit Oil and Gas Downstream Operations By Al Tuttle 80

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017


ike the rest of Alaska, the oil industry possesses many unique aspects, especially in the employment area. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports the oil and gas sector accounts for 4 percent of overall Alaskan employment but 11 percent of overall wages. Oil jobs pay significantly better in aggregate than most. But what that study did not include in its reporting is the vast number of downstream jobs associated with refining crude oil. The downstream oil products and services employment sector is big and complex. Just as the auto industry has tiers of suppliers and dozens of ancillary industries, the products made from oil are indispensable and widely varied. Products from plastics to pesticides depend on a secure and rapid supply of oil, making logistics and pipelines vital to the refined product industry.

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“We face a lot of federal hurdles … especially here in Alaska. One of the challenges we face is production. We’re hopeful that as more areas open up and we see more production, that will give our refineries here in Kenai a lot more stability to forecast production.”

—Katherine Blair Government and Public Affairs Manager, Tesoro Alaska Co.

Tesoro Corp., a national refiner and distributor, operates retail fuel stations under several brand names. In June 2016 Tesoro acquired Flint Hills Resources’ refining assets in Alaska, including Flint Hills’ wholesale fuel marketing contracts in-state; an Anchorage terminal; a Fairbanks airport terminal; and


a multi-year terminalling agreement at Flint Hills North Pole terminal (the acquisition did not include the North Pole refinery). To further expand its product lines and services, Tesoro expects to complete a planned acquisition of El Paso, Texas-based Western Refining this year. Both Tesoro and Western Refining

have retail and logistics arms as well as refining operations. Katherine Blair, government and public affairs manager for Tesoro Alaska, says the company’s Alaska businesses are vibrant, competitive, and steady. “Tesoro’s employment in the state of Alaska has stayed steady for the last several years. In fact, at our Kenai refinery we have stayed very, very steady at 225 employees. Our employment growth has been in assets in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Not overly significant but about fifteen employees,” Blair says. Steady is the key word for employment at the company for the next one or two years, she says. The big factor is oil prices, as it is for everyone else, and Blair is not expecting a big jump there anytime soon. Although oil prices are expected to stay “lower for longer,” there is some movement in the oil and gas regulatory environment in Alaska. President Donald Trump’s administration has ushered in a pro-business environment at the federal level for the oil and gas industry. Earlier this year US Senator Lisa Murkowski, US Senator Dan Sullivan, and US Representative Don Young joined President Trump, VP Mike Pence, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke as Trump signed an Executive Order to implement the America-First Offshore Energy Strategy. According to an April 2017 release from Murkowski’s office, “The order lifts leasing withdrawals imposed on Alaska’s Arctic, directs the Department of the Interior to conduct a review of the areas available for leasing, and directs a review of certain regulations governing offshore development.” Alaska’s Congressional Delegation unanimously supported the order. In the release, Murkowski said, “This executive order puts us back on track to explore and ultimately produce the prolific resources in that region. Alaskans broadly support offshore development in the Arctic. And I strongly believe that over time, today’s order will provide substantial benefits by putting our state on a better path to create jobs, generate new revenues, refill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, and strengthen our leadership in the Arctic.” As production increases in Alaska, and companies make new oil finds throughout the state, Alaska remains on the brink of leading the country into a new energy renaissance, according to Sullivan. A White House that is working with Congress—and acting as a partner with Alaska—to become responsible for production of our energy resources will help strengthen national security, provide good jobs for thousands of Alaskans, and help grow the economies of our state and our country, he noted. Blair thinks a new regulatory climate will present positive changes for the refining and

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

retail businesses, opening more territory for drilling and exploration. “We face a lot of federal hurdles … especially here in Alaska. One of the challenges we face is production. We’re hopeful that as more areas open up and we see more production, that will give our refineries here in Kenai a lot more stability to forecast production.” The potential for reduced regulation on drilling, and therefore supply, is the greatest guarantor of growth because planning to expand is a hugely complex and costly undertaking, Blair adds. The Tesoro side of the new business will continue to rely mainly on Alaska crude. “We purchase every drop of oil from the Cook Inlet,” she says. “It’s the in-state production that really underpins the growth and gives predictability to the economics of our Kenai refinery.” In the end, Blair says, ongoing employment growth depends on many factors. The most important long-term issue for Alaska’s refineries is growing in-state production, not just in terms of current oil wells but finding new oil fields and developing them without massive regulatory burdens. Blair also says that both companies—Tesoro and Western—have extensive logistics divisions that depend on constant or growing production to employ drivers, mechanics, and office personnel that drive the gigantic transportation sectors of oil and natural gas in Alaska and throughout the country. While not expressly a downstream product manu-

facturing employment sector, logistics is regarded as a post-production crude oil and gas sector vital to the state’s economy.

LNG for the Long Haul Optimistic plans for the future are the hallmark of Alaska business. This continues strongly for the producers and users of natural gas. Natural gas currently holds all the promises and pitfalls of crude oil. Transport, conditioning and refining, and final product creation depends upon the same vital statistics as the crude oil industry: production and pricing. Downstream products for natural gas include methanol, ammonia, paint, glue, and helium and vinegar, to name just a few. Some of these are further refined or altered into products such as fertilizer. For about seven years, the state and several oil companies collaborated in an attempt to build a natural gas pipeline into Kenai to a proposed liquefaction and shipping facility in Nikiski, known as the Alaska LNG project. Recently, the state took over plans and responsibility for the project, under authority granted to the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. (AGDC). Construction of this magnitude creates thousands of downstream temporary and permanent jobs. It also creates the means to supply the all-important aspects of downstream employment: continued growth in production and prices. In mid-April, the AGDC submitted the Alaska LNG project application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, also known

as FERC. The Alaska LNG project would include a Prudhoe Bay gas treatment plant and a LNG (liquid natural gas) plant in Nikiski, which will cover 901 onshore acres, according to the report. Fritz Krusen, AGDC vice president of LNG and administrative Services, said at a meeting this spring that the plant project will be built on lands currently under the control of an ExxonMobil, BP, and ConocoPhillips joint venture that had purchased or taken options on more than 600 acres at the proposed LNG plant site at Nikiski. Acquisition efforts ceased last year when the oil and gas partners withdrew from the Alaska LNG project, though the oil and gas companies have voiced support of the project moving forward through state efforts. Other property along the route and at the site will be purchased and permitted during the next two years. Importantly, AGDC received eminent domain rights from the Alaska Legislature. “We have been granted those powers, but we have not contemplated whether or not we’d use them for this project,” Krusen said. The state’s current efforts to move forward with the Alaska LNG project may be an opportunity to have another oil and gas downstream operation located in Alaska, providing jobs and boosting local economies. R Al Tuttle has worked as a news writer for the past two decades.


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LNG Market Could Get Worse Before it Gets Better Worldwide experts gather to report on supply, demand, and the future of LNG


By Larry Persily

here was little short-term optimism— and a lot of long-term caution—at a liquefied natural gas (LNG) conference in Houston this month. Several speakers said they expect to see shut-in liquefaction capacity and underutilized LNG export plants in Australia and the United States during the next several years of an oversupplied global market. Or some offtakers from US LNG export terminals might decide to take the gas and sell it into the depressed market to generate cash flow, regardless of whether they can recover the full contracted cost for their reserved liquefaction capacity at the plant. Similar to a non-refundable airline ticket, under their contracts with LNG project developers, the offtakers—overseas utilities, traders, portfolio players—have to pay for the booked liquefaction capacity at the plant even if they don’t want the gas. Those longterm take-or-pay contracts helped developers attract financing for the multi-billion dollar ventures. Since that money has to be paid one way or another, offtakers might as well load the LNG as long as they can clear a profit against their additional costs of feed gas and shipping, some speakers said. “Basically, we don’t see people covering all of their liquefaction costs,” said Jason Freer, head of business intelligence at energy industry consultancy Poten & Partners. Spotmarket prices in Asia have been around $5.50 per million Btu of late and even less in Europe—both a couple dollars short of the cost of buying US gas, liquefying, and shipping the LNG overseas. Long-term LNG supply contracts in Asia linked to oil prices are running approximately $1 or $2 higher, depending on the terms, but still short of the full cost of US LNG. US exports are “very expensive today,” Freer said. And while some US offtakers will essentially write off the fixed liquefaction costs and sell the gas for whatever cash flow they can generate, others may decide to pay the fixed liquefaction charge and not load up an LNG carrier, said UK-based Mike Fulwood, director for global gas and LNG at consultancy, Nexant. “Some offtakers may decide not to lift,” he said. 84

The market will get worse before it gets better, Fulwood said at the annual LNGgc Americas conference in Houston on June 1-2.

More US LNG on Its Way Poten & Partners does not expect US LNG export plants to reach full utilization for six or seven years, Freer said. The first Gulf Coast plant started exports in February 2016, with more capacity under construction at the Cheniere Energy facility in Sabine Pass, Lousiana. Meanwhile, construction continues at five other US LNG export projects on the Gulf and East coasts, all scheduled to start up over the next eighteen months or so. By 2020, US Gulf Coast export capacity—not utilization—is estimated to total 80 million tonnes a year, about 10 billion cubic feet of gas per day, according to a May report from Platts Analytics’ Eclipse Energy. That’s the equivalent of almost 30 percent of global LNG trade last year, adding to the excess supply. The potential for shut-in production also exists in Australia, where half a dozen new, large-volume export plants have started operations or are nearing completion. “We’re going to see a definite shutdown and underutilization of capacity (in Australia) in the next few years,” said Vivek Chandra, a twenty-four-year veteran of the gas business and CEO of his own venture that proposes to build a small-scale LNG plant on the Texas coast. Until demand catches up with supply, “there’s a real scramble to find homes” for the surplus, Freer said. Demand Grows with Low Prices The good news of an oversupplied market and its resulting low prices, speakers said, is that it continues to attract new customers, which, in time, will help bring up demand to match supply. “We certainly think that falling prices are growing demand,” said Wayne Ross, a senior energy analyst at Platts Analytics who covers US gas markets. Depending in part whether the world’s largest LNG exporter Qatar adds more production capacity to protect its market share, there may be a good opportunity for new suppliers after 2023, Ross said. Demand growth is not expected from the world’s traditionally largest LNG buyers including Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan,

several speakers said, but rather from China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, and other Southeast Asia nations and emerging economies worldwide. In fact, demand from Japan, the world’s largest LNG buyer, is expected to decline slowly, but steadily, over the next several years, Ross said. Calling $6 LNG the “sweet spot” for building new demand, a long-term affordable price would lead to more consumption of the fuel, in particular in China and emerging Asian economies, said New York City-based Leslie Palti-Guzman, director of global at consultancy The Rapidan Group. Chandra concurred. “Low price breeds increased demand,” especially in emerging markets where most of the fuel goes to power generation, he said. It’s not just low prices that will attract buyers, but also multiple supply options and flexible contract terms, said Washington, D.C.based Chris Goncalves of Berkeley Research Group. “The tsunami of US LNG coming online by 2025 will stimulate supply liquidity, commercial flexibility.”

