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President's E-Bulletin Message

Helvi Sandvik
Helvi Sandvik

Our NANA Annual Meeting is unlike any other. It starts out more like a family reunion, with hugs and hellos, with greetings from Elders and children alike. This year’s meeting was held in the village of Ambler. Some of our youngest Shareholders, Kindergarteners from the Ambler school, opened the meeting, welcoming us by singing the Alaska Flag song.

Some of our Elders speak more Iñupiaq than English, as that is their first language. Holding headsets to their ears so they can hear the simultaneous translation, they look like they might be at a meeting of the U.N. The meeting is long; we have lots of business to cover: reports on the year, awards and presentations, comments and questions and, finally, door prizes.

The real purpose of our Annual Meeting is to elect the NANA Board of Directors, the 23 shareholders selected by their peers to guide our corporation and its management in the completion of NANA’s mission. Serving as a director is a huge responsibility, an awesome task and a big time commitment. Our directors embrace a greater vision, finding ways to work together for the good of our shareholders. It requires tenacity, fairness and a sense of duty that is larger than us and our individual roles.

NANA Elders being recognized at the annual meeting in Ambler

This year, we dedicated the meeting to our friend and board member, Lester Hadley. As our NDC Chairman Luke Sampson said, “Lester taught us the word ‘colleague,'” It’s a word we cannot use without thinking of him. And, to quote Luke again, despite the sadness we sometimes feel, “We need to keep going.”

We remember that together we are stronger. We need that strength to guide our corporation. We are nearly $2 billion corporation, with an annual payroll of more than $500 million. We have 12,500 shareholders, with a new one born nearly every day. We have 13,159 employees working in all 50 states, four continents and seven countries, in 463 project locations.

The NANA board members serve a three-year term, which means that every year the shareholders elect seven or eight new (or returning) board members to complete our board. A subset, of nine board member, is elected by the larger board to serve as NDC directors. These NDC directors also serve on NANA subsidiary boards.

We thank Ambler for their hospitality. We already look forward to next year’s family reunion. Until then, we have a lot of work to do. At the annual meeting we told our shareholders that we are striving to become a company with revenues of $10 billion.

“We need to keep going and growing!"

Helvi Sandvik, President, NANA Development Corp.


Annual Meeting Wrap-Up

Ambler students at the opening ceremonies of the annual meeting

“Building for the Future,” was the theme of this year’s NANA Annual Shareholder Meeting and it is appropos considering NANA’s success in 2010. Ambler was the home to this year’s meeting and NANA Regional Corporation Board members from the community, Gladys Jones and Nellie Sheldon, kicked the gathering off.

Donald Sheldon, chairman of the NRC Board of Directors noted that NANA has come a long way since its formation under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Although the business has not always seen smooth waters, its success can be credited to the Iñupiat way of overcoming challenges, along with the work of all of the NANA employees.

“We are fortunate that our values and mission have anchored us in a difficult global marketplace,” said Sheldon. ” These conditions create uncertainty for businesses. But, despite this turmoil, we stay focused on our goals – and we have found ways to adapt and to grow our corporation. After all, we are used to operating in harsh environments.”

Some of the financial and operational highlights include:

  • NANA declared a $14 per share dividend – a total distribution of $20.5 million

  • NANA Elders’ Settlement Trust distributed $2,000 to each of its 618 Elders

  • NANA donated $4 million to the Aqqaluk Trust and $2 million to the education endowment fund. The trust awarded $803,920 to 275 shareholders

A special moment occurred when Linda Piquk Lee, chairman of the Shareholder Relations Committee, along with other members of the committee, presented four awards. Jim Kulas was awarded the Richard A. Baneen Award that acknowledges a non-shareholder who shows an untiring commitment to our people and makes a difference in our region. “Jim cares about our people and our region and has demonstrated that caring on countless occasions,” said Lee.

