November 2021 | Volume 37 | Number 11 | AKBIZMAG.COM

Contents

Features

Credit Unions Blend New Tech, Old-Fashioned Service

Financial institutions of the future, serving Alaskans now
By Alexandra Kay

Safeguarding Remote and Rural Data

Security and protection strategies for every size business
By Tracy Barbour

En Route to Safer Roads in Alaska

Education, enforcement, and engineering pave the way
By Matt Jardin

Authentic Alaska

Cultural tourism creates a “pure real” experience for visitors
By Amy Newman

Effectual Drilling

Smaller rig promises bigger results
By Scott Rhode
Coeur Mining Inc
OIL & GAS: Effectual Drilling

Understanding the risks and limiting the use of harmful PFAS

Improving our understanding and limiting the use of harmful PFAS
By Rachael Kvapil
kzenon | iStock

About The Cover

Our cover subject, Martin Stuefer, director of the UAF Geophysical Institute’s Hyperspectral Imaging Laboratory, or HyLab, started flying gliders at the age of 15 in Austria, which led to his interest in meteorology and remote sensing. Today he’s also the pilot for the HyLab: an airplane fitted with hyperspectral imaging equipment that can gather information on just about anything for applications across industries statewide.

The HyLab is just the latest innovation launched from UAF’s Geophysical Institute, which is celebrating seventy-five years of studying Alaska’s geophysical phenomena. Geophysical Institute Director Robert McCoy says by next year the institute will have 400 researchers pursuing a range of projects studying the aurora, volcanoes, permafrost, earthquakes, glaciers, sea ice, and Arctic weather. “One of the things that I do is try to find new ideas on the horizon and find synergy between groups… mainly staying out of people’s way,” McCoy laughs. “They’re absolutely bright people, and they work really hard, and they do extremely well. The GI is humming on all cylinders, so just helping the machinery move along.”

Cover Photo: Sarah Lewis

Understanding the risks and limiting the use of harmful PFAS

Improving our understanding and limiting the use of harmful PFAS
By Rachael Kvapil
kzenon | iStock
ENVIRONMENTAL: Understanding the risks and limiting the use of harmful PFAS

Credit Unions Blend New Tech, Old-Fashioned Service

Financial institutions of the future, serving Alaskans now
By Alexandra Kay

Safeguarding Remote and Rural Data

Security and protection strategies for every size business
By Tracy Barbour

En Route to Safer Roads in Alaska

Education, enforcement, and engineering pave the way
By Matt Jardin

Authentic Alaska

Cultural tourism creates a “pure real” experience for visitors
By Amy Newman

Effectual Drilling

Smaller rig promises bigger results
By Scott Rhode
Coeur Mining Inc
OIL & GAS: Effectual Drilling

About The Cover

Our cover subject, Martin Stuefer, director of the UAF Geophysical Institute’s Hyperspectral Imaging Laboratory, or HyLab, started flying gliders at the age of 15 in Austria, which led to his interest in meteorology and remote sensing. Today he’s also the pilot for the HyLab: an airplane fitted with hyperspectral imaging equipment that can gather information on just about anything for applications across industries statewide.

The HyLab is just the latest innovation launched from UAF’s Geophysical Institute, which is celebrating seventy-five years of studying Alaska’s geophysical phenomena. Geophysical Institute Director Robert McCoy says by next year the institute will have 400 researchers pursuing a range of projects studying the aurora, volcanoes, permafrost, earthquakes, glaciers, sea ice, and Arctic weather. “One of the things that I do is try to find new ideas on the horizon and find synergy between groups… mainly staying out of people’s way,” McCoy laughs. “They’re absolutely bright people, and they work really hard, and they do extremely well. The GI is humming on all cylinders, so just helping the machinery move along.”

Cover Photo: Sarah Lewis
Special Section: Natural Resource Development
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 & October 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.
HR MATTERS
Individual Coverage HRAs (ICHRAs)
By Greg Loudon, Principal
I

n 2019, the federal government released expanded health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) regulations. The new rules allowed HRAs to be used to pay for individually purchased health insurance policies effective in January 2020. How has that turned out for employers and employees?

BACKGROUND
Prior guidance prohibited employers from paying for an employee’s individual health insurance policy. The introduction of ICHRAs generated great interest from employers and employees alike—especially small employers that didn’t offer benefits. However, despite the enabling regulation, the insurance market was slow to develop products for employers. In the wake of COVID-19, ICHRAs in most states became overshadowed as employers clung to existing benefit plans to maintain stability for their employees.

