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Hard Work, Education Equal Opportunities

Helvi’s Message – Helvi addresses the WA State Chamber
NDC President Helvi Sandvik with her mother, Ruth Sandvik

Recently I was asked to speak at a university about NANA, our future and how we prepare for shareholder opportunities. As I considered what to say, I thought of my mother and the value she has always placed on learning.

My mother, Ruth Sandvik, is from Kiana, Alaska. At a time when there was very little support and fewer opportunities, she earned a degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and became one of the first Alaska Native teachers. Today, she still runs our family’s general store in Kiana – in the NANA region.

The message I learned from my mother is simple: work hard, get an education and let opportunities guide you. That same message applies to our NANA family. Today, NANA is a global company with projects in 50 states, seven countries and four continents. Last year, our corporation generated $1.6 billion in revenues and 13,150 people received NANA paychecks.

Our success comes from the diligence of our employees. I am proud of all of you, using your education, experience and enthusiasm to help us grow and be poised for new opportunities. Thank you for your hard work. Congratulations on your efforts to keep learning and growing. And, if you can, don’t forget to wish your mom a Happy Mother’s Day!

Helvi Sandvik, President, NANA Development Corp.


Emergency Plan Takes Care of Quake-Stranded Employees

NANA Polar Team, McMurdo Station, Antarctica
NANA Polar Team, McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Just minutes after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake destroyed much of Christchurch, New Zealand, NANA Services Polar and its partner implemented its emergency management plan to care for the 44 NANA employees stranded in the battered city.

The earthquake struck Feb. 22, killed more than 180 people and caused extensive damage throughout the city.

Working from the partners’ Emergency Management Center (EMC) in Denver, Colo., Raytheon Polar Services and NANA Services Polar activated phone trees and launched Facebook and websites within hours so employees could get help from the companies and communicate with each other.

“Because of our emergency plan, everyone had contact with each other, was accounted for, and most importantly, everyone was healthy with no major injuries,” said Lisa Von Fumetti, with NANA Services’ U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP).

The Pyne Gould Guiness Wrightson Building in central Christchurch was crushed, suffering some of the worst damage in the city.  30 people were initially trapped inside.
The Pyne Gould Guinness Wrightson Building in central Christchurch was crushed, suffering some of the worst structural damage in the city

Once all team members were accounted for, EMC shifted its attention to finding shelter and personal items for the employees who had left most of their belongings behind in the devastated hotels. Some had to have their passports and identifications replaced. “The American Consulate happened to be in Christchurch and assisted with processing documents for our people,” Von Fumetti said. “It was by chance they happened to be there, we were very grateful for their help.”

NANA Services Polar was able to get most of its employees out of New Zealand in a matter of days. “I think all of our employees would like to express their appreciation for how well emergency preparedness paid off – from getting passports replaced to ensuring personal safety,” said Von Fumetti.

USAP uses Christchurch as a mustering point for its Antarctica operations. Employees spend two nights in the city on their way to Antarctica and one night on their return.

Polar Services oversees station services for the three U.S. Antarctic Stations and remote deep-field camps, including culinary, housing, retail, recreation, barber shop and beverage sales, as well as managing and operating the clubs. The operation, which provides services for over 3,000 USAP participants annually, is managed on-site and from the project headquarter offices in Denver.


NMS Hero Recognized by STAR, Alaska Red Cross

Ed Janitscheck and John Mingé at the Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast
NMS security officer Ed Janitscheck received the "Bystander Intervention Award" and the "Community Safety Award" from the American Red Cross. Photo: courtesy CMB Photography

Philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.” NMS security officer Edward Janitscheck, a NANA shareholder, proved heroes can be made in five minutes, and now he’s being recognized by organizations throughout the state.

During a routine patrol in the J.C. Penney parking garage on Sept. 30, 2010, Janitscheck saw a woman arguing with two men. When one of the men pulled out a knife, Janitscheck called the Anchorage Police Department and then rushed to protect the woman. He distracted the men, allowing the woman to escape.

Once the woman was safe, Janitscheck became a victim himself as the assailant slashed his right cheek, resulting in 15 stitches.

“I used the training that I had to put their attention on me and enable her to get away. I ended up getting the worst out of it, but at least it was me and not her,” Janitscheck said.

