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TAPS turned 40: What's your pipeline story?

TAPS' 40th anniversary of operations arrived June 20, 2017, and Alyeska is commemorating the milestone all year. At the heart of this celebration are the memories and voices of those who helped build, operate and maintain the pipeline, and the stories of people, families, businesses and communities with unique ties to TAPS. You'll find many of those stories here in the coming months. We'd also love to share your story!
 
What's your pipeline story?
• What are your favorite moments working on TAPS?
• What has TAPS meant to you and your family?
• What’s your vision for the next 40 years of TAPS operations?
• How has TAPS impacted your community and Alaska?

Share memories, stories and photos by emailing them to TAPS40@alyeska-pipeline.com. All submissions will be entered in a random drawing for very special TAPS 40th anniversary prizes! Alyeska’s Corporate Communications team will contact you for more information if they plan to use your content. #mypipelinestory #40more #TAPSPRIDE

#TAPS40 #40More: The outlook for the "next 40"

As we celebrate 40 years of TAPS operations, we are still hearing and learning more about the range of powerful and positive impacts that the oil and gas industry has had for Alaska and Alaskans. But what's the outlook of the next 40 years of the oil industry in our state? Rebecca Logan of The Alaska Support Industry Alliance provides some perspective. #TAPS40 #40MORE

TAPS #TBT: Journey to Prudhoe, 1975

The journey to Prudhoe Bay is never easy. But in 1975, thousands of tons of critical equipment and infrastructure for North Slope rigs and modules were hauled there from Houston, Texas, through the Panama Canal, around Mexico, and up the West Coast by tough tugs, barges and crews. After some fabrication in Tacoma, the Arctic-bound armada headed toward Prudhoe Bay in a race to avoid an ice pack and meet deadlines. Learn all about it and follow the journey in this awesome TAPS #TBT film.

Alyeska Community Connections: Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce focuses on boosting the economic health of its community by advocating for active businesses partners. Alyeska's membership with Chamber began in 1973 and those strong ties have led to informative discussions with the community on oil and gas, the main contributor to Alaska’s economy. 

Alyeska staff is also active as volunteers and supporters at Chamber events, like the popular annual rubber duck race/fundraiser. When thousands of rubber ducks float down the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks, Alyeska uses its response equipment to capture them after crossing the finish line.

Bill Bailey, Alyeska Fairbanks Communications Manager and former volunteer Chamber chair, said, "Alyeska supports this event every year by donating resources and time from our hardworking and highly skilled response team. The rubber duckie removal is a perfect way for us to support the Chamber as it showcases our dedication to protecting the environment and giving back to our town."

Marisa Sharrah, Chamber President and CEO, recently talked about the Alyeska-Chamber partnership and how it improves life and business in Fairbanks.

Talk about the impact of TAPS on Alaska and the Fairbanks community? 
"Fairbanks has benefitted greatly from the generosity of Alyeska employees and the financial support through Alyeska's corporate philanthropy program. Alyeska is the consummate community supporter and has given the greater Fairbanks area a tremendous amount of support throughout their long history as an Alaska business. By Alyeska and other organizations partnering with us as a financial resource and their employee's spirit of volunteerism, the Chamber is able to continue organizing community events and special programs in Fairbanks."

How does Alyeska and its staff partner with the Chamber and your important work? 
"Alyeska's steadfast support of the Fairbanks Chamber is given in a variety of ways. Alyeska has invested in the future of Fairbanks' economic health by taking part in the Executive Partners program, the backbone of our organization and the pillar that holds up our advocacy efforts. The Executive Partners program is a vital financial source that allows us to promote a healthy community and business success for our members."

Can you discuss some of the volunteer support that Alyeska's employees have provided for the Chamber? 
"Golden Days is a series of summer events that celebrates our town. We have several unique events, but Alyeska helps us with the annual Rubber Duckie Race. The Alyeska's Spill Response Team's official role as official Rubber Duck Removers during the race provides safe and effective duck removal from the Chena River. This speaks volumes to the commitment that the Alyeska team has to our environment and health of the state."

#TAPSGenerations: The Parsons family

Martin Parsons
Contingency Response Planning Manager in Anchorage
26 years on TAPS
Husband of Deanna, father of Martin D.
Deanna Parsons
Administrative Analyst for Projects/Engineering in Anchorage
More than two years at Alyeska
Wife of Martin, mother of Martin D.
Martin D. Parsons
Utilities intern at the Power/Vapor Facility in Valdez
Currently on second Alyeska summer internship
Son of Martin and Deanna

What has the connection to TAPS/Alyeska meant to your family?
Martin:
TAPS is basically where I have grown up. It has provided a great life for my wife and family. Valdez is a very special place and will always be in our hearts and minds but a new chapter has opened up for us in Anchorage.

