Robinson Culver is a process engineer at NANA Worley.
Where is your family from?
My grandmother, Ruth Sandvik, ran Blankenship Trading Post in Kiana, along with my great-uncle, whom I was named after.
What is your Iñupiaq name?
Aqqaluk, after Robert Aqqaluk Newlin Sr. [the first chairman of NANA Regional Corporation].
Where did you grow up?
Where did you study or train?
I graduated from South Anchorage High School and then studied chemical engineering at Dartmouth.
What was your first job?
I was a busboy, waiter, and, when they needed it, a deliveryman at Jewel Lake Pizza [& Shanghai Tea Garden].
Who has inspired you?
My aana (grandmother) Ruth. Mitzu, the owner of Jewel Lake Pizza, was a lot like her. They could be tough, but they instilled a strong work ethic.
Who encouraged you to work for NANA?
While in college, I was an intern at NANA Worley. I liked the group. That made it easier to take the job when it was offered, and to stick with it.
What is your job now?
I’m a process engineer. It’s a subset of chemical engineering. Process engineers are responsible for overall systems design – including safety systems – from initiation to final product.
What advice do you have?
Keep trying to learn. It doesn’t even have to be through school or work. It could be through the hobbies you choose.
Don’t turn down opportunities. Step up, even when it pushes you out of your comfort zone. That’s when you can grow.
What important lessons have you learned?
I’ve learned the value of communication. It’s easy to keep your head down and just do your part, especially if you’re naturally quiet. But if your part is perfect and doesn’t fit into the system, it’s not perfect at all. You can go pretty far down the wrong road thinking you’re doing the right thing. It’s a lot less fun to do the rework.
What do you like best about your job?
I appreciate the opportunity and the responsibility. Plus, it’s cool seeing all the diversity in what NANA companies and employees do.