TOP 49ers Special Section | Q&A

How the Top 49ers Communicate and Collaborate


he Top 49ers are ranked on gross revenue; while earning money is one obvious indication of success, it certainly isn’t the only one. And in meeting with and learning from our Top 49ers over the years, we know that they all measure success broadly to include happy employees, satisfied clients, and healthy communities. It’s not just about the money, though that is a vital component of operating any company and for the health of the economy as a whole. Put all the parts together and ultimately it’s about becoming a team.

And every successful team shares one trait: great teamwork. The Alaska Business Top 49ers have some of the best teams around, so for 2018 we asked them, “What initiatives or policies have been most effective at your business to improve communication and teamwork?”

This year’s Top 49ers share their secrets to successful synergy in the workplace.


Since its incorporation nearly fifty years ago, ASRC has been guided by our Iñupiaq values to be a foundation for all business decisions we make. As Iñupiat, we rely on the teachings of our ancestors and live by the values passed on through countless generations. Our core values are the cornerstone of our success as a community and corporation. They are combined with disciplined business practices to deliver high levels of performance and returns. Jacob Adams Sr., former ASRC President and CEO, explains this in our Emmy-winning documentary True North, the Story of ASRC: “If you’re a whaling captain and you’ve got a crew working together, you’re successful. We took those values that we have (as Iñupiat) and transferred them into the corporation. We work together.” You can learn more about ASRC’s history and reliance on Iñupiaq values by watching True North, the Story of ASRC on

Afognak Native Corporation

Afognak Native Corporation, Alutiiq, and their subsidiaries maintain the and websites as their primary marketing vehicles beyond direct proposals for government and commercial contracts. Their reputation is built on innovative partnerships while providing comprehensive, high quality services to customers. Afognak Native Corporation is rooted in the core Alutiiq values of harmony, respect, efficiency, communication, trust, Elder knowledge, commitment to community, and heritage. As an Alaska Native Corporation, employees and shareholders are united in this shared value system. A leader in service contracting in Alaska and beyond, they rely on past performance as their most successful communications strategy.

Ahtna, Inc.

The employees at Ahtna work together as “One Team, One Ahtna” toward a unified mission and vision. They also uphold our company values of respect, unity, safety, quality, and integrity.

Airport Equipment Rentals

Having an experienced management team who work independently in their area of responsibility yet still work closely together to maximize inventory and profit.


BBNC’s family of companies utilizes an internal website called Infonet that allows employees, no matter where they’re located, to access BBNC news, resources, tools, and training.

Bering Straits Native Corporation

With BSNC’s continued growth comes a need for established company-wide policies and procedures. BSNC’s policies and procedures promote consistency and compliance throughout the company, preserve institutional knowledge, and help new and existing employees know where to find information and perform their work more efficiently. BSNC also has an internal newsletter that seeks to engage employees with fun, social content as well as notify employees of external and internal changes.

Bethel Native Corporation

Bethel Native Corporation has focused on its core competencies of industrial construction, environmental engineering, and real estate investing. The company re-organized around these business lines in 2017 to focus on efficiencies and improve internal coordination.

Calista Corporation

Provide appropriate departments with a preview of announcements before they are distributed publicly.

Cape Fox Corporation

Personnel policies are established corporate-wide to promote unity between all Cape Fox Corporation subsidiaries. The Employee Guidebook details individual responsibilities as an employee and outlines the policies developed by the organization.

Chenega Corporation

Yammer: It allows teams to collaborate across distances using shared documents, video conferencing, and applications that tie it all together in one virtual location, creating efficiencies while heightening morale.

Chugach Alaska Corporation

Creating connections: Adopting the latest technology makes it easier for the corporation to serve our thousands of shareholders and descendants. In 2017, we launched social media channels and a new Shareholder Portal, built specifically for Chugach shareholders and descendants to access the latest news, events, and opportunities with the corporation. Internally, we are undergoing a digital transformation to help our employees to interact more seamlessly using the latest technologies.

Chugach Electric Association

Implementation of the My Account member portal


Town hall meetings led by the executive team. Safety focus and safety challenges.

Cook Inlet Region, Inc.

CIRI has enhanced its Intranet site and other internal communication tools to keep employees informed of developments and events of interest to them. Increased use of video conferencing and other technology for meetings with subsidiaries outside of Anchorage and out of state.

Cornerstone General Contractors, Inc.

Our open-door policy has allowed us to create a warm and inviting atmosphere that encourages clear communication and maintains workplace comfort for our employees, clients, and industry partners.

Credit Union 1

As a not-for-profit financial institution that serves more than 84,000 Alaskans, Credit Union 1 is proud to help foster thriving, happy communities by always putting people first. Our credit union calls this homegrown passion #CU1LUV, and it inspires everything we do. Our employees are empowered to live each and every day with the mission to lead change, uplift others, and value people. With this mission in mind, communication and teamwork flourish in a uniquely “people-first” environment.

Cruz Companies Alaska

We hold regular management team huddles and empower key personnel to make decisions that best benefit our business.

Davis Constructors & Engineers, Inc.

Davis finds that team consistency and integrity build trust and improve both communication and teamwork.

Delta Constructors

Implemented a new single location program where safety training and compliance records are maintained. This offers greater transparency and ease of access.

Initiated a 2018 finish strong safety and quality campaign to increase awareness across all regions to help improve a One Delta Safety and Quality Culture.

Implemented Samsara GPS equipment trackers. The benefit is improved safety and effective communication on status and location of equipment on an as-needed basis.

Initiated a multi-regional cross talk process designed to encourage personnel to pick up the phone and talk with their counter parts. This improves teamwork and creativity and allows individuals to be introduced to each other.