From the Editor

As I write this, Alaska Business is currently in the process of looking for a new social media manager; our current very special specialist, Arie Henry, is taking the next step in his personal and professional development. We’re also saying goodbye to the exceptional Linda Shogren, who has been doing art production for Alaska Business Publishing Co. for more than a decade and worked in art production for various Alaska media outlets for years and years before that.

We’re excited for them because it’s the right time, and the right move, for them—but they’re both leaving really big desks to fill. We’re going to miss their insights and their expertise, and we will be grateful for years to come for the foundation that they built for those who follow in their footsteps.

This month we’re running our annual Natural Resource Special Section, which is full of examples of projects envisioned, initiated, and implemented by individuals long gone. It’s impossible to imagine Alaska today without the pioneering work of Alaska’s early miners and loggers, and of course, fishing has been an integral part of Alaskans’ wellbeing for an uncountable number of years.

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Volume 37, #11
Editorial Staff
Managing Editor
Tasha Anderson
907-257-2902 [email protected]
Digital and Social Media Specialist
Arie Henry
907-257-2910 [email protected]
Staff Writer
Scott Rhode
907-257-2902 [email protected]
Editorial Assistant
Emily Olsen
907-257-2914 [email protected]
Art Director
Monica Sterchi-Lowman
907-257-2916 [email protected]
Art Production
Linda Shogren
907-257-2912 [email protected]
Design & Art Production
Fulvia Lowe
[email protected]com
Photo Contributor
Kerry Tasker
BUSINESS STAFF
President
Billie Martin
VP & General Manager
Jason Martin
907-257-2905 [email protected]
VP Sales & Marketing
Charles Bell
907-257-2909 [email protected]
Senior Account Manager
Janis J. Plume
907-257-2917 [email protected]
Advertising Account Manager
Christine Merki
907-257-2911 [email protected]
Full-Charge Bookkeeper
James Barnhill
907-257-2901 [email protected]
CONTACT
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Finance
Illustration
Credit Unions Blend New Tech, Old-Fashioned Service
Financial institutions of the future, serving Alaskans now
By Alexandra Kay
S

ince the advent of online banking, the future of brick-and-mortar financial institutions has been called into question. According to conventional wisdom, because of new technologies, traditional banks and credit unions could go the way of the dodo and the dinosaur.

And it is true that many consumers have indicated they no longer use traditional tellers for their many financial needs. For example, the number of customers who work with a teller decreased 15 percent between 2007 and 2017, according to Asterisk Intelligence’s “Teller Analytics” report. According to Chase’s recent “2020 Digital Banking Attitudes Study,” about 80 percent of respondents use a smartphone or a computer to complete banking activities, and 85 percent say they save time by managing their finances digitally. It seems as if these changes are here to stay.

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Telecom & Tech
Safeguarding Remote and Rural Data
Security and protection strategies for every size business
By Tracy Barbour
simone nescolini | iStock
D

ata security is a growing concern for businesses across all industries, especially when it comes to protecting digital assets at remote or rural sites. Adding to the challenge is the persistent shortage of skilled security specialists and semiconductor chips—exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, companies can adopt strategic measures, such as using a third-party provider, to augment their technical resources and safeguard their information.

Today companies are placing a greater, and much warranted, emphasis on data security. As cyber criminals constantly find new ways to attack, identifying emerging threats is paramount. Phishing attacks, where hackers try to trick people into revealing private information, remain the single biggest threat to businesses, according to Christian Cheatham, senior solutions architect at Alaska Communications. “Phishing emails can come from trusted vendors’ or coworkers’ email addresses that have been compromised,” Cheatham says. “The tell-tale signs of phishing have become harder to spot, requiring even more vigilance from employees. Employee awareness training remains the best, first defense against business email compromise.”

