Chugach Board Announces Retirement of Chugach Government Solutions President

“Chugach has been fortunate to have Hoops at the helm of its largest federal government contracting arm for many years. We have relied on Hoops’ deep government contracting expertise as we’ve grown CGS, and valued his leadership in shaping and building a strong team capable of carrying forward his legacy,” said Chairman of the Board Sheri Buretta. “On behalf of the Board and leadership team, we are thankful for his many years of service to Chugach and to our country, and wish Hoops and his family all the best following his retirement.”

Throughout nearly two decades with Chugach, Hoops has been a key driver for the growth and maturation of CGS. His visionary leadership has expanded CGS’ presence as a formidable competitor in the federal government contracting realm, while his mentorship and embodiment of Chugach’s core behaviors has cultivated additional leaders across the organization, including many shareholder and descendant employees. His spirit of service began long before Chugach, serving 26 years in the U.S. Air Force.

“Serving my country and supporting the warfighter and Chugach shareholders are career highlights for me,” said Hoops. “It has been a tremendous honor to work with an incredible team supporting the mission while sustaining culture, and above all, providing for our shareholders.”

Chugach will share additional information about the CGS President recruitment in the coming weeks.

About Chugach Alaska Corporation:
Established in 1972 under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, Chugach Alaska Corporation exists to serve the interests of the Alaska Native people of the Chugach region with a focus on profitability, celebration of our heritage and ownership of our lands. Through responsible management of our lands, businesses and assets, we provide meaningful opportunities and benefits to our community of 2,500 shareholders. Chugach fulfills its mission through a range of investments and operating businesses that provide government, facilities and energy services. Learn more at www.chugach.com.

About Chugach Government Solutions:
Chugach Government Solutions, LLC (CGS) is a holding company of Chugach Alaska Corporation, and serves federal government customers through 11 subsidiaries. As a trusted provider of mission-critical solutions to the U.S. Government, CGS operates facilities management and maintenance, technical/IT, education and construction services contracts across the U.S. and worldwide. Learn more at www.chugachgov.com.

Chugach Alaska Corporation Appoints Daniel Fenza as President and COO

In his new role, Fenza will be responsible for leading Chugach’s corporate services functions, and overseeing the Chugach family of companies and investments.

Chugach has a long track record of cultivating executive leaders from within its ranks, and Fenza is no exception. He has demonstrated a natural inclination and passion for operational excellence, innovation and developing talent throughout his 20-year tenure with the corporation’s largest government contracting business, Chugach Government Solutions (CGS). Most recently, he served as Vice President of Business Intelligence and Innovation, during which he pioneered technology transformation efforts designed to reduce costs and streamline efficiencies for the organization. Prior to that, he advanced through a variety of operations and subsidiary president roles.

“The Board is confident that Dan, in partnership with the rest of the executive team, will continue to lead with our core behaviors and culture at the forefront and leverage the significant opportunities ahead,” said Buretta. “2020 represented one of Chugach’s strongest years yet, with higher operating profit than any year in Chugach’s history. We believe Dan can harness this momentum built over the past year to continue growing Chugach’s portfolio and improving performance on behalf of our shareholders.”

Fenza said, “I’m honored to be selected as Chugach’s President and Chief Operating Officer. Like the leaders that came before me, I feel an incredible sense of pride and responsibility to nurture the portfolio of businesses and investments that will help carry forward the Board’s vision of intergenerational prosperity for shareholders. I’m excited for the road ahead and can’t wait to continue this journey with Chugach.”

Fenza has a bachelor’s degree from University of Central Florida, and a master’s in business administration from Florida Institute of Technology. He and his wife have three children.

Chugach will appoint an additional stand-alone CEO later this year to lead Chugach’s shareholder community value centers, alongside Fenza and under the guidance of our Board of Directors. This new leadership structure reflects the significant growth and expansion of Chugach’s portfolio over the past several years, as well as Chugach’s unique social mission and status as an Alaska Native Corporation (ANC).

For more information, please contact Randi Jo Gause at (907) 261-0348.

