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Atigun Awards

Going the Extra Mile

Alyeska’s Atigun Awards

Every year, Alyeska leadership selects talented and hardworking people on TAPS for Atigun Awards. The awards recognize people and work that make our pipeline and the people on it safer, more efficient, more responsible, more innovative. These teams and individuals inspire us to collaborate more, communicate better, aim high in all we do, and overcome challenges.

The Atigun Awards reflect their namesake: Atigun Pass, at 4,379 feet, the highest elevation on the TAPS route. It might also be one of the most beautiful and intimidating landscapes along TAPS. Imagine the grit, determination and brilliance it took to get our pipeline constructed along this seemingly unforgiving area 45 years ago. That creativity and resilience is reflected in those we recognize with Atigun Awards and honorable mentions today.

Atigun Awards and honorable mention honors are presented in the following categories: Environment; Innovation; Health & Safety; Integrity; and Teamwork. There are also President’s Choice Awards, including: Contractor of the Year; Engineer of the Year; Technician of the Year; Professional of the Year; and Lifetime Achievement.

2024 Atigun Awards

Alyeska’s Executive Team has selected 2024 Atigun Award recipients, honoring employees, contractors and teams that exemplify excellent work and go the extra mile.

“Reviewing the numerous nominations was inspiring for the entire Executive Team,” said John Kurz, Alyeska President & CEO. “We appreciate those who took time to recognize their peers for the exceptional work that is performed across TAPS. The nominees collectively demonstrate values that drive our operations.”

John also named President’s Choice category recipients in the following categories: Silent Runner, Contractor of the Year, Engineer of the Year, Professional of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, and Technician of the Year award recipients.

The 2024 Atigun Awards recognize 2023 performance in health & safety, integrity, teamwork, environment and innovation. Here are the 2024 winners and honorable mentions — click the links to learn more about the Atigun-worthy pipeline people and projects:


Lifetime Achievement: Norm Voorhis, PS09 Instrumentation Technician

Professional of the Year: Jessica “Jessie” Hannan, Operations Engineering Manager

Technician of the Year: Zeke Cervantes, PS01 Mechanical Technician

Engineer of the Year: Dennis Hansen, CPW Valve Engineer

Silent Runner: Jacquelynn Towner, Recruiting & Personnel Services SME

Contractor of the Year: SLR International Corporation

HEALTH & SAFETY: Recognizing achievements in health and safety of people and property, including process and operational safety.

Atigun Award: Mainline Refrigeration Unit brine release response

Atigun Award: New Safe Operating Committee effort

INTEGRITY: Demonstrating commitment to the highest ethical standards. Recognizing achievements in meeting commitments to protect the operating integrity of TAPS and the integrity of APSC business practices.

Atigun Award: Jan Shifflett, Environment Manager

Honorable Mention: Dan Joos, TAPS Security Sr. Manager

TEAMWORK: Applying shared responsibility for Alyeska’s mission and resources entrusted to us.

Atigun Award: Check Valve 11 replacement and Northern segment pigging recovery

Honorable Mention: Environmental and Civil Maintenance Coordinators across the system

ENVIRONMENT: Recognizing achievements in environmental protection, habitat enhancement, regulatory compliance or pollution prevention.

Atigun Award: Asset Retirement Obligation at Pump Stations 8 and 12

Honorable Mention: New low water crossing at PLMP 759.3

INNOVATION: Leveraging knowledge and creativity to continuously improve operations and efficiency.

Atigun Award: VMT crude headers drain down

Honorable Mention: Supporting Safe Natural Gas Liquid increases with True Vapor Pressure monitoring


2023 Atigun Awards


• Atigun Award: Pump Station 12 Facility Removal’s Bird Deterrent & Relocation. This successful effort demonstrates creative and proactive protection methods for coexisting with wildlife on TAPS.

• Honorable Mention: VMT Contaminated Soils Landfarming

Health and Safety

• Atigun Award: Mental Health Campaign. Year on year, Alyeska strengthens its mental health awareness campaign and 2022 was the biggest to date with nearly two months of weekly educational sessions focused on mental health awareness. 

• Honorable Mention: Alyeska Traveling Health Fair Sails Again


• Atigun Award: VMT East Tank Farm Vent Repairs. When extraordinary weather conditions created an unprecedented incident in Valdez tank operations, the VMT Mechanical Maintenance team responded: they repaired damaged pressure/vacuum valve vents that protect the 65-foot-tall crude oil tanks from over- and under-pressurization.

• Honorable Mention: Yoshi Okamoto’s LAVA Tool

• Honorable Mention: New In Line Inspection (ILI) Tool


• Atigun Award: Joey Selby. Joey’s enthusiastic and even-keeled leadership has united and inspired the Operations Control Center team. The OCC team credits Joey’s integrity and steady guidance for fostering an empowered, solution-minded environment.

• Honorable Mention: Condon Johnson & Associates


• Atigun Award: Milepost 781 Integrity Dig above Keystone Canyon. This team came together to execute a long-anticipated integrity excavation, recognized as the most complicated dig conducted on TAPS in recent history. The dig was completed on time without any significant safety or environmental issues.

