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Change the Norm for NDC

Helvi Sandvik
Helvi Sandvik

Summer should be filled with thoughts of relaxation. In reality, at least for me, with family home from school, longer days and warmer nights, it seems that every waking moment is filled with some type of activity.

It is no different for our businesses. Change is happening. Construction of the new Nulla─ívik Hotel is in its final stages in Kotzebue. Several NANA companies have been instrumental in planning, designing and building the 78-room, full-service hotel. When it opens in late August/early September, we will bid farewell to the old facility that has served our Region since the late 1970s. Our beautiful new facility will continue to offer valuable support and care for travelers in our Region.

NMS continues to expand into the Lower 48, with more than 200 people at NMS Security providing staffing solutions to the oil industry, among other business sectors.

Other NANA companies are exploring ways to expand our geographic reach. In Australia, we see opportunities for NANA to become involved in their economic boom. Many of those customers and industries active in Australia are the ones we have served for decades in the United States. We are becoming acquainted with the Australian indigenous community to determine if there are ways we can work together, to help them advance, while we also advance.

It is exciting to see the progress of our business, and to anticipate the progress we will make in the future.

It is also exciting to see growth in our talented workforce. Three NANA Shareholders have recently assumed and/or added new responsibilities. Rachel McClanahan accepted a new leadership role as President of NIQI, an Akmaaq company, selling high-quality packaged foods to both federal and commercial clients. Rachel started with us in an administrative support role and continued to grow by taking on new roles to support the company’s growth. At the end of June, Brad Osborne, another NANA Shareholder and long-time NDC employee, becomes president of NANA Oilfield Services (NOSI) this month. NOSI has delivered valuable services and products on Alaska’s North Slope for more than 30 years. I know Brad’s significant finance background and broad experience across NANA companies will serve him well as he assumes this new position. Piksik, our new NANA company that provides services to Alaska’s emerging film industry, is up and running. Robin Kornfield, who leads our Marketing and Communications group, has also taken on the leadership role in setting up this new company.

As we continue on our path to grow NANA to $10 billion in revenues, we continue to evolve into who we are as a company and what we do. I don’t think our early leaders ever imagined that one day we would have dozens of Shareholders participate in an introduction to careers in the film industry session hosted by NANA. Yet, that is exactly what happened recently here in Anchorage! And, it was exciting for me to hear of the recent hiring by Evergreen Films of two of our Shareholders in roles that will put their education to good use.

Thank you for all you do to help move NANA forward. Enjoy your summer!

Helvi Sandvik, President, NANA Development Corp.

Team Takes NANA Story Down Under to Australia
NDC managers scope out an area in Western Australia for potential zinc mining development.
Kenzie Smith, co-owner Portacom, an Aboriginal engineering company, and Clyde Gooden, NDC Vice President, Business Development.

Four NDC managers went down under to share the NANA story and scope out business opportunities. Joe Mathis, vice president, business development; Stan Fleming, senior vice president, chief strategy officer; Clyde Gooden, vice president, business development; and Dave Clausen, senior vice president, strategy, and president, Qivliq Commercial Group, traveled at the invite of the Australian government, which will soon implement an Aboriginal preferential contracting law.

“Our goal is to see if there is a business fit that makes sense for NANA to participate in Western Australia,” said Mathis. Western Australia is exploding with oil, gas and mining activity. Mathis estimates oil and gas investment at $250 billion a year. Much of the activity is offshore in the Timor Sea where Shell, Chevron and ExxonMobil are spending $43 billion to build the world’s second largest oil and gas installation and Shell just committed to the biggest floating structure ever put to sea to process liquefied natural gas 124 miles out to sea.

“We see possible fits in engineering, oil field services and hotel management,” Mathis said, noting that NDC has about six months to develop a winning strategy that will be “profitable for NANA and make our partners successful.”

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NDC managers scope out an area in Western Australia for potential zinc mining development.

The four met with federal and local government officials, university folks, Aboriginal elders and industry representatives, including Chevron, WorleyParsons, Cisco, KPMG, BHP and Apache. They also had discussions with half a dozen Aboriginal-owned companies, including Ngarda Civil and Mining, the largest indigenous-owned and operated contracting company in Australia. Some of the indigenous companies will visit Alaska this summer.

The trip was the second for NDC. Last August, at the urging of the U.S. government, Australia invited NDC President Helvi Sandvik, senior managers and board members to travel 8,000 miles to meet with the government and some of the Fortune 500 companies doing business in Australia to talk about how indigenous enterprises can be successful and how they can create jobs for Aboriginals.

Piksik Hires Alaska Film Industry Veterans
Bob Crockett of Alaska Crew Training talks to a class of 15 hoping to learn more, and find work, in the film industry
Bob Crockett joins Piksik as its new general manager. Here he addresses a class on how to find work in the film industry.

