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Company cultures, services ‘a great fit,’ said President Brad Osborne

By Hilary Reeves

On Alaska’s frigid North Slope, the gusting Arctic Ocean drives temperatures to minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Potable water, fuel, and the lubricants necessary to protect billions of dollars worth of equipment are treasured. Delivery can be treacherous.

“On the Slope, we operate 24/7, 365 days a year,” said Brad Osborne, president of NANA Oilfield Services (NOSI). The Anchorage-based company delivers fuel and drinking water to the North Slope and Red Dog Mine. “It’s not easy work, but it’s critical to our customers. We have to overcome several challenges in delivering our products; like distance, weather, and maintaining heated storage.”

NOSI joined the Saltchuk family of companies last month. North Slope customers currently served via Delta Western in Fairbanks will benefit tremendously from the proximity of NOSI’s fuel storage facility in the unincorporated town of Deadhorse, mere miles from the Slope. This newest member of the Saltchuk family of companies will operate as a sister company to Delta Western, the leading distributor of petroleum products and lubricants in Alaska, under parent North Star Petroleum. Osborne will remain at NOSI’s helm.

“Not only are the two company cultures a great fit, which isn’t always the case and can make integration difficult, but operationally the services NOSI provides align nicely into Saltchuk’s core services,” he said.

Osborne spent most of his childhood in Alaska, his mother an Iñupiaq living in Kotzebue, his father stationed at the Air Force station there. After early stints in Florida, Texas, and Belgium, the family spent time in both Fairbanks and Anchorage before settling in Valdez, where Osborne went to high school.

“My mom worked for NANA in the old Harding building in Anchorage, not far from the current NOSI office,” he said. “Later, my older brother, Steve, and I were janitors for NANA. Fast-forward a few more years, and I was an intern studying accounting at the University of Alaska Anchorage. I worked part-time at NANA during the school year and full-time during breaks.”

Osborne’s career could have gone in a very different direction. He credits his wife, Melanie, with helping him chart his course.

“When (Melanie) and I were first married and starting a family, I had a good job at Fred Meyer (a retail ‘superstore’),” he said. “I was on the management path, but I realized that, while I liked the job, I didn’t like the frontline retail industry. So I tried something else until I found the right fit.”

The right fit, he discovered, was NANA, where Osborne has worked for 15 years – the past four as president of NOSI.

“I’ve been fortunate to have several different opportunities at NANA:  accounting, IT, finance, and strategy,” he said. “In accounting, I was the division controller. I managed our IT team and leading the implementation of Costpoint, an accounting software that helps companies stay in compliance with contracts. In finance, I focused on investments and due diligence studying acquisitions. In strategy, I analyzed financial information and economic trends.”

Osborne said his career path at NANA unfolded due in part to his willingness to remain open to opportunities.

“I never said ‘no’ to new opportunities presented to me, which forced me to go outside of my comfort zone,” he said. “When asked if I want to try something new or different, I’m quick to say, ‘that sounds like fun.’ I’ve learned it’s good to be out of your comfort zone. It means you’re growing. Also, it’s important to remain positive, especially when facing setbacks.”

In his current position, Osborne is committed to providing great service to customers, including those on the Slope.

“Fuel on the North Slope is a lifeline to operations, which requires our employees to be dependable, even in the most extreme weather conditions,” he explained. “Up in Deadhorse, we built a fuel storage facility to have fuel on hand for the busy drilling season – January through April. We also built a six-bay operations center to store our vehicles. In summer, the Red Dog port site is free of ice, so we deliver enough fuel by barge to last through the winter.”

Osborne said he hopes to help NOSI expand its footprint on the North Slope by expanding the company’s customer base.

“I’m excited to be part of the Saltchuk family, and look forward to working with the entire team,” he concluded, once again highlighting NOSI and Saltchuk’s similar values. “NOSI has incorporated Iñupiaq values into how it conducts its business every day. Our values are so deep-rooted: respect, honesty, fulfillment of commitments, cooperation, and the importance of family.”

Photo courtesy of NANA Development Corp.