OneWeb logo
Space is the future for
communications on Earth.
Alaskans will be the first to benefit from OneWeb’s new Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. It means higher performance connectivity everywhere in Alaska.
Always on, seamless connectivity illustration
How it works
Each moving satellite covers an area the size of Alaska. OneWeb is building a fleet of satellites which fly at 1,200 kms above the earth to always keep you connected. It’s available to Alaskans beginning November 2021.
LEO antennas
Referred to as User Terminals, antennas plug in easily and connect users to enterprise-grade connectivity, including rural homes, schools, hospitals and emergency responders, government businesses, point of sale and large organizations with remote sites.
OneWeb logo
Space is the future for
communications on Earth.
Alaskans will be the first to benefit from OneWeb’s new Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation. It means higher performance connectivity everywhere in Alaska.
Always on, seamless connectivity illustration
How it works
Each moving satellite covers an area the size of Alaska. OneWeb is building a fleet of satellites which fly at 1,200 kms above the earth to always keep you connected. It’s available to Alaskans beginning November 2021.
LEO antennas
Referred to as User Terminals, antennas plug in easily and connect users to enterprise-grade connectivity, including rural homes, schools, hospitals and emergency responders, government businesses, point of sale and large organizations with remote sites.
Statewide fiber-like internet connectivity, from Space.
Hello Alaska / From Unalakleet to Chenega, OneWeb and Pacific Dataport are committed to ensuring all of Alaska has access to fast, reliable internet connectivity. Now is the time to talk to Pacific Dataport about OneWeb connectivity for your business.
Register your interest at www.pacificdataport.com/oneweb
Pacific Dataport + OneWeb logo
Environmental
kzenon | iStock
Finding an End to the ‘Forever Chemical’
Understanding the risks and limiting the use of harmful PFAS
By Rachael Kvapil
W

hen per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS, first appeared in the ‘40s, this group of synthetic substances was a dream come true. With their unique ability to repel both oil and water, resist temperature, and reduce friction, chemists quickly found a use for them in all types of daily products and industries, such as non-stick cookware, paints, cosmetics, certain outerwear, to-go food containers, firefighting foam, chrome plating, electronics, construction materials, and oil recovery.

However, the qualities that make PFAS substances so amazing proved problematic. By the ‘90s, studies found that PFAS substances didn’t easily break down in the environment and could travel to groundwater and spread into the soil, build up in the food chain, and bioaccumulate in humans. For these reasons, certain kinds of PFAS have been dubbed the “forever chemical,” though several companies are investing in technologies to make that nomenclature obsolete.

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Oil & Gas
Alaska Drilling and Completions
Effectual Drilling
Smaller rig promises bigger results
By Scott Rhode
S

ometimes, a smaller tool is the right tool for the job. That’s the philosophy behind new technology that Anchorage-based Alaska Drilling and Completions (ADC) is ready to deploy. Co-owners David Ross and Tim Flynn call their novel approach “effectual drilling.” As Flynn, the chief operating officer, defines the term, “We are able to look at how your market is and how we can fit in there to make your market better.” How ADC fits is with a scaled-down rig that promises cost savings and, therefore, more exploration for oil and gas.

Flynn and Ross both have nearly thirty years of experience as petroleum engineers. Since teaming up to form ADC, they’ve drilled for ConocoPhillips, Repsol, “all major oil lease holders,” says Flynn. The pair have worked in engineering, consulting, and project management, and Ross, ADC’s president, says their all-around service is especially useful for smaller clients who want to monetize a lease.

ALASKA
PFAS
SOLUTIONS
US ecology logo
Illustrated map of Alaska
ALASKA
PFAS
SOLUTIONS
Illustrated map of Alaska
US ecology logo
Safe, secure and compliant solutions that manage PFAS contaminated waste and protect the environment.
Thermal Remediation and Water Treatment
Moose Creek and Anchorage, AK

  • Our Moose Creek facility uses permitted Thermal Remediation to treat PFAS contaminated soils and sediment with a high temperature Thermal Oxidizer remediating nearly any level of contamination which achieves superior clean up levels. Adjacent to Eielson Air Force Base, Moose Creek can receive PFAS contaminated material by nearby rail or various truck types.
  • PFAS contaminated liquids are treated at our Viking Drive Facility in Anchorage through desorption technologies that safely discharge liquids at levels well below regulatory requirements. Remaining PFAS solids are safely disposed of in our secure arid climate landfills.
Secure Disposal
Grandview, ID and Beatty, NV

  • Arid climates, negative evaporation rates and secure closed-loop disposal facilities offer the securities of RCRA Subtitle C landfill designs and end the mobility cycle with long term containment and zero discharge.
  • Liquids and solids are contained in our arid climate landfill facilities with no migration in any media off-site, nearly eliminating any future liability. This is significant given the possibility of PFAS contaminated substances becoming CERCLA, RCRA, or TSCA regulated.
Unequated service. Solutions you can trust.
USecology.com (907)258-1558
NATURAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT SPECIAL SECTION
The Geophysical Institute at UAF
Celebrating seventy-five years of data exploration and extraction
By Tasha Anderson
I

n September Alexandru Lapadat became the first recipient of the two-year Schaible Geophysical Institute Fellowship, established by Grace Berg Schaible, a former Alaska attorney general and benefactor of the University of Alaska. In 2018, the fellowship’s endowment received a $2.2 million gift from Schaible’s estate, which provided enough of a financial base that the awarding of fellowships could begin.

