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Native contractors enjoying success: Alaska Native construction companies help to build Alaska.

Alaska's construction industry did well last year and looks forward to another successful year in 2004. That includes Native owned construction companies, an integral part of the Native business community overall that has served to maintain the fiscal well being of the state of Alaska.

In fact, nearly all of the 13 Native regional corporations have some involvement in the construction industry.

Each of the three construction companies highlighted in this article are Native owned and look forward to another good year.


Nuna has successfully completed more than $100 million in construction-based projects. This includes design, build and renovation work for a variety of clients in federal and state government agencies, Native organizations and private owners.

In 1988, Nuna, which in Yup'ik means land, earth, soil or place, became a fully owned subsidiary of Choggiung Ltd., the Dillingham, Native village corporation. Nuna moved its home office to Anchorage in 1991. Since then the firm has enjoyed a continuous steady growth in a variety of projects in the $5 million to $15 million price range. Over the past three years, the average project has been $10 million.

Although the Nuna team has experience in both the public and private markets, the military has been one of the its best customers. In 2001, Nuna received a $14.5 million contract to build a 57,000-square-foot dormitory for the Air Force at Elmendorf Air Force Base.

There also was a $15.5 million project for the Alaska Army National Guard, when Nuna was selected to construct a 74,000-square-foot, combined support maintenance facility at Fort Richardson near Anchorage.

Outside of the Department of Defense, Nuna built a police station for the city of Juneau. The facility was 33,000-square-foot masonry and steel structure, and cost the city $7.3 million.

Nuna's four-page client list includes the State of Alaska, Alaska Area Native Health Service/Alaska Public Health Service, Alaska Department of Transportation, Alaska Public Health Service, and Alaska State Housing Authority. The list also includes various federal agencies, such as the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture.

Besides the Air Force and Army, in the Defense Department arena, Nuna also has completed projects for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, and the Alaska State National Guard.

"Our contractors' success is a reflection of the caliber of our management team, which alone has more than 100 years of combined knowledge and background," said Donna Feritas, general manager of Nuna Services Ltd. "From design/build, to heavy construction, to operations and maintenance, our goal is to deliver excellence in every aspect of general contracting."

Feritas went on to say that Nuna's success in the construction industry also is a reflection of the caliber and its skilled employees, and depth of its experience. The management team, alone, has more than 100 years of combined knowledge and background.


UIC Construction LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Harpoon Construction Group Inc., which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Barrow Village Corp. of Ukpeag-vik Inupiat Corp.

UIC incorporated in 1978 and has since successfully completed more than $600 million in projects, collectively, for both the public and private sectors. The company has provided services for the civil, mechanical, commercial and utilities markets, and many of the projects were dune under extreme remote and inhospitable conditions in spite of climate, logistics and absence of a skilled local work force.

UIC's client list totals nearly 40 companies, private organizations and governmental agencies, providing experience in most areas of construction.

As an example, since 1982, UIC has provided more than $180 million worth of work in utilities for six North Slope Borough communities. The projects brought about modern water and sewer services.

In the early 1990s, UIC was part of a joint venture to construct 16 miles of gas pipeline, which included three-inch infield piping valued at $10 million. The installation took place when the temperature was 30 below zero.

Since 1987, the joint venture has provided additional support services to the North Slope Borough, valued at $14 million. These projects included ice roads, work pads and general drill site support.

A few examples in the commercial arena includes a $15.5 million Barrow Hospital staff housing project, the construction of Buckland K-12 school ($12.5 million) for Northwest Arctic Borough School District. Also included in the company's portfolio is Stuaqpak Barrow Courthouse Renovation for $5.4 million. This was a 40,000square-foot renovation project to the Stuaqpak building in Barrow.


SKW/Eskinros Inc. is a wholly owned commercial, industrial and earthwork construction company. It is a subsidiary of Arctic Slope Regional Corp., a Native regional corporation.

The "SKW" of the company was incorporated in 1974 as SKW Construction Inc. Eskimos Inc., one of ASRC's first subsidiaries, was originally a fuel distributorship known as J&W Enterprise Co. It was purchased and the name was changed in 1974. In July of that year, a joint venture Agreement was signed between Eskimos Inc. and SKW Inc. for renovation work at Barrow Hospital. Continuing to work together for several years, a full partnership was formed in 1979, and the two names were joined and have become one of the most successful and most respected construction companies throughout the North Slope of Alaska.
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Author:Martin, Gary L.
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Geographic Code:1U9AK
Date:Feb 1, 2004
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