Others awards went to Abraham Farrag as the 2011 Youth of the Year, Eric Fox (more details below) as the Shareholder of the Year and Effie Ayauniq Hadley received the Elder of the Year award.

Jim has been an important part of the Red Dog story from the beginning, working first for Cominco, then Teck Cominco and finally Teck. But as important, Jim reached out and connected with the people of the Northwest Arctic Borough. He listened – and then he acted – and for that we will always remember him.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow are all important in building a strong and sustainable future for NANA, according to Sheldon. “Today, we continue to work to build our future, and today we have a larger goal. We know we are building a company and a future for more than just ourselves. We are building a strong NANA for generations to come. Building a strong future is what motivated our leaders before us, and that is still what motivates us.”


Eric Fox Named NANA’s Shareholder of the Year

NANA Shareholder of the Year Eric Fox with his wife Kodi, son Liam and Labrador retriever, Blakely.

Eric Fox, Vice President of Camp Services for NMS, was honored for his contribution to NANA by being named the 2011 Shareholder of the Year. The annual recognition goes to shareholders who contribute or show leadership within the community and NANA region, or help preserve the Iñupiat culture. Fox commented that he was “humbled” by the experience, and motivated to do even more for NANA and his people.

While Fox says he feels “a bit unworthy of such recognition,” he is determined to live up to the honor and encourages NANA’s young people to follow his example and wants the next generation to recognize their importance to NANA and to “walk through the door of opportunity that NANA provides.”

“I’m here to tell them that they can achieve and we need them to succeed.”

According to Fox, his success comes from taking advantage of every opportunity NANA had to offer, hard work and great mentors. One of the biggest opportunities came his way in 2004, when he accepted an internship with NMS’ Camp Services division as a Camp Manger. That quickly led to positions of further responsibility. From 2004 to 2009, Fox held the positions of Camp Manager, Operations Manager, Director of Operations and Vice President of Strategic Planning. Finally in 2010, he was promoted to his current position as Vice President of Operations of NMS’ Camp Services division. Fox describes this journey as “a fantastic ride” and a “great challenge.”

Fox acknowledges that there will be challenges along the way and that it may be uncomfortable and difficult at times. He encourages shareholder youth to work hard and to “be of service to others. Things seem to get easier when it’s less about you and more about serving others,” Fox asserts.

Fox literally grew up with NANA. As a youngster, he and his brother played in former NANA President John Shaeffer’s office, where his mother, Rhoda Fox, worked as executive secretary. He started his career with NANA at 21 as a Purcell Security Officer on the North Slope. “It is important to me that I earn my opportunities,” Fox explains. With that intent, he pursued the most complex and difficult jobs the company had to offer.

During his internship years, Fox was assisted by many, but credits his mother and Dave Grinde, Director of North Slope Operations for NMS, as his most influential mentors. Fox praised Grinde’s mentorship saying, “He’s been the best mentor anyone could ask for. He believed in me, encouraged and challenged me at every turn.”

Fox is a life-long Alaskan who grew up in Fairbanks, Kotzebue and Galena. He graduated from Mt. Edgecumbe in Sitka and is currently pursuing his degree in business at Alaska Pacific University. He currently lives in Anchorage with his wife Kodi, his son Liam and Labrador retriever, Blakely.


NANA Receives Prestigious Award

NANA Regional Corporation has done something no other Alaska native corporation (ANC) has ever accomplished: Winning the National Center of American Indian Enterprise Development’s Corporate Advocate of the Year Award.

The NDC honer was announced at the center’s 25th annual Reservation Economic Summit and American Indian Business Trade Fair in Las Vegas.

NANA Regional President and CEO Marie Greene accepted the award. In her speech, she described how NANA has provided cash dividends, jobs and scholarships for Shareholders while creating important social and cultural programs – all in an effort to improve lives.

“Although we are the first Alaska Native corporation to receive this award, we are not unique among the family of ANCs created as part of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act,” Greene said. “We all work to improve the quality of life for our people, and so I share this award with (all the other corporations).”

