2019 Top Forty Under 40 announced

The Alaska Journal of Commerce announced the members of our 2019 Top Forty Under 40 on Feb. 1. This year’s selection committee chose the class from the largest group ever nominated: 152 individuals and nearly 800 total pages of supporting materials. “Choosing the Top Forty class is always a tough task, and Alaskans didn’t make it any easier this year,” said Journal Managing Editor Andrew Jensen. “We’re happy to have representation from the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska’s Gateway City in Ketchikan, Southcentral, the Interior and members from Northwest Alaska who call Nome and Kotzebue home.” The 2019 Top Forty Under 40 will be honored at an awards dinner on March 29 at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage. A cocktail reception will begin at 6 p.m. with the dinner and award event starting at 7 p.m. Please contact Journal Advertising Director Jada Nowling for ticket sales, advertising and sponsorship opportunities. She can be reached at 907-257-4268 or [email protected] The 2019 Top Forty: Jamie Acton, 39, Director of Public Transportation, Municipality of Anchorage Dr. Cody Augdahl, 37, Assistant Medical Director, Norton Sound Regional Hospital, Nome Jennifer Baker, 32, Director, Cardiovascular Service Line, Providence Alaska Medical Center, Anchorage Casey Bieber, 38, Program Director, Morning Show Host, iHeart Radio, Anchorage Clayton Bourne, 39, Chief Financial Officer, Aleut Corp., Anchorage Monica Bradbury, 38, Marketing Manager, DOWL, Anchorage Holly Brooks, 36, Owner, Holly Brooks LLC, Anchorage Sarah Brown, 29, Regional Vice President, Alaska, BridgeHeath Medical Inc., Anchorage Peter J. Caltagirone, 36, Special Assistant to the Natural Resources Commissioner, Anchorage Dr. Briana Cranmer, 35, Physician, Vera Whole Health, Anchorage Richard Crum, 37, President/CEO, BoreTide Construction LLC, Palmer Chris Devine, 34, CEO, Craig Taylor Equipment, Anchorage Jaime Eggert, 33, Resource Pool Clinical Manager, Providence Alaska Medical Center Danielle Flaherty, 36, Stone’s Throw Program Manager, Bread Line Inc., Fairbanks Dr. Paul Forward, 39, Physician, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium; Lead Ski Guide, Chugach Powder Guides, Anchorage Angelina Fraise, 39; Officer, Anchorage Police Department Penny Gage, 32, Director of Special Projects, Alaska Growth Capital, Anchorage Kristin George, 39, Senior Development Director, American Heart Association Anna Gould, 39, Business Sales Manager, GCI, Anchorage Stephen Grantier, 35, Chugach Alaska Heritage Foundation Program and Systems Manager, Chugach Alaska Regional Corp. Rachel Guyselman, 31, Vice President, Operations, Tongass Federal Credit Union, Ketchikan Charissa Habeger, 34, Community Development Director, American Cancer Society, Anchorage Lindsey Hobson, 37, Manager of Communications, Enstar Natural Gas Co. Jonathan Hornak, 33, Senior Project Manager, Cornerstone General Contractors Erica Jensen, 38, Project Engineer, CRW Engineering Group Inc. Mickela Lamb, 31, Information Management and Documentation Control, BP; Owner/CEO, Polished Image Consulting, Anchorage Justin Milette, 34, Firefighter, Anchorage Fire Depatment; Realtor, EXP Realty; Owner, Frozen Grove Vladimir Novak, 38, Treasury and Securities Manager, First National Bank Alaska, Anchorage January O'Connor, 39, Owner/Founder, Raven’s Group LLC, Anchorage Jessica Oswald, 38, Information Services Executive Director/Senior Strategic Partner, Providence Health and Services Alaska, Anchorage Patrick Jeremy Pletnikoff, 38, Senior Vice President, Mt. McKinley Bank, Fairbanks Steve Rader, 37, General Manager, Hilton Anchorage Hotel Timothy Redder, 38, Business Banking Manager, Wells Fargo, Kenai Rep. Josh Revak, 37, Alaska State Representative, Anchorage Kari Skinner, 39, Vice President/Marketing and Communications Director, Northrim Bank, Anchorage Jennifer Snodgrass, 38, Commercial Loan Officer, Alaska Growth Capital, Anchorage Nicole Stoops, 38, Executive Director, Native Village of Kotzebue Brennan Walsh, 36, President, STG Inc., Anchorage Bobby Wilken, 39, Owner, HooDoo Brewing Co., Fairbanks Chad Wilson, 39, Project Manager, Commercial Flooring, Spenard Builders Supply

