February 7, 2022 (Palmer) – Today at an industrial fabrication shop in Palmer, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy celebrated the work of Alaskan entrepreneurs who manufacture and export innovative medical, commercial and industrial products from Alaska .
“These business owners have overcome the perception that Alaska is too remote for manufacturing, through their ingenuity and ability to leverage Alaska’s air cargo access to US and global markets. With every Alaskan-made product exported south or around the world, they demonstrate that Alaska’s presence as a manufacturing hub grows stronger,” Governor Dunleavy said.
The Made In Alaska program has more than 1,000 licensees, but the Department of Labor and Workforce Development approximates some 600 salaried and salaried employers in Alaska’s manufacturing industry. Historically, exporting certain products from Alaska has faced barriers related to shipping costs. The companies featured today are leading the way in breaking down these export barriers by developing products that are uniquely innovative, lightweight, and/or high-value.
“Manufacturing companies support reliable jobs with solid wages that add economic diversity and stability to our communities and our economy,” said Julie Sande, Alaska Commissioner of Commerce and Economic Development.
Alaska State Senator Shelley Hughes, who represents District F, including Palmer, sees the value in the economic diversity created by manufacturing in Alaska. “I appreciate the Governor’s highlighting manufacturing as an important step toward greater economic diversification in Alaska. The goal of opening up opportunities and expanding our economy to include new sectors and strengthen existing ones has been one of my goals during my tenure in the legislature. I believe this is the next step in growing our local and national economies through innovative approaches. I am encouraged and excited about what the future holds,” said Senator Hughes.
In the industrial district of Palmer City, in front of some 75 guests, Governor Dunleavy highlighted half a dozen companies in the fields of aerospace, aviation, agriculture, adventure in outdoor and medical technology businesses that do business there. All build subcomponents of their products or coat them with ceramics at TriJet, Triverus’ sister company, where the press conference was held. Triverus is known for building innovative deck cleaners (mobile cleaning recovery recycle system vehicle, MCRRS) for US Navy aircraft carriers. Triverus also burst into the news at the start of the pandemic when Governor Dunleavy asked owner Hans Vogel to make swabs and visors to help supply the state when the supply chain had nothing. to offer. Triverus purchased 3D printers to meet the governor’s request and made more than 100,000 swabs for testing when Alaska needed them most.
Recently a new 3D printer came to the store and is four times faster. The new equipment will be dedicated to printing polymer clips for one of the last Alaskan companies to choose manufacturing at TriJet. Called AlertWet, the company was founded by two engineers who work as contractors for Lockheed Martin. Alaskan and co-founder Kimberly Gray turned her aptitude for analyzing data for F-35 tracking to the medical field. Gray and co-founder Edward Ward developed a clip that collects data from a thin, sensor-lined bed pad. “We saw a way to improve the lives of bedridden people by providing live data to those who care for them,” Gray said. “Our enterprise software alerts nurses and healthcare workers when our disposable smart pads get wet,” she said. “Manual controls are often unreliable. The annual treatment of pressure ulcers in the United States costs more than $10 billion. The effectiveness of AlertWet reduces risks for hospitals and patients,” said Gray.
AlertWet plans to turn the Palmer fabrication shop into a hub for manufacturing and distributing their exclusive West Coast clips, said Curtis McQueen, director of business development for AlertWet. Recently, AlertWet negotiated with New York Hospital Systems and a West Coast hospital giant. “As we focused on our research and development process, thinking about the logistics of sourcing materials, it was important for our business to align with American companies. Not only can we say Made in the States United States, but we can also say the parts are made in Alaska,” said McQueen, who lives outside of Wasilla.
Other Alaskan commercial and industrial manufacturers celebrated at the event include:
- The Launch Company says it helps launch vehicles get to space faster, cheaper and more reliably by developing standardized hardware connections, ground support equipment and processes. The Launch Company manufactures refueling fittings and other hardware for rockets, spacecraft and satellites with some of the components manufactured at TriJet. They have worked with some of the biggest names in aerospace including Virgin Orbit. CEO Ben Kellie previously worked at SpaceX. Also a former SpaceX employee, director of engineering Robert Doty, who grew up in Alaska, attended the event.
- Indemnis develops parachutes for drones to fly over people and was co-founded by Alan Erickson, Amber McDonald, MacKenzie Banbury, Michael Collier, Mitch Monnett and Matti Dupree. Many of their metal components, brackets and mounting hardware for their parachutes were manufactured by TriJet. Zachary Cawvey and Warren Reasner were present. Erickson also co-founded two companies that export technology: Fintech “Zo Financial”, which offers virtual rent-to-own services (also co-founders Buddy Bailey and Dr. Wade Erickson) and an application, COVIDSecure, which is used by hundreds of people. from companies such as Walt Disney and Netflix, Erickson said.
- VH Hydroponics provides custom vertical farming solutions to grow fresh, local produce year-round. There are two products: a commercial garden inside a 40ft shipping container and a garden the size of a double door cabinet for small growers. The cabinet garden is exported to universities and soup kitchens in the Lower 48. Intellectual property and licensed designs of shipping containers are exported to Canada. Alaskan Cameron Willingham is the founder and CEO. Vice President Jamie Boring was also present. TriJet manufactures shelving components, plumbing and reservoirs for VH Hydroponics.
- Airglas, Inc., established in 1955, is the world leader in aircraft landing skis. The company has manufactured 24 sets of skis for the US Army’s Boeing Apache AH-64 helicopters and has recently started manufacturing pods for external cargo, such as survival gear for the US Army. Airglas also manufactures skis and nacelles for general aviation. Their innovative front forks for Cessnas are sold on every continent except Antarctica, says general manager Jim Hammer. Alaskan Shane Langland is the president of Airglas. At TriJet, the company performs machining work on sub-components for the hydraulic cylinders of their skis.
- Airframes Alaska LLC manufactures bush plane parts and backcountry gear, including Arctic Oven tents. Some components of the tent frames are ceramic coated by TriJet. AirFrames is one of two Alaska-based companies ranked on the Annual Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies, employing 100 Alaskans. Sean McLaughlin is the CEO. Manufacturing Manager Eric Jensen was in attendance.
A live stream of the press conference in Palmer is available on the Governor’s Facebook page.