Alaska Business Monthly September 2014

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September 2014


Alaska Native Corporations Special Section begins page 62 Building Alaska begins page 26

NANA’s Iñupiat Ilitqusiat Greene, Henry help provide an economic foothold, protect cultural heritage page 70

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Over thousands of years NANA’s core traditional philosophy called Iñupiat Ilitqusiat was developed. Translated it is: Iñupiat— the real people. Ilitqusiat—that which makes us who we are. In July, NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. President and CEO Marie Greene (center front right) and COO Lori Henry (center front left) celebrated the Red Dog Mine twenty-five year anniversary with several NANA shareholders who are employed at the mine. The September issue celebrates Alaska Native Corporations and their contributions to Alaska.

From the Editor ���������������������������������������� 7 Right Moves ���������������������������������������� 146 Inside Alaska Business ���������������������� 148 Alaska This Month �����������������������������152 Events Calendar �����������������������������������155 Agenda �������������������������������������������������156 Market Squares �����������������������������������157 Alaska Trends ���������������������������������������158 Ad Index �����������������������������������������������162

Cover Photo: © Chris Arend Photography


special section


Building Alaska An Erickson Air-Crane touching down.



© Erickson Aviation

Banner Wind Farm outside of Nome.


8 | Lowering the Cost of Rural Energy Investments in sustainability save millions By Will Swagel

Telecom & Technology 14 | Asset Tracking in the Transportation Industry By Gail West

Financial Services

20 | Wealth Management Strategies for Individuals, Businesses, and Nonprofits By Tracy Barbour 24 | Opportunities to Claim the R&D Tax Credit New regulations offer alternative to leaving money on the table By Brandon Nett and Liza Zbarskaya


26 | Alaska Native Corporation Builders and Projects Subsidiary construction companies busy in Alaska and beyond By Gail West

38 | Air-Cranes Improving Construction in Alaska Vision and diversification benefit development By Tom Anderson

30 | Growth in the Mat-Su Borough builds out with $214 million bond package By Rindi White

42 | Denali Commission Construction Projects Expansion of act and funding authority helps rural Alaska grow Compiled by ABM staff

Health & Medicine

48 | Medical Professionals for Rural Alaska Working together on the challenges of remote healthcare By Vanessa Orr


54 | Employer Health Insurance Options Promoting wellness among Alaska employees By Tracy Barbour


116 | Barge Services Bring it Home Dependable transportation for small villages to big industry By Rindi White

124 | Alaska Snow Symposium Plows On Snowfighters Institute help raise snow and ice management standards By Russ Slaten

Oil & Gas

128 | Alternative Fuels: Options and Obstacles Fischer-Tropsch and dual-strategy dynamics By Mike Bradner 134 | Alaska Native Corporation Oil and Gas Ventures Providing support to a growing industry By Kirsten Swann

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014



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September 2014 TAB LE



special section Alaska Native Corporations

62 | Regional Corporation Review By Julie Stricker 70 | NANA’s Iñupiat Ilitqusiat Greene, Henry help provide an economic foothold, protect cultural heritage By Julie Stricker 74 | Generational Transition in Tlingit Country New leadership at Sealaska Corporation By Dr. William L. Hensley 76 | Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s Alaska Native Program Forty-year commitment remains strong By Louise Freeman

Photo © Russ Slaten

NANA Chairman Donald G. Sheldon and President and CEO Marie Greene.

© Chris Arend Photography


86 Dignitaries breaking ground for construction of the Nuka building at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Anchorage campus.

80 | New Programs in Higher Education for Alaska Native Leaders University of Alaska and Alaska Pacific University increase specific offerings By Kirsten Swann 86 | Southcentral Foundation’s Nuka System of Care Exporting Alaska’s success in healthcare delivery By Russ Slaten 90 | Olgoonik Embracing a twofold mission By Tasha Anderson

93 | Afognak Native Corporation Competing on the international stage By Russ Slaten 96 | ANCSA Regional Corporation Financial Analysis 2009-2012 ANCSA Economic Report Provided by ANCSA Regional Association 98 | 2014 Alaska Native Regional Corporation Directory 112 | 2014 Alaska Native Village Corporation Directory

ARTICLES A couple of Colville fuelers at the company’s Deadhorse tank farm. © Judy Patrick


Oil & Gas

140 | Fueling Petro Industry Operations Industrial-strength services for Alaska explorers and producers By Margaret Sharpe

HR Matters

151 | Resolving Conflict in the Workplace Simple techniques create high performance teams By Kevin M. Dee


Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

FROM THE EDITOR Follow us on and

Volume 30, Number 9 Published by Alaska Business Publishing Co. Anchorage, Alaska Jim Martin, Publisher 1989~2014


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

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


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

Billie Martin Jason Martin Charles Bell Anne Campbell Bill Morris Tasha Anderson Melinda Schwab

501 W. Northern Lights Boulevard, Suite 100 Anchorage, Alaska 99503-2577 (907) 276-4373 Outside Anchorage: 1-800-770-4373 Fax: (907) 279-2900 Editorial email: Advertising email: Pacific Northwest Advertising Sales 1-800-770-4373


Historic Ventures

his is another busy month from start to finish. The tenth annual Alaska Oil and Gas Congress, held at the Anchorage Marriott Downtown the third week of September by Ontario-based Canadian Institute, has probably been in the works since before the ninth annual event wrapped up last year. International speakers will join industry and government leaders from Alaska and other areas of the United States to present an open forum on a variety of topics related to developing oil and gas and other natural resources in Alaska. It is not to be missed. Much of the agenda this year has a focus on the future. Another agenda with a focus on the future is the recently formed Arctic Iñupiat Offshore, LLC (AIO), a seven company venture made up of one regional and six village corporations—all organized under ANCSA, or the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act—Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (Arctic Slope region), Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation (Barrow), Tikigaq Corporation (Point Hope), Olgoonik Corporation (Wainwright), Atqasuk Corporation (Atqasuk), Kaktovik Iñupiat Corporation (Kaktovik), and Nunamiut Corporation (Anaktuvuk Pass). These companies are focused on the future. On July 31, AIO signed a binding agreement with Royal Dutch Shell subsidiary Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc. The agreement gives AIO options with Shell’s Chukchi Sea leases and activities; specifically, the new company can acquire an interest in Shell’s Chukchi venture. Rex A. Rock Sr., president and CEO of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and president of AIO, spoke to a crowd of people gathered at the Hotel Captain Cook event held to let the world know about the historic venture. “You know, the economics are not what they need to be, so this is huge for the future,” Rock said. “The Arctic Slope region is dependent upon oil production regardless of its origin. Let me repeat that: The Arctic Slope region is dependent upon oil production regardless of its origin.” Rock’s words rock, and while he and others at the event had more to say, this statement of his is the most profound and resonates for us all because it is not just the Arctic Slope region that is “dependent upon oil production regardless of its origin.” Alaska “is dependent upon oil production regardless of its origin.” More about AIO and Shell next month from ABM’s Associate Editor Russ Slaten; September’s coverage shows other historic ventures and their tremendous economic impact throughout business and industry—Alaska Native Corporations. The team has put together another really great magazine. Enjoy! —Susan Harrington, Managing Editor


Photo © Russ Slaten

ALASKA BUSINESS MONTHLY (ISSN 8756-4092) is published monthly by Alaska Business Publishing Co., Inc., 501 W. Northern Lights Boulevard, Suite 100, Anchorage, Alaska 99503-2577; Telephone: (907) 276-4373; Fax: (907) 279-2900, ©2014, Alaska Business Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Subscription Rates: $39.95 a year. Single issues of the Power List are $15 each. Single issues of Alaska Business Monthly are $3.95 each; $4.95 for October, and back issues are $5 each. Send subscription orders and address changes to the Circulation Department, Alaska Business Monthly, PO Box 241288, Anchorage, AK 99524. Please supply both old and new addresses and allow six weeks for change, or update online at Manuscripts: Send query letter to the Editor. Alaska Business Monthly is not responsible for unsolicited materials. Photocopies: Where necessary, permission is granted by the copyright owner for libraries and others registered with Copyright Clearance Center to photocopy any article herein for $1.35 per copy. Send payments to CCC, 27 Congress Street, Salem, MA 01970. Copying done for other than personal or internal reference use without the expressed permission of Alaska Business Publishing Co., Inc. is prohibited. Address requests for specific permission to Managing Editor, Alaska Business Publishing. Online: Alaska Business Monthly is available at www., Alaska+Business+Monthly-p2643 and from Thomson Gale. Microfilm: Alaska Business Monthly is available on microfilm from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48106.

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly



Lowering the Cost of Rural Energy Investments in sustainability save millions By Will Swagel The Banner Wind project is located about five miles north of Nome and contains fifteen Entegrity 50 kW turbines. Photo by Irene Anderson, Courtesy of BSNC


ural Alaskans pay the highest energy costs in the nation. And they often have to pay those costs with cash income far below the national and state averages. In her introduction to a 2012 Commonwealth North energy sustainability report, President and CEO Meera Kohler stated, “The poorest Alaska households pay up to 47 percent of their income on energy, more than five times their urban neighbors.” That can translate to diesel fuel at $10 per gallon and electrical rates of $1 per kilowatt hour. “In terms of heating the home, many will come and buy heating fuel in five gallon increments; that’s what they can afford at the moment,” says Jolene John, a former community development manager for environment and energy for the Rural Alaska Community Action Program (RurAL CAP). “The five gallon purchase could last them between two and three days.” John is now an area manager for the USDA Rural Development program. A wide range of government and social service agencies have worked on the problem for decades. Hundreds of millions of government and private dollars have been spent. But for rural Alaskans, sky high energy costs seem as much of a fact of life as permafrost. All this work done and money spent has not been in vain, however. Across the state, investments in energy conservation and efficiency are saving millions of dollars for homeowners, institutions, and businesses. Renewable energy technologies—notably wind turbines—are becoming a more common sight in rural Alaska. The Commonwealth North Report entitled Energy for a Sustainable Alaska: The Rural Conundrum calls for developing an Alaska that is “energy self-sufficient, supplying all our 8

own energy needs” and for Alaskans to be “the most energy efficient people in the nation.”

Connecting Villages

Since 1968, the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) has been working with member communities to provide reliable electrical power to rural villages. Today, the organization serves fifty-six villages, from Minto, east of Fairbanks, to Gambell and Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island and from the North Slope to Kodiak Island. The cooperative utility provides efficiency for its members—both by upgrading the fossil fuel facilities and by adding renewables to the mix. Steve Gilbert, AVEC’s energy project manager, says the utility has been charged by its board of directors with reducing the diesel fuel burned in member villages by 25 percent, cutting the number of separate power plants by half, and reducing operating costs in those remaining plants. The most straightforward way to achieve immediate reduction in fuel use is to install a new generator. State-of-the-art units can generate about 15 kWh per gallon of fuel, versus 11 to 12 kWh per gallon for some of the older models. The newer computer-controlled units also provide other efficiencies. In some cases, waste heat from the generators—heat that had previously been lost— is now being recovered to warm nearby buildings. AVEC operates thirty-four wind turbines in eleven member communities. Further, AVEC also gains operating efficiency when member villages can be tied together so that one power plant can serve more than one village. This winter, for instance, AVEC plans to build an intertie to

connect a new power plant in Stebbins with the village of St. Michael and has funding to connect New Stuyahok and Ekwok. Gilbert says AVEC is gauging the wind resources along the intertie route between communities to assess the feasibility of installing wind turbines whose output could serve more than one village. “Between the improved efficiency and the intertie between the villages, the heat recovery and the wind project—we’ll realize an immediate 10 to 12 percent [reduction in electricity costs],” says Gilbert. “The real benefit is over time. Over the last decade or so, the cost of fuel for AVEC has gone up about 300 percent. If we can [level out] the [operating] cost, that’s where the long term benefit really comes in.”

Renewable Nome

Few people would name Nome, Alaska, as a center of renewable energy, but they could. Jerald Brown, vice president for Nome operations for the Bering Straits Native Corporation (BSNC), is one Nome resident who has become a strong proponent of renewable energy and conservation measures since he saw his community benefit from both wind and solar power. Although the BSNC board had long sought ways to lower energy costs for shareholders, Brown witnessed first-hand examples when the corporation bought an older office building with outdated mechanical systems. Profound savings resulted from replacing the old steam boilers with more efficient ones, replacing old incandescent lighting with compact fluorescent and LED lighting, and making other changes.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

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Photos courtesy of the Alaska Energy Authority

St. George power house complete and tested at the Alaska Energy Authority facility in Anchorage before being trucked to Homer and barged to St George Island.

The shrink wrapped module has been trucked from the barge landing to the construction site on St. George Island. sequent defects in the units. Subsequently, Nome Joint Utilities System installed two much larger 900 kW machines. “At certain times of the year when the wind is blowing and the turbines are spinning, there’s times when we are producing 30 percent of the power that’s being used in Nome,” Brown says. BSNC has since formed a division of its construction company and performs renewable energy projects throughout Alaska.

Government Efforts

St. George Residents Tony, Cody, and Aaron (L to R), pouring a concrete footing for the ten-thousand-gallon intermediate fuel tank, more than a month supply of fuel. “It cost about $50,000 to do the [boiler] retrofit and we recovered that [in lower energy costs] in a year and a half,” Brown says. “That was a wake-up call to me, that there really are ways to cut costs.” Installing more efficient lighting at another corporation property, a hotel, carved $1,000 a month from the $5,000 monthly electric bill. Solar panels hung on the office building in 2005 provide about 15 percent of the building’s annual electrical energy, Brown estimates. He says some were skeptical of Nome being an appropriate place for solar energy, since it is dark for a good half of the year. “Yeah, it’s darker than average for six months, but it’s lighter than average the other six months,” Brown told them. “On average, [the panels] produce the same amount of electricity as if they were [deployed] in California. You have the same amount of sunlight per year, it’s just concentrated in the summer.” Actually, the most productive time of year for the panels is not mid-summer, Brown notes, but in the early spring. In March and April sunlight reflects off the sea ice at the proper angle to give the panels an extra boost. BSNC presently operates fifteen 50 kW wind turbines, which are now producing economical power after some years of problems with the manufacturer and sub10

In May, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development program awarded grants worth more than $5.6 million under its High Energy Cost Grant Program. Kipnuk received nearly $3 million for a new power plant, including a component from wind, nearly $360,000 was granted to AVEC to replace an old generator in Noatak, and just over $2.4 million granted to the Denali Commission for their efficiency efforts. The Denali Commission is an independent federal agency formed to help remote Alaska communities with economic development and infrastructure projects. Their portion of the USDA grant will be used for a complete upgrade of the power plant and distribution system in the village of Perryville. “Typically, each community has its own little power plant, not many are tied into any kind of grid,” says Program Manager Jodi Fondy. “These new generators will increase both the efficiency and availability of power. And they allow for other technologies to be integrated into the system as they become available.” Denali Co-Chair Joel Neimeyer says that the Commission held a series of meetings around the state to set priorities and that support for energy efficiency was consistently voiced. To achieve the desired efficiencies, however, requires more than just investing in generators and bulk fuel tanks, he says. The human element must be considered. Building such facilities is a complex process that requires financial and environmental expertise and comes with many regulations. Multiple political and financial entities have to

be coordinated. Outside experts and contractors may have to be hired and supervised. “You have silos of interest, silos of patrons, and silos of owners, and they don’t always line up,” Neimeyer says. “And every one of them is on different fiscal cycles, and every one of them has different opinions on energy, and every one of them has different opinions on deferred maintenance—and every one has different priorities. So trying to organize all these people together at one time to address community energy efficiency is exceedingly difficult.” Neimeyer says groups interested in addressing energy issues will want to conduct certified energy audits in order to justify their application for grants or loans. He noted that US Department of Energy “stimulus” money was used to do energy audits for more than three hundred Alaska entities— many of whom received subsequent grants. In order to achieve the promised efficiencies, monitoring needs to continue after the construction is complete, says Neimeyer. “The reason monitoring is so important is that we’re finding in rural Alaska that half of the energy savings come from behavioral changes, such as energy conservation measures,” he says.

$700 Coffee Pot

In her previous job at the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Jolene John—now the West Area Manager with USDA Rural Development—observed many times the benefits of seemingly simple fixes. RurAL CAP’s Energy Wise program provides materials, expertise, and even help in making low-cost retrofits to rural homes. Residents are assisted in applying weatherstripping and window films, but they are also shown how much they pay per year for their appliances. John recalls one brand of coffee pot, left on warm continuously, would cost $700 per year at high village electrical rates. “The household learned to unplug it and the Energy Wise folks provided carafes, so the pot didn’t have to stay on all day,” John says. John says more extensive weatherization programs may cost upwards of $30,000 in isolated communities, while the Energy Wise program can be delivered at an average of $2,000 per household, which includes the cost of local labor. For about $300 in materials, homeowners save an average of $60 per month. She says NANA Regional Corporation has funded Energy Wise programs for its communities. The Denali Commission has provided $100,000 to RurAL CAP, which will allow the Energy Wise program to be extended to fifty-five homeowners in Arctic Village and Venetie. “We’ve had other regions and other villag-

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Photo by Brian Jackson, Courtesy of BSNC

BSNC shareholder and former land manager Irene Anderson, dressed for the wind. The Banner project produces approximately 1 million kWh per year that is put into the local grid. es crying out for Energy Wise, but they cannot find the partners for funding,” John says.

Retrofits, Rebates, and Subsidies

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The State of Alaska’s support for energy conservation and efficiency gained a lot of new interest in 2008, when energy prices were spiking. The Legislature responded by appropriating more than $350 million each year to help Alaskans weatherize their homes and save money on heating bills. The Weatherization Assistance Program was able to fund $50 million to $60 million in projects for several years and still has about $30 million annually to spend on the program, says Jimmy Ord, an energy information manager for the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, which administers the program. Further, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation was able to relax eligibility requirements, allowing Alaska families earning up to 100 percent of median income to qualify. Qualifying homeowners can benefit from repairs such as new windows or doors, improved insulation in walls and floors, and even more efficient home heating systems. About fifteen thousand homeowners have benefitted to date, Ord says. There are also rebates of up to $10,000 available for Alaskans making energysaving changes to their homes—such as the installation of heat pumps that use ambient air or ground temperatures to boost efficiency. More than twenty-one thousand Alaska families have received rebates. Another, smaller program offers Alaskans up to $10,000 for building new homes at the highest energy standards. A long-standing state effort to control rural energy costs is the Alaska Energy Authority’s Power Cost Equalization (PCE) program, which provides subsidies to rural homeowners and community facilities on electrical rates. Looking at Perryville, for instance, residential and community property owners would pay ninety-two cents per kWh if not for PCE payments. PCE provides thirty-three cents per kWh subsidy for an effective rate of sixty-two cents per kWh.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Perryville is not a typical example. In fiscal 2013, the PCE program paid nearly $40 million to reduce the rates of eighty-two thousand electrical customers. Without PCE, their average rate was fifty-two cents per kWh. In most communities, PCE reduces the amount consumers pay on the first 500 kWh to less than twenty cents per kWh. The Alaska Energy Authority has a number of other initiatives to help rural Alaskans save on energy. The Bulk Fuel and Power System Upgrade program assists with the construction of bulk fuel plants, generating plants, and distribution systems, saving up to 30 percent of costs in some cases. AEA helps train village residents to maintain village systems through courses at the Alaska Vocational Technical Center. AEA has special funds to support emerging and alternative technologies. For even more efficiency—in manufacturing—AEA has been building pre-fab power modules in their Anchorage facilities. The modules are forty feet long and twelve feet wide and contain the generator(s), computerized controls, heat recovery, and fire suppression systems and room for the operators. The module is transported to the village and set on a gravel or concrete pad or on pilings. AEA also maintains a twenty-four-hour telephone hotline for village power workers to get immediate technical advice.

Benefits to Business

“We talk a lot about the high cost [of energy] to residential consumers, but what we don’t talk as much about is the extremely high costs for commercial users,” says Gwen Holdmann, executive director of the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. “If you start or manage a small business in a rural community that has high energy costs, the residential cost is somewhat subsidized by Power Cost Equalization, but that’s not the case for businesses. I consider it a negative spiral. It’s very difficult for any economic development to occur locally because of the high energy costs.” She notes that rural businesses can be the biggest beneficiaries of energy improvements, just because they are not subsidized. When conservation measures or renewable sources lower electrical usage, it helps even more for businesses that are paying full price for power. ACEP is backing a number of innovative programs. In Tok, waste generator heat is being used to make electricity. In Kotzebue, the waste heat—counterintuitively— is used to make ice for the local fishing fleet. Three students affiliated with ACEP are working at an Idaho lab on testing the

feasibility of small scale nuclear plants. ACEP is working on producing power from turbines placed in rivers, as well as testing flywheels and batteries. And in Fairbanks they maintain a test site that can mimic the performance of a rural electrical grid for testing distribution plans. Holdmann warned, however, that high energy prices may not be the only thing that is stunting rural business. On a trip to Iceland, she learned that rural communities there are on the national electrical grid and don’t pay more for power than anyone else. There are jobs in the Icelandic villages. But young people are still leaving. “It’s easy for energy to become the boogeyman [and to think that] if we had much cheaper access to energy then all our other problems would be solved—and I don’t think that that’s accurate,” Holdmann says. “Alaska has really done a lot in terms of developing renewable energy, especially those that are more economical to develop. But we have to be a little bit cautious in making sure that we protect communities from people who are promising things they can’t really deliver.” R Journalist and author Will Swagel writes from Sitka.




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September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly




Photo courtesy of Crowley

Crowley tracks assets such as the fuel and freight the tug Avik delivered to Seward, as well as the tug and barge making the delivery.


By Gail West

laska has always been dependent on shipment of goods from the Lower 48 and other parts of the world. It would be difficult, indeed, for our businesses and residents to survive and thrive on what we produce locally. Historically, businesses tried to maintain a large inventory, but today most opt for the just-in-time approach to supplies. That, necessarily, involves knowing exactly when an order will arrive, and technology has been a boon to the asset- and shipment-tracking world. Pacific Alaska Freightways (PAF) ships everything from construction and oil field materials to fish to hamburger chain supplies and office furnishings from its consolidation centers into and across Alaska. “We’re an LTL [less than truckload] shipper,” says Wes Renfrew, PAF’s Alaska op-


“When you start shipping for larger corporations such as Sportsman’s Warehouse, Cabela’s, and Lowe’s, they demand tracking abilities, so we offer that along with electronic invoicing. We had to provide these abilities to grow alongside the Alaska market.”

—Wes Renfrew, Alaska Operations Manager, PAF

erations manager. To track its shipments, Renfrew adds, PAF has developed its own internal tracking system called Freight Expert. “It’s an online, interactive program that does everything from assigning a tracking number to allowing clients to track their orders,” Renfrew says. This software displays shipping, receipt, and the estimated time of arrival at its destination. “If an individual shipped a bike to Alaska for his son, he could track that bike from purchase until delivery.”

The software also tells PAF they have a 94-percent on-time delivery average. Renfrew says one of the three brothers who own the company was the one who developed the software as the company grew and as customers requested tracking abilities. “When you start shipping for larger corporations such as Sportsman’s Warehouse, Cabela’s, and Lowe’s, they demand tracking abilities, so we offer that along with electronic invoicing,” he adds. “We had to provide

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Crowley tracks its tugs and barges picking up and delivering fuel to more than 280 Alaska communities, including Barrow pictured above.

these abilities to grow alongside the Alaska market.” PAF has also implemented a GPS tracking system for its trucks, providing visibility of all its vehicles as they pick up and deliver freight. “We can see exactly where our trucks are at all times,” Renfrew says. “In addition to shipment and delivery information, it’s also a safety issue. If one of our trucks goes off the road, we’ll know about it.” Staying up to date with technology is no easy task, and Renfrew says PAF is currently in the process of updating its tracking and is investigating new software capabilities.

Tracking Trucks Already taking advantage of new services to the state, Alaska Industrial LLC’s (AI) owner Jeff Day says his company primarily provides trucking services and oilfield construction for Prudhoe Bay and has recently expanded statewide. “We’re the mainline haulers for Halliburton,” Day says. “We’re 16

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Photo courtesy of Crowley

a truck-intensive company consolidating, repackaging, and distributing supplies either to Prudhoe or to Kenai.” AI needs tracking ability and Verizon provides that through its fleet-management system called Networkfleet. “Every truck has a GPS tracking unit,” Day says. “Networkfleet is the only tracking system we could find that actually works to Prudhoe Bay with no dead spots.” The system tracks fuel economy for AI and allows the company to monitor engine or mechanical problems with its trucks. “If an engine code pops up,” Day says, “our equipment supervisor gets a text message that tells us so we can be ready to get the truck fixed next time it comes in. It also tells us if there are any speed violations—it sends a message to our safety officer so the driver can be scheduled for additional training. That also helps us track our fuel economy and tells us the reason a driver might be burning fuel. It’s been an extremely valuable asset in training drivers and improving safety.” Day says the system has reduced his fuel costs by 12 percent just in the first quarter of 2014 and improved his delivery efficiency by 35 percent in the same timeframe. AI’s trucks also have

onboard cameras that monitor road situations and the combination of the Verizon system and the cameras have resulted in a significant boost for driver training and safety, Day adds. “We actually ‘ping’ our trucks every two minutes,” Day says. “There’s a sixtyinch television in our dispatch office, and you can see a truck’s current speed, location, its top speed for the current trip, the current mileage, and where it’s been. “We can get absolutely specific about where a truck has broken down and can have a mechanic there almost immediately. We’ll know if a truck needs to be down for a repair, how long that repair takes, and we can reschedule it immediately for the next trip. We know how many hours the driver has in service. This all reduces down time and translates into more loads hauled. Our trainers can say to a driver: this is your driving technique. You need to shift at this RPM. If you reduce your speed by ‘X,’ you’re going to reduce fuel usage. We can reward the driver accordingly. If he saves me money, I share that,” Day says. The Networkfleet system has been in use throughout the Lower 48 since 1999, says Verizon’s Networkfleet NorthSeptember 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


west/Central Regional Manager Jon Housknecht, and provides 24/7 visibility into vehicles to access real-time data. “AI was our first customer in Alaska, and they are seeing the benefits in improved operations and cost reductions.” Verizon Networkfleet in Alaska uses a combination of GPS, satellite, and wireless technologies to provide the tracking and reporting abilities to its customers. There are add-on modules to let customers track assets other than trucks, too, adds Housknecht. “The ability to integrate our products and integrate fleet and asset tracking is the key difference for us. I typically tell customers that they spend substantial sums of money on virus protection for their computers, but they have little protection for their higher value fixed assets such as generators, cranes, signs, and so on. Verizon’s Asset Guard [an asset-tracking device] gives them the specific ability to know where their assets are at all times.”

Combination of GPS Systems Lynden’s transportation companies use a combination of GPS tracking systems to track their air, highway, and marine equipment which, in turn, tracks their customers’ shipments en route. “We ship everything from groceries to drill rigs,” says Jered Post, Lynden Transport’s vice president for Operations. With service centers from Texas and California on up the west coast to Alaska, Lynden offers customers the ability to place orders, track shipments, and confirm delivery all online. “A customer can complete a bill of lading onscreen and that goes into our pickup screen at the dispatch office,” Post says. “We have trucks all over, so we can send the nearest to pick up the order. The onscreen information tells our drivers what to pick up, where, where to deliver, and how much the order weighs. Once we have the order, we attach a bill of lading with a tracing number and that begins the tracking and billing process. At that point, the customer can go through, put in the tracking number, and start watching the progress of their shipment. On delivery,” Post adds, “we’ll put in real-time delivery and who signed for the order. The customer sees all of this.” Lynden’s delivery operations use a route-optimization system that consolidates Lynden’s freight then creates its best 18

“Having real-time asset tracking and good information systems to communicate customer requirements allows us to plan our operations and be highly efficient.”

—Jered Post, Vice President for Operations, Lynden Transport

plan for moving that freight. The system provides estimated delivery times to customers via Lynden’s website and monitors progress of the delivery route and updates customers if there are changes. Post adds that Lynden is beginning to track freight in more discrete increments and anticipates rolling this program out for customers by the end of 2015. “If you had a five-pallet order, each pallet gets a unique identification number,” Post says. “If a customer calls and says ‘I need to know where the blue widgets are,’ we’ll be able to tell him.” To offer customers the best service and most efficient shipping options, Lynden focuses on constant improvements of its operations. Critical to running efficient operations, Post says, is having the assets in the right places at the right times. “Having real-time asset tracking and good information systems to communicate customer requirements allows us to plan our operations and be highly efficient.” The same runs true for Alaska Marine Lines and its barges, says Don Reid, vice president of Cargo Operations. Picking up freight to be barged to and throughout Alaska, including oilfield equipment, seafood industry supplies, and household goods, every order is again tracked. “We focus on shipment control,” Reid says. “We track our barges from departure to delivery through AIS, that’s a real-time vessel-tracking system in use by most commercial vessels and the US Coast Guard.” Alaska Marine Lines also uses satellite transponders on its barges that report a barge’s location four times each day through the Marine Exchange of Alaska and is in regular contact through e-mail with its tugs.

‘Highly Orchestrated’ Sean Thomas, vice president Western Alaska for Crowley Petroleum Distribution, says his company also tracks its fleet

of tugs and barges picking up and delivering fuel to more than 280 communities throughout rural Alaska. “It’s all a very highly orchestrated process: tracking, moving fuel, discharging fuel, how much and when. We have to make sure the assets are in the right place at the right time, and in many places we’re very tide dependent. We have little or no port structures in some of our communities, so planning these operations is paramount to our success year in and year out.” Crowley has a sizeable fleet of vessels— at least ten operating in Alaska—in every season. “Our marine operations group tracks their locations, manages daily contacts through e-mails, cell phones, and satellite. We know where our vessels are twenty-four hours a day, and what’s on board. It’s all choreographed well in advance,” he says. “Efficiency is the name of the game. Our mission is to operate a vessel safely and to deliver to the customer in the most efficient manner possible at the lowest possible cost. That means we have to make sure our vessels are moving the shortest distance and are scheduled so they aren’t doubling back or waiting. If we miss tide cycles, we might have to wait as much as thirty days to get back into a site, and our customer may run out of fuel.” Although Crowley uses computer programs to help in its tracking, Thomas says their most critical tool is experience operating in Alaska waters for more than sixty years. “Many of our captains have been doing this for decades,” he adds. “One captain celebrated his fortieth anniversary in May. In many places, it’s a pristine environment and we’re plying very shallow waters. We have to do it safely and with no damage to people, property, or the environment.” In addition to providing customers with the ability to know exactly where their shipments are at any time, asset tracking devices can provide a company—and its drivers—with invaluable protection. AI’s Day recalls an incident in which one of his truck drivers was involved in a traffic fatality. The onboard camera and GPS system were able to demonstrate the driver had done everything possible to avoid the accident. Not only did it absolve the company but it also provided some very much needed peace of mind for the driver. R Gail West writes from Anchorage.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014



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Wealth M anagement Strategies for Individuals, Businesses, and Nonprofits


By Tracy Barbour

he concept of wealth management denotes different things to different people. To some, it’s about achieving a certain net worth or lifestyle. To others, it’s about leaving a legacy for children, grandchildren, and favorite charities. Despite how it’s characterized, wealth management is an important responsibility. And that responsibility covers a myriad of issues, including managing investments and risk, managing and leveraging debt, financial planning, estate planning, protecting assets, funding educational goals, planning for life and business transitions, and planning for retirement. On the softer side, managing wealth can (and should) entail the pursuit of personal goals and dreams for the future—whether it’s having time for travel, hobbies, or philanthropy. Of course, these areas of concern will depend on each individual’s situation. For instance, a couple caring for young children or an aging parent will have a different focus than a business owner or someone entering retirement. Ultimately, wealth management is an ongoing process that evolves with the different stages of life as people’s needs, objectives, preferences, and values change.

Developing a Road Map At Wells Fargo, wealth planning is a meticulous process that involves helping clients and understanding their goals, objectives, and family dynamics, according to Anchorage-based Wells Fargo Wealth Advisor TerriLee Bartlett. This information gives her a starting point for creating a customized life map to help clients attain the level of wealth they would like to maintain. Then they explore a variety of issues, such as what clients want to live on during their retirement years, what they want to leave behind, and what roads they must take to achieve those results. “When we’re talking to our clients, it’s all about them,” Bartlett says. “It’s about what they want and want to achieve. And then we help them narrow that down.” It can be difficult for clients to narrow down their goals, but Wells Fargo’s “discovery” process makes the task easier, according to Wells Fargo Private Bank Senior Fi20

duciary Manager Carla Wigen. It also helps to have clients focus on major areas for addressing their wealth management needs, including managing their investment and risk; managing debt in terms of their credit situation; planning for retirement; and protecting themselves and their family. Wells Fargo clients can also take advantage of specialized services geared to their individual needs, such as a special needs trust designed for a beneficiary with a disability or life management services for aging adults. Other viable options for managing wealth include leveraging credit with low-interest loans and life insurance premium financing. People need to really understand what they have in terms of their wealth, Wigen says. “We find that people get really busy and aren’t always paying attention to where everything is and looking at the titling of their holdings and assets,” she says. That’s’ why the wealth advisors at Wells Fargo connect with clients on a regular basis to review where they’re going and how they’re going to get there. Clients are busy with their lives and aren’t thinking of the discipline, so it’s often the advisor who will request a meeting, Bartlett says. “The advisor will help them catch things, so there aren’t costly mistakes later,” she says.

Life Events Often Drive Planning Dave Lofland, a senior vice president for Key Private Bank, also uses a discoveryoriented approach that involves asking questions (not telling), listening intently, and then creating a plan to achieve clients’ goals. “It would be imprudent of us to make recommendations without fully understanding what their objectives are,” says Lofland, who works from Oregon with clients in Alaska. Lofland uses strategic and tactical management to assist clients, most of whom are focused on preserving their wealth. The strategic approach is a longer-term methodology that takes into consideration what clients want their funds to do, their time horizon, tax situation, and risk tolerance. “They’re looking for us to do two things: remove the volatility through diversification and to grow the portfolio

where we’re beating inflation and making tactical decisions,” Lofland says. He adds, “Along the way, we’re making slight alterations in the strategic allocations to capitalize on opportunities that exist today that won’t exist tomorrow.” Many people tend to look at wealth management when there’s a “life event” such as an unexpected inheritance, a death, or divorce, Lofland says. But the ones who are proactive typically will have better outcomes and less knee-jerk-reaction transactions along the way. Business owners, for example, should have an exit strategy, so they can transition successfully. “When a client comes to us five years out, we have time to build their balance sheet,” Lofland says. “We have lots of different strategies we can offer if they have time. But if someone says they have a letter of intent and are selling next month, the number of strategies we can offer are few.”

Sticking with the Plan Randy Maes, a senior financial consultant in Charles Schwab’s Anchorage office, feels wealth management applies to everyone, regardless of their net worth. For example, higher-income earners typically need to focus on savings and tax strategies, while high-net worth individuals should concentrate on protecting their accumulated assets and ensuring they’re available when needed. Maes encourages clients to make wealth management an ongoing effort— not just when there’s a life event. In general, he says, estate planning should be addressed every couple of years, while financial plans should be reviewed every one or two years. But if there is a life event, it should be dealt with immediately. “I don’t want them to turn away and ignore something that needs to be addressed sooner than later,” Maes says. To Maes, it’s important that clients are educated about and involved in their wealth planning. As such, he strives to meet with clients quarterly—or more frequently if needed—to keep the lines of communication open. A key component of his communication process is listening to what clients need and want while helping them realize what’s real and what isn’t. He says: “I try to make sure

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my clients are aware they are the driver, and we’re the navigator. Ultimately, it’s their wealth and assets we’re trying to help them protect as we help them realize their goals and dreams.” Maes feels it’s essential for clients to know where they are in their financial plan—even in tough times. He strives to develop an all-weather plan that’s not driven by the economy and markets. Instead, the plan should be guided by clients’ overall goals and the level of risk they need to take to get from point A to point B. “It’s important to have a financial plan you can stick to in different markets and economic conditions,” he says.

Taking Care of the Basics Brian Pinkston, president of Bright Road Wealth Management, views wealth management in terms of three broad categories: investment consulting, advanced planning, and relationship management. Based in Anchorage, his fee-only independent advisory often acts as a chief financial officer for successful individuals, families, and institutions. Although Pinkston considers financial planning, investments, trusts, tax mitigation, estate planning, and life insurance to be vital, every aspect of wealth management is important, he says. However, Pinkston feels the industry tends to concentrate on the investment side sometimes at the expense of the other facets of wealth planning. “But not having enough life insurance can be catastrophic if the breadwinner passes away,” he says. “You should have a holistic approach to wealth management.” Even so, Pinkston advises: “Don’t forget the basics.” He encourages people to consider fundamentals like whether they have a will or estate plan; whether their will or estate plan is up to date; and whether they have updated beneficiaries on their retirement accounts. Pinkston says: “Is your investment portfolio reflective of your life or a hodgepodge thrown together? It’s the simple things that get people.”

Business owners tend to put their cash back into their business, so their money is not as liquid, according to Bartlett. This makes business succession and exit planning essential for transitioning owners. Wells Fargo walks clients through the process of selling their business, so the transaction becomes a strategy and not merely an exit. “Then they don’t have to look in the rear view mirror with regret,” Bartlett says. Investing in your own business, by definition, is high risk, Maes says. And business owners need to be able to manage that risk in different ways. He suggests owners keep one to two year’s cash reserves or cash equivalents available. The key is to maintain a combination of assets that are liquid or carry very little risk, such as certificates of deposit or shortterm treasury bonds. This can make it easier to weather a rough patch in their business, an extended illness, or other situations that can affect their income. Many people are so engrossed in the business that they delay focusing on their retirement planning, Maes says. At that point, a simplified employee pension IRA or another retirement plan might provide a viable solution for rapidly funding their retirement. Typically, business owners don’t initiate the wealth management process until after they have sold their business, says Larry Hood, president and CEO of Pacific Portfolio, a Seattle-based affiliate of Northrim Bank. However, planning for business succession is something owners should do sooner than later. Often for business owners, Hood says, the big question is: Do I sell the business or bring in someone from the family to run the business? Determining this can lead to a hosts of complexities, emotions, and discussions about family values— which many owners aren’t eager to face. “I think the big role we play is helping people be proactive on something that isn’t easy for them,” says Hood, a thirtyyear industry veteran who has worked with many clients in Alaska.

Considerations for Business Owners When it comes to wealth planning for business owners, there’s a whole different level of complexity involved. Dominant issues range from managing employees and providing employee retirement plans to mitigating taxes and business succession planning.

Strategies for Today and the Future In today’s economic environment, there are a number of strategies wealthy people can implement to protect their assets. Now is a good time for higher-income earners to look at the recent changes in the ordinary income tax rate. Taxpayers in the high income bracket are paying another


3.8 percent on capital gain rates and 3.8 percent on passive income. Consequently, Hood has been spending more time looking at ways to help clients generate more tax-free income from their portfolio. In addition to engaging in tax-conscious investing, Hood advocates evaluating all of the potential asset transfer strategies that are available. “People should be seriously considering how they are going to be transferring wealth and taking advantage of tools that are available today with consideration that they may expire or be taken away,” he says. Wigen of Wells Fargo agrees. The estate tax exemption is very high now, and there is still some concern with the generationskipping transfer tax, she says. “A legacy trust might be a way to protect assets and a [strategy] for tax planning,” she says. There are also strategies nonprofits can implement today to sustain the wealth of their endowments. For example, it’s important for nonprofits and foundations to maintain a structured spending policy throughout the year, Wigen says. They should also have an investment policy statement that incorporates diversification and strategies that work in the down market. Every endowment has unique goals and objectives, but most funds adopt long-term investment strategies, Hood says. “Most endowments will look at the long-term horizon and accept risk that fits that endowment,” he says. “They generally have more liquid investments and alternative investments.” Good stewardship is intrinsic to preserving endowment funds. Key Private Bank’s approach to helping nonprofits accomplish this goal centers around the purpose and the timeline of their portfolio. It also involves reviewing the investments on a frequent basis and putting controls in place regarding distributions. “As a nonprofit looks at this as a fund to help supplement their cash flow throughout the year, they would look to their portfolio manager to not only maintain the portfolio, but also grow it,” Lofland says. And from Pinkston’s perspective, that’s a major responsibility. “It’s making sure the account is there and in perpetuity for everyone,” Pinkston says. “You have to be up on your responsibilities to ensure you’re not making any catastrophic investments that will hurt the endowment in the long run.” R Tracy Barbour is a former Alaskan.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014


Opportunities to Claim the R&D Tax Credit New regulations offer alternative to leaving money on the table

The R&D Credit The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Credit for Increasing Research Activities, also known as the Research and Development credit or Research and Experimentation credit, is a tax credit for businesses that incur R&D expenses in the United States. The credit is a significant benefit for companies and is a dollar-for-dollar offset to a company’s tax liability. The federal credit benefit can be approximately six cents to seven cents on each dollar of R&D spending. R&D credits can be used to offset current-year tax liability, can be taken back to offset prior-year tax liability for a tax refund, and carried forward for up to twenty years for use against future tax liabilities. Additionally, many states provide an R&D incentive separate from the federal credit. The Alaska state credit, for example, piggybacks off the federal credit in terms of criteria and federal qualification requirements and allows a state tax credit for 18 percent of the apportioned federal credit. 24

Grant Thornton, LLP

laska businesses leave thousands of dollars on the table in available tax credits for research and development (R&D) expenses. The federal government, the state of Alaska, and many other states offer incentives for conducting research activities, but most Alaska businesses do not realize their activities may qualify for a credit. These federal and state tax credits are not intended to apply to activities solely performed in a laboratory setting by Ph.D. recipients in white coats. Several different activities, including many of those related to manufacturing, construction, engineering, software development, or technical services, may qualify for a tax credit. And now, new regulations provide an opportunity to claim a simplified R&D credit.

Grant Thornton, LLP


By Brandon Nett and Liza Zbarskaya



What Constitutes R&D The first step in claiming the R&D tax credit is to identify qualified research activities. A company must engage in product or process development, which can encompass a number of areas not typically thought of as R&D. Companies that engage in any of the following activities may qualify for the credit:

facturing may be eligible for the credit, including Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs). Startup and loss companies may also take advantage of the credit, as it can be carried forward to offset tax liabilities in future years. Qualified activities pertaining to an ANC can often be embedded in the corporation’s numerous divisions and lines of business and can include work performed under government or commercial contracts. Throughout Grant Thornton LLP’s work in Alaska we have noted that ANCs can find R&D tax credits embedded in many of their diverse business offerings, including the fields of energy, construction, engineering services, and manufacturing.

n n n n n n n n n n n n n n

Manufacture products Develop new products Improve existing products Develop formulas or techniques Develop or improve technical processes Create or test prototypes Use new materials Test new concepts or technologies Apply for patents Design tools or molds Customize equipment or machinery Develop or enhance software (for sale or internal use) Employ engineers, scientists or other technical personnel Engage outside professionals to do any of the above

Alaska Native Corporations are Eligible Companies operating in a variety of industries from technology to manu-

Importance of Contemporaneous Documentation Proper documentation is critical for supporting and substantiating the claimed R&D tax credits. While the credit can be beneficial to many taxpayers, the IRS keeps a close watch to ensure that a taxpayer can support the qualified expenditures used to claim the credit, with documentation. Under the tax code the burden falls on the taxpayers to prove eligibility and qualification for the credit to the federal and state tax authorities. Documenta-

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

tion must support the activities qualified under the tax code. Technical documentation generated during the course of development, such as technical requirement or specification documents, are just some examples of documentation necessary to support the credits.

