HISTORY

Enjoy reading a bit about Alaska’s pioneer engineering history! Into the early 1960's the authority having jurisdiction for the entirety of Alaska was the Division of Buildings. During this time construction standards were loose or non-existent. In 1973, Vern Akin's firm filled the engineering niche as a mechanical consultant who did not understand nor tolerate compromise of quality. Vern's timing could not have been better as he soon became “THE” mechanical engineer for the entire State. To read more about Vern and the colorful character that we grew to know and love click here.

As Principal Engineer of VAA, Vern was responsible for literally hundreds of mechanical engineering projects across the State of Alaska. One of his first projects was the Shrine of St. Therese Chapel in Juneau, his first major project was the Bio Sciences Laboratory Building at University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1975, and his largest Juneau projects were the 1983 renovation of Juneau Douglas High School, the 1986 Juneau Airport Expansion, and the 1987 Juneau Pioneers Home.

Other notable projects were the UAS Marine Tech Building, Wrangell High School and Swimming Pool, Wrangell Public Safety Building, Petersburg High School, Ketchikan Ferry Terminal, Ketchikan Regional Jail, Ketchikan Pioneers Home, the Auke Bay and Glacier Valley Fire Stations, and more recently the renovation of the Capital School Building into the Terry Miller Legislative Affairs Offices.

As Vern’s business grew, he looked for help at University of Alaska Fairbanks; it seemed like a great place to acquire graduating engineers that would want to remain in Alaska. In 1984 Vern added three EITs to his firm bringing the office staff total to six individuals. One of the newly hired EIT’s included a Juneau Alaska resident and UAF graduate, Doug Murray. Mr. Murray was excited at the opportunity to work with Vern. He considered it a once in a lifetime opportunity to move back to his hometown and begin a career. Doug learned the “old school” method of consulting engineering production, which included hand drafting, typewriter print, and mimeographed specifications.

The early 1980’s presented VAA with some of its greatest challenges: the Juneau-Douglas High School Renovation, which started as a sizeable 4 million-dollar job and escalated to a 16 million-dollar project literally overnight. Then around 1987-88, an economic crunch occurred. Vern’s options were further limited when he would refuse to compromise quality just to obtain work. The firm shrunk to just him and Doug. By 1990, the economy was looking better. As State and local government agencies began requiring contract documents to be prepared electronically, Doug purchased the business from Vern. Starting in 1992, he began bringing the firm into the realm of the 21st century with regards to computer technology.

Akin-Murray & Associates was born. It remained Akin-Murray & Associates until 1998. Now it is just Murray & Associates, P. C. with Doug carrying on a great tradition and instilling several of his own. To this day some of the early lessons from Vern that stick with Doug include: Check, Double-check then Triple-check. And no matter what, always draw a hydronic loop diagram completely.

A look at the Company's Past


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"The bitterness of POOR QUALITY is remembered long after the sweetness of LOW PRICE is forgotten!"

-Vernon Akin