Sunday, July 29, 2012

Light it up with splashes of GOLD

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Market Alaska;" a solution worth revisiting


I have been sniffing around about what was going on during the 1990s where Alaska's oil production curve had reversed and flattened for several years under then Governor Tony Knowles (D), Speaker of the House Gail Phillips (R), and Senate President Drue Pearce’s (R) leadership. Governor Knowles and the legislature in partnership with the oil industry increased oil production, and reversed the decline curved in the mid-1990s during the days of $9.00 oil. There was no partisan bickering during this time because Governor Knowles had vision, and understood that Alaska was "living on borrowed time."

Since 2006, Alaska’s oil tax debate has been nothing but partisan politics. There is a lot of rhetoric and talking points spewed with no forward thinking offering long-term solutions, or vision. Governor Tony Knowles clearly understood that the state of Alaska was in dire straights, and it was up to him, and his administration to think outside the box, and to rally all parties to a united win. This is called leadership that this state has been lacking since the Knowles administration, and yes he is a democrat. But, first and foremost Governor Knowles is an Alaskan who has rooted his family and businesses in this state, and continues to champion a “can do spirit” because he believes that Alaska is full of such great opportunity if we would just get out of our own way.

I do wish Governor Sean Parnell, and the Alaska state legislature would muster up some courage to lead and think about future generations when making decisions. I think it is time to take a look at the Knowles administration's model that was “Market Alaska,” where the administration and the legislature reached out to the oil industry because there was a shared understanding that Alaska’s future, and the oil companies’ futures were linked. "Market Alaska" resulted in increased oil production, and increased capital investment on the North Slope, and in the end all parties won. We need to be rallying for prosperity for the next generation of Alaskans, and spending less time trying to undermine their futures, and fighting about who is right. Our children deserve better.

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Aligning Alaska's business interests
http://www.examiner.com/article/aligning-alaska-s-business-interests

Download the speech by Governor Tony Knowles to the Resource Development Council regarding the success of "Market Alaska" on iTunes or Listen here. Since 2007, Alaska has been exploring for oil outside the North Slope which has resulted in additional jobs. However, with Alaska Clear and Equitable Share (ACES) oil tax policy, the increased oil exploration and increased jobs have not resulted in additional oil into the Trans Alaska Pipeline (TAPS), or increased tax revenue to the state. "Market Alaska" resulted in increasing oil production because exploration and development occurred in existing fields despite $9.00 oil. The speech given by Governor Knowles was filled with optimism, and he speaks of a shared commitment by all parties to move Alaska's forward.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability

You can save yourself years of therapy by watching these 20 minutes. Opening up your heart and being vulnerable does take courage, and there are no guarantees. So why not go for it, and open up your heart? You deserve and are worthy of love. My heart is open.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dear Alaskans, what did my children ever do to you?


Last Thursday, Rep. Charisee Millett, and Cathy Foerster, Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) Commissioner testified to the US Senate Energy Committee regarding the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) abandoned legacy oil wells. I believe all Alaskans can agree that the federal government needs to clean up its mess. However, you as complacent citizens of this state are leaving my children a mess, which they will eventually have to clean up due to no fault of their own. I have some questions for you… where is your outrage? Where is your engagement? How do you look your children in the eye? What is your plan for 2014?

I ask you these questions because the state of Alaska is out of Hail Marys. Oil prices are dropping and it is pretty clear that you as citizens of Alaska enjoy spending my children’s future with little regard as to where the money comes from. I’ve been on the front lines trying to slam on the brakes before your entire world implodes. I’ve asked, and I’ve asked again for your support, and you continue to sit on the couch hoping for the best. Hope is not a strategy, and I cannot help you if you are not willing to help yourselves.

In 1986, Alaska’s economy crashed in 90 days, and the reason it crashed so fast was because the state had over built. The legislature over the past two years has passed capital budgets totaling in excess of 6.1 billion dollars. The dropping of capital dollars throughout Alaska has created false economies. In addition, these new buildings, and roads will eventually have to be managed and maintained by the state creating new operating expenses. This spending is a consequence of you believing that the state has an unlimited balance on its credit card. Unfortunately, the Governor, and the state legislature do not have the courage to tell you “no.” What you fail to understand is, that it is our children’s credit card that you are mortgaging your lavish spending on, and shame on you. Thankfully, oil prices are dropping and we can get back to reality.

