Vol. 6, No. 1 | January 2012

Australian businesses learning from NANA’s successes

NDC President Helvi Sandvik addresses the Western Australian Chamber.

NANA Development Corp. (NDC) President Helvi Sandvik took the NANA story down under last month when she spoke to business leaders in Perth, Australia.

Invited by the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia and the U.S. Consul General, Sandvik addressed a crowd of nearly 60 Western Australian Chamber members – the largest luncheon crowd the group has seen in more than a year.

Sandvik shared some of the insight NANA leaders have gained during the last four decades. In Australia, indigenous business enterprises are just beginning to take root.

“NANA has had 40 years of experience in how to develop and build a successful indigenous company for the benefit of indigenous shareholders,” noted Dave Clauson, NDC International Vice President who joined Sandvik at the event. “Australia has maybe three years’ of experience. The NANA model is one that Australia responds to very strongly because of the great success NANA has achieved.”

Attendees were particularly interested in NANA’s success with the Red Dog Mine. The Pilbara region of Western Australia is home to a large concentration of Aboriginal people and is the epicenter of Australia’s mining and resource economy.

While Australia’s indigenous businesses will face different challenges than Alaska Native corporations, the basic message is the same: Give us a hand up, not a handout.

“The NANA story is so powerful and relates, at such a basic level, to everyone,” Clauson said.

Clauson said he spoke to one top Australian executive at the Chamber event who expressed surprise and disbelief that an indigenous company could grow into a $2 billion entity. Breaking down misconceptions like that, Clauson said, is one of the reasons NANA wanted to share its story in Australia.

“When you open your horizons and look around the world, it starts to reset the equation of what’s possible,” Clauson said. “That’s the biggest message Helvi gave: Be willing to open yourself up to the possibility of success.”


Rummel Shows Rural Students How To ‘Present’ Themselves

Kiana students participate in the BWISE training program

It’s more than 3,000 miles between Justin Rummel’s Indiana hometown and the small village of Kiana, Alaska, but the similarities are striking.

“There’s one grocery store, one gas station, one hardware store, but if you invest in the community, the community gives back, just like I’ve seen in all the villages.”

A Qivliq Commercial Group employee, Rummel visited two villages in the NANA region – Kiana and Buckland - as part of the NANA Business Working in School Environments and the Village Partnership Program. Rummel provided educational experiences for students and their families and established relationships with community leaders in Kiana, where the village partnership program will kick off next spring. Rummel has been working with the Kiana students for several years.

“I believe this was my sixth trip to Kiana doing various training for the students and working on the Apple servers and laptops. This was the first time I visited Buckland, and it did surprise me how different it was from Kiana, Kotzebue and Noorvik. It seems that each village has its own subtle, but unique, characteristics,” he said.

Rummel provided training on how to create and give a presentation using a Mac computer. Each village had 21 presenters and 16 participants, including school staff, village council and school board members, parents and elders. At the end of the day, students demonstrated what they learned. Many parents got their first introduction to PowerSchool – an online, real-time grade and attendance record system – but the real hit was Photo Booth, which left the audience in stitches.

“The best moment was really letting the students provide their final presentation and watching the attendees laughing so hard tears were streaming down their faces,” Rummel said.

Rummel also spent time with several middle and high school classes discussing career opportunities in information technology. He encouraged students to continue their education, emphasized NANA values and reviewed the need for industry-standard certifications.

Rummel enjoyed an “excellent” reindeer stew at the new Nullagvik Hotel in Kotzebue and looks forward to tasting muktuk, “something I hope to do on a future trip.”

A native of Osceola, a small community in the middle of Indiana, Rummel went to Ball State University for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and then moved to the Washington, D.C., area in 2000.

Qivliq Commercial Group offers comprehensive IT and telecom products and services that enable customers to operate at the speed of global business


Guess Who Showed Up for Christmas Dinner at K-Bay?

KBay group photo with the President and First Lady in Anderson Hall

NANA Services Project Manager Ricky Lui hosted some very special guests Christmas Day – the President and First Lady.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama spent part of the holiday greeting Marines, their families and NANA Services staff at the Kaneohe Bay (K-Bay) Marine Corps Base’s Anderson Hall. It was the fourth holiday visit to the Oahu, Hawaii, installation for the president and first lady.

“As usual, his visit brought much excitement and smiles to family and friends of NANA Services and the Marines,” Lui said. “The president greeted us with a bright and sincere smile on his face and with his hand stretched out in joy. He mentioned how awesome it was to see me and all the NANA Management employees again.”

“We’re all proud of Ricky and the outstanding work NANA Services has been doing for the military at K-Bay,” said Jonathan Widdis, President and CEO of Akmaaq, LLC.

Lui, who is virtually on a first-name basis with President Obama, introduced his youngest daughter, Kandace, to the president. “He shared with my daughter how much he appreciates NANA Service’s support of our troops. And he expressed his well wishes to our family for a wonderful Christmas.”

