Movers & Shakers March 17, 2002

Pfeiffer Diana L. Pfeiffer was chosen a recipient of the 2002 Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award. Pfeiffer is general manager of Alaska Sales & Service in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna area. Pfeiffer and other award winners were honored recently at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans. Pfeiffer was one of 66 dealers, from more than 19,400 nationwide, nominated for the award. Pfeiffer joined Alaska Sales & Service in 1969 as a bookkeeper.PlanchonDinitz Shannon Planchon has been hired as managing director of Out North. Planchon is responsible for the daily administration of the organization and its programs. Planchon has more than 15 years of public and private administration experience. Planchon most recently worked as associate director of the Alaska State Council on the Arts. The nonprofit arts, education and community development organization has hired Ken Dinitz as manager of external relations. Dinitz’s responsibilities will include institutional relations, corporate solicitation and general communications. Dinitz has more than 12 years experience in fund raising and communications for Koahnic Broadcast Corp. and WNYC public radio in New York City. Dinitz continues to work as a nonprofit fund-raising consultant.Paratransit Services, contractor for the Municipality of Anchorage’s AnchorRIDES program, has selected David M. Levy as general manager for its Alaska operations. Levy recently served as executive director for the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, a municipal civil rights enforcement agency. Paratransit has operated AnchorRIDES for the municipality since 1994.Carole Smith has joined Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union as controller. Smith supervises the credit union’s accounting department and is responsible for accounts payable and receivable as well as payroll and other functions. Smith has more than 12 years financial experience. Smith most recently worked as controller at La Mexicana Inc. in Anchorage. Smith previously spent more than six years in public accounting for consulting and accounting firms in Anchorage and the Lower 48.Miller Scott Miller has joined Northern Economics as an economist. Miller has a background in Alaska fisheries and fish processing sectors as well as fisheries economics experience. Miller recently completed a fisheries assessment for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Miller will help provide analysis of fisheries and resource issues in Alaska, Hawaii, the Lower 48 and the Pacific Rim.ClarkMarijferen Art Clark has joined Dynamic Properties as an associate broker. Clark has 15 years experience in real estate. Clark will specialize in residential and income properties. Pat Marijferen has joined the agency as a sales associate. Marijferen has more than 10 years experience in real estate. Marijferen will specialize in residential and income properties.Cole Kristan Cole received the No. 1 agent award for RE/MAX of Wasilla at the RE/ MAX of Alaska convention held recently in Girdwood. Cole also claimed second place for sales volume statewide and the No. 1 honor statewide in the number of closed transactions for 2001.MoberlyWaldron Brady & Co. has promoted Margery Moberly to account manager. Moberly has more than six years of experience in the insurance industry. Moberly’s duties include assisting in account management of the professional liability program insuring lawyers, architects and engineers. Moberly has been employed by the company since August 2000. Janet Waldron has been hired by Brady & Co. as account manager for small group benefits. Waldron has more than 10 years experience in both human resources management and the insurance industry. Waldron has worked as a small business owner, human resources manager and a licensed insurance agent. Waldron will work as an employee benefits consultant and broker for Alaska businesses with fewer than 100 employees.The South Central Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development has elected a new board of directors. The new officers are: Dawn Scott, president; Terry Alexander, past president; Douglas Marshall, vice president for communication; Elizabeth Hayes, vice president for membership; Cheryl Westley, vice president for finance; Sandi Sturm, vice president for marketing; and Brian Walsh, vice president for professional development.

Business Profile: Restaurants Northwest Inc.

Name of the company: Restaurants Northwest Inc.Established: 1975Location: 3841 W. Dimond Blvd., AnchorageTelephone: 907-245-5464Major focus of services: Restaurants Northwest Inc. is the Burger King franchisee for Alaska. The company operates 22 restaurants in 13 Alaska communities from Southeast Alaska to Nome and Dutch Harbor. Restaurants Northwest also runs its own distributing division.History of the company: In the mid-1970s Alaskan Larry Baker, aiming to run his own business, sought to bring a Burger King franchise to Alaska, home to only two national fast food players, McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken. At the time Burger King was the third-largest national brand. Burger King officials at first declined Baker’s franchise request but granted it six months later. The first Alaska restaurant, at 36th Avenue and the Old Seward Highway, opened in June 1975. "When that restaurant opened it broke all the national records," Baker recalled. When the first Alaska Burger King opened, there were none of the restaurants operating in Arizona, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, northern California, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington or Wyoming. The nearest ones were four Burger King restaurants in Portland, Ore. "We were real pioneers in the West," he said.The second Alaska restaurant opened in January 1976 at Boniface Parkway and Northern Lights Boulevard in Anchorage. In 1977 the franchisee opened a restaurant in Fairbanks. The company next opened a downtown Anchorage eatery that was later relocated to the Anchorage 5th Avenue mall.Restaurants Northwest has continued to expand in Alaska, becoming one of the state’s largest private employers. The company employs about 500 full- and part-time employees, typically more in the peak summer season. Despite the company’s size, officials contribute to community organizations in the towns where they operate.Top accomplishment of the company: "I think one of the things we are recognized for is that we have long had a corporate policy of helping physically and mentally challenged people," said Restaurants Northwest President Baker. All the Alaska restaurants have staff with disabilities, many of whom are long-time employees. In 2001 Hope Cottages Inc., which provides community-based residential and employment services for people with developmental disabilities, recognized the company as employer of the year.Major player: Larry Baker, president, Restaurants Northwest Inc.Baker came to Alaska in 1968 to work for the Anchorage School District school lunch program. In the mid-1970s he was awarded franchise rights to Burger King restaurants in Alaska. Last year the company was chosen as the 194th largest U.S. restaurant company by Restaurant Finance Monitor.-- Nancy Pounds

Shareholders approve Conoco-Phillips merger

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. -- Shareholders of Conoco Inc. and Phillips Petroleum Co. overwhelmingly approved a proposed $15.6 billion merger March 12, moving the companies one step closer to creating the nation’s third-largest oil corporation.Stockholders of both companies approved the merger by a 96 percent margin. Phillips has a major presence in Alaska.The votes came a week after the European Union signed off on the merger. Canada also has approved it, leaving the U.S. Federal Trade Commission as the last hurdle.The FTC has requested more information but is expected to rule in the second half of 2002. Both companies expect to make the merger final soon after the decision."We feel really confident about our submission to the FTC," said Conoco chairman and chief executive Archie Dunham. He said the new company does not anticipate being forced to divest any holdings to raise cash for the merger or meet regulatory requirements.The new company, Conoco- Phillips, would assume Conoco’s home in Houston.Though both companies describe the deal as a merger of equals, Phillips’ shareholders would own 56.6 percent of Conoco Phillips, with Conoco shareholders coming away with 43.4 percent.Only Exxon Mobil Corp. and ChevronTexaco Corp. would be larger than ConocoPhillips in the United States, and it would be the sixth-largest investor-owned oil company worldwide.Phillips chief executive James J. Mulva would be president and chief executive officer of the combined company. His lieutenants will be a mix of current Phillips and Conoco executives.Dunham is delaying his retirement to serve as chairman of the new company until he steps down in 2004, when Mulva will add that role.The company would control or have stakes in 19 refineries worldwide with a capacity of 2.6 million barrels a day. It would be the United States’ top refiner and would be behind 17,000 U.S. gas stations flagged by the respective corporate names along with the Circle K and 76 brands."It really, truly is a world-class integrated petroleum company," Mulva said. "Both companies feel very strongly about technology."Joint oil reserves of the new company would be about 8.7 billion barrels. The companies estimate the deal will save them $750 million annually once redundancies and an undetermined number of workers are cut.The new company will look to explore the Middle East and Caspian Sea regions, Dunham said, adding that both companies have Oklahoma roots and many similarities."We have complementary assets, complementary expertise and complementary business objectives," Dunham said.