New Opportunity to Claim a Simplified R&D Credit On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS issued new regulations that allow taxpayers to claim the alternative simplified credit (ASC) on an amended return. This opens up a new opportunity for taxpayers who did not claim a research credit on previous tax returns. Like most tax-related items, there are restrictions, such as taxpayers who claimed the regular credit on their original return cannot amend the return to now claim the ASC. The new opportunity therefore applies only to years in which no research credit was previously claimed. Other limitations to make the ASC election may apply, depending on taxpayer-specific information. Companies that may benefit from the new regulations include those that

have never filed or made an election for the credit, have high gross receipts, have losses, or are going through an ownership change. Taxpayers with any open tax years (typically three previous years) where no R&D credit was claimed should re-evaluate their situations to see if they can now claim the ASC credit. Companies that had an R&D study that found no opportunity to claim the credit should also revisit their situation to see if they would now qualify for the ASC. Specifically, Alaska businesses that may have been phased out of the regular credit calculation due to high gross receipts should re-evaluate prioryear credit opportunities. For further information and specifics on the R&D tax credit and new regulations around claiming the research credit, contact a tax professional. R Brandon Nett is a Partner and the Alaska Tax Practice Leader in the Grant Thornton, LLP Anchorage office. Contact him at or 907-754-9200.

Liza Zbarskaya is a Senior Manager, R&D Tax, in the Grant Thornton, LLP Seattle office. Contact her at liza.zbarskaya@ or 206-398-2401. “Grant Thornton” refers to Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL). GTIL and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions. Please see for further details. Tax Professional Standards Statement This document supports Grant Thornton LLP’s marketing of professional services and is not written tax advice directed at the particular facts and circumstances of any person. If you are interested in the subject of this document, we encourage you to contact us or an independent tax professional to discuss the potential application to your particular situation. Nothing herein shall be construed as imposing a limitation on any person from disclosing the tax treatment or tax structure of any matter addressed herein. To the extent this document may be considered to contain written tax advice, any written advice contained in, forwarded with or attached to this document is not intended by Grant Thornton LLP to be used, and cannot be used, by any person for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code. © 2014 Grant Thornton LLP | All rights reserved, used with permission. | U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd.

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September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


special section

Building Alaska

Alaska Native Corporation Builders and Projects Subsidiary construction companies busy in Alaska and beyond By Gail West


laska Native Corporations have diversified extensively over the years since their formation and many today incorporate construction as part of their business models. In addition to providing jobs and dividends for shareholders, several of those corporations with construction subsidiaries are under contracts building in the Lower 48 and bringing fresh dollars to contribute to the Alaska economy.

Ahtna, Inc. Roy Tansy, president of Ahtna Construction, says his company works in Alaska, but another of Ahtna’s subsidiaries has an environmental construction project in Humboldt, California, that’s more than $10 million, performing environmental and construction subcontract support work for Parsons and Chicago Bridge & Iron as part of the Pacific Gas and Electric’s Humboldt Bay Power Plant decommissioning project. “Not only do we see the profits of that work coming into Alaska but many of the support services are here, as well,” Tansy says. “We should also say that many of our shareholders are working in support offices in the Lower 48, so they personally benefit from having those opportunities outside the state.” In-state, Ahtna Construction is one 26

Photo courtesy of Tunista Construction

Under contract to the General Services Administration, Tunista Construction is building a new pedestrian bridge at the Federal Building in Juneau.

of several master service agreement contractors under contract with Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. “This work includes managing and running day-to-day operations at the Glennallen Response Base along the trans-Alaska [oil] pipeline. Ahtna Construction also executes critical project work for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company during the construction season in Alaska,” Tansy says. “Much of the project work is civil in nature, which includes belowground mainline investigations and repair, trenching to repair and/or replace cathodic protection systems, and right-of-way maintenance. These sites can present us with varying challenges from water and ice to steep slopes.” This summer, Ahtna is also excavating and repairing high point vents along the pipeline. “Our primary client is Alyeska,” Tansy says, “and a lot of the work is time sensitive and deadline driven. Sometimes work is released on fairly short notice and we have to be prepared. Being nimble helps us meet our client’s needs.” Tansy adds that being responsive to their client’s needs also may involve

working at sites in priority order. “With the high point vents, priorities can fluctuate up and down the line, so there may be a lot of mobing and remobing— moving employees and equipment to the site that’s the next priority,” he says. While Ahtna Construction’s focus is primarily on Alyeska, other Ahtna subsidiaries have contracts working elsewhere in the state. Ahtna Environmental, Inc. has a culvert project for the Western Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration inside Denali National Park and is working at several Federal Aviation Administration sites. “Our construction arm employs about fifty or sixty employees each summer,” Tansy says, “and close to 50 percent are shareholders.” Tansy adds that Ahtna is closely watching future opportunities for additional contract work and employment for shareholders. Among those opportunities are the proposed Susitna-Watana hydro project and the two proposed gaslines, both of which would likely be built across a portion of Ahtna land. “We’re also exploring the potential of producing natural gas within our own

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Photo courtesy of Tunista Construction

Tunista Construction, a wholly owned subsidiary of Calista Corp., is building a pedestrian bridge at Juneau’s Federal Building.

region,” he says. Exploration has already indicated gas reservoirs on state land adjacent to Ahtna land, and Tansy says gas production could be a good source of additional jobs for Ahtna shareholders.

Calista Corporation Construction is an important segment of Calista Corporation’s business portfolio. Bilista Holdings LLC is Calista’s thirteen-company, construction-based

holding line. Bilista is the Swiss army knife of Alaska’s construction world, says Sam Robert Brice, president of both Bilista and Brice, Inc., because it offers comprehensive construction services. From excavation and foundations to vertical construction, marine services, and environmental remediation, these companies support every phase of the construction life cycle not only in Alaska but also throughout the Pacific Northwest and Lower 48. Calista companies include Brice, Inc., Tunista Construction, and STG, Inc. Brice, Inc. specializes in remote civil infrastructure such as airports, roads, and revetments; Tunista Construction, an 8(a) general contractor, specializes in vertical construction and the federal contracting arena; and STG, Inc. offers “no-nonsense pile foundations, renewable and traditional energy facilities construction, and arctic-grade crane services,” Brice says. Brice, Inc. is currently working on several projects in Galena, most of which are associated with flood damage repair, says Brice. The Yukon River is steadily eroding Campion Road, re-

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


Photo courtesy of Tunista Construction

Tunista Construction is under contract to build a new Company Operations Facility at Fort Wainwright. The new facility will house office and warehouse as well as administrative space.

quiring extensive road repair and the relocation of certain portions. “We’re also demolishing flood-damaged structures and doing other abatement work for the City of Galena,” he adds. Other projects underway by Brice, Inc. include airport improvements in Kotzebue, lengthening the airstrip two hundred feet on each end. “That means relocating a lagoon channel and excavating two hundred feet into the hillside on one end of the airstrip, while pushing the other end out two hundred feet into Kotzebue Sound,” Brice says. “This is probably our largest project right now at a little more than $30 million. We have to import materials such as armor rock and riprap from Nome, much of which has to be lightered into Kotzebue because there isn’t enough material available locally and the sound is too shallow to allow the big barges in.” Tunista Construction is starting on a new Company Operations Facility for the US Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District at Ft. Wainwright and also working on a design/build housing development project for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Kodiak, as well as constructing a pedestrian bridge for the General Services Administration at the Federal Building in Juneau. “Tunista’s construction is growing,” Brice says. “They have active projects for USACE in Louisiana and Washington state, as well as Alaska.” STG, Inc. has four major projects this summer—expanding the harbor and 28

constructing a dock on the island of St. Paul, building a new tank farm for the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative in Emmonak, and erecting communication towers throughout western and interior Alaska for the GCI TERRA project. TERRA is GCI’s next-generation communications network for remote and rural Alaska. “STG is building infrastructure for the network,” Brice says, “and they just picked up ten miles of electrical intertie at Stebbins for AVEC.” TERRA is a complex project, Brice says. It involves setting up camps on isolated mountaintop sites and requires a massive aerial crane to sling and set modules, tower segments, and other components into place. “These are very remote locations stretched across northwestern Alaska between Koyuk and Kotzebue and in the Interior between Tanana and Galena,” he says.

NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. Grand Isle Shipyard (GIS), a subsidiary of NANA Development Corporation, provides upstream, midstream, and downstream services for the resource industries. The company operates nineteen strategically located facilities within the United States, including their state-of-theart fabrication facility in Big Lake with approximately two hundred thousand square feet of heated shop space. The facility provides all types of structural, piping, and specialty industrial fabrication

for the oil field, including construction of process modules up to one hundred tons that can be trucked to North Slope fields. A currently very active business line is the light modular infrastructure fabrication division at the Big Lake facility; the division is working on several large oilfield infrastructure projects. According to Sagen Juliussen, Alaska Business Unit manager for GIS, the facility can deliver projects of all sizes from the smaller couple-thousand-dollar items to large multi-million-dollar development programs. It’s a good sign of the times, he adds, that there are three concurrent large projects in process now. “They’re all support infrastructure for the North Slope oilfields,” he says, “and all due to be operational by the end of the year.” GIS will engineer, fabricate, ship, install, and commission the new buildings for occupancy by January 1, 2015. GIS expects these projects to generate more than 120 jobs in Big Lake and anticipates delivering more than 225 modules to the North Slope in the upcoming seven months alone. “What really sets us apart from our competitors,” says Juliussen, “is that we provide the whole gamut, from fabrication to the installation and commissioning.” NANA’s construction arm has a plethora of projects underway, spanning from Alaska’s northern-most operations to the Gulf of Mexico and beyond. All of NANA’s construction jobs hold shareholder preference and are focused on providing long term sustainability for its Iñupiat owners.

Cook Inlet Region, Inc. Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI) has a large construction project rising in the middle of Anchorage’s landscape. The new Fireweed Business Center, which is scheduled for completion by the end of first quarter 2015, is an 110,000-square-foot, eightstory office tower which will house CIRI’s headquarters and leave an additional 60 percent of the building for lease. Designed and built by RIM Architects and Davis Constructors and Engineers, Inc., the new tower will feature technologies that are new to Alaska, according to Chad Nugent, director of Project Management for CIRI’s Real Estate Department. “It will have dynamic glass,” Nugent says. “It allows a view but contains sen-

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

sors that track the sun and tint the windows accordingly. By controlling the sun’s light and heat, the system maximizes energy efficiency. In addition, another type of glass panel used in the building contains products that diffuse the sun’s light throughout the office space for a comfortable, glare-free work environment. The building is completely unique with a great, south-facing deck in the common break area,” Nugent adds. Under contract to CIRI, both RIM and Davis have encouraged Alaska Native hire for the Fireweed Business Center, and CIRI has its own internal goals involving shareholders, says Nugent. Site prep began for the Fireweed Business Center, near the intersection of Fireweed Lane and the Seward Highway, last fall, and builders are currently installing the curtain-wall system and putting in elevator machinery. “It’s slightly ahead of schedule,” Nugent says. Access to the 8.35-acre plot of land that will house the Fireweed Business Center is primarily from Fireweed Lane, and CIRI has reserved space for two additional buildings to be built if and when the market calls for them.

Photo courtesy of Tunista Construction

A new Company Operations Facility for the US Army Corps of EngineersAlaska District rises at Fort Wainwright. Contractor for the building—expected to cost more than $9 million—is Tunista Construction.

“An important part of this building is the revitalization of an older development in Anchorage,” Nugent says. “It’s exciting to build for the future. This is a good opportunity to build something

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September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


special section

Building Alaska

Growth in the Mat-Su

The new Valley Pathways school exterior. Photos courtesy of Mat-Su Borough School District

Borough builds out with $214 million bond package By Rindi White


n the span of one decade, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District added four thousand additional students to its rolls. Schools in the Valley’s central area between Palmer and Wasilla are packed, and often students take classes in portable buildings outside school walls because there simply isn’t enough space to accommodate everyone. “We are excited about the growth in our schools and our aim is to offer every student living in the Mat-Su Borough an excellent education. We recognize one of the challenges of growth is that we cannot fulfill the portable [building] requests from schools,” says Superintendent Dr. Deena Paramo. “Right now there are thirteen outside Wasilla High School. And the portables are one thing, but you don’t expand your restrooms or lockers or anything like that,” Paramo adds. That’s why the borough and the school district are pushing to get new schools built and open as rapidly as possible. Two new schools will be open this fall: Valley Pathways and Mat-Su Day School. Construction began this summer on another school, Joe Redington Sr. Jr./Sr. High School, and work will begin on two more new schools next year. 30

Those projects are part of a $214 million bond package Mat-Su voters approved in 2011. Even before they are complete, Paramo says, the district will be gearing up for another major construction bond package. The district needs a new school in the Palmer area, she says, and in just a few years’ time, the Joe Redington Sr. Jr./ Sr. High School will be ready to shift to a separate middle and high school. Growth in the Mat-Su is putting pressure on many public facilities, and local government is working hard to keep up. Mat-Su Borough Department of Emergency Services is adding two new fire stations this year and has plans for another in the next couple years, plus a specialized fire service area to serve industrial users at the borough’s Port MacKenzie. Growth is also the catalyst for a project to build a new library for Talkeetna in northern Mat-Su. Talkeetna bustles with tourists and visitors in the summer. Its outdated and tiny 2,800-square-foot library overflows with visitors seeking a Wi-Fi connection in summer. Even in the winter, when the village population shrinks considerably, the library is too small to offer important tools such as distance learning classes and teen library programs.

Growing Community, Growing Art Scene The pressures of growth aren’t just felt in local government. Mat-Su College, a branch of the University of Alaska Anchorage, is also expanding to meet growing demand. The college is building a theater with seating for more than five hundred, which is expected to be ready for use by the end of the year. Mat-Su College Theater Director Matt Sale says the theater project has been a long-time dream for the college, and also for the community, which lacks a moderately-sized stage and auditorium. “I think it’s going to be a really big addition to the community,” Sale says. State voters in 2010 approved several college-related construction projects, including $31 million that affected MatSu College. The soon-to-be-named theater, a $20 million project, is the largest in that group. Work on the project started in 2013. The new theater, a thirty-three thousand-square-foot facility designed by Kumin Associates, Inc., and built by Roger Hickel Contracting, Inc., includes the stage, a costume shop and scene shop, a green room, a private dressing room, and two larger dress-

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

ing rooms with connecting bathrooms, plus three offices for staff and a tickets and concession stand. Sale says the college will add new theater-related courses to complement those already offered by UAA. The college already offers an acting course and an introduction to theater course; he says an introduction to technical theater course is planned for the spring and perhaps stagecraft and set design courses in the future. There has been interest in using the space from groups across the board, he says. It’s a natural spot for the college’s LUNAFEST, a yearly traveling film festival dedicated to films about and by women. Sale says he has been in talks with Alaska State Fair, UAA, and the Anchorage Performing Arts Center about second-night opportunities, so if an artist or show plays in Anchorage, perhaps they can play another night in the Valley. He says Whistling Swan Productions, which brings a variety of artists to Anchorage and Mat-Su (generally at Palmer coffee shop Vagabond Blues), is planning performances at the theater in the early months of 2015.

“It’s surprising how fast it is getting booked up,” Sale says.

Growth Remains Steady, Schools Are Filling The Mat-Su Borough continues to be the state’s fastest growing community, with a population now estimated at more than 96,000, according to the Alaska Division of Community and Regional Affairs. In the last decade, the population has grown by 50 percent. The population is projected to reach 173,000 by 2025. Another signal that steady growth is real in Mat-Su: A recent ISER report regarding the fiscal impact of different land-use scenarios in Mat-Su states that between July 2000 and December 2012, Mat-Su Borough school projects accounted for 57 percent of all statewide reimbursable school bond debt. Paramo says the rate of growth, at least for school-age children, has dipped. Between 1991 and 2001, the district was registering more than four hundred additional elementary school students each year. Now, she said, that number wavers between two hundred and three hundred.

“As our population continues to grow, we expand our learning opportunities at all levels,” she says. The two new schools, Valley Pathways and Mat-Su Day School, won’t directly offset that growth. Both have been in existence for several years, but their campuses consisted of several portable buildings. Now students will have brick-and-mortar buildings with features like libraries and areas large enough for the student population to gather; things that aren’t typically available in portable buildings. The new Valley Pathways building is forty-six thousand square feet. McCool Carlson Green designed it and Collins Construction is the general contractor on the $22.5 million project. Valley Pathways, Paramo says, is an alternative school near Palmer. It offers smaller classes and a focus on student achievement. Students work in trimesters so they can move through their courses faster and complete high school. Part of the emphasis is on online or a blended model learning, Paramo says. Students who are disinterested in traditional teaching methods and

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly



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who prefer to learn using technology or blended learning are among those who excel at Valley Pathways. Students don’t have music classes or similar electives, but they can choose to participate in sports at other schools. Paramo says the school has an excellent academic track record. Last year, a post-school outcome study conducted by the district showed that students who graduate from Valley Pathways began earning livable wages sooner than their cohorts at other Mat-Su high schools. The school had 154 students taking classes in twelve portable buildings last year, and Paramo says the new school will open with a target population of 175 students. The district will be adding middle-school classes to Valley Pathways’ program, so Paramo says the actual number of students attending the school may soon be over two hundred. Mat-Su Day School is a different kind of school geared to help students with high needs or behavioral issues that make it difficult to integrate them into a traditional school setting. The school was created after the state Legislature and Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, in 2009, embarked on a plan to bring back to Alaska children with severe emotional disturbances who were living out of state to receive residential psychiatric treatment. “It’s not for cognitively impaired kids,” Paramo says. “Many of the students at Mat-Su Day School, a lot of them excel academically but have other needs. The goal is not necessarily to teach them academically but to teach them to function in society.” Many of the students are affiliated with several different state agencies, Paramo says, so one of the important features of the new 21,500-square-foot school is office space for service agencies that treat the school population and meeting space for students, agency officials, and caregivers. Paramo says the eventual goal for each student is that they go back to their home schools and learn as part of the general school population. Mat-Su Day School has a high ratio of adults to students and also includes space for officials who oversee work programs for cognitively impaired adults between the ages of eighteen and

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Photo courtesy of Mat-Su Borough School District

Interior of the new Mat-Su Day School, with the school’s motto “Choose, Commit, Achieve” shown on the wall.

twenty-two. Paramo says about thirty cognitively impaired adults will be based out of the school, although they won’t be at the facility on a day-in, dayout basis. About forty other students between kindergarten and 12th grade will be enrolled at the school. The building was designed by Wolf Architecture and is being built by F-E Contracting. The $12.4 million facility will give students a better learning environment, Paramo says, and offers a few neat features. Students at the school “earn” their way to rewards by showing proper behavioral skills, she says. Some of the rewards are in the form of allowing more time for independent creativity. A tech room at the school has a green screen that will allow students to make videos, as well as areas for making and recording music with lights that will match the beat of the music. The rewards, and many other aspects of the building, were developed in conjunction with an Outside consultant who specializes in this niche area of school design.

A First Step in a Large New Campus The Valley Pathways and Day School projects may not directly address the overwhelming crowding happening at Valley schools, but their construction will free up nearly two dozen portable buildings for use elsewhere in the district. And in just over a year, Joe Redington Sr., Jr./Sr. High School will open,

easing some of the burden on Wasilla Middle and High schools. Joe Redington Sr. Jr./Sr. High School is the first school located on a roughly one hundred-acre campus. It’s a $65.4 million, ninety-six thousand-squarefoot building that Mat-Su Borough Capital Projects Manager Mike Brown says should open next fall. Wolf Architecture designed the building, and Collins Construction is the general contractor. It’s located near Mile 10.5 of Knik-Goose Bay Road, just past the community of Settler’s Bay. The school is just a little larger than Houston High School and about half the size of the Valley’s largest high schools: Wasilla, Palmer, and Colony. Paramo says the school will open with grades six through nine and grow from there. It’s difficult to pull high school students from the schools they’ve attended for years, she says. Each high school includes a set of career and technology core classes, Paramo says. Palmer has agriculture-based classes; Colony has welding classes; Wasilla, automotive. District leaders are considering adding an aviation-based set of classes at Redington, a nod to the aviation interests in the surrounding community. Although Paramo says the first students will progress through middle school and into high school at the new school, it won’t remain a shared middle and high school for long. “Redington is kind of a just-in-time school; it will fill right away,” Paramo September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


says. It’s likely that the next school bond package in Mat-Su will include a high school for that area and Redington will transform into a standalone middle school. Work on Dena’ina Elementary School, also on the campus, will begin in the spring, she says, with a goal of opening in fall 2016. Bettisworth North Architects and Planners, a Fairbanksbased design firm, is developing the design for the $26.5 million facility. A contractor has not yet been chosen.

Replacing an Old School, Expanding Career Teaching Wasilla will also be getting a new elementary school in 2016, one to replace the aging Iditarod Elementary. While the new school won’t be larger than the existing school, the district hopes to allow a pair of charter schools to use the old facility, incrementally increasing the amount of available learning space. Iditarod Elementary was built in the 1970s and is one of the Valley’s oldest elementary schools. Paramo says it was built on an open concept, with no classrooms. Over time, the setup didn’t work,

and the district renovated the school to add walls and create traditional classrooms. But a few building design flaws made a full renovation difficult. Heating and cooling systems are located on the outside of the building, Paramo says, making the large-scale renovation that was needed very costly. The State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development guidelines provide for replacement of older schools like Iditarod rather than retrofitting, which proves both costly and inefficient. The new building is roughly fifty thousand square feet. It’s being built on an adjacent lot for $25.2 million. McCool Carlson Green is the designer; a contractor has not yet been chosen. Work is expected to begin in spring 2015. Paramo says although the existing school would be difficult and costly to renovate for use as an elementary school, the district believes it’s possible for two charter schools to partner and pool grant resources to renovate the building for use as a shared building. She says Twindly Bridge and Fronteras charter schools are looking into using the site.

Just outside Wasilla, Mat-Su Career and Tech High School (CTHS) is getting a thirty-three thousand-squarefoot addition. The school is one of the newest high schools in the Valley, having opened in 2007. Students from all around the district can take classes at the school; some take half-day courses there and go the remainder of their day at their home schools, while others are full-time students at CTHS. “Career Tech is one of the most successful career pathway schools in the state,” Paramo says. “It functions as a full-scale high school but doesn’t have music classes [or similar electives]. Like many of our choice schools, students may play sports at our comprehensive high schools.” The school has a waiting list, Paramo says. The addition will allow the student population to grow by 300, from its current level of 550 full- and parttime students. In addition to core academics, CTHS offers industry certifications in multiple career pathways. The students regularly earn state, national, and international competitive awards in academic and career disciplines.


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Along with Teeland Middle School, for more than a decade, CTHS students have earned national Science Olympiad competition awards. The $16.1 million addition should be complete by 2016. McCool Carlson Green designed the addition. The new space will allow for additional pathways: transportation, human services, and natural resources.

More Homes, More Demand for Affordable Fire Services Between 2003 and 2013, the number of calls for emergency medical assistance in Mat-Su jumped from 4,619 calls to 6,423, a nearly 30 percent increase. Fire calls were up by about 40 percent in the same timeframe. And, nearly as important, Emergency Services Director Dennis Brodigan says, regulations for fire and emergency medical responders have completely changed following the terrorist attacks and subsequent massive emergency response of September 11, 2001. “The whole level of effort for emergency services changed in 2003 and 2004. We have to do so much more, and so much more is required of our firefighters and our systems than ever before,” Brodigan says. To that end, the borough is trying to keep up with demands for new fire stations and with the added training demands of this new era of emergency response. Work is under way to build a new, two-story fire station that serves the Trunk Road area near Mat-Su Regional Medical Center. Howdie Construction is building the $8 million project. It’s expected to be open in November, Brodigan says. The new fire station replaces a small warm storage building on leased land adjacent to the hospital. The move was necessary, Brodigan says, because the landowners declined to renew the lease, which expires in 2016. The new, twenty-six thousand-squarefoot building will offer training rooms, a forty thousand-gallon underground water storage tank for fast filling, living and sleeping quarters for responders, and several other amenities. The one hundred-foot-long bays are all drivethrough, meaning garage doors open on both sides, allowing equipment to drive through instead of backing into the bay.

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The station will house a sophisticated EMS training lab, Brodigan says. EMS training staff will also be based out of the new building, and an ambulance supply area is included in one of the bays of the new facility. Brodigan says housing the training area and supply station at the same location will allow responders to take advantage of downtime between duties. “The concept is, when the Trapper Creek ambulance comes down to deliver a patient, while their ambulance is being resupplied, we can bring them in [to the training room] and have a halfhour or hour-long training for them,” Brodigan says. The new station will also house an important piece of fire-fighting equipment—a one hundred-foot aerial platform that allows the department to respond to fires on multi-story structures. The department recently received state funding to buy the new apparatus, he says, but, lacking room at the old 5-1 station, Brodigan says, it was housed a few miles away. A second new fire station is being built in the Northern Valley, at Caswell


Lakes. A groundbreaking ceremony for that facility took place in July, and the station, being built by Howdie Construction, is expected to be complete in spring 2015. The community is between Willow and Talkeetna. Caswell Lakes, until 2008, had no fire service. Historically, the area had been mostly home to vacationers. But more people are living there year-round, he says, and the needs of the community are changing. Brodigan says between 2006 and 2007, there were four structure fires in the area. Lacking a fire service area, fire responders couldn’t respond. So although there had been several unsuccessful attempts in the last twenty years to create a Caswell Lakes fire service area, voters there overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to create the fire service area in 2008. Brodigan says the catalyst for pursing the creation of the new fire service area was Butch Moore, a land developer building an upscale eighty-two-parcel subdivision in the area. Moore, he says, discovered that it was impossible to get insurance to build homes without a fire service area.

Brodigan says the $2 million fire station will have a forty thousand-gallon underground water storage tank, plus room for fire response equipment— mostly surplus items from other fire service areas until new apparatus can be purchased. Brodigan said State Senator Michael Dunleavy sponsored the fire station funding. He also helped the borough get money for three other warm storage buildings for the Willow area. Adding warm storage buildings decreases fire response times and boosts ISO ratings. ISO is a company that analyzes property and casualty risks. Many insurance companies rely on ISO ratings to determine the ultimate cost of insurance. Higher ISO ratings generally mean longer fire response times and higher risk of property damage due to fire. Adding warm storage buildings is a placeholder, Brodigan says. The borough has three years to build a new fire station to replace the temporary buildings, he says, or it may lose the lower ISO rating. For homeowners, a lower ISO rating means lower insurance rates—often by hundreds of dollars each year.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

“It does cost money for the services to meet some of the conditions for ISO, but it pales in comparison to the literally millions of dollars a year residents are saving,” he says. A new fire station for West Lakes, near Big Lake, is planned soon. Brodigan says the station will be similar in size to Station 5-1 near the hospital and will likely cost around $8 million. The borough currently has about $5 million of that in hand and plans for the facility can be finalized as soon as the remaining funding is in place, likely by 2016. Brodigan’s department has more in store. With industrial development happening at Port MacKenzie, Brodigan says borough officials are preparing for a new kind of fire service area. “There’s going to be a need for perhaps a much more advanced hazmat response,” Brodigan says. He envisions a combined fire, emergency medical, rescue, and law enforcement facility, perhaps with room for a small medical clinic.

Room to Read and Learn The Talkeetna community has for years been asking for a larger library and com-

munity meeting space. Ground broke in July on a project to build a 7,800-squarefoot facility near X-Y Lakes Park just outside Talkeetna. The $5.3 million facility was designed by Architects Alaska and is being built by E&E Construction. It’s expected to be complete by spring 2015. “While Talkeetna is growing, the area we serve is far more than Talkeetna,” says Talkeetna Librarian Ann Yadon. “The other aspect is our building—it wouldn’t be economically feasible to try to expand the current one.” Yadon says the central area of the building was a 1950s-era Federal Aviation Administration house that was moved to the library site in 1985. It’s been added onto over the years, and Yadon says numerous problems have surfaced. The wiring is inadequate, the building has foundation problems, its entrances do not meet Americans with Disability Act requirements, and much more. There is no multi-purpose room for homeschoolers and their students to meet or for age-specific programming such as a teen reading group to meet. Food programs offered at other libraries during the summer aren’t available

in Talkeetna due to lack of space. Yadon says the building is being built with support from several sources. The state library matching fund allocated about $2.8 million for the project. The Rasmuson Foundation gave a $500,000 grant, Mat-Su Health Foundation donated $135,000, and the local Friends of Talkeetna Public Library group donated $30,000 and is working on raising more. Yadon says the new library will offer a reading area for adults, a multipurpose room that will give Wi-Fi users a place to sit, a larger meeting area for children and more space for a children’s book collection, and a dedicated teen area, among other amenities. One of the aspects of the new building Yadon is most looking forward to is a larger collection space. The existing library collection is tiny and must be meticulously curated or the space will be drowning in books. “I will be able to have a better depth of collection, because I’ll have room to keep it,” Yadon says. R Freelance journalist Rindi White writes from Palmer.

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special section

Building Alaska

Air-Cranes Improving Construction in Alaska Vision and diversification benefit development By Tom Anderson


Logging Origins It was forty-three years ago in Oregon when second-generation logger Jack Erickson leased an S-64E Skycrane helicopter for his business Erickson Lumber Company. In the logging industry, mobility and lift capacity are essential to timber harvesting and sales. Erickson

© Erickson Aviation

ometimes the origin of a business can be as fascinating as its services and work product. When it comes to the everyday communications Alaskans enjoy, like cell phone service and internet connections, one might not consider just how difficult it was to bring such technology to fruition.

An aerial crane operator working the controls in the aft seat of an Erickson Air-Crane. 38

employed a system of reconfiguring the Sikorsky skycranes to be adaptable to log extraction and delivery. Erickson purchased more helicopters thereafter and eventually purchased the S-64 Type Certificate from Sikorsky in 1992. The company now manufactures and maintains the aircraft (renamed “Air-Crane”) from its facility in Central Point, Oregon. “Our air-cranes are in high demand and travel the world for contracts,” notes David Sell, sales manager for Erickson Aviation in Alaska. Sell delineated that the company has air-cranes on contract year-round with oil companies in South America, but they come north to Alaska for spot construction. Typically the Erickson S-64F Air-Crane is used in-between projects in the Lower 48 like controlling California wildfires or installing high power lines. The air-crane flies up to Alaska at one hundred knots per hour. The pilot can only fly by Visual Flight Rules, so day travel and weather infringe on the ease of transporting the rig to the state. When it comes to landing, the rotor wash (the stirring up of air in the immediate vicinity of the rotor blades) is significant, and the air-cranes must land at airports and specific landing zones so as not to disrupt vegetation and Alaska fauna in remote locations. Sell says Erickson tries to secure multiple contracts in Alaska over a season so it saves on mobilization/demobilization

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

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An Erickson Air-Crane on the ground at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

costs and time. “The S-64F burns five hundred gallons of Jet A fuel per hour,” he says. He explains that without a combination of clients and projects in the state at one time, the use of the equipment would be cost-prohibitive for Erickson, and that’s why the company values and appreciates its clients and network of Alaska businesses who utilize its helicopter services. The company’s website overviews the performance specs for the Air-Crane S-64F, which includes a capacity of three people, maximum load capacity of twenty-five thousand pounds, maximum speed 104 kilowatts, and maximum range on one fuel tank of 240 miles (386 kilometers). The helicopter has twin Pratt & Whitney engines.

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Photo by Ted St. George, STG Incorporated

Erickson Air-Crane setting module on Gill Mountain July 2013.

for big projects that standard helicopters cannot withstand, typical in Alaska. Erickson is one of the few air-crane service companies operating in Alaska. If one calls the majority of crane companies in the state and references a need for preci-

“When a three hundred-foot communications tower has to be placed in these typically inaccessible locations, and a land crane can’t access the terrain or elevation, an air-crane is necessary to reach the project and not harm the environment.”

—Colleen Kelly Director of Marketing and Business Development, STG

Erickson Air-Crane transporting communication tower section at Kwiktalik July 2013.

sion heavy-lift work, Erickson seems to be the point of contact and referral. Erickson has operation hubs in Anchorage, Dead Horse, Nome, and Valdez. The company’s Alaskan fleet includes on-ground or access to helicopters like the AStar, which was the first helicopter type to land on the summit of Mount Everest in 2005. The Bell 206, 212, and 412 are used in the north, as is the Bo105. The S-64 Air-Crane is the company’s signature aerial heavy-lift machine. Projects in play this year include working with STG, a subsidiary of Calista Corporation and contractor for GCI, to build telecom lines up the west coast of Alaska and towards the east. Every summer is a different phase. When the STG 2014 phase is complete, Erickson’s team heads to Deadhorse for ConocoPhilips to move 2 million pounds of tundra. This particular reclamation work will take over a month. When ConocoPhilips uses equipment on the Arctic tundra, the company is responsible for preserving the vegetation and soil pursuant stringent state and fed-

eral environmental standards. Since the tundra can’t be driven on by equipment, Erickson’s air-crane retrieves the super sacks of sod and tundra and moves them to specific locations where workers shuttled by Erickson’s Bell 212s will sow sod by hand for redistribution. The environment can be rejuvenated and the ecosystem preserved, in large part because of the mighty, yet gentle, air-crane. After the ConocoPhillips tundra removal project, Erickson goes to work for the State of Alaska removing old telecom sites off the summit of mountains near Glennallen.

The STG, GCI, and Erickson Nexus STG, Inc. is an Anchorage-based heavy industry contractor providing construction services and management of projects since 1991. In 2001 STG purchased an established crane company and renamed it Alaska Crane, Ltd. In 2013 STG acquired the eleven-year-old Terra Foundations, the specialty pile foundation installation company that focuses on building foundations for rural Alaskan bridges, schools, utilidors, and remote structures in the Alaskan wilderness. In that same year, Alaska Native Corporation Calista purchased STG, including Alaska Crane. STG Director of Marketing and Business Development Colleen Kelly explains that STG’s expertise is overseeing logistics for tower installations, such as the huge multi-year project installing new communications towers underway by telecom company GCI. An air-crane like the Erickson S-64F is essential for the GCI telecom projects in western and interior Alaska, notes Kelly, as she describes the building phases and process. “STG delivers equipment to rural locations in extreme remote conditions and then builds the foundations, from the digging and pouring of concrete to the rebar installation.”

Photo by Jason Sellars, STG Incorporated


Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

She explains that “when a three hundred-foot communications tower has to be placed in these typically inaccessible locations, and a land crane can’t access the terrain or elevation, an air-crane is necessary to reach the project and not harm the environment.” In a sense, it’s the only means by which to raise and position the towers, and the lack of such a crane would eliminate communications for Alaskans in rural communities. “You really have to make sure the equipment installed can operate on its own with limited maintenance and oversight considering the remote location and difficulty in access,” says Kelly. This year heavy lifts were scheduled for TERRA Yukon with STG and Erickson in Galena, Grant, Tanana, Melovitna, and Gold in mid to late July, weather dependent. In 2013 TERRA Northwest Phase 2 STG used Erickson’s air-cranes outside of Nome for communications tower placement after STG built the foundations. Last year weather delayed the project almost ten days. GCI’s TERRA project involves building a “hybrid terrestrial fiber-optic and microwave network to serve Alaska’s remote and regional regions,” according to the TERRA GCI website. In 2011 TERRA Southwest Middle Mile Network involved four hundred miles of new fiber optic cable and thirteen new microwave towers that provide broadband networking between sixty-five communities. In 2012 TERRA Southwest Last Mile Internet was completed as well as TERRA Northwest Phase 1 involving the installation of two microwave towers and three remote repeaters which connected Grayling to Unalakleet to Shaktoolik. Then in 2013 Erickson and STG teamed up on TERRA Northwest Phase 2, installing three remote repeaters and one microwave tower that connected Shaktoolik to Nome.

tight while winching vehicles and equipment up and down so the helicopter doesn’t have to land at the project site. Fast forward to modern day construction projects in remote Alaska villages and commercial development sites, and the utility of such air-crane operations is comprehensive. There are other air-crane companies that have operated in Alaska and across the nation. The service and unique helicopter are critical to both heavy lifting and environmental protection. Today Erickson’s air-crane operates the largest fleet of S-64 helicopters in

the world. Since its acquisition of certification and manufacturing rights, Erickson is the largest operator and manufacturer of this impressive machine. In the field of construction and heavy lifting by air, the genesis of a company named Erickson is testament to how vision and diversification make for a successful combination that is now benefitting Alaska development. R Tom Anderson writes from Alaska.

From Noble Beginnings to Critical Applications Sell recalls that the first flight of the turboshaft-powered S-64 Skycrane was in 1962 with the US Army, and the remarkable helicopter would later be used in Vietnam for transporting military heavy equipment and in downed-aircraft retrieval operations. Multiple aviation books and fact databases confirm that this style of helicopter was highly successful in missions, able to hold cargo

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


special section

Compiled by ABM staff

Building Alaska

Denali Commission

Construction Projects Expansion of act and funding authority helps rural Alaska grow St. Paul will get a new dock this summer.

Editor’s Note: We found the greatest number of rural projects this summer through the Denali Commission, which is experiencing new growth. We thought our readers would like to know some of the recent changes we found on the website ( as printed below, as well as what the projects are. We’d like to thank Senior Program Manager Tessa Axelson for her help with the summer projects review. Thank you Tessa!


he Denali Commission Act of 1998 established the Denali Commission (Commission) to deliver services of the federal government in the most cost-effective manner by reducing administrative and overhead costs. As part of the act, the

Commission’s mission of providing job training and other economic development services in rural communities was established with a specific focus on promoting rural development and providing power generation, transition facilities, modern com-

© Patrick Endres/


Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

munication systems, water and sewer systems, and other infrastructure needs in rural Alaska. Since its inception, the Denali Commission Act of 1998 has been updated several times expanding its mission to include the planning and construction of health care facilities and the establishment of the Denali Access System Program for surface transportation infrastructure and waterfront transportation projects. Most recently, the Denali Commission Act was again expanded to include the authority for the Commission to accept funding from other federal agencies as well as gifts or donations for the purpose of carrying out the act. The Denali Commission’s funding has traditionally included federal congressional appropriations through the Energy and Water appropriations committee. In addition, the Commission also receives funds from sources such as the US Department of Agriculture and from the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Liability Trust Fund for energy projects. In recent legislation, the Commission acquired new authority within its statute that allows the Commission to

accept gifts or donations of services, property, or money from non-federal entities; the Commission is also able to accept transfers of funds from other federal agencies to carry out any activities that are authorized in its mission.

TRANSPORTATION n King Salmon-Naknek School Bus Road Reconstruction: Commission funds $1,440,633 and a local match of $131,607. This Bristol Bay Boroughmanaged project reconstructs area roads used by school buses, improving drainage, structural section, alignment, and surfacing to improve safety and driving conditions. SAC construction and R&M Engineering.

deteriorated dock to improve safety and functionality. PND engineering and Iliamna Lake Contractors. n Nenana 9th Avenue Reconstruction: Commission funding $1,348,919. This citymanaged project reconstructs a pioneer road to local streets standards to improve local traffic circulation and driver safety. PDC Engineering and project out to bid. n St. Paul Dock: Commission funding $1,000,000 and a local match of $500,000. This tribally-managed project provides a dock for fishing fleet freight and supplies transfers. DHI Consulting Engineers and STG, Inc. construction.

n Iliamna Dock Rehabilitation: Commission funding $608,000 and a local match of $152,000. This Lake and Peninsula Borough-managed project rehabilitates the existing

n Seldovia Small Boat Harbor Floats, Ramp and Utilities Replacement: Commission funding $843,054 and a local

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match of $1,000,000. This city-managed project replaces deteriorated floats, ramps, and utilities to improve safety and functionality. MB Engineering and Harris Sand and Gravel. n Manokotak Heights Road Reconstruction: Commission funds $4,570,000 and a combined local match of $3,170,000. This project, being constructed by FHWA, brings the community’s main road up to arterial standards to improve safety and driving conditions. WFLHD engineering and Ridge Contractors. n Tununak Community Streets Improvements: Commission funding $2,996,105. This project, being constructed by FHWA, replaces an old trail/road system in the village with a board road system that provides access to community destinations and river access points that

serve local commercial and subsistence fishing vessels, and subsistence hunting and gathering vessels. WFLHD engineering and Carpenter Construction. n Perryville Barge Landing: Commission funding $1,000,000 and a combined local match of $1,000,000. This project, being constructed by US Army Corps of Engineers, constructs a new barge landing ramp that also serves as a commercial fishing boat launch/retrieval ramp, eliminating the community’s need to store vessels at remote harbors during the winter. USACE engineering and SAGA Constructors. n Naukati Boat Harbor Reconstruction: Commission funding $1,000,000. This project, being constructed by DOT&PF, replaces the

deteriorated approach, ramp, floats, and utilities to serve local and visitor commercial and recreational fleet vessels. DOT&PF engineering and Tamico, Inc. Contractors. n Emmonak Community Streets Improvements: Commission funding $1,819,400 and a local match $1,155,784. This project, being constructed by DOT&PF, brings local roads up to local street standards, improving safety and driving conditions. DOT&PF engineering and Bering Pacific Contractors. n Tanacross Community Road Improvements: Commission funding $1,000,000 and a local match of $500,000. This project, being constructed by DOT&PF, brings local roads up to local street standards, improving safety and driving conditions. DOT&PF engineering and Exclusive Paving Contractors.

HEALTH PROGRAMS n Tyonek—5,300-square-foot Primary Care Clinic: Providing outpatient medical services, trauma medical treatment, behavioral health services, pharmaceutical distribution, preventive care/screenings and immunizations, dental treatment, and housing for itinerant medical and dental staff. Designed by Larson Consulting Group. Construction by Force Account utilizing local labor. n Koyukuk—1,500-squarefoot Primary Care Clinic following Denali Commission prototype: Providing outpatient medical services, trauma medical treatment, pharmaceutical distribution, preventive care/screenings and immunizations, dental treatment, and housing 44

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

for itinerant medical and dental staff. Designed by Larson Consulting Group. Construction by Force Account utilizing local labor and contracted construction by Watermark. n Venetie—2,269-square-foot Primary Care Clinic: Providing outpatient medical services, trauma medical treatment, behavioral health services, pharmaceutical distribution, preventive care/screenings and immunizations, dental treatment, and housing for itinerant medical and dental staff. Force Account utilizing local labor. Designed by K+A designstudios (formerly Kluge and Associates) based in Kenai. The Denali Commission notes that construction of additional clinics this summer in the communities of Chistochina, Hoonah, and Shishmaref is being managed by either ANTHC (Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium) or regional health organizations.

