“I am someone who has always been eager to take on a challenge.” Cole McCracken’s words and spirit of those words would be called on in exactly that way in his role at Ounalashka Corporation.
Cole is a lifelong resident of Unalaska and an Ounalashka Corporation (OC) shareholder.
His first job out of high school was working part-time weeding outside of the corporate headquarters near the International Port of Dutch Harbor. Given it was a somewhat routine assignment, it was satisfying for Cole. He explains, “As an OC shareholder and a lifelong community member I felt fortunate to be given the opportunity to contribute to endeavors that will not only have a positive impact on OC and our community, but potentially our country and the health of the entire ecosystem.” That statement of engagement and commitment explains well his growing responsibilities and interests in furthering the corporations mission today.
The Ounalaska Corporation (OC) is the Alaska Native Village Corporation for Unalaska, Alaska, formed in 1973 under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) . Incorporated with 269 original Unangan shareholders, OC now works to bring value to almost 500 original shareholders and their descendants.
Cole’s more recent responsibilities have drawn him into OCCP, the partnership of the Ounalashka Corporation & Chena Power, LLC, for the purpose of harnessing the geothermal energy of Makushin Volcano. In that role, Cole frequently serves as a liaison for a variety of logistical efforts as it relates to initial surveying and assessment. Last month, Cole traveled to Fairbanks, Alaska to attend a course in erosion and sentiment control, where he gained his certification as an Alaska Certified Erosion and Sediment Control Lead. Cole commented on his overall impression, “This was a new learning experience as to the extent of effort that goes into insuring the environment while undertaking a construction project. My big takeaway is that we take seriously our best preventative practices going forward each and every day.”
Following the course, Cole traveled to Chena Hot Springs Resort for a tour of the geothermal power plant and its beneficiaries of the geothermal power – the lodge, hot springs, green house and power plant. “This is where I could really visualize the Makushin Geothermal Project, he said. “It tied together what I knew of our project and how it would work – the power plant, the powering up of homes and businesses, the hot springs, the resort and the green houses. While Chena had it all, ours will be at a far larger scale with a superior source of steam. What I also saw was opportunity. During the tour, I realized that this project would provide opportunity for our community’s economic development in ways we barely can imagine. It also reconfirmed that it can be done within an environmental framework that retains what we hold dear.”
OC, and CP have formed a Partnership, Ounalashka Corp. and Chena Power, LLC (OCCP, LLC). The LLC is 51% owned by OC. OC has leased over 7,000 acres of land and its subsurface rights, surrounding well ST-1, to the LLC for 50 years.
The Ounalashka Corporation is a for-profit corporation, with a social mission to provide opportunities for its shareholders. The corporation’s main business interests are land leasing and development. OC is the major landowner in Unalaska, where it leases land to commercial and residential clients. Additionally, OC owns and leases premium office properties in downtown Anchorage.