Creditworthiness of Buyers a Concern But future demand is not without risks, Goncalves said. The market could suffer if demand growth does not occur as forecast in China, India, and other expanding markets. New buyers in particular are highly price sensitive, he said. In addition, “not all of them have the credit,” which means more risk to sellers. The credit quality of buyers in new markets will be “a gray issue,” Freer said. In addition to being less creditworthy, many of the new customers have a smaller appetite than the larger, traditional buyers in Japan and South Korea, he said. The new customers are signing up for 2 million tonnes of LNG per year, or less. Which means it takes a lot more customers to cover a project’s output and back up its finances. Another area of increased risk for LNG suppliers is the shorter term of contracts. The average contract term has fallen off from twenty years to just eight years, said Matthew Cline, director of the Office of American Affairs at the US Department of Energy. Lacking the traditional fifteen- and twenty-year deals of the past, project developers— their banks and other lenders—will need to get “a lot more innovative in fundraising,”

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

Freer said. The decline in long-term take-orpay contracts that locked in buyers and protected project developers favors new projects backed by oil and gas majors and other companies with strong balance sheets, he said. The shift away from long-term, rigid contracts with high-quality, creditworthy customers means project financing will have to adapt to the changes. “With the delay in project FIDs (final investment decisions), no sponsors have attempted to test the shifting market and based a multi-billion dollar project financing mostly on shorter-term contracts for offtake/tolling from sub-investment grade companies,” reported Poten & Partners in March. “It is unclear how much flexibility there would be in liquefaction project financings to adapt to this change.”

Investment Decisions Needed for 2020s And what if demand catches up with supply and new LNG projects are needed in the 2020s? “FIDs are falling off the cliff,” Chandra warned, referring to the multibilliondollar, years-in-advance commitments needed to build new supply. “A few years from now, we will all be suffering because we will not have enough supply.” Freer shared the same concern over a lack of investment decisions for new projects set to come online during the 2020s. Fulwood sees the next FIDs for new supply in the 2020s coming from Golden Pass in Texas, a partnership between ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum; an Anadarko-led project in Mozambique; and Qatar adding to its LNG-making capacity to protect market share. The three combined would add about 10 percent to the world’s LNG supply volume. Market share is important to Qatar, especially since it is expected to lose its title as the world’s largest LNG producer to Australia before the end of the decade. “The incumbents are not just going to walk away and let the new players take it,” Chandra said. In addition to supplying new demand, there is opportunity in the marketplace to win over buyers as their long-term contracts expire in the 2020s, Freer said. More than half of the world’s contracted supply is due to expire by 2030. “There is a tremendous amount of competition for that volume,” he said. “We’re at the beginning of this process of market restructuring,” Freer said. “Buyers are faced with many choices, maybe too many.” So many supply choices, contract options, and pricing terms present their own problems, Goncalves said. “Some buyers are paralyzed by market uncertainty and the array of commercial options.” And even before their contracts expire, several buyers are looking to renegotiate better terms. “We see a lot in Asia, companies with ten years left [in their contract) going to their suppliers and trying to get any benefit they can,” Freer said. That could include taking more cargos or extending the contract term in exchange for lower prices, Goncalves said. For China, future demand will depend in great part on its progress in turning away

from coal toward cleaner-burning gas, Chan- a conflict between the Ministry of the Endra said. “Coal-fired generation is just not the vironment and the Ministry of Economy, way to go. I think the Chinese get that.” Trade, and Industry. LNG, in particular US For Japan, the variables are coal and also a LNG, needs to be low-priced to be competireturn to nuclear power, said Toyoshi Matsu- tive in Japan’s fuel decisions, he said. R moto, of Osaka Gas. A recent court decision is expected to speed up the decision process on reopening nuclear reactors that have been Larry Persily can be reached at closed since the 2011 Fukushima meltdown, (Kenai Borough he said. Of the country’s fifty-two reactors Chief of Staff Larry Persily was invited that operated before the shutdown, fourteen to participate in an LNG conference in will be decommissioned, seventeen are waitHouston and prepared this report as ing for a decision, and twenty-one have appart of the borough’s efforts to share plied for permission to restart—and of those, information about global LNG market only three have restarted. developments. No borough funds were As to the country’s future with coal-fired spent on travel.) generatingAlaska plants, Matsumoto said there’s Business Monthly_HalfPage_BPINVESTMENT I.pdf 2 5/26/17 2:18 PM

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July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly



Photo by Jon Taylor, Artistic Puppy

Get cozy by the fireplace inside or enjoy the brisk air by the fire pit outdoors at The Cannery Lodge.

The Rebirth of Corporate Retreats Why Alaska is the ideal location to energize, motivate, and inspire By Kathryn Mackenzie


orporate retreats took a backseat to more pressing financial matters as the economy dipped and companies began cutting costs wherever they could during the past decade. As the national economy has slowly eked its way out of recession, more businesses are considering investing in offsite trips to get employees away from their workstations to gain new perspectives and forge new bonds. Work-related trips mean different things to different people. For business leaders they can be a great way to bring together workers from different departments and remote offices to meet face-to-face, create cohesiveness, 86

instill company ideals and culture, and form new bonds and friendships. For employees, the concept of a “work vacation” often creates a sense of dread, conjuring images of embarrassing workshops learning trite trust exercises; long, dry, day-long meetings and brainstorming sessions; and precious time away from family members. Alaska’s corporate retreat offerings turn those perceptions upside-down by offering adventure, luxury, and one-of-a-kind experiences for businesses of all sizes. Its many resorts, inns, and lodges feature activities designed to inspire productivity, spark the imagination, and soothe even the most harried soul.

Stillpoint Lodge Stillpoint Lodge is a second-generation, family-owned and -operated lodge. Originally designed to host retreats for artists and interfaith spiritual groups, the facility expanded its services in 2007 to offer more events such as board retreats, weddings, and continuing

education credit workshops. JT Thurston, son of the original lodge’s founders, Jim and Jan Thurston, operates Stillpoint Lodge with the help of Beka and Lucas Thoning, managers of Stillpoint Lodge for nearly a decade. “Stillpoint was built as a retreat center and workshop space that the original owners ran for ten years. Their son wanted to bring more adventure to the place, and one pivotal thing he did that has attracted more groups and business clientele is to add private showers and bathrooms. You don’t want to be showering in the main lodge with your CEO right there,” Beka Thoning, general manager and executive chef of Stillpoint Lodge, laughs. “Previously the lodge operated with compost bathroom facilities; now we have really nice bathrooms, a hot tub, and a bar and liquor license. The renovations have revolutionized the way we operate.” As an adventure lodge, Stillpoint offers a “unique combination of eco-adventure, leisure, and culture.” Stillpoint Lodge is located in Kachemak Bay and Wilderness Park and surrounded by

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

Photo courtesy of Stillpoint Lodge

An aerial view of Stillpoint Lodge, where wilderness meets luxury.

Kachemak Bay State Park, just twelve miles from the Homer airport, according to the company website. The lodge can be directly accessed via boat, float plane, and helicopter. The idea behind Stillpoint Lodge is to provide a comfortable, upscale, and remote place for

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groups of twelve to twenty-five people to hold meetings to enrich individuals and also foster team building through common interests. Executive groups, including physicians and lawyers, can earn continuing education credits in between whale watching, wildlife

spotting, helicopter and plane rides, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and biking. With stunning views and luxurious amenities, a business trip to Stillpoint Lodge will likely leave visitors wanting more. “One thing we experience over and over again is that once they get here, our visitors always regret not booking another night or two. They think they want to go somewhere else, but once they’re here they realize they can access anything there is to do in Alaska right here,” says Thoning. “There’s something for everybody. We have captains and pilots right on staff, so not everybody has to do the same thing and we help tailor activities to keep everyone happy.” Since the lodge is open only in the summer, Thoning recommends booking an executive getaway one to two years in advance, if specific dates are needed. “I do get requests for corporate groups year-round, but we’re really only able to accommodate groups Memorial Day through September. So for us, trying to schedule that and make sure we have chunks of time for a whole-lodge buyout… gets a little tricky if people wait too long. I really do like it if people call me and give me a year’s notice. Then we can really dial-in the dates that they prefer and tailor their activities to fit their unique needs,” she says. Stillpoint Lodge features round-the-clock access to meals, a hot tub, sauna, Wi-Fi, a wellness library, yoga space, lounge, and beverages. After a day of learning, bonding, and sightseeing, visitors can rest easy with all the

Your Home on the River

Welcome to The Cannery Lodge, a tastefully restored historic icon on the Kenai River, situated within the old Kenai Ward’s Cove Cannery site, 10 min from the Kenai Airport. Located at the mouth of the Kenai River with riverfront and oceanfront access, The Cannery Lodge delivers elegant lodging, exclusive corporate retreats and private events, modern amenities, trails and wildlife, and attention to detail that is second to none. Christine Merki Advertising Account Manager


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Reservations: 907.261.9499 | July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly


Photo by Brooke Marcotte

A beautiful space to enjoy some quiet time at The Cannery Lodge.

creature comforts of home in their cabins, each with its own private bathroom, handmade quilts, and flannel sheets. When the day is done, it’s time to disconnect and enjoy the surroundings—no televisions here. “People are blown away by how a place can exist like this away from a city. It has a Scandinavian feel and is very classy, everything is being renovated to be classy, clean, and modern,” says Thoning.

