April 2020 | Volume 37 | Number 4 | AKBIZMAG.COM

Contents

Features

Continuing Medical Education

Enhancing professional development and patient care
By Tracy Barbour

The Pulse of Cardiology in the Last Frontier

Heart health requires lifelong attention
By Isaac Stone Simonelli

Moving Air: The Joys of HVAC

If you’re warm in the winter and cool in the summer, thank a mechanical engineer
By Vanessa Orr

Bidding to Building

Cornerstone provides a ‘walkthrough’ of the pre-construction process
By Brad Joyal

Anticipated ANWR Lease Sale Profits Included in Trump 2021 Budget

Optimism remains for development even with delays
By Isaac Stone Simonelli

Push & Pull

Tug and barge services keep Alaska on course
By Brad Joyal
Growth in cruise market and other segments boost Alaska’s tourism industry

The Electrification of Everything

Graphite One seeks to establish first US-based graphite supply chain
By Amy Newman

More Boats, More People, More Money

Growth in cruise market and other segments boost Alaska’s tourism industry
By Tracy Barbour

Mining Activity Overview

Updates on Alaska’s operating and highly prospective mining projects

Turning Rock into Revenue

Assaying and refining in Alaska
By Joy Choquette
Alaska Business (ISSN 8756-4092) is published monthly by Alaska Business Publishing Co., Inc. 501 W. Northern Lights Boulevard, Suite 100, Anchorage, 
Alaska 99503-2577; 
Telephone: (907) 276-4373. 
© 2020 Alaska Business Publishing Co. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Alaska Business accepts no responsibility for unsolicited materials; they will not be returned unless accompanied by a stamped, self addressed envelope. One-year subscription is $39.95 and includes twelve issues (print + digital) and the annual Power List. Single issues of the Power List are $15 each. Single issues of Alaska Business are $4.99 each; $5.99 for the July & December issues. Send subscription orders and address changes to [email protected]. To order back issues ($9.99 each including postage) visit simplecirc.com/back_issues/alaska-business.
Graphite One seeks to establish first US-based graphite supply chain

The Electrification of Everything

Graphite One seeks to establish first US-based graphite supply chain
By Amy Newman

Continuing Medical Education

Enhancing professional development and patient care
By Tracy Barbour

The Pulse of Cardiology in the Last Frontier

Heart health requires lifelong attention
By Isaac Stone Simonelli

Moving Air: The Joys of HVAC

If you’re warm in the winter and cool in the summer, thank a mechanical engineer
By Vanessa Orr

Bidding to Building

Cornerstone provides a ‘walkthrough’ of the pre-construction process
By Brad Joyal

Anticipated ANWR Lease Sale Profits Included in Trump 2021 Budget

Optimism remains for development even with delays
By Isaac Stone Simonelli

Push & Pull

Tug and barge services keep Alaska on course
By Brad Joyal
Growth in cruise market and other segments boost Alaska’s tourism industry

More Boats, More People, More Money

Growth in cruise market and other segments boost Alaska’s tourism industry
By Tracy Barbour

Mining Activity Overview

Updates on Alaska’s operating and highly prospective mining projects

Turning Rock into Revenue

Assaying and refining in Alaska
By Joy Choquette
Alaska Business (ISSN 8756-4092) is published monthly by Alaska Business Publishing Co., Inc. 501 W. Northern Lights Boulevard, Suite 100, Anchorage, 
Alaska 99503-2577; 
Telephone: (907) 276-4373. 
© 2020 Alaska Business Publishing Co. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Alaska Business accepts no responsibility for unsolicited materials; they will not be returned unless accompanied by a stamped, self addressed envelope. One-year subscription is $39.95 and includes twelve issues (print + digital) and the annual Power List. Single issues of the Power List are $15 each. Single issues of Alaska Business are $4.99 each; $5.99 for the July & December issues. Send subscription orders and address changes to [email protected]. To order back issues ($9.99 each including postage) visit simplecirc.com/back_issues/alaska-business.
Corporate 100 Special Section
Keeping Alaskans at work
Carrs|Safeway is locally grown and nationally strong
Hecla focuses on employees, safety, and environmental stewardship
Hecla focuses on employees, safety, and environmental stewardship
Correction: In the February 2020 Alaska Trends, Singapore and Indonesia were mislabeled on the map titled Growing Trade Partners. The map has been corrected in the digital edition of Alaska Business and can be seen here: https://digital.akbizmag.com/issue/february-2020/alaska-trends/.
Charles Dillard is living his dream everyday at the Alaska Railroad
By Vanessa Orr

