Employee volunteerism: Tina’s story
Alyeska Quality Manager Tina Suellentrop is an active Habitat for Humanity volunteer. Habitat for Humanity builds houses for families in need in Alaska and around the country.
How long have you been involved in Habitat for Humanity and in what capacity? I have been affiliated with HFH since 2004. I was part of the initial crew who opened the Habitat for Humanity ReSstore in 2004. I’ve donated many hours of my time at the ReStore, which helped keep the operating costs down as the store was first getting started.
What makes you passionate about the organization? I’m passionate about Habitat because you can see how it is possible to change the lives of a family by helping them build a home they are proud of. Meeting the families of Habitat and hearing their stories convinced me their vision of “Building Homes, Building Hope, Changing Lives” was truly possible. I have been especially touched by hearing the stories from the children who have been blessed by moving into a Habitat home.
What do you want others to know about the work of Habitat? The Habitat organization does not give away homes to those in need. Rather, it identifies families who are qualified to based on need, and teaches them how to be financially responsible to maintain the home they purchase. The families are required to accomplish 600 hours of sweat equity on their homes as part of their commitment and willingness to partner with Habitat. HFH Anchorage has built 66 homes in the Anchorage area.
The Habitat ReStore is a retail business which sells donated new and used building materials, electrical fixtures, appliances, kitchen cabinets, and more – at greatly reduced prices. The income generated from a ReStore is used to support Habitat's mission of building homes for families in order to eliminate substandard housing in Anchorage. ReStore also benefits the community by keeping reusable items out of the landfill and providing a source for discounted materials for "do-it-yourself" home improvement projects.
How does your involvement with the organization align with your role at Alyeska? Habitat for Humanity believes in improving the community in which they operate by building sustainable homes. They also provide education for their families so they can make sound decisions for their future. Alyeska operates with the same goals of improving the communities in which we operate and making good decisions for TAPS for the future of the State of Alaska. By donating my time and resources to Habitat, I’m able to help improve my community and change the lives of a few families forever.
Alyeska & the American Heart Association: a great partnership
With active chapters in Fairbanks and Anchorage, employees at both locations have lined up to attend the popular Go Red for Women Luncheon and join teams for the Heart Walk and Heart Run. This year, Alyeska enjoyed the unique distinction of being a “Red Boa Sponsor” for these fundraising events.
“We truly value our partnership with Alyeska Pipeline Service Company,” said Lisa Sauder, Executive Director, American Heart Association. “As a statewide sponsor for Go Red for Women, Alyeska has shown their commitment to the American Heart Association in many ways. Well beyond the financial support they provide as a corporation, their employees are giving of their time and talent as well.
When Alyeska staff didn’t have on-the-clock time to put together an Anchorage Heart Walk team in 2011, employees Cyndi Strickland and Angela Walters took on the challenge and worked on it in their free time.
“Alyeska was recognized last year as the top corporate team for the Anchorage Heart Walk,” Sauder said. “Top walker Angela Walters and team captain Cyndy Strickland dedicated their time and effort to help us fight the No. 1 killer of all Americans. Thank you to Alyeska and their employees for their generosity.”
In Fairbanks, in addition to helping sponsor the gala Go Red event, Alyeska is active in the annual spring Heart Walk. Documentation Specialist Richelle Talvi has spearheaded the auction booth at the Heart Walk for the past four years.
This spring, Security Officer Anita Maas felted and cut out fabric hearts and challenged co-workers to make items to sell at the booth. All the money raised from the auction is used for heart research which, Talvi added, is the No. 1 killer in America. The 2012 auction raised $1,700, all of which was credited to Talvi’s Alyeska HeartWalk team.
“Don’t forget to mention we also auction off a parking space in the company parking lot to raise money for the Heart Association,” Talvi said.
Employee Volunteerism: Don’s story
Don Poulos is a Planner Scheduler in Alyeska’s Project Controls group. In his free time, he volunteers with the Koniag Education Foundation, which provides scholarships and educational support to shareholders of the Koniag region. Alyeska funds some scholarships administered through KEF.
What is your involvement with KEF? I have worked on the Development Committee for two and a half years and have served as a “super mentor” for more than 20 young people, supporting them as students and as young professionals.
What makes you passionate about the organization? Being from Kodiak….. the mission of KEF is “to help our people achieve their potential through education” and the people they are helping are the Alutiiq people, of which I am a member. This foundation helps to train and education our future leaders.
What do you want others to know about the work of KEF? Education is essential to our people, our communities and our economy. In just over 15 years, KEF has awarded more than $2.7 million in scholarships and grants to our Alutiiq people.
How does your involvement with the organization align with your role at Alyeska? Alyeska provides funding for Alaska Native training, education and internships in preparation for careers on TAPS. This funding is strategically focused to increase the pool of qualified Alaska Native applicants in specific job categories. KEF partners with Alyeska to provide matching scholarship funds to Alutiiq students who are studying in Alaska in the oil industry.