Alaska is in the process of overbuilding, oil production is declining, a perfect storm is brewing, and what are you going to do about it? It is come to Jesus time, and the decisions you need to be making should be about what future do you want to leave your children, your grandchildren, and future generations of Alaskans. My children were brought into this world when oil prices were in their teens, and you as being complacent citizens are yanking their futures out of their hands, and I ask… what did my children ever do to you?

Audio of of this piece

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Alaska needs "mission critical" leadership NOW


Governor Sean Parnell has always been supportive of me, and all my outreach efforts to educate Alaskans about oil and gas, and the importance of oil to our state’s economy. He and his administration wanted to assist me more with Alaska Natural Resource Month. However, Alaska Natural Resource Month was not about the Governor, the oil industry, or those who support the oil industry. March was about ALASKANS, educators and our private sector coming together to celebrate our state’s natural resources and it was important that I do it with no money. I have worked my tail off to engage Alaskans, and I just wish the Governor, the legislature, and community leaders would help a gal out and lead.

My children need bold “mission critical” leadership now, because the state is already in the danger zone, and failure is not an option. At the end of August, Jim Posey, General Manager with Municipal Light and Power (MLP) will be deciding whether or not he will need to consider importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2014, and the importing of LNG will be doubling or tripling our utility bills. In addition, oil production through the Trans Alaska Pipeline (TAPS) will be well below 500,0000 BPD which means there will be many more challenges for operating TAPS safely, and ALL Alaskans need to be saying a prayer for TAPS everyday.

My children do to not need leaders who are scared of their own shadows. The state of Alaska by doing nothing in the interim other than initiating another RFP is not the answer. How many PAID non-Alaskan oil and gas consultants does it take to unscrew the mess that is Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES) oil tax policy? The question was not meant as joke.

I am tough on our state leaders because I believe they have it in them to lead. We have 710,000 sitting ducks waiting for someone to step up and guide us to the future, and move our state forward. We can do this.
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Parnell administration seeks to hire oil taxes consultant
http://www.adn.com/2012/07/13/2540963/parnell-administration-seeks-to.html#storylink=cpy
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Audio of this piece:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dreams do really come true


Tuesday. the last piece of steel was placed with messages of hope onto Covenant House’s new home. I think back to 1987 when the law firm of Tugman and Clark moved into the 5th floor of 711 H Street, and Covenant House moved in shortly thereafter, and they became our neighbor. I had no idea who, and what Covenant House was. I was a gal in my 20s who really didn’t care about anything other than working, going to college, and having fun. I did care when Archbishop Hurley got off the elevator after a Sunday I did not attend mass, and he assured me he was not on the floor to see me. Covenant House was always meant to be a part of my life and my heart. I just didn’t recognize it at the time.

I was a private citizen lobbying for the capital dollars for the new Covenant House. It was a year-to-year battle. I remember having a conversation with Governor Sean Parnell and his wife Sandy at the 2009 Fire and Ice Ball, and letting him know of my disappointed that no one from the administration spoke or attended the candlelight vigil. The Governor’s heart sunk, and since then he has been an over the top supporter, and went so far as to double up on the capital dollar ask with an additional $3M in the 2010 capital budget so that we could begin breaking ground on the new Covenant House.

The additional $3M was in jeopardy because the Bush Caucus did not want to fund and “Anchorage” project. That month, 55% of Covenant House’s clientele were Alaska Native youth from their regions. In addition, we had a rural teen girl who died face down in a park. So I declared war on the Bush Caucus, and called in every favor across this state and the money was put back into the capital budget. The capital dollars were cut, and Covenant House had to wait yet another year.