Denali Federal Credit Union

Email communications to members. Two-way credit union member communications via employee Facebook page

Doyon, Limited

Doyon conducted an employee survey to learn what is working well and what could be improved at Doyon. In 2017, we had a 75 percent participation rate across the family of companies.

First National Bank Alaska

Bank initiatives go through the Go4 process. Nearly all require a cross-divisional team, incorporating different perspectives and ideas. A Cultural Blueprint details the behaviors to encourage a common First National culture. FIRST Summit quarterly sessions help management foster inspiring workplace results through shared beliefs and values.

Goldbelt, Incorporated

Migrating internal systems to the cloud has improved collaboration across time zones, allowing employees to accomplish work with great effectiveness.

Homer Electric Association

Homer Electric takes pride in an award-winning member newsletter, Facebook page for outage notifications and information, website, and other member involvement such as hosting community meetings and a New Energy Technology workshop each year.

Koniag, Inc.

Koniag recently conducted a survey of its shareholders which resulted in the highest survey participation in the history of the corporation. This input has assisted greatly in directing the corporation toward initiatives that the shareholders find important. For instance, based on shareholder input, this year Koniag is implementing a new Elder Benefit and increased the Youth Scholarship Award amount from $500 to $750 per student. Likewise, Koniag surveyed its employees this year and also periodically does a short pulse survey of its staff. The input from these surveys assists management in developing initiatives that make Koniag a great place to work. Finally, Koniag holds quarterly board and subsidiary meetings to ensure the board, management, and subsidiary leadership are synchronized on corporate goals and initiatives.


The recent focus of internal and external process improvements has provided employees the opportunity to work collectively in search of ideas to better serve the membership. We are also actively improving collaboration and communication with our utility colleagues throughout the region as we work toward a cost effective electric system that can serve as a platform for economic growth.


MTA hosts “Lunch and Learn” sessions for employees to learn and ask questions about new services and product offerings.

NANA Regional Corporation

NANA incorporates a core traditional philosophy into all of our corporate actions. This core philosophy is called the Iñupiat Ilitqusiat. Iñupiat—the real people. Ilitqusiat—that which makes us who we are.

Olgoonik Corporation

As an Alaska Native Corporation, taking time to listen to our shareholders at open format community meetings around Alaska has helped us rework our internal programs to better benefit the 1,300-plus shareholders in Alaska and beyond.

Roger Hickel Contracting, Inc.

Our organization fosters teamwork and communication with a build up, trust, and respect mentality. Our managers lead by example and encourage socialization with field and office workers to hear their struggles and achievements. We cultivate open communication, clearly outline roles and responsibilities, and encourage our employees to work in teams.


Working together for a common purpose can help employees reach their full potential and help communities be self-sufficient. Through teamwork Sealaska will have the ability to direct financial success to organizations preserving Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian culture and people.

Seekins Ford Lincoln

Continuing to focus on customer service initiatives and best practices in an ever-changing market climate and recessed Alaska economy.

Sitnasuak Native Corporation

Strategic and tactical planning among our business units and corporate departments toward our overall goal of 10/10/1,000 ($10 million in consolidated profit, $10 per share regular dividend, and $1,000 per Elder special dividend) by 2019.

Tanadgusix Corp.

Strategic planning workshops with management and the Board of Directors, and detailed business line analytics.

Tatonduk Outfitters Ltd.

Stakeholder meetings to encourage interface communications between departments.

The Kuskokwim Corporation

The Kuskokwim Corporation has just twelve people at the parent company level to provide services to nearly 4,000 TKC shareholders. TKC’s staff has been working to better understand our core drives and communication preferences with the help of the PACE Palette to become a more cohesive team. It has been through close collaboration and teamwork that we are accomplishing our service and business goals and meeting the needs of our shareholders.

Three Bears Alaska, Inc.

Regular meetings at all levels of the company and a true open-door policy.

Tyonek Native Corporation

Communication with both employees and shareholders is a priority at Tyonek Native Corporation. We utilize a mix of internal communication meetings, newsletters, websites, social media, and worksite postings to educate our employees and shareholders of news and events that are important to them.

Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation

For the last three winters, the corporation has showcased Barrow’s strategic circumpolar location by hosting the UIC Arctic Business Development Tour (ABDT), which originally began in 2016. With so many other conferences and seminars regarding the future of the Arctic, UIC wanted to lead efforts by hosting one of the few business development tours (above the Arctic Circle) that highlights local traditions and customs. UIC’s home and place is in the circumpolar Arctic, and the corporation believes in maintaining the potential for business relations in various markets that have shown an interest in Alaska’s far north. ABDT conference presenters and guests have discussed responsible Arctic infrastructure development, circumpolar sea routes, Arctic deep-draft port concepts for Barrow’s Elson Lagoon, and business opportunities that ranged from marine transportation to Internet broadband technology. The ABDT also provides UIC the opportunity to showcase the Barrow Arctic Research Center and its close proximity to the Charles Etok Edwardsen Jr. Environmental Observatory and how both these instruments assist in modern day Arctic science.

Usibelli Coal Mine

UCM operates 24/7 with a unique and diverse workforce. We utilize a variety of tools to communicate effectively at all levels. We have an open door policy and encourage two-way feedback and face-to-face communication as much as possible with all employees. Roles and responsibilities are defined so that accountability for tasks are placed with the most appropriate person alleviating unclear instructions or miscommunications. We focus on teamwork, communicate company expectations, and leverage the strengths of employees to foster a collaborative work atmosphere.

Vitus Energy

Daily operational planning meeting attended by department heads in other areas such as marketing and accounting.

Watterson Construction Co.

Watterson has been incorporating the Procore project management platform into our projects. We have found this to greatly increase information sharing among all project team members.