Vice President and Principal Consultant
EDUCATION and CERTIFICATION
- Master of Science in Project Management, University of Alaska Anchorage
- Project Management Professional, Project Management Institute
- Master of Business Administration, Western Washington University
- Bachelor of Science in Physics, Western Washington University
July 2001 to Present
Vice President and Principal Consultant, Northern Economics, Inc.
Mike has worked on dozens of projects at Northern Economics. Some areas of expertise and focus include:
- Ports and Harbors, Rate Studies, Feasibility Analyses, and Planning
- Financial Analysis
- Modeling and Risk Analysis
- Business Planning
- Feasibility Studies
Selected projects Mike has completed recently include:
- Valdez Airport Master Plan. Northern Economics, as a subconsultant to Stantec, prepared an aviation activity forecast for the Valdez Airport, as part of an airport master plan update. The forecast was based on a demographic projection, with modifications made to account for economic and other factors. The public website is available at http://dot.alaska.gov/nreg/valdez-airport/.
- St. Mary’s Airport Planning and RSA Practicability Study. Northern Economics was part of a team led by Hattenburg Dilley & Linnell, LLC that evaluated the St. Mary’s Airport to forecast aviation activity and conduct a Runway Safety Area (RSA) Practicability Study. The airport was no longer in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration standards and there was pressure to shorten the runway. As part of the evaluation, the team investigated the socioeconomic impacts that changes to the airport configuration and aircraft would have on the community. The work included an in-depth analysis of the commercial fishing and processing activity in the community since a shorter runway was expected to have a substantial impact on the industry and the local economy. At the conclusion of Northern Economics’ work, the team was able to convince the Federal Aviation Administration of the need for the current runway length due to the impact that shortening the runway would have on the community.
- Alaska Aviation System Plan: Economic Contribution of the Aviation Industry to Alaska’s Economy.Northern Economics, working with DOWL, updated its report highlighting the economic contribution of the aviation industry to Alaska’s economy. The work consisted of extensive data collection, surveys of public and private airport managers, a survey of leaseholders, a phone survey of residents, interviews with airport managers and leaseholders, analysis and economic impact modeling, and a summary of the bypass mail and Essential Air Service programs. It relied heavily on analysis of Bureau of Transportation Statistics passenger and cargo data, Alaska International Aviation System flight data, and other published data sources. Deliverables included reports discussing the economic contributions of the statewide and Alaska International Airport Systems, an executive summary brochure, and brochures for rural and certificated airports, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, and Fairbanks International Airport.
- Economic Study of Subsistence Impacts. Northern Economics led a multi-disciplinary team to undertake a thorough, one-time economic study at the beginning of the Greater Mooses Tooth 1 project of the costs that individuals and families in Nuiqsut incur to continue subsistence activities at desired levels (or would have to incur to participate in subsistence activities if they are not able to afford them) under a variety of scenarios. This study for ConocoPhillips Alaska included an overview of the increased impacts to subsistence activities related to past and current future projects, and accounted for the increase in cost of living. The study also described the adequacy of existing subsistence mitigation funds to address identified impacts.
- Cordova Comprehensive Plan. Northern Economics was part of Agnew::Beck’ Consulting’s team selected to update the Comprehensive Plan for the City of Cordova. Northern Economics’ role was to summarize the commercial fishing industry and fiscal health in Cordova. The fisheries work included an analysis of commercial fishing permit data to understand which fisheries are most important to the residents of Cordova. While income from commercial fishing is important, Northern Economics also studied employment and wages earned through fish processors. Additionally, the comprehensive plan looked at detailed fiscal data to understand Cordova’s revenue base. Using a combination of State of Alaska shared tax data, school district reporting, and city fiscal reports, we created graphics and text to explain how Cordova’s revenues are generated and where they are spent. This work was reviewed by the community and is used to support ongoing planning efforts in Cordova.
