From the Frozen Frontier

ASRC Energy Services brings Alaskan culture to the corporate world

ASRC Energy Services has a clear and simple vision statement: “honoring the values of our founders as we develop the future.” And that’s what president and chief executive officer Jeff Kinneeveauk seeks to do every day.

Kinneeveauk’s history reflects the history of the company. He grew up in the remote village of Point Hope, Alaska, learning subsistence living and how to use resources efficiently from a very young age. He went to college in Idaho and dreamed of playing basketball professionally, but he worked at ASRC Energy Services during summer breaks to make sure he could make ends meet if a career in basketball didn’t pan out. He returned to Alaska and ASRC Energy Services after graduation and never said no to learning something new at the company. Step by step, he grew in his career and eventually became chief executive officer at just thirty-six years old. But Kinneeveauk’s background has kept him humble: he doesn’t like talking about himself, and he sees his path not as a series of achievements for himself, but a way to serve his company and employees at every step along the way.

“We’re always honoring the values of our founders, the people who started the company, but thinking of people first, and thinking with the mentality of how to keep doing more with what we have,” Kinneeveauk says.

ASRC Energy Services is constantly doing more. From a company that once focused exclusively on the oil and gas industry in Alaska, ASRC has been
expanding slowly and strategically. In 2013, it opened a second office in North Dakota. The company now has employees working overseas as well.

“It’s always the ideas of everyone here in the family, not just my ideas,” Kinneeveauk says. “It’s been a long journey, and we don’t try a lot of things [all at once]. We make lifetime commitments to the things we try, so we expand cautiously in order to make that commitment.”

That applies to both locations and new innovations. Kinneeveauk knows the energy industry is changing, and in order to stay relevant, ASRC Energy Services will constantly have to find new and more efficient ways to get oil out of the ground. The company will also have to figure out better ways to serve its clients by being more efficient and productive. “We’re always playing offense, trying to build the strengths of the employees and to read the needs of the customers,” Kinneeveauk says.

For ASRC Energy Services that means taking advantage of what the company has in terms of its location by servicing all phases of the oil-field life cycle in Alaska—from permitting to decommissioning—and providing offshore oil response equipment and personnel. It also means looking for new opportunities in what Kinneeveauk refers to as “the lower forty-eight,” like the company’s New Iberia, Louisiana, fabrication facility and offices in North Dakota.

“We always want to be a family organization here in Alaska; we are never going to change that,” Kinneeveauk says. “But we are factoring in what is going on in the lower forty-eight and using their economics to help make our decisions.”

Part of being a family organization is keeping all of the members of the family happy. As the self-appointed chief enthusiasm officer, Kinneeveauk sees keeping employee morale high as a big part of his role. That morale is what drives employees to want to come to work each day, and to want to do well for the company and its shareholders. “We value the employees, and because of that, employees value their work,” Kinneeveauk says. “We encourage production and efficiency by making sure that everyone is happy at work.”

The productivity Kinneeveauk is encouraging in his workers is making the possibilities limitless for ASRC Energy Services. The company’s goal for 2015 is to continue expanding services and growing steadily. Kinneeveauk believes that the faster you rise, the faster you fall, so he’s taking small steps to get to the company’s bigger goals. “The sky isn’t the limit; the sky is the beginning,” he says. “Aim for the stars and, if you fail, you can still land on the moon. We don’t put limits on anyone’s ideas, because then we will put limits on what we can do.”