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February 2021 | Volume 38 | Number 2 | AKBIZMAG.COM

Contents

Features

Socioeconomic Effects of Mining

The industry’s resilience supports local communities amid the pandemic
By Isaac Stone Simonelli

New Heights

Innovation in the air and on the ground keeps Alaskans flying
By Isaac Stone Simonelli

Hoarfrost, Permafrost, and Low Oxygen

How the Arctic challenges engineers working on ice
By Vanessa Orr
Construction: Trade Training

Trade Training

A roadmap to kickstarting, accelerating careers in construction
By Danny Kreilkamp
lippyjr | iStock

Pandemic Relief Funding in 2020

Programs distribute $2 billion to Alaska’s small businesses
By Tracy Barbour
Fejes Guide Service

Pandemic Relief Funding in 2020

Programs distribute $2 billion to Alaska’s small businesses
By Tracy Barbour
Fejes Guide Service
Finance: Pandemic Relief Funding in 2020

Socioeconomic Effects of Mining

The industry’s resilience supports local communities amid the pandemic
By Isaac Stone Simonelli

New Heights

Innovation in the air and on the ground keeps Alaskans flying
By Isaac Stone Simonelli

Hoarfrost, Permafrost, and Low Oxygen

How the Arctic challenges engineers working on ice
By Vanessa Orr
Construction: Trade Training

Trade Training

A roadmap to kickstarting, accelerating careers in construction
By Danny Kreilkamp
lippyjr | iStock
Let’s Keep Building

We’ve always believed in Alaska. And for nearly a century, First National has helped Alaskans build strong, local businesses and communities. Together, we can build a brighter future.

Like you, we’re here for the long haul.

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First National Bank Alaska logo
Let’s Keep Building

We’ve always believed in Alaska. And for nearly a century, First National has helped Alaskans build strong, local businesses and communities. Together, we can build a brighter future.

Like you, we’re here for the long haul.

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Special Section: Architecture & Engineering
Elements of a pandemic-friendly workspace
By Amy Newman
Developing cost effective and environmentally sound rural energy systems
By Bruno J. Navarro
Architects embrace natural, emotional beauty of Alaska
By Julie Stricker
Northern Lights: Interior lighting design in Alaska architecture
Interior lighting design in Alaska architecture
By Bruno J. Navarro
RSA
How to stand out and succeed in a highly competitive field
By Vanessa Orr
Vicki Nechodomu | UAA

About The Cover

From face coverings and limits on capacity to stickers marking social distancing guidelines—the new world of COVID-19 can be a lot to keep up with. The latest science and ever-changing mandates continue to make businesses stay creative.

But how have symptoms of the pandemic manifested in the office environment? This is the question that inspired our cover story. Captured by local photographer Kevin Smith, the image depicts the newly renovated Tanana Valley Clinic; a joint effort from Bettisworth North and Martha Hanlon Architects.

While the pandemic has certainly presented its share of challenges, it has also exposed office design issues, and in some cases—as you’ll learn in “Designing Spaces for Masked Faces”—fast-tracked changes advocated for by the design community for years.

Cover photo by Kevin Smith

Engineering a Career: How to stand out and succeed in a highly competitive field
How to stand out and succeed in a highly competitive field
By Vanessa Orr
Vicki Nechodomu | UAA
Elements of a pandemic-friendly workspace
By Amy Newman
Developing cost effective and environmentally sound rural energy systems
By Bruno J. Navarro
Architects embrace natural, emotional beauty of Alaska
By Julie Stricker
Northern Lights: Interior lighting design in Alaska architecture
Interior lighting design in Alaska architecture
By Bruno J. Navarro
RSA

About The Cover

From face coverings and limits on capacity to stickers marking social distancing guidelines—the new world of COVID-19 can be a lot to keep up with. The latest science and ever-changing mandates continue to make businesses stay creative.

But how have symptoms of the pandemic manifested in the office environment? This is the question that inspired our cover story. Captured by local photographer Kevin Smith, the image depicts the newly renovated Tanana Valley Clinic; a joint effort from Bettisworth North and Martha Hanlon Architects.