About The Cover

We like jobs here at Alaska Business. We like our own jobs, we like the jobs held by the professionals we use as sources, we like the jobs held by our vendors and partners, and we like all the other jobs that allow Alaska’s economy to function. Thus in our annual Corporate 100 special section, we honor the companies that provide the most jobs to Alaskans; in fact, we’ve ranked 100 of them to give our readers insight into the industries and corporations that keep so many of us gainfully employed.
Charles Dillard is living his dream everyday at the Alaska Railroad
Charles Dillard is living his dream everyday at the Alaska Railroad
By Vanessa Orr
Keeping Alaskans at work
Carrs|Safeway is locally grown and nationally strong
Hecla focuses on employees, safety, and environmental stewardship
Hecla focuses on employees, safety, and environmental stewardship
Correction: In the February 2020 Alaska Trends, Singapore and Indonesia were mislabeled on the map titled Growing Trade Partners. The map has been corrected in the digital edition of Alaska Business and can be seen here: https://digital.akbizmag.com/issue/february-2020/alaska-trends/.

About The Cover

We like jobs here at Alaska Business. We like our own jobs, we like the jobs held by the professionals we use as sources, we like the jobs held by our vendors and partners, and we like all the other jobs that allow Alaska’s economy to function. Thus in our annual Corporate 100 special section, we honor the companies that provide the most jobs to Alaskans; in fact, we’ve ranked 100 of them to give our readers insight into the industries and corporations that keep so many of us gainfully employed.

Quick Reads

*Editor’s Note: Community Events and Business Events will not run this month as most events have been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19. To see if a specific event has been cancelled, visit our COVID-19 resource page at https://akbizmag.com/covid-19/covid-19-updates/.
Volume 37, #3
Editorial Staff
Managing Editor
Kathryn Mackenzie
257-2907 [email protected]
Associate/Web Editor
Tasha Anderson
257-2902 [email protected]
Digital and Social Media Specialist
Arie Henry
257-2906 [email protected]
Art Director
Monica Sterchi-Lowman
257-2916 [email protected]
Art Production
Linda Shogren
257-2912 [email protected]
Photo Contributor
Kerry Tasker
BUSINESS STAFF
President
Billie Martin
VP & General Manager
Jason Martin
257-2905 [email protected]
VP Sales & Marketing
Charles Bell
257-2909 [email protected]
Senior Account Manager
Janis J. Plume
257-2917 [email protected]
Advertising Account Manager
Christine Merki
257-2911 [email protected]
Accounting Manager
Ana Lavagnino
257-2901 [email protected]
Customer Service Representative
Emily Olsen
257-2914 [email protected]
CONTACT
Press releases:
[email protected]

Postmaster:
Send address changes to
Alaska Business
501 W. Northern Lights Blvd. #100
Anchorage, AK 99503

From the Editor

The 2020 Corporate 100
Kathryn Mackenzie
T

he Corporate 100 rankings are an annual tradition at Alaska Business that spans nearly three decades. There are a handful of companies that appeared on our inaugural Corporate 100 in 1993 and appear again on the list today including Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, Bristol Bay Native Corporation, First National Bank Alaska, GCI, Lynden, NANA, Providence, and Usibelli Coal Mine to name a few of the companies that have been keeping Alaskans employed and feeding the economy, year after year, decade after decade.

Because the 100 companies in this directory employ workers in Alaska’s staple industries, it is not an overstatement to say that without them, the state’s economy would suffer deeply. Economists are once again predicting that the state is emerging (some say has emerged) from its years-long recession in 2020 and, if it does, it will be in large part thanks to the companies and employees on this list.

Continuing
Medical
Education
Enhancing professional development and patient care
By Tracy Barbour
I

t’s vital that medical providers stay current with recent developments and the latest threats in the healthcare field. Challenges like the coronavirus outbreak—which emerged in China in December and has since spread across the globe—require that medical professionals stay current on the latest prevention and treatment options available. This is pertinent to making decisions and providing care to the community while keeping providers and their staff safe by reducing transmission, according to Susan Gorba, medical educator for Providence Health & Services Alaska.

That’s where continuing medical education (CME) comes into play. CME allows healthcare professionals to maintain competence and learn about new and developing areas of their field. “By offering continuing medical education, we are bringing current information to our providers and helping them to remain current with their medical knowledge,” Gorba says.

