Thirty-five years of construction experience in remote sites in Alaska has given Dave Cruz no shortage of stories to tell. He worked on the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and helped build the oilfields at Prudhoe Bay. Then he and his wife, Dana, started Cruz Construction, which under the umbrella of Cruz Companies, has grown to be one of the largest in Alaska.
It employs hundreds of people and handles projects all over the state, in the Lower 48, and even has operations in Australia. Cruz workers have built oilfield support camps, transported barges of heavy equipment and building supplies to landing sites on shallow riverbanks, and were on the first wave of the sealift for Point Thomson in the Beaufort Sea.
Strong in Logistics and Support
"A lot of my work career has been in remote Alaska," says Cruz. "That's one of the things all the Cruz companies excel in. Were very, very strong in logistics and support and being able to operate off the road system."
And while Cruz Companies have handled many large projects, Cruz says the most notable project he worked on was a small-scale, but intense, task.
In November 2010, an F-22 Raptor crashed in Interior Alaska, killing pilot Jeff Haney. The crash site was located in frigid, rugged terrain in the Talkeetna Mountains. Cruz Construction was selected to build a camp for forty-two people twenty miles off the road system to house the military during recovery operations.
It was a job that required rapid deployment and complicated logistics, areas in which Cruz has decades of experience. Even after decades in business, Cruz remains a hands-on manager and traveled out to the crash site with officials.
"It was sobering to think of what happened there," Cruz says. "It's not like some of the things we do where we go very remote and support the job. This was a very personal one. It's one of those you really thought about what you're doing up there. It wasn't just a job. It was a responsibility."
Deep Ties to State
Alaska is important to Cruz, and his ties to the 49th state run deep. He was born and raised in Fairbanks and his wife Dana's family moved to Palmer in 1929. Dave Cruz worked on the pipeline and in the oilfields, projects that had a huge impact on Cruz and his desire to start his own company.
He and Dana started Cruz Construction in 1981. Today, Cruz Construction, which specializes in oilfield support services and heavy civil construction, is one of four companies under the Cruz Companies banner...