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D E PA R T M E N T S From the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Inside Alaska Business . . . . . . . . 8 Right Moves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Market Squares . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Events Calendar . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Alaska Trends . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Ad Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114

ABOUT THE COVER This month, ABM lists the nine nominees for the 2009 Engineer of the Year, who each via to win the coveted award. A special engineering section begins on page 29 and includes stories, such as the shortage of engineers and engineering in Bush communities. The 2008 Engineer of Year winner, Scott Gruhn, is featured on the cover. Photo of Scott Gruhn by Chris Arend.



VIEW FROM THE TOP Harvey Meier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Harvey A. Meier Co. By Peg Stomierowski. HR MATTERS Workplace Concerns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Frequently asked questions answered. By Andy Brown. PAGE



10 MARKETING REGIONAL REVIEW Behavioral Target Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 The North Slope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Virtual stalker or virtual coach? By Heidi Bohi. Prolific with culture and resources. By Tracy Barbour. ENERGY TOWNS IN TRANSITION Rural Energy Crisis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Fairbanks Energy Overhead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 Viable, sustainable solutions don’t exist yet. Cost and supply No. 1 concern. By Heidi Bohi. By Heidi Bohi. ALASKA THIS MONTH INVESTMENTS Fur Rondy Celebrates 75 Years . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Roth IRA Conversions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Winter festival features new events for 2010. New rules may benefit you. By Carmen J. Jiminez. By Nancy Pounds. (continued on page 6)

4 • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


NATIVE BUSINESS Hotel and Ferry Projects Coming . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Seldovia Native Association invests in infractructure. By Tracy Kalytiak.

ENGINEERING: SPECIAL SECTION Discover Engineering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Engineers Week 2010 2009 Engineer of the Year Nominees . . . . . . . 30 Compiled by Scott Gruhn.



Engineers on the Homefront . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Shortage of quality workers still exists. By Louise Freeman. Adapting to Rural Alaska Cultures . . . . . . . . 46 Engineers learn village communication. By Gail West. Engineering Community Support . . . . . . . . . 50 Local firms contribute across Alaska. By Jody Ellis-Knapp. Engineering Directory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 OIL & GAS OCS Alaska . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Litigation delays drilling. By Tracy Kalytiak. NATIVE BUSINESS Supply Chain to Rural Alaska . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 How Native villages are supplied. By Heidi Bohi. NATIVE BUSINESS The 13th Regional Corp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Nonprofit arm entrusted with records. By Julie Stricker.

BUILDING ALASKA: SPECIAL SECTION E-Verify or Face Consequences . . . . . . . . . . 98 Checking out eligibility of employees fast and easy. By Renea I. Saade. Fairbanks Nutrition Services Center . . . . . 100 Borough’s new school district kitchen serves something special. By Dimitra Lavrakas.

NATIVE BUSINESS Rural Economic Drivers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Work abundant, jobs and cash scarce. By Julie Stricker.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 Heavy construction workload in military and civil works programs. By Pat Richardson

TECHNOLOGY Evolving Office Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Telecommuting, conserving energy and resources. By Rachel Kenshalo.

Port, Prison, Rail, Ferry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 Mat-Su developments across from Anchorage north shore. By Patty Sullivan.

TRANSPORTATION Safe Hazmat Shipping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 Training, proper packaging mitigate risk. By Heather Resz.


CORRECTION Former Alaska Gov. Steve Cowper was incorrectly identified on page 17 of the January 2010 issue. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010



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ALASKA BUSINESS MONTHLY (ISSN 8756-4092) is published monthly by Alaska Business Publishing Co., Inc., P.O. Box 241288, Anchorage, Alaska 99524; Telephone: (907) 276-4373; Fax: (907) 279-2900, ©2010, Alaska Business Publishing Co. All rights reserved. Subscription Rates: $39.95 a year. Single issues $3.95 each; $4.95 for October. Back issues $5 each. Send subscription orders and address changes to the Circulation Department, Alaska Business Monthly, P.O. Box 241288, Anchorage, AK 99524. Please supply both old and new addresses and allow six weeks for change. Manuscripts: Send query letter or manuscripts 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 Monthly is prohibited. Address requests for specific permission to the Editor, Alaska Business Monthly. Online: Alaska Business Monthly is available online from Data Courier and online from Thomson Gale. Microfilm: Alaska Business Monthly is available on microfilm from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48106.




Big Brother is Here:

Volume 26, Number 2 Published by Alaska Business Publishing Co. Anchorage, Alaska

Vern C. McCorkle, Publisher


Be Glad


ig Brother is watching, but this time for a good reason. The U.S. 2010 Census will be in our mailboxes and on our doorsteps soon, and every household is required by law to fill out the form or face penalties. Don’t make it hard on the poor Census workers knocking on doors in the dead of winter. Good comes out of it: government funding for the state, the number of electoral votes Alaska receives, congressional seat allocations and much more. I was reading about the 2010 Census in Alaska Economic Trends December 2009 issue, put out by the Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development, and I learned a few things. A. Alaska is the first in the nation to be visited by the U.S. Census Bureau. In fact, a little village of Noorvik, population 612, located just east of Kotzebue in a Bush community, was the first to see census workers: Jan. 25, 2010, just before residents headed off to fish camps. B. While the official Census date is April 1, Alaskans will be doing theirs early. Questionnaires will be mailed or delivered February and March, and are expected to be completed and returned within two weeks. C. If you get your mail delivered to your home address, your U.S. Census form will come via mail. If you have a P.O. box, you’ll get a knock on the door. If you have neither, they will find you. They know every address, every home, and plan to make contact with all. D. Census information is private, at least in its original version with name attached. In fact, there is a stiff fine if information revealed to anyone. All census workers undergo background checks by the FBI, have their fingerprints taken, and take an oath of lifetime confidentiality. No worries: information will not be revealed to the IRS, FBI, courts, police, CIA or anyone else for that matter, that is until it goes into the National Archives 72 years after the record is collected for genealogical research. E. Forms are available in English, Spanish and five other non-English languages. A toll-free number is available to request a special language form. So why take the information, why gather it? According to Alaska Economic Trends, “governments of all levels use the data for purposes ranging from determining revenue sharing for communities, to locating schools, roads and hospitals, and forecasting future transportation needs.” In addition, “Many federal and other governmental programs require census date to support grant applications for community services, such as school lunch programs, day care programs and services for the community.” The report also states businesses use the information for planning and expansion, and private folks use it for educational research, or to determine where they want to live. So be a good citizen. Help the U.S. Census Bureau out. Return your form two weeks within receipt. Afterall, you are only required to do this once every 10 years, and it only takes about 10 minutes for the simple form, which most will receive, asking only 10 questions, which include: name, sex, age, race, telephone number, number of residents living there and a few other minor queries. – Debbie Cutler Managing Editor • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010







Ryan Air Returns

Bethel Adds New Runway

Wind Power Fuels Nikiski Home

rctic Transportation Services officials announced the company has returned to its former moniker, Ryan Air. The change reflects the company’s aim to commemorate its heritage and the significant role of cargo carriers in rural Alaska. The company also introduced a new brand identity. “For more than half a century, our company has been the Bush’s connection to mail, services, supplies – all the amenities that makes life better out there,” said Wilfred Ryan Jr. “We have operated for just over 10 years as Arctic Transportation Services, but for many years we ran the business under our family name, Ryan.” The company held a formal event in Anchorage in January to honor Alaskans who contributed to the state’s growth and cargo industry. Honorees included Howard Rock, Eddie Hoffman and Frank Ferguson.


he Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities opened a 4,000-foot parallel runway at the Bethel Airport in November. The state-owned airport is the third busiest airport in Alaska. Work on the $27.6 million project began in 2005 and was completed during two major phases. Improvements included expanding and converting the general aviation apron into the new taxi/cargo apron, expanding the north air taxi apron and upgrading the air taxi access road. The project was funded 95 percent with Federal Aviation Administration grants and 5 percent with State general funds. “It is going to make a valuable difference,” said DOT&PF Commissioner Leo von Scheben. “It will allow us to conduct more operations, meaning more hourly takeoffs and landings at this vital airport. It will also reduce winter runway closures and help move passengers and cargo more efficiently.”


ASMI Visits China


embers of the Alaska seafood industry promoted their products and forged business relationships during a weeklong trade mission to China with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute in November 2009. Trade mission delegates met with members of the seafood trade from major regions of China and participated in the 2009 China Seafood and Fisheries Expo. ASMI officials reported that their booth at the Quingdao event was often bustling. “China is obviously thriving amidst a global downturn,” said Joe Jacobson, director of ASMI’s international marketing program. “China’s rapidly growing middle class is willing to spend something extra for high-quality, safe, imported food.” Meetings were held in Shanghai and Hong Kong, connecting Alaska seafood representatives with Chinese buyers. The trade mission helped Alaska seafood industry members develop relationships in each geographic region with the companies that supply China’s rapidly growing international hotel chains, supermarkets and fast-food restaurant chains. Alaska seafood company representatives met in Shanghai with 20 prominent seafood importers as well as staff of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service, which provides funding for ASMI’s international promotions. Companies participating with ASMI in the trade mission and show included Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Icicle Seafoods, Trident Seafoods, Bering Select Seafoods, Snopac and American Seafoods.




laska Wind Industries and Standard Steel installed a 6 kilowatt wind turbine in Nikiski in October 2009. Members of Ironworkers local 751 handled construction of the tower and turbine at the home of Liz and Bill Lynch. The Lynch family expects to see a return on the investment in less than six years. The family will receive a 30 percent tax rebate from the federal government plus other state incentives. The city of Nikiski does have not laws restricting tower height. Homer Electric Association supports the Lynch wind turbine. HEA was set to connect the turbine to its power grid to add the turbine’s power to its service lines. Alaska Wind Industries expected to install about 60 similar wind turbines by the end of fiscal year 2009.


PCL Construction Supports Food Bank


ational firm PCL Construction donated $10,000 to the Food Bank of Alaska in Anchorage. The donation was part of PCL’s nationwide effort to donate $140,000 to food banks in 14 cities where the company operates. More than 50,000 pounds of food, purchased by or donated to the Food Bank of Alaska, assists more than 83,000 people annually. The Food Bank serves as a clearinghouse for public and private pantry programs in more than 50 locations statewide. “With the economy causing such hardship for so many families, we all felt that this simple act might help to inspire others to take similar steps” said Fred Auch, regional vice president for PCL’s Northwest Region. “We are also leveraging this initiative by encouraging our employees to donate some of their time helping out in the area food banks.” • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010



Porcaro Wins Honors


orcaro Communications won five silver awards in the International Davey Awards, a competition for advertising and communications firms. The firm was honored for its work for General Communications Inc. Three silver awards in the Business to Consumer category were won for the GCI campaigns Rural Wireless Winter, Wireless Radio and DS

Snail Radio. Two silver awards in the Internet Services category were won for the GCI ads “Milkman” and “Stockbroker.” The Davey Awards are sanctioned and judged by the International Academy of the Visual Art, an invitation-only organization consisting of professionals from acclaimed media, advertising and marketing firms.

H E A LT H & M E D I C I N E

New Eateries for Anchorage Airport

Medevac Firm Earns Accreditation


ifeMed Alaska LLC earned accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport. The company is one of 150 programs worldwide to earn the accreditation. CAMTS is an independent, nonprofit agency that audits and accredits fixed-wing and rotary-wing air medical transport services, as well as ground inter-facility critical care services to a set of industry-established criteria. LifeMed Alaska – an Alaska licensed air ambulance company with bases in Anchorage, Bethel, Fairbanks, Palmer and Soldotna – provides medical transport services for patients requiring critical care or just basic transport needs.



UAF Lands Corporate Donations

Alaska Stock Inks Deals


lint Hills Resources Alaska donated $110,000 to various programs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks late last year. This donation will support the athletics department’s Nanook Fund, Tanana Valley Campus, the School of Management’s visiting faculty program, UAF’s engineering open house, the College of Engineering and Mines E-week and Robotics’ Competition, and the Alaska Summer Research Academy. Usibelli Coal Mine made a $141,500 donation to support two scholarships: the Usibelli Honors Scholarship and Usibelli Mining Scholarship. The honors scholarship will be awarded to students in any field of study who are participating in the honors program. The mining scholarship will support students seeking degrees in the mining and geological engineering programs.


laska Stock Images signed agreements with two major Asian distributors of digital image content, Panorama Media Ltd. and IPS Japan. Alaska company officials believe the new relationships will expand its reach in the Chinese and Japanese markets. “We are delighted to have our Alaska images represented in China by Panorama Stock and feel they are positioned very well to market our unique set of images in the Chinese marketplace,” said owner Jeff Schultz. Panorama Media, based in Beijing, is one of the largest online stock photo operations in China. IPS Japan officials believe the Alaska Stock landscape images will be beneficial to their advertising and poster clients.


umpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse, one of Anchorage’s popular restaurants, will open in the B concourse of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in July – just in time for the tourist season. Humpy’s will be serving the same great food and a varied selection of ale that is available at their downtown location right at the airport. A second new restaurant, Norton Sound Seafood, is also set to open next August and will be located at the entrance to the C concourse. Norton Sound Seafood is sure to leave a lasting Alaskan impression with its seafood menu designed by Anchorage’s own “Chef Al.” Access to this restaurant will also be available to “land side” and non-traveling public with seating provided and a “pass-through” window for food. The menu will include selections for a full breakfast, lunch and dinner. “One of our goals is to develop concepts that leave a positive lasting impression of Alaska with the traveling public, and work in partnership with our concessionaire HMS Host to encourage new developments,” said Debbie Herrick, Airport Properties Manager. “We are really excited about having a local restaurant presence like Humpy’s at the airport – now that’s ❑ truly Alaskan.” • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010



Virtual stalker or virtual coach? BY HEIDI BOHI


ehavioral target (BT) marketing is considered the truest way for marketers to understand the interestss and habits of consumers. By anonymously sly observing user behavior, marketers gain a deeper understanding of a consumer’s needs and online tendencies. den With BT, marketers can serve people relevant r and timely advertisements on one Web W site or across multiple sites. Businesses use it to increase the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. Information is collected on an individual’s vidual’s Web-browsing behavior, such as the pages they have visited, or the searches they have made, to select which advertisement to display based on what is likely to be of interest to them.

TARGET PRACTICE In other words, instead of the “s “spray spray and pray” advertising, where busin nesses pay businesses to reach their target market and a along the way also inadvertently spend spen nd money


on those who have h no interest st in what they sell, advertisers adve use dataa analysis to w users are doing. And in understand what econo ore data to help this economic climate, more k ential customer’s you know what a potential b wha buying priorities are is critical and what d that out than by folbetter way to find lowing their every move? vioral targeting is relatively rel Behavioral ew: the early online ad company new: DoubleClick, now owned by Google, launched an “intelligent” “intellige targeting service in 2000. Cookies Coo were placed on browse to track which Web b sites users’ browsers they visited. Now it’s a very elaborate system of data analysis. But as the targeting technology improves, privacy advocates objections bjections grow. understan “Very few people really understand Adve or follow what’s going on. Advertisers and marketers have unleashed unleas these techniqu on the global very powerful techniques public without really considering their ethic and societal implications,” ethical

Jeffrey Je Chester, er, founder and executive t director of the Center Cente for Digital Washingto D.C., says Democracy in Washington, of some of his distrust of BT. thing I post, all a of my infor“Everything mation, it’s available tto everyone on b. So if you’re a marketer this is the Web. marketing eting nirvana,” Sarah Browne, an ert on social media me marketing and expert uthor of author says, whil there are options for adding that while persona data using privacy sethiding personal tings, it is com common industry knowledge few people exercise this option. For a business, Browne says, BT is a huge benefit because it enables reaching the right customer at the right moment with the right advertising. A business can identify and reach qualified audiences based on their behaviors, target relevant advertising to engaged customers throughout their purchasing cycle, and improve online advertising performance, reduce waste and increase • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

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return on the marketing investment. “You will know who is being served up to you and you will have more information on them so you can tailor ads and products to potential customers.”

HELPFUL OR INVASIVE? For consumers, whether BT is a helpful service or a privacy violation depends on whom you ask. In theory, consumer advantages are that they receive only relevant content, they have a better online experience and at the same time they can opt out of BT with a few simple clicks. On the other hand, some customers and IT leaders say it is an invasion of privacy and those running BT firms should get jail time even though data collected is not personally identifiable. It is a critical question for businesses, which spent $20 billion on Internet ads last year, including $2 billion on BT ads alone. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission promises to increase online advertising regulation and impose tougher consumer privacy regulations. “This is industry’s last chance to get its act together on behavioral targeting,” Jon Leibowitz, FTC chair says. When Google introduced behavioral ad targeting last year, it also rolled out an ad preferences manager page that allows Web site visitors to edit their advertising interest categories – such as confirming an interest in cars or entertainment – or to opt out of BT altogether. Google found few users visit the page and among those who do only a small fraction opt out. Four times as many people edit their targeting profile as opt out completely, and people taking no action at all is 10 times higher than the number who opt out of ad targeting, which Google interprets as a message from users that they would rather control BT than opt out. Some consumers say they would voluntarily share personal data if it resulted in them seeing relevant advertising, according to Forrester Research, a technology and market research company that advises business leaders. “Consumers care more about obtrusive threats where they actually are harmed in the process – their computer stops working, they lose money from their checking account,” Emily Riley, senior analyst at Forrester says. “When you look at things like ‘Web sites

12 • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

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tracking my behavior,’ only 13 percent are concerned about that. They understand there’s a quid pro quo between them and the Web site, that they’re tracking me, they may send me a catalog, may target me later with an ad. That has become subconsciously sort of okay to the consumer.”

WHO CARES? According to a recent Harris Poll of about 2,500 respondents, 55 percent said they were comfortable with Web sites that had privacy policies allowing

targeted advertising and content. Still, that leaves 45 percent not comfortable with ad targeting. That is too big a group for marketers to ignore, especially in light of the projected growth of BT, which is expected to gradually increase from $1.7 billion this year to $2.7 billion in 2011 and $4.4 billion in 2012, according to eMarketer. One of the biggest drivers of BT growth over the next four years will be online video, the next medium of choice to drive brand awareness and sales to push highly effective online advertising.

Like most technology, BT will improve with age. It is not uncommon for social networking site members to get “targeted” ads that have nothing to do with their interests. Sites use a combination of targeting tools and only some of them intersect with behavioral targeting. Ironically, as BT becomes more invasive at social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the technology is expected to improve and serve up more relevant ads based on true site behavior. As marketers snoop, they will find better ways to turn these observations into the type of predictive behavior Google uses to mysteriously “know” what we’re searching for.

LAUNCHING BT Once a BT campaign has been launched, there are also several guidelines businesses can use to evaluate and maintain its effectiveness. Calculate how shocked the average consumer would be to learn what information is being collected about their behavior and how you plan to use it in a campaign. Using a soft-sell approach resonates better with potential customers. Even if you know they are shopping for a new car, instead of saying that in ads, say, “If you are shopping for a new car…” The message will resonate rather than leaving them feeling like they are being watched. By promoting more choices for being able to stop behavioral tracking and marketing, means they never have a reason to be uncomfortable. Also include in your privacy policy information about how consumers can opt out and manage cookies – it builds trust with customer and protects your brand. Finally, follow the issues surrounding online targeted advertising and watch for practices that are widely criticized – these are the ones that will raise your shock rating if you use them. “Behavioral targeting is a great thing, but you need to know what you’re getting into and closely monitor changes in consumer attitude,” Browne says. “The 85 percent of Facebook users who don’t take the time to customize their privacy settings today could flip in an instant once a privacy violation is viralized,” Browne says. “To avoid a possible buzz saw, be aware and you’ll reap the benefits new technology can ❑ bring to business.”

14 • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


Viable, sustainable solutions don’t exist yet. BY HEIDI BOHI oil to generate enough heat, amounting to about $2,000 a month – the same cost as the average mortgage payment in the United States. At the same time, gasoline prices are more than $7.50 per gallon, preventing villagers from being able to harvest next winter’s food. Photo by Dave Johnson/Courtesy of AVEC


The Denali Commission assisted funding Selawik’s state-of-the-art, automated power plant, elevated bulk fuel tank farm and four 50-kW Entegrity Wind Systems EW50 wind turbines, one of which is pictured above. The power system is owned by Alaska Village Electric Cooperative.


here was a time when Alaska had more than 200 villages in rural areas all across the land. Alaska Natives had lived there for generations and many of these tiny communities were occupied for thousands of years. The environment and each tribe’s culture were reflected in the people’s spirituality, ancient customs and traditions, including subsistence hunting, art and oral traditions. Although no one lives in these communities today, there are several companies that offer tours of these abandoned villages. This depiction of rural Alaska is fictional, though if the state’s village energy crisis is not resolved, business leaders say this scenario – as maudlin as it may sound – is in fact a certainty. High fuel costs in Bush Alaska are not new. To varying degrees, over the past 15 years, thousands of villagers have faced each winter not knowing whether they will be able to afford to heat their homes during some of the longest, harshest winter seasons on the planet. In 2007, when fuel prices first spiked well beyond what was


already considered unmanageable, the energy crisis became unlike any hardship these communities have ever had to face. Alaskans in rural areas on average spend 40 percent of their annual income on energy during winter months, compared to 4 percent for the average urban Alaska household, according to a University of Alaska Anchorage study. In some villages today, the cost of fuel is as high as $10 per gallon. On the conservative side, a modest home can easily require five 55-gallon drums of

This grim scenario is expected to only get worse. Tribal leaders say something needs to be done. Immediately. Although Alaska Native leaders, elected officials and energy authorities shifted into a crisis management mode, so far they haven’t come up with viable long-term solutions and even shortterm ideas have turned out to be nothing more than a temporary fix. In the meantime, exorbitant energy bills threaten villagers’ subsistence lifestyle because they cannot afford to run their boats to fish camp, fill up four wheelers to go berry picking and gas up snow machines for hunts if they also expect to heat their homes. As a result, many people are migrating out of the villages to urban areas, or are resorting to the “extended family” lifestyle, with even more people crowding into small homes. On local and regional levels, energy subsidies have been paid out, there are efforts to buy fuel in bulk and discussion of strengthening the Power Cost Equalization (PCE) Program by expanding its eligibility requirements. This short-term approach has softened the blow, but only for a short time and not measurably. Recognizing that the high cost of fossil fuel is not going to go away, as a long-term solution, many in the energy industry advocate developing programs and projects that lessen Alaska’s dependence on fossil fuel by developing renewable energy solutions and increasing efforts toward conservation. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

50 percent of the nation’s tidal power potential. Fifteen villages have a winddiesel hybrid system, where the success is typically measured by the amount of diesel that is displaced. The more sophisticated the control systems, the more wind that can be used. At the same time that these technologies are being demonstrated and tested, they can save people money. The technologies are immature, though, which is part of what is preventing them from becoming more of a long-term solution. Even with the best-case scenario, villages cannot ex-

pect them to displace more than about 30 percent of the diesel being used, says Meera Kohler, president and CEO of Alaska Village Electric Cooperative.

TIDAL POWER Alaska also has 90 percent of the nation’s tidal power potential and some emerging tidal technology is beginning to be demonstrated in the state’s large, slow-moving rivers. In Ruby, located on the Yukon River, the village is experimenting with the first in-river hydro generator of its kind,

RENEWABLE OFFSETS Addressing the Alaska Federation of Natives, Sen. Lisa Murkowski told the delegation that the state is in the best position to develop renewable energy sources. “We are the envy of every other state in the country when we talk about renewable energy sources, because we pretty much have it all,” she said referring to applications that when harnessed can offset heating and fuel costs. The six major areas of renewable energy are wind, biomass, solar, geothermal, hydro and ocean energy. Based on net energy ratios – the amount of energy that must be invested in these projects versus the amount of energy they will be able to produce – the best prospects for large-scale production and net-energy performance remain wind energy and certain forms of solar. Still, both of these renewable sources face significant limitations due to intermittency, remoteness of good sources, materials needed for large-scale deployment, cost and scale potential. Chris Rose, founder and executive director of the Renewable Energy Alaska Project, says what makes Alaska unique is that the state has both vast renewable energy resources and the need to lower energy costs – one reason Alaska should be a world leader in developing these alternatives. Because of its rivers, tidal and wave action in the ocean, geothermal possibilities, wind and – surprisingly – sun, the state has a lot of options. About 15 villages have already developed wind resources and Alaska has

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which generates about five kilowatts of energy, or enough to power three homes. Project planners hope to increase this to 25 kilowatts, or enough to power 15 homes, which would cover half of the community’s summer power consumption, or about 15 percent of its annual electricity needs. If smallscale remote energy projects like this one can be optimized in Alaska, Rose says the state may be able to diversify its economy by exporting the technology to communities in the developing world who don’t yet have electricity. Because energy prices are so high in rural Alaska, it’s possible to demonstrate emerging technologies here and save consumers money at the same time – something virtually impossible to do in other parts of the United States with lower electricity rates. The problem, Kohler says, is that these proposed projects take years to develop, cost millions of dollars and the communities do not have the technical expertise to manage and maintain these complex systems. While she acknowledges that it is not unlikely that 25 percent of the diesel can be displaced with renewable or supplemental technologies, she is more concerned

Alaska Village Electric Cooperative’s new fuel-efficient, automated power plant, bulk fuel tank farm and wind turbines in Kasigluk. The turbines in Kasigluk provide power to the community of Nunapitchuk through an intertie.

about the other 75 percent and the risk of investing millions of dollars with no guarantee of success. “We can get excited about renewable energy, but in few places in the world has it proven to be a mainstay,” Kohler says. “And where do they think this money is going to come from – God?”

EUROPEAN EXAMPLES In Iceland, 9 9 percent of the country’s electricity and heat comes from renewable energy, but the favorable geology and climate has allowed the 307,000 people of this island nation that is slightly smaller than Kentucky to harness energy from large hydropower and geothermal projects. Denmark gets 20 percent of its electricity from wind alone and to a lesser extent, Norway, Sweden and Spain have had some success with renewable energy.

UTILITY POOL The only effort toward coming up with short- or long-term solutions, Kohler says, has been a series of “Band Aids” – expensive hybrid generation systems technically complex to operate and maintain, displacing only a fraction of diesel fuel used for generation – frantic efforts to shave pennies off heating fuel cost-per-gallon. “We have to think outside the box for real solutions and the box is controlled by non-rural interests.”


