Vol. 5, No. 10 | November 2011    Having trouble reading this email? View it online .

NDC President’s Message:
NANA, From A to Z

Helvi Sandvik

On Facebook, one of our young NANA shareholders recently posted, "Respect old people. They graduated high school without Google or Wikipedia."

This makes me chuckle, but it really is true that things have changed. Until the late 1970s, most of the villages in our region did not have high schools. Education took many other forms. Our people learned from the land, from their Elders, and from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and missionary school teachers. Our younger shareholders have grown up with not only high schools in their villages, but also with computers in their classrooms, with immediate access to up-to-date information.

Though I feel pretty young, I would probably be lumped into the "old people" group referred to in the Facebook post. I didn’t grow up with Facebook, Google or Wikipedia; I grew up pouring over old volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica, from A-Z, and looking at photos of penguins in National Geographic magazines. Believe it or not, most of us even had to handwrite the various assignments our teachers gave us.

Recently someone my age was explaining Facebook to someone slightly older. She said, "You should try it. It’s like Tundra Telegraph." Or swap and shop with big news and small.

On Facebook, NANA Regional Corporation posts "Friday Fun Contests," a weekly quiz with questions about NANA and prizes for the winners. Piksik, our film production company, posts notices if they are casting for extras, or if they need pre-1983 vehicles for a movie. DOWL HKM uses Facebook to show how their employees are making a difference, raising money for toy drives or United Way. And NANA Services Antarctic Program posts videos for our 118 employees currently on the ice.

Things have changed. Forty years ago, when the Alaska Native corporations were formed, who knew that we’d have Google or Wikipedia? That NANA would have a film production company? Or that we would have schools in every one of our NANA villages, or a NANA-owned company with a contract to feed our children nutritious lunches?

All this change is exciting. Just think what the New Year will bring!

Happy Holidays!


Helvi K. Sandvik, President
NANA Development Corporation


Air Force One Now Serviced by Akima Technical Solutions, LLC

Akima Technical Solutions, LLC services President Obama’s plane, Air Force One, at Andrews Air Force Base.

Before President Obama can take off in Air Force One, the aircraft gets refueled by an Akima Technical Solutions, LLC (ATS) crew. ATS, a NANA Development Corporation subsidiary, won the VIP Special Air Mission contract this past September.

The seven-year, $70 million job includes service to Air Force One, the President’s Boeing 747-400 aircraft, as well as several Boeing 757s and a fleet of Gulfstream aircraft. The rest of the fleet is used by the Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and other cabinet officers as well as four-star generals.

"Winning this contract was very exciting," said Tom Pool, ATS’ VP/General Manager. "Not only is it incredibly prestigious, but those VIPs, including the President of the United States, see Akima vehicles and uniformed workers every time they get on and off the planes. Your company exposure doesn’t get much better than that."

ATS has nearly 100 employees working on this contract to provide refueling, supplies and other support services to the U.S. government’s elite fleet of aircraft. Those who work on Air Force One have one of the highest possible security clearances, and one of their jobs includes testing the fuel before it’s pumped into the President’s plane.

"Being part of this mission is a privilege and an honor," said Pool, who is also a retired brigadier general Army aviator.



NMS Contract Means Huge Savings to Northwest Arctic Borough School District

NMS serves about 2,200 meals each day in the Northwest Arctic Borough School District.

School meals and janitorial services just got a whole lot cheaper for the Northwest Arctic Borough School District (NWABSD)–nearly $1 million a year cheaper. NMS recently entered into three new contracts with the school district that include providing breakfast and lunches for students K-12 in all 11 NANA villages, providing meals for adults enrolled in the Alaska Technical Center in Kotzebue and a custodial services contract for schools throughout the region.

Until now, these services were all done in-house by district employees. The changeover did not cost any jobs as NMS rehired those workers at the same hourly rate. But NMS has better vendor contracts because of the amount of food it purchases statewide and can pass that savings on to the school district.

"By outsourcing these services with NMS, the school district has more money to spend for classrooms," said Karen Goodwin, NWABSD director of administrative services. "We can hire more teachers and buy more supplies. That’s a good thing."

