2021 Best of Alaska Business Awards

It’s July 1, and for Alaska Business that means only one thing: the Best of Alaska Business awards! You voted, we tallied, and here are the results.

Below you’ll find an extended version of Off the Cuff with Dan Miller; profiles on some of this year’s winners (check back as they’re added throughout the month); quotes from readers about our Best COVID-19 Response nominees; and information on scoring your very own Best of Alaska Business t-shirt and/or hoodie.

You’ll also see the complete list of winners in nearly thirty categories ranging from Best Florist to Best Accounting Firm. Look for your favorites, and make sure to check out any organizations you don’t know; we promise—as do your fellow Alaskans—that you won’t be disappointed.

Editor’s Pick: Best Corporate Citizen

Hundreds of organizations are nominated by our readers every year in this category, which speaks to the priority that many Alaska organizations place on community involvement and support. The editorial team selects the winners based on votes from our readers and our own knowledge of the philanthropic and community-minded efforts of the nominated companies.

A full list of nominees can be found in the print or digital edition.

Listed here, in no particular order, are the Editor’s Picks for the Best Corporate Citizen.

MTA

From the Nominator: “They do so much to support the community, especially during COVID. They assisted schools to keep students connected and installed free WiFi hotspots to serve those in need that lost connections due to library closures.”

First National Bank Alaska

From the Nominator: “They are a great organization always, but they have really stepped up their game through COVID-19, partnering with even more companies and nonprofits while stepping up for the increased need of their services within our community and state.”

GCI

From the Nominator: “For all the hard work during COVID-19 and before, and for giving away free internet when all this started so kids could keep going to school and people could work from home. Literally the most kind thing I’ve ever seen a company do for its community.”

Learn more about Zo Financial, one of the Best New Companies in 2020.

Read an extended Off the Cuff interview with Dan Miller, the incredibly talented designer of our July 2021 cover.

Best COVID-19 Response: Matanuska Telephone Association

“MTA signed and supported the ‘Keep America Connected’ Pledge, which urges providers to waive late fees and not terminate service to any customers facing economic hardship due to COVID-19. Partnered with the City of Wasilla, Palmer, Houston, and the Mat-Su Borough to install drive-in wi-fi hotspots so those without internet at home are able to connect, as well as an eLearning Enablement program that provided nearly 3,000 free upgrades to students and educators as they transitioned to distance learning.”

Best COVID-19 Response: The Alaska Small Business Development Center

“Rallied to support any business in need of support, [implemented] protocols for reopening, and [provided] business education to access economic relief.”

Best COVID-19 Response: Bean’s Café

“Bean’s Café moved to be able to accommodate more clients due to COVID job loss. The amount of workers and clients that have had COVID is low due to lots of sanitation, six feet distancing, and approximately 500 people wearing masks. When someone does get COVID they are put in quarantine at a hotel.”

Best COVID-19 Response: Bear Tooth & Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria

“Moose’s Tooth put its team members’ safety first which as a patron I really appreciated. They also fine-tuned their safety protocols to make patrons feel as safe as possible. Their procedures for takeout were the best of the restaurants we supported and continue to be as they transition to more and more in-house dining while supporting those of us, as patrons, who are still not quite ready to dine-in. Massive kudos to the entire Moose’s Tooth team!”

Best COVID-19 Response: The Alaska Safety Alliance

“Got online training up and running FAST while implementing additional training options to meet industry needs. Helped keep Slope operations moving forward.”

Best COVID-19 Response: Alaska Regional Hospital

“They provided the safest, highest quality care to COVID-19 patients, while also serving the community [by] keeping us informed and up to date [and] also providing us with a COVID resource hotline for the many questions individuals have. I love their free 24/7 nurse line for the health questions and concerns I need answers to… They also protected their employees by providing them pandemic and COVID pay, providing them with necessary income while their hours may have been impacted.”

Best COVID-19 Response: Cook Inlet Region, Inc.

Best COVID-19 Response: “I have never felt so taken care of by a company I work for in my life. They truly care about their employees and have made every effort to show that.”

Best COVID-19 Response: Southcentral Foundation

“Southcentral Foundation was forward thinking in providing COVID testing, vaccinations, and care, to all community members.”

Best COVID-19 Response: ASRC Energy Services

“ASRC Energy Services because they put all of their Slope-rotating employees in a hotel to meet quarantine requirements before anyone else was doing it.”

And also: “ASRC Energy Services, incredibly proactive and took care of their employees by acting early and paying for costs associated with quarantining in Anchorage.”

Best COVID-19 Response: Club Paris

“Immediately revamped for COVID, devised ways to keep most staff working even during shut downs. They also adhered to any and all mandates and permanently constructed barriers within the restaurant without changing the ‘flavor.’”

Best COVID-19 Response: Altman Rogers & Co.

“Altman & Rogers were terrific! They followed the COVID restrictions no matter how inconvenient… they used great teamwork to help clients virtually.”

And: “completed tax work seamlessly while working remotely, mailing tax clients their finished tax returns and didn’t even charge [for] the additional expense.”

Best COVID-19 Response: GCI

“GCI handled the customer aspect, community outreach for families with students who needed online learning, [and] the work from home for office workers all seamlessly and really cared about the employees with families that were trying to juggle a whole new aspect of work/life balance.”

Best COVID-19 Response: Altura Bistro

“They quickly pivoted to offering easy take-out AND they supported the community through their donations to Beans Café and more.”