Two of Alaska’s most seasoned movie veterans now work for NDC’s new film production support company, Piksik.

Bob Crockett and Deborah Schildt have been at the forefront of the state’s film industry for decades and both have worked on dozens of feature films, documentaries and national commercials. They join Piksik, which helps production crews with lodging, catering and other support and logistical services. Crockett has run his own film location scouting company in Alaska for 30 years and joins Piksik as general manager. His resume includes many well-known feature films, including Transformers, and most recently, Everybody Loves Whales. Crockett also runs Alaska Crew Training and, together with Schildt, trained more than two dozen Shareholders last winter on how to break into the film industry, from auditioning to landing crew jobs. Crockett’s position will have him soliciting Outside production companies.

“I’m really excited. This is not only an opportunity to build a business, but an opportunity to build an industry and so much of that is because of the commitment NDC has made,” said Crockett.

Deb Schildt on Barrow shoot
Deb Schildt, shown here on a Barrow shoot, is Piksik's new production manager.

Schildt was hired as Piksik’s production manager and will work with Crockett to bring films to Alaska. Schildt moved here from Los Angeles nearly 20 years ago, where she worked on numerous feature films. She founded the Alaska Film Group in 1992 to support local filmmakers and help grow the industry here. Schildt’s experience and connections kept her film career going in Alaska by providing casting and other support services to commercials and films being shot here, most recently for Everybody Loves Whales.

“It’s a whole different ball game now. For so long it was a handful of us trying to get a few Alaskans jobs,” said Schildt. “As one of two casting directors on Whales, I put 3,000 Alaskans to work.”

Schildt and Crockett both say being part of Piksik will allow them to help expand the state’s film industry and hire NANA Shareholders.

Piksik is an Iñupiaq word that means to jump up, rebound and respond quickly, an important attribute in the fast-moving film industry.


NANA Shareholder Finds Work in Emerging Alaska Film Industry
A frame from Walking with Dinosaurs #D which will be co-produced by BBC Earth and Evergreen Films
Walking with Dinosaurs in 3-D, co-produced by BBC Earth and Evergreen Films.

A NANA Shareholder will be among the crew working for Evergreen Films this summer when it begins shooting its 3-D spectacular, Walking with Dinosaurs. James Dommek Jr., 29, landed a job with Evergreen earlier this year when the company was in Alaska scouting locations for the filming.

Dommek, who lives in Anchorage, is the first NANA Shareholder hired by Evergreen since NDC acquired an ownership stake in the company last September. Evergreen has studios in Anchorage and Los Angeles and seeks to combine the creativity of the storyteller with the ingenuity of the engineer.

Shareholder James Dommek Jr. was recently hired by Evergreen Films.

“This is a cool opportunity,” said Dommek. “For me, as a Shareholder and a modern Iñupiat, I am more interested in a career in the arts and entertainment rather than construction or mining. With the film industry expanding, this is an exciting time for Anchorage and Alaska.”

Last fall, Dommek landed a role as an extra in the feature film Everybody Loves Whales. That experience put him in touch with Robin Kornfield, vice president of Marketing and Communications for NDC and the connection with Evergreen Films.

“It has always been the vision of Evergreen to train Alaskans for the great opportunities that exist in the emerging film industry,” said Mike Devlin, Evergreen’s CEO. “Our close working relationship with NANA provides for an excellent resource of motivated, talented Shareholders to help fill those positions.”

Evergreen’s latest feature film project harnesses cutting-edge 3-D technology to bring dinosaurs back to life with Alaska as the spectacular backdrop. Evergreen is partnering with BBC Worldwide to produce the film. “What I like about Evergreen is the same thing that I like about NANA,” Dommek said. “They are relatively small businesses that do big things."

Blankets of Success
Tasha Ryder, 35, recently graduated with her associate's degree in education from Alaska Pacific University. All NANA Shareholder graduates received a blanket as a gift for NDC.
Tasha Ryder, 35, recently graduated with her associate's degree in education from Alaska Pacific University. All NANA scholarship graduates received a blanket as a gift from NDC congratulating them on their achievement.

More than 60 NANA scholarship recipients will walk across a stage and receive their technical certificate or college degree. It is a proud moment for the NANA family and an important milestone for our future.

This year, NANA Development Corporation started a new tradition to congratulate our scholarship recipients on their achievement. NDC sent a throw blanket, delivered in an origami box engraved with “Yoi! Narutchitun!” – which means “congratulations on graduating” in Iñupiaq – to all 61 graduates.

Several of the graduates earned a post-secondary college degree and many others completed requirements in various technical certification programs.

