Alyeska Wins US Coast Guard Award for Environmental Excellence
The US Coast Guard announced that Alyeska earned a gold-level William A. Benkert Award for Environmental Excellence. This is the premiere award presented by the Coast Guard that honors members of the marine industry for excellence in areas of marine safety and environmental protection.
The program notes, “Gold level recipients have expended extraordinary effort into protecting the environment and it shows. This biennial award recognizes organizations for outstanding achievements in all aspects of marine environment protection.”
The award specifically reviewed Alyeska’s marine safety and environmental performance between 2018-2019 and included highlights such as the marine services transition, the organization’s safety culture and performance, environmental monitoring, community partnerships, and philanthropy programs. Though the nomination was focused on the Valdez Marine Terminal and Prince William Sound, work around TAPS–like the 2019 Minton Creek exercise and Alyeska’s ongoing work with University Alaska Fairbanks on unmanned aerial vehicles–was also recognized.
“This award is an awesome acknowledgement of our employees and their commitment to protecting the precious environment we call home,” says Betsy Haines, Alyeska senior vice president, operations and maintenance. “We’re recognized, in part, for our work in prevention, and also our safe and effective responses when a bad day occurs. It’s a proud moment for the entire TAPS team.”
The Benkert Award was created to recognize outstanding achievements in marine environmental protection that go beyond mere compliance with industrial and regulatory standards. It is intended to be a creative exchange of ideas and innovations to everyone’s benefit. It serves as a map for assessing environmental management strengths and weaknesses while stressing a continual improvement.
This environmental award is named for Rear Admiral William M. Benkert (1923-1989), who served at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC as Chief of the Office of Marine Environment and Systems from 1972 until 1974, and as Chief of the Office of Merchant Marine Safety from 1974 until 1978. He is fondly remembered as the father of the Coast Guard’s Marine Environmental Protection Program.
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Spreading the Word
When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.