Long-time First National customer, CYS Management Services Inc., has somewhat of an Alaska Cinderella story. Much like the fairy tale, owner Eun Yong Lee or “Yong E.” a Korean immigrant, began CYS almost 20 years ago as a janitorial service. With the help of First National Bank Alaska and some impressive diversification, CYS has grown from a one-woman operation to a 20-person multi-industry business. Today CYS specializes in management and services in three distinct industries: environmental, construction and petroleum and serves both government and commercial clients throughout Alaska and beyond. Yong E. says her business success can be traced to surrounding herself and her business with the best people for the job, including her bankers.
CYS began its first jump into big business when it began offering environmental services in 1997. CYS was awarded a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) contract with the United States Army. Being new to the field, Yong E. gathered a team of skilled environmental professionals, who not only got the job done, but helped CYS compete and succeed in a competitive environmental engineering market.
The addition of petroleum services was a natural progression, and in 2002 CYS was awarded a contract for inspection maintenance and repair from the United States Air Force. Once again Yong E. brought together a highly qualified and experienced team from Alaska petroleum fields to manage and operate this operation.
CYS established its construction division in 2004 to meet clients’ needs in commercial construction. The same approach was applied when crafting the construction division as when crafting the environmental and petroleum teams. The experts Lee gathered laid the foundation for a team that today has hands-on experience in nearly every type of construction method and practice employed in Alaska.
Capitalizing on excess funds
With the demand for growth in these highly competitive industries came the need to capitalize on CYS’s excess operational funds. Yong E. turned to the First National Trust Department’s investment management experts to administer a business investment plan, sensitive to the needs of her diverse business.
“We’ve been with First National since the creation of CYS,” says Yong E. “The services First National provide feed our portfolio of needs.” These days those services include reinvesting CYS’s excess capital so their money works for them.
“It is a one-to-one relationship and that is what we like. Whenever our investments mature, they call me to go over our options. They ask us what CYS’s finances look like in the short and long term and ask how soon we might need money,” Yong E says. “Even though we don’t know all the details of our investments, they let us know what is happening and we typically agree with their suggestions, because they have the capable people to make those decisions.” For Yong E., it’s a win-win situation, First National experts manages their investments so she can manage her business.
With the dedication and confidence to evolve her business, backed by the Alaska bank proven to promote and help cultivate local businesses big and small, Yong E. is seeing her Alaska dreams grow – and that’s no fairy tale.
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