The Cannery Lodge Located on the Kenai Peninsula, The Cannery Lodge is ideal for businesses large and small seeking a remote location to pursue their corporate goals. The Cannery Lodge offers lodging, private events and corporate retreats, catering, concierge services, a private social and recreation club, and conference space. “Given our logistics infrastructure onsite [heliport, boat launch and floating dock, commercial

dock, and overland capability] our facility has been utilized to support oil and gas projects in the area while housing key personnel for their respective projects in the Cook Inlet area,” says Ron Hyde, president and CEO of PRL Logistics and its Cannery Lodge. The Cannery Lodge is the result of about one year of design, preservation, and restoration work to renovate an iconic 100-yearold cannery administration building and surrounding site into the current facility, a testament to old-meets-new with salvaged pieces of the old site used throughout the new design: dock planks became stairs and desktops, wood gutters are railings, metal roofing became wainscoting, and industrial cannery pulleys wired with 1920s fixtures serve as chandeliers, the company notes. That attention to detail doesn’t stop at the design; executive groups at Cannery Lodge are treated to top-notch lodging, full-service meals, and project services. “One of the keys to successful retreats is the logistics of their travel and complete onsite sustainment—having everything within their reach for lodging, dining, and entertainment in one campus. What makes our facility special is that our clients get that dose of real Alaska within an easy trip from the main city of Anchorage,” says Hyde. Corporate visitors to The Cannery Lodge can make use of a sixty-acre private campus with lodging, custom dining, and multiple break-out and conference spaces, including an outdoor amphitheater for music performanc-

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Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

es and an intimate lounge and club environment for socializing, as well as access to fishing, sightseeing, wildlife viewing, and other recreation throughout the Kenai Peninsula. “Our clients have access to our onsite heated and lighted heliport, boat launch, and floating dock facilities. Not only is there river access at our lodge, but we also have beachfront property along the shores of Cook Inlet. Our property boasts beautiful landscaping and views of the city of Kenai, the mouth of the Kenai River, and Cook Inlet and is only minutes away from the airport. Not only will we provide the venue but our staff plan the entire retreat agenda and activities, including organizing all of the travel and onsite media projection and presentation equipment,” says Hyde.

Location, Location, Location While the reasons for going on a corporate retreat are vital, the destination is arguably equally important. “One of the things we get the most feedback about is how being in such a beautiful, remote location gives people a sense of mindfulness and rest that they don’t find in other places. One of the goals we have here is to offer a transformational experience. When everyone is having that experience together, inevitably they are building stories that they’ll be able to tell when they get back to their office or their different branches,” says Thoning. Doug Ramsay, marketing coordinator of Adventure Associates Inc., says companies typically come to Alaska for an enjoyable shared experience that builds trust, develops

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camaraderie, and improves communication. He says a group’s motivations can range from simply having fun and celebrating (such as during incentive trips) to working on bigger issues affecting group dynamics. Companies are also seeking a way to introduce newlyformed teams or groups that have recently gone through mergers to help them “get off on the right foot.” “Corporate retreat goals are often higher level than shorter team building and training programs, with an emphasis on working through more specific issues affecting the company. Often they involve discussion forums, strategic planning, and consensus building. The impetus for taking a corporate retreat can vary widely, though, and can be anywhere on the spectrum of simply having a relaxing time together to working through serious crises or doing high-level planning for the organization,” says Ramsay. Adventure Associates designs and facilitates corporate retreats and meetings to help companies meet their corporate objectives. “Each is collaboratively designed to capture participant imagination, unleash their potential, and create a platform for sustainable development,” the company says.

Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck Transporting teams of people to remote locations requires significant resources, planning, time, and money, so choosing the right location for a corporate retreat or incentive trip is key to making any work-related trip a suc-

cess. No matter how interesting the speaker or classes, simply plunking employees down in the middle of a claustrophobic conference room for hours on end is not likely to inspire anyone to do much of anything. If invigoration, motivation, and excitement are on the agenda, Alaska’s corporate retreat offerings are sure to meet and exceed any corporation’s expectations. “Participants typically walk away with more insights about their own behavior as well as their group’s dynamics than they would have originally thought possible. And, most importantly, they are energized to work toward improved communication and common goals while gaining a better perspective on how their organization operates most effectively,” says Ramsay. Hyde concurs saying, when guests arrive at The Cannery Lodge, he notices various levels of excitement and fatigue, but once they have a chance to unpack and settle in “we start to notice a lot of enthusiasm in their interactions with their peers and members of their group, whether it is sitting around one of the many fire pits or relaxing in the lounge or the breakout spaces.” And, by end of the trip, Hyde and Thoning agree, they see a marked change in their corporate visitors “once they are able to stop and really take in the Alaska elements, the wildlife, and the natural beauty surrounding them,” says Hyde. R Kathryn Mackenzie is the Managing Editor of Alaska Business.

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Learn more at July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly



Touring Southcentral Alaska

Photo by Tasha Anderson

The Spirit of Adventure, operated by Major Marine Tours, takes on guests in the Seward boat harbor.

By train, by foot, or by boat, there’s an Alaska for everyone By Tasha Anderson


ne of the conveniences of visiting southcentral Alaska is that much of the state’s infrastructure is in this region, radiating out of Anchorage, the state’s population center. In particular, the Alaska Railroad is a unique and convenient way to travel through the region, in part because it has structured its service to cater to visitors that want to follow a strict itinerary and to those wanting the freedom to get just a little lost in the Last Frontier.

The Alaska Railroad The Alaska Railroad has five passenger routes on its main line that stretches 470 miles from Seward to Fairbanks, connecting with communities along the way. The Coastal Classic offers daily service between Anchorage and Seward in the summer, while the Denali Star has daily departures from both Anchorage and Fairbanks, and the Hurricane Turn starts and ends in Talkeetna, turning around in Hurricane. The Hurricane Turn also provides an essential transportation link to residents 90

living off the grid. Another summer service is the Glacier Discovery, which heads south daily from Anchorage to Whittier, Portage, and the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop. During the winter, passengers can ride the Aurora Winter between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Alaska Railroad Vice President of Marketing and Customer Service Dale Wade says seeing Alaska by train is an unforgettable and convenient experience. “Leave the driving up to us; on the Alaska Railroad you’re free to look out the windows and pay attention to what’s going on outside in the grandeur of Alaska.” The train also allows freedom of movement that may not be available on other modes of transportation: passengers can get up to stretch, move freely through the various cars, or even step into the vestibule between cars to take in the fresh Alaska air or chat with other guests. “There seems to be a comradery among the guests; they get to know each other a little bit and ask each other where they’re from and why they came to Alaska,” Wade says. Along the way, as special points of interest come into view or wildlife is spotted, the conductor will slow the train to give everyone time to see and enjoy Alaska at its best. The train’s onboard commentary is conducted by local Alaska students. Area high school juniors and seniors who have demonstrated academic excellence apply for a program that allows them to take a series of classes co-taught by the Alas-

ka Railroad and the King Career Center. From the group of students who complete the training, a limited number are selected to educate railroad passengers about points of interest and Alaska history along the track, including information on Potter Marsh, Cook Inlet, Trail Glacier, Moose Pass, and Alaska Nellie (travelling south from Anchorage, for example). Wade says the railroad developed this program for three reasons: “One, we love to support the youth of Alaska; two, to prepare them for service and employment in the industry in the future; and three, we think there’s no better spokesperson for the state of Alaska than these students—they have personal experience with Alaska that we can convey to our guests on board.” The railroad announced in May that it is making a small change to its onboard dining service this season with a menu update by new Executive Chef, Alexa Stallone. “We’ve kept the old-time favorites,” Wade says, including their stuffed French toast for breakfast and pot roast for dinner. New items include a locally-sourced barley breakfast and a ground mustard-stuffed cod dinner. The Alaska Railroad has also developed “gluten minimized” (meaning the dish may not have gluten but it is prepped in a kitchen that is not gluten-free) and vegetarian options. Wade says the Railroad always has an eye on the menu, “making sure that we access products

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017



ransportation in Alaska can be tricky. Depending upon where your plans take you, getting yourself, your loved ones, and/or your personal effects to a rural location often involves plenty of planning, loads of logistics, and a little luck. Thankfully, Island Air Service is here to alleviate your travel headaches by offering Air Carrier services on both a charter and schedule basis for the outlying areas of Kodiak. Island Air Service provides passenger flights, freight flights, and specialty contracting services for a wide range of clients. Based out of the Kodiak Archipelago, Island Air Service was purchased in 1980 by Robert Stanford, who ran the company until it was recently acquired by its new owners and management team: Taj Shoemaker, Erik Howard, Adam Lutz, and Ryan Sharratt, a lifelong Alaskan and chief financial officer of Island Air Service. “We want to make the best possible experience for the customer so they have a memorable flight with us,” says Sharratt. “[Whether they are] traveling, flightseeing, or bear viewing, we want only the best for our clients.” Island Air Service’s thirty five Alaskan employees share Sharratt’s sentiment and are expertly trained to cater to every detail of each individual client’s needs, whether that means serving you a


Island Air Service Offers Alaska Flightseeing at its Best hot cup of coffee or espresso while your gear is being loaded up or taking you to town in one of their vans to pick up last minute necessities such as rain gear and hip boots for exploring the shoreline. Whatever your needs, Island Air Service’s entire team is excited to lend a helping hand.

If wildlife viewing is on your itinerary, you couldn’t be in better hands than at Island Air Service. Watch for magnificent Kodiak brown bears, Roosevelt elk, mountain goats, and Sitka blacktail deer as they go about their daily lives when you take advantage of one of Island Air Service’s many Bear Viewing Flightseeing Tours. Island Air is a full-service flight company with transport capabilities anywhere in Alaska. As Kodiak’s premier scheduled Air Taxi Carrier, Island Air Service recently added a 208 Caravan to its fleet in order to increase passenger and freight service. The company plans –



to add a new fleet of aircraft over the next five years. It recently underwent a technology upgrade that included flight management tools, scheduling software, and financial accounting systems that offer cutting-edge technology to support all facets of Island Air Service’s operations, including adding dependability and consistency to the company’s efforts toward getting you where you want to go on time. “We have also implemented a more strict policy on on-time departures and arrivals. This consistency will help customer dependability because every client’s time is important,” says Sharratt. With a can-do attitude and heavy emphasis placed on safety and customer satisfaction, Island Air Service is sure to provide every passenger the trip of a lifetime. Island Air Service offers flights into Port Lions, Ouzinkie, Old Harbor, Larsen Bay, Akhiok and Karluk seven days a week. For more information about our company, float plane services, mail delivery, or to book a trip, contact an Island Air Service team member at (907) 487-4596 or visit us at Island Air Service 1420 Airport Way, #1 Kodiak, AK 99615 (907) 487-4596 Toll free: 1-800-478-6196