- Kenai Peninsula Borough Comprehensive Plan Update. Northern Economics was part of the Agnew::Beck Consulting team selected to update the Comprehensive Plan for the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Northern Economics’ role was to summarize the commercial fishing industry, mining industry, and borough management and administration in support of the borough’s updated comprehensive plan. The fisheries work included an analysis of commercial fishing permit data to understand which fisheries are most important to borough residents along with employment and income of processors. Northern Economics documented the borough’s historical mining activity and identified future opportunities for development of the borough’s resources. The comprehensive plan also described how the borough government is funded and managed, including an evaluation of its fiscal health, borough staff capacity, and opportunities for greater efficiency. This work was reviewed by the community and borough assemble, and it was formally adopted in November 2019.
- Wasilla Train Depot Brownfield Area-Wide Planning Study. In this study for Stantec and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Northern Economics conducted a market analysis for a brownfield area in Wasilla planned as the site of a new multi-modal transportation hub. The assessment generated a set of assumptions to use for developing several plausible development scenarios as part of the master planning process and included a demand analysis, real estate market analysis, regional trend assessment, and market supply analysis.
- Oil Spill Emergency Response and Towing Vessel Cost Study. Northern Economics completed this study for San Juan County, Washington, to provide cost estimates and other considerations for the long-term stationing of an emergency response towing vessel (ERTV) capable tugboat in or near San Juan County (SJC) in Washington. Positioning an ERTV to respond to a distressed vessel in Haro Strait and Boundary Pass has been recommended as a priority oil spill prevention risk mitigation measure by the Washington Department of Ecology, Puget Sound Partnership boards, and SJC through its Marine Resources Committee. The study evaluated annual costs for three alternative standby positions for the ERTV tug: permanently moored at a harbor in SJC, permanently on standby at sea (underway), or a combination of the two, to accommodate seasonal tourism traffic in SJC marinas.
- Phasing Out the Use of Heavy Fuel Oil in the Canadian Arctic: Impacts to Northern Communities. Northern Economics provided economic analysis support to Nuka Research and Planning Group, LLC and World Wildlife Fund-Canada in this study that looked at the cost of phasing out of heavy fuel oil in the Canadian Arctic, based on typical vessels and cargo routes that supply Arctic communities.
- Homer Deep Water Dock Feasibility Study. The City of Homer’s Deep Water Dock was built decades ago and is nearing the end of its useful life. Originally designed for a fish processing operation that had much lower load requirements than needed for general cargo activities, it is functionally obsolete and in need of replacement and upgrades to its capacity. Northern Economics, working as a subcontractor to R&M Consultants, conducted a feasibility study for the replacement and/or expansion of the dock. The initial phase of work entailed research of current and projected economic activity in the community, stakeholder interviews, and development of projected cargo activity. The second phase built on the initial work, including design work by R&M Consultants and Northern Economics’ investigation into areas of opportunity (including the potential for industrial moorage and a barge service facility), evaluation of lease rates for land on the Homer Spit adjacent to the Deep Water Dock, and identification of potential funding and financing strategies for dock, uplands, and other improvements.
- Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation Housing Study. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) engaged Arcadis for a housing study to identify housing needs resulting from a major hospital expansion. Northern Economics developed and administered a housing preferences survey of all YKHC Bethel employees to identify the housing characteristics that would best support employee attraction and retention. Northern Economics also developed a report to provide an overview of demographic, economic, and housing market characteristics in Bethel. For Arcadis and Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation.
- Tax Abatement Analysis. Northern Economics was contracted by the Municipality of Anchorage to provide a third-party review of a tax abatement application by a private developer. The intent of the review was to determine if the proposed development, which would renovate and significantly expand the square footage of buildings in a deteriorated area, would hinge on the abatement for feasibility and provide a net benefit to the municipality, based on the municipal code. Using confidential project information and financial projections, Northern Economics conducted an extensive modeling effort to recreate the developers’ financial projections, fact checked assumptions and other projections, analyzed effects across the municipality, and conducted a sensitivity analysis to verify the stability of the findings under different assumptions on future leases rates, cost escalation, and other factors. The municipality used our review as an input to their decision-making process.