The president also picked up the one-month-old son of NANA Services’ William Whitney. The baby slept through the photo op, prompting the President to quip: “Everyone is happy to meet the President of the United States, but you just keep on sleeping and won’t open your eyes to take a look at me.”

NANA Services, a division of Akmaaq, has a contract at the base to provide food preparation, delivery, mess attendant services, cashiering and housekeeping.


Akima Construction Services Sets New Performance Standards

On hand for the formal groundbreaking on October 12, 2011, were (from right) NNSA Savannah River Site Office Manager Doug Dearolph; NNSA Savannah River Site Office Assistant Manager for Facilities and Projects Roxanne Jump; NNSA Assistant Deputy Administrator for Nuclear Safety, Nuclear Operations and Governance Reform Jim McConnell; NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application Brigadier General Sandra Finan; Akima Construction Services President Paul Karmazinski; Savannah River Nuclear Solutions Executive Vice President Fred Dohse; and Project Liaison Sandy Harris. Photo credit: Savannah River Nuclear Solutions Public Affairs office.

Akima Construction Services is currently performing multiple task orders under a $125 million IDIQ contract with the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) at locations throughout the U.S., including Savannah River Site (SRS) in Aiken, Ga. Akima’s scope of work at SRS comprises design-build construction of two new facilities. The new 10,000-square-foot Process Support Building will house 47 tenants and replace offices, briefing rooms and control room simulators from other buildings. The second facility, the 16,000 square-foot Tritium Engineering Building, will accommodate nearly 100 personnel. Due to the sensitive working environment at each of the project sites, safety requirements are very detailed and rigorous, well in excess of OSHA requirements.

This is the first time SRS has used this type of design-build process – two buildings being built by the same contractor concurrently, one in a non-restricted clean area and the other in a high-risk, restricted area requiring security escorts. Adding further challenges, the projects are to be completed under a compressed schedule. The compressed schedule and strict funding requirements at SRS led Akima to several innovative project management solutions. They were able to compress the 16-week design phase to allow some construction planning tasks to start early, which will result in the client moving into the new buildings 4 to 6 months ahead of schedule.

“We’re here to break ground on facilities that show the national commitment, and the NNSA’s commitment, to modernizing our nuclear enterprise,” said NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application, Brig. Gen. Sandra Finan, during the groundbreaking ceremony.

Tritium is a heavy isotope of hydrogen and a key component of nuclear weapons, but it decays and must be replenished periodically by recycling tritium from existing warheads. The SRS Tritium Facilities began operations in 1955 and occupies about 29 acres.


President Obama Honors Amazing Kiana Teen

(There’s video of the event and the president’s remarks in which he mentions Tessa)

Tessa Baldwin was recently named a “Champion of Change” by President Obama at the White House.

Most teenagers don’t get the chance to talk about their interests with the President of the United States. But that’s just where Kiana-born Teressa Baldwin, who goes by Tessa, found herself in December – shaking the hand of President Barack Obama and chatting with him about her efforts to prevent and raise awareness of suicide in Alaska.

Tessa was one of 11 Native American teens recognized as “Champions of Change” for their efforts to improve their communities. The champions were introduced at an event held in conjunction with the White House Tribal Nations Conference.

“I was a little nervous when I met the president – but mostly excited,” said Tessa, who turns 18 in January.

Growing up in Kotzebue, Tessa experienced the impacts of suicide first-hand. By the time she was 10, she had known six people who died at their own hands, including an uncle who lived in her home.

“I have always known it was there,” she said. But it wasn’t until more recently, when a good friend committed suicide, that Tessa decided to take action.

Tessa founded Hope4Alaska, a student-run organization, to raise awareness about suicide in Alaska. The group grew quickly and now has a statewide leadership team with members in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Ketchikan, Bethel, Dutch Harbor and Sitka. Tessa maintains a blog, http://hope4alaska.tumblr.com/, where she writes about Hope4Alaska activities – including retreats, speaking engagements and service projects – and her personal goals. Currently she’s working on launching Kognito, an online suicide prevention training program for teachers.

And in December, she found time to travel to Washington, D.C., to meet our nation’s leader.

“When I heard the helicopter outside, and I knew (President Obama) was walking into the building, my friend and I looked at each other and started jumping up and down,” Tessa said. She had the opportunity to speak briefly with the president about suicide prevention – and he then mentioned Tessa and her project during his speech to the entire Tribal Nations Conference assembly.

Tessa has “a ton of goals,” including getting accepted to a great college (she has applied to Dartmouth, Georgetown, Harvard and Yale), but whatever she does, she says, “I want to be working for my people.” And she has set her sights high: Someday, she says, maybe she’ll be president of NANA.

“Marie Greene is my hero, and following in her footsteps would mean the world to me,” Tessa said. “Or, in another path, I would want to end up in the Senate, following Lisa Murkowski, fighting for Native people.”