The Alaska Zoo: Amazing Animals, Superb Staff, Affordable Admission By Tasha Anderson


was invited to visit with Alaska Zoo Development Director Jeannette Menchinsky and Curator Shannon Jensen on a brisk morning in April; after Menchinsky and I chatted in her office overlooking Caesar the Alpaca’s pen, we set out into the zoo to meet up with Jensen and happened to come across her just outside the wolf exhibit. While she educated me about some of the rescue animals that the Alaska Zoo has taken in, the wolves began to howl. It’s a blessing I was recording Jensen’s comments because for a moment I heard nothing but the wolves as the young Alaskan in me suddenly and viscerally remembered the Alaska Zoo is just awesome. The best time to visit the Alaska Zoo, says Jensen, is early morning or late evening: “These animals are all Arctic or subArctic, so they don’t really like hot weather, and they would rather be active when it’s cooler.” Fortunately, during the summer the Alaska Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., which grants ample opportunities to see the animals at their best. She explains that the animals at the Alaska Zoo cannot be released into the wild: either they were born into captivity, orphaned or injured, or confiscated from people who were illegally keeping them as pets. Most of the birds are injured or nonflighted, for example. Because the animals are Arctic or sub-Arctic, they’re kept in outdoor exhibits and reside there year-round, with the exception of the sharp-shinned hawk and a merlin. “Because they have a really high metabolism, in the winter, when it’s cold, they have to eat so much, nearly one-third to one-half of their body weight; In May Alaska Zoo welcomed Malala, a two-year-old snow leopard. Photo by John Gomes


we were feeding them multiple times a day just to maintain their weight, so we just put them inside where it’s more comfortable for them,” Jensen says. It may seem obvious, but Alaska Zoo employees know their animals, and they are delightful. Menchinsky mentions that Caesar, her pseudo officemate, “really likes bananas.” The camels are occasionally bribed with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which they love. “The Lynx likes to sit in boxes, just like your house cat,” Jensen says, explaining the open box casually sitting on the ground in their exhibit. “They actually put a little box in there, and sure enough they tried to get in there just like you see on the Internet with the cat trying to get in a way-too-small box.” Zoo staff wondered if the tigers would react the same way and placed a large box in their cage. “They just squish it,” Jensen laughs. What the tigers do enjoy is various colognes and perfumes. The staff will spray some on the trees in their exhibit and the tigers love to smell and rub against it. They also love chewing on pizza boxes. “Watching and observing the animals, you just see things,” Jensen says. “Like the brown bears: when they eat, say you give them an apple or something, they will take it and put it on the back of their one paw and just eat it really daintily.” Of course, the only way to see the animals (other than the Alaska Zoo’s live polar bear cam at is to visit. While the zoo is excited to for Alaska’s guests to come see some of the Last Frontier’s more exotic native animals, Jensen and Menchinsky both say the zoo is an attraction for Alaska residents. She says that some locals use the Alaska

Photo by John Gomes

The Alaska Zoo houses several Arctic and sub-Arctic bird species, such as owls, hawks, merlins, and magpies.

Zoo as an intriguing place to take laps. “It’s a great place for walkers; it’s safe, and you don’t have to worry about a moose or bear around the corner—I mean, that’s out,” Jensen says. Menchinsky says the zoo is a great resource for parents, because it offers regular activities and camps and is open yearround. “There are only two days a year that we close: Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day,” she explains. Whenever school is out the zoo has a camp available, including Memorial Day, President’s Day, and during Spring Break. The camps are behind-thescenes adventures from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for children ages six through twelve and include animal encounters, hands-on activities, and fun experiences. For example, the kids may provide “enrichment” for the animals—while the animal is kept safely in its den, the children can enter the habitat and set out toys or hide treats for their new friends to find. The Alaska Zoo is a nonprofit organization, and unlike many other zoos nationwide, does not receive funding from the municipality or state. Menchinsky says that 80 percent of their budget for the feeding and care of the animals comes through gate admissions. The zoo holds regular fundraising events and programs to raise the other 20 percent, including the annual Feast for the Beasts in June, and an ongoing “adoption” program. Jensen and Menchinsky emphasize the best way to support the zoo is to just visit; maybe the wolves will say hello. R

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017











Chief Master Sgt. Stephen Burris THE MEETING: Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States’ 2018 Area VI & VII Mid-winter January 2018 100 delegates Estimated Economic Impact: $69,500


or 25 years, Air National Guard CMSgt. Stephen Burris has protected Alaska. He also supports his fellow guardsmen through his leadership in the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States. When the group was scouting for a site for a regional meeting, Burris and the Alaska National Guard Enlisted Association made it a mission to share what Anchorage can offer. With their partnership, our city won the meeting, and as a result an organization serving those who serve the country will meet in Anchorage.


locally as much as possible and that the seafood is always fresh.”

While in Seward While the train is itself a fantastic experience, it also connects Alaska’s visitors with other excursions around southcentral. For example, the Coastal Classic departs Anchorage early enough to arrive in Seward in time for passengers to depart the train and hop on a boat to take a cruise through Resurrection Bay to view the wonders of Kenai Fjords National Park. Companies such as Kenai Fjords Tours and Major Marine Tours offer day cruises with access to whales, seals, otters, seabirds, glaciers, and Alaska’s stunning vistas. The length of their tours vary, ranging from a full day to a cruise that pulls back into the dock in time for travelers to catch dinner at one of Seward’s many fantastic restaurants. Gold Rush Bistro is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and features classic breakfast items, burgers, and fresh Alaska seafood in a casual environment. Ray’s Waterfront directly overlooks the Seward Boat harbor and offers fine dining options, featuring Alaska seafood with crab cakes, cedar planked salmon, seafood linguine, and more. To satisfy a sweet tooth, Sweet Darlings offers a range of house-made delights, including salt water toffee, fudge, and gelato. Sweet Darlings and Gold Rush Bistro, along with local brewery Seward Brewing Company and other watering spots, restaurants, and shopping opportunities are located on Fourth Avenue, forming a compact but exciting Downtown Seward. Seward’s Fourth Avenue shops feature locally made art, clothing, jewelry, and household goods. Seward, like many of Alaska’s smaller cities, has a vibrant artistic community celebrating Alaska’s beauty, and their products can be found throughout town. SeaLife on the Seashore At the end of Fourth Avenue, situated on the shore of Resurrection Bay, is the Alaska Sea­ Life Center, where the marine life on exhibit comes almost entirely from Alaska’s unique cold water marine ecosystem, including Resurrection Bay, says Marketing & Communications Director Jennifer Gibbins. In fact, the water in the SeaLife Center aquarium tanks is pumped directly from Resurrection Bay. Gibbins says that, every so often, small “visiting” plants and animals, such as small anemones from the bay, make their way in with the water and live in the tanks. The Alaska SeaLife Center allows guests from around the world to get up close to Alaska’s sea creatures, but the Center’s core mission is to “generate and share scientific knowledge.” As part of that mission, the Center offers Encounters and Experiences, which they have updated and expanded for this year. “Our Encounter tours are really popular,” Gibbins says. “People tell us they’re a great experience for a great value.” Encounters are a fifty-minute to one-hour tour designed for small groups to go behind the scenes to learn about the care and training of the animals. For example, at the Puffin 94

Alaska Railroad passengers take photos of the Alaska Railroad as the train travels from Anchorage to Seward. Photo by Tasha Anderson

Encounter guests can actually hand feed the puffins and other birds within the enclosure, helping them to learn about the birds, their behavior, and how they have adapted to live in Alaska’s notorious climate. Experiences, which were introduced in the summer of 2016, are shorter versions of Encounters, and unlike Encounters many Experiences do not have an age limit. “We’re trying to give people a very high quality personal experience,” Gibbins says. The Alaska SeaLife Center relies on admission fees and donations to pursue its ongoing mission of research and education; it’s the only facility in Alaska “that combines a public aquarium with marine research, education, and wildlife response.” The Center is Alaska’s only permitted marine mammal wildlife response facility, and as such is able to respond to stranded marine mammals across the entire state. Stranded animals that are admitted to the Center’s rehabilitation program typically require care for several months before being released back into the wild. In the case of harbor seals or sea otters, the animals are transferred as permanent ambassadors for their species to other facilities. For those who want to support wildlife rescue efforts, the annual 5K Wildlife Rescue Run & Walk takes place this year on Saturday, July 29. The run/walk is one of the events through which the Alaska SeaLife Center raises funds for wildlife rescue and marine mammal care.

Independent Touring in Anchorage For those making a day trip out to Seward, the train returns to Anchorage in the evening. Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city, and for those wishing to explore independently, Anchorage is a great place to start. The city has an awardwinning trail system that can be enjoyed any time of the year: the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail winds along the coast of Cook Inlet for eleven miles from Downtown Anchorage to the chalet at Kinkaid Park. In the summer it’s nearly impossible to walk the trail without seeing a moose, especially within Kinkaid Park.

The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail also features a portion of the Anchorage Light Speed Planet Walk, a scale model of the solar system. On the walk guests feel the relative size of the planets and their distance from the sun. The scale was chosen so that a leisurely walking pace mimics the speed of light: each step equals 186,000 miles—the distance light travels in one second. In total, the Municipality is home to more than 120 miles of paved multi-use trails with an additional 87 miles of non-paved summer trails. Another fantastic Anchorage independent activity is visiting the Anchorage Museum, which is currently finishing construction on a new expansion; the rest of the Museum is open while construction continues, and the expansion will open in September of this year. Ideal for families, the Discovery Center at the Anchorage Museum is a hands-on science discovery experience, providing children and adults an opportunity to explore art, history, and science of the northern regions. The Discovery Center is 9,000-square-feet and has more than eighty exhibits in six areas: Kinetic Space, Bubble Space, Tote Kidspace (designed for children five years of age and younger), Earth and Life Science, the Thomas Planetarium, and the Smithsonian Spark!Lab. A local favorite outdoor trip “in town” is heading up to Flattop; from an easily accessible parking lot, hikers can travel up the 1.5-mile trail to the roughly football-field-sized plateau summit to take in panoramic views of Denali and the Aleutian Islands with the city of Anchorage spread below. Those who aren’t looking to ascend another 1,350 feet by foot from the Flattop parking lot can take a short walk to the overlook, which also boasts stunning views of the city and Cook Inlet. Visitors with local friends or family can beg or trade for a ride, or there’s the Flattop Mountain Shuttle that provides round-trip rides from Downtown Anchorage to the mountain. R Tasha Anderson is the Associate Editor for Alaska Business.

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017



Anchorage JUL-AUG


The Great American Trailer Park Musical

There’s a new tenant at Armadillo Acres—and she’s wreaking havoc all over Florida’s most exclusive trailer park. When Pippi the stripper, on the run, comes between the Dr. Phil-loving, agoraphobic Jeannie and her tollbooth collector husband, the storms begin to brew. JUL

Beer & Bacon Festival

The Beer & Bacon Festival, held at the Lakefront Anchorage, features a bacon eating contest, live entertainment from reggae Hawaiian band H3, bacon creations from twenty local chefs, and libations from fifteen Alaska breweries. The beer and bacon booths are open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. goJzaS


Cordova JUL

Copper River Wild! Salmon Festival

14-15 Celebrate salmon and

promote the health and sustainability of local salmon runs through art, music, road races, educational activities, and the Taste of Cordova Salmon Cook-off. Mt. Eyak Ski Hill

Girdwood JUL

The Forest Fair features hand-crafted items, exotic foods, and entertainers from all over Alaska, along with the annual Forest Fair Parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Limited parking is available at the Alyeska Resort day lodge with shuttle service provided. The Forest Fair takes place at the Girdwood Fairgrounds located at Mile 2.2 Alyeska Highway.