While the pandemic has certainly presented its share of challenges, it has also exposed office design issues, and in some cases—as you’ll learn in “Designing Spaces for Masked Faces”—fast-tracked changes advocated for by the design community for years.

Cover photo by Kevin Smith

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. 
© 2021 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.

From the Editor

Engineering Space
O

ur cover story this month focuses on how we’re adapting our workspaces to the ongoing pandemic. I’ve adapted by purchasing a lapdesk and a metric ton of coffee. But I’m not an architect or engineer so my methods are far less artful and scientifically sound than the techniques used by the talented men and women who are reimagining where many of us spend the majority of our days.

In “Designing Spaces for Masked Faces,” we examine how the pandemic has dramatically changed the way Alaskans conduct business. From restaurants and retail stores that now rely heavily on delivery and curbside pickup options to previously bustling office space left empty as people continue working from the safety of home, there is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed how and where we conduct business.

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Volume 38, #2
Editorial Staff
Managing Editor
Kathryn Mackenzie
257-2907 [email protected]
Associate/Web Editor
Tasha Anderson
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Digital and Social Media Specialist
Arie Henry
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Staff Writer
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Art Director
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Art Production
Linda Shogren
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Photo Contributor
Kerry Tasker
BUSINESS STAFF
President
Billie Martin
VP & General Manager
Jason Martin
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VP Sales & Marketing
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Accounting Manager
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Connecting Alaska for over 40 years
Integrated electrical, telecommunications, construction, and engineering solutions
The world is changing… and so is Alaska.
Are you ready?
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Connecting Alaska for over 40 years
Integrated electrical, telecommunications, construction, and engineering solutions
FINANCE
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Pandemic Relief
Funding in 2020
Programs distribute $2 billion to Alaska’s small businesses
By Tracy Barbour
W

ith the pandemic pummeling every industry in Alaska during the bulk of 2020, many companies were able to leverage federal economic assistance through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Businesses in various industries took advantage of opportunities like the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) to retain staff, pay critical expenses, and keep their doors open.

Without these borrower-friendly funding options, many Alaska businesses would have had an even tougher time surviving this pandemic.

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MINING
Socioeconomic
Effects of Mining
The industry’s resilience supports local communities amid the pandemic
By Isaac Stone Simonelli
T

he mining industry and the positive socioeconomic impact it has on local communities statewide managed to remain steady in the face of the world’s ongoing pandemic.

There were 28,900 fewer jobs in Alaska in October 2020 than the previous year; however, COVID-19 resulted in relatively little change in mining employment, according to Dan Robinson, a chief researcher at the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

‘An Economic Development Director’s Dream’
In 2020, the mining industry employed 4,700 workers directly and 9,600 indirectly, according to a McKinley Research Group (formerly McDowell Group) report commissioned by the Alaska Miners Association.
Where Engineering Meets the Environment.
Tutka General Construction bridge construction
Tutka General Construction bridge construction side view
Tutka General Contractor construction worker
Tutka General Contractor tunnel work
Specializing in:

  • Bridges
  • Roads
  • Site Work
  • Environmental Cleanup
Tutka logo
SBA Certified HUBZone & DBE SBA logo
(907) 357-2238 | www.tutkallc.com
Construction
Trade Training
A roadmap to kickstarting, accelerating careers in construction
By Danny Kreilkamp
Man cutting wires
lippyjr | iStock
F

or young people eager to begin their careers, or more seasoned professionals simply interested in a change of scenery, the construction industry offers jobseekers a number of different programs and training opportunities to gain required skills and education. Though the path to forging a career in this industry can be winding and, at times, somewhat convoluted. Apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, vocational colleges, labor unions, company-specific certifications—what do they all mean? And where do you begin?

When it comes to trade training, one size does not fit all; determining the option that best suits prospective construction workers should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Instead of a straight line, with point A being the beginning of an individual’s journey and point B signaling the end, imagine the options available to aspiring construction professionals as a branch—with different limbs representing programs of varying structure, length, and requirement. And while the following options aren’t the only routes to a long, lucrative career in construction, they’re a great place to start.

Growing with Alaska. text

Span Alaska’s new Anchorage Service Center (ASC) means even better service and more options for our customers statewide.