Alyeska employees step up and serve
Dozens of Alyeska employees give time and energy to Alaska non-profits – from school PTAs to food banks to statewide leadership organizations.
About 40 employees in 2011 logged 50 or more hours of volunteer times to organizations in their communities and qualified for Alyeska’s volunteer match program. Dozens of employees serve on boards, either as members or in leadership roles.
Alyeska Pipeline has a strong legacy of supporting communities where employees live and work. To honor this, and mark its 35th anniversary of operations, Alyeska invites community members to vote for their favorite nonprofit featured in Alyeska’s $5K Philanthropy Poll. Nonprofits with the most votes from Valdez, Fairbanks, and Anchorage/statewide will receive $5000 from Alyeska Pipeline.
Employee Volunteerism: Karen’s story
Karen Stewart is the Compliance & Documentation Specialist, supporting the Operations Team at the Valdez Marine Terminal. She’s known in Valdez as a volunteer extraordinaire, involved in a wide range of community efforts and projects. Steward spoke about what motivates her to give back to her community:
Finding something I am passionate about was easy to do in Valdez. I wanted to do something good for others and the community. I want to make it a better place to live. I want to help change peoples lives for the better.
I have been on several boards during my 24 years in Valdez, including the World Extreme Skiing Championships (WESC) where I was president for 5 years. WESC catapulted Valdez in a new direction, into helicopter and snowcat skiing and hopefully — someday -- a ski resort. That would be a dream come true.
I sat on the Valdez United Way (UW) Board for nine years and acted as president and vice president. We were able to do so many great things for the more than 46 non-profit organizations in Valdez. It was certainly gratifying to see so much good done with the money raised during the fall campaign. It could not be successful with out the generosity of Alyeska and our contractor partners.
I became involved with Junior Achievement (JA) in 1995. I was the program coordinator for Valdez for 16 years. It was a wonderful opportunity to become involved with the Valdez school system and make a difference in a young person’s life. As a consultant for JA, I was able to spend time in the classroom and have hands-on learning time with students from kindergarten through sixth grade. I also raised funds to support for JA in Valdez, and connected with professionals in the community to teach the classes. Alyeska played a strategic role in JA by sponsoring the program and allowing their employees paid time to teach the five classes in the JA program.
I have been on the Valdez Museum and Historical Archives for ten years. The board is a very active and hard working. Not only is the board active in decision making and policies, there is always something going on at the museum. We’re working on hosting exhibit openings, a revitalization program, the Exxon Oil Spill Exhibit, and we are currently developing a new aviation exhibit.
Fundraising is a big part for a non-profit. I have chaired the annual museum fundraiser, 'The Roadhouse Dinner,' for ten years, and have helped to raise thousands of dollars for this very active place. It has been fun and a lot of work. Alyeska has been helpful in contributing $500 to organizations that employees give more than 50 hours of volunteer time to, and through my volunteering and keeping track of my hours, the museum has benefited from Alyeska’s philanthropy program.
Currently I am chairing the Gold Rush Days’ committee called the Golden Rock Awards, promoting community beautification through the art of gardening. Gold Rush Days is the first weekend in August and money raised during this weeklong celebration goes to the Valdez Scholarship Fund.
So there you have it. There is so much to do in Valdez if you like to get involved and give of your time. I enjoy volunteering, chairing committees, and making a difference in an individual’s life and the community.
Alyeska supports environment through various programs
June 30 marked Carol Comeau’s last day as Anchorage School District Superintendent, and she ended her career in the same place she started it: on an elementary school playground. Comeau joined volunteers from the Parks Foundation, including a group from Alyeska, as they renovated the North Russian Jack Springs Park. The park needed a makeover and is receiving new playground equipment later in August.
This is just one example of numerous efforts by Alyeska throughout the year to protect and improve Alaska’s environment. Alyeska invests in many environmental projects and organizations throughout the year, including the Alaska Botanical Gardens in Anchorage, the Calyspo Farms School gardens and Project Green Star in Fairbanks, the Eagle River Nature Center, Bird TLC, the Prince William Sound Science Center in Valdez, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage and the Valley Center for Recycling in Mat-Su.
Saturday’s event focused on cleaning up a well-loved park and celebrating the career of Comeau, who started her career with the Anchorage School District as a playground attendant at Ocean View Elementary. During her 35 years with the district, she worked her way up to the superintendent role.
At Saturday’s event, supporters thanked her for her years of service, many bringing school supplies to donate to one of her favorite initiatives, Helping Us Give School Supplies (H.U.G.S.S.). The Anchorage Park Foundation has also established the "Russian Jack Springs Park Playground Fund" and is accepting ongoing community donations..
Alyeska volunteers who signed on to assist on Saturday said it was rewarding spending several hours giving back to the community and improving the environment for park users.
Corporate Communications Director Michelle Egan helped plan the event.
“I worked with Carol for 10 years before coming to Alyeska, and found this event to be a really fitting way for her to say goodbye to the community,” Egan said. “Those who work closely with her know she is especially passionate about the early developmental childhood years which made this project a great fit.”