Education
estherhelen | Twenty20
Continuing
Medical
Education
Enhancing professional development and patient care
By Tracy Barbour
I

t’s vital that medical providers stay current with recent developments and the latest threats in the healthcare field. Challenges like the coronavirus outbreak—which emerged in China in December and has since spread across the globe—require that medical professionals stay current on the latest prevention and treatment options available. This is pertinent to making decisions and providing care to the community while keeping providers and their staff safe by reducing transmission, according to Susan Gorba, medical educator for Providence Health & Services Alaska.

That’s where continuing medical education (CME) comes into play. CME allows healthcare professionals to maintain competence and learn about new and developing areas of their field. “By offering continuing medical education, we are bringing current information to our providers and helping them to remain current with their medical knowledge,” Gorba says.

Healthcare
The
of Cardiology in the
Last Frontier
Healthcare
The
of Cardiology in the
Last Frontier
Heart health requires lifelong attention
By Isaac Stone Simonelli
T

he “Gray Tsunami”—the aging population in Alaska—is driving increased demand for cardiological services, Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute CEO Robert Craig III says.

“Cardiology typically serves patients in an older age category. If we were to do a per capita need for cardiology services in the state, I could probably hire another twenty cardiologists and just meet the need of what this state alone has,” Craig says. “It’s continually evolving—for our state in particular, it’s a growing need for cardiology.”

Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute, managed by Craig and a board of five physicians, comprises thirty-two cardiologists offering services from diagnostic testing and heart rhythm management to heart failure and interventional cardiology.

HR MATTERS
Wellness–a fading trend, or here to stay?
By Melody Gray, Account Executive
A

ttracting and retaining skilled employees is a challenge most Alaskan companies are facing in today’s job market. Record unemployment has made businesses need to get creative with their retention strategies. What if there was a way to increase employee engagement, raise morale and attract talent all at the same time? The answer is easy: institute a wellness initiative.

You’re probably asking yourself, Does it work?” “How can it benefit my business?” Over the past several years, the wellness industry has grown twice as fast as global economic growth, and has produced proven results of increasing employee engagement and retention, while reducing healthcare costs. It might seem unlikely that something as simple as a wellness program could have such substantial results, but the statistics show that an effective wellness program can have a drastic impact on your workplace culture and, of course, the bottom line.

Engineering / Architecture
Moving
Air:
The Joys of HVAC
If you’re warm in the winter and cool in the summer, thank a mechanical engineer
By Vanessa Orr
KenGrahamPhotography.com | PDC Engineers
Engineering / Architecture
KenGrahamPhotography.com | PDC Engineers
Moving Air: The Joys of HVAC
If you’re warm in the winter and cool in the summer, thank a mechanical engineer
By Vanessa Orr
I

t’s not a stretch to say that mechanical engineers breathe life into a building. While architects may conceptualize them and contractors may build them, without the efforts of the people who design and maintain their central systems—including the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems—the spaces wouldn’t be habitable.

This is especially true in Alaska, where huge temperature variations can cause buildings to be too hot, too cold, or too dangerous to occupy. Add to this the fact that these systems have a myriad of challenges of their own—cost, size, capacity—and it’s no surprise that those who do the work have passion for the job.

Construction
Bidding to Building
Cornerstone provides a ‘walkthrough’ of the pre-construction process
By Brad Joyal
Construction
Bidding to Building
Cornerstone provides a ‘walkthrough’ of the pre-construction process
By Brad Joyal
E

ven the most experienced contractors can find building in Alaska’s environment complex and challenging. From finding the right project to bidding, hiring, and securing permits, construction projects require sharp choices and exhaustive attention to detail from start to finish.

Identifying A Project
Long before the contract is ever signed, general contractors are busy assessing a project to make sure it fits the company’s goals. Alaska’s builders typically learn about construction opportunities by sifting through bid lists—distributed nightly—that highlight available or planned projects. Bid lists include a comprehensive breakdown of each project’s requirements, making them the preferred method of finding new work.
Corporate 100
The Top 5 of the Top 100
Keeping Alaskans at work
E

very job counts, which is why Alaska Business celebrates the corporations in Alaska that keep people employed across the state every April in our Corporate 100 Special Section. The top five this year—Providence Health & Services Alaska; Trident Seafood Corporation; Princess Cruises, Holland America Line & Seabourn; Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC); and NANA—are representative of some of the brightest industries in Alaska’s economy.

