TAPS workers making a difference across Alaska
Alyeska and its pipeline people pride ourselves on strong communities connections and giving back in many unique and powerful ways — individually and as teams, financially and volunteering our time and special talents. Here are four recent stories of Alyeska employees and TAPS partners in action, supporting our neighbors and helping make our communities better places to live.
Johnson helps build Equity Center for Alaska Black Caucus
Marc Johnson, Alyeska’s Water Quality SME, has spent nearly a year volunteering his skillset to help the Anchorage-based Alaska Black Caucus with planning the purchase and renovation of ABC’s Equity Center, a building intended as a service hub for the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community. Based in downtown Anchorage, the Equity Center will provide office space for BIPOC-led organizations and businesses, a commercial kitchen, and meeting space.
During summer 2021, ABC was evaluating an existing building built in 1974 – previously a print shop and dental office – for its suitability for renovation and repurposing as an Equity Center. Marc helped develop construction cost estimates for building repair and renovation to assist ABC in its decision to purchase the building or not. Upon estimate reviews, ABC procured the building in October 2021. Marc then assisted ABC with planning renovation work, including developing design services and construction services scopes of work. The building is now in the early design phase with renovation completion expected in late 2022 or early 2023.
“The project to renovate the building is interesting and the final product, the Equity Center, will be a positive addition to Alaska, to the community of Anchorage, and to downtown Anchorage,” Marc said. “I’m proud to be a part of it. ABC has great leadership and committed volunteers that are professional and enjoyable to work with.”
Marc added that there is always room for more help as ABC’s Equity Center takes shape. Reach out to him if you’re interested in volunteering.
Fairbanks Alyeska staff, TAPS contractors fuel up on donuts, clean up the community
More than 20 Alyeska staff and TAPS workers participated in Fairbanks Clean-Up Day on May 12. Wendy Duran, Compliance Coordinator, made arrangements for TAPS employees to clean along the Mitchell Expressway, between the South Cushman St. Bridge and Lathrop St.
“Clean-up Day volunteers showed up to represent in customary TAPS family fashion: prepared and motivated regardless of the weather and bridgework conditions,” Wendy said. “The team’s exceptional preparatory work developing the safety plan, equipping volunteers with personal protective equipment, and fueling them with snacks (donuts!) and hydration, elevated their already passionate motivation. This day was a success due to the dedication of these volunteers to the Fairbanks community and the State of Alaska.”
Wendy said that the forecasted dreary wet weather forecast never came to be. State of Alaska bridgework members assisted in safety, adding to Alyeska’s pre-planned display of signage, and an additional layer of heightened flagging and barriers on the southside of the expressway. That meant motorists were on high alert for the Clean-up Day efforts.
The Clean-Up Day crew included: Clean-up Crew: Alyeska Compliance Coordinator Wendy Duran, DUS Security Officer Trevor Auton, DUS Security Officer Robert Thomas, TEAM Ind. Project Lead Inspector Welding/Mechanical Jack Pierce, TEAM Ind. Inspection Coordinator Jenelle Dooley, APSC Compliance Coordinator Shana Clay, APSC Reliability Specialist Joe Kazense, APSC Integrated Planning Lead Mark Howdeshell, APSC Inspection Lead Dan Graham, APSC Commercial Motor Vehicle Lead Grainne Bonestroo, APSC Light Equipment Coordinator Michaela Murphrey, APS Reliability Engineer Chris Swaim. Notification/Doughnuts: Fairbanks Corporate Comm Bill Bailey; Safety Plan/Brief: APSC Safety Programs Lead Cathy Miles; Signage: Fairbanks Baseline Foreman Ray Holleman, Fairbanks Baseline Operator Rodney Holdren, and Fairbanks CMC’s Nathan Williams/Adam Owen. PPE/Water: Materials Manager Nichole Gentz-Wilkins, Materials Coordinator Dan Knabe ACW. Doyon Security: Captain Martin Bent, Sergeant Cyle Demoski, Officer Erick Godoy, Officer Robert Thomas, Officer Trevor Auton.
