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President's Message:
Lights, Camera, Action: NANA Invests in Evergreen Films

Helvi Sandvik
Helvi Sandvik

The recent announcement of our investment in Evergreen Films generated some buzz. NANA is poised to be at the forefront of the emerging film production industry in Alaska, and you might want to know the behind-the-scenes action that got us here.

Who is Evergreen?

Evergreen Films is an Alaska-based production company with state-of-the-art studios in Anchorage and an identical, 3D-equipped production facility in Los Angeles. Evergreen has some exciting projects under way. They are partnering with BBC Earth to produce "Dinosaurs 3D." They’ve released a few 3D concert videos for bands like Phish and Dave Matthews. Alaska author Dana Stabenow signed a deal with them to bring her popular Kate Shugak, Alaska P.I. mystery series to television, and it will be filmed and produced in Alaska.

What made us decide on this investment?

With any acquisition, we go through a careful investment analysis process. For NANA’s future success and to support growth, we go down a checklist and ask:

  • Does this investment fit with our long-term strategic plan?
  • Does it match our plan for growth and portfolio diversification?
  • What shareholder opportunities might come out of it?
  • Does it help take us where we want to be?

Why does this make sense?

While diversification is part of our plan, we also look for ways to connect our family of companies and the specialized services they offer. This investment made sense to us for a few reasons:

  • Filmmaking is a renewable industry.
  • Projects for the film and television industry will put Alaskans to work.
  • Our companies already provide some of the support services that the movie industry needs: from hotel rooms to security and catering, from engineering to construction.

We see economic benefits extending beyond NANA. For films that are made in Alaska, there are other roles to fill and needs to be met: extras, props, costumes, equipment rentals and so on.

NANA Development Corporation board member Don Sheldon and NANA Development Corporation employee Deb Billingsley NDC board member Don Sheldon and NDC employee Deb Billingsley look at a 3-D film at the Evergreen studio's in Anchorage. Evergreen shoots all its films in 3-D rather than in 2-D and converting them later.

What can NANA offer, beyond the services our companies provide? We can bring our unique perspective and deep-depth knowledge of Alaska.

Making movies and TV shows here could boost tourism to our spectacular state. Viewers will get to know Alaska, and they’ll want to see it for themselves. They’ll stay in our hotels. Remember "Northern Exposure" - the TV series about a quirky town in Alaska? Fans still flock to Roslyn, Washington, where it was actually filmed.

 

Why now?

Like other states, such as Louisiana and New Mexico, Alaska offers tax credits and other incentives to encourage filming here. This is how it works: production companies can apply for a rebate on money spent on making the film, from lumber to lunches. Qualified expenditures directly relate to the production and bonuses are paid for Alaska hire, winter months and rural spending.

What are the other positive outcomes?

Along the way, we might get to rub elbows with some movie stars, but that’s nothing new to our board members. When we were in New Orleans last winter, our board members ran into Nicolas Cage in the hotel lobby. He’d been making a film in New Orleans. Lester Hadley approached him and asked, "Have you ever met an Eskimo?"

 
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Buckland Gets Running Water, Flush Toilets

Next spring, the residents of Buckland will begin to enjoy what most of us take for granted – flush toilets and running water.

The village of 430-plus residents is one of the few in Northwest Alaska still without a piped water and sewer system. Most residents haul their own water from the public tank. A few homes have indoor plumbing, as does the Buckland School, a combined elementary, middle and high school facility attended by about 160 students.

Buckland Project 1 Crews install new sewage pipe in Buckland, Alaska.

Located 75 miles southeast of Kotzebue, Buckland is one of 11 villages in the NANA region. There are no roads connecting Buckland to the rest of the state. Residents depend on subsistence hunting and fishing. Employment is primarily with the school, IRA, city, health clinic and small stores.

The new $38 million system is six years in the making and is being headed up by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s (ADEC) Village Safe Water unit. "Village Safe Water is pleased to be a part of this important project," said Bill Griffith, ADEC’s facility programs manager. "For many years we have worked with local and federal leaders to address the need for fresh water and sewer services in rural parts of our state. Buckland is an important accomplishment in our efforts to address this public health issue. In 1999, 66 percent of village homes had running water and sewer. Today, nearly 92 percent do."

Buckland Project 2 Buckland residents attended a pipe fusion training class held in the community this past summer.

Construction on the project began in 2007 and will continue through 2013. NANA has played a key role by helping make gravel available. Gravel is needed for sewage lagoon construction, construction of building foundations and burying water and sewer pipes. The system consists of underground circulating, piped water and gravity piped sewer collection.