Most of all, Tessa said, she wants to help people understand that preventing suicide begins with small gestures – simple ways of reaching out to other people so they feel included and know they matter.

“It is not hard to make someone’s day, to say ‘I love you’ or to say you care,” Tessa said. “To make someone’s day, or to say ‘hi’ to someone you may not (usually) say hi to, is the first step to suicide prevention.”


NDC VP Inspires the Next Generation of Native Business Leaders

NDC Vice President of Strategic Relations Clyde Gooden.

Clyde Gooden calls himself a Wal-Mart greeter because he’s always smiling, looking for new growth opportunities and making friends.

Several weeks ago, the personable Gooden talked about his four decades of business experience with a dozen future leaders at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Native Alaskan Business Leaders (NABL) club.

Gooden, who is NDC’s vice president of strategic relationships, shared his personal story, telling students how his own experiences have shaped the ethics he helps promote at NDC today.

Business professor Betty Ross, who serves as adviser to the NABL, said Gooden’s visit was a huge success – and not just because he sat down with students over hot bowls of moose stew.

“It was a lot of fun,” Ross said. “The students absolutely loved him.”

It all came down to that Wal-Mart greeter personality.

“They enjoyed that he was so approachable,” Ross said. “The students really related to him.”

Gooden also spoke with Ross’s business ethics class during his visit to campus, and in both presentations he discussed the importance of ethical business practices and the challenges and responsibilities that come with being a leader in a company that operates worldwide while staying connected to its foundation in Alaska.

Gooden leads NDC’s efforts to establish strategic, global partnerships and mentors a new generation of leaders for NDC and other Aboriginal organizations. Prior to his current position, Gooden served as president of NANA Services in Seattle, growing that startup 8(a) company to $20 million in revenue. He spent more than eight years operating a privately held company with national customers like Safeway, Pay & Save, Lamonts and government entities, including the State of Alaska, City of Fairbanks and the North Star Borough School District.

The NABL club is a UAF student organization affiliated with the national American Indian Business Leaders organization. Members are ambitious students with an interest in business and leadership, and they have distinguished themselves at a national level, bringing home first place in national business plan writing competitions in 2006 and 2010.

“The work UAF is doing with these students is really special,” Gooden said. “It will be great to watch them grow into our future leaders.”

Ross said NABL members relished the opportunity to learn from Gooden, who has achieved many of the goals students are in the process of setting for themselves.

“It was really helpful,” Ross said. “I can’t wait until next year. We’re definitely going to invite him back.”


Akima Awards Recognize Safety

Akima’s Ken Weber makes safety his upmost priority.

Weber has implemented many new programs to increase safety awareness and reward employees for taking action that improves safety in their work areas. Akima’s HSE recognition program honors individuals and project teams for their achievement of HSE excellence. The program’s goal is to achieve safe work behavior by engaging employee participation and reduce the number of incidents resulting in injury, property damage or environmental release.

On January 11, the top corporate safety awards were presented at Akima’s Annual Project Manager Conference in Charlotte, N.C.

The President’s Award goes to individuals and project teams who have made a significant and positive impact in the workplace with regard to safety. The award is presented annually to one project and one individual.

The President Award for Project was awarded to the team from Wolverine Services’ Department of State secure warehousing contract. The nomination form was submitted by Carol Ann Bartz, president of Wolverine Services.


“Of all the projects in my portfolio, this project team exemplifies ‘High-Performance Organization like no other,’” Bartz said. “The team has overcome one challenge after another, such as rapid phase-in, loss of a PM and significant turnover – all in a matter of months. In the midst of all of this turbulence, this team managed to design, develop and deliver standard operating procedures previously unachievable by two incumbent contractors. Each of these critical milestones created a solid foundation for the design and deployment of their state-of-the-art safety program, a comprehensive cloud-based solution that has met and exceeded every Akima HSE program standard.


The Individual award went to Leslie Giovinazzo, support services manager at Akima Facilities Management’s facility operations and maintenance (O&M) contract at the USDA Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC). Project Manager Karen Casey nominated her.


“Ms. Leslie Giovinazzo emphasizes the importance of safety culture in preventing and eliminating accidents,” Casey said. “She works with her team on a daily basis to modify long-held behavior, adopt new safety procedures, assess routine tasks for new hazards and promotes team responsibility and communication to not only promote safety in individual areas, but to look out for others in other functions.”

“It’s important that all our employees are an aware and alert work force, identify safety issues and initiate action to resolve issues to prevent personal injury and property damage both at work and at home,” said Ed Morris, Akima’s president and CEO.

Akima’s Executive Safety Council determines the President Award winners based on evaluation criteria that includes improved safety record, implementation of new safe work practices, impact on co-workers (leadership), commitment to achieving a zero-accident work culture and teamwork. A total of 68 of the 90 eligible projects were accident-free for 2011.


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