Here we are today, with a new home for our homeless youth that is largely supported financially by our community. I am so thankful for the community for which my children and I reside. We are truly blessed. Our youth are Alaska’s future and we need to support and shepherd them to a bright tomorrow, even if they are homeless.

For those who don't know. I lived with my best friend's parents as a teen when there wasn't a Covenant House. Back in the day where you took care of each others children. You speak to the Brown's today, they will tell you "it was a no brainer that we would help raise you." Not all children have a family who will take you in and help raise you and God bless Covenant House for being there for our homeless youth whom are the majority of the time leaving abusive homes. It takes courage to leave, and I respect these young people for choosing health, and a future for themselves.

Thank you to all who have supported me and Covenant House throughout the years.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

20 years of being Deborah "Brollini"


I have been Deborah "Brollini" for 20 years today. OMG. What am I going to do when I decide to remarry? Well I guess I can live with Deborah "Lochte," or Deborah "Clooney." haha. I have been blessed with a great provider and a father to my children, and despite it all we have remained very grownup, and remained focused on the best interests of our children.

Today, my ex-husband is my biggest champion. He recommended that I take time off from working after I was laid off from ANTHC, and through 18 months of not working I realized what I don't want to do. Not many divorced men would recommend that their ex-wives take time off. During this time it took my friends and mentors dragging me kicking and screaming to do what I'm passionate about, and I've never been happier. Van is one of the few who really gets me (with probably the exception of the late Bill Noll), and man did Van have his hands full.

Van while we were in college encouraged me to take on UAA all the way to the human rights commission, and that I push UAA to make certain there were checks and balances in place in regards to faculty, curriculum, and testing. Today, this professor will walk out of a room that I walk into, and so be it. It is called academic freedom, and I was happy to help the man retire. Van pushed me, and pushed me again to believe in myself and to take on liberal business faculty, and that I did. My old college pal Terry Smith, CFO with Carlile, will tell you that not a lot has changed since our days with the UAA School of Business, "the victims have changed." I am no longer taking on UAA business faculty. I'm taking on governors, legislators, Alaska Supreme Court justices, and the media. All in the name of the children born of this marriage.

How ironic, 20 years ago my ex-husband scored a trip to Prudhoe Bay and was telling everyone that he was taking his bride to Prudhoe Bay for our honeymoon. RED FLAG. RED FLAG. haha. He moved mountains to get me that trip, and I did NOT appreciate it at the time. However, I do today, and who would of thought that 20 years later that I would be in the trenches fighting to save the Prudhoe Bay oilfield. I'm always amazed at God's plan. He gave me a man who took me on a trip of a lifetime, and the experience has helped shape my children's tomorrow. That is pretty darn cool, and now as gal in the trenches, I am one of the few in the public who has a context of Prudhoe Bay.

It was a nice dream about forever, and the forgiveness of others is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Van and I may not have gotten to "forever," but we got as far as we could, and that is okay. It was not a healthy marriage and Van and I are both better off for ending it. The "forever" gig did not work out, and I am looking forward to finding a sweet, kind and educated man who can roll with the punches, and can be accepting of my energy, and my exhaustive mind that is going 100 mph all the time. Governor Sheffield believes I need to date a man who is Tier 1 (LOL), politically savvy, and who is blessed with patience (huh Governor?), because as he likes to say "Deborah you're a handful."

July 11, 1992, was a good day and worth celebrating. Alabama at our wedding.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Those who throw stones


The Alaska GOP has been taken over by a bunch of children who claim to be fiscally, and socially conservative. Seriously? OMG, can we just call the kettle black already? This bunch’s prom queen is Sarah Palin in partnership with her democratic pals in the legislature raised taxes on the oil industry 400%, and she appointed a past Planned Parenthood board member to Alaska’s Supreme Court. How does it feel laying in bed with Palin"s "conservative" fiscal and social policies? Her so called "conservative" policies are what you're hanging your hat on for Alaska? No thank you. Thus, the reason I kicked her to the curb, and left the Alaska GOP.