For more information on this and other Village Safe Water projects, click here.

For more information on Buckland, click here.

 
 

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NDC invests in the Film Industry

NDC president Helvi Sandvik and Evergreen president Mike Devlin NDC president Helvi Sandvik and Evergreen president Mike Devlin at the Sept. 13 Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. Forum, which explained the film tax incentive program and how it will contribute to Alaska's growing
film industry.

Citing new market opportunities in the emerging Alaska film industry, NDC signed a strategic partnership with Evergreen Films, a premier film production company based in Alaska with offices in Los Angeles. With the investment, NDC becomes Evergreen’s most significant minority owner and positions the company at the forefront of this promising economic opportunity.

The Alaska Film Incentive Program, passed by the Legislature in 2008, is among the most aggressive in the country. As a result, major motion pictures are currently being produced in Alaska. The film "Everybody Loves Whales" now in production and starring Drew Barrymore, is expected to spend $30 million in Alaska, including an estimated 10,000 hotel room nights.

quoteLeft Our goal is to deliver significant benefits to our shareholders from this investment. We are excited about being involved on the front end of the development of a new industry in Alaska. Alaska’s new film production incentive program is already generating interest and activity in building the industry. This is good for NANA and Evergreen but will also create jobs and economic growth in Alaska. It is so important for our state’s future to strengthen our economy through the creation of new opportunities. quoteLeft

– Helvi Sandvik
   President, NANA Development Corporation

Last fall, Evergreen announced a deal with Alaska mystery writer and New York Times’ best-selling author Dana Stabenow to produce a television series based on her character, Kate Shugak, an ex-investigator for the Anchorage D.A, The series, built around cases Kate solves, is currently in development to be produced in Alaska for a global television audience.

For more information on Evergreen Films, visit Evergreen Films.

 
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Red Dog Moves into its Future – the Aqqaluk Deposit

Aqqaluk Deposit 1st Blast One of the initial rock blasts at the new Aqqaluk Deposit.

It’s been an explosive summer at the Red Dog Mine.

Once the decision was made May 20 to develop the adjacent Aqqaluk deposit, mine operator Teck Alaska quickly ramped up and work has been non-stop ever since.

"Things are going well," said Jim Kulas, the mine’s environmental and public affairs manager. "Although we started behind schedule, we’re actually further along than we thought we’d be. Miners have enthusiastically taken on the challenge. It’s a little like the kids are finally in the candy store. When the final go-ahead came, it was like ‘Get out of our way!’"

The Aqqaluk Deposit is just across the creek from current mining operations and contains 58 million short tons of reserves with a zinc concentration of 16.6 percent and a lead concentration of 4.4 percent. That’s enough ore to continue Red Dog operations for another 20 years now that the main pit is nearing depletion.

Kulas said workers spent the summer developing storm water controls, building an access road to the top of the deposit and blasting away the overburden of waste rock. "We’ve already done a number of rock blasts. The mine has been drilling and blasting since June." he said. "The site work is really pretty minimal since we’re so close to the current mine.

Teck hired a dozen new employees – many from in-region – to prepare the Aqqaluk Deposit and expanded its equipment fleet. "Normally we replace used equipment," Kulas said. "This year we bought replacement equipment and kept our used equipment. New equipment consists of three haul trucks, one drill and one loader."

The Red Dog Mine is the largest economic engine in the Northwest Alaska Borough. It provides hundreds of good-paying jobs and significant job development opportunities for NANA shareholdrers, revenues for the Northwest Arctic Borough, dividends for NANA shareholders and shared revenues for all Alaska Natives.

 
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DOWL HKM Teams with WHPacific on Dam Project

Butte Dam The Big Hole River Diversion Dam, located approximately 30 miles south of Butte, Montana, was originally constructed in the early 1900s.

DOWL HKM provided professional engineering services to the City and County of Butte-Silver Bow to complete an environmental assessment, final design, bidding and construction administration services for the removal and replacement of a century-old concrete diversion dam located on the Big Hole River in southwest Montana.

The Big Hole River Diversion Dam provides nearly 65 percent of the water for the Butte-Silver Bow drinking water system.

DOWL HKM subcontracted with WHPacific to provide assistance in developing alternatives for the proposed replacement structures as well as provide assistance in river hydraulics modeling. The project was initiated in July of 2009 with the Environmental Assessment preparation and is currently under construction.

For more information on DOWL HKM, visit DOWL HKM.

 
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NDC Welcomes New Employee Relations Director

Larry Sullivan has recently joined NDC as Senior Director of Employee Relations. Larry has more than 25 years experience in the field, including such areas as recruiting, benefits and compensation; labor and employee relations; training, safety, risk management, continuous process improvement and change management.

