New ventures aim to safeguard traditional lands

Chugach companies employ over 5,000 people in six countries

This photo is from Nuuciq Spirit Camp. Photo courtesy Chugach Alaska Corporation

Editor’s note: This article was written by the communications staff of Chugach Alaska Corp. for The Cordova Times

Chugach Alaska Corporation’s (Chugach) history in Alaska extends back more than 5,000 years. For more than five centuries, our ancestors have lived and flourished in communities that extend from Cook Inlet, throughout Prince William Sound and beyond the Copper River Delta. And Chugach shareholders and descendants live throughout this region to this day.

Our sole purpose is to serve our people and ensure Chugach continues to be successful. To this end, Chugach has a simple mission: profitability, celebration of our heritage and ownership of our lands.

Though our mission was officially adopted in 1995, it has always been the spirit of what our corporation has sought to achieve since it was founded in 1972. Since that year, 45 years ago, our corporation has met with struggles but, more so, Chugach has met with tremendous success. From bankruptcy to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill to a meteoric rise as one of Alaska’s top businesses, Chugach has matured as a company and as a resource for the people we serve.

This photo is from Nuuciq Spirit Camp. Photo courtesy Chugach Alaska Corporation

The Chugach family of companies employs more than 5,000 people in six countries. Alaska is our home, but the world is our workplace. So our mission of profitability not only extends to our shareholders, it also extends to the thousands of people we employ. Our diverse enterprises touch all the facets of business that fuel the world economy. Federal government contracting, facility management and maintenance and oil and gas support—this suite of services generates employment, investment and revenue across the globe.

It’s incredible how much Chugach has grown in a mere 45 years. Our journey as a corporation began when the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) was passed in 1971. The next year—on June, 23, 1972—Cecil Barnes, Vincent Kvasnikoff, Mary Gordaoff, John Borodkin and Walter Meganack founded Chugach Natives, Inc. On that day, as a community, we came together and carved out the Chugach region and what would later become our corporation.

Since then, our business journey has gone through valleys and peaks, from our investments in the timber and fish processing industries, to the aforementioned Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, to our climb in federal government contracting and broad diversification. Adaptation and resilience is the hallmark of the Chugach people, and for 45 years, we’ve remained focused on our responsibility to preserve our Native lands and create benefits for Chugach shareholders.

Today we have a host of revenue streams from government services, facilities and energy services, a variety of investments and land-development projects. This structure reflects our Board of Directors’ goal to create a stable, balanced portfolio that can sustain downturns in any one industry. This allows us to plan for steady and potentially growing dividends for shareholders while being mindful of future generations.

Last year, we purchased Rex Electric & Technologies, one of the Midwest’s largest electrical contractors. Prior to this acquisition, we purchased Heide & Cook, a facility services company with 70 years of experience in the Hawaiian Islands; and All American Oilfield, an Alaskan company dedicated to supporting our state’s largest economic engine, the oil industry. Investing in strategic acquisitions today fulfills our diversification goals and creates a stable platform for Chugach’s future.

This photo is from Nuuciq Spirit Camp. Photo courtesy Chugach Alaska Corporation

One simple phrase sums up the future of our corporation: a forever company. This is our goal. How do you get to forever? At Chugach, we’ll get there 100 years at a time. Chugach’s Board of Directors and our corporate leadership has recently adopted our first 100-year plan. The first installment of our forever strategy is built on three pathways that each align with the pillars of the Chugach mission.

Nurturing and growing our government contracting efforts and new business acquisitions are the primary mechanism of our profitability. However, this is only one page in the Chugach story. At home, here in Alaska, we have embarked on new ventures in our region that will secure and safeguard Chugach lands for generations and generations to come.

In our next article, we’ll discuss these ventures and how they are helping our corporation create economic independence within the Chugach region. Part Two will include Chugach’s historic conservation efforts in the Bering River Coal Field, an update on our granite project at Port Gravina, creation of a $30 million educational endowment for our shareholders and descendants and Chugach’s work to reclaim cultural artifacts.

This photo is from Nuuciq Spirit Camp. Photo courtesy Chugach Alaska Corporation

Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube for more information about Chugach, or visit our website: www.chugach.com.

Contact Corporate Communications Director Randi Jo Gause at communications@chugach.com with additional questions.