Meanwhile Kohler is promoting AVEC’s All Alaska Generation and Transmission Utility concept, which proposes that a newly established utility or authority take ownership of the generation assets throughout the state. Statewide power costs would be pooled into a single fund. Each distributing utility would buy power back from the pool at a uniform rate, then apply distribution and administrative costs before re-selling it to customers. Retail electricity costs would range from about 8.5 cents a kilowatt hour to about 25 cents for every Alaskan, with lower costs in urban areas and higher costs in remote communities. The PCE would cease to exist and the endowment would instead be invested in major projects. Regions and communities would no longer have to compete for grants as the AAG&T would build projects that deliver the maximum benefit to all Alaskans, such as the multibillion dollar hydroelectric project on the Susitna River. “We need to act like this is a common problem – it’s not a rural problem,” Kohler says. “I am motivated by the fact that our villages are facing the brink of extinction because of the cost of energy. Urban Alaska has lost its reason for existence if rural Alaska goes away, because it will lose much of its economic base and Alaska will ❑ lose its character.” • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

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Photo courtesy of Harvey A. Meier




arvey Meier, a certified management consultant, is president of Harvey A. Meier Co. (HAM) and executive director of the Institute for ANC Director Education® (IADE) in Ashland, Ore. Since 1971, he has been advising executives and board members of firms, primarily in the Pacific Northwest. In recent years, he has done more work with Alaska Native corporations (ANCs), although he’s consulted in seafood processing in Southeast Alaska since 1985. IADE is conducting its third annual ANC Director Training Course March 15-17 at The Hotel Captain Cook. Meier grew up on a Washington dairy farm and played collegiate football. Formerly a professor at Oregon State University, he has a Ph.D. in economics and finance from The Ohio State University.

ABM: How’s the view at the top? Meier: While the economy is sputtering and sluggish in sectors, there are pockets of opportunity for businesspeople able to make prudent course adjustments. The key is to root out these opportunities. Those who hesitate to adapt are more likely to flounder. ABM: How has historic recession impacted consulting and your business here? Meier: Many independent consultants I know are experiencing revenue declines – some are working for others now or pursuing alternative careers – and consulting firms as well are experiencing declines. Because of the diversity and scope of our services, we’ve been fortunate. ABM: What growing pains tend to afflict ANCs and tribal businesses?


Meier: Lack of access to financial and human capital poses constraints to facilitating and sustaining growth models. Bank credit has grown tight, loan covenant requirements are more stringent, private equity capital placements to access external capital have been unavailable heretofore, and the ability to attract top-quality managers (and their families) to Alaska is an ongoing challenge. Many ANC boards are taking steps to increase the knowledge, expertise and sophistication of directors in exercising their governance and fiduciary responsibilities. This helps establish a sound legacy for the next generation of Native leadership; already fast emerging, their viewpoints will have a profound influence on their organizations. In addition, the pending potential changes in SBA 8(a) federal contracting laws, if enacted, will require adjustments in the business models of those ANCs seeking to win SBA Section 8(a) federal contracts. ABM: What smoothes or stymies merger and acquisition (M&A) movements, and at what stakes? Meier: Economics aside, we have found that patience and open, straightforward communications are key. The mere perception that a company is being “taken over” can stymie the process or kill the deal, regardless of merits. Consummation should produce results for stakeholders that exceed continuing to go it alone. M&As require a substantial investment of human and financial capital. Legal, financial and management aspects of the deal must not be underestimated. Stakes tend to be high because failure to consummate often means the survival of one or more parties may

Harvey Meier

be in jeopardy. Sometimes the deal fails because psychological aspects have been ignored. Of the two dozen viable transactions we’ve facilitated, most have been psychologically (versus financially) driven, involving such potentially sensitive issues as determining which entity survives, naming it, and settling leadership and location issues. Such points of possible contention (or “deal breakers”) are best addressed early on to boost prospects of success. ABM: Are family businesses any more prone to special challenges or blind spots? Meier: Family businesses can be challenged by family dynamics. The ability of a well-run family business to sustain itself over generations is highly dependent on family members maintaining a strong commitment to perpetuating the founding family’s value system. While there are plenty of failures, in numerous successful examples each generational transition exhibits its own dynamic. For example, the CEO of one of our clients is the son of one of the three founding brothers. All nine board members are family members who work in the business. They report directly to the CEO. Because of the value system instilled in offspring by each brother, the potential “drama” of family infighting has been eliminated. Their business roles have been clearly delineated and are continually reinforced at their annual family business council meeting, which ❑ includes spouses and children. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

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Workplace Concerns Frequently asked questions answered. BY ANDY BROWN


get asked many questions as part of my job – I encourage it. Some questions arise out of the blue and some as part of training seminars. Some questions are asked more frequently than others, in one way or another, and I thought it would be nice to include some in a single place, so, here goes. My boss interrupts me at work consistently after creating pressure on me to get a task completed. How can I tell him his interruptions are slowing me down? The demanding/interrupting boss probably goes back as far as Jacob and Rachael and the solution is never easy. This essentially comes down to priorities. Is a friendly relationship with your boss more important than a professional relationship? You can have both, but it takes time and your priority should determine your approach to interruptions. I teach a time-management seminar where we use the mantra “ruthless with time, diplomatic with people” for a priority of productivity. If your boss truly wants the work done, he will understand if you tell him that you hate to cut him off, but you have to get his project done. If you train your boss to understand that getting your project done is important and you are ruthless with your time, you can then be diplomatic with people.

and testing. The ACLU calls random employee drug testing invasive, flawed and just plain unfair. However, in Alaska, the short answer is yes, it is legal for employAndy Brown ers to test employees. Federal law does not require drug testing except in certain industries, and some state and local governments have set limits, restrictions or even outright bans on employee testing. In Alaska, there is no mandatory testing law, but rather a Voluntary Drug Testing Act that protects employers who do have a drug and alcohol policy and testing program. In order to receive legal protection, employers must implement a comprehensive policy and must adhere to specific collection, testing and confidentiality procedures. The key is an effective drug and alcohol policy. A good policy includes what constitutes a violation, which employees are covered by the policy, what disciplinary actions may result from a violation, and if the company allows rehabilitation.

My employer is starting a drug testing policy, is that legal? I have heard all the arguments on both sides from “it doesn’t matter what I do on my own time as long as it doesn’t affect my work” to “as a private employer, I should have the freedom not to hire illegal-drug users.” This is a hotly contested issue and there are a number of parties actively involved in various stages of litigation over employee drug screening

How can I keep someone from suing me? I love this question because it stems from a basic misunderstanding of the law. If someone is dead set on suing, as long as they can afford the filing fee, they will. Many U.S. Attorneys are kept busy responding to ridiculous lawsuits by upset but dedicated citizens who repeatedly sue the government. You can’t stop anyone from suing you. What you can do is ensure whoever sues you won’t win and this

22 • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

I conducted unemployment investigations for a number of years and learned it is better for everyone – the employer, employee and co-workers – to help a trouble employee out the door. reduces the likelihood of a lawsuit ever being filed. You do this by complying with the law, providing training to your employees so they comply with the law, and having procedures in place to limit problems and policies to deal with problems when they occur. Can I fire someone? I get this question frequently. The answer to this question is nearly always yes. Unless the employee has a contract with a specific duration or is under a collective bargaining agreement, termination is generally unrestricted. There are certain activities that are protected by law such as filing complaints, union organization, etc., and an employer cannot discharge an employee specifically for engaging in those activities. Additionally, you cannot make any employment decision, including termination, based on one or more of the eleven protected classes: race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, parenthood, pregnancy, marital status or change in marital status. There is a stigma attached to firing someone that I wish did not exist. I conducted unemployment investigations for a number of years and learned it is better for everyone – the employer, employee and co-workers – to help a trouble employee out the door. The employee is better off because they can find a position they enjoy. The employer is better off because they no longer have to deal with a problem and can hire someone who wants to be in the position. The co-workers are better off because their working environment is more relaxed. How can I get my employees to get along? I am a firm believer that you really don’t change people, you make changes that people learn to accept. In an office where workers do not get along, you must change the office culture. Office culture is a squishy term that was big during the tech boom of the late 1990s and usually equated to the break room amenities. I knew companies that had a pool table, popcorn machine, ping pong, foosball, etc., which they used as a marketing tool for their “culture.” I suppose it’s possible some employees might settle differences over a game of pool, but I expect that would be a rare occurrence.

Your employees do not have to like each other in order to get along and be professional. As an employer, you can create a culture of professionalism through equitable policies and fair treatment of everyone. Your office or work area has a culture whether you want it or not. If you do not work to create a culture, one will create itself and you may not like it. How can I get employees to stop wasting time texting, instant messaging or surfing the Internet? This has become a huge issue in the next generation of workers. These are the ones who have been raised with the Internet, had cell phones and iPods in school, and expect you to understand why they need to update their Facebook page every two hours (or more). I feel like a broken record (even though the generation in question doesn’t know what a record is), but the way to deal with this is effective policies. As always, the policy does little good unless it is uniformly enforced. Not enforcing the policy is worse than having no policy at all. What I recommend is a policy that allows for incidental use of personal electronic media as long as it is not disruptive to the workplace. I usually include a provision that use is allowed during breaks and if two or more supervisors are noticing a problem, it will result in disciplinary action.

EDUCATION PAYS OFF Obviously these are not all the questions I get, just some of the more common ones. Many times, similar questions to these are asked, but typically the answer is the same. Many questions may be answered by research you can do yourself on the Internet or through a call to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Save yourself time, money and frustration by investing in education about business in general. It will pay off in the long-run. ❑ About the Author Andy Brown J.D., MPA, labor and employment attorney, is a HR consultant with The Growth Company in Anchorage. Brown has more than 16 years of broad-based human resources experience. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010



Roth IRA Conversions New rules may benefit you. BY CARMEN J. JIMENEZ


conversion will most likely present one with a significant income tax liability.

Photo courtesy of Carmen J. Jimenez


t is well known that planning pays, especially when dealing with income tax law. With the passing of the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act (TIPRA) in 2005, there are new rules for traditional IRAto-Roth IRA conversions. However, these changes do not to become effective until 2010. These rules provide high-income taxpayers with new tax planning opportunities. Prior to 2010, an individual was able to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, without incurring the 10 percent withdrawal penalty, if their modified adjusted gross income was less than $100,000 and if the taxpayer is not married filing separately. These two requirements were very restrictive. With the passing of TIPRA, beginning in 2010, an individual may convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA regardless of income and filing status. In addition, the tax related to a Roth IRA conversion maybe deferred and paid ratably over two years in 2011 and 2012. Basically, any taxpayer with a traditional IRA can convert to a Roth IRA and pay the tax over two years. However, this does not mean a traditional IRA-toRoth IRA conversion is for everyone. The Roth IRA conversion presents tax planning opportunities and challenges due to the immediate recognition and increase in income from the distribution of the traditional IRA. The entire balance of the traditional IRA conversion will be taxed as ordinary income, at your marginal income tax rate. Depending on your other income and the amount of the traditional IRA,

BENEFITING YOU The inclusion of the traditional IRA in income is a result of the tax benefit received when a deductible contribution is made to a traditional IRA. Your income is reduced by the traditional IRA contribution amount, creating a tax benefit. When distributions are received from a traditional IRA account they are taxed, a benefit when contributed and tax due when distributed. A Roth IRA allows you to contribute with after-tax dollars, with no income tax benefit like the traditional IRA, and qualified distributions are not taxed.

QUALIFIED* ROTH IRA DISTRIBUTIONS *this list is not all-inclusive

■ A five-year holding period must be met ■ Account holder is at least age 59-1/2 ■ Death ■ Disability ■ Qualified purchase of a first home Since 2009 has passed and it is early in the new year, there is still time to take advantage of this special tax treatment. In addition, to making a Roth IRA conversion, there is the opportunity to choose how you want to pay the tax on the income from the Roth IRA conversion. Congress has given taxpayers a generous option

Carmen J. Jimenez

for paying this tax. A taxpayer may choose to pay the tax in full in the year of conversion, which is 2010, or make a formal election to pay the tax ratably over the next two years in 2011 and 2012. This may sound like a great deal, and, if you choose the latter, be careful because the tax will be paid at your marginal rate for that year, which could be at a higher rate if the additional income pushes you into a higher tax bracket. Another consideration is that the president has proposed and Congress is expected to enact legislation that will restore the two highest, pre-2001, marginal tax rates of 39.6 percent and 36 percent. Currently, the two highest marginal tax rates are 33 percent and 35 percent. This may result in making the election to pay the Roth IRA conversion tax ratably in 2011 and 2012 not as beneficial. You may want to consider paying the IRA conversion tax, in full, in 2010. The timing of deductions and income recognition becomes crucial in planning for your Roth IRA conversion. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

Some things to consider are: Do you have the cash to pay the tax and can you afford to? The Roth IRA conversion is an all or nothing deal whereas 100 percent of the value of the account(s) is required to be transferred. You must anticipate being in a higher tax bracket and expect a higher tax liability. Time, it would be most beneficial if you don’t need to use the funds in the near future, since it may take a significant amount of time to allow the account to grow to offset the cost of the conversion. The conversion must be completed within 60 days of initial withdrawal from the traditional IRA. This is crucial since the IRS is very keen on ensuring that the rules are followed. Improper conversions are subject to the 10 percent penalty if they are not done properly and in accordance with the law. What is your overall investment plan and how does this work into your retirement and investment goals?

Basically, any taxpayer with a traditional IRA can convert to a Roth IRA and pay the tax over two years. it can be passed on to beneficiaries. When considering a complex transaction such as this, it is beneficial to discuss and coordinate with your trusted tax or investment adviser to minimize adverse tax consequences or additional investment fees, which could become costly to you. You will have many questions when discussing IRA conversions and taking a proactive and educated approach to your personal finances is a wise decision for which you and your ❑ family will be greatly rewarded. About the Author Carmen J. Jimenez is an Anchoragebased certified public accountant. Contact her at



U.S. Treasury Circular 230 Notice: This notice is required by Circular 230, regulations governing practice before the Internal Revenue Service, including written communications about federal tax matters. A regulated communication can either be in the form of a written opinion or some other communication that is not an opinion. The preceding article is a written communication that is not an opinion. The article was not intended or written by the practitioner to be used, and it cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. It was written about converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. The taxpayer should seek advice based on the taxpayer’s particular circumstances from an independent tax adviser.



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Can you project your income into 2011 and 2012? Do you anticipate an increase or decrease in income? What is the current balance of your traditional IRA account? If the value is low due to the stock market being down this may be a good time to convert. The main benefits of having a Roth IRA versus a traditional IRA are that qualified distributions are taxfree and Roth IRAs are not subject to the required minimum distributions (RMDs). Without the RMD rule, Roth IRA account holders, upon reaching age 70-1/2, do not have to take RMDs, allowing the Roth IRA to grow, tax free, until the funds are needed or

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Bill Zervantian 907.229.0700 • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010







Doyon Foundation elected Julie Anderson and Shane Derendoff to its board of directors. Anderson serves as the engineering business manager at Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. in Anchorage. Derendoff previously served on the board from 2002-2006. He works as an information technology specialist with Alyeska in Fairbanks. The board elected officers: Derendoff, president; Wesley Roberts Dalton, vice president; and Lorraine David, secretary/treasurer. Greg McCracken and Steve Kari were selected as principals for USKH Inc. McCracken is the director of architecture for the company. He joined the company in 2005. Kari is the transportation division manager. He joined the company in 1995. Both men are members of the USKH board of directors.

Michael Bruno joined KeyBank as a financial advisor for Key Investment Services. Bruno is based at the Benson branch in Anchorage. He previously served as a branch manager and insurance executive for Wachovia Corp.


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She had served in that role since 1997. Her work included developing and implementing innovative programs to address health care needs for children, teens and people with chronic diseases.



Caroline Field joined Resource Data Inc.’s Anchorage office as a business analyst. Field is a technical writer who has worked four years as a contractor for the Department of Defense. Tom Lewis was hired as a senior programmer and Field analyst. Lewis has more than 20 years of computer programming experience.


Diane McKee was appointed deposit services group administrator and assistant vice president at First National Bank Alaska. McKee has more than 12 years of financial ser vices industr y experience.





Janice Blanchard earned Toastmasters International’s Distinguished Toastmaster designation, the group’s highest honor for communication and leadership skills. Blanchard has participated in Toastmasters since 1996. She developed presentation and leadership skills, which she used during her career in the telecommunications industry. Now retired, Blanchard serves as a mentor to new Toastmasters members and as a coach to Anchorage clubs.




Susan M.R. Johnson was appointed regional director of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services for Region 10, which includes Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Johnson previously worked as director of the King County Health Action Plan for the Public Health Department in Seattle and King County.

Brian Wolf was promoted to senior vice president of retail for KeyBank in Alaska. Wolf has served as district retail leader since January 2009. Wolf joined KeyBank in 2006 as an area retail leader in New York. Wolf


Gail Schubert was promoted to chief executive at Bering Straits Native Corp. Schubert has served as executive vice president and general counsel since 2003. She has served on the Nomebased Native corporation’s board of directors Schubert since 1992.


Gov. Sean Parnell appointed Linda Leary and Jon Cook to the Alaska Railroad Corp.’s board of directors. Leary is president of Carlile Transportation Systems. She was appointed to a public seat and represents Southcentral Alaska. Cook of Fairbanks is chief financial officer for Airport Equipment Rentals Inc. He was appointed to a seat reserved for a business owner or manager.


To serve you even better, Northern Air Cargo announces NAC Can – a new program designed to improve customer service and make shipping with NAC easier than ever before. • Faster drop-offs and streamlined pickups. • Individual kiosks for small packages, oversize, and general freight. • Dedicated service agents for custom shipping solutions. Who can make air cargo easier for Alaska? NAC Can!

800.727.2141 907.243.3331 26 • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010




David Schneider was promoted to lead the human resources services division at KMD Services & Consulting. Schneider has more than 30 years of experience in human resource experience within Alaska, working with large and small Schneider organizations.



Dave Cummings was appointed Bethel Airport manager with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. The role is a newly created position. Cummings has most recently worked as airport manager in King Salmon. His other industry experience includes work for Peninsula Airways and the U.S. Air Force.


Deb Jones was hired at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service to serve as the 4-H program leader for Alaska. Jones has worked as a 4-H agent in Alaska, New Hampshire and Virginia. She most recently served as a 4-H state specialist in Utah for the past eight years. She is based in Fairbanks.




Bernard Nidowicz was appointed chief operating officer for Ukpeagvik Iñupiat Corp. Nidowicz has more than 30 years of engineering, environmental and management experience with projects throughout Alaska Nidowicz and the Russian Far East. He most recently served as general manager for UMIAQ, a subsidiary of UIC. Edith Vorderstrasse was chosen general manager of UMIAQ. She most recently served as UMIAQ’s stakeholder relations specialist. She has previously held other posts, including Mayor of Barrow and president of UIC. Amanda Vorderstrasse Henry was appointed division manager of UMIAQ’s consulting group. She has more than nine years of regulatory experience for resource development, construction and transpor tation projects throughout Alaska, as both a consultant and as a state regulator.




Jeremy Gitomer, MD, has been named chief of staff for Providence Alaska Medical Center’s Medical Staff. Dr. Gitomer, of the Kidney & Hypertension Clinic of Alaska, joined PAMC’s Medical Staff in 2002 and has served as vice chief Gitomer of staff since 2008 and medical director of pediatric nephrology since 2003.


University of Alaska Anchorage Facilities and Campus Services is pleased to announce the hiring of John R. Faunce, P.E., as the Director of Facilities Planning and Construction. He Faunce was recently selected from a nationwide field of over 55 candidates.


Joseph M. Murry has joined KeyBank in Alaska as a middle market relationship manager. Murry will be responsible for providing financial solutions to commercial clients, maintaining existing client relationships and developing new business opportunities for Alaska’s Southcentral, Interior and Aleutian Chain communities. ❑

Did someone in your company receive a promotion or award? Please submit information, for possible inclusion in Right Moves, to Information received is published, space available, two months after receiving the press release. Right Moves is compiled by Nancy Pounds of Anchorage. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010



Seldovia Native Association invests in infrastructure. BY TRACY KALYTIAK Point, Jakolof Bay/Tutka Bay, Seldovia and Port Graham/Nanwalek-English Bay. Other projected improvements include new concrete ferry dock ramps at Peterson Point and Jakolof Bay. “The most daunting barrier to building a strong visitor industry in Kachemak Bay is its lack of infrastructure,” the Seldovia Native Association’s Web site states. “These communities have been virtually disconnected from Alaska’s transportation system. Current marine highway service is extremely limited, unreliable and reaches only Seldovia.” The ferry, built in 2009, will hold two or three semi-trailers, 12 to 18 vehicles and 60 to 70 passengers. Hart said the ferry has a full wraparound deck, onboard video-monitor entertainment, a full galley and wheelchair-accessible restrooms. “It’s an exciting new addition,” Hart said of the ferry service.

Photo courtesy of Dimond Center Hotel


Dimond Center Hotel in Anchorage is getting $200,000 worth of renovations


$12 million ferry project and $200,000 in upgrades for the Dimond Center Hotel are on the horizon for the Seldovia Native Association. The organization has a membership of just more than 300 and represents a mixture of Eskimos, Athabascan Indians and Aleuts. Seldovia is located across Kachemak Bay from Homer.


KACHEMAK BAY FERRY RY Y Passenger and vehicle ferry service from Homer to Seldovia and other nearby destinations will begin in May, said Carol Hart, director of sales and marketing for the Dimond Center Hotel. The 100-foot-long, twin-hull catamaran is expected to provide daily runs to Homer, Halibut Cove/Peterson

The association is also putting in place $200,000 worth of upgrades to its 109-room Dimond Center Hotel property in Anchorage. The hotel was built in 2001. Upgrades to the hotel’s conference room include state-of-the-art videoconferencing capability, installation of 55inch monitors to replace projectors and screens and an in-house computer system. Free high-speed wireless service and working desks are already a fixture at the hotel, Hart said. Upgrades to guest rooms will include 72-inch soaking tubs, 42-inch flat-screen televisions, down comforters and upgraded coffee service set-ups. The hotel will also replace the continental breakfast it now provides with heartier breakfast-buffet offerings. “Guests want a better value for their dollar,” Hart said. “We’re looking at what our economy is, looking at our customers and what we can do to better ❑ serve them.” • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


This prestigious award announced each February as part of Engineering Week. Ev very y yeaar, Alaaska Busin ness Month hly liistts the nom min nees fo or the Engin neerr of thee Yeear.. Thiss year, th here are nine nominatted fo or and d hoping to win n th he coveteed aw ward. Each iss nominatted by associa atio ons they belo ong to o, liistted in n th heirr bioss. Lasst yeaar’’s win nner was Sco ott Gru uhn, who compiiled d thiss sp peciial seection n, and is feeatu ureed on our cov ver..

SEAAK Nominee: Danny Graham, PE


anny Graham was born in St. Cloud Minnesota in 1948. His father purchased a small ranch in northern California in 1952. The Graham family resided at the ranch for the duration of Graham’s youth. Having a strong sense of duty to his country, he entered the United States Army, enrolling in the noncommissioned officers school. Upon graduating to the rank of Staff Sergeant, Graham was delegated the duty of running a 14man heavy artillery crew in Vietnam. During his tour, he received the Army’s Metal of Accommodation for his “unbroken duty to remain as posted for over 72 hours while under heavy attack from the enemy.” After serving his country in Vietnam, Graham was released from active duty. He returned home to pursue his dream of becoming a civil engineer. Graham graduated


Danny Graham

ated his own structural engineering practice. Graham sold his practice in California for the sole purpose of relocating to Alaska in 1999. Graham is a principal in the architectural and engineering firm of Larsen Consulting Group in Anchorage and is active in the development of LCG’s structural engineering department. Graham has, throughout his career, been an active supporter of the American Society of Engineers, as well as its structural affiliations for his entire engineering career. He is recent past president of The Structural Engineers Association of Alaska and looks forward to serving the Anchorage branch of SEAAK in the years to come. He also has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage for timber and steel design classes. Graham is an active aviator and golfer, and loves to hunt, fish and hike in the beautiful mountains of Alaska. He has been married to his wife Jean for more than twenty years and has a wonderful son who resides in California.

from the University of Nevada with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He also has completed graduate-level studies toward his master’s from both the University of Nevada and the University of Florida at Gainesville. After passing the professional engineer in both California and Nevada, Graham started and • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

Tom Krzewinski

ASCE Nominee: Tom Krzewinski, PE


om Krzewinski has worked in private practice as a geotechnical engineer for more than 37 years, and has been with Golder Associates for the last seven of those years. He is the chief engineer for Golder’s Alaska Operations and is responsible for all engineering projects completed by Golder in the state. His past experience has been in the colder climate of the United States, Canada, Russia and Greenland. He is internationally recognized as an expert at cold regions geotechnical engineering and permafrost engineering. Krzewinski is considered a pioneer in the field of Arctic engineering, with past projects including the transAlaska oil pipeline (TAPS), Red Dog Mine, the Mackenzie Gas Line and several versions of the proposed Alaska gas line projects. He has authored numerous technical papers on cold regions applications of geotechnical engineering and was awarded the prestigious ASCE Harold R. Peyton Award for significant contributions to cold regions engineering. Krzewinski graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1972 and followed up with graduate studies in geotechnical engineering and materials engineering at the University of Minnesota; and earthquake engineering and Arctic engineering at the Uni-

versity of Alaska Anchorage. He is a registered professional engineer in Alaska, Washington, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Krzewinski is the past president of the Alaska Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers and has been nominated by the section to represent them as a Region 8 Governor. His past experience with ASCE includes officer chain and presidency in another ASCE Section (Duluth); national committee chair (Public Service Committee, Committee on Licensure and Ethics); technical committee chair (TCCRE Executive Committee; TCCRE Programs Committee; TCCRE Structures and Foundations Committee; TCCRE Frozen Ground Committee); standards committee membership (Frost Protected Shallow Foundations); task committee membership (Task Committee on Code of Ethics Revision, Task Committee on Constructed Works); and member of TAC (Technical Activities Committee). Krzewinski is currently the coeditor of the ASCE Journal of Cold Regions Engineering and is the U.S. representative to the International Permafrost Association. Krzewinski’s other professional activities include active involvement with the Transportation Research Boards (TRB) Committee on Seasonal Climate Effects Including Frost Action on Transportation Infrastructure; past president of the Arrowhead Chapter of the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers; past northern director of the Consulting Engineers Council of Minnesota; and member of the adaptation working group of Gov. Sarah Palin’s Sub-Cabinet on Climate Change. Krzewinski’s community activities include active involvement as a director of the board of the Resource Development Council of Alaska; commissioner on the Municipality of Anchorage’s Geotechnical Advisory Commission; past commissioner on the city of Duluth’s planning commission; and past service to the Boy Scouts of America as a Scoutmaster (10 years), a cubmaster (four years) and a Weblos den leader (two years).

