Charles Foster Hopson Retires

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

(Pictured left, Charles and Adeline Hopson) For the last three decades, Charlie Hopson has worked on some of the most challenging projects that have faced Alaska’s North Slope.  It was not unusual to see Charlie driving the LCMF Inc. (LCMF), company truck with another longtime friend, coworker and employee, UMIAQ special projects manager, Steve Chronic.  Over the years, Charlie and Steve have contributed greatly to UIC, the North Slope and Alaska.

Steve says he got to know Charlie in the 1970’s when Charlie was working for the assessing department at the North Slope Borough (NSB).  He said, “Charlie came to work for LCMF on getting water and sewer easements for the utilidor connection in Barrow.”

In the 1980’s Charlie worked on the village water and sewer projects for LCMF.  As Steve says, “Charlie was responsible for meeting with every homeowner in the NSB to locate their existing bathrooms in their houses, and then working with engineers to determine the best route to provide services to the homes.”  With a smile and slight chuckle Steve said, “Charlie liked to say he’d been in every bathroom on the North Slope.  That might not be quite accurate, but I’m sure he holds the record by a large margin.”

Other projects Charlie has worked on for LCMF included co-managing a services contract with Alaska Clean Seas to develop, train and deploy teams to respond to hazardous material spills or other conditions across the North Slope.  It was pointed out by Steve that Charlie developed teams in each village as ‘first responders,’ to incidents that occurred at different village locations. 

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Charlie continued his work with LCMF in the capacity of developing some of the first local Marine Mammal Observers (MMO).  These MMO positions are a requirement for commercial vessels coming to the North Slope, which mandate local observers on board these commercial vessels to help with recording marine mammals observed, and their reactions to the vessels moving through the area. 

Charlie formed relationships with Alaska’s oil industry and the North Slope Borough, and advocated for the use of traditional Iñupiat knowledge in accessing and repairing damaged tundra in the Arctic.  As Steve says, “Once again Charlie found and established training, and implemented local crew to undertake the repair of several sites where the tundra had been damaged by [oil] industry activity.” 

Because of the uniqueness and apparent success of the methods Charlie was asked, and co-authored a paper on the process with Mr. Bill Streever with BP Alaska and Mr. Tim Cater with ABR, Inc.  This paper is titled ‘Tundra Sodding:  Using Iñupiaq Eskimo Traditional Knowledge to Rehabilitate Wetlands in Northern Alaska’.  It was published in the journal ‘ARCTIC’ by the Arctic Institute of North America in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 2015.

It is with great gratitude that the UIC board of directors present Charles Foster Hopson with this employee retirement award for his many years of dedicated service to UIC and the communities that make up the North Slope Borough.