E-News Bulletin, May 2009

Vol 3, No. 11 — May 22, 2009

President's Perspective: The Next Phase

Robinson Sandvik with mom Helvi at graduationAs I stood and watched my son, Robinson, put on his cap and gown in preparation for his high school graduation, I really was quite shocked at the feelings I was experiencing. I was relieved that I no longer would have to ask him if he had finished his homework, knowing full well I would get an eye rolling response.  I was pleased that he was able to experience directly what I had told him, (ad nauseum , if you were to ask him), that his hard work would deliver future opportunities. I was also relieved that I would never again have to make him another peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which at least once every two weeks I found still sitting on the counter after he had left for school.

But what was shocking to me was the emotional turmoil I was experiencing, but dared not to express. I was feeling the grief that all parents must feel when their child reaches a milestone. This was not something I expected! And I know thinking back, it did not occur to me for one second when I was his age, that my parents might be having different feelings than I was on that graduation day.

Graduation, for students and parents, is a time of transition.  We stand relieved that we have reached this day, often amazed at the accomplishments, yet we are also filled with some sadness because we will forever miss the children that they were.  As parents we have an important role to play in our children’s life during this time. Though chronologically they may have reached adulthood, our job is not done.  We must continually ensure that they have the background and training they need to successfully move into adulthood. Although the process began long before this moment, we need to check-in with our kids to make sure that they are staying on track and that this transition is happening as smoothly as possible—without smothering them.

This phase is very similar to the one that occurs in the life of a corporation. When a company, like NANA, grows rapidly, there comes a moment when we must take stock of that growth and ensure we have the tools we need to move forward into a successful tomorrow.

The past few years have been an important time in the transition of NANA. We have become very diverse, and very complex. As we move forward we need to make sure we are ready to take on the challenges that will come with our next phase of growth.

In the coming months we will be heavily engaged in many activities, evaluating how we do business, and what we might do differently. We will be examining our procedures and methodologies to make sure that we are staying on the right track.  We will be examining the tools we have invested in, to ensure they are running smoothly, and that we are taking full advantage of the efficiencies they bring to our company.

Like the graduation ceremonies so many of us have attended these past few weeks, this is a very exciting time for NANA. We have achieved many of the milestones that we have been working towards for so many years. But our work isn’t over. Our future is just beginning. Our job today is to make sure we are well prepared for the challenges that lie ahead of us.

As we move into this next corporate phase, there will be challenges and there will be great accomplishments. Hard questions will be asked, and inspiring answers will be found.  We will continue to grow and learn. We will discover centers of excellence, and identify areas that need focus. As many young people experience, we may discover that we have to change the way we have done some things in the past, in order to be successful in the future.  Transitions can be challenging, but the rewards are worth the effort!

It is spring time in Alaska—days of warmth and joy! A week after the graduation ceremony, my son and I are now planning for the day I drop him off at his college dorm.  The emotions of graduation day have passed and I am excited for him. This morning I woke up and realized I still had two other peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to make—things do change, but many stay the same.

Congratulations to all of the 2009 graduates in the NANA family. What an exciting time for us all as we move into a bright future!

All the best,

Helvi Sandvik


Shareholder Spotlight: NANA Shareholder Wins Big with Big Idea

47321243013180EvalSheldonMandregan.JPGWhen NANA Shareholder Eva Sheldon-Mandregan’s father, Alex Sheldon Sr. was at camp, he woke one morning to find a Japanese tourist sleeping under his fish rack. There are limited places to stay when out in the backcountry of Alaska.

“My father told me about what he saw and he said we should make some cabins so that tourists could have somewhere to stay,” said Eva. “My husband and my father are both certified guides, so we thought we could also provide a guiding service as well.  I’m in the MBA program at Alaska Pacific University, so I put pen to paper and started to sketch out the idea.”

The Sheldon family's idea turned into Kobuk River Cabins, located in northwestern Alaska in the Kobuk Valley above the Arctic Circle on a portion of the family’s Native allotment. The year-round operation comes complete with scenic views, wildlife encounters, cabin rental, boat charters, fishing and guided tours.

But just like every entrepreneur, Eva needed start-up funds to turn this idea into reality. So, she entered Kobuk River Cabins into the Alaska Marketplace – an ideas competition that encourages the development of viable and sustainable businesses by tapping into the creative passions, cultural knowledge and drive of rural Alaska residents.

This year, Eva’s entry placed in the top three and netted her company $37, 000 in start-up monies.

“This is the second year that I entered,” said Eva. “I am so excited that we won! Our business will not only be a great opportunity for my family, but we will be able to create employment opportunities for other families in an area of Alaska where jobs are scarce.”