Marketing just begins with Web site start-up

So your company has a Web site. How does it benefit your company? How is it supporting your offline business? Just like a brick-and-mortar business, online businesses must get the word out about their products and services. There is a mentality perpetuated by the meteoric rise of tiny start-ups that suggests that all one has to do to succeed online is to show up. Perhaps for some companies the commercial World Wide Web was still small enough that they were able to gain some site traffic with very little effort. But it is very evident today that this is not the case. The popularity of the Internet has grown exponentially in the past few years, but so has the competition. A Web site is a sinkhole if no one comes to visit, and without a concerted marketing effort no one will. Where to start What are the most important things to consider when marketing your Web site? First, are you offering the same products and services online as offline? All of them? Is your target the same? In the United States, the online population is rapidly coming to reflect the overall population, but traditionally the online market and the online shopper in particular has been a bit younger, a bit more affluent, a bit more educated. If you do find that most of your potential customers can be reached online, then you’ve got a good start. Build on your offline presence and marketing activities. You’ve spent a lot of time and money putting together a marketing team that gets the word out about your business and identifies those potential customers. Incorporating online marketing messages to your traditional marketing materials saves valuable time and money. Of course, it is important to seek out online marketing options as well, but the point is that you have an economy of scale from the start. Where to market online Online advertising and marketing has been much maligned in the press in the past few years. Keep in mind that the perceived drop in effectiveness, decrease in advertising revenue, and technology sector slump have weeded out a lot of weak players. Those online marketing venues that remain and are prospering are doing so because they are showing results. This goes for all types of online media. Assuming you know what your goals are and where you want to focus, it is very possible to effectively advertise and market online. Banner ads are the most well known and in some ways the most controversial online media. The industry average click-through-rate, or percent of people who click on the ads through the advertiser’s Web site, is somewhere under one-tenth of 1 percent. But do traditional advertising media buyers care what the average television rating is on network television? Of course they do not. They pay attention to how popular a particular show is for their specific target audience. Banner advertising is the same. The better you understand who you are trying to reach, the easier it will be to determine how appropriate a given banner ad program can work for you. Two online marketing media that are enjoying tremendous growth currently are direct e-mail marketing and search engine optimization. Direct e-mail marketing to a list of recipients who have agreed to receive mail from you, and are an appropriate audience for your message, offer or product, can have response rates of up to 50 percent. When is the last time your direct mailer had such results? Search engine optimization, a variety of tasks that are designed to improve your company’s rankings in search engine results can be a relatively inexpensive, long-lasting way to build traffic to your Web site. How to measure success So you have taken a look at the role your Web site plays in your overall business. You have compared your online and offline audiences. And you have selected some online marketing tactics that will effectively reach this online group. How do you know your efforts aren’t all for nothing? Just like tracking sales or measuring the success of your business offline, you need to assess the performance of your Web site and your marketing efforts in particular. If your goal is to drive increased traffic to your Web site, can you tell where those new visitors are coming from? If you are selling products, can you tell what sales result from your Web presence and which sales come from offline initiatives? Without a means to discriminate between the two, you will never be able to determine how your Web site contributes to your business. The great thing about the Internet is that it provides an incredible opportunity to measure results. Whether you are trying to sell widgets, provide online content subscriptions, or provide free information and sell advertising, there is information that can evaluate success and there is a way to keep track. There are numerous Web traffic measurement programs and services that will provide trackable information for any size Web site. You can measure the number of visitors coming to your site, how many pages they are viewing, what pages they are viewing the most, where your site traffic is coming from and so on. Online marketing is not a mysterious science. Many of the principles are the same as offline marketing. The discipline remains the same. What is different is the immediate gratification: You know right away what is working and what isn’t. For example, a traditional direct mail campaign may take two to three months before overall campaign results are available; with a direct e-mail campaign, results can be available in three to four days. This creates a need for solid planning by online marketers and the ability to make adjustments very quickly. What is most important is that your company keeps focused on how your Web site should contribute to the primary goals of your business and move forward with marketing strategies to make it happen. Kristen Fowler develops online marketing strategies for Impact LLC.

Little Diomede has oldest, costliest mail drop

Years after man walked on the moon, mail was still being delivered by walrus-skinned boats to Diomede.Occasionally, a cargo plane would fly over the tiny island village, and sacks of mail would be thrown out, tumbling hundreds of feet to the tundra."We couldn’t order fine china," said Francis Ozenna, city manager of Diomede.She is one of the island’s 147 mostly Ingalikmiut Eskimo inhabitants.Located 135 miles northwest of Nome and just more than two miles from Big Diomede Island, Russia, the village didn’t get regular mail service until 1982.Except for one year when it was underbid, Evergreen Helicopters of Alaska Inc. has provided the weekly mail runs to Diomede. The postal contract now is one of the oldest in the nation, and the only one that uses helicopters for delivering the mail.The postal contract is the most expensive in Alaska and probably the United States, costing more than $300,000 annually, according to Debbie Castignetti, a U.S. Postal Service network planning specialist in Anchorage.Little Diomede Island is less than 3 square miles in size, and the island’s rocky, steep slopes have prohibited the construction of a runway.Depending on weather, an ice strip is constructed in the village for a few weeks to a couple of months each year. During those times, a ski-equipped airplane owned by Bering Air is used to deliver the mail.Few floatplanes attempt the flight to Diomede thanks to its foggy skies and choppy seas.Since the inception of the mail contract, Evergreen pilot Eric Penttila has been ferrying mail to the island in the company’s Messerschmidt helicopter.A former U.S. Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam, Penttila said delivering mail to Diomede is not unlike flying under fire."Flying in the weather out here is just as challenging as Vietnam and it can be just as deadly if you’re not careful," Penttila said.During the Cold War, straying off course also could be cause for grave concern, as Big Diomede Island was heavily armed with antiaircraft weapons, Penttila said."Pilots could be penalized with violations from the State Department, or worse, when we weren’t buddies with the Russians," Penttila said.For years, Penttila used to land on the bow of a shipwrecked scow. A storm took the old barge away a few years ago, prompting the state to build a helipad where Penttila lands his Messerschmidt now.In addition to mail, Penttila has used the company helicopter for medical evacuations and search and rescues at sea.In 1993, he helped pluck a group of seven gospel singers out of the ocean off the coast of Nome after the visiting missionaries’ plane crashed.Penttila, 58, said he doesn’t know how much longer he’ll be flying mail to Diomede. His wife, Sharon, is a school teacher in Nome and will retire in about four years."We’ll take a look at it then," Penttila said.The helicopter pilot is well liked in Diomede and about the only face people see beyond the island’s boundaries."He is a very good person; he’s a very good pilot," said city manager Ozenna. "He’s a guy everybody respects and he knows the region and the weather and everybody trusts him."Before regular mail service, mail would come by a once-a-year barge, a rare air drop, or a few times a year by villagers using skin boats from Wales, 28 miles away on the western tip of the Seward Peninsula.Mail was sorted in Diomede and left on a pool table in the village’s recreation center.Today, a small post office is housed within city offices.Regular mail service, said Ozenna, has helped change Diomede, for better and worse."We’re more modernized now," Ozenna said. "Everybody likes the change."Diomeders have long been known for their ivory carvings and whale hunting. But those cultural activities are in decline."There are fewer skin boats on the beach, and we still have some great carvers here, but not as many," Ozenna said.Ivory carvers once used their wares for barter for everything from food to electricity, but money, mostly through welfare, has replaced that method of trade.Today, it’s typical to see mail-ordered packages from J.Crew or Victoria’s Secret among the more popular parcels from J.C. Penney’s, Ozenna said. Much of the mail also consists of food and other supplies, shipped from Anchorage Wal-Marts and Kmarts.Pampers and soda pop are popular shipments.Ozenna said much of the mail also contains welfare checks and food stamps. Jobs are scarce in the community, and less than a quarter of the population is employed.Mail sometimes contains drugs and alcohol, Ozenna said. Diomede is a dry village where the sale and importation of alcohol is illegal.Ozenna said she and other villagers had hoped that tighter security measures imposed after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 would have quelled some of the illegal shipments, but that hasn’t happened."We hoped all the drugs and alcohol would stop, because the post office would be more cautious, but it still comes out here," Ozenna said.No law enforcement personnel are located in the community, so villagers police themselves."If we see a suspicious box, it gets reported," Ozenna said.Despite mail and other factors that have brought the Western culture to this Eskimo community, it still largely remains an odd American outpost.The village has satellite television, telephones and Internet, but none of the community’s 47 homes have running water or flush toilets, so the misnamed honeybuckets are standard.There has been talk by politicians and state officials of relocating the village to the mainland, but that’s an unpopular option with the locals, Ozenna said.The International Dateline runs through the Bering Sea between the two Diomede islands.Ozenna points out that residents just have to look over that line to see tomorrow, and the present, due largely to mail service, has caught up with Diomede."We have our walrus, bear, seal, fish, greens and berries here," Ozenna said. "Modern life, everybody is getting used to it. Everybody wants it easier. But in Diomede easy is a hard thing to do."

