Inside Alaska Business
The first cohort of the collaborative veterinary program offered by the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Colorado State University graduated this year. The collaborative veterinary training program allows ten students to enroll each year, giving preference to Alaska residents. Students attend veterinary medicine courses at UAF for the first two years and at CSU for the last two years. The program was established between the two land-grant universities to give students in Alaska access to a top-ranked veterinary medicine education partially in their home state, where veterinarians are in high demand. Additionally, the partnership gives CSU veterinary students an opportunity to learn about Alaska fish and wildlife, marine animal science, and sports medicine and rehabilitation of sled dogs.
Hilton Anchorage
Columbia Sussex, which has owned and managed The Hilton Anchorage since 2006, recently completed an extensive multi-million dollar renovation, including upgrades to the lobby, dining establishments, guest rooms, fitness center, and conference spaces.

The hotel’s new guest room design celebrates the up-to-date and accessible feeling of Hilton hotels. The natural color palette of earth and water tones highlights the beautiful colors of Alaska’s pristine wilderness and Northern Lights with a modern and comfortable atmosphere.

Alpha Aviation
The Anchorage-based helicopter operator responsible for exclusive transports to a remote luxury lodge in Denali National Park and Preserve and a premier utility helicopter operator broadened its business with the purchase of Anchorage Helicopter Tours to create Alaska Helicopter Tours, powered by Alpha Aviation. The addition of Alaska Helicopter Tours expands Alpha Aviation’s model of high-end tourism experiences including charter/utility work to offer helicopter flightseeing tours from locations in Anchorage, Talkeetna, and Knik River Lodge in Palmer.
NANA Construction
NANA Construction plans to expand its Big Lake facility this summer, increasing its existing industrial fabrication space from 14,000 square feet to 28,000 square feet—making it the largest facility of its kind in the state. Preliminary plans include the addition of a 240-foot by 60-foot, pre-engineered metal building featuring two 10-ton overhead cranes, bringing the total number of industrial cranes at the facility to eighteen. NANA Construction expects to complete the expansion by fall 2019.
Ondas Networks
Ondas Networks, a developer of private licensed wireless data networks for mission-critical industrial markets, closed the acquisition of licensed spectrum in the 700 MHz band for the State of Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, and multiple counties bordering the Gulf.

In Alaska, Ondas Networks has established mission-critical wireless service covering Anchorage and the Fairbanks North Star Borough. Ondas Networks also deployed system trials with a Class 2 railroad operator in the Wasilla/Cottonwood region for mission-critical wayside connectivity, and in the Kenai Peninsula, Homer Electric Association is testing out the company’s FullMAX system for SCADA connectivity to portions of the electric grid.

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) board unanimously approved a resolution that establishes a new $10 million financing program in AIDEA for the purpose of enhancing the competitiveness of Alaska shipyards. The Alaska Ship Home-porting for Improvements Program (AK SHIP) will offer six-month to twenty-four-month financing exclusively for ship repair, conversion, and maintenance work in support of Alaska shipyards.

The new program is specifically targeted to meet the seasonal financing needs of the state’s industrial and commercial fleet owners and to facilitate scheduled maintenance cycle work at Alaska shipyards.

The Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) and the Alaska to Alberta Railway Development Corporation (A2A) established a Master Agreement of Cooperation toward building a 1500-mile connection between the Alaska Railroad and Canadian railroads that also serve the Lower 48.

Under terms of the agreement, the two railroad companies will cooperate in applying to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources for a right-of-way guaranteed under state law for a rail connection to Canada. The two firms will also develop a joint operating plan that will specify the new track needed to connect Alaska’s rail to Canada and identify work needed to upgrade existing rail facilities, bridges, and track on the Alaska Railroad’s 512-mile mainline. The entire project is expected to cost approximately $13 billion.