Inside Alaska Business

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.


As of January 1, a business license endorsement is required for each location where electronic smoking products or nicotine products are sold. SB15, passed by the Alaska State Legislature in 2018, expands the endorsement currently required to sell tobacco products. Vending machine owners must also obtain the endorsement.

The endorsement extends to any retailer selling over-the-counter smoking cessation products, including pharmacies, and includes marijuana retailers selling electronic smoking products.

SB15 criminalizes selling or giving to a minor under the age of nineteen “electronic smoking products or products containing nicotine” without a prescription and increases civil penalties for sales to minors.

In December, S.825, the Southeast Alaska Regional Land Health Consortium Land Transfer Act, became law, conveying property in Sitka to the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) for “use in connection with health and social services programs.” SEARHC’s goal is to build a facility on the property “suited to a 21st century model of healthcare dominated by primary and ambulatory care facilities,” expanding critical healthcare services to the entire region.
Lynden Air Cargo’s fleet of L382G aircraft now include fuel-efficient Microvanes that allow for energy savings as well as increased speed. Engineered by Lockheed and licensed to Metro Aerospace, the Microvanes are small aerodynamic components that are surface mounted to the aft fuselage, effectively reshaping the air flow around the cargo door and tail. The Microvanes are expected to result in fuel savings of up to 4 percent (up to 34,000 gallons of fuel saved per aircraft per year) depending on flight length on the Lynden fleet.

Lynden Air Cargo has also joined a short list of operators that serve all seven continents, providing support for an Italian Antarctic Expedition team conducting research on the icy land mass.

KUAC TV 9.9, a service provided by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, launched 360 North in its television channel lineup. The 360 North channel provides Alaska public affairs, arts, culture, science, and health programming. Included on the channel is “Gavel Alaska,” which is tape-delayed, unedited coverage of state government activities, including the Alaska Legislature.
Elliott Bay Design Group has opened a new East Coast office in New York. The office will provide professional engineering and naval architecture services as well as waterfront development expertise to clients on the East Coast and is a springboard for future growth in the region.
Blood Bank of Alaska
Blood Bank of Alaska opened its first Juneau blood collection center in January. The center is located at 8800 Glacier Highway #236, and donations can be scheduled by calling 907-222-5630 or online at
The Federal Aviation Administration and DOT expanded the scope of the Alaska Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program’s efforts to now include medical supply delivery in remote regions, with an initial test across Turnagain Arm fjord south of Anchorage. K2 Dronotics, Unmanned Systems Alaska, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks plan to conduct the first flights early in 2019.

Unmanned Systems Alaska, in conjunction with Battlespace Inc. and UAF, is working with the FAA to develop a process that may eventually lead to the standards under which Alaska unmanned aircraft operators can obtain the air carrier certificates required to commercially carry medical supplies and other cargo across the state.

On January 30 Usibelli Coal Mine (UCM) achieved two years of operations without a single lost time accident, a job-related injury that results in time away from work. “The number one priority at UCM is safety—every day, and in everything we do,” said UCM President and CEO Joe Usibelli Jr. The mine’s all-time safety record was set in 2006 at 797 days without a lost time accident.