The nearly $1 million in savings, per Goodwin, also comes from not having to pay the health and retirement benefits as NMS offers its own competitive benefits package.

The Northwest Arctic Borough School District supplies about 2,200 meals each day to students in the region, an important part of their daily nutrition. NMS is working to improve the quality of the food and give students more choices such as a salad bar and two entrée selections.

"It’s our experience that if you give kids one entrée option, not everyone is going to eat it. But if you give two choices, they’ll find something they like and our goal is to get more students eating healthy foods," said NMS Kotzebue Area Manager John Ocheltree.

The contract costs the NWABSD just more than $3.5 million a year.



Training Brings Global Opportunity to Shareholders

Congratulations to these cable technical training graduates! They’re now qualified to work on Navy ships and other Ki projects around the globe.

Ten NANA shareholders now hold the key to global opportunity.

The 10 completed cable technical training in Kotzebue, and are now ready to work on Navy ships and shore facilities, building IT infrastructure for combat systems, voice data systems and other technical needs.

The initiative involved the NANA Shareholder Employment and Development department; NANA subsidiary Ki, LLC; the City of Kotzebue; and the Alaska Technical Center.

"The training went very well, attitude was positive and we appreciated the shareholders we worked with," said Joy Hilton, a quality manager for Ki who was one of the instructors.

Hilton said the program is designed to offer a flexible employment opportunity for shareholders and to provide Ki with a pool of trained, certified technicians who provide on-demand, surge labor support.

The technicians install, remove and terminate cables onboard U.S. Navy ships. Because ships are subject to forces not found in shore-based systems – like vibration – the Navy requires special cable training and installation.

"Our people work in confined spaces that often times are not environmentally controlled because the ship is undergoing maintenance," Hilton said. "But our cable teams are led by experienced individuals who plan the cable routes carefully from the power source to the equipment.

"At Ki, we focus on safety and quality. Our primary concerns are for the safety of our employees and the quality of the work performed by our employees. We want our employees and our sailors to be able to perform their jobs and return home safely," Hilton said.

Hilton said that the technicians are key to the Navy’s mission. "The equipment the sailors use to perform their jobs in communications, combat systems, sonar technology or basic lighting all depend on cables installed by Ki technicians."

The graduates earned three technical certificates that enable them to work on Ki projects across the globe. Because the program is designed to provide on-demand, surge labor, there is no specific timetable for employment although two are undergoing security clearance.

"It was a great experience to do this kind of training and live in Kotzebue for a short time," Hilton said. "We are looking forward to 2012 providing us the opportunity to employ the Cable-techs on our travels across the lower 48 as well as internationally. We have also opened this pool of trained cable technician to our sister company, Truestone."

The 10 shareholders are George Goldy, Sam Tickett, Melanie Rogers, Alicia Madsen, Jarold Ballot, Albert Smith, Steve Frank, Warren Thomas, Art Mills and Charles Jones.

Ki is a broad-based services contractor headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., that provides communications, IT, logistics, visual information, engineering and installation and other technical and management services for the U.S. Department of Defense, government agencies and commercial customers. It is part of Akima Management Services.



Piksik Puts Hundreds of Alaskans to Work on Latest Film Project

Jack, the resident moose at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC), gets acquainted with Vanessa Hudgens, the lead actress in "The Frozen Ground," which just wrapped up filming in the Anchorage area. The two "star" in one scene in the movie. The AWCC frequently "rents" out its animals for productions. The center is just one of the organizations and businesses that benefits from tourists who visit Alaska after seeing a movie or television program that was shot in the state.

Normally, at this time of year, ABC Motorhome and Car Rentals in Anchorage has a skeleton staff, with rentals few and far between.  But thanks to "The Frozen Ground" film production, ABC Motorhome has had up to 20 vehicles in use each day. During the six-week shoot, they provided rentals for the actors, producers and wardrobe crews at each filming location base camp. 

"This is a significant contract during the off-season," said Cindy Draper, ABC Motorhome and Car Rentals' manager. "It’s enough for us to keep two additional employees during the winter due to the extra cash flow we’re earning from this movie. They normally would have been laid off."