Watch Greene’s full speech here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9ODHMMEAUI


NDC Vice President Named to NCAIED Board of Directors

NDC's VIce President of Business Development Clyde Gooden.

Clyde Gooden, NANA Development Corporation, vice president of Business Development, was named to the Board of Directors of the National Center of American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED). The center, headquartered in Mesa, Ariz., works to promote economic development in Indian Country. NANA is the first ANC member brought on as a board representative.

“The NCAIED mission is to enhance economic growth in Indian Country, NANA is honored and proud to be part of that mission” Gooden said. “Our companies and employees understand the ‘NANA values’ and have done the right thing. That is why we are asked to join the board for NCAIED.”

His co-workers are not surprised by Gooden’s honor.

“Clyde’s great support and status as a champion of indigenous business is remarkable, and it is a special moment for NANA to see him recognized like this. Most importantly, he embraces and embodies the vales of NANA as he networks nationwide,” said Stan Fleming, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for NANA Development Corporation.

The board members were announced earlier this month at the center’s 25th annual Reservation Economic Summit and American Indian Business Trade Fair in Las Vegas.


NDC’s Maude Blair Named ‘Top Forty Under 40’

Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Top 40 Under 40 recipient and NANA Shareholder, Maude Blair - Photo courtesy of Serine Halverson for the Alaska Journal of Commerce

NANA Development Corporation congratulates Maude Renee Blair for being named to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Journal of Commerce’s Top Forty Under 40. Blair, an attorney at NDC, participates in many community activities, like the United Way Emerging Leaders Program, the Food Bank of Alaska and the Duct Tape Ball.

“It was an honor that I was one of the 40 chosen. It was unexpected,” Blair said.

She uses her legal background in her volunteer activity, working with Color of Justice and the Alaska High School Mock Trail.

Blair recognizes that NDC has a hand in her award, allowing her to take the time to serve the community. Along with her own causes, she sometimes joins NDC employees who volunteer as a group at Bean’s Café once a month, serving breakfast to the homeless people.

“NANA is very good about donating employee time. It’s very heartwarming. It’s nice to give back to the community like that with the company,” she said. After being honored at the Top Forty Under 40 luncheon, Blair is more energized about volunteering – and her reasons for her extensive community service work is simple.

“I do it because I’m given all these different pathways to do it. I do it because it makes me feel better about what I’m contributing to the world,” Blair said.

Alaska’s Top Forty Under 40 was created in 1998 to recognize the state’s top young professionals. Award recipients have demonstrated professional excellence and a commitment to their community.


Native Companies Visit Capitol Hill to Discuss 8(a) with Legislators

NACA employees and members attend the NACA Alaska Delegation reception. Left to right, Jennine Elias and Erica Guy, NACA; Kutraluk Bolton and Lucy Boyd, NANA.

A group of Native American Contractors Association (NACA) members visited Washington, D.C., for nearly two days of advocacy and outreach. NANA Development Corporation was one of the groups who wanted to talk to legislators about the importance of the Native 8(a) program.

Twenty-nine representatives from NACA member companies around the country visited Capitol Hill to talk to their congressional delegates and legislators in key committees. By the end of the outreach event, NACA and its members had visited more than 50 offices, discussing how the Native 8(a) program has positively impacted their respective corporation and shareholders.

“Legislators heard about the benefits of the program and saw a face with the story, not just folks who lobby the Hill, but an actual shareholder,” said NACA Legislative Director Dennis Worden. “We had corporations who came back from very difficult financial times to be able to provide scholarships, cultural programs and management of land resources.”

Worden said many legislators mainly received information about the Native 8(a) program from negative Washington Post articles or offices without first-hand knowledge about its impact.

“A lot of offices appreciated hearing from the companies. Events like this are important so we don’t let opponents control the conversation and frame the debate,” Worden said. “It was time to educate lawmakers, learn what the concerns about the program are around the Hill and focus on areas to do more work.”

