Ahtna’s partnership with Alyeska puts shareholders-owners to work

Published January 2017

This year marks 40 years of oil flowing through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). Every year, the Alyeska Alaska Native Program funds the Building Foundations for Excellence Program (BFEP).

“This is a highly competitive program, and it speaks volumes that Ahtna shareholders have been sought out for these positions,” says Alaska Native Program Manager Matt Carle. Only five positions are funded at any given time and this year, two positions opened up, one of which went to Ahtna shareholder-owner Rick Morlock III.

Over the next two years, Rick will receive the hands-on experience and mentorship he needs to become a pipeline civil maintenance coordinator (P&MC). His path to success includes a development program, coordinated higher education options and tuition for courses necessary to fulfill job requirements.

As part of the BFEP program, Alyeska commits to offering positions to candidates who successfully complete the program. That was the case for Ahtna shareholder-owner James Pence. James entered the program a little over two years ago and is now the Yukon response base supervisor (RBS). RBSs have a huge responsibility. They keep the entire facility functioning – power, food, water/wastewater, etc. In addition to the baseline crew, James is the Alyeska on-site representation for contractors from NANA for catering and Doyon for security. “Leadership is huge throughout the program and I make sure I speak to the new program entrants and try to act as a mentor to ensure they are as prepared as possible for these positions,” James says.

“James impressed us all. His skill set was impeccable and, when a spot opened up in the Yukon, we knew he was the best person for the job,” says Alyeska’s Right-of-Way Director Lorena Hegdal. “The workers we get through the BFEP program have been amazing and hard-working.”

Outside of the BFEP program, we spoke with two other Ahtna shareholder-owners employed at Alyeska. Loren Bell is a Northern Oil Spill Coordinator, responsible for ensuring spill response teams are fully equipped, trained and readily available along the pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Pump Station 5. “Mainly, the challenges of this job are geographical and weather,” Loren says. “The people I work with are outstanding. Alyeska’s a great company to work for. If you do your job and come in with a good work ethic and accomplish goals with your team, they take care of you”

Like James, Rick and Loren, Ahtna shareholder-owner Daryl Beeter started with Ahtna Construction. Alyeska hired him in 2011 as a P&MC for Pump Station 5. In 2015, he moved to Pump Station 4 where he is accountable for 124 miles of pipeline right-of-way. He manages surveillance, manual gate values, conducts inspections, oversees permitting for right-of-way work, maintains oil spill response stations, and material stockpiles, and oversees the maintenance of the 5,200-foot runway for crew changes.

Between programs like BFEP, and opportunities for contracts with Ahtna subsidiaries, the partnership between Ahtna and Alyeska has proved to be extremely valuable. And as we continue to offer baseline training and education for these types of positions, our mutually beneficial relationship will continue to grow.