Illustration by Lance Lekander.
Alaska Business 2023
Recognizing Excellence
AGC of Alaska Members top 2023 Best of Alaska Business Awards
By Rachael Kvapil

laskans have voted, the results are in, and it should be no surprise: Associated General Contractors, or AGC, of Alaska members took top spots in the General Contractor category and in other categories in related industries in the 2023 Best of Alaska Business awards, or BOAB. The BOAB awards list the top three choices in thirty-four categories, as selected by magazine readers.

Several of the AGC of Alaska member companies who won are repeat achievers, having made previous lists.

Northrim Bank building
Cornerstone General Contractors leaders attribute the company’s placement on the Best of Alaska Business Awards to its employees’ exceptional service, ability to surpass expectations, and commitment to building lasting relationships. Its recent completion of renovations to several Northrim Bank branches is an example of a successful project that maintains the company’s position as an industry leader in the General Contractor category.

Photo provided by Northrim bank.

Building Strong Partnerships
Among the AGC of Alaska members, Cornerstone General Contractors took the third-place Foraker Award in the General Contractor category. Cornerstone is a full-service, all-Alaskan-owned-and-staffed general contractor specializing in construction manager/general contractor, or CM/GC, project delivery for projects of all sizes.

Cornerstone General Contractors was founded in 1993 and established its place as an industry leader and trusted contractor, specializing in collaborative project delivery methods for new commercial construction and precise renovation of existing facilities.

“Empowered by the knowledge and experience of our teammates, we are fully capable of performing any and all construction-related services,” says the Cornerstone leadership team, which includes President Joe Jolley, Director of Preconstruction Justin McVaney, and Vice President of Construction Nikolas Heagy.

Over the last three decades, Cornerstone has successfully completed notable projects in education, government, healthcare, housing, and industrial sectors. These projects spanned across Alaska, including Anchorage and remote communities, from Southeast to the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak Island, and Alaska’s far west coast. The leadership team attributes Cornerstone’s success to a deeply rooted commitment to delivering an exceptional construction experience at every stage of the project. Clear communication and collaboration with clients and subcontractors starting at preconstruction phase is key, as is transparency throughout the construction phase, and regular updates to all involved parties.

The leadership team says it’s important to focus on quality and satisfaction through post-completion. For Cornerstone clients, this involves providing exceptional service, surpassing expectations, and establishing lasting relationships for future engagements. It’s also important to foster a supportive work environment where employees can excel.

“This approach, which emphasizes partnership with our clients, employees, subcontractors, and the broader community, has earned us widespread trust and recognition, as well as repeat business,” Cornerstone leadership team members say.

AGC Represents in Best of Alaska Business Awards:
Associated General Contractors of Alaska members dominated some categories and, overall, represented the association well in the reader-selected Best of Alaska Business awards. Here are the AGC member companies who appeared on the list. A full list can be seen at
Accounting firm
Denali– Altman Rogers & Co
St. Elias– BDO
Foraker– Swalling & Associates
Law Firm
St. Elias– Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot
Staffing Agency
St. Elias– PeopleAK
Foraker– TDL Staffing
Job Training Program/Certification
Denali– Northern Industrial Training
Foraker– Alaska Safety Alliance
General Contractor
Denali– Davis Constructors & Engineers
Foraker– Cornerstone General Contractors
Cargo/Logistics Provider
Denali– Lynden
St. Elias– Carlile
Foraker– Northern Air Cargo
Heating/Air Conditioning
St. Elias– KLEBS Mechanical
Foraker– Circle Plumbing & Heating
Meeting/Event Venue
Foraker– Hotel Captain Cook
Telecommunications Provider
Denali– GCI
St. Elias– AT&T
Bank/Credit Union
Denali– First National Bank Alaska
St. Elias– Global Credit Union
Denali– Bagoy’s Florist
Denali– Hotel Captain Cook
Place to Work 1-250 Employees
Denali– Altman Rogers & Co.
St. Elias– Coffman Engineers
Foraker– RIM Architects
Place to Work 250+ Employees
Denali– First National Bank Alaska
St. Elias– ASRC Energy Services
Customer Friendly Company
St. Elias– First National Bank Alaska
Editor’s Pick Best Corporate Citizen
First National Bank Alaska
Staff proclaiming their pride every Friday by wearing branded gear to the office
First National Bank Alaska placed in multiple categories on this year’s Best of Alaska Business Awards. Staff proclaim their pride every Friday by wearing branded gear to the office.

Photo provided by First National Bank Alaska.

Experience, Loyalty Results in Satisfied Customers
One AGC member made a big showing this year. First National Bank Alaska, or FNBA, took the first-place Denali Award in both the Best Bank/Credit Union and Best Place to Work, 250+ Employees categories. The company also took the second-place St. Elias Award in the Customer Friendly Company category.

Winfield Ervin, Sr. founded First National Bank of Anchorage (now First National Bank Alaska) in 1922 to help find solutions to the unique financial needs of customers. For 101 years, FNBA has assisted Alaskans with financial decisions—through the Roaring 20s, the Great Depression, a world war, earthquakes, economic booms and busts, ever-changing technology, the pandemic, and much more.

“During that time, we’ve learned a lot about the economy,” says FNBA Board Chair and CEO/President Betsy Lawer. “We know how important an experienced team is to our customers.”

FNBA manages billions of dollars in assets and employs more than 600 Alaskans as the state’s largest locally owned and operated bank. With twenty-eight locations in nineteen communities throughout the state, FNBA continues to be a part of Alaska’s history.

Lawer says FNBA Senior Executive Officer, Chief Administrative Officer, and Board Secretary Cheri Gillian learned about the bank’s placement on the 2023 Best of Alaska Business awards list via email and shared it with others on the leadership team. They later shared it with staff once the official award list was published July 1.

This is the eighth consecutive year that FNBA has received Best of Alaska Business recognition. Lawer says it’s a source of tremendous pride that is celebrated by staff every Friday.

“When we wear our branded shirts, we’re letting everyone know of our accomplishments,” says Lawer.

Winning big with both customers and staff speaks to the expertise and mentorship built into FNBA’s mission, Lawer says. The average FNBA employee works with the company for fifteen years, during which he or she receives necessary training to truly assist customers and engage positively in the community.

“We hire for careers, not just provide a job,” says Lawer. “We make sure our employees know the best way to help customers and set them up for success. It’s a win-win-win for everyone.”

As an AGC of Alaska member, Lawer says supporting Alaska contractors statewide has been vital to the success of FNBA in the century-plus the company has been in business.

Rachael Kvapil is a freelance writer who lives in Fairbanks.