Icebreakers: Navigating a channel and starting a conversation.

Photo courtesy of United State Coast Guard / The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy breaks ice around Renda, a Russian-flagged tanker, 250 miles south of Nome, Alaska
Photo courtesy of United State Coast Guard / The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy breaks ice around Renda, a Russian-flagged tanker, 250 miles south of Nome, Alaska

When I tell people I’m from Alaska, it’s usually a pretty good ice breaker. It’s hard for them to imagine just how big the State really is. The distance between Adak (the westernmost point of Alaska) and Ketchikan (the easternmost city where I was born) is roughly 1,800 miles. In comparison, the coast to coast distance in the Lower 48 is about 2,300 miles, give or take. What’s a few hundred miles between friends I always say.

Speaking of friends, Alaska travel guru Scott McMurren put a little bug in my ear this morning. We hang out every time he’s in Seattle. It’s a hate/love relationship — he can always count on me for a ride and I can always count on him for really great marketing advice. Our world’s collide when we talk about things like Boeing (for reasons related to travel and manufacturing) and the Internet (enter Johnny Rice my future husband’s college roommate).

The thing that’s amazing about Internet technology is its capacity to bring real world solutions to really remote locations in real time. Alaska-company GCI is a good example. GCI is the State’s largest provider of Internet services with cable model, wireless and dedicated access. Services are connected through company-owned fiber optic, satellite and metropolitan area network facilities in locations between Seattle and Anchorage. This broadband platform is the only one-of-its-kind and allows the company to provide IT services to the Alaska market. Which get’s me to the point of this post. My ice breaker.

I would like to help introduce the people I’ve met in the Lower 48 who develop 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies (such as 3D Systems, Stratasys and Objet) to the people I know in Alaska who can use it — people on traveling scientific laboratories like the USCG HEALY, people stranded on tankers and tenders, or people working on the Slop, in commercial fishing villages and isolated logging camps. Who wants to join me and help start this conversation?

About the Author

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Hi I’m Nadra Angerman — born in Ketchikan and raised Wrangell. I studied, worked and lived in the Lower 48 for twenty-five years before returning to Alaska. I write about natural resources, economic development and the entrepreneurial spirit. My husband, daughter and I are co-owners of Chinook Shores Lodge, The Inn at Knudson Cove and Pier 25 Boathouse in Ketchikan.

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