ENERGY PROGRAMS n St. George Bulk Fuel Upgrade (Commission Funding: $1,000,000): A new facility to provide storage for 170,000 gallons of diesel fuel and gasoline for the community. n Tatitlek Bulk Fuel Upgrade (Commission Funding: $1,472,000): A new 27,000-gallon, code-compliant bulk fuel tank farm with a truck transfer secondary containment area, truck fill headers, and a retail dispensing facility. n Nunam Iqua Rural Power System Upgrade (Commission Funding: $760,000): A new, modular power plant that will include energy efficient

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


generators with a total capacity of roughly 850 kW, fully automated switchgear with remote monitoring, and new distribution and heat recovery system to supply heat to the water treatment plant and washeteria. n Emmonak Bulk Fuel and Rural Power System Upgrades (Commission Funding: $11,925,000): A 3 megawatt power plant and 560,000 gallon bulk fuel storage for the power plant to serve the communities of Alakanuk and Emmonak, Alaska. The project also includes a new fuel tank for the water treatment plant. Designed by Hattenburg, Dilley and Linnell, LLC (HDL) and constructed by STG, Inc. n Ocean Renewable Power Company (Commission Funding: $686,205): Demonstration of the Ocean Renewable Power Company

(ORPC) RivGen hydrokinetic device in Igiugig. n St. George RPSU (Commission Funding: $2,100,000): A new power plant containing four 210kW generators with automated controls and switchgear, upgrades to the electrical distribution system, and a heat recovery system to provide heat to up to four community buildings. n Shishmaref Bulk Fuel Uprade (Commission Funding: $2,517,778): A new facility to provide storage for 151,000 gallons of fuel, comprised of 87,000 gallons of diesel, 58,000 gallons of gasoline, a 6,000 gallon dual product dispensing tank, a retail dispenser, and an extension of the existing barge fill lines to the new facility. n Stebbins-Saint Michael Intertie (Commission Funding: $2,610,000): An

overhead electric power intertie between the communities of Stebbins and Saint Michael. Designed by Electric Power Systems, Inc. (EPS) and will be constructed by STG, Inc. n Stebbins Rural Power System Upgrade (Commission Funding: $5,535,000): A new power plant that includes three new diesel generators, automated switchgear and controls, and a heat recovery system that would allow excess heat to be captured off the engines and transferred to the planned adjacent water treatment plant. The power plant will also have the ability to integrate local renewable energy resources in the future. Designed by HDL and constructed by STG, Inc. R SOURCE: Denali Commission


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Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014


Medical Professionals for Rural Alaska Working together on the challenges of remote healthcare By Vanessa Orr


espite the fact that Alaska is the largest state in the nation, more than half of its population lives within the Anchorage metropolitan area, where they have the opportunity to access high-quality healthcare. For those who live in more remote areas, including rural communities without access to road or ferry systems, finding help for acute or chronic health conditions can often be a challenge.

ample, it only took a few days of fog to cause real complications for providers taking care of a patient who they were trying to transport out of the village. “We are very fortunate to have community health aides in some of the smaller communities, who are marvelous practitioners to have on staff, and to be able to partner them with midlevel providers in some of the larger villages,” he adds. “We also bring out physicians to the villages on a periodic basis—maybe three or four times a year—who meet with patients, review the work of the on-site providers, and consult as needed with those providers throughout the year.”

“It really is incredibly challenging to deliver remote healthcare; you can only get to many of these areas by slow boat or small plane, and it The Front Line of Care When a person gets sick or has an acdoesn’t even require extreme cident in a remote area, the first healthweather to create a problem.” care provider that they usually come into —Eric Gettis Director of Practice Management SEARHC

To this end, a number of different providers—ranging among community health aides, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and doctors—work together to provide the care that each community needs. Healthcare providers are also taking advantage of stateof-the-art technology to make sure that patients are receiving the best possible care through telemedicine, linking those in remote locations to the expertise of physicians and specialists in the state’s larger cities. “It really is incredibly challenging to deliver remote healthcare; you can only get to many of these areas by slow boat or small plane, and it doesn’t even require extreme weather to create a problem,” explains Eric Gettis, director of practice management, SEARHC (Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium). “This summer, for ex48

contact with is a village-based physician assistant, nurse practitioner, and/or community health aide, trained by the Alaska Native Tribal Health System through its Community Health Aide Program. The Community Health Aide Program is designed to offset challenges such as geography, the high cost of travel and transport, inclement weather, populations too small to support physicians or midlevel providers, and issues in recruiting trained health care professionals. “We really rely on the community health aides; they are our eyes and ears when it comes to knowing what is going on with families,” explains Matt Hirschfeld, MD, PhD, medical director of Maternal Child Health Services at the Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) and co-chair, executive committee, the All Alaska Pediatric Partnership. “The training that they go through is very extensive; there are five different levels of community health aides, and by the time they reach the fifth level, they are as good as most physicians at diagnos-

ing and treating common problems.” The health aides are also provided with a practitioner manual, which includes current treatment guidelines, an emergency field handbook, and a therapeutic medicine handbook. “This manual covers almost everything that a community health aide will see in a village,” adds Hirschfeld. “For example, it tells the health aide what to do when they have a two-monthold child with a fever, such as what questions to ask and what medicines to give.” All of the community health aides work under the supervision of a licensed provider, who stays in touch by telephone, computer, and on-site visits. “One of the advantages to this program is that the health aides often come from the villages they serve; they grew up there and know the people that they’re helping, which provides a lot of continuity,” says Hirschfeld, estimating that there are roughly 550 community health aides working in the state. In addition to community health aides, dental health aide therapists are increasingly being placed in many villages. Despite the fact that this program is relatively new, there has already been a significant improvement in dental health in villages that have a dental health aide therapist. Depending on the area being served, treatment is not only limited to the Alaska Native population, either; in more remote areas, for example, SEARHC practitioners treat anyone who needs medical assistance, as compared to Juneau, where services are limited to Alaska Native corporation beneficiaries. Patients in remote villages are treated for both injuries and illnesses and acute and chronic medical conditions. “Going out to the villages, for the most part, most of the kids we see are pretty healthy,” says Hirschfeld. “But there are a significant number of kids with chronic diseases, es-

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Landye_Schmidt_AKBusMon_2013_Layout 1 12/20/12 11:00 AM Page 1

“Going out to the villages, for the most part, most of the kids we see are pretty healthy, but there are a significant number of kids with chronic diseases, especially if they are NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] graduates; many of these kids suffer from lung problems, difficulties in eating, and neurological problems like seizure disorders.”

—Matt Hirschfeld MD, PhD, Medical Director of Maternal Child Health Services Alaska Native Medical Center

pecially if they are NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] graduates; many of these kids suffer from lung problems, difficulties in eating, and neurological problems like seizure disorders.” “Without the great care of the community health aides, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and family medicine physicians in rural Alaska, many of these children wouldn’t be able to stay at home,” he adds, citing the example of a child who is fed through a gastrostomy tube because he or she can’t take food by mouth. “If these providers weren’t available to care for these children in their villages, they would have to live in one of the larger regional hubs like Nome or Kotzebue or they would have to relocate to Anchorage; and that’s not easy for any family.” While those on the front line are taking care of patients, organizations like SEARHC understand that it’s important to take care of the caregivers, too. “In communities like Kake, providers deal with a very broad spectrum of acute condition care, as well as chronic disease care like hypertension, diabetes management, ongoing heart conditions, and post-stroke care,” says Gettis. “In many places, there is only one health care provider in the village, which means that they are on call twenty-four hours a day. “We’ve established a nurse triage line throughout our consortium so that, after hours, anyone can call and speak with a registered nurse to review any questions they have about medications or discuss

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more serious problems,” he adds. “The nurse can then make a determination about what needs to be done, based on stringent medical protocols established by physicians. This is a great benefit to staff in remote areas that need to be able to get some rest in order to be at their peak performance during daylight hours.”

Increasing Access through Telemedicine While telemedicine has been around for a number of years, until recently older technology made it difficult for physicians to use it with any consistency. “Telemedicine used to be terribly frustrating for both the healthcare provider and the patient, but newer technology is showing very good potential for solving many of the problems that we used to have,” says Gettis. “While we’ve primarily been using it for behavioral health consultations, we are currently working with ANTHC to expand our ability to provide consulting services on a range of health issues. “Telemedicine provides many advantages to patients; they are able to stay in their communities without having to

“While many things can be handled in the village, some things can’t, such as kids with tracheotomies who are on ventilators or who need long-term IV antibiotics with a central line. There are a group of kids who stay in Anchorage until they are well enough to go home, which can take a couple weeks or even years.”

—Matt Hirschfeld MD, PhD, Medical Director of Maternal Child Health Services Alaska Native Medical Center

travel, especially for short consultations,” he adds. “It’s not an easy thing for a lot of people to fly, especially if they are in fragile health.” According to Gettis, SEARHC hopes to expand their telemedicine offerings in the next six to twelve months, which will provide patients with access to a number of different specialists. ANMC is increasingly doing more with telemedicine, including participating in a pilot program out of Nome where providers can consult with the hospital’s doctors using an iPad. “Through this program, we are actually able to see and hear kids in the village clinic or at the hospital, which enables

us to provide a more thorough consultation because we can better determine how sick they are,” says Hirschfeld. “With the bandwidth we have now, we are able to do live video visits for the first time,” he adds. “Before, we could take a picture of a child’s rash, but now we have the ability to see the complete child. This completely changes the face of healthcare. It not only revolutionizes the ease of care for the family, but will result in higher quality care at a decreased cost. There’s a huge need for improved telemedicine care for rural Alaska families, especially for those with chronic healthcare needs.”

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Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Unfortunately, not all patients are able to remain in remote communities for treatment, but ANMC is working to make life a little easier for those who have to leave home. “While many things can be handled in the village, some things can’t, such as kids with tracheotomies who are on ventilators or who need long-term IV antibiotics with a central line,” says Hirschfeld. “There are a group of kids who stay in Anchorage until they are well enough to go home, which can take a couple weeks or even years.” To help these families, ANMC, in cooperation with the state, is building housing for those out-of-town families. “The top floor of the six-story building will be dedicated to moms with high-risk pregnancies and their families, as well as families of kids needing high levels of care that is not available in rural Alaska,” says Hirschfeld. The housing is expected to be completed by summer of 2016.

Building Healthier Communities One of the best ways to prevent chronic health problems is to stop them from developing in the first place. To this

end, SEARHC is focusing on specific initiatives to educate its clients about different conditions and to promote medical screenings, while the All Alaska Pediatric Partnership (AAPP) is targeting mothers and children to try to give babies the best start in life. “Because we believe that cancer screening is exceptionally important, we have initiatives in place to provide cancer education and promote breast, cervical, and colon cancer screening,” says Gettis. “Diabetes is also a very serious problem that has huge and devastating effects on our communities, so we offer diabetes self-management education, lifestyle balance classes, and medical nutrition therapy.” SEARHC’s extensive health promotion program also focuses on women’s health and healthy eating and includes a traditional foods program. “While prevention has traditionally not been a strength of health care in the US, the All Alaska Pediatric Partnership is working on changing that outlook in Alaska,” says Hirschfeld of the organization that links health care services for children between government, healthcare entities, social services, and

payers. “Similar to some other entities in the state, AAPP is working on transitioning care in Alaska from a sick-care model to a well-care model.” According to AAPP Executive Director Stephanie Monahan, the organization was established in 1995 as a way to bring hospitals in Anchorage together to talk about maternal/child health issues in the state. “We have now transitioned to become a driver of change to ensure that children and families have the opportunity to meet their full potential,” she explains. AAPP partners with the large hospitals in the state, including ANMC; The Children’s Hospital at Providence; Mat-Su Regional; Alaska Regional; Fairbanks Memorial; Tanana Valley clinics; ANTHC hospitals in Norton Sound, Yukon-Kuskokwim, and Dillingham; Bartlett Regional; and Central Peninsula Hospital, as well as the State of Alaska Department of Public Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics. AAPP focuses on four distinct initiatives: increasing breastfeeding, increasing immunization rates, decreasing child abuse and neglect, and increasing access to a primary care provider in a patient-centered medical home. As part




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“The program, which is now in twenty-five states, assists states in identifying at-risk children and improves access to existing resources and community-based services for children through age eight. Even when needs are identified, finding programs designed to address specific needs can be confusing and time-consuming. We hope to work with our partners to design a comprehensive provider and community outreach program with a centralized information and referral center to link families with needed resources.”

—Stephanie Monahan Executive Director, All Alaska Pediatric Partnership

of the initiative to decrease child abuse and neglect, AAPP is promoting the Triple P Positive Parenting Program, which provides training for those who have regular contact with parents and caregivers. An evidence-based intervention for providers that teaches them how to help parents who are struggling with the difficulties of raising children in today’s world, a pilot program will launch this fall in a rural Alaskan community. “Our goal is to start this at the community level, then take it statewide. We want to make sure that families know who to contact for help by providing a consistent, proven message,” says Monahan, adding that AAPP is grateful to the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority for providing the funding to make the program possible. AAPP and numerous community partners will also be coming together in the fall to design the Help Me Grow Alaska system, which will connect atrisk children with the services they need. Early detection and connection to services has been proven to lead to the best outcomes for children with developmental or behavioral challenges. “The

torn acl

sleep apnea

Outpatient knee surgery, 1996

Diagnosed and treated, 2004

ankle reconstruction

program, which is now in twenty-five states, assists states in identifying atrisk children and improves access to existing resources and community-based services for children through age eight,” says Monahan. “Even when needs are identified, finding programs designed to address specific needs can be confusing and time-consuming. We hope to work with our partners to design a comprehensive provider and community outreach program with a centralized information and referral center to link families with needed resources.” No matter how remote a community, medical providers are finding ways to meet residents’ health care needs. “Healthcare, as with many things, is in a constant state of flux,” says Gettis. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we will continue to work to create healthy communities as a way to reduce unnecessary expenses and create the kind of environment that we all want to have.” R Vanessa Orr is the former editor of the Capitol City Weekly in Juneau.

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Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014


The Wilson Agency LLC

The Wilson Agency Celebrates 50 Years of Bringing Benefits to Life n August, The Wilson Agency reached a momentous milestone: The firm celebrated 50 years of business in Anchorage. The accomplishment represents a great deal of hard work, innovation, determination and calculated risk taking. Today, The Wilson Agency is Alaska’s largest employee benefits firm, boasting 22 employees, solid longterm client relationships and a sterling reputation that has made them what they are today. The Wilson Agency provides brokerage services to help organizations find the appropriate insurance for medical, dental, vision, disability and life, as well as group retirement services. The firm’s highly qualified team also provides strategic advice, education, advocacy and communication services, and tools that build a robust employee benefits package that adds value to organizations. “Our goal is to leverage every possible method to save our clients’ money, as well as advocate on their behalf to get the best value for every dollar spent,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Lon Wilson. “From hiring to retiring, we advise clients on the full spectrum of workforce solutions and employee benefits.” COMMITMENT TO ALASKA A key philosophy of The Wilson Agency centers on the idea of keeping Alaska strong by retaining revenue, stimulating economic development, and creating jobs here in Alaska. “We believe that if we don’t work with Alaskans, we won’t be ‘Alaskan’ much longer,” said Wilson, who was born and raised in Alaska. “This means bringing to bear tools and services that are often available only through

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Firm empowers people to lead a life of significance

large, multi-national companies and developing the intellectual capital of our people.” For example, The Wilson Agency became a Charter Partner of United Benefit Advisors (UBA) in 2002. UBA is the country’s largest privately-held employee benefits advisory group, with 140 of the most successful, trusted and independent team members in North America and Europe. “As a partner of UBA, The Wilson Agency is able to maintain its local, independent, responsive and flexible characteristics while leveraging the advantages of a larger, national firm,” Wilson said. The Wilson Agency also stands apart from the competition through its experience with a diversity of businesses, consulting approach, depth of resources, and expertise of its employees. “Our company is known for being good at what we do, and that all comes down to the people who work for us,” Wilson said. “If we don’t provide service that is outstanding and continue to set the bar higher and higher, we quickly become irrelevant.” –



AWARDS AND FUTURE PLANS The quality, corporate culture, and reputation that distinguish The Wilson Agency translate into a variety of honors, including #2 Best Places to Work in Alaska (2014), Alaska Chamber Bill Bivin Small Business of the Year Award Finalist (2013), the Anchorage Chamber Gold Pan Award Finalist (2014 & 2012), Alaska Chapter, Society of Human Resource Management Employer of the Year (2006), and UBA Firm of the Year (2006). Currently, The Wilson Agency is focusing on solidifying its niche in the marketplace. The company is discussing a potential merger with a Washington state firm in January 2015. Regardless of the outcome, The Wilson Agency will continue to be a conduit for innovative programs and services that serve as solutions for Alaska businesses to remain strong, Wilson says.

Lon Wilson, President & Chief Executive Officer 3000 A St., Suite 400 I Anchorage, Alaska 99503 907- 277-1616 I


Employer Health Insurance Options Promoting wellness among Alaska employees By Tracy Barbour


ealth insurance is an important component of a competitive employee benefits package. Employers in Alaska can choose from a variety of health insurance options based on their group size, plan design specifications, costs, and other considerations to meet their employees’ needs. Health insurance for employees can include medical, dental, vision, prescription drug, hearing, and certain disability coverage, depending on how much employers want and can afford to spend. Employers can also offer wellness programs and employee assistance programs that help workers deal with personal, family, and work-related issues. Popular health insurance options in Alaska include preferred provider organization (PPO) plans that enable businesses to save money by using in-network contractors and high-deductible consumer-driven plans that result in lower costs overall for employers and employees. Larger employers may opt to self-insure to curtail their costs. Starting in 2015, businesses with the equivalent of fifty or more full-time employees must provide “affordable” health insurance or pay a tax penalty under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These employers must provide certain benefits with every health plan, such as dental and pediatric coverage. However, businesses with fewer than fifty full-time-equivalent employees don’t have to provide health insurance coverage to their employees. Those that do may receive certain federal tax credits.

Buying Insurance Benefits Alaska employers typically obtain health insurance plans through producers (brokers or agents) that sell products from various insurance com54

“We analyze their current benefits program and evaluate alternative strategies against their desired outcomes. Then we employ what we have learned and combine it with our extensive knowledge and experience in the employee benefits marketplace to create a customized solution with recommendations that support their stated goals and objectives.”

—Craig Kestran Senior Account Executive Benefits Manager Alaska USA Insurance Brokers

panies. Brokers also have the expertise to tailor medical, dental, and other health plans to employers’ budgets and needs. For example, Alaska USA Insurance Brokers, or AUIB, can work with businesses to create a strategic employee benefits plan. The tailored plan, which incorporates health care benefits, is designed to match their immediate and long-term goals. “We analyze their current benefits program and evaluate alternative strategies against their desired outcomes,” Senior Account Executive Benefits Manager Craig Kestran says. “Then we employ what we have learned and combine it with our extensive knowledge and experience in the employee benefits marketplace to create a customized solution with recommendations that support their stated goals and objectives.” He adds that designing a benefits plan offering is just the first step in successfully implementing and managing the overall employee benefits program.

“AUIB will proactively support clients throughout the year with employee communications and education, open enrollment support, regulatory and compliance support, vendor management and performance, client service, and health and wellness consultation,” Kestran says. Employers in Alaska can also purchase health insurance plans directly from companies such as Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, Moda Health, UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, or Cigna. The Federally Facilitated Exchange, commonly called the “Marketplace,” is another alternative for small businesses and individuals. It is essentially a place for individuals to shop for health insurance if they don’t already have insurance coverage from another source.

Plans from Premera Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska has a variety of plans that Alaska employers can choose for their employ-

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

ees. Reportedly the largest network in Alaska, Premera has more than 2,900 physicians and practitioners contracted across the state and 90 percent of the hospitals. The breadth of the company’s network enables employers to give their employees access to health care coverage at lower costs, according to Jim Grazko, president of Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska. “Our goal is to provide the most cost-effective options, security to employees through a wide network to protect them against balance billing, ease of doing business, and top-flight service,” Grazko says. Premera features various plans for small groups (with two to fifty employees) and large groups (with fifty-one or more employees). Medical coverage, for instance, is offered under Select and Plus options. With larger groups, the plans have wider variance with deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, as well as more benefit design flexibility. Here’s how they work: Select plans are the “preferred hospital, any doctor” plans. They typically pay the higher level of benefits when members seek non-emergency care from preferred in-network hospitals and ambulance providers. Members can see physicians and practitioners of their choice, but providers outside the Premera network may “balance bill” the member for the difference between the Premera allowed amount and the billed charge. The Plus option, on the other hand, is the “preferred hospital, preferred doctor plan.” They pay the highest level of benefits when members obtain care from preferred hospitals, ambulance providers, and physicians and practitioners. Those seeking care from nonpreferred providers will have higher cost shares and out-of-pocket costs. Premera’s Select and Plus plans are enhanced by a wellness rewards program that offers health screenings, health assessments through the Premera’s online health portal, wellness coaching, and other benefits. The wellness program is designed to be a winwin for employees and employers. Employees can earn a $150 Visa debit card if they participate in health screening and take a health assessment within a designated time frame. Employers are rewarded with a premium discount for each employee, as well as lower

Stepping up

for better health care

So you can focus on the better things in life. You want us there when you’re feeling good and when you need support. You want us by your side, providing access to care and benefits that grow with you. You want us to help you stay well, with tools that put you in control. At UnitedHealthcare, we’re with you all along your journey: • Choose from a wide range of plans, designed for real-life budgets. – UnitedHealthcare Multi-Choice® plan options offer a fixed-contribution strategy to provide choice with cost dependability. • Online tools for employers to streamline and simplify administration, including online eligibility, enrollment, billing and reporting tools.

©2014 United HealthCare Services, Inc. Insurance coverage provided by or through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or its affiliates. Administrative services provided by United HealthCare Services, Inc. or their affiliates. Health Plan coverage provided by or through a UnitedHealthcare company. UHCAK703134-000

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


“Our goal is to provide the most cost-effective options, security to employees through a wide network to protect them against balance billing, ease of doing business, and top-flight service.”

—Jim Grazko President, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska

ployee absenteeism and higher productivity. “We’re seeing increased sales of plans that have wellness programs as an added benefit to both our groups and their employees,” Grazko says. “It’s a component of both our small and large group offerings.” He adds: “The employer benefits from a reduction to their rates based on their employees’ engagement level, and employees that participate in wellness activities receive monetary incentives for doing so. Both the employer rate credit and employee incentives are included as standard components of our group benefit plan designs.” As another option, employer groups may choose to fully or self-insure with Premera’s Select and Plus plans. The plan design—deductibles, copayments,


coinsurance, and employee contributions—for these options is very similar, but the funding arrangement differs. If employer groups are fully insured, they pay premiums every month and assume no risk for any of the claims incurred by their members. If they self-insure, they are liable for members’ claims. Self-insured plans are designed for employer groups that are willing to assume more risk and be involved in their administration of group benefits. For self-insured groups, Premera administers the plan according to the design and specifications that the employer group has approved.

Moda Health Options Moda Health offers a range of medical and dental plans for small and large

employer groups in Alaska. Most of the health insurance options it offers— about 80 percent—are PPO plans. That’s not surprising, according to Jason Gootee, Moda Health’s regional manager in Alaska. “I think people are comfortable with those types of plans,” he says. “They’re been around for a long time.” The company’s medical small group plans are available in three tiers: gold, silver, and bronze. The gold option, which is the richest benefit level plan, has the lowest deductible and lowers out-of-pocket costs for employees. The silver plans fall somewhere in the middle, with the bronze level having the highest deductible and lowest premium for employers. Silver-level plans, with deductibles ranging from $1,500 to $3,000, are quite popular in Alaska, Gootee says. “I think employers are trending toward silver level plans because they’re not the most expensive, but they’re not the cheapest,” he says. “They provide a good level of coverage for a good level of cost.” Moda Health offers several PPO plans that use contracted physicians and hospitals to save employers money

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

on their health insurance costs. Employers looking for lower premiums can use the Value PPO plans, which have higher copayments and maximum out-of-pocket expenses. The company’s Beneficial PPO plans are ideal for employer groups wanting to reduce premium costs through higher deductibles and office-visit copayment limitations. With all Moda Health’s PPO plans, members can visit any provider they like, but they can receive the best benefits, more choices in doctors, and broader geographic coverage when visiting a contracted provider. Regardless which medical plan they choose, employers are taking on more of their employee’s health insurance costs because of the ACA. Before the ACA took effect, there were no mandated caps on the amount insurance companies could set for out-of-pocket expenses. Now, an employee’s total outof-pocket plan expenses can’t exceed $6,350 for the deductible, copayments, and coinsurance. “It places more of a burden on the employer from the cost standpoint,” Gootee says. He added that the $6,350 maximum

“I think employers are trending toward silver level plans because they’re not the most expensive, but they’re not the cheapest. They provide a good level of coverage for a good level of cost.”

—Jason Gootee Alaska Regional Manager, Moda Health

will rise in the coming years. In 2015, the number will increase to $6,600 per person, with a $13,200 cap set for a family. Moda Health has several provider networks to serve members in Alaska. The networks include Alaska Regional Hospital and Providence Alaska Medical Center as preferred providers of acute care hospital services in the Anchorage area, according to The company’s network covers participating physicians, clinics, and ancillary providers throughout the state.

Coverage from UnitedHealthcare UnitedHealthcare strives to help people live healthier lives by simplifying the healthcare experience, meeting con-

sumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers an array of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. “UnitedHealthcare is proud to serve more than 118,000 people in Alaska through our commercial, Medicare, and military and veterans coverage,” says Public Relations Director Kristen Hellmer. “We work with a broad network in Alaska, including more than nine hundred providers and eighteen hospitals. We have found that high-deductible plans [$3,000 and $5,000 deductible plans] tend to be the most popular.” UnitedHealthcare’s menu of medical plans include a number of options for groups with at least two members.

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September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


“We have seen increased interest in our wellness programs because more employers are recognizing they can support their employees desire to improve their health— and by doing so can create a happier, healthier workforce while reducing costs for employees and the company.”

— Kristen Hellmer Public Relations Director, UnitedHealthcare

Under the Choice plan, employees have a fixed dollar amount for copayments, coinsurance options, and lower out-ofpocket costs for network care. The Choice Plus plan offers the same benefits as the Choice product, plus a certain level of benefits if members choose to obtain care outside the network normally at a higher coinsurance and/or deductible level. The company’s PPO option gives employees the freedom to choose any doctor for their health care needs—without

the need for a referral. However, they can opt to reduce their out-of-pocket costs by visiting a network physician. In either case, members must obtain approvals for network and non-network services. UnitedHealthcare also offers a wide range of incentive-based wellness programs that promote behavior change by rewarding members for making healthy choices and being more personally engaged in improving their health. The programs provide financial incentives for members who take health assessments, sign up for a telephonebased wellness coaching program, lower their cholesterol, lose weight, or even join a gym. The financial incentives can include premium reductions, direct financial contributions to health savings accounts (HSAs), gym reimbursements, and merchant gift cards. “We have seen increased interest in our wellness programs because more employers are recognizing they can support their employees desire to improve their health—and by doing so can create a happier, healthier workforce while reducing costs for employees and the company,” Hellmer says.

UnitedHealthcare has a strong product offering in Alaska, Helmer says. This includes technology advancements, such as the mobile app Health4Me, which brings affordable, transparent healthcare to everyone. “In a time of enormous change, the ability for Alaska businesses working with UnitedHealthcare to offer multiple plan choices to their employees that vary the copays, deductibles, and ultimately the premium cost is a vehicle to empower each employee to make the healthcare decisions that are best for them and their family,” she says.

Consumer-Oriented Plans Consumer-driven health plans enable employers to optimize health care benefit dollars by providing coverage that balances costs, quality, and access. This option involves the use of personal funding accounts to provide health care dollars that employees can use to pay for their qualified medical expenses. Consumer-directed plans rely on HSAs, health reimbursement accounts (HRAs), or flexible spending accounts (FSAs). HSAs are employee-owned, fully portable tax-advantaged accounts that work



When it comes to negotiations, Officer Doug Fifer and Sergeant Julie Shank know all about making tough calls in tense situations to reach a positive outcome. After all, they are both hostage negotiators. But when they decided to help Anchorage make the case as host of the Western States Hostage Negotiators Association Conference, negotiations were a breeze. Thanks to the city’s natural charm and the hard work of Officer Fifer and Sergeant Shank, the group will meet in Anchorage in spring 2015. Officer Doug Fifer and Sergeant Julie Shank THE MEETING: 2015 Western States Hostage Negotiators Association Conference May 12-15, 2015 400 delegates Estimated Economic Impact: $401,527



Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

in combination with a qualified, highdeductible health plan. The account— which can be funded by employees and/ or employers—lets employees save for current and future medical costs for qualified medical expenses through taxdeductible contributions. The funds may be invested in money market accounts, mutual funds, and other financial instruments. Any unused money carries over each year and continues to grow tax-free. Consumer-directed HSA plans are more of a niche market plan in Alaska, according to Gootee. “They’re geared toward people who like taking charge of their own health care,” he says. An HRA is an employer-owned and funded account. Each year, members receive an allocation of funds to pay for their health care. Employers can determine what qualified expenses are covered using the HRA, such as the deductibles, coinsurance, and prescriptions, according to IRS rules. Unlike HSAs, HRAs aren’t portable, so if an employee leaves the company, unused funds remain with the HRA and the employer. FSAs are also a tax-advantaged, employer-sponsored account employees can

use to pay for eligible healthcare expenses. As with HSAs, FSA contributions may be funded by the employee and/or employer. Employee contributions are made pre-tax; employer contributions are taxdeductible. However, FSA funds don’t roll over from year to year, so employees lose any funds that aren’t used. Employers in Alaska can find a variety of options for consumer-directed health care. Moda Health, for example, features HSA plans as part of its Silver and Bronze tiers. The Silver level has deductibles ranging from $1,500 to $2,000, an out-of-pocket-maximum of $5,500, and a 20 to 30 percent copayment/coinsurance for primary care physician office visits. At the Bronze level, the deductible ranges from $3,000 to $4,000, with a $6,350 out-of-pocket maximum and 50 percent for the copayment/coinsurance. At UnitedHealthcare, employers can choose from HSA and HRA funding options to help employees pay for and manage their healthcare expenses. With the HRA option, any type of corresponding health plan arrangement is allowed, while a high-deductible health plan is required to qualify for an HSA.

These consumer-driven health plans are available to employer groups with two or more employees. Premera also offers account options that enable businesses to provide access to health insurance coverage through HSAs, HRAs, and FSAs. These consumeroriented options are available primarily through the company’s large group plans. In Alaska, Premera is noticing an increase in demand for consumer-driven health plans, according to Grazko. That’s particularly true for HSAs, whose higher deductible for the employee translates into a lower premium for employers. From Grazko’s perspective, HSAs have the effect of bringing healthcare costs down overall. He says: “It makes consumers more cost-conscious when they are shopping for care. It’s in contrast to the old-style benefit where you’re paying a lower deductible and everything is covered after that.” Kestran is also seeing more Alaska employers gravitating toward tax-advantaged HRAs or HSAs, as well as steady growth in wellness programs. Employers are also moving toward value-based plan designs, active versus passive PPO

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September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


networks, telemedicine, medical tourism, and specialty networks. Employee tools that provide easy access to provider costs, service quality, and pertinent information on procedures are becoming more commonplace. New trends are also emerging in private health insurance exchanges and referenced-based (fixed) pricing for specific services.

Cost for Coverage The cost for health plans varies widely, with employers typically paying 70 to 75 percent of the monthly premium. Carriers customize coverage for each particular group, so premium rates can be based on myriad factors. These variables include the type of plan, deductible, copayment, network, funding mechanism (fully insured versus partially self-funded) ages, family make up (spouse and number of children), and location. Here’s an example of the monthly premium for Moda’s metallic tier plans, whose rates are statewide-based: An employer with ten employees who are all thirty-five years old could expect monthly premium costs to be approximately $6,825 per month with a $1,000 deductible for the Gold plan; $5,294 a month with a $2,000 deductible for the Silver plan; and $4,181 a month with a $5,000 deductible for the Bronze, according to Gootee. He emphasizes that health plans vary among carriers. Moda Health, for instance, gives members a choice between Alaska Regional Hospital and Providence Alaska Medical Center as a preferred hospital in Anchorage. Not all carriers offer that choice, he says. “There are other variables besides provider networks, such as customer service, copays, coinsurance levels, and value adds, that differentiate plans and carriers,” he says. “Choosing the right health plan for employees is much more than just picking a number; it is finding the right combination of price, provider and hospital access, plan designs and prescription coverage, customer service, and value adds.” Premera says rates for its group plans are competitively priced and primarily based on the deductibles and cost shares. Balancing Plan Design and Costs It’s a significant challenge for employers to balance healthcare coverage with the total cost to provide the benefit to em60

ployees, Kestran says. “Employee benefits costs, including healthcare cost, continue to rise,” he says. “Containing these costs, while maintaining value and employee appreciation, requires a strategic plan that aligns the plan from design to implementation.” Hellmer says many employers are searching for ways to combat rising healthcare costs. “Because lifestyle choices and management of chronic conditions have had a major impact on these rising costs, employers are recognizing the importance of consumer decision-making,” she says. “Employers are increasingly turning to innovative programs, such as the use of incentives, to engage their employees in making healthy lifestyle and medical care decisions.” She adds that UnitedHealthcare offers a continuum of options designed to address the clinical opportunities and complexities of an employer’s workforce. “Whether it is through customized or pre-packaged solutions, plan design changes or additive financial rewards, UnitedHealthcare’s incentive portfolio promotes behavior change by leveraging activities, compliance indicators and/or outcomes,” Hellmer says. Rising health insurance costs are driving another trend among employers in Alaska and elsewhere. Prior to 2014—before the advent of the ACA—employers were inclined to choose higher deductibles to control premium costs, Gootee says. Now, they’re focusing on finding the right mix with the deductible and overall plan costs versus premium costs. However, employers with “grandfathered” health plans—those that were already in place before the ACA was signed into law March 23, 2010—should be careful when making modifications. Altering certain benefits could cause a health plan to lose its grandfathered status. For example, changing from a deductible plan to a copayment plan with no deductible can result in a loss of grandfathered status if the deductible plan has a lower copayment for a particular service. Incidentally, grandfathered plans— which are exempt from certain health care reform provisions—may or may not meet the minimum coverage standards of the ACA. Employers should keep in mind that some carriers are opting not to renew grandfathered plans. For instance,

Moda Health will be moving clients on grandfathered plans to new ACA-compliant plans effective January 1, 2015. “We want to give our members the best benefits possible and newer plans that—in addition to being ACA-compliant—include pharmacy coverage and free preventive care,” Gootee says. Gootee says Moda did allow the grandfathering of individual and small group plans last December, when the Obama administration made the decision to allow extensions of non-ACA compliant plans into 2014. But remaining members on those plans will be moved to ACA-compliant plans in 2015. At Premera, members on individual grandfathered plans will be automatically renewed May 1, 2015, unless they request otherwise. Members of “extended” groups can renew again for 2015 but need to do so by the end of the year. Their plans are those that were purchased after 2010 and did not contain all the required benefits of the ACA. They were supposed to be discontinued in 2014, but the Obama administration allowed for an extension. Incidentally, Premera’s newer metallic plans—in the gold, silver, and bronze categories—are those that were purchased during the ACA’s first open enrollment in the fall of 2013. These plans are ACA-compliant. From Gootee’s perspective, health insurance was complex even before the ACA was implemented. After that, it became more complicated, and he expects to see more of the same in the coming years. Gootee advises employers to work with an insurance broker to ensure their employees’ healthcare needs are met. “Having a licensed insurance agent who is knowledgeable of the market and what is available is a huge asset,” he says. Kestran concurs. Healthcare reform has caused significant complex changes to the healthcare system. And healthcare coverage is one piece of the benefits puzzle, he says. “It is more important now than ever for employers to consult a benefits professional that can assist their business and employees in addressing the changing benefits environment over the long term,” he says. R Freelance writer Tracy Barbour is a former Alaskan.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

special section

Alaska Native Corporations

By Julie Stricker


s they have matured over the past three decades, Alaska’s Native Regional Corporations have increasingly looked to their peoples’ traditional value systems as guiding principles for business. Such philosophies as respect for the land, respect for elders, hard work, cooperation, and sharing are considered when the corporations are making investment decisions, even as they are facing a changing world. Created under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), which created twelve Alaska-based regional and more than two hundred village corporations to settle historic land claims, the corporations divided 44 million acres of land and $962.5 million. The act sought to achieve two goals: foster economic development in Alaska and meet the needs of shareholders through education, improved living conditions, and the preservation of their cultures. Today, the twelve regional corporations are economic powerhouses in Alaska, accounting for $8.6 billion in revenues in fiscal year 2013 and tens of thousands of jobs in the state for their more than one hundred thousand shareholders and descendants, as well as others. They are well-positioned to take advantage of opportunities provided by a warming Arctic and the increased traffic and challenges it may bring in the coming decades.

Ahtna Corporation The Ahtna family of companies continues to grow and includes projects in all fifty states and around the world. The Glennallen-based corporation’s for-profit arm, Ahtna Netiye’, includes fifteen subsidiaries working primarily in government services and construction. Total 2013 revenues were up over 2012, to $201 million, with a $4.9 million profit. 62

Photos courtesy of The Aleut Corporation

Regional Corporation Review Above & Right: The Aleut Corporation hopes to establish a long-delayed pollock fishery in the Aleutians for seed money to develop Adak as a major logistics and Arctic shipping hub.

The corporation plans to continue its successful work in government services but is also looking for ways to diversify, according to Ahtna Netiye’ CEO William Anderson Jr. Ahtna Netiye’ is looking closely at large in-state energy projects for future investments, as well as resource development. In 2013, Ahtna purchased a building in Anchorage to consolidate its Anchorage operations, as well as a building in Sacramento, California, to oversee operations in the Lower 48. Ahtna has more than 1,800 shareholders with roots in the Copper River Valley. During their annual meeting, Ahtna shareholders voted to establish the Ahtna Hwt’aene (People’s) Trust, an ANCSA Settlement Trust created by the board earlier this year. The trust is intended to provide a number of shareholder benefits, such as being a permanent source for shareholder distributions, independent of the corporation’s financial performance. Ahtna, Inc. also continues to pursue federal legislation to allow the Ahtna Intertribal Wildlife Commission, consisting of Ahtna, the Chitina Native Corporation, and the eight federally recognized tribes of the Ahtna region, to manage wildlife on Ahtna lands conveyed under ANCSA. The legislation would authorize a comanagement agreement between Alaska, the federal government, and the Ahtna Intertribal Wildlife Commission for lands within Ahtna’s traditional territory.

The Aleut Corporation For The Aleut Corporation (TAC), 2013 was a year of growth. TAC, headquartered in Anchorage with a land base

in the Aleutian Islands, had gross revenues of $116.2 million in 2013, up 19 percent from 2012. Net revenues before taxes in 2013 were $4.77 million, compared to a loss of $10.8 million in fiscal year 2012. The increase is attributed to Aleut Management Services, a wholly owned subsidiary that saw a profit in 2013 after a significant loss in 2012. Eighty percent of TAC’s revenues are generated through government contracts. It also has subsidiaries overseeing fuel sales and storage businesses, rental properties, and natural resources. The main source of revenue is Aleut Management Services, which provides services to federal agencies such as the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and General Services Administration. Aleut Industrial Services provides oil and well testing service and Patrick Mechanical provides engineering, design, and construction of complex pipe and HVAC systems. In its 2013 annual report, TAC notes “the company’s federal contracting business has faced, and is expected to continue to face, increasing competition, increased proposal costs, and potential adverse changes to the US Small Business Administration 8(a) program.” TAC is looking beyond 8(a) and hopes to establish a long-delayed pollock fishery in the Aleutians. CEO Dave Gillespie notes, “We are in the early planning stages to develop Adak as a major logistics and Arctic shipping hub. We hope that proceeds from the pollock allocation will provide seed money for making the vision a reality.” In fiscal year 2013, The Aleut Foundation awarded 217 scholarships totaling

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) is the largest Alaska-based business, based on revenue, with $2.53 billion in overall revenues in fiscal year 2013, slightly down from 2012. The bulk comes from petroleum refining and marketing, energy support services, and government services. ASRC, which has more than ten thousand employees worldwide, also has holdings in construction, industrial services, and resource development. In 2013, Petrochem, a subsidiary of ASRC Energy Services, became a standalone subsidiary of ASRC. ASRC also acquired Little Red Services, Inc. ASRC Energy Services unveiled a forty-five thousand-square-foot fabrication facility for subsidiary Omega Natchiq in Louisiana in January 2013, creating dozens of new jobs. The new Samuels Simmonds Memorial Hospital in Barrow was built in 2013, the result of a joint venture between ASRC subsidiary Eskimos, Inc. and Ukpeaġvik Iñupiaq Corporation. Barrow-based ASRC has 11,631 shareholders and roots on Alaska’s North Slope. For the first time in 2013, ASRC was featured in a multimedia campaign to showcase its values and roles across the North Slope and local communities. The corporation’s Paannaq Initiative, in which ASRC partners a subsidiary with a North Slope community, completed a number of projects in 2013, including construction of a new outdoor basketball court in Anaktuvuk Pass and the renovation of a playground in Point Hope. ASRC hosts Iñupiaq Days, co-sponsoring events between the corporation and other North Slope organizations. Every year, these organizations team up and travel throughout the region promoting education, healthy living, and messages against alcohol and drug abuse. ASRC and its subsidiaries hold a career and job fair during Iñupiaq Days to highlight educational and job opportunities within the region. Bering Straits Native Corporation Nome-based Bering Straits Native Corporation (BSNC) is focusing on the future of 64

its lands and coastal holdings as climate warming continues and the world looks to the Arctic for future development. In fiscal year 2013, the corporation reported $242 million in gross revenue, up 12 percent from 2012, from its subsidiaries in the construction, government services, and property management sectors. BSNC has 7,100 shareholders. BSNC’s land holdings in western Alaska along the coast of the Bering Sea put the corporation in an ideal position for growth in the region, BSNC President and CEO Gail Schubert says in the spring 2014 Agluktuk newsletter. “The anticipated increase in marine traffic in Arctic waters and through the Bering Strait presents challenges and opportunities in the areas of national security, economic development, environmental protection, and community well-being for the people of our region,” Schubert says. “It is imperative that BSNC have a strong voice in providing guidance on Arctic development and other matters related to the increase in maritime activities through the Bering Strait.” BSNC completed an economic feasibility analysis of developing Port Clarence, a natural deepwater port on the Seward Peninsula only fifty miles across the Bering Strait from Russia. The report concluded Port Clarence would be an ideal location for oil and gas exploration staging if Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf is opened.

Bristol Bay Native Corporation In the past few years, Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) has increased its focus on developing resources in its home base of southwest Alaska and Bristol Bay. Its financial success has allowed it to continue paying dividends to its 9,300 shareholders. BBNC also has increased educational opportunities and boosted shareholder hire within its companies. In 2013, 150 shareholders were working within BBNC, nearly double from 2012. Its business operations such as petroleum distribution, construction, government services, oilfield services, and tourism, and its robust investment portfolio, netted BBNC $1.96 billion in total revenue in fiscal year 2013, down slightly from 2012. Net profits before taxes were $41.3 million, down from $70.2 million in 2012. More than $122 million was distributed to shareholders.

Bristol Bay is home to the world’s richest wild salmon fishery, and BBNC maintains a “fish first” policy, actively opposing the giant Pebble Mine that also would fall within its region. It is working to identify and promote economic opportunities within the region, holding its first business roundtable in December 2013, drawing more than fifty people from tribes, village corporations, and decision makers who shared ideas for businesses within the region that could help develop the Bristol Bay economy.

