Vol. 7, No. 12 | December 2012    Having trouble reading this email? View it online.

NDC President’s Message: Opening a New Door

Helvi Sandvik
NDC Chairman Luke Sampson and NDC President Helvi Sandvik unveil the sign at the new office.

I know of an Elder who takes one last sweeping glance at a hotel room before closing the door and checking out and says aloud, “Thank you, room.”

It’s time to follow that practice and say thank you to our Anchorage Benson office, which has served us well, but one that NDC has outgrown.

NANA Development Corporation (NDC) is starting off the New Year in a new office in downtown Anchorage. This move allows us to bring 145 NDC employees who have been working at three different locations across town under one roof. We’ll consolidate our administrative functions into one building.

We are closing one door, but opening another.

While NDC will now be located downtown, the Benson building will continue to serve NANA. After a bit of a facelift, the Anchorage-based employees of NANA Regional Corporation will move into the midtown facility.

We say thank you to all the past leaders, Elders and board members who have brought us to this place. Thank you to our employees for all your hard work, which has led to our shared success.

Wherever you are, may all of you have a happy and safe holiday season!

Helvi K. Sandvik, President
NANA Development Corporation


Iñupiaq-Talking Elevator Part of NDC’s New Home

NANA Development Corporation President Helvi Sandvik speaks at the White House as part of a forum for Business Leaders in Indian Country.
Hilda Haas is the voice behind the talking elevator at NDC’s new downtown Anchorage building.

Who would have thought taking the elevator could be a cultural experience? When NDC employees and visitors use the elevator at the new headquarters building in Anchorage, Alaska, they’ll also be getting a brief lesson in the Iñupiaq language. After a nearly year-long renovation, NDC moved its offices into the former UNOCAL/Chevron building this month, with the Iñupiaq-speaking elevator being just one of many innovative upgrades.

The voice in the elevator belongs to Hilda Haas, a NANA shareholder who has worked for NANA for 30 years. You’ll hear her announce the number of each floor as well as give instructions such as “stand clear of closing door,” and “you’re now in the basement.” Raised in Shungnak, a village of about 360 residents northeast of Kotzebue, Haas speaks fluent Iñupiaq and was honored to bring this element of culture to the new building.

“To me it’s a form of language preservation,” said Haas. “It’s also a conversation piece. I know when people from our region visit the building, they’ll say, ‘whose voice is that?’”

Renovations to the new building, which was originally constructed in 1969, were extensive. It was stripped down to its steel framing and concrete structural systems. Renovations of the 55,000-square-feet facility included installing sliding glass doors and clear interior walls to maximize natural light and take advantage of 360 degree panoramic views. NANA regional artwork, interior graphics inspired by qupak patterns found in traditional fur parkas, conference rooms named after region villages, and a zinc wall behind the reception desk – our Red Dog Mine is a zinc mine – are just a few of the details that reflect NANA’s heritage and ownership.

NANA Development Corporation President Helvi Sandvik speaks at the White House as part of a forum for Business Leaders in Indian Country.



About 145 NDC employees will occupy the new facility, bringing more departments under one roof. NDC spent the last 22 years at the midtown Anchorage location. “As Iñupiat hunters we strive to take care of our own,” said NDC Board of Directors Chairman Luke Sampson. “This building shows how far we’ve come and our ability to share those business successes with our shareholders.”

The state-of-the-art building is also a source of pride for NANA employees and shareholders, and has received compliments from downtown neighbors and business leaders. “Having such a visible building downtown with the NANA hunter on it shows our important place in this community and the state,” said NDC President Helvi Sandvik.

And for those visiting from the region they’ll feel a sense of home, especially once they step into the elevator.


Penny Cotten Wins NMS President’s Award

NMS President’s Award winner Penny Cotten
NMS President’s Award winner Penny Cotten

On Nov. 15, NMS held the company-wide Spirit of the Hunter awards, a yearly recognition of standout employees at NMS. President Mary Quin said the award is presented to recognize an employee who “demonstrates a consistent record of going above and beyond to get the job done and, as a result, has a major positive impact on the success of NMS and its reputation both among our clients and in the community.”

Penny Cotten, Vice President of marketing for NMS, is on the senior management team which oversees all five divisions of the company. She is responsible for organizing events like the Spirit of the Hunter Awards. Little did she know that, this time, she herself would be receiving the President’s Award. “I was doubly surprised,” says Cotten, who is usually in the know.

Quin is not surprised that Cotten received the award, which is a high honor. Before presenting the award, Quin said of the undisclosed recipient, “The winner of this year’s President’s Award is someone who has done more than any other single person to shape the public face of NMS.”

As part of her duties, Cotten is responsible for strategic communications, brand management, marketing, public relations and community outreach, including charitable contributions.