Chugach Recognizes Annual Pek’stangiyaq (Good Worker) Award Recipients

Chugach Commercial Holdings

Lisa Arashiro, Heide & Cook

Lisa Arashiro was recognized for:

  • Shouldering responsibility for transitioning and integrating Special Projects from Service Department to Construction
  • Onboarding and training new employees
  • Working tirelessly to ensure invoices are structured correctly and developing templates for recurring contract requirements
  • Embodying Chugach’s Core Behaviors
  • Participating in community support activities and serving as a role model and teacher for employees

Chugach Government Solutions

Chris Hester, WCFS, Redstone Arsenal

Chris Hester was recognized for:
  • Being a proactive supervisor who has earned the respect of his employees and teammates as well as respect of customers
  • Seeking out process improvement options and completes goals
  • Embodying Chugach’s Core Behaviors
  • Ensuring the best customer support is provided to Redstone Arsenal
  • Empowering and teaching his team to problem solve and looks to continually improve processes and customer support

Chugach Government Solutions G&A

Borislava “Bobbi” Peycheva,
CGS’s Digital Solutions department

Bobby Peycheva was recognized for:
  • Being integral to implementing CEMS for CGS’s first site in 2020
  • Her analytical capabilities in designing processes that saved Chugach millions of dollars as well as savings in time on the project schedule
  • Creating data migration method that will benefit CGS for years to come
  • Embodying Chugach’s Core Behaviors
  • Empowering others by teaching and building processes that can be replicated and repeated
  • Continually making time for her co-workers to answer questions and share her knowledge

Chugach Alaska Corporation

David Phillips, Chugach’s Director of Lands

David Phillips was recognized for:

  • Working for Chugach for more than 24 years
  • Being Chugach’s top expert on lands & development resources
  • Always being ready to help others and pass along knowledge
  • Being instrumental in getting carbon program started
  • Embodying Chugach’s Core Behaviors
  • Helping Chugach to pursue avenues that create returns for Chugach

Tell the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council to Stop the Spend-Down

The small city of Seward has always been a fishing town. Our people and economy relied almost entirely on fishing and tourism. At the time of the spill, I sat on the Board as president of the Seward Life Action Council, an agency that managed a number of public health and social service programs. We witnessed how the spill not only caused irreparable damage to the ecosystem and the commercial, sport and subsistence use of our once bountiful ocean resources; but also left devastating mental health issues in its wake.

Some people lost everything. The only jobs available became those working on the spill clean-up efforts. Some refused to work on the clean-up, feeling it was wrong to draw a wage from the industry that caused the spill. Others made a fortune leasing their boats to individuals working on the spill clean-up. This created a huge divide in my small town and tested relationships – sometimes pitting father and son, brother and sister and others at odds with one another. The community was hit with a great depression, as drinking and domestic violence increased. Other communities suffered a similar fate, including in the Chugach region: Tatitlek, Chenega, Cordova, Valdez, Port Graham and Nanwalek.

Seward was the site of the otter clean-up facility, located where the Alaska Sealife Center sits today, a facility initially funded from the EVOS trust. At the time of the spill I worked across the street, and from our office we could hear the otters screaming and crying all day. I felt like weeping with them as I saw how my community was harmed by the spill and its aftermath. The litigation filed by 38,000 plaintiffs wasn’t settled until 1998, and was decreased form the initial award of $5.287 billion to a mere $507.5 million. Many, including my parents, had died before final settlement payments were made.

It’s been 31 years since the spill, and while many people are unaware, restoration work continues. Exxon paid $900 million to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS) Trust, which was formed in 1991. These funds were intended to be used for restoration and rehabilitation in the spill-impacted area. Roughly $200 million remains in the account today. Most of the funds have gone towards the purchase of lands in the spill area, primarily Native lands. Those lands were deeded to the federal government and had conservation easements on the surface. However, in the case of the Chugach region, the regional corporation still owned the subsurface estate creating a conflict with land management. Many of the village corporation leaders felt they had no choice other than to sell their lands, given they had few options to generate much-needed financial assistance after the devastation of the spill. The purchase of Native lands was controversial at the time, and it still is today. Instead of Native lands in Native hands, it became Native lands in government hands.

Now, to add insult to the substantial injury that the oil spill has had on the people and communities who were most impacted, the EVOS Trustee Council is pursuing a spend-down plan, which would end their obligation to manage these funds to continue the much-needed restoration and rehabilitation of the spill-impacted area. Some resources have never recovered, and the human impacts have never been adequately addressed. Local communities have not been given opportunities to be involved in order to supplement their local economies. Unfortunately, the EVOS Trustee Council system lacks meaningful public participation and transparency. Now, there are four resolutions out for public comment that only escalate this situation and further destroy trust between the people in the spill-impacted area and the trustee council.

Resolution A eliminates the requirement for an annual public meeting. That alone should get everyone’s attention, as it allows the trustees to make decisions without public participation. Resolution B allows them to fund multi-year projects without an annual budget review. Resolution C allows them to combine the research and habitat sub-accounts so they have greater flexibility in spending down the funds, and Resolution D allows them to expand the spill area so they can fund more projects where they can make a case for ecosystem connections. It’s a complete erosion of the public trust, and we need to speak up and let the council members know that we are not going to sit back and allow this to happen without a fight.

