In the midst of some potentially very big projects for our Ahtna team, safety remains paramount for our Board of Directors, our management and Ahtna employees. I’m continuously impressed with the level of professionalism and dedication to the safety procedures that hold our team to such a high standard.
It’s this standard that has led Ahtna to having the most successful year ever in regards to workers’ compensation and incident-report claims, both telltale indicators that our safety standards are the best they’ve ever been.
Our work ethic and commitment to safety are major reasons for our success in expanding our business during these challenging economic times. I want to thank the men and women of Ahtna for making this possible and for mentoring our younger employees.
After our recent strategic-planning meeting with the Board of Directors, our priorities shifted to focus on regional development opportunities to provide maximum benefits to shareholder-owners. This strategy centers on local employment, training and lower energy costs in our region.
Two of our most recent and exciting regional developments are the Tolsona gas well and carbon credits. We have made a significant investment to pay to train shareholder-owners for positions in drilling and wilderness safety. Thus far, 100 percent of employees hired for these two programs have been Ahtna shareholders-owners, with approximately 20 positions filled. These positions include roustabouts, site security and safety, material handling and expediter, along with an intern to job shadow the designated company representative. As work takes place 24 hours a day, seven days a week, project employees are working 12-hour shifts, seven days a week for a total of 84 hours a week. These positions pay handsomely for our shareholder-owners.
Separately, Ahtna Environmental, Inc. (AEI) is fully engaged in a carbon-credits project, working with Finite Carbon, a world leader in helping landowners take advantage of the carbon that’s stored in their land’s trees by selling the credits to companies like BP.
All the field personnel hired for this project are Ahtna shareholder-owners and the program has required extensive work by our support groups in legal, finance and HR. One of our first steps was to retrofit an old structure into a bunkhouse and office space for employee use. We have also mobilized other Ahtna-owned equipment.
Shareholder-owners working on this project received extensive paid training. We expect fieldwork to be done by the middle of October and hope to have primary results on the carbon content of our forest by the end of the year.
Carbon credits allow us to preserve our trees yet still receive value for them. While this is all brand new to us, this project has huge potential in an evolving climate-change world. We would like to thank BP for providing Ahtna with this opportunity, including transferable skills and training for our shareholder-owners.
Apart from these large projects, we are looking at a tourism opportunity in the Denali area and at hard- rock mineral deposits on our land. We seem to have more opportunities than we have staff resources right now, which means we will look to grow as demands dictate.
The government fiscal year end is September 30, and our companies are working hard to secure more wins for our government businesses. Having 8(a) companies with high security clearances positions us well to support sensitive government operations, including many contracts with the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA.
Ahtna Construction and Primary Products Corporation (AC&PPC) continues its strong working relationship with Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. Our safety culture has earned us more work with Alyeska, including a new, five-year mineral and mining project. AC&PPC is also working on the Talkeetna airport, the Exit Glacier road project in Seward and avalanche control projects in Cordova and Valdez. We recently hired two shareholder-owners as operators for the avalanche work.
As every Alaskan knows, the state of Alaska is undergoing significant economic challenges. This year’s budget deficit will be almost $4 billion and our Permanent Fund Dividends were reduced to $1,000 per person to help balance the budget. We feel blessed that our business in Alaska continues to grow as we develop regional development opportunities for the benefit of our shareholder-owners. Please check our website for job openings, keep your records updated and communicate your availability to Shareholder Development.
As Ahtna continues to grow, we need our shareholder-owners to be work-ready.
Chief Executive Officer