Calista Corporation Calista Corporation predicted leaner times for its subsidiaries, which are heavily dependent on government contracts, but the Bethel-based corporation still managed to record its secondhighest revenues in corporate history in fiscal year 2013. It also saw record corporate pre-tax net income, according to Calista President and CEO Andrew Guy. Calista recorded revenues of $369 million, down 8 percent from its 2012 record revenues of $403 million, despite federal sequestration and attacks on the SBA 8(a) program. Pre-tax net income increased to $35.4 million, from $34.8 million in 2012. Guy notes profit margins on federal contracts are slimmer for all contractors. Calista acquired STG Incorporated, an Alaska construction company, in Sep-

Photo by Scott Gagne/Courtesy of STG Incorporated

$553,250, as well as providing community development training programs.

The wind turbine was installed and erected this year for the upcoming Yukon-Kuskokwim Regional Aquatic Health & Safety Center in Bethel. At 165 feet tall with 35-foot-radius blades, it is expected to provide about half the power for this new complex, set to open in late October.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


Photo courtesy of STG Incorporated

The Liebherr 1600, Alaska’s largest crane, working on the Blue Lake hydroelectric dam expansion project in Sitka.

tember 2013. In January 2014, Calista’s subsidiary Futaris invested in an international fiber-optic broadband system. “Several years ago, Calista board directors and management anticipated challenges in the federal contracting industry,” Guy says. “As a result, we made a conscious decision to expand our revenue base through targeted acquisitions and complementary growth within our existing business lines.” In April 2014, Calista paid out the largest shareholder dividend in its corporate history, $4.65 million. Calista has 12,600

shareholders and the second largest land holdings in Alaska, 6.5 million acres. Its region includes fifty-six villages. It continues to provide educational and professional development to shareholders. In summer 2014, a record nineteen interns began a ten-week internship with Calista and its subsidiaries.

Chugach Alaska Corporation 2013 was a year of transition for Chugach Alaska Corporation, which adopted a new holding company structure. The Anchorage-based corporation, which has a land base in the Prince William Sound region, is positioning itself to grow within its major business sectors, according to Randi Jo Gause, senior corporate communications manager. Chugach Government Services and subsidiaries will oversee its core federal services business, and Chugach Commercial Holdings, Inc. and subsidiaries will oversee Chugach Alaska’s growing commercial lines of business. Chugach Alaska reported $609 million in revenue in fiscal year 2013, down from $709 million in 2012. It has long been a leader in the government ser-

vices arena and is still looking for new opportunities to sustain its competitive edge amid an increasingly challenging environment, Gause says. “On the commercial side, Chugach is aggressively searching for great companies to invest in and help grow,” she says. “More specifically, we are looking for companies that share our commitment to providing quality products and services with integrity and could benefit from a long-term partnership with Chugach.” Chugach Alaska’s 2,500 shareholders and their descendants also benefited from $13.1 million in shareholder-related programs in 2013, including $8.9 million in dividends and elder distributions. Chugach Alaska also contributed $2 million to an endowment for the Chugach Heritage Foundation. It paid out $750,000 in scholarships and $280,000 for intern and apprenticeship programs. Chugach’s annual Nuuciq Spirit Camp celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2013.

Cook Inlet Region, Inc. Anchorage-based Cook Inlet Region, Inc.’s (CIRI) diverse portfolio of businesses and investments netted strong

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results in fiscal year 2013. It reported overall revenues of about $215 million, with net income of $21.4 million. CIRI’s holdings are in energy development, oilfield and construction services, tourism, real estate, and government contracting. 2013 also saw a milestone for the corporation. Its fall dividend distribution pushed CIRI’s total cumulative dividends and shareholder distributions since the corporation was founded to more than $1 billion. No other corporation has achieved that, CIRI President and CEO Sophie Minich says in a letter to its more than 7,500 shareholders. CIRI broke ground on an eight-floor office tower that will be the first building in the Fireweed Business Center in midtown Anchorage. CIRI plans to move its offices into the building in 2015 and will lease the remaining space. Kenai Fjords Tours, a subsidiary of CIRI Alaska Tourism Corp., launched a state-of-the-art catamaran, the M/V Callisto Voyager, in spring 2014.

Doyon, Limited Over the past few years, Fairbanks-based Doyon, Limited has invested tens of millions of dollars in two oil and gas exploration projects in Interior Alaska: the Nunivak #1 well west of Nenana in the Minto Basin and a 3D seismic program in the Yukon Flats near Stevens Village. Doyon is still analyzing the results of the projects, which could have profound benefits for its 18,800 shareholders, President and CEO Aaron Schutt says. In fiscal year 2013, Doyon reported revenues of $318.6 million and net revenue of $36 million before taxes. 2013 was Doyon’s twenty-ninth consecutive year of profitability. Its major holdings are in oil field services, government contracts, land and natural resource development, utility management, security, engineering, facility management, construction, and tourism, which are divided into five “pillars” by business type. Doyon is the largest landowner in Alaska, with approximately 12.5 million acres. In 2013, Doyon contributed $2.3 million to charities, including $1.6 million to the nonprofit Doyon Foundation. In July, Doyon and ConocoPhillips announced a joint venture. Doyon subsidiary Doyon Drilling will build a $100 million drilling rig for ConocoPhillips’ Kuparuk

River Unit. The rig, to be named Doyon 142, is scheduled to begin operations in 2016. It will add about one hundred jobs directly and hundreds more indirectly.

Koniag, Inc. Fiscal 2013 was a rocky period for Koniag, Inc. The corporation reported a $5.9 million loss on revenues of $202.6 million, but major changes, including reductions in expenses and numbers of staff, as well as a new executive team, are already showing results for 2014. Its business holdings are primarily in

government services, real estate, and resource development. It has 3,977 shareholders of Alutiiq descent. Koniag shut failing business units and sold real estate and specific subsidiaries to refocus on promising businesses, says CEO Elizabeth (Liz) Perry, who started at Koniag on March 1, 2014. She appointed longtime board member Tom Panamaroff president. Koniag’s 2014 annual report was published in August and Perry was quick to point out the turnaround. Koniag is reporting $211 million in revenue, with profits of $1.92 million.


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“We’re regrowing our 8(a)s,” Perry says. “We’ve had some graduate from the program. It’s a bit of a success story, as well, with some going on to compete successfully in the open market. We won five recompetes that were sole-sources. We won them competitively, so that was a big deal.” Koniag also purchased a granite quarry from Ouzinkie, which went into production in 2014. “There isn’t another source like that anywhere near Kodiak Island,” she says. Improved financial results have allowed Koniag to make the largest contribution to the Koniag Education Foundation, $359,000, since 2001.

NANA Regional Corporation NANA Regional Corporation faced a challenging year in 2013. Three subsidiaries of its business arm, NANA Development Corporation, fared poorly—the Nullagvik Hotel, WHPacific, and GIS— resulting in a $78 million loss for the corporation on revenues of $1.7 billion. NANA’s longtime focus on shareholder employment resulted in 1,664 shareholders receiving a paycheck from a NANA-owned business in 2013. More than 586 shareholders were employed at the Red Dog Mine in northwest Alaska, one of the world’s largest zinc mines, which is run by an agreement between landowner NANA and operator Teck Alaska. NANA received $143 million from the mine, of which $93.5 million was shared with the other Alaska regional and village corporations under the ANCSA 7(i) resourcesharing clause. Another sixty-nine NANA shareholders were employed at the Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects, a large copper, zinc, gold, and silver prospect being explored under a joint agreement between NANA and NovaCopper. NANA, which is headquartered in Kotzebue and is owned by 13,500 Iñu-

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Photo courtesy of

Sunset at Kodiak’s Brown Bear Center.

piat shareholders, continues to work to reduce costs and improve living and economic conditions in the region. It provided $1.1 million to fund economic development programs in the villages, as well as additional monies for energy projects. NANA contributed $1.5 million to the nonprofit Aqqaluk Trust. The corporation also invested in cutting-edge mapping technology, Nuna Geo Info, to help its land managers identify boundaries and help protect NANA lands. It also maintains a rigorous trespass program.

Sealaska An underperforming construction subsidiary pulled Sealaska into the red in fiscal year 2013. Sealaska Constructors underestimated contract costs for two projects, which resulted in a $26 million loss that other operations and 7(i) payments were unable to completely mitigate. Total revenue for 2013 was $164 million, down from $210 million in 2012. Sealaska sustained overall net losses of $14.67 million. Sealaska continues to focus on timber, both old-growth and second-growth, as a long-term sustainable business. Through its Haa Aaní arm, the corporation seeks to revitalize local, lifestyle-compatible industries such as fisheries and mariculture. Rocky Pass Seafoods in Kake is a joint venture between Kake Tribal Corporation that now has sales in global markets. Haa Aaní also is working with the Hoonah Indian Association to build and operate an oyster farm near Hoonah. The corporation, which represents 21,600 Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people with a land base in southeast Alaska, sold Sealaska Global Logistics and Nypro Kanaak joint ventures and is looking closely at its other operations. It created a holding company, Sealaska

Government Services, to oversee its government contracting subsidiaries and reduced expenses by $4.5 million. Sealaska’s strategic plan includes a goal to earn enough profits by 2016 so that it won’t have to rely on 7(i) funds from the other regional corporations to support operations. Instead, any 7(i) monies would be available for reinvestment into Sealaska subsidiaries or to otherwise benefit shareholders. The Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) broke ground in 2013 on the Walter Soboleff Center on land donated by Sealaska. Since 1980, Sealaska has contributed $12 million to fund scholarships and more than $16 million toward SHI operations. Sealaska announced major changes in 2013, as longtime President Chris McNeil Jr. announced his retirement. Anthony Mallott was named president and CEO. “Despite posting losses, Sealaska is a stable institution that continues to protect its Native land [and] support education and shareholder opportunities while growing our investments and operations,” outgoing president and CEO McNeil states. “Sealaska has strong cash flow and access to financing, and we are well positioned to make new acquisitions.”

The 13th Regional Corporation In addition to the twelve Alaska-based regional corporations, a 13th corporation was also created under ANCSA to benefit Alaska Natives living outside the state. The 13th Regional Corporation, headquartered in Seattle, stopped filing public reports in 2005 and shareholders have been unable to get an accurate accounting of what, if any, assets of the corporation remain. R Julie Stricker is a journalist living near Fairbanks. September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


special section

Alaska Native Corporations

NANA’s Iñupiat Ilitqusiat Greene, Henry help provide an economic foothold, protect cultural heritage By Julie Stricker

©Chris Arend Photography

NANA Regional Corporation Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Lori Henry (left) and President and CEO Marie Greene at the Red Dog Mine.


prinkled throughout NANA Regional Corporation’s headquarters in Kotzebue are posters listing the core values under which the company operates. Called the Iñupiat Ilitqusiat, the philosophy includes sharing, humility, respect for others, respect for nature, cooperation, hard work, hunter success, and humor. It is a philosophy that was developed over thousands of years by the Iñupiat people of Northwest Alaska. It is the root of NANA’s success as one of the thirteen Alaska Native regional corporations formed under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), according to NANA Regional CEO and Presi70

dent Marie Greene and Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Lori Henry. “In some ways, NANA is a natural extension of our Iñupiaq value of responsibility to tribe. It is our natural way of working, of being,” Greene says. “We continue to seek input and cooperate with each other. That was modeled for us from birth and it is still the way we do things. Our practices remain the same.”

Economic Engine NANA is one of Alaska’s largest corporations, with $1.7 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2013. Its partnership with Canadian mining firm Teck Resources to operate the massive Red Dog zinc mine north

of Kotzebue is the economic engine for Northwest Alaska. NANA Development Corporation also has subsidiaries in the oil and gas industry, hospitality, government services, real estate, construction, and technology industries. ANCSA was a historic document that sought to settle long-standing land claims issues and stimulate economic development in rural Alaska. Under the act, the regional corporations and about two hundred village corporations were established, dividing 44 million acres of land and $962.5 million among them. The corporations were given dual mandates: to provide an economic foothold for shareholders and to protect their cultural heritage.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

History and Future On a gray, drizzly day in July, the women spent some time discussing NANA’s history and future in Greene’s office, which overlooks fishermen putting out nets for salmon on choppy Kotzebue Sound and Sikiagruk Shore Avenue, which was reengineered in 2012 to combat erosion caused in part by a warming Arctic. Greene grew up in Deering, a small village on a sandy spit on the Seward Peninsula about fifty-five miles south of Kotzebue. She lived in a one-room house on the beach with her aana (grandmother). It was a gathering place for leaders “solving problems, cooperating, negotiating, and speaking in Iñupiaq in hushed tones if the problems were too serious to be overheard by young ears.” That was how children were taught— to watch, listen quietly, and observe, says Greene, who has a master’s degree in rural development. “The elders spoke about our lands and about what they mean to us as Iñupiaq,” she says. “They taught us our lands are a shared resource. They are part of our Ilitqusiat— ‘that which makes us who we are.’” Henry’s roots in Northwest Alaska are also strong. She was a member of the last high school class—1976—to graduate in Kotzebue under the Bureau of Indian Affairs school system. Her mother, Marge Baker, was the first woman to own and operate an airline in Alaska, Baker Aviation. Her grandmother had Rothman’s Store in Kotzebue. Her brother, John Baker, won the 2011 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and his kennel is only a couple of blocks from NANA’s headquarters. And her father, Bob Baker, is credited with discovering the Red Dog zinc deposit, named after a family pet.


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“At board meetings and strategy sessions, the commitment is still so strong to help improve the lives of the shareholders,” Henry says. “That kind of strategic focus is unusual for businesses in the corporate world.” Greene began working at NANA’s precursor, the Northwest Arctic Native Association in 1977. Henry came to NANA in 2013. And while she is a longtime shareholder, Henry says she developed a fascination with the corporation’s commitment to its core values while researching it as she earned a master’s degree in organizational development.

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In July, NANA celebrated the twentyfifth year of operations at Red Dog. Henry says she was struck by the impact the mine has had on the region. More than six hundred shareholders have been employed; more than half a billion dollars has been paid to the Northwest Arctic Borough in payment in lieu of taxes, which help fund education and other local programs; and millions of dollars have been paid out to the other eleven Alaska-based corporations under the 7(i) resource-sharing clause in ANCSA. “Hearing the stories yesterday at the celebration of the early leaders who were looking at the potential and then making it happen—it was so amazing to listen to their stories,” Henry says.

Collaborative Decision-Making “The reality is we’ve had twenty-five years of operation and are looking beyond that,” Henry says. She says both the past and the current leadership talked at length about the process of collaboration with the villages when creating the operating agreement for Red Dog. “It’s the collaborative decision-mak-

could help bring down the cost of energy, goods, and services in the remote area.

‘Shareholders are the Owners’ NANA works in a variety of ways, directly and indirectly, to help improve the lives of shareholders. That is at the heart of how Greene sees her role as a leader in NANA. “In my younger years, I was blessed to be mentored by my grandmother, by Robert Newlin, Sr., by our elders, and others,” Greene says. “They taught servant leadership. If you are a leader, you are there to serve the people, to work as part of the group, the team—to learn, to help, to move things forward. It is always a team effort. It was then and it is now. “Shareholders are the owners of this corporation,” she continues. “As a shareholder, I always want to do the best I can for our people and region. That was instilled in me by my grandmother. She would tell me we do what we can to help our people. It became a strong personal commitment for me because of what she taught me, and that commitment continued to grow over time.” NANA partners with many groups

“We are a region known for its unity because our past leadership taught us this is how it is done, and we continue to pass that on,” Greene says. “This is why we have the Northwest Arctic Leadership Team, so we can work closely together, as organizations, for our people. Our cooperation and collaboration is what defines us as a region. “So, it’s not so much that I am a shareholder; it is that we are shareholders. We are in it together.” Supporting education is another priority for NANA, Henry says. “We do a lot in the region focusing on workforce readiness, employability,” she says. NANA tries to help shareholders in the villages identify barriers they might encounter when seeking employment. “It’s real basic things like getting a driver’s license in the village is difficult,” Henry says. Residents often have to fly to Kotzebue to take the driver’s test, so NANA is trying to get its staff in the villages trained to proctor tests such as those required for driver’s licenses and GEDs. NANA also contributes to scholarships and the nonprofit Aqqaluk trust. When NANA partners with other groups,

“We try hard to identify common goals, to build bridges, to work with state, federal, and international partners to achieve our ends in mind.”

— Marie Greene, CEO and President, NANA Regional

ing; the problem-solving is really the strength of the region,” Henry says. “I think we’re at our best when we’re really working together. Examples like what this region was able to accomplish with Red Dog is, I think, a testament to that.” NANA is following that blueprint today when they discuss potential resource development with NovaCopper over deposits along the Kobuk and Ambler rivers, a discussion and project that is still in early stages, Henry says. “People hear the word project and they think jobs,” Henry says. “So really, helping a company like NovaCopper understand how to communicate with the communities in the region not only about the project, but the potential for jobs, is real important. And subsistence is such a priority, still, for our residents, so that hasn’t changed since thirty years ago.” Communities are also looking at any potential infrastructure development that 72

and state and federal agencies to help bring down the cost of energy in the region, one of the most pressing issues in Northwest Alaska, Henry says. “Doing business in the region is really tough, whether you’re a mom and pop store or a large corporation, with the high cost of energy,” Henry says. In Kotzebue, for instance, diesel costs $7.50 per gallon in mid-July. In other villages in the region, it was more than $10 per gallon. “We’re working collaboratively on long-term projects seeking ways to bring costs down.” Some communities are looking to generate energy through biomass, wind, water turbines, or combining resources with local interties. “We seek ways to help them find the right partners and the right funding,” Henry says. Listening to what the shareholders see as priorities is important for NANA, Greene says.

such as for resource development, those groups also contribute to the trust. Teck and NovaCopper both offer special scholarships through Aqqaluk, Henry says. All of these efforts, as well as its work nationally and globally on Arctic-related issues, stem from NANA’s focus on the core areas that define the region, Greene says.

Protecting Lands and Subsistence The first is the protection of the land and shareholders’ Iñupiaq way of life. “The focus was always protection of our lands and subsistence,” she says. NANA has implemented technology such as geographic mapping information system NunaGeo to aid with land management. It also has a robust trespass protection program and is actively involved with issues—such as a warming Arctic and oil drilling—that have

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

the potential to affect the region. “I think these efforts will benefit future generations of shareholders and ensure that their lands will remain protected,” Greene says. Respectful cooperation with shareholders, resource developers, and state, national, and international groups is how NANA achieves those goals, Greene says.
 “We try hard to identify common goals, to build bridges, to work with state, federal, and international partners to achieve our ends in mind,” she says. “The solutions achieved through cooperation are often well-thought out paths to follow that take into account many perspectives.” Respect for elders is another core value for the region and corporation, Greene says. “You can feel it and you can see it in the decisions we make,” she says. In 2008, shareholders voted to establish the NANA Elders’ Settlement Trust to provide a special distribution to NANA shareholders sixty-five and older. The initial investment was $32.5 million, and the trust continues to pay dividends. Greene notes 82 percent of shareholders voted to establish the trust. “They did so because we all feel that way about our elders,” Greene says. “Culturally, it is who we are; who we are raised to be. We respect our elders.”

“Our shareholder demographics are changing,” Greene says. “There’s a slightly larger percentage that lives outside of the region. So the challenge is, how do we balance that? How do we balance the needs of all shareholders?” Because of demographic trends, changes will be coming to NANA, but it will all be shareholder-driven, just like today, Greene says. “If we do that, we’ll be on the right track, because the decisions will come from the people who own this company.” More shareholders with advanced

degrees are ready to become leaders at NANA, as well, she says. “NANA has a strong foundation,” Greene says. “We were blessed with great leaders in the past that put us on a path to success based on unity. I think we’ll stay on that path. The decisions made tomorrow will be right for the shareholders of tomorrow if they reach them in that spirit of cooperation and unity.” R Julie Stricker is a journalist living near Fairbanks.

Many Changes Coming Henry moved back to Kotzebue in late 2012 after living in Juneau and Anchorage for several years. Some change, such as an increased reliance on technology, has changed how people interact with each other. Other changes caused by a warming Arctic are changing how and where people live, especially in villages such as Kivalina, which is looking to move to higher ground because of erosion. But a warming Arctic also brings increased economic opportunities. NANA is working collaboratively with the borough to build a deep-water harbor at Cape Blossom. They’re also looking at sites for additional ports. “We believe that the more ports along this Arctic Coast, the greater benefit to the people in the Arctic region,” Henry says. “But we would not want to limit it to just one port. We’d like to see more.” The next decade is likely to bring many changes to Northwest Alaska and NANA, Greene says.

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


special section

Alaska Native Corporations

Generational Transition in Tlingit Country New leadership at Sealaska Corporation By Dr. William L. Hensley


n 1796 the Russian garrison that had been established in Yakutat was attacked and destroyed by Yakutat Tlingits. By force of arms, restricting access to food resources, and hostagetaking of Tlingit women, the Russians assumed that they had control of Yakutat. It was a drastic miscalculation. The Russians had steadily decimated the sea otter population in the Aleutians, the Kodiak, and Gulf areas of Alaska and finally began to make a push to Southeast Alaska, the ancestral home of the Tlingit people and an area teeming with sea otters—the low hanging fruit of Russian economic interest. The Tlingit were inveterate traders, ranging hundreds of miles up the Gulf of Alaska and south to what is now Washington and Oregon. They traveled three hundred miles inland to destroy a Hudson Bay Company trading post that was going to compete for the fur trade that normally belonged to the Tlingit. Trade and commerce were second nature to the Tlingit.

Deep Roots in Yakutat The roots of Anthony Mallott, thirtynine, the new president and CEO of Sealaska Corporation, lie in the stunning forests, glaciers, and mountains of Yakutat. Anthony Mallott was recently inaugurated as the seventh president of Sealaska following the resignation of Chris McNeil, sixty-five, who had run the corporation for thirteen years. Anthony Mallott is the son of Byron Mallott, who headed Sealaska Corporation from 1982 to 1992. Byron gave up his directorship in Sealaska when his term expired this year. In addition to CEO, he was also Chairman of the Board 74

Anthony Mallott

Joe Nelson

in the early years of Sealaska. His vacated seat was won by Ross Soboleff, a score of years younger. Byron has had an illustrious career as Commissioner of Community and Regional Affairs, Executive Director of the Permanent Fund Corporation, and as a Director of the Alaska Air Group, parent company of Alaska Airlines. He is a clan leader in Yakutat and is now running for governor. Anthony Mallott earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from Stanford University. He also worked for nine years with Bank of America, gaining experience in risk management and financial investments. He joined Sealaska in 2006 and was responsible for managing its investment portfolio and was its corporate treasurer. Anthony says, “It is an appropriate transition led by Sealaska leaders that has roots going back to the Alaska Native Brotherhood days, the formation of the TlingitHaida Central Council. It is a thoughtful transition that includes cultural training, financial background, and education. Education has been a mantra among leaders in Southeast Alaska for generations.” He indicated that “the core of our business is natural resources. We intend to focus on and build our asset

base. All of our businesses are tied to the global economy.”

‘The Long Haul’ Sealaska lost $35 million in 2013. $24 million of the loss was attributed to Sealaska Constructors, a minority contracting subsidiary operating under the Small Business Administration 8(a) program. There were losses in natural resources and accounting charges of $25 million. However, in the previous year, 2012, Sealaska made an $11 million profit on revenues of $211 million. Albert Kookesh, sixty-five, resigned as chair this year, having served in that capacity for fourteen years. He was replaced by Joe Nelson, forty-four. Nelson was born in Mt. Edgecumbe and raised in Yakutat. He has served as chairman of the board for Yak-tat Kwaan, Inc. and was a commercial fisherman. He earned his undergraduate degree in political science and a Master of Arts in American Indian Studies at UCLA. He received his Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola University in 2001. He presently serves as a Vice Chancellor at the University of Alaska Southeast. Nelson worked diligently in support of the stock package that allowed for

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

the enrollment of individuals born after 1971. This company policy expanded the number of shareholders to more than twenty-one thousand. According to Nelson, the dilution to existing shareholders “makes all the sense in the world to tie our kids to their traditional lands and resources. Before we know it, they will be the stewards.” He says, “Our next big investment must be in something that we care about. It must be in a sector that resonates with our young workforce. We are in this for the long haul.”

New Energy Takes Control Like many Alaska Native Corporations established under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, generational shifts are taking place as longtime directors resign or are replaced by younger, aggressive shareholders. There has been an active shareholder dissident group in Sealaska for a number of years pushing for changes in directors and claiming nepotism in the management of the corporation. It remains to be seen how successfully the new leadership will perform. With a

strong asset base and new energy, time will tell if the hopes and dreams of earlier leaders will be fulfilled as the new generation takes control—leaders who

have been steeped in the culture and history of their people and who have been trained in law, business, and investments. R

William L. Iggiagruk Hensley is a Distinguished Visiting Professor with the College of Business and Public Policy at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Hensley was born in Kotzebue and raised along the Little Noatak River delta where he and his family lived during most of his childhood. He was raised in the traditional world of hunting, fishing, trapping, and living in sod houses and tents. Dogs were used for transportation. He attended grade school in Kotzebue and Noorvik, graduated from a boarding high school in East Tennessee, and received his bachelor’s degree from George Washington University. He was honored with a Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage where he serves today as a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Business and Public Policy. Hensley researched the issue of Alaska Native rights to land and was active in the land claims settlement negotiations that led to the passage of ANCSA, served ten years in the Alaska Legislature, helped found and lead the Alaska Federation of Natives, and was a founder and President of NANA Regional Corporation. He served as Alaska Commerce Commissioner and as Government Relations Manager for Alyeska Pipeline. He is the author of a memoir “Fifty Miles from Tomorrow.” He and his wife Abbe have six children and eleven grandchildren.

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September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


special section

Alaska Native Corporations

Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s Alaska Native Program Forty year commitment remains strong


By Louise Freeman

twenty-three-year-old regulatory affairs intern; a thirty-three-yearold engineering manager; and a thirty-five-year-old corrosion program engineer: What do these up-and-coming Alaska Natives have in common? They have all benefited from participation in Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s highly successful Alaska Native Program (ANP). In 1974, even before the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) began construction, Alyeska made a commitment to ensure that Alaska Natives would benefit economically from the construction and continued operation of the pipeline. This commitment was defined in Section 29 of the Federal Agreement and Grant of Right-of-Way for TAPS. In lieu of a cash payment, Alaska Natives chose to receive compensation in the form of jobs and job training opportunities in professional, technical, and administrative fields. Section 29 drove the development and implementation of the Alaska Native Utilization Agreement, an agreement that commits Alyeska to hire and develop Alaska Natives for 20 percent of the workforce (both those employed directly by Alyeska and by its designated contractors). Fulfillment of this commitment is monitored by the Joint Pipeline Office, which oversees compliance with all aspects of the Federal Agreement and Grant of Right-of-Way. Alyeska’s commitment to the Alaska Native Utilization Agreement was renewed into perpetuity in 2007.

“We’re not just hiring individuals for an internship. We want to see if they are a good fit with Alyeska and if this is the place they’d like to work after graduation.”

—Tabetha Toloff Alaska Native Program Director


Although the hiring levels of Alaska Natives rose as high as 16 to 20 percent during construction of TAPS, in subsequent years, the percentage of Alaska Native employees in the workforce declined. To rectify this situation, ANP was established in 1995. This successful program is designed to ensure that Alaska Natives and other under-utilized groups participate fully in opportunities available through Alyeska, including jobs, training, job counseling, career development, and promotion opportunities, as well as internships and scholarships. Since 1996, Alyeska has distributed more than $14 million for educational scholarships, training, and development opportunities that benefit Alaska Natives.

‘A Group Effort’ For the last several years, Alyeska has achieved and maintained its commitment to hire and develop Native Alaskans for 20 percent of its workforce. Alyeska engages in targeted recruitment at universities and career fairs and has a presence at events such as Alaska Federation of Natives and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society annual conferences. Alaska Native Program Director Tabetha Toloff says that commitment to reaching ANP goals “comes from supportive leadership and successful partnerships throughout the community. We’ve had incredible support from our president, Tom Barrett, and from our partnerships with Alaska Native leadership and community members and contractors. We have a good program in place; it is a group effort. It is a matter of having engaged leadership; that’s when we achieve our goals.” Alyeska’s corporate-wide employee development programs and ANP are “aligned and complement each other,” says Toloff. We don’t want duplication

Photo courtesy of Alyeska

Chalisa Attla is a business/accounting student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and works in supply chain management.

of efforts; we strive for synergy in order to maximize our resources.” Alyeska’s investment in young Alaska Natives starts early, with its support of scholarships through programs like the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Rural Alaska Honors Institute, a six-week process technology program for high school students. Scholarship opportunities abound at post-secondary and vocational education institutions that allocate funding provided by Alyeska for pre-approved programs. A variety of scholarships are available, ranging from Northern Industrial Technology’s Professional Truck Driver Training Program to MBA programs at UAF and Alaska Pacific University. Many scholarships are designated specifically for students majoring in STEM

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

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Raymond Kangas is a mechanical engineer student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and works in pipeline operations.

fields (science, technology, engineering, and math), including those offered through the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) School of Engineering and through the American Indian and Science Engineering Society at UAF. Scholarships are also awarded for vocational education at AVTEC, Alaska’s Institute of Technology, in everything from information technology to industrial electricity and combination welding. Some partnering organizations providing scholarships or internships for 2014-15 include Koniag Education Foundation, NANA/WorleyParsons, First Alaskans Institute, Bering Straits Foundation, Ahtna, Inc., Team Industrial Services, and Cook Inlet Tribal Council.

Recruiting Interns ANP works to recruit Alaska Native students into paid internships as part of the company’s overall internship program. Interns are placed with Alyeska in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Valdez, and pump stations for twelve- to sixteenweek terms, primarily in the summer. Alyeska typically has twenty to twentyfive summer interns each year. “We’re not just hiring individuals for an internship,” says Toloff, “We want to

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see if they are a good fit with Alyeska and if this is the place they’d like to work after graduation.” Since January 2013 Alyeska has hired ten interns following their graduation. Internships are offered to undergraduate and graduate students studying in widely varying fields, including instrumentation/process technology, finance, and health, safety, and environment. In 2013, while studying economics at UAA, Eric Francisco worked as an executive intern. In that capacity, he was tasked to various departments, such as corporate communications, human resources, and project controls. “Going to different departments and locations helps me to understand what is going on with the company and how your department affects the whole company,” Francisco says. “I’ve gained a really good system view and a view of how the whole company works.” He says he especially appreciates being able to gain this perspective because it ties into one of the five Alyeska cultural attributes: taking a system view. (The others are make sound decisions; learn, improve, and innovate; act with



Workforce Development Beginning in 1999, a workforce development program called Building Foundations for Excellence Program (BFEP) was put in place. Over a period of up to two years, BFEP participants gain experience and receive training in areas such as leadership, technical operations, and safety and regulatory compliance. Hiring managers collaborate with Toloff to develop BFEP positions within the company to meet this need. ANP then matches people with opportunities, typically in entry-level jobs. BFEP participants are provided mentoring and training and receive quarterly performance evaluations to make sure they are on track to meet their development goals. The evaluation is performed by a team made up of the employee’s supervisor, mentor, and representatives from ANP and human resources. After achieving professional development milestones specific to them, participants graduate from the




discipline; and speak up, step up.) After graduating in 2014, Francisco accepted a Regulatory Affairs internship.

program and the BFEP position translates into a higher-level position. On a year-to-year basis, BFEP positions are determined based on the company’s critical skills needs in areas such as engineering, system integrity, pipeline operations, oil movements, and business and strategic planning. “BFEP is a great program that I’ve really taken advantage of,” says Sose Vartarian, who participated in the program as a BFEP integrity engineer. “It gives you a lot of opportunities to develop. It gave me support, help, and confidence and the ability to perform under pressure and be an integral member of the team.” Vartarian, who is currently a corrosion program engineer, found the mentoring element of BFEP particularly valuable. Participants are paired with mentors either at Alyeska or at one of the TAPS designated contracting companies. “It definitely helped to be able to get one-on-one professional development,” says Vartarian. But what she gained most from the program was the knowledge that “my learning is never complete. BFEP gave me that. I will always continue to learn.”

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Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Alaska Native employees are also encouraged to use Section 29 funding for supplemental courses that develop a specific skill set that they have identified with their supervisor. Oil Movements Department Engineering Manager Klint Van Wingerden has taken courses in leadership development. “One thing Alyeska is really good about is pushing and driving continual improvement so that you are able to expand to be more marketable in the future,” says Van Wingerden. This goal reflects Alyeska’s emphasis on progression within the company, says Van Wingerden.

Furthering Careers ANP also seeks to place Alaska Natives in a loanee program in which employees are loaned to partner organizations and other petroleum companies to further their careers through on-the-job training not available directly through Alyeska. ANP has a philanthropic side as well, working with corporate communications to maximize funding. Alyeska has been a long-standing supporter of the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) by

Jennifer Montgomery is a mechanical engineer student at the University of Alaska Anchorage and works in pipeline operations. Photo courtesy of Alyeska

way of sponsoring the annual AFN convention and providing employees’ volunteer opportunities during the event. ANP also works closely with designated contractors. ANP hosts a yearly contractors’ symposium to discuss topics and share resources intended to help contractors meet their Section 29 hiring goals. Diversity training specifically geared to the oil and gas industry is an important part of the event, which includes exposure to Alaska Native culture. ANP is guided by an advisory board made up of representatives from the fol-

lowing: the four Alaska Native corporations whose lands are in close proximity to the pipeline (Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, Doyon, Ltd., Chugach Alaska Corporation, and Ahtna, Inc.), Alyeska’s largest contractors, Alaska Petroleum Joint Crafts Council, AFN, Alaska Native Coalition on Employment and Training, Alyeska human resources, and Alaska Native employees. R Louise Freeman writes from Anchorage.

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


special section

Alaska Native Corporations

New Programs in Higher Education for Alaska Native Leaders University of Alaska and Alaska Pacific University increase specific offerings

Photo courtesy of ANSEP

By Kirsten Swann

ANSEP’s Middle School Academy attended by students from the Lower Kuskokwim School District at UAA.


hen it comes to building business in the Land of the Midnight Sun, Alaska Native Corporations are increasingly banking on education. Through specialized courses of study and higher education programs geared specifically toward Alaska Native students, universities and corporations alike are forging partnerships and finding new ways to prepare future Alaska leaders for business success.


ANELP Based at Alaska Pacific University (APU), the Alaska Native Executive Leadership Program (ANELP) is one of those partnerships. According to APU, the course leads to a graduate certificate designed to prepare students for the specific business needs of Alaska Native Corporation. The ninemonth course is comprised of nine modules and partnerships with several major Alaska Native Corporations: Afognak Na-

tive Corporation, Bristol Bay Native Corporation, Chugach Alaska Corporation, The Aleut Corporation, and CIRI. It’s geared towards students with established managerial roles and corporate endorsements. According to APU, program participants are paired with a corporate mentor who helps the student identify career goals and future professional development opportunities. The threshold for acceptance into ANELP is high: The university says applicants must

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

either have a bachelor’s degree or extensive work experience, strong oral and written presentation skills, and an “identified potential to meaningfully contribute to the Alaska Native community.” For those who make it into the prestigious certificate program, there’s a valuable payoff. Not only can the program count toward APU’s Executive MBA program—the university says students can earn up to a third of their credits through ANELP—it offers specialized instruction that the executive leadership program’s sponsors see as a valuable investment. “The benefits from the ANELP program are almost immediate and will grow over time,” says Sophie Minich, CIRI’s president and CEO. Minich says her corporation believes an Alaska Native-focused graduate program provides valuable education to up-and-coming leaders from every Alaska business and non-profit—not just Alaska Native Corporations. And education, she says, is an investment with long-term business rewards. “We share the commitment with other Alaska Native corporations that our


leut Corporation Assistant Controller Joe Kashevarof received his graduate certificate in Alaska Native Executive Leadership. This program is designed to meet the specific needs of Alaska Native Corporations by providing future executives with the foundational knowledge to excel in today’s competitive business climate. Along with Afognak Native Corporation, Bristol Bay Native Corporation, Chugach Alaska Corporation, and CIRI, the Aleut Corporation partnered with Alaska Pacific University in 2013 to develop a uniquely Alaskan executive education program. Qualifications include a minimum of three years of managerial-level work experience, a bachelor’s degree, and a current leadership position. Credits earned in ANELP can be applied toward an Executive MBA. Kashevarof plans to pursue his Executive MBA in the near future. R SOURCE: Aleut Corporation

future success depends on preparing and educating the next generation of corporate leaders to guide our company to greater prosperity,” Minich writes in an email. “We believe the Alaska

Native Executive Leadership Program will provide an excellent opportunity to grow that next generation of leaders to be prepared for the specific challenges facing Alaska Native corporations.”

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September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


In order to prepare students for the particular challenges facing Alaska Native corporations, the graduate certificate program’s nine modules cover a variety of topics specific to the corporations’ business. According to the university, students learn strategies and planning for corporate diversification, regulatory and fiscal requirements for success in federal government contract work, employment law, and talent management strategies. The modules cover the history of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and the unique roles and responsibilities of Alas-

ka Native corporations in communities across the state, financial management, and metrics for monitoring and improving business performance. Program participants learn methods of harnessing individual leadership styles and working effectively with boards of directors. Minich says it’s a helpful stepping stone for Alaska leaders. “CIRI is confident that those who earn their certification through the program will continue to excel at their workplace, work more collaboratively and efficiently with others, and have a more robust understanding of Alaska’s Native corpo-

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rations, their history, and help shape the future of these corporations for generations to come,” CIRI’s Minch says.

ANSEP The ability to work collaboratively and help shape Alaska’s business future is also a key part of another prominent education program intended for Alaska Native students. The Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP), according to top educators, is a way to prepare students for success in science and engineering fields using a course of study that begins as early as middle school. Michael Bourdukofsky, ANSEP’s Chief Operating Officer, says it’s aimed at “creating a pipeline of opportunity” for Alaska Native students from every corner of the state. The pipeline begins as early as middle school, where Bourdukofsky says students complete hands-on science projects and have the opportunity to attend a summertime Middle School Academy through a partnership with the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp. The camp is free of charge and open to students in grades five through seven with an interest in science and a minimum B-grade average. Held on the campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage, Bourdukofsky says ANSEP’s Middle School Academy is a way to introduce students to university life from a young age, open their eyes to future opportunities, and help spark a lifelong interest in science, technology, engineering, or math. Throughout high school, he says, students have more opportunities, including the chance to assemble a top-end computer. It’s one of the perks of the program: Bourdukofsky says students who successfully complete trigonometry, physics, and chemistry by high school graduation are able to keep the computer they built with their own hands. Also for high schoolers, ANSEP offers a summer Acceleration Academy that provides another leg up on a college career. Course materials describe an intensive month-long program that continues to strengthen students’ science and math foundations. For many Alaska high school students living in the state’s most far-flung communities, advanced science and math courses are offered solely online. Bourdukofsky

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

says ANSEP is an opportunity to successfully complete those courses while living on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus, developing a strong peer group, and preparing for success in achieving higher education. ANSEP students who successfully complete the summer Acceleration Academy receive scholarship support for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs at UAA, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, or the University of Alaska Southeast. But, Bourdukofsky says, the ANSEP support doesn’t stop there. Between high school and college, Bourdukofsky says there’s a summer bridge component that combines math instruction with internships at the program’s various partner organizations. What began with eight students interning at BP more than fifteen years ago has now grown to include dozens of students gaining valuable on-the-job experience at places like the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Bureau of Land Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, various major oil and gas companies, and others. At the university, Bourdukofsky says students participate in study groups and develop strong peer and professional networks. There are scholarship opportunities and internships, he says—all aimed at improving student retention rates and ultimately helping them achieve a Bachelor of Science degree in a STEM-related field. And he says the success rates have been impressive. According to ANSEP statistical data, nearly 80 percent of the program’s enrollees over the years have graduated from a university or are currently enrolled. The number of Alaska Native students working towards STEM-related BS degrees at UAA and UAF has also increased steadily and steeply over the past fifteen years, data shows. They’ve come from more than seven dozen communities across Alaska. Bourdukofsky says he sees it as a positive step in a good direction. “The program has grown tremendously since I was first involved,” he says. While it began in 1995 with a single university student, Bourdukofsky says the program quickly expanded to

where it is now, with intensive opportunities as early as the fifth grade. To date, Bourdukofsky says, ANSEP high school students have assembled more than 1,200 computers. The UA system graduated more than 265 Indigenous engineers and scientists since 2002, according to ANSEP. Five program students earned master’s degrees and two earned PhDs in Alaska. Bourdukofsky says the development of ANSEP has played a major part in that academic success. “It’s given them a bigger picture, a long-term perspective,” Bourdukofsky says of its Alaska Native students. It’s a perspective provided by a strong coalition of major Alaska Native Corporations and other Alaska businesses. ANSEP contributors include Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, Bristol Bay Native Association, Chugach Alaska Corporation, CIRI, NANA, and Kuskokwim Native Association. The program also receives support from dozens of other prominent Alaska businesses, including BP Exploration, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, Chevron,

First Alaskans Institute, Rasmuson Foundation, Pebble Partnership, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Consortium, and others.

Endowing Young Leaders Bourdukofsky says it only seems to makes sense: Why not endow Alaska’s young leaders with the skills and education necessary to successfully manage and develop the state’s many resources? At CIRI, top executives have the same idea. Minich says the company’s wellestablished track record of providing significant shareholder benefits—and a focus on long-term sustainability—led it to pursue establishing the ANELP in partnership with APU and a host of other Alaska Native Corporations. “CIRI’s success in business is largely attributable to our ability to recognize opportunities and partner with companies that demonstrate exceptional expertise in certain industries. The same can be said for education,” Minich says. “We believe the excellent faculty at Alaska Pacific University will provide the insight, knowledge, and enthusiasm to inspire students


THE UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA’S ONLINE BUSINESS AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION SCHOOL. “I have learned so much more from the University of Alaska Southeast than just the coursework that I needed for my degree. As a non-traditional student, everything was new for me and now I know what to expect in the future when my boys attend college.”

- René Mokiyuk

Graduate of Associate of Applied Science, Business Administration, May 2014. Currently working on her Bachelor of Business Administration.

Reaching Alaskans in the communities where they live and work. Online accounting, business, human resources, and public administration courses and degree programs with a focus on concepts and skills that can be immediately applied to current careers. “What I love about the University of Alaska Southeast’s Master of Public Administration program is that it is accessible, practitioner-focused, and accommodating to working professionals. The program maintains a statewide reach, ensuring students - like me - have an opportunity to be part of a quality, engaging, and diverse program. I’m proud to be a UAS MPA student.”

- Tiffany Zulkosky

Executive Director, Nuvista Light & Electric Cooperative, Inc.