Our new facility increases our capacity, improves our security, offers customizable storage areas, and streamlines freight handling — all to enable faster, smoother, and more consistent delivery of your cargo to its final destination.

Stop by our new ASC and see what Span Alaska can do for you.

Or, to schedule a pickup or find the terminal nearest you, call 1-800-257-7726 or visit us at spanalaska.com.

Span Alaska logo
Growing with Alaska. text

Span Alaska’s new Anchorage Service Center (ASC) means even better service and more options for our customers statewide.

Our new facility increases our capacity, improves our security, offers customizable storage areas, and streamlines freight handling — all to enable faster, smoother, and more consistent delivery of your cargo to its final destination.

Stop by our new ASC and see what Span Alaska can do for you.

Or, to schedule a pickup or find the terminal nearest you, call 1-800-257-7726 or visit us at spanalaska.com.

Span Alaska logo
ARCHITECTURE & ENGINEERING SPECIAL SECTION
Designing Spaces for Masked Faces
Elements of a pandemic-friendly workspace
By Amy Newman
T

he arrival of COVID-19 last March changed the way Alaskans live. Hand sanitizer and face masks became must-have items when leaving home, and phrases like “hunker down” and “social distance” became part of our daily lexicon.

The pandemic also dramatically changed how Alaskans, like much of the world, do business. Restaurants and retail stores relied heavily on delivery and curbside pickup options to help offset the loss of foot traffic, while the office workplace transitioned overnight from the traditional in-person model to an entirely—or almost entirely—remote workforce.

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Anchorage
907.561.2120
Fairbanks
907.479.0600
Palmer
907.357.2174
Geotechnical
Environmental
Natural Resources
Geophysics
Seismic
Permafrost
Hydrogeology
Construction
Laboratory Testing
GIS
ARCHITECTURE & ENGINEERING SPECIAL SECTION
Bruce Hopper working with kids
Stantec senior structural engineer Bruce Hopper talks with students and shows off a balsa wood bridge. Hopper was presenting to the Middle School Academy group of ANSEP during their Bridge Building Week.

Stantec

Engineering a Career
How to stand out and succeed in a highly competitive field
By Vanessa Orr
E

ngineering is a popular career choice for college students, and it’s no wonder; not only does it pay well, with a median annual wage of $91,000, but it provides a wealth of job opportunities. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment growth of nearly 140,000 new engineering jobs between 2016 and 2026.

But how do students land these jobs and then chart a path to long-term career success? One of the best ways is to take advantage of educational resources and listen to the advice of those who already excel in the field.

Jim Campbell, PND Engineers, Inc
©Kerry Tasker
Jim Campbell, President, PND Engineers, Inc
PND Engineers, Inc.
Comprehensive Engineering and Design Excellence since 1979
W

ith more than a 40-year history, PND Engineers, Inc. has distinguished itself as one of Alaska’s finest locally grown engineering firms. Founded in 1979 and incorporated in 1981 as Peratrovich, Nottingham & Drage, Inc., PND has more than 100 full-time employees and multiple offices, including three in Alaska (Anchorage, Juneau, Palmer), three in the Lower 48, and one in Canada. A multidisciplinary civil engineering company, PND provides planning, design, permitting, and construction support for civil infrastructure projects such as docks, roads, airfields, and buildings. Its projects encompass many specialized areas of practice, such as structural design, geotechnical and environmental studies, hydrology and hydraulics, coastal engineering, and survey.

“We also specialize in Arctic and cold regions engineering and waterfront engineering for dock and harbors,” says President Jim Campbell, PE. Many of PND’s projects are in remote coastal areas and across the North Slope. “Those specialty areas are what set us apart.”

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Architecture & Engineering Special Section
Engineer of the Year Nominees
W

hat makes a great engineer? It’s not just a solid grasp of math, physics, science, and technology. There are also intangible qualities in an ideal candidate; creative vision, problem solving skills, and a healthy dose of pragmatism are employed by engineers every day. Put it all together, add a budget and a deadline, and the result is an Alaska built on innovation, safety, and ingenuity. The evidence is all around us, seen in the buildings we frequent, the roads we travel, and even the air we breathe.