Brian Looney

ASPE Nominee: Brian Looney, PE


rian Looney, PE, is a principal at CRW Engineering Group LLC. He started in 1984 and manages and designs Alaska civil engineering projects. He graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Wyoming. Looney’s projects include roadways, underground utilities, drainage, trail and park design, site development and minor structures. He actively manages project development, planning, public involvement, agency interface and construction administration. Looney manages high-profile infrastructure improvement projects, including E Street, Strawberry Road, Kincaid Park, 35th Avenue and McRae Road, and pedestrian and transit improvements in U-Med, Anchorage’s first green district. A hands-on principal, Looney actively engages in CRW’s operations, including marketing, business development, technology, finance and professional development. Looney helped make CRW a CENews Best Firm to Work For throughout 2006 and 2009. He is on the wellness committee, coordinates staff volunteering, runs the employee education program and creates team-building and recreational events. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


CENews Best Firm to Work For throughout 2006 and 2009. He is on the wellness committee, coordinates staff volunteering, runs the employee education program and creates team-building and recreational events. You can see Looney’s community work throughout Anchorage’s trail system. He is on the board of directors of the Anchorage Trails and Greenways Coalition, and has developed new maps, signs and trail improvements. Looney is co-chairman of a subcommittee for the Far North Bicentennial Park Trail User Committee, improving way finding in the park. He is vice president of the Nordic Ski Cub Association of Anchorage. He organizes and provides course maps for local ski races. He is also the official volunteer photographer for the Alaska Ski for Women and volunteers for local triathlons and ski, bike and running races.

MJ Loveland

SPE Nominee: MJ Loveland


ary Jean (MJ) Loveland completed a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Wyoming in 1990. Immediately after graduation she joined Arco Western Energy in Bakersfield, Calif., as an operations analytical engineer. During the early 1990s, she specialized in cyclic

32 • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

and steam-flood development in the Midway Sunset Field. In 1995, she took a field-based production engineering position primarily responsible for flowline and well header installations as well as tank repairs for several Arco leases in the Midway Sunset Field. She transferred to Arco Alaska in 1997 and accepted a position as an onsite surveillance engineer in the Kuparuk Field. For the next several years, she was a key contributor in the gas storage area development and the eastern bounded area development in the Kuparuk Field. Loveland joined the ConocoPhillips Wells Group at Kuparuk in 2003. Since then, she has specialized in well integrity and currently holds the position of well integrity project supervisor. Her responsibilities include maintaining the well integrity process for ConocoPhillips Alaska operated wells statewide. In addition to mentoring and teaching well integrity seminars to local ConocoPhillips personnel, she provides mentoring, peer assists, onsite training, and well integrity risk assessment assistance to other ConocoPhillips business units and other oil industry operators worldwide. Loveland was recently honored with the 2009 Alaska Petroleum Section of Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Engineer of the Year.

SWE Nominee: Deborah Luper


ociety of Women Engineers (SWE) has nominated Deborah Luper. Luper has enjoyed her 25+ year chemical engineering career. Lured by the attraction of using technology to improve our lives, Luper’s career is freckled with projects that exemplify innovation and a commitment to sustainable technology. Currently a principal engineer in the NANA WorleyParson Anchorage office, Luper is assigned as a process engineer at the BP gas-to-liquids demonstration plant

34 • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

Deborah Luper

Donald Porter

in Nikiski – BP’s proprietary clean-energy process to make diesel from natural gas. Previous projects include high-level planning for new oilfields; incremental improvements for existing Prudhoe Bay units; and, as a principal engineer for Montgomery Watson Harza, executing environmental projects throughout Alaska. Before coming to Alaska in 1993, Luper was part of a small team developing DuPont’s hydrobiodegradable plastic - now sold as Biomax® - for use in environmentally friendly packaging. While at DuPont, she pioneered adapting U.S. Department of Agriculture methods for use in recycling biodegradable wastes – with the first money-saving application constructed for a DuPont adipic acid facility in Singapore. Luper volunteered for two years in Somali manufacturing hand water pumps until the eruption of civil war. She began her career with Western Electric as an engineer for a semiconductor processing line at a time when producing a 32 kilobyte-memory chip was a daring objective. Using her specialized training in wilderness first response and amateur radio communications, Luper volunteers for the Nordic Ski Patrol, Alaska Mountain Rescue Group and Mountaineering Club.

ITE Nominee: Donald Porter, PE


he Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) presents Don Porter as their nominee for Alaska’s 2009 Engineer of the Year. Porter earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Colorado State University in 1988. He is registered in Alaska as a professional civil engineer and has been employed by R&M Consultants Inc. since 1990. As a senior project engineer in R&M’s Site Development Group, Porter is responsible for the management of many of R&M’s site design projects. He is currently R&M’s project manager for the civil design work on the new 3,500-seat UAA Seawolves Sports Arena. This includes major site and roadway network improvements to support year-round access to the new facility. Porter has assisted the project team throughout programming and conceptual design, providing roadway planning, cost estimating, and site and parking design configuration. In his 20-year career with R&M, Porter has been involved with many street and highway improvement projects. He was the project manager and engineer of record for the C Street Extension: O’Malley Road to Dimond Boulevard, 1.5 miles of • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


LEARNING Anchorage, AK




Seattle, WA

Anchorage Office 3909 Arctic Blvd Suite 100 Anchorage, AK 99503

Tacoma, WA


Fairbanks, AK

new arterial roadway through an undeveloped area and a new freeway interchange. The C Street Extension was the first new roadway constructed in Anchorage in 20 years, and was selected as the 2006 Highway Project of the Year by the Alaska Public Works Association. Porter volunteers his time during Engineers Week, making presentations at local schools, and has participated in career days at Anchorage middle schools. He is also a youth hockey coach. Porter lives in Anchorage with his wife Linda and their children, Sarah, Matthew and Emma. He enjoys snowmachining and jet skiing.



Andrew Rzeszut


IEEE Nominee: Andrew F. Rzeszut, PE

ndrew Rzeszut is an electrical engineer who has 18 years of experience in the telecommunications industry in Alaska. Rzeszut is the senior staff engineer at General Communication Inc. (GCI; one of the largest telecommunications companies in Alaska) and works in the RF Network Engineering group. Rzeszut is currently serving as the project engineer for a multi-year cellular telephone system project bringing cellular telephony to many villages in rural Alaska. He

36 â&#x20AC;˘ Alaska Business Monthly â&#x20AC;˘ February 2010



Our priority. Yo ur c o m mu n i t y. Yo u r r e s o u r c e s .

Your world. OUR


also has been a lead engineer in the design and deployment of telecommunications systems supporting telemedicine and distance learning, as well as single-satellite-hop digital long-distance telephony throughout much of rural Alaska. Prior to his work at GCI, Rzeszut worked for Alaska Telecom Inc. providing telecommunications systems in support of remote oil exploration projects on Alaska’s North Slope, as well as other areas in the Lower 48 and international locations. Rzeszut graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineer. Rzeszut is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is also a registered professional engineer with the State. He was recently awarded the 2009 Individual Achievement Award by the Alaska Section of the IEEE. He also has been awarded the Community Service Award for his volunteer work with the Alaska Section of the IEEE.

C CRW E ng g i n ee r i ng g G rou .


3940 Arctic Blvd., Ste. 300 Anchorage, AK 99503 | p. 907.562.3252 |

David Shumway

ASHRAE Nominee: David F. Shumway, PE


ave Shumway, P.E., is a principal mechanical engineer with AMC Engineers. He • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Lowell in 1982 and an equivalent master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School in 1984. Shumway has served as AMC project manager and mechanical engineer of record for many highprofile and technically challenging projects over his 15 years with AMC Engineers. Recent projects (20072008) include: Schools: Clark Middle School, 180,000 square feet, completed June 2009), South Palmer Prototype Elementary School (51,300 square feet completed April 2009) and Susitna Valley Replacement High School (50,600 square feet completed October 2009). Laboratories: Department of Health and Social Services Virology Laboratory at University of Alaska Fairbanks campus (40,000 square feet completed December 2008), Department of Public Safety Statewide Services Crime Laboratory (84,800 square feet – 65 percent design complete). Specialty Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) projects: Tanana Valley Sportsman Association indoor pistol Range (20-lane indoor range with office and training classrooms completed in 2009). Shumway received a 2002 ASHRAE Technology Award for the similar Alaska Department of Fish and Game Hunter Education Building range facility located in Fairbanks. He is a member of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers, ASHRAE, Society of American Military Engineers, International Conference of Building Officials, and International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. Prior to joining AMC Engineers, Shumway served 10 years as a line officer in the U.S Naval Submarine Force. Shumway qualified as engineer officer for navel nuclear propulsion systems in 1987. His final billet was as navigator/operations officer for a Los Angeles class fast-attack submarine before resigning his commission and moving to Alaska.

38 • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


Wolk & Associates

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older Associates is expanding its presence in Alaska. In December 2009, the global provider of geotechnical engineering and environmental consulting services acquired Duane Miller and Associates (DMA). The company also moved to a new ofďŹ ce on Abbott Road to house the combined staff and expanded soiltesting capabilities. Anchorage-based DMA, which specializes in Arctic and geotechnical engineering, has a strong, 27year history in Alaska. The ďŹ rm is a leading provider of cold regions and geotechnical engineering, as well as ďŹ eld exploration services. DMA is recognized for having the largest cold regions geotechnical laboratory in the state, and it has created specialized geotechnical ďŹ eld exploration methods and equipment to handle the extreme Arctic and subarctic conditions. â&#x20AC;&#x153;DMA is well known in Alaska, and they have a good synergy with our core strengths,â&#x20AC;? says Mark Musial, Golderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Manager of Alaska Operations. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Duane will still be very much a part of our Alaska operations, providing technical expertise to solve Arctic engineering issues.â&#x20AC;? Musial explains. The DMA acquisition enhances Golder Associatesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; ground-engineering capabilities on the North Slope and in rural Alaska. It also enabled Golder to double in size, making it the largest full-service geotechnical provider in the state. With 7,000 people operating from 160 ofďŹ ces worldwide, Golder has maintained operations in Alaska since 1980. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We think Alaska is a great place to be,â&#x20AC;? Musial says.


â&#x20AC;&#x153;We recognize the importance of the Arctic in the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s scheme, and we are really interested in helping do things right.â&#x20AC;? Doing things right speaks to the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commitment to service and sustainability, which is the essence of its corporate slogan: Engineering Earthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Development, Preserving Earthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Integrity. Musial says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;It reďŹ&#x201A;ects our core responsibility and stewardship.â&#x20AC;? This year, Golder Associates is celebrating its ďŹ rst 50 years in business. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We say â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;ďŹ rstâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; because we are proud of our past and are excited about serving our clients and communities for the next 50 years,â&#x20AC;? Musial says. Since 1960, Golder has grown from a handful of soil and rock engineers to a ďŹ rm that provides a wide array of services for industries from transportation, mining, and oil and gas, to waste management, water resources and manufacturing. These services include natural resources management, environmental and social assessment, environmental management and compliance, and demolition and decommissioning. Golder Associatesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; success can be attributed, in part, to its form of

broad employee ownership that includes about 30 percent of our staff. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We get people invested in the company, and they want to help the company do well,â&#x20AC;? Musial says. Another area of distinction for Golder is its high-caliber staff. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the cold regions engineering realm, we have some of the best internationally known experts,â&#x20AC;? Musial says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Three of our principals have won the American Society of Civil Engineersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Harold R. Peyton award for outstanding contributions to cold regions engineering.â&#x20AC;? As a company, Golder garners numerous awards globally each year, including engineering excellence and best ďŹ rms to work for awards. Golderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reputation for providing high-quality, higher-tech services can be attributed to its people. In Alaska, our expanded team will allow us to continue being the premier provider of geotechnical and ground engineering services in the Arctic. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking forward to a bright future,â&#x20AC;? Musial says.

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ĤÄ&#x;Ä&#x153;Ä&#x; Äą Ä Ä­ ÄŻ Ĥ Monthly ÄŽ Ä  Ĩ Ä  ÄŠâ&#x20AC;˘ ÄŻFebruary 2010 www.akbizmag.comÄŤâ&#x20AC;˘Ä&#x153;Alaska Business


Lt. Col. Kevin Thomas

Nominee: Lt Col Kevin Thomas, PE



526 Main Street


Juneau, Alaska 99801 • 907-586-9788 / 907-586-5774 fx

t. Col. Kevin Thomas is the commander of the 477th Civil Engineer Squadron. The 477th is an Air Force Reserve unit stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base tasked with providing engineers and craftsmen capable of deploying worldwide in support of contingency operations. As the commander, Thomas is responsible for the squadron’s equipment, training, combat readiness and preparedness. The unit recently returned from a deployment to Kirkuk Regional Air Base, Iraq, where Thomas served as the deputy commander of the 506th Air Expeditionary Group. In addition, the 477th was recently named the 2009 Outstanding Civil Engineer Squadron for 10th Air Force. In his civilian career, Thomas is the Pacific Region program manager for the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment. In this position he is responsible for executing a $60-million-a-year program, including traditional engineering and construction, military construction, environmental restoration and other support to base customers in Alaska, Hawaii, Korea, Japan and locations throughout the Pacific. Thomas graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2000 with a Master in Business Administration. Thomas is a member and former president of the Anchorage Post of the Society of American Military Engineers and is a registered civil engineer (New Hampshire). ❑ • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010



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Engineers on the Homefront Shortage of quality workers still exists, but schools are working to turn situation around in time for huge potential projects. BY LOUISE FREEMAN


‘OVERWHELMED’ “What’s coming for us is the potential for these large projects, like the gas pipeline. What we’re finding is that if these hit, we’re going to be overwhelmed,” said Gerry Brown, president of the Anchorage Chapter of the Alaska Society of Professional Engineers (ASPE). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is also anticipating new large-scale projects that will require more engineers, including “projects to address the risks villages are experiencing on the coastline, and other flood, erosion or thawing permafrost areas,” said Trish Opheen, chief, Engineering Division Alaska District. “I anticipate emergency evacuation roads and emergency shelters to be the first phase. We know there are upwards of 10 villages that are in need of ‘immediate’ actions.”

‘REVOLVING DOOR’ Recruitment of new engineers to tackle such projects is always a problem in Alaska, with high turnover rates despite attractive starting salaries


UAF photo by Todd Paris

he University of Alaska, high schools in Anchorage and Fairbanks, as well as nonprofit corporations and private industry are making great strides in addressing Alaska’s chronic shortage of engineers. Despite their efforts, the shortage is expected to grow at least through 2016, with an average of 50 new engineer jobs being added each year, according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s occupational projections. In addition, each year another 70 openings will become available through turnover and retirement as more and more baby boomers reach retirement age. Don Gillie, project manager for the 2008 student designed and built ice arch, sprays water from a garden hose onto the underside of the structure during one of many late night work sessions on the UAF campus in Fairbanks.

of $50,000 to $80,000. “People stay only two, three, five years. It’s a revolving door. They learn about how to do engineering in Alaska and then leave,” said Robert Lang, dean of the UAA School of Engineering. Many of the engineers working in the state are nonresidents. Half the state’s 5,000 licensed engineers retain out-of-state residence addresses, according to the Alaska Division of Occupational Licensing’s Architecture, Engineering, and Land Surveying Board. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has found that filling job openings with engineers from outside Alaska is an expensive solution to the ongoing shortage. Costs for relocating new employees is high, said Opheen, with additional expenses for extra training in dealing with cold region design and the logistical challenges presented by the remoteness. The

Corps recruits engineers through the UAA and UAF job fairs, national level job fairs through various professional organizations, and the Army’s and their own internship programs.

HOMEGROWNS NEEDED In an effort to create more homegrown engineers and to keep the work in Alaska, the University of Alaska is scrambling to meet present and future industry demands by expanding their engineering programs at UAF and UAA. In 2006, the university graduated just half of the national average of engineers per capita, according to the American Society of Engineering Education. Three years ago, the Board of Regents set the goal of more than doubling the yearly number of engineering graduates, aiming for a total of 200 a year by 2012. In 2009, the number of baccalaureate graduates reached 94. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Employers are clamoring for more graduates,â&#x20AC;? said Lang. Both UAA and UAF offer baccalaureate and/or masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degrees in such standard areas as civil, mechanical, electrical, and environmental engineering. In addition, UAFâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s College of Engineering and Mines offers degrees in geological, mining and petroleum engineering. UAA also offers a bachelorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree in geomatics, a relatively new field involving land surveying and the use of GIS and other types of earth mapping. Both universities are unusual in that students may earn a degree in the growing field of Arctic engineering.


UAF photo by Todd Paris

The university is expanding capacity in its engineering program as fast as it can. UAA hired eight new professors in the school of engineering this year alone; however, the school is hampered by a building that is too small and lacks lab space. UAFâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s College of Engineering and Mines also suffers from inadequate facilities, with a pressing need for more lab as well as teaching space. UAA and UAF have submitted a total of $10 million in capital budget requests for fiscal year 2011 for the planning and design of new facilities. In addition, a preengineering program, now in its second year, is currently being developed at the University of Alaska Southeast. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our numbers are still small as we are still a very new program, but they are growing,â&#x20AC;? said Program Coordinator Lori Sowa. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The program has a lot of support from the local engineering community.â&#x20AC;? With retention of engineers a continuing and thorny problem, many engineering firms are focusing their recruitment efforts closer to home: they

Professor Gang Chen, center, leads students Andrew Schultz, left, and Dave Kitchens, right, through a UAF rock mechanics lab procedure during a class visit to the Delta Mining Training Center.



Photo courtesy of the University of Alaska Anchorage


Gov. Sean Parnell and his cabinet visited UAA in early November 2009, focusing on health (nursing) and engineering (science, technology, engineering and mathematics – STEM) as examples of the high demand jobs and university progress.

hope to attract new engineers fresh out of the University of Alaska. “To get a young engineer, you have to establish a relationship with him when he’s still in college,” Brown said. “So most of the time, if you don’t have an internship program, then you are missing an opportunity. Internship is huge if you’re in Anchorage.”

UAA also has a strong K-12 outreach program. One highly successful program is the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP). ANSEP works with students from the time they are freshmen in high school all the way through graduate school with the goal of increasing the recruitment and retention of Alaska Native students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Components of this innovative program include summer bridge programs, student cohorts, peer and professional mentoring, and internships. “ANSEP opens the door for a lot of students throughout Alaska who are interested in what we have to offer,” said Lang. The UAA School of Engineering recently started working with Dimond Engineering Academy, a school within a school at Dimond High School in Anchorage. Of the 200 students enrolled in the school, now in its second year, Lang said, “Those are great potential future students for us.” A similar program exists in Fairbanks at the Lathrop Engineering Academy at Lathrop High School. The academy, also started in the ’08-09 school year, currently has approximately 130 students taking

With retention of engineers a continuing and thorny problem, many engineering firms are focusing their recruitment efforts closer to home: they hope to attract new engineers fresh out of the University of Alaska. engineering classes, including several classes in robotics. Each year the academy holds a robotics competition, which is sponsored by UAF. “They get really good hands-on exposure to equipment so they’ll have a pretty good idea what they’re getting into at the university,” said Larry Ehnert, lead teacher at the academy. With all these high school and college students in the engineering pipeline, it can be expected that within a few years, the number of new engineers entering the field in Alaska will rise. With luck, many of these new engineers will choose to stay in Alaska and help address the unique engineering challenges presented by the state’s physical ❑ geography and climate.


Photo courtesy of the University of Alaska Anchorage

MENTORING PROGRAMS There is an increasing awareness that the mentor-student relationship may need to be established even before the college level through mentoring programs aimed at high school students. “We’re just about to get started in Alaska,” said Pamela Mullender, president of the ACE Mentor Program of America, a nonprofit corporation whose goal is to attract high school students nationwide to the fields of architecture, construction and engineering. ACE is currently recruiting mentors and hopes to have a program in place in Alaska by early 2010. Both ACE and ASPE offer scholarships to students who intend to go into engineering.

The Alaska Native Science & Engineering building located on the UAA campus. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010




Photo courtesy of Summit Consulting/Summit file photo


laska encompasses 663,268 square miles, 12 landbased regional Native corporations, 260 villages and 229 federally recognized tribes. According to the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Alaska also has 11 distinct Native cultures. Add to these staggering figures four different Native language families consisting of 20 indigenous languages and a host of separate dialects spread across the state, and contractors and engineers who work in Alaska know they’re a long way from Kansas. Each year, according to the State’s Capital Projects database, between $500 million and $750 million in federal and State funding goes into rural Alaska villages off the road system for capital projects, and many engineering firms depend on these projects as a crucial part of their office workload. With each capital project, however, come challenges their engineering counterparts in the Lower 48 seldom encounter. Setting aside logistical and technical considerations, such as traveling, shipping materials to a site, project coordination and changing permafrost condition, there are two primary challenges for engineers working in rural villages. First is the language and communication; second is the culture. Not only must engineers be able to explain technical issues in layman’s terms, but also they must have knowledge and patience to communicate with village residents, especially elders, in a style very unlike urban communication. According to Willy Van Hemert and Mike Rabe, both principals at CRW Engineering Group LLC, when engi-

Dave Cramer, president of Summit Consulting, listens to Kongiganak elder Tommy Phillips.

neers from their firm go into a village to talk with residents about a proposed project, village elders like to have the discussions or presentations translated into their Native language. “We take PowerPoints, flip charts and handouts,” Rabe said, “and usually, a village member translates so the information reaches elders in their own language. But the real key to communication is to listen. We need to hear what the village wants and to understand their goals.” MWH Global Pacific Northwest Regional Manager Chris Brown said that listening to what the village has to say about a project is simply respectful. “If you show respect,” Brown said, “then the community will help you understand how to navigate things to make the project more successful.”

RURAL PROJECTS REMAIN VITAL CRW and MWH have both completed a myriad of rural projects across the length and breadth of Alaska, as have many other engineering firms. According to Rabe, CRW has a strong emphasis in Western Alaska, including the Aleutian chain. “About 50 percent of our work comes from rural projects,” he said, “maybe a little more. That represents about $6 million in gross revenue to our firm.” Brown and Bob Gilfilian, principal engineer at MWH, said rural Alaska work represents about 40 percent of MWH’s workload. Brown said perhaps 70 percent, if they added in the work MWH is doing at the air base at Shemya. However, Gilfilian said most of MWH’s recent rural work – like CRW’s • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

– has come from Western Alaska. “I’ve worked in a number of rural areas,” Brown said, “including Saint Lawrence Island. My best experience occurred when I was a field hand at Gambell several years ago. We spent several weeks there, then went back periodically over several years. Our team engaged local people on a regular basis, and we went to cultural events and really participated in the residents’ lives. Some of our team became friends with villagers for the long-term. It all came down to spending the time and making the effort to get to know people.” HDR Alaska Inc. Alaska Department Manager and Senior Vice President Mark Dalton said his firm has also done work all across Alaska, estimating rural work represents about 40 percent of his firm’s business. HDR counts the Alaska Department of Transportation as one of their biggest clients, and Dalton said they’ve worked on airports and other facilities at many rural locations. He completely agrees that spending time in a community shows respect for that community and helps to foster a better understanding between the engineers and the people who live there. “You do not zoom into the community, hold a meeting and then zoom off,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of work in the Yukon-Kuskokwim area, and our approach is that the more time we can spend building relationships, the more we strengthen the project and ensure success.” In addition to the translation issue for elders, Chris Allard, engineering manager for Summit Consulting Services Inc., said patience is a real virtue for engineers participating in village meetings. “There’s still an indirectness about dealing with some issues,” Allard said. “It helps to recognize that and be patient. Sometimes it takes people a little longer to address something, and sometimes everyone in the meeting has to have a chance to have his say. I’m a pretty patient person by nature, and I find these meetings very interesting.”

SUBSISTENCE IMPACTS Often more difficult for engineers to understand and cope with are the cultural differences, and at least one of those impacts almost every project built in rural • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


“If we’re going to work with people, we need to understand more than the job.”

Photos courtesy of MWH Americas Inc.

– Chris Brown Pacific Northwest Regional Manager MWH Global

MWH Principal Engineer Bob Gilfilian measures with a local construction worker from the Village Safe Water Program force-account crew installing a sewer system and drainfield at Port Heiden.

Alaska – subsistence hunting and fishing. “We do force-account construction,” Allard said. “We hire local crews as much as possible, and there’s enough labor talent in villages to staff most crews. But since our crews are from the villages, they have the normal subsistence activities and we have to plan around those. We may have to close down a job for several days, or sometimes the crew members rotate time off among themselves.” Greg Magee, manager for the State’s Village Safe Water Program under the Department of Environmental Con-


servation, said subsistence activities definitely impact rural projects. “If it’s time for hunting in the fall or fishing in the spring, that’s a valid excuse for not coming to work. We factor that into our construction timelines. For example, when moose hunting season opens the project essentially shuts down and no other work gets done for a time. We honor that.” The Native subsistence lifestyle has other impacts, as well. HDR’s Kirsten Anderson and Elizabeth Grover, both part of the firm’s cultural resources group, explained that cultural resources

also need to be considered during project development. This process includes consultation regarding the traditional knowledge people have from living in the communities, understanding where and when they hunt, fish and trap. Consultants have to understand how projects may affect resources of cultural significance, they said. “ANILCA (the Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act) Title 8 is about understanding subsistence uses on federal land,” Anderson said. “We have to take that into consideration in the context of an Environmental Impact Statement for projects that may affect federal lands.” All the engineering firms agreed that they wouldn’t schedule community meetings or site visits during the busy subsistence times of year. MWH’s Gilfilian said also they have to consider the differences in calendars across the villages. “In a Russian Orthodox community, we have to understand their calendar and work around it,” he said. “And it isn’t just the calendars. We’ve dealt with a lot of the cultures, including the Old Believers. Their lifestyle is very different and they don’t believe in using chlorine chemicals. When we work with them, we have to come up with other solutions that they will accept.”

SUBSTANTIAL INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING The DEC’s Magee said the VSW program is a piece of the federal and State funding that goes into rural communities for water and sewer improvements. This year, VSW and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium received $113 million – $42 million in stimulus money. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

Photo courtesy of Greg Magee/Alaska DEC Village Safe Water Program

Next year, however, he anticipates available dollars will be fewer. “Best case, about $70 million,” he said. Magee added that federal dollars represent about 75 percent of that amount, and the State match is about 25 percent. “We outsource all engineering and construction management work to the private sector,” he added. Firms compete for VSW work through a competitive process. Magee said each project has a three-step process. First, firms are considered on their qualifications and a short list of three is developed. Second, the short-listed firms work to develop their proposals, then present them to the community and to VSW. After the selection process, VSW then goes into negotiations with the selected firm. “We are the community’s designated agent,” Magee said. “We handle the project until it’s completed, then we hand it over to the community. We’re strictly a capital projects office, though, so we have no funding to help the community operate and maintain the project once it’s done. “During the planning and design

Hooper Bay residents perform before a community meeting about housing and water and sewer projects.

phases we develop a business plan to make sure the community can handle the operating expenses,” Magee said. “Our role is to work with rural communities to develop sustainable water and sewer facilities.” CRW’s Rabe said communities are more cognizant of operating costs now than they were several years ago,

and that helps the sustainability factor. “We’re making progress,” Magee said. As engineering work continues on rural Alaska projects, engineers continue to adapt to Alaska Native cultures and accommodate their languages. “If we’re going to work with people,” said MWH’s Brown, “we need to under❑ stand more than the job.” • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010



Photos courtesy of CRW Engineering Group LLC

CRW Engineering Group LLC volunteers, United Way Day of Caring.