UAS is an AA/EO employer and educational institution

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


Lower Kuskokwim School District students attending ANSEP’s Middle School Academy at UAA. Photo courtesy of ANSEP

in the ANELP to set themselves on a trajectory toward top management positions within their Native corporations.” Minich says the program’s inaugural cohorts included three CIRI shareholders, one of whom is a CIRI employee. She says two other CIRI employees also participated in the first cohort. And, Minich says, the program began looking at plans for expansion this fall. “As the current generation of Alaska Native leadership transitions into retirement, a new generation of leaders will assume the responsibility to manage the corporation,” Minich wrote. “It is during this transition—whether that is five or ten years into the future—that the benefits of the ANELP program will be fully realized.” Alaska Native Corporations are booming businesses that require strong leadership and specialized training—skillsets fostered by programs like ANELP and ANSEP, according to their leaders. At UAA, Bourdukofsky says ANSEP has enjoyed growing support over the years. In 2006, it welcomed a new, fourteen thousand-square-foot building constructed specifically for the program with funding from more than a dozen sponsors, including CIRI and ASRC Energy Services. In 2013, the program 84

received a legislative citation for providing “inspiration, guidance, and opportunity” for hundreds of Alaska students. In Bourdukofsky’s view, that guidance and those opportunities help foster a new generation of skilled leaders ready to bestow their own guidance and create even more opportunities for generations to follow. He says educational programs geared specifically toward Alaska Natives—like ANSEP and ANELP—are important investments that provide a valuable benefit for Alaska students. “I think they definitely have an advantage,” he says.

New Minor in Alaska Native Business Management At UAA, another program is hoping to work towards the same underlying goal as ANELP and ANSEP. In early August, the university’s College of Business and Public Policy received official accreditation for a new minor in Alaska Native Business Management from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. This fall, the degree program will offer two classes: Introduction to Alaska Native Business and Alaska Native Corporation Business Management, an upper division course. The program’s supporters

include Sheri Buretta, chairwoman of the board of Chugach Alaska Corporation and also head of the College of Business and Public Policy Native Organizational Management Advisory Committee. According to UAA, “Through targeted education, hands-on training, research, and technical assistance, the Alaska Native Business Management minor will focus on growing the next generation of Alaska Native corporate and nonprofit leaders in our state. This curriculum will be valuable for anyone seeking to do business with Alaska Native organizations. The Alaska Native Business Management minor will be available to all UAA undergraduate students.” In a UAA press release announcing the new minor, Senior Manager and Primary Recruiter, KPMG, LLP Alaska and UAA Alaska Native Organizational Management Advisory Committee member Daniel J. Mitchell said: “The program gives students an opportunity to understand the importance and history behind one of the key economic drivers of Alaska’s economy. They learn to understand the business climate and how specific organizations run, through spending time with executives from those organizations. They also get a close, honest perspective of how these businesses perform, and learn what goals and strategies they have. Networking is huge for this program. I see that as a big benefit that opens up job opportunities.” Currently, UAA, UAF, and UAS all offer degree programs in Alaska Native Studies. But the Anchorage campus’s Alaska Native Business Management Minor is the University of Alaska System’s first degree program aimed specifically at managing and developing Alaska Native businesses. “Alaska Native Corporations are a vital part of the Alaskan economy,” Buretta stated in a UAA press release announcing the new minor. “It’s important for the community to understand our history and the law, in terms of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. We are your colleagues, friends, and neighbors. The success of Alaska Native people and our organizations is something in which all Alaskans can take pride.” R Kirsten Swann writes from Anchorage.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

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special section

Alaska Native Corporations

Southcentral Foundation’s Nuka System of Care Exporting Alaska’s success in healthcare delivery By Russ Slaten An international mix of healthcare professionals attending the Nuka System of Care Conference in June learning about Southcentral Foundation’s wellness model. © Russ Slaten


ealthcare providers from the nation’s most respectable organizations and from around the world continually make time to visit Alaska to observe and learn the operational and medical practices of Southcentral Foundation. Southcentral Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Anchorage under the tribal authority of Cook Inlet Region, Inc., or CIRI, and managed and owned by Alaska Native people. Southcentral Foundation has more than 1,750 employees and sixty-five programs and serves Alaska Native and American Indian people in the Anchorage Service Unit. Primary care services are offered at the Anchorage Native Primary Care Center—part of the Alaska Native Medical Center on the Alaska Native Health Campus—and the Benteh Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center, which opened in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley in 2012. Additionally, Southcentral Foundation manages healthcare services at three community health centers: McGrath Regional Health Center, Nilavena Subregional Clinic, and the C’eyiits’ Hwnax Life House Community Health Center in Sutton. The foundation’s Nuka System of


Care, a best practices model for healthcare delivery, has received national and international recognition for its successes in health outcomes, operational efficiencies, and customer and employee satisfaction. In its fourth year of the Nuka System of Care Conference, healthcare professionals from Scotland, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, and all over the United States visited Anchorage in June to learn from Southcentral Foundation. “The old model is disease-focused. Patients come in, and we diagnose the disease and treat it. At Southcentral Foundation the model is thinking about the customer-owner within the context of their home and community, getting to know them in a way that is based on a deep relationship, and then working to promote wellness through prevention, facilitating changes to health behaviors, and diagnosing and treating illness when it occurs,” says Dr. Russell Phillips, Director of the Harvard Center for Primary Care.

Top Honors Southcentral Foundation saw one of its highest honors for its Nuka System

of Care as a 2011 recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award from the US Department of Commerce. Seen as the nation’s highest Presidential honor for organizational performance excellence and innovation, the award brought to light Southcentral Foundation’s ability to increase revenue while cutting costs. According to the Medical Group Management Association, or MGMA, Southcentral Foundation’s per capita expenditures percentage has been lower than the MGMA benchmark since 2005. About 45 percent of the Alaska Native-owned foundation’s revenue comes from an annual block grant from the Indian Health Service, 45 percent from Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurers, and the remaining from donations and grants. It serves more than sixty-five thousand Alaska Native and American Indian customer-owners on an annual budget of $241.5 million. “We have what we call customerowners, and in the traditional hospital setting you’re going to use patient or client, but we changed the word to say customer because in our redesign, our population said, ‘We want to be treated

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

with respect, dignity, and honor.’ And if you show up to a business and try to purchase a product, people are going to treat you really well if they have a product to sell and you’re the customer,” says Katherine Gottlieb, Southcentral Foundation President/CEO.

Nuka System of Care Conference attendees listen to a presentation in June.

Team-Based Care A strong component of the Nuka System of Care is for customer-owners to empanel with a primary care team consisting of a provider, a nurse, case management support, a behaviorist, nutritionist, and a pharmacist. The team sits in the same workspace to communicate with ease and build meaningful working relationships with one another. “Teams handle what they can over the phone, and if someone needs to be seen, he or she can be scheduled the same day with a provider or can meet with the case manager, behaviorist, medical assistant, or other members of the team, depending on the nature of the problem. The expectation that everything needs to go through the doctor, who then disburses the work to everyone else, is gone. This allows for processes to be performed in

© Russ Slaten

parallel, shifting the work to where it’s most appropriately and cheaply done,” according to the foundation’s document “Transforming Your Practice.” “The old model’s medical assistant would bring a patient to the back; I might not interact with that medical assistant. I then do what I do in my office, and the patient leaves. And here [at Southcentral Foundation], they actually start every day with a huddle where the medical assistant, the nurse, the provider, and the scheduler are all coming together at

the beginning of the day to proactively plan it. So you can come in and be seen quickly and make sure that your needs are being met. And we’re trying to replicate that same thing at [the Harvard Center for Primary Care],” Phillips says. Hori Awa, CEO of the New Zealand-based tribal organization Waahi Whaanui Trust, says incorporating families in planning and listening to their needs not only brings customerowners closer to the staff, but builds a stronger bond between employees.

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


“Taking care of people on the personal approach empowers your staff and helps to retain and enrich staff, and I feel this conference has given me a good sense of how it can be done,” says Awa.

Relationship-Minded Southcentral Foundation prioritizes the needs and convenience of its customerowners over the needs of the institution or providers. At both the Anchorage Native Primary Care Center and the Benteh Nuutah Valley Native Primary Care Center, customer-owners can receive same-day access to care because 70 to 80 percent of appointment slots are open at the start of each day. The facility features rooms that fit the appointment with relatively open talking rooms for families to private and quiet rooms to handle more discrete appointments, in addition to exam rooms. The building setup allows the healthcare teams to more easily take care of their patients. In the Nuka System of Care, one of the chief responsibilities of a provider is to work with customerowners in establishing a trusting, accountable, and long-term relationship. “What’s really impressive to me is how aligned everyone is in improving health and how much they invest in building deep and lasting relationships among the staff. They care about each other, which translates into better care for their customer-owners,” Phillips says. Jess McPherson, Head of Primary Care Development for the Scottish Government in Edinburgh, says Southcentral Foundation staff is the crucial indicator in displaying a positive work and healthcare environment. The way the staff talks about the leadership and how they demonstrate through their actions shows they love working here, McPherson says. “You get a sense of why these people that work here can do such a terrific job for the patients they’re looking after, because they care,” McPherson says. “They care about their organization, they care about each other, and therefore they care about the patients that they’re serving, and that’s key to why they get it right.” Culture of Improvement Southcentral Foundation measures medical and financial performance through its state of the art database known as “DataMall.” Balanced score88

cards, customer reviews, and operational and clinical information is collected and analyzed by the system to provide daily, weekly, and monthly progress reports. Information is readily available to managers, clinicians, and employees to drive improvement and innovation. Well-performing groups are observed and give feedback on ways to improve efficiencies, while lesser-performing groups are analyzed for leadership to provide the team with tools to succeed. “The idea that even though right now, [the Nuka System of Care] is a leading practice nationally and internationally, no one here is resting on their laurels; they’re continually working to do better. People who live in this area are so fortunate to have a system like this for healthcare. It’s not meant to awe anybody, it’s meant to serve them, and without a comparison it’s hard to realize how terrific it is,” Phillips says. Gottlieb says the ownership dynamic of the Nuka System of Care comes from the organization’s processes in which customer-owners can affect change. “If I ask you about your healthcare, and you tell me there’s something you want to improve, and it becomes big enough to where it looks like it could change something for the better or stop harm from happening, then we’re going to change it. And then we’re not only going to change it, we’re going to let you know we did or that it’s under construction. So you said something, we heard you, and we’re changing it,” Gottlieb says.

Integrated Health One of Phillips’s goals in adopting Southcentral Foundation’s practices is to apply integrated care and the overall wellness of the customer-owners for the Harvard Center for Primary Care. Southcentral Foundation integrates behavioral health into primary care. In the Nuka System of Care, behavioral health specialists are readily accessible when customer-owner needs go beyond primary care capabilities. Phillips asserts that research from Southcentral Foundation shows an integrated approach to primary care decreases hospitalizations and the number of days spent in the hospital, resulting in cost savings. “Given the fact that our country can’t really afford to be spending more on healthcare, there’s an imperative to

Nuka Building Under Construction


outhcentral Foundation broke ground on its new building at the Alaska Native Health Campus July 29 in Anchorage. The 58,886-squarefoot building is designed to house Southcentral Foundation’s Nuka Institute, the Family Wellness Warriors Initiative therapy center, and Learning Circle wellness activities. Funding for the Nuka Building comes from Southcentral Foundation and the State of Alaska, with $3 million in support from the Rasmuson Foundation, intended to fund the construction and programs within the building. The primary architect for the project is Spark Design and the general contractor is Watterson Construction. The building is expected to open and be operational winter 2015-2016. Southcentral Foundation says the design is meant to reflect the natural surroundings. The cylindrical form of the large therapy center resembles the trunk of a birch tree and is accentuated with horizontal windows to mimic the dark lines on the peeling skin of birch bark. R

find ways to reduce costs. This model that’s focused on wellness and prevention has the added benefit of reducing healthcare costs. The research that’s being done here can help support our argument to change the way healthcare is being provided in our hospitals and primary care practices,” Phillips says. Overall, the Nuka System of Care aims to look beyond the absence of illness and prevention of disease to address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of whole-person wellness. “We can no longer blame a hospital system because we’re not healthy. We’re taking over responsibility on how our healthcare is lived out,” Gottlieb says, “So it’s up to us to be well and then walk with our provider to continue that journey of wellness.” R Russ Slaten is the Associate Editor for Alaska Business Monthly.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014




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special section

Alaska Native Corporations


Embracing a twofold mission By Tasha Anderson

Photo courtesy Olgoonik Corporation

A worker engaged in North Slope plug and abandonment support operations.

t’s just the beginning,” says Olgoonik Corporation CEO Hugh Patkotak Sr., speaking about the historic formation of Arctic Iñupiat Offshore LLC, a new company comprised of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and six North Slope village corporations, of which Olgoonik is one. To Patkotak, the first thing that comes to mind when he thinks about the newly formed company is alignment: “As Native Corporations, specifically in that region, we now have a better opportunity; we have a common bond.” Patkotak continues, “It will certainly help our grandchildren, but it [may also be] the opportunity of a lifetime for us.” This fits exactly in line with the twofold mission Olgoonik, as an Alaska Native village corporation established by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, has been tasked with: providing educational and economic opportunity 90

balanced with responsible stewardship of land and resources while maintaining Iñupiat culture, traditions, and values—a mission that Olgoonik, and its CEO, have embraced wholeheartedly.

Developing a Leader Olgoonik is the traditional name for the Native-owned village corporation of Wainwright, located on the coast of the Chukchi Sea on Alaska’s northwest shore. Patkotak was born and raised in Wainwright, though he says his upbringing wasn’t typical for the area; instead of remaining in the village, as a teenager he was among many youth that were sent out of the village to boarding school for his education. While he often returned to Wainwright to visit with family and participate in traditional activities, he became used to more urban lifestyles. Patkotak also credits his urge to fly, which he felt from a young age, as a

Photo courtesy Olgoonik Corporation


CEO Hugh Patkotak Sr. wearing a sealskin vest: “I killed it; I ate it; and now I wear it.”

key influence in the formation of his career, which eventually led to his being a leader of a highly successful Native village corporation. “I wanted to be a flying state trooper since I was a

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Aerial view of Wainwright, the area traditionally known as Olgoonik, with ice visible in the Chukchi Sea.

commitment to the responsible use of natural resources. In addition, Olgoonik has expanded into marine, air, and land logistics; civil engineering and construction; downhole tools and consulting; inspection and fuel system services; and management of marine science studies.

Photo courtesy Olgoonik Corporation

child” Patkotak says. “What intrigued me,” he continues, “[is that] back then, airplanes used to land on the ice on the beach, prior to runways. That image has been with me for a long time.” He pursued his desire and has been an accomplished professional pilot for more than thirty years. For the last twenty, he’s served on the North Slope Borough’s Search and Rescue Flight Division, flying both fixed and rotor wing aircraft. “I’ve truly been blessed in living my dream,” he says. But achieving his dream wasn’t the only advantage that his passion presented him with. “That’s where I was exposed to a lot of new situations,” Patkotak says. Over the course of his career, he flew representatives of major corporations and government agencies as well as important visitors. “It was like a moving office and provided me with an opportunity to talk to a variety of people and gain new perspectives. Today those perspectives are still valuable in my current role.”

Successful Growth, International Influence Patkotak is a guiding voice for Olgoonik, which since 1973 has grown to have international influence. The company is headquartered in Wainwright, with an office located in Anchorage where most of the company’s office work is done regarding its core logistics, construction,

and security business lines. Olgoonik also has an office on the East Coast that primarily handles work associated with Olgoonik’s international operations. Like many other Native companies, Olgoonik’s early success in these markets began through participation in the Small Business Associations 8(a) program, which provides assistance to small businesses in participating competitively in the federal procurement market. While there are still a few companies in the Olgoonik family that are eligible for the 8(a) program, many “graduates” are competing successfully for work outside of federal contracting in local, national, and international arenas. One of those areas is the oil and gas industry—which just makes sense, considering the size of the industry in Alaska, Olgoonik’s strategic location on the Chukchi Sea, and the company’s

Development at Home and Abroad Olgoonik invests in Wainwright’s economy, developing infrastructure and purchasing heavy equipment that is housed in the village and used for oil and gas operations. In addition, Olgoonik conducts construction, repair, and environmental cleanup projects within Wainwright, using local labor as much as possible. Looking forward, Olgoonik is exploring opportunities to bring other projects to the North Slope, such as well plug and abandonment work, fiber optic and hydroelectric projects, and landbased science programs. Additionally, Olgoonik has never lost a sense of home, and the company invests continuously in the Wainwright community. Recently, Phase I of the Community Playground project was completed; it was strongly supported by the community and built entirely by a local, shareholder crew. Phase II will begin this year and includes a regulation outdoor basketball court. To Olgoonik leaders, pursuing opportunities both in and out of Alaska is more than simply an effort to build the business but is a strategic method aimed at making it possible for these opportunities to be extended to the corporation’s shareholders. “We have shareholders all over the world,” Patkotak explains. “Wainwright is less than half of them. The state of Alaska is probably one third. There’s Children participate in a learning activity at Alak School in Wainwright. Photo courtesy Olgoonik Corporation

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


Phase I of the Community Playground Project shown under construction and completed. Photos courtesy Olgoonik Corporation

some in Canada and some in the Lower 48. [They’re] spread all over the place.” Patkotak says that the corporation’s responsibility isn’t just to the shareholders in-state, but to all of them. Olgoonik doesn’t look outside of the state only for business reasons, but with the understanding that international expansion provides opportunities to an international community, of which Olgoonik and its shareholders are a part. Patkotak finds that participating in an international community isn’t a burden. “It really empowers you,” he says. “In international forums, even in London, Singapore, they’re constantly reminding us that we need to have a seat at the table.” He continues, “If you have a seat at the table, you’re better off controlling your situation… We must remain engaged.” Engaging people is a core part of Olgoonik’s mission. “We have these raw human resources we need to advance,” Patkotak says. Olgoonik makes career support, scholarships, and job training available to Olgoonik shareholders, no matter their location. Olgoonik also has a policy of providing shareholder applicants with employment preference for open positions. Olgoonik will also, when appropriate, identify and recruit shareholders with appropriate skills for an opening. “Our shareholders and our employees are the engine that drives this company,” Patkotak says.

Education and Mentoring But before work placement, education 92

is a must. Patkotak believes that youth must be engaged and encouraged from birth so that they can reach their potential and achieve their dreams. “Sometimes all you have to do is lay the seed,” Patkotak says. “That’s why I believe in the power of the word,” he says. Recently, Patkotak traveled to Wainwright to speak to students there, both as a leader of the Native community and as the Olgoonik CEO. He is just one of many speakers to visit the school. Other Olgoonik employees and guest speakers discuss education and career choices with students throughout their education. In May 2007, Olgoonik launched a program called the “Imagination Library Program” at Alak School in Wainwright. It’s a nation-wide project with the goal of fostering a love of reading and an appreciation of book ownership from birth. Through the program Olgoonik supplies “books-from-birth,” or one book per month per child from birth until the child’s fifth birthday, totaling sixty books per child. Currently, forty-two children are enrolled. “I have mentored pilots, in the past, from infancy,” Patkotak says. “That’s what we need to do with our students… build them up, pat them on the back, help them with finances, or do something to keep them channeled. That’s the current challenge—it’s a day-to-day affair.”

Money as a Means Patkotak feels very strongly that Olgoonik’s two directives must be balanced carefully. “I’m really looking at two different things: raw resources, meaning land and humans, and our core competencies.” To Patkotak, this approach is vital to realizing Olgoon-

ik’s future. The company must use the dreams and desires of shareholders and combine those with solid business practices to create a company that can adjust to manage difficulties, changing technology, and business in general in the twenty-first century. “We have the ability to mold our company to our situation and environment,” he says. He recalls hearing from both his grandparents and his parents: “Whether you like it or not, [change] will come. You have to be proactive about it.” This vision for the future can be seen in Olgoonik’s participation in Arctic Iñupiat Offshore. Wainwright’s position on the Chukchi Sea makes it a great potential staging area for exploratory operations, providing job and training opportunities in Wainwright in environmental, construction, and transportation skills. Residents who remain in the village can also keep and pass down their traditional culture and subsistence lifestyle, balancing an ancient way of life with safe and responsible growth. “We all have something in common, every one of us” Patkotak says. “We can make a difference, and it just takes one step at a time, one day at a time, one page at a time.” Olgoonik is perhaps not totally unique in its approach to business within the context of Native Alaskan companies, but in the general corporate world, Olgoonik is a highly successful example of what business can be—profit is not an end-goal; it’s a tool that supports a community. R Tasha Anderson is the Editorial Assistant at Alaska Business Monthly.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Alaska Native Corporations

special section

Afognak Native Corporation Competing on the international stage Photo courtesy of Afognak Native Corporation

By Russ Slaten

Naval Special Warfare Cold Weather Training Facility on Spruce Cape. Design and construction of renovation and expansion provided by Alutiiq Diversified Services.


fognak Native Corporation is seeing brighter skies with one of its most prominent contracts to date beginning in September, an over $10.5 million security services contract with France-based aircraft manufacturer Airbus in Mobile, Alabama. Afognak Native Corporation is a village corporation based in the Kodiak Archipelago. Afognak has nearly one thousand shareholders for which the corporation maintains a responsibility to care for their social, cultural, and economic wellbeing in perpetuity. Afognak’s largest wholly owned subsidiary is Alutiiq, LLC, offering services in operations and maintenance, logistics, construction, security, and IT, among others. Additionally, Afognak operates businesses in oilfield services, leasing, and bioenergy. Afognak’s current President and CEO Greg Hambright began with Alutiiq in 2003 as the program director for a Naval Air contract, a position he received in part due to his history as a navy pilot. He moved up the ranks as a vice president in the subsidiary to senior VP of Technical Services while working in the Hunts-

ville, Alabama office. After a ten-month hiring process, Hambright was chosen amongst his colleagues within the corporation and external candidates with government contracting experience. As a non-Native, Hambright is prepared to continue learning about Alaska Native culture, especially the Alutiiq and Suqpiaq culture of Kodiak. As a 10-year employee of Alutiiq, LLC, he’s been coming to Alaska over the years. Hambright has moved from Huntsville, Alabama, to Los Angeles; Washington, DC; Maryland; and back to Huntsville throughout his career.

Competitive Mindset As Hambright changes his home base to Anchorage as the president and CEO, he says part of Afognak’s continued success will depend on a smooth transition from directed source business to the more traditional competitive business model in Afognak’s four core business lines. “As we develop the company over the years, and try to keep up with the explosive growth of the company on sole source [contracting], we move into

competition, and we’re having to take the systems that were built and refine them and refocus those systems for a competitive marketplace for the future,” Hambright says. Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) both on the regional and village level have dealt with a decline in directed source government contracting and have seen an overall shift into a more competitive model over the last few years, Hambright says. ANCs are beginning to build infrastructure similar to that of large government contractors. “Major defense contractors have to spend money to go win work, and the people that build the best proposals win the best work. These companies have had decades to refine their bid and proposal procedures and processes and marketing initiatives in order to be successful at winning work in competition,” Hambright says. “As one out of twenty proposals for government work we’re bidding for at the moment, we have to do the job better and more efficiently if we hope to win.” One advantage Afognak holds in becoming more competitive is Ham-

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


Sea Lion Camp, a deluxe onehundred-bed remote housing facility for WorleyParsons and ExxonMobil employees and contractors in Deadhorse, provided by Alutiiq. Photo courtesy of Afognak Native Corporation

bright’s background with major government contractors. Hambright was the chief engineer at ManTech Corporation and in executive positions with Teledyne Industries and Intergraph Corporation. He even holds US patents in diffractive optics.

Winning Contracts The most recent contract won by an Afognak Native Corporation subsidiary is slated to begin September 1. The Security Services Division of Alutiiq Pacific, LLC was awarded a $10,522,000 contract with billion-dollar, France-based aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The Protective Services Division will provide security officers (some trained as Emergency Medical Technicians), remote surveillance, control center, entry/exit control, security administration, and site security operations, among other services. The Afognak subsidiary will provide these services at the Airbus A320 Final Assembly Line in Mobile, Alabama. The Airbus assembly plant in Mobile is the first in North America, second outside of Europe, and fourth of its kind in the world. Hambright says the contract represents an amazing opportunity for Afognak, and that the

Protective Services Division is looking forward to beginning and developing a tangible long-term business relationship with Airbus. In the construction realm, Alutiiq’s construction division mainly handles government contracts but also covers the oil and gas industry and the commercial real estate market in order to diversify its business portfolio. Alutiiq, LLC, the main wholly owned subsidiary of Afognak Native Corporation, operates on a national and international level, with offices across the United States. Although Alutiiq wins many contracts throughout the United States and overseas, it still designs and constructs projects in its own backyard of Kodiak. In January, Alutiiq completed the construction of the Afognak headquarters building in Kodiak. The 10,000-square-foot building is on Near Island and is intended mainly for shareholder services. The building has fifteen designated office spaces, a conference room for the nine-member board of directors’ monthly meetings, and a 3,400-square-foot shareholder room. “[The shareholder room] is the top gathering place for social events—weddings, meetings, and conferences,” says

Jake Garner, director of operations for Alutiiq Diversified Services, LLC. Another testament to Afognak’s dedication to working in its own neighborhood is the major expansion of the Naval Special Warfare Cold Weather Training Facility on Spruce Cape. Alutiiq Diversified Services, LLC, the construction division of Afognak Native Corporation, was awarded a $17.4 million contract in 2012 to renovate the 13,000-square-foot facility and build a 25,000-square-foot expansion. Alutiiq outbid six competitors for the contract, which is expected to be complete by April 2015. Garner says about ninety Navy SEALs can undergo cold-weather training at a time. The facility includes berthing and instructional facilities, maintenance spaces for the center’s small boats, and a rappelling tower. “The SEALs training center rappelling tower is about eighty feet tall, so it’s very prominent as you go around the cape. It is a pre-engineered metal building made of LEED-certified, insulated metal panels,” Garner says. “The ocean is sixty feet away on the north end. So in the construction process, we’ve had our challenges with weather, site conditions, and the fact that its location is like the size of a postage stamp. It’s a very large building for the area of the infrastructure.” Additionally, Alutiiq is involved in more projects in Kodiak, including the construction of the Kodiak Island Housing Authority’s Senior Housing Project, a chemical storage building for the Federal Aviation Administration, and replacing the steam piping on the US Coast Guard base, Garner says. Outside of construction and government contracting, Alutiiq Oilfield Solutions—the company’s oil field services provider—works with oil and gas companies to provide oilfield rig matting, remote housing, and portable offices. “We’re the only ones that do it all. In Eagle Lodge, Afognak’s newest premier lodging facility in Deadhorse with a fitness center, lounge area, and oversized dining room. Bedrooms include executive style amenities and in suite bathrooms. Photo courtesy of Afognak Native Corporation


Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Photos courtesy of Afognak Native Corporation

Left: Double-status bedroom at the Brown Bear sixty-bed rapid deployment facility. Above: Brown Bear facility exterior in Deadhorse for Alutiiq clients.

a drilling project, two days means a lot. So as soon as you can get that housing unit, the sooner they can start work and the sooner it’s complete,” says Matt Thorpe, senior VP of operations for Alutiiq Oilfield Solutions. From manufacturing to transportation, setup, leasing, and breakdown, Alutiiq Oilfield Solutions handles every aspect of the remote housing contract for a variety of resource development projects, Thorpe says. Along with being a one stop shop for remote housing, Alutiiq Oilfield Solutions says the quality and livability of the structure goes hand-in-hand with the service. “If I got Fred the drilling engineer, and there was an opportunity to go to Pennsylvania and drill for the same money, and he knows the facility there

is all Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons’d up, and he’s gonna be living in a foxhole in the North Slope, you will never get that guy. So a lot of oil companies have understood that and have raised the standards on the North Slope. And we’re happy to say that we were one of the leaders to do that,” Thorpe says.

Family Business Even with the recent business successes and continuous growth, Hambright says there is still much for him to learn about Afognak and the shareholders. Hambright has met and spoken to executives from fellow village and regional ANCs, but he plans to continue his community outreach with Alaska Natives and corporations throughout

Alaska and the Kodiak community, and at the same time, set the tone for Afognak’s business direction while learning the shareholders’ priorities. “I’m a business guy. I’m a very predictable individual if you give me a set of business equations, and I’ll optimize it for you. But the right answer isn’t always the best business answer. The right answer often times has a cultural element or a shareholder element because we are a family business. And I rely on some of the shareholder employees that we have to really help me better understand what it is I don’t know.” R Russ Slaten is the Associate Editor for Alaska Business Monthly.

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


special section

Alaska Native Corporations

ANCSA Regional Corporation Financial Analysis 2009–2012 Financial Analysis Total Revenue 8(a) Contract Revenue 8(a) Revenue as % of Total Revenue Total Net Income Profit Margin

Averages 2009–2012 2012 2011 2010 2009 $8,259,864,684 $8,972,864,816 $8,455,926,848 $8,378,568,884 $7,232,098,186 $3,263,278,244 $3,139,378,700 $3,020,641,783 $3,589,981,081 $3,303,111,410

Total Assets Return on Assets Total Asset Turnover Total Shareholder Equity

$5,771,252,816 $6,426,656,335 $6,108,481,052 $5,499,862,729 $5,050,011,149 5.67% 4.21% 4.11% 7.08% 7.87% 1.43 1.40 1.38 1.52 1.43 $3,570,128,054 $3,845,123,091 $3,613,403,930 $3,576,262,833 $3,245,722,360

Shareholder Equity as % of Total Assets Return on Equity Total Debt Ratio Debt to Equity Ratio Equity Multiplier Total Dividends Paid to Shareholders Total Dividends as % of Net Income Total Scholarship Funds Awarded Scholarships as % of Net Income Donations to Native Nonprofit Efforts Donations to Native Nonprofit Efforts as % of Net Income Donations to Non-Native Charities Donations to Non-native Charities as % of Net Income Percent of Net Income Paid Out in Dividends, Scholarships, and Nonprofit Contributions

39.51% $327,172,028 3.96%

34.99% $270,879,859 3.02%

35.72% $250,811,171 2.97%

42.85% $389,504,403 4.65%

45.67% $397,492,677 5.50%

61.86% 9.16% 38.14% 61.65% 1.62

59.83% 7.04% 40.17% 67.14% 1.67

59.15% 6.94% 40.85% 69.05% 1.69

65.02% 10.89% 34.98% 53.79% 1.54

64.27% 12.25% 35.73% 55.59% 1.56











$10,691,215 3.27%

$7,652,528 2.83%

$6,619,757 2.64%

$15,077,970 3.87%

$13,414,606 3.37%


























SOURCE: ANCSA Regional Association “2009-2012 ANCSA Economic Report”


Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014


© Chris Arend Photography

Ahtna, Inc.’s Anchorage offices.

Ahtna, Inc. PO Box 649 Glennallen, AK 99588 Phone: 907-822-3476 Fax: 907-822-3495

Michelle Anderson Pres.

Alaska Employees: 375 Worldwide Employees: 1,715 Shareholders: 1,871 Acres: 1,528,000 2013 Gross Revenue: $200,000,000 2012 Gross Revenue: $190,000,000

Subsidiaries: Ahtna Engineering Services LLC; Ahtna Development Corp.; Ahtna Facility Services, Inc.; Ahtna Enterprises Corp.; Ahtna Contractors LLC; Koht’aene Enterprises Co. LLC; Ahtna Support and Training Services LLC; Ahtna Technical Services, Inc.; Ahtna Government Services Corp.; Ahtna Construction and Primary Product; Ahtna Design Build, Inc.; Ahtna Professional Services, Inc.; Ahtna Environmental, Inc.; Ahtna Technologies, Inc.


Activities: Ahtna companies are involved in construction and remediation activities; facilities management and support services; food service contractors; forestry and gravel sales; government contracting; janitorial, healthcare and medical records services; as well as oil and gas pipeline services. 98

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

We work here

so that it works here

Mt. Akwe, near Yakutat, AK

the Ahtna Region, AK

Traditional Second Chief Fred Ewan

Ahtna Heritage Dancers

As the business holding company of Ahtna, Inc., an Alaska Native Regional Corporation based in Glennallen, Alaska, Ahtna Netiye’ is strongly committed to ensuring the prosperity of Ahtna shareholders through the revenues and profits we acquire from our business operations. So, not only are we working to help our clients achieve success in their business ventures wherever they may be, we are also bringing viable economic opportunities closer to home for our people and region. That’s just how we do business.

Caribou near Cantwell, AK

Our Values Unite Us; Our Customers Sustain Us; Our Companies are Prosperous.

Netiye’, Inc. 110 W 38th Street, Suite 100B | Anchorage, AK 99503 PH: (907) 868-8250 | FAX: (907) 868-8285

Learn more about doing business with Ahtna at


The Aleut Corporation’s Anchorage offices. Š Chris Arend Photography

Aleut Corporation 4000 Old Seward Hwy., Suite 300 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-561-4300 Fax: 907-563-4328

Alaska Employees: 159 Worldwide Employees: 429 Shareholders: 3,794 2013 Gross Revenue: $116,260,627 2012 Gross Revenue: $98,098,953 Revenue Sources: Operations and Maintenance Contracts, $75,100,828; Fuel Sales, $12,787,044; Rental Properties, $5,098,634; Natural Resource, $6,128,054; Investment income, $1,180,100; Other, $440,056 Subsidiaries: Aleut Enterprises LLC, Anchorage, Alaska; Aleut Management Services, Colorado Springs, Colorado; Aleut Real Estate LLC, Anchorage, Alaska; Alaska Instrument LLC, Anchorage, Alaska; CandH Testing LLC Bakersfield, California; Patrick Mechanical; Analytica Group; ARS International

Acres: 70,789 acres of surface lands; and 1.572 million acres of subsurface estate Activities: Commercial and residential real estate; government contracting; fuel and port services; gravel operations; water utilities; oil well testing instrumentation and testing; water testing; mechanical contracting; oil and fuel storage, hazardous materials analysis, testing and remediation services.

Aleut Corp.

David Gillespie CEO 100

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

PO Box 129 Barrow, AK 99723 Phone: 907-852-8633 Fax: 907-852-5733

© Chris Arend Photography

Arctic Slope Regional Corporation’s Anchorage offices.

Rex A. Rock Sr. Pres./CEO

Alaska Employees: 4,175 Worldwide Employees: 10,082 Shareholders: 11,631 2013 Gross Revenue: $2,525,615,000 2012 Gross Revenue: $2,628,929,000 Revenue Sources: Petroleum Refining and Marketing 38%; Government Services 27%; Energy Support Services 28%; Construction 6%; Other 1% Subsidiaries: ASRC Energy Services Inc.; ASRC Federal Holding Company, LLC; ASRC Construction Holding Company; Eskimos, Inc.; Tundra Tours, Inc.; Petro Star, Inc.; Alaska Growth Capital; Little Red Services Inc.; Petrochem Inc.

Acres: Approximately 5 million acres Activities: ASRC has six major business segments; petroleum refining and marketing, energy support services, construction, government services, industrial services and resource development.

Arctic Slope Regional Corp.

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly



Arctic Slope Regional Corporation


Bering Straits Native Corporation headquarters in Nome. Š Chris Arend Photography

Bering Straits Native Corporation 4600 DeBarr Rd., Suite 200 Anchorage, AK 99508 Phone: 907-563-3788 Fax: 907-563-2742

Gail R. Schubert Pres./CEO 102

Alaska Employees: 207 Worldwide Employees: 1,237 Shareholders: 7,100 2013 Gross Revenue: $242,000,000 2012 Gross Revenue: $213,000,000 Revenue Sources: General Construction; Investment Income; Aerospace Support Services; Information; Technology/ Communications; Property Management and Leasing; Facilities Maintenance; Administrative Support: Supply and Logistics Support; Textile Fabrication; Security; Mining Support Services Subsidiaries: Inuit Services Inc.; Bering Straits Aerospace Services LLC; Bering Straits Logistics Services LLC; Bering Straits Information Technology LLC; Bering Straits Technical Services LLC; Bering Straits Aki LLC; Eagle Eye Electric LLC; Ayak LLC; Global Support Services LLC; Global Management Services LLC; Iyabak Construction LLC; Global Asset Technologies

LLC; Global Precision Systems LLC; Bering Straits Development Co.; Global Technical Services LLC; Golden Glacier, Inc.; 4600 Debarr LLC; Arcticom Acres: 2.1 million acres of surface and subsurface Activities: Government contracting, logistics, base operations support services, aircraft and airfield services, special training and security, management and consulting services, IT services, construction and renovation, communications.

Bering Straits Native Corp.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Bristol Bay Native Corporation 111 W. 16th Ave., Suite 400 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-278-3602 Fax: 907-276-3924

Jason Metrokin Pres./CEO

Bristol Bay Native Corporation office in Anchorage. Alaska Employees: 1,503 Worldwide Employees: 3,800 Shareholders: 9,600 2013 Gross Revenue: $1,835,894,000 2012 Gross Revenue: $1,961,780,000 Revenue Sources: Petroleum Distribution; Construction Services; Government Services; Oilfield and Industrial Services; Tourism; Portfolio of Public and Private Passive Investments; Natural Resource Management Subsidiaries: Eagle Group; STSGlacier Group; SpecPro Group; Vista Group; Business Resource Solutions, LLC; Bristol Alliance; CCI Alliance; SES Group; Bristol Bay Resource Solutions, LLC; Kakivik Asset Management, LLC;

CCI Industrial Services, LLC; Peak Oilfield Service Company LLC; PetroCard, Inc.; Bristol Bay Mission Lodge, LLC Acres: 3 million Activities: Diversified holding company; construction; government services; oilfield and industrial services; petroleum distribution; and tourism. Find us on Facebook at:

Bristol Bay Native Corp.

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly



Š Chris Arend Photography


Š Calista Corporation

Renderings of Calista Corporation’s new Anchorage offices. Calista expects to move in this month and next.

Calista Corporation 301 Calista Ct., Suite A Anchorage, AK 99518-3028 Phone: 907-279-5516 Fax: 907-272-5060

Andrew Guy Pres./CEO 104

Alaska Employees: 450 Worldwide Employees: 1,600 Shareholders: 12,000 2013 Gross Revenue: $368,914,000 2012 Gross Revenue: $404,231,000 Revenue Sources: Contracting and Professional Services; Construction Services; Environmental Services; Marine Services; Rental and Property Management; Marketing/PR Agency; Camp Services and Catering; Communications; Calista Region Resources; Other Region Resources Subsidiaries: Ookichista Drilling Services, Inc; Yulista Aviation, Inc.; Yulista Management Services, Inc.; Y-Tech Services, Inc.; Chiulista Services, Inc.; Brice Incorporated; Tunista, Inc.; Tunista Construction, LLC; Tunista Services, LLC; Yukon Equipment, Inc.; Futaris (Formerly Alaska Telecom, Inc.); Solstice Advertising; Sequestered Solutions; Brice Construction; Brice Marine;

Brice Equipment; Calista Heritage Foundation; Calista Real Estate; STG Incorporated; Aulukista, LLC; Yulista Tactical Services, LLC; E3 Environmental, LLC; Qagan Lands, LLC Acres: 6.5 million Activities: Defense contracting; full IT-telecom technical services; remote/camp services; environmental remediationconsulting; construction; advertising/marketing; heavy equipment; drilling services; rock quarry material; tug-barge.

Calista Corp.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Gabriel Kompkoff CEO

Chugach Alaska Corporation’s headquarters in Anchorage. Acres: The Chugach Region comprises one million acres in Southcentral, entitled to 928,000 acres of which approximately 378,000 acres are full fee entitlement and 550,000 acres of subsurface estate Activities: Wide-ranging services for federal and commercial clients including facilities management and maintenance, construction, technical and IT, oil and gas and education services.

Chugach Alaska Corp.

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly



3800 Centerpoint Dr., Suite 1200 Anchorage, AK 99503-4396 Phone: 907-563-8866 Fax: 907-563-8402

Alaska Employees: 500 Worldwide Employees: 4,600 Shareholders: 2,600 2013 Gross Revenue: $609,000,000 2012 Gross Revenue: $709,000,000 Subsidiaries: Chugach Alaska Services, Inc.; Chugach Federal Solutions, Inc.; Chugach Government Services, Inc.; Chugach Industries, Inc.; Chugach Information Technology, Inc.; Chugach McKinley, Inc.; Chugach Management Services, Inc.; Chugach Support Services, Inc.; Chugach World Services, Inc.; Defense Base Services, Inc.; Falcon International, LLC; Wolf Creek Federal Services, Inc.; Chugach Education Services, Inc.; Heide and Cook, LLC; Chugach Systems Integration, LLC; Chugach Commercial Holdings, Inc.; Chugach Construction Services, LLC; Chugach Government Solutions, LLC; Chugach Training and Educational Solutions, LLC

Š Chris Arend Photography

Chugach Alaska Corporation

PO Box 93330 Anchorage, AK 99509-3330 Phone: 907-274-8638 Fax: 907-263-5183

Sophie Minich Pres./CEO 106

Alaska Employees: 1,319 Worldwide Employees: 1,909 Shareholders: 8,437 2013 Gross Revenue: $214,930,000 2012 Gross Revenue: $237,849,000 Revenue Sources: Real Estate, Oilfield and Construction Services, Land and Resources, Energy Development, Environmental Services, Tourism and Hospitality, Government Contracting, and Private Equity and Venture Capital Investments Subsidiaries: Alaska Interstate Construction LLC; CIRI Alaska Tourism Corp. (CATC); CIRI Land Development Co. (CLDC); North Wind Group; Fire Island Wind LLC; Stone Horn Ridge Investors LLC; Cruz Energy Services LLC; Cruz Marine LLC; Weldin Construction LLC; Silver Mountain Construction LLC; CIRI Services Corporation Acres: Ownership interest in 1.6 million acres of land

© Chris Arend Photography


Cook Inlet Region, Inc.

CIRI’s current headquarters in Anchorage. A new plaza is under construction. Activities: Real Estate, Oilfield and Construction Services, Land and Resources, Energy Development, Environmental Services, Tourism and Hospitality, Government Contracting, and Private Equity and Venture Capital Investments.

Cook Inlet Region Inc.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

1 Doyon Pl., Suite 300 Fairbanks, AK 99701-2941 Phone: 907-459-2000 Fax: 907-459-2060 • Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

© Chris Arend Photography

Alaska Employees: 1,348 Worldwide Employees: 2,238 Shareholders: 19,000 2013 Gross Revenue: $318,552,461 2012 Gross Revenue: $338,276,000 Revenue Sources: Oilfield Services Government Contracting Lands and Natural Resources Tourism Subsidiaries: Doyon Transitional, Inc.; Doyon Oil Field Services, Inc.; Doyon Government Contracting, Inc.; Doyon Natural Resources Development Corporation

Acres: 12.5 Million Acres Activities: Oilfield services; drilling and pipeline infrastructure construction; government services; security; utility management; natural resource development; facility and food services; remote site support; engineering; construction.

Doyon Ltd.

Aaron Schutt Pres./CEO

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly



Doyon, Limited’s headquarters in Fairbanks.

Doyon, Limited

194 Alimaq Drive Kodiak, AK 99615 Phone: 907-486-2530 Fax: 907-486-3325

Elizabeth Perry CEO 108

© Chris Arend Photography


Koniag, Inc.