Every year, Alaska Business proudly presents the nominees for Engineer of the Year, a list of professionals whose work has left a remarkable, positive impact. Each nominee has achieved impressive accomplishments in a wide variety of projects. But we also ask readers to recognize the countless investments these individuals have made in their communities as well. These nominees engage with professional associations of peers and colleagues, some even serving in leadership positions. They also foster the development of Alaskan youth that aspire to achieve the same success. Rest assured, whomever is named Engineer of the Year, it will not only speak to his or her individual accomplishments but also that nominee’s love of this state.

Architecture & Engineering Special Section
Architecture & Engineering Special Section
2021 Engineering Excellence Award Nominees
T

he theme of Engineers Week 2021 is “Imagining Tomorrow,” which speaks to the fact that engineering is a field of optimism: problems can be solved, safety can be heightened, functionality and efficiency can be improved.

The purpose of the Engineering Excellence Award is to increase the public’s awareness of how engineering improves our communities and to recognize firms and projects of distinction. This year’s Engineering Excellence Award nominations demonstrate the broad range of regions and industries that rely on engineering, from airport improvements on Alaska’s Arctic coastal plain to structural evaluations of the Anchorage School District’s ninety-one buildings.

Regardless of which project ultimately receives top honors, the way that Alaska’s engineers are imagining tomorrow make the 49th State a better place to live, learn, and travel.

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Technology-Driven Environmental Consulting, Engineering, and Geomatics Services
Geomatic imaging
Photo by Ahtna-Merrick JV
T

hough Ahtna Solutions, LLC (ASL) is one of the newest subsidiaries of Ahtna Netiye’, a holding company for Ahtna, Inc. (Ahtna), it is making impressive strides in the market-place. ASL provides technology-driven engineering, environmental, and geomatics (survey and mapping) services to its clients. ASL enhances the operations of Ahtna’s other subsidiaries, allowing clients to benefit from the expertise of hundreds of engineers, scientists, and specialists.

“We have a unique blend of staff with engineering, environmental, geomatics, and data management backgrounds,” ASL President Tim Gould, PE explains. “We’re touching our core markets and linking them together using the science of geomatics to include remote sensing techniques, GIS (geographic information system), and other geospatial data management/analysis/visualization technologies.”

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Architecture & Engineering Special Section
The Power Problem
Developing cost effective and environmentally sound rural energy systems
By Bruno J. Navarro
S

atisfying the energy needs of Alaska’s rural communities requires a diverse set of solutions. Among them is adopting alternative forms of energy generation and using custom system designs to fit each community’s energy profile.

These systems are feats of engineering, built to sustain the demands of rugged terrain, unforgiving climates, and scarcity of personnel.

One of the primary features that must be taken into consideration when designing rural energy systems is robustness. Tim Sandstrom, director of rural programs at the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA), recalls one recent incident in Kongiganak, near the mouth of the Kuskokwim River on the state’s southwestern coast, in which a relatively new wind turbine was destroyed by extreme conditions.

“They couldn’t break the wind, and it broke,” he says. “Millions of dollars invested into that, and Mother Nature destroyed it.”

Matt Bergan, an engineer with the Kotzebue Electric Association (KEA), also cites Alaska’s extreme weather conditions as a consideration for rural energy design.

“The biggest environmental concern we have is snow drifting caused by the panels. We have to design them to minimize the number of snow drifts they produce,” he says, noting that solar panel arrays have to be raised off the ground as high as 2 to 3 feet.

Low temperatures can also make certain equipment brittle and cause it to crack, Bergan adds.

Edwin Bifelt, founder and CEO of energy contracting firm Alaska Native Renewable Industries (ANRI), says he keeps winter weather in mind when designing systems: “We account for snow loads and wind loads—we include that within our design.”

Bifelt says some of the measures his contracting firm takes include strengthening the racks that hold solar panels and increasing the anchoring force by using 6-foot helical anchors and 10-foot ground screws.

The ground itself can add a layer of difficulty to a project. “With permafrost covering a large portion of the Arctic, just drilling through that can be challenging.”

Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation
Growing, Profitable, and Stronger than Ever
Delbert Rexford
UIC President & CEO, Delbert Rexford
©Kerry Tasker
I

n recent years, Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation (UIC) has dramatically transformed itself into one of the most impressive and dynamic companies in Alaska. Thanks to its effective leadership team, top-notch employees, and extraordinary growth in revenues and income, UIC is more profitable and stronger than ever.

UIC is also among Alaska’s largest and most diverse enterprises, with about fifty subsidiaries engaging in more than twenty-five different industries and business lines throughout the U.S and abroad. The company offers an array of services, including vertical and infrastructure construction, architecture, engineering, logistics support, marine, environmental, and oil and gas services for both private and public clients. Organized as an Alaska Native Corporation in 1973, UIC currently employs more than 3,500 worldwide, including 350 employees in Alaska.

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Architecture & Engineering Special Section
Rethinking Outdoor Spaces
Architects embrace natural, emotional beauty of Alaska
By Julie Stricker
The Eielson Visitor Center takes full advantage of expansive views of Denali from Mile 66 of the Denali Park Road.

Chris Arend Photography

W

hen Bobby Wilken opened HooDoo Brewing Company on Halloween 2012, he envisioned a modest tap house where Fairbanks residents could get together to socialize over a craft beer. The brewery was busy all winter and when the weather warmed, patrons began hanging out on a tiny deck next to the front parking lot. Wilken fenced in a small area, adding electrical spools for tables, and the rustic biergarten quickly became a favorite hangout, gradually expanding over the years.

In 2017, with a vision of European biergartens, “we decided to try to design the coolest biergarten we’d ever been in,” Wilken says. He added a covered area for food trucks to park, tables and benches, and heaters and outdoor lighting.

“There’s not a lot of great spaces in Fairbanks to just order a pint of beer,” he continues. “There’s not a lot of great outdoor spaces in Fairbanks.”

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Bulk Cargo
Specialists
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SHIPPING LOGISTICS SEATTLE TERMINAL SERVICES WATERFRONT FACILITIES
Full service, safe and cost effective shipping to Alaska, the Pacific and beyond for over 20 years. Contact us to see how we can help with your next shipment.
ARCHITECTURE & ENGINEERING SPECIAL SECTION
Northern Lights
Interior lighting design in Alaska architecture
By Bruno J. Navarro
W

ith just three hours and forty-two minutes of sunlight on the shortest day of the year, Fairbanks—like much of Alaska—presents multiple challenges for lighting designers looking to create a pleasant, comfortable environment.

While the angle of the sun remains low throughout winter, hewing close to the horizon around the winter solstice, the other half of the year brings a wealth of daylight, creating two situations that can wreak havoc on circadian rhythms.

“The dynamics of our light cycle up here are so unique,” says Dana Nunn, interior design director at Bettisworth North, an Anchorage architecture firm. She notes that the sun’s changing angles throughout the year can change the color and the quality of the light dramatically.

“Figuring out how to balance that and give people a comfortable space to work in or to learn in, it’s important to layer light and controls, just so people can create a lighting environment that’s best for what they’re doing in the moment.”

Yet energy consumption also plays a factor, with Alaska residents often paying higher energy costs than anywhere in the United States.

That’s where LED technology, combined with integrated controls, can help manage energy use, Nunn says.

Ideally, good lighting design incorporates a “variable and flexible lighting system so that things are just as well-lit in the winter as they are in the summer,” she says. “It would be great to start with a cooler color temperature at the beginning of the day, coming down to warmer temperature during the day.”

