Honoring Safety

Recognizing winners of Excellence in Safety Award

Winners of AGC Excellence in Safety Award
From left, Swalling General Contractors, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Builders, Arctic
Slope Regional Corporation SKW Eskimos Inc., Brice Inc. and American Marine International.


Achieving the level of safety excellence is about more than encouraging employees to wear proper safety gear, providing a few safety training sessions and keeping track of the number of days since the last on-thejob accident. It’s about establishing a safety culture, developing a cohesive safety strategy that fits your business and including every employee in every program in an effort to accomplish specific safety goals.

AGC of Alaska recognized contractors who have achieved the level of safety excellence in their field at the annual ConocoPhillips Excellence in Safety Awards breakfast held Nov. 8 during the AGC of Alaska Annual Convention at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage.

The ConocoPhillips Excellence in Safety Awards are given to promote and recognize excellence in safety throughout the construction industry in Alaska. An independent panel of safety professionals reviews applications, with special attention to upper management commitment, worker training, participation of the entire company and special innovations.

Five outstanding Alaska companies received the ConocoPhillips Excellence in Safety Awards this year. They received stunning Alaskashaped metal clocks engraved with the name of the award and an image of a crew working on a job. Mel Lange and his team at Dowland-Bach, a custom metal fabrication corporation, produced the individually engraved clocks, working closely with designer Maria Talasz, president and principal designer at EQUILUX Inc.


Building Division Winner
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC)
SKW Eskimos Inc.

One of the most important elements of an effective safety program is open lines of communi- cation. For ASKW, this begins with communication in the office. Beginning at the proposal stage, members of the project team and the safety management team work together reviewing the scope of work for potential hazards. Every spring, ASKW conducts multi-day safety training that all superintendents and site safety coordinators are required to attend. Office personnel are encouraged to attend the training to gain a greater perspective of field work and gain safety knowledge that may be applicable in both the office and their personal lives.

“It’s very meaningful to be selected for an Excellence in Safety Award competing against our peers; especially when we are so familiar with our peers and understand their commitment and what safety also means to them. To be recognized amongst them for our Excellence in Safety is an honor and something we are extremely proud of. Our crews and management alike strive to be safer every day in coastal conditions that many parts of the world don’t understand; so when our team can be recognized for going the extra mile to make sure everyone goes home at night, that’s something to be proud of,” said Tanya Tresino, health, safety, environmental and training manager for ASRC Construction Holding Company, or ACHC LLC.

“ASKW’s safety commitment stands out because it’s not only supported from the top down but also embraced from the bottom up. No one is in a position that’s not important enough to go straight to the boss with a safer way of completing a task. Safety isn’t thought of as an ‘extra task’ at ASKW but an integral part of project planning from the very beginning. And the beginning starts with training. Training is brought to the jobsite and continued throughout the tenure of every employee, no matter what the position. An Excellence in Safety Award has a long-term benefit to the company. Not only does it give recognition to every employee for doing what’s right to ensure everyone goes home, but it shows our owners that ASKW is recognized as best in class in our commitment to safety. With today’s economy it’s important to show our employees and owners alike that we are committed to every employee going home every day. This is one way to help ASKW bring in, and keep, the best employees long term by showing them we are committed to their well-being,” she added.


Heavy Division Winner
Arctic Slope Regional Corporation
Builders (ABL)

ABL is committed to providing a safe working environment for all employees, based on the premise that all accidents are preventable. ABL’s most valuable asset is our employees. ABL strives to ensure that everybody goes home safely from every job, every day. ABL management believes that a great safety culture begins with knowledge and training. Employee training begins at the time of hire and continues throughout the tenure of employment. Ownership of safety is the responsibility of every employee at ABL, in the office or in the field.

“For ABL to be selected for an Excellence in Safety Award amongst our peers is very important to us. Safety is important to everyone in the industry, so to stand out enough to receive this award means we are succeeding at showing our commitment to safety, and that is something we are proud of. ABL’s safety commitment stands out because top management makes sure everyone is committed and all employees know there is always an open door to discuss safety. All positions at the field level know they are empowered to speak up with ideas and concerns to complete a task as safely as possible. ABL understands that safety needs to be part of the planning process from the very beginning. It’s not a second thought or task added to the daily list, it’s the first thing prior to starting work,” Tresino said.

“The Excellence in Safety Award has long-term benefits to the company in many ways. Not only does it recognize the field level employees for doing what’s right to ensure everyone goes home, but it shows ABL’s owners that we are best in class in our commitment to safety. ABL’s most valuable resource is the employees. When we can show that ABL is committed to every employee going home to their family every day, then this is a company they want to work for and stay with,” she added.


Specialty Division Winner
American Marine International

AMI’s commitment to “Health Safety, Security, Environment & Quality Management Excellence” is expressed in the AMI Quality Statement, which is: To exceed our customers’ expectations regarding the overall quality of services provided, regulatory compliance, operational and safety performance, and environmental stewardship.