Postal Service tightens rules for mail

It may be in the mail, but that doesn’t mean it is being delivered.The U.S. Postal Service doesn’t know why, but some certified mail from western Alaska villages is being lost, so new procedures are being developed to better track mail from the Bush.Steve Deaton, network planning specialist for the U.S. Postal Service in Anchorage, said that a significant amount of certified mail is being lost in-bound from Bush communities to the Bethel postal hub.Certified mail provides the sender with a mailing receipt and a delivery record that is maintained by the Postal Service.Unfortunately, too many delivery records can’t be logged because letters are being lost."There have been customers who have complained," Deaton told the Journal. "We are experiencing some losses every day."Deaton told members of the Alaska Air Carriers Association at its annual trade show Feb. 28 that new procedures will go into effect April 6 at 27 villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, an area roughly the size of Oregon.The Postal Service’s Registered Mail Pilot Program was developed in February and will feature a new form that will require signatures from anyone who handles the letter or package of letters.Similar procedures are in place in the Lower 48 and in urban Alaska, but because of the Bush’s size and uniqueness, no such accountability policy had been in place, Deaton said.That will change now, he said."A signature will be required at each hand-off,’’ Deaton said.Postal workers, airline agents, pilots and anyone else in possession of the certified mail must sign for it now if they touch it, Deaton said.In some communities along the Kuskokwim River, mail also is delivered by hovercraft and will include signatures from ship personnel, as well.Part of the program also will include finding the most efficient way of handling certified mail, Deaton said.The Postal Service intends to have special training for air carriers and postal workers to explain the new forms and procedures in detail, Deaton said."We want as few people as we can touching the mail," Deaton said.Bethel is the post office’s largest Bush mail hub, serving the greatest number of communities, Deaton said. If the new procedures prove effective there, the program could extend to other parts of rural Alaska, he said."We’ll have to see how well it works in the pilot program," Deaton said.Lucille Green, postmaster in Hooper Bay, 120 miles northwest of Bethel, said two or three errant certified letters end up at her post office weekly, due largely to wrong zip codes or computerized address-reading machines that malfunction.Green suspects that’s the reason letters are being missent and ultimately lost."I don’t think it is all human error," Green said, adding that she researches each letter, gives it a correct zip code, and sends it to the correct delivery point."I don’t keep them here. I get them to the right place," Green said.She said that may not be happening everywhere, as letters could go to the wrong post office and simply vanish, for whatever reason."I don’t know about other postmasters but I was taught right, not by the post office but growing up," she said.

Europe grows in importance to Alaska as a trade partner

When Alaskans think about international trade, they usually think about Asia. There is good reason for this, as some 80 percent of the state’s worldwide exports are destined for markets around the Pacific Rim.In recent years, however, Alaska’s business ties with European countries have grown, and an increasing number of Alaska companies are exploring opportunities in this important part of the world.This week Gov. Tony Knowles will lead a delegation of more than 20 business and government leaders on a seven-day trade mission to Europe. During the trip, Knowles and the private sector participants will promote tourism to Alaska, sales of the state’s high quality seafood products and expanded energy sector development.Business stops in London, Berlin and Frankfurt will provide the delegation with the chance to meet with current and potential Alaska customers and investors. The Division of International Trade and Market Development is coordinating the mission.During 2001, Alaska’s exports to Europe advanced sharply. Nine European countries finished the year among the state’s 20 largest export markets. Overall, the state’s exports to the so-called "EU-15" reached $349 million, up 63 percent from the previous year’s total of $215 million. The EU-15 consists of the 15 member nations of the European Union, 11 of which are members of the European Monetary Union that have adopted the euro as their currency.Among the state’s top 10 trading partners, Germany is the fourth largest and Belgium ranks seventh. Exports to Germany consist of seafood, mainly pollock and salmon, and minerals like zinc and lead. Belgium is a major market for zinc and lead from Alaska. The country produces and exports a variety of metals, and Alaska minerals are smelted and used in to produce those metals.In past years, minerals accounted for the lion’s share of the state’s exports to Europe. In 2001, however, seafood exports surged by nearly 200 percent and surpassed minerals as the leading Alaska export to Europe. Seafood exports for the year totaled $154 million while minerals reached $148 million. Pollock, cod and salmon are major seafood export species. The United Kingdom continues to be the state’s largest overseas market for canned salmon. Zinc and lead concentrates are the main mineral exports.Not only is Europe an important market for Alaska exports, but Europe now constitutes the state’s largest overseas visitors market. This year, it is anticipated that 30,000 German-speaking visitors will make Alaska their travel destination. A smaller number will come to the state from the United Kingdom.Germany-based Condor Airlines, a passenger charter subsidiary of Lufthansa, operates flights to Alaska during the summer season from Frankfurt and Zurich via Whitehorse. These flights deliver visitors to both Anchorage and Fairbanks. In Berlin, the governor’s delegation will promote Alaska tourism opportunities at ITB, the world’s largest travel conference.It is not only passengers that make their way to Alaska by air. Lufthansa, the world’s largest air cargo carrier, operates all-cargo flights between Europe and Asia with a refueling stop at Fairbanks International Airport.Foreign direct investment has played a very significant role in the development and growth of the state’s major industries. The most recent figures reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce indicate that investments in Alaska by U.S. affiliates of foreign companies, as of 1999, totaled $28 billion. That total ranked Alaska ninth among all American states as a recipient of these investments.The vast majority of this amount can be attributed to British Petroleum’s investment at Prudhoe Bay. However, other European firms have made sizable investments in the state. Rio Tinto, another British company, is the majority owner of the Greens Creek mine outside Juneau.In Anchorage, London-based Millennium and Copthorne Hotels now own the Millennium Hotel, once owned by Regal International from Hong Kong. Also, with headquarters in London, P & O Princess Cruises PLC operates the Princess Cruise Line, whose ships call at ports in Alaska. The company has made direct investments in four hotels in the state.Looking forward, the prospects are bright for expanding Alaska’s business with countries in Europe. Knowles’ mission, the first governor-led trade mission to Europe from Alaska, is an important step in educating potential customers about the goods and services Alaska can supply. It will also serve to highlight Alaska as a world-class tourism destination and as an attractive location for investment in the state’s major industries.At the same time, the business and government leaders who participate in the mission will return to the state with a better understanding of what Alaska companies must do to compete successfully in this large, competitive market.Greg Wolf is director of the Alaska Division of International Trade & Market Development. For assistance and information on business opportunities in Europe, contact the Alaska Division of International Trade and Market Development at 907-269-8110 or via e-mail at ([email protected]).