Local firms contribute across Alaska. BY JODY ELLIS-KNAPP


hen you think of engineering, you probably think of environmental issues, architecture, construction, and the oil and gas industry. Engineering is a very diverse career that encompasses a variety of job titles and a myriad of skill sets, and Alaska is home to many firms, all of which are an integral part of our economy. But there is more to our local firms than just work. A good portion of Anchorage’s engineering firms make their presence known in the community by contributing in a variety of ways, giving hours of their time and making contributions to causes around the state. Alaska Business Monthly caught up with a few of Anchorage’s firms to discuss what role volunteering and community activism takes within the engineering field.

CRW CRW was founded in 1981 by Willem Van Hemert. The company began as a sole proprietorship, eventually evolving into a limited liability company with 62 employees. CRW specializes in civil engineering, electrical engineering,


CRW participants, Bike to Work.

surveying, planning and construction support services. CRW’s volunteer work is a combination of companymatched volunteer hours and support of individual volunteering. This includes food drives, blood drives, the United Way Day of Caring, Zoo Boo, Aces Paint the Rink Pink, E-Week, Citywide

Cleanup and Adopt-a-Trail, as well as involvement in art and sporting events throughout the state. “Our staff is very active as a group and as individuals,” says Leah Boltz, marketing director. “We have built a culture that encourages community support, and our employees are all • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

“Our staff is very active as a group and as individuals. We have built a culture that encourages community support, and our employees are all community-minded.” – Leah Boltz Marketing Director CRW

with 13 principals and 33 associates. Their community involvement consists of a combination of contributions and volunteer work. They have two company committees: “It’s All About You,” which handles internal company events, and “It’s Not about You,” which is responsible for reviewing requests for donations and services. Made up of USKH employees, each committee was put in place to ensure both internal events and community contributions accurately reflect their mission statement: “Create sustainable solutions to improve

the quality of life for communities.” Recently the “It’s Not About You” committee approved a $500 donation for a Math Counts program in Juneau, as well as paying the entry fee for employees participating in a walk benefiting juvenile diabetes research in Spokane, Wash. USKW President Tim Vig said the company feels it is important for both employees and clients to know that it’s more than just about making a profit. “Of course we need money to stay in business,” he says, “but because a lot

community-minded. You can always see someone from CRW out helping a cause or participating in community events. We like to support our employees’ causes and in turn, our community participation is very diverse.” While Boltz sees it as merely a fringe benefit, being out in the eye of the community is definitely advantageous for business. “Our clients see us in the community supporting their causes and joining with them to make Alaska a better place,” she says. “More people know our company name and our principals because they see us outside the office, supporting local causes. It also brings our name to the front of the client’s minds when they are looking for civil engineering firms.” CRW tries to grow their community involvement a bit more each year, with a few new ones on the agenda for 2010, including Parks for All, which is building a fully accessible playground in Cuddy Family Midtown Park. “We are always open to new ideas and new causes,” Boltz says.

USKH USKH has been part of the Alaska engineering community since 1971. When friends Gordon Unwin, Leo von Scheben and Earl Korynta looked at other design firms and thought, “We can do better!,” they started USKH, which offers civil engineering, land surveying and architecture, as well as being home to environmental analysts, hydrologists, and landscape and electrical engineers. USKH is an employee-owned firm • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


Built by Bristol.

CRW volunteers, Adopt a Trail trash cleanup, Campbell Creek Trail.

The Bristol Alliance of Companies is a group of engineering, construction and environmental services Àrms oZned E\ %ristol %a\ 1ative Corporation that often team together, as Zell as ZorNing independently. Offices in AK, WA, TX, NC. Anchorage: 907 563-0013 52

of our works come from municipal, State and federal funding, we want to make sure we are investing back into the community. We think that community service is a natural extension of our projects. Additionally, you never know who you may be volunteering with. It could be a potential client, a future employee or a professional mentor.” The company fundraises for United Way and Food Bank annual campaigns, as well as providing contributions to Habitat for Humanity, Bean’s Café, Adopt-a-Road and the Anchorage School District Business Partnership and Gifted Mentorship programs. Many USKH employees participate

in service clubs such as Rotary, Kiwanis and Zonta, as well as volunteer during their personal time for E-Week, Toys for Tots, Make a Wish Foundation and the 1 Percent for Art program. “When employees volunteer, they hone their communication, teamwork and leadership skills, all of which are vital to our company,” Vig says. “In addition to helping the community, when employees spend time volunteering together, it helps to grow our bond as a team and develop an appreciation of each other outside of our professional responsibilities. It also gives us perspective outside of our daily responsibilities.”


“Of course we need money to stay in business – but because a lot of our works come from municipal, State and federal funding, we want to make sure we are investing back into the community.” – Tim Vig President USKW

A part of Anchorage since 1964, CH2M HILL was originally started in the 1940s by three Oregon State University students, in Corvallis, Ore. Serving the community in a myriad of ways, the company boasts more than 25,000 overall and has a strong presence in Alaska. Their volunteering activities consist of various community events throughout the year. The company is a member of the Energy Partnership and provides 10 volunteers one weekend per month each summer to build at the Habitat for Humanity construction site. They also participate in the annual United Way employee campaign, Engineers Without Borders, World Wide Monitoring Day and the UAA School of Engineering. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

CH2M also has a school business partnership program with Lake Otis Elementary School. This was established roughly a year ago and involves employees reading to students before school, judging the science fair, donating bicycles for the school’s annual bike rodeo and providing holiday gifts for families. “This partnership offers our employees an opportunity to build a bridge between school and business and positively impact a child’s life by being a good adult role model,” says Emily Cross, community relations manager for CH2M. Additional involvement in the community consists of attending events, such as the American Cancer Society Wine and Food Festival, the Mayor’s Charity Ball, Go Red awareness luncheon, Fire and Ice Ball, ANSEP annual banquet and Engineers Week. The company also has memberships with the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, the Alliance and the Resource Development Council. Future plans for CH2M include continuing local support of various organizations. “By attending events and being a

Willy Van Hemert and Terry Ameline of CRW, Adopt a Trail trash cleanup, Campbell Creek Trail.

participant at both statewide and national fundraisers, the CH2M HILL brand is enhanced and helps us to be strategic and responsive to both client and employee interests,” Cross says. “We are all Alaskans who live, work and play here in our great state.”

LAYER OF DIVERSITY While the degree of involvement and

types of volunteering may vary within each company, giving back is an important part of the missions of these engineering firms in Alaska. Not only are the engineers continuing to add to our state’s growth and economy, they are impacting our local community on a regular basis, adding yet another layer to the diversity of the engineering career. ❑

Own a piece of adventure. Own a piece of Alaska. Master-Planned Community in Eagle River Scenic Mountain Views Gateway to Alaska’s Outdoors Beautiful Home Sites Available Convenient to Base 16515 Centerfield Dr., Ste 201 | Eagle River, AK 99577 Phone: 907-696-2828 | Fax: 907-696-2845 Web: • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


2010 Engineering Directory Company

Top Executive

Alaska Analytical Laboratory 1956 Richardson Hwy. North Pole, AK 99705 Phone: 907-687-7394 Fax: 907-488-0772 AMC Engineers 701 E. Tudor Rd., Ste. 250 Anchorage, AK 99503-7457 Phone: 907-257-9100 Fax: 907-257-9191

Stefan Mack, PE/Pres.


Boyd Morgenthaler, Pres.


BBFM Engineers Inc. 510 L St., Ste. 200 Anchorage, AK 99501-1949 Phone: 907-274-2236 Fax: 907-274-2520

Dennis L. Berry, Pres.




Discipline(s): Mechanical, electrical, plumbing, controls and telecommunications engineering.




Discipline(s): Civil engineering, planning, land development, well and septic engineering.




Discipline(s): Structural engineering.


Discipline(s): Civil engineering, general civil design, environmental engineering, construction, construction management, permitting and planning.

Bristol Environmental & Engineering Joe Terrell, CEO Services Corp. 111 W. 16th Ave., Third Flr. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-563-0013 Fax: 907-563-6713


CH2M Hill 301 W. Northern Lights Blvd., Ste.601 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-278-2551 Fax: 907-257-2000


Dan Sterley, VP

F. Robert Bell, PE/CEO

Harold Hollis, PE/Sr. VP

Jeffrey F. Yates, Gen. Mgr.

Del Norte Surveying Inc. PO Box 110553 Anchorage, AK 99511 Phone: 907-345-8003 Fax: 907-345-8002

Lisa Greer, Owner


Discipline(s): Mechanical and electrical engineering design and consulting.




Discipline(s): Offers multidiscipline engineering consulting services, including civil, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as corrosion control, commissioning, seismic analysis, pipeline integrity management and process piping.




Discipline(s): Civil engineering, electrical engineering, surveying and mapping, planning, permitting, public involvement, construction support, site development. Fields: water, sewer, water quality, sanitation, parks, trails, transportation, power and energy systems, solid waste and site planning.



Discipline(s): Developer of photogrammetric software, specializing in 3D stereo viewing and feature data collection software. Also offering certified technicians, service and installation of analytical steroplotters.



Discipline(s): Land and construction surveying.












20-49 Jack B. Wilbur Jr., Pres.

29 Dee High, Principal

Discipline(s): Full-service architecture, civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, fire protection and environmental engineering and surveying.

Discipline(s): Engineering and surveyors. Bettina Chastain, Pres/Gen. Mgr.

Dryden & LaRue Inc. 3305 Arctic Blvd., Ste. 201 Anchorage, AK 99503-4575 Phone: 907-349-6653 Fax: 907-522-2534

Delbert S. LaRue, Pres.



Doyon Emerald (Emerald Consulting Group LLC) 670 W. Fireweed Ln., Ste. 200 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-258-8137 Fax: 907-258-8124

EEIS Consulting Engineers 4400 Business Park Blvd., Ste. B-100 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-258-3231 Fax: 907-272-1288

Discipline(s): Design and construction phase services for the energy, environment, facilities, transportation and water/ wastewater markets.

DAT/EM Systems Int’l 8240 Sandlewood Pl., Ste. 101 Anchorage, AK 99507-3122 Phone: 907-522-3681 Fax: 907-522-3688

EDC Inc. 213 W. Fireweed Ln. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-276-7933 Fax: 907-76-4763


Mike Rabe, PE/Principal

DHI Consulting Engineers 800 E. Dimond Blvd., Ste. 3-550 Anchorage, AK 99515-2041 Phone: 907-344-1385 Fax: 907-344-1383


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

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

Discipline(s) Discipline(s): Environmental testing laboratory, soil analysis for methods 8021B/AK101, AK102/103, ADEC certified. Kenneth M. Duffus, PE/Principal

Coffman Engineers 800 F St. Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-276-6664 Fax: 907-276-5042

AK Eng.

ArcTerra Consulting 20441 Ptarmigan Blvd. Eagle River, AK 99577-8736 Phone: 907-696-6111 Fax: 907-696-8111

CMH Consultants 801 W. Fireweed Ln., Ste. 201 Anchorage, AK 99503-1866 Phone: 907-277-3800 Fax: 907-272-7531

AK Empl.


Discipline(s): Specialized provider of management and consulting services in the fields of program management, project, business and logistics management, information technology/telecommunications, process engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering and more. Discipline(s): Electrical consulting. John Faschan, Pres.


Discipline(s): Mechanical and electrical engineering. Rick Button, PE/Pres.

Discipline(s): Structural, architectural and other types of engineering services. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

2010 Engineering Directory Company

Top Executive

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

Robert A. French, PE


AK Empl.

AK Eng.




Discipline(s): Hazardous removal design, workplace health and safety, employee training and construction monitoring. Staff includes professional engineers, industrial hygienists and environmental specialists.




Discipline(s): Industrial and utility electrical power systems, design engineering and consulting.




Discipline(s): An integrated design, engineering, construction and maintenance company serving electrical utilities, private power producers and industrial manufacturing organizations.




Discipline(s): Environmental and engineering consulting.




Discipline(s): Civil engineering, land surveying and construction surveying.

Electric Power Systems Inc. 3305 Arctic Blvd., Ste. 201 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-522-1953 Fax: 907-522-1182

Daniel Rogers, PE/Pres.

Engineered Solutions Group Inc. 3305 Arctic Blvd., Ste. 201 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-522-1953 Fax: 907-522-1182

David Burlingame, PE

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

Larry Helgeson, PE


F. Robert Bell & Associates 801 W. Fireweed Ln., Ste. 201 Anchorage, AK 99503-1801 Phone: 907-274-5257 Fax: 907-743-3480

Bob Bell, PE/LS/CEO

Franklin & Associates 225 E. Fireweed Ln., Ste. 202 Anchorage, AK 99503-2080 Phone: 907-277-1631 Fax: 907-277-2939

Nelson M. Franklin, PE/Owner




Discipline(s): Structural engineering.

Fred Walatka & Associates 3107 W. 29th Ave. Anchorage, AK 99517-1704 Phone: 907-248-1666 Fax: 907-243-2081

Fred Walatka, Owner




Discipline(s): Land surveying.

Fugro 5761 Silverado Way, Ste. O Anchorage, AK 99518-1634 Phone: 907-561-3478 Fax: 907-561-5123

Scott Widness, Alaska Div. Mgr.




Discipline(s): Geophysics and geotechnical services, arctic engineering, route studies, logistical planning, horizontal directional drilling design, pipeline evaluation, engineering geophysics and oceanography. Offshore surveying, coastal zone, riverine mapping and more. â&#x20AC;˘ Alaska Business Monthly â&#x20AC;˘ February 2010


2010 Engineering Directory Estab.

AK Empl.

AK Eng.

Jeffrey Garness, PE/Pres.



2 Mark Musial, Mgr. Alaska Ops



Great Northern Engineering LLC John H. Riggs, Gen. Mgr. 137 E. Arctic Ave. Palmer, AK 99645-6255 Phone: 907-745-6988 Fax: 907-745-0591




Discipline(s): API 653 certified mechanical, electrical, structural, corrosion design engineering and project management. Hubzone certified company.

Haight & Associates Inc. 526 Main St. Juneau, AK 99801 Phone: 907-586-9788 Fax: 907-586-5774

Benjamin Haight, Pres./CEO




Discipline(s): Consulting electrical engineering.

Hasz Consulting Co. PO Box 1229 Delta Junction, AK 99737 Phone: 907-895-4770 Fax: 907-895-4346

John R. Hasz, Pres.




Discipline(s): Mechanical and civil engineering.




Discipline(s): Civil engineering, consulting and environmental.




Discipline(s): Construction program and project management for infrastructure development projects, construction management, planning construction, conceptual design, civil and environmental engineering, permitting, public involvement, health and safety administration.




Discipline(s): Engineering and construction management services.


Top Executive

Garness Engineering Group Ltd. 3701 E. Tudor Rd. Anchorage, AK 99507 Phone: 907-337-6179 Fax: 907-338-3246 Golder Associates Inc. 2121 Abbott Rd., Ste. 200 Anchorage, AK 99507 Phone: 907-344-6001 Fax: 907-344-6011

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

Discipline(s) Discipline(s): Civil and environmental engineering, general contracting, State of Alaska DBE and SBA 8(a)-certified.

Discipline(s): Geotechnical and permafrost engineering, ground-water development, risk assessment, mining, environmental remediation, air photo interpretation/terrain mapping and rock engineering. Duane Hippe, PE/Sr. VP

ICRC 421 W. First Ave., Ste. 200 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-561-4272 Fax: 907-561-4271

Carl Williams, President, COO

KAE Inc. PO Box 91970 Anchorage, AK 99509 Phone: 907-276-2176 Fax: 907-276-2184

James Kaercher, Pres.


R E M E D I AT I O N DATA SUPPORT SERVICES SGS N orth America Inc. Environmental Services

56 â&#x20AC;˘ Alaska Business Monthly â&#x20AC;˘ February 2010

2010 Engineering Directory Company

Top Executive

Keystone Engineering LLC PO Box 3233 Valdez, AK 99686 Phone: 907-835-8585 Fax: 907-835-8585

William Wilcox, PE/Mgr.


AK Empl.

AK Eng.




Discipline(s): Civil engineering.




Discipline(s): Architecture, engineering (civil, sanitation and structural), land surveying, construction management, construction services, construction (general contractor) and grant/funding research.






Discipline(s): Civil, electrical, mechanical and structural engineering, architectural design, construction management and inspection, general, electrical and mechanical contracting. LSCC is licensed in AK, WA, OR, CA, HI, TX, LA, MS, AL and MO.




Discipline(s): Civil engineering and land surveying.


Discipline(s): Civil, geotechnical, transportation, solid waste, environmental and electrical engineering, site remediation, construction administration, planning and permitting.


Larsen Consulting Group Inc. 3710 Woodland Dr., Ste. 2100 Anchorage, AK 99517 Phone: 907-243-8985 Fax: 907-243-5629

John Larsen Jr., PE/Pres.

LCMF LLC 615 E. 82nd Ave., Ste. 300 Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-273-1830 Fax: 907-273-1831

Steve Chronic, PE/PLS/Gen. Mgr.

Little Susitna Construction Co. 821 N St., Ste. 207 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-274-7571 Fax: 907-277-3300

Tammie Smith, Gen. Mgr.

Lounsbury & Associates 5300 A St. Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-272-5451 Fax: 907-272-9065

Jim Sawhill, Pres.

MACTEC Engineering & Consulting Inc. 601 E. 57th Pl. Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-563-8102 Fax: 907-561-4574

Sean P. Thomson, Pres./ Managing Principal



MBA Consulting Engineers Inc. 3812 Spenard Rd., Ste. 200 Anchorage, AK 99517 Phone: 907-274-2622 Fax: 907-274-0914

Ronald E. Aksamit, Principal





Discipline(s): Engineering, architecture and surveying.

Discipline(s): Mechanical and electrical engineering.

Michael Baker Jr. Inc. Jeff Baker, Alaska Operations Mgr. 1400 W. Benson Blvd., Ste. 200 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-273-1600 Fax: 907-273-1699


Discipline(s): Pipeline, civil, H&H, geotechnical and GIS. Services include hydrological assessments and surveys, geotechnical investigations, permit support, NEPA, GIS and pipeline design. â&#x20AC;˘ Alaska Business Monthly â&#x20AC;˘ February 2010


2010 Engineering Directory Estab.

AK Empl.

AK Eng.




Discipline(s): Full-service architectural and engineering firm. Planning, permitting, design and construction management.




Discipline(s): Project delivery company focused on multi-discipline engineering and design, procurement and construction management services for the hydrocarbons, power, minerals, metals, infrastructure and environment.




Discipline(s): Full-service design, build and project-management firm. ISO 9001:2008 certified.




Discipline(s): Water, wastewater system design and inspections.




Discipline(s): Civil engineering and land surveying.




Discipline(s): Mechanical, electrical, civil, structural engineering, environmental, fire protection, plumbing and land surveying.




Discipline(s): Civil design and project management.




Discipline(s): Civil, structural, marine, geotechnical, coastal and value engineering; sanitary/wastewater; surveying; inspection; Q/A; cost administration; permitting; right-of-way acquisition; site remediation/pollution control; demolition consultation and more.




Discipline(s): Civil, electrical, environmental and energy engineering. Design/build, project management and construction management. Grant preparation and administration.

Price Gregory International Inc. David Matthews, VP/Alaska Area Mgr. 301 W. Northern Lights Blvd., Ste. 300 Anchorage, AK 99503-2648 dmatthews@pricegregory Phone: 907-278-4400 Fax: 907-278-3255 www.pricegregory



Quest Engineering Inc. PO Box 210863 Anchorage, AK 99521 Phone: 907-561-6530 Fax: 907-770-5511




Discipline(s): Civil engineering and construction management.




Discipline(s): Civil/structural engineering, surveying and mapping, earth sciences, GIS, construction administration, materials testing and special inspection services.




Discipline(s): Civil, structural and geotechnical engineering, geology, land surveying, aerial photography and materials lab.




Discipline(s): Civil engineering, surveying, construction materials testing and water-quality testing.




Discipline(s): Civil engineering, geologists and land consultants.




Discipline(s): Mechanical and electrical engineering.




Discipline(s): Structural engineering, bridge design and marine engineering.


Top Executive

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

Michael L. Foster, PE/Principal

NANA/WorleyParsons 700 G St., Fifth Floor Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-273-3900 Fax: 907-273-3990

Allan Dolynny Pres./Gen. Mgr.

New Horizons Telecom Inc. 901 Cope Industrial Way Palmer, AK 99645 Phone: 907-761-6000 Fax: 907-761-6001

Nate E. Morton, COO

Northern Latitude Associates PO Box 61201 Fairbanks, AK 99706-1201 Phone: 907-479-6370 Fax: 907-479-2270

Wayne Larson, PE/Pres.

O’Neill Surveying & Engineering PO Box 1849 Sitka, AK 99835 Phone: 907-747-6700 Fax: 907-747-7590

Patrick O’Neill, PE/RLS/Owner

PDC Inc. Engineers 2700 Gambell St., Ste. 500 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-743-3200 Fax: 907-743-3295

Steve Theno, PE/Principal

PM&E Services LLC 4011 Romanzof Cir. Anchorage, AK 99517 Phone: 907-222-5059 Fax: 907-245-3489

Damien Stella, Principal

PND Engineers Inc. 1506 W. 36th Ave. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-561-1011 Fax: 907-563-4220

Dennis Nottingham, PE/Pres.

Polarconsult Alaska 1503 W. 33rd Ave., Ste. 310 Anchorage, AK 99503-3638 Phone: 907-258-2420 Fax: 907-258-2419

Earle Ausman, Pres.

Marc Cottini, PE/Owner

Bret Coburn, Pres./CEO

R&M Engineering Inc. 6205 Glacier Hwy. Juneau, AK 99801 Phone: 907-780-6060 Fax: 907-780-4611

Michael C. Story, PE/Pres. Trevor Sande, Pres.

RA Kreig & Associates 201 Barrow St., No. 1 Anchorage, AK 99501-2429 Phone: 907-276-2025 Fax: 907-258-9614

Ray Kreig, Pres.

RBA Engineers Inc. 301 E. Fireweed Ln., Ste. 100 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-276-3768 Fax: 907-276-4269

Manju Bhargava, Pres.

Reid Middleton Inc. 4300 B St., Ste. 302 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-562-3439 Fax: 907-561-5319


Discipline(s): EPC contractor: pipelines, oil and gas facilities, electric generation facilities, turnkey infrastructure development projects. Mechanical and electrical arena construction expert.

R&M Consultants Inc. 9101 Vanguard Dr. Anchorage, AK 99507-4447 Phone: 907-522-1707 Fax: 907-522-3403

R&M Engineering-Ketchikan Inc. 355 Carlanna Lake Rd. Ketchikan, AK 99901 Phone: 907-225-7917 Fax: 907-225-3441

Discipline(s) Ken Andersen, Dir. Alaska Office • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

2010 Engineering Directory Estab.

AK Empl.

AK Eng.

Mark Rockwell, PE/Pres.



1 Mack W. Bergstedt, Pres.

Discipline(s): Civil and environmental engineering. Aboveground storage tanks, site work, demolition and earth work, snow removal, driveways, foundations, septic systems, heating oil tanks, Phase I and II site assessments and contaminated sites.




Discipline(s): Mechanical and electrical engineering. Jeff Robertson, P.E. Principal




Discipline(s): Structural engineering




Discipline(s): Geotechnical and environmental engineering, and construction materials testing and drilling.






Discipline(s): Engineering, installation and servicing, HVAC controls, mechanical services, fire alarm systems and service, security systems and service, CCTV, audio and total building technologies.

Steigers Corp. William D. Steigers, Chairman/CEO 310 K St., Ste. 200 Anchorage, AK 99501 Phone: 907-264-6715 Fax: 800-935-6569




Discipline(s): Full-service environmental consulting firm providing a wide range of project management, permitting and environmental compliance services for industrial projects. The firm specializes in managing regulations complex environmental programs and more.

Stephl Engineering LLC 3900 Arctic Blvd., Ste. 204 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-562-1468 Fax:





Top Executive

Rockwell Engineering & Construction Services Inc. 2375 University Ave. S. Fairbanks, AK 99709 Phone: 907-457-7625 Fax: 907-457-7620 RSA Engineering Inc. 2522 Arctic Blvd., Ste. 200 Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-276-0521 Fax: 907-276-1751 Schneider & Associates Structural Engineers Inc. 4060 B St. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-561-2135 Fax: 907-561-2136 Shannon & Wilson Inc. 2355 Hill Rd. Fairbanks, AK 99709-5326 Phone: 907-458-3103 Fax: 907-479-5691 Shaw Alaska Inc. 2000 W. Int’l Airport Rd., Ste. C-1 Anchorage, AK 99502 Phone: 907-243-6300 Fax: 907-243-6301 Siemens Building Technologies Inc. 5333 Fairbanks St., Ste. B Anchorage, AK 99518 Phone: 907-563-2242 Fax: 907-563-6139

Discipline(s) David McDowell, VP Wayne Coppel

Discipline(s): A vertically-integrated provider of technology, engineering, consulting, procurement, pipe fabrication, construction and maintenance services for government and private-sector clients in the energy, chemicals, environmental and infrastructure markets. Leverette Hoover, Gen. Mgr.

Matt Stephl, PE

Discipline(s): Civil engineering and trenchless repair technologies. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


2010 Engineering Directory Company

Top Executive

Tauriainen Engineering & Testing 35186 Kenai Spur Hwy. Soldotna, AK 99669-7620 Phone: 907-262-4624 Fax: 907-262-5777 TTT Environmental Instrumental & Supplies 4201 B St. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-770-9041 Fax: 907-770-9046 University of Alaska Institute of Northern Engineering PO Box 755910 Fairbanks, AK 99775 Phone: 907-474-5457 Fax: 907-474-6686 USKH Inc. 2515 A St. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-276-4245 Fax: 907-258-4653 VEI Consultants 1345 Rudakof Cir., Ste. 201 Anchorage, AK 99508-6105 Phone: 907-337-3330 Fax: 907-338-5386 WHPacific Inc. (formerly ASCG) 300 W. 31st Ave. Anchorage, AK 99503 Phone: 907-339-6500 Fax: 907-339-5327

Mike Tauriainen, PE


AK Empl.

AK Eng.















Discipline(s): Architecture, engineering, civil, structural, electrical, mechanical, environmental services, planning, survey and mapping (including GIS) and construction services.




Discipline(s): Civil and structural engineering.

Discipline(s) Discipline(s): Civil and environmental engineering.

Deborah Tompkins, Owner

Discipline(s): Alaska’s preferred source for environmental instrument rentals, sales, service and supplies. Field screening, water sampling, water meters, air monitors, soil sampling, PPE, miscellaneous field supplies and more. Daniel M. White, Dir.

Discipline(s): The INE facility conducts applied and basic research as well as testing in multiple engineering areas, including energy, infrastructure, transportation, petroleum and mineral engineering, water and environmental research and Arctic engineering. Tim Vig, PE/Pres.

