ACEP Intern Helps City of Sitka Make Electric Asset Data Available Through GIS

ACEP Intern Helps City of Sitka Make Electric Asset Data Available Through GIS

Max Brinker is a senior mechanical engineering student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks focusing his studies on corrosion and mechanical structures. As an ACEP utility student intern this summer, he is part of a project team which develops an updated public geographic information systems software for the Electric Department of the City and Borough of Sitka.

Sitka is one of the oldest cities in Alaska, as it was once the capital of Russian America. Information records in Sitka can be difficult to find. They are often tucked away in filing cabinets that haven’t seen daylight in years. These records contain crucial information for everyone in the city, from utility departments to the general public. The goal of this project is to make electric asset data information easily accessible to all stakeholders. This entails a concerted effort in information gathering from the public works, harbor and electric departments of Sitka. The information will be stored as parcel data for homes and slip data for harbors in a public GIS database.

Brinker's mentor for this project is Kord Christianson, generation systems manager for the Sitka Electric Department. He also works with Scott Elder, the utility director, and with Joel Collins, the transmission and distribution systems manager, who are working on the GIS project team. He is hoping to learn how to navigate the software and edit data in the GIS database. He is also learning about power production and maximizing efficiency between usage and output when the power supply is hydroelectric. Brinker is glad to be part of the city GIS project in Sitka and hopes that this will be the go-to source of information in Sitka for years to come.

Brinker is a lifelong Alaskan, growing up in Anchorage and attending college in Fairbanks. He enjoys spending free time with his friends, hiking on mountain trails in the Anchorage area during the summer and skiing the trails in Kincaid during the winter. He hopes to have a career in sustainable energy after graduation, helping to ensure the future and beauty of his home state.

The ACEP Utility Student Internship program is funded by the Office of Naval Research. For more information on this program, please contact Heike Merkel at


Max Brinker is an ACEP utility student intern this summer working with the City and Borough of Sitka. Photo courtesy of Max Brinker.