Tasha Ryder, 35, who received her associate’s degree in education from Alaska Pacific University (APU), said, “I was truly touched and tickled pink to receive the blanket. It really means a lot to me to know my Native Corporation supports me in my educational endeavors.”

Sarah Randall, a current NANA Management Service employee, earned her bachelor's degree in business administration from APU while raising her five children and stepson.

“I feel it’s important for my kids to see me graduate from college to show the importance of education,” Randall said. “I’m very grateful for the support NANA has given me throughout my college years.”

Click here to see the names of all the graduates.

Red Dog Honored for Its Past as It Moves into Its Future
Dept. of Commerce, Community and Economic Development Commissioner Susan Bell presented the Governor's North Star Awards for International Excellence to Dino Martin of Teck Resources Limited at the annual Export Alaska luncheon in Anchorage. Martin is Teck Alaska's Controller.
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development Commissioner Susan Bell presented the Governor's North Star Award for International Excellence to Dino Martin of Teck Resources Limited at the annual Export Alaska luncheon in Anchorage. Martin is Teck Alaska's Controller.

As the Red Dog Mine moved operations into the Aqqaluk Deposit, which will sustain mining at the site for another 20 years, Alaska’s governor honored mine operator Teck Resources for Red Dog’s contributions to the state’s economy during the past 20 years.

Teck received the Governor’s North Star Award for export and foreign investment.

“Alaskans know the importance of international connections and how to make those connections work for the benefit of our communities,” Gov. Sean Parnell said.

Susan Bell, the governor’s Commissioner of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, announced the winner at the Export Alaska luncheon in Anchorage.

“An Alaska Native Corporation and a Canadian company have built what has become the largest zinc mine in the world, which currently represents over 55 percent of the mining value in Alaska,” Bell told the luncheon crowd.

“This joint venture … has created significant benefits to the Northwest Arctic Borough in revenue to the local governments, royalty payments to NANA and more than 500 year-round jobs – with special initiatives to maximize local hire, training and education with NANA Shareholders.”

It also served as the foundation – and an ongoing business line – for NDC. “We designed our business strategy to serve Red Dog and in doing so, we expanded the services we are able to offer elsewhere,” wrote NANA Regional Corp. President Marie Greene in an opinion piece.

Akima Facilities Management Turns Base into Green Zone

Prescribed burning activities were completed at MacDill Air Force Base last year as part of the base's habitat restoration program.

Thanks to Akima Facilities Management habitat restoration, MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa, Fla., just got greener – in its wallet and its environment.

“I am convinced we saved the Air Force money by how we contracted this project. We are also proud of the balance we strike between mission accomplished and the environment here,” noted Steve Hoarn, Akima project manager.

As part of its Base Operation Support and Base Civil Engineering Services contract, MacDill tasked Akima with implementing the base’s long-term effort to restore and improve natural habitat on the base. Habitat restoration is a principal goal of the base’s Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan, which is all about protecting threatened species – like the burrowing owl – and supports its military mission by improving training lands and reducing the threat of wildfire.

Native vegetation will be planted to augment the mangrove restoration effort at MacDill and the wetlands will be monitored.

The project involved invasive plant control, native vegetation planting and prescribed burning. Akima was later asked to remove cattails from ponds near the runways as the plants, while native to the area, provide habitat for birds that could pose a strike danger for planes landing or taking off from the base.

Akima divided the project into two groups of similar tasks to reduce costs by enabling contractors to bid on the work they could best accomplish. “The two successful bidders were contractors with a proven track record at MacDill,” Hoarn said.

The Akima team is eager for future work to achieve program goals and ensure MacDill remains in full compliance with federal, state and local regulations, and to ensure that the burrowing owls that live at MacDill continue to thrive.

Rain Doesn't Dampen Spirit at Qivliq Golf Tournament

Mother Nature continues to rain on the parade of golfers at a Qivliq tournament to raise funds for the Aqqaluk Trust. Storms led to a hasty finish on the links last October and this spring’s repeat was rained out, too.

But dark skies didn’t dampen players’ support as the tourney raised more than $20,000.

Corporate Administration and Communications Director Maureen Huggins said participants were so eager to tee off in the rescheduled tournament that they were willing to play in the rain until they saw the first hole. It was under water, forcing officials to postpone the tournament again.

Tournament participants will lace up their cleats again in October in hopes of better weather and a chance to raise money for a great cause.

The Aqqaluk Trust was created in memory of Robert "Aqqaluk" Newlin Sr., who dedicated his life to preserving the culture and dignity of the Iñupiat people. The Aqqaluk Trust is a nonprofit organization, which depends on contributions from individuals and organizations. Its mission is to empower the Iñupiat people of Northwest Alaska through language, culture and education.


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NANA Development Corporation
1001 East Benson Blvd.
Anchorage, AK 99508