From Alyeska: Spring Update

Brigham McCown
Alyeska President

Spring is an exciting time as Alaska emerges from winter energized and ready for more light and activities. After the last year, this feels more important than ever. As you know, the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, or TAPS, never stopped delivering for Alaska through the challenges of the pandemic. Our operations continued reliably, but I recognize for many, there are welcome changes ahead. As we head into the warmer season, I would like to share a few recent highlights.

Live fire training

In my last update, I talked about Tower 1, a multi-purpose $1.7M fire apparatus truck equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, and the innovation Alyeska brought on board to enhance response capabilities and keep our people safe. In February, I was able to see the Valdez Marine Terminal fire brigade in action when I participated in live fire training in Texas. Each year, fire brigade members hone their skills at this important opportunity for hands-on action with fire in a tightly controlled setting. Seeing their leadership and expertise up close was incredibly impressive. Even as a volunteer brigade member, working alongside this group of energetic professionals increased my confidence and feeling of safety.

Vessel of Opportunity training

The pandemic required nimble changes, resilience, and creativity from all. One Alyeska program that required special attention was the Vessel of Opportunity program. To keep communities, crews, and our personnel safe, we did not provide the standard three-day training. We were able to provide 8-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, or HAZWOPER, training online, and more than 1300 crewmembers completed the training before the end of the year. SERVS also conducted more than 16 on-water deployments and utilized more than 80 vessels of opportunity.

This year, I am pleased to report we will be holding Vessel of Opportunity training in person, with some changes to ensure the health of those involved. Alyeska will continue to offer online HAZWOPER training as well as distance learning opportunities, to be completed before crews undertake two days of hands-on, on-water training. This plan will reduce classroom time and allows additional flexibility for on-water weather days and make scheduling more convenient for vessel owners and crewmembers. Our entire team is looking forward to continuing this enduring and important partnership.

Vaccination efforts

As Alaska and the rest of the country ramps up vaccination efforts, Alyeska is recognized by the State of Alaska as an enrolled provider. This allows Alyeska to order, handle, store, and administer vaccines. Alyeska receives its vaccines in Fairbanks, and from that central location, can ship vaccines up and down the line and to Anchorage. Alyeska’s Occupational Health Unit team is months into deploying COVID-19 vaccines across TAPS, following state criteria for prioritization. As a result, I am proud to say that approximately 700 employees and contractors across the state have started the vaccination process. In the coming months, we will continue to do our part by making vaccinations accessible to our employees, not only to protect TAPS team members and their families, but to protect the state and the communities where we operate.

In the months ahead, I am particularly looking forward to spending a significant amount of time in the communities where we operate, and I look forward to collaborating on our shared mission of safely delivering Alaskan oil to market.

From Alyeska: Alyeska wins United States Coast Guard award for environmental excellence

The United States Coast Guard has 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.

Photo of two escort tugs assisting a tanker at the Valdez Marine Terminal’s oil loading docks.
Two escort tugs assist a tanker at the Valdez Marine Terminal’s oil loading docks. Photo courtesy Alyeska Corporate Communications.

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.

“Since joining Alyeska, I’ve seen a resolute commitment to environmental stewardship around the TAPS,” said Alyeska President Brigham McCown. “I know that the support from communities and organizations like the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council is invaluable. The water quality monitoring performed by PWSRCAC serves as important validation of our progress.”

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.

From Alyeska: Brigham McCown named new president of Alyeska Pipeline

Brigham McCown

Brigham A. McCown will become the next president of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. The selection was announced by the Trans Alaska Pipeline System’s (TAPS) Owners Committee.

McCown is the second company president hired as an Alyeska employee following Vice Admiral Thomas Barrett, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.), who was brought on in January 2011 and is retiring.

McCown brings over three decades of executive management, legal, and operational experience in the infrastructure and transportation industries. He currently serves as chairman and CEO of Nouveau Consulting where he advises on matters pertaining to federal security and safety regulations. He is also chairman and founder of the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure, a non-partisan think tank leveraging innovation to improve infrastructure safety.

McCown has held several posts at the U.S. Department of Transportation, serving as a direct report to both democratic and republican Secretaries of Transportation including service as the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s first deputy administrator. In 2013, he retired from the U.S. Navy after 25 years of combined active and reserve service as a naval officer and naval aviator.