“Through her leadership, work ethic, vision and sheer stubbornness, tonight’s President’s Award winner [Penny Cotten] tells the NMS story to the world, and we grow in financial results, organizational capability and reputation as a result,” said Quin.

Cotten appreciated the recognition. “The first thing that came to mind when the award was presented was ‘my boys are going to love this.’” Cotten’s two children, Spencer, 24, and Nash, 23, are coming home to Anchorage for Christmas break from college.

“I am appreciative of working for a NANA company. It has always been good to me,” said Cotten. “It’s nice to be a part of that. It’s nice being recognized.”



Five Rivers Services Awarded TEDSS Contract

Five Rivers Services Awarded TEDSS Contract
Aaron Viola (FRS) performing analysis of the NAIS system while Rodney Gray (Truestone) and Curtis Hutcheson (FRS) work in the background.

Earlier this year, Five Rivers Services, LLC was awarded a five-year contract to provide TEDSS – Technical Engineering Development and Support Services – to develop, integrate, deploy, enhance and maintain new and existing U.S. Coast Guard command, control, communications, computer and information technology systems. These systems are deployed on Coast Guard vessels and aircraft, unmanned facilities and command centers located throughout the United States and the world.

Under this type of “multiple award” contract, several vendors are selected and they compete against each other for individual task orders. To date, four tasks orders valued at close to $12 million have been awarded on the TEDSS contract, all of which have been won by Five Rivers. Another NANA company, Truestone, LLC, is a major subcontractor to Five Rivers for these contracts as they have experience on previous Coast Guard work. The four task orders provide employment for 21 Five Rivers/Truestone personnel who support the WatchKeeper, Deepwater, CAMS Product Line, and Nationwide Automated Identification System (NAIS) programs.

Since both Five Rivers and Truestone report through the Engineering and Technical Services Group (ETSG), a team was formed to optimize the offerings of both companies. This inter-company collaboration and partnering mindset stimulated Five Rivers and Truestone to work together toward shared goals to ultimately to improve NANA shareholder value.



Congressman Calls Red Dog 'A Beacon of Hope'

Congressman Calls Red Dog ‘A Beacon of Hope”
Alaska Congressman Don Young toured Red Dog Mine with Joe Mathis, vice president external affairs for NDC

The Red Dog Mine welcomed a special visitor in October, Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska). It was the second trip to the mine for the 20-term congressman. He first visited it before the port facilities and haul road were completed in 1990.

Following the mine tour and lunch, the congressman and his staff overnighted in Kotzebue at the NANA-owned Nulla─ívik Hotel, and spent the following morning with representatives from NANA Regional Corp. (NRC) and the Northwest Arctic Borough, including Reggie Joule, its new mayor.

The congressman called the mine “a beacon of hope for development in Alaska.”

“My recent visit to the Red Dog Mine was an incredible experience that allowed me to see first-hand the mine’s impact on the region – and its economy,” Young said.

“I applaud the mine for their commitment to creating local jobs and having such an environmentally sound and technologically advanced project. I believe their topnotch operation is one that mines across the world can learn from,” he said.

Joe Mathis, NDC’s vice president of external affairs, organized the trip to the mine. Mathis, who has known Young for many years, said the visit “reaffirmed Don’s faith that we can develop our resources safely while protecting the subsistence life style of Native people.”

A gallery of photos from the visit is posted on Young’s Facebook page at: facebook.com/RepDonYoung

Accompanying Mathis on the visit were Dean Westlake, director, village economic development, NRC; Walter Sampson, vice president, land and regional affairs, NRC; Pete Leathard, senior vice president, oil and gas, NDC; and John Baker, Iditarod champion and NANA shareholder. Wayne Hall, Red Dog’s manager of communities and public relations, led the mine and mill tour.

Red Dog is one of the world’s largest producers of zinc concentrate. Located 82 miles north of Kotzebue on land owned by NANA, the mine is operated by Teck Alaska Incorporated.


Piksik Can Arrange Anything, Including Whale with a Side of Jalapeño

Crew on Little Diomede and a young observer.
Crew on Little Diomede and a young observer.

When Mexico City photographer Lourdes Grobet returned to Alaska to continue her documentary about Alaska Native life in northwest Alaska, she needed transportation, housing, equipment, local guides and a laundry list of other needs.

She called Piksik, the Anchorage-based film/television production support services company owned by NDC.

Grobet traveled to Alaska four years ago and Piksik Production Manager Deborah Schildt took her to Wales (population 145), the westernmost community on mainland North America; and Little Diomede Island (population 115), less than three miles from Russia. The exhibit she produced included photographs and a documentary film, which received an enthusiastic response during shows in Mexico and France. The audience told her they wanted to learn more about the Bering Strait region and its people, so she returned this year to extend the documentary. The film crew of seven – which included Schildt and Stacey Boles, her production coordinator – spent 20 days on location in November. Other Piksik personnel worked on the project from Anchorage, helping Schildt arrange helicopters, rent housing for the crew, set up meals and schedule plane travel. The trip went off without a hitch and Grobet is now back home editing the new footage.

