Alyeska President reflects on the passing of Stan Stephens
Alaska lost a true champion this past week with the passing of Stan Stephens of Valdez, a man whose passion for protecting Prince William Sound translated to every aspect of his life, a man I was fortunate to know and call a friend. Stan and I shared a relationship dating back many years, long before I became president of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company in 2011. His passing has prompted reflection across the state about his legacy and character. I want to share my thoughts on the life he led, and the legacy of stewardship and integrity he leaves in his wake.
Stan was a practical man and a sailor through and through, a straight-talker and storyteller whose character was defined by strength, patience and practicality. I viewed Stan as an advocate -- never an adversary. Together, we believed positive and practical solutions could be reached. Our rapport dates back to my days as commander of the United States Coast Guard for Alaska, when Stan weighed in on environmental and safety issues. His prowess, acumen and knowledge reflected rich understanding of the unique ecosystem of Prince William Sound, and revealed his innate energy around protecting its waterways and shorelines.
Our paths also crossed with the formation of the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council, an organization whose work is synonymous with Stan himself. He helped create the group and remained devoted for decades, active until he retired from its board of directors in 2012.
Stan had a sweeping impact on our industry. He dedicated thousands of hours to RCAC. A Legislative citation issued in 1995 called him a shining example of how “citizens can constructively influence decisions that affect their lives and communities.” Stan’s passion, hard work, and commitment exemplified how a single person can have a profound impact. In his steady and even way, Stan campaigned for vapor recovery systems for tanker loading berths and championed air quality improvements. He advocated for redundant systems to improve safety on the Terminal, and was a staunch supporter of improvements to oil spill prevention and response readiness.
He shared his connection to the Sound with thousands of strangers, shuttling visitors to some of the Sound’s most pristine, special places. He understood that Valdez’s distinction as the terminus for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System helped make the town successful, and demanded that a strong level of responsibility and care accompany that success. From our earliest to our final conversations -- talks that took place across the breakfast table at the Totem Inn in Valdez, on decks of boats, and at his hospital bedside -- Stan focused on protecting Prince William Sound. He believed in the compatibility of the missions of RCAC and Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, and in the importance of always continuing to improve the relationship between the two.
Stan kept a weather eye on the horizon. He mentored others, in particular a new generation of boat captains and citizen leaders. This exemplified his leadership -- a belief that a captain is only as good as his crew. In our final meeting, just days before he died, Stan expressed high confidence in Amanda Bauer, whom he mentored closely and who is now Chairman of the RCAC, carrying on his legacy.
What I will remember most about our last visit in his office at the Valdez Boat Harbor, the port spread out behind it, the mountains rising up, is that we were reflective together, like sailors standing at the rail on a calm ocean.
Thank you for everything, Stan. Alaska will miss you.
Alyeska Fire Brigade wins 14th Governor’s Trophy
TAPS United Way campaign update
Alyeska's 2013 United Way campaign raised $597,933. Alyeska President Tom Barrett is currently serving as the Anchorage United Way Workplace Campaign Chairman. Smiling for the camera at the United Way kickoff, Sept. 4, are Tom Barrett and Alyeska employees Pat Walden, Diana Swenk, Michelle Egan, Tabetha Toloff, Michael Levshakoff, and Angela Walters. Kneeling are Susan Parkes (also serving as a United Way board member) and Janet Guerra.
Alyeska employees and contractors annually rev up to contribute to United Way with direct contributions and through a variety of volunteer positions throughout the organization. This year Alyeska’s campaign crossed the finishline with $597,933 raised to improve education, to ensure financial stability and to better health standards for all Alaskans.
Alyeska's 2013 United Way campaign
“This year, our campaign encourages people to surpass previous years’ support or become involved for the first time,” said Tabetha Toloff, Alaska Native Program Director, co-chair of this year’s campaign. “Without a doubt, individual and collective support for United Way has an incredibly positive impact in people’s lives and does Drive Change!”
By donating to United Way, you support a network of services that together serve the entire community, said Mel Williams, Business Practice Officer/Employee Concerns Program Manager and also a campaign co-chair.
“By supporting United Way, you support all the services a family needs to prosper,” said Williams. “Food, affordable housing, tutoring, mentoring, job training, child care, after-school programs, elderly services – join us by becoming a leadership giver, or surpass last year’s giving by $99, and make all of this possible.”
Rev up your engines, make a donation, make a difference in your community and leave poverty in the dust! Drive Change the United Way!
So far, Alyeska employees & contractors have raised more than $217,000, well on the way to exceed last year's total of $644,000.
Successful shutdown completed at 1:25 a.m., August 12
Alyeska planned 18-hour shutdown was completed at 1:25 a.m., August 12. Work completed during the shutdown included gas building work at Pump Station 4, regulatory leak testing of 27 mainline gate valves and check valves between Pump Stations 7 and 9, and the installation of an additional suction valve to the suction header at Pump Station 9. Two tablespoons of crude oil spilled from a suction hose stinger at Pump Station 9. There were no injuries associated with the shutdown.