This Week in Alaska Business History March 10, 2002

Editor’s note: "This Week in Alaska Business History" revisits events that shaped our past."Those who cannotremember the past arecondemned to repeat it."-- George Santayana, 1863-195220 years ago this weekAnchorage TimesMarch 10, 1982Advisers say Susitna road should waitBy Dave CarpenterTimes WriterThe Alaska Power Authority’s plans to build a road to the site of the proposed Susitna dams are being criticized as premature by a group of state and federal advisers on the project.The chairman of the Susitna Hydroelectric Steering Committee, Al Carson, says the "pioneer" or limited-access route from Gold Creek to the Watana site should not be built until Susitna gains federal licensing. Gold Creek lies just east of the Parks Highway north of Talkeetna."They’re asking for a road to be built before we’re sure whether there’s going to be a project at the end of that road or not," state Department of Natural Resources officials said Tuesday.Anchorage TimesMarch 10, 1982Airlines may increase Bush serviceBy Dave DavidTimes WriterAlaska Airlines is considering stretching its route system into Kodiak, Bethel and points on the Aleutian chain and Kenai Peninsula this year, chairman Bruce Kennedy says.Kennedy and other Alaska Airlines executives attended a board meeting in Anchorage Tuesday and were to return to the airline’s Seattle headquarters today.Competition for Alaska passengers and the effects of an ongoing fare war were among the topics discussed by the board.Kennedy said Alaska Airlines "had a weaker balance sheet in the fourth quarter of 1981 than it did the year earlier." He blamed that partially on fare-slashing begun by Western Airlines.10 years ago this weekAlaska Journal of CommerceMarch 16, 1992Companies commit to Point McIntyreBy Ray TysonAlaska Journal of CommerceOwners of the Point McIntyre oil field near Prudhoe Bay have committed themselves to a multimillion dollar drilling program, strongly indicating that Alaska’s three largest producers are preparing for a definite field start-up by August 1993.The Alaska Department of Natural Resources estimates Point McIntyre, the largest U.S. discovery in more than a decade, will begin daily production of 40,000 barrels, ramping up to 80,000-90,000 barrels per day within six months of start-up."We anticipate an August 1993 start-up. That’s our understanding," said Mike Kotowski, unit manager for DNR’s Division of Oil and Gas.State royalties and taxes on Point McIntyre production will feed about $80 million a year into the state’s depleting treasury."It’s going to be a real boost in revenues. We’ll need it," said Chuck Logsdon, the state’s chief petroleum economist.Owner efforts to hammer out an agreement addressing field equity and facility sharing issues already have put field start-up behind schedule by a year.Alaska Journal of CommerceMarch 18, 1992Fox ruffles coopBy Ray TysonAlaska Journal of CommerceKTBY Channel 4 has weathered hard financial times and a highly competitive market to become one of the top-rated independent television stations in the nation.KTBY also has more than doubled its revenue since 1988 and is rivaling ABC affiliate KIMO Channel 13 as the third most watched television station in Anchorage.Not bad for a station that went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy just four years ago to protect the station from creditors who wanted the budding business to satisfy real estate debts incurred by owner Ron Bradley."They’ve done a terrific job under difficult circumstances," said David Ferrara, FOX network’s vice president for national affiliates.Based on its share of Anchorage’s prime-time viewing audience, KTBY is ranked sixth among FOX’s 137 affiliates nationwide, surpassed only by Las Vegas, New York, Sacramento, Cincinnati and San Francisco.-- Compiled by Ed Bennett.

State's BPW president champions education

A yearlong stint working in Glennallen and living in a one-room cabin afforded Alaskan Deborah Gomez ample time for soul searching. Single again after a divorce, she assessed her strengths and considered her future while studying numerous books about women. "I really learned what my talents and gifts were and how to use them," she recalled. Gomez was already a skilled writer and public speaker, but she also realized how much she wanted to help other women. "I began to recognize women in similar positions who were not making it, who did not know their possibilities," she said. Today, Gomez champions education and encouragement as state president of the Alaska Federation of Business and Professional Women, part of a national organization based in Washington, D.C. She also trains women during presentations and workshops through her company, Northern Continuing Education, as well as through work as special assistant to the president at Natchiq Inc. Nationally, BPW/USA traces its roots to World War I when the U.S. War Department designated $65,000 to the Women’s War Council and the YWCA to organize professional women’s skills at a time of need. The National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, with many suffragettes as members, was founded in 1919 as the first national association for business and professional women. In Alaska the first chapter was started in Juneau in 1923. A second chapter was started in Ketchikan in 1945. By then an Anchorage group had been formed but was not officially linked to the national organization. The state organization eventually grew to 17 area chapters, from Nome to Sitka.

House leaders put off hearing caucus' revenue proposals

A drive by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the state House to develop a long-range state financial plan has suffered a setback at the hands of conservatives in the Republican leadership.The Fiscal Policy Caucus, an informal group of 21 Republicans and Democrats led by state Reps. Lisa Murkowski, R-Anchorage, and Bill Hudson, R-Juneau, has been working on a plan that would raise new revenues to cover expected $1 billion deficits in the state budget.Members of the bipartisan caucus now say the House Republican leaders reneged on a commitment to bring the fiscal plan to the floor of the House before the state operating budget is scheduled.House leaders have set March 18 as a date when the budget will be brought to the floor of the House, and say the fiscal plan will be considered later.Rep. Eldon Mulder, R-Anchorage, said the committee’s first priority will be to make cuts in the budget proposed by Gov. Tony Knowles, and consider new revenues later.But lawmakers in the Fiscal Policy Caucus say that if House action on the fiscal plan is delayed, it will give Republican leaders in the state Senate an excuse to delay action."It’s a perfect strategy if you want to put off the plan," said Rep. Eric Croft, D-Anchorage. "The longer you delay, the more credible an argument the Senate has that the House didn’t give them enough time to do their business," Croft told the Associated Press.The issue is also seen as a test of strength in the state House between conservatives in the House Republican leadership and moderate Republicans who have aligned themselves with minority Democrats on the fiscal issue.The Fiscal Policy group has proposed a plan with a state personal income tax or a state sales tax, or both, in addition to new taxes on business, and a modification of the way the Alaska Permanent Fund income is managed. The permanent fund income change would allow some of the earnings to be used to finance state services.The new revenue measures are opposed, however, by several Republican conservatives in the House who would propose further spending cuts before new revenues are considered. Mulder, co-chairman of the Finance Committee, said the initial effort will be a $300 million cut to existing-year spending.The delay in tackling the fiscal plan appears to have slowed momentum for the initiative. Following the announcement that the fiscal policy debate will be postponed, two chairmen of House committees now considering revenue measures said they will delay further committee work on new revenue measures.Rep. John Coghill Jr., R-North Pole, chairman of the State Affairs Committee, said he will postpone further hearings on an income tax and other bills in his committee.Rep. Bill Williams, R-Saxman, co-chairman of the House Finance Committee, said he will postpone until March 19 further consideration of a bill that would allow some permanent fund earnings to be used for a "community dividend" paid to municipalities.That proposal, by Rep. Carl Moses, D-Unalaska, would help offset cuts in state revenue sharing to local governments in recent years. The bill is also important symbolically because it would be the first time some of the fund’s income is used for public services.Now the fund’s income is used for dividends paid to residents, with any remaining income reinvested.The division of opinion over the fiscal plan has the potential to break up the Republican Majority coalition, sources in the Legislature say, leading to moderate Republicans voting with the Democratic minority on the fiscal package.Although businesses in the state are likely to share some increases in tax, development of a long-term fiscal plan is broadly supported by many business groups, such as the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, and resource industry groups like the Resource Development Council for Alaska Inc. and the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, an oil contractor trade group.

