Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corp.: top-of-the-world advantage: from oilfield services, to tourism to 8(a) endeavors, Native village corporation makes ranks from afar.

Author:Friedenauer, Margaret

The key to success for one of Alaska's most profitable Native corporations has been adapting to client needs. For Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corp., that means creating new services for new needs and embracing a customer base that counts on the company for continued service.

"Our revenue continues to grow and become more diversified," said Hazel Munoz, manager of corporate affairs.

Munoz notes that while UIC is best known for its work in construction, the company actually works in eight lines of business. Ukpeagvik's family of companies and first tier subsidiaries included Harpoon Construction Group Inc., Barrow Technical Services Inc., Umialik Insurance Co., UIC Oilfield Services, Bowhead Technical & Professional Services Inc., Bowhead Holding Co., Ukpeagvik Holdings Inc. and Pueo Group Contracting.

And the partnership between these various ventures continues to pay off for the company. Revenue grew by $25.5 million between 2004 and 2005 for sales of $267 million and a net income of $7 million (figures for 2006 were not available at press time). The company employed roughly 750 people in Alaska, with offices in Barrow and Anchorage and more than 1,000 employees worldwide with offices in Seattle, Virginia and Hawaii.


While continuing to develop business and services outside Alaska, the company keeps an eye to opportunities in the area its more than 2,000 shareholders know best-Barrow and the surrounding areas. The newest business development in the last 12 months has been the growth and expansion of oilfield services.

The venture draws on the lines of business UIC is already familiar with, such as construction, communication, front-end engineering and surveying, environmental engineering, marine transportation and logistical support. Munoz said oilfield services pull in employees already involved in those areas and helps 2to highlight the variety of business lines UIC is experienced in.

"It's so our clients have one point of contact and it increases awareness that we do have other services that complement the oil industry," Munoz said. "Our objective, for oilfield services, is to grow in the industry, rather than simply offer our existing services."


Shareholders' ties to the land also present additional opportunities for business, as oil producers begin to recognize the value of UIC's local environmental and traditional knowledge of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

Barrow is adjacent to the NPR-A...

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