March 2019 | Volume 35 | Number 3 | AKBIZMAG.COM

Contents

Features

Internet for All

How two companies are keeping rural Alaska connected
By Julie Stricker
GCI

Funding a Startup with Spotty Credit

Know the five “C”s before
going for that loan
By Tracy Barbour

Stay Safe with Specialized Insurance

Protecting Alaska’s most dangerous industries
By Tracy Barbour

The LNG Saga

AGDC reorganizes, returns to stage-gate approach
By Isaac Stone Simonelli

Perfect Partners

Alaska Native investment in small business
By Isaac Stone Simonelli

Funding a Startup with Spotty Credit

Know the five “C”s before
going for that loan
By Tracy Barbour

Stay Safe with Specialized Insurance

Protecting Alaska’s most dangerous industries
By Tracy Barbour

The LNG Saga

AGDC reorganizes,
returns to stage-gate approach
By Isaac Stone Simonelli

Perfect Partners

Alaska Native investment in small business
By Isaac Stone Simonelli

Sunken Debt

New legislation to address Alaska’s abandoned vessel problem
By Vanessa Orr
Resolve Marine

Electrifying the Railbelt

Planning for a transco moves forward
By Julie Stricker
MEA

Mining Matters

The future looks bright
for Alaska’s commodities
By Vanessa Orr
Building Alaska Special Section
About The Cover

How to Fix an Earthquake in Four Days

Cooperation is crucial for disaster recovery
By Brad Joyal
DOT&PF

Construction Job Outlook: Cloudy

The silver lining—hundreds of millions of dollars in projects coming
By Brad Joyal

Building Western Alaska

DOT&PF and Department of Education projects dominate regional construction activity
By Tasha Anderson
About The Cover
Alaskans know what construction means because we know what infrastructure means. Even those who live in Alaska’s urban centers know where the roads end, where the hospitals aren’t, and where sanitation is little more than a bucket. Construction in Alaska is the foundation of education, healthcare, communication—it’s how we make opportunities. As Winston Churchill said: “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”
Cover design: David Geiger
Volume 35, #3
Published by Alaska Business
Publishing Co. Anchorage, Alaska
Editorial Staff
Managing Editor
Kathryn Mackenzie
257-2907 [email protected]
Associate Editor
Tasha Anderson
257-2902 [email protected]
Digital and Social Media Specialist
Arie Henry
257-2906 [email protected]
Art Director
David Geiger
257-2916 [email protected]
Art Production
Linda Shogren
257-2912 [email protected]
Photo Contributor
Judy Patrick
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]
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From the Editor

Construction Spending to Reach $7.2 Billion in 2019
I

t’s being widely reported that 2019 will be the year Alaska emerges from several years of hard economic times with more job opportunities as well as increases in private and public sector spending contributing to a slow crawl out of the recession into what is being characterized as a “post-recession” period. So while Alaska’s economic spring might not have sprung quite yet, it looks like it’s just around the corner.

Forward momentum in the construction industry will contribute greatly to Alaska’s recovery; there’s an anticipated uptick in private and public sector spending to $7.2 billion (including earthquake-related spending), a 10 percent increase from last year, according to Alaska’s Construction Spending Forecast 2019 by Scott Goldsmith, professor emeritus of economics at the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), prepared for the construction industry.

Kathryn Mackenzie
Managing Editor, Alaska Business

Finance
Funding a Startup with Spotty Credit
Know the five “C”s before
going for that loan
By Tracy Barbour
Finance
Funding a Startup with Spotty Credit
Funding a Startup with Spotty Credit
Know the five “C”s before
going for that loan
By Tracy Barbour
F

ew endeavors are more exhilarating than launching a business—especially for entrepreneurs who have an impressive business concept and credit history.

For them, it may be relatively easy to secure a loan to finance a business venture. But that’s not the case for individuals who don’t have the best credit or business idea. Thankfully, there’s a diversity of approaches budding business owners can take to overcome their shortcomings and get the funding they need.

Telecom & tech

Internet
for All
How two companies
are keeping rural
Alaska connected
By Julie Stricker
Much of the material needed to build GCI’s 3,300-mile TERRA network was hauled in piece by piece with a heavy lift helicopter.

GCI

Telecom & tech

Internet
for All
How two companies
are keeping rural
Alaska connected
By Julie Stricker
Much of the material needed to build GCI’s 3,300-mile TERRA network was hauled in piece by piece with a heavy lift helicopter.