Southeast Alaska State Fair

27-30 The fair includes a parade, exhibits, a logging show, live music, horseshoe tournament, fun-run, kids’ stage, amusement rides, vendors, food, entertainment, live animals, and puppet shows. Some of this year’s headliners at the Southeast Alaska Fairgrounds include Eric Krasno Band, Delhi 2 Dublin, Jon Wayne and the Pain, New Sound Underground, and Gordie Tentrees.

at the James and Elsie Nolan Center and includes street games, a Salmon Bake, jam sessions, bear symposium, bear country workshops, live music, a photo contest, wildlife photography workshops, a golf tournament, a marathon, and community market. JUL

Cardboard City

goal of Cardboard City 21 The is to find people willing to spend the night in a temporary shelter—a cardboard box at the Alaska State Fair Grounds. This event’s purpose is to raise awareness of homelessness and to raise money for Family Promise Mat-Su and includes a soup/breadline and a bedtime story (with voices).

Seward JUL



festival celebrating the 26-30 This bears of Alaska takes place

Haines JUL



Girdwood Forest Fair

Eagle River JUL

Compiled by Tasha Anderson

Mount Marathon

From its start as a bet between two locals in 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. This year the Junior Race is at 9 a.m., the Women’s Race begins at 11 a.m., and the Men’s Race begins at 2 p.m.

Soldotna JUL

Soldotna Progress

23-24 Days This year is the 60th

anniversary of Soldotna Progress days, a community event that includes a parade, family activities, Dutch oven competition, the Sawfest Chainsaw Carving Competition, food and craft vendors, live music, and a free community picnic at Soldotna Creek Park. R

Bear Paw Festival

at this annual festival 12-16 Events include the Slippery Salmon Olympics, the Running of the Bears, human foosball, Teddy Bear Picnic, classic car show, parade, carnival rides, and the I-Did-A-Duck race at various locations around Eagle River.

Fairbanks JUL


Fairbanks’ gold 15-23 Celebrate rush history with a parade, historic reenactments, rubber ducky race, and more. Golden Days also includes a parade, street fair, comedy night, barbeque championships, and a river regatta which is not a river race, but a flotilla where winners are judged on creativity and integration of the Golden Day’s theme “Friends in Gold Places.” golden-days JUL

Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival

16-30 Sing, play, dance, paint,

cook, learn, listen, relax, write, stretch, and watch at this multi-discipline study performance festival offering workshops, master classes, and performances. JUL

World Eskimo-Indian Olympics

19-22 Athletes compete in traditional games and celebrate through pageants, dances, and Native arts and crafts at the Carlson Center.



Poor Man’s Beach Gold Panning Contest

This annual contest celebrates the history of gold mining in Nome. When miners originally discovered gold on Nome’s sandy beaches, anyone who could work the sand had access to the “poor man’s paradise.” Each contest participant receives “pay dirt” with an equal amount of gold, and the winner is the person who pans it the fastest.

Palmer JUL

Palmer Garden & Art Midsummer Faire

8 Rain or shine, the Palmer Midsummer Garden and Art Faire is a celebration of local art, gardening, food, and music in Downtown Palmer. This annual event showcases the best of what the Mat-Su Valley has to offer and continues to grow each year, including a Topihairy Challenge, a no-holds-barred styling competition among local stylists for the best garden art themed hairstyle. July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly






Compiled by Tasha Anderson




The Pump House Restaurant’s outdoor seating overlooks the beautiful Chena River in Fairbanks. Photo by Bill Bubbel


Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

The Peanut Farm Sports Bar & Grill The Peanut Farm Sports Bar & Grill opened in 1962 and was renovated and expanded in 2005; the renovation included a sunny, heated deck and attached walkway. The deck overlooks Campbell Creek. 5227 Old Seward Highway, Anchorage The Banks Alehouse The Banks Alehouse serves a rotating selection of thirty-four international craft beers in addition to a menu that offers visitors a twist on traditional bar favorites. In the summer the Banks Alehouse also features outdoor seating. 1243 Old Steese Highway, Fairbanks The Bradley House The Bradley House opened in 2000, and “was intended to be a bar with bar food but South Anchorage customers made the concept change with affectionate tenacity,” according to its website. During the summer the menu changes, the staff doubles, and the deck is open. 11321 Old Seward Highway, Anchorage

49th State Brewing Co. 49th State Brewing Co. has two brewpub locations, one in Anchorage and one in Healy, with outdoor seating at both, though the Anchorage location is known for its outdoor deck and rooftop patio that overlook Mount Susitna and Cook Inlet. 717 W. Third Avenue, Anchorage; Mile 248.4 George Parks Highway, Healy

Pump House Restaurant & Saloon Pump House Restaurant & Saloon says their food service is Alaska Style, “which means the combination of the freshest products possible with our unique culinary heritage.” The restaurant features an outdoor deck that overlooks the Chena River. 796 Chena Pump Road, Fairbanks

Slippery Salmon Bar & Grill Slippery Salmon Bar & Grill is a full service bar and restaurant that serves breakfast during the week, brunch on the weekends, and dinner every day; it has an outdoor deck with a view of Sleeping Lady. 115 E. Third Avenue, Anchorage

Jack Sprat Jack Sprat serves “fat and lean world cuisine,” which the restaurant says “allows for healthy alternatives with flavors from around the globe.” The menu features many vegetarian dishes, and their outdoor deck has a capacity of twenty guests. 165 Olympic Mountain Loop, Girdwood

The Bake Shop The Bake Shop is home to a peaceful outdoor garden with picnic tables available for dining in the summer. The Bake Shop has been in operation for more than forty years and offers many house-made items such as jams, granola, and a bounty of baked goods. 194 Olympic Mountain Loop, Girdwood

Bernie’s Bungalow Lounge Bernie’s Bungalow Lounge was founded in a “little white house in 1997, with the goal of offering Alaskans a unique martini lounge,” according to the lounge’s website. Bernie’s Bungalow Lounge is known for its large outdoor patio and live music on the weekends. 626 D Street, Anchorage

South Restaurant and Coffeehouse South Restaurant and Coffeehouse invites summer diners to sit outside by the fire pit while enjoying a menu chock-full of delectable dishes or a cool drink. Baked goods and smoothies are available through the restaurant or coffeehouse, and the bar offers open seating. 11124 Old Seward Highway, Anchorage R


Kotzebue Fairbanks


Delta Junction

Mat-Su Anchorage Valdez Soldotna

Bethel Dillingham

Juneau Sitka

Kodiak Ketchikan Unalaska/Dutch Harbor

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly




laska boasts a vast variety of locally-owned and -operated restaurants, diners, breweries, coffee houses, bakeries, and other establishments at which to fuel up before heading out on a great Alaskan adventure. With our climate, it is a special treat to find outdoor-dining opportunities. Listed here are just a few outdoor options ideal for taking in Alaska’s vibrant vistas while filling up on fine foods.

Business Events JULY


Alaska Business Week

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

15-22 JUL

ALASBO Summer Leadership

Sitka: This event will open with an evening reception and dinner on Friday and close with a group activity in beautiful Sitka on Sunday afternoon.

21-23 JUL

Alaska ASA Annual Conference

University of Alaska Fairbanks: Mark Bravington, a statistician from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Marine Lab in Tasmania, Australia, will give a two-day workshop on the topic of “Close-Kin Mark-Recapture,” an innovative population estimation method with tremendous potential for contributing to research and management of fish and wildlife species.




AML Winter Legislative Meeting

Haines: The Alaska Municipal League is a voluntary, nonprofit, nonpartisan, statewide organization of 162 cities, boroughs, and unified municipalities, representing more than 97 percent of Alaska’s residents.


SEPTEMBER Recreation & Park SEPT Alaska Association Conference


Valdez: The focus of the conference is threefold: opportunities for continuing education and the exchange of best practices, the chance to network with other peers, and to recognize accomplishments through the ARPA Awards Ceremony.

Inbound Marketing Summit SEPT Alaska AIMS is a gathering of business owners,


marketing agencies, nonprofits, content

Compiled by Tasha Anderson Business Monthly’s Top SEPT Alaska 49ers Luncheon

writers, web developers, bloggers, etc. It includes speakers and workshops to educate the business community on marketing skills and building connections.


Annual Training Conference SEPT NADO Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: This is the


National Association of Development Organizations’ annual training conference and will celebrate NADO’s 50th anniversary. nado. org/events/2017-annual-training-conference

Annual Meeting SEPT APA/AIE Kodiak Convention Center, Kodiak:


The mission of Alaska Power Association (APA) is to assist members in accomplishing their goals of delivering electric energy and other services at the best value to their customers.

Association SEPT Alaska of REALTORS Convention


Cooper Landing: The annual convention includes keynote and guest speakers and opportunities for ECE credits.

2017 SEPT IEEE/MTS–OCEAN Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: The


OCEANS conference is jointly sponsored by the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society and the Marine Technology Society. This international conference is a major forum for scientists, engineers, and those with an interest in the oceans to gather and exchange their knowledge and ideas regarding the future of the world’s oceans.

Alaska Fire Conference

SEPT Sitka: Includes training, workshops,


lectures, and a firefighter competition. This year’s keynote speakers are Paul Urbano, a thirty-one-year fire service veteran, and Loren C. Rotroff, who began his fire service career in 1957.



Museums Alaska Annual Conference

Anchorage: This year’s conference theme is “Social Discourse: Responding to Our Communities.”

Anchorage Marriott Downtown: Join us as we celebrate Alaska’s Top 49ers, the top Alaskan-owned companies ranked by revenue. 907-276-4373 | |



AAHPA Annual Conference


Alaska Snow Symposium


Arctic Ambitions

Petersburg: This is the annual conference of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters & Port Administrators.


Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: A one-day trade show for the snow and ice management industry brought to Alaska by the Snowfighters Institute.


Sheraton Anchorage Hotel: This annual event uniquely focuses on business and investment opportunities flowing from developments in the Arctic.




ATIA Annual Convention & Trade Show

Kodiak: The Alaska Travel Industry Association is the leading nonprofit trade organization for the state’s tourism industry; this year’s theme is “Alaska Untamed.”


Alaska Chamber Fall Forum


All-Alaska Medical Conference

Sitka: Open to the public, the Alaska Chamber’s Annual Conference is the state’s premier business conference. The conference draws more than two hundred attendees and features keynote speakers, panel discussions, and breakout sessions on issues of statewide concern to Alaska business.


Lakefront Anchorage: A continuing medical education conference put on by the Alaska Academy of Physicians Assistants, providing up to twenty-five CMEs.