Helping hands in the museum community
Alyeska volunteers headed to the Valdez Museum June 28 to help install photos and finish landscaping projects before Fourth of July community events began. Alyeska is a long-time friend to this Valdez community institution, sponsoring exhibits, its annual Roadhouse fundraiser and the student art show each spring.
“Over the last 15 years, Alyeska really has made a difference at the Valdez Museum & Historical Archive through sponsorship dollars and volunteer hours,” says Patti Relay, Executive Director. “Bottom line, we could not have done it without Alyeska and its employees.”
Helping the Valdez Museum is just one of the ways Alyeska partners with museums and cultural centers around the state.
In Fairbanks, Alyeska has been an important contributor to help build exhibits in the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor’s Center. The center celebrates the Athabascan culture and educates visitors about how residents live and work in the Interior.
Alyeska recently donated an intricate beaded belt by Athabascan elder Hannah Solomon for display at the Center. Alyeska also supports the newly formed Cultural Endowment Program there, and a periodically supports the University of Alaska Museum of the North with funding to support special exhibits.
Alyeska Pipeline has supported various exhibits and the renovation at the Anchorage Museum. In 2011, Anchorage donations included a contribution to the Alaska Museum of Natural History and to the Anchorage Museum, where an entire display dedicated to the Trans Alaska Pipeline System is visited by thousands of people every year.
Committed to the Alaska Native community
Every fall, Alyeska Pipeline employees have a proud presence at the annual Alaska Federation of Natives Convention. Their involvement runs the gamut - from staffing booths, to bundling up in arctic gear and greeting attendees at the door, to speaking to the audiences or serving on panels at the Elders and Youth Convention.
Providing support for AFN aligns with Alyeska’s commitment to supporting the Alaska Native community – a commitment that has existed from the pipeline’s inception, when Alyeska committed to recruiting, training, employing and promoting Alaska Natives.The agreement has helped forge a strong relationship between Alyeska and the Alaska Native community and is one of the things that makes TAPS unique.
“Alyeska preserves historical relationships with organizations that greatly benefit our Alaska Native people, communities, and the State of Alaska as a whole,” said Tabetha Toloff, Alaska Native Program Manager. “It’s important that as ambassadors of the company, Alyeska employees are connected to the rich history and relationships that have helped shape our corporate culture and reputation of being committed to our stakeholders.”
As part of the program, Alyeska also supports scholarship funds and education efforts, and invests resources in exposing these professionals to different aspects of the business, preparing them for and helping them advance within the industry.
The annual AFN event – an impressive gathering of residents from across Alaska – remains a good opportunity for TAPS employees to interact with the community and show their support for their neighbors.
"Alyeska employees are encouraged to participate with partnering organizations during events such as the Elders and Youth Conference and AFN Convention,” Toloff said. “Giving back to our stakeholders through acts of servant leadership is just one way we are able to say thank you for all that Alaskans have done to help shape the future of our people and great state.”
Alyeska continues investing in a long-standing partnership with the Alaska Federation of Natives through a commitment of $473,000 over five years.
Employee volunteerism: Betsy’s story
Alyeska Oil Movements Director Betsy Haines is an active board member for the YWCA Anchorage, motivated by a personal commitment to empowering women and youth.
How long have you been involved in the YWCA and in what capacity? I have attended the YWCA Women of Achievement luncheon, at the Alyeska sponsored table, for more than 15 years. Every time I attended I was so inspired by the women who were highlighted. I started to look into the mission of the YWCA and was equally inspired; I joined the board two years ago.
Why are you so committed to the YWCA? I have always been committed to helping girls and women improve their lives. Throughout my career I have looked for opportunity to use my experience and skills in differing areas whether it is helping Girl Scouts, the school district, women in Alyeska, Habitat for Humanity or elsewhere. I have also been involved with the Gold Nugget Triathlon whose mission is to improve the lives of women and girls through athletics.
The mission of the YWCA is very similar and equally powerful: “eliminating racism and empowering women.” I wanted to be a part of that mission because it is so important to the women and girls of our community and state.
What do you want others to know about the work of the Y? The YWCA is headed in a direction that excites me and many others. We have a new Executive Director who is amazing and inspiring and already has challenged the organization to expand from a local Anchorage view to a statewide view. We have three “signature” programs: Women’s Economic Empowerment, Women’s Wellness, and Youth Empowerment. I have focused my attention on the youth programs and with great support from Alyeska we fund Girls and Boys Circle programs at the elementary schools around Anchorage and in particular at our business partner school, Russian Jack. The work of the YWCA can help change the lives of our youth for the better!
How does your involvement with the Y align with your role at Alyeska? I believe in giving back to my community and here at Alyeska our matching gift plan, our school business partnership and time we are allowed to support community events is a real benefit and one I don’t take lightly. As budgets tighten up around the state, I feel fortunate to work at a company that still supports the community and it is part of my job to direct that support to areas where I have the energy and interest to match.