Measurement crucial to improvement

Arnsdorf.jpg Most small manufacturing companies have a problem when it comes to deciding where they need to improve. They don’t measure much of anything, so they don’t know where they might need to improve. Measurement by itself doesn’t do anything. But it is a crucial input to the improvement process.

A key question is what should you measure? You don’t want too many measures and you want ones that are appropriate and useful.

Around the World August 5, 2001


Voters say no to Ketchikan consolidation

KETCHIKAN -- Voters have overwhelmingly rejected consolidating the governments of the city of Ketchikan and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.

A third and final tally of ballots shows that 58 percent of voters in the mail-ballot election opposed the move. Opposition was even higher among voters outside the city.

Alyeska seeks lease renewal; environmentalists voice concerns

oilbarrel.jpg JUNEAU -- The head of the company that runs the trans-Alaska oil pipeline system told business leaders July 27 that the pipeline is ready for a new lease on life.

As state and federal agencies grapple with whether to renew contracts to lease public land beneath the massive pipeline to the industry, the head of Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., David Wight, told the Juneau Chamber of Commerce all the reasons why the government should.

Two years of planning pay off with successful business launch

"I had worked for other people for 30 years," said Fairbanks optician Jan Cornforth. "I didn’t want to grow old and wish I had taken the risk of being in business for myself."

"And I don’t want to work for someone else for 30 years!" added her younger partner, Christi Brand. Brand and Cornforth took the step of entrepreneurship in December 2000, when they launched Golden North Optics Inc., a new optical shop on the Old Steese Highway in Fairbanks.

New look for Fairbanks

FAIRBANKS -- History nestles alongside 21st century commerce, snug to the bends of the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks.

The heart of the city not only differs from its origins 100 years ago when merchant E.T. Barnette landed there, founding a permanent settlement, but also is a contrast to last summer’s skyline.

This year, polished buildings replace bustling construction sites.

In June the new 140-room hotel, Marriott’s SpringHill Suites, opened on First Avenue. NANA Management Services LLC operates the six-story hotel.

ACS sees revenues increase, but reports second-quarter net loss

telecommunications.jpg Alaska Communications Systems recorded a net loss of $2.8 million for the second quarter. For the same period last year the telecommunications company tallied a net loss of $2.7 million.

Revenue for the second quarter grew to $81.7 million from $80.7 million for second quarter 2000.

Carpenter believes would-be financial savior a predatory lender

A few months ago, things weren’t going too well for Ward Adams. A carpenter, Adams had been out of work and was behind on his bills.

"I got laid off, and man, it was starting to hurt,’’ said Adams, 38.

Then appeared what seemed to be his financial savior: Ameriquest Mortgage, a California-based company that Adams said promised him his credit cards would be paid off if he would just refinance his Sand Lake home.

Sounded good to Adams.

In the mail came a pile of paperwork, which may as well have been written in Greek, as Adams understood little, if any, of the contents.

Bank of America to pay state $35.6 million for unclaimed funds

finance.jpg JUNEAU -- Bank of America will pay the state of Alaska $35.6 million for years of failing to turn over unclaimed money from municipal bond dividends under a settlement announced July 26, the attorney general’s office said.

The money will be split between the state and about 30 public corporations and municipal governments including Anchorage, Juneau, Valdez and the North Slope Borough, the state said.

Under the terms of the settlement, the bank does not admit wrongdoing.

Stevens to find funding for Fort Greely projects

military.jpg FAIRBANKS -- Sen. Ted Stevens says he won’t fight Democratic attempts to stop military construction money from being spent on missile defense work at Fort Greely this summer.

He’ll just try to get the money from a different pot, he said.

Costco to sell gas in Anchorage

ANCHORAGE -- Costco plans to sell gasoline at its two Anchorage locations by September, a move that could ignite a local price war.

"They pretty much sell gasoline as a loss leader to get people into their stores. So they will be very aggressive on their pricing," said Fred Rozell, retail pricing director for the Oil Price Information Service of Lakewood, N.J.

Buying gas at a Costco station will require the $45 annual membership card, which will be needed to activate a pump, said Mark Sjoboen, general manager of the DeBarr warehouse.

This Week in Alaska Business History August 5, 2001

Editor’s note: "This Week in Alaska Business History" revisits events that shaped our past.

