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President's Message: Science that Matters

NANA Development Corporation President Helvi Sandvik powers the energy bike at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

One of the perks of my job is that I get to work with a lot of smart people. How many people can say that they work with actual rocket scientists, astronauts and astrophysicists?

Each year our NDC Board travels to one or two of our job sites, which, as we have grown, are now all over the world. These trips are important for our company and for our Board members, who have the responsibility of overseeing our business investments. They help us make sure each company is aligned with our goals. Our Board and management team get to meet with our employees and tell you how much we appreciate the hard work you do for our company, while delivering outstanding services to our customers. The Board, on behalf of our shareholders, thanks you for being an important part of the NANA family.

Last month I traveled with the NDC Board and several members our team to Livermore, Calif., where we met some incredible scientists and saw the work they do. Last year, our company Akima won a five-year contract at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Our job there is to attract and retain the best minds, to help the facility fulfill its mission, to keep our country safe and to find future energy solutions.

Housed inside a 10-story building – the size of three football fields – is the world’s biggest laser. These powerful lasers have the potential to meet our future energy needs. Scientists conduct top-secret experiments - some so secret they are done only at night under the strictest security. The day we were there, we saw the control room, which looks like NASA’s space command center.

The laboratory looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. In fact, on our tour we learned that part of the movie “Tron” was filmed in one of the buildings. The site is the size of a small city and has its own police and fire stations. On just over one square mile, it boasts 1,300 Ph.D.s, the highest number in the country. The laboratory’s 6,400 employees share 1,300 bikes to travel between the buildings.

For NANA to have the opportunity to deliver such important services to our country is an honor and a privilege. We're thankful to Akima for their hard work – and for the helmets they provide to protect all that brainpower.

Helvi Sandvik
NANA Development Corporation

Note: In a future issue of our magazine, NANAtkut, we’ll share a longer story about our trip to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.


The Fence Celebrates 50 Years of Continuous Operations

When the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1959, the United States responded by creating the Air Force Space Surveillance System (AFSSS, but commonly referred to as the Fence). Now the Fence remains an integral component of the surveillance network, and Feb. 1 marked its 50th anniversary.

Five Rivers Services, LLC has held the primary contract for the Fence since August 2009, and it manages, operates and maintains nine sites to provide national security space surveillance. Ki, a wholly owned subsidiary of NANA Development Corporation, is a subcontractor of Five Rivers Services.

“Once we realized satellites could overfly the United States, the government decided it should have the means of knowing when objects were flying overhead so we could respond appropriately,” Five Rivers Services Program Manager Edward Allard said.

Three transmitter sites emit a continuous radar beam over the United States. Any orbiting object that passes through this radar “fence” generates a return that is recorded by several other receiver sites. By correlating the time of these radar returns and the precise locations of the receivers, the exact orbital position of the object in space can be determined.

“We collect more than a million observations monthly. We track that much orbital analysis, and we’re tracking objects basically as small as the size of a softball to as big as a Greyhound bus passing in a lower orbit,” Allard said.

“One of the main reasons we track all these objects is to protect the people we put in that same orbital plane: the International Space Station, the space shuttles, the Russian launches,” Allard said. “We let our people know which objects they need to avoid. Every day I have the satisfaction of knowing that we helped keep our manned platforms and our unmanned satellites safe.”


NDC Manager Makes the Assist to Honduras Youth

Youth soccer players in Honduras showcase their jerseys, soccer balls and cleats, all made possible by the organization CANFF.

Ryan Bergstrom, NANA Development Corporation’s IT manager, has a passion that doesn’t involve computers.

He loves soccer and making sure everyone has the equipment to play. When he visited Honduras three years ago, Bergstrom learned about the CAN Fútbol Foundation (CANFF), which uses soccer as the medium to help improve the lives of underprivileged people by providing them with a positive environment to develop athletically, educationally and nutritionally.  

“I got in touch with (CANFF) director Jason Old, and he told me about their needs. I got with my club and said, ‘I realize we’re a bunch of rec players and we don’t have a corporate sponsorship to send thousands of dollars down, but they need used gear because many of these kids don’t even have shoes.’ Cleats are like a Mercedes down there,” Bergstrom said.

With the help of his soccer club, Full Stop FC, Bergstrom gathered soccer balls, cleats and other equipment to send to the youth in Roatan, Honduras. By Christmas, the club had gathered dozens of new and used gear and equipment. “We ended up getting enough money to clothe the high school boys’ soccer team with complete uniforms,” Bergstrom said.

Youth soccer players in Honduras showcase their jerseys, soccer balls and cleats, all made possible by the organization CANFF.

Now Bergstrom organizes an annual event, drawing on the generosity of the 50-60 players who make up the four Full Stop teams.

“This year, we had about three-dozen pairs of cleats and a bunch of new gear,” Bergstrom said. “We also got about 20 brand-new soccer balls, and we’re hoping to raise enough money to clothe the girls’ soccer team.”

Along with giving them the gear to play soccer, CANFF teaches underprivileged youth other important lessons. “The camp uses soccer as an instrument to teach them about personal hygiene to disease prevention to recycling to getting good grades. A lot of the new stuff we send is used as prizes and rewards,” Bergstrom said.