Providence Health & Services Alaska
Ranked #1 by employing 5,000 Alaskans*
Providence Health & Services Alaska is guided by its core values of compassion, dignity, justice, excellence, and integrity as the nonprofit healthcare provider pursues its mission: “As expressions of God’s love, witnessed through the ministry of Jesus, we are steadfast in serving all, especially those who are poor and vulnerable.”
Corporate 100
A Fifty-Year Love Affair
Charles Dillard is living his dream everyday at the Alaska Railroad
By Vanessa Orr
C

harles R. Dillard, 79, really loves two things: railroads and Alaska. So the fact that he’s been able to combine the two by working at the Alaska Railroad for the past fifty years has been a dream come true.

“The US Army sent me to Alaska in 1961, and I saw the railroad here and decided that it would be my home,” says the carman/writer inspector, who has been employed by the railroad since July 12, 1965. “I don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t doing this. This is all I’ve ever wanted.”

Corporate 100
Charles Dillard
A Fifty-Year Love Affair
Charles Dillard is living his dream everyday at the Alaska Railroad
By Vanessa Orr
C

harles R. Dillard, 79, really loves two things: railroads and Alaska. So the fact that he’s been able to combine the two by working at the Alaska Railroad for the past fifty years has been a dream come true.

“The US Army sent me to Alaska in 1961, and I saw the railroad here and decided that it would be my home,” says the carman/writer inspector, who has been employed by the railroad since July 12, 1965. “I don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t doing this. This is all I’ve ever wanted.”

Corporate 100
The Alaska Business Corporate 100
Ranked by the Number of Alaska-based Employees
Green Person Icon
#1
Providence Health & Services Alaska
Preston Simmons, CEO
3760 Piper St., Ste 3035
Anchorage, AK 99508
Health & Wellness
Providence St. Joseph Health
Renton, WA USA
Healthcare, serving Alaskans in six communities: Anchorage, Eagle River, Matanuska-Susitna Valley, Kodiak Island, Seward, and Valdez. PH&SA includes Providence Alaska Medical Center.
Year Founded1902Year Founded in AK1902
Employees (Worldwide)120,000Employees (AK)5,000
#2
Trident Seafoods Corporation
Joe Bundrant, CEO
405 E. Fireweed Ln., Ste 203
Anchorage, AK 99503
Seafood
tridentseafoods.com
206-783-3818
Trident Seafoods owns and operates 12 shore-based seafood processing facilities in Alaska and support facilities for its catcher-processing, catcher vessel, and tender fleets. Trident produces seafood products from nearly every commercial fishery off Alaska for retail, food service, and club stores.
Year Founded1973Year Founded in AK1973
Employees (Worldwide)8,881Employees (AK)4,602
Corporate 100
Carrs|Safeway employees at its new location in midtown Anchorage.

Carrs|Safeway

100 Years in the Last Frontier
Carrs|Safeway is locally grown and nationally strong
T

he state’s newest Carrs|Safeway opened in mid-November 2019; while it remains located in the (newly rebranded) Midtown Mall in Anchorage, it moved from the west side of the mall to the east. The renovated space is bright, open, and features a full-service ramen bar, full-service poke bar, and Wok-UR-Way, in addition to a Kaladi Brothers location.

Carrs|Safeway Alaska General Manager Reino Bellio says that, against a nationwide trend of struggling retail brands, the company has long-term plans for operations in Alaska. “We have been here for a long time,” Bellio says.

In fact, back in 1915, a year before Anchorage’s founding and more than forty years before Alaska became a state, J.B. Gottstein was supplying groceries and other supplies to Alaskans. Larry Carr opened his first grocery location in 1950. By the mid ‘70s the two grocers merged to form, at the time, the state’s largest retail chain and further cemented their legacy. According to Carrs|Safeway, following that merger, “60 percent of the entire Alaskan population lived within three miles of a Carrs store.” In 1990 the company was purchased by an employee ownership group, and then it was acquired by Safeway in 1999, which was followed by its acquisition in 2014 that made Carrs|Safeway part of the Albertsons family of stores.