Discipline(s): Architecture, civil, structural, transportation, mechanical, electrical engineering, land surveying, asbestos and lead-base paint consulting, airport planning and design, planning, public participation, environmental services and more. Vern Roelfs, Pres.

Discipline(s): Civil engineering and land surveying. John Rense, Pres.

Wince Corthell Bryson 609 Marine Ave., Ste. 250 Kenai, AK 99611 Phone: 907-283-4672 Fax: 907-283-4676








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acific Pile and Marine may be a new entity in Alaska, but it’s not new to the Alaska construction industry. Its Alaska team has worked in the state for nearly 20 years. “Our people bid, managed and constructed some of the most challenging marine construction projects built in Alaska,” says Division Manager, Jason Davis. Established in 2008, the firm has 50 to 80 employees. Many of its 15 Alaska-based employees previously worked at Hurlen Construction, which was acquired by American Civil Constructors. When former Hurlen owners Wilbur Clark and Eric Reichhelt started PPM, the core of the Hurlen-ACC marine group followed them. “I have the same crew in Skagway that I had in Ketchikan in 2006,” Davis says. PPM has the technical expertise of a large company, while offering the flexibility and personal attention usually provided only by small companies. The firm specializes in projects with a high degree of technical and logistical difficulty. In the marine environment, it builds docks, wharves, bridges, marinas, breakwaters, intakes and outfalls, and all other associated marine structures. It also performs dredging, as an aid to navigation, and environmental dredging of contaminated marine sediments. In the specialty foundation market, PPM does drilled shafts, pile foundations, concrete pile, auger cast pile, and tiebacks for bridges, buildings and other major structures. Far from being a “commodity” contractor, PPM excels at complex and demanding projects. One such example is Skagway’s 300-foot-long


breakwater. The $3-million project was a specialized pile-driving procedure with an interlocking sheet pile wall that had to be constructed in specific stages and with extreme precision. The work was performed late in the year to minimize disruption to the city and cruise ship passengers. As a result, PPM’s crew faced arduous environmental conditions, including strong winds and rain. Recently, PPM was awarded the design/build contract for the Carl E. Moses Harbor in Dutch Harbor. Construction will take place in the summer of 2011. Its largest and first project in Alaska was a $10 million ship lift and maintenance facility in Kodiak. The ship haulout facility in Kodiak has the highest-capacity travel lift made worldwide, capable of hauling out 180-foot-long boats weighing up to 600 metric tons, according to Davis. “There are only six lifts this size worldwide,” he adds. īĜĤğĜğıĠĭįĤĮĠĨĠĩį

Safety, quality and innovation are key factors at PPM. The company constantly searches for new technology, new ideas and better processes. Davis says, “We always strive to improve our work practices and ensure that work is performed in the safest manner possible.” Davis describes PPM as a relationship-based company that understands its viability depends on treating clients, subcontractors, suppliers and other business partners fairly. “We approach every interaction with the intention of working with the stakeholders again and again,” he says. PPM—interested in expanding in the private sector—is striving to establish good business relationships in Alaska and to create a niche in the market. “There are solid Alaska companies, developers and other contractors able to put our talents to good use,” Davis says. “We look forward to working with them.”

For more information contact: Pacific Pile and Marine, LP Jason Davis, Division Manager 3000 C Street Suite 101 Anchorage, AK 99503 Tel: (907) 265-9130 Fax: (907) 276-4508 Web site:


OCS Alaska

Photos courtesy of Shell International Ltd.

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ffshore drilling. Those words underlie the popular political catchphrase, “Drill, baby, drill” for Alaskans and others hoping to create jobs, forge independence from Middle East and South American oil interests and keep oil flowing through the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. For others, the prospect of offshore drilling in Alaska brings to mind visions of immense oil spills in dark, remote, storm-tossed Arctic waters; huge vessels polluting air and harming animals in a largely unresearched area already beset by climate change; harm to subsistence lifestyles in nearby communities.


Shell Oil Co. has spent almost $2.2 billion to acquire Outer Continental Shelf leases in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Shell hasn’t been able to drill exploratory wells in those two areas, however, because of administrative appeals, difficulties in obtaining environmental permits and a U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lawsuit decided in November 2008 on behalf of environmental advocates. In the wake of lawsuits filed in federal courts against him and the MMS, Interior Secretary Salazar in early December gave provisional approval for

Shell to proceed with its plans to drill in the Chukchi Sea, approximately 80 miles offshore from an area of Northwest Alaska that includes the Inupiat Eskimo village of Wainwright.

GO SHELL Interior’s approval is contingent on Shell obtaining an air quality permit from the Environmental Protection Agency, meeting marine mammal protection requirements and receiving the results of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service critical habitat assessment for polar bears that is expected to be completed in June. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

The ice-reinforced, 514-foot-long drill ship M/V Frontier Discoverer is scheduled to move into the Chukchi Sea on or about July 1 and onto the prospects when ice allows â&#x20AC;&#x201C; on or about July 4, a late November 2009 State public notice document for the North Slope Borough stated. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Drilling would be curtailed on or before Oct. 31 unless Shell provides a winter spill response scenario and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) finds the winter spill response scenario consistent with Alaska standards,â&#x20AC;? the State document stated. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The drillship and support vessels would exit the Chukchi Sea at the conclusion of the drilling season.â&#x20AC;? Shell spokesman Curtis Smith, in December, said he wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t sure when the required EPA permit would be issued. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We hope the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) will process our permit in a timely manner but EPA Region 10 is under-resourced and inexperienced in processing this kind of permit for the Arctic,â&#x20AC;? he said in an e-mail.


MMS APPROVES The MMS, in October 2009, gave approval for Shell to drill exploratory wells next year in the Beaufort Sea after the company complies with federal air, water and marine mammal protection requirements. The EPA is expected to make a draft permit available early this year, with a 45-day comment period. Whit Sheard, Alaska program director of Pacific Environment, in December 2009, said he expected litigation would be filed imminently. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Issues from the last go-around were never resolved,â&#x20AC;? Sheard said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This administration made the same mistakes in not putting it out for public comment, consulting communities.â&#x20AC;? On Dec. 15, 2009, the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission and the Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope filed a lawsuit with the Ninth Circuit Court, asking the court to scuttle a drilling plan the MMS approved in October that would enable Shell to drill between July and October 2010. That same day, Sheardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s organization, as well as the Alaska Wilderness League, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Oceana, Center for







Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), and the Native Village of Point Hope filed a second lawsuit with that court, asking it to review the Interior Secretary’s Oct. 16 decision to approve Shell’s offshore oil exploration plan for the Beaufort Sea. “MMS failed to consider adequately potential impacts of the decision on the sensitive Arctic ecosystem, subsistence activities, and wildlife,” the organizations’ legal representative, Earthjustice, stated in the lawsuit. Shell did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment. MMS spokesman Nicholas Pardi said there would be no immediate comment until the lawsuits had been reviewed.


stay mobile Peak’s All Terrain Vehicles can carry loads of up to 50 tons witho without hout an an impact on the environment, and they are recognized as “Summer Approved” for tundra travel by the State of Alaska’s Division of Natural Resources. Our fleet of ATV’s are an investment toward protecting the environment and supporting the petroleum industry in its effort to explore and develop Alaska’s Arctic Regions. We are mobile when you are ready to explore.


The so-called North Aleutian Basin Planning Area – that includes portions of Bristol Bay and the Bering Sea – is another area where OCS leasing is scheduled to take place. The MMS is preparing an environmental impact statement to assess potential impacts of oil and gas leasing and subsequent exploration and development there. Scoping meetings and meetings with fishery stakeholders took place between May 2008 to September 2008 and a lease sale is tentatively scheduled for 2011. The next public-comment period associated with the issue of drilling in Bristol Bay will take place in the winter of 2010, upon publication of a draft environmental impact statement.

OFFSHORE ECONOMICS OCS drilling’s economic potential for the state is high. A study released last March by Northern Economics and the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research states that drilling in OCS areas near Alaska – in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas and the Northern Aleutian Basin (Bristol Bay, specifically) – would generate 35,000 jobs over the following 50 years with a payroll of $72 billion (in 2007 dollars) in that period. The three areas hold an estimated mean total of 15.06 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 58.02 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, the study stated. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

A study released last March by Northern Economics and the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research states that drilling in OCS areas near Alaska – in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas and the Northern Aleutian basin (Bristol Bay, specifically) – would generate 35,000 jobs over the following 50 years with a payroll of $72 billion (in 2007 dollars) in that period. Shell’s Gilavar conducting seismic work. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010



â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our plan is considerably smaller based on feedback we have received from North Slope stakeholders. Our 2010 drilling plan is one year instead of three, it calls for one drilling rig instead of two and our aspirations are now to drill half the number of wells we had originally planned.â&#x20AC;?


â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Curtis Smith Spokesperson Shell The study also revealed that the first flow of oil from the Beaufort Sea would likely occur in 2019, while the first flow of oil from the Chukchi would happen in 2022. Oil would begin flowing in 2021 from the North Aleutian area. The first gas flows from the areas are expected to take place in 2029 from the Beaufort; 2036 from the Chukchi and 2022 from the North Aleutian Basin, according to the study. There are challenges in getting oil from beneath the sea floor to the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, however. Any oil found at Shellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so-called Burger, Shoebill and Crackerjack prospects in the Chukchi, for example, would have to be transported approximately 60 miles to 80 miles to shore and then about 200 miles east via onshore pipeline to the nearest industrial facility. Alaska Wilderness League, Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice, Pacific Environment, Resisting Environmental Destruction of Indigenous Lands, Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, North Slope Borough and the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission oppose Shellâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s drilling plans. The environmental groups, represented by Earthjustice, contend that the




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MMS approval of Shell’s exploration plan was flawed and that its officials approved drilling without adequately studying how it could affect endangered bowhead whales, polar bears and other Arctic marine creatures.

NO HARM DONE The MMS concluded that the proposed activities “would not significantly affect the quality of the human environment” or “cause undue or serious harm or damage to the human, marine, or coastal environment.” As a result of this finding, the MMS did not prepare an EIS specific to Shell’s project, the court filing stated. In November 2008, the court ordered that the MMS had to void its approval of Shell’s plan of exploration because of insufficient data on the potential impact to coastal communities. Four months later, the court voided the 2008 opinion, but by press time had not yet issued a new opinion crystallizing its view of the MMS’ approval of Shell’s exploration plan. Shell officials say the company has changed its drilling projections

Shell’s Nanuq conducting oil spill response training.

in light of community concerns. “Our plan is considerably smaller based on feedback we have received from North Slope stakeholders,” Smith said in an e-mail. “Our 2010 drilling plan is one year instead of three, it calls for one drilling rig instead of two and our aspirations are now to drill half the number of wells we had originally planned.” Shell is funding efforts to learn more about the detection, mapping and behavior of oil under ice.

Smith said a Norwegian company, The SINTEF Group, is conducting the research. SINTEF has performed earlier studies for MMS and the Interior Department, with funding from entities that included Shell, the Alaska De p a r t m e n t o f E n v i r o n m e n t a l Conservation, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil. In one of its experiments, performed on March 27, 2006, SINTEF scientists injected 898 gallons of Statfjord crude oil • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


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Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 10 • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

under ice in a Norwegian fjord. The oil was contained within two rings with vertical skirts to keep the oil under the ice. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The (draft) report states conclusively that by using a mix of mechanical barriers, Arctic-tested booms and skimmers, and in-situ burning that oil can be effectively cleaned up in a variety of ice conditions â&#x20AC;&#x201C; including slush,â&#x20AC;? Smith said.

FUTURE ACTIVITY Officials with environmental organizations that sued to prevent drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas say the oil industry has effectively mobilized public relations resources, controlled debate and speedily propelled timetables for offshore drilling. They say more time is needed to learn more about the ecosystems drilling will affect and what mechanisms the oil industry has prepared to rapidly find and clean up spills in dark, icy, turbulent Arctic seas. Marilyn Heiman, U.S. Arctic Program director for the Pew Charitable Trusts Environment Group, says her stance on drilling was molded by the

Exxon Valdez spill, which occurred nearly 21 years ago when she was working for the Alaska Legislature. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It happened on Good Friday; many of us were on vacation,â&#x20AC;? she said of the March 24, 1989, spill of approximately 11 million barrels of oil into Prince William Sound, after the tanker struck Bligh Reef near Valdez.

The MMS concluded that the proposed activities â&#x20AC;&#x153;would not significantly affect the quality of the human environmentâ&#x20AC;? or â&#x20AC;&#x153;cause undue or serious harm or damage to the human, marine, or coastal environment.â&#x20AC;?

She immediately returned to work. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were hearing reports of oiling and how bad it was,â&#x20AC;? Heiman said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The deputy commissioner of (the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation) would come in and report, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Calm weather and no spill equipment.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; The next day, it was the same thing, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Calm weather and no spill equipment.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; For two weeks, nothing. Nothing. Beautiful calm weather and no spill equipment.â&#x20AC;? Heiman says Pew doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t oppose all drilling in the Arctic region. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What we are really trying to get across is that there are some key things that should happen prior to allowing new drilling and leasing,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We understand there may be drilling, but we want to make sure itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s done right.â&#x20AC;? Pewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s U.S. Arctic program is working to ensure that oil and gas development is deferred until a precautionary, science-based plan can determine where and how these activities can be safely conducted and adequate consultation occurs with indigenous communities, according to the organizationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Web site. â?&#x2018;





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he North Slope occupies the top of Alaska, bordering the Arctic Ocean, with the Chukchi Sea west of Barrow and the Beaufort Sea to the east, sitting completely north of the Arctic Circle. Although 80 percent of Alaska terrain is over permafrost, it is thicker on the North Slope – from 700 feet to 2,240 feet. The North Slope Borough’s 89,000 square miles reach some 225 miles north to south and more than 600 miles east to west with 2,000 miles of coastline, excluding the offshore island perimeters. The borough is the nation’s largest county-level organized government –


by landmass, not population. The North Slope borough has nearly 6,800 permanent residents: 4,054 in Barrow, 713 in Point Hope, 257 in Point Lay, 534 in Wainwright, 219 in Atqasuk, 424 in Nuiqsut, 4 in Prudhoe Bay and Deadhorse, 272 in Kaktovik and 284 in Anaktuvuk Pass. There’s no road system connecting communities, so air travel is an important mode of transporting both passengers and cargo. In addition, residents commonly travel by boat during the summer and snow machine during the winter, especially to practice subsistence. Coastal communities harvest seals, walrus, bowhead whales, beluga

whales and polar bears, along with the berries, birds, fish, caribou and other wildlife utilized by communities situated more inland. Seventy-four percent of North Slope Borough land is federally managed. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge covers 29,678 square miles in the northeast corner, making it the largest National Wildlife Refuge in the country. The National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska encompasses 35,926 square miles and has a history of almost a century of petroleum exploration. The Bureau of Land Management currently administers more than 300 oil and gas leases in NPR-A. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

OIL’S IMPACT Alaska’s North Slope is renowned for its prolific oil production. The region is endowed with the country’s two largest oilfields: Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk. The petroleum sector contributed $6.1 billion in oil revenues to the State’s general fund in fiscal year 2009 (about 90 percent of unrestricted revenues), plus 30 percent of all jobs for the state’s residents. “Those are very well-paid, year-round jobs,” says Alyssa Shanks, an economist with the Alaska Department of Labor. When many people think of the North Slope, Shanks says, they only think of Prudhoe Bay, which is a Census Designated Place with a year-round population of just four people. It’s very different than other places in the region. Yet, it provides a temporary base for thousands of nonresident workers who support the Prudhoe Bay oilfield. The oil and government sectors have provided fairly stable jobs for Alaskans, many of whom travel from Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and elsewhere to work on the North Slope. Currently, the North Slope Borough

North Slope Borough at a Glance Population: 6,800 (2008 State estimate) Location: Northern slope of the Brooks Range along the coast of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. Main industries: Oil and gas, and government Key local contacts: Arctic Slope Regional Corp. President Roberta “Bobbi” Quintavell, North Slope Borough Mayor Edward S. Itta, Barrow Mayor Bobby Haracheck, Point Hope Mayor George Kingik, Wainwright Mayor Enoch Oktollik Tax base: Oil tax revenues Hospital: Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital in Barrow Airport: Wiley Post-Will Rogers Memorial Airport in Barrow Schools: The North Slope Borough has 11 schools (K-12), and the accredited, two-year Ilisagvik College. has a very low unemployment rate. The average rate for January through October 2009 was just 4.8 percent. “If the people (nonresident workers) who are on the North Slope are laid off, their unemployment would not be counted there,” Shanks said. “It would most likely be counted wherever they are from. Outside of Prudhoe Bay, there are small villages and small economies that are vastly different from the bustle that’s going on at Prudhoe Bay. The villages depend on local government.”

REGIONAL HUB Barrow is the largest city in the North Slope Borough and the economic, transportation and administrative center for the region. Incorporated as a first-class city in 1959, Barrow also has the distinction of being the northernmost community in the United States. Barrow’s traditional name, Ukpeagvik, means “place where owls are hunted.” An important historical landmark in the area is the Birnick archaeological site, which contains 16 dwelling mounds • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


of a culture believed to have existed from 500 to 900 AD. Another interesting site is the Cape Smythe Whaling and Trading Station. Located in nearby Browerville, it was constructed as a whaling station in 1893 and is the oldest frame building in the Arctic. The Inupiat Heritage Center is also an important attraction in Barrow. Summer tourists visit the center to learn about the area’s traditional culture, as well as purchase arts and crafts such as baleen boats, carved ivory, masks, parkas and fur mittens. About 60 percent of Barrow’s residents are Iñupiat Eskimo, many of whom rely on subsistence hunting, fishing and whaling to supplement full- or part-time jobs. Currently, local government accounts for 58 percent of Barrow’s employment, according to Shanks. Barrow’s biggest government employers are the city, the North Slope Borough and its school district. The area’s largest private employer is the Arctic Slope Native Association, which operates the Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital. One hundred forty more jobs will be coming to the community, thanks to a project to replace Barrow’s hospital. The Indian Health Service, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Denali Commission have contributed funds to build a new 100,000-square-foot, two-story hospital. The existing hospital is inadequate and does not meet required building codes. The new hospital will be four times larger with completion expected in 2012. It will offer more exam rooms and patient beds, as well as new services, such as eye care and physical therapy.

ARCTIC SLOPE REGIONAL CORP. Arctic Slope Regional Corp. is owned by and represents the business interests of the approximately 10,000 Arctic Slope Iñupiat living on the North Slope and western edges of the state. ASRC and its family of companies is the largest Alaskan-owned company, employing 9,000 people worldwide. Headquartered in Barrow, the company operates four major business segments: petroleum refining and marketing, government technical services, energy services and construction. ASRC continues to concentrate on

72 • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

important initiatives to enrich the lives of its shareholders. For instance, the corporation is executing its strategic plan to double its economic impact, actively participate in sustainable development opportunities in its villages and promote the cross-generation transmission of values. “We are over half-way through our current plan and on target to meet our goals, though we foresee a challenging economy,” says Tara Sweeney, ASRC, vice president for external affairs. “As a result of a disciplined business approach, ASRC had a strong year in 2009, including the fall dividend shareholder distribution of approximately $45 million.” The total fall dividend distribution is the second-highest regular distribution issued by the corporation. The pershare distribution amount of $41.96 is the third-highest regular per share distribution issued by the corporation. The average ASRC shareholder owns 100 shares of ASRC stock and is set to receive $4,196. To advance its efforts, AS RC launched the North Slope Marketplace, a business plan competition for small businesses. The undertaking met with great success, according to Sweeney. ASRC awarded $25,000 to each of the five small businesses selected through the competition to start or grow their businesses. Recently, ASRC kicked off the “I Am Iñupiaq” campaign to reach out to younger shareholder populations. The corporation also maintains a multifaceted X-GEN Task Force designed to use technology to improve communication with shareholders, create strong community partnerships and increase ASRC executive’s presence at North Slope schools. In 2010, ASRC will be launching the Arctic Slope Community Foundation, a non-profit public charity designed to promote philanthropy among the Arctic Slope region for the formation of a community-supported endowment. “Funds will be used for the humanitarian, educational, economic and cultural needs of each community within our region,” Sweeney says. ASRC is also actively addressing concerns to improve the region. One area of concern is the lack of investment climate within Alaska and the impact that it has on the state’s economic

horizon. “From where we sit, it is incumbent upon every Alaskan to know and understand these issues and not wait to care until we have an economic crisis across the state,” she says. “Threats to industry, bureaucratic burdens placed on generating a favorable investment climate coupled with a lack of resource development prospects, if left unattended, will cripple this state.” Sweeney feels an element of a favorable resource development investment climate is community and regional alignment. Rural Alaska contains vast natural

resources from which Alaska derives a majority of its revenue, she says, but rural Alaskans bear a significant portion of the risk with little upside. “When companies want to develop offshore, our people are straddled with the high risks associated with potential threats to our subsistence lifestyle,” she explains. “Aside from a few jobs and some contracting, what is the industry doing to create better alignment? It is imperative that the industry recognize this factor and take the necessary steps to align our interests for the long term.” ❑ • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010



Photo by Denny Wells/ Courtesy of Advanced Supply Chain International

Advanced Supply Chain International is located in South Anchorage, together with sister company Asset Management Services.

How Native villages are supplied. BY HEIDI BOHI


resh fruit doesn’t stand a chance in Paul Johnson’s house. After spending most of his 38 years in rural Southeast, his tastes have been geared toward what was always available – canned fruits and vegetables. In communities that are accessible by air and water only, the availability of fresh produce, meats and dairy products is contingent on infrequent ferry stops, barge service or air cargo, which is more convenient, but substantially more expensive.


COST VERSUS CHOICE Johnson, a principal and director of global logistics for PolyEarth Construction International, says that even since his childhood, when it comes to the supply chain and logistics required to get Alaska villages and rural communities supplies, the biggest problem that remains is that though expectations of residents living in these areas have changed, one thing remains the same: there are limited transportation modes, especially in off-road communities,

and cost often wins out over choice. ‘‘Money is the overriding element,’’ Johnson says. ‘‘You can get better quality and shipments can be more frequent, but you have to pay for it.’’ Until about 15 years ago, more than 200 small communities across the state had few choices when it came to ordering supplies ranging among groceries, clothing, vehicles and even certain luxuries, such as a child’s birthday cake or fresh flowers. Depending on the location, scheduled air cargo and barge ser- • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

TIMING QUALITY Today, though the modes of shipping have not advanced, because of Internet and other technologies, the opportunity for choice has improved and following that, peoples’ expectations have changed in terms of the quality they expect and the immediacy of the delivery. In the past, Johnson says, to get a shipment that was fast and affordable was impossible, which meant that quality always suffered. Monthly barge deliveries were a way of life and rural Alaskans adjusted their tastes and preferences accordingly. Today, not only do rural Alaskans self-order online, but also backhauling gives them even more flexibility when trying to get personal and business supplies to their community. When it comes to the supply chain for small communities, Johnson says it is important to understand that this is not like the 1970s television show Laverne and Shirley who placed caps on beer bottles as they moved down the conveyor belt. After determining what supply is needed, it’s a matter of figuring out how to get it there so that it’s on time, within the shipping budget and that the quality does not suffer along the way. At the center of the puzzle are environmental and seasonal considerations, combined with limited transportation options, depending on what time of year it is and what the item being shipped is. Typically, this means that somewhere along the line the customer is going to have to bend on the timeline, cost or quality.

condition and at a competitive price. Today, supply chain management and logistics is an industry of its own and the University of Alaska Anchorage offers undergraduate and advanced degrees in global supply chain and logistics management. The flow of goods and services from outside markets to rural Alaska has come a long way, says Darren Prokop, chair for the UAA Department of Logistics. But, it still has room for improvement. Deploying more satellite-based technology, having the U.S. Coast Guard invest in more icebreaker ships to navigate through icecovered waters in the Northern region, and making Internet and other wireless technologies more readily available in Alaska are part of the solution. Because these outlying areas are challenged by seasonal restrictions, low populations requiring only low volumes of goods, and lack of infrastructure, Bush residents are forced to pay a premium on everything that is barged or flown in. If quality and time is not an issue, shipping is less expensive. Otherwise, premium transportation modes are required and that means throwing money at the problem.

LOGISTICS INFRASTRUCTURE On a local level, places like the Mallot’s General Store in Yakutat are starting to recognize consumer tastes and preferences toward bulk consumable purchases and now compete with national box-store chains like Costco and regional players like Alaska Commercial Company. Communities are also beginning to understand how to maximize backhaul opportunities and are taking advantage of the Alaska Marine Highway System to supplement higher priced charters. As this logistics infrastructure improves and peoples’ expectations continue to increase, more and more elements of the process are incorporated into the solution – time, quality, cost – and this presents more opportunities to supply villages and a generation of related providers, such as freight forwarders, starts to create a flurry of economic activity. It also is important to remember that what’s good for rural Alaska is also good for larger communities, Johnson points out. Most of the businesses – especially big-box stores – are located in these urban centers. They rely on the

Advanced Supply Chain International employee Ken Smith verifies a shipment bound for the North Slope against the online purchase order.

Photo courtesy of Advanced Supply Chain International

vice were the common means for getting supplies, which often meant waiting for more than a month before they arrived depending on seasonal considerations and how much money someone was willing to pay to expedite their shipment.

SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT The terms ‘‘supply chain management’’ and ‘‘logistics’’ go hand-in-hand. Moving products from one point to another, whether it’s delivering a fuel shipment from the distributor to the gas station, or getting fresh seafood from the boat to a manufacturing facility, is a supply chain. Logistics refers to the tactics involved in getting the right products to the right place, at the right time, in good • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


supply chain needs of rural communities for survival. When it comes to getting supplies to small communities throughout the state, Johnson says, ‘‘Rural Alaska is just a microcosm of the world. It’s not just trains, planes and automobiles. It’s supply chain pipelines, information networks, data and money.’’ For a small business, such as a rural community store, owning a warehouse and a fleet of support vehicles is usually cost-prohibitive. Large companies are also starting to see the advantages of contracting with supply chain and logistics experts to fulfill their needs instead of having to lease or contract these services. In addition to the cost savings, they do not have to worry about storage, transportation or distribution of supplies and materials. With a phone call to a supply chain and logistics company, they can arrange for anything to be shipped to their customer. They can also pre-arrange a schedule for a specified amount of product to be released to the customer on certain days of the week or month.


