When Larry Levorsen founded Anvil Corporation in 1971, he did so with the simple intent of providing safe, innovative, and affordable engineering services to refineries throughout the Pacific Northwest. Larry believed that “our work, not our words, speak for us. If you do good work, you’ll be rewarded with more work.”
As the company grew successful in Washington, Larry began setting eyes on Anvil’s next step. Naturally, Alaska was the immediate answer – since Anvil’s inception fifty-two years ago, we have been inexplicably intertwined with the last frontier, capitalizing on the significant oil exploration and development opportunities that exist within the state’s North Slope.
In 1972, only one year after the company began, Anvil established its’ Nondestructive Examination Department (NDE) to provide inspections for many of the modules that would be sent to a variety of locations on the North Slope. In 1974, Larry helped establish Snelson-Anvil, Inc. in Anacortes, WA to further serve companies helping to develop energy infrastructure for Alaska. The Snelson-Anvil Yard produced and shipped 230 modules to the last frontier, totaling over 83,000 tons.
Ten years later in 1984, Alaska Anvil Inc. was formed, a wholly owned subsidiary created to better serve the needs of Alaskan clientele. It began as a one-man office of Dennis McGrew, a Senior Mechanical Engineer who just celebrated his fortieth year with Anvil this February.
Work with MAPCO Petroleum, Anvil’s first ‘large’ project outside of Bellingham (1985)
“At that time, the opportunities available to us in Alaska just seemed endless,” Dennis says.
For the next several decades, Anvil’s influence in Alaska continued to grow. Projects included work with MAPCO Petroleum, ARCO Alaska, the Trans Alaska Pipeline, and Petro Star and we began to receive recognition for the work.
“Alaska Anvil Inc. is a considerable presence in the Alaska oil industry, but like the tip of an iceberg, the engineering and project management firm has much more heft than meets the eye. The Anchorage-based company draws on the strength and traditions of its parent company, Anvil Corp.”
Petroleum News – November 25, 2001
In 2013, Anvil established the Doyon Anvil Joint Venture (JV) in Anchorage, AK with Doyon, Limited, a Native regional corporation that helps manage the land and resources of interior Alaska. This partnership means Doyon Anvil is a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and an Alaska Native-Owned Corporation.
This year, Doyon Anvil celebrates its’ tenth anniversary. For our team in Alaska, the last decade has been a period of consistency, innovation, and growth.
Terry Caetano, current VP Operations, Anchorage Branch, first traveled to Alaska in 2001, a year after joining Anvil. He attended a NACE Conference on arctic corrosion. A little more than a decade later, he would be asked to return as the VP of Operations for Anchorage.
“What I’ve always found interesting about projects on the North Slope is the complexity of the problems that get sent to you,” Terry says. “Back then and even today, when someone has a corrosion problem from a North Slope facility, it is more often than not something that no one else has seen before, and a problem you won’t be able to solve by opening a book.”
In many ways, the North Slope’s mysterious oil fields were and continue to be a true, final frontier for Anvil’s team in Alaska.
“We use all of the same processes and procedures that the rest of the branches do, but can also operate as a joint venture,” Terry says. “This helps mitigate some of our bigger projects.”
The largest project in Doyon Anvil’s ten-year history is Pikka, a massive development effort on the state’s North Slope. If successful, this project would greatly increase Alaska’s oil production, create numerous jobs, and establish groundbreaking approaches to developing oil fields.
“Changes of strategy and increasing automation to minimize onsite personnel have resulted in a low-cost approach that changes the landscape of the North Slope,” Kari MacDonald, Project Manager, explains.
Like those that came before her, Kari has always held a fascination and appreciation for Alaska’s natural environment and everything it has to offer – both professionally and personally.
“I’m often able to get out for a quick ski or bike during lunch,” she says. “Anchorage has a lot of opportunities to be in the mountains or play in the ocean.”
Kari MacDonald enjoying Alaska with her family (2022)
Of course, Kari isn’t the only employee of Doyon Alaska who enjoys spending their time in the great Alaskan wilderness.
“I love being able to see the mountains surrounding Anchorage,” David Cannon, an Electrical Engineer at the Anchorage Branch, says.
“We can really appreciate all four of the seasons here,” Kelvin Simonson, another Electrical Engineer, adds. “Blue skies in the winter, a quick spring, and then the long summer days – the colors are awesome in fall too, especially in the mountains!”
“Deep down, the offer to live in Alaska was always too tempting [for me] to pass up,” Terry concludes.
In 2023, as Doyon Anvil turns ten and business in Alaska continues to grow, the branch celebrates with a stunning, modern office space, which the team plans to move into later this year.
New Doyon Anvil office space
Doyon Anvil is an essential chapter in our organization’s rich history with Alaska and the key foundation to many exciting projects in our company’s bright future. Congratulations on ten years, Doyon Anvil!