Eva intends to use her winnings to buy a saw-mill. The family will use the timber that they have cleared to build the cabins.

“I hope that other NANA shareholders take advantage of these types of opportunities,” said Eva. “NANA helped with my education and now, I’m in a position to help our people. That is what it is all about. I’d be more than happy to talk with any other shareholders about this competition or help them with advice about a business plan.”


Art Imitates Life for Akima Role Player at Fort Irwin

88201243013935JosephRandasmall.jpgIt takes Joseph Randa about 15 minutes to create one of his sketches, but each can be the cause of hours of conversation for many soldiers. That’s because each drawing tells a story of his experience as a role player for Akima at the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, CA.

Because of its remoteness, the U.S. Army chose Fort Irwin for the NTC location more than 25 years ago. Today, the center provides an ideal setting for training soldiers who have been deployed to desert climates.

To enhance the realism of the training experience, villages have been constructed to resemble what soldiers might encounter overseas. The main training villages of Medina Jabal and Medina Wasl, among others, have been constructed using converted shipping containers; hence, giving the area its nickname - “The Box.”

Unlike other Akima civilians on the battlefield (COB) contracts, the role players at the NTC are required to reside onsite during each rotation, a period lasting nearly three weeks. Approximately 200 female and 100 male role players work daily to support soldier training for 12 hours per day, seven days per week.

10381243013932JosephRandadrawingsmall.jpgRanda portrays a local artist who sells his work at street bazaars and creates his drawings while in character. He tries to capture raw emotions expressed during training, even if it is his own. A recent drawing was inspired by the detonation of a simulated explosive device.

“One of the [role-playing] villagers died. Women were wailing,” Randa recalls. “Here I am, this old guy with tears streaming down my eyes. I was not prepared for the emotional part of it.”

In a twist of art imitating life, Randa is now selling his sketches in the gift shop of a hotel recently constructed in Medina Wasl. The gift shop is open to the general public and to soldiers training at the fort.

According to representatives at Akima, Randa has been working hard to keep up with demand.


School is in for WHPacific’s Green Academy

37341243017982WHPacificGreenAcademyposter.jpgThe WHPacific Green Team kicked off its first Green Academy webinar on May 7, 2009. The WHPacific Green Revolution, the first Green Academy session offered, explored the history, development and future growth of the corporate-wide WHPacific Green Team.

New webinar technology allowed over 50 WHPacific professionals from across nine states to participate in the “Lunch and Learn” session, enhancing their professional development on green technologies. The Web meeting let participants listen to the presentations and view the associated PowerPoint slides at their computer workstations, while submitting electronic comments and questions.

“The true success of the lecture series comes from the strong commitment of the presenters and the organizers who volunteered their free time to make this happen,” said Cheryl Marks, chair of the Green Team. “Academy organizer Dave Morrone gave up his weekends to make this dream a reality, while demonstrating his commitment to WHPacific and sustainability.”

The Green Academy will continue with biweekly sessions addressing sustainable planning, design and engineering topics. Upcoming topic areas include:

  • May 28 – Sustainable Community Development
  • June 11 – LEED and Sustainable Lighting
  • June 25 – Soggy Landscapes:  Sustainable Stormwater Management
  • July 9 – Renewable Energy

The Green Academy is the latest of many corporate-wide Green Team initiatives demonstrating WHPacific’s commitment to sustainable design technologies. The Green Academy provides in-house training opportunities to professionals, enabling them to expand their knowledge of sustainable design trends while earning continuing education credits toward the renewal of professional licenses. While participation in the sessions is currently limited to WHPacific employees, it is anticipated that sessions will soon be available to external clients and other interested parties. Additionally, the Green Academy may serve as a pilot program for other corporate training initiatives in the future.

For more information email Cheryl Marks at cmarks@whpacific.com.


Perks:  Become a FAN of AT&T

17751243017770att.jpgDid you know that if you or a member of your family has a personal account with AT&T, you can get great discounts just for being an employee at any NANA company?

Verified NANA employees and their families can get a great discount on their personal cell phones by using their NANA Foundation Account Number (FAN). Employees have two ways of attaching a FAN to their account:

  • Log on to http://www.wireless.att.com/discountsand enroll buy using their business email.
  • Or, if you don't have a business email, take your company ID, paycheck stub or copy of your W2 to any AT&T store to enroll.

To get your NANA FAN number, please contact the following person in your company:

NANA Development Corporation and all other employees may contact Patty Lane at patty.lane@nana.com.

Next month’s E-News perk: NANA employees drive away with some great deals from Hertz!