Around the World March 10, 2002

STATESealaska plastics plant will shut down in AprilJUNEAU -- Alaska Native-owned TriQuest-Puget Plastics in Vancouver, Wash., says it will halt production in April and close in June.Tri-Quest is owned by Sealaska, the Juneau-based regional Native corporation for Southeast, and Arctic Slope Regional Corp., the northern Alaska regional Native corporation with headquarters in Barrow.TriQuest-Puget has 157 employees, most of whom will be laid off when production ceases next month. A small number will be kept on until June to assist with the plant’s closure.Ross Soboleff, vice president of corporate communications for Sealaska, said in an e-mail, "The closure is in response to ongoing consolidation of the industry and movement of the business to Mexico, Asia, and out of the Pacific Northwest region. The management team is working with customers to transfer business to appropriate suppliers to minimize the impact."Sealaska acquired the predecessor to the company in December 1997.According to a Feb. 23 article in The Columbian newspaper of Vancouver, Wash., TriQuest lost $25 million in 2000, and its owners had been trying to sell it for more than a year.GTL plant in Nikiski on target for April startANCHORAGE -- A pilot plant in Nikiski for testing BP’s technology to convert natural gas to liquid fuels is on track to start by April, a project manager said.The $86 million plant will be used to test new technology BP has developed, including a compact reformer that’s about a fortieth the size of a conventional unit. About $40 million of the total was spent in Alaska.Testing at Nikiski could go on as long as five years, according to Steve Fortune, the project’s engineering manager.GTL engineering manager Steve Fortune said the technology designed around the unit is more efficient and more environmentally sound.About 100 to 120 workers are on site, Fortune said.The plant is designed so BP can plug in new designs in various stages of the process to test what its labs produce."We have a site devoted to research. That’s a very powerful thing to have," he said. "If we can prove the technology at this scale, we can go up to 100-300 times the scale."With that, BP could build a plant on the North Slope that would produce 30,000 barrels daily, a hundred times what the Nikiski facility will turn out, he said.The liquid that’s produced by a GTL plant is low in sulfur and other pollutants, and is expected to command a premium in the market.NATIONExxon chairman sees energy demand aheadHOUSTON -- Exxon Mobil Corp. chairman Lee R. Raymond said March 5 that a recovery in the world economy will boost energy demand over the next decade and help reverse a recent decline in oil industry profit margins.Raymond also declared that the oil giant’s financial reports are clear and free of the obscure dealings that caused energy trader Enron Corp. to collapse."There are no long-term incentives to manipulate earnings through creative accounting or pro forma results or off-balance sheet debt," Raymond told a meeting of analysts.Exxon Mobil called the meeting "Staying the Course" and it came against the backdrop of its rising stock price and solid earnings despite a downturn in oil and gas prices.UBS Warburg analyst Matthew Warburton said investors’ current enthusiasm wasn’t a bet that the company would announce exciting news.Rather, the Warburg analyst said in a research note on March 1, investors were drawn by Exxon Mobil’s "conservative accounting policies and impressive financial position," making it a "relative safe haven" in the Enron-roiled market.-- Compiled from business wire services.

Fish managers predict average run of pinks, big drop in sockeyes

KODIAK -- State fish managers predict a lower statewide salmon harvest of 133 million fish this year because pink catches should return to more average levels. Sockeye harvests are expected to come in at just 22.1 million fish, the lowest level since 1979.Statewide projections for other species are: kings, 416,000; silvers, 4.8 million; pinks, 87.5 million; and chums, 18.4 million fish.Last year’s projection for all species was 142 million, but the catch totaled 174 million because of a larger than projected pink harvest of 122.4 million. The value of the salmon fishery continued its downward trend, coming in at just $214 million. That compares with $370 million in 1999 and $489 million in 1994.Oily fish can reduce premature birth risksA report in the British Medical Journal states that eating oily fish during pregnancy reduces the risk of premature births. According to Seafood.com, researchers in Denmark surveyed more than 8,000 pregnant women about how often they had eaten fish during their pregnancy.Premature delivery fell from 7.1 percent in women who had never eaten fish to just 1.9 percent in those who ate fish at least once a week.Researchers said the important chemical was probably a fatty acid called docosahexanoic acid, or DHA, which can suppress the formation of chemicals called prostaglandins, which cause the uterus to contract.The average birth weight and length of pregnancy both appeared to increase in direct relation to the amount of fish the women ate. The report cited herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout as fish that provide the most benefits. The Danish study added that women who do not eat seafood should consider taking fish oil supplements.Canada cuts sablefish catchCanada’s sablefish, or black cod, fishery has reopened, on the condition that the overall quota will be reduced. The fishery was closed abruptly in mid-January because of concerns over the stocks. A quota of 4,000 tons was set for the fishery, which runs from August 2001 though July 2002, but industry reports say the quota will be reduced by as much as 30 percent.Market analyst Bill Atkinson said news of the reduced catch boosted prices in Japan, where virtually all of the sablefish goes, to $4.78 a pound for 5 to 7 pound fish. Atkinson said there is little sablefish currently available in Japan as the start of the Alaska fishery prepares to open March 18."Following the usual trend, wholesale prices soften once the Alaska fishery opens and the market is expected to return to normal by April," Atkinson said.Good fish, bad fishThe Marine Conservation Society of Great Britain (not to be confused with the Marine Stewardship Council) has launched a new consumer’s guide to eating "eco-friendly" fish. Called "The MCS Good Fish Guide," it is intended to inform consumers about "which fish can be eaten and which should be avoided, to reduce overfishing and damage to the marine environment."The guide describes how and where fish are caught, whether they come from sustainably managed stocks, and provides information on environmental and social issues associated with catching, processing and eating fish.The Guide’s top 20 most vulnerable species to avoid eating are listed as: Atlantic cod and salmon (it recommends as an alternative "responsibly and/or organically farmed salmon"); lingcod; Chilean sea bass; European hake; grouper; haddock; marlin; monkfish; North Atlantic halibut with the alternative being Greenland or Pacific halibut or farmed halibut; orange roughy; sea bass; shark, skates and rays; snapper; sturgeon; swordfish; tuna; and warm water or tropical prawns.Kodiak-based free-lance writer Laine Welch can be reached via e-mail at ([email protected]).