"The Frozen Ground," starring Nicholas Cage and John Cusack, is Piksik’s first feature film project, providing casting, security, location scouting, transportation and other logistics. In all, Piksik hired nearly 600 Alaskans to work on the film as crew and actors and about 30 of those were NANA shareholders. As for speaking roles, of the 50 parts, Piksik cast 30 Alaskans.

"I think overall it’s been a positive experience for the production team, but as with any project, there were some surprises such as the weather," said Piksik Production Manager, Deborah Schildt. "Piksik made it work by providing snow removal, but that’s part of filming in Alaska and it’s our job to help producers overcome those hurdles. I know these producers have some other projects planned for Alaska."

And that means more job opportunities for Alaskans and shareholder Aakatchaq Schaeffer hopes she’ll continue working in the film industry. Schaeffer, 37, from Kotzebue also worked on "The Big Miracle," formerly known as "Everybody Loves Whales," last year.

Aakatchaq Schaeffer (left), a NANA shareholder, was hired as a location assistant for The Frozen Ground, with Randy Cantor, who coordinated transportation for the crew.

"If you do well, you’ll get called again," said Schaeffer, who worked as a location’s assistant on "The Frozen Ground," helping to coordinate site permits, parking and base camp logistics. "The movie glamour wears off pretty fast. This is an exciting industry that pays well, but we work 15-17 hour days, so it’s not easy work."

But Schaeffer said she would probably work those hours regardless of where she found a job working on a movie. The good news is as long as Alaska’s film industry continues to grow and with companies like Piksik to hire her, she no longer needs to leave the state to find film work.



NANA Pacific Honored for How It Supports Its National Guard Employees

Akmaaq President Jonathan Widdis (holding award on left) and NANA Development Corporation VP of External Affairs Joe Mathis (holding award next to Jonathan) are honored by Sen. Mark Begich and Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell.

An all-star cast gathered in Anchorage to honor NANA Pacific for the support it gives its employees who are members of the National Guard and Reserve.

Twenty-one NANA Pacific employees — about 13 percent of its workforce — are Army National Guard or National Guard Reserve members.

NANA Pacific was among a group of finalists for the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employee Support Freedom Award, sponsored by ESGR (Employee Support of the Guard and Reserve). It also received an "Above and Beyond Award" from ESGR’s Alaska Committee.

The Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers of Guard and Reserve members. Active Guard and Reservists nominate companies and Ashley White, who worked in the Indiana National Guard Joint Operations Center, submitted the documentation to nominate NANA Pacific.

"Ashley was one of our very stellar employees and she submitted this on her own accord and did not mention it to the NANA Pacific management staff," said Lenn Doran, NANA Pacific’s president. The contract that supported Ashley’s job provided Common Operating Picture (COP) and Defense Support to Civilian Authorities (DSCA) Duty Desk Officers to the National Guard Bureau’s national Joint Operations Communication Center (JoCC) and the 50 state and 4 territorial National Guard Joint Operations Centers (JOCs). Though this contract ended Sept. 30, Akmaaq, NANA Pacific’s parent company, is awaiting the re-award of the National Guard State Joint Operation Center Support.

ESGR received 4,049 nominations this year and narrowed the field to 130 finalists for 15 awards.

In addition to the nomination for the national award, ESGR’s Alaska Committee chose NANA Pacific for its "Above and Beyond Award," which is given to employers at the state and local level that "have gone above and beyond the legal requirements for granting leave and providing support for military duty by their employees."

The award was presented during a Sept. 27 banquet attended by about 65 people, including U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell.

"We were honored and humbled by the awards," Doran said.

NANA Pacific also provides logistics, emergency response and operations and project management for the National Guard’s Consequence Management Support Center in Lexington, Ky. The center supports special National Guard teams that are trained to respond to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents.

The company’s duties include logistical support for all WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and civil support/emergency response; manages a 200,000-square-foot warehouse, including ordering equipment and supplying inventories; maintains and calibrates unique WMD equipment; provides deployable teams during training and real world events and staffs the crisis response center during major events.