Corporate 100
Greens Creek’s Green Legacy
Hecla focuses on employees, safety, and environmental stewardship
Greens Creek | Hecla
H

ecla’s Greens Creek Mine, located on Admiralty Island eighteen miles southwest of Juneau, is one of the largest silver mines in the world and the largest in the United States. In 2019 the underground mine processed 846,076 tons of ore to produce 9.9 million ounces of silver and more than 56,000 ounces of gold, 20,000 tons of lead, and 56,000 tons of zinc. According to the company, Greens Creek is a very low-cost silver mine and is the cash-generating engine for Hecla, which also has operating mines in Idaho; Nevada; Quebec, Canada; and Durango, Mexico.

According to Greens Creek’s General Manager and Hecla VP Brian Erickson, Greens Creek is also unique as it’s located within the Admiralty Island National Monument, the only US mine permitted to operate within a national monument. “That means our safety and environmental record must be among the best in the world right now,” Erickson says. “That’s a responsibility that we talk about every day, and we take it very seriously.”

Mining
Mining Activity Overview cloud graphic
Mining Activity Overview
Updates on Alaska’s operating and highly prospective mining projects
I

t’s almost spring in the Last Frontier, which means across the state winter-based activities are winding down and exploration, drilling, and construction plans that require warm summer months are ramping up. Below Alaska Business has compiled 2019 updates and 2020 plans for Alaska’s operating metal mines, as well as a few future projects currently working on exploration or permitting.

Fort Knox | Kinross

In February Kinross published an update on its development projects, exploration program, and estimated mineral reserves and resources. Kinross owns and operates Fort Knox, an open pit gold mine in the Fairbanks mining district. According to the update, during 2019 a total of 7,300 meters of drilling was completed that mostly focused on the western crest of the pit. “The results were encouraging and resulted in the addition of 229 gold koz [thousand ounces] in measured and indicated resources,” the company states. For 2019, proven and probable reserves at Fort Knox are 2,910 gold koz, measured and indicated resources are 2,026 gold koz, and inferred resources are 774 gold koz. In 2019, Fort Knox produced 200,253 ounces of gold, a nearly 22 percent drop from 2018. However, it’s expected gold output will increase in 2020, largely due to the Gilmore expansion.

Mining
The Electrification of Everything
Graphite One seeks to establish first US-based graphite supply chain
By Amy Newman
Graphite One
V

ancouver-based Graphite One is out to make history by creating the first graphite supply chain in the country, the company says. To accomplish its mission, it’s working to mine graphite from Graphite Creek outside of Nome, site of the highest grade and largest known large flake graphite deposit in the United States. Even so, Graphite One doesn’t consider itself a “typical” mining company.

“Graphite One isn’t really a mining company,” explains President and CEO Anthony Huston. “We’re a tech company that mines graphite.”

The corporation, which Huston founded in 2012, considers mining a means to an end, an endeavor necessary to achieve its goal of creating a US-based graphite supply chain.

Mining
Turning Rock into Revenue
Assaying and refining in Alaska
By Joy Choquette
Lightboxx | Twenty20
A

ccording to state economists, Alaska’s most lucrative industries are oil, tourism, and fishing. Timber, agriculture, and mining also garner a good amount of state revenue. In the mining industry, coal, zinc, and silver extraction are big business, as is mining and refining gold.

In 2018, the US Geological Survey reported that domestic gold mine production was approximately 210 tons, valued at approximately $8.6 billion. Gold was produced in a dozen states in 2018, primarily at Alaska’s placer mines and in the western United States.

oil & gas
Anticipated ANWR Lease Sale Profits Included in Trump 2021 Budget
Optimism remains for development even with delays
By Isaac Stone Simonelli
Sale prices going up graphic
P

resident Donald Trump’s administration missed the target date of holding the first-ever oil drilling lease sale in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 2019 due to delays with the environmental review process. However, the administration’s $4.8 trillion proposed budget for 2021 includes $1.06 billion in anticipated revenue from the lease sale this year and $502 million in 2021.

“An ANWR 1002 lease sale is the first step in opening an opportunity to responsibly develop Alaska’s abundant oil and gas resources in an area that was specifically set aside for oil and gas development but has been held hostage administratively for many years,” Governor Mike Dunleavy says.

“ANWR 1002 leasing will provide local jobs, grow our private sector economy, and put more oil in the Trans Alaska Pipeline System [TAPS]. Additionally, this would result in putting dollars in our Permanent Fund and state and federal treasuries. We fully recognize the importance of this resource in the nation’s overall strategy of energy independence.”