Get hacked by experts, not by 'Script Kiddies'

Gary Sullivan, president of Galaxy Computer Services Inc., told an Anchorage audience Feb. 14 that there are three kinds of malicious network attackers: Script Kiddies, Journeymen and the Elite.The Script Kiddies are the teen-agers who find an automated attack program on the Internet and launch it to see what will happen."If you have a good, solid maintenance program, these folks aren’t going to hurt you," Sullivan said.The next step up are the Journeymen."They can automate manual attacks or take attacks and adjust their features. They are not creative." In most cases they, too, can be defended against with a good security system, Sullivan said.But that’s not true of the Elite."These people are really good," Sullivan said. "They’re creative. You aren’t going to defend against them. Fortunately, most of them are on our side -- but some aren’t."Lara Baker, the company’s chief technology officer, showed the audience various Web sites that provide malicious hackers, or "crackers," with the tools they need to probe a company’s network for weaknesses.He likened the process to robbing a bank. Much like John Dillinger, attackers spend a lot of time "casing the joint" before making the break-in, which often lasts just a few minutes."Only the size of the gun has changed, and it’s harder to see," Baker said.And as with well-guarded banks, attackers will often move on to one that appears more vulnerable. "Maker it hard for someone to attack you -- they’ll go elsewhere.""And don’t get hit by the eighth-graders. Get hit by the Elite."

Wal-Mart gives Alaska stores a face lift

Wal-Mart operators are renovating the retailer’s two Anchorage stores in a project that includes its frozen and refrigerated food offerings.The project, which began in early 2002, should be finished in late March, said Wal-Mart Alaska district manager Gary Harvey."We’re giving the stores an overall face lift," he said.Wal-Mart typically renovates its stores after five to eight years in operation, he said. The Anchorage stores, one in Midtown and another on Dimond Boulevard, have been open eight years, Harvey said.The two stores will feature the latest Wal-Mart floor plan rather than one from 1994, he said.New freezers will provide some additional space, although Wal-Mart already had several freezers selling milk, ice cream and some frozen foods, he said. Now those items will all be in one spot rather than scattered throughout the store, Harvey said.However, the store is not adding a full grocery line, said Pete Kinelas, who handles Wal-Mart community affairs for Alaska, Hawaii and California. The renovations are the result of needed improvements to freezers, ceiling tiles, paint and other interior infrastructure, he said.Last August Wal-Mart opened its 1,000th store including groceries called a supercenter in St. Robert, Mo. Those stores are open 24 hours a day and typically total between 109,000 to 230,000 square feet and employ an average of 350 workers.The renovations come during an expansion in the South Anchorage grocery market. Kmart, with one store across Dimond Boulevard from Wal-Mart, last fall debuted groceries at four of its five Alaska stores.Changes to the city’s grocery market in a roughly one-mile area include the Feb. 20 opening of Fred Meyer at Lake Otis Parkway and Abbott Road. Safeway officials, operators of Carrs stores, plan to build a new store near Fred Meyer to replace its existing Carrs store on Dimond Boulevard and the Old Seward Highway.

It's not the fiscal gap, it's the growth of Alaska's economy

Alaska’s political attention span seems to be moving between three stages of deciding what problem we are trying to solve.Until the last year or so, attention focused on the question of what impact whatever was being discussed would have on the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend. This became the chief screen by which public statements and anxieties were filtered and analyzed.The second stage now seems under way, where the media and state elected officials are starting to focus on how to balance the state budget. In this discussion the permanent fund is seen as part of an overall matrix of public spending, other potential revenue and the declining Constitutional Budget Reserve.We are now immersed in a discussion of more spending cuts, new revenues, whether it is taxes or permanent fund earnings, and how much growth of population, wealth or services is possible that will either expand or narrow the resulting budget gap.I’d suggest that the third and most important stage of this discussion is just starting to emerge. The focus may increasingly be on a more basic and important question: How can Alaska’s economy be more sustainable?In the shifting debate of what problem we are trying to solve, the first issue of the permanent fund has not been resolved so much as superseded in the debate over the next problem.More Alaskans are starting to ask whether the problem we are trying to solve is just the sustainability of the state budget or the larger issue of the market sustainability of our economy. From a market perspective, an economy that expands the products and services it sells to the world is the only known long-term form of sustainable economic security.When University of Alaska Anchorage economist Scott Goldsmith recently announced that all the state growth in the 1990s was the result of increased permanent fund dividends and increased federal revenues, gasps could be heard. In effect, none of our increased wealth in one of the longest business expansions in the nation’s history has been because of our resources and businesses collectively creating net additional wealth through succeeding in markets.We haven’t increased exports or replaced imports, we have just increased consumption.Once the impact of the increase in federal spending and larger permanent fund dividends has been filtered out, we have created no additional private-sector generated wealth.In effect, in the last decade Alaska has become more dependent on government revenue and less sustainable by earning our own living in world markets. And with a population growing about 2 percent a year, the same wealth must support now more people.Most Alaskans realize the sustainability of the permanent fund is tied to the sustainability of the state budget. And what is becoming clearer, the sustainability of the state budget is tied to the sustainability of the economy.As we start to address the impact of solving the fiscal gap there is a potential "Stevens gap," as well. What would happen to the state’s economy if federal spending of $9,496 per capita moved closer to the national average of $5,740? The difference, $3,756, is roughly the same as two permanent fund dividends. The $1.1 billion dividend last year constituted 10 percent of the state’s economic base as it circulated through our state economy.Lost in our focus on dividends and federal spending is the hidden tax of a slow growing economy on the value of Alaska assets. If in the last decade the $150,000 value of your home increased 2 percent a year instead of the 6 percent to 8 percent common to other U.S. locations, are you better off having received a $1,500 annual dividend or avoided $1,500 in taxes?Even if the state budget is balanced, if the state’s economic base shrinks faster than the people and jobs that base supports, each year legislators will face a grimmer task of lowering public services, increasing taxes, or some painful combination of both. We’ll be balancing down.This necessity to address the overall sustainability of the economy is why I have been happy to work with business groups around the state, including the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, the Resource Development Council and the Alaska Hi-Tech Business Council. Our first job is to describe clearly the challenge to build a more market-sustainable economy and then to motivate Alaskans to rise to that challenge.A history teacher once told me that if you could determine the exact form of the question then you could determine the correct answer. It will be interesting to see what problem Alaskans seek to solve.Alaska has enormous assets of wealth, resources and people with initiative. My hunch is how we decide to deploy these assets will determine how economically sustainable our future is and whether the problems we solve today lessen or enlarge the challenges we face tomorrow.Jamie Kenworthy is executive director of the Alaska Science and Technology Foundation. He can be reached at ([email protected]).