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


Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017


Alaska Business July 2017

Compiled by Tasha Anderson

Photo by ABM Staff



T US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signs a secretarial order that may help revitalize Alaska’s oil and gas industry; he’s joined on stage by US Senator Lisa Murkowski, ASRC President and CEO Rex A. Rock Sr., and various Alaska oil and gas industry representatives.


t the second AOGA Annual Conference, US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke delivered the keynote address during which he signed a secretarial order directing Interior agencies to review management and leasing of the North Slope NPR-A and to conduct a new oil and gas assessment of the coastal plain of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge coastal plain.



esoro Alaska Petroleum Company has entered a purchase and sale agreement that will transfer ownership of Tesoro’s Terminal 1 at the Port of Anchorage to Petro Star, Inc. The State of Alaska required the sale of Terminal 1 in order to preserve competition in Alaska’s fuel market. The requirement is part of a consent decree between the state

and Tesoro from when Tesoro sought to purchase most of Flint Hill’s fuel storage assets in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Tesoro owns two other terminals at the Port of Anchorage and recently acquired the Flint Hills terminal. In addition to Tesoro and Petro Star, Delta Western and Crowley also own storage capacity at the Port of Anchorage.


he Salvation Army, Adult Rehabilitation Center opened a new Family Store in Eagle River. The store was under construction for two years, and at 24,000 square feet, is twice the size of the old store that closed five years ago. Proceeds from the Family Store go to the Adult Rehabilitation Center, a sixty-bed residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation program that provides support services to men throughout the state who are suffering from addiction. The program offers counseling services, therapeutic treatment, full meals, and additional help for those in need.


he Pebble Limited Partnership announced an agreement to resolve the long-standing preemptive actions put in place by the US Environmental Protection Agency against the project. The resolution effectively ends litigation and establishes a clear path for the Pebble Project to initiate permitting under the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Pebble Partnerships CEO Tom Collier stated: “This settlement represents a major step forward for the Pebble Project. It allows us to start advancing Pebble to the next phase of development and provides us with the opportunity to initiate the normal permitting process for this project.”



alley residents now have access to lowercost, state-of-the-art surgery facilities with the opening of a new multi-specialty surgery center in Wasilla. The Surgery Center of Wasilla, located on the rapidly expanding Meridian Park


July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly


INSIDE ALASKA BUSINESS Medical Campus, celebrated its grand opening in May. The facility, which expands access to affordable healthcare in the region, began seeing patients in March. It is currently the only multispecialty freestanding surgery center in the Valley and offers services in orthopedics; spine; podiatry; gynecology; general surgery; GI, urology; lithotripsy; ophthalmology; ear, nose, and throat; and pain management. Regent Surgical Health manages the venture in partnership with fourteen experienced physicians. Regent specializes in surgery center management and development, as well as hospital and physician ambulatory surgery center joint ventures. For more information:



he state will stop offering cash tax credits to oil companies at the end of this year, following a Senate vote in May. House Bill 111 eliminates the state’s cash exposure by ending the program of refundable oil and gas tax credits while protecting the basic components of the tax regime in place today. The current tax regime has boosted production and investment, drawing royalties and tax revenues to Alaska’s treasury and supplying thousands of jobs to Alaska workers. With the end of the net operating loss credit statewide, the Senate and House versions of HB 111 transition to a system of carrying forward lease expenditures that result in a loss for use against future tax liability. Companies with a loss will not be able to use that loss to reduce taxes below the 4 percent gross minimum tax.



atson, Inc. welcomed Matson Anchorage back to Alaska following three months of work to upgrade the vessel, including the installation of new equipment that virtually eliminates particulate matter and sulfur from engine exhaust, making it one of the cleanest ships operating in Alaska. Matson Anchorage was the last of Matson’s three D7 Class containerships serving Alaska to receive the new equipment. Sister ships Matson Kodiak and Matson Tacoma underwent the same upgrade work and returned to service last year. The state-of-the-art hybrid “wet scrubber” exhaust gas cleaning technology now operating in Matson’s Alaska fleet is unlike any other

on a US-flagged vessel. When operating within twelve miles of the coastline, it uses a closed loop system which sprays fresh water treated with sodium hydroxide into the vessel’s exhaust system and then collects and treats the wash water to neutralize harmful compounds. Consistent with Matson’s zero-solid-waste policy, the wash water is then off-loaded in port for disposal in accordance with strict environmental standards. The system reduces sulfur dioxide and particulate matter in emissions to levels well below limits set by stringent federal and state environmental regulations. Testing of the equipment in recent months has shown fleet sulfur emissions below those of vessels using low-sulfur fuel. Matson worked closely with the US Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency in certifying the effectiveness of the new system.



he sale of Mt. McKinley Meat and Sausage Plant, a state-owned meat processing facility that has been operating in Alaska for more than thirty years, has been finalized. The meat plant is the only USDA-approved slaughter and processing facility in Southcentral Alaska. Starting in 1986, the State of Alaska ran the meat plant as an asset of the Agricultural Revolving Loan Fund. The Board of Agriculture and Conservation approved the sale of the plant in December 2016, following public bidding. Closing the sale required a full assessment of the property, which was successfully completed this spring. The new owner of the plant is Mount McKinley Meat and Sausage Properties LLC, which is approved to continue as a USDA-certified meat processing facility. In other local production news, from June through October, Alaskans are encouraged to spend $5 per week on Alaska Grown products at their local grocery stores. If every Alaskan participates in the challenge, tens of millions of dollars in local purchases could be circulated within local economies rather than sent outside of Alaska. For the $5 Alaska Grown Challenge, the Division of Agriculture is partnering with dozens of retailers across the state including Carrs-Safeway, Fred Meyer, Wal-mart, and SaveUMore. These retailers will be creating specialty Alaska Grown displays in their stores that prominently place and

showcase the Alaska Grown products they carry, making it easy for customers to find Alaska Grown products on which to spend $5 per week. The challenge will run for the five-month period when Alaska Grown products are most available. Each month, new produce and flowers will be introduced into stores as they become seasonally available. Customers can also spend their $5 per week on year-round Alaska Grown products including meat, fresh eggs, and packaged products at their local retailers.



yatt House Anchorage announced its official opening, marking the first Hyatt hotel in Alaska. Owned by MT Four LLC and managed by The Hotel Group, Hyatt House Anchorage is conveniently located in Anchorage’s midtown (5141 Business Park Boulevard) and will provide guests the service and convenience of hotel living with the casual comforts of home. The Hyatt House Anchorage offers eightytwo apartment-style kitchen suites with fullyequipped kitchens, comfy living rooms, spacious bedrooms, and stylish bathrooms; free Wi-Fi; the Commons, a lounge with an open and welcoming space for guests to relax, gather, and socialize, and the Outdoor Commons, which includes an outdoor fire pit and BBQ; 24-hour workout rooms; an indoor pool; a pet-friendly policy; hotel shuttle; and other amenities.



nchorage Solid Waste Services (SWS) launched an expanded ANC Community Compost program. In 2016, SWS diverted nearly seven tons of food waste through a successful compost pilot program. The success of the pilot program led SWS to expand the compost program in 2017. Both the Central Transfer Station and the Anchorage Regional Landfill will have food waste drop-off sites. The Central Transfer Station site is open to ANC Community Compost Participants and the general public. The Anchorage Regional Landfill site will only be open to enrolled ANC Community Compost participants. The program will run through October 28. Additionally, SWS, Anchorage Water & Wastewater Utility (AWWU), and Central Recycling Services (CRS) have partnered to use lo-



Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

Compiled by ABM Staff cally produced recycled glass aggregate in AWWU’s Northern Lights Water Main Rehabilitation Project. AWWU used 3,000 tons of the locally recycled glass in the project. Each year in Anchorage, SWS, CRS, and Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling divert 1,200 tons of glass from the Anchorage Regional Landfill. CRS crushes the diverted glass into recycled aggregate at their facility in Ship Creek. The recycled glass aggregate is a Class-E bedding material and is being used to encourage its use instead of gravel in similar construction projects. “Glass never truly breaks down once it enters the landfill and we never reclaim that landfill airspace,” said Mark Spafford, SWS general manager. “Diverting glass extends the life of the Anchorage Regional Landfill which keeps rates low for our customers and preserves this resource for future generations.” The use of recycled glass aggregate added no cost to AWWU’s project budget. Projects such as the Northern Lights Water Main Rehabilitation develop long-term, sustainable end markets for recycled glass aggregate and expand Anchorage diversion and recycling programs.



laska Congressman Don Young announced that his Anchorage District Office has moved to a new location as of Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Young’s new Anchorage office location is located at 471 West 36th Avenue, Suite 201, Anchorage, AK 99503. “I am always looking for new ways to improve constituent services, access, and outreach, and I believe this office relocation will help us further achieve those goals,” said Congressman Don Young. “I look forward to welcoming Alaskans to my new office location and building upon my longstanding commitment to serve my constituents.



laskans living in Norton Sound villages now have better access to healthcare as part of an innovative GCI project that brings high-speed internet to thousands in rural Alaska. In May GCI connected healthcare clinics in Elim, Golovin, and White Mountain to its Terrestrial for Every Rural Region in Alaska (TERRA) network, a project that is empowering western Alaska with

improved educational opportunities and better access to healthcare. GCI’s TERRA network provides high-speed data streaming, which is a transformational service for many rural Alaska communities. With TERRA, these communities have access to secure, high-quality video conferencing—a critical tool for healthcare and education that can result in long-term cost savings for Alaskans and the agencies that serve them. Clinics in Koyuk, St. Michael, and Stebbins are expected to come online soon. Additional services to schools and consumers will be available in the Norton Sound villages later this summer after network upgrades between Bethel and Shaktoolik are complete.



eer drinkers in the Hawkeye state will soon be able to get their hands on an award-winning beer from the Last Frontier, because Alaskan Brewing will be on tap and on the shelves in Iowa this summer. Alaskan Brewing is partnering with Johnson Brothers Distributing to bring a variety of brews made from the glacier-fed waters of Juneau to the heartland. Consumers saw the Alaskan Sampler Pack in select locations starting in June. The Sampler is a great way to get to know Alaskan—it features the flagship Alaskan Amber, the invigorating Icy Bay IPA, a Belgian-style wheat beer called Alaskan White, and a rotating series of small batch beers that highlight the creativity of Alaskan brewers. Iowa marks the 19th state of distribution for Alaskan Brewing.



vitus Group CEO Willie Chrans and The Growth Company Founder and President Lynne Curry signed a merger agreement in May, officially expanding operations in Alaska. Avitus Group, founded in 1996, is one of the largest co-employment service providers in the United States. The company has offices across the country and worldwide providing back-office business services to organizations in every industry. The Growth Company, founded in 1978, provides human resources, training, and organizational strategy services to more than 3,500 organizations in all sectors throughout Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