“These choreographed shutdowns have proven safe, efficient and effective,” said Mike Joynor, Senior Vice President of Operations. “Thanks to everyone who worked through the weekend to make sure TAPS continues to run safely.”
2013 Anchorage Alyeska Food Drive
With the generosity of our employees and contractors, this year’s Anchorage Alyeska Food Drive collected three shopping carts and two pallets of food for a total of 1,262 lbs. Our employees and contractors also donated – drum roll please -- $18,460 to the Food Bank of Alaska, shooting past last year’s Anchorage Food Drive record of $12,650!
Alyeska’s Food Drive is part of our annual United Way campaign. Each year, our employees and contractors donate their time and pledges to help United Way fulfill the unmet needs in our Alaska communities. Our full United Way campaign kicked into gear at the beginning of September.
Straight pipe installed at Pump Station 10
In a shutdown July 26, a team of Alyeska employees and contractors completed straight pipe work at Pump Station 10, effectively disconnecting the last inactive pump station on the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS).
With the installation of the Pump Station 10 straight pipe, all of the inactive pump stations – Pump Stations 2, 6, 8, 10, 11 and 12 – are now disconnected from the mainline pipe, and the dead-leg piping segments associated with these inactive stations are now disconnected from TAPS.
Disconnecting the dead-leg piping from inactive stations lowers the risk profile on the pipeline and considerably reduces the potential for a leak.
New digital TAPS Fact Book
Click here to download a collection of facts compiled over the duration – 36 years and counting – of the operation of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.
Alyeska's 2013 summer interns join the team
As part of Alyeska’s commitment to renewing its workforce, the company hosts an annual 16-week summer internship program for a number of college students studying in strategically focused disciplines. The selected interns are provided a unique and valuable opportunity to apply their education and experience to practical, on-the-job work experiences alongside Alyeska’s dedicated workforce. Twenty-three summer interns arrived in Anchorage on May 13 to participate in a two-day orientation, and were then deployed to a number of divisions across the company in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Valdez and the Pump Stations.
A few interns were asked to provide feedback regarding what they’ve learned so far about the TAPS culture and how they’ve identified with the company’s cultural attributes, what they like best about working for Alyeska, and what learning experiences they would like to take away from their internship experience with Alyeska.
Raymond Kangas / Integrity Management Intern
I realized with clarity that everyone working on the line unite with the same goal to keep this 36 year old pipeline running, which for a lot of us used to be our parents and older relatives’ duties. It has the feeling like the torch is always burning, and it’s pretty awesome to be a part of it.
So far this summer I like how my supervisors and mentors have been down to earth with me. I worked with them last year, so they are not keeping things slow for me at the start. I was given a number of tasks right when I came in for work.
Colleen Durnford-Galanes / Facility Engineering Intern
Thus far with my internship experience I have found that the people working on taps act as a cohesive group, working to meet the same goals. This is impressive to me given the diverse cultures and personalities making up the TAPS team."
Hands down it’s the people! A big part of my success is dependent on the company’s willingness to share and guide me with their knowledge and expertise.
Eric Francisco / Executive Intern
I identify strongly with Alyeska’s cultural attributes, particularly “Speak Up, Step Up.” Alyeska has a working environment where all employees, even interns, are expected to speak up and step up when it comes to safety, ideas, and innovations. I believe this is one of the cultural attributes that makes the APSC Internship Program so successful."
I expect to take away the learning experience of working in a high-speed environment that breeds innovation, growth, and excellence. From what I’ve seen so far, Alyeska employees don’t settle when it comes to their work. They strive to get it right the first time, and then do it even better the next time.
Allyson Payne / Information Technology Intern
I like working for Alyeska Pipeline because of the culture… All of the people at Alyeska make it known to you that they want you to succeed. I think it is important for a company to have that sense of camaraderie. Alyeska has a great reputation, and I am grateful to be part of the company.
During my internship experience, I hope to build relationships with the employees here, because they are great! The people at Alyeska are passionate workers who focus on the overall growth of the company. I want to learn from them, and hopefully, I can be a positive mentor someday.
Situational awareness on TAPS
Every AM at PS 9, the security force begins its day with a safety topic and shift briefing for both day and night shift officers. We always preach safety first and officer safety, not because we have to but because we want our team members to go home to their families at the end of their shift. The number one key to staying safe on the job is Situational Awareness. Below is an example of one of the topics from a past safety and shift briefing meeting that was held on 4/15/2013. We conduct these types of meetings/briefings, so we could be aware of hazardous conditions in the workplace and to discuss what could we do better to stay safe during hours of operation.
Key points to staying safety at work:
- Situational Awareness
- Officer safety
- Attention to detail
- Journey Management Checklist ( JMC)
- Equipment and gear checks
- Knowledge of task at hand
- Welfare checks on our officers during their shift time (11 + times per shift)