- Homer Harbor Rate Structure Study. Northern Economics conducted a rate structure study for the Homer Harbor to determine the impact of different rate structures on individual vessels and total revenues, including vessel length tiers and different rates by type of vessel.
- The Economic Benefits of Ports and Harbors in Alaska. Northern Economics provided a report and presentation to the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators that presented data about the role that port and harbor facilities play in Alaska’s economy, labor force, and system of moving goods into and out of the state. For the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators.
- Rate Study for Petersburg Comprehensive Plan Update and Harbor Master Plan. Northern Economics was part of a team updating Petersburg Borough’s Comprehensive Plan and creating a Harbor Master Plan. Northern Economics’ work was focused on a rate study for Petersburg’s harbor system. For Agnew::Beck and Petersburg Borough.
- Palmer Airport Master Plan. Northern Economics handled the financial analysis component for the City of Palmer’s Airport Master Plan update, including analysis of multiple development alternatives. For Hattenburg Dilley & Linnell, LLC and the City of Palmer.
- AMHS Ferry Tariff Policy and Fare Structure Development. Northern Economics reviewed changes made over the last six years by the Alaska Marine Highway System’s (AMHS’s) direct competitors and similar ferry systems around the world, and reviewed the changes seen in the market since AMHS last adjusted tariffs. The study analyzed rate anomalies within AMHS’s fares and provided recommendations for the development and implementation of a change in tariff policy with the goal of creating a fair and equitable tariff structure. It recommended a formulaic approach to setting tariffs and an overall tariff adjustment to achieve a target farebox recovery rate. Northern Economics provided fare policy and structure analysis services to determine the most equitable approach to a complex system of fare categories, with consideration of how potential fare changes would impact ridership and revenue levels. The work included development of a comprehensive set of recommendations, presentation to ADOT&PF Administration, and facilitation of a public process to outline recommendations and implementation. For the Alaska Marine Highway System.
- Rate Study and Economic Benefits Study for the Deep Water Dock. Northern Economics conducted a rate study for Homer Harbor and an economic impact study of spending associated with Buccaneer Alaska’s Endeavor rig’s use of the Deep Water Dock in 2012–2013. The rate study utilized a life cycle costing approach for groups of facilities to determine each group’s revenue requirements. Those requirements were then compared to the current rate structure to determine what rate increases would be needed in order to fully fund the life cycle cost of facilities. For the City of Homer.
- The Importance of Cook Inlet Oil and Gas to Southcentral Alaska. Northern Economics prepared a report discussing the importance of Cook Inlet oil and gas, with an emphasis on gas, to the Southcentral Alaska economy. The report reviewed historical and current production and consumption of gas and then evaluated the relative costs of alternative fuel options as a proxy for the importance of Cook Inlet gas. The report also discussed additional benefits from Cook Inlet oil and gas activity, including employment, wages, state revenues, and state royalty payments. For the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce.
- Port of Anchorage Business Planning. Northern Economics was part of a team developing a business plan for the Port of Anchorage. Work included documentation of the origin and destination of Port of Anchorage cargo and fuel, forecasts of vessel traffic and cargo ships, an assessment of competitive ports, benchmarking with other similar ports, and evaluation of future business opportunities. For Moffatt & Nichol and the Port of Anchorage.
- Cook Inlet Risk Assessment Phase B. Northern Economics was part of a team evaluating the feasibility of a pipeline across Cook Inlet to reduce the risk of spills from vessels crossing the inlet. Northern Economics conducted a benefit cost analysis, including a probabilistic benefit cost analysis using @RISK. For Nuka Research and Planning Group, LLC.
