smallest corporations, the infusion of 7(j) revenues was a major part of their budget.
“That’s basically the mechanics of the relationships between those two entities,” Bissett
says. “Other than that, they’re typically the
same. They’re all for-profit corporations, with
specific sets of bylaws and ways of operating.”
Although some village corporations focus
on local activities such as the power systems
and tribal duties, others have waded into the
corporate world. And while the regional corporations have traditionally been the powerhouses, village corporations are increasingly
right alongside them.
In fiscal year 2016, three village corporations were among the ten largest Alaska-based
corporations: Chenega Corporation reported
revenues of $927 million, Afognak tallied $474.3
million, and Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation
reported revenues of $424.3 million.
Chenega Corporation has had great success in government contracting but has been
working to diversify its portfolio and now
owns the majority of the electrical contractors in the state, Bissett says. Its government
services arm operates in multiple business
lines with several companies in each.
“Quite a few of the larger village corporations have significant investments in government contracting, which is true of the
regional corporations, as well,” Bissett says.
“Village corporations such as Chenega and
Afognak started out in government contracting but in recent years have been working to
diversify their revenue streams.
“They’re using their 8(a) moneys to invest
in ongoing businesses right here in our state,”
she says. “That’s kind of become the Alaska
business entrepreneur dream. That you form
a company, build it up, and get bought out
eventually by a Native corporation.”
Each corporation interprets its mandate to
benefit shareholders in its own way. The Eyak
Corporation (TEC) is the village corporation for Cordova, one of five villages in the
Chugach region. Although the bulk of TEC’s
operations are in government services, it is
also looking at how it can directly improve
life for its shareholders.
In 2011, TEC acquired an ownership interest in Native American Bank, which serves
Alaska Native corporations, tribes, and
Native enterprises as well as Native individuals. It recently invested in Baxter Senior Living,
which is building an assisted living center in
Anchorage. The investment allows TEC to help
create badly needed housing for elders, as well
as provide more job opportunities for shareholders. TEC is actively looking for additional
investments in Alaska.
Locally, TEC supports community activities in Cordova, such as the Native Village of
Eyak’s elder programs, a cemetery cleanup
day, and a monument to recognize veterans.
Left: Youth at a Dig
Susie Malutin leads
a cultural workshop
with youth at Dig
“A big part of our work is to
make sure our business lines
and operations stay true
to our Alutiiq values. Even
in things like engineering
services, we’ve been able
to tie our Alutiiq values
and traditions. We’re very
effective at using the materials
around us in a resourceful and
respectful way. It’s so critical
to what anchors us.”
Vice President of Corporate Affairs