Receiving the fellowship means Lapadat, a doctoral student from Romania, can focus on his own research in improving the accuracy of earthquake magnitude determinations.

Lapadat joins the ranks of hundreds of researchers at the Geophysical Institute (GI) at UAF, a number that has been steadily growing over seventy-five years since the institute was founded. Robert McCoy, GI director, says that number will continue to grow; he anticipates by next year the institute will have 400 researchers pursuing projects to increase our understanding of Alaska’s unique geophysical properties.

Alexandru Lapadat heading
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The Oil Field of the Future title
By Aaron Helmericks
Senior Director, Energy & Mining, GCI Business
A technician wearing smart glasses with AR allows field workers to perform tasks handsfree while also virtually pulling in an expert from anywhere in the world for hands-on troubleshooting.
V

olatility in the global oil market, the recent decline in oil prices and extreme weather patterns in Alaska have made digital innovation in the oil and gas industry essential. To remain competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace, operators in the North Slope must find new ways to increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve safety for employees in the field.

While a smart oil field might sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, we are moving closer to this reality with the adoption of technological solutions like Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Augmented Reality (AR) and wearables.

RESPEC Logo
Becoming RESPEC
PDC Engineers Aquisition Brings More Services to Alaska
PDC's Palmer office featuring the new RESPEC brand.
PDC’s Palmer office featuring the new RESPEC brand.
W

hen you consider significant infrastructure in the State of Alaska, certain projects stand out, like Red Dog Mine development, Anchorage School District renovations, Juneau International Airport improvements, and rural hospital updates. Contained within each of those projects and countless others, you’ll find PDC Engineers’ involvement. For over 50 years, they’ve provided horizontal and vertical design solutions across Alaska for every market sector.

NATURAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT SPECIAL SECTION
Hunting ‘Elephants’ in Alaska
Megaprojects made possible by the state’s unique geology
By Isaac Stone Simonelli
Jonathan Caine | USGS
T

he valuable mineral deposits investors have brought online or are attempting to bring online in the Last Frontier usually stand out for their mammoth size. There is the Red Dog Mine, the largest zinc mine in the world; there’s the Donlin Gold project, which is one of the largest known undeveloped gold deposits in the world; and then there’s the controversial Pebble Project, which constitutes one of the largest copper and gold discoveries in the world.

“In Alaska, people are looking for elephants, because it’s easier to develop elephants—they are more economical,” says Jennifer Athey, geologist and lead data manager for the Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (DGGS). In the mineral exploration industry, “elephant” is a shorthand term for extremely large deposits. Athey points out that the magnitude of such deposits allows for the construction of roads and other infrastructure needed to bring a mine online.

NATURAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT SPECIAL SECTION

Mining Directory

Ambler Metals

Ramzi Fawaz, Pres./CEO
3700 Centerpoint Dr., Ste. 101
Anchorage, AK 99503
amblermetals.com
907-339-8764

The Arctic Project.
MINING DISTRICT: Ambler
MINING COMMODITIES: Copper, zinc, lead, gold, and silver
Year Founded/Est. in Alaska: 2020/2020
Worldwide/Alaska Employees: 45-60/45-60

Coeur Alaska

Mark Kiessling, GM
3031 Clinton Dr., Ste. 202
Juneau, AK 99801
coeuralaska.com
907-523-3300

Coeur Alaska proposed an amendment to its Plan of Operations to increase tailings and waste rock storage capacity to reflect positive exploration results, improved metal prices, and ongoing operational efficiencies.
MINING DISTRICT: Juneau
MINING COMMODITIES: Gold
Year Founded/Est. in Alaska: 1987/1987
Worldwide/Alaska Employees: 380/380
Colaska
Jon Fuglestad, Pres.
4000 Old Seward Hwy., Ste. 101
Anchorage, AK 99503
colaska.com
907-273-1000

Gravel mining across the state; hard rock contract mining; concrete supply and pumping.
MINING DISTRICT: Southeast
MINING COMMODITIES: Other
Year Founded/Est. in Alaska: 1999/1999
Worldwide/Alaska Employees: 57,000/800
Donlin Gold
Dan Graham, GM
2525 C St., Ste. 450
Anchorage, AK 99503
DonlinGold.com
907-273-0200