"Those who cannot

remember the past are

condemned to repeat it."

-- George Santayana, 1863-1952

20 years ago this week

Anchorage Times

Aug. 15, 1981

Task force recommends 3 percent coal severance tax

The Associated Press

Quota system best solution for crabbers, but who gets what is no easy decision

welchlanieLR.jpg In recent years, "rationalization" is a word often heard in reference to fisheries in which too many boats are targeting too few fish.

In reality, it’s just a fancy word that means managers intend to create a limited entry style of management. And right now, rationalizing the world’s most dangerous fishery -- Bering Sea crab -- is one of the most controversial issues in national fishery policy.

Unocal strikes oil twice in Cook Inlet

oilbarrel.jpg KENAI -- Unocal announced two new strikes off its King Salmon Platform in Cook Inlet July 25.

Pumping 7,100 barrels of oil per day out of the McArthur River Field, the K-13 well has the highest production rate of any well in Inlet history, according to company spokeswoman Roxanne Sinz in Anchorage.

"It peaked on July 3 at 8,552 (barrels of oil per day)," she said. "At first, they come in really big and have to settle down a little bit."

More rooms, but cyclists may fill them

FAIRBANKS -- The Fairbanks visitor industry went into the 2001 tourism season with 20 percent more rooms -- and expectations for fewer domestic travelers.

However, so far the season has shown better-than-expected results compared with early season predictions, according to some industry representatives.

Others aren’t so sure.

"It’s too soon to tell," said Deb Hickok, executive director of the Fairbanks Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Defense Department budget would boost Elmendorf staffing

military.jpg The proposed budget for the Defense Department for fiscal year 2002, which starts in October, would add more than 200 military personnel and 30 civilians to Air Force sites in Alaska.

The spending plan would add 110 military and ten civilian staffers at Elmendorf Air Force Base. Military officials say the additional personnel would include F-15 maintenance workers and an Airborne Warning and Control System flight crew.

Chums, star of last year's season, face tough time with slow Japanese economy

welchlanieLR.jpg Chums were the star of Alaska’s salmon season last year, when a record catch of 24 million fish -- combined with the best dock price in five years and decreased catches in Japan’s fall chum fishery -- boosted the value of Alaska’s chums to $58 million, a whopping 22 percent of the state’s total salmon catch.

By far, most of Alaska’s chums hail from hatchery returns to Southeast, which has a projected catch this year of roughly 10 million fish.

Business Profile: Engineered Fire Systems Inc.

Name of the company: Engineered Fire Systems Inc.

Established: 1985

Location: 3138 Commercial Drive, Anchorage

Telephone: 907-274-7973

Major focus of services: Engineered Fire Systems Inc. designs and distributes fire alarm and fire suppression systems for commercial and industrial use. The firm also designs sprinkler systems, low-voltage systems like public address systems and also inspects fire prevention equipment.

Forest Service seeks public comment on number of Juneau helicopter tours

tourism.jpg JUNEAU -- The number of helicopter tour landings on Juneau Icefield glaciers could range from none to 31,000 annually in five years under a set of alternatives proposed by the U.S. Forest Service.

The agency is accepting comments on a plan that has seven options for helicopter glacier tours in Juneau. The Forest Service currently grants permits to four Juneau companies for slightly more than 19,000 landings a year, although only about 17,000 landings occur.

Couple brings Great Clips to Alaska

A national franchise, Great Clips for hair, plans to open its first salon in Anchorage next month and additional salons in coming years.

Operators of Great Clips, 880 Old Seward Highway, expect to open Aug. 10 in South Anchorage. The salon will be run by Anchorage franchisee Total ECLIPSE Ltd.

The 1,500-square-foot salon will employ about 15 people, most of whom will work full time, said Tracy Gardner, franchise owner.

Consultant warns of Canada's route influence

oilgas.jpg Canada’s potential to become an obstacle for an Alaska natural gas pipeline is being underestimated in the United States, a leading consulting firm has warned the state of Alaska.

Ed Small, head of Cambridge Energy Research Associates’ Calgary office, told the Alaska Legislature’s Joint House-Senate Natural Gas Committee on July 17 that a competition is emerging between a Canadian pipeline to tap Mackenzie Delta gas and an Alaska pipeline from the North Slope.


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