Deanna: I think the best way to say it is that we have had a blessed life, I was able to be a full time mother to our three children in the early years. We never worried that Alyeska would ever make us put our family second. The support has always been incredible in all our life's ups and downs. And now I'm excited that we have started the next chapter of our life with the kids grown and our move to Anchorage.

Martin D.: As my dad said, he has been working for TAPS since 1991 that was two years before I was even born! Because of the steady job he had through my entire life, he was able to provide my siblings and I with the best possible life. The internships that I have been fortunate enough to gain have also had a major impact. They have given me a good idea of what it is like to work for the company and what opportunities it has to offer in the future. In the fall and spring of my last year in school, I was also fortunate enough to receive the match scholarship from Alyeska through the Chugach Corporation, my regional corporation. The scholarships that I was given helped me work a few less hours so I could really devote myself to my studies.

What does it mean for you to work for Alyeska and TAPS, playing a role in supporting Alaska in so many ways?
Martin:
Coming from the commercial fishing industry out of Cordova, I started working in Valdez right on the heels of the Exxon Valdez incident. To me, doing the right thing every day, understanding that Alaska is our backyard, helps in many of the decisions that we make. My goal is to ensure that Alyeska can safely move Alaska North Slope Crude from Prudhoe Bay through Prince William Sound to the West Coast every day safely, effectively and efficiently.

Deanna: I enjoy being part of something big, in an industry and at a company that has helped make Alaska great.

Martin D.: It is a really cool thing for me to work for Alyeska. Growing up in Valdez and spending the last five years in Fairbanks, I was able to see the major impacts that the company has in the communities that they operate in. It is an amazing opportunity to work for a company that truly cares about the state and its residents. The thing I appreciate most is the company’s commitment to environmental responsibility, as well as economic development in a highly ethical manner while operating an 800-mile pipeline across some of the most extreme terrain in the country from Prudhoe Bay to my home in Prince William Sound. It just is a really special feeling knowing that I am a team member that can help to contribute to the future success of the company.

What does it mean for you to work for Alyeska and TAPS, playing a role in supporting Alaska in so many ways?
Martin:
Coming from the commercial fishing industry out of Cordova, I started working in Valdez right on the heels of the Exxon Valdez incident. To me, doing the right thing every day, understanding that Alaska is our backyard, helps in many of the decisions that we make. My goal is to ensure that Alyeska can safely move Alaska North Slope Crude from Prudhoe Bay through Prince William Sound to the West Coast every day safely, effectively and efficiently.

Deanna: I enjoy being part of something big, in an industry and at a company that has helped make Alaska great.

Martin D.: It is a really cool thing for me to work for Alyeska. Growing up in Valdez and spending the last five years in Fairbanks, I was able to see the major impacts that the company has in the communities that they operate in. It is an amazing opportunity to work for a company that truly cares about the state and its residents. The thing I appreciate most is the company’s commitment to environmental responsibility, as well as economic development in a highly ethical manner while operating an 800-mile pipeline across some of the most extreme terrain in the country from Prudhoe Bay to my home in Prince William Sound. It just is a really special feeling knowing that I am a team member that can help to contribute to the future success of the company.

How long have you worked on TAPS, as Alyeska and contractor, and what positions have you held?
Martin:
I've worked on TAPS since 1991. I started as a contractor in Valdez with Caps Services Limited at SERVS, worked in that role until 1999 when I moved to Alyeska. I've been very lucky to be able to move around quite a bit during my career. I started as a Response Coordinator, The Fishing Vessel Coordinator, Nearshore Response Coordinator, SERVS O&M Supervisor, Interim BWT Supervisor, Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor, all in Valdez, and finally the Contingency Response Planning Manager based out of Anchorage.

Deanna: I started working for Alyeska’s Corporate Communications in November of 2014 in Valdez and now I’m an Administrative Analyst for Projects/Engineering in Anchorage.

Martin D.: I had my first internship in the summer of 2016 and am currently in my second one! Over my two internships I have worked in Utilities at the Valdez Marine Terminal. Last summer, I spent the first half at the Ballast Water Treatment Facility and then moved to the Power/Vapor Facility for the second half. I am currently at the Power/Vapor Facility for the entirety of this summer. 