Best COVID-19 Response: Credit Union 1

“Credit Union 1 [was] able to do curbside pick-up for debit cards, credit cards, [to] sign loan documents curbside and electronically; this is important stuff for us members when we are used to in-person transactions.”

Best COVID-19 Response: First National Bank Alaska

“First National Bank Alaska acted immediately to ensure the safety of employees and customers while continuing to stay open and serve Alaskans throughout the pandemic. The bank also supported a broad range of Alaska businesses by working day and night, for weeks, to provide vital funding by means of SBA Paycheck Protection Loans.”

Best COVID-19 Response: Salmon Berry Tours

“Salmon Berry Tours made innovative and creative COVID-19 pivots and kept their guide team employed. Also partnered with Alaska Mill & Feed for delivery services as well as the Food Bank to deliver senior boxes to those in the community.”

Best COVID-19 Response: Alaska Executive Search

“Alaska Executive Search embraced the technology allowing remote work and ensured their candidates were safe on the job. AES employees were encouraged to work remotely as much as possible and a very thorough and structured timeline was put in place for return to the office… This led to a more secure experience for staff, candidates, and potential candidates.”

Best COVID-19 Response: ConocoPhillips

“They responded immediately on the Slope to minimize the potential of COVID spread. They changed operations—from food service to shift changes—to bring down risk. In Anchorage, they have employees working from home.”

Best COVID-19 Response: Providence

“They have done such a great job with partnering with senior and homeless facilities. Their video, public, and private meetings for keeping people informed and safe has been amazing.”

Best COVID-19 Response: Cook Inlet Tribal Council

“Not only did CITC help the Alaska Native and American Indian homeless population, they entered into and started helping all homeless Alaskans who needed help with supportive services to focus on becoming job ready. CITC also helped make sure the families that they serve had the PCs, desk/workstation, and internet needed in order for children to go to school from home. Now that’s going above and beyond, if you ask me.”

Best COVID-19 Response: 49th State Brewing Company

“49th State Brewing installed UV-c lights to sanitize the building and UV-c lights in the HVAC system to sanitize the air. Employees fill out daily screening and temp check, walk through a shoe sanitizing bath, wear gloves and masks, and maintain rigorous safety procedures.”

Best COVID-19 Response: Brilliant Media Strategies

“They shut down and had employees take their desks, computers, and other equipment home. They then offered a monthly stipend to employees to pay for supplies and other facets of working from home.”

Best COVID-19 Response: Northrim Bank

“Northrim Bank led the state in SBA PPP loans with over 30% even though they are only about 10 or 12 percent of the state’s market share.”

Best COVID-19 Response: The Hungry Robot

“The Hungry Robot because they were able to operate at a normal capacity for their customers and the owner was able to [give] back to the community with free pizza lunches for children of families that were financially affected by the dip of the local economy.”

Best COVID-19 Response: Cape Fox Corporation

“This whole year they have stepped up to protect the whole community. Whether it was shutting businesses or delivering care packages to everyone in the community with necessary goods, Cape Fox Corporation did a lot to help everyone get through a difficult year.”

Best COVID-19 Response: PDC Engineers

“Set up employees to WFH [work from home] within a week, kept offices safely open as an ‘essential service,’ incorporated daily COVID check-ins for tracking, informed employees of CDC, state, and local mandates and updates, and continue to be flexible with employee schedules.”

Best COVID-19 Response: The Alaska Club

“The Alaska Club donated thousands of dollars to The Children’s Lunchbox and volunteered hundreds of hours to fill boxes, store boxes, deliver boxes for The Children’s Lunchbox. [They] reallocated advertising money to help promote donations… and were a central drop-off for Alaska Mask Makers. The Alaska Club also provided free online group fitness classes for several months, including kids’ classes and are involved in the Conquer COVID Alaska Coalition… and hosted N95 mask fittings for hospital and emergency personnel.”

Buy a Best of Alaska Business t-shirt or hoodie!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you choose the categories?

Each year, the Alaska Business editorial and management teams evaluate our list of categories for the survey. We consider current business and industry trends and the prior year’s data to refine the category list. We may add a new category if an exciting new business or trend comes to our attention or we may eliminate a category that is no longer applicable to you, our readers. We always take into account your feedback and we always appreciate hearing about categories you’d like to see added or nixed.

Does advertising influence the contest?

The readers’ choice survey is managed by our editorial department and is completely separate from advertising. The readers’ choice survey has no relationship with or effect on advertising, and vice versa.

Can a business or organization be a finalist if it’s located outside of the magazine’s coverage area?

In order to qualify as a finalist in the survey, the business or organization must have a physical presence within Alaska.

When will the winners be announced?

On July 1 you’ll be able to find the 2021 winners in our digital and print editions and on our website.

For now, you can see the full list and writeups of our 2020 winners in the Best of Alaska Business Special Section in our July print and digital editions; you can also find them on our lists page.

What happens if I win?

Winners receive a free digital copy of the Best of Alaska Business 2020 magazine cover design, which also indicates your winning category and your business or organization name. Winners can also purchase a framed award certificate with two window clings. (The framed award certificate is 14×17 inches and features a black wood frame.) The cost is $75 per framed award certificate and includes shipping and handling. Ordering opens on July 1 and closes on October 12. In addition, Best of Alaska Business 2020 winners are provided with an icon for the category they win. These icons can be used on websites and social media to showcase your status as a Best of Alaska Business winner.

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