For his bravery, two organizations – Standing Together Against Rape (STAR) and the Alaska Red Cross – praised his intervention. STAR honors heroes during Sexual Assault Awareness Month and gave Janitscheck the “Bystander Intervention Award” while the Alaska Red Cross gave him the “Community Safety Award.” Despite the honors, he’s quick to defer attention from himself, prompting his boss to describe his actions.

“Ed knew he was in a dangerous situation, but he acted immediately. Who knows what would’ve happened had he not intervened. I’m glad he’s on our staff and he’s such a good role model,” Security Manager David Dringle said.


NANA Launch: Facebook and Online Magazine

NANA Development Corp. Facebook page

NANA Development Corp. (NDC) is moving its communications efforts into a new age by launching a Facebook page and an online version of its NANAtkut magazine.

The Facebook page contains links to stories published in the NDC e-News Bulletin and other publications. Tirrell Thomas, a communications coordinator, is working on rolling out new features in the coming months. To log in and “like” NDC, go to: http://www.facebook.com and search for NANA Development Corporation.

NANAtkut is a twice-a-year magazine for NANA employees communicating that no matter where they are, they make up one NANA. It spotlights the people, the services and the clients that make NDC a unique company.

The online version of the magazine will add video content, including stories such as the importance of subsistence and the celebration of NANA's annual meeting.

"We want to help tell the NANA story," says Carol Richards, who helps edit the publication. "The take-away should be, 'I didn't know that about NANA.'"

You can access the online magazine at http://www.nanatkut.com.


Senate Hears Success Stories During Native 8(a) Hearing

Despite overwhelming testimony in recent weeks about the benefits of the Native 8(a) contracting program, some members of Congress continue to offer amendments that seek to gut or significantly weaken a program that works for both America’s Native people and the nation as a whole.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said tighter rules governing the Small Business Administration program should be allowed to work instead of targeting Alaska Native Corporations (ANC), but Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill says the rules “don’t go far enough.”

Last month, Native leaders from across the nation told Congress how Native 8(a) contracting has brought hope, pride and economic opportunity to some of the most remote parts of the nation.

Testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Lance Morgan, president and chief executive officer of Ho-Chunk in Winnebago, Neb., said his tribe had failed at every business venture before it tried government contracting.

“It (8a) changed everything for us. It made us smarter. It made us proud,” he said. It also created 1,400 jobs and earned $193 million in revenues for the Ho-Chunk Nation last year.

Sen. Mike Johanns, (R-Neb.), called the Ho-Chunk story “remarkable” and said it should be the “model for a miraculous turnaround.”

Jackie Johnson-Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, reviewed the many benefits of the 8(a) program, and singled out the way it builds capacity within communities. “The legacy of 8(a) will be a highly trained, skilled workforce.”

Julie Kitka, president, Alaska Federation of Natives, told the senators that “contracting under section 8(a) is, and has been an important aspect of the success of some of our ANCSA corporations, and through them, we have seen important socioeconomic benefits to thousands of our people, as intended.”

Kitka said Native life expectancy has increased, infant mortality has decreased and poverty has been reduced from more than 60 percent to 20 percent.

But Sen. Mark Begich, (D-Alaska), pointed out that there are still 40 communities in Alaska that use honey buckets and 30 without running water. Begich said the program has made a huge difference and “clearly is a step to create opportunity and sustainability.” It’s also the only “entitlement program that pays taxes – lots of taxes.”

Larry Hall, president, S&K Electronics in Ronan, Mont., said his company is a great example of how the program works. S&K has now graduated from the 8(a) program but it successfully diversified the Flathead Reservation’s economy and “grew both our capacity and capability to do business. Today we continue to be successful for both government and private industry.”

S&K provides more than 100 jobs on the reservation and has returned $1.75 million in dividends.


NANA Shareholders Get Behind-the-Scenes Glimpse of Film Industry

NANA Shareholders learn the tricks of the film-making trade

As Alaska’s blossoming film industry takes the spotlight, NDC prepares Shareholders for roles in front – and behind – the camera.

NDC's partnership with production company Evergreen Films positions NANA to provide support services. Films require everything from talent in front of the camera to the crew behind it, catering, security, transportation and logistics. To support its role, NDC formed a new venture called Piksik. Piksik is an Iñupiaq word that means "rebound" or "spring back," an important trait for a company that must be quick and responsive.

But NDC wants to go further and prepare its Shareholders to fill the hundreds of jobs each movie creates.

