Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 27

➽The 25 to Watch
Here are just some of the Native STEM enterprises that are contributing so much to our world and
fostering the success of present and future indigenous STEM professionals. This list is by no means
inclusive, but contains organizations selected by our staff to be representative of the many fields
Native-owned enterprises, large and small, are engaged in and the kinds of opportunities they are
offering. Inclusion on the list is based on broad criteria such as workforce and business development,
philanthropy, support of education, STEM knowledge, and overall corporate values. In addition, we are
taking a closer look at some representative organizations among the 25 and the people who are
working to deliver on the promise of these businesses.

BRISTOL BAY NATIVE CORPORATION ➽ bbnc.net

PHOTO COURTESY OF BRISTOL BAY NATIVE CORPORATION

A

n Alaska Native enterprise, Bristol Bay
Native Corporation (BBNC)
specializes in four major business lines:
industrial services, government services,
construction, and tourism.
Maintaining strong ties to its land,
its people, and their collective past,
BBNC consistently looks for
opportunities for growth across
the globe. In turn, BBNC fosters
a sustainable future for Alaska
while providing opportunities
for its employees and its more
than 10,000 Alaska Native
shareholders.
Employee and shareholder Kyle Nelson,
Aleut, has been with BBNC for nearly five
years. He exemplifies not only what the
organization stands for, but also STEM
opportunities available within Native
communities. Nelson has been working for
BBNC subsidiary company Kakivik Asset
Management as an industrial radiographer
at the Kuparuk River Unit, an oil field on
the North Slope.
The main scope of his role is performing
inspections on facility piping using
nondestructive testing (NDT). "Explaining
NDT can be a little difficult," says Nelson.
"It's a method of looking for imperfections
that would jeopardize the use of something
like a pipe or tank in a way that doesn't affect
the condition of whatever you're testing."
One of the challenges of the job can be
just getting there. Sometimes to get to test
locations that are difficult to access with a
ladder or a lift, Nelson enlists a "rope access
technique" to avoid spending time and
money to erect scaffolding.
But for Nelson, the challenges keep his
role interesting, and he sees a promising

future ahead - and not just for
himself. "BBNC is constantly investing in more and more companies
that are STEM based," he says.
"When Native youth start going
down their path in the workforce,
they can feel confident knowing
that their corporation
will be working in their
best interest for
long-term growth
through education and
job placement richly
based in STEM."
It's also important to Nelson
that BBNC is owned by Alaska
Native shareholders like himself
and managed for their short- and
long-term benefit. Some of those
benefits come in the tangible form
of scholarships administered by
the BBNC Education Foundation.
That funding can go toward
earning undergraduate and
graduate degrees, or toward
Kyle
Nelson
certification and training that
enhance job skills.
Other benefits are in the less
sometimes treacherous waters of Alaska to
tangible form of BBNC's "Fish
refrigerated seawater systems that preserve
First" land management policy, designed to
the catch. These are ways that we are
protect the natural habitat of Bristol Bay,
preserving our way of life while enriching
which the people who live there depend on
it through technology."
for their livelihood.
For Nelson it's important to keep the
Even in remote areas like Bristol Bay,
promise of technology in line with commuNelson sees STEM skills and enterprises
benefiting communities. "I recently read an nity values. "Whatever facet of STEM you
get into, always bring your beliefs and values
article about hydroponic gardening
into that field," he says. "Don't let technolbringing fresher year-round produce to
ogy change who we are, but let it make us
residents of rural villages," he says. "And
stronger in who we are as people."
STEM has had tremendous impacts on
commercial fishing, from navigating the
- V.S.

➽
aises.org

FALL 2017 * WINDS OF CHANGE 27


http://www.bbnc.net http://www.aises.org

Winds of Change - Fall 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Winds of Change - Fall 2017

Contents
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Intro
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Cover1
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Cover2
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Contents
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 2
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 3
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Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Cover3
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Cover4
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