Story last updated at 2:55 p.m. Friday, August 9, 2002

In Business
GCI expands services

GCI has recently completed a line extension making cable television service available in the West Hill Road area.

"Technology is advancing at warp speed," said manager Bettyann Steciw. "Coaxial cable, which traditionally transmitted cable television programming, is becoming the preferred source for cable modem, television and telephone service."

The company is offering free cable television installation for a limited time.

GCI also has announced that its customers now have a time and money-saving option for paying their GCI bills.

With GCI's eBill, customers can access and pay their GCI accounts online, including those for cable, local and long distance telephone, cellular and Internet service.

"We are focused on providing superior services to our customers, and online billing is a critical component of our overall customer satisfaction strategy," said Paul Landes, chief marketing officer for GCI. No special software is required to access eBill, although it does require Internet access. eBill is a free service and is available for both residential and business customers. Payments can be transmitted from any financial institution.

To sign up for eBill, go to www.gci.com., or call GCI customer service at 265-5400 or 1-800-800-4800.

Founded in 1979, GCI is a statewide telecommunications provider with offices located throughout the state.

First National gets good grades

First National Bank Alaska has earned an "A+" ranking for the 16th consecutive quarter.

Weiss Ratings, Inc., a Florida-based industry ratings company, put the bank on its top 10 list for banks nationwide.

"In our opinion, this institution offers excellent financial security," the Weiss analysis said. "It has maintained a conservative stance in its business operations and underwriting practices as evidenced by its strong equity base, top-notch asset quality, steady earnings and high liquidity."

First National "has the resources necessary to deal with severe economic conditions," the report concluded.

Weiss' list of America's ten highest-rated banks can be found online at http://www.weissratings.com /HL_Bank.asp.

Established in 1922, First National is Alaska's largest Alaskan-owned and operated bank, with 27 branches throughout the state and ATMs in 17 rural communities.

Wells Fargo names new manager

Wells Fargo Bank Alaska's Homer store recently welcomed Assistant Vice President David Durham to its team.

Durham, a business banker, has been with Wells Fargo since 1992 and was most recently manager at the Delta Junction bank. He began his Wells Fargo career as a teller, and completed the management training program in 1994. Durham was a loan officer in Barrow and Fairbanks, and was hired as the Delta manager in 1995.

Founded in 1852, Wells Fargo & Company is a $312 billion diversified financial services company providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through more than 5,400 stores and other distribution channels across North America as well as internationally. Wells Fargo and its affiliates serve customers throughout Alaska with more than 65 stores, 130 ATMs and online at www.wellsfargo.com.

Era goes online

Era Aviation customers will be able to book reservations online beginning today by visiting the company's Web site at www.eraaviation.com.

"Customers have been asking for the ability to book online for some time now," said Paul Landis, senior vice president. "Booking via the internet will simplify the reservations process while allowing customers the flexibility to shop online for both prices and schedules."

The airline also kicks off a pre-packaged tour program today in Homer, Kenai, Valdez, Cordova, Kodiak and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. The one- and two-day tours give customers the options of sightseeing, kayaking, fishing and bear viewing, and hotel accommodations and car rentals are included with each package.

"Packaging our scheduled service with our partners in the cities we serve is another avenue to increase the marketability of some of Alaska's premier destinations," Landis said in a press release.

Era Aviation is an Alaska Airlines Code Share carrier that serves Cordova, Homer, Iliamna, Kenai, Kodiak, Valdez and Whitehorse from Anchorage, as well as 17 villages in Western Alaska from its hub in Bethel.

Small business conference ahead

The Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and the Technology and Research Small Development Center will join Sen. Ted Stevens later this month in hosting the Small Business is Big Business in Alaska conference in Anchorage.

Each year, $1.2 billion in federal grant money is awarded to small businesses for technology research and development. The conference is an opportunity to meet the key players and make contact with representatives from the agencies and organizations that award these grants.

Conference highlights include a keynote address by Dr. Robert Fogel, Nobel laureate in economic sciences, and lectures by national and regional experts; lessons on grant writing, grant review and grant applications; and a host of resources for small businesses. The conference will be held Aug. 21 and 22 at the Anchorage Sheraton. Registration is $125. For more information, contact LouCinda Collier at 262-7497.

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