OIL & GAS SPECIALTIES Advanced Supply Chain International solves end-to-end asset management and supply chain challenges for various companies and specializes in supporting North Slope oil and gas operations for maintenance and construction project needs. Its clients that have large supply chain needs include BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., ConocoPhillips Alaska and Atlantic LNG. When it comes to rural communities, Prudhoe Bay represents the most extreme example of both supply needs and supply chain management challenges that are critical to developing Arctic oil and natural gas deposits, says Scott Hawkins, ASCI president. Harsh winter weather requires that special equipment be used to withstand frigid temperatures, and poor soil conditions require additional site preparation to prevent equipment and structures from sinking. In Arctic seas, the ice pack hinders the shipment of personnel, materials, equipment and oil for long time periods. At the same time, late onset of winter weather delays construction of the

ice roads required to transport heavy equipment across the tundra. “In our business, we handle tens of thousands of unique items every year,” Hawkins says. Finding a specialized pump from overseas, supporting module construction in Anchorage for shipment to the North Slope, securing pipe, valves and fittings, or something as standard as shipping gloves, hard hats and safety glasses are all in a day’s work. Often this involves working with long supply lines from manufacturing centers all over the world to insure reliability, transportation access and competitive shipping costs. During the summer season when the Arctic tundra becomes marshy, it can also slow down exploration activities and increase costs by delaying transportation and drilling activities. The early onset of warm weather on the North Slope last April stranded equipment and precluded some exploration well drilling. The summer season also offers a limited window of opportunity for ocean barging. Eni, an Italy-based petroleum company, recently announced that the • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


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Nikaitchuq oil field on the North Slope would delay production until the end of this year, partly because the company missed the summer season opportunity to ocean barge the field’s processing and operations modules to the North Slope from a Louisiana fabrication yard. Such supply chain delays increase project costs and reduce the rates of return as expensive equipment remains idle. Although these glitches cannot always be anticipated or prevented, supply chain experts like Hawkins


make it their job to come up with innovative alternate solutions that are cost-effective and meet the critical timelines. Challenges on the North Slope, while on a much larger scale, are no less critical and are very similar to many of the same ones that tiny villages face when trying to manage their supply chain. A pioneer in Alaska’s supply chain and logistics industry, Hawkins has seen many improvements during his 15-year tenure and his company continues to be a strong leader in

these areas of technological advancement. As an industry, the goal is to implement technology to improve everything from on-time delivery and self-service order configuration to delivery synchronization and status visibility. Technology tools are separated into those that improve operational efficiency and channel visibility (enterprise resource planning, electronic data interchange, Web and radio frequency identification); those that provide connectivity, information sharing, event tracking, exception management and dynamic optimization to reduce lead times and wastes, and increase supply chain agility (collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment, advanced planning and scheduling, and sales and operations planning); and those that focus on customer experience enhancement, customer order and service management solutions, shipment tracking, channel disruption management, supply chain improvements, and regulatory functions. ASCI built an entire suite of Web tools that communicate with customers and suppliers, speeding the process and reducing the amount of paperwork. This “webification” of the industry allows customers to access the company’s catalog, initiate orders and track order status so they know when it arrives at the consolidation center and when it can be expected on-site. These “smart tools” mean that once a purchase order is posted on the Internet, it will be in the hands of vendors within an hour, Hawkins says. While the private industry is doing its part to improve supply chain management, everyone in the industry is waiting for the public sector to make these same investments. ‘‘Governmental entities and public-sector agencies are important players in the state and to a large degree – with the exception of the U.S. Department of Defense – they haven’t adopted electronic tools like private industry has,’’ Hawkins says. Not investing in rural infrastructure also keeps the supply chain sector from advancing: new roads and improved ports are two of the biggest areas of need and would make the whole system more ❑ efficient for rural areas. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


Nonprofit arm entrusted with records. BY JULIE STRICKER


t’s been a quiet year for The 13th Regional Corp. Too quiet, say shareholders who want to hear how the Alaska Native regional corporation is doing. Or if it still exists. The 13th has not had a shareholder meeting since 2006. Its staff has been laid off; it was evicted from its headquarters in Tukwila, Wash.; and most of its subsidiaries have been dissolved. Its Web site has gone dark, and the domain name now belongs to a Japanese group. The only tracks are a long string of tax liens and lawsuits against the corporation.

LAWSUITS SILENCE BOARD The lawsuits are behind the silence, says Elmer Makua, director of The 13th Regional Heritage Foundation, the nonprofit arm of The 13th Regional. “The lawyers are saying ‘don’t say anything.’” Makua, also a shareholder, says the corporation is pursuing lawsuits against past officers. The corporation is broke, its subsidiaries largely shut down. He is in contact with the directors who are trying to organize an annual meeting, but it requires money “and their coffers are dry.” Makua acknowledges communication problems, and recently set up a Web site, http://the13thregional, to help answer shareholder questions. The site notes that The 13th “has been badly damaged and will be in recovery for some time.” Shareholder records have been entrusted to the nonprofit and are secure.

UNRESPONSIVE BOARD Director Mike Rawley did not return calls for comment in early December. Jacqueline Rashleger noted that

her term had expired in May 2009. Calls left with other directors were not returned. The 13th is still listed as active in Alaska, but has been dissolved in Washington.

directors posted an unsigned letter on The 13th’s Web site. They said that the corporation was undergoing difficulties, but that they were not responsible for the problems and were trying to rectify them.

“Mine isn’t a poison pen. Mine is a sharp pen until we get answers.” – Carl Hart • Shareholder The corporation was created under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which established 12 Alaskabased regional and more than 200 village corporations to settle aboriginal land claims. Under the settlement, the corporations divided nearly $963 million and 44 million acres of land. In 1975, The 13th Regional Corp. was created for the benefit of Alaska Natives living outside the state and seeded with $54 million, but was not given any land, nor was it allowed to receive 7(i) revenue generated by resource development shared among the 12 Alaskabased corporations. The 13th Regional also was required to distribute half of its settlement money to its 4,500 shareholders. The other $27 million evaporated in a series of poor management decisions. The corporation declared bankruptcy in the 1980s. In the 1990s, the corporation paid off its debts and was finally on solid footing. By 2004, it was reporting revenues of $30.8 million and was making a strong pitch to get the land distribution it was denied 30 years before. In 2006, revenue dropped to $9.1 million. Then it dropped off the radar. In December 2008, the board’s

The letter continued, “As board members, we believe there can be a very viable future of no small significance for The 13th and its shareholders that is worth pursuing. We have agreed to pursue it together as volunteers. We are under no illusions, having been struck by lightning at least three times.”

ACCOUNTABILITY TO SHAREHOLDERS The long silences have taken a toll on shareholder relations. Carl Hart has been tracking The 13th’s movements on his Web site,, and is bitter about the corporation’s lack of communication. He wants to know where the hundreds of thousands of dollars generated by one subsidiary are going. He wants to know where the company’s assets are. He wants an accounting to shareholders. “The status is that the directors are still not communicating with shareholders,” Hart says. He said one director told him that he needed to put down his “poison pen” and stop asking questions. Hart refuses. “Mine isn’t a poison pen. Mine is a sharp pen until we get answers.” ❑ • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010



Work abundant, jobs and cash scarce.

Photos by Jodi Bailey


Top left photo: Chenoa Crow, left, and Keith Billy study during a class at the Vocational Education Top right photo: Center in Fort Debra Van Dyke, left, Yukon Flats Vocational Education Center director, helps student, Jessica Sperry. Bottom left photo: Satellite dish connects outside world to modern Fort Yukon home next door to log cabin. Bottom right photo: Fort Yukon airport provides transportation in and out of the roadless community.


ynthia and Dale Erickson have operated Tanana Commercial for more than 20 years. The store in the small village of Tanana on the banks of the Yukon River sells groceries, fuel and general merchandise. In the past few years, they opened a deli and provide lodging for visitors. It seems an unlikely success story. Tanana is 130 air miles northwest of Fairbanks. There are no roads. Freight costs are high and the weather is often harsh. The village population has fallen by a third in 20 years. But the Ericksons have worked hard and know their community, which is the site of


a traditional crossroads where the Tanana and Yukon rivers meet. Fishing, timber, fur and other components of a traditional subsistence lifestyle are important in the region. The store employs four full-time and one part-time employee. Running it is a family affair. “It’s been a good way to raise the kids,” Dale Erickson says. “They learned how to work.”

ECONOMIC ENGINES Small businesses, such as Tanana Commercial, are pistons in the economic engine for rural Alaska, which

for hundreds of years has depended on the state’s vast natural resources. Most of the economic activity outside Alaska’s urban centers takes place in areas with abundant natural resources, such as timber, minerals, petroleum and fishing. On a smaller scale, Alaskans also look to the land to make a living through village woodlots and traplines. Hubs such as Bethel, Kotzebue and Barrow provide hundreds of jobs and opportunities through health care, education and transportation. Government is the state’s top source of employment, both in urban and rural areas. Tourism • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

is second only to petroleum as a leading industry. Transportation is another key industry, providing $3.5 billion and contributing to more than 47,000 jobs statewide – 10 percent of all the jobs in the state. World-class mineral deposits form their own economies. For example, the giant Red Dog zinc and lead mine in Northwest Alaska employed 475 people full-time and another 80 temporary jobs for a total payroll of $48.9 million in 2007. It is the sole taxpayer in the Northwest Arctic Borough and also paid $58 million in royalties to NANA Regional Corp., 62 percent of which was shared with other Alaska Native corporations. Although many of the workers at Red Dog are NANA shareholders from the region, that isn’t necessarily the case for other resource-development operations, says Scott Goldsmith, professor of economics at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research. “That’s the big mismatch we see in rural Alaska – there are a lot of jobs, but they’re not in areas where the residents are located so people have to be drawn in to do those jobs; but the people who are drawn in are from other places, mostly urban areas,” Goldsmith says. In small communities, “the number of paying jobs is small, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is just sitting down,” Goldsmith notes. “When you’re talking about jobs in small places, you have to consider not only wage and salary jobs that might be reported on a government form. There aren’t a lot of them, small communities can’t support a lot of those. People are working, but they’re not working for pay.” They’re doing things like fixing someone’s outboard motor or cutting hair, Goldsmith says. They’re trading services. Another occupation is subsistence, which does not show up in government reports, but does generate economic income for individuals. By far the biggest source of private employment in rural villages is government, says State Economist Alyssa Shanks. For example, in the area of Interior Alaska that includes Fort Yukon and Chalkyitsik, the U.S. Census shows 303 total annual jobs, a mix of full-time and part-time. Of those, 79 are generated by the private sector and

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224 are government. “Most of that is local government and most of that is education,” Shanks says. “The largest piece of employment in that area is all education.”

INCOMES LOW Per capita income for that region in 2007 was $28,359. Government transfer payments, such as Social Security, accounted for 37 percent of personal income. In late 2007, the University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research published a study about what is needed to create and maintain businesses in rural Alaska. Viable Business Enterprises for Rural Alaska looked at businesses in villages with populations between 200 and 1,400 located off Alaska’s road system, according to Sharman Haley, a professor of economics and public policy at UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research and the principal investigator in the study. Even in smaller communities, natural resources, such as national parks and commercial fisheries or relatively inexpensive travel costs to Anchorage are more likely to predict the existence of larger and more diverse businesses, according to VIBEs. The study interviewed 196 business owners in 19 randomly selected communities. The study allowed researchers to see how rural Alaska entrepreneurs succeeded, or failed, when faced with the daunting challenges of running a business with the odds seemingly stacked against them.

A HARD ROAD Business owners wrestled with basic tasks such as getting licenses and financial management. Almost one-third of the studied businesses were retail stores, such as Tanana Commercial that sell groceries, general merchandise and fuel. Arts, including Native arts, and recreation-related businesses accounted for 15 percent of businesses surveyed. Transportation businesses, mainly air, made up 11 percent, with bed and breakfasts, hotels, lodges and eating establishments providing the bulk of the rest. Utilities were the biggest expense cited by most of the business owners.


Air transportation and bypass mail were keys to keeping merchandise relatively affordable – even so, a gallon of milk costs $10 in some areas, if it’s available at all. The more successful businesses are in areas with some measure of disposable income. One important criteria of success is whether an area is a gateway to National Park Service lands or other scenic areas. The communities with 20 or more businesses were centered around natural resources, such as fishing, timber, commercial hunting and guiding and mariculture. Any manufacturing was closely related to raw resources. They formed agglomerations of related businesses. “When you have a core base of businesses, you can create an economy,” says Haley. One of the major barriers to rural entrepreneurs is the lack of cash in circulation in remote areas. There are no banks and sometimes a check will be signed and countersigned several times before it is deposited. They’ll ask their relatives who go to town to carry cash back.

INTERNET CRUCIAL The Internet is playing a crucial role for rural businesses. Internet banking can help ease the cash crunch and tourismbased businesses rely on the Internet for marketing. It’s also opening up new avenues for entrepreneurs, Haley says. “Having Internet service is very important to rural businesses for marketing,” Haley says. “There is great demand for Internet services, Internet providers and tech-support businesses.” Lack of cash is one of the problems the Ericksons have had to deal with in Tanana. They also say they have had problems hiring and keeping employees who would show up on time or who knew basic business skills.

SCHOOL HELPS A program administered through the Yukon Flats Vocational Education Center in Fort Yukon helps high school and some junior high students in rural villages learn life and business skills, according to director Debra Van Dyke. “We’re doing exciting things for kids,” Van Dyke says.

About a dozen students at a time attend classes and stay in a dorm next door. Classes cover three broad areas: construction, health and business. Students as young as junior high learn life skills, such as being responsible for getting to class on time, working together as a group and getting their normal schoolwork done. They also learn what a resume is, how to behave in a job interview and what kinds of education are needed for various career paths. The program works closely with the University of Alaska Interior-Aleutians campus, village councils and the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments. The focus of the program is to give students skills they can use whether they stay in the villages or go elsewhere to find a job. “We’re giving our students opportunities and telling them ‘you can do this,’” Van Dyke says. For instance, a recent class was an intensive study of spreadsheet program Microsoft Excel. After the class, the students will return to their villages, where many of them have a paid internship waiting for them through the village council so they can teach others in the village what they’ve learned. “For kids, it’s sometimes the only employment available,” Van Dyke says. “It gives them a little pocket money and imparts job-related skills.” They also earn high school credits and in many cases college credits. Some classes are prerequisites to college classes, so when the students step onto campus to pursue a particular career path “you’re already this far ahead,” Van Dyke says. A strong cultural component is included, with an elder sitting in or Gwich’in language lessons given by teleconference. At the core of the center’s programs is an emphasis on traditional values and the land, Alaska’s most abundant resource. In an uncertain business climate, rural Alaskans can always go back to the land, where they can work cutting wood, fishing or running a trapline. They’ll barter if they have to. Van Dyke says she keeps in mind something late Gwich’in elder Jonathon Solomon said, “We have to protect our land base because when there are no jobs to go back to, our land is there to sustain us.” ❑ • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

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Fairbanks Energy Overhead Cost and supply No. 1 concern. BY HEIDI BOHI

UAF Power Plant zoomed in. Photos courtesy of Fairbanks North Star Borough

View of Fairbanks Bowl area looking east from Chena Ridge Feb. 6, 2008. The University of Alaska Fairbanks is to the left. The plume on the left is from the UAF Power Plant, and the one on the right is the Aurora Power Plant in downtown Fairbanks.


hen preparing a business prospectus, any company considering locating to Fairbanks to partake of its relatively healthy economy, would be wise to take a long hard look at the projected overhead costs under the energy expenditures column. Like many communities, when energy costs escalated in 2008, businesses scrambled to balance staying competitive and in the in the black. Ensuring that energy costs are sustainable, affordable and predictable, while reducing PM2.5 (Particulate Matter, 2.5 micrometers or less) emissions, is one of new Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins’ top priorities. Although the community is a wellpositioned hub for Interior villages,


mining, oil and gas support, tourism, and Arctic research, and is known for its local camaraderie, the cold, bitter truth is that the cost of fuel is a significant concern for businesses considering investing in the community and if State and local leaders do not find a way to lower these costs soon, the economy could stall. “The cost of energy in our community keeps us from taking advantage of all the opportunities that we have,” Hopkins says. “When the price of oil ran up a year ago, it consumed a great deal of discretionary income in our community.” In January, the coldest month of the year, it is not unusual for temperatures to dip between -30 degrees and

-50 degrees and then shoot up into the 90s in June. With heating oil at $2.70 per gallon and electricity at 18 cents per kilowatt hour, it is easy to see how monthly operating costs can quickly impact business profits, discretionary investment and spending.

RISING ENERGY COSTS Although the unemployment rate is almost 7.5 percent – compared to the national average of 10 percent – it is harder to create jobs when energy costs are unstable. Fairbanks and the adjacent communities in the borough spend about 10 percent of their annual incomes on home energy, compared to 4 percent in places like Anchorage. In the Interior, the cost of electric generation, • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

space heating and transportation has more than doubled in the past four years. During 2008, energy prices were so unstable that businesses couldn’t develop good cost projections, and while prices have settled back down to more affordable levels, they are expected to continue rising over the long-term. To further compound this problem, borough residents rely on burning wood as a major source of renewable and affordable heat; as energy costs increased, this reliance increased. Now, due to air quality issues in the bowlshaped area, folks on the street are worried they may have to decrease this dependency on wood and switch back to more expensively priced oil. It is not uncommon for the borough to ask people to voluntarily stop wood burning when the air quality in the area drops below federal standards. The drop in air quality results from a combination of low temperatures, poor dispersion and the burning of unseasoned wood. The poor dispersion can allow an inversion to develop and be sustained. When the inversion strengthens, it further concentrates the pollution.

AIR POLLUTION Fine particles build up in the air creating health hazards, usually the result of heating sources, such as burning green (unseasoned) wood and using older wood stoves and older oil furnaces, which, in addition to vehicles and industrial sources, all result in high wintertime particulate matter levels. During these stagnant weather conditions with cold temperatures and limited air movement, pollution may collect in an area rather than dissipate. In October 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency designated 31 areas nationwide as “nonattainment” meaning they are not attaining the fine particle standard strengthened in 2006 to protect public health from harmful levels of PM2.5. Designations are based on the most recent set of air quality monitoring data from 2006-2008. The urban-suburban core of Fairbanks North Star Borough was the only Alaska area listed. As a result, Hopkins says the borough is developing a plan to reduce pollution by 2012 and demonstrate that it is meeting federal standards so that it is reclassified as meeting

“attainment” standards by fall 2014. “In addition to being a critical issue,” Hopkins says “it is difficult to meet those standards in a subarctic climate. With little wind at ground level during the winter, no real heat energy from the winter sun and the surrounding hills in the Fairbanks area, the most intense temperature inversions measured in North America create a “bowl of pollution,” that doesn’t move out.” Although the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is charged with working with the borough to develop the plan, voters approved a ballot initiative that instructs the borough to take the lead. Some of the remedies that are likely to be considered are finding ways to reduce particulates that come out of chimneys and developing a wood stove change-out program that gets rid of inefficient stoves and, with funding assistance, replaces them with newer, more efficient stoves. Ongoing monitoring and measuring also will be part of the program so the borough can better understand what is causing the problem. “We want to make sure we’re solving this problem,” Hopkins says.

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The city and the borough also are looking at various renewable energy projects, recognizing that long-term solutions must be balanced with those that can offer residents more immediate relief. The Interior Issues Council Cost of Energy Taskforce is looking into energy infrastructure in the community and what steps it needs to take next. The goals of the task force were to identify solutions that reduce the cost of energy, create a sustainable fuel supply, reduce PM2.5, reduce carbon dioxide and sulfur emissions and address local solid waste disposal issues. Co n s e r v a t i o n m e a s u r e s , t h e Susitna Dam project and a biomass coal-to-liquids project were the top three recommendations for the community. Conservation measures may include a combination of opportunities for reducing the cost of power and heat such as implementing an end-use efficiency program in larger facilities: schools, city buildings and water treatment plants. The Alaska Energy Authority conducted energy audits in 490 schools and facilities in 143 rural communities over the last five years. Results identify measures that can save an estimated $2.3 million per year over the next decade at a one-time cost of $4.1 million. Weatherization efforts within the borough have resulted in more than 500 homes undergoing conservation retrofits within the last year. Building a dam on the Susitna River for electricity is one of several options also being talked about as part of a broad, long-term energy solution for the Railbelt. The first studies for the hydroelectric project date back to 1953. The project was later scrapped after the economic bust of the 1980s. If the project reaches fruition this time, it is expected to be about 600 megawatts and be funded by a team of utilities, a port authority, or some other low-profit entity. Hydropower is one of the least expensive ways to provide energy. The Fairbanks Economic Development Corp. completed a contract with an engineering firm to determine the feasibility of a biomass coal-to-liquids project and is now entering the design- • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

engineering stage of the project. The construction of the carbon-based fuel gasifier would produce syngas and heat, feeding existing combustion turbines and steam turbines coupled to electric generators and could produce new electric generation units. The syngas would also feed a FischerTropsch plant for the production of synthetic liquid petroleum fuels. Financial analysis of the gasifier option shows a reduction in electrical costs of more than 50 percent for the local utility and a reduction in diesel, home heating oil and aviation fuel costs of more than 30 percent. Rural Alaska also would benefit, as these lowercost synthetic fuels would be available from Fairbanks for shipment to Bush communities.

JOB CREATION FORUM In December, at the request of Pres. Obama, the borough and FEDC hosted a community jobs forum to identify local opportunities and obstacles to job creation. About 50 area leaders in business, government, education, labor, social services and

the arts gathered to brainstorm ideas and provide their perspectives on job creation by discussing six questions posed by the White House. Information Insights, the consulting company that facilitated the session, included a summary of the group’s input in a report that was forwarded to Obama and will be used to guide attempts to stabilize and strengthen the economy. The six questions forwarded from the White House were: 1) From what you know about the President’s Jobs Forum, what seems relevant to your community?; 2) What parts of your local economy are working or thriving? What businesses and sectors are expanding and hiring?; 3) What parts of your local economy are not working or thriving? What businesses and sectors have been hit the hardest? What are people struggling with the most?; 4) What are the opportunities for growth in your community? What businesses and sectors seem poised to rebound? What do you see as the jobs of the future?; 5) What are the obstacles to job creation in your community? What could make local

businesses more likely to start hiring?; and, 6) What other issues and ideas should the president consider? Not surprisingly, when the answers were compiled, all signs again pointed back to one critical finding: the cost and supply of energy in Fairbanks. Despite this challenge, along with the unemployment rate, Hopkins remains optimistic about Fairbanks’ future and many other developments the borough is advancing. As the economic, recreational and cultural hub of Interior and Northern Alaska, Fairbanks serves as a conduit for commerce, trade, transportation and natural resource development, benefiting immensely from trade linkages with northern rural communities and villages that annually contribute more than $250 million and hundreds of jobs to the Fairbanks economy “We’re a hub community and serve others throughout the region,” Hopkins says. “All Interior and Northern residents need affordable, reliable sustainable energy to maintain our economic strength and viability. We are commit❑ ted to providing this solution.” • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010



Winter festival features new events for 2010.


he Anchorage Fur Rondezvous Festival marks its 75th anniversary this year with high-tech additions and new community-centered activities. Fur Rondy organizers continue to update Anchorage’s winter festival to make it appeal to younger generations of Alaskans. This year’s event runs Feb. 26 to March 7. This year sled dog racing fans will be able to track their favorite teams via global positioning system satellite navigation during the World Championship Sled Dog Race. The GPS addition represents the first application of this technology to sled dog racing. Rondy nearly faced elimination in 2006 due to financial woes. Since then, its organizing group has been revamped to breathe new life in the long-time annual festival. Also, local businesspeople and residents have demonstrated their support for Rondy. “The community has always loved Fur Rondy,” said Ernie Hall, Fur Rendezvous board of directors president. “We want this to be a community festival owned by the community.” Organizers also strive to work with nonprofit groups to coordinate fundraisers during Rondy activities. The revenue generated in this effort supports the Anchorage economy also. Rondy officials also aim to boost the festival’s popularity in order to turbocharge the Anchorage economy. “We want it to be economically successful to the community so it’s an economic driver,” Hall said. And Rondy’s triumphant revival has revealed itself in increased business at downtown restaurants and shops. “We’ve been doing a pretty nice job of it the last three years,” Hall said. “We’ve got the community back.” This year the Institute of Social and Economic Research plans to conduct a study on Fur Rondy. “We have no doubt that it will show that the Anchorage Fur Rondy is an economic driver,” Hall said.

NEW FOR 2010 One of the most exciting new events this year is called Sprints at Sundown, Hall said. The new eight-dog sprint race on March 6 will start on Fourth Avenue and feature two


Photo courtesy of Anchorage Fur Rondezvous

Fur Rondy Celebrates 75 Years Rondy’s popular Running of the Reindeer is held on Fourth Avenue in Anchorage.

teams starting simultaneously. Racing teams will descend the steep Cordova Street hill before circling and returning via the same route. Organizers believe the dynamic race lit by streetlights will generate enthusiastic crowds. “It’s going to be extremely enjoyable,” Hall said. Sled dog racing fans will enjoy watching long-distance Iditarod champion Jeff King participate in the three-day World Championship Sled Dog Race. The Rendezvous of Rondy Dogs is also new this year. The event is akin to the public art display called Wild Salmon Parade. In fact, organizers of that display helped coordinate the new Rondy Dogs exhibit. Twenty identical dog sculptures will be designed differently by various artists for public display. Other additions include a soccer tournament and an ultimate Frisbee tournament at the indoor sports facility called The Dome.

LESSONS LEARNED The rebirth of Rondy has been produced by careful planning and hard work. The Rondy operations aim to operate conservatively with a single staffer part of the year. Hall said the biggest lesson organizers have learned since Rondy’s update was to listen to the community. “One thing we learned was we need to make it userfriendly,” Hall said. Many events have been planned within walking distance of each other. Also, on a Saturday during Rondy, several activities are scheduled consecutively. The traditional pancake feed is followed by the Frostbite Footrace, the World Championship Sled Dog Races and the outhouse races, all located downtown. The fireworks display was rescheduled from Friday evening to Saturday evening to allow people more time to get to the event, rather than hustle after work or even miss it. The Running of the Reindeer event, which was added a few years ago, has proven popular. The event is held on Fourth Avenue and features participants trotting alongside reindeer like Spain’s Running of the Bulls. ❑ For more information, visit • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

F E B R UA RY E V E NT S C A L E NDA R •••••••••

Great Small Corporate Retreat • • • • •

Just 35 minutes flying time from Anchorage Heli Fishing for 5 species of salmon, plus trout, char, grayling, & pike Just six to eight anglers per week Great meals, rustic but modern lodging Heli fly outs to rarely visited streams and rivers, plus great side trips to glaciers, and majestic mountain tops Phone: 907.440.0614


N C H O R A G E •••••••••

1 to 7

Anchors Aweigh Boat Show

Alaska Marine Dealers Association holds this annual event at The Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center and at Northway Mall. For more information visit

1 to 21

Musical Comedy Murders of 1940

An ingenious and wildly comic romp which enjoyed a long and critically hailed run both on and off-Broadway. Poking antic fun at the more ridiculous aspects of “show biz” and the corny thrillers of Hollywood’s heyday, the play is nonstop barrages of laughter as those assembled (or at least those who aren’t killed off) untangles the mystery of the “Stage Door Slasher.” For more information, visit or phone 907-868-4913.

Duct Tape Ball


In every color and design of duct tape imaginable, the ball has over the past 11 years raised more than $1.5 million for charities. Come dressed to the nines in “sticky” black-tie attire to feast on a spectacular dinner and vie for fabulous prizes at this annual fundraiser. For more information, phone 907-636-8600.