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Architecture & Engineering Special Section
Architecture & Engineering Directory
Acuren Inspection
Frank Noble, Reg. Mgr. AK
7910 King St.
Anchorage, AK 99518
acuren.com
travis.thors[email protected]
907-569-5000
Materials engineering, nondestructive examination, and integrity management for the oil and gas, power, mining, transportation, and construction industries.
Year Founded/Est. in Alaska | Worldwide/Alaska Employees:
1976/2002 | 5,000/18
AECOM
Bill Craig, Sr. Mgr./Office Lead
3900 C St., Ste. 403
Anchorage, AK 99503
aecom.com
907-562-3366
AECOM Alaska is a team of engineers, scientists, planners, and support staff providing Arctic-smart engineering and environmental services for the complete project life-cycle from permitting for air, water, soils, and solid waste to planning and design.
Year Founded/Est. in Alaska | Worldwide/Alaska Employees:
1904/1948 | 87,000/36
Ahtna Engineering Services
Timothy F. Gould, PE, Pres.
110 W. 38th Ave., Ste. 200A
Anchorage, AK 99503
ahtnaes.com
907-646-2969
Ahtna Engineering is a self-performing federal and commercial contractor. The firm performs services nationwide including engineering, construction, environmental, administrative, and professional services.
Year Founded/Est. in Alaska | Worldwide/Alaska Employees:
2003/2003 | 93/45
Ahtna Infrastructure & Technologies
Tim Finnigan, Pres.
110 W. 38th Ave., Ste. 200M
Anchorage, AK 99503
907-279-7077
AIT is a self-performing 8(a) contractor that specializes in the execution of time sensitive, complex, and multifaceted construction, environmental, engineering, and professional services projects for government and commercial clients.
Year Founded/Est. in Alaska | Worldwide/Alaska Employees:
2018/2018 | 5/5
Ahtna Solutions
Timothy Gould, PE, F.SAME, Pres.
110 W. 38th Ave., Ste. 200L
Anchorage, AK 99503
ahtnasolutions.com
907-563-3233
ASL is a self-performing 8(a) Government Contractor that performs a wide range of services nationwide including environmental, engineering, and geomatic services, as well as construction, IT, and professional services.
Year Founded/Est. in Alaska | Worldwide/Alaska Employees:
2018/2018 | 5/5
AMC Engineers
Ken Ratcliffe, Pres.
701 E. Tudor Rd., Ste. 250
Anchorage, AK 99503
amc-engineers.com
[email protected]
907-257-9100
AMC Engineers is committed to the design of well-engineered and sustainable mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems, supporting the full range of institutional and commercial projects.
Year Founded/Est. in Alaska | Worldwide/Alaska Employees:
1981/1981 | 26/25
Transportation
New Heights
Innovation in the air and on the ground keeps Alaskans flying
By Isaac Stone Simonelli
Illustration of paper airplanes flying
N

ecessity continues to drive innovation in Alaska’s aviation industry from COVID-19 protocols and expanded flight services to glass cockpits and FAA’s Visual Weather Observation System.

In a state that’s 663,000 square miles with only 1,082 miles of highway, demand on the aviation industry to meet remote community needs is unparalleled. In 2020, the industry’s top concern was adjusting to COVID-19 to ensure employee and passenger safety.

Responding to COVID-19

At Alaska Airlines, this led to numerous changes, including the company roll out of contactless services, says Marilyn Romano, Alaska regional vice president for Alaska Airlines.

“Sometimes a crisis can also help you accelerate things that were already on a priority list somewhere,” Romano says, referring to contactless travel, which allows passengers to do everything from booking to pre-ordering a cheese platter without ever having to physically hand someone a credit card.

“To be able to get that moved to the top of the list, focused on safety, was actually exciting for us because it was an innovation that we really, really wanted to do,” Romano says.

Before the pandemic, Alaska Airlines aircraft were already equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, which cycle outside air into the plane, fully refreshing it every three minutes, Romano says.

Even so, as part of its COVID-19 protocols, Alaska Airlines put in place mandatory mask and social distancing requirements, as well as made hand sanitizer packets available for passengers.

“And then our enhanced cleaning,” Romano says. “We have those incredible teams that go on to our airplanes and do major touchpoint cleanings, and then we do electrostatic spraying.”

