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Business Briefs

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2002

Edward Jones tops Fortune Magazine list

Financial-services firm Edward Jones, which has offices in Kenai and Soldotna, ranks No. 1 in Fortune magazine's annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America. This is the firm's fourth appearance on the coveted list, but its first No. 1 ranking.

The magazine's Feb. 4 issue says that despite difficult economic times, the firm had no layoffs. The magazine also said that 97 percent of Edward Jones employees praise management's honesty.

Edward Jones Managing Partner John Bachmann said that to be on the list is an extraordinary honor. But to be at the top of the list is beyond anything the firm could have imagined.

"One of the keys to being an attractive workplace is the fact that everyone is organized around a single customer and a single mission," Bachmann said in a prepared statement. "We know our responsibility is to serve the serious long-term individual investor, and in order to do that effectively, we have to align all of (our) resources so that we are focusing on a team effort and doing everything we can to support that relationship between our investment representative and the customer."

More than any other national survey of companies, the Fortune 100 Best ranking is employee-driven, with two-thirds of the scoring based upon how randomly selected employees respond to an anonymous survey designed to measure the quality of workplace culture. The remainder of the score is based on an in-depth analysis of company culture and human resources practices and evaluates trust in management, pride in work and the company and camaraderie. The issue is now available on newsstands. The complete rankings and accompanying stories also appear at www.fortune.com/bestcompanies.

GCI offers cable modem Internet access

GCI, Alaska's largest Internet service provider, announced that high-speed, dedicated access to the Internet via cable modems is now available in Kenai, Soldotna and Seward.

"By introducing the next generation of Internet access to our area, we can realize the true potential of being a wired community," said Sharrie Sheridan, GCI manager. "This technology will put us on par with major urban communities in Alaska and the Lower 48, and will allow us to showcase our communities to a global market."

Cable modems use the coaxial cable that provides television service instead of the traditional copper wire from the telephone company. Coaxial cable has a much greater carrying capacity than telephone wire, and can be used simultaneously to deliver both cable television service and Internet access. Customers can watch their favorite cable show, talk on the telephone and surf the Internet at blazing speeds -- all at the same time.

GCI's deployment of cable modems in Kenai and Soldotna will use a highly anticipated technology protocol called DOCSIS 1.1. Recent articles in industry publications recognize the Kenai-Soldotna launch as the first anywhere. DOCSIS 1.1 is a standards-based system that ensures the highest quality of service for data transmissions.

GCI's cable modem Internet service provides tiered plans for increased access speeds and free 24-hour technical support via telephone or online. Each modem can support up to eight computers and can be used in a local area network. Customers can stay connected 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, allowing for real-time information and e-mail access.

To learn more about GCI's cable modem service, visit the Soldotna GCI office for a live demonstration or go to www.gci.com. During regular business hours, residential customers in Kenai and Soldotna may call 262-3266 and in Seward, call 224-8912. Call 1-800-800-4800 after hours. Business customers in Kenai and Soldotna may call 262-3266 during business hours. In Seward, call 224-8912. After hours call 1-800-800-7754.

Homer chamber announces awards

Dr. William Bell, a longtime Homer family medical practitioner and Little League guru, was named the 2001 Citizen of the Year in the Homer Chamber of Commerce Community Awards program on Friday. Also honored that evening were Ulmer's Drug and Hardware for Business of the Year and Ken Quinn of Kachemak Gear Shed for Business Person of the Year.

The winners were determined by community ballot vote created from community nominations. Voting was open to any member of the Homer community, and nearly 400 voters participated.

Seward chamber names new executive director

After an extensive search, the Seward Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced that lifelong Alaskan Helen Marrs was selected as the new executive director. Marrs brings to the position more than 10 years of marketing and public relations experience from her previous position with Cook Inlet Tribal Council, a nonprofit organization of Cook Inlet Region Inc. During this time, Marrs also worked in the capacity of executive planner and grant writing assistant and has a background in tourism. Most recently, Marrs was the director for the CITC Cultural Education Department and Statewide Native Youth Olympics.

Outgoing director, Julie Tauriainen, accepted a new position as an investment representative with the national full-service investment company Edward Jones, opening in Seward this spring. During her 18-month tenure, the chamber membership grew from 320 to almost 400 member. Tauriainen implemented the successful Autumn Auction fund-raiser.

"Following in Julie's footsteps will be a challenge," said Marrs, "but in so many ways she has paved the way for us to achieve great things by setting new standards."

The focus for the chamber in the coming year will continue to be economic development for Seward, continued growth in tourism, an increase in membership and community involvement through statewide and national marketing efforts.

--Clarion staff reports



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