The primary objective of the 2021 drill program is to complete the work necessary to validate and increase the confidence in recent geologic modeling concepts. The 2021 drill program drilled approximately eighty holes, a total of 24,000 meters.
MINING DISTRICT: Aniak
MINING COMMODITIES: Gold
Year Founded/Est. in Alaska: 2008/2008
Worldwide/Alaska Employees: 180/150
Grant Lake Corporation
Paul T. Torgerson, CEO/Pres.
5223 E. 24th Ave., #14
Anchorage, AK 99508
grantlakecorporation.com
907-521-6480

Grant Lake Corporation owns seven precious metals mining properties in Alaska totaling more than 5 square miles which the company intends to develop and mine, lease, or sell over the next ten years.
MINING DISTRICT: Yentna and Hope
MINING COMMODITIES: Gold, platinum, silver, copper, rare earth minerals, and precious and semi-precious gemstones
Year Founded/Est. in Alaska: 1985/1985
Worldwide/Alaska Employees: 4/4
Graphite One
Anthony Huston, Pres./CEO
PO Box 1513
Nome, AK 99762
graphiteoneinc.com
907-632-3493

Graphite Creek Project.
MINING DISTRICT: Cape Nome
MINING COMMODITIES: Graphite
Year Founded/Est. in Alaska: 2007/2010
Worldwide/Alaska Employees: 5/2
Gold & Silver
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    NATURAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT SPECIAL SECTION
    Modern Prospecting
    Small mines and small businesses have an Alaska-sized impact
    By Scott Rhode and Bailey Berg
    AleMasche72 | iStock
    A

    sourdough hunkered along a stream, scrutinizing his pan for pay dirt. A line of cheechakos ascending the Chilkoot Trail, each one hoping to strike it rich with a Klondike claim. The Three Lucky Swedes pulling nuggets out of Nome’s golden sands, triggering the rush of 1899. Rugged individuals are the foundation of mining in Alaska, now often overshadowed by “elephants” like Red Dog and Fort Knox. Yet small companies and prospectors are still out there, exploring the landscape for the next big lode.

    The physical properties of gold make the metal particularly suitable for small-scale mining. Being denser than the surrounding rock (known as gangue), gold tends to settle while the worthless grit is washed away with water, a method in use since ancient times. Gold’s luster also makes it easy to spot visually, with no modern chemical analysis necessary. Of course, that glitter is also what makes gold a sought-after rock, imbuing it with monetary value that rewards miners’ efforts, even when the find is merely dust or flakes.

    "Fuel is the lifeblood of any project"
    Mike Cain & Toby Drake / Drake Construction
    rough texture
    Drake Construction knows that when you work on remote project sites in Western Alaska, preparation is essential to having the fuel you need. That’s why they’ve trusted Crowley for quality fuels and reliable service for nearly 40 years.

    For a fuel partner you can depend on, contact Crowley Fuels, serving business and industry across Alaska.

    GASOLINE • DIESEL • HEATING FUEL • PROPANE
    AVIATION FUELS • LUBRICANTS
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    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
    NATURAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT SPECIAL SECTION
    Coeur Mining Inc
    Open Pits or Underground Ops
    Suiting a mine’s methods to its environment and commodity
    By Scott Rhode and Antonio Lopez
    E

    very day, approximately 1,000 Alaskans go to work where the sun never shines. They are the miners in the tunnels at the Kensington, Greens Creek, and Pogo mines. Meanwhile, their cohorts at the Fort Knox, Usibelli Coal, and Red Dog mines labor with blue sky over their heads. Same industry, two different approaches to extracting minerals from the earth. Whether the risks and rewards of open pit versus underground mining make sense for any given site depends largely on the depth and nature of the deposit and the type of ore expected to be found.

    Open Pit Mining

    Half of the six producing mines in Alaska are surface mines, where the landscape is scraped away to expose the mineral resource. Teck and NANA Regional Corporation’s Red Dog mine, north of Kotzebue, is a classic example: the country’s largest zinc and lead producer is visible from high altitude as a crater nearly a kilometer wide with concentric terraces leading to the bottom, which is usually filled with groundwater.

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    Natural Resource Development Special Section
    Milling in the Last Frontier
    A cut above the rest
    By Isaac Stone Simonelli
    T

    he Alaskan spirit of self-reliance and community are deeply ingrained in the small-scale and boutique wood milling operations of the Last Frontier. From dimensional lumber for homes to furniture boards made of live-edge wood that reveals the natural contour and bark of trees, Alaskans are providing for Alaskans.

    In the rural community of Yakutat, housing is limited and lumber is expensive, says Marvin Adams, the CEO of Yak Timber. Dismal fishing seasons in 2019 and 2020 compounded the troubles for residents in the community and put Yak-Tat Kwaan Alaska Native Village Corporation President Don Bremner on the hunt for creating jobs, Adams explains.