• Honorable Mention: Cyber Security team’s response to TSA Security Directives

2023 President’s Choice Awards

• Engineer of the Year: Greg Kinney, Site Engineer. Greg has learned and shared a lot in his 33 years on TAPS. He’s known for his work ethic, above-and-beyond energy, depth of engineering expertise, and willingness to lend a hand.

• Technician of the Year: Mike Huisingh, Mechanical Maintenance Tech, Valdez. In more than a decade with the Maintenance team, Mike’s had a hand in repairs and maintenance to almost every VMT system, and many on TAPS.

• Professional of the Year: Nancy Lea, Maintenance Supervisor, Pump Station 1. When Nancy joined the PS1 team, she brought years of Operations Control Center experience. Every shift, Nancy demonstrates hard work, dedication to the success of PS1 and TAPS, and a passion for sharing knowledge and experience.

• Contractor-Partner of the Year: Brice Incorporated. Brice and its people have demonstrated dependability, responsiveness, exceptional service, and an attentiveness toward protecting Alaska’s environment. In recent years, Brice played a critical role in monitoring and responding to the dynamic Sag River.

• Best Baker on the Line: Patty Miller, NMS, Yukon River Response BasePatty’s delicious desserts and daily meals designate her as an official fan favorite with TAPS crews up and down the line. And her ability to make people feel recognized and special, uplift morale, and contribute her talents towards TAPS’ success earn her the honor of first-ever Best Baker on the Line.  

• Lifetime Achievement Award: Joel Lindsey, Implementation Assurance Lead. In his 36 years on TAPS, there is a constant woven into Joel’s history on TAPS: leadership. His career began as a maintenance instrument technician at Pump Station 5 in June 1978, around the first anniversary of TAPS startup. By 1980 he was the station’s maintenance supervisor and Level 5 instrument tech. Thus began a string of increasing management responsibilities and work demands. Leadership. Longevity. A legacy of TAPS pride. All ingredients to a remarkable career and for Joel’s this Lifetime Achievement honor.


Health & Safety

Winner: Covid Vaccination and Testing Team

Honorable Mention: Power Team Protective Relay


Winner: Code of Conduct Refresh Team


Winner: Valdez Mechanical Maintenance Technicians

Honorable Mention: Leak Detection Work


Winner: Rockslide at TAPS MP 781

Honorable Mention: Sag River Repair


Winner: Pump Station 1 DRA Ring Repair

Honorable Mention: Atigun River Heat Loss Project

President’s Choice Awards

Contractor of the Year: Northstar Terminal Stevedore Co.

Engineer of the Year: Joe Howell

Technician of the Year: Jason Werner

Professional of the Year: Hillary Schaefer



Winner: MP 238 heat project

Honorable Mention: VMT Microbiology Lab

Health & Safety

Winner: COVID response


Winner: Jeff Butler, Improving pipeline automation

Honorable Mention: Lost Creek slope mitigation design


Winner: John Inglis

Honorable Mention: Kassie Andrews


Winner: Sag River structure improvements and repairs

Honorable Mention: IT/Cyber Security Business Continuity (remote work)

President’s Choice Awards

Professional of the Year: Tom Brady

Engineer of the Year: Sam Bailey

Lifetime Achievement: Jerry DeHaas

Lifetime Achievement: Betsy Haines

Technician of the Year: Shawn O’Rear

Technician of the Year: Diandra Amsden

Contractor of the Year: Chugach Alaska Services



Winner: Mainline Valve Integrity Solutions

Honorable Mention: Pipeline Waste SPOCs for Large Quantity Generator Facilities – PS4, PS9, and Fairbanks Shop

Health and Safety

Winner: Unmanned Survey Vessels (USVs) for TAPS Waterway Crossing Survey

Honorable Mention: Out of the Danger Zone.


Honorable Mention: LiDAR survey of TAPS Aboveground Pipeline System

Honorable Mention: TAPS Changer VFD Transformer Repair


Winner: Cindy Keuler

Honorable Mention: Jennifer Hillman


Winner: Marine Services Transition

Honorable Mention: HR Team, Employee Support

President’s Choice Awards

Professional of the Year: Peter Nagel, Land Manager

TAPS Engineer of the Year: Norbert Chowaniec, Operations Engineer

TAPS Contractor of the Year: North Coast Electric

TAPS Technician of the Year: Chris Watson, OM&S SPOC



Winner: Alyeska’s TAPS-wide Recycling Initiatives

Honorable Mention: Spill Prevention and Reduction – Fleet Department

Health and Safety

Winner: Heat Tube Crew Improves and Innovates to Reduce Ammonia Exposure

Honorable Mention: TAPS Safety Shout Outs, Katie Pesznecker


Winner: Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Other Technology

Honorable Mention: VMT Power Vapor Fuel Savings – Enhanced Recycle Process


Winner: Janine Boyette


Winner: Project W556 – VMT Comm Building and Equipment Replacement

Honorable Mention: G029 Workpad Mitigation at PLMP 652.5

Honorable Mention: TAPS 40th Anniversary Celebration

President’s Choice Awards

TAPS Professional of the Year: Verne Griffis, PS05/07 Project Team Lead

TAPS Engineer of the Year: Dave Heimke, Engineering Standards and Programs Manager