GCI

Telecom & tech

Internet for All
How two companies are keeping rural Alaska connected
By Julie Stricker
Much of the material needed to build GCI’s 3,300-mile TERRA network was hauled in piece by piece with a heavy lift helicopter.

GCI

F

or the tens of thousands of Alaskans who live off the road system, the internet has become a key source of information, commerce, and healthcare, as well as a lifeline in the wilderness.

What happens when it goes down?

The short answer is that the telecoms—GCI and Alaska Communications are the major carriers in rural Alaska—try to get the systems back up as quickly as possible. But given Alaska’s huge size, small population, lack of infrastructure, and notoriously bad weather, that is often easier said than done.

Insurance
Stay Safe with
Specialized Insurance
Protecting Alaska’s most dangerous industries
By Tracy Barbour
A

s a state that’s heavily focused on resource development, Alaska is known for having some of the most hazardous industries. These specialized industries employ various types of insurance to protect their operations, employees, customers, and the general public.

No two businesses are identical and every operation has its own insurance exposures and risks. However, there are some core elements of insurance programs that traverse industries.

Most companies in Alaska—regardless if they’re involved with resource development—utilize some type of liability coverage, workers’ compensation, property, and commercial auto insurance.

Oil & Gas

The LNG Saga
AGDC reorganizes, returns to stage-gate approach
By Isaac Stone Simonelli
G

overnor Mike Dunleavy’s shakeup of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) board in January put four new people on the seven member team in charge of pushing forward the Last Frontier’s long-anticipated North Slope pipeline project.

The board quickly moved to name Joe Dubler as the interim president.

“I’m going to start by restoring the stage-gate approach to advancing this project. I’ve already asked the AGDC team to insert a stage-gate in order to fully evaluate and understand the project’s current status and potential. We will have stage-gates at every major decision point in order to determine whether to continue on to the next phase of the project,” Dubler says. “I am going to re-engage Alaska’s Legislature, which plays an important role in evaluating this project on behalf of the state.”

HR MATTERS
Tackling the High Cost of Alaskan Healthcare
By Greg Loudon
W

hen you read the word,“Healthcare,” I bet your first thought is, “My insurance premium and out-of-pocket costs are killing me.” For business owners, increasing healthcare costs are squeezing out other investments and limiting growth opportunities.

But it is not all bad news; positive things are happening too. We are Alaskans, after all. How many of us just shrug our shoulders and give up when a problem arises? Growing up in Fairbanks, I learned from my family, friends, and neighbors that when we see a problem, we craft a solution. Parker, Smith & Feek, partners with the nonprofit Pacific Health Coalition (PHC) to do just that. PHC was formed two decades ago to create opportunities for lower costs, more flexibility, and better access to healthcare.

Building Alaska Special Section | Job Outlook

Construction Job Outlook: Cloudy
The silver lining—hundreds of millions of dollars in projects coming
By Brad Joyal
I

n October 2018, former Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Heidi Drygas said: “We’re about to ramp up on some pretty significant projects in Alaska. We have all this work going on, on the North Slope; we have a boom in military construction in the Interior and other Interior build out projects. We have an expansion of mining at Fort Knox and Kensington; Donlin Gold looks like it’s going to come online, and they’re all happening at the same time.” That statement ignited talk about the construction industry and what the state could expect in the near future.

Building Alaska Special Section | Job Outlook

Construction Job Outlook: Cloudy
The silver lining—hundreds of millions of dollars in projects coming
By Brad Joyal
I

n October 2018, former Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Heidi Drygas said: “We’re about to ramp up on some pretty significant projects in Alaska. We have all this work going on, on the North Slope; we have a boom in military construction in the Interior and other Interior build out projects. We have an expansion of mining at Fort Knox and Kensington; Donlin Gold looks like it’s going to come online, and they’re all happening at the same time.” That statement ignited talk about the construction industry and what the state could expect in the near future.

Building Alaska Special Section | Projects

Stantec’s aviation team is working with DOT&PF to install security fencing at the Nome Airport, in part to keep muskox off the runway.

Stantec

Architecture & Engineering Special Section | Projects

Stantec’s aviation team is working with DOT&PF to install security fencing at the Nome Airport, in part to keep muskox off the runway.

Stantec

Building Western Alaska
DOT&PF and Department of Education projects dominate regional construction activity
By Tasha Anderson
I

n the Alaska Construction Spending Forecast 2019, Scott Goldsmith forecasts that there will be increased public project transportation spending in 2019 statewide, including $682 million on highways and roads and $424 million on airports, ports, and harbors. This is a 6 percent and 3 percent increase over 2018, respectively. Combined transportation projects are estimated to total nearly $1 billion, which is approximately half of projected public construction project spending (excluding national defense) across the state.

