Darsie Culbeck has been chased by crocodiles, seen grown men cry on the summit of Denali, and trekked all over Africa. As one of the owners of Alaska Mountain Guides & Climbing School (AMG), his adventures have been fueled in part by his focus on customer service. Culbeck first started learning about customer service from his grandfather, who built and ran a five-star resort. "He would still pick up trash or cigarette butts on the sidewalk in front of the resort. He taught me that every detail was important and nobody was above any task," Culbeck said. "Everyone works to make the business the best place it can possibly be." Culbeck's focus on customer service at AMG has literally taken him and the company's guides around the world, expanding from a local business in Haines to an international guiding company. Still based in Haines, AMG offers instruction, climbing, trekking and adventure trips in Alaska, Utah, Africa, South America, Asia, Mexico and more. The company's goal is to develop competent climbers and mountaineers, and also to make sure every customer gets the most out of their personal experience. "Most people come to us for wilderness adventures or high altitude climbing," Culbeck said. "They are often leaving their comfort zone, but our professional guides put them at ease and allow them to succeed. These trips can be very powerful experiences." Culbeck and AMG's 18 guides have years of guiding experience and countless expeditions under their collective belt. By making customer service their primary focus, they've helped hundreds of clients achieve their personal goals, such as summiting Denali, Kilimanjaro or Aconcagua. "In the guiding world, you're not there for yourself, you're there for your client. You have to genuinely like people and want to take care of them," Culbeck said. "That's why we succeed, and we look for that quality in all our business partners." This is specifically why AMG enjoys working with First National Bank Alaska. In the early days of AMG, the company chose First National primarily because it was convenient. But as AMG expanded internationally, First National continued to provide the personal service the business needed, even from thousands of miles away. Despite having the opportunity to work with larger banks with branches outside Alaska, AMG wanted to stay with First National. "We're always doing business from locations all around the globe, and First National makes it so easy for us to do that," Culbeck said. "When we're not in Alaska, we can still call and talk to someone who knows us and they can make things happen. Doing business would be much more challenging if we didn't have that relationship." Culbeck appreciates walking into a branch and being confident that the staff knows him, and understands his banking needs. "First National is a great small-town bank, and at the same time they allow us to operate on a global scale," Culbeck said. "They handle all our business needs no matter where we are." With this confidence in his bank, Culbeck's future plans include focusing on and improving AMG's existing programs. "We want to focus on the programs and opportunities we have right now, and create more wintertime positions for our staff, especially in Alaska," Culbeck said. "But we always have our eyes open for new possibilities."
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