    Community leaders proposed establishing a mill as part of a “Back to Work” plan to help prepare community members for what was expected to be a harsh winter in 2020. At the time, there was no milling operation associated with Yak Timber, which is owned by the Yak-Tat Kwaan corporation and was incorporated in 2018.

    Marvin Adams | Yak Timber
    Engineering Results for Alaskan Communities Since 1979
    Tank Inspections
    Engineering Design
    Phase I & II ESA
    Industrial Hygiene / CIH
    Environmental Remediation
    Hazardous Materials Management
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    Natural Resource Development Special Section
    Peter Pan Seafood Co.
    Peter Pan Seafood Co. Slices Off a Healthy Portion
    New ownership with a new vision
    By Isaac Stone Simonelli
    I

    t was all hands on deck at the end of 2020 as new ownership took charge of the storied Peter Pan Seafoods company, now Peter Pan Seafood Co., preparing for their first season at the helm.

    “We had a great season. The new ownership group came in with a strong vision and made a lot of commitments, and we’ve done what we set out to do, despite the challenges that come with being in a pandemic,” says Peter Pan Seafood Co. vice president of operations Jon Hickman. “We’re excited to continue moving in the right direction and building on this first season.”

    The Japanese seafood goliath Maruha Nichiro offloaded the flailing Peter Pan Seafoods last year—for a loss of nearly $28 million—to a joint venture between Rodger May of Northwest Fish; the Na’-Nuk Investment Fund, managed by McKinley Capital; and RRG Capital Management.

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    EXPERTISE IN THE SEAS
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    Engineering
    En Route to Safer Roads in Alaska
    Education, enforcement, and engineering pave the way
    By Matt Jardin
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    D

    rive to Seward or Homer for a weekend summer getaway enough times, and as sure as you are to witness the gorgeous Alaska scenery along the way, you’ll inevitably run into an hours-long delay caused by a head-on collision. Hopefully you really enjoy the view, because once caught in the wait, chances are you’ll be staring at it for a while.

    Traffic incidents such as these do not go unnoticed by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF). Every accident is analyzed and discussed with community leadership and law enforcement in an effort to minimize collisions that result in hospitalizations or fatalities.

    We are the Pipefitters & Welders of the United Association typogrphy
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    Merrill Field Airport Improvements:
    Rehabilitate Primary Access Road Project.
    Left to right:
    Erik Jordt
    Mark Swenson
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    HDL Engineering Consultants
    Twenty years of engaging, empowering, and exceeding
    ©Kerry Tasker
    Merrill Field Airport Improvements:
    Rehabilitate Primary Access Road Project.
    Left to right:
    Erik Jordt
    Mark Swenson
    Rick Opsahl
    Erin Falldorf
    T

    his year HDL Engineering Consultants is celebrating a historic milestone—its 20-year anniversary. The longevity of the Alaska-based firm is a testament to its focus on offering creative solutions with quality, integrity, teamwork, respect, and positivity. HDL provides government and private-sector entities with civil, geotechnical, and transportation engineering, environmental services, surveying, planning, and material testing. “Our clients come to us with problems; we develop solutions that fit their budget and meet their objectives,” says Principal Engineer and General Manager Mark Swenson.

    HDL has built a strong reputation for providing extremely responsive and excellent service. Consequently, the multi-discipline engineering firm has maintained a consistent client base. “We are proud to say that we still serve many of the same clients that we did when we first started,” Swenson says.

    Tourism
    Authentic Alaska
    Cultural tourism creates a “pure real” experience for visitors
    By Amy Newman
    Alaska Native Heritage Center
    I

    n the waters surrounding Hoonah, the small Tlingit village located on Chichagof Island west of Juneau, fishermen used to watch cruise ships sail by, carrying thousands of visitors in and out of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. As the same scene unfolded each summer, it planted the seed for what would eventually become Icy Strait Point, Alaska’s only Native-owned and operated port of call.

    “For many years, people would be in their fishing boats and watch as tourists came to visit the homeland but weren’t really experiencing the home of the Hoonah people,” says Mickey Richardson, director of marketing for Huna Totem Corporation, which owns and operates Icy Strait Point. “And so, it was kind of like, ‘Why are they going to visit our homelands and not coming to visit us?’ is really where the idea started.”