All the coordination and work is a breeze for Bergstrom – mainly because he cares so much about the project and understands its impact.

“This is giving back for everything I’ve gotten over the years. Jason’s trying to get these guys through high school and get them to understand that they need education to get out of Honduras or to improve it. He’s also trying to make sure kids with athletic ability can fulfill their dream to play with the Honduras National Soccer Team and internationally. To know that you can help a kid like that, it’s inspiring,” Bergstrom said.

And giving donations isn’t limited to his soccer teammates. “I just got some cleats from Helvi (Sandvik), our president,” Bergstrom said.

Bergstrom says there is a link between his job with NANA and the youth in Honduras. “It falls in line with what NANA does for the region. It’s all about helping out,” he said.

To donate any soccer gear – new or used – contact Ryan Bergstrom at Ryan.Bergstrom@nana.com.


Reflections on First Trip to D.C.

Eva Sheldon (far right) and NANA colleague Mamie Karmun (far left) are shown here at Arlington National Cemetery with Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, his wife Deborah and their son Jacob.

by Eva J. Sheldon

In early December, I made my first trip to our nation’s Capital. The purpose: join 19 other employees from across NANA to learn how to capture federal business. The trip turned out to be more eventful than I planned.

After the training was over, a colleague and I went on a tour of Washington, D.C. We visited the U.S. Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, the Reflecting Pool, Jefferson Memorial and the one landmark I had wanted to see - the Lincoln Memorial. I stared at the statue of Abraham Lincoln, thinking about the great things he did for our country.

We ended the day at Arlington National Cemetery. We wanted to pay our respects to the late Sen. Ted Stevens, whom many consider the father of Alaska. As we made our way to Sen. Stevens’ grave, a ceremony started. The Honor Guards presented a Christmas wreath for the Women’s Memorial.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, the man who replaced Stevens in Congress, was in the crowd, along with his wife, son and some staff members. After the ceremony, we went to wish them a merry Christmas. We told him why we were there, and that we had just toured some landmarks in D.C., but didn’t get to see the White House. He asked that we contact him in advance before our next visit to get a tour of Capitol Hill and the White House. Then we discussed NANA’s role in Alaska’s economy.

My colleague and I went on our way to see our late senator’s gravesite. We were given a map, but after more than an hour of searching, we could not find it. I knew pictures of the funeral service were displayed at the 2010 Alaska Federation of Natives conference, so I searched online for photos that could help identify the exact location. We finally found the site. There was no headstone, only a wreath and small placard. We did get to pay our respects.

My first trip to our nation’s Capital was more than just a trip to attend training. I was reminded of the things that individuals did that were selfless that changed the course of our nation and state.

Editor’s note: Eva is a business development coordinator for NDC. She was born in Kotzebue and raised in Ambler where she graduated from high school.


New DOWL HKM Employee Has Long History with NANA

NANA Shareholder, ANSEP graduate and DOWL HKM employee, Michael Johnson.

Mike Johnson may be fresh out of college, but he already has a longstanding relationship with his new employer that few graduates could hope to match. Johnson is a civil engineer with DOWL HKM, a NANA company, and he’s also a NANA shareholder. In fact, his shareholder roots reach back to the very beginning of NANA Regional Corporation.

Johnson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering in December from the University of Alaska Anchorage. He transitioned from UAA to an engineering job with DOWL HKM with the help of the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP). ANSEP supports Alaska Native students in their studies in engineering and the scientific disciplines.

“The program was set up really well for getting you out there and involved,” Johnson said. “In ANSEP, they already have something lined up for you and the best benefit is that you can talk to students further along.”

Several NANA companies – including DOWL HKM – participate in ANSEP. The program enabled Johnston to work at DOWL HKM part time during the school year, and full time during the summers, while still an undergraduate college student – a tremendous advantage that he now brings to the workplace.

He’s also among the growing ranks of shareholders who have moved into professional positions within the company.

“We want our shareholders to be in a position to lead our companies,” Shareholder Development Manager Kristina Siiqsiniq Patrick said. “This is how we’re going to get there.”

At DOWL HKM, Johnson has worked on a variety of projects, including the Tikahtnu Commons, the retail development that houses a Muldoon Target and an IMAX theater.

“You don’t really get 90-some-acre projects in town anymore,” Johnson said. “That was a big project, and I worked on it from the ground level and went all the way to completion.”

In a way, Johnson has been a NANA project from the ground up – his grandfather was Robert Aqqaluk Newlin, Sr. the first president of NANA Regional Corporation.

“It was cool to have him there because it exposed me to the region. I probably made it to a lot more events as a kid than I would have if I was a random shareholder,” Johnson said.

Day by day, living in Anchorage and working at DOWL HKM, Johnson sees what NANA has accomplished and his grandfather’s influence, which is preserved today in the Robert Aqqaluk Newlin, Sr. Memorial Trust, which provides scholarships for university and vocational training. Aqqaluk also is the name of the deposit now being developed at the Red Dog Mine.