Koniag, Inc.’s headquarters in Kodiak. Alaska Employees: 57 Worldwide Employees: 615 Shareholders: 3,863 2013 Gross Revenue: $202,142,000 2012 Gross Revenue: $129,234,000 Subsidiaries: Angeles Composite Technologies, Inc; Angayak Construction Enterprises, Inc.; Clarus Technologies, LLC; Digitized Schematic Solutions, LLC; Frontier Systems Integrator, LLC; Koniag Development Corporation; Koniag Services, Inc.; Professional Computing Resources, Inc.; XMCO, Inc.; Dowland-Bach Corporation; Koniag Information Security Services, LLC; Granite Cove Quarry, LLC; Koniag Technology Solutions, Inc.; Nunat Holdings, LLC; Anderson Construction Company, LLC;

Near Island Building, LLC; Karluk Wilderness Adventures, Inc. dba Kodiak Brown Bear Center and dba Karluk River Cabins; PacArctic, LLC; Open Systems Technology, DE, LLC; PacArctic Logistics, LLC; 2320 Post Road, LLC Acres: 935,351 Activities: Koniag’s principal lines of business include commercial real estate investments; ANCSA natural resource management; and investments in various operating companies.

Koniag Inc.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. PO Box 49 Kotzebue, AK 99503 Phone: 907-442-3301 Fax: 907-442-4161

NANA Regional Corporation, Inc.’s headquarters in Kotzebue. Alaska Employees: 5,049 Worldwide Employees: 15,476 Shareholders: 13,500 2013 Gross Revenue: $1,700,000,000 2012 Gross Revenue: $1,800,000,000 Subsidiary: NANA Development Corporation Acres: 2.2 million

Activities: Resource development; land management; engineering and construction; information technology and telecommunications; facilities management and logistics; real estate and hotel development.

NANA Regional Corp.

Marie N. Greene Pres./CEO

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly



© Chris Arend Photography


© Sealaska

Sealaska One Sealaska Plaza, Suite 400 Juneau, AK 99801-1276 Phone: 907-586-1512 Fax: 907-463-3897

Anthony Mallott Pres./CEO 110

Sealaska’s headquarters in Juneau. Alaska Employees: 300+ Worldwide Employees: 300+ Shareholders: 21,632 2013 Gross Revenue: $164,950,000 2012 Gross Revenue: $311,620,000 Revenue Sources: Forest products; Construction aggregates; General construction and design build; Mariculture; Seafood processing; Renewable energy; Information technology services; Environmental remediation and services; Security services Subsidiaries: Sealaska Timber Corporation; Alaska Coastal Aggregates; Sealaska Environmental Services; Managed Business Solutions; Sealaska Constructors; Security Alliance; Haa Aani, LLC; Synergy Systems

Acres: Sealaska is authorized to approximately 365,000 acres under ANCSA. To date 290,000 acres have been conveyed. Activities: Sealaska’s businesses are divided into three tiers: natural resources, construction and services. Through our wholly and majority-owned subsidiaries, Sealaska operates in a range of industries and offers a variety of products.

Sealaska Corp.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Sealaska President and CEO Anthony Mallott Helps Set New Direction “It is important to me that our natural resources are available for future generations. I look forward to building successful operations through our core Native values.” ~Anthony Mallott

Anthony grew up in Yakutat and Juneau. He has been part of the Sealaska Family since 2006, serving as Chief Investment Officer and Treasurer.

We invite you to learn more about Sealaska’s leadership, core values, and our businesses at


Strengthening our people, culture and homelands through Values In Action


The 13th Regional Corporation Editor’s Note: State of Alaska; Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development; Division of Corporations shows The 13th Regional Corporation involuntarily dissolved January 1, 2014.

The 13th Regional Corp.

Village Corporations Village

Village’s Corporation



Afognak Akhiok Akiachak Akiak Akutan Alakanuk Alatna Aleknagik Allakaket Ambler Anaktuvuk Pass Andreafsky Angoon Aniak Anvik Arctic Village Atka Atmautluak Atqasuk Ayakulik Barrow Beaver Belkofski Bethel Bill Moore’s Slough Birch Creek Brevig Mission Buckland Cantwell Chalkyitsik Chefornak Chenega Chevak Chickaloon

Afognak Native Corporation Akhiok-Kaguyak, Incorporated Akiachak, Limited Kokarmuit Corporation Akutan Corporation Alakanuk Native Corporation K’oyitl’ots’ina, Limited Aleknagik Natives Limited K’oyitl’ots’ina, Limited NANA Regional Corporation, Incorporated Nunamiut Corporation, Incorporated Nerklikmute Native Corporation Kootznoowoo, Incorporated The Kuskokwim Corporation Deloyges Corporation Neets’ai Corporation Atxam Corporation Atmautluak Limited Atqasuk Corporation Ayakulik, Incorporated Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation Beaver Kwit’chin Corporation Belkofski Corporation Bethel Native Corporation Kongnikilnomuit Yuita Corporation Tihteet’aii, Incorporated Brevig Mission Native Corporation NANA Regional Corporation, Incorporated Ahtna, Incorporated Chalkyitsik Native Corporation Chefarnrmute, Incorporated The Chenega Corporation Chevak Company Chickaloon-Moose Creek Native Association, Incorporated

215 Mission Road, Ste. 212, Kodiak, AK 99615 1400 W. Benson Blvd. #425, Anchorage, AK 99503 PO Box 51010, Akiachak, AK 99551 PO Box 147, Akiak, AK 99552 PO Box 8, Akutan, AK 99553 PO Box 89, Alakanuk, AK 99554 1603 College Road, Fairbanks, AK 99709 PO Box 1630, Dillingham, AK 99576 1603 College Road, Fairbanks, AK 99709

907-486-6014 907-258-0604 907-825-4328 907-765-7228 907-698-2206 907-238-3117 907-452-8119 907-842-2385 907-452-8119

PO Box 21009, Anaktuvuk Pass, AK 99721 PO Box 87, Saint Mary’s, AK 99658 8585 Old Dairy Road, Ste. 104, Juneau, AK 99801 PO Box 227, Aniak, AK 99557

907-661-3026 907-438-2332 907-790-2992 907-675-4275

PO Box 47001, Atka, AK 99547 PO Box 6548, Atmautluak, AK 99559 PO Box 1169, Barrow, AK 99723 3741 Richmond #5, Anchorage, AK 99508 PO Box 890, Barrow, AK 99723 PO Box 24090, Beaver, AK 99724 PO Box 46, King Cove, AK 99612 PO Box 719, Bethel, AK 99559 PO Box 20308, Kotlik, AK 99620 PO Box 71372, Fairbanks, AK 99701 PO Box 85024, Brevig Mission, AK 99785

907-839-2237 907-553-5428 907-852-8633 907-279-7911 907-852-4460 907-456-1640 907-497-3122 907-543-2124 907-899-4016 907-455-8484 907-642-4091

PO Box 53, Chalkyitsik, AK 99788


3000 C St, Ste. 301, Anchorage, AK 99503 PO Box 179, Chevak, AK 99563 PO Box 875046, Wasilla, AK 99687

907-277-5706 907-858-7920 907-373-1145

Chignik Chignik Lagoon Chignik Lake Chistochina Chitina Chuathbaluk

Far West, Incorporated Chignik Lagoon Native Corporation Chignik River Limited Ahtna, Incorporated Chitina Native Corporation The Kuskokwim Corporation

3150 C St., Ste. 270, Anchorage, AK 99501 16016 Mammoth Cir, Eagle River, AK 99577 PO Box 48008, Chignik Lake, AK 99548

907-276-2580 907-840-2225 907-845-2212

PO Box 3, Chitina, AK 99566




Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Village’s Corporation



Chuloonawick Corporation Danzhit Hanlaii Corporation Saguyak Incorporated Ahtna, Incorporated Council Native Corporation Shaan-Seet, Incorporated The Kuskokwim Corporation NANA Regional Corporation, Incorporated Choggiung Limited Inalik Native Corporation Dot Lake Native Corporation Hungwitchin Corporation Iqfijouaq Company Becharof Corporation Eklutna, Incorporated Choggiung Limited Ekwok Natives Limited Elim Native Corporation Emmonak Corporation Evansville, Incorporated The Eyak Corporation Isanotski Corporation Gwitchyaa Zhee Corporation Ahtna, Incorporated Gana-A’Yoo, Limited Sivuqaq, Incorporated The Kuskokwim Corporation Golovin Native Corporation Kuitsarak, Incorporated Hee-Yea-Lingde Corporation Ahtna, Incorporated Nunapiglluraq Corporation Mendas Cha-ag Native Corporation Deloycheet, Incorporated Huna Totem Corporation Sea Lion Corporation K’oyitl’ots’ina, Limited K’oyitl’ots’ina, Limited Haida Corporation Igiugig Native Corporation Iliamna Natives Limited Bay View, Incorporated Akhiok-Kaguyak, Incorporated Kake Tribal Corporation Kaktovik Inupiat Corporation Gana-A’Yoo, Limited Kavilco Incorporated Kasigluk, Incorporated Kenai Natives Association, Incorporated NANA Regional Corporation, Incorporated The King Cove Corporation King Island Native Corporation Kugkaktlik, Limited NANA Regional Corporation, Incorporated Klawock Heenya Corporation Klukwan, Incorporated Knikatnu, Incorporated NANA Regional Corporation, Incorporated Natives of Kodiak, Incorporated Alaska Peninsula Corporation Koliganek Natives Limited

2635 Draper Dr, Anchorage, AK 99517 PO Box 71372, Fairbanks, AK 99701 PO Box 4, Clarks Point, AK 99569

907-949-1234 907-455-8484 907-236-1235

PO Box 1183, Nome, AK 99762 PO Box 690, Craig, AK 99921

907-443-6513 907-826-3251

PO Box 330, Dillingham, AK 99576 PO Box 7040, Diomede, AK 99762 3500 Wolf Run, Fairbanks, AK 99709 PO Box 84594, Fairbanks, AK 99708 PO Box 49, Eek, AK 99578 PO Box 220029, Anchorage, AK 99522 16515 Centerfield Dr. #201, Eagle River, AK 99577

907-842-5218 907-686-3221 907-347-1251 907-778-2231 907-536-5211 907-561-4777 907-696-2828

PO Box 1189, Dillingham, AK 99576 PO Box 39010, Elim, AK 99739 PO Box 49, Emmonak, AK 99581 P.O.Box 60670, Fairbanks, AK 99706 901 LeFevre St., PO Box 340, Cordova, AK 99574 PO Box 9, False Pass, AK 99583 PO Box 329, Fort Yukon, AK 99740

907-464-3336 907-890-3741 907-949-1129 907-374-7084 907-424-7161 907-548-2217 907-662-2933

6927 Old Seward Ste. 101, Anchorage, AK 99518 PO Box 101, Gambell, AK 99742


PO Box 62099, Golovin, AK 99762 PO Box 150, Goodnews Bay, AK 99589 PO Box 9, Grayling, AK 99590

907-779-3251 907-967-8428 907-453-5133

PO Box 20187, Kotlik, AK 99620 457 Cindy Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99701

907-899-4453 907-452-3094

9301 Glacier Hwy., Ste. 200, Juneau, AK 99801 PO Box 87, Hooper Bay, AK 99604 1603 College Road, Fairbanks, AK 99709 1603 College Road, Fairbanks, AK 99709 PO Box 89, Hydaburg, AK 99922 PO Box 4009, Igiugig, AK 99613 3201 C St., Ste. 406, Anchorage, AK 99606 7926 Old Seward, Ste. A-7, Anchorage, AK 99518

907-523-3670 907-758-4415 907-452-8119 907-452-8119 907-285-3721 907-533-3211 907-571-1246 907-345-9627

PO Box 263, Kake, AK 99830 P. O. Box 73, Kaktovik, AK 99747 6927 Old Seward Ste. 101, Anchorage, AK 99518 PO Box KXA Kasaan, Ketchikan, AK 99950 PO Box 39, Kasigluk, AK 99609 215 Fidalgo Ave. #101, Kenai, AK 99611

907-785-3221 907-640-6120 907-569-9599 907-542-2214 907-447-6113 907-283-4851

PO Box 38, King Cove, AK 99612 PO Box 992, Nome, AK 99762 PO Box 36, Kipnuk, AK 99614

907-497-2312 907-443-5494 907-896-5414

PO Box 129, Klawock, AK 99925 PO Box 209, Haines, AK 99827 PO Box 872130, Wasilla, AK 99687

907-755-2270 907-766-2211 907-376-2845

215 Mission Rd. #201, Kodiak, AK 99615


PO Box 5023, Koliganek, AK 99576



Village Chuloonawick Circle Clark’s Point Copper Center Council Craig Crooked Creek Deering Dillingham Diomede Dot Lake Village Eagle Village Eek Egegik Eklutna Ekuk Ekwok Elim Emmonak Evansville Eyak False Pass Fort Yukon Gakona Galena Gambell Georgetown Golovin Goodnews Bay Grayling Gulkana Hamilton Healy Lake Holy Cross Hoonah Hooper Bay Hughes Huslia Hydaburg Igiugig Iliamna Ivanof Bay Kaguyak Kake Kaktovik Kaltag Kasaan Kasigluk Kenai Kiana King Cove King Island Kipnuk Kivalina Klawock Klukwan Knik-Fairview Kobuk Kodiak Kokhanok Koliganek


September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly




Village’s Corporation



Kongiganak Kotlik Kotzebue Koyuk Koyukuk Kwethluk Kwigillingok Levelock Lime Village Lower Kalskag Manley Hot Springs Manokotak Marshall Mary’s Igloo McGrath Mekoryuk Mentasta Lake Minto Mountain Village Naknek Nanwalek Napaimute Napakiak Napaskiak Nelson Lagoon Nenana New Stuyahok Newhalen Newtok Nightmute Nikolai Nikolski Ninilchik Noatak Nome Nondalton Noorvik Northway Village Nuiqsut Nulato Nunam Iqua Nunapitchuk Ohogamiut Old Harbor Oscarville Ouzinkie Paimiut Pauloff Harbor Pedro Bay Perryville Pilot Point Pilot Station Pitkas Point Platinum Point Hope Point Lay Port Alsworth Port Graham Port Heiden Port Lions Portage Creek

Qemirtalek Coast Corporation Kotlik Yupik Corporation Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corporation Koyuk Native Corporation Gana-A’Yoo, Limited Kwethluk Incorporated Kwik Incorporated Levelock Natives Limited Lime Village Company The Kuskokwim Corporation Bean Ridge Corporation Manokotak Natives Limited Maserculiq, Incorporated Mary’s Igloo Native Corporation MTNT, Limited Nima Corporation Ahtna, Incorporated Seth-De-Ya-Ah Corporation Azachorok Incorporated Paug-Vik Incorporated, Limited The English Bay Corporation The Kuskokwim Corporation Napakiak Corporation Napaskiak, Incorporated Nelson Lagoon Corporation Toghotthele Corporation Stuyahok Limited Alaska Peninsula Corporation Newtok Native Corporation Chinuruk Incorporated MTNT, Limited Chaluka Corporation Ninilchik Natives Association, Incorporated NANA Regional Corporation, Incorporated Sitnasuak Native Corporation Kijik Corporation NANA Regional Corporation, Incorporated Northway Natives Incorporated Kuukpik Corporation Gana-A’Yoo, Limited Swan Lake Corporation Nunapitchuk Limited Ohog Incorporated Old Harbor Native Corporation Oscarville Native Corporation Ouzinkie Native Corporation Paimiut Corporation Sanak Corporation Pedro Bay Corporation Oceanside Corporation Pilot Point Native Corporation Pilot Station, Incorporated Pitka’s Point Native Corporation Arviq Incorporated Tikigaq Corporation Cully Corporation Incorporated Tanalian, Incorporated The Port Graham Corporation Alaska Peninsula Corporation Afognak Native Corporation Choggiung Limited

PO Box 5070, Kongiganak, AK 99559 PO Box 20207, Kotlik, AK 99620 PO Box 1050, Kotzebue, AK 99752 PO Box 53050, Koyuk, AK 99752 6927 Old Seward Ste. 101, Anchorage, AK 99518

907-557-5529 907-899-4014 907-442-3165 907-963-2424 907-569-9599

PO Box 110, Kwigillingok, AK 99622 PO Box 109, Levelock, AK 99625 605 West Tudor Road, Anchorage, AK 99503

907-588-8112 907-287-3040 907-276-1550

PO Box 82062, Fairbanks, AK 99708


PO Box 90, Marshall, AK 99585 PO Box 650, Teller, AK 99778 PO Box 309, McGrath, AK 99627 PO Box 52, Mekoryuk, AK 99607

907-679-6512 907-642-2308 907-524-3391 907-827-8636

PO Box 56, Minto, AK 99758 PO Box 32213, Mountain Village, AK 99632 PO Box 61, Naknek, AK 99633 1637 Stanton Ave., Anchorage, AK 99508

907-798-7181 907-591-2527 907-246-4277 907-562-4703

PO Box 34030, Napakiak, AK 99634


PO Box 913, Nelson Lagoon, AK 99571 PO Box 249, Nenana, AK 99760 PO Box 1309, Dillingham, AK 99576

907-989-2204 907-832-5832 907-693-3122

PO Box 5528, Newtok, AK 99559 PO Box 90009, Nightmute, AK 99690

907-237-2200 907-647-6813

PO Box 104, Nikolski, AK 99638 PO Box 39130, Ninilchik, AK 99639

907-576-2215 907-567-3866

PO Box 905, Nome, AK 99762 1577 C St., Ste. 302, Anchorage, AK 99501

907-387-1200 907-561-4487

PO Box 401, Northway, AK 99764 801 B St., Ste. 300, Anchorage, AK 99501 6927 Old Seward Ste. 101, Anchorage, AK 99518 PO Box 25, Nunam Iqua, AK 99666 PO Box 129, Nunapitchuk, AK 99641 PO Box 49, Lower Kalskag, AK 99626 PO Box 71, Old Harbor, AK 99643 PO BOX 6085, Napaskiak, AK 99559 PO Box 89, Ouzinkie, AK 99644 PO Box 209, Hooper Bay, AK 99604 PO Box 194, Sand Point, AK 99661 1500 West 33rd Ave., Ste. 220, Anchorage, AK 99503 PO Box 84, Perryville, AK 99648 PO Box 487, Pilot Point, AK 99649 PO Box 5059, Pilot Station, AK 99650 PO Box 289, St. Mary’s, AK 99658 PO Box 9, Platinum, AK 99651 2121 Abbott Road, Anchorage, AK 99507 5001 Eagle St., Unit B, Anchorage, AK 99503 2425 Merrill Field Dr., Anchorage, AK 99501 629 L St., Ste. 205, Anchorage, AK 99501

907-778-2298 907-480-6220 907-569-9599 907-498-4227 907-527-5717 907-679-6517 907-286-2286 907-737-7090 907-680-2208 907-527-4915 907-383-6075 907-277-1500 907-797-2300 907-797-2213 907-549-3512 907-438-2953 907-979-8113 907-365-6299 907-569-2705 907-272-3581 907-272-7432

215 Mission Road, Ste. 212, Kodiak, AK 99615




Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Village’s Corporation



Qanirtuuq, Incorporated Baan O Yeel Kon Corporation The Kuskokwim Corporation Dineega Corporation Russian Mission Native Corporation St. George Tanaq Corporation St. Mary’s Native Corporation St. Michael Native Corporation Tanadgusix Corporation Salamatof Native Association, Incorporated Shumagin Corporation Savoonga Native Corporation Cape Fox Corporation Askinuk Corporation NANA Regional Corporation, Incorporated Seldovia Native Association, Incorporated Zho-Tse, Incorporated Shaktoolik Native Corporation Shishmaref Native Corporation NANA Regional Corporation, Incorporated Shee Atika, Incorporated The Kuskokwim Corporation Solomon Native Corporation Alaska Peninsula Corporation

PO Box 69, Quinhagak, AK 99655 PO Box 74558, Fairbanks, AK 99707

907-556-8290 907-456-6259

PO Box 48, Russian Mission, AK 99657 4141 B St., Ste. 301, Anchorage, AK 99503 PO Box 149, Saint Mary’s, AK 99658 PO Box 59049, St. Michael, AK 99659 4300 B St., Ste. 209, Anchorage, AK 99503 100 N. Willow St., Kenai, AK 99611 PO Box 189, Sand Point, AK 99661

907-584-5885 907-272-9886 907-438-2315 907-923-3143 907-278-2312 907-283-3745 907-383-3525

PO Box 8558, Ketchican, AK 99901


PO Drawer L, Seldovia, AK 99663 PO Box 130, Shageluk, AK 99665 PO Box 46, Shaktoolik, AK 99771 PO Box 72151, Shishmaref, AK 99772

907-234-7625 907-473-8262 907-955-3241 907-649-3751

315 Lincoln St. #300, Sitka, AK 99835


PO Box 243, Nome, AK 99762 2221 E. Northern Lights Blvd., Ste. 119, Anchorage, AK 99508

907-443-7526 907-274-2433

Stebbins Stevens Village Stony River Takotna Tanacross Tanana Tatitlek Tazlina Telida Teller Tetlin Togiak Toksook Bay Tuluksak Tuntutuliak Tununak Twin Hills Tyonek Uganik Ugashik Umkumiute Unalakleet Unalaska Unga Upper Kalskag Uyak Venetie Wainwright Wales White Mountain Woody Island Yakutat

Stebbins Native Corporation Dinyea Corporation The Kuskokwim Corporation MTNT, Limited Tanacross Incorporated Tozitna, Limited The Tatitlek Corporation Ahtna, Incorporated MTNT, Limited Teller Native Corporation Tetlin Native Corporation Togiak Natives Limited Nunakauiak Yupik Corporation Tulkisarmute Incorporated Tuntutuliak Land, Limited Tununrmiut Rinit Corporation Twin Hills Native Corporation Tyonek Native Corporation Uganik Natives, Incorporated Alaska Peninsula Corporation Chinuruk Incorporated Unalakleet Native Corporation Ounalashka Corporation Unga Corporation The Kuskokwim Corporation Uyak Natives, Incorporated Venetie Indian Corporation Olgoonik Corporation Wales Native Corporation White Mountain Native Corporation Leisnoi, Incorporated Yak-Tat Kwaan Incorporated

PO Box 71110, Stebbins, AK 99671 PO Box 71372, Fairbanks, AK 99707

907-934-3074 907-452-5063

PO Box 76029, Tanacross, AK 99776 PO Box 129, Tanana, AK 99777 561 E 36th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99503

907-883-4130 907-366-7255 907-278-4000

PO Box 649, Teller, AK 99778 PO Box 657, Tok, AK 99780 PO Box 150, Togiak, AK 99678 PO Box 37068, Toksook Bay, AK 99637 PO Box 65, Tuluksak, AK 99679 PO Box 8106, Tuntutuliak, AK 99680 PO Box 89, Tununak, AK 99681 PO Box TWA, Twin Hills, AK 99576 1689 C St., Ste. 219, Anchorage, AK 99501 PO Box 853, Kodiak, AK 99615

907-642-6132 907-493-5520 907-427-7929 907-695-6854 907-256-2315 907-652-6311 907-525-4327 907-272-0707 907-486-3009

PO Box 100, Unalakleet, AK 99684 PO Box 149, Unalaska, AK 99685 PO Box 130, Sand Point, AK 99661

907-624-3411 907-581-1276 907-383-5215

PO Box 31, Chignik, AK 99564


PO Box 29, Wainwright, AK 99782 PO Box 529, Wales, AK 99783 PO Box 81, White Mountain, AK 99784 2000 Dowling Road, Ste. 3, Anchorage, AK 99507 PO Box 416, Yakutat, AK 99689

907-763-2613 907-664-3641 907-622-5003 907-222-6900 907-784-3335


Village Quinhagak Rampart Red Devil Ruby Russian Mission Saint George Saint Mary’s Saint Michael Saint Paul Salamatof Sand Point Savoonga Saxman Scammon Bay Selawik Seldovia Shageluk Shaktoolik Shishmaref Shungnak Sitka Sleetmute Solomon South Naknek


Editor’s Note: Data for the Village’s Corporations Listings are from the Alaska Department of Commerce, Division of Community and Regional Affiars. Any and all updates, additions, changes, or corrections should be emailed to DCRAresearch& or faxed to 907-269-4539.

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly



Photo courtesy of Alaska Marine Lines

Barge Services Bring it Home

Alaska Marine Lines delivering a loaded barge.

Dependable transportation for small villages to big industry By Rindi White


n a state with more rivers than roads, Alaskans rely on barges for everything from oil industry heavy lifting to fuel delivery to construction material and equipment provision to moving things like household goods, hazardous waste, and even boats and vehicles. Of the many Alaska barge service providers, most operate on demand, offering chartered barge service. Only a handful offer regularly scheduled sailings, and within that group, each seems to have a specific focus. Some serve a broad territory while others focus on 116

a smaller group of communities. A few offer year-round service while others work six months a year, getting into position to await the yearly breakup of ice off Interior rivers and leaving in the fall with the ice nipping at their stern.

Created for Construction Assistance Cruz Construction, Inc., a Palmer-based company founded by Dave and Dana Cruz, realized the importance of barges a few years ago while working on an airport extension project at Grayling. The

gravel for the project was located six miles away, at Eagle Island. The amount of material that needed to be moved was significant, and other Yukon River barge operations weren’t able to commit to the project, so company officials made the quick decision to expand their company profile. They bought a 55-foot tug and a 150-foot barge and made six hundred trips between the island and the airport, hauling one thousand tons of gravel each trip, says Kevin Weiss, who was hired to oversee the project at the time and is

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

now general manager of Cruz Marine. Having the tug and barge on hand allowed Cruz Construction to secure a contract for work at the Fort Yukon airport the next year, Weiss says, and to secure other small contracts. But it was an in-river tug, he says, and Cruz Construction needed access to a vessel that could handle deeper water. “We knew we had to expand outside the river to support anything else that Cruz Construction might bid on,” Weiss says. In the six years since, Weiss says the Cruz Marine fleet has quadrupled and the company’s profits have tripled. Although the company still supports Cruz Construction projects when needed, most of its business is as a charter barge service, he says. “We haul for anybody. We haul for energy companies in the Inlet; we now have a boat and barge dedicated in Cook Inlet,” Weiss says. The tug, Ari Cruz, and a 150-foot barge haul between Nikiski, Trading Bay, and Beluga, he says. This year it was used to haul Cruz Construction cranes, trucks, and trailers to Trading Bay to support Cook Inlet Energy’s work there. The company also owns the Millie Cruz, a tug with a three-foot, nine-inch draft the company had built at Fred Wahl Marine in Reedsport, Oregon, in 2011. The tug is tough—it has a double hull and can withstand Arctic barging conditions found in Alaska’s oceans and rivers. That tug, plus a two hundred-foot barge, is hauling aggregate between Nome and Unalakleet to support an erosion control project being managed by Orion Construction. But Weiss says the tug is often called on for heavier-duty work. “The Millie Cruz has been supporting Point Thomson with vessel assists on the heavy lifts,” Weiss says. The company’s first tug, the Grayling, helps with lighterage work, transferring things like contaminated soil from cleanup sites to waiting barges or deeper docks, Weiss says. One of the most difficult projects Cruz Marine participated on was a joint effort with Cruz Construction to lay two transmission lines across the mud flats between Anchorage and Fire Island for the CIRI Fire Island Wind project. Following that 2010 project, CIRI became part owner of Cruz Marine. Cruz

Company, the umbrella company that also owns Cruz Construction, wholly manages Cruz Marine, Weiss says. “They were very interested in the marine business, to help support their Cook Inlet family,” Weiss says. “CIRI is a very healthy partner that we thought would help Cruz Marine grow.”

A Long History of Industry Support in Alaska Founded by Thea and Andrew Foss in 1889, Foss Maritime Company’s first documented work in Alaska, towing a

barge of spruce lumber from Wrangell to Tacoma, happened in 1922. But the company has been working in the state for more than one hundred years, says Foss Project Sales/Controls Manager Tucker Tillman. “Foss focuses primarily on project cargos in the region, providing services throughout the state,” Tillman says. “We have delivered everything from refinery modules to military cargoes and construction equipment to remote locations from the North Slope to Southeast Alaska. We also provide oil field ser-

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


vices support in the Beaufort, Chukchi, and Cook Inlet.” The company also operates the Aquatrain, one of the world’s largest railcar barges, that connects the Canadian National Railway with the Alaska Railroad. The Aquatrain has been in operation more than fifty years, Tillman says, and transports rail cars from Prince Rupert, BC, Canada, to Whittier on a five-day journey. It’s one of only two rail barges operating in Alaska; Alaska Marine Lines operates the other. Foss Maritime operates worldwide and is owned by Saltchuk Resources, a privately owned family investment company based in the Pacific Northwest. Foss’s work in Alaska takes it all over the state, mostly in deep water, but the company also specializes in shallow-draft operations. “To better support our clients, Foss has built and is building assets specifically designed to excel in the Alaskan environment. In 2013 we completed the Emmett Foss, a shallow-draft tug that has already performed work on the shallow North Slope, Cook Inlet, and the Southeast river systems. We are also building three Arctic Class towing tugs that will be joining our fleet over the next three years,” Tillman says. The company in 2010 purchased Cook Inlet Tug & Barge, which operates three tugs and two barges out of Cook Inlet and provides ship assists for vessels at the Port of Anchorage and elsewhere in the Inlet. In 2012, the company purchased Anderson Tug & Barge in Seward, which currently operates one tugboat and provides ship and barge assists at the Port of Seward. With operations so diverse, the company works in some areas year-round, but in others, such as providing sealifts to the North Slope or hauling ore at Red Dog Mine, the work season is a short window, as little as two months on the North Slope. “One of the advantages of having operated in Alaska for more than a century is that we are accustomed to the extreme environments in the remote operational locations found in Alaska, and we have long-standing operational and safety programs specifically designed to succeed in this region,” Tillman says. Last year, Foss announced it joined 118

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

with Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, or ASRC, Energy Services Response Operations LLC to form AESFoss Marine, LLC, a joint venture aimed at providing marine service throughout Alaska. Through the partnership, Foss and ASRC hope to implement a program to train Iñupiat people for jobs in the growing Arctic maritime industry.

Fueling Rural Alaska for More Than Half a Century A sure sign of spring, and a breath of relief to many rural Alaska residents, is the sight of a Crowley tug approaching with the summer’s first delivery of fuel. Crowley serves 280 communities in Alaska, from the far end of the Aleutian Islands to Kaktovik, a community of about 250 residents on the top of North America, ninety miles west of the Canadian border. Crowley vessels travel as far inland as Fort Yukon on the Yukon River, one thousand miles upriver from the western coast. In addition to doing fuel delivery, Crowley performs ship assist and tanker escort services in Valdez, under contract with Alyeska Pipeline Company.

Photo courtesy of Foss Maritime

Foss delivering infrastructure equipment to Point Thomson.

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September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


The company has twenty-three fuel terminals throughout the state, the largest of which are in Western Alaska. “We bring fuel in to our terminals in the open water, between May and October, and resupply in the summer. What they have in the tanks [in the fall] is what they utilize in the winter months,” says Sean Thomas, vice president of Crowley’s Western Alaska section. Fuel terminals are typically found in hub communities, he says. Two are in Southeast, in Juneau and Ketchikan, and ten are on the Alaska road system, in communities such as Kenai, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Wasilla, Glennallen, Valdez, Delta Junction, and Talkeetna. The remaining eleven are in Western Alaska communities such as Aniak, Bethel, Nome, Kotzebue, Dutch Harbor, Galena, Hooper Bay, McGrath, St. Mary’s, Fort Yukon, and Nenana. Crowley also operates a direct-delivery business, supplying individual communities and local utilities on demand through the summer. It operates eight tug-and-barge sets for fuel distribution: three on rivers and five on the coast, Thomas says. Fuel is typically brought to Bristol Bay in a large ship or line-haul chartered tug and barge set around Memorial Day and lightered off to coastal communities then moved upriver as the ice moves out. Placement in Bristol Bay is also key for supporting the Bristol Bay fishing fleet, he says. Instead of making the long trip to shore, fishing vessels can fuel up in deep water utilizing Crowley’s “floater service,” a fuel barge anchored near the fishing fleet in Bristol Bay. As the summer progresses, Crowley barges work their way northward along the Bering Sea coast and refuel communities along the way, all the way to the North Slope. The refueling continues until September, when Crowley crews make final deliveries and prepare to move south before the ice returns. Weather and water levels are often the largest obstacles the company faces, Thomas says. “Our captains have been doing this for decades—some for forty years. These mariners are highly trained, well-qualified mariners,” Thomas says. “All that experience can only do so much for you—if there’s no water, you can’t get upriver.” 120

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Crowley transports a little more than 50 million gallons of fuel each year in Western Alaska, Thomas says—about the same amount it delivers on the Alaska road system. The company also delivers cargo and has operated six freight-only barges headed toward Galena this year for the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) rebuilding effort. The community of more than 450 saw massive and catastrophic flooding in May 2013 when a downstream ice jam on the Yukon River abruptly flooded the town, submerging some homes and flipping others.

Unique Arctic Marine Common Carrier Bowhead Transport Company (BTC) is unique in its field. It’s the only marine common carrier operating in the Arctic with annual barge and remote site service from Seattle to the North Slope, and the only one wholly owned by an Alaska Native Village Corporation. Bowhead Transport is owned by the Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation, or UIC, of the Alaska Native Village of Barrow. Jim Dwight, general manager

a MeMber

of the

of BTC, says they strive for shareholder training and development, and shareholder hire. BTC triples its barge season staff to thirty-six by hiring shareholders and other seasoned cargo operations personnel to work during the busy summer, he says. Dwight says the company was created in the 1980s with the goal of having a self-serving and reliable marine transport entity that made yearly voyages into the Arctic. BTC typically has one large sailing each year—one or two tugs and one to three barges carrying dry cargo of all kinds from Seattle to the Arctic. It generally leaves Washington state around July 4, with the goal of arriving at Point Hope a day or two after the ice goes out. “We typically meet the flotilla in Nome with our 150-foot landing crafts,” Dwight says. “These specialized shallow draft lighterage vessels are important for the Arctic because they enable us to get the cargo off the barge, to the beach, and delivered directly to the customer in the villages. There is no marine cargo handling infrastructure where we operate, so we take every-


i Ñ u p i at c o r p o r at i o n

thing with us to ensure performance and customer satisfaction.” Dwight says the freight runs the gamut, from equipment for stores, schools, village corporations, construction companies, government entities, the North Slope Borough, and individual households. Commodities of all kinds range from propane to vehicles, small boats, heavy equipment, pipe, and building materials—everything except items that need to be frozen or chilled. “Construction materials are the lion’s share of what goes into each village, but we move lots of vehicles, snowmachines, ATVs, and that type of thing. Barges are still cheaper than air (freight),” he says. Once the large shipment is delivered to the villages, BTC crews move cargo, laterally throughout the area, between villages or to or from West Dock as needed. The company typically moves between 10,000 and 25,000 tons of cargo each year. BTC also offers chartered tug and barge service, and chartered landing craft service anywhere on the West Coast and Pacific. BTC utilizes a fleet of eight to ten vessels of varying size, from the 300-foot

fa M i ly o f

c o M pa n i e s

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


ocean-going barges to 50-foot shallowdraft lagoon barges with suitable tugs, landing craft, and push boats. Dwight says the shallowest-draft equipment is capable of moving cargo in 2.5 feet of water. “The biggest challenges up there are some of the remote cleanup sites, which we’re working on this year. We’re doing lighterage work for remediation projects at Camp Lonely, Point Lonely, Bullen Point, Colinson Point, and Nuvagapak. These are all between Barrow and Canada,” he says. BTC is hauling con-

taminated soil, scrap steel, and building materials from old buildings being torn down, and dump sites which are being excavated. Getting in and out of the job sites can be problematic, he says. In April 2013, BTC formed a joint venture with Crowley, UIC BowheadCrowley, LLC, focusing on oil and gas industry support on the North Slope. Dwight says the company does lighterage work all season long between West Dock and Point Thomson and other sites on the Slope. Although it began just over a year ago, the oilfield work

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already makes up about half the company’s annual shipped volume. He says he anticipates growth in the joint venture’s workload. Bowhead Transport utilizes two 150foot landing crafts, he says. A third, the Unalaq—named for a UIC shareholder—was being built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders on Whidbey Island, Washington, was christened in August. The Unalaq, Dwight says, was made with the oil field and joint venture in mind. The landing craft has a very shallow draft, sixteen berths on board, plus office space and a large galley. The deck is configured to accommodate a deckmounted crane and a towing winch. “There are a lot of features in this particular vessel we believe are attractive to oil companies, research companies, and other remediation-type projects,” Dwight says. “It’s got a lot of versatility for oil companies in the Chukchi, and Beaufort, or for a scientific research group that wanted to house people on board, or if you’re doing miles of cleanup, you can put your core crew on this boat.”

Shipping It All, All Year Long Lynden’s Alaska Marine Lines is the state’s largest and most diverse barge service, with a rail barge providing weekly service to Whittier, twice-weekly barge service throughout Southeast Alaska, weekly service to Anchorage, and nine voyages to Western Alaska each summer, calling on the hub ports of Nome, Naknek, Dillingham, Bethel, and Kotzebue and more than sixty-five small villages. The company is also a major player in the Alaska fishing industry, shipping hundreds of tons of salmon south throughout the fishing season. “Last year was a record year for southbound salmon, both canned and frozen,” Alaska Marine Lines President Kevin Anderson says. The company also ships within Alaska, Anderson says. “We move a lot of goods from Southeast to Central and Central to West [Alaska]. A lot of businesses, instead of buying in Seattle, buy in Anchorage,” he says. Alaska Marine Lines began offering barge service between Seattle and Juneau in 1980, after acquiring Southeast

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Barge Lines. The company changed its name to Alaska Marine Lines in 1982 and began offering four summer sailings to locations between Naknek and Barrow, Anderson says. Two years later the company began offering weekly barge service to Juneau and Haines. In 1985 the company bought Foss Alaska Lines and Pacific Western Lines and announced weekly service to seven ports in Southeast Alaska. A second weekly sailing was added to Southeast ports in 1989. Alaska Marine Lines began barge service to Central Alaska via Alaska Railbelt Marine in 2001 and, in 2014, the company returned to Western Alaska when it purchased Northland Services. Anderson says the Southeast Alaska service has always been the company’s primary focus, but service to the other parts of Alaska make a complex and balanced picture. “You almost have to look at all of these different regions as part of the puzzle that makes it all work,” he says, adding that the company handles complex and difficult deliveries on a daily basis, but thanks to a well-trained staff, it works smoothly. “Our operators are pretty good at what they do. We have large forklifts that can pick 120,000 pounds … you end up with crazy stuff every week that you have to use special gear to move around,” he says, including large boats that have to be offloaded with a crane and placed gently in the water. Although the company ships to Southeast and Central Alaska yearround, Anderson says the summer is its busiest time. Alaska Marine Lines serves the fishing industry in Southeast, Prince William Sound, Bristol Bay, Naknek, Dillingham, Dutch Harbor, and Kodiak. Anderson says barges are stationed throughout the fishing areas all summer and, when full, they hook to the mainline barges and travel directly to Seattle. In Southeast, barges full of fish come in twice weekly. “We’re very, very involved throughout the whole state in the seafood industry,” he says. R Freelance journalist Rindi White writes from Palmer.


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Alaska Snow Symposium Plows On © Russ Slaten

John Allin, president of Snowfighters Institute, speaks to snow and ice management contractors at the 2014 Alaska Snow Symposium about his experience in the business over the years.

Snowfighters Institute help raise snow and ice management standards


By Russ Slaten

nchorage sees about 190 inches of snowfall on average per year, according to data gathered from the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport from 1981 to 2010. The first snowfall of the winter typically occurs in October and rarely starts in September. The season’s last dusting of snow usually happens in April, and once about every four years, May sees a bit of precipitation. Seven months out of the year, Anchorage—and much of Alaska—is layered with snow and ice, bringing a necessity for the snow and ice management industry. Jeannie Schenderline, owner and operator of Jeffco Grounds Maintenance for more than twenty-three years, was the first Alaska contractor—now an eleven-year member—to join the Snow


& Ice Management Association (SIMA) based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Schenderline visited Erie, Pennsylvania, for the Snowfighters Institute Inner Circle event in April 2013 for an open exchange of information between snow and ice management business around the nation, helping one another find ways to improve their bottom line. In Pennsylvania she met John Allin, president of Snowfighters Institute and fulltime consultant to the snow industry. “Not once did [Schenderline] ask for anything for herself out of this,” Allin says. “She wants to see the level of professionalism amongst the [Alaska] snow and ice management industry raised for everyone. Rather than just try to raise her own company’s profit, she wants to raise everybody’s profit, and not at the expense of the customer,

but by being more efficient and being better at what they do.” Allin has been involved in the snow industry more than forty years. He founded SIMA, developed the Snow Dragon snow melting system, was key in the formation of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association, and is seen as one of the leading snow and ice industry consultants in the country today. One of his major contracts was the entire snow and ice management contract for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Alaska Snow Symposium With the help of Allin and Tammy Johnson, executive director at Snowfighters Institute and ISO Specialist at John Allin Consulting, Schenderline arranged a one day training seminar for Alaska contractors in 2013 at O’Malley’s on the

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Green in Anchorage. After the success of the training, Schenderline pursued the idea to hold a trade show in Alaska this year, and the Alaska Snow Symposium was born, held July 16 in Cuddy Hall at the University of Alaska Anchorage. “The response from the small gathering last year was surprising, and this year has just seen rapid growth; I give it two years’ time and it’s going to be huge,” Schenderline says. Allin says snow contractors have much more to learn when they feel they have turned a profit simply because there is money in their pocket. Some contractors need to learn the return on investment in order to pay for the equipment they have put to use, because if a business doesn’t really know if it’s making money, it doesn’t really know if it can stay in business, Allin says. “The biggest challenge to us in putting on an event of this nature is to expose snow contractors to what vendors have to offer in new technology and new equipment and what techniques there are to run their companies more efficiently,” Allin says. Nearly 150 contractors attended from Anchorage, Mat-Su, Soldotna, the North Slope, and the Lower 48. Out of state contractors visited from Ohio, Colorado, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Oregon. Snow contractors from the Lower 48 came to the Alaska Snow Symposium to learn how Alaska contractors handle the winter, to make connections in the industry, and to simply experience the Last Frontier. Vendors came from Alaska and throughout the Lower 48 to reach snow contractors. Alaska Snow Removal provides snow and ice management in the winter and industrial pavement maintenance in the off-season and brought its team of professionals and products. Alaska Snow Removal displayed the AK Plow at the symposium’s outdoor exhibit, a large loader plow manufactured and sold in Alaska. Anchorage-based Alaska LED Industries displayed its selection of forward projecting lights ideal for snow removal on dark winter nights. Construction Machinery Industrial, LLC, with locations in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Ketchikan, showed snow contractors its selection of construction and snow removal equipment. CrewTracker



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E. E SERVIC S. M O S E 0 POUND 5 1 O T SAME AW P NOW U September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


Software demonstrated to snow contractors the benefits of using comprehensive business management software made specifically for the snow and ice management industry to increase efficiency, profitability, and organization. The one-day symposium featured six speakers with decades of experience in the snow and ice management industry and expertise to open the eyes of contractors who think they know everything about the business. Allin was the keynote speaker and shared his experience through the years, from helping his father plow snow to creating his own successful company. Now he is a consultant who works with snow contractors to continually find efficiencies. Tim Gibbons started his own snow business in 1983 and spoke to contractors on his operational success of transforming Tim’s Snowplowing, Inc. into a snowonly, multimillion-dollar company. Andy Lord, representative of Alaska Garden and Pet Supply, Inc., has twenty-five years of wholesale distribution experience, specializing in chemicals; he shared his in-depth knowledge of ice melt products and equipment, including custom blending, logistics, and packaging. Rick Sippola, CPA and former plow dealer owner, discussed budgeting, negotiating lines of credit, justifying equipment purchases, and establishing parameters for service that allow for viable profit. Shelly Kipp spoke about the importance of the sales process, explaining it as a science— not just bidding low numbers.