I find it amusing that there are those in the Alaska GOP rank and file who like to throw those republican members of the senate bi-partisan working group under the bus when they should take a long look at themselves.. This crowd likes to rant and rave, and forgive me, I witnessed you pimping your pet energy projects during the special session in 2011. This crowd's "conservative" rhetoric does not match their behavior, and they are big on throwing stones at those who are not sheep to their cause. But what is their cause or plan? They do not have one. The Governor and the entire state legislature are guilty of losing their fiscal minds. But, who I hold ultimately responsible for this fiscal mess are the citizens of the state of Alaska, who have their hands out, who do not understand the value of dollar, and who do not understand where the money comes from.

How about the president of the Anchorage Republican Womens Club who proudly states that she is a fan of Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share (ACES) oil tax policy, and has no problem "taxing them to the last dime." Taxing the hell out of an industry who pays all the bills is “conservative" thought? One who claims to be "conservative" sure is not acting like one. The lowering of oil taxes, and removing barriers to projects would be true conservative thought.

I've never been part of the Alaska GOP sheep herd. I pal around and vote for those who I believe are best for Alaska, and my children's future. The last I checked it was a free country and I am protected by the first amendment of our constitution. I do wear my faith on my neck and my politics on my sleeve, and my politics only represents a small portion of who I am. Politics is a blast, and I've made lifelong friends while working on campaigns, and participating in activities with the Anchorage Young Republicans, and the Midnight Sun Women's groups. These are good people who want the best for Alaska. But, there is a group who has made an embarrassment of my political party, and shame on them.

I am still very republican, and I do respect those true conservatives who actually behave conservatively. It is one thing to call yourself "conservative." However, if you are pimping capital projects and take pride in our state's oil tax policy, then you have lost all credibility with me. Since I left the Alaska GOP I’ve had peace, and plan on continuing the trend, and I'm thankful I'm out of the nonsense. Maybe, when Alaska's GOP rank and file wants to growup I may join the club again. However, until then enjoy acting like children and fighting amongst yourselves.

Let me know how making a joke of Alaska works out.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Managing Alaska by Baldrige


Since 2005, I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to spend time with Baldrige award winners, and Baldrige examiners. I was invited by Ben Parks to be part of the Alaska Performance Excellence Program’s (APEX) public relations and marketing team during the organization’s infancy. I was excited to be invited into a room and sit among “excellence” with men and women who are strategic and big thinkers. I am a big thinker and also a “process” gal, and I am fascinated by companies who are succeeding, and I like to understand their processes.

I recently spent time with Ben Parks, CEO of APEX, as well as a former CEO of Boeing who received the Baldrige award under his leadership. I wanted to pick his brain as to whether or not the state, and our natural resources could be managed by a Baldrige model. His response was absolutely, and that there was a city in Florida, Coral Springs who received the Baldrige award, and this city is managing just fine despite the downturn in Florida’s economy. Coral Springs reviews its balance scorecard monthly, and benchmarks are reviewed, and those departments that are lagging are improved upon. Alaska has no benchmarks for success, and we have no roadmap, nor the leadership to guide us to the future.

I’ve been increasing frustrated with the state of Alaska and its spending because there are no benchmarks in regards to whether state programs are working or not working. Capital projects are funded with no end result accountability. Thus, the reason I proposed the Baldrige idea to Ben Parks and the Baldrige process could put an end to the madness.

Today, I look at the state of Alaska as gifting its money away because there is no accountability on how operating and capital dollars are spent, and programs and capital projects are not vetted prior to distributing funds. We have people in every pocket of our state with their hand out, and there is little opposition to spending on programs, or capital projects. As much as I would like to dump this on the legislature, it is the Governor, and the public who need to get their heads on straight. Alaska has no vision, and no plan for my children’s future, and everyone has their hand out with no regard for where the money comes from, and no realization that our current spending is unsustainable.

It is almost as if Alaskans need to relive Alaska’s economic crash of 1986 in order to understand where the money comes from. We have a citizenry like some children who do not understand the value of a dollar, and these folks will have to hurt like we did 26 years ago when people were losing their jobs, businesses, and homes, and driving out of Alaska. The difference between 1986 and today, is that in 1986 we did not see it coming, oil prices dropped. In 2012, we are at the helm driving Alaska off an economic cliff as fast as we can, and a citizenry who is standing by and watching as if it was a hockey game.

