Sitnasuak Native Corporation: unprecedented growth for Nome village corporation.

Author:Seely, Nichelle

When you have a cool company, you attract a lot of cool talent. That's what Sitnasuak CEO David Hoffman says when asked about the success of the Nome-based village corporation. It's an off-the-cuff response, a sound bite--but it reflects his conviction that people are the greatest corporate asset and that the best people want to work at a company that reflects their best values.

When describing the accomplishments of Sitnasuak, the first thing Hoffman explains is what he calls the triple bottom line: profitability, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability. This is how he measures success. These three statements incorporate the nineteen Inupiaq values listed in the official mission of the company: spirituality, commitment to the family, love of children, respect of elders, respecting others, hard work, reverence toward nature, cooperation, sharing, honesty, obedience, patience, humor, humility, responsibility, pride in culture, avoidance of conflict, open communication, and speaking the Inupiaq language.

Sitnasuak isn't unique in listing such things on their website or in their corporate advertising. Many organizations seek to soften their image by paying lip service to social values. However, at Sitnasuak, the company leaders take these concepts seriously. Yet, in order to ensure profitability, the first item cited in the triple bottom line is that the company must succeed in the marketplace.

Sitnasuak is primarily a holding company. As such, it performs four main tasks: CFO Tom Delamater keeps track of the finances; VP Rich Dyson manages human resources; CIO Ubon Boutsomsi heads up the IT department, which provides overall technology support; and VP and shareholder Holly Poydack leads the team that provides management and administrative support.

Corporate Renaissance

Three years ago, following a period of transition and change, the corporation had what Hoffman describes as "a bit of a Renaissance." A new management team came on board (including Hoffman), and since then the company has enjoyed unprecedented growth. "We spend a lot of time talking about teamwork and recruiting remarkable people," Hoffman says. Each of the subsidiaries has its own CEO, hand-picked and nurtured by the parent company.

Bonanza Fuel LLC is the most profitable of the subsidiaries. The company operates the largest bulk fuel terminal in Nome as well as a gas station/convenience store located in the center of town. With a fleet of thirteen trucks, it...

To continue reading