Snow Products to Market Alaska Snow Symposium sponsor and participant Mark Adamson is the senior VP of Sales and Marketing for Douglas Dynamics. Adamson says the manufacturing company’s customer base revolves around the four Ps—people, pavement, precipitation, and pick-up trucks. “Where there may not be as much pavement and people in Alaska, everyone has a pick-up truck, and there’s plenty of precipitation in the form of snow for a good portion of the year,” Adamson says. Douglas Dynamics is the parent company of snowplow pioneer brands Western and Fisher; the relative newcomer and innovator to the snowplow market, Blizzard; and leading ice control brand 126

Jeannie Schenderline (center) receives award from John Allin (left) and Tammy Johnson (right) for planning, organizing, and reaching out to sponsors, vendors, and contractors for the 2014 Alaska Snow Symposium. © Russ Slaten

SnowEx. Douglas Dynamics reaches many contractors from the Lower 48 indirectly through dealerships, but has a chance to showcase their products at snow and ice management events held throughout the spring, summer, and fall. “It really is a circle [between us, the dealers, and the contractors], but it’s nice to get out here and complete the circle to learn some of the differences that Alaska has, which the Lower 48 doesn’t have to deal with,” Adamson says. The most recent industry change was the introduction of the double-hinged plow, and customers are reporting the blade as a third more efficient or even cutting the time in half, Adamson says. Technology is the most important factor to the efficiency equation because instead of adding costs to doing business, it saves time on plowing and saves money on wages and gas. “The double-hinge plow has really taken the industry by storm because of the efficiencies. To snow contractors, that means being able to sign-up two people and plow in the same time it took one person, making the company more efficient and more profitable, while serving the customers better. Most contractors try to use that efficiency to turn around and get more business,” Adamson says. In addition to advances in plowing, the science and technology of spreading sand and salt has evolved with experiences in extreme weather like last season’s polar vortex affecting parts of Canada and the eastern United States. “You can remove snow, but you can only manage ice. People found out that just

throwing down salt is not good enough. You need to mix it with a brine or magnesium chloride, or even beet juice for organic chemicals. And good snow removal contractors look at both snow and ice as being a very important combination of the two,” Adamson says. “I see it as a toolbox. You’re not going to only use a hammer for every job in the house, sometimes you need a screwdriver or wrench, depending on what you’re trying to do. Snow and ice management is no different.”

Accreditation Technology is not the only aspect helping to advance the snow and ice management industry. The creation of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA)—the national accreditation trade association for snow and ice management—has brought a level of professionalism and new understanding of the liabilities involved for those outside of the industry. ASCA was formed in 2011, and accreditation from the American National Standards Institute came in January 2014 as the American National Standard for Snow and Ice Management. It is with these standards that SN9001 was developed. A snow and ice professional can now be ISO certified in ISO 9001 and SN 9001. Most companies that wish to pursue this certification will hire a company to come in and conduct a pre-assessment evaluation that helps the company realize items in compliance with the standards and areas needing more work. The company hires a certification body to administer a Stage One and Stage Two audit. After passing the audit, the company becomes

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

certified and will need to be recertified every three years with a Surveillance Audit in the off years. “We’re in a high risk industry. We’re going out there day and night and in the midst of storms. We are out there to protect our clients’ properties and their customers, and in those cases you want a company that will be able to handle its responsibility and exhibit those practices,” says Kevin Gilbride, ASCA executive director and a speaker at the symposium. “Prior to [accreditation], there was no differentiating factor between a company that really knew how to train and manage crews, get the job done, and how to handle a situation when things go wrong, compared to just somebody that had a plow.” An accredited business brings a higher level of risk management, is a better run business with better trained employees, and brings along safer snow and ice management practices that will protect the snow contractor and its client from litigation and the client’s customers from harm, Gilbride says. “People don’t give contractors that are in business the respect that they deserve. They don’t understand the risks

they’re taking by being in the business and the liability they face every day. There’s really a lot more to it than just dropping a plow,” Johnson says. Accreditation will deter companies from hiring contractors that aim to acquire business by undercutting prices at the expense of lesser service and added safety risks. “I’ve heard time and time again, the low-ball bid comes in, the company loved the contractor they had years before, but they had to go with the price at 50 percent. And come January, after they have been sitting through two and a half months of winter, the contractor’s not showing up. Their property is in danger because it’s not getting plowed, and they go back to their old contractor who now has their equipment allocated elsewhere,” Gilbride says.

Future of Snow Organizers say the Alaska Snow Symposium will continue to be a venue for snow and ice professionals to network and expand their knowledge of increasing operational efficiencies, de-icing materials, insurance, and accreditation. “The place we’re at today with our

first Alaska Snow Symposium, [SIMA] arrived [at] in three years. So I really think that says a lot about [Alaska] and that everyone wants this to take off, so I have no doubt that we will be doing it again next year,” Johnson says. The vendors and location have yet to be decided, but next year’s Alaska Snow Symposium is already set for 2015 in the second to last week of July. “We’re not coming up here to teach people what to do because they don’t know. [Alaska contractors] plow snow just like they plow snow in the Lower 48,” Allin says. “It’s that we’re giving them a common venue to be able to get together, exchange ideas, learn from each other, see what’s new, and make themselves more profitable.” R Russ Slaten is the Associate Editor for Alaska Business Monthly.

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly



Alternative Fuels: Options and Obstacles Fischer-Tropsch and dual-strategy dynamics By Mike Bradner


hings appear to be off to a good start for the large North Slope natural gas project. The consortium of producing companies, pipeline company TransCanada Corporation and the state’s Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, or AGDC, have signed a Joint Venture Agreement for a $500 million pre-Front End Engineering and Feasibility study, so called pre-FEED, and have applied for a federal permit to export liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to markets outside the United States. However, huge obstacles remain. The world seems awash in LNG, and new projects are being planned, many at more advanced stages and without some of the disadvantages of Alaska’s, mainly the need to build a new eight hundred-mile pipeline. By late 2015 or early 2016 Alaskans will have a reality check. By then the results of the pre-FEED will be in, including an all-important updated cost estimate. If the project costs have increased much beyond the current estimate of $45 billion to $65 billion, it may cause the project sponsors to pause. Independent analysts have estimated that Alaska will have to have a project in the $50 billion range or lower to compete in Asia markets with low-cost US shale gas converted into LNG. LNG from new plants on the US Gulf Coast, using shale gas, will have a longer shipping route to Asia than LNG from Alaska, but the high costs of the Alaska project may overwhelm its location advantage.

Natural Gas Options If the big gas project doesn’t go, what then? For one thing, a smaller state-built gas pipeline project, such as one still being planned by AGDC as a backup option, could still be built to move gas to Alaska communities, although the state would have to foot much of the bill. 128

But what of those huge remaining North Slope natural gas resources? The first option would be to use as much of the gas as possible to continue oil production. For example, the gas facilities at Point Thomson now under construction are designed to be used three ways: to produce a condensate liquid while re-injecting the produced gas, which is the first stage of the project; to produce gas for a gas pipeline; or to produce gas, ship to the Prudhoe Bay oil field, and use it to re-pressurize Prudhoe and produce more oil. If the gas pipeline is not feasible, the Point Thomson owners will first seek to increase the size of the ten thousand barrels-per-day gas condensate project that is set to begin operation in 2016, but there may be limits to the extent this can be increased. Given that, absent a large gas pipeline much of Point Thomson’s gas may be used to produce more oil at Prudhoe Bay. But are there other options? A great deal of thought over the years has gone into whether the gas can converted to liquids that could be shipped through the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), the oil pipeline that is now running at about 500,000 barrels per day, one-fourth of its design capacity of 2 million barrels daily. This is certainly technically feasible. Processes to manufacture liquids including a synthetic crude oil and products like methanol made from gas have long been known and are done elsewhere commercially. Could that be done economically on the North Slope? At this point, the major producers say no, that a pipeline and LNG project appears more viable. But if that option is foreclosed, other alternatives will be considered including “gas to liquids,” or GTL. An analysis of the relative values for gas shipping in a pipeline or made into GTL products, seen in the chart (page 131), questions that assumption.

Also, there may be room for both a conventional gas pipeline and some form of GTL. The gas pipeline project is currently designed to take 3 billion to 3.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day from the slope. But the producers have also talked of producing as much as 5 billion cubic feet per day in earlier proposals for the gas pipeline, so there would seem to be enough gas for other kinds of projects, particularly ones that would make liquids to be shipped through TAPS and help keep that system viable. There is also the potential for finding more gas on the slope once a way of moving the gas to market is found. Geologically, many parts of the North Slope are gas-prone, such as the southern “foothills” area of the slope and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Estimates are that there could be 100 trillion cubic feet of conventional gas eventually discovered on the slope.

Dual-Use Strategy A conventional GTL plant of the type built and operated today by Shell and Sasol, the South African energy company (which uses the Fischer-Tropsch chemical conversion process to manufacture liquids from gas), might process 1 billion cubic feet of gas per day and produce 120,000 barrels of liquid products per day for shipment through the TAPS. If the known gas reserves of the slope can sustain 5 billion cubic feet per day of production, which the producers previously said is possible, this would allow 3.5 billion cubic feet per day to be shipped through the gas pipeline now proposed and 1.5 billion cubic feet per day for a GTL plant, which could make 180,000 barrels per day of liquids from the gas. A plant making liquid methanol from gas could also serve the same function. Methanol is also made from natural gas, so it is also a GTL product. The concept

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014


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of this dual-use strategy would allow either system—a pipeline or GTL plant— to be expanded if more gas is found. Such a dynamic would also help keep TAPS viable as a transportation system for conventional oil. How does the Fischer-Tropsch process work? The chemical process has long been known. It was discovered by two German scientists in the 1920s and used during World War II to fuel the German military with liquid fuels made from coal. Following the war, the US government brought the technology to the United States and built a small pilot plant, but US crude oil prices were low at the time, which made the process uneconomic for private industry. Meanwhile, South Africa became interested in a way to become fuel selfsufficient using domestic coal and purchased the plant. Thus the United States “imported” the technology and then “exported” it to South Africa. However, South Africa’s work provided the basis for that nation’s modern synthetic fuels industry. Sasol, the South African company, built large coal-to-liquids plants in the 1950s through the 1970s and made improvements to where its modern plants are fully commercial, operating without subsidies. Sasol in addition now operates a large GTL plant in the Persian Gulf. Shell also now has large GTL plants in the Persian Gulf and in Malaysia. All of these plants make a variety of products, from transport fuels to petrochemicals.

No Technical Barrier A Fischer-Tropsch plant has three stages: a gas reformer at the front; a refining unit at the back end (both which involve very conventional, wellunderstood technology); and a middle unit, a series of gas converters with catalysts that is the heart of the FischerTropsch process. The gas reformer, the first stage, makes a “synthesis gas” (a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen) from natural gas. The synthesis gas then moves through the FischerTropsch converters, with the catalysts, to chemically change the gas to a paraffin wax. In the final stage, the refining unit, the wax can either be converted to a liquid synthetic crude oil, which can be shipped and refined elsewhere, or

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Value of 35 Tcf Natural Gas if sold as GTLs Gross Value of Resource Sold ($ Billions)




■ Natural Gas


■ GTLs


■ Syn-Crude

Source: Alaska Natural Gas Liquids LLC

made into finished fuels like ultra-clean diesel, gasoline, and aviation fuel with additional refining units. The gas reformer and refining stages involve technology that is basically offthe-shelf with many vendors and suppliers. The Fischer-Tropsch part is more complex, however, because companies engaged in research and development on it, like Sasol, Shell, ExxonMobil, and others, have their own proprietary catalysts and processes that they guard through patents. There is no technical barrier to these plants being built on the North Slope. Sasol and Shell have both expressed interest, but the three major gas owners, BP, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips, are now focused on a gas pipeline. ExxonMobil, however, has done a lot of work on Fischer-Tropsch and has previously been interested in using the process for the slope. In the late 1990s ExxonMobil considered this as its leading option for commercializing North Slope gas. A lot of work was done on a feasibility study, but the conclusion, at the time, was that a pipeline seemed a better option.

$300 $200


$100 $0

Natural Gas

$4/mcf natural gas


$100/bbl crude oil


$126/bbl GTL

35 Tcf of natural gas will make 4.2 billion barrels of F-T

BP and ConocoPhillips, who have no commercial experience with GTL (unlike Shell and Sasol), convinced ExxonMobil in 2000 to join them on an-

What’s Up?

other gas pipeline effort. If the current pipeline effort falters, ExxonMobil may revisit the GTL option. And if Shell is allowed to drill offshore and finds gas,

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it may decide to put its substantial GTL experience to work in commercializing that gas. Sasol, which is building a major GTL complex in Louisiana, continues to be interested in Alaska as well.

GTL Economics The issues for GTL on the North Slope are more economic than commercial. Can large, complex plants (they are more like chemical plants than crude oil refineries) be economically built on the slope? The world’s largest gas processing plants now operate on the slope, but a Fischer-Tropsch plant would be a step up in complexity and size, although the large gas-treatment plant now planned for the pipeline/LNG project is also very large and complex. Another issue is how to move the GTL products off the slope as a synthetic crude or more finished transport fuels, which have high values. Putting the liquids in TAPS, which is underused, seems the obvious answer. It is certainly feasible to inject a synthetic crude oil made in a Fischer-Tropsch plant (the oil would simply be mixed into the conventional crude oil). This would add

more liquids moving through TAPS and would also upgrade the quality of the TAPS oil stream, another advantage. The big gain in value, however, would be if one or more finished products, such as diesel or jet fuel, could be shipped through the pipeline in “batches,” a procedure that would keep them separate from the crude oil. There are now pipelines that do this in the Lower 48, where mechanical devices are sometimes used to separate the liquids, but whether it could be done in TAPS is an engineering and technical issue that will have to be studied. One other “batching” option that ExxonMobil studied was using a liquidphasing technique so that the two liquid batches, for example ultra-clean diesel and crude oil, would be separated by a blend of those liquids. While there are concerns with this, such as preserving the much higher value and clean qualities of a Fischer-Tropsch fuel, it does avoid the mechanical problems of separating the liquids with physical devices. The clean quality of the FischerTropsch fuel is one of the big selling points. The finished products produced

A coffee table photo book of Alaska’s North Slope oil patch.

by a plant would have a higher market value than the synthetic crude oil blended with crude oil. The values of both of these products would have to be sufficient to offset the high costs of building the plant on the slope. One question is whether the plant could be built at the southern end of the gas pipeline, at Nikiski near the large LNG plant that is planned there. This is quite possible, but it’s simply a matter of economics. Would the lower costs of building the plant at Nikiski offset the very high costs of moving the gas via the pipeline from the North Slope? Also, the advantages of making more liquid on the slope to ship through TAPS, and helping keep the oil pipeline viable, would be lost with the this approach. But on the other hand, fuel products made at Nikiski and shipped directly to market would not have to pay the shipping cost through TAPS. So, it’s a question of economics. R Mike Bradner is editor and publisher of the Alaska Legislative Digest.

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2009 Liberty Project, July left Rigging cable, Dock, August, 2010 25 sealift at West above Doyon Rig August 2010 25 move to Deadhorse, next Doyon Rig


left Pilebuck Gary Pickus, February 2009 10


above Eni Petroleum, Spy Island, March


top right Deballasting after barge offload, West Dock, August 2011 bottom right Blaze Anderson, roughneck, Parker Drilling Rig 272, February 2013 next Parker Drilling Rig 272 moving crew, February 2013


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Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014


Alaska Native Corporation Oil and Gas Ventures Providing support to a growing industry By Kirsten Swann


s Alaska’s major oil and gas companies move forward with new developments along the North Slope and in Cook Inlet, they rely on a broad array of support services and contractors. Many support services are provided by a number of Alaska Native corporation-owned oil and gas ventures—businesses that play a critical role in a massive piece of Alaska’s economy and whose management sees continued opportunities for growth. Alaska Native Corporation ventures are major economic drivers for the state, according to the Resource Development Council. The council states that in 2010, the last year for which data was available, Alaska Native Corporations cumulatively reached $11.3 billion in revenues. According to the statewide business association, the corporations employ approximately 58,000 people worldwide—


Photos courtesy UMIAQ

Above: UMIAQ Science Logistics offers expertise and support for Arctic research on the North Slope, including bear guards, ice guides, laboratory and warehouse facilities, field communications, and permitting. Right: UMIAQ provides professional surveyors, engineers, and GIS analysts with over thirty years experience in the Arctic to respond to the challenges of the remotest areas including the North Slope.

pleted earlier this summer, LoSciuto says, and improvements to the facility include an expanded storage yard with a ten thousand-square-foot warm storage facility kept at sixty-five degrees year-round. The dock can also store up to forty thousand gallons of water and seventy thousand gallons of fuel, and LoSciuto says there’s also a twenty thousand-gallon fuel hose. LoSciuto says it gives his company—a subsidiary of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation—the important ability to resupply two boats per tide cycle alongside the six hundred-foot dock. There’s a landing craft that can service boats apart from the dock, he says, and a three hundred-ton crane. LoSciuto says the company’s expanded capabilities are already attracting more business. ConocoPhillips signed LoSciuto

including 16,000 here in Alaska. And when it comes to the state’s oil and gas industry, the work Alaska Native Corporation subsidiary companies do contributes to a multibillion-dollar industry. A report commissioned by the Alaska Oil and Gas Association and released by the McDowell Group earlier this year found the oil and gas industry supports more than $6.4 billion in annual wages and more than 111,000 industry-related jobs.

ASRC Energy Services In Nikiski, ASRC Energy Services Response Operations (ARO) President Joe LoSciuto says his company’s approximately $10 million upgrade at Rig Tenders Dock provides extra capacity for the vessels doing business in Cook Inlet. The project was officially com-

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

ASRC Energy Services Rig Tenders Dock near Nikiski. Photo courtesy of ASRC

on as the facility’s anchor tenant this past April, he says, and the dock still has plenty of extra capacity for growth. He says the company’s investment at the Rig Tenders Dock was prompted by new and potential oil and gas projects across Alaska, including the potential multibillion-dollar Alaska LNG project. Meanwhile, LoSciuto says there were more immediate signs of growth closer to home. “We saw that there was going to be a picking up in Cook Inlet,” LoSciuto says, adding that ASRC Energy Services tailored construction at the dock to service requests from existing clients and potential new business in the inlet and on the North Slope.

Besides Cook Inlet, where Furie is preparing to operate a new platform and underwater pipeline, LoSciuto says his company has partnered with Foss Maritime to help transport equipment from the Nikiski fabrication facility to new projects on the North Slope. The new dock was a key part of that partnership, LoSciuto says, and it all comes down to new development and the growing needs of ASRC Energy Services customers. “We’re just looking at the market,” LoSciuto says. It’s a market that led parent corporation Arctic Slope Regional Corporation to also acquire North Slope well services company Little Red Services, Inc. earlier this year.

Bristol Bay Native Corporation Kakivik Asset Management LLC., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bristol Bay Native Corporation, is another Alaska Native Corporation ready to tap into growth. Ben Schoffmann, the company’s president and CEO, says new investments triggered by a change in Alaska’s oil and gas tax structure shows there are still opportunities to be had in the state’s most lucrative industry. In an email, Schoffmann says Kakivik has steadily increased its suite of services to meet the needs of its customers. Today, he says, the company offers corrosion coupon and probe management, production chemicals management, and lab services and expertise in nondestructive testing, inspection, and integrity management. Schoffmann says services like that play a critical role when it comes to developing new projects and operating existing fields safely and responsibly: They help keep petroleum products inside the infrastructure designed to hold them and ensure the operations meet necessary standards. As existing fields age and Alaska’s oil and gas producers announce new projects statewide,

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September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


Photos courtesy UMIAQ

Left & Above: UMIAQ provides complete logistical support for exploration drilling field operations and facility development. UMIAQ maintains strategic support bases in Alaska, including at Umiat and Point Barrow, plus a full range of remote camp services and staff.

he says, there’s a growing need for the maintenance and operation services his company provides. “Kakivik expects to see more opportunities to utilize the techniques and experience we have developed in close collaboration with our key customers over the past fifteen years,” Schoffmann writes.

As an Alaska company, the CEO says, Kakivik has a vested interest in developing the state’s economy while protecting its environment. “We are for responsible development that respects this state’s people and its land while providing benefits to support the economy,” Schoffmann writes.

Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation (UIC) and its many subsidiaries employ 3,400 people worldwide, according to a spokeswoman. The corporation’s ventures include UIC Professional Services and its subsidiaries—UMIAQ, UMIAQ Science,

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Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

and UIC Arctic Response Services—says UMIAQ Marketing and Communications Manager Cindy Shake. UIC owns more than 220,000 acres in and around Barrow near the junction of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, Shake says. Over the past decade, she says, UIC has worked with its shareholders to find profitable and sustainable ways to use that land and grow into one of the largest Alaskan-owned companies in the state. UIC’s Resource Development Division was recently formed in response to a growing demand for environmental and regulatory field compliance support as well as an expanded Marine Mammal Observer Program—just one of the areas in which local knowledge proves to be an important advantage, she says. In an email, Shake says the Marine Mammal Observer Program involves employing Iñupiat communicators to work aboard vessels and watch for bowhead whales and other marine mammals. They are also tasked with maintaining records of contact with communications centers and subsistence whaling boats, interpreting communications, and contacting subsistence vessels when necessary. Shake says Marine Mammal Observers—along with field compliance support and Environmental Vehicle Inspectors— are currently working on ExxonMobil’s multibillion-dollar Point Thomson development. The North Slope natural gas field project involves more than 1,200 employees and a twenty-two-mile pipeline connecting the field to the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, according to ExxonMobil. While UIC companies work to support oil and gas projects like Point Thomson with vital environmental and regulatory services, Shake says the companies also provide invaluable cultural and local knowledge. Armed with an understanding of local politics, culture, land use issues, and environmental and regulatory concerns unique to Alaska’s Arctic regions, she says they provide a unique—and increasingly valued—service to the industry. “UIC facilitates project acceptance through education, incorporation of Iñupiat values, and negotiation of acceptable practices that avoid or mitigate potential environmental or sociocultural impacts,” Shake writes. Using skilled translators, employees who grew up on the North Slope, and a

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September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


wealth of traditional knowledge, she says, UIC companies are working to support environmentally sound and culturally sensitive oil and gas activities in the Arctic. According to UMIAQ, it’s a way of business that will help preserve Alaska’s lands, resources, and Native ways of life for future generations.

Preservation and Development The push to preserve the Last Frontier’s lands and traditions while simultaneously developing its resources is a common theme among the state’s Alaska Native Corporation oil and gas ventures. At Kakivik, where Schoffmann says safety is the number one priority, responsible development is top of mind. “Our work helps to ensure that new pipelines and facilities are built according to the design specifications and quality required,” the company’s president says. “In addition, once in service, we provide labor, processes, and equipment to ensure that corrosion is not only

industrial control equipment manufacturers, boasting more than thirty-five years of experience. GIS Oilfield Contractors, a Louisiana-based division of NANA Development Corporation, also operates fabrication facilities and construction services for both onshore and offshore plants. When it comes to maintaining equipment and operating plants, companies owned by Alaska Native Corporations continue to play a key role. There’s Alutiiq Oilfield Solutions, LLC. —a general contractor specializing in industrial coatings and oilfield rig matting—owned by Afognak Native Corporation subsidiary Alutiiq, LLC. There’s Doyon Drilling, Inc. and Doyon Oil Field Services, Inc., both subsidiaries of Doyon Limited, and Nordic-Calista Services, a drilling company formed as a joint venture partnership between Nordic Well Servicing and Calista Corporation in 1985. Olgoonik Oilfield Services, a subsidiary of the Olgoonik Corporation, provides everything from marine, air, and land logis-

the goals of economic opportunity and preserving our way of life requires compromise, diligence, creative thinking, and open communications.” One example: UMIAQ’s Stakeholder Engagement and Community Relations department. Shake says the department, which provides necessary logistics and support services, has seen high demand because of its rich local knowledge. It’s a knowledge that, according to Shake, the oil and gas industry “is learning to respect.” It seems to be paying off, for both UMIAQ, its parent company, and the industry as a whole. While Shake points to high demand for her company’s services, producers continue to herald positive progress on new North Slope developments. Work continues at Point Thomson, and ConocoPhillips says development plans at several different North Slope sites total about $2 billion. BP says it has plans for about $1 billion in new North Slope investment over the next five years.

“Our work helps to ensure that new pipelines and facilities are built according to the design specifications and quality required. In addition, once in service, we provide labor, processes, and equipment to ensure that corrosion is not only monitored and managed but prevented.”

—Ben Schoffmann President and CEO, Kakivik Asset Management LLC

monitored and managed but prevented.” It’s a vital service for companies operating within Alaska’s fragile and valuable Arctic environment. As it stands, oil and gas development projects are subject to a litany of permitting and environmental requirements, and Schoffmann says making sure projects operate within those boundaries is key to the industry’s continued success. “Several very highly publicized recent events show that when oil and gas get outside the system [pipelines, processing plants, tanks, drill rigs, etc.], nothing good happens,” Schoffmann says. “As we like to say, our best advertising is that we keep our customers out of the headlines.” While Kakivik works to maintain the oil and gas industry’s infrastructure, other Alaska Native corporation-owned ventures work to supply it. Dowland-Bach, Inc., a subsidiary of Koniag, Inc., is one of Alaska’s foremost 138

tics to infrastructure, downhole services, and on-site personnel. And Peak Oilfield Services, a longstanding Alaska oilfield support company, was acquired by Bristol Bay Native Corporation last year.

Valuable Experience At UMIAQ and other UIC companies, Shake says that experience goes hand-inhand with the desire to protect Alaska’s environment via responsible exploration and development. The corporation has more than 2,500 Iñupiat shareholders, the majority of whom call Barrow home, and the communications manager says the company sought to balance exploration and development with its shareholders’ customary subsistence ways of life. “To survive in the harsh Arctic environment, our people have relied on their intimate knowledge of their environment and the values of sharing and cooperation,” Shake says. “We recognize that finding balance between

Optimistic Future The plans—along with talk of an Alaska LNG project—leave Alaska Native Corporation-owned oil and gas ventures optimistic about the future. “We are excited for the future, as recent new investment spurred on by improvements in our fiscal tax structure show that there is still more potential and more opportunity for Alaska’s oil and gas business,” Schoffmann says. In Nikiski, LoSciuto says the Rig Tenders Dock and AES Response Operations are also preparing to take advantage of new growth throughout the industry—and the new challenges it presents for their customers. “We saw what their needs were and we tried to make some solutions to meet those needs,” LoSciuto says. R Freelance journalist Kirsten Swann writes from Anchorage.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014


Fueling Petro Industry Operations Industrial-strength services for Alaska explorers and producers By Margaret Sharpe


t takes fuel to make fuel. More specifically, fuel resources are required to explore for and extract new fuel sources. So who fuels Alaska’s petroleum industry in its pursuit of oil and gas? On the North Slope, some longtime Alaskan companies are getting fuel to those in the business of exploring for and extracting energy resources.

Colville Colville, Inc. has thirty years of experience as an Arctic fuel supply company. “We have relationships with all the instate refineries,” says Eric Helzer, president and COO of Colville. “We purchase our fuel from those refineries and transport it with our Dalton fleet

of tractor trailers.” Those big rigs haul over 10,000 gallons each up the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, where fuel is transferred to the company’s 2 million gallon tank farm in Deadhorse. “Other clients also use our tank farm [for storage], so we effectively have all the carriers that provide fuel distribution usually coming to our tank farm to transfer their fuel into our tanks,” Helzer explains. The clients can then draw their fuel out when they need it, or Colville provides infield fuel distribution directly to the drilling rigs and different facilities on the North Slope. The company also has the northernmost gas station on the Alaska Highway system. Its Tesoro station, an industrial fuel station at their tank farm, is simi-

lar to your ordinary corner gas. What’s unique is the pumps are in their own individual heated shelters; and some of the vehicles fueling at the station are not so ordinary. “You can drive your D-9 CAT up to the pump and fill it up,” Helzer says. “We have oversize tractor trailers and equipment that fuel at our fuel station daily.” The station has a chip-key system for frequent users and accepts major credit cards. “We have a full, true supply chain from the refinery all the way to the end user in the field,” Helzer says. “We provide a full integrated service. There are no other contractors or suppliers in our supply chain; we self-perform all aspects of it.” Colville gets it, trucks it, stores it, and pumps it. Colville is also the Air Liquide bottled gas distributor on the Slope, providing welding gas. “At the Deadhorse Airport, we have a facilities-based aviation

© Judy Patrick

Colville’s aviation fueling operations on the North Slope include private and commercial clients. 140

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Part of Colville’s Dalton fleet of tractor-trailer fuel haulers. © Judy Patrick

facility that handles and dispenses all aviation fuel to all users on the ramps— Alaska Airlines, Everts—any private company that comes up, we supply the fuel,” Helzer says. “And of course, we have a pilots lounge.” Colville has their own aviation tank farm at the airport too, with self-dispensing stations. “So if you came up in a small plane, your pilot could taxi right over to our dispensing stations at the airport and fill up his own plane.”

NOSI Another longtime Alaska brand, NANA Oilfield Services, Inc. (NOSI), has a 1.2 million gallon bulk tank farm near the Deadhorse Airport. NOSI has been providing support services to oil exploration companies on Alaska’s North Slope for just almost forty years. The company owns a North Slope oilfield service station and provides bulk fuel delivery across the Slope. The largest demand is for diesel, followed by unleaded gasoline, and then Jet B and Jet A aviation fuel. In addition, NOSI distributes Chevron lubricants. “Chevron is the premier lubricants supplier and the main supplier of lubricants in Alaska for many years—so we value our relationship with Chevron,” says Brad Osborne, president of NOSI.

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


© NANA Development Corporation

With their expansion into the tank farm fuel storage business, Osborne describes the supply chain that brings fuel to the end user. “We purchase fuel from Petro Star refinery or Flint Hills in Fairbanks. From there, NOSI-owned trucks or equipment transport the fuel up the Dalton Highway for the fourteen-hour trip to the Slope.” Unlike Colville, NOSI sometimes uses their partners to get the fuel from Fairbanks to the Slope. NOSI also provides fuel to customers along the haul road. Upon arrival at the NOSI tank farm, fuel is offloaded to the bulk storage tanks. Fuel is then dispensed from the tank farm facility and delivered to customers using their Deadhorse-based vehicles, which are specially modified for arctic conditions. “There’s multiple ways of providing the fuel delivery service. Like our retail station next to our tank farm in Deadhorse,” Osborne says. “Clients can use a credit card or chip key, which is coded for a customer who can then assign it to a particular piece of equip142

© NANA Development Corporation

NANA Oilfield Services, Inc. transports fuel up the Dalton Highway to its tank farm in Deadhorse.

ment for tracking purposes.” Since fuel is the biggest expense in that area, NOSI’s ability to track fuel usage can be very useful for their customers. When providing fuel to a customer, the date, time, and cost of any particular piece of equipment are recorded. Then NOSI compiles the data over a weekly or monthly billing cycle and submits the tracked costs to their customers. NOSI also delivers to clients out in the field, such as out to Caelus, near Point Thomson. “Trucks from our bulk facility move fuel to their site. They could have a ten thousand-gallon tank at the site that we pump the fuel into,” Osborne says. “NOSI personnel can

stand by and pump it into their equipment or, more often, the customers dispense it themselves.”

MagTec Alaska Michael Swart, an employee of MagTec Alaska LLC, an oil field services company in Deadhorse that provides vehicles and equipment, explains that access to fuel near Deadhorse is not as much of a challenge as the sites that are eighty miles away or even farther. “Some of the exploration sites are out on the ice, so [the fueling companies] furnish satellite tanks that sit out at the remote locations. Colville or NOSI will station a person, designated as the fueler, to keep

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

people from having problems.” In other words: spilling. “The fueler is stationary in the tank truck, and users drive up,” Swart says. “Anybody that pulls up on the pad that needs fuel simply goes over to the tank truck. The fueler sees them coming, and he gets out and puts his portable containment down [called ‘duck ponds’], and fueling takes place right there at the spot.” Duck ponds are square-shaped geomembranes that capture any spills, overflow, or drips that might occur during fuel transfer. Colville and NOSI also fuel the non-mobile equipment—such as light plants, generators, and heaters—usually twice a day to make sure they don’t run out. “We have satellite tanks and a lot of other vendors do too,” Swart says. “All those tanks need refueled—for our service trucks, loader, whatever—we have tanks on site. We are on a schedule with them, but if we run out, we call them and they come and deliver.” “There’s a big supply chain and logistics challenge in making sure you have fuel when it is needed,” Osborne says. “With Slope operations, it really comes down to having storage ability because everything is crammed into a threemonth timeframe when the ice roads are around.” Remote sites, like Alpine, are fly-in-only access during the summer; so during the winter months, after the ice roads are built, all the heavy hauls take place and the facility is restocked. A site like that has big tankage in order to run during the summer or the shoulder season, when ice is either forming in the fall/winter or breaking in the spring/summer. So getting fuel from Nikiski or Valdez, offloading to Fairbanks, then from Fairbanks into trucks, and trucked to Deadhorse is a well-orchestrated process. “This past season demand was so high, we couldn’t get it from Fairbanks to Deadhorse quick enough. You don’t want to run out of fuel up there because that halts everything. That’s really the last thing your customers want, or operations wants. If you are out of fuel, you are not operating.”

Cook Inlet and the Kenai Looking southward, the fueling process that keeps exploration in Cook Inlet and Kenai running is a system of shared services. Access to and easier

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


Photo courtesy of Petro Marine

The tug Pacific Wolf and Barge DBL-54 depart Nikiski on a voyage for Petro Marine Services delivering ultra-low sulfur diesel, heating oil, and gasoline to Kodiak, Afognak, Port Lions, Homer, and Cordova to support resource development industries, local businesses, and community fuel needs.

transportation of refined fuel, combined with better weather, makes for a broader base of players. Alaska Oil Sales has bulk plant facilities in Kenai and a warehouse/shop and offices in Soldotna. The company supplies retail service stations, marine distributors, and airport dealers with motor and aviation gasoline, diesel and jet fuels, and heating fuels for business, industrial, and home use. For oil and gas companies in the area, like Hilcorp and ConocoPhillips, Alaska Oil Sales delivers primarily diesel fuel for drill rigs. Smokey Norton, Marketing Manager for Petro Marine Services, the parent company of Alaska Oil Sales, describes how fueling logistics are performed for Kenai and Cook Inlet operations. “Delivery is by a mixture of companies— trucking, barging, storing—and they all work in concert, often piggybacking services to get products to the oil rigs.” If an oil and gas company on the other side of Cook Inlet called Alaska Oil Services for fuel, they would likely haul it to Peak Oilfield Services Co. Peak would probably be assembling a barge 144

load to transport across the inlet to the customer’s site. “We’d pump it off into one of Peak’s fuel containers, and then they would handle the container, put it on a truck or trailer, and haul it down to the barge,” Norton says. “It would be off-loaded and barged across the inlet, and then someone on the other side— Peak or Weaver Brothers—would unload the fuel on the other side and take it to the customer.” For places in the Kenai area where the customer might have a yard or fixed assets, Alaska Oil Sales uses their fleet of tank trucks and tractor trailer equipment to deliver fuels. “There are a lot of service companies in the Kenai area and Swanson River field—people like us that service the oil and gas industry,” Norton says. “They buy fuel from us and transport it as part of their business—even put it on a barge and take it across the inlet to a drill site.” Weaver Brothers also hauls fuel and provides a broader group of services. “Those people are into hauling fuel, trucks, drilling muds…hauling anything that requires transportation ser-

vices to the oil fields. With us, we principally haul fuel and sell fuel. Peak is one of our customers too,” Norton says. “The real big deal for our business in delivering fuel into the oilfields is to have healthy oilfield activity,” Norton says. “If they’re not working out there, we don’t sell fuel. When they are healthy and spending money exploring and developing their facilities—and it takes energy to do that—that’s when our phone will ring.” The best testimony is from a customer: “During Phase 3 conditions, where you can’t see your hand in front of your face, guess who the most important person is? The fueler,” Swart says. “That’s because you need heat and lights. Fueling is an extremely integral part of operations on the North Slope—especially outside of Deadhorse. In my opinion, the most important jobs on the Slope, and the least appreciated, are the fueler and the housekeeper. Both work their butts off.” R Margaret Sharpe writes from Palmer.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014


Alaskan Milo Booth was appointed as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Tribal Affairs Advisor in May. Booth, an Alaska Native tribal member of the Metlakatla Indian Community, leads the new Tribal Affairs Branch in Intergovernmental Affairs and serves as a key advisor on tribal affairs to senior FEMA leadership.

Credit Union 1

Compiled by Russ Slaten UMIAQ

Nagruk Harcharek, UMIAQ Science Logistics Project Manager, was selected in May to serve on the North Pacific Research Board’s Arctic Advisory Panel for a three-year term. For UMIAQ, Harcharek oversees field operations in support of research activities in and Harcharek near Barrow and is a community liaison to local agencies, science and subsistence organizations, and visiting researchers, providing scientific logistical support.

RIM Architects Irelan





Credit Union 1 announced the promotion and addition of four Alaska staff members. Asaaluk Irelan returned to CU1 as Branch Manager of its Nome location in June. Irelan, a long-time resident of Nome, has over eight years of experience in the banking industry. From 2009 through 2013, Irelan worked for Credit Union 1 as Assistant Branch Manager in Nome. Tiffany Beka was promoted to Consumer Loan Manager in June in the Consumer Loans Department in Anchorage. Beka directly oversees the daily activities of consumer loan underwriters and processors and provide feedback to branch staff. James Wileman, Branch Member Services Manager, was promoted in June to become a member of the Senior Management team. Wileman contributes to the development and implementation of credit union goals and objectives. He continues to oversee all CU1 branches. Lorraine Bennett was promoted in July to Senior Vice President of Risk Management. A thirty year industry expert, Bennett assumes primary responsibility for overseeing regulatory compliance, security and fraud prevention, and resolution at CU1.


Nathan Hale, Eric Froelich, and Jared Barak have joined RIM Architect s’ Anchorage office in June as Design Assistants. Hale has twelve years of experience in architectural design and construction. P re v i o u s l y, h e w a s a Project Manager for the US Air Force and worked for design firms in Anchorage Barak and Detroit. He has a bachelor’s in Architecture from the University of Detroit Mercy. Froelich has bachelor’s degrees in Architecture and Environmental Design from North Dakota State University, with a minor in Interior Design. Prior to several years of work experience at Alaska architecture firms, Froelich gained certification as a Kitchen and Bath Designer for a firm in North Dakota. Barak has worked for architecture and engineering firms in Alaska and construction companies in Alaska and Oregon. He has a bachelor’s in Architecture from the University of Oregon. Barak received LEED GA accreditation from the US Green Building Council in 2014.


The Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc. hired Corrine O’Neill in June to serve as the supportive housing division director i n A n ch o r a g e. Sh e is responsible for managing the agency’s Supportive Housing Division, which includes Homeward O’Neill Bound, Community Bound, Anchorage Homeless Outreach Program, and Housing First. O’Neill has worked in the field of homelessness and affordable housing for over ten years.


Julie Estey was named Director of Public Relations in June. Estey’s career in Alaska includes serving as the Executive Director of the Yukon Quest and the Director of Development for the University of Alaska Museum of the Nor th. In 2009 she became the Business Director for the Estey Alaska Center for Energy and Power. Estey earned bachelor’s degrees in Marketing, Organizational Behavior, and Psychology from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

R&M Consultants, Inc.

R&M has gained a new staff member and individual certifications. John Bennett, PLS, SR/WA joined R&M’s Right of Way Group in Fairbanks as a Senior Land Surveyor in May. He is a professional land surveyor registered in Alaska and is a Senior Right of Way Professional, certified through the International Right of Way Association. Van Le earned her AICP certification from the American Institute of Certified Planners in June. Le joined R&M in 2013 as a Senior Transportation and Land Use Planner. She has more than eleven years of planning experience in all aspects of local and regional planning and is a former Municipality of Anchorage Land Use Planner. Brian O’Dowd, PE, Morgan Welch, PE, Matt Majoros, PE, and Brian Mullen, PE received their professional licensure in June. They each passed the Principles & Practice of Engineering Exam, gaining their Alaska licenses in Civil Engineering. O’Dowd is a Project

OH MY! 146

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

RIGHT MOVES Engineer in the firm’s Construction Administration Department; Welch is a Project Engineer in the firm’s Surface Transportation Engineering Group; Majoros is a Project Engineer within R&M’s Airport Engineering Group; and Mullen is a Geotechnical Engineer in R&M’s Earth Sciences Department.

URS Alaska



Compiled by Russ Slaten Dave Knutson joined URS as a staff engineer. Knutson graduated from Portland State University in 2010 as a Civil Engineering major with a minor in Economics. He has eight years of experience in construction and engineering combined. Shannon Vivian joined as a Technical Editor. With over thirty years of document production, general office management, and technical editing experience, Vivian has supported various engineering and environmental disciplines. Whaley Braham was promoted to Marketing Manager in the Anchorage office. Braham holds a Marketing degree with a minor in Environmental Studies from Western Washington University. She has over twelve years of experience in marketing, product development, sales, business analysis, and business development. Anthony Crouts joined as the Marketing Intern. He is currently a marketing major at the University of Alaska Anchorage after recently transferring with his associate’s degree.

Northrim Bank



Dr. Lucia Nascimento and Dr. Alex DeYoung both transferred from SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium’s Dental Clinic in Juneau to its Dental Clinic in Haines in mid-July. Nascimento is a General Dentist and Deputy Chief in Juneau and has been with SEARHC since 2008. She received her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Marquette University School of Dentistry in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and completed a two year residency, in addition to performing outreach in the Caribbean. DeYoung recently completed his residency after having earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Dentistry. He also volunteered extensively while in Richmond, Virginia, participating in the Mission of Mercy Dental Service Project.

Vivian Sullivan

American Bankers Association National Commercial Lending School. Sullivan is the VP, Commercial Lending Unit Manager in Juneau. Nicchia Leamer has been with Alaska Pacific Bank for nearly fourteen years, with about twenty-four years of experience. She holds a BLA from the University of Alaska Southeast. Leamer is the VP, Lending Branch Manager in Sitka. Cheryl Fellman has seventeen years of experience and has been with Alaska Pacific Bank for ten years. She has worked for banks in Washington, Massachusetts, and Honduras, where she was a Peace Corp Volunteer/ Small Business Adviser. Fellman is the VP, Regional Sales & Services Manager in Juneau. John Blasco has over ten years of banking experience and has been with Alaska Pacific Bank for the past six years. He has a BS in Finance from Linfield College and holds an MBA from the University of Alaska Southeast. Blasco is the VP, Commercial Loan Officer in Juneau.


