Industrious festivities

Industry Appreciation Day marks 14 years of gratitude

Posted: Sunday, August 27, 2006


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  Bill and Salinda Sims enjoy the event's food with their children Roger and Beverly. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Jennifer Ticknor and her children Timothy, Isaiah, Dezmond and Mickinzie meet Moose Lodge No. 1942's mascot (Lin Wheeler) Saturday at Industry Appreciation Day in Kenai.

Photos by M. Scott Moon

Work can seem like a thankless job at times, but for employees of the Kenai Peninsula’s biggest industries — oil and gas, commercial fishing and tourism — there is at least one day a year they can feel appreciated.

That day was Saturday, during the 14th annual Industry Appreciation Day festivities at the Kenai Green Strip Park.

Jack Brown, along with Aaron Goldforth of Nikiski, is largely responsible for these industries getting their own day, and he said recognizing their role in the community and beyond is as important now as it was in that first year.

“It was a tough time,” Brown said.

“Chevron had closed its operation in Nikiski. Oil and gas was under heavy attack by environmental groups and was getting heavy media pressure after the Exxon Valdez incident.

“It was a discouraging time for employees of these industries, and we wanted to do something for them,” Brown said.


Bill and Salinda Sims enjoy the event's food with their children Roger and Beverly.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

The result was the first Industry Appreciation Day attended by a few hundred people. A few years later, the commercial fishing industry was recognized, followed by the tourism industry a few more years after. Now, several thousand people turn out annually to show support for these big three.

“They’re all integral industries to this area,” Brown said.

In addition to the general public, elected political dignitaries and political hopefuls also come to Industry Appreciation Day to show their support. This year some of that appreciation was reversed when Sen. Ted Stevens received the Don Gilman Award for Service to the Community.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor John Williams presented the award to Stevens and explained why he was chosen to receive it.

“In the 37 years since his appointment to the U.S. Senate, Senator Stevens has fought successfully for Alaskan’s interests on many issues ... to numerous to list today,” Williams said.

Williams also cited Stevens’ role in developing and improving Alaska’s roads, ports, airports, schools and public facilities, and has helped protect Alaska’s interests in commercial fishing, tourism, oil and gas, mining and telecommunications, to name a few.

“Senator Stevens continues to fight for Alaska’s interests in the Senate with his motto ‘Do what’s best for Alaska,’” Williams said.

The Senator wasn’t the only person to receive an award Saturday.

Commercial fishing industry awards were presented to Tustumena Smokehouse and Sea Products for Outstanding Fish Processor, while Gary Fandrei, executive director of the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association, received the award for Individual Contribution. The Vagabond Inn received the award for Industry Support Organization.

Tourism awards were presented to the Peninsula Oilers for being an Outstanding Support Business in Tourism, while the Aspen Hotel won the award for Outstanding Business in Tourism, and Derotha Ferraro, executive director at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, won the award for Outstanding Individual in Tourism.

In the oil and gas industry, awards were presented to Aurora Gas for Outstanding Oil and Gas Company, while Peak Oilfield Service Company was recognized as Outstanding Oil and Gas Support Company. Dale White of Big G Electric took home the award for Outstanding Oil and Gas Individual.

This year, a special award was also given to volunteers who participated in the 2006 Arctic Winter Games in recognition for their outstanding contribution to the community.

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