NANA Pacific, LLC was established in 2001 to provide a full range of design-build services. Based on emerging opportunities from the National Guard, the company opened an office in Virginia in 2006 to support National Guard operations.

ESGR is a Department of Defense organization that promotes cooperation and understanding between Reserve members and their civilian employers.



Quick Thinking Saves Colleagues
from Fire

Akima/DTSV processing clerk, Trung Dinh, was awarded the Akima President’s Safety Coin.

You could call Trung Dinh a conscientious employee, or a hero.

Dinh is a processing clerk for Akima/DTSV who works in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Document Receipt and Mailing Department. While going about his regular duties, he noticed a "burning" smell that he immediately reported to his supervisor.

It turned out that the warning came just in time to prevent what could have been a catastrophe. Dinh and his supervisor found the odor was coming from a faulty computer that was rapidly overheating even though it was turned off at the time. As the computer’s power cord was inaccessible – under a desk and behind the computer tower – and there was so much paper in the area that could fan any flame, the supervisor ordered the work area evacuated until a service technician could defuse the situation.

Akima acknowledged Dinh’s prompt action by giving him an Akima/DTSV "Recognize It When You See It" certificate and the Akima "President’s Safety Coin." One of many employee programs established by Akima/DTSV to recognize good work and safety practices, the certificate and coin are awarded for acts that save lives or prevent major property damage.

"Due directly to his actions, Mr. Dinh was able to alert the proper personnel of a potential fire in an area that, with many loose papers around due to the nature of the work being done, would have quickly spread and possibility have injured some of the 20 or so employees in that area of the time," said Michael Tilton, Akima/DTSV quality/safety supervisor.

"It was felt that Mr. Dinh more than qualified for the awards he received," Tilton said. "If he had stayed silent and ignored the situation, the outcome of this situation could have been very different."

"Congratulations for your good work, Mr. Dinh," Tilton added.

Dinh has worked for Akima/DTSV since 2002.

Akima/DTSV is a joint venture of Akima Intra-Data, LLC and Diversified Technology & Services of Virginia, Inc. It provides various types of assistance to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va., including mail receiving and sending, file storage and handling, copy center work and running the Formality Review Department where incoming patent information is reviewed, put into order, quality checked and then submitted to the U.S. Patent Examiners for their review.



Let’s Talk Turkey

Safety is important to us—at work and at home. NMS understands the importance of food – and food safety – during the holiday season.

Derrell Webb knows improper food handling can ruin any happy holidays. Webb, the vice president of operations for NMS, Alaska’s leading food service company, shares his favorite food safety tips:

  • Before purchasing your turkey, make ample space in your refrigerator, moving shelves if necessary.
  • Always wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling the turkey.
  • Never defrost turkey on the counter! Turkey can be thawed in the refrigerator or in cold water. Leave the bird in the original packaging and place in a shallow pan and allow refrigerator thawing time at a rate of four to five pounds per 24 hours. To thaw in cold water, keep turkey in the original packaging, place in a clean and sanitized sink or pan and submerge in cold water. Change the cold water every 30 minutes. The turkey will take about 30 minutes per pound to thaw. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze.
  • Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, not touching bone. Cook to a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Within two hours of carving, store leftover turkey in shallow containers and put in the refrigerator or the freezer.
  • Use cooked leftover turkey, stuffing and gravy within three to four days. Cooked turkey keeps for three to four months in the freezer. When using leftovers, reheat the foods thoroughly to 165 °F or until hot and steaming; bring gravy to a boil before serving.
  • Even when refrigerated properly, leftovers should be eaten, frozen or discarded within three to four days.

NMS trains all food service managers and employees in the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification, a nationally recognized and accredited program administered by the National Restaurant Association. To date, more than 3 million ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certifications have been awarded nationwide, including all of NMS’ managers.

"We are incredibly proud of what we do and how we do it and who our parent companies are," said Webb.

NMS is owned by NANA Development Corporation (51 percent) and Sodexo (49 percent).


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1001 East Benson Blvd.
Anchorage, AK 99508