I see the looming cliff, and all the whining and complaining about the senate bi-partisan coalition, and the legislature in general is not going to solve the problem. All the whiners I have to say, do not hold elected office, do not understand the budgetary process, and spend little or no time discussing issues with their elected officials, or their staffers. I do because I have to look my children in eye. I pose the question to the whiners, what is your plan? What is your vision for Alaska? What alternatives do you offer other than throwing the bums out? I thought so… you don’t have any

I have a plan that I have been pitching for the past two months. It is the Baldrige model which will help manage our state, and our state's natural resources. It provides for evaluating and benchmarking our oil through an Oil and Gas Competitive Review Board so that the Governor and the legislature will have the needed data to make sound decisions. It sets standards and benchmarks for state spending on programs and projects. It is doable and it does not require congress, or legislative approval.

My idea has peeked some interest and I know Ben Parks would be happy to fly in from Homer to discuss the Baldrige model because he too would like Alaska to remain his home. Oil prices are dropping and Alaska needs a plan, and Baldrige is a plan that just may provide Alaska with vision, and a roadmap to the future.

I’m a big thinker and I’m looking for solutions and I am not a whiner. For all the whiners out there, let me know how all your complaining works out, and if you come to the table with solutions I’ll be happy to lend you my ear.

References:

Coral Springs receives the Malcolm Baldrige Award
http://www.coralsprings.org/baldrige/index.cfm

Baldrige Performance Excellence Program
http://www.nist.gov/baldrige/

Alaska Performance Excellence Program
http://www.akapex.org/

April 12th, 2012 – Ben Park, co-founder of APEX Foundation and retired Boeing executive, presented information on starting your journey to excellence using the Baldrige and APEX criteria and processes. He identified ten improvement activities that all organizations should accomplish to drive better performance. These activities include:
(1) Create a Mission Statement,
(2) Identify your Key Stakeholders,
(3) Define your Key Stakeholders’ Requirements,
(4) Identify your Organization’s Goals, (5) Identify your Organization’s Strategies,
(6) Determine your Systems and Processes,
(7) Create a Balanced Scorecard to measure how you are doing at meeting your Stakeholders Requirements,
(8) Define your Strategic Planning Process,
(9) Create a Communication Plan that will engage your Stakeholders, and
(10) Write a Baldrige or APEX application to receive third party feedback.
He also discussed the approach that can be used to accomplish these ten activities. His briefing material is in the link below. Start your journey to excellence today
http://www.akapex.org/images/speaker_links/Ben_Park/Starting%20Up_12_April12.pdf

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Aligning Alaska's business interests

by Deborah Brollini

I’ve been putting off writing this piece for months. Mainly, because it is difficult content to understand for a novice audience, and God bless GCI, and ACS for uniting and aligning their wireless business interests. Both GCI, and ACS are Alaska corporations who are in the business of serving you, as well as rewarding their shareholders for your business. Alignment is not a new concept to the state of Alaska, and how we do business. There are huge opportunities for our state if the Governor, and the legislature would have a vision, and a plan for Alaska.

GCI and ACS were proactive by uniting their business interests prior to Verizon entering Alaska’s sandbox. Verizon by entering Alaska would be taking some of GCI and ACS’s market share. GCI and ACS by uniting, have consolidated their wireless business interest and will be offering statewide services utilizing GCI’s existing infrastructure. Verizon like ATT are unable to offer statewide wireless services in Alaska. This is a brilliant move by GCI and ACS which has this huge corporation scrambling to respond prior to entering the Alaska market. What GCI and ACS did was to look strategically at their business interests to find areas of commonality and seek opportunities for collaboration. Alaska could follow GCI and ACS ‘s lead by uniting our state’s business interests to move Alaska forward. Alaska needs to be looking at our oil business with vision, and to look at progressing oil projects forward strategically.