After the effort, NACA collected all the notes and will use them for further discussions with lawmakers. The two days ended with a reception in honor of the Alaska Congressional delegation - Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich and Rep. Don Young.


Hawaii’s Akaka Plans to Retire from Senate

America’s first Senator of Native Hawaiian ancestry, Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii)

America’s first Senator of Native Hawaiian ancestry, Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), has decided to retire from the U.S. Senate after a distinguished 35-year career of fighting for Native American rights and opportunities, including the Native 8(a) contracting program.

“After months of thinking about my political future, I am announcing today that I have decided not to run for re-election in 2012,” Akaka said in a March 2 statement. “As many of you can imagine, it was a very difficult decision for me.   However, I feel that the end of this Congress is the right time for me to step aside.”

President Barack Obama issued a statement praising the senator: “Danny spent his career fighting for our troops, veterans and their families and for the rights of Native Hawaiians.  He worked tirelessly to reform Wall Street and to make sure that consumers and small business owners are treated fairly in our system.  His voice in the Senate will be missed.“

 The only Chinese American member of the United States Senate, Akaka said he and his wife, Millie, will return to Hawaii after his term ends to spend time with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren - and mentor a new generation of leaders.

Akaka is chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia. He also serves on the Armed Services, Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and Veterans' Affairs Committees. 


Cazador Constructs Storage Cabinets in Record Time

TSI manufactured built-in storage for the M240

Using innovation to overcome the dual challenges of space and mobility, Cazador partnered with National Office Systems and Tactical Weapons Solutions to install 263 weapons cabinets at Fort Bliss in record time.

The Contracting Officer Representative gave the project a “stellar” review and a "highly recommended" rating for other military installations.

Located in El Paso, Texas, Fort Bliss is one of the five largest military installations in the world and needed new weapons cabinets for its armories.

"The decision to acquire was based primarily upon the cabinets’ user -friendly design," said Thomas Brown, Cazador’s business development manager. "In addition to the design, the TSI weapons cabinets are stronger and more rugged than prior cabinets purchased from one of the industry's leading manufacturers of universal weapons cabinets. The cabinets are all manufactured using 14 gauge steel versus the 16-18 gauge steel used by the customer's former vendor."

TSI manufactured built-in storage for the M2/.50 caliber.

Space was limited, so the decision was made to use recessed door cabinets to store multiple types of weapons, night vision goggles and optics. This option reduced space, increased flexibility and eliminated finger injuries common to the competitor’s bifold doors.

"The consistent theme from armorers is their appreciation for the ability to quickly reconfigure an entire armory to accommodate multiple weapons on a moment's notice. To have an M4, next to a .50 caliber, next to a bank of M9's is quite appealing,” commented Terry Gaines, president of U.S. sales for TSI.

David Hoy was project lead and Marsha Dunn was project manager.

“Cazador is proud to work with small, innovative companies like Tactical Weapons Solutions and to be awarded this significant contract in our long-standing partnership with Joe Alverez and National Office Solutions,” said Hoy.

Cazador provides turnkey federal and commercial solutions for furniture, fixtures and equipment, initial outfitting and transition management.


Shareholder Development has New Name for Same Great Department

The Shareholder Employment and Development Department: Ron Adams, Denise Koutchak, Kristine Couse, Tami Krukoff, Kristina Patrick and Annette Zella.

NANA’s Shareholder Development Department has a new name – the Shareholder Employment & Development Department.

“It’s the same department but the name now more correctly identifies the efforts we make every day,” explains Kristina Siiqsiniq Patrick, Shareholder Development Manager. “Many of our efforts are around employment, not only development.”

Patrick said response to the name change has been positive. “People say ‘hmmm … that makes sense.’”

The Shareholder Employment & Development Department provides a wide array of services to Shareholders to support NANA’s overall mission to improve the quality of life of its Shareholders. The department offers many support services, including career counseling, identifying and/or providing funding for higher education/training, assisting college students to find internships or summer jobs, and helping Shareholders find gainful employment.