Building Alaska Special Section | Directory
2019 Alaska Business
Construction Directory
Construction—Commercial, Industrial Suppliers
Company
Top Executive
Year Founded/ Established in Alaska
Worldwide/ Alaska Employees
Social Media & Business Description
Company
ABC

401 Driveway St.
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Phone: 907-457-2221

Top Executive

Susan Ellison, Pres.

Year Founded/ Established in Alaska

1995
1995

Worldwide/ Alaska Employees

21
21

Social Media & Business Description

akabc.com | [email protected] | ak.abc.inc
General contractor specializing in energy efficient remodeling and product sales. Seamless siding and gutters, windows, doors, all remodeling. Material sales include: commercial doors, windows, store front, metal siding, metal flashing, door hardware, window wells.

Company
Ace Supply

2425 E. Fifth Ave.
Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone: 907-277-4113

Top Executive

Erick Smith, Pres.

Year Founded/ Established in Alaska

1962
1962

Worldwide/ Alaska Employees

4
4

Business Description

Petroleum handling equipment for commercial, industrial, and aviation industries. Pumps, meters, reels, filters, and tank monitors as well as fuel testing equipment.

Company
AirSide Solutions

2222 W. Valley Hwy. N.,
Suite 140
Auburn, WA 98001
Phone: 253-833-6434

Top Executive

Rick Lafferty, VP/Region Mgr.

Year Founded/ Established in Alaska

1978
1988

Worldwide/ Alaska Employees

10
0

Business Description

AirSide Solutions is a full line provider of Airfield and Heliport Lighted Navigation systems, technical services, and logistics support to the aviation market in Alaska.

Company
Alaska Dreams

2081 Van Horn Rd., Suite 2
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Phone: 907-455-7712

Top Executive

Meini Huser, Pres.

Year Founded/ Established in Alaska

1994
1994

Worldwide/ Alaska Employees

30
30

Social Media & Business Description

alaskadreamsinc.com | [email protected]
Design, sales, and construction of fabric covered steel building and pre-engineered metal buildings.

Building Alaska Special Section | Recovery
How to Fix an
Earthquake in
Four Days
Cooperation is crucial for disaster recovery
By Brad Joyal
Road work takes place on Vine Road on December 5 to repair earthquake damage.

DOT&PF

Building Alaska Special Section | Recovery
Road work takes place on Vine Road on December 5 to repair earthquake damage.

DOT&PF

How to Fix an Earthquake in Four Days
Cooperation is crucial for disaster recovery
By Brad Joyal
A

t 8:30 a.m. on November 30, Alaskans were shaken by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit about eight miles north of Anchorage. The quake shook buildings, rattled road systems, and even prompted a tsunami warning that was later canceled. While Anchorage was most severely impacted by the damage, the earthquake was felt throughout the Interior up to Fairbanks.

Just minutes after the earth stopped rumbling, photos and videos started circulating on social media depicting the damage in and around Anchorage. There were videos of children hiding under their desks inside schools and photos illustrating massive cracks that formed in roadways around the state’s largest city. What shocked the world, though, was how quickly life seemed to return to normal. Days after the earthquake, more photos started making the rounds, now showing side-by-side comparisons between impacted infrastructure and roads and repairs already made.

Doyon Limited Logo
Leader In All We Do
Oil Field Services
Doyon Drilling, Inc.
Doyon Remote Facilities & Services
Doyon Associated, LLC
Doyon Anvil Corp.
Government Contracting
Doyon Utilities, LLC
Doyon Government Group
Arctic Information Technology
Tourism
Doyon/Aramark JV
Kantishna Roadhouse
Kantishna Wilderness Trails
Doyon,Limited
Doyon Facilities
Wireless Communications
Northern Laundry Services, LLC
Alaska Native
The quality of Heather’s Choice products, such as the blueberry/almond Packaroons, was fundamental to The Eyak Corporation’s interest in investing.

Heather’s Choice

Perfect Partners
Alaska Native investment in small business
By Isaac Stone Simonelli
I

n Spring 2018, The Eyak Corporation turned its eyes to Alaska for investment opportunities, landing on the popular local company Heather’s Choice. Though about 95 percent of the village corporation’s revenue—and investment—come from out of state, the in-state equity purchase was slated as being mutually beneficial both to the corporation and the local business.

