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USKH.

After more than 20 years, USKH has learned one thing: Change is never easy. However, it is necessary for any company looking to do business in the '90s and beyond. USKH has taken this basic business principle to heart, learning valuable lessons along the way, building its reputation as a modern success story. What started as a one-man engineering firm in 1972 has today grown into an impressive company, boasting more than $1 billion in construction projects in Alaska since it first opened its doors.

When company founder Gordon Unwin decided to try his luck at opening an engineering firm in the early '70s, he knew success would not come overnight. Joined by partner and friend Leo von Scheben, today CEO and Chairman of the Board for USKH, the two opened Unwin and Scheben Consulting. In the next three years, the ranks of leadership would be filled out with two more partners, Earl Korynta and James Huettl, and the fledgling company became know as Unwin Scheben Korynta & Huettl, Inc. (USKH), providing architecture, engineering, planning and land surveying services to Alaska.

In 1986, Unwin died in a helicopter crash, and while the substantial firm that still bears his initial holds little resemblance to the small office he first opened, the same pioneering spirit is still a driving force behind USKH, now employing more than 85 Alaskans. "When I think of it now, we were two young guys with a great idea. We made it work and here were are 20 years later," Scheben says.

Going through a transformation, years of hardship during the '80s downturn, and later expansion as business rebounded, USKH has emerged as a leader in the field of architecture and engineering in Alaska. Today, Scheben describes USKH as a modern "people company. I say that because I believe now more than ever it's our people who got us here.

"When the slump hit in the '80s it was bad around here. We had to layoff most of our work force. Morale was very low," Scheben continues. "We took a long hard look at ourselves. Then did what we had to, to change things for better. We got smarter."

Those changes culminated in a company pride rivaled by few in the engineering field. "Our people are excited about this company," says Scheben. "They have a stake in it. At USKH, our employees come first. They are our most important resource. USKH's commitment to its people goes beyond our 85 employees to their families. Ultimately, we are responsible for 300 Alaskans."

Working under the auspices of quality from top to bottom, USKH takes a very serious team approach to providing the services its clients need. "Our clients get a better job from someone who is excited about the company they work for," Scheben explains. "That's what makes us different from the competition. Our employees share in the overall outlook of USKH, and when they sit down with a client, that client knows they've got the whole company working with them."

Headquartered in Anchorage with a branch office in Fairbanks, USKH's disciplines include:

* Architecture

* Civil Engineering

* Airport Planning

* Structural Engineering

* Mechanical Engineering

* Electrical Engineering

* Environmental Engineering

* Planning

* Land Surveying

Looking back on 20 years, Scheben focuses his vision on the company's future. "I think there's room for USKH to get a little bigger, perhaps opening more branch offices, allowing us to do more business in other locales. But most importantly, I want to stress that our employees will continue to be considered in our future as an integral part of the company.

"What we are selling here is a human resource, a group of professionals committed to doing the best job for our clients they can, not just simply finishing a project. They have something at stake as well," Scheben continues. "Our common goal is Alaska, to have USKH known as the architectural and engineering firm for the entire state."

For more information contact:

USKH

Leo von Scheben, CEO

2515 A Street

Anchorage, AK 99503

Phone (907) 276-4245

Fax (907) 258-4653
COPYRIGHT 1993 Alaska Business Publishing Company, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Corporate 100; Unwin Scheben Korynta and Huettl Inc.
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Apr 1, 1993
Words:670
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