Businesses should gird for computer attacks

Two of the nation’s top computer security specialists have grim news for any company that relies on computers and has a link to the Internet: You will be attacked."There are two kinds of organizations: those that have been hit and those that will be hit," said Gary Sullivan, president of Galaxy Computer Services Inc. of Manassas, Va. "Expect to be hit, and plan to survive."Sullivan made the comments during a morning-long conference Feb. 14 at the Egan Civic & Convention Center in Anchorage. The conference was sponsored by the Alaska Hi-Tech Business Council.Sullivan’s credentials include 20 years of management and security experience for large defense contractors like General Electric and Lockheed Martin.He was joined at the conference by Galaxy’s founder and chief technology officer, Lara Baker. Baker has been involved with top-level government security, including work at Los Alamos National Laboratory and as an adviser to the Central Intelligence Agency.Galaxy provides a variety of computer security consulting services. The company has more than 50 employees, most with federal government security clearances. Besides the government, the company advises corporate clients, specializing in the financial and health care industries.At the Feb. 14 conference, Sullivan explained how businesses can protect their information from attackers, alternating with Baker, who provided a series of computer security horror stories and detailed information on how intruders find security flaws and exploit them.Sullivan began the morning by pointing out that information is a business asset like any other."Businesses must take measures to protect that asset just as they would a more tangible asset," he said.He said protecting the integrity, accuracy and availability of information, what he calls information security, is more than safeguarding computers and networks. "If I get it out of your dumpster, information is information."But these days, most information doesn’t exist on paper, Sullivan said. So protecting computers and networks has become the way to protect information.To make the point, Baker urged managers to walk around and look at every computer for which they are responsible."You should ask what happens if the data on that computer goes away; what happens if the computer goes away; and what happens if the person running the computer and the computer go away," he said.Sullivan quoted a recent FBI report that found that 80 percent of organizations can improve their security, and that 20 percent of organizations have "significant security issues," meaning they can be crippled for days or longer. The study also found that most organizations do not have an electronic security professional on staff, relying instead on third-party vendors.Sullivan said that the Internet, and especially electronic commerce, has changed the rules of security and vastly increased the risks facing companies that rely on computers to conduct business."Pre-Internet, the role of security was to keep everybody out," he said. "Post-Internet, it’s let everyone in, but minimize the malicious effects."He said e-commerce adds to the risk because transactions have no delay time and there’s no direct control over the end users."You don’t really know who’s on the line, filling out a loan form," he said.Sullivan said another problem is the rate of technology change, where companies are often forced by vendors to upgrade to the latest version of software without time to assess any new vulnerabilities."There has to be a structure in the organization to manage change," he said.Sullivan and Baker were particularly critical of Microsoft Corp., whose operating systems suffer from numerous security flaws. They said it’s why 80 percent of all Web servers, the computers that actually store and serve information to visiting surfers, do not use Microsoft software.Sullivan quoted a 2001 survey of 40 community banks whose networks were scanned for vulnerabilities. He said the survey found that 28 were using Microsoft software and that of those, nine were susceptible to a virtually undetectable exploit that would allow retrieval and modification of account data.Microsoft routinely issues software "patches" that fix vulnerabilities once they’ve been discovered. But, Sullivan said, many companies fail to install them, leaving their systems open to attack."Security is not a one-time thing," Sullivan said. "It can’t be done once. It must be done daily as a business process."Building a secure networkSafeguarding a company’s information assets includes hardware and software, but it also must take into account the people in an organization, because, as both Sullivan and Baker pointed out, some of the worst computer attacks have been carried out by disgruntled employees.Sullivan said the main way to protect a network is to control who gets to see different types of information, with access defined by job function. The primary method of authentication is the password, which Sullivan said should be at least eight characters long, should never spell a word, and should include numbers and special characters. It should also be changed regularly.Sullivan said the most difficult part of using passwords is that if they get to be too long, or are changed too often, people start writing them down, thus defeating their purpose."The goal is security that is appropriate for the organization," he said."Passwords are like your toothbrush," he said. "Use them regularly; change them often; and don’t share them."As for protecting a network from outside intruders, the most common defense is a firewall, usually a combination of software and hardware that defines what parts of a company’s network are visible to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, many companies install a firewall and forget it. That’s dangerous, Sullivan said, because firewall software needs to be properly configured and regularly maintained."No firewall can protect against that which it is programmed to allow," Sullivan pointed out. "Your firewall rules are your external security policy."Other security measures include: Virus scanning software:. Again, Sullivan stressed the importance of regularly updating the software as new defenses are devised against the latest computer virus. Virtual private networks: These are highly encrypted links between different corporate locations. Sullivan said companies should use a single vendor for both ends of the link because not all systems work well together. Intruder detection software: Sullivan said this sophisticated approach, which evaluates patterns of traffic in a network, is difficult to configure and must be trained, or fine-tuned so it doesn’t constantly sound an alarm.Sullivan said a new challenge for security is wireless networking, since it works by broadcasting a network to anyone with the right receiver. That has led to what he called "drive-by hacking," which involves people driving up to a building and tapping into a corporate network from their car.He said the security of such systems is weak but is rapidly improving, especially in the health care industry, which makes extensive use of wireless technology within hospitals.Sullivan concluded by reminding the audience that hardware and software are only part of what’s needed to protect a company’s information assets. The others are: Physical control of access to data;Disaster protection and recovery; User education; and A security information plan.The security information planHelping companies plan for computer attacks is what Sullivan and Baker do for a living. Their approach is comprehensive, beginning with an audit of what information assets a company has, which are the most vital to its survival and the current state of the firm’s security.They then define what steps should be taken to protect the company’s information and how to do it.The next step is to put in place systems that detect attacks, ideally before a company’s information has been compromised.Then, the company must decide how to react to an attack. Baker said an organization can either fix the problem or go after the attacker. But, he warned, that pursuing and prosecuting requires a great deal of preparation. That includes making sure that the servers on a network save a record of everything that happens on the network, a feature Baker said many companies turn off to save on disk space."Are you collecting evidence on an ongoing basis?" he said. "You need to collect it to have forensics success."Baker said the plan should also define specific steps to take once an attack has occurred. They include notifying the appropriate law enforcement authorities and service providers; stopping or containing the attack; assessing the damage; eradication of any viruses; and recovery.The final phase on any plan should include a reflection phase: a post-mortem where the organization figures out what worked and what did not. Then, Baker said, "Go out and make the changes. Don’t just talk about it."

High court will review Native Wireless dispute

FAIRBANKS -- The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a dispute over the ownership of wireless phone frequencies, a conflict that has tied up millions of dollars belonging to several Alaska Native corporations.Conrad Bagne, head of Alaska Native Wireless in Anchorage, said his company welcomed the Supreme Court’s review."The Supreme Court’s decision to hear this case is a victory for the integrity of the Federal Communications Commission’s auction process and the wireless consumers the process was designed to serve," Bagne said.With the help of small business and minority preferences, Alaska Native Wireless won ownership of numerous frequencies in major U.S. cities in an FCC auction in January 2001.The sale was nullified when NextWave, a company that had previously bought the frequencies but did not pay for them, won a court decision in July.The FCC appealed to the Supreme Court, which decided March 4 to take the case.Doyon Ltd., Sealaska Corp. and managing partner Arctic Slope Regional Corp. put $260 million into Alaska Native Wireless. Doyon’s share was about $25 million.

Daschle promises support for gas line

JUNEAU -- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has agreed to support financial incentives to spur development of an Alaska natural gas pipeline, Gov. Tony Knowles said Feb. 27.Daschle also supports a requirement that the pipeline follow the so-called Alaska Highway route and that Alaska residents and businesses be provided access to gas from the line.Knowles released a statement from Daschle’s office in which the South Dakota senator said he would offer amendments to the national energy bill to include those provisions, which Alaska officials have been pushing."This is, I think, a significant step forward for the project," Knowles said in a news conference.Alaska’s three major oil and gas producers, BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., Exxon Mobil and Phillips Alaska Inc. have spent $100 million in the past year studying the feasibility of piping natural gas from the North Slope to markets in the Lower 48.While final results haven’t been announced, the preliminary analysis questioned whether the project would return enough profit.Phillips Alaska Inc. spokeswoman Dawn Patience said the company is encouraged by Daschle’s announcement, although officials there haven’t seen the proposed amendment. She could not say whether those provisions would ultimately lead to a project going forward."This project is very large and has a lot of challenges ahead of it," Patience said.A spokesman for BP said he could not comment on Daschle’s announcement without seeing the proposed legislation, and an Exxon Mobil spokesman did not return a phone call.Knowles asked Daschle to support federal tax credits if gas prices fall too low, with those credits to be repaid if prices rise above a certain level.Daschle’s statement did not specify what would be in the "financial safety net" he agreed to support, and Knowles said a specific trigger price for tax credits had not been determined.Phillips is seeking federal tax credits if the price of gas dropped below about $3.75 per million Btu.Phillips is the only one of the three producers that has come out in support of the Alaska Highway route.The producers have looked at two possible routes: one under the Beaufort Sea into Canada, largely bypassing Alaska; and one that follows the trans-Alaska oil pipeline to Fairbanks and then the Alaska Highway south.Alaska politicians oppose the Beaufort Sea route, saying it would not provide Alaskans the jobs and access to natural gas for in-state uses that the highway route would provide.A version of the national energy bill that passed the U.S. House prohibits the Beaufort Sea route, but does not include the tax credit provisions.