How special is it for you to be able to work at the same Alaska company as your spouse and son?
Martin:
I feel very blessed that we have the opportunity to work for APSC. There were many years that my wife and children did not understand the trials and successes of my job, why I would talk about things like situational awareness during dinner, or how important it was to use proper PPE when working in the garage. Now with them working for TAPS they have a common understanding. 

Deanna: I like that we have it in common. I think it makes the successes more exciting to share with each other and the down days easier to handle because we work in the same environment so we have a deeper understanding of what each one of us does. I was lucky to be in Valdez at the Terminal and take many tours of the process areas, so it is fun when our son calls and is excited about something he’s learned. Because of those opportunities I had, I am able to picture and share that excitement with him.

Martin and Deanna, you must be very proud of Martin and his work as a new technician.
Martin:
He put the work in to get this opportunity. He just graduated from the Process Technology program at UAF! His goal is to get a full time position where he can use his Process Tech knowledge. It would be pretty neat to see another Martin Parsons living in Valdez for the next 25-plus years.

Deanna: He worked full-time while being a full-time student in college and it was a joy to watch him get his degree from UAF this spring. He has amazing work ethic and I love that he enjoys what he is doing. And we know that whatever he does, he will be amazing.

Martin D., it must be pretty exciting to follow in the steps of your mom and dad, who have so much Alyeska experience.
Martin D.:
It is a really special feeling to work for the same company as my parents. My dad was living and working in Valdez for the past 25 years up until he was moved to Anchorage. I think he gets excited knowing that there may be an opportunity for another better-looking Martin Parsons to live in Valdez for another 25 years. It has provided my family with many amazing opportunities my entire life up to this point and it is a cool thought that I have the opportunity to make my own career within the company.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
Martin:
I think as employees we are very lucky to work for a company like Alyeska. You really don't hear stories about people sticking with one company for their career. The example of John Baldridge working 40 years here and many others have put in significant time is quite a telling tale of how the company treats employees. I have put in over 25 years on TAPS and hope to continue for another decade or so.

Deanna: Alyeska is an amazing company to work for and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Martin D.: I am extremely grateful to have an opportunity to even possibly start a career with a company like Alyeska. It has been cool to learn about the company from an outside perspective being the son of employees and now I get to learn about the company from an inside perspective.

Alyeska Community Connections: Bean's Cafe

The concept of the Bean's Cafe was developed by Lynn Ballew in 1979 when she moved to Alaska with her daughter, who was affectionately referred to as Bean. The organization first opened in an empty warehouse in downtown Anchorage. Bean's Cafe has grown a lot since through community support, donations and volunteering from individuals and organizations. The cafe moved to a new building in 1985 and provides basic services to the area's homeless and hungry. 

Margaret Rowland, Alyeska's Drawing Services Specialist, has volunteered at Bean's Cafe for seven years. She participates in the Empty Bowl Project fundraiser and serves food on a regular basis to those who find themselves in need of a meal. Margaret appreciates the importance of supporting organizations like Bean's Cafe, as an individual and as part of Alyeska.

"As a community and company, we need to support efforts to help those in need," Rowland said. "I've noticed an increase of individuals seeking assistance during this economic downturn. Bean's Cafe lives up to its mission to help without passing judgement or discriminating against those who come for a meal and a place to relax."

Melissa Webber, the Bean's marketing and outreach manager, recently shared her perspective on the impact that Alyeska has had on the Bean's Cafe and across Alaska. 

How has Alyeska's support helped further your organization's mission?  
"As a non-profit, we rely on community support through donations and volunteers. Companies like Alyeska help continue our mission to feed those in need without discrimination. The success of TAPS and Alyeska has played a key role in our ability to provide over 660,000 meals a year to those who face food insecurity throughout the Anchorage community."

Are there highlights that embody the strong relationship between your organization and Alyeska? 
"Along with financial and regular volunteer support, Alyeska has long supported our major events, most notably the Empty Bowl Project. For the past several years we have hosted our Soup Roadshow, a free soup tasting contest, at Alyeska's offices. The roadshow is an opportunity for us to continue sharing the mission of Bean's Cafe with Alyeska and its employees."

Can you talk about the impact that Alyeska has had on Alaska and its communities? 
"The impact of TAPS on Alaska and those who live here is beyond measure. As a state, we rely on the success of our resources and industries without which our economy would suffer. The success of TAPS has provided residents with jobs as well as funding through corporate and individual giving. When our economy thrives, those who live here are better off."