Indigenous World Film Festival

Indigenous films from around the world presented on two screens. Film-makers, actors and other participants highlight the making of selected films. For more information, visit or phone 907-330-8000.

Eugene Onegin

6, 10, 12 and 14

Anchorage Opera’s, The Power of Love series contains many great opera’s, including Eugene Onegin. This opera by Tchaikovsky will be sung in Russian with English Super Titles and directed by Cynthia Edwards. A classic tale of love and loss, when she loved him, he wasn’t interested. When he changed his mind, she had moved on. For more information, visit

8 to 12

Alaska Forum on the Environment

Statewide gathering of environmental professionals from government agencies, non-profit and for-profit businesses, community leaders, Alaskan youth, conservationists, biologists and community elders. The diversity of attendees sets this conference apart from any other. The 2010 event will be the twelfth year providing a strong educational foundation for all Alaskan’s and a unique opportunity to interact with others on environmental issues and challenges. For more information, phone 888-301-0185 or visit

11 to 28

Tuesdays with Morrie

An autobiographical story of Mitch Albom. Accomplished journalist driven solely by his career and Morrie Schwartz, his former college professor. This is a moving play that will make you both laugh and cry. For more information, phone Cyrano’s Theatre Company, 907-563-ARTS.

20 Passion and Seduction Classic concert featuring Plovtsian Dances (Borodin) and selections from Romeo and Juliet (Prokefiev). For more information, phone 907263-ARTS or visit

90 • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

F EB RUA RY E VE N TS C A L E N D AR •••••••••


A I R B A N K S •••••••••

Joel’s Place

1 to 31

Open daily to young people ages 10 to 20 years old. Indoor skate park, music venue and youth center offers activities and a place to be for creative, adventuresome, adrenaline-seeking youth. Meal served each evening. Joel’s Place is located at 1890 Marika Ave., Fairbanks. For more information, visit or phone 907-452-2621.

• • • • • • •


I R D W O O D • • • • • • •

Alyeska WinterFest

5 to 7

Alaska-style winter activities range from powder-perfecting clinics, guided backcountry snowshoe, Nordic tours and more. For more information, phone 907-754-1111 or visit

• • • • • • • • •


U N E A U • • • • • • • • •

Silverbow Backroom Cinema


The showing of a free kid’s movie the first Sunday of every month at 4 p.m. throughout the winter season. This month the cinema will be showing the classic kid’s movie BABE. For more information, phone 907-586-4146 or visit

13 to 14

Wearable Arts Extravaganza “Cirque de Pluie”

Two events celebrating creativity and wearable works of art. Both days will have an auction, and afterward a runway show. For more information, phone 907-586-2787 or visit



E T C H I K A N •••••••••

Festival of the North

1 to 28

Month-long line-up of arts-related events including: Wearable Art Show on Feb. 6 and 7, at the Ted Ferry Civic Center featuring functional and not so functional art creations in a runway fashion extravaganza. Quilting in the Rain, Annual Quilt Show on Feb. 13 and 14. More than 200 exhibitions of contemporary and antique quits on display. For more information, phone 907-225-2211 or visit

• • • • • • • • •


I T K A • • • • • • • • •

Sitka Jazz Festival

4 to 6

In its 15th year, the Jazz festival brings jazz professionals from around the world to teach, inspire and perform. Clinics on many topics will be held during this event. For more information, phone 907-747-3653 or visit

Winter Classics

5 to 7

Classical chamber music series performed by internationally acclaimed musicians. Programs include works by master composers from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. For more information, phone 907-263-ARTS or visit

• • • • • • • • •

6 to 7


I T K A • • • • • • • • •

Winter Carnival

Includes dog sled racing, snowmobile racing, cross-country ski event, log chopping, arts and crafts, trade fair and talent show. For more information, phone 907-495-6633 or visit ❑ • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010



Telecommuting, conserving energy and resources.

Photos courtesy of Joe Law

Sundog Media owners Joe and Cathy Law telecommute from their Anchorage home office.



he last several years have seen technology innovations trending toward becoming more user friendly and more easily integrated into the user’s lifestyle. Consumers, even the most technophobic among us, are embracing touch screens, highdefinition displays and digital music. Businesses also are taking advantage of evolving technology. Telecommuting is more popular than ever, as companies use wireless connectivity and mobile devices to allow employees to work on the go, an important job perk for those balancing a family and career, or people who just don’t like being “chained to a desk.” And as the economic downturn forces businesses to cut expenses, office technologies that conserve energy and resources are becoming increasingly popular. The end result is a greener work environment.


GREEN TECHNOLOGY Alaska businesses are no different, says Kim Kovol, executive director of Green Star, a local nonprofit organization encouraging businesses to practice waste reduction, energy conservation and pollution prevention. “We are seeing a sharp increase in businesses investing resources into energy-efficient technologies and practices. For example, using energyefficient lights, heat zoning (especially for data centers), flextime practices and virtual meetings to reduce carbon footprints,” Kovol says. Clearly, there are practical reasons for businesses to implement green technology, but knowing where to start can be tricky. Sundog Media, an Alaska Web design and print company, is taking it to the extreme. They are bucking the common conception of what it’s like to

be an office worker, and they’re doing it very effectively. “We often joke that we are the ultimate green company because our product is made out of code and lives on the Web,” says Joe Law, who co-owns Sundog Media with his wife Cathy. Although they serve approximately 200 clients, the company gives the impression of being a quaint, family run enterprise (“Granny” is listed as a staff member on the Web site, and her duties include “brownie maker” and “allowing Cathy and I to have date nights”). However, its close-knit team is located throughout Alaska and the United States. The company has staff members and contractors in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Tennessee, Montana and Clam Gulch. “Our entire team works from home and collaborates very effectively with a variety of Web-based tools,” Law says. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

TELECOMMUTING MOTIVATION He also cautions that although telecommuting has worked for Sundog Media, it takes a highly dedicated staff to be successful. “A business model that allows every team member to work from their own home makes for happier people,” Law says. “I will also say it is not for everyone – this type of model truly requires people that are self-motivated and able to manage their time. There is no one looking over your shoulder here or watching to make sure you walk in the door at 8 a.m. It’s more about getting the job done, meeting our clients’ needs and still having time to – at least for me – run downstairs and wrestle with my boys.” The company uses Basecamp®, a Web-based project management and collaboration software, to communicate with each other and with clients. “It’s really the lifeblood of our communications and processes,” Law says. Basecamp’s Web site, www.base, describes the software as “the leading Web-based project collaboration tool.” It encourages its users to “share files, meet deadlines, assign tasks, centralize feedback, make clients smile.” Developed by Web application design company 37signals, the software is available for purchase starting at $24 per month, making it an accessible technology for businesses with the smallest of budgets. Sundog Media has found success in a uniquely green business model, and they don’t plan on changing things any time soon. “One of the goals for me is to keep growing the business in this way where everyone works from home and is able to balance life and work in good fashion,” Law explains. “And as far as being green – well, sometimes I will realize that we have gone three days without our car even leaving the garage and I feel blessed that this business model allows life to slow down some. In the end it is hard to put a price on the autonomy of choosing your location to work.”

Sundog Media President Joe Law at his home office.

itself as “a designer of sophisticated Web-based business solutions, multimedia content and cutting-edge system integration.” The IT firm developed a program called eWorX Integrated Services Framework, or eWorX ISF. The software is an “evolution of the concept of the electronic workplace,”

says Ross Toole, president of Applied Microsystems. “The idea is to extend the office in a secure way out to the individual. The framework gives people the ability to access all their resources, without having to integrate a variety of disparate technologies.” eWorX ISF provides the underlying security and network resources to deliver corporate data infrastructure and support collaborative tools, such as chat and video conferencing. It supplies applications from both inside and outside the company firewall to users though a single interface and security structure. Users can manage documents, store data and check e-mails – everything they might do in a typical office, but online framework allows them to safely access corporate electronic resources from any computer with access to the Internet. Toole hopes eWorX ISF will soon become an attractive product to customers nationwide. Last summer, Applied Microsystems won the Big Idea Contest, compliments of Alaska Communications Systems Inc. Contest participants submitted entries

VIRTUAL OFFICES Another Alaska small business has developed its own Web-based framework to facilitate access to a “virtual” office. Applied Microsystems is an Anchoragebased technology firm that describes • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


outlining how they would transform their businesses if they didn’t have to worry about bandwidth constraints. The prize was five years of free highspeed bandwidth – 622 Mbps worth – via The Alaska Oregon Network, or AKORN, an undersea fiber optic cable connection. In response to winning the bandwidth, Applied Microsystems via its Web site,, proclaims: “With this type of connectivity, and the right idea, we’ll compete on a national rather than regional level. Our biggest constraint to growth has been bandwidth availability and cost. Now, with the chains set free, we can change the way business is done in Alaska and beyond.”

GREEN PRACTICALITY For most Alaska businesses, going completely virtual isn’t a practical option. Dan Burton, account executive with Arctic Office Products, says that everyday office technologies, like copiers and printers, are becoming increasingly green. “Maybe going paperless isn’t feasible for most companies, but using less paper is,” he says.

Some of Burton’s local customers are using Canon’s imageWARE Document Manager, which is designed to allow users to manage the entire life cycle of their documents electronically. Users scan hard-copy documents, store the data in a variety of formats, and create a central data repository. Then, they can download, annotate and distribute digital documents securely through a Web browser. The interface can be customized and allows access from both Internet and extranet connections. In other words, no more file cabinets or lugging boxes of paperwork to off-site storage facilities. More importantly, no more wasting paper to ensure safe recordkeeping. Businesses within a broad spectrum of industries are increasingly taking advantage of a growing variety of green technologies. In doing so, they are realizing substantial cost savings. John Lawson, building engineer for ConocoPhillips Alaska, has seen real benefits from reducing energy use. “ConocoPhillips has been saving energy since before it was a cool thing to do,” he says.

One innovative example of energy reduction involves the ConocoPhillips sign itself. The large insignias on the side of the Anchorage tower were lit by neon, but over the summer, the neon lighting was switched to LED, resulting in a 90 percent cost savings in lighting the sign. Newer, more efficient models are consistently replacing other building systems. The building’s data center was operated by batteries, but is now powered by kinetic energy. “It’s a similar concept to an electric vehicle,” Lawson says. He says that switch has resulted in a 20 percent energy savings on the system’s output. In addition, ConocoPhillips is working to install more efficient light and heat controls, and has implemented a policy whereby as many tasks as possible are accomplished during the day, eliminating the need to light the building at night. “We have janitorial services during the day,” Lawson says. Matanuska Telephone Association, or MTA, has also deployed energysaving initiatives. It centrally manages heating controls for all 125 structures from which it operates, ensuring that heat is never wasted. In fact, the only two MTA locations that aren’t part of the central heating system are two leased retail spaces. The company uses an air economizer – which draws in fresh air from outside – instead of a traditional air conditioning system, saving energy use. MTA has also installed energy efficient bulbs in all locations.

GREEN IDEAS Kim Kovol of Greenstar says overall, Alaska businesses are increasingly amenable to the idea of using technology to “green up” their offices, even if they sometimes might not know where to start. “We have consistent communication and requests from the business community to assist in evaluating their green initiatives and practices,” she says. But by all appearances, many Alaska businesses are ahead of the curve, implementing cutting-edge technology to achieve their environmental stewardship goals, often cutting costs along the way. ❑

94 • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


Safe Hazmat Shipping Training, proper packaging mitigate risk.

Photo courtesy of Pacific Environmental Corp.


Vessel carrying several containers, each loaded with “tote tanks” of acid. As the vessel rode out rough seas, acid leaked out of the vents from several of the totes and dissolved the outer support frames, hence causing the plastic portions of the tanks to fail due to lack of support, leaking acid out of the containers to the ship’s deck, and down the side of the ship. Containers had to be removed individually, and dealt with landside.


hough highways are the primary means of shipping, hazardous materials also travel throughout Alaska by air, marine vessels, pipelines and rail. Hazardous materials are shipped to Alaska, and nearly all of the state’s hazardous waste is shipped out to various disposal sites around the Lower 48. But what exactly are hazardous materials? While in transportation the U.S. Department of Transportation defines materials and those that can pose a risk to health, safety and property and/or the environment. That’s complicated.

Everything from boxes of Bic lighters, pails of adhesives, cans of Brake Clean, lithium batteries and cargo tanks filled with fuel are considered hazardous, according to Lisa Marquiss, regulatory compliance director for Carlile Transportation Systems. Though what and how much can be shipped by air, land and sea also varies, she said. “What you load together in a highway trailer and travel from Fairbanks to Anchorage can be restricted. When you take that same trailer and put it on TOTE, different rules apply. Canada – additional

rules. In an airplane – different shipping environment, different rules.” Trucking companies are one link in a highly trained network of businesses that move hazardous materials and waste across Alaska and across the Lower 48. “Our goal is to protect people, protect the environment and protect property,” Marquiss said. Totem Ocean Trailer Express Inc. spokesperson Peter Lindsey said the steamship company is one link in a complex chain of various Alaska companies that routinely handle hazardous materials and waste. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


been prevented, but another group of spills result from improper packaging, blocking and bracing, according to Teal Cross, vice president of Pacific Environmental Corp., also known as Penco. Penco and TOTE offer training to their customers on best packaging, blocking and bracing practices to help reduce the number of preventable spill incidents. Carlile will offer a hazardous materials class to its customers in March as part of its new Carlile University program. Acting on an employee suggestion, Carlile offers its customers free training classes – including a free lunch – the third Thursday of the month from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. January’s topic was Alaska Transportation 101. February is Freight Claims 101, March is Hazmat 101, and April is Heavy Haul 101.

Just changing the number of times the waste materials are moved – from 12 to 2 moves – would create an 83 percent decrease in the risk of a spill. “There are various regulations to reduce the risk of a material spill, such as packaging and driver training,” she said. “But there are people affecting transportation who aren’t trained – that’s a huge contributing risk.”


Photo courtesy of Pacific Environmental Corp.

Hazmat transport companies work with customers to teach best practices. Some spills are accidental and could not have

Marquiss suggested the idea and Carlile President Linda Leary came up with the name. The university is designed to show customers how to maximize Carlile’s services to enhance their bottom line. “The idea is that we can work more efficiently because we all have the same understanding and we wanted to offer our customers more value,” Marquiss said.

Photo courtesy of Carlile Transportation Systems

“Our whole objective is to make sure that transporting (these materials) doesn’t create a secondary hazard,” Lindsey said. “You can’t allow a secondary hazard to be created by virtue of moving it.” The United Nations divide hazardous materials and hazardous waste into nine classes. Hazardous materials transport makes up about 40 percent to 50 percent of Carlile’s business, and the biggest portion of that are cargo tanks moving to the North Slope. “We have to provide vast amounts of training,” Marquiss said. “Security has become a significant factor. We’re trained to look at all the different possible ways people could come in and use the material that we transport as a weapon.” Regardless of the hazardous material shipped, Marquiss said the human element is the most critical.

Case of small arms ammo is another example of the common hazards shipping companies carry.

SPILLS HAPPEN Carlile’s Marquiss said company employees double-check all loads that come in to make sure they are packed, blocked, braced and shipped in compliance with the law. “There is always the possibility that you are going to spill something,” Marquiss said. “We will probably always have emergencies. All we can do is attempt to reduce chances of release,” Cross added. When a spill does occur, it is very expensive, Cross said. He cited costs like stevedores’ labor, shipping company labor, downtime for the vessel, shipper’s labor and the possibility of injuring someone. On the hazardous waste side of the equation, shippers and cleanup companies agree that one way to prevent spills is to reduce the number of times (these waste materials are) moved. “Every time it gets picked up, every time it gets moved, there is a dangerous moment,” said Thomas Ulrich, Penco’s Alaska regional manager. “Any time there is any interaction with it there is a potential spill.” Cross said the way it works in Alaska now, each barrel of waste is moved about 12 times between the time it is picked up for disposal and the time a hazardous materials disposal company somewhere in the Lower 48 receives it weeks or months later for processing. Lindsey said from the standpoint of incidents per mile carried, TOTE is an extremely safe mode of transport. “Everyone is trained the same way and we all understand that our safety depends on the accuracy and diligence of the person in front of us,” Lindsey said. “The industry as a whole, we’re all in this together.”

Although this may not have caused much of an issue for stationary storage, the weight of the items stacked above the plastic pails of hazardous materials was too much for the seas and crushed the pails, releasing the hazardous materials. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010 96

Photo courtesy of Pacific Environmental Corp.

Drum of paint leaks within a container from being punctured during shipment.

IN-STATE DISPOSAL All of the hazardous waste material generated by humans’ activities in Alaska ends up in the same place: a disposal site somewhere in the Lower 48. From the Port of Anchorage, cargo containers of waste are picked up and barged to ports around the country, and then hauled by truck to disposal sites. “There is no way to deal with any hazardous waste (disposal) in Alaska. None,” Cross said. The company has a plan that could change that, he said. Penco and San Diego-based General Atomics are working on a business plan to operate Alaska’s first hazardous waste disposal site. The business plans to use a $5 million device former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens funded when he chaired the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in 2006 and 2007. The device takes advantage of the supercritical water-oxidation process to neutralize hazardous waste. The process uses high heat and pressure to push water past its thermodynamic critical point. In this state, water has unique properties that can be used in the destruction of hazardous waste, Cross said. The technology has been used for several years for similar activities, but the Alaska plant would be its first commercial use, he said. While the Alaska plant was funded by the military, it would dispose of civilian and military waste like motor oil, antifreeze, brake fluid and paint.

Several years ago, Penco purchased land at the corner of Ingra Street and First Avenue in Anchorage and went through the permitting process to build a 6,000-square-foot building to house the same reprocessing plant it now hopes to set up near North Pole. Its permit was denied in September 2007. Now the company has purchased a second parcel of land near the Flint Hills Refinery zoned I2 – heavy industrial – to attempt the permitting process a second time. “North Pole seems very welcoming,” Cross said. If Penco’s plans move forward, hazardous waste could one day be disposed of in two moves instead of 12. First move – a trucking company would deliver the waste to a North Pole facility where it would be off-loaded and stored according to type. Second move – pick it up and move it into the plant for reprocessing, Cross said. Just changing the number of times the waste materials are moved – from 12 to 2 moves – would create an 83 percent decrease in the risk of a spill. “We see drums jabbed by forklifts a lot more frequently than people would like to admit,” Cross said. In early December, he said the company learned that the additional $5 million in funding needed to complete the design and construction process for the plant would not be part of 2010 federal appropriations. “We’re still hoping we can put it all ❑ together,” Cross said. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010



The system does not verify an employee’s citizenship, but rather eligibility to be lawfully employed in the United States. The system checks the information provided by the employee on his or her I-9 form.

E-Verify or Face Consequences Checking out eligibility of employees fast and easy. BY RENEA I. SAADE


ederal contractors, are you E-Verifying? Well, you better be. A federal court recently confirmed that all federal contractors and subcontractors that are party to solicitations issued or contracts awarded after Sept. 8, 2009, must enroll and participate in the E-Verify program. Federal contractors and subcontractors that do not fulfill their E-Verify obligations may face agency audits and could possibly lose their eligibility for federal projects. What is E-Verify? E-Verify is an Internet-based system operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Citizen & Immigrations Services that allows employers to verify employment eligibility of newly hired and current employees. The system does not verify an employee’s citizenship, but rather eligibility to be lawfully employed in the United States. The system checks the information provided by the employee on his or her I-9 form. The program is designed to assist employers with their obligations to make sure their employees are eligible for employment and are not giving false identification numbers. Once the employer types in the information it has concerning the employee, the system responds and advises the employer whether or not the employee’s eligibility has been verified.


et. al., upheld the legality of the Executive Order and confirmed that all federal contractors and subcontractors may be required to participate in the program. While the court’s decision is being appealed, it currently remains the law of the land. Accordingly, federal contractors and subcontractors must enroll and participate in the program to avoid penalty. And, all federal contracts and subcontracts entered into on or after Sept. 8, 2009, must have a provision confirming the parties will participate in the E-Verify program. Photo courtesy of Renea I. Saade

Renea I. Saade

GREAT GROWTH Initially, E-Verify was primarily used by companies in the hospitality industry. However, in June 2008, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13465 requiring all federal contractors and subcontractors to enroll in and use the program. A number of entities (including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) filed a lawsuit to challenge the mandatory requirement. While the lawsuit helped stay immediate enforcement, it was not successful in defeating the imposed rule. An Aug. 25, 2009, opinion issued in the case by a federal court in Maryland, Chamber of Commerce of the U.S., et al. v. Napolitano,

CHECKING NEW HIRES E-Verify is generally for new hires unless the federal contractor or subcontractor is registering because it was awarded a contract on or after Sept. 8, 2009. In other words, if a contractor or subcontractor has a federal contract that was awarded before Sept. 8, 2009, it does not need to register all the employees already working on the project. Instead, only new hires need to be registered. All new hires must be registered within three business days of their start date. If an employer enrolled in E-Verify prior to Sept, 8, 2009, and is awarded a federal contract after Sept. 8, 2009, the employer should still update its profile to identify the contract on the “Maintain Company” page once the contract has been awarded – even if there are no newly hired employees to verify. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

For those federal contracts awarded on or after Sept. 8, 2009, the contractor and subcontractors related to the federal contract have 30 days from the contract or subcontract award date to enroll in E-Verify. They then have 90 days to submit verification injuries for employees already on staff who will be working on the contract. After the 90 days, employers must submit a verification inquiry for any newly hired employee within three business days after the new employee’s start date. To meet the three-business-day deadline, employers may initiate verification of

found at nativedocuments/MOU.pdf.

‘SUBCONTRACTOR’ DEFINED For purposes of E-Verify, “subcontractor” means any supplier, distributor, vendor or firm that furnishes supplies or services to or for a prime contractor or other subcontractor working on the federal contract. The mandatory E-Verify program will definitely increase the administrative tasks associated with federal contract work. But, once an employer has completed the enrollment process, the

It is important to note that employers are only obligated to verify employees directly performing work under a federal contract. a newly hired employee before their start date, but only after the job has been offered and accepted. Employers cannot pre-screen their job applicants through E-Verify.

FEDERAL CONTRACTS ONLY It is important to note that employers are only obligated to verify employees directly performing work under a federal contract. An employee is not considered to be directly performing work under a contract if the employee: (1) normally performs support work, such as indirect or overhead functions; and (2) does not perform any substantial duties applicable to the contract. Rather than worry about having to do a case-by-case analysis and to make sure that it is in full compliance, an employer may elect to verify all employees. If an employer chooses to verify all employees, it should initiate verification of its employees within 180 calendar days of its enrollment in the E-Verify program and notify E-Verify’s Operations Department of its decision to exercise the option to enroll all employees. The contact information for the Operations Department is found in the E-Verify Program Memorandum of Understanding

individual verification of employees should go smoothly. Response time, once the information is submitted, for an individual employee is generally three to five seconds. Because the penalties could be significant for noncompliance, employers should not hesitate to ask for help. There is an online tutorial available on the E-Verify Web site and a help desk willing to answer questions. An employment law attorney or human resources professional should also be able to provide assistance. Enrollment can be completed online at StartPage.aspx?JS=YES. A copy of the federal court ruling is online at http:// Opinions/chamber082509.pdf. Federal regulations for federal contractors are published in 48 Code of Federal ❑ Regulations 22 and 52. About the Author Renea I. Saade is an attorney with the law firm Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP. Saade focuses her practice on helping businesses with their employment law issues and contract disputes with practical advice. She may be reached at or 907-258-0106. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010



Entrance to Nutrition Services Center building in Fairbanks where school lunches are made for the North Star Borough School District. Photo © Ken Graham

Borough’s new school district kitchen serves something special. BY DIMITRA LAVRAKAS


he Fairbanks North Star Borough School District Nutrition Services Center in Fairbanks prepares 1,400 breakfasts and 5,000 lunches daily to serve students from Salcha to Eielson Air Force Base – putting a new spin on “meals on wheels.” For those working at the new facility, it dishes up something the Interior offers very little of seven months of the year – light.

DAYLIGHT KITCHEN “We were successful in providing daylighting in all the occupied spaces, including the main kitchen, which improved the quality of the work environment for the administration and


kitchen staff,” said Alex Bettisworth of Bettisworth North, who was construction administrator along with Tracy Vanairsdale, who was project manager/ architect for the project. “Where allowed, windows were operable to provide fresh air and allow the use to control ventilation.” The kitchen is open and bright and airy with gleaming stainless steel countertops that also help to reflect light around the room. “The kitchen is a flow diagram, with a large receiving area that includes freezers and a dry storage, the main kitchen and the dispatch area for food ready to be taken out to the schools,” Bettisworth said. “During the design, we brought on

a kitchen consultant that had previous experience in industrial and commercial kitchens and was the consultant on the new central kitchen for the MatSu school district. Their experience in modern kitchen process and equipment layout was essential in the final design and function of the building.” It was important, he said, because of the daily wear and tear that occurs in the kitchen. The facility has tough equipment and sturdy building materials. “We specified low-maintenance and durable materials throughout the kitchen and administration area,” he said. “Because of the sanitary issues related to kitchen design, the need • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010

to provide easily cleanable surfaces that could stand up to heavy use was very important.”

CREATIVE REMEDIES In 2005, the borough commissioned a facility options analysis to assess building and building systems conditions and adequacy of the food preparation systems and equipment at the existing facility at Eielson. It found that neither the facility nor the food preparation equipment was adequate to currently serve the borough and certainly not its future requirements. Plus, it did not meet American Disabilities Act standards, did not have sufficient storage, did not have enough parking for employees, and not enough land to expand parking or the facility itself. Bettisworth said the company’s creative approach to remedy the situation was that the building be “designed to reflect the utilitarian use of the building in a practical and efficient approach. The form truly follows the function of the building, which processes all meals for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District,” Bettisworth said. “The building is organized in three sections: office, most public; kitchen, secure; and storage/delivery, not occupied. These three functions are reflected in the massing of the exterior.” The distinct components of the design are set apart by materials and color. For Amy Rouse, director of nutrition services for the school district, the new kitchen was a welcome improvement over the 31-year-old central kitchen at Eielson Air Force Base that it replaced. “We never had the chance to do baking in our old facility, but now we make our own bread,” she said. Some of the cost savings that come with the new central kitchen facility are from transportation and having everything in one place – there’s 10,000 square feet of storage. “Our facility also houses our warehouse where all our food and non-food goods can be in the same location,” Rouse said.

COMPLICATED PROJECT There were some logistical challenges though, Bettisworth said. “The site is adjacent to the FNSB Public Works facility, which is located • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


Plus, it (the old facility) did not meet American Disabilities Act standards, did not have sufficient storage, did not have enough parking for employees and not enough land to expand parking or the facility itself.