    It’s an idea that has taken root across the state. As tourists show a growing interest in gaining a deeper understanding of the people and places they’re visiting, tribal organizations and tour operators have begun offering an increasing variety of activities to accommodate that demand.

    resourceful solutions
    KEEPING NATURAL RESOURCES CLIENTS ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF MARKET TRENDS AND AHEAD OF THEIR COMPETITION.
    Attorneys from Dorsey & Whitney are deeply engaged in helping mining, energy, and natural resources clients across the full lifecycle of exploration, development, production and beyond, providing timely and effective counsel to companies in Alaska and around the world. We provide comprehensive representation, helping clients with everything from transactions and financing to litigation, regulatory, and environmental compliance.
    Top Ranked Law Firm in Alaska and Leading Energy: Mining & Metals (Transactional Practice)
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    resourceful solutions
    KEEPING NATURAL RESOURCES CLIENTS ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF MARKET TRENDS AND AHEAD OF THEIR COMPETITION.
    Attorneys from Dorsey & Whitney are deeply engaged in helping mining, energy, and natural resources clients across the full lifecycle of exploration, development, production and beyond, providing timely and effective counsel to companies in Alaska and around the world. We provide comprehensive representation, helping clients with everything from transactions and financing to litigation, regulatory, and environmental compliance.
    Top Ranked Law Firm in Alaska
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    Transparency and Communication
    How Cook Inlet Tribal Council puts people first
    By Tasha Anderson
    C

    ook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) is all about people: its employees, its clients, its community. So it’s no surprise that the organization was recognized by our readers in our annual July Best of Alaska Business (BOAB) awards in two categories: Best Place to Work 250+ Employees and Best COVID-19 Response.

    According to one BOAB survey respondent, “CITC remained open for services throughout the pandemic as a critical service for some of Anchorage’s most in-need people. They staggered appointments with on-site presence as needed and used all of the available technology to keep operations fluid… CITC was hit hard by both the earthquake and the pandemic; however, their value of resilience really shined through for their employees.” Many, many others wrote in as part of the BOAB survey process to report how CITC puts people first every day—and in any crisis.

    Inside Alaska Business
    Ravn Alaska
    The new venture for out-of-state air travel by Ravn Alaska’s sister brand is beginning to take off. Northern Pacific Airways has purchased its first Boeing 757, plus another five in various stages of acquisition, with the goal of connecting Anchorage to the Lower 48 and Asia sometime next year. The new service would include routes to Orlando, Florida, as well as to Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, South Korea from the disused North Terminal at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
    ravnalaska.com
    Usibelli Coal Mine
    Usibelli Coal Mine fulfilled a forty-year promise to restore an open pit at the Poker Flats area near Healy. According to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), a final inspection this summer determined that reclamation of the 367-acre site was complete. The process involved refilling the original land contour and then waiting ten years for new vegetation to take root. DNR releases the last $411,000 of the $2.5 million bond that Usibelli posted in the ‘80s when it began extracting 25 million tons of coal.
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    Economic Indicators
    ANS Crude Oil Production
    485,829 barrels
    6% change from previous month
    9/29/21
    Source: Alaska Department of Natural Resources
    ANS West Coast Crude Oil Prices
    $78.78 per barrel
    9% change from previous month
    9/30/21
    Source: Alaska Department of Natural Resources
    Statewide Employment
    349,300 Labor Force
    6.6% Unemployment
    8/1/21. Adjusted seasonally.
    Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
    Right Moves
    DOT&PF
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    Anderson
    A new cabinet commissioner is in charge of the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF). Governor Mike Dunleavy appointed Ryan Anderson to the job, replacing John MacKinnon, who had been commissioner since December 2018. Anderson, a twenty-year veteran of the department, previously oversaw DOT&PF’s Northern Region. He has a bachelor’s degree in geological engineering from UAF.
    ACDA
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    Robbins
    He challenged, then endorsed, Dave Bronson in the race for mayor of Anchorage in April, and now Mike Robbins is working within the new administration. Robbins has been hired by the Anchorage Community Development Authority (ACDA) board of directors as its new Executive Director. He replaces Andrew Halcro, who resigned in March. A long-time local business owner himself, Robbins will oversee ACDA’s mission of economic revitalization, financial stability, and supporting development projects. “I have the utmost confidence in Mike Robbins to aggressively pursue economic expansion and diversification for our city,” says Mayor Bronson.

    Alaska Trends

    E

    ven before the gold rushes that put Juneau, Skagway, Nome, and Fairbanks on the map, Alaskans have been pulling precious and useful materials out of the ground. Native cultures statewide unearthed deposits of soapstone and jade to carve and polish into dazzling artifacts. Copper nuggets were fashioned into fishhooks and blades or traded to Russian colonists. Nowadays we use copper in our electrical wiring, zinc in our pennies, coal in our power plants, and stone aggregate in our pavement, concrete, and masonry.