“The older I get, the more I notice the impact he had on the company, like shaping it and setting the foundation,” Johnson said.

From UAA to ANSEP to DOWL HKM, Johnson has followed the journey that his grandfather had hoped for the Inpupiat people.

“Our ultimate goal is that we improve the quality of life of our people,” Patrick said. “That’s our mission.”


WHPacific Wins Two Construction Projects in Oregon

The WHPacific Boise team.

WHPacific’s Boise office begins work later this year on two new projects in Malheur County, Ore. - the Lytle Boulevard Complex/Glenn Street Rehabilitation Project and the Malheur River Bridge Replacement Project.

The WHPacific Boise office was awarded the bid to replace the Malheur River bridge shown here before the replacement.

Lisa Vernon, operations manager for the Boise office and project manager for the Malheur County project, attributed the win to WHPacific’s past performance record.

“When they selected us, they said we came to the interview really prepared, we hit all the points that they wanted to hear and we stressed our capabilities in rigid design and fast-track work and the fact that we’ve done a lot of similar projects. So the combination of our recent experience, our bridge capabilities and our ability to get things done fast really impressed them,” Vernon said.

The rehabilitation project includes paving and widening Enterprise and Lytle boulevards and four blocks of Glenn Street in the city of Vale. The bridge project includes design and construction for replacement of the Malheur River Bridge.

The Malheur River Bridge.

“We’re looking to have the bridge design done and a contractor on board around September. Our team has done a lot of short, turnaround bridge projects – and with great, safe results. We’ll have the design done by August, and it’ll take them a year for construction, so it’ll be re-opened by 2012,” Vernon said.

Another reason the team is excited about winning the bid is that they’re expanding their client base.

“We always love having a new client because our goal is to exceed their expectations and make sure we get more work,” Vernon said. “It’s about delivering quality work and good customer service.”

The other members of the team are Travis Foster, Tracy Olsen and Jason Wolfe. WHPacific has offices in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.


NDC Employee Wins Top Prize at Duct Tape Ball

NANA showed it's spirit at the Duct Tape ball – proceeds of the function go to three local charities.

When people think of duct tape, they don’t envision formal wear. But hundreds of Alaskans use the do-it-all adhesive to create eye-catching costumes. The annual Duct Tape Ball is one of the biggest black-tie events in Anchorage. This year’s theme was “Mad Hatter Tea Party,” with everyone dressing up as wacky characters from “Alice in Wonderland.”

NANA Development Corporation bought a table at the event, and Senior Executive Assistant Kathleen Johnson won the top prize of the evening: Best Costume. Johnson dressed up as the Queen of Hearts. Although her costume didn’t take much tape – a roll of white, some red and black – it took planning and multiple efforts.

“I initially taped my dress straight, but it didn’t form correctly. So my friend Deb Billingsley and I ripped it off and we taped the dress at an angle,” Johnson said.

She said the extra work paid off with the judges. “If you’re more creative, the judges will recognize that,” Johnson said. “Anybody can wear a lot of duct tape, but if you put a little more imagination and creativity into it, that’s when you’re going to stand out.”

Throughout the night, organizers emphasized the true meaning of the Duct Tape Ball: to benefit three local nonprofits. This year, the recipients were Friends of Alaska CASA, EVA Foundation and the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center.

NDC’s legal administrator Kathleen Johnson won the best dressed award at the annual Duct Tape ball.

“NANA does a lot of give back to the community, and I’m really proud to be part of the NANA family. Their work in supporting our community and giving back is appreciated and it’s recognized,” Johnson said.

Johnson has put away the duct tape for the year, but it’s not stopping her from thinking about defending her title. “My kids are really excited and asking what I’m doing next year,” she said. “It was a great opportunity to spend time with my friends and family, laugh about it and get stuck together.”

During the past 11 years, the ball has raised more than $1 million for charity. This year’s recipients all work to help women, children and the community. Friends of Alaska CASA works to provide a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for every child who needs one, the Eva Foundation helps survivors of abuse regain their independence to build a better life and the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center provides quality health care for the community.


NDC – Tech Tip

At least four tablets will be introduced in 2011, along will the release of the iPad. All can be assets in the workplace.

Tablets increase productivity and make it easier to check e-mail and work from nearly anywhere.

Many of the programs for the tablets are apps.

Here are great workplace apps and tips:

  • Quickoffice – Although this app costs $14.99, it serves as a Word, Excel and PowerPoint substitution. You can create and edit documents and slides with this program. With a VGA adapter, you can connect your iPad to a projector and use it for presentations. The other benefit of this app is that it syncs to Dropbox, Google Docs, SugarSync, MobileMe, Huddle and Box.net.
  • Dropbox – This free app is must-download for anybody who works from multiple computers and systems. Every user gets 2 GB of cloud storage for free, and you can sync your iPad and all your computers to access any documents or files that you may need.
  • Need to make edits to PDFs? Download GoodReader for $2.99. The PDF reader allows you to annotate, edit and highlight the document. It also syncs to MobileMe, Google Docs, Dropbox and Box.net.

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1001 East Benson Blvd.
Anchorage, AK 99508