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in an industrial area of Fairbanks. The Public Works facility, along with the new Nutrition Services Center, had individual delivery requirements, the respected clearances of semi-trucks and vans, etc., so that criteria dictated where the loading docks needed to be located at the new facility,” he said. “The large delivery area then required that the public and staff entry, parking and access be clear and safely separated.” The building is a metal frame structure, with the main volume wrapped in five-inch insulated metal panels with an R-value of 40, the administration portion at the front of the building is stickframed with six inches of fiberglass-batt insulation, and four inches of rigid for a combined R-value of 39, he said. “Through an agreement with Aurora Energy, the school district is purchasing excess steam from the power plant to provide heat to the building through a heat exchanger, reducing the need to run a traditional boiler,” Bettisworth said. Construction of the $13.5 million 25,000-square-foot project began in September 2008 and was completed by Alcan General in July 2009, which gave employees time to train on new equipment and prepare for the school year. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in September 2009. There may be a need to expand in the future to provide 12,600 meals a day for the borough’s burgeoning school population. And Bettisworth will be ready. “We enjoyed working together with our team of designers and contractor, along with the FNSB and school district to complete this complicated project,” ❑ Bettisworth said. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District Projects Heavy construction workload in military and civil works programs. BY PAT RICHARDSON

FISCAL YEAR 2010 WORKLOAD The Alaska District is the primary design and construction agent for the Army and the Air Force in Alaska. The district’s Fiscal Year 2010 Military Program has been adjusted to include 19 projects valued at approximately $355 million, compared to 17 military projects valued at $300 million in FY09, which ended on Sept. 30. The district is designing and constructing four projects at Fort Richardson valued at approximately $55 million, nine projects at Fort Wain-

Photos by Pat Richardson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District


he U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District’s workload remains strong and employment remains steady at approximately 500 people statewide with the majority located in Anchorage. Corps projects are funded by the U.S. Congress but come to the district through various programs. The Alaska District is a full-service district with three major programs, military construction, water resources development (civil works), and environmental cleanup/restoration activities. Most design and all construction work is accomplished by contracting the work to private industry firms. The military program is growing, while the civil works program is slightly declining. Environmental program funding, while stable, saw the largest increase in providing environmental remediation services for other federal agencies. New projects described below, plus carryover work from hundreds of projects from previous fiscal years’ Congressional appropriations makeup the total workload. In a new category, the district received American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds and has already awarded contracts for most of these projects.

The new Fort Richardson Health Clinic was constructed by Bristol Design Build Services LLC, under a $26 million Section 8(a) business development program contract. It was completed in January 2009.

wright valued at about $200 million, one project at Clear Air Force Station valued at an estimated $25 million, two projects at Elmendorf Air Force Base valued at approximately $35 million, and three projects at Eielson Air Force Base valued at about $40 million. Through FY2010 Congressional appropriations, the district’s Civil Works Program received funds to continue work on six studies funded at approximately $703,000 (Homer East Harbor, Kotzebue Small Boat Harbor, Matanuska River Watershed, Valdez Harbor Expansion, Whittier Harbor, Yakutat Harbor), three construction projects valued at $5.2 million (Alaska Coastal Erosion, St. Paul Harbor, Unalaska), and nine operations and maintenance (O&M) activities costing $24.2 mil-

lion (Anchorage Harbor, Chena River Lakes, Dillingham Harbor, Homer Harbor, Inspection of Completed Works, Kodiak Harbor, Nome Harbor, Petersburg North Harbor, Project Condition Surveys). This compares to the FY09 program of eight studies funded at $1.8 million, five construction projects at $10 million and the same number of O&M programs funded at $22 million. The Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) Program will be receiving approximately $26.7 million this fiscal year (compared to $28 million in FY09). The Army Environmental Program will receive approximately $15 million ($16.2 million in FY09). The Air Force Environmental Program will be funded at about $13 million ($21.8 million in FY09). The Interagency and • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


International Support (IIS) Program (work for other state and federal agencies) will receive about $14 million for environmental remediation in FY10 ($500,000 in FY09). Under the IIS Program, the district will be doing $2.6 million of work for the Denali Commission installing moorings and boat launch ramps at remote sites. This work was started with $4.1 million in FY09. In addition, the district will be contracting with Native entities for $5.5 million of environmental cleanup through the Native American Lands Environmental Mitigation Program ($5.3 million in FY09).

CIVIL WORKS PROJECTS Civil works projects are initiated when local communities submit requests for federal assistance. These proposed projects, if determined to be in the federal interest, are funded by Congress and executed by the district. New construction projects are detailed below. FY10 money continues funding on an $18.2 million small boat harbor being constructed inside the existing commercial harbor at St. Paul. Dutra


Watterson Construction was awarded a $33 million contract in August 2008 to construct this 240-person barracks located near a battalion headquarters complex, also under construction, on Fort Richardson.

Dredging Co. is dredging an entrance channel and maneuvering and mooring areas, demolishing an existing rubblemound breakwater and constructing three new rubblemound breakwaters. Last May, the district issued a $1.2 million procurement action to Concrete Technology Corp. to manufacture a 230-foot long, 18-foot-wide, 8-footdeep floating breakwater for expanding Douglas Harbor in Juneau. Fabricated in Tacoma, the breakwater is essentially complete and scheduled to be delivered in April. The district is now preparing a bid package to install the breakwater. â&#x20AC;˘ Alaska Business Monthly â&#x20AC;˘ February 2010

A previous contract completed a rubblemound breakwater in 2008. The district is also preparing a bid package for construction and installation of a floating breakwater at Unalaska to be advertised when funds become available. This project continues work on a small boat harbor begun in July 2008 with award of a $7.5 million contract to Dutra Dredging Co. to build a rubblemound breakwater at Unalaska. That work was completed in November. The FY10 Alaska Coastal Erosion funding will be executable with passage of a new authorization, Section 116. This authority was created by Congress to replace the repealed Section 117 authority. The old authority allowed the district to award coastal erosion projects at 100 percent federal funding while the new authority will require cost sharing with a local sponsor. The district is waiting for implementation guidance, but expects that projects under this new authority will require cost-sharing of 65 percent federal funds and 35 percent local funds. The district has several coastal erosion projects that could be developed further with these funds, if local cost

sharing can be secured. The Corps recently constructed rock revetments at Kivalina, Shishmaref and Unalakleet.

MILITARY CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS The district plans to award construction contracts for two Warrior in Transition complexes in February. The Warrior Care and Transition Program represents a cultural and organization shift in how the Army manages outpatient care and transition services for wounded, ill and injured soldiers. These complexes support an Army-wide program to provide integrated, comprehensive, and consistent care and services. The Fort Richardson complex, estimated at $28 million to $36 million, includes an 80-person barracks, a 24-soldier battalion headquarters, a soldier and family assistance center, and an administrative and operations facility sized for 47 soldiers. The Fort Wainwright complex, estimated at $20 million to $25 million, is sized for 32 soldiers. Primary facilities include barracks, soldier and family assistance center, and administrative and operations facility.

Alcan General was awarded a $54.1 million contract in August 2008 to construct this motor pool and a battalion complex for the 793d Military Police Battalion on Fort Richardson.

Army projects to be awarded in March for the FY10 MILCON program are two Army design/bid/build projects at Fort Richardson, an Airborne Sustainment Training Complex and a Training Support Center Upgrade, and one design/build Health Clinic Addition and Alteration. Fort Wainwright projects include Aviation Task Force Phase 1, Aircraft Parts Storage, 294-Person Barracks, Consolidated Vehicle Maintenance Facility, Airfield Fencing, Railhead Operations Facility and 3rd Air Support Operations Facility.

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Upcoming Air Force projects include an F/A-22 Munitions Load Crew Training Facility and an Aeromed and Mental Health Clinic at Elmendorf Air Force Base, and an Emergency Power Plant at Clear Air Force Station.

ARRA FUNDING The Alaska District received ARRA funding to issue firm fixed-price contracts for several civil works projects, including six studies valued at approximately $1.5 million, four construction projects at an estimated $16 million, and seven O&M projects valued at $31.8 million. ARRA work has minimal government contract preparation and contract oversight so that the dollars create or retain jobs in private industry. The district awarded a $23.5 million transitional dredging contract last May to Manson Construction Co. In support of the Port of Anchorage’s expansion project, the dredging is removing an estimated 1.9 million cubic yards of materials never dredged before, including removing boulders and other obstructions along the port’s north and south dock extension and two new barge facilities.

Also last May, the district awarded an $11.7 million contract for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to replace the Fairbanks Command and Data Acquisition Station’s deteriorating building at Fox. The project is funded with $9 million in ARRA funding with the remaining dollars coming from the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The contractor, Alcan Builders Inc., will build a modern 20,000-square-foot facility to meet the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver Certification. The station collects data daily from 26 spacecraft. The district awarded a $3.8 million contract in October to West Construction Co. Inc., to construct a rubblemound breakwater extension at the Seward Harbor. The district awarded a $5.47 million contract to Bristol Design Build Services LLC in November for a Chena Visitor’s Center at the district’s flood control project near Fairbanks. This project remodels the project office and replaces an underground fuel tank and heating system.

The district is advertising for proposals to build an estimated $25 million new small boat harbor at Akutan. Scheduled for a February award, the project includes constructing breakwaters and dredging an entrance channel and mooring basin. In addition to its own ARRA projects, the Army and the Air Force assigned the Alaska District to award 48 of their ARRA military projects, valued at an estimated $22 million. Most of these repair, renovation and small construction projects have been awarded. The geographical breakout is 44 projects valued at approximately $18 million at Fort Richardson (31 awarded with the remainder to be awarded by March 31), two projects worth approximately $3.5 million at Fort Wainwright (one awarded), and two projects worth $500,000 at Eielson Air Force Base, both already awarded. ❑ About the Author Pat Richardson is a media relations specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, where she has worked for 28 years.

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106 • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


Photo by Patty Sullivan

Port, Prison, Rail, Ferry Taking gravel to the Port of Anchorage from Port MacKenzie.

Mat-Su developments across from Anchorage north shore. BY PATTY SULLIVAN


he next time you walk the coastal trail in Anchorage or visit the seaward side of downtown, look across the water, that’s the MatanuskaSusitna Borough just 2.5 miles away. It’s counterintuitive really. One drives 40 miles in the opposite direction out the Glenn Highway to get to the MatSu. Yet Port MacKenzie has been so close all these years and unnoticed. That is about to change for the betterment of Anchorage, the Interior and the state as a whole. At Port MacKenzie, the timelines of significant infrastructure projects are aligning. ■ A $240 million State prison, Goose Creek Correctional Center, is going up nine miles from the dock. The 430,000 square feet of buildings on a 95-acre cleared compound scheduled

for completion in 2012 is the State’s largest vertical-construction project. The prison will provide more than 650 construction jobs and some 375 long-term corrections jobs in the 1,536-bed facility for male inmates. ■ The barge dock received $3 million in stimulus dollars to expand from eight acres to 16 acres and will be completed summer 2010, making the dock an attractive staging area. ■ The ferry terminal building awaits passengers at Port Mac. The ferry M/V Susitna is now a $70 million ship, set for a champagne bottle to be cracked across its bow in a christening ceremony at the shipyard in Ketchikan later this year. ■ Dirtwork has already begun on a road/rail loop near the port. Called the bimodal bulk facility, first a road

for trucks will be built bound for the port to offload bulk resources, second the road will turn into an efficient rail loop, offloading bulk commodities to a conveyor system that reaches the deep draft dock. ■ Some 30 miles to 43 miles of new railroad track will connect Port MacKenzie to the mainline of the Alaska Railroad in a yet-to-be-determined vicinity of Wasilla to Willow. Called the Port MacKenzie Rail Extension, the project together with the Port will deliver new jobs and new industries to the Railbelt region – Seward to Fairbanks. Independent studies show the $274 million rail spur could stimulate new mines and industrial projects and return some $6 billion in permits, fees and tax revenues to Alaska. Construction is scheduled to be completed by 2013. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


Links to Learn More Rail Extension: Port MacKenzie: M/V Susitna Ferry: Goose Creek Correctional Center: RAIL EXTENSION BENEFITS “If the rail goes in, a 1 billion ton limestone deposit up near Livengood north of Fairbanks will be more economic to develop,” said John Duffy, MatanuskaSusitna Borough manager. “Once you combine the limestone with natural gas you’re able to manufacture cement. A study completed by Dr. Paul Metz (consulting economic and mining geologist) indicates Alaska would be able to supply 5 percent of our nation’s cement right here from Alaska,” Duffy said. “A world-class cement manufacturing plant will become possible.” The lower transportation cost to tidewater via Port MacKenzie will profoundly improve the competitiveness of Healy coal in the Pacific Rim market, said Dave Hanson, Mat-Su Borough

Economic Development Director. The new rail spur connected to tidewater will reduce the cost of shipping lower-cost fuel to Interior and Southwest Alaska. A new minerals corridor will develop along the Railbelt, such as lead, zinc, copper, molybdenum and silver, due again to lower transportation costs for exporting to a deep-water port, Hanson said. Employment will increase in the Mat-Su Borough, the Denali Borough, the Fairbanks North Star Borough and Anchorage, more tightly connecting the far-flung communities into their own regional economy. For the most important project of our time, Alaska’s natural gas pipeline, the new stretch of rail will cut transportation costs on the order of $100 million over other ports. Shipping heavy

construction materials through Port MacKenzie to the North Slope costs less because of the shorter rail distance from the Interior to tidewater. Communities are beginning to see the statewide benefits of the Port MacKenzie Rail project and are standing behind it. The Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce recently passed a resolution supporting the project, highlighting the new jobs and corporate taxes that will be generated by the rail link. The rail extension and rail complex will also benefit Anchorage.

PORT MACKENZIE International imports and exports have crossed the dock at Port MacKenzie. Natural resource commodities include super sacks of cement, sand and gravel, saw logs and wood chips. Other exports include scrap metal, heavy equipment and modular housing. Port MacKenzie is the only port in Southcentral that offers wide-open space for development. Port MacKenzie complements the Port of Anchorage, which focuses on container goods such as groceries and furnishings, while Port MacKenzie

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imports and exports bulk commodities such as cement. “We can handle Cape-size vessels at our port, which are the largest vessels in the world,” said Marc VanDongen, Port MacKenzie director. The port has 8,940 acres of industrial land. Already there’s plenty of room for staging areas for the fabrication of large projects, such as sealift modules for the oil industry or a coating plant for pipe. Recently, oil service company representatives walked the grounds and investigated the potential at Port MacKenzie. A sealift project could provide up to 400 jobs at the port. The coming barge dock expansion from eight to 16 acres will also be a potential site for the offloading of pipe for the Alaska natural gas pipeline. Additionally, this enlarged barge dock will support the deep-draft dock’s addition of a second trestle. This trestle bridge would allow trucks to move from the deep-draft dock to the expanded dock in an efficient loop, thus loading and unloading ships without slowing business by having to turn around. A second loop will be forged in

steel up the hill. This will be a 100-car train loop for efficient handling of bulk freight. Trains will circle in, offload at a facility, which will push the goods down a conveyor system to the dock. “We have the only deepwater port in Alaska that will also have a 1.5-mile rail loop next to it, which allows for the most efficient handling of bulk commodities to be transported from land to sea,” Manager Duffy said.

M/V SUSITNA FERRY The coming Susitna Ferry is going to change the nature of transportation along upper Cook Inlet. A 20-minute ride across water will connect Anchorage with Mat-Su. With its ice-breaking capability, this ferry will provide yearround transportation. At least 20 percent of the workers at Port MacKenzie will be Anchorage residents, according to ISER, University of Alaska Institute of Social and Economic Research. That’s some 730 well-paying jobs for Anchorage residents, which will produce more than $56 million in income and stimulate an additional $68 million in sales

in Anchorage. The Susitna Ferry will be the commuter ship for these workers and others going the opposite direction to Anchorage. Kenai has expressed interest in coming aboard. Convenient travel is also created for isolated communities such as Tyonek, so residents can obtain medical and dental treatment and shop for household goods. The Susitna will launch in 2010 and the U.S. Navy will perform tests. The Mat-Su is expecting to begin operating the Susitna in the fall of 2011.

GOOSE CREEK CORRECTIONAL CENTER Construction of the new prison is progressing. Five buildings are being built. The largest building has a roof. Steel is going up, cement slabs are being poured, buildings are becoming enclosed, and paint is even going on walls. The prison will bring utilities to a region with few of them. Clearing for the permanent power easement is done. Electrical service is anticipated in. A gas line has been installed beyond the site and is in operation. Installation of the main telecom line is complete. A • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


©2010 Chris Arend

Aerial view of construction progress at the Point MacKenzie-area Goose Creek Correctional Center, late September 2009.

water/wastewater facility project will be developed. In the future, the utility will be able to serve the surrounding area with water and wastewater services. The Mat-Su Borough and the State are partners in the project. The State will ultimately own the prison.


Neeser Construction Inc. is the contractor on the design-build project. The Goose Creek Correctional Center will not only help bring home the 900 or so prisoners from Colorado, but will also bring home the tens of millions of Alaska dollars currently

spent to support inmate care Outside. Moe than 650 construction jobs will be required over the three-year project, adding $100 million in payroll to the region. Additionally, some 375 permanent, well-paying corrections jobs will be created. The prison is expected to spur growth in the Point MacKenzie community leading to development of a new commercial center with services such as restaurants, gas stations and motels. Most of the prison’s permanent employees are expected to become borough residents, adding another projected 262 or more homes. Port, prison, rail, ferry – the MatSu Borough is undergoing tremendous change in the Port MacKenzie area. ❑ About the Author Patty Sullivan has been public affairs director for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough for four years. Sullivan has a master’s in journalism and formerly worked as an Alaska reporter, including six years as the Valley Bureau for Alaska Public Radio’s, KSKA. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010






Alaska Trends, an outline of significant statewide statistics, is provided by the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development.

Measuring Health Care I

n 2006, health care spending accounted for 16 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Currently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics uses several different models to track employment and costs within the health care industry. One model used measures the fraction of a household budget spent on health care relative to other expenditures. The graph below illustrates that the fraction of household income spent on health care services has risen from 5.3 percent in 1997 to approximately 5.9 percent in 2008 when aggregated across the United States. However, since wages and prices for goods and services vary across the United States, regional trends are also shown to provide a more accurate picture of health care expenditures. As can be seen by the graph below, consumers in

the Southern and Midwest regions tend to pay a higher proportion of their household budgets for health care services relative to the U.S. average. No breakout figures were available for Alaska.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics






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 Sectoral Distribution – Alaska Total Nonfarm Wage & Salary Goods-Producing Service-Providing Natural Resources & Mining Logging Mining Oil & Gas Extraction Construction Manufacturing Wood Products Manufacturing Seafood Processing Trade/Transportation/Utilities Wholesale Trade Retail Trade Food & Beverage Stores General Merchandise Stores Trans/Warehouse/Utilities Air Transportation Truck 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



R E N D S Previous Report Period (revised)

Year Ago Period

Year Over Year Change


Latest Report Period

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

3rd Q09 3rd Q09 1st H09 1st H09

28,937 12,077,636 190.032 213.139

28,704 12,039,430 190.032 213.139

29,844 12,131,245 187.659 214.429

-3.04% -0.44% 1.26% -0.60%

Number Filed Number Filed Number Filed

October October October

110 59 19

103 74 19

74 50 11

48.65% 18.00% 72.73%

Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands

October October October October October

326.98 183.89 42.17 34.88 33.00

331.09 179.38 42.09 38.29 35.72

334.42 185.46 43.77 37.22 33.80

-2.22% -0.84% -3.65% -6.29% -2.36%

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 Thousands Thousands Thousands

October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October

317.1 43.8 273.3 15.3 0.2 15.1 12.8 17.5 11 0.3 6.6 62.3 6.3 35.3 6.2 9.8 20.7 6.2 3.2 6.8 4.3 14.6 25.3 39.4 28.9 27.8 6.1 17.3 11.6 85.5 16.5 26.4 8.1 42.6 24.1 3.7

335 49.5 285.5 15.5 0.2 15.3 13 19.1 14.9 0.3 11 66.5 6.8 36.3 6.3 9.6 23.4 6.4 3.2 7 4.5 14.9 27 38.6 28 35.5 10 205 11.3 84.7 17.1 26.1 7.6 41.5 23 4

317.7 45 272.7 15.4 0.3 15.1 13 18.6 11 0.4 6.8 62.9 6.3 35.8 6.2 9.4 20.8 6.6 3.3 7 4.5 14.7 25.5 37.2 27.1 29.3 6.7 18.5 11.8 84.3 16.6 25.6 7.9 42.1 23.9 3.6

-0.19% -2.67% 0.22% -0.65% -33.33% 0.00% -1.54% -5.91% 0.00% -25.00% -2.94% -0.95% 0.00% -1.40% 0.00% 4.26% -0.48% -6.06% -3.03% -2.86% -4.44% -0.68% -0.78% 5.91% 6.64% -5.12% -8.96% -6.49% -1.69% 1.42% -0.60% 3.12% 2.53% 1.19% 0.84% 2.78%

Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands Thousands

October October October October October

356.46 198.64 45.52 38.06 36.86

358.31 193.36 45.17 41.03 39.01

358.25 197.08 46.52 39.89 36.82

-0.50% 0.79% -2.15% -4.60% 0.11%

Units • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010



Unemployment Rate Alaska Anchorage & Mat-Su Fairbanks Southeast Gulf Coast United States PETROLEUM/MINING Crude Oil Production – Alaska Natural Gas Field Production – Alaska ANS West Cost 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 VISITOR INDUSTRY Total Air Passenger Traffic – Anchorage Total Air Passenger Traffic – Fairbanks ALASKA PERMANENT FUND Equity Assets Net Income Net Income – Year to Date Marketable Debt Securities Real Estate Investments Preferred and Common Stock 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 FOREIGN TRADE Value of the Dollar In Japanese Yen In Canadian Dollars In British Pounds In European Monetary Unit In Chinese Yuan


AMERICAN FAST FREIGHT Previous Report Period (revised)

Year Ago Period

Year Over Year Change



Latest Report Period

Percent Percent Percent Percent Percent Percent

October October October October October October

7.7 7.4 7.4 8.4 10.5 10.2

7.6 7.2 6.8 6.7 8.4 9.8

6.7 5.9 5.9 6.7 8.2 6.1

14.93% 25.42% 25.42% 25.37% 28.05% 67.21%

Millions of Barrels Billions of Cubic Ft. $ per Barrel

October October October

16.89 11.25 74.28

16.87 10.34 69.20

22.19 12.58 73.65

-23.88% -10.61% 0.85%

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

October October October October October

6 1044 1043.34 1723.61 1.04

8 1097 996.42 1638.95 0.94

8 1976 809.72 1044.13 0.65

-25.00% -47.17% 28.85% 65.08% 59.19%

Millions of $ Millions of $ Millions of $

October October October

21.14 8.86 12.28

23.88 12.63 11.25

28.84 7.84 21.00

-26.69% 13.03% -41.52%

Total Deeds Total Deeds

October October

866 343

829 387

702 236

23.36% 45.34%

Thousands Thousands

October October

346.90 87.51

419.86 87.51

365.29 71.99

-5.03% 21.56%

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

October October October October October October October

33054.8 33246.2 97.4 (316.4) 53.7 (96.2) (374.2)

33313.4 33477.7 56.0 978.6 114.6 12.6 743.4

29062.1 29373.1 (460.0) (4003.1) (415.8) (202.1) (3329.2)

13.74% 13.19% 121.17% 92.10% 112.91% 52.40% 88.76%

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

2nd Q09 2nd Q09 2nd Q09 2nd Q09 2nd Q09 2nd Q09 2nd Q09 2nd Q09 2nd Q09

1,924.56 42.13 93.50 1,183.18 13.28 1,687.97 1,658.77 429.20 1,229.57

1,924.56 42.13 93.50 1,183.18 13.28 1,687.97 1,658.77 429.20 1,229.57

1,898.10 42.55 79.14 1,163.47 9.44 1,687.09 1,635.09 342.33 1,292.77

1.39% -0.99% 18.15% 1.69% 40.64% 0.05% 1.45% 25.38% -4.89%

Yen Canadian $ Pounds Euro Yuan

October October October October October

90.36 1.05 0.62 0.68 6.83

91.47 1.08 0.61 0.69 6.83

100.48 1.17 0.59 0.75 6.84

-10.07% -10.05% 5.04% -9.86% -0.15%

Data compiled by University of Alaska Center for Economic Development. • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010


ADVERTISERS INDEX AES Employment Services Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Alaska Aggregate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Alaska Air Cargo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Alaska Cover-All . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 Alaska Mechanical Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Alaska Public Telecomm. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Alaska Rubber and Supply Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110 Alaska Sales and Service Fleet Elite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Alaska Traffic Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Alaska USA Federal Credit Union . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 All Spruced Up Professional Organizing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 American Marine/PENCO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Arctic Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Arctic Foundations Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Arctic Office Products (Machines) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Arctic Transportation Services/Ryan Air.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 ASRC Energy Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 AT&T Alascom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 ATCO Structures and Logistics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 B2 Networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Bear Creek Winery and Lodging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Bering Straits Native Corp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Bill Z Photography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 BiNW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 BP. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Brice Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 Bristol Alliance of Companies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Business Insurance Associates Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 Carlile Transportation Systems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Chandler Corp. Puffin Inn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Chris Arend Photography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114 Coffman Engineers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55


Construction Machinery Industrial LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115 Crowley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 Cruz Construction Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 CRW Engineering Group LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Design Alaska. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Dimond Center Hotel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Dowland-Bach Corp.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Dynamic Properties-Matthew Fink . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 EDC Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Eklutna Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 ERA Alaska . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 ERA Helicopters LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau. . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Fairbanks Gold Mining Inc., dba. Kinross Gold. . . . . . . . . . 85 First National Bank Alaska . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Floyd and Sons Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 Foss Maritime. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 GCI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Golden Valley Electric Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Golder Associates Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Granite Construction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 Great Originals Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Haight and Associates Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Jens’ Restaurant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Judy Patrick Photography. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 LCMF . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Lounsbury and Associates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Lynden Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Microcom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 MTA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Muzak-Sound Tech LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 NANA/WorleyParsons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Nenana Heating Services Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

Northern Air Cargo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26-27 OPTI Staffing Group. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Pacific Alaska Freightways . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Pacific Pile and Marine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61, 111 Parker Smith Feek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 PDC Harris Group LLC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 Peak Oilfield Services. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 PND Engineers Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Polar Supply Co-A Div. of Spenard Builders Supply. . . . . . 47 R&M Consultants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Rosie’s Delivery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 RSA Engineering Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Scan Home. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 Sealaska Corp.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Seekins Ford Lincoln Mercury Fleet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 SGS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Shannon and Wilson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Span Alaska Transportation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 State of Alaska . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Stellar Designs Inc.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 STG Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 Sundog Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Talaheim Lodge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 TecPro Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 The Growth Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Tobacco Prevention Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 TTT Environmental. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 UMIAQ LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Unit Company. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 University of Alaska Anchorage/Engineering . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Washington Crane and Hoist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Wells Fargo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 • Alaska Business Monthly • February 2010









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