Transportation
Push &
Pull
Tug and barge services keep Alaska on course
By Brad Joyal
L

ocal grocery and department stores have shelves lined with thousands of items, the great majority of which didn’t originate in Alaska. So where did those potato chips come from? What size was the barge that brought those vacuum cleaners here? How many bicycles came in the latest shipment?

While the general public may not spend much time pondering those questions, the reality of what it takes to bring goods to the state is truly a testament to Alaska’s robust tug and barge industry, which serves a critical role in the state’s commerce.

“We like to think that we’re kind of a shining star here, enabling commerce for a broader state,” says Michael O’Shea, senior business development director for Cook Inlet Tug & Barge. “If the maritime industry doesn’t work, the state’s wheels won’t turn. Without us, the truck drivers don’t work, the longshoremen don’t work. Think about it: the stuff doesn’t get on the shelves at Fred Meyer from cars.”

Transportation
Push &
Pull
Tug and barge services keep Alaska on course
By Brad Joyal
Port of Nome
L

ocal grocery and department stores have shelves lined with thousands of items, the great majority of which didn’t originate in Alaska. So where did those potato chips come from? What size was the barge that brought those vacuum cleaners here? How many bicycles came in the latest shipment?

While the general public may not spend much time pondering those questions, the reality of what it takes to bring goods to the state is truly a testament to Alaska’s robust tug and barge industry, which serves a critical role in the state’s commerce.

“We like to think that we’re kind of a shining star here, enabling commerce for a broader state,” says Michael O’Shea, senior business development director for Cook Inlet Tug & Barge. “If the maritime industry doesn’t work, the state’s wheels won’t turn. Without us, the truck drivers don’t work, the longshoremen don’t work. Think about it: the stuff doesn’t get on the shelves at Fred Meyer from cars.”

Tourism
More Boats,
More People,
More Money
Growth in the cruise market and other segments boost Alaska’s tourism industry
By Tracy Barbour
*Editor’s Note: This article was researched and written before the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, therefore the interviews and forecasts within do not take into account the impact of COVID-19 on the industry.
F

or twenty-one years, Alaskan Tour Guides has been helping tourists make once-in-a-lifetime memories. The company, owned by Bob and Doreen Toller, specializes in small-group land tours that take people to places large companies normally can’t go. “We go places they can’t access with their big motor coaches… There’s no crowd, and you get to see the real Alaska,” Bob Toller says.

With its modern, thirteen-passenger vans, Alaskan Tour Guides takes groups on up-close adventures led by year-round residents with engaging stories to tell about living in Alaska. The Wasilla-based business runs tours from Fairbanks to Homer, with Kenai Fjords and Denali National Parks being popular destinations. Its customers can see amazing vistas, watch incredible wildlife, and indulge in unique activities like gold panning, dog sledding, and exploring glaciers. “Our trips are a little bit more expensive than the cruise ship tours, but you get ten times more,” Toller says.

*Editor’s Note: This article was researched and written before the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, therefore the interviews and forecasts within do not take into account the impact of COVID-19 on the industry.
Visit Anchorage
Visit Anchorage
Tourism
Visit Anchorage
More Boats,
More People,
More Money
Growth in the cruise market and other segments boost Alaska’s tourism industry
By Tracy Barbour
*Editor’s Note: This article was researched and written before the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, therefore the interviews and forecasts within do not take into account the impact of COVID-19 on the industry.
F

or twenty-one years, Alaskan Tour Guides has been helping tourists make once-in-a-lifetime memories. The company, owned by Bob and Doreen Toller, specializes in small-group land tours that take people to places large companies normally can’t go. “We go places they can’t access with their big motor coaches… There’s no crowd, and you get to see the real Alaska,” Bob Toller says.

With its modern, thirteen-passenger vans, Alaskan Tour Guides takes groups on up-close adventures led by year-round residents with engaging stories to tell about living in Alaska. The Wasilla-based business runs tours from Fairbanks to Homer, with Kenai Fjords and Denali National Parks being popular destinations. Its customers can see amazing vistas, watch incredible wildlife, and indulge in unique activities like gold panning, dog sledding, and exploring glaciers. “Our trips are a little bit more expensive than the cruise ship tours, but you get ten times more,” Toller says.

F

or twenty-one years, Alaskan Tour Guides has been helping tourists make once-in-a-lifetime memories. The company, owned by Bob and Doreen Toller, specializes in small-group land tours that take people to places large companies normally can’t go. “We go places they can’t access with their big motor coaches… There’s no crowd, and you get to see the real Alaska,” Bob Toller says.