AMI’s definition of a successful operation is an operation completed with no harm to people or the environment. The effectiveness of AMI’s HSSE & Quality Management System is demonstrated through achieving zero Total Recordable Incident Rate, or perfect safety years, from 2008 to 2017. AMI has established and maintained an unparalleled safety record. AMI has achieved recognition as a service provider, from three international classification societies: The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), Det Norske Veritas (DNV), and GL, or Germanischer Lloyd.

“It truly is an honor to been selected to receive the 2018 ConocoPhillips Excellence in Safety Award. We at American Marine pride ourselves on exceptional performance in a highrisk environment. We mitigate as many hazards as we possibly can, but it is our front-line team members that are able to use their knowledge and experience to complete tasks and projects safely, within the budget and on time. To be recognized among our peers means a lot to us, and we will continue to work towards our goal of zero incidents/injuries and be a positive example for our industry,” said José Owens, operations, safety and compliance manager for AMI.

“Our commitment to safety goes beyond manuals and memos. From the president of the company to our temp hires and subcontractors, those that work with us and within our organization believe in the culture that we have developed over many decades. Our safety programs are understood, and each team member has the opportunity to ensure that no hazard is missed and that every step has been taken to perform their work safely. When we arrive on site, our people are friendly, thoughtful and professional. Winning the award means that we are doing something right. We will continue on the path that we are on, but we will never stop working towards excellence in all we do. We are always working to improve our safety programs and update our policies. This is the second year in a row, and we hope to see some good competition in our category for the award next year, which only means that our industry is working together towards a safer work force,” he added.


Highway Division Winner
Brice Inc.

Brice management has always considered safety to be good business. An Annual Safety Summit is held for its employees where guest speakers are arranged as well as different types of training — from safety-related topics to supervision, leadership and motivational. In addition, Brice has invested in an electronic management tool that enables management in Fairbanks to instantly view what the projects record in training, inspections and incidents. The safety and health of Brice’s employees is of utmost importance. Developing and participating in the plans and programs briefly outlined above demonstrates this commitment, one in which we are very proud of.

“We’re proud to be awarded this award because it shows the community the seriousness of safety on the jobsite. It confirms what we try to demonstrate. We had three seasons where we were up on the Dalton Highway, up by Prudhoe. You have the environment you have to deal with, in terms of conservation, and you also have the environment in terms of weather. We’d stretch out the season as much as we can, so you’re involved in cold weather. And traffic is an issue — both the big haul trucks and other contractors as well,” said Dan Clark, Brice’s corporate safety officer.

“For future projects, achieving this is something we can hang our hat on and do a little bragging to potential clients. This is our third one consecutively, so being consistent, showing our commitment from management down. We hire good employees who are caring and who care how well they do their work. Getting these awards helps us when we apply for RFPs and other things,” he added.


Individual Award Winner
Matt Gatton, a superintendent with
Swalling General Contractors

Matt Gatton leads the charge in safety at Swalling General Contractors LLC. In fact, he sets a tone of excellence for all aspects of the team’s performance and keeping everyone safe always tops the list. His pride in workmanship and commitment to safety inspires others, raises the bar for those around him and motivates everyone involved in Swalling’s projects to work safely at all times. Gatton has demonstrated safety leadership under challenging conditions across Alaska. He had led crew sizes ranging from a few workers to 20-plus. Gatton always finds ways to work more safely.

When he learned about the award, Gatton was pleased.

“I’ve never received this kind of recognition before. It’s awesome! Our crews have worked together for a long time, and keeping each other safe is second nature. What we do is inherently dangerous, and putting safety first is just how we operate,” Gatton said.

Steve Rowe, a co-owner of Swalling General Contractors LLC, said his company is honored that Gatton received the award.

“It means everything. Swalling has invested considerable resources in safety during the last two years. We have revamped our safety program, both as a heavy civil and vertical construction specialist. We’ve built up a company culture that prioritizes safety first as a matter of everyday operations. Our program has the support of our owners and total buy-in from our construction managers and craftspeople. We are proud of our performance, our clients and projects have benefited greatly, and being recognized by AGC and ConocoPhillips tells us we’re doing the right things when it comes to safety,” he said.

“We’ve got a great program, but really, it’s our people. We’ve got some of the best in the industry building bridges, buildings and other unique infrastructure. Most of them came up through the ranks. They love construction and plan to be at it for a long time. Staying healthy, working safely and maintaining safe project sites is critical for us. You should have heard the excitement of our craftspeople when we shared the news and sent around a photo of the award. Our crews work long, hard hours in the worst conditions Alaska has to offer. The award generated a boost in morale that we’re grateful for. Long term we will definitely share this award as we promote our safety program to prospective customers. Winning this award will help us show people that safety matters at Swalling, and it will matter on every new project,” Rowe added.