Transportation
New Beginnings,
New Horizons
By Tasha Anderson
Even before COVID-19 made business incredibly difficult for airlines across the world, Alaska’s regional air carriers were dealing with some turbulence. RavnAir grounding its fleet and subsequently filing for bankruptcy early in 2020 was a particularly harsh blow to many Alaska communities that depended on its services. But despite the challenges of the pandemic, Ravn Alaska and Rambler Air—both under new ownership—are eyeing the skies once again and gearing up to provide critical aviation services for Alaskans.
Rambler Air
Ascent Global Logistics announced in November that it acquired Hageland Aviation Services, a Part 135 air carrier, which was founded in 1981 in Mountain Village and most recently operated as Ravn Connect.
ENVIRONMENTAL
Richard Armstrong
Hoarfrost,
Permafrost, and
Low Oxygen
How the Arctic challenges engineers working on ice
By Vanessa Orr
T

he Arctic’s harsh climate not only includes extreme variations in light and temperature but also extensive snow and ice cover, large areas of permafrost, and short working seasons. Parts of the area can be extremely fragile, requiring those who work there to take the utmost precautions when it comes to preserving the pristine environment.

Development is limited in many ways: by the need to protect and preserve the unique ecosystem and by logistical challenges, including the lack of roads, ability to transport materials and equipment, and the exorbitant cost of doing business. For this reason, many companies choose to work with Arctic specialists who possess both an understanding of the landscape as well as invaluable experience in this demanding region.

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Energy Efficiency
Industrial Hygiene
Engineering Design
Environmental Remediation
Hazardous Materials Management
Regulatory Compliance Support
Certified Inspection Services
HSE Program Development
Contingency Planning
Tank Inspections
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907-452-5688
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907-222-2445
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907-586-6813
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FAIRBANKS
907-452-5688

ANCHORAGE
907-222-2445

JUNEAU
907-586-6813

Learn more at www.nortechengr.com
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Oil & Gas
ExxonMobil’s
North Slope Legacy
By Julie Stricker
I

n 1963, several major oil companies braved bone-chilling winds and blizzard conditions to drill exploratory wells on the North Slope, coming up with dry hole after dry hole after dry hole and burning money along the way. By 1967, only ARCO (Atlantic Richfield Company) and Humble Oil & Refining Co. were left. After much debate, crews moved the sole drill rig to Prudhoe Bay.

Petroleum geologist Tom Marshall chose the area as part of Alaska’s 100 million acre land holdings after statehood because it reminded him of Wyoming oil basins. The 1964 selection of that chunk of frozen tundra drew skepticism from many, but Alaska’s North Slope had long been known to have oil seeps and Alaska Natives had burned tarry lumps of sand for generations. Then-President Warren G. Harding set aside an Indiana-sized chunk of land in 1923 as Naval Petroleum Reserve 4, now the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

Inside Alaska Business
Talkeetna Alaska Teleport | OneWeb
OneWeb has restarted ground station activities at Microcom’s Talkeetna Alaska Teleport. This marks the beginning of many critical steps necessary to initiate beta testing of the OneWeb system. Although this constellation will provide worldwide broadband service, terminal beta testing and beta testing with customers throughout the state will soon follow. Pacific Dataport and OneWeb are working together to deliver broadband to 100 percent of Alaska communities starting in 2021. Pacific Dataport’s founder, Microcom, has invested millions and built the Talkeetna Alaska Teleport for OneWeb’s regional connection to the internet.
alaskateleport.com | oneweb.world
ASTAC
Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative turned up three new 4G LTE sites recently, making it the first telecommunications company to bring wireless coverage to the northern reaches of the Dalton Highway where no other coverage had existed previously. These sites will improve safety and connectivity along the remote, 414-mile critical Alaska corridor for both ASTAC and AT&T wireless customers. ASTAC has plans to turn up three additional sites on the Dalton Highway in 2021.
astac.net
Economic Indicators
ANS Crude Oil Production
499,074 barrels
-2% change from previous month
1/4/2021
Source: Alaska Department of Natural Resources
ANS West Coast Crude Oil Prices
$51.28 per barrel
8% change from previous month
1/4/2021
Source: Alaska Department of Natural Resources
Statewide Employment
356,191 Labor Force
8.1% Unemployment
11/1/2021. Adjusted seasonally.
Source: Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Providing a full continuum of innovative services to restore and enhance our nation’s infrastructure
Right Moves
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt
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Tanner
Kayla Tanner joined Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt’s Anchorage office in its natural resources, real estate, and construction industry groups. She advises on matters involving disputes, employment, and benefit issues affecting her clients in the real estate, construction, and natural resource industries. As a practiced litigator, Tanner pursues her clients’ interests in lease, contract, employment, and property damage claims.