“This merger adds The Growth Company’s extensive experience in human resources to Avitus Group’s suite of professional business services,” said Willie Chrans, chairman of Avitus Group Companies. “It’s strength adding to strength, which helps our clients, the business community, and the overall economy in Alaska and beyond.” With the addition of The Growth Company’s five employees, Avitus Group has twenty-four full-time employees now working at the company’s regional office in Fairbanks and in its two offices in Anchorage at 1306 East 74th Street and 711 H Street.



esoro Corporation and Western Refining, Inc. announced in June that Tesoro completed its acquisition of Western for approximately $5.8 billion. The strategic combination of the two companies brings together refining, marketing, and logistics businesses that form a powerful, integrated value chain with significant marketing and logistics growth opportunities in key areas in the United States. Tesoro and Western first announced Tesoro’s expected acquisition of Western on November 17, 2016. Tesoro will change its name to Andeavor and Tesoro Logistics LP will change its name to Andeavor Logistics on August 1, 2017. Greg Goff will continue to serve as Chairman, President, and CEO and Steven Sterin will continue to serve as Executive VP, CFO, and President, Tesoro Logistics. In addition, Western’s former Executive Chairman, Paul Foster, and Western’s former CEO, Jeff Stevens, will soon join Tesoro’s Board as directors. Tesoro’s headquarters will remain in San Antonio. “We are excited about the continued transformation of Tesoro and our acquisition of Western represents another significant milestone in our journey,” said Goff. “Acquiring the business at an attractive price relative to its intrinsic value and the delivery of synergies positions us well to create significant shareholder value. We are well prepared and will immediately move forward with the integration of our companies and capturing synergies. We have evaluated ideas and opportunities to capture synergies over the last few months and are very confident in our ability to achieve our target of $350 to $425 million in annual synergies.” R

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly


RIGHT MOVES Office of the Governor

Governor Walker announced that Bill Vajda has been appointed the state’s first CIO. Vajda has an array of experience with IT transitions at the local, state, and national level; he will lead the consolidation process and be responsible for the implementation Vajda of the state’s strategic IT Plan. Vajda has served as the CIO for the US Department of Education and the Acting CIO for the National Security Agency, as well as serving in several policy functions in the White House. Governor Bill Walker announced two new appointments to the Anchorage Superior Court. Jennifer Stuart Henderson and Yvonne Lamoureux were selected from a highly qualified pool of applicants, and bring a combined twenty-seven years of legal experience to the bench. Henderson graduated from Yale Law School in 2001, and has served as a District Court judge in Anchorage since 2013. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Claremont McKenna College in 1998 and has practiced law Henderson for more than thirteen years. Lamoureux has practiced law for fourteen years and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2003. She clerked for US District Court Judge Christopher F. Droney in Connecticut for two years and then for Alaska Superior Court Judge Morgan Lamoureux Christen from 2004-2006. Lamoureux worked in private practice at Stoel Rives LLP before being appointed to her current position of Assistant U.S. Attorney for Alaska.

Alaska Travel Adventures

Alaska Travel Adventures (ATA) announced three new executive appointments: Mike Wallisch has been selected as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Also newly appointed is Sarah Lowell, ATA’s new Director of Sales, and Tor Wallen, who will be joining as Skagway Director of Operations. For twenty-two years, Wallisch owned and operated Alaska Adventures Unlimited, a charter sport fishing business in Sitka before selling in 2015. Most recently he served as Senior Manager of Operations for Steamboat Resorts, a division of Wyndham Vacation Rentals in Steamboat Springs, Co. Sarah Lowell joins ATA as Director of Sales after an

extensive career with Era Helicopters, where she most recently served as Juneau Base Manager. Her position will require her to oversee sales of ATA’s entire portfolio of diversified vacation products from Fairbanks to Ketchikan. Wallen, a fifteen-year travel industry veteran, brings a combination of operations and logistics experience to ATA’s Skagway Director of Operations position. Wallen has worked for several cruise and maritime security companies; including, Princess Cruises and Tours, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Coast Cruise Line, Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska, and American General Services.

Resource Data

Resource Data hired Alec Zoeller as a GIS Programmer/Analyst for their Anchorage Branch. Zeoller has his Masters of Science, GIST Program from the University of Southern California and his BS in Computer Science from the Zoeller University of Maryland. Most recently he worked for Leidos Corp as their Geospatial Analyst, engaged in the collection and production of high-resolution 3D Foundational Geospatial Data.

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union announced that Julia Niziolek has been selected for the position of Executive Director, Insurance and Investment Services. Niziolek has more than thirteen years of experience in different sectors of the financial serNiziolek vices industry. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance, as well as a Master of Business Administration degree, both from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Alaska USA has also hired Mike Klopfer to serve as Financial Advisor in Anchorage. Klopfer holds a degree in Biology from the University of Colorado in Boulder and has more than fifteen years of experience in the financial services industry. He has served as a Klopfer financial planner since 2003.

Coffman Engineers

Coffman Engineers is pleased to announce the promotion of Tony SlatonBarker to Principal of Energy and Sustainability. SlatonBarker first started at Coffman Engineers in 2000. He is a licensed Civil Engineer and

Structural Engineer in Alaska and United States Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited professional. He has more than twenty-four years of project management experience in civil/structural engineering, building, and environmental engineering industries.

Spirit of Alaska Federal Credit Union

Spirit of Alaska Federal Credit Union announced the promotion of Angela Maddex to Vice President of Systems Strategy & Integration. Maddex has twenty-five years of credit union experience, all but five of those years with Spirit of Alaska Federal Credit Union. In July 2016, she graduated an Xi from Maddex Western CUNA Management School.

Landye Bennett Blumstein LLP

The law firm of Landye Bennett Blumstein LLP is pleased to announce that attorney Tina Sellers Wareham has joined the firm’s Anchorage office. Wareham focuses her practice on environmental, telecommunications, natural resources, and corporate compliance. Wareham received a Bachelor Wareham of Science in Health Policy and Administration from The Pennsylvania State University and a Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.


RIM is pleased to announce that Jason Arnold, AIA CDT, has been promoted to Associate in the Alaska office. For the past nine years, Arnold’s talents and enthusiasm have been leveraged across a range of project types, and he has worked collaboratively with design Arnold staff in all of RIM’s offices. He received a Bachelor of Architecture from Iowa State University.

Hughes White Colbo Wilcox & Tervooren

Hughes White Colbo Wilcox & Tervooren, is pleased to announce the addition of two associate attorneys to their firm, Chad and Elle Darcy.


Real Alaskans. Real cargo. 102

Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017


Compiled by Tasha Anderson Chad Darcy graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2014 where he twice made dean’s list. Before entering law school, Chad spent nearly nine years serving in the US Marine Corps earning the rank of captain as a Cobra helicopter pilot and Chad Darcy joint terminal attack controller. Based out of Marine Corps Air Station New River and Camp Lejeune, he served overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and the Middle East. Elle Darcy graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2014. Winner of the law school’s Susan McCrary Scholarship in 2013, Elle was also published in the South Carolina Journal of International Law Elle Darcy and Business that same year.

Sitnasuak Native Corporation

Sitnasuak Native Corporation announced that Lucille Sands has been promoted to Corporate Compliance Officer. Sands was originally hired in October of 2016 as a project administrator working primarily in contracts administration. She received a Sands Bachelor of Business Administration with a minor in Alaska Native Business Management from the University of Alaska in Anchorage.

First National Bank Alaska

First National Bank Alaska’s Board of Directors recently hired Loan Officer Zac Hays and announced his appointment to Vice President. A lifelong Alaskan, Hays has spent more than twenty years working as a banker in the state. At First National, he will work to provide comHays mercial banking opportunities and financial solutions to Alaska businesses.

Northrim Bank

Northrim BanCorp, Inc. announced the hiring of Michael Huston to serve as Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer of Northrim Bank. Huston will manage all loan production including commercial lending, commercial real estate, and residential construction lending for the bank as well as Northrim Funding Services. Huston earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance, gradu-

of Flight Operations for Katmai Air, and Suzanne Lohr has taken on the role of Accounting Analyst. Fullhart will review properties and assets and discern what services and amenities should be added to enhance BBAT’s customer experience. This will include a focus on how to make BBAT facilities more attractive for repeat visits. Petersen will oversee the eight aircraft in Katmai Air’s fleet, as well as pilot hiring and training. His institutional knowledge of lodge operations as well as his twentyplus seasons of flying in Katmai/Bristol Bay region make him uniquely qualified to oversee the day-to-day flight operations at Kulik, Grosvenor, and Brooks Lodge as well as the King Salmon flight terminal. Lohr will manage payroll and financial forecasting for all of the Katmai business units as well as Mission Lodge. She comes to BBAT from the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation where she was their Subsidiary and Trust Accountant.

ating Magna Cum Laude, with a President’s Scholarship from Arizona State University. He is also a graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School.

PDC Engineers

PDC Engineers is pleased to announce promotions to their leadership team. Danny Rauchenstein, PE, has advanced to Principal with the firm. Rauchenstein has been with PDC since 2001 and is the companywide mechanical department head. He has Rauchenstein more than nineteen years of experience as a Mechanical Engineer and is also an Alaska registered Fire Protection Engineer. His expertise in mechanical engineering ranges from high-tech laboratories to maintenance shops to hospital operating rooms. Jake Horazdovsky, PE, is PDC’s newes t A ssociate. A s truc tural engineer in PDC’s Anchorage office, Horazdovsky has been with the firm since 2010. He is a graduate of the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering Horazdovsky with an emphasis in Struc tural Engineering. Horazdovsky’s attention to detail has earned him praise from clients as well as from fellow engineers.

RE/MAX Dynamic Properties

RE/MAX Dynamic Properties welcomes Perla Cruz to the team. Cruz was born and raised in Puerto Rico and moved to Anchorage at the end of 2009. She is currently attending UAA to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administrative Management and Marketing, focusing on her long- Cruz term goal to become a philanthropist. The company also welcomes Stefan Hajdukovich, a lifelong Alaskan with family ties going back three generations. Hajdukovich was a collegiate cross-country skier at UAF and completed his Bachelors of Business Administration/Finance. Hajdukovich Hajdukovich has experience working in the insurance and financial industry and is pursuing a new career in real estate. Alaskan born and raised, Aurora Courtney has a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Sciences from UAA. She previously worked as a project manager permitting, maintaining regulatory compliance, and securing right-of-way for more than Courtney 110 large-scale Alaskan projects. As a side venture, Courtney has been managing her own corporate rentals and working with friends to buy and sell real estate for fourteen years and recently left the oil and gas industry to pursue her passion in real estate full time. R

Rasmuson Foundation

A n g e l a Cox j o i n e d R a s m u s o n Foundation as Vice President of External Affairs on June 5. Previously, Cox served as Director of Foundation & Endowment Development for Arctic Slope Regional Corporation where she set up and served as Acting Director Cox for the Arctic Slope Community Foundation. Cox earned her MPA from New York University–Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with Honors from Washington State University–Edward R. Murrow School of Communication, where she served as a student member of the Board of Regents her final year.