    The mining sector in Alaska employs about 4,700 workers, according to the Alaska Miners Association (AMA), and those workers are responsible for some world class output. The silver from Greens Creek and the zinc and lead concentrate from Red Dog are the most of any mines in the US. Beyond those major production sites and the other giants at Fort Knox, Kensington, Pogo, and Usibelli, miners are busy at 120 gravel and sand pits and at 169 small placer claims. The industry converts the earth under our feet into gold in our banks, figuratively and literally.

    This issue has a rich vein of content, scooping loads from mega mines in “Hunting Elephants in Alaska” (p. 52), introducing smaller players in “Modern Prospecting” (p. 64), and assaying the pros and cons of “Open Pits or Underground Ops” (p. 72). In this month’s installment of Alaska Trends, we take data from the AMA’s annual “Economic Benefits of Alaska’s Mining Industry” and compare 2019 to 2020. Where is the industry at risk of a cave-in and where is the real pay dirt? Let’s dig in.

    At a Glance

    What book is currently on your nightstand?

    The one that I’m most engrossed in right now is a book by Frank Soos, who taught creative writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for many years, called Unpleasantries: Considerations of Difficult Questions.

    What’s a charity or cause that you’re passionate about?

    The one that I’ve probably been most passionate about, going back many years, is supporting our local public radio and television station, KUAC.

    What’s the first thing you do when you get home after a long day at work?

    Hockey season’s underway—my twelve year old plays hockey, so a lot of my evenings after work are going to be spent at the local hockey rink.

    What vacation spot is on your bucket list?

    Costa Rica is up there—it’s a place that I’ve always wanted to visit—as well as the Mediterranean islands.

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

    A giraffe: it’s my wife’s favorite animal and I think it’d just be cool to have a giraffe. We’d probably have to buy a new house with cathedral ceilings, but just having a giraffe in your yard, that stands out. It’d be cool to be known as the giraffe house: people are given directions somewhere, “Well, you just take a left turn down by the giraffe house.” “Oh, yeah, I know where that is.” [he laughs]

    Scott McCrea

    At a Glance

    What book is currently on your nightstand?

    The one that I’m most engrossed in right now is a book by Frank Soos, who taught creative writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for many years, called Unpleasantries: Considerations of Difficult Questions.

    What’s a charity or cause that you’re passionate about?

    The one that I’ve probably been most passionate about, going back many years, is supporting our local public radio and television station, KUAC.

    What’s the first thing you do when you get home after a long day at work?

    Hockey season’s underway—my twelve year old plays hockey, so a lot of my evenings after work are going to be spent at the local hockey rink.

    What vacation spot is on your bucket list?

    Costa Rica is up there—it’s a place that I’ve always wanted to visit—as well as the Mediterranean islands.

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

    A giraffe: it’s my wife’s favorite animal and I think it’d just be cool to have a giraffe. We’d probably have to buy a new house with cathedral ceilings, but just having a giraffe in your yard, that stands out. It’d be cool to be known as the giraffe house: people are given directions somewhere, “Well, you just take a left turn down by the giraffe house.” “Oh, yeah, I know where that is.” [he laughs]

    Photos by Sarah Lewis

    Off the Cuff

    Scott McCrea
    B

    efore stepping into the role of President and CEO of Explore Fairbanks in June, Scott McCrea was the director of tourism for the organization for seven years. “[Tourism] is an amazing industry to work in, especially here in Alaska where we have this bucket list destination that people dream of visiting,” he says. “The team here is very good at what they do, and they’re passionate about our destinations, so I feel very rewarded that I get a chance to come in and work with these amazing people each and every day.”

    DIGITAL EDITION ADVERTISERS INDEX
    Amplify Your 2022 Marketing Strategy
    By Charles Bell, VP of Sales
    I

    s it too early to be thinking about strategic plans for 2022? Of course not—and in fact, most people are already well into planning their marketing for next year. Are you?

    Let us help you get started: If you haven’t already done so, check out the 2022 Alaska Business Media Kit, which is full of opportunities to promote your business and reach decision-makers and influencers within the Alaska business community through our print and digital magazine, our website, and our weekly Monitor newsletter. And don’t forget, we’re now also the publisher of Associated General Contractors of Alaska’s The Alaska Contractor magazine—and we can help you reach that audience too.

    Only pay for the speed you need…
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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.
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    Thanks for reading our November 2021 issue!