New convention center financing up for vote

Anchorage area residents will vote April 2 on raising the hotel bed tax from 8 percent to 12 percent with the difference allocated to financing a $100 million civic and convention center. Voters must approve the proposal by at least 60 percent, and debate on the issue has already begun.The increase would take affect Jan. 1. Construction of a new center could begin as early as 2005, aiming to open in second quarter 2007, according to a June 2001 feasibility study.The study showed the city could not expand the Egan Civic & Convention Center since it is surrounded by historic buildings and parks, and the building is not structurally designed to expand vertically. Underground expansion of the Egan Center would be too costly, the report said.The Anchorage Assembly approved the ballot proposition on Feb. 26. According to ballot language, if bonds for center construction are not issued by Jan. 1, 2008, the increased bed tax would automatically expire, and those dedicated taxes collected but not used would be deposited in the municipal trust fund. Property taxes would not be used to finance the acquisition, construction or operation of proposed center, the proposition reads.If approved, the accrued hotel tax would support revenue bonds with proceeds totaling $77.3 million, according to the study. The tax increase would also generate revenue of $12.5 million for design, site acquisition and other early costs before bonds are issued.The study estimated the total cost of the convention center at $100 million. To complete the project, the study identified other potential funding sources. They include: $10 million to $20 million from sale or lease of the current center; and $20 million to $30 million from state and federal grants.The city subsidizes the Egan Center operating costs, and the center recorded a net loss of $270,000 in 2000, the report said. A new center would also operate with net losses of $857,000 in its first year but declining to $661,000 by its fifth year.Project backers say a new, larger center is necessary to attract larger conventions and meetings to Anchorage, thereby bringing increased revenue to the community from delegate spending. It also can help diversify the economy, said Wilson Hughes, co-chairman of the Anchorage Civic & Convention Center YES Inc. He is executive vice president and general manager of General Communication Inc.Convention business has helped lengthen Alaska’s tourism season, he noted."Statistics show many delegates extend their stay and vacation in other parts of Alaska, building the visitor industry all over the state," he said.The current Egan Civic & Convention Center can host conventions with up to about 1,500 delegates while the proposed larger center could host roughly 5,000 delegates.The nonprofit organization leading the campaign, ACCCY, notes additional delegates could trigger about 700 new tourism jobs and $51 million in direct spending to area businesses.ACCCY officials reported campaign donations totaling more than $464,000 in a March 4 filing with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. Contributors included hospitals, hotels, oil companies, restaurants, small businesses, utilities and individuals.Project funding and facility details are still being discussed."The final project size and cost will be determined after the revenue sources are finalized," said Chris Swalling, ACCCY treasurer. Swalling, a certified public accountant, is president of Swalling & Associates PC."No state money may mean that the new center is built in two stages or is somewhat different if total scope or perhaps no state money will be required," he said.According to Hughes, the funding plan estimated possible funding exceeding the project cost, and state funds are "not crucial to the success of the project."However, some Alaskans are skeptical about the project, expressing concerns through various forums.ACCCY officials would not release polling results about the center. Anchorage pollster Ivan Moore said an October survey showed 35 percent support for the project.Callers to an Anchorage daily radio show have voiced opposition to the project, said Mike Porcaro, who hosts the show on KENI-AM.Although the business community generally supports the project, callers on the show believe they may end up paying for the convention center or other proposed projects, he noted."This is one of the more emotional issues I’ve seen," said Porcaro, who owns Porcaro Communications.Most callers oppose building a new convention center, he said. Amid state budget gap discussions and possible solutions, some Alaskans question this project and others, he said.Even though it’s an Anchorage issue, callers from around the state also sound off. "What people say from outside Anchorage is, ’Well, we’re the ones who (are going to be) paying for it,’ " Porcaro said.An increased bed tax would affect Alaskans staying in Anchorage for meetings.Of all conventions in Anchorage last year, 42 percent were Alaska groups, according to Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau statistics. The largest convention the city hosts is the annual Alaska Federation of Natives event in October.Alaskans living outside Anchorage often travel to the city, adding significant cost to doing business, said Juneau resident Pamela LaBolle, executive director of the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce. "It is very expensive for business people to travel around the state," she said.While non-Anchorage residents may balk at paying an increased hotel tax, Anchorage residents already pay similar taxes when visiting other Alaska cities, ACCCY’s Swalling said.Many Alaskans could benefit from the new center, not just Anchorage residents, Hughes said.

Business Profile: UIC Construction Inc.

Name of the company: UIC Construction Inc.Established: 1978Location: 5300 A St., AnchorageTelephone: 907-762-0100Web site: www.ukpik.comMajor focus of services: UIC Construction Inc. provides general construction contracting services, design-build services, project management, logistics support and facility maintenance. The company runs a construction equipment fleet and uses construction materials from its gravel pit operations.History of the company: UIC Construction is a subsidiary of Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corp., the Native village corporation for Barrow founded through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.UIC Construction has completed more than $600 million in public and private projects including civil and mechanical construction, commercial buildings and utility work.During its tenure, UIC Construction has diversified its offerings of construction services. Also, company officials have shifted their market focus. While many projects have been completed for the North Slope Borough where its parent company is based, the borough’s capital budget has been declining, and UIC Construction has completed more than $80 million worth of projects in Northwest Alaska.In 2000 the company spun off its mechanical contracting department into a new sister company, Ukpik Mechanical, in order to meet federal regulations and qualify for work as a minority small business.UIC Construction employs between 150 to 300 workers at peak season depending on projects under way.Major projects: Last year the company finished building Buckland School. Current construction projects are schools in Kiana, Meade River, Noorvik and Selawik; store upgrades for Alaska Commercial Co.; and clinics in Shungnak and Noatak. UIC Construction recently finished work on a Kiana clinic and was awarded the contract to build the Golovin school. Ukpik Mechanical is handling mechanical contracting work for Barrow tank farm modifications; Point Hope and Atqasuk water and sewer connections; the Wainwright community center and power plant; an Elmendorf Air Force Base fitness center and the Koyuk school.Top accomplishment of the company: One of the goals for the parent company is to hire and train Barrow residents. UIC Construction also aims to employ people who live in other rural Alaska areas where its projects are under way. Once a project is finished, the company has invested in community residents through payroll and job experience to equip them for future jobs, said general manager Ed Byrne.Major player: Ed Byrne, general manager, UIC Construction Inc.Byrne, who came to Alaska in 1961, has experience in mechanical and general contracting work. He has worked for the company for 20 years, first through a joint venture with a firm he ran then later with UIC Construction.-- Nancy Pounds

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