Larry’s HR experience comes from companies in oil and gas, engineering and construction, government contracting, base operations services, power generation, manufacturing, food process, IT, insurance and retail.

Larry Sullivan Larry Sullivan, NDC Director of Employee Relations

His experience includes both domestic and foreign operations, and he has worked at remote Alaska locations. He has held executive and management positions for Sitnasuak Native Corporation, Akmaaq (NANA), Ahtna Inc., CH2MHILL (VECO), Shambaugh & Son and Luz Construction.

Larry is originally from Northern California but now calls Alaska home where he lives with his wife, a nurse.

 
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WHPacific’s Mini-Golf Tournament Hits a Hole-in-One

Mini Golf A mini-golf participant demonstrates text-book putting form before a difficult hole.

Many companies plan team-building activities, but few are as innovative as WHPacific’s Salem office. As part of its monthly morale event, the office designed a nine-hole miniature golf course with each hole modeled after a recent engineering project.

Employees constructed the holes using only supplies at hand and created a course around the office. Each participant brought a putter and a colored golf ball. "We labeled each hole and our CAD drafter produced a course map," said Esther Kooistra, project administrator for the Salem office.

The course featured unique challenges of each project. At the Salmonberry River Bridge hole, for example, participants had to tee off over water.

The Wilson River project for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) inspired one hole. "It’s been a long project that’s taken six or seven years. Players putted through a traffic cone decorated with ODOT hats and stickers. It was our way of joking that there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel,’" said Kooistra.

When players reached the Salmon River Crossing, they encountered a prop with many compartments, representing the 20 alternatives of the bridge project.

The mini-golf tournament consisted of two teams of three, with a "best ball" title given to the team with the fewest strokes. Previously, the Salem office has planned Nintendo Wii bowling tournaments and cookie contests. "We have a lot of men in the office who are secret bakers," said Kooistra. The office also organizes barbecues every other week in the summer to thank employees for their hard work.

"I think the morale events are important, especially considering the economy these days. We value recruitment, but also put an emphasis on retaining current employees," said Kooistra.

For more information on WHPacific’s projects, click here

 
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NANA Pacific Employees Honor Fallen Colleague

Stan Flemming Friends and colleagues of NANA-Pacific employee Joe Clines participated in the memorial blood drive.

This summer, NANA Pacific participated in a Kentucky Blood Center blood drive and breakfast in memory of Joe Clines, a NANA Pacific employee who was killed in a tragic car accident on July 1, 2009.

Joe was a 1999 graduate of Bourbon County High School and a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. He started working in Material Management Operations in 2006 and later moved to Material Handling Operations, where he was a receiving/shipping clerk. He was 28 at the time of the accident.

Joe’s parents, Donnie and Elfriede Clines of Paris, Kentucky, were present and thought the drive was a wonderful tribute to their son’s memory.

The blood mobile arrived at 7:30 a.m. with scheduled appointments lasting through 12:45 p.m. A total of 23 units of blood were collected. The blood will be used to save lives at the nearly 70 hospitals the Kentucky Blood Center serves.

More than three dozen employees of NANA Pacific and KD Analytical participated.

 
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Tech Talk

Password Savvy, Part II

Picture of Keyboard

We all have to deal with passwords. In last month’s newsletter, we told you about an easy way to keep all of your NANA passwords synchronized. This month, we want to talk about creating secure passwords that are easily memorized by you, yet protect you (and our NANA systems) from the menace of the cyber-criminal. When creating a new password, please immediately rule out your street address, family names, birthdays and other things that are easy for a criminal to guess.

One method for creating secure passwords is to use items in your environment that are familiar to you, and which you will easily remember. Familiar items may be the make and model of your washing machine, your first car or your television set. For example, Frigidaire made my refrigerator.

From there, start replacing some of the letters in the word with numbers or special characters. Common words, names and places are vulnerable to "dictionary attacks," which are password attacks initiated by a computer system. These dictionary attacks take the words in the dictionary, and type them into a tool that eventually cracks your password. A common phrase password can be cracked in two hours or less!

To create a strong password from the refrigerator example (Frigidaire), I might replace the letter "I" with a number 1, the letter "a" with an @ sign, and the letter "e" with the number 3. Thus, my new password would be Fr1g1d@1r3 - and invulnerable from a dictionary attack.

Remember, don’t write your password down, and don’t share your password with anyone. Your password is the key to your identity and should be protected with the same diligence that you protect your social security number.

 
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