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Going the extra mile: 2024 Atigun Awards recipients announced

Alyeska’s Executive Team recently 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:

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 
TAPS teams ramped up a response after discovering a brine release at Mainline Refrigeration Unit 7 near the Glennallen Response Base. Facing frigid temperatures, heavy snowfall and brine exposure risks, they located the leak source, then safely and effectively repaired the system and returned it to service.

Atigun Award: New Safe Operating Committee effort
This workgroup created improved the Safe Operating Committee (SOC) process with the creation of a new worksheet that simplifies the platform, moving from a Microsoft Word document to a more appropriate Excel spreadsheet.
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 
As Alyeska’s longtime Environment Manager, Jan is known for his honesty, truthfulness and reliability. He simplifies work tasks and integrates new opportunities to the benefit of TAPS and his Environment team. Jan creatively solves problems and has a firm understanding of field processes, which makes him invaluable to Operations & Maintenance, Engineering & Risk, Human Resources and HSEC personnel.  His ability to create a space for his team to challenge themselves and develop has resulted in a strong group of individuals that support field operations.

Honorable Mention: Dan Joos, TAPS Security Sr. Manager
Dan keeps the safety and security of TAPS and workers at the forefront while also supporting the entire organization. He embraces upgrades and technological advancements. His leadership has shaped the work of his team beyond physical security measures and tactics, allowing members to lend their expertise to improve systems and processes. Dan also builds and maintains strong relationships with external stakeholders to proactively strengthen TAPS security.

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

Atigun Award: Check Valve 11 replacement and Northern segment pigging recovery 
In July 2022, a stuck pig at Check Valve 11 damaged the valve and suspended maintenance pigging from Pump Station 1-4. In 2023, facing adverse weather conditions, environmental considerations being so close to the Sag River and tundra, and other challenges, the right teams implementing the right solutions resulted in a successful check valve replacement and a return to pigging without any significant spills or environmental impacts. Additionally, improvements were made at PS 3-4 to modify the enhanced recycle process.

Honorable Mention: Environmental and Civil Maintenance Coordinators across the system
Alyeska’s Environmental and Civil Maintenance coordinators often work together on projects and issues in the field, and proactively engage with one another on upcoming work and annual tasks. This collaboration exemplifies the benefits of inter-department coordination. These coordinators are stewards of change and efficiency who support each other and maintain a common goal of safe and reliable operations.

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

Atigun Award: Asset Retirement Obligation at Pump Stations 8 and 12
2023 marked the end of demolition work at Pump Station 12 and the start of similar work at Pump Station 8, continuing Alyeska’s commitment to reduce TAPS’ footprint by isolating and removing five inactive pump stations by 2034. Lessons learned from prior facility removals were implemented as numerous teams developed waste management plans, recycling and sustainability efforts that resulted in a reduced carbon footprint, and cost. Additionally, PS8 was prepped for removal work in 2026 as teams safely handled 91,000 gallons of hydrocarbons and wash water while cleaning more than eight miles of out-of-service above- and below-ground piping to meet current regulatory standards.

Honorable Mention: New low water crossing at PLMP 759.3 
After several storms, low water crossing (LWC) repairs were required at Pipeline Milepost 759.38, along the Tsaina River, to protect the pipeline and other utilities. A new LWC was installed, providing unrestricted ROW access for OSCP responses and maintenance. This new LWC installation exemplified outside-the-box thinking and finding environmental efficiencies rather than continuing annual repairs on the original LWC, simplifying future maintenance.

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

Atigun Award: VMT crude headers drain down
In the past, an ILI inspection of A and B crude headers required a complex stopple and hot tap. 2023 saw an alternative to the cumbersome and expensive process, resulting in teams eliminating the need for stopples. Instead, they drained down headers with a temporary pump and installed four-inch connections near the road crossing. This also reduced risk to the system.

Honorable Mention: Supporting Safe Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) increases with True Vapor Pressure monitoring
Multiple individuals improved Alyeska’s True Vapor Pressure (TVP) monitoring by taking an automated report tool that was created to compile data that ensures connectors are managing TVP within agreed upon limits. This proven commitment to compliance allows Alyeska to fulfill the obligation as a proven operator with the ability to increase TVP limits and ultimately allows connectors to inject more NGLs into the system.


Silent Runner: Jacquelynn Towner, Recruiting & Personnel Services SME
As Alyeska’s only recruiter, Jacquelynn supports the entire organization. When she’s not at a job fair or college delivering her front-end recruiting efforts, Jacquelynn is behind the scenes posting job opportunities, interviewing and hiring candidates. As a strong supporter of the Alaska Native Program, her advocacy is aligned with Alyeska’s Grant and Lease commitments.

Contractor of the Year: SLR International Corporation
SLR has supported linewide TAPS work for more than 21 years and made significant contributions to multiple projects and response efforts in 2023. Their expertise in environmental stewardship and regulatory requirements is demonstrated in their methodical approach to issues, technical competency, and an innovative approach to their work alongside Alyeska crews such as Environment, Engineering and Contingency.

Engineer of the Year: Dennis Hansen, CPW Valve Engineer
Dennis’ unwavering support to field technicians and dedication to collaboration for the best solutions makes him a top TAPS tech for troubleshooting. His ability to make technical and complex solutions relatable to anyone working on a system is only matched by the follow-through in post-implementation. His actions not only make his teammates and Alyeska successful, but the entire system more efficient, streamlined and a true support of field operations.

Professional of the Year: Jessica “Jessie” Hannan, Operations Engineering Manager
Since arriving at Alyeska, Jessie has prioritized building strong relationships across divisions and proven herself as someone who attacks issues without hesitation and doesn’t shy away from a challenge. She is well-organized and logical, often developing and executing solutions that incorporate collaboration between several technical areas and teams. She holds herself and others accountable, and her work style and active listening allows for new ideas, tactics and problem-solving to come to life.

Lifetime Achievement: Norm Voorhis, PS09 Instrumentation Technician
After more than 45 years on TAPS, Norm is known to many as “Norm at 9” or “The Oracle” and considered a go-to person Pump 9 knowledge. Since starting on TAPS in 1978, he has mentored many technicians and takes the lead in emergency situations to ensure crew and facility safety. A local Delta Junction resident who lives close to Pump Station 9, Norm is still expanding the efficiency of locating supplies and tools when any maintenance is needed.

Technician of the Year: Zeke Cervantes, PS01 Mechanical Technician 
Ezequiel “Zeke” Cervantes became the go-to mechanical technician at Pump Station 1 shortly after joining Alyeska over 12 years ago. Beyond his technical competency, he has earned respect from peers and leadership for his continued willingness to learn and share knowledge, from teaching and mentoring to increasing his own understanding of pipeline and organizational processes. Now in a lead technician role, he deconstructs tasks for clarity, coordinates work efforts for efficiencies, and finds creative solutions to pump station projects and daily work.

Regional celebrations will take place in the weeks ahead and honorees will be highlighted with stories.

“Please join me in congratulating those whom we recognize in this year’s Atiguns for their excellent work on TAPS,” said John. “I look forward to celebrating their work over the coming months.”