Patrick Simpson honored for recycling efforts

Patrick Simpson, an innovative engineer with Cordova roots, was recently honored by Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling (ALPAR) for his groundbreaking work on plastics recycling, including the creation of Grizzly Wood building materials. 

Simpson’s firm, PKS Consulting, developed a mobile unit, housed within a shipping container, that transforms plastic waste into recycled lumber known as Grizzly Wood. The lumber can be used for boardwalks, railings, fencing retaining walls, picnic tables and benches. 

The award was presented on Sept. 21, during ALPAR’s annual gathering at the Alaska Aviation Museum in Anchorage.   

“We are immensely proud of Patrick and the entire PKS Consulting team. Their dedication to creating sustainable solutions for our environment is truly commendable. We eagerly anticipate their future endeavors,” said Anita Nelson, ALPAR executive director. 

Simpson has already done pilot demonstrations in Homer, Kenai, Seward, Palmer and Anchorage. The initiative has successfully recycled plastics from cruise ships in Seward, thread protectors from mining and drilling companies on Alaska’s North Slope and marine debris collected by coastal cleanup crews in Cordova, Homer, Seward and Whittier. 

Earlier this year Simpson was the recipient of the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Stewardship and Sustainability Award for his commitment to the sustainability of ocean resources. 


Simpson was born and raised in Cordova, where he fished commercially with his family. He moved to Anchorage in 1980, where he finished high school. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of California San Diego. 

Since graduating he has distinguished himself in many areas. He specialized in the application of neural networks and fuzzy systems — as well as artificial intelligence to defense-related issues in areas such as electronic intelligence radar surveillance, sonar signal identification and various aspects of automated diagnostics. Most of his research has focused on improvements for those in the fishing industry and the environment where they work. 

He founded Scientific Fishery Systems in Anchorage in 1992 with a goal of developing a line of integrated sensor and information-processing products to meet the demands of the ever-changing global fishing communities. By 2021 he turned his attention to helping coastal fishing communities get rid of plastic waste piling up on their shores, making junk nobody wanted into building materials. 

The EPA awarded him $100,000 to develop a mobile plastic waste recycler that can be deployed to coastal communities to produce building materials from plastic washing up on their shores.  

To date Simpson has tested a variety of plastic wastes for their potential use in plastic lumber.  Simpson said the plastic two-by-fours he produces will last about 15-20 years, after which they can be recycled several more times. 

Patrick Simpson was honored for his work transforming plastic waste into recycled lumber. Cordova Times file photo