Kotzebue’s Baker Mushes into History Books

Kotzebue's John Baker poses with his lead dogs.

Fifty-three proved to be the magic number for NANA shareholder John Baker and his team of huskies as they won the 39th Iditarod in record time.

Baker, who was born and raised in Kotzebue, is the first Iñupiat and only the fourth Native to win the 1,000-mile race from Anchorage to Nome.

“Running a team like this, there’s nothing better,” Baker said shortly after finishing the race in 8 days, 19 hours, 46 minutes, 39 seconds – crushing the previous record by three hours. “They are willing to climb any obstacle and make the most of it. I’m really proud of them.”

Baker, who has been mushing since he was 1, ran his first Iditarod in 1996, and has been in every race since. He has 11 top 10 finishes and this year started the race with bib number 53.

A crowd of thousands lined Front Street in Nome to cheer Baker’s historic victory March 15. Bertha Koweluk, 43, an Alaska Native from Nome, watched the finish with her 8-year-old daughter, and said that Baker's win will inspire Native people across the state.

"He represents a resilient people, and it just shows we're strong and we can overcome," she said.

She said that so many times Alaska Natives are depicted as weak and crippled by addiction. But Baker's win, she said, illustrates an untold story of her people.

"We all need people to look up to, and this is a good guy to look up to," she said.

Baker works as a pilot and manager of Baker Aviation in Kotzebue. It was his late father, Bob Baker, who discovered the Red Dog mineral deposit, and the family ties to Red Dog remain strong today. Baker flies people and goods to the mine and Teck Alaska, the mine’s operator, is a major sponsor of Baker and his team. Teck also sponsors motivational lectures Baker gives at schools in the NANA region.


Utukkuu Snow Golf Challenge

Jens Laipenieks looks on after fellow Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative team member.
Clover McNeill, swings through at the second annual Utukkuu Snow Golf Challenge.

A good time for a good cause, the second annual Utukkuu Snow Golf Challenge raised $28,000 for the Aqqaluk Trust.

Naomi “Munnick” Chappel, who works for NANA Development Corporation’s Operations team, lines up for a shot at the Utukkuu Snow Challenge fundraiser.
The event held March 4, during Fur Rondy celebrations in support of the Aqqaluk Trust, is a unique combination of golf and Iñupiaq culture.  Where else can find a nine-hole winter golf course but at Utukkuu? The Trust raises money for Iñupiat language restoration, culture enhancement and education programs.

Eighteen teams of three took to the ice at University Lake to test their snow golf skills. Each of the holes are placed 50 to 75 yards apart and the players use brightly colored, limited-flight golf balls. The challenge beyond just golf in the snow is introducing 10,000 years of Iñupiaq culture.  At one of the nine holes, teams wear Eskimo snow goggles and at another golfers wear fur mittens.

The event was held at the University Lake Spring Hill Suites in Anchorage and included a morning and afternoon round of snow golf, a lot of sunshine, almost as much hot chocolate and a lunch including caribou stew.

Showing some NANA spirit, Clarence Snyder, NDC employee, throws the harpoon during the efforts to determine winner of a four-way tie at the Utukkuu Snow Golf Challenge.

At the end of the day, four teams tied with a score of 19 (NANA Management Services, defending champion Bradley Reid & Associates, NANA WorleyParsons and NANA Development Corporation Operations). To break the tie, each of the teams designated a player to throw a harpoon. Whoever made it closest to the target won the distinction of Snow Golf Master. Bradley Reid & Associates won the tournament for the second year.

After the winner was determined, each participant took a turn at the Harpoon Hole-in-one contest, vying for a unique piece of art from the NANA Region. The event concluded with door prizes drawn while participants learned more about Aqqaluk Trust and its purpose to empower the Iñupiat people through language, culture and education. 

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