ConocoPhillips turns first annual profit since 2014

ConocoPhillips continued its turnaround from the oil price collapse by netting the company’s first annual profit in four years with net income of more than $6.2 billion in 2018. In its year-end earnings report issued Jan. 31, the Houston-based oil major additionally posted a fourth quarter profit of $1.8 billion, compared to a fourth quarter 2017 profit of nearly $1.6 billion. ConocoPhillips lost $855 million overall in 2017. The fourth quarter result is also the company’s best quarterly return since the third quarter of 2014 when oil prices averaged $97 per barrel and it earned $2.7 billion, according to report archives. In Alaska, ConocoPhillips turned profits of $445 million for the fourth quarter and $1.8 billion overall for 2018. The companywide earnings came on the back of $10.3 billion in revenue for the quarter and $38.7 billion for the year. ConocoPhillips generated $5.5 billion in free cash flow during the year, according to the earnings report. CEO Ryan Lance said he is proud of the results in a formal statement. “Our accomplishments reflect our clear commitment to a value proposition that is focused on returns and free cash flow generation, and that balances investments with returning cash flow to shareholders through price cycles. This is our formula for offering investors a compelling way to invest in our sector, ” Lance said. “We look forward to delivering another strong year of performance in 2019.” ConocoPhillips announced a first quarter dividend of 30.5 cents per share ahead of the earnings report. The dividend will be paid March 1. ConocoPhillips stock closed trading at $67.69 per share Jan. 31, up from a pre-earnings opening price of $65.76 per share. The company sold its oil for an average price of $68.03 per barrel last year, compared to $51.89 per barrel in 2017. ConocoPhillips Alaska leaders have said the company has set a $40 per barrel oil price breakeven benchmark for all of its future projects. During the year ConocoPhillips paid down $4.7 billion in debt and reached its debt target of $15 billion 18 months ahead of schedule, according to an earnings release. Last July, the company announced a deal with BP to swap a portion of its interests in the offshore Clair Field in Britain’s North Sea for BP’s 38 percent stake in the Kuparuk River oil field on the North Slope, which ConocoPhillips operates. The cash-neutral deal gives ConocoPhillips a 92 percent stake in Kuparuk, according to state Division of Oil and Gas records. The company also commenced production from its $725 million Greater Mooses Tooth-1 oil project in early October. GMT-1 is expected to produce up to 30,000 barrels of oil per day at its peak and marks the first oil production from federal leases within the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Later that month ConocoPhillips approved funding for the nearby and slightly larger $1 billion-plus GMT-2 project, which is forecasted to come online in late 2021. The company also initiated permitting on its large Willow oil prospect, also in the NPR-A, which could cost $4 billion to $6 billion to fully develop over the next six-plus years. ConocoPhillips spent nearly $1.3 billion on capital projects in the state last year out of an overall capital budget of $6.7 billion. BP, ExxonMobil report results BP, which operates the massive North Slope Prudhoe Bay oil field, reported a full-year 2018 profit of $9.4 billion Feb. 5, compared to $3.4 billion in 2017. The London-based major also reported an underlying replacement cost profit of $3.5 billion for the fourth quarter from strong performance in all of its business sectors. The company generated an 11.2 percent return on invested capital during the year, compared to 5.8 percent in 2017, according to the financial report. BP’s 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill settlement payments totaled $3.2 billion last year. Its oil and gas production was up more than 8 percent year-over-year, averaging 3.7 million barrels of oil equivalent in 2018. ExxonMobil, operator of the Point Thomson gas field on the North Slope, on Feb. 1 reported full-year earning of $20.8 billion, up from $19.7 billion in 2017 and fourth quarter earnings of $6 billion, down 28 percent year-over-year. However, excluding U.S. corporate tax reforms and impairments, the fourth quarter results were $6.4 billion, compared to $3.7 billion in the last months of 2017, according to a company statement. ^ Elwood Brehmer can be reached at [email protected]