TAPS at 40 in the news: Frontiers, KTUU series, new Midnight Oil podcast

The media coverage of TAPS at 40 continued with new audio and video storytelling this week.

Frontiers, from KTVA Channel 11 Anchorage, used its weekly forum to present a full 30-minute episode called, "The Alaska Pipeline 40 years later." The episode talks about TAPS and North Slope history with geologist Tom Marshall; explores the history of women who work on the pipeline; and visits with featured guest Willie Hensley, a champion of the Native lands claim movement, to a state legislator, to an Alyeska lobbyist.

KTUU Channel 2 kicked off its The Pipeline at 40:Past, Present & Future series with a conversation with construction pioneers who shared stories of their work and TAPS pride.
The second episode featured "The cold war against lower flow,"
followed by "Remote control with mouse clicks" and "Robots on patrol for corrosion." The series concluded with "What does the future hold?"

And the fifth episode of the Midnight Oil podcast, produced by Alaska’s Energy Desk, explores the always hot topic of "How Alaska decided to give its oil wealth to everyone in the state."

Alyeska Community Connections: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Whether it's through a classroom session at the soon-to-be-completed Bison Hall, a hands-on experience feeding a moose, or the always popular cruise around its 200-acre habitat, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) in Portage offers visitors numerous, and creative ways to engage with and learn about Alaska's wildlife. 

With more than 250,000 visitors each year and a multitude of adopted animals to care for, AWCC is always busy and focused on quality – for its animals, guests and partners. That includes Alyeska, a longtime supporter that shares AWCC's dedication to respecting and protecting Alaska's environment and wildlife. 

Patti Altom, Alyeska's Senior Communications Assistant, said Alyeska appreciates the impact that supporting organizations like AWCC can have on the state, its wildlife and environment.

"If you love animals, AWCC is a great place to visit," Altom said. "Not only do you get to see most animals found in Alaska, but the center provides a vast amount of information to better educate visitors about the different species."

Altom added, "And the work AWCC and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game did to bring back the wood bison population, which had disappeared from Alaska and feared extinct, was outstanding."

AWCC's conservation program takes care of various animals, each with a unique story of how they ended up at the center. For example, Snickers and Kit are two porcupines that were abandoned and injured; Kobuk the black bear cub was brought to the center after he was found near Valdez, apart from its mother and relying on food from the dumpsters.

AWCC has even reached out to animals in need from other states: Storm the fox was born illegally in captivity in Montana and arrived at AWCC with help from the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The center is committed to helping animals recover from a variety of situations, whether it's from being trapped and frostbitten in a trap or abandoned at an early age – endless rescue stories can be found at AWCC. 

Eileen Floyd, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center's Director of Development, shares what the partnership between Alyeska and the conservation center has accomplished since 2011. 

The partnership between Alyeska and AWCC accomplished has been very successful. Please share some of the highlights of that collaboration. 
"Our animal adoption program is vital to our work at AWCC because it helps offset the costs associated with caring and feeding the animals that we take care of. Alyeska took part in the program in 2013 and 2014 by adopting two owls. … When Alyeska first got involved, we had a lot of mouths to feed due to the wood bison release program. We were responsible for more than 200 animals with expenses that included hay, feed and veterinary costs. Support through animal adoption from Alyeska and others helped AWCC's joint effort with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in 2015 release 130 wood bison in Western Alaska, where today the herd is thriving and establishing itself once again into the area."

Tell us about the Bison Hall project that AWCC is currently working on. 
"The Bison Hall is the new education center currently being constructed at AWCC. At nearly 6,000 square feet, the facility will help educate visitors on the wood bison reintroduction project and provide our education department with dedicated classroom space. The hall will provide the ability to teach year-round, which is a huge step forward for our programs considering the location of the center and the diverse weather we face in Alaska."

Is there anything you’d like to add as Alyeska celebrates 40 years of operations and strong partnerships with the community? 
"We are grateful to the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company for their investments in the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. When we work together, we are able to accomplish so much more! Thank you and congratulations on your 40th anniversary."

Pipeline Partners: Maritime Helicopters

TAPS at 40 in the news: 40 years at Prudhoe Bay/on the North Slope

Can't get enough 40th anniversary of TAPS and Prudhoe Bay operations storytelling? Check out this wide-ranging package of stories produced by Alaska Journal of Commerce in its special section, "40 Years at Prudhoe Bay."

BP commemorates "40 years on Alaska’s North Slope" with a series of stories in the newest edition of its e-magazine. Check it out here.

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