Lifetime Achievement Award: Reva Paulsen, Assistant Chief of Staff

Contractor-Partner of the Year: NANA Management Services



Winner: Milepost 18 mainline investigation team

Honorable Mention: Right of Way Baseline team

Health and Safety

Winner: Pump Station 1 gas leak repair team

Honorable Mention: Tanker mooring line handling improvements


Winner: Winter operating temperature team

Honorable Mention: Temporal and spatial 3D modeling of TAPS aboveground pipe


Winner: Rachel Baker-Sears, Project Compliance and Admin Lead


Winner: Pump Station 1 flare tip replacement project (G014)

Honorable Mention: Electrical power maintenance and testing team (POWER Team)

President’s Choice Awards

TAPS Professional of the Year: Geneva Walters, Development Manager

TAPS Engineer of the Year: Alan Beckett, Mechanical Integrity Manager

Lifetime Achievement Award: Don Duke, Measurement Technician

Contractor-Partner of the Year: GLM Corporation



Winner: Frac-tank redesign. A redesign of the tanks, conducted through a multi-department effort, reduced the risk of spills.

Honorable Mention: Pump Station 1 pig launcher valve replacements

Health and Safety

Winner: Bus rescue at Pump Station 1

Honorable Mention: Terry Andersen, Pipefitter Foreman, HCC


Winner: Powerhouse trench design and execution

Honorable Mention: Check Valve Bypass Crew


Winner: Cyndy Strickland, Sourcing Manager

Honorable Mention: Philip Hoffman, Aboveground Program Support Engineer


Winner: SAG River flooding initial response/ immediate action team

Honorable Mention: Replace RGV-40

President’s Choice Awards

Professional of the Year: Jim Lawlor, Environment Coordinator Supervisor

Professional of the Year: Eliza Tiulana, Training/MOC Lead Controller

Engineer of the Year: Vinnie Szymkowiak, Sr. Civil Engineer

Lifetime Achievement Award: John Baldridge, Senior Director of Pipeline Operations



Winner: Flood Response at Sag River and Beaver Brook

Honorable Mention: Third Party Tanker Rollover Response

Health and Safety

Winner: Scott Smith, VMT Utility Supervisor

Honorable Mention: Rodney Jones, Director, Marine Operations, Crowley Marine Services


Winner: Robotic In-Line Inspection tool team

Honorable Mention: Enhancing Cyber Security posture, IT

Honorable Mention: Post-65 retiree health insurance enhancements


Winner: Julia Redington, Area Project Manager

Honorable Mention: Marvin Stewart, Laborer, HCC

Honorable Mention: Bradley Bailey, Technician

Honorable Mention: Lori Burroughs, Management System Specialist


Winner: Hal Eppley, Material Coordinator

Honorable Mention: Check Valve 5 bypass sleeve team

Honorable Mention: IT Baseline Contract team

President’s Choice Awards

Professional of the Year: Jerry DeHaas, Senior Discipline Engineer Advisor

Professional of the Year: Kim Kortenhof, Senior Pipeline Compliance Coordinator

Lifetime Achievement Award: Bill Frichtl, Senior Discipline Engineering Advisor



Winner: Eric Hoffman (HCC), Ron Baxter (HCC) and Fairbanks Fabrication Team

Honorable Mention: Pump Station 1 Integrated Project Team, Tank 111 heat exchanger

Health and Safety

Winner: Pump Station 9 Pig Launcher and Receiver Project

Honorable Mention: Dan Ottenbreit, Senior Project Engineer, Pump Station 9 septic system repair

Honorable Mention: TAPS Warehouse Team, 18 years without a DAFWC or OSHA recordable


Winner: In-Line Inspection Pig Run Team, 2013 magnetic flux inspection

Honorable Mention: VMT Equipment Shop Team, scraper pig cleaning system

Honorable Mention: David Heimke, Alyeska Senior Project Engineer, scraper pig detection system

Honorable Mention: Russ Bonar, O&M Mechanical Support Engineer, Dana DeGraffenried, Valve Engineer, mainline valve testing


Winner: Barbara Harmon, Compliance Program Lead

Honorable Mention: Nichole Gentz-Wilkins, Purchasing Supervisor


Winner: Leland Bowden, Houston Contracting Company Project Manager

Honorable Mention: John Draper and Tim Rupp, Pump Station 1 Lead Technicians

President’s Choice Awards

Professional of the Year: Tim Rupp, Pump Station 1 Lead Technician

Professional of the Year: Kathy LaForest, Human Resources Generalist

Professional of the Year: Lloyd Street, Power Vapor Supervisor

Professional of the Year: Ann Marie White, Pipeline Advisor