Alaska Trends

Y

ou probably already know this, but STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. And you’ve probably also heard that careers in STEM provide some of the most lucrative opportunities in the state of Alaska. But did you know that by 2029, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be 797,800 new STEM jobs in the United States? This is a projected growth rate of 8 percent, compared to the non-STEM occupation growth rate of 3.4 percent.

At its core, the aim of STEM education is to develop the next wave of problem solvers and critical thinkers. These are the engineers, the architects, and other lovers of mathematics that ensure Alaska’s bridges are sturdy—and our economy sturdier.

At a Glance

What book is currently on your nightstand?

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson.

What cause or charity are you passionate about?

Education. It’s not a charity per se, although some teachers might beg to differ with the salaries they make [he laughs].

What vacation spot is on your bucket list?

My wife and I and our kids have traveled a lot, but I would like to go to Italy.

If you could domesticate a wild animal, what animal would it be?

There’s a whole bunch of ravens that have been hanging around my office recently, and ravens are really cool. I don’t know that I would want to cage a bird, but I am intrigued by them.

Jim Campbell on skis in the snow

At a Glance

What book is currently on your nightstand?

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson.

What cause or charity are you passionate about?

Education. It’s not a charity per se, although some teachers might beg to differ with the salaries they make [he laughs].

What vacation spot is on your bucket list?

My wife and I and our kids have traveled a lot, but I would like to go to Italy.

If you could domesticate a wild animal, what animal would it be?

There’s a whole bunch of ravens that have been hanging around my office recently, and ravens are really cool. I don’t know that I would want to cage a bird, but I am intrigued by them.

Images ©Kerry Tasker

Off the Cuff

Jim Campbell
J

im Campbell is the CEO of PND Engineers—and a firm believer that anyone living in Alaska should visit Hawai’i at least two or three times a year.

Campbell has been building bridges and cultivating relationships in Alaska for twenty-five years—something he credits largely to the listening skills he has learned from his perfect wife, Eileen. At the end of the day, his favorite part of the job is working with people.

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Airport Equimpent Rentals equipment in field
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Airport Equipment Rental truck with mountains in the background
Airport Equipment Rental machines in blue
Airport Equimpent Rentals equipment in field
Airport Equimpent Rentals muddy equipment in use
Airport Equipment Rentals bulldozer in use
Airport Equipment Rental truck with mountains in the background
Airport Equipment Rental machines in blue
Airport Equimpent Rentals equipment in field
Airport Equimpent Rentals muddy equipment in use
Airport Equipment Rentals bulldozer in use
Anchorage
907.522.6466
The largest and most diverse equipment fleet across Alaska. text
The Rental Zone
907.474.2000
Delta Junction
907.895.9898
Fairbanks
907.456.2000
Prudhoe Bay
907.659.2000
Kenai
907.335.5466
The largest and most diverse equipment fleet across Alaska. text
Anchorage
907.522.6466

The Rental Zone
907.474.2000

Delta Junction
907.895.9898

Fairbanks
907.456.2000

Prudhoe Bay
907.659.2000

Kenai
907.335.5466

Only pay for the speed you need…
Dynamic Routing!
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On time and on budget.
At Lynden, we understand that plans change but deadlines don’t. That’s why we proudly offer our exclusive Dynamic Routing system. Designed to work around your unique requirements, Dynamic Routing allows you to choose the mode of transportation – air, sea or land – to control the speed of your deliveries so they arrive just as they are needed. With Lynden you only pay for the speed you need.
lynden.com | 1-888-596-3361
On time and on budget.
At Lynden, we understand that plans change but deadlines don’t. That’s why we proudly offer our exclusive Dynamic Routing system. Designed to work around your unique requirements, Dynamic Routing allows you to choose the mode of transportation – air, sea or land – to control the speed of your deliveries so they arrive just as they are needed. With Lynden you only pay for the speed you need.
lynden.com | 1-888-596-3361
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Thanks for reading our February 2021 issue!