I urge you to submit comments and oppose the four resolutions that are out for public comment now, at https://www.newvisionforevos.org/evos-public-comment. The deadline to submit your comments is December 16th. The story of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill is one of a myriad of injustices. Let’s act now to let the agencies who make up the EVOS trustee council know that they have an obligation to do the right thing: to engage the public in the conversation and to provide full transparency in the funding process.

Josie Hickel is the Executive Vice President of Lands & Resources for Chugach Alaska Corporation. She is a lifelong Alaskan from Moose Pass, and a Chugach shareholder of Aleut descent.

A Call for EVOS Trustee Council Reform

In the wake of the spill, a portion of Exxon’s punitive damages included a $900 million settlement paid to the state and federal government. The EVOS Trustee Council, comprised of three state and three federal representatives, was formed in 1991 to oversee the settlement for the purposes of restoring the spill area’s injured ecosystem, including the human services that were impacted by the spill.

Since the council’s inception, much work has been accomplished toward this end. But for the Alaska Natives of the region, rather than restoring the equilibrium that once existed before the Exxon Valdez ran aground, much of the council’s efforts have exacerbated the wounds created by the oil spill. The worst of these missteps occurred when the council purchased surface estates owned by village corporations in the Chugach region without regard to the regional corporation’s subsurface estates. This resulted in split estates where federal agencies now own the surface rights and our regional corporation owns the dominant subsurface rights. This went against the intent of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), which called for village and regional corporations to have joint ownership of lands for shared management and mutual benefit.

The council’s purchase of the surface rights in some cases created division between those Natives who supported the purchase of Native lands and those who did not, severely compounding the harm created by the EVOS. Moreover, it created a rift between Chugach and the EVOS Trustee Council, the government entity that was supposed to heal the suffering caused by the EVOS.

In 2011, the council launched a “sunset” plan to spend the remaining settlement funds down to zero. Yet, today, approximately $150 million remains in the EVOS Trust. Chugach, the Alaska Native Regional Corporation in the spill-affected area representing more than 2,800 Alaska Native shareholders, believes there is better alternative. We believe there is a way to heal the wrongs created by the spill and those that have taken place after the spill to create a lasting and enduring legacy with the remaining funds. And we’re not alone.

A Think Tank of prominent Alaskan leaders and politicians, former members or affiliates of the EVOS Trustee Council, scientists and academics, and Alaska Native leaders of every village corporation and the two regional corporations in the spill area united to create a proposal that would open the door to permanent restoration work in the spill zone. This alternative encompasses land and wildlife protection and rehabilitation, and it contains an element that has been left out of the majority of the council’s focus: the human element and a path forward that will heal the region for the people who live there.

This is one option for EVOS Trust reform, but there are many potential avenues of reform. Developing the best solution will require open, transparent dialogue with the public and leaders within the spill-impacted areas. Instead of engaging in this dialogue, the EVOS Trustee Council proposed four misguided resolutions for a 60-day public comment period. The introduction of these resolutions is yet another example of the EVOSTC circumventing its responsibilities and eroding public trust. The four draft resolutions, if approved, would only serve to advance the EVOS TC’s agenda to “spend down” the remaining EVOS funding with minimal oversight and little to no public participation. These resolutions should be postponed until meaningful public participation and review of other options can be considered by community members in the spill-impacted area who were most harmed.

The harsh reality is that oil and its harmful effects still linger in Southcentral Alaska and there remain unrecovered resources. If the council’s sunset plan is successful, the consequences of EVOS will linger long after the funds that are dedicated to restoring the injured ecosystem are gone. The money will be gone, but the oil and its impacts will remain. The EVOS settlement trust does not have to end on an unfinished note. Nor should it with your help.

We are calling upon the public to help us change the course. Visit https://www.chugach.com/evos-trust-issue/ to learn more; and join us in making your voice heard by providing comments at https://www.newvisionforevos.org/evos-public-comment. All comments are due by Dec. 16, 2020.

Chugach Announces Resignation of Michael McCanna from Board of Directors

Following the announcement, the Board voted to appoint Brenda Dukart to the Board vacancy and serve the remaining year of McCanna’s term on the Board of Directors.

Chugach Chairman of the Board and interim President and CEO Sheri Buretta, said, “I speak for the entire Board and management team when I say how thankful we are to Mike for his service to Chugach and wish him the best on his next chapter. As a long-time Board member, Mike has contributed to Chugach’s growth and maturation. He has also nurtured CHF from its modest beginnings to an independent, self-sustaining foundation that creates educational opportunities and brighter futures for our shareholders and descendants.”