With more productions headed to Alaska this summer, NANA contracted with Alaska Crew Training to provide training for about 25 Shareholders who gathered at a warehouse in South Anchorage. They learned the lingo and how to get a front-row seat in a film – as cast or crew. NDC wants to make sure Shareholders are part of the crew for “Walking with Dinosaurs 3D.” Evergreen and BBC Worldwide will produce this feature film, with much of the filming occurring in Alaska. Alaska Crew Training is a nonprofit organization that offers training to meet the specific skills needed for film and video productions working across the state.

NANA Shareholders learn how to achieve the illusion of a French Café through lighting

Robin Kornfield, NDC's vice president of communications and marketing, said, "NANA Shareholders' expectations have evolved and we will sponsor classes in Northwest communities when opportunities arise." She points out that as people are trained in the basics of filmmaking, Shareholders will want to continue to learn.

"We've come to the point where some people might want to do computer graphics, or they might want to learn post-production. These are skills that aren't your typical resource-extraction job that we've traditionally offered in Alaska."

The film industry took off after the Alaska Legislature passed an aggressive tax incentive program that goes as high as 44 percent. The credits are transferable, which means production companies can sell the tax credits to Alaska companies for reductions in their state corporate income taxes.

Since the introduction of the credits, 29 active projects totaling $88 million in Alaska spending have been pre-approved for the credit, including “Everybody Loves Whales.”


NMS Reaches Safety Milestone

NMS employees working at the BP Alaska building in Anchorage set a major safety record

NMS recently passed a major safety milestone by achieving 14 years and 2 million working hours without a day away from work case (DAFWC) incident.

NMS provides about 70 workers to BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. at its Anchorage headquarters campus. The employees are responsible for maintenance, security, housekeeping, food services, construction and other special projects in and around the BP building.

BP NMS Facilities Manager Jim Tebo attributes the safety record to the team’s strong safety culture. “Most of the success is based around the employees buying into the safety culture and looking out for one another,” he said.

Tebo says taking care of a 330,000-square-foot building and maintaining the 29-acre property is a significant undertaking that often exposes the team to safety risks – including wandering moose which like to nibble on the landscaping.

One of the keys to the team’s exemplary safety record is the low turnover rate within the core team.

“Most of our employees have been here for 15 to 20 years, and they act as mentors for the new people so the safety culture continually cultivates within the team,” Tebo said. “We reinforce it on a regular basis with safety meetings and discussions at the beginning of jobs. We try to make employees think about what could go wrong.”

The NMS team took a break from thinking about safety risks to celebrate the milestone – and talk about how to reach even higher.

“We want to keep going,” Tebo said. “Hopefully, we can reach 15 years.”


Wellness on the Road

Many NANA employees live a life on the road. Federal Contracting Senior Vice President Stan Fleming estimates that he spends 180 days away from home. NDC Federal Affairs Analyst Kutraluk Bolton has no problem collecting frequent flyer miles and NMS Vice President of Operations Jeannette Duenow can tell you which hotels have the best pools. They are NANA’s road warriors and, despite all the traveling, they don’t forget about fitness.

In between the conference sessions and the networking at the 25th annual Reservation Economic Summit, the trio could all be found in the gym. Fleming and Bolton stuck to the treadmill and elliptical, but Duenow focused on the pool. Duenow, a triathlete, says her training continues no matter how far she is from home.

The Las Vegas hotel provided a challenge for Duenow since the pool is much smaller than her regular 25-yard one. It took 222 lengths to reach a mile, but she had a goal to reach.

“My current motivation is an Ironman in November,” Duenow said. “Leading up to that race, I had scheduled a spring triathlon, which I just completed, and a half-Ironman for July. If I don’t do the work leading up to the event, I won’t be able to go the distance.”

These personal goals align with NANA’s wellness program. SayyaaÄ¡iksa (sah-yaa-gik-sa) – Iñupiaq for “let’s get healthy" – is part of NANA’s goals to decrease health insurance costs while improving employees’ lifestyles. A website helps employees track their exercise routine and eating patterns – all while collecting different benefits for employees. But these benefits aren’t the ultimate motivator for these road warriors.

"It's an incentive for our team and we apply peer pressure, which is good. For me the incentive is extending our life and being more relaxed for our families," Fleming said.

Fleming says walks provide a good time to discuss business or to get to know colleagues, along with exploring a new town. Now that NANA can be found in all 50 states and around the world, finding the perfect combination of work and fitness on the road is even more important for these road warriors.

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