APDC President’s Letter, December 2018


Following the November 30th Anchorage area 7.0 magnitude earthquake, my first thought was the safety of my family, fellow staff, friends, and my community. I assumed there would be casualties and the damage to homes and buildings would be severe. I was relieved that my family and staff were unharmed, yet shaken. Upon subsequent news reports, I was shocked that there were no causalities. Additionally, while there was infrastructure damages, there were no catastrophic failures. This is a testament to Alaska design professionals and the design standards we promote and follow. The days following the earthquake were marked by a response from the design community that unselfishly dedicated their personal time and resources to assess the damage and recommend solutions for repair. I am truly proud to be a part of the design community – we do make a difference.

Ahtna, Inc. Welcomes New Faces Within Subsidiaries


Ahtna, Inc. announces new hires within its subsidiaries. Ahtna Global, LLC, welcomes Rachel Thompson as proposal manager, supporting Ahtna’s proposal and business development activities. Ahtna Environmental, Inc., welcomes Michael Records, MS, EIT, as an environmental engineer and Denise Yancey as proposal coordinator. Records will support environmental and construction work, and manage field staff, subcontractors, logistics, budgets, deliverables, and close-out. Yancey will research and report on new business opportunities and organize corporate information for use in proposals.

Click here to read the full press release.

APDC President’s Letter, November 2018


The Alaska Municipal League (AML) is a statewide organization that represents the unified voices of Alaska’s local governments. The AML aims to influence state and federal decision-making, build consensus and partnerships to address Alaska’s Challenges, and provide training and joint services to strengthen Alaska’s local governments.

All federal and Alaska State agencies are required to use Qualification Based Selection (QBS), and not cost to secure professional design services. However, many of Alaska’s local governments that are represented by AML do not follow QBS; rather they include cost in the selection criteria. At the AML Annual Local Government Conference, held in Anchorage November 12-16, 2018, APDC was invited to hold a panel discussion on the benefits of using QBS. Andrea Story, CPSM, Vice President, R&M Consultants, Inc. moderated the discussion. The panel consisted of Stephen Nuss, PE, Engineering Director, Anchorage Water & Wastewater Utility; Al Beck, PE, Design Group Chief, Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities; Chris Miller, PE, President, Design Alaska; and myself, Mike Rabe, PE, Principal, CRW Engineering Group, LLC.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the local government representatives were generally supportive of the QBS process. In general, they were not following the process because they did not know how to implement a QBS based selection process. Limited resources and schedule further restrained their ability to develop a QBS process. As a result, APDC recently added a “How to Procure Design Services” tab to our website to provide guidance. Additionally, several of us volunteered to assist communities with the QBS process, including tailoring the Request for Proposal document to the type of project, recommending scoring criteria, and assisting with reviewing and scoring proposals. If you are willing to assist in this process please contact the following APDC representatives:

Andrea Story Email:

Mike Rabe Email:

I would like to thank those who participated in the panel discussion, especially Andrea Story who coordinated the effort and Nils Andreassen, Executive Director, AML who supported APDC’s efforts at the conference.

Schools and Earthquake Safety: Identifying Alaska’s Most Vulnerable School Buildings


The Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission conducted rapid visual screening of several school districts to help identify the most vulnerable schools and allow the state to prioritize limited capital resources. To find out more about the Alaska Schools Earthquake Safety, and see out how certain school buildings measured up, review the report here.

You can also learn more by visiting the commission website, here.

APDC President’s Letter, October 2018


Letter from the President

The success of a nonprofit professional organization like APDC depends on a number of interrelated functions that, when combined, provide value for its members.


Value: The very existence of a nonprofit organization requires a strong focus on mission achievement, how well the organization is filling a need. APDC’s core mission is to advance the standards of education, training, and practice of design professions. To further that mission, APDC maintains contact with the state board of registration, advises state and local agencies and the legislature on regulations and guidelines that improve safe designs, supports education in sciences and mathematics, and lobbies for sound funding of capital improvements.

Board: Building and maintaining a strong board is essential to success, as the organization’s direction and belief in the mission should permeate through the members.  A good Board is diverse in skill, willing to share in their knowledge, and committed to positive results above self-interest.  Board composition should be reviewed regularly to ensure the organization maintains the right balance of skills and diversity.  Recently, the APDC Board made some strategic changes to its governance process to improve sustainability of the organization.

Volunteers: APDC simply would not exist without a passionate, supportive volunteer base, some who have been actively involved with APDC long after their service on the Board. These individuals selflessly commit their time and money to serve on committees, organize speaking points, and travel to Juneau to meet with our legislators. Additionally, their continued service provides valuable education and mentorship to train the next generations of APDC volunteers.

Public Relations: An organization that is filling a need and doing good work is a fantastic thing, but does the community know this? A thorough communications plan that focuses on cultivating relationships, sharing updates on challenges and goals, and providing proof of the organization’s impacts will go further in support of the organization than simply asking for money. With the help of volunteers experienced in social media and a true desire to make a difference, APDC recently revamped its Communication Plan that included an updated website, regular news feeds, an interactive LinkedIn site, and a monthly E-News. APDC’s communications committee has been diligent in providing frequent, relevant news pertinent to the organization’s value.

Funds: A nonprofit is no different than a for-profit business in that they both need funds to operate. The difference is that a nonprofit raises funds through donations. Fundraising is a whole lot easier when your organization provides value for the donor, has a history of meeting its goals, and can provide concrete results with updates through transparent communications. APDC uses its funds to provide value through hiring a lobbyist to keep us informed on state legislative issues relevant to our member organizations as well as an editor to maximize our communications effort.

Ultimately, it takes all spokes of the wheel working together to move the organization forward. I feel APDC is aligned to do that and I’m excited to be a part of it.

Nathan Dennis Joins R&M Consultants

Nathan Dennis

Nathan Dennis joins R&M Consultants, INC as an environmental Specialist in their Environmental Services Group. He will be responsible for ongoing regulatory compliance, permitting, environmental baseline monitoring, Phase I and II environmental site assessments (ESA), general contaminated sites work, NEPA impact analysis, SWPPP implementation and other related environmental services in support of highway, street, airport, site development, waterfront and other infrastructure projects.

Click here to read the full press release.