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tributing factor in the continued growth of health care industry,” Shanks says. The peninsula has also experienced significant growth in education, retail, financial services, government and manufacturing. Seafood manufacturing, in particular, was a place of big growth last year, gaining about 300 jobs in the third quarter, according to Shanks. The commercial real estate market is gaining strength as well. Thanks to the increasing oil exploration activity, the market’s been stronger than it’s been in several years, according to Fred Braun of Freedom Realty. There’s plenty of commercial lease space, but things are getting tighter. “It’s the best thing I’ve seen here in years, and I’ve lived here 47 years,” Braun says. “It’s certainly a very strong outlook for 2012. What we are seeing is a lot of activity for upgrade and remodeling going on for commercial buildings.” In Kenai and Soldotna, it’s becoming a challenge for businesses to find available warehouse and shop space. While there is some professional office space available, many companies prefer to have their offices housed on the same site as their shop and warehouse. “I think we’ll see an increase in new construction for this year and next year,” Braun says. Higher education is another abundant resource in the region. Soldotna’s education infrastructure includes Kenai Peninsula College, another extension of the University of Alaska experiencing explosive growth. Consequently, the campus is building new student housing and a Career and Technical Center. Kenai Peninsula College also has a presence in Homer with Kachemak Bay Campus and in Seward’s Resurrection Bay Extension Site. These KPC locations offer twoyear Associate of Arts and Associate of Applied Science, as well as career and technical education programs. They also award four-year baccalaureate degrees through distance education programs. AVTEC – Alaska’s Institute of Technology is located in Seward.

City of Kenai

The most dominant industries to the city of Kenai are oil and gas, wholesale and retail trade, and construction, according to the Kenai Peninsula Eco

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www.akbizmag.com • Alaska Business Monthly • June 2012

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Profile for Alaska Business

June - 2012 - Alask Business Monthly  

Shell’s drill ship the Noble Discoverer is shown in Seattle, waiting to be towed to Alaska for summer exploration work in the Chukchi Sea (s...

June - 2012 - Alask Business Monthly  

Shell’s drill ship the Noble Discoverer is shown in Seattle, waiting to be towed to Alaska for summer exploration work in the Chukchi Sea (s...