“We’re looking for companies that have a strong, local presence—looking for companies that have strong owners that are committed. And, the other thing that we really like in a company is that it can capitalize on Alaska’s essence,” explains Rod Worl, CEO of The Eyak Corporation. “And Heather’s Choice was a very good example of a company that could capitalize on Alaska’s essence but also had the potential for a large upsize in a large market. So that played an important factor in choosing to invest in it.”

Environmental
Environmental
Sunken Debt
Global’s team works to defuel the wreck of the Princess Kathleen which ran aground on Point Lena in 1952; crews removed more than 130,000 gallons of bunker oil and other petroleum products from the wreck.

Global Diving & Salvage

Environmental
Environmental
Sunken Debt
Global’s team works to defuel the wreck of the Princess Kathleen which ran aground on Point Lena in 1952; crews removed more than 130,000 gallons of bunker oil and other petroleum products from the wreck.

Global Diving & Salvage

New legislation to address Alaska’s abandoned vessel problem
By Vanessa Orr
A

laskans depend on boats for numerous reasons, from commercial fishermen using them to make a living or commercial tugs and barges moving freight and fuel to subsistence users catching fish to feed their families and recreational boaters spending time on the state’s pristine waters. But what happens when a vessel comes to the end of its useful life? How do boat owners dispose of unneeded or damaged vessels?

In many cases, they don’t. In Alaska, as in a number of other states, abandoned vessels are a huge issue. Steamboat Slough outside Bethel, for example, is home to many abandoned boats, from fish processing vessels to dismantled barges that are waiting for time—or state or federal agencies—to end them.

Energy
MEA line crews conduct routine maintenance on their system in Palmer.

MEA

Electrifying the Railbelt
Planning for a transco moves forward
By Julie Stricker
W

hen a Fairbanks resident flips on a light, the electricity that powers it may have been generated 600 miles away at the Bradley Lake Hydroelectric facility near Homer. Or it may have come from a natural gas facility near Anchorage, or one of Golden Valley Electric Association’s (GVEA) coal-fired plants in Healy.

Most of Alaska’s population lives along the Railbelt, which is served by six utilities. Although they are all linked, they operate individually. But electricity demand is expected to rise in coming years and long-term plans are needed, says Chris Rose, executive director of the Renewable Energy Alaska Project.

Mining
Mining
Last winter, Trilogy Metals completed a pre-feasibility study on its Arctic project near Kobuk.

© Andy West | Trilogy Metals

Mining Matters
The future looks bright for Alaska’s commodities
By Vanessa Orr
A

laska has always been a state that depends on natural resources. And while much of its history is based around mining, the industry is poised to play a large part in its future as well. According to Alaska’s Mineral Industry 2017, published by Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, the value of the state’s mineral industry in 2017 totaled $3.15 billion, an increase of roughly 12 percent from 2016. And while numbers are just starting to come in for 2018, it looks like investment in this area will continue to grow.

ON THE TRAIL
ON THE TRAIL
Dog Mushing
A

laska is home to the Iditarod: the Last Great Race. Every March determined mushers and their teams of incredible animals traverse 1,000 miles of sweeping mountains, frozen rivers, dense forest, remote tundra, and windy coastline. The race’s history, the determination of its human competitors, and the energy, strength, and beauty of its canine contestants all contribute to the allure of what has become an internationally iconic event.

So it’s no surprise that visitors to the Last Frontier often want more insight into the race, the racers, and the one-of-a-kind Alaskan huskies bred to run it. Fortunately, sled dog mushers love to share their passion, and listed below are opportunities around the state for locals or out-of-state travelers to (most importantly) cuddle with husky puppies—while learning more about the official sport of the 49th State.

Events Calendar
Events Calendar
ANCHORAGE
MAR
2
Iditarod Start
“The Last Great Race” holds its official start at 10 a.m. at 4th Avenue and D Street in downtown Anchorage. The restart takes place the following day (March 3) at 10 a.m. at the lake at the Willow Community Center in Willow, and the awards banquet takes place at the Nome Recreation Center on March 17. iditarod.com
ANCHORAGE
MAR
2
Iditarod Start
“The Last Great Race” holds its official start at 10 a.m. at 4th Avenue and D Street in downtown Anchorage. The restart takes place the following day (March 3) at 10 a.m. at the lake at the Willow Community Center in Willow, and the awards banquet takes place at the Nome Recreation Center on March 17. iditarod.com
Anchorage
MAR 9
Empty Bowl
This is the annual spring fundraiser for Bean’s Café, a nonprofit organization with the mission to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Dena’ina Center. Purchasing a ticket allows the attendee to select one locally made and donated bowl to take home, as well as enjoy soup and cornbread. beanscafe.org
MAR 16
Trappers Fling
Hosted by the Alaska Trappers Association, the 2019 Trappers Fling features raffles, auctions, awards, and fine dining at the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel & Conference Center. alaskatrappers.org
Homer
MAR 23
Winter King Salmon Tournament
The Annual Winter King Salmon Tournament is sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce and takes place from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. homeralaska.org