- Barrow Airport Master Plan. Northern Economics was part of a team working on an update of the Barrow Airport Master Plan. The work included development of population, economic, and aviation projections, as well as an evaluation of in-kind contributions, Alaska hire, North Slope Borough hire, Native hire, job skills development, bonding, and public private partnerships. For PDC Inc. and the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
- Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment Phase B. Northern Economics was part of a team evaluating the feasibility of a set of risk reduction options identified as part of Phase A of the Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment. Options considered included increasing rescue tug capability in the region, increasing salvage and spill response capability in the region, strengthening the subarea contingency plan, and initiating the process for establishing particularly sensitive sea areas and associated protective measures. Northern Economics conducted benefit cost and cost effectiveness analyses, including a probabilistic benefit cost analysis using @RISK. For Nuka Research and Planning Group, LLC and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
- Temple, Texas Freight Forecasting. Northern Economics evaluated inland port and logistic opportunities for the City of Temple, Texas and documented what cargo is flowing through the Temple region and what cargo could be captured by Temple. The analysis used the Federal Highway Administration’s Freight Analysis Framework as a basis for its analysis, augmented with an analysis of population and economic data to estimate Temple’s share of inbound and outbound cargo flows. For Global Logistics Development Partners LLC, KPMG, and the Temple Economic Development Corporation.
- Valdez Harbor Planning Study. Northern Economics conducted a rate study for the proposed harbor, using a life cycle cost analysis approach to determine the annualized cost of the new facilities, estimate potential moorage and non-moorage revenues that could be generated by the facility, and estimate the annual subsidy required to operate and maintain the harbor. The rate study was accompanied by an economic impact analysis that used the Harbor Economic Impact Model to estimate the local and regional economic impacts of the new harbor. We then followed this work with a market analysis, focused on five target markets for the harbor and evaluating competing harbors—Whittier Harbor and Seward Harbor—to identify Valdez Harbor’s competitive advantages and justify demand for the new harbor. For R&M Consultants, Inc. and the City of Valdez.
- Anchorage Confidence Index (ANCi). Northern Economics developed and has provided regular updates of a confidence index for residents of Anchorage, Alaska, based on data from a quarterly telephone survey. For the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation.
- BP Terminal Vessel Traffic and Risk Assessment Study. Northern Economics conducted a vessel traffic study for vessels operating within and transiting waters in northwest Washington. Mike’s focus was on analysis of vessel traffic data purchased from the Marine Exchange of Puget Sound, development of commodity vessel and ferry traffic forecasts, forecasting vessel days by sub-region of the study area, a queuing analysis for vessels calling at the terminal, and @RISK modeling and simulations to evaluate the potential range of traffic based on uncertainty in the forecasts. For The Glosten Associates, Inc.
- Gateway Pacific Terminal Vessel Traffic and Risk Assessment Study. Northern Economics conducted a vessel traffic study for vessels operating within and transiting waters in northwest Washington. Mike’s focus was on analysis of vessel traffic data purchased from the Marine Exchange of Puget Sound, development of commodity vessel and ferry traffic forecasts, forecasting vessel days by sub-region of the study area, a queuing analysis for vessels calling at the terminal, and @RISK modeling and simulations to evaluate the potential range of traffic based on uncertainty in the forecasts. For The Glosten Associates, Inc.
- Sitka Harbor System Master Plan. Northern Economics contributed to the economic analysis and rate setting portion of a master planning effort for the City and Borough of Sitka’s harbor system. The rate setting portion utilized a life cycle costing approach for each of the facilities to determine the level of moorage revenue needed. The cost was then used to determine an appropriate rate plan to address future needs. For PND Engineers and the City and Borough of Sitka.
- CDQ Homeporting Study. Northern Economics conducted a comprehensive study for the City of Seward to evaluate the feasibility of, benefits from, and preliminary funding and financing options for facilities to allow for the homeporting of Community Development Quota (CDQ) fishing vessels in Seward. Currently, vessels travel to the Puget Sound region during the off-season for maintenance work. The study consisted of a feasibility study for the proposed improvements; a benefits analysis for the CDQ fleet, the City of Seward, the Kenai Peninsula Borough, and the State of Alaska; and development of a financing plan for the project. For the City of Seward.