Doyon honors Hildebrand with Gin’tith Richard Frank Military Service Award
At Doyon’s recent Annual Shareholder Meeting in Fairbanks, Darren Hildebrand, Alyeska Pump Station 9 mechanical technician, was honored with the Gin’tith Richard Frank Military Service Award.
“I was kind of in shock (at the award announcement) – I’m not someone who looks for recognition,” Darren said. He added, with a laugh, “I don’t know who nominated me, maybe my mother. But if she nominated me, I have to take it.”
Darren, a TAPS tech since 2017, was raised in a large family in the Interior with a spirit of independence and adventure. In his senior year of high school, he committed to join the Air Force. In 2001, he started his unique military began career in active duty as a tactical aircraft maintenance specialist on F-15 aircraft in Idaho. He transferred to Elmendorf Air Force Base in 2005 and served temporary duty at the U.S. Airforce Base in Guam, where he was assigned to an operation in Osan, South Korea. Darren was part of a crew that flew 24/7 to demonstrate a show of force when North Korea first started its missile testing.
Darren left active duty and joined the Air National Guard in 2008. He served with the 176th Unit in Anchorage as a mechanic technician. His unit was responsible for the thrilling and daunting rescue response across Alaska during medical situations and search and rescue out in remote areas. He was also deployed twice to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, where he was an aircraft maintenance technician on HC-130 aircraft.
In 2012, Darren shifted his career and joined Doyon Drilling through the roustabout program and quickly made it to floorhand. In 2017, Darren took the next step, moving to Alyeska. During his time off, he continued serving part-time with the Air National Guard as a Drill Status Guardsman until he transferred to the 168th Unit at Eielson Air Force Base and now works as a KC-135 aircraft maintenance technician. Darren will remain with the 168th Unit until he retires later this year.
“There have been huge benefits for me coming from working on planes in the military to working on TAPS,” he said, “from maintenance management, being assigned to a plane or in this case a pump station, looking at the big picture and also tracking down things to their root cause, and developing engineering procedures.”
Darren, who lives in Fairbanks with his wife and four daughters (who share his passion for planes, he said proudly), added that another important element of his military experience has stuck with him and continually inspires him in his daily life – a quote from Admiral William H. McRaven (U.S. Navy Retired). It goes: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. If, by chance, you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that’s made. That you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”
Rebman named “Rookie of the Year” for Junior Achievement volunteering
Randy Rebman, Alyeska Learning Development Coordinator, was recently recognized with a Rookie of the Year honor among 12 Junior Achievement of Alaska 2021-22 Volunteer Service Awards.
Randy said he made it a goal this year to be more involved in volunteering through Alyeska and beyond. Before coming to Alyeska, Randy was an educator, so sharing that experience with Junior Achievement and serving their young community was a perfect fit.
“Volunteering with JA gives me the opportunity to step back in the classroom and share insights from my work experiences with students,” he said. “As a volunteer, I enjoy facilitating class sessions on topics such as career exploration, personal finance, and entrepreneurship. When I was in school, we lacked support programs like Junior Achievement, which meant that kids often felt that had limited choices upon graduating. So volunteering with JA gives me the opportunity to not only represent Alyeska within the Anchorage community, but to also provide career education to kids that will hopefully make a difference in where they end up after graduating high school. ”
Randy added, “It feels good to be recognized for those efforts with this award.”
Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA Alaska annually serves over 10,000 students in 55 communities.
“Volunteers are the backbone of Junior Achievement, and these hardworking individuals are stepping up for youth in our community to share their experiences and skills, and providing important lessons on money management, starting a business and finding a career,” said Flora Teo, President of Junior Achievement of Alaska. “The recipients of the Volunteer Service Awards are leaders in this effort and critical to helping JA inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.”