Kevin M. Hostler
Alabama to Alaska: A Global Odyssey
Inducted in 2009
Ensuring the safe delivery of 14 percent of the nation’s crude oil supply would be enough for some people, but for Kevin M. Hostler, it is only part of what makes him proud of his 30-year career. Those who have followed Hostler’s career from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Sea and from Colombia to the Arctic describe his success with accolades and support his induction into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.
Being president and chief executive officer of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. may not sound extraordinary until you realize that this is the Trans Alaska Pipeline, one of the largest pipeline systems in the world. TAPS has transported more than 15 billion barrels from the North Slope of Alaska to the terminus at Valdez. Now, 31 years old, TAPS faces new challenges. Cost effectively operating the system that keeps the North Slope in production is of special concern along with protecting the environment and ensuring the security of the oil supply. To keep the crude flowing, Hostler is currently overseeing Strategic Reconfiguration, a half billion dollar upgrade of the pipeline system, which entails installing electrically driven crude-oil pumps combined with increased automation and upgraded control systems.
For Hostler, success has always been about more than raw materials; it has been about mentoring those who will be supplying oil in the future and supplying it responsibly. Tony Brock, now a vice president with BP, was one of Hostler’s colleagues from the mid-1990s, when deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico was literally uncharted waters. Brock said Hostler always “ensured the right level of rigor and oversight was applied; he would not allow the just-get-the-job-done mentality to prevail. He insisted on the job being done right, influencing BP and contractor organizations, challenging them to engineer a new and better way, one that could cope with the new deepwater environment. He would also take time out of his schedule to mentor young engineering staff … inspiring the next generation to take an active role in tomorrow’s energy needs and pushing the boundaries of what could be achieved.”
Years later and climate zones away, Hostler is still working to enhance the education of aspiring professionals. To benefit the University of Alaska Fairbanks, he espoused Alyeska’s donation of a five-year, $500,000 commitment to education that helps endow a chair for the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program. Hostler also champions the company’s support of higher education, including master’s degree in business administration program scholarships and Rural Alaska Honor’s Institute funding for Alaska Native students. According to former UAF Chancellor Stephen Jones, Hostler “exemplifies the graduate we all seek to produce: living usefully, acting responsibly, learning relentlessly. He dedicates his life to excelling in professional duty, embodying the model of selfless service, and practicing the principles of active citizenship.”
Perhaps now, settled with his wife, Becky, in Anchorage, Hostler can look back from those early days at The University of Alabama, where he earned his chemical engineering degree, to today and take pride in knowing that he plays a large part in protecting one of the most precious environments in North America and developing one of Alaska’s most valuable resources, its people.