- Anchorage Floatplane Facility Feasibility Study. Northern Economics conducted a feasibility study for a proposed new floatplane facility in the Anchorage area. The project involved identification of the costs inherent in and capabilities required to own, operate, and maintain a floatplane facility; projection of revenues from the operation of such a facility; identification of potential sponsors (owner/operators); and the development of financing strategies appropriate to those sponsors. We considered alternative financing strategies, including a wide range of public and private fund sources and ownership arrangements, to include exclusively public ownership, public/private partnerships, and exclusively private ownership. The assessment included a sensitivity analysis to determine the effect of the size of the float pond on the profitability of the facility, using demand curves from the market analysis to identify three potential sizes. For the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
- Port of Corpus Christi Wharfage Rate Study. Northern Economics conducted an independent, third-party analysis of the wharfage rate at the public oil docks on liquid bulk cargo payable by the crude oil refiners at the Port of Corpus Christi, TX. Tasks included creation of a life cycle cost model to estimate the revenues that would be necessary to compensate the port for the facilities and services it provides; a market analysis comparing the port’s recommended and current wharfage rate to other ports; and a benefits analysis of the port’s franchise structure. For Welder Leshin Law Firm.
- Anchorage Tourism EEI. Northern Economics developed a spreadsheet model to estimate the total tourism related spending in Anchorage, based on expenditure data from the Alaska Visitor Statistics Program IV database. Later work included an update based on expenditure data from the latest Alaska Visitor Statistics Program and other tourism resources. For Visit Anchorage (formerly the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau), 2005, 2011-2012.
Spring 2006 to Fall 2016
Adjunct Faculty, University of Alaska Anchorage
- ESM 610: Cost Estimating
- ESM 621: Operations Research
- ESM 684: Final Project (advisor/committee member)
- PM 614: Project Cost Management
- PM 685/686: Project Management Case Study and Research (advisor/committee member)
- PMP Preparation Course (risk, cost, and quality)
SELECTED PAPERS and PRESENTATIONS
- “[Innovative] Revenue Ideas for Alaska’s Ports and Harbors,” Annual Meeting of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators, October 2019.
- “Petersburg Waterfront Master Plan: Rate Study and Financial Considerations,” Annual Meeting of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators, October 2017.
- “Economic Benefits of Ports and Harbors in Alaska,” Annual Meeting of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators, September 2016.
- “Alaska Economic Outlook 2015,” presented with World Trade Center Anchorage in Juneau, Alaska, February 2015.
- “The Future of Alaska’s Ports and Harbors: Our Perspective,” Annual Meeting of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators, October 2013.
- “Harbor Master Plan – Sitka Model,” Annual Meeting of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators, October 2012.
- “Tariffs: What They Are, What They Aren’t, and How to Maintain Them,” Annual Meeting of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators, October 2011.
- “Identification of Alaska’s Regional and Subregional Hubs,” 2nd Alaska Regional Ports Conference, November 2010.
- “Ports and Harbors Create Economic Opportunity,” Annual Meeting of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators, October 2010.
- “Setting Sustainable Harbor Rates,” Annual Meeting of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators, October 2009.
- “Using the Harbor Economic Impact Model for Regional Economic Development Analysis,” Annual Meeting of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators, October 2008.
- “Organizational Project Risk Management Maturity Assessment and Improvement,” submitted to ProMAC 2008 Conference
- “Contemporary Methods for Modeling Project Risk,” ProMAC 2008 4th International Project Management Conference, September 2008.
- “The Future of Project Risk Management,” for ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc. by the Engineering, Science and Project Management Department at the University of Alaska Anchorage, February 2008.
- “Project Risk Management for Alaska Oil and Gas Capital Projects,” in Project Manager’s Handbook, edited by Dr. David Cleland and Dr. Lewis Ireland
- “Float Layout and Economic Modeling Program for Harbors,” Annual Meeting of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators, October 2005
- “Harbor Economic Impact Model,” Annual Meeting of the Alaska Association of Harbormasters and Port Administrators, October 2004
- “Business Planning for a Cold Storage Facility,” 2003 Public Seafood Processing and Cold Storage Facility Conference, hosted by UAF Marine Advisory Program, November 2003