Dunleavy proposes constitutional changes amid budget debate

Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Wednesday proposed constitutional changes that would limit legislative authority and give voters a say on taxes and any changes to the Permanent Fund dividend. One of the proposed amendments is aimed at ensuring the PFD is not changed without a vote of the people. Another seeks to set what Dunleavy called a "spending and savings rule," replacing an existing spending limit that critics say is too lax and targeting leftover revenue to the permanent fund and a reserve account. The third constitutional change would let voters decide whether to approve any new or higher state taxes passed by lawmakers. If, on the other hand, voters by initiative pass a new or higher tax, legislators would be asked for their approval. Dunleavy, a Republican, said his proposals, if approved, would help create a durable fiscal plan. "This is going to right the ship," he told reporters. "It's not going to be easy but I think intuitively we all know it needs to be done. We need to fix this now." Dunleavy's administration projects a $1.6 billion deficit for the coming fiscal year, and lawmakers are bracing for major cuts in the budget expected to be released by mid-February. Dunleavy said the relationship between legislators and voters should be tight. He said his proposals "certainly hem us in" but would be good for the state in the long run. He said the state has a referendum process where, if a tax is imposed, the people could repeal it. "That's problematic if you want stability and durability," he said, adding that his proposals aim to get agreement on such issues on the front end. According to the Division of Elections, four referenda have successfully been proposed and appeared on the ballot, the most recent in 2014, when voters upheld an oil tax overhaul. Alaska has no state sales or personal income tax — ideas that have been batted around in recent years amid the fiscal debate. But the state has an array of other taxes addressing such things as corporate income, oil and gas production, motor fuels and marijuana. Each of the proposed constitutional changes would need two-thirds support of both the House and Senate to qualify for the ballot, which Senate Rules Chair John Coghill said could be difficult to reach this session. The North Pole Republican said he thought there was generally good support for the ideas. "Now, whether those ideas belong in the Constitution, I think, is a proper debate," Coghill said. "It will be interesting to see how the governor defends them." Anchorage Democratic Rep. Matt Claman said the state has a strong governor form of government and is hesitant to support anything that further limits the Legislature's power to act as a check and balance. Dunleavy's proposal dealing with spending and savings would replace what is now known as the Constitutional Budget Reserve fund with a savings reserve fund. Attorney General Kevin Clarkson said the fund would be easier to access than the CBR — requiring a simple majority rather than a three-quarter vote of both the House and Senate — but its use would be limited. Claman expressed concern with the potential shift and said a three-quarter vote requirement gave power to legislators in the minority, which he said is important for them to have some influence.

Construction spending forecasted to rise 10%

The coming year should be better than last for Alaska’s construction industry and the state economy as a whole. Construction spending across the state is expected to increase about 10 percent this year over last to a grand total of more than $7.2 billion, according to the Associated General Contractors of Alaska’s annual industry forecast. AGC of Alaska Executive Director Alicia Siira said the trade group is “cautiously optimistic” about 2019 after some very tough times. “Our industry has really taken a beating over the past few years with this recession and we could really use some good news,” Siira said. “We’re hopeful this trend continues and we start to see some dollars moving through the state to help support the economy.” Alaska’s construction workforce averaged a little more than 15,000 workers the past two years and employment levels that low hadn’t been seen since 2001-02, according to state Labor Department data. The industry was doubly hit by Alaska’s three-year oil price-induced recession. Not only did oil companies sharply curtail capital spending, but the state also cut its capital budget allocations from more than $2 billion to less than $200 million in recent years. Restoring some of that state capital spending is a top priority for AGC. State economists expect Alaska to officially climb out of the recession towards the end of the year. The construction industry is correspondingly expected to add roughly 900 jobs in 2019. Most of the spending growth is expected to come via the oil and gas industry and Department of Defense projects at Interior military installations. Both sectors are pegged for 13 percent growth; however, in oil and gas that means an increase to $2.7 billion and roughly $700 million overall for Alaska Defense spending in 2019. On the oil side, many companies have managed to reduce their operating costs to where they can afford to resume investing in larger projects at current prices in the $60-70 range — a price band that is being predicted for several years. The discovery of the now-prolific Nanushuk oil formation on the North Slope has also spurred some oil prospects with development costs pegged at upwards of $5 billion. As a result, oil industry spending is projected to increase for several years, according to the forecast. Military construction in the state continues to center on Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, which is readying for two new squadrons of F-35 fighters that are planned to start arriving in 2020. “Some of the larger elements of the (F-35) ‘bed-down’ are a flight simulator, new maintenance buildings, aircraft weather shelters, new utilidor, as well as renovation of many existing structures,” the forecast states. Additional missile defense projects are ongoing at Fort Greeley near Delta Junction and Clear Air Force Station near Nenana. While not as significant in terms of overall dollars, the mining industry is projected to increase its capital spending by 18 percent this year to $265 million as three of Alaska’s six big large mines — Red Dog in the Northwest and Pogo and Fort Knox in the Interior — have major expansions planned. Siira said she is hopeful political forces will continue to support the resource industries. “For increased spending to continue we feel that we need some stability in our stat and timely review of resource development projects which support the economy and, of course, construction spending,” she said. Overall private industry spending is expected to be about $4.4 billion, a 9 percent year-over-year increase; Alaska public construction expenditures should grow about 7 percent, with about $200 million or more coming as a result of the Nov. 30 earthquake. “Our industry, both vertical and road construction, did see an increase in activity due to the earthquake and although it was unfortunate, it maybe highlighted some of the projects that have been overlooked over the years,” Siira noted. She added that private building damage from the earthquake is more difficult to quantify. State and local government officials have emphasized since the earthquake that additional damage will likely be revealed with the arrival of spring. Longer term, the state still has a $2 billion-plus deferred maintenance list that it must address and new cost estimates to rehabilitate the Anchorage port have shot up dramatically to nearly $2 billion as well.   Elwood Brehmer can be reached at [email protected]

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