Business Events

March

March 7-8
Alaska Forest Association Spring Meeting
Baranof Hotel, Juneau: The Alaska Forest Association can be characterized as a high-profile industry trade association. Its members hold in common general business interests in the timber industry of Alaska. akforest.org
March 8-10
Alaska Academy of Family Physicians Winter Update
Hotel Alyeska, Girdwood: The Winter Update is an opportunity to earn CME credit and learn about a range of topics that interest the Family Physicians of Alaska. alaskaafp.org/2019-winter-update
March 23-24

AKANA Annual Meeting

Embassy Suites, Anchorage: The annual meeting of the Alaska Association of Nurse Anesthetists is an opportunity for networking and education. alaskacrna.com

March 28-30
ComFish Alaska

Kodiak: ComFish is the largest commercial fishing show in Alaska and the longest running fisheries trade show in the state, now in its 40th year, bringing together gear vendors, government agencies, and nonprofits involved in every aspect of commercial fishing. kodiakchamber.org/comfish

Right Moves
Office of the Governor
Former-Governor Bill Walker appointed four new judges for Alaska.

Bethany Harbison has practiced law in Alaska for almost twenty-five years after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1993. She clerked for Alaska’s Judge Greene, worked as a public defender and magistrate judge, and currently works as the presiding superior court judge, Fourth Judicial District, Fairbanks. She will join the Alaska Court of Appeals.

Inside Alaska Business
Vigor

In early January, the US Coast Guard’s most technologically advanced polar icebreaker, USCG Healy, arrived at Vigor’s Seattle shipyard for maintenance. The $7.3 million contract includes sea valve renewal and overhaul, bow thruster modifications, ballast tank and underwater hull paint preservation, and various machinery overhauls. The vessel will be at Vigor’s Harbor Island facility through June 2019. vigor.net

Vigor

At a Glance

What book is on your nightstand? I have been reading a lot of publications on the Arctic. With climate change, Arctic waters are opening up significantly… and the Chinese have proposed a “Polar Silk Road.”

What movie do you recommend to everyone? Doctor Zhivago.

What’s the first thing you do after work? I get into some pajamas.

If you couldn’t live in Alaska, where would you live? Arizona, because there are a lot of Alaskans there and there are direct flights back and forth.

If you could domesticate a wild animal, what animal would it be? A moose—in times of need it could be a food source [she laughs].

At a Glance

What book is on your nightstand? I have been reading a lot of publications on the Arctic. With climate change, Arctic waters are opening up significantly… and the Chinese have proposed a “Polar Silk Road.”

What movie do you recommend to everyone? Doctor Zhivago.

What’s the first thing you do after work? I get into some pajamas.

If you couldn’t live in Alaska, where would you live? Arizona, because there are a lot of Alaskans there and there are direct flights back and forth.

If you could domesticate a wild animal, what animal would it be? A moose—in times of need it could be a food source [she laughs].

Off the Cuff

Gail R. Schubert
B

ering Straits Native Corporation President and CEO Gail R. Schubert finds deep satisfaction in her work to benefit the corporation’s shareholders, descendants, and communities. “Bering Straits has grown to a point where we’re able to increase shareholder development opportunities and I’m proud of that,” she states. “We’ve increased scholarship distributions, dividends, and distributions to Elders. Our growth is helping benefit our shareholders—that’s something I feel really good about.”

Alaska Trends

Employment in Alaska
B

y most accounts Alaska is slowly emerging from a several year recession with forecasted job growth in multiple industries. The construction industry is expected to gain some 900 jobs, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Healthcare and hospitality follow with an expected gain of 500 jobs for each industry, while the oil and gas industry should see an additional 300 jobs, the organization reports. Notably, the cruise ship industry is expected to break another record with an estimated 1.3 million passengers in 2019. Overall the state should see an additional 1,400 jobs in 2019 compared to a loss of 2,200 jobs last year.

Thanks for reading our March 2019 issue!