Denali Alaskan Insurance



Elizabeth Appleby joined URS as an Environmental Planner. She earned a master’s degree in Environmental Planning from the University of Minnesota after previously completing a BS in Biological Aspects of Conservation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Tim Anderson joined URS as a Local Development Specialist. Anderson has over a decade of service within the Chugach Region. Anderson’s functions include project controls and procurement activities, stakeholder engagement support, and local content development.



Northrim welcomed the new bank vice presidents from Southeast Alaska to the Northrim family in April as part of the recent merger between Northrim Bank and Alaska Pacific Bank. Tom Sullivan has been with Alaska Pacific Bank for twenty-six of his twenty-eight years in banking. He holds a bachelor’s in Business Administration from Iowa State University and graduated from the

Mike Gordon was named President of Denali Alaskan Insurance in June. He is responsible for all operat io nal asp e c t s of t h e insurance brokerage and its fourteen employees. Gordon has nearly thirty years of insurance expe- Gordon rience. Prior to joining Denali Alaskan Insurance in 2009, he worked at Wells Fargo Insurance Services, where he focused on small commercial business insurance accounts. R

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly



Naniq Global Logistics


aniq Global Logistics opened a new location at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in July. Naniq’s Anchorage building is home to their Global Customer Service Center and Custom House brokerage facility. Naniq specializes in international and domestic air freight forwarding. The forty-thousand-squarefoot facility is located in the South Air Park, formerly Kulis Air National Guard Base, an area which airport officials have actively pursued tenants for since the Air National Guard moved operations in 2011.



rowley’s Alaska fuel sales and distribution group completed the installation of McGrath Airport’s first aviation fuel card lock system in July, offering pilots the convenience of twenty-four-hour refueling services at one of the region’s busiest airfields. The implementation of the new, fully automated system allows aviators to access Crowley fuel pumps with the swipe of a credit card or proprietary card the same way that drivers would at a local gas station. The easy-to-use system eliminates extra fees previously associated with after-hours transactions. McGrath Airport is popular amongst pilots flying across the state because of its central location. Before Crowley installed the card lock system, aviators had to complete their fuel purchase during regular business hours or arrange to have a Crowley employee meet them at the airport, but automated sales transactions save pilots time and mon-

Compiled by Russ Slaten

ey. Crowley’s card lock refueling pumps are located at the McGrath Airport on the tarmac east of Runway 25, directly in front of Crowley’s office.

Millrock Resources, Inc.


illrock Resources, Inc. completed geophysical surveying on its Alaska Peninsula Project in July. The survey saw a total of 1,140 line kilometers of high-resolution airborne magnetic and radiometric data collected over three prospects of interest: Bee Creek, Mallard Duck Bay, and Kawisgag. Precision Geosurveys, Inc. was contracted to carry out the helicopter-borne surveys. The completed work is the first of a two-phase summer program funded by First Quantum Minerals Ltd. The second phase is to consist of a geological mapping and geochemical sampling program and will focus on the geophysically surveyed areas, all of which have known porphyry occurrences. Phase 2 was scheduled to start in mid-July. The Alaska Peninsula project is comprised of lands owned by six Alaska Native village corporations and the Bristol Bay Native Corporation. Millrock has previously made an Exploration Agreement with Option to Lease through which it can secure a 100 percent leasehold interest. The villages of Chignik Bay and Chignik Lagoon are located roughly central to the land package, which is more than 75 miles long and up to 37 miles wide and covers an area of about 2,510 square miles.


Ravn Alaska

avn Alaska, formerly Era Alaska, launched its new

website in June. The ongoing rebranding process is still underway, and the website reflects the company’s new identity and provides a more userfriendly browsing experience. The launch of the site is an important initial phase of the company’s overall website redesign project. This first step showcases their new branding, organizes content in a way that is easy to navigate, and is mobile compatible. The next step for the website is to revamp the ticketing system to streamline the process of purchasing tickets and checking-in for flights. In addition, Ravn Alaska has created a Flickr page, which will showcase pictures of the airline’s updated fleet.


Alaska Airlines

iming to improve onboard storage and make flying easier for customers, Alaska Airlines will be the first carrier to have Boeing’s innovative Space Bins. The larger overhead bins have a similar look and feel to Alaska’s current Boeing Sky Interior pivot bins yet hold more bags. Space Bins on an Alaska Airlines 737-900ER will hold as many as 174 standard carry-on bags, a 48 percent increase compared to current bins that hold up to 117 bags. Space Bins are deep enough to store nonstandard items, such as a guitar. Space Bins will arrive on all Next-Generation 737 and 737 MAX airplanes delivered to Alaska Airlines starting in late 2015. When open, the bin’s bottom edge hangs about two inches lower, which means people don’t have to lift their bags as high to load them. The deeper bins allow more bags to be stowed and

Your Project, Our Responsibility. 24/7 Service Pacific Pile & Marine has a robust fleet of marine equipment including our recent addition of a 600-Ton 4600 Ringer. I (907) 276-3878 276-3873 148

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

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

INSIDE ALASKA BUSINESS let customers load overstuffed bags with less struggle. Alaska Airlines flies an all-Boeing fleet of 737 airplanes, including twenty 737-900ERs. The carrier has sixty-six firm orders for 737-900ERs and 737 MAX aircraft to be delivered through 2022.



yabak Construction, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bering Straits Native Corporation, was awarded a $3.1 million contract in July for seismic upgrades to Building 576 on Kodiak’s US Coast Guard Base. The project includes a new generator and electrical system, partial concrete encasement of the building, and a retrofit of a new clean agent fire suppression system in two rooms containing microwave satellite equipment and IT equipment. Iyabak’s project manager for the project is Jeff Zweifel. Zweifel has been with Iyabak for two years and has worked on several complex projects throughout Alaska. Iyabak is a licensed engineering and general construction firm providing design-build and construction management services in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

Alaska Energy Authority


he Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) released a request for applications for the eighth round of grants from the Renewable Energy Grant Fund. Applications must be received by the Alaska Energy Authority by 5 p.m. on September 22. In 2012 the Legislature extended the program for an additional ten years. In 2013, eighty-six applications were

Compiled by Russ Slaten

received and nearly $23 million was awarded to twenty-eight projects. Prior to that, $227.5 million had been provided to 251 projects statewide. Projects include wind, hydro, biomass, solar, transmission, and integration to existing fossil-fueled units. Additional information about the application process can be found online at or by calling toll free at 888-300-8534.


Red Dog Mine

n July, Red Dog Mine in Northwest Alaska held a celebration for mine employees in honor of its 25th anniversary. The mine is one of the largest zinc producers in the world and is often cited as a positive example of indigenous people and mining companies working together. Alaska Native Corporation, NANA Regional Corporation, Inc., owns the land on which the mine is situated and Teck Alaska, a subsidiary of Teck Resources Limited, is the operator. The celebration was attended by a number of special guests, many of whom worked to make the mine a reality, including former Governor Bill Sheffield, NANA Regional Corporation Chair Donald G. Sheldon, Teck President and CEO Don Lindsay, former NANA President Willie Hensley, and past Chair Christina Westlake.


Aleut Corporation

leut Facilities Support Services, LLC, a subsidiary of the Aleut Corporation in Anchorage, was awarded by the Department of Defense a $95,986,770 firm-fixed-price

contract for civil engineering support services. Services include property maintenance, repair and operations, planning and engineering services, environmental services and protection, property management, housing and furnishing management, and emergency response services. The company was also awarded a $14,714,248 firm-fixed price contract for cadet support services, including academic program support, operation of academic facilities, and athletic program support for athletic events, maintaining sports equipment and supplies, and operation of athletic facilities. Work will be performed at the US Air Force Academy and is expected to be completed by July 31, 2019. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition set-aside for small business. The solicitation was posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, and nine offers were received.

Arctic Economic Council


he Alaska State Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission (AAPC) selected three Alaska business leaders to represent the United States in the initial meeting in Iqaluit, Nunavut, on September 2 and 3 of the Arctic Economic Council (AEC), an intergovernmental group aiming to foster sustainable development, including economic growth, environmental protection, and social development in the Arctic. Participating for the United States is Lori Davey, General Manager, Fairweather, LLC; Bruce Harland, Vice President Business Development, Crowley Marine Services, Inc.; and Gail Schubert, Pres-

Your Project, Our Responsibility. 24/7 Service

Pacific Pile & Marine has a robust fleet of marine equipment including our recent addition of a 600-Ton 4600 Ringer. I (907) 276-3878 276-3873

From critical lifts to platform support, PPM is sufficiently resourced to deliver a wide range of construction services. 620B East Whitney Road I Anchorage, AK 99501 September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


INSIDE ALASKA BUSINESS ident and CEO, Bering Straits Native Corporation. During Canada’s Arctic Council chairmanship between 2013 and 2015, the Arctic Council states and Indigenous Permanent Participant organizations worked together to facilitate the creation of the AEC. Each Arctic state and Permanent Participant organization of the intergovernmental forum was tasked to name up to three business representatives to attend the founding meeting. The Alaska Chamber and the AAPC announced their selections in July. In case one of the appointed individuals is not able to participate the Alaska Chamber and the AAPC named Chuck Greene, Vice President Community and Regional Affairs, NANA Development Corporation, as an alternate. Additionally, four of the six Permanent Participant groups have indigenous representation in Alaska so there will be additional Alaskans participating in the AEC.



erraSond was selected in July by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as the most highly qualified firm to provide hydrographic surveying services anywhere in the United States under a new five-year contract beginning in 2015. TerraSond will provide comprehensive, modern hydrographic surveys in assigned areas to support NOAA’s nautical charting mission, which includes the updating of charts in critical areas for navigation safety. TerraSond has been providing hydrographic survey services continuously

Compiled by Russ Slaten

for NOAA since 1998 under consecutive multi-year contracts. During this time, TerraSond has completed more than seventy-nine separate surveys from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic, with three additional surveys currently underway in 2014. TerraSond surveyed, processed, and delivered to NOAA datasets covering more than 4,500 square nautical miles of seafloor utilizing a wide range of technologies and vessels. TerraSond provides precision land and marine geospatial, geophysical, and geoscience survey solutions dedicated to imaging the earth worldwide.


Alaska LNG

n another important step forward for the Alaska LNG (liquid natural gas) project, an application to export LNG was submitted to the US Department of Energy in July by the project participants. The export application requests authorization to export up to 20 million metric tons per year of LNG for a period of thirty years to countries that have existing free trade agreements with the United States, as well as to non-free trade agreement countries. According to a study by NERA Economic Consulting, submitted in support of the application, the Alaska LNG project would have “unequivocally positive” economic impacts in Alaska and the United States. The Alaska LNG project is anticipated to create up to fifteen thousand jobs during construction and approximately one thousand jobs for operation of the project. The proposed project facilities include a liquefaction plant and terminal in the Nikiski area on the Kenai Pen-

insula; an eight hundred-mile, fortytwo-inch pipeline; up to eight compression stations; at least five take-off points for in-state gas delivery; and a gas treatment plant located on the North Slope. The Alaska LNG project participants are the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation and affiliates of TransCanada, BP, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil. By press time, the project was in the pre-front-end engineering and design phase, which is expected to be completed in 2016.


Fairbanks Gold Mining, Inc.

he Bureau of Land Management (BLM) received a proposal from Fairbanks Gold Mining, Inc. in July to conduct mineral assessment work near the Fort Knox gold mine on BLM-managed lands withdrawn for use by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA utilizes adjacent federal lands for its Fairbanks Satellite Operations Facility. Fairbanks Gold Mining, Inc.’s proposed work would include soil sampling, geologic mapping, and drilling. This activity would occur on land near the western boundary of the Fort Knox mine, located twenty-six miles northeast of Fairbanks. Approximately twenty-five acres of land would be temporarily disturbed and concurrently reclaimed. Following the public comment period ending in August, BLM will determine whether Fairbanks Gold Mining may submit a formal application. R

• General Contracting • Marine Infrastructure • Design Build

Dutch Harbor - Unalaska, Alaska I (907) 276-3873 150

620B East Whitney Road I Anchorage, AK 99501

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

HR Matters

By Kevin M. Dee

e c a l p k r o W e h nt

i t c i l f n o C g n i v Simple techniques l o s e R create high performance teams


ow many people really look at how they speak to one another on a close point of view? I do when it comes to resolving conflict in the workplace. When there are issues that need to be brought up, most people try to avoid doing so because they’re uncomfortable in conflict. Let’s face it; no one seeks out conflict—unless of course they’re from a culture that values conflict. This is very rare unless you’re from New York or Boston. Most of us avoid conflict wherever possible in order to maintain a social nicety often called “professionalism” in the workplace. But not putting the important issues on the table to be discussed and resolved means that instead you will never achieve high performance and high trust. Back-channel politics, rumors, and innuendo take hold when even the most minor conflicts are held on to and not resolved. A workplace that lacks comfort with conflict and disagreement can set the tone for team dysfunction. There is, however, a simple technique you can practice that will create winwin situations in most workplace conflicts. Practice caring, candor, curiosity, and collaboration—the four “Big Cs” in conflict resolution.

Be Caring The first step in creating a high-performance team is to develop trust. Each person must feel that their teammates will back them up and have their best interest at heart. I’m not saying you even have to like the person you are working with, but you must respect them in order for this to occur. When we don’t surface issues or address problems in a timely manner, trust is eroded. Too often managers and supervisors and coworkers tend to dance around the real issues. Learning to practice the four Big Cs goes to the heart of the matter

without appearing to be an attack. Just raising the issue that needs to be talked about is often enough. When you do this from a caring place, people respond favorably. Because people don’t care what you know until they know that you care.

Be Candid and Curious The next step is being able to be candid about a matter to get to the heart of it more quickly. However, this only works if initially you are talking about common facts between two people. For example, “Your TPM report was due by Thursday and that didn’t occur.” That statement alone is candid (and hopefully backed by facts), yet most people might become defensive if that is all you said. Add curiosity to your statement by adding a question such as, “That’s very unlike you, is there something going on?” You then invite collaboration to solve a problem. Another example is with individual or team performance. In highperformance environments everyone sees data that lets the team know how they’re doing, and candid conversations occur naturally in order to maintain or improve performance. If performance data that is fact based is not present, opinions fly, and those with power win. In teams attempting to find highperformance, conflict needs to be out in the open and surfaced in a timely manner, and this is where candor with curiosity is most effective. It is management’s responsibility to create safe environments where candor can flourish. Whether high performers seek to do even better or poor performers need to clean up their acts, candor about performance using curiosity to create collaboration works. Imagine a coworker with a short fuse who has everyone on tip toes because they do not want to be the one to light the fuse. A candor with

curiosity conversation started by the supervisor might sound like this: “Ray, I’m noticing everyone is on tip toes around you in the office and I’m concerned something might be going on for you. On several occasions over the last couple months you’ve lost your temper and I think that’s driving it; what do you think and how can I support you?”

Be a Problem-Solving Collaborator The key here is to start with common points of view or agreed to facts that are relevant for the situation at hand. Yes, Ray had demonstrably lost his temper several times over the last thirty days and these instances were addressed individually. However, now we are dealing with the fallout and his participation in the team. Unless Ray earns the team’s trust back he won’t survive. The manager, as a problemsolving collaborator, is key (which again demonstrates caring). At the end of that meeting, Ray could walk out realizing he had to rebuild trust with the team. If we truly respect our coworkers and people around us, then the four Big Cs are a powerful tool. As long as true caring drives the candid discussions then respect is enhanced. Even in a termination discussion, if you are candid and caring, you will likely find everyone shaking hands at the end. R Kevin M. Dee has a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University and is the president of KMD Services & Consulting. He has more than twenty-eight years of experience providing leadership development, organizational development, and human resource services in Alaska and internationally. Contact him at

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly




Photo by Tasha Anderson

Tinker’s Rain Forest Deli

Owner Tinker Berson (middle), her daughter Emily Berson (left), and one of her employees Alex Lehmkuhl (right), standing in front of the fish mural wall Tinker Berson painted.


inker’s Rain Forest Deli, located at 12812 Old Glenn Highway, Eagle River, is a sort of “choose your own adventure” sandwich and breakfast deli. Tinker Berson, the deli’s founder and owner, says she was inspired to name the deli after the rainforest so that people could come in during the long winter and feel tropical and warm. Local residents insisted that she tack her name on the front: “Now sometimes they just call it Tinker’s rather than the Rain Forest Deli. But it really is the Rain Forest Deli,” Berson laughs. The lunch menu features sandwiches, soups, and salads. There are pens and forms on the table, and diners circle what they want on their sandwich. For vegetarian sandwiches, they offer to add avocado and sprouts. “The croissants and hoagies we bake fresh here every day, and then everything else [meats and cheese] we slice daily,” Berson says. Many of the sides and condiments are made inhouse, including macaroni and potato salad, horseradish, and ranch dressing. The concept is the same for the breakfast menu, with guests picking a bagel, English muffin, wrap, toast, or croissant to pile a variety of breakfast choices on, including eggs, meats, cheese, veggies, and various condiments. The deli also offers coffee and real fruit smoothies with the option to add in healthy extras like fiber, bee pollen, or protein. Berson is also the chef and has three women working with her in the kitchen, one of which is her daughter. “This is something I love to do, and I always wanted to work with my daughter,” she says. Berson is also the interior decorator, including painting a fish mural on the wall. “I think that’s what people like most about [the deli],” she continues. ‘You’re always feeling warm when you come in.’” R


Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014



Photos courtesy of Alaskan Dream Cruises

Alaskan Dream Cruises

Two of Alaskan Dream Cruises vessels: the Baranof Dream (above) and the Admiralty Dream.


laskan Dream Cruises is the overnight cruise branch of Allen Marine, which has been providing day boat tours in Southeast Alaska since 1970. “We’ve had a lot of time to explore the area on day excursions—we had a desire to get into overnight cruise business and share Southeast Alaska for longer periods of time,” says Senior VP Jamey Cagle. Currently in its fourth year, Alaskan Dream Cruises has proved to be a unique cruise experience. Cagle says the cruises span the Southeast Alaska region, providing guests experiences in a wide range of communities, bays, and inlets from Skagway to Metlakatla. Unlike many cruise opportunities in Alaska, the company’s three vessels provide eight-, nine-, eleven-, and thirteenday cruises and accommodate forty to sixty guests. “Being smaller cruise ships, we are able to explore smaller bays and inlets,” Cagle says. Alaskan Dream Cruises is an Alaska Native, locally owned business. “We have a Native expedition leader on board [every cruise] who shares the culture of the area, [and] we visit several Native communities,” he says. Cagle says cruises generally embark and disembark in Sitka, but occasionally will depart from or return to Ketchikan. According to the company website, cruises embark from Sitka, not only because it is the hometown of the Allen family but also because the community provides excellent opportunities for guests to learn about Alaska Native history, early Russian influence, and the US purchase of Alaska. “Our customers really enjoying coming up to see Southeast Alaska,” says Cagle. Loving Alaska could be considered an Alaska Dream Cruises company policy. “We just encourage people to get up here any way they can,” Cagle says. “Fishing, sightseeing, going to Denali, exploring the Interior and Prudhoe Bay and the Aleutians—our company line is, “There’s no bad way to see Alaska.’” R

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September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly




© Urban Yeti

Urban Yeti Improv

Urban Yeti comedy troupe.


n September 5 and 6, Urban Yeti Improv kicks off its third season with a show at the Performing Arts Center in Anchorage. It will be a revival of the first two shows with the Frigid Affair and Debauchery formats. “The expansion into the third season allows even more opportunities for Alaskan audiences to see fresh and hilarious improv comedy from some of the state’s greatest talents,” says Urban Yeti Improv Artistic Director John Hanus. Debauchery is not measured by the craziness of the performers, but by the craziness of the crowd. Urban Yeti explores what makes the audience tick, what they find indecent, and uses their imagination to inspire the scenes. Although there are no age restrictions for its show, Debauchery will contain mature content and is advisable for those eighteen years or older. “My wife and I started this troupe at the beginning of this year for the sole purpose of owning our own business and trying some innovative things with improv comedy here in Anchorage. Since then it has been a hell of a ride, and our audience and performers have allowed us to grow a bit as we head into our third season,” Hanus says. In addition to the special shows at the Performing Arts Center, the elusive Urban Yeti can be found performing at the Alaska Experience Theater in downtown Anchorage on the first Saturday of each month. “Grab an adventurous couple of friends and hop down to catch an Urban Yeti sighting,” Hanus says. “We look forward to seeing you!” The Performing Arts Center show begins at 8 p.m. in the Sydney Laurence Theater on September 5 and 6. Tickets are available on for $15 each. R


Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014


Compiled by Tasha Anderson



Great Alaska Quilts Show



Discover Eaglecrest Day

The 2014 Great Alaska Quilts Show is an official event of the Anchorage Centennial Celebration. The quilt show will include a featured quilt exhibit, a non-juried display of member-made quilts, a small quilt auction, a raffle quilt (Sunday, 3 p.m.), and exhibits by the guild’s small groups and committees. ConocoPhillips Alaska Atriuim, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. anchoragelogcabinquilters.

Activities include the Alpine Barbeque and Beer Garden, Porcupine Chairlift, Alaska Zipline tours, Juneau Freewheelers Mountain Bike Tour, and the Decomposition Decathlon. Eaglecrest Season Passes, Multi-Visit Cards, and Snowsports School products for 2014-15 will be available at pre-season prices. Eaglecrest Ski Area, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.



Fall Wedding Show

This event showcases local wedding-related products and services and will include fashion shows, door prizes, free admission to the public, and more! Alaska Native Heritage Center, Noon to 5 p.m.


Blues Train

Ride the rail to Seward and take in the sweet sounds of The Ira Sellers Band— along with a spread of appetizers, a couple of drink tickets, and no host bar. The party continues in Seward with country-style spare ribs, barbeque chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, and potato salad, a no host bar, and more Blues at 9 p.m. Must be twenty-one. Anchorage Historic Depot.


Alaska Women’s Show

Vendors celebrate everything that makes Alaska women unique. The show features financial seminars, fashion shows, jewelry, healthcare information, and more. Sullivan Arena.

27-28 Senshi-Con

Senshi-Con is Alaska’s longest-running anime convention founded in 2005 by students from local Anchorage high schools. Senshi-Con is held annually and festivities range from cosplay shows and games to anime viewings and an artists’ gallery. Egan Center; Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.



Anthony Hamilton

Anthony Hamilton is a Grammy award-winning R&B singer/songwriter. Carlson Center, 8:30 p.m.


George Kahumoku Jr. & Masters of Hawaiian Music


Divas/Divos Show

Talented Ketchikan Divas and Divos join together for a hard-fought battle to become the next Diva and Divo for First City Players’ 2014-15 season. Ted Ferry Civic Center, 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.



Rainforest Festival

The Rainforest Festival is a nonprofit event with the goal to bring participants closer to the natural world through education, exploration, and the arts. Events include Brown Bag talks, planetarium viewings, quilting class, workshops, and children’s art and science activities. Various locations.



Biennial Valdez Quilt Festival

This gathering of quilters and quilting enthusiasts features various quilting and sewing workshops, including a mystery quilt workshop titled “Valdez through a Looking Glass.” Other events include dinners at the Eagles Hall and a Show N’ Tell dessert. Valdez Civic Center, various times.


5-28 Anastasia

The Valley Performing arts presents this drama about Anya, an amnesiac in a Berline asylum discovered by former Cossack “prince” turned-taxi-driver Bounine, who is persuaded to participate in a scheme to exploit the heritage of 10 million pounds being held in trust for any surviving heirs of the Romanoff dynasty. Machetanz Theatre; Friday and Saturday evenings 7 p.m., Sunday matinees 2 p.m.

Four-time Grammy Award winner George Kahumoku Jr. on slack key guitar and vocals; Ledward Kaapana on slack key guitar and vocals, and Uncle Richard Ho’opi’I on ‘ukulele and vocals combine to bring their audiences an authentic and fun-filled Hawaiian experience through music, stories, culture, and joy. Fairbanks Concert Association, 8 p.m.



Alyeska Mountain Bike Festival

The Mountain Bike Festival offers three days of competition, music, demos, workshops, and, of course, riding the Alyeska Bike Park. Events include a chainless downhill, tight-rope ride, distance air, wheelie, and a cross country rally and pond skim. Alyeska Resort, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.


Alyeska Climbathon

In this endurance event, contestants walk, hike, and run up the steep North Face Trail of Mount Alyeska and ride the tram down as many times as possible from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Top competitors have climbed more than twenty thousand vertical feet, a distance equivalent to climbing Denali, only in ten hours. Alyeska Resort, 9 a.m.

Great Selection Great Service Great Prices 1 (907) 249-8243 •

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


AGENDA September Alaska Oil & Gas Congress


September 15-18—Anchorage Marriott Downtown, Anchorage: This comprehensive four day conference is the place to meet the players, forge new relationships, and get the information you need to capitalize on changes taking place in Alaska. This year is the 10th anniversary event and planning is already underway to make it a memorable and valuable experience.

Compiled by Tasha Anderson Alaska Travel Industry Association Convention


All-Alaska Medical Conference




Rural Energy Conference


September 23-25—Westmark Hotel, Fairbanks: A three day event offering a large variety of technical sessions covering new and ongoing energy projects in Alaska, as well as new technologies and needs for Alaska’s remote communities.

Alaska Coalition on Housing and Homelessness Conference


September 29-October 1—Juneau: Events include keynote speakers and training sessions.

September 30-October 2—Millennium Alaskan Hotel, Anchorage: This annual conference address transportation information and issues around the state.


September 22-27—Kenai: Includes training, workshops, lectures, and a firefighter competition.


October 1—Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: Come honor the Top 49 Alaskan-owned companies ranked by gross revenue at our annual luncheon. Contact: Melinda Schwab 907-276-4373

Alaska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting


October 1-4—Seward: The 2014 theme is “Milestones: Interpreting events that change the course of communities,” exploring the opportunities and challenges museums face in commemorating community milestones such as the Great Alaska Earthquake or the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

ACS Convention


October 3-5—Hilton Anchorage, Anchorage: This annual convention is an opportunity to complete up to twenty-four CEUs over the three day event in all required course topics, as well as special events such as meet and greets and receptions.


ALASBO Annual Conference


October 20-24—Centennial Hall, Juneau: This year’s theme is “Bridging disciplines to solve today’s challenges in resource management.”

October 23-25—Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: Annual gathering of Alaska Native peoples to discuss current news and events on a state, national and international level.

Alaska Marine Science Symposium


Transcending Adversity: 2014 Alaska Child Maltreatment Conference


November 17-19—Hilton Anchorage, Anchorage: The annual conference of the Alaska Children’s Alliance, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 dedicated to improving community responses to child maltreatment.

January 29-31—Westmark Hotel, Fairbanks: The Alaska Peony Growers Association is a membership organization comprised of commercial peony growers as well as those interested in the emerging peony industry in Alaska.

Junior Achievement’s Alaska Business Hall of Fame


Associated General Contractors of Alaska Annual Conference

November 12-15—Anchorage: AGC of Alaska is a nonprofit construction trade association dedicated to improving the professional standards of the construction industry.

January 20-24, 2015—Anchorage: Scientists, researchers, and students from Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond come to communicate research activities in the marine regions off Alaska.

Alaska Peony Growers Association Winter Conference




December 7-10—Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage: Annual conference of the Alaska Association of School Business Officials.


Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Convention


Museums Alaska/Alaska Historical Society Joint Annual Conference


October 20-22—Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: First Alaskans Institute helps develop the capacities of Alaska Native people and their communities. The theme for this years’ annual conference is “Get Up! Stand Up!”

November 19-20—Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: The conference provides timely updates on projects and prospects, addresses key issues and challenges and considers the implications of state and federal policies on Alaska oil and gas, mining, and other resource development sectors.


First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference


Alaska Business Monthly’s Top 49ers Luncheon


October 13-17—Ketchikan: This is the annual conference of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters & Port Administrators. October 20-22—Alyeska Hotel, Girdwood: The state’s premier business conference. This year’s topics include healthcare reform and implementation, worker’s comp reform, grass roots advocacy, small business workshops, etc.

November 17-21—Anchorage: Joint conference of the Alaska Municipal League and the Alaska Conference of Mayors.

RDC Annual Conference: Alaska Resources


Alaska Chamber Annual Fall Conference & Policy Forum


Alaska Fire Conference


October 9-11—Sheraton Anchorage Hotel and Spa, Anchorage: A continuing medical education conference put on by the Alaska Academy of Physicians Assistants, providing up to 25 CMEs.

November 17-18—Anchorage: The Alaska Municipal Management Association (AMMA) is a professional organization of municipal managers and administrators in Alaska; its purpose is to increase the proficiency of municipal managers and aid in the improvement of municipal administration in Alaska.

Annual Local Government Conference

AAHPA Annual Conference

Alaska Community Transit/ Department of Transportation Conference


October 6-10—Westmark Fairbanks Hotel & Conference Center, Fairbanks: The 2014 “Good as Gold” ATIA convention is for Alaska’s tourism industry leaders with delegates from tour operators, wholesalers, Alaska vendors, destination marketing organizations and elected officials.

AMMA Annual Business Meeting

January 30—Dena’ina Center, Anchorage: Junior Achievement of Alaska is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.

February Alaska Society for Technology in Education


February 21-24—Hotel Captain Cook, Anchorage: ASTE promotes access to technology, connectivity to information resourced, and technology integration for all Alaskan learners.

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

Market Squares

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Table of 10 - $490, Individual Seat - $49 (Space is limited event may sell-out early)


September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly



By Amy Miller

Alaska Native Corporations: Major Players in Alaska’s Economy


t’s been more than forty years since the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, or ANCSA, created the twelve Alaska Native regional corporations that now represent shareholders of Alaska Native descent in Alaska and around the world, and since then the companies have emerged as some of the most important players in Alaska’s economy. The act was an unprecedented means of settling land claims between the US government and the Alaska Native people, signed by then-President Nixon in December of 1971. The concept was all about economic development: Through land conveyances and seed money paid by the federal government, Alaska Native shareholders could develop these lands or make investments that would pay dividends and provide other social benefits to shareholders. To this day, shareholders of all twelve regional corporations have elected to keep their companies private, so their shares are not traded on public exchanges and cannot be sold, only willed or gifted.

Tremendous Growth Since the act’s inception, Alaska Native corporations have grown tremendously. Many of the twelve corporations own gleaming office towers that are prominent on the Anchorage skyline and subsidiaries that operate throughout Alaska, the United States, and even abroad. The industries in which the corporations are active are extremely diverse, from oilfield services and construction to tourism develop-

ment and military contracting. In 2013, all twelve ANCSA regional corporations were among the state’s Top 49ers, Alaska-based companies as compiled by Alaska Business Monthly. The ranking is based on total revenue in the previous year. Six of the twelve— Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (1), Bristol Bay Native Corporation (2), NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. (3), Chugach Alaska Corporation (6), Calista Corporation (8) and Doyon Limited (9)—were among the top ten, as were two ANCSA village corporations, Chenega Corporation (4), and Afognak Native Corporation/Alutiiq (7). ASRC’s 2012 total revenues of $2.62 billion put it solidly in the number one spot; the company was responsible for nearly one sixth of the combined revenue of all forty-nine companies.

Other Metrics Revenues are just one metric of economic impact, though. Perhaps more telling is the fact that the twelve corporations distribute sizeable portions of their net income in the form of dividends, scholarships for shareholders, and contributions to nonprofit organizations (Native and non-Native alike) each year. In 2012, the total was 73.18 percent of the combined $270.88 million the companies collectively generated. R Alaska Trends, an outline of significant statewide statistics, is provided by the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development.

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Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014


By Amy Miller

Alaska Native Coporations Economic Impact, 2009-2012

SOURCE: Economic Impact Report, 2009-2012 - ANCSA Regional Association

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly




GENERAL Personal Income—Alaska Personal Income—United States Consumer Prices—Anchorage Consumer Prices—United States Bankruptcies Alaska Total Anchorage Total Fairbanks Total EMPLOYMENT Alaska Anchorage & Mat-Su Fairbanks Southeast Gulf Coast Sectorial Distribution—Alaska Total Nonfarm Goods Producing Services Providing Mining and Logging Mining Oil & Gas Construction Manufacturing Seafood Processing Trade/Transportation/Utilities Wholesale Trade Retail Trade Food & Beverage Stores General Merchandise Stores Trans/Warehouse/Utilities Air Transportation Information Telecommunications Financial Activities Professional & Business Svcs Educational & Health Services Health Care Leisure & Hospitality Accommodation Food Svcs & Drinking Places Other Services Government Federal Government State Government State Education Local Government Local Education Tribal Government Labor Force Alaska Anchorage & Mat-Su Fairbanks Southeast Gulf Coast Unemployment Rate Alaska Anchorage & Mat-Su Fairbanks 160

By Amy Miller Previous Report Period (revised)

Year Ago Period

Year Over Year Change



Latest Report Period

US $ US $ 1982-1984 = 100 1982-1984 = 100

1stQ14 1stQ14 2nd H13 2nd H13

37,534 14,360,913 213.91 233.55

37,179 14,251,060 210.85 232.37

34,420 13,589,477 206.61 230.34

9.05% 5.68% 3.53% 1.39%

Number Filed Number Filed Number Filed

May May May

45 37 5

48 36 8

57 47 7

-26.67% -27.03% -40.00%

Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands

May May May May May

344.55 189.96 44.33 38.22 38.47

337.25 188.47 42.86 35.75 36.69

342.50 188.21 44.54 38.26 37.17

0.60% 0.93% -0.48% -0.09% 3.50%

Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands

May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May

339.3 46.8 292.5 18.2 17.6 14.4 16.4 12.2 8.5 68.3 6.6 38.0 6.7 10.2 23.7 6.5 6.2 4.1 11.7 30.1 47.1 33.6 33.9 7.5 21.4 11.6 83.6 15.4 26.1 7.6 42.1 23.6 3.9

329.3 46.8 282.5 17.9 17.4 14.3 14.9 14.0 9.9 63.1 6.5 36.2 6.4 9.9 20.4 5.8 6.1 4.1 11.6 29.2 47.3 33.5 30.3 6.2 19.7 11.4 83.5 14.7 27.0 8.7 41.8 23.9 3.5

334.0 44.0 289.8 17.8 17.2 14.3 17.1 9.1 5.0 66.4 5.9 36.9 6.1 10.2 23.6 6.0 6.1 4.0 13.5 28.7 47.4 33.8 33.2 7.7 20.9 11.6 82.9 15.2 25.7 7.5 42.0 23.0 3.4

1.59% 6.36% 0.93% 2.25% 2.33% 0.70% -4.09% 34.07% 70.00% 2.86% 11.86% 2.98% 9.84% 0.00% 0.42% 8.33% 1.64% 2.50% -13.33% 4.88% -0.63% -0.59% 2.11% -2.60% 2.39% 0.00% 0.84% 1.32% 1.56% 1.33% 0.24% 2.61% 14.71%

Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands

May May May May May

367.37 200.38 46.81 40.48 41.07

360.43 199.27 45.32 38.25 39.56

364.32 198.34 46.98 40.38 39.76

0.84% 1.03% -0.35% 0.24% 3.29%

Percent Percent Percent

May May May

6.1 5.2 5.3

6.4 5.4 5.4

6.0 5.1 5.2

1.67% 1.96% 1.92%

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014


By Amy Miller Previous Report Period (revised)

Year Ago Period

Year Over Year Change



Latest Report Period

Percent Percent Percent

May May May

5.6 6.3 6.3

6.5 7.3 6.3

5.3 6.5 7.6

5.66% -3.08% -17.11%

Millions of Barrels Billions of Cubic Ft. $ per Barrel

May May May

16.24 8.21 108.06

16.09 8.04 107.36

15.97 6.96 104.42

1.69% 17.96% 3.49%

Active Rigs Active Rigs $ Per Troy Oz. $ Per Troy Oz. Per Pound

May May May May May

10 1859 1288.22 19.36 2.06

10 1835 1299.09 19.71 2.03

8 1767 1,416.14 23.02 0.914

25.00% 5.21% -9.03% -15.90% 125.29%

Millions of $ Millions of $ Millions of $

May May May

58.1 30.3 25.8

65.2 20.2 38.5

34.67 23.46 11.21

67.58% 29.16% 130.15%

Total Deeds Total Deeds

April May

724 233

746 182

1234*GeoNorth 337

-41.33% -30.86%

VISITOR INDUSTRY Total Air Passenger Traffic—Anchorage Total Air Passenger Traffic—Fairbanks

Thousands Thousands

May May

438.84 87.43

319.50 69.09

437.89 85.07

0.22% 2.77%

ALASKA PERMANENT FUND Equity Assets Net Income Net Income—Year to Date Marketable Debt Securities Real Estate Investments Preferred and Common Stock

Millions of $ Millions of $ Millions of $ Millions of $ Millions of $ Millions of $ Millions of $

May May May May May May May

51692.70 52384.30 417.60 828.70 105.40 79.10 328.70

50789.60 51898.50 262.50 320.50 66.50 69.00 28.30

46,269.60 47,102.90 214.7 -232.8 -232.8 -26.1 -98.4

11.72% 11.21% 94.50% 455.97% 145.27% 403.07% 434.04%

BANKING (excludes interstate branches) Total Bank Assets—Alaska Cash & Balances Due Securities Net Loans and Leases Other Real Estate Owned Total Liabilities Total Bank Deposits—Alaska Noninterest-bearing deposits Interest- bearing deposits

Millions of $ Millions of $ Millions of $ Millions of $ Millions of $ Millions of $ Millions of $ Millions of $ Millions of $

1stQ14 1stQ14 1stQ14 1stQ14 1stQ14 1stQ14 1stQ14 1stQ14 1stQ14

5,477.64 347.62 139.05 2,517.48 18.63 4,731.67 4,070.91 1,612.83 2,458.08

5,394.16 141.17 1,753.74 2,543.77 17.58 4,656.83 4,046.21 1,623.39 2,422.82

5,121.48 274.72 135.91 2,404.90 22.19 4,380.81 3,857.32 1,497.80 2,359.52

6.95% 26.54% 2.31% 4.68% -16.04% 8.01% 5.54% 7.68% 4.18%

FOREIGN TRADE Value of the Dollar In Japanese Yen In Canadian Dollars In British Pounds In European Monetary Unit In Chinese Yuan

Yen Canadian $ Pounds Euro Yuan

May May May May May

101.85 1.09 0.59 0.73 6.17

102.51 1.05 0.60 0.72 6.17

100.86 1.02 0.65 0.77 6.19

0.98% 6.86% -9.23% -5.19% -0.32%


Southeast Gulf Coast United States PETROLEUM/MINING Crude Oil Production—Alaska Natural Gas Field Production—Alaska ANS West Coast Average Spot Price Hughes Rig Count Alaska United States Gold Prices Silver Prices Zinc Prices REAL ESTATE Anchorage Building Permit Valuations Total Residential Commercial Deeds of Trust Recorded Anchorage--Recording District Fairbanks--Recording District

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

September 2014 | Alaska Business Monthly


ADVERTISERS INDEX AE Solutions............................................130 Afognak Leasing LLC..............................145 Ahtna Inc.....................................................99 Alaska Air Cargo......................................125 Alaska Communication Systems (ACS)....................................129 Alaska Executive Search AES...............69 Alaska Logistics.......................................118 Alaska Pacific University........................97 Alaska Photobooth Co........................... 157 Alaska Traffic Co....................................... 17 Alaska USA Federal Credit Union .......57 Alaska USA Insurance Brokers .............59 Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. ................79 American Fast Freight............................... 3 American Marine/PENCO....................158 Anchorage Chrysler Dodge ..................37 Anchorage Sand & Gravel...................... 13 Architects Alaska..................................... 68 Arctic Branding & Apparel...................141 Arctic Controls.........................................141 Arctic Office Products (Machines).......93 Arctos.........................................................143 ASRC Energy Services............................131 AT&T ..............................................................9 Avis.....................................................153, 155 BDO..............................................................25 Beacon OHSS............................................50 Bering Air.................................................. 153 Bering Straits Native Corp.................... 82 Berry Co......................................................66


Black Gold Oilfield Services ................ 133 Bowhead Transport Co.........................121 Brand Energy & Infrastructure...........139 Calista Corp................................................77 Carlile Transportation Systems...........163 Chris Arend Photography.....................162 Chugach Alaska Corp...............................87 CIRI........................................................27, 29 Construction Machinery Industrial LLC.........................................2 Cook Inlet Tug & Barge Inc...................117 Cornerstone General Contractors.......36 Cruz Construction Inc........................... 135 Dan Tech Services....................................16 Delta Rental Services.............................. 46 Delta Western...........................................12 Design Alaska............................................ 46 Donlin Gold............................................... 68 Dowland-Bach Corp............................... 137 Doyon Limited...........................................63 EDC Inc........................................................32 eDocsAlaska Inc........................................77 Everts Air Cargo........................................73 Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.................52 Fairweather LLC........................................41 First National Bank Alaska....................... 5 GCI ....................................................137, 164 Greer Tank..................................................35 Harley Marine Services........................120 Historic Anchorage Hotel.....................154 Homer Marine Trades Assoc............... 157

Hotel Captain Cook.................................. 51 Island Air Express....................................154 Judy Patrick Photography....................132 Landye Bennett Blumstein LLP.............49 Lynden Inc. ........................................15, 122 Microcom....................................................65 Mid America Mortgage Inc.................... 71 Millennium Alaskan Hotel......................35 Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge..152 N C Machinery...........................................47 NALCO Champion..................................143 NANA Regional Corp................................11 NCB..............................................................75 New York Life............................................ 61 NMS Lodging..............................................49 Northern Air Cargo...................... 146, 147 Northrim Bank...........................................67 NTCL ..........................................................118 Ouzinkie Native Corp............................ 157 Oxford Assaying & Refining Inc.......... 155 Pacific Alaska Freightways..................... 33 Pacific Pile & Marine ..........148, 149, 150 Paramount Supply.................................. 157 Parker, Smith & Feek................................21 Pen Air.........................................................78 Personnel Plus.........................................152 PistenBully..................................................45 Port of Anchorage..................................123 Procomm Alaska........................................16 Remax / Dynamic Properties Matt Fink............................................... 13

Ravn ALASKA............................................39 Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers (America) Inc................34 RSA Engineering Inc.................................45 Samson Tug..............................................120 Scan Office.................................................56 Sealaska Corp............................................111 Seekins Ford Lincoln Fleet...................136 Span Alaska Consolidators.....................43 Stellar Designs Inc.................................. 157 Stephl Engineering LLC..........................44 T. Rowe Price..............................................85 Tanana Chiefs Conference Inc. ...........44 The Wilson Agency..................................53 Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE)....119 Trailercraft Inc. Freightliner of Alaska.......................127 Tulalip Casino Resort.............................. 89 Tundra Tours / Top of the World Hotel..................... 71 Turnagain Marine Construction..........118 Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corp..........................81 UMIAQ......................................................130 Unit Company............................................32 United Healthcare....................................55 University of Alaska Southeast.............83 Visit Anchorage.........................................58 Washington Crane & Hoist.................... 31 Wealth Strategies of Alaska...................23 Wells Fargo ................................................19 WHPacific...................................................12

Alaska Business Monthly | September 2014

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