Jim Posey was ten and living in Beaumont, Texas, when the Alaska Statehood Act passed in 1958, stripping Texas of its bragging right as the nations largest state. "Like all Texans I had an attitude about being number one. It bothered me that Texas was no longer the mighty, bold, and grand state of our state song."
Curious about the place that had usurped his home state's top spot, Posey started reading about it.
"In a National Geographic article about life in Alaska, 1 read about kids going to school in the dark. I thought that it didn't sound so bad. I also knew the president was not going to go back on his word to let Alaska in, and I decided if you can't beat them, join them."
Posey made it to Alaska in 1979 to work for Arco and to begin his career here. All five of his children were born here.
Now sixty-seven, Posey retired at the end of 2013 as general manager of Anchorage's city-owned Municipal Light & Power (ML&P).
Posey's working life began at an early age. "I started working with my dad at his cleaning job at a savings and loan in Beaumont before I was eleven. I got my Social Security card in 1957, when one of the bank's vice presidents decided that I should get paid for my work."
He continued that through high school and his first year at Lamar University in Beaumont, which he left to join the US Air Force. He served as a combat crewmember at the Titan II missile underground complex in Wichita, Kansas, and began taking classes at Wichita State University. After leaving the Air Force he finished his undergraduate degree, got his Juris Doctor from the law school at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, and got a job in Arco's land department in Dallas.
Posey worked on the Prudhoe Bay oil field unit agreement, but what he really wanted was to get to Alaska, where the economy was booming. "I knew that the real opportunities were in Alaska."
Getting to Alaska
A year later, Arco moved Posey to Denver. He stayed another year with the company. When it appeared that Alaska was not in the offing, he quit Arco and joined Worldwide Energy Corporation, a small company dealing in oil and gas in Canada and the United States, as well as gold claims in Alaska.
Then in 1979 Arco began developing its Kuparuk River field. "They came to me and asked if I still wanted to go to Alaska and flew me and my wife Sandi up for a look. I liked the offer and we found a house. Within seven days we were back in Alaska."
The highlights of Posey's time with Arco include helping get the Kuparuk oil field online, developing a good working relationship with the North Slope Borough, and an accomplishment he is particularly proud of--ensuring that the village of Nuiqsut, near the oil fields, got natural gas to replace expensive fuel oil.
Oil was flowing from the Kuparuk field by December 31, 1981. "It was the first oil to flow in two years," Posey recalls. "We unitized the field, got all...