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‘If you got it, we brought it’

Aves Thompson of the Alaska Trucking Association told me that a few months ago. It’s the motto for the Alaska transportation industry, and boy, does he ever know what he’s talking about! The association serves as the voice of the Alaska transportation industry—a multimodal and an intermodal endeavor.

Case in point: On May 14, I drove my old white jeep with the weathered gray duct tape flapping off the side mirror to the historic train depot in downtown Anchorage, boarded an Alaska Railroad double-decker visitor railcar that took me out along Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet and back to the Bill Sheffield Anchorage Railroad Depot at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to watch six chefs compete in the “Great Alaska Seafood Cook Off " sponsored by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, and a few of their friends.

The crowd was enjoying wine from J. Lohr Vineyards and Winery of California, beer from Alaskan Brewing Co., wild Alaska seafood from the ocean, grilled Alaska Grown vegetables and a cornucopia of delicacies from afar. The chefs prepared fabulous wild Alaska seafood creations in their one-hour staggered windows and some big announcements were made. I kept thinking of that motto: “If you got it, we brought it.” I envisioned the intermodal and multimodal transportation methods and logistics it took just to put the Great Alaska Seafood Cook Off together, and I got it.

Marilyn Romano, Alaska regional vice president for Alaska Airlines, announced the fall 2012 release of Salmon-Thirty-Salmon II, a Boeing 737-800 with a beautiful wild Alaska salmon painted from tail to nose onto the aircraft, which will carry Alaskans and all things Alaska via air—a huge component of the transportation industry in the state. Another component is marine transportation—and the sea was well represented.

NOAA’s Steve Davis announced the release of the agency’s 15th annual “Status of Stocks: Report on the Status of U.S. Fisheries for 2011,” which includes the news that the Bering Sea snow crab stocks have been declared rebuilt and the Eastern Bering Sea walleye pollock biomass is at 80 percent of maximum sustainable yield—good news for Alaska fisheries. Davis also reminded everyone of last fall’s news that the Dutch Harbor-Unalaska port led the nation with the highest amount of fish landed for the 22nd year in a row in 2010. Several modes of transportation are used for all that wild Alaska seafood that finds it way to the far corners of the globe.

Getting back to the festivities, the six judges, all chefs—Jose Souto of Westminster Kingsway College in London, Christine Keff from the Flying Fish in Seattle, Dan Enos from Oceanaire in Boston, Erik Slater from the Resurrection Roadhouse in Seward, Naomi Everett from the University of Alaska Anchorage Culinary School, and Alaskan Rob Kinneen of fresh49.com—could not have been there without several forms of transportation. Also true for the chefs: Aaron Apling-Gilman, Seven Glaciers, Girdwood; Mary Helms, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage; Kevin Lane, Alaska Culinary Academy, Seward; Kristi Skaflestad, Chipper Fish, Hoonah; Gil Turturici, The Chart Room, Kodiak; and Christopher Vane, Crush Wine Bistro, Anchorage. Vane won the competition with his white troll caught king salmon pinwheels and will represent Alaska at the "Great American Cook Off" in New Orleans Aug. 11.

Even the guests were multimodal. Take Bill Sheffield for example, and what comes to mind—the port, the railroad, the airport—he’s a fine example of how well-connected Alaska’s transportation industry is. And the June issue is another fine example, with three special sections—Transportation; Building Alaska; and Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. We’ve put together another really great magazine. Enjoy!

—Susan Harrington, Managing Editor

This column originally appeared in the June 2012 print edition of Alaska Business Monthly magazine.

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