With its modern, thirteen-passenger vans, Alaskan Tour Guides takes groups on up-close adventures led by year-round residents with engaging stories to tell about living in Alaska. The Wasilla-based business runs tours from Fairbanks to Homer, with Kenai Fjords and Denali National Parks being popular destinations. Its customers can see amazing vistas, watch incredible wildlife, and indulge in unique activities like gold panning, dog sledding, and exploring glaciers. “Our trips are a little bit more expensive than the cruise ship tours, but you get ten times more,” Toller says.

Inside Alaska Business
North Star College
UAF and the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District have joined forces to create North Star College, a middle college program that will allow students to take UAF classes at the Fairbanks campus while still in high school. The school district will cover tuition and transportation, and students will earn both high school and college credit for their UAF classes.

For the 2020-2021 school year, North Star College will be open to seniors only and will accept forty students. Eligible students will be entered into a lottery and randomly selected for admission. UAF and the school district plan to expand the program the following year to admit more students, as well as open it to both juniors and seniors. k12northstar.org/northstarcollege

Right Moves
BBNC
Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) hired Amy Humphreys as President and CEO and BBNC shareholder Everette Anderson as Senior Vice President of Bristol Bay Seafood Investments. In their new positions, Humphreys and Anderson will guide and grow BBNC’s emerging venture into this major sector of Alaska’s economy and overall global commerce.
Humphreys’ background in the seafood and food manufacturing and distribution industries will be an immediate asset to Bristol Bay Seafood Investments. She has a long history with American Seafoods, both as an executive and as a board member, and is a former president and CEO of Icicle Seafoods, a diversified seafood company with operations throughout Alaska across multiple species and product sales worldwide.
 Amy Humphreys headshot
Humphreys

Alaska Trends

Heart health is a lifelong investment. According to the American Heart Association, how we eat, live, exercise, and interact with others can all contribute to a healthier heart. Suggestions from the American Heart Association include eating more fruits and vegetables to “add color” to our diets, improving our home cooking skills, learning about foods that support our hearts, getting active and staying motivated in our fitness routines, managing stress, and focusing on healthy sleeping habits.

It’s never too early or too late to think about heart health, so in this issue of Alaska Trends we present data from The Burden of Heart Disease and Stroke in Alaska published in 2019 (using 2016 data) by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Section of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion about the state of the state’s heart health.

At a Glance

What book is currently on your nightstand?
My Bible. If you flip through Proverbs, there’s so much wisdom in it. [Also] leadership books. I read a lot of leadership books… I don’t care how long you’ve been a leader, if you stop trying, if you say you know everything, you should leave your job.

What movie do you recommend to everyone you know?
I love the movie Shining Through. It’s a very uplifting, great movie. And the second is Heaven Is For Real.

What’s the first thing you do when you get home after a long day at work?
I kick off my shoes and start dinner… I’m a good cook because my dad was a Chinese Filipino cook who taught me everything.

If you couldn’t live in Alaska, what’s your dream locale?
New Zealand… the Māori tribe people are like us and feel like family to me, and I love the country. It’s beautiful.

If you could domesticate a wild animal, what animal would it be?
Everybody at Southcentral Foundation would have this answer for you: it’s a grizzly bear. I would get it when it was a baby and it would be mine, and nobody would come near me because he’d be right next to me.

At a Glance

What book is currently on your nightstand?
My Bible. If you flip through Proverbs, there’s so much wisdom in it. [Also] leadership books. I read a lot of leadership books… I don’t care how long you’ve been a leader, if you stop trying, if you say you know everything, you should leave your job.

What movie do you recommend to everyone you know?
I love the movie Shining Through. It’s a very uplifting, great movie. And the second is Heaven Is For Real.

What’s the first thing you do when you get home after a long day at work?
I kick off my shoes and start dinner… I’m a good cook because my dad was a Chinese Filipino cook who taught me everything.

If you couldn’t live in Alaska, what’s your dream locale?
New Zealand… the Māori tribe people are like us and feel like family to me, and I love the country. It’s beautiful.

If you could domesticate a wild animal, what animal would it be?
Everybody at Southcentral Foundation would have this answer for you: it’s a grizzly bear. I would get it when it was a baby and it would be mine, and nobody would come near me because he’d be right next to me.

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Thanks for reading our April 2020 issue!