I’ve been spending time visiting with Willie Hensley, Alaska Native leader, and former Commissioner of Commerce and Economic Development with the Knowles administration. I asked him several months back about what was going on in the mid-90s that the oil production decline had flattened for several years. I also posed the question to many oil industry folks whom are retired oil executives today. The reason this peeked my interest was because it had to have been difficult to sell capital investment in Alaska with $12.00 oil. At the time I was working on the MIX project which was a collaborative $165M capital project with ARCO, BP and Exxon. I was the technical writer documenting the project on the front-end, and I had a difficult time understanding why the oil industry would invest so heavily on the MIX project with $12.00 oil. Willie shared with me that during the Knowles administration they started an initiative called "Market Alaska."

Willie stated that the Knowles administration realized early on that “Alaska’s oil companies, and the state’s futures were linked, and that our futures were joined at the hip.” It was important to the Knowles administration with "Market Alaska" that they reach out to the oil industry, and look for ways to reduce barriers that would influence the cost of projects, and the Knowles administration bent over backwards to reduce costs to entice capital investment. The opportunities for Alaska are endless if we were visionaries, and looked at our relationship with the oil industry as a partnership rather than enemies of the state. We need to get back to understanding that our futures are linked, and look at ways to partner with industry so all parties win.

ACS and GCI strategically looked at Verizon’s competition as a detriment to the health of their businesses and both companies constantly evaluate their competition. Alaska does not know where we stand in the world in regards to the competitiveness of our oil. Alaska through its legislature would prefer to exercise the “battle of the experts” than really look at our true competitiveness in regards to attracting capital investment. New capital investment would stem the decline in the Trans Alaska Pipeline (TAPS), which would offer up new projects employing Alaskans. The “battle of the experts” strategy is not working. Alaska has wasted enough time on this exercise while finite capital dollars that used to be directed towards Alaska are now dwindling. Our market share of capital investment dollars are going to other states, and provinces around the world. There is plenty of oil left on the North Slope yet to be developed. However, the non-conventional oil (heavy and viscous) are expensive to extract. It will take talent and billions of dollars of capital investment to extract this oil. Alaska could improve its market share of investment dollars by really evaluating our competitiveness and taking the politics out of it. This can be done with an Oil and Gas Competitive Review Board (OGCRB), which would evaluate our taxation policy, our regulatory environment and would seek out all stakeholders and provide the needed data to the legislature in order for the legislature to make decisions. It would become about the data, and less about egos, and the politics of the day.

Senator Lesil McGuire has proposed legislation over the past several years that would put into statute a OGCRB. The OGCRB she had proposed would be composed of selected Legislators, Commissioners and members of the public. As with a similar effort in Alberta that resulted in restoring oil and gas investment to the Province after a substantial downturn. The purpose of the OGCRB would be to create an ongoing body whose job it is to monitor Alaska’s position in the world oil and gas industry, and provide useful and, most importantly, ongoing insight to the Legislature on that subject. One of the anticipated results would be to lessen Alaska’s dependence on “Outside consultants” to help identify the state’s position in the oil and gas industry, and to significantly increase Alaska’s – and the Legislature’s – home grown ability to provide the same insight.

The Governor has the power through the executive order process to implement a OGCRB. The OGCRB could spend the next six months reviewing our position in the world, and have the review complete prior to the 2013 legislature gaveling in. This would put an end to the rhetoric, and get Alaska back in the game. The OGCRB could recommend opportunities for the state to partner with the oil industry permitting the state to share in the investment risk, as well as reap the rewards of new oil through TAPS, with the desired outcome of additional oil tax revenue. Additional tax revenue would allow the state to continue to fund schools, roads, public safety and etc. Oil prices are falling and capital investment is leaving Alaska, and we are simply running out of time. The Governor could put Alaska back on track and move Alaska forward with one stroke of a pen, and gift my children the bright future they deserve by executive order.

Alaska hasn't a second to waste, and the Governor could lead Alaska to a prosperous future. However, he must be bold, and he must act today.

What is a competitive review board?
http://dbrollini.blogspot.com/2012/02/what-is-competitive-review-board.html