Ahtna’s Alaska summer field season is in full swing, and our Anchorage staff is back in the office after mainly working remotely for over a year. Our IT Department worked closely with our subsidiaries to ensure employees had all the tools necessary for a smooth transition. Employees’ return to other offices will vary by location as the lifting of restrictions will vary by region. The government has been slower to return to the office, but we are starting to plan for more face-to-face business development as military bases, government facilities and buildings open back up. Our operations continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID recommendations for conducting business and contact tracing.
A recent meeting with our bonding company was very successful and we were able to increase our bonding capacity across the board. Our single job bonding level went from $50 million to $100 million, and our aggregate capacity went from $300 million to $500 million. This was a huge accomplishment, and the underwriters congratulated us on our phenomenal financial results in 2020. As we continue to see more growth in our 8(a) bonded work, our increased bonding capacity will provide additional support in securing contracts.
We received some wonderful questions during the Annual Shareholders Meeting and wanted to address a couple of them here for those who were unable to join us virtually. One question was “Why isn’t Ahtna involved in state road construction?” There are three things we always evaluate before pursuing work: safety, shareholder hire, and profit. Road construction in Alaska is highly competitive, and the low bidder receives the award. There are a number of strong competitors in Alaska that have large equipment fleets, and bidders must secure adequate bonding to ensure the project is viable. So far in 2021, the Ahtna family of companies has bid on three road-related projects, but we were unfortunately unsuccessful in those efforts. There are a handful of other projects in the region that we plan to pursue, but we will not take on any work that we cannot make a profit on. We have increased our civil construction and mining and materials related work with Alyeska pipeline, which provides high-paying union jobs in the region. We also own Palmer-based A.A.A. Valley Gravel, a full-service construction and aggregate production company. I encourage shareholders to look at opportunities in these areas and connect with our Shareholder Enrichment department on what training and positions are available.
Another question we received was “How have Ahtna’s businesses held up during the recession?” Ahtna has been fortunate to continue to be successful in numerous states, including Alaska. Due in part to our strong bonding capacity, we have secured additional construction work in Alaska, spanning from the far reaches of the Aleutians to Ketchikan and Haines in the Southeast. We’ve also done very well in other states such as California, Texas and Florida and created new shareholder positions in places like Oregon, California, Oklahoma and Florida. Thanks to the overall strength and commitment of One Team, One Ahtna, we saw record revenues, profits and shareholder dividend distributions in 2020.
Ahtna Construction has been awarded a $5 million Alyeska H121 Cathodic Protection project. Cathodic protection is an electrochemical technique used to prevent corrosion on buried metal pipelines such as TAPS. Eight Ahtna shareholder employees will be dispatched for this new project. Our Ahtna Construction team continues to receive accolades for their outstanding performance and were recently awarded an Alyeska Atigun award for their work on the Sag River structure improvements and repairs. The team was nominated by their colleagues and Alyeska executives came together to make the final award selections. You can learn more about the award and the Sag River project here.
Ahtna Marine & Construction Company, LLC (AMCC) was recently awarded an $8 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bal Harbour Dredging & Beach Renourishment project in Florida. AMCC will be conducting work to nourish the eroded shoreline by hydraulically dredging about 90,000 cubic yards of sand and transporting it via pipeline to the beach, importing approximately 110,000 cubic yards of fill and hauling material from sand sources to the beach.
Marine construction and dredging is a service area we are working to grow at Ahtna. 2020 was our first full year of dredging operations, and AMCC just acquired a new dredging vessel named in honor of the late Katie John. The Katie John was put into service on June 13th and affords us the ability to bid work beyond the Coast Guard’s offshore demarcation line. The vessel is now actively pumping sediment for a $1.5 million CEMEX pond dredging project in Florida. I was very happy to be able to attend the Katie John Day celebration in Mentasta on May 31st and am grateful to the John family for allowing us to honor their matriarch with this vessel.
Tom Maloney, Chief Executive Officer