Bristol Bay Alaska Tourism

Bristol Bay Alaska Tourism (BBAT) has bolstered an already strong team by filling three executive roles: Sarah Fullhart is adding to her responsibilities as General Manager of Mission Lodge and will now serve as Vice President of Guest Services for BBAT. Sean Petersen is the new Director

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July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly


ALASKA TRENDS ANS Crude Oil Production 06/11/2017 05/01/2015 01/01/2014 09/01/2012 05/01/2011 01/01/2010 09/01/2008 05/01/2007 01/01/2006

ANS Production per barrel per day 508,964 Jun. 11, 2017

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

0 400,000 800,000 1,200,000 SOURCE: Alaska Department of Revenue Tax Division

ANS West Coast Crude Oil Prices 06/09/2017 09/01/2014 09/01/2012 09/01/2010 09/01/2008 09/01/2006

ANS West Coast $ per barrel $47.80 Jun. 9, 2017

09/01/2004 09/01/2002 09/01/2000 $0




$80 $100 $120 $140 $160

SOURCE: Alaska Department of Revenue Tax Division

Statewide Employment Figures 10/1976—4/2017 Seasonally Adjusted 04/01/2017 11/01/2012 01/01/2010 03/01/2007 05/01/2004 07/01/2001 09/01/1998

Labor Force 366,419 Apr. 2017 Employment 342,386 Apr. 2017 Unemployment 6.6% Apr. 2017

11/01/1995 01/01/1993 03/01/1990 05/01/1987 07/01/1984 09/01/1981 11/01/1978 01/01/1976 0 100,000 200,000 300,000 400,000 SOURCE: Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Research & Analysis Section; and US BLS

Travel Industry Experiences Growth in the Last Frontier


n May the Alaska Tourism Industry Association and the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development released “Alaska Visitor Statistic Program 7,” a comprehensive research report about Alaska’s visitor industry conducted by the McDowell Group. It’s estimated that 1,857,500 out-of-state visitors came to Alaska between May and September in 2016, which is the highest volume on record, according to the report. More than half of Alaska’s guests were cruise ship passengers, approximately 40 percent traveled here by air, and the remainder came by highway—either the Alcan or the Alaska Marine Highway. Visitor volume in 2016 was 4 percent higher than 2015, which saw 1,780,000 travelers. Breaking down growth by market, the number of visitors coming by air increased 6 percent, by cruise ship 3 percent, and by land/marine highway 10 percent compared to 2015. We’ve included a few select sets of data from the report in our July Alaska Trends; the full report can be found at: marketing/alaska-visitorsstatistics-program-avsp-vii R

Average length of stay in Alaska (Days) Vacation/ Pleasure 8.7

All Visitors 9.2

Visiting Friends/ Business Only/ Relatives Business & Pleasure 10.4 11.9

Regions Visited % All Visitors 67 52 29 4 2

Southeast Southcentral Interior Southwest Far North

Little Diomede

Business Only/ Wale Vacation/ Visiting Friends/ Business & Pleasure Relatives Pleasure 80 19 17 45 75 76 ∞ Gambell 29 31 25 ∞ Savoonga 4 5 11 1 2 6

Destinations Visited, Top 10 %

Juneau Ketchikan Skagway Anchorage Glacier Bay Nat’l Park Denali Nat’l Park Seward Fairbanks Hoonah/Icy Strait Point Talkeetna

All Visitors 61 58 48 47 29 23 23 17 13 11

Vacation/ Visiting Friends/ Pleasure Relatives 74 10 72 8 60 3 41 69 36 1 26 15 25 21 16 20 16 1 12 9

Business Only/ Scamm Business & Hooper Pleasure 12 6 3 Mekoryu 71 1 6 12 22 1 6

Lodging Types Used %

Cruise ship Hotel/motel Friends/family Lodge Campground/RV B&B Vacation rental Wilderness camping State ferry

All Visitors 57 37 15 15 6 4 3 2 1

Business Only/ Vacation/ Visiting Friends/ Business & Pleasure Relatives Pleasure 71 2 2 35 29 70 4 76 16 17 7 8 Fal 6 9 2 Akutan 4 6 4 ∞ Dutch Harbor ∞ 2 6 4 ∞ Unalaska 2 3 3 1 1 1


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Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

e∞ es ∞

Compiled by Alaska Business Staff ∞ Barrow Wainwright ∞ ∞ Prudoe Bay Deadhorse ∞

Umiat ∞

∞ Arctic Village Anaktuvuk Pass ∞ ∞ Coldfoot Kotzebue ∞ Shishmaref ∞

∞ Bettles

∞ Selawik

∞ Fort Yukon

Taylor ∞

∞ Council ∞ White Mountain

Nome ∞

∞ Circle ∞ Central

∞ Stevens Village

Teller ∞ ∞ Pilgrim Springs Koyukuk ∞ ∞ Galena

Tanana ∞

∞ North Pole

Fairbanks ∞ ∞ Nenana

∞ Delta Junction


∞ Unalakleet

Tok ∞

∞ Healy

St. Michael ∞

Paxson ∞

Cantwell ∞

Emmonak ∞

∞ Nabors

∞ McGrath ∞ Mountain Village ∞ Pilot Station

mon Bay ∞ r Bay ∞

uk ∞


Point Hope ∞

Trapper Creek ∞ ∞ Talkeetna Willow ∞ ∞ Palmer Big Lake ∞ Anchorage ∞ ∞ Girdwood

∞ Aniak Newtok ∞ Bethel ∞

Kenai ∞ Soldotna ∞


Goodnews Bay ∞

∞ Kennicott ∞ McCarthy

∞ Valdez ∞ Cordova Yakutat ∞

INSIDE PASSAGE Gustavus ∞ Elfin Cove ∞

∞ Naknek Dillingham ∞ ∞ King Salmon

Pilot Point ∞ Port Heiden ∞ Chignik ∞ ∞ Perryville ∞ Sand Point

∞ Juneau

∞ Hoonah ∞ ∞ Angoon Tenakee Sitka ∞

Port Lions ∞

Cold Bay ∞∞ lse Pass ∞ King Cove

∞ Whittier

Chitna ∞

∞ Ninilchik ∞ Seward Iliamna ∞ Anchor Point ∞ ∞ Homer SOUTHCENTRAL Seldovia ∞

Quinhagak ∞ Togiak ∞

Transportation Modes Trip Purpose % Business Only/ Vacation/ Visiting Friends/ Business & All Visitors Pleasure Relatives Pleasure Transportation Market Cruise 55 72 2 2 Air 40 24 91 95 Highway/ferry 5 5 6 3 Used to Travel Between Communities Tour bus/van 15 18 1 4 Rental vehicle 14 12 18 30 Alaska Railroad 14 17 4 3 Personal vehicle 9 4 45 10 Air 9 7 11 27 Rental RV 2 2 2 <1 State ferry 2 2 2 2 Personal RV 1 1 3 <1

Visitor Activities – Top 10 Trip ∞ Kodiak

Karluk ∞ ∞ Old Harbor

Shopping Wildlife viewing Cultural activities Day cruises Hiking/nature walk Train City/sightseeing tours Fishing Flightseeing Tramway/gondola

All Visitors 75 45 39 39 34 32 31 16 13 13

∞ Kake ∞ Petersburg ∞ Purpose % Wrangell

Business Only/ ∞ Ketchikan Vacation/ Visiting Hydaburg Friends/ ∞ Business & Pleasure Relatives Pleasure 80 66 40 45 56 34 43 33 17 46 20 9 32 48 32 40 5 3 37 12 7 14 33 14 16 6 4 15 6 4

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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A la ska I Ca lifornia I Hawaii

July 2017 | Alaska Business Monthly


ADVERTISERS INDEX 49th State Brewing Company..........................96 Acrisure LLC..............................................................79 Advanced Physical Therapy of Alaska.........75 AE Solutions Alaska LLC......................................83 Alaska Coastal Catering LLC.............................58 Alaska Communications (ACS)........................... 3 Alaska Executive Search Inc.............................22 Alaska Logistics.......................................................88 Alaska PTAC..............................................................18 Alaska Satellite Internet (ASI)........................... 31 Alaska USA Federal Credit Union......................9 ALSCO..........................................................................25 American Marine / Penco...................104, 105 Anchorage Sand & Gravel...................................17 Arctic Chiropractic................................................97 Arctic Office Products.........................................65 AT&T...............................................................................11 Bank of America - Merrill Lynch.....................52 BDO...............................................................................53 BP...................................................................................85 Business Insurance Associates Inc................77 C & R Pipe and Steel Inc......................................28 Calista Corp. - Yukon Equipment...................37 The Cannery Lodge..............................................87

Carlile Transportation Systems....................107 CIRI................................................................................98 Conrad-Houston Insurance Agency.............27 Construction Machinery Industrial (CMI)......2 Cook Inlet Tribal Council...................................45 Covenant House Alaska..................................... 48 Cruz Companies..................................................... 16 CRW Engineering Group LLC...........................29 Doyon Limited.........................................................49 EDC Inc........................................................................17 Fairbanks Memorial Hospital............................39 First National Bank Alaska.................................... 5 GCI..............................................................................108 Island Air Service.................................................... 91 Judy Patrick Photography..............................106 Lynden Inc.................................................................63 MTA...............................................................................33 Matheson Tri-Gas...................................................89 Medical Park Family Care Inc........................... 41 Microcom...................................................................28 N C Machinery.........................................................19 New Horizons Telecom, Inc.............................. 31 Nortech Environmental & Engineering.......18 North Star Behavioral Health........................... 41

Northern Air Cargo...............................102, 103 Pacific Pile & Marine................... 99, 100, 101 Parker Smith & Feek..............................................55 PenAir..........................................................................66 Peppercini’s Deli & Catering.............................59 Personnel Plus.........................................................97 Quintillion Networks............................................34 Ravn Alaska............................................................... 21 Resource Data Inc.................................................35 Samson Tug & Barge............................................. 13 Shoreside Petroleum............................................ 81 Dale Burke DDS/Smiles, Inc./ Dr. Williams.......................................................... 61 Span Alaska Transportation LLC.....................14 Stellar Designs Inc.................................................95 T. Rowe Price............................................................57 TEX-R-US....................................................................27 Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corp............................ 13, 23 Vera Whole Health................................................ 40 Visit Anchorage.......................................................93 Washington Crane & Hoist................................. 15 Waste Management National Services..............................................82 Westmark Hotels – Princess Lodges............23


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Alaska Business Monthly | July 2017

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