Lourdes Grobet and crew enjoying a traditional meal at Lucy and Larry Kitchens home in Wales
Lourdes Grobet and crew enjoying a traditional meal at Lucy and Larry Kitchens home in Wales.

“We were able to re-interview a lot of the same people and compare what their lives were like then and what they’re like now,” Schildt says. “Grobet is a really interesting woman. She’s interested in what is happening in day-to-day life, what is happening with the people of the Bering Strait, their sense of their culture, sense of belonging and, what is even more evident four years from the original trip, the contrast between living a subsistence lifestyle, honoring their cultural traditions and dealing with the modern world and its cash economy.”

Schildt said her visitors from a tropical country thoroughly enjoyed life in northwest Alaska, including eating whale with jalapeño peppers.

Why would a Mexican photographer choose a project in the Bering Strait? It was a dream. Ten years ago Grobet was working with Yolanda Muñez Gonzalez, an academic from Mexico who studies indigenous groups around the world and is the documentary’s writer. Gonzalez dreamt that she and Grobet were crossing the Bering Strait together.

Piksik is building a growing resume, contributing to nearly two dozen projects since its formation in 2011, including feature films, national and international commercials for major brands, local commercials and still-photo shoots for companies around the world.

“We’re attracting all kinds of projects for which we provide production support,” Schildt says. “We’ve been busy. Our name means to jump up and respond quickly. And that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.”



WHPacific Featured in New Video

WHPacific and its many professional services – architecture, engineering, environmental services, planning, construction management, surveying and mapping – are featured in a new three-minute video produced by NANA’s Communications and Marketing Department and filmed at several project sites in the Pacific Northwest. The video is one of several on NANA’s YouTube channel featuring different NANA companies.

view video


Akima Brings Top Scientists to Region Classrooms

Akima Brings Top Scientists to Region ClassroomsSelawik School students took part in fun experiments with retired Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory engineer, Nicholas Williams.

Students in Selawik and Noorvik recently received hands-on lessons from one of the country’s top security and technology scientists. It was part of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s “Fun with Science” program that introduces elementary school-aged kids to the basics of science through hands-on demonstrations.

Akima Infrastructure Services, LLC has the workforce contract for Lawrence Livermore National Lab, so it paid to bring the program to Northwest Alaska. Nicholas Williams, a retired senior electronics engineer at the Lab who now teaches “Fun with Science,” and Diane Nelson, the Lab’s exhibit specialist, spent several days in the two villages.

“Not only are the students having fun with these experiments, but they’re learning something,” said Williams. Their demonstrations ranged from how electricity works to making elephant toothpaste.

“This was a tremendous opportunity for our students,” said Selawik School Principal Platonida Kashatock. “Our culture is very visual, and I believe most of our village students are visual learners, so the experiments were great for them.”

This was the first time the “Fun with Science” program has been taught outside of California.

Lawrence Livermore’s mission is to strengthen the nation’s security through development and application of world-class science and technology.

view video


Holiday Host Safety Tips

by Robert Bulger, Vice President, Health, Safety, Environment, and Quality, and the National Safety Council (a NANA partner in Safety)

The holidays should be a joyous time for you and your loved ones. Review the following safety tips to prevent injury and illness. Share this knowledge to keep your family and friends safe this holiday season.

  • When preparing a meal for family and friends, be sure to wash your hands, utensils, sink and anything that has come into contact with raw meats.
  • Clean fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Bacteria may exist on the outside.
  • Use different cutting boards and utensils for raw meats, cooked meats and other foods.
  • Never defrost food at room temperature. Thaw in the refrigerator, cold water or microwave.
  • While doing holiday cooking, keep your knives sharp. Most knife injuries happen with dull blades.
  • Use a clean food thermometer to make sure foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature before serving.
  • Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in covered shallow containers (foods will cool faster) within two hours after cooking. Date the leftovers for future use.
  • When reheating leftovers, bring the temperature up to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit to eliminate bacterial growth.
  • Avoid cleaning kitchen surfaces with wet dishcloths or sponges. Bacteria can harbor and spread through these items. Use clean paper towels instead.
  • If you’re going to serve alcohol at your holiday party, make sure a designated driver gets people home safely. More than half of all traffic fatalities are alcohol-related.
  • The holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year. You can’t avoid stress completely, but you can give yourself some relief. Allow enough time to shop for gifts and meal items rather than hurry through stores and parking lots. Only plan to do a reasonable number of errands.

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