McCanna has served on the Chugach Board since 2006, and as President and Chairman of Chugach Heritage Foundation since 2007. He also served on many Board, operating subsidiary and investment committees that he has guided to successful resolution representing the Board. His superpower is his kindness and care for others, but his wisdom and willingness to share these gifts have been the catalysts for moving Chugach forward through good and bad times.

“The last 14 years have been rewarding beyond all expectations. Working toward shared goals with community-focused individuals allowed me to grow in ways I never imagined,” said McCanna. “The Chugach Board and management have built a foundation upon which the Chugach shareholders and descendants prosper. I am proud to have contributed to this work.”

Chugach Announces Special Shareholder Dividend

This announcement follows Chugach’s successful carbon credit sales in 2020. Chugach has been the leader in bringing the California carbon credit market to Alaska and has worked hard to provide these benefits to the shareholders.

This dividend will be paid through the Chugach Natives Trust, allowing for tax-free benefits to shareholders. This Special Dividend is in addition to the November Regular Dividend of $10 per share for the second quarter. This dividend will be paid on November 20, 2020.

The diversity of Chugach’s operations and assets – including our lands and resource development projects – minimizes the risk during volatile times and allows us to preserve shareholder value and benefits. Our diversified portfolio, conservative financial management and prudent leadership build the financial resilience that allows us to weather potential impacts. Although Chugach’s consolidated financial performance will be impacted by COVID-19 in 2020, we anticipate remaining on target with budget and 2019-2023 Five-Year Plan operating profit goals.

As a reminder, we have a page on the Chugach website dedicated to COVID-19 information and prevention measures (https://www.chugach.com/covid-19-informational-site/), and we encourage you to visit this resource and our Facebook page for reliable news and updates.

I am proud and inspired by the way our people have united to face the challenges of these extraordinary times with flexibility, strength, courage – and a caring heart. As we near the holiday season, I wish you and your families health and happiness. I am grateful to each of you for being a part of the Chugach community.

Thank you,

Sheri Buretta
Chairman of the Board
Interim President & CEO

Chugach Board Endorses Sen. Sullivan and Rep. Young for Reelection

“We’re grateful to both legislators for their unwavering support and leadership on issues critical to the Alaska Native community,” said Chairman of the Board and Interim President & CEO Sheri Buretta. “Notably, both Sen. Sullivan and Rep. Young have played a key role establishing Alaska Native Trusts, protecting the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Native 8(a) Program, fighting for COVID-19 relief for Alaska Natives and promoting self-determination in the delivery of healthcare to our people. The Board of Directors and I applaud their shared commitment to supporting the interests of our Alaska Native community.”

Bloomberg Government Ranks Chugach as a Top Federal Industry Leader

As the federal division of CAC, Chugach Government Solutions, LLC (CGS), and its subsidiaries offer small business flexibility and 8(a) eligibility, coupled with industry-leading techniques, process and innovation. CGS delivers uncompromising quality at a fair price. CGS provides the government with facilities management and maintenance, construction, technical services, and education services. We seek consistency in quality and actively innovate, finding new ways of doing business that add value to our government customers.

“Rising 11 slots to 118 shows the strategic and sustainable growth CGS is committed to for our Chugach Alaskan Native shareholders. Our employees’ integrity and focus on quality, positions us to compete successfully in federal markets,” said Tim “Hoops” Hopper, CGS President. “Our inclusion in this prestigious list verifies our commitment to our customer and continued success in our journey to digital transformation.”

The BGOV200 combines rich data and insightful analysis to explore the contract dynamics of the past year at 92 agencies and departments across 20 different purchasing categories. Bloomberg Government forecasts fiscal 2020 spending obligations could top $600 billion once spending ends for the year in September 2020, which would be a record high. The top markets that are likely to see continued growth in fiscal 2020 based on BGOV forecasts are facilities and construction ($118 billion), professional services ($81 billion), and information technology ($74 billion).

Chugach Applauds CARES Act Decision

In addition to granting the funding, the Court’s decision also reaffirms the Alaska Native status as “Indians” under the Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act, and as defined by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) that was signed into law nearly 50 years ago. Chugach and all Alaska Native Corporations are proud of the cultural and tribal identities that define us, and we work tirelessly to support tens of thousands of Alaska Natives every day.

Chugach, ARA and ANVCA look forward to working together with other Native organizations to solve the problems and challenges brought on by COVID-19. We continue to believe that when Indian Country, Alaska Native corporations and Villages, and Native Hawaiian organizations align as one, our ability to serve our people is powerful.

The ANCSA Regional Association website provides comprehensive information on the background of this issue, and the stance and position of the unify Alaska Native community that argued for this historic decision.