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Vol. 14, No. 38 Week of September 20, 2009
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

Arctic Directory: PDC Harris Group: Engineering alliance provides innovative solutions for customers

PDC Harris Group LLC alliance provides seamless access to combined talents, resources of both firms

Q. What do you most want people to know about your company?

A. PDC Harris Group LLC is an Anchorage engineering-design firm, and an Alaska limited liability corporation founded in 2002 by PDC Inc. Engineers (Alaska) and Harris Group Inc. (Washington). The firm is a respected service provider currently conducting work under various agreements with major oil companies, independent energy producers, utilities, rural cooperatives and federal agencies. We are thankful for the projects awarded us by our customers, and appreciate being given the opportunity to compete for engineering work, both here in Alaska and in the Lower 48.

Q. Where is your company located? Is there more than one location?

A. Our offices are in Anchorage at 2700 Gambell Street, Suite 500. Our parent company PDC Inc. Engineers has offices in Anchorage and Fairbanks. The other parent company, Harris Group Inc. has offices in nine different cities in the lower 48.

 

Q. What year was the company founded? Who founded it, and what was its original name?

A. PDC Harris Group was founded in 2002 as an Alaskan LLC by its parent companies. The business plan for the joint venture was prepared by Michael Moora, who has been the general manager since its inception.

 

Q. Who heads up your company and who is on its senior management team?

A. Michael Moora is responsible for the day to day operations, as general manager. Governance of the business occurs thru an executive committee. Directors for the committee are Steve Theno, principal mechanical engineer, PDC Inc. Engineers and Bill Ward, vice president of Business Development, Oil and Gas, Harris Group Inc.

 

Q. Describe any partnership arrangements and when they became effective.

A. PDC Harris Group routinely forms partnerships with engineering, geotechnical, and other specialty providers on some engineering projects. For instance, we have recently subcontracted with Doyon Emerald for environmental permitting, community awareness, process hazards analysis, and specialized maintenance record-keeping services.

Q. What is the company’s primary business sector?

A. PDC Harris Group LLC offers experience in cold regions design and construction, delivering fast-track energy industry projects, a local Alaska presence, and full service engineering and design capabilities, including environmental permitting services.

Q. Are there important projects the company is currently a part of or has done recently?

A. We’re thankful to our customers of every opportunity we’ve been given to provide our services. Each is important to us, as well as our customers. Some of our most recent projects have been conducted under service agreements with BP Exploration Inc. (Alaska), Doyon Utilities, Chugach Electric Association and Municipal Light and Power. Recently, PDC Harris Group provided BP with engineering services related to pilot development of cold heavy oil production at Milne Point, a project that represents the foundation for continued oil production on the North Slope. 

Q. How many employees does your company have?

A. In Anchorage we have approximately 45, and another 40 in Fairbanks. There are approximately 300 employees in the lower 48 who sometimes are called upon to supplement Alaska-projects or provide specialized services.

 

Q. What equipment does your company use and do you have any new purchases planned?

A. We provide procurement services on larger capital projects. Purchased components may include large rotating equipment (e.g. combustion turbine generator), pressure vessels, instruments-controls, pipe and valve materials, electrical components—everything that makes up an integrated plant or facility.

 

Q. Is your company expanding any of its operations or locations?

A. Given the constraints of the current economy, we are not currently in an expansion mode. Certainly that can change with the award of a major detailed design project. Should such an opportunity occur, we would look to hire various discipline engineers and designers.

Q. What is your company’s main strength or its edge over the competition?

A. We respond to the needs of our customers, giving them an unmatched level of customer service, and strive to create a working environment that provides professional fulfillment and personal growth opportunities for all of our employees. Our business has been built one person, one customer at a time.

Q. What new markets, clients or projects did your company attract in the last year?

A. We have assisted BP in addressing one of its key goals for continuing operations on the North Slope. We have provided ML&P with a wide range of project services related to electrical generation at both of Anchorage facilities, and we have assisted Chugach Electric Association with its on-going Southcentral power project in Anchorage.

Q. Has the company invested in any new technology in the last two years?

A. Staying current with design-specific software is an on-going investment for us.

Q. What is the most challenging job the company has undertaken?

A. The engineering services business is cyclical, in terms of our dependence on the financial health of our customers. While some of our customers have remained strong during the current recession, others have cut back on capital projects. Our most challenging task is managing overhead during lean economic periods, and maintaining staff in readiness for the inevitable return to a growth economy.

Q. What are the biggest obstacles to completing work the company undertakes?

A. We’re a “can-do” organization, and pride ourselves on completing projects to budgets and schedules established jointly with our customers. During boom cycles, our only obstacle to executing projects is potential staff shortages.

Q. What do you see as your company’s biggest challenge in the next five years?

A. Based on the AGIA and Denali projects, heavy oil on the North Slope, and the need to re-power generation systems from Anchorage to the North Slope, we are predicting a speedy return to the rich business backlogs experienced during the summer of 2008. Therefore, the challenge will again be recruiting and retaining quality staff.

Q. What do you see as future trends or opportunities for your company from events such as long-term weather fluctuations?

A. Global warming could have terrible implications for Alaska in general, and very specific problems for North Slope components supported on permafrost. I hope I’m not around to deal with these “opportunities”.

Q. What is your company’s safety record?

A. PDC Harris Group and its parent companies have extremely low rates of reportable injuries, since the majority of our services involve in-office activities. For our larger customers, with established safety programs, our staff adopts their safety procedures when visiting their facilities. We have a safety program and associated manual governing on-site work for customers.

Q. Does your company have a Web site?

A. Our Web site can be found at www.pdcharrisgroup.com. The PDC Inc. Web site is at www.pdceng.com and Harris Group Inc. is at www.harrisgroup.com.

Q. Has your company been involved in any community projects or charities events?

A. We support Engineers Without Borders, and our General Manager, Mike Moora, is a member of the design team providing a drinking water treatment system for an orphanage in Malawi.



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