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Top 49ers—All Alaska—Thirty-First Team 2015

Winning the ‘Race to Success’


It’s that time of year when Alaska Business Monthly reveals the largest Alaskan-owned, Alaska-based companies. It’s something the magazine has been doing since its first October issue in 1985. “The New 49ers, All Alaska, First Team 1985” represented the first field of Alaska Business Monthly’s Top 49er companies ranked by gross revenue—boasting $2.76 billion in gross revenues and 19,044 employees. This year the number one Top 49er has nearly the same in gross revenues as all the Top 49ers did then and more than half the number of employees—and that’s just one company. Collectively, the field has grown and the industries dominating the list have changed.


In 1985, Carr-Gottstein Company, Inc. topped the list by selling groceries, liquor, and commercial real estate. Sealaska was number two with activities in logging, seafood processing, barge transportation, brick manufacturing, and sand and gravel holdings. The next three Top 49ers included an air carrier (Wien Air Alaska), a bank (National Bancorp of Alaska), and a travel agency (TravelCenter, Inc.).


How things change. The Top 49ers have mirrored changes to the Alaska economy with many Top 49ers becoming more diversified in their activities, even within their industries and economic sectors. By the way, of those first top five Top 49ers, the only remaining company is Sealaska—an Alaska Native Corporation that is not only still in business, but still a Top 49er. In fact, the top twenty this year include fifteen Native corporations, two transportation companies, and two industrial services companies. Alaska Business Monthly’s 2015 Top 49ers include twenty Native corporations reporting 74 percent of the gross revenue and providing 85 percent of the total jobs and employees—69 percent in Alaska. That’s a growing trend.


Alaska Native Corporations are a prime example of companies winning the “Race to Success” through growth and diversified company assets and operations, again and again. Check out the Top 49ers special section (begins page 60). These companies are found at or near the top of the Top 49ers more than any others in the last thirty-one years of Alaska Business Monthly’s Top 49ers. They’re to be congratulated for a job well done, as are all the Top 49ers—All Alaska—Thirty-First Team 2015. Bring out the checkered flag! Also to be congratulated for a job well done (again and again) is Team Alaska Business Monthly—we’ve put together another really great magazine. Enjoy!

This article first appeared in the October 2015 print edition of Alaska Business Monthly.

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