October 2016 – In Memory of Mark Bryan

Posted: November 15, 2016

Mark Bryan dedicated his career to AVEC.

It was more than just a job. The AVEC members and employees are a big extended family. As with any family, it takes a lot of work to keep it together and functioning.

Mark started as a young buck in 1980, traveling throughout Alaska installing engines, building power lines and fixing whatever needed to be fixed.

He spent his down time—when the fish weren’t running— reading manuals, tinkering with engines and learning more about his trade. Before moving into the office in the mid-’90s Mark was the go-to field guy to answer questions, install the latest controls or get the lights back on in an emergency.

He helped countless people in our communities who all remember his friendly manner and ability to make the best with what was on-hand.

One of our members, an Elder in Nunapitchuk, called to regale us with a story from the early ’80s. He recounted how he had built himself a new house and had wired it with the help of an electrician relative. When the time came to turn on the lights, he turned on the switch expecting to enjoy the hard-earned fruits of his labor: light!

Unfortunately, when he turned on the switch, the bulb popped. Having done that a few times, he was told of an AVEC man at the power plant. He called, and along came Mark. Our member, Robert, recalls seeing him and saying, “Well hello, Mr. Burt Reynolds!” That was Mark in his younger days.

Robert explained his problem. Mark looked at the wiring, inserted a bulb and flipped the switch. Pop!

Mystified, Mark picked up one of the remaining bulbs in the box, examined it, then burst out in his typical roar of laughter. Robert was using a set of 12-volt bulbs for camp lanterns. Mark took the same approach in the office, striving to make things better, broadening his knowledge and becoming a key player in shaping the infrastructure the cooperative has built in the last 20 years.

His input, management and dedication can be seen in the power plants in all the AVEC communities. Just about every mechanical and electrical system out there has his finger print on it, not the least of which are the wind-diesel systems working in 14 communities.

Mark worked for the people of the co-op: for the members and for his fellow employees. He did it with a smile and his signature laugh, and he did it well.

His light has not gone out. Because of his legacy, the lights in rural Alaska will not either. Mark made sure AVEC was the best through his outstanding commitment to our communities. He will never be forgotten.