Outgoing president Admiral Tom Barrett, who is working with McCown during a transition period, stated, “I have known Brigham for many years and I share Alyeska’s Owners’ confidence in his excellent fit as Alyeska’s next president and in his ability to lead the organization. I am equally confident in the proud and talented TAPS people, whose dedication to safety, protecting our environment, operational excellence, reliability, efficiency and innovative work will carry TAPS operations into the next 40 years and beyond.”

“Brigham brings a deep and varied range of experience in the regulatory realm to Alyeska, including a sharp focus on operations and an unwavering commitment to safety,” said Jerry Frey, president of ExxonMobil Pipeline Company and chair of the TAPS Owners Committee. “We are confident in his leadership skills, which have been proven in many unique arenas, and in his ability to keep Alyeska and TAPS moving forward during this exciting time for Alaska’s oil and gas industry. Brigham has a high level of enthusiasm for working in Alaska, on the iconic and critical infrastructure of TAPS, and with the men and women of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.”

“TAPS Owners and Alyeska leaders are grateful to Tom Barrett for his extraordinary leadership,” Frey said. “In his tenure, he built community partnerships, strengthened Alyeska’s culture, advanced the company’s safety record and expanded the focus on ethics, compliance, diversity and innovation. Tom led a transformative shift in Alyeska’s business and maintenance strategy. His leadership and initiatives will have a lasting impact on the company, on TAPS sustainability, and on Alaska.”

With nine years of service as Alyeska president, Barrett is the longest tenured of any Alyeska CEO/President in the company’s 49-year history. During his time at Alyeska, the organization celebrated its 35th and 40th anniversaries, 17 and 18 billionth barrel moved, increased throughput for the first time since 2002, and numerous safety, environment and compliance honors. Under Barrett, the organization evolved and innovated to successfully tackle numerous operational and external challenges.

  • Submitted by Alyeska Corporate Communications.

From Alyeska: Alyeska traveling health fair: Positive impact in the Sound

By Alyeska Corporate Communications

Alyeska’s Traveling Health and Safety Fair spent four days in the Prince William Sound communities of Tatitlek and Chenega Bay in early June, marking the 21st year of the annual event. Eight health care providers from across Alaska, nine UAA pharmacy students and faculty, and a pair of Alyeska employees joined the crew of Edison Chouest Offshore’s utility tug Ross Chouest, which transported the contingent on its five-day journey from Valdez to Tatitlek to Chenega Bay and back.

Alyeska's traveling health fair
Chenega Bay students participate in health fair activities. Photo courtesy of Alyeska Corporate Communications.

The group facilitated two full-day schedules of events each in Tatitlek and Chenega Bay. Both stops included a free health fair available for all residents, where they could receive basic biometric screenings and information on nutrition, healthy relationships, tobacco prevention, active lifestyles, and more. Throughout both days there were also hearing, vision, and development checkups for the community’s kids and classroom sessions about mental health and wellness, first aid and handwashing, positive communication, and healthy food choices.

Each morning, health fair contributors ate breakfast with local youth at their schools. There were also special men’s breakfasts, women’s teas, and community dinners that packed each school’s respective gymnasium, offering tasty and healthy menus that were headlined by Cajun-style shrimp and corn soup created by ECO Chef Chad Cavalier.

Local leaders and high school students also had the opportunity to tour the Ross Chouest, which provides a variety of services around the Prince William Sound area. Captain Carlos Alemany and his enthusiastic crew led visitors around the unique vessel’s deck, into its engine room, and other areas.

Even rare moments of downtime were filled with opportunities for health fair participants to encourage healthy lifestyles by playing basketball or jumping rope with local youth and assist in community projects like sewing tribal regalia, organizing donated library books, and prepping healthy snacks for school kids.

“The Prince William Sound Traveling Health Fair is the culmination of months of careful planning and preparation by Alyeska staff, contractors, and community partners,” explained Kate Dugan, Alyeska’s Valdez Communications Manager. “It was special to make the trip for the first time with Edison Chouest Offshore and the terrific crew aboard the Ross Chouest. The event is always an adventure and this year was no exception.”

Skip to content