Governor Sean Parnell announced the three winners of the 2012 Governor's North Star Awards for International Excellence. Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development Commissioner Susan Bell presented awards at the annual Export Alaska luncheon in Anchorage. The 2012 recipients are:
Holland America Line for tourism
RIM Architects for export of services
Helping Hands for Nepal for humanitarian exchange
"These businesses help our state's economy and form vital connections to people around the world," Governor Parnell said. "In 2011, our exports reached $5.2 billion. Today is our opportunity to also thank those active in other important international arenas, including the visitor industry, export of technical services and humanitarian exchange."
Through the operation of its Alaska sailing and combined CruiseTour packages, Holland America Line's economic impact on Alaska totaled more than $664.2 million in 2011. More than 15 percent of their passengers originate from overseas markets. While in port, international visitors can learn more about Alaska with excursions that involve everything from adventure and wildlife watching, to history and culture. The line regularly hosts media familiarization press trips for international journalists to promote Alaska.
RIM Architects was founded in 1986 and created a diversified business based in Alaska with three additional regional offices in Guam, Hawaii, and San Francisco. Over the past 26 years, the company has expanded its service base internationally. Since 2008, the Alaska office has provided more than a million dollars of design services for multiple international projects in Russia, China, and Japan. The design work for these countries was centered on hospitality and residential projects, creating highly skilled technical positions in Alaska.
Helping Hands for Nepal is a grassroots, volunteer nonprofit organization with the goal of alleviating poverty and suffering through Nepali-requested sustainable humanitarian projects in medicine, education, water supply, and sanitation. More than 1,000 Alaskans have been involved with the organization over the last decade. Members of service clubs and associations, local artists, students, doctors and Alaskans in all walks of life have donated time, medical equipment and supplies, and money to help people in Nepal.
Commissioner Bell also presented a letter of appreciation from the governor to Mr. and Mrs. Stan Stephens of Stan Stephens Cruises and Wildlife Tours for their decades of service and many accomplishments in promoting international tourism in Valdez. They have actively helped to develop key international markets, such as German-speaking Europe.
For more information about the Governor's North Star Awards for International Excellence, please contact Patricia Eckert at (907) 269-8118.