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Lynden companies provide community support

Posted on Wed, Apr 01, 2020

Bristol Bay Angels basketball team with Don Hansen and Mike MorrisLynden's Cora Fong-CongelliereLynden companies showed their support to local organizations this winter in Alaska and California. Alaska Marine Lines Account Managers, Mike Morris (above, far left) and Don Hansen (above, far right), pose with the Bristol Bay Angels basketball teams at the Alaska Marine Lines Sockeye Classic in Naknek, AK. Alaska Marine Lines is the primary sponsor for the tournament, which rotates between Naknek and Dillingham each year.

Members of Lynden International's Los Angeles team gave back to the community at the Genesis Invitation Golf Tournament. Lynden team members, Cora Fong-Congelliere (right), Kelly Sayles and Stuart Nakayama served beverages at the tournament with all proceeds supporting Breast Cancer Angels. The Angels program provides financial and emotional assistance to breast cancer patients and families as they undergo treatment.

Tags: Lynden International, Community Service, Alaska Marine Lines, Lynden employees

Statement on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Posted on Sun, Mar 29, 2020

The Lynden family of companies continue to maintain regular business operations. We have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and while a concern we take seriously, we have procedures and plans in place to mitigate the effects of a larger outbreak on our operations.

Safety is a core value of Lynden, and we have key personnel dedicated to ensuring we operate in a safe, secure, and environmentally responsible manner. We maintain active communication with local and federal agencies and closely monitor recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We are communicating with employees working in areas affected by COVID-19 and adjusting practices to ensure proper precautions are taken.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns about our services or contingency plans.

 

COVID-19 IG

Lynden HazMat experts conduct training in the most remote location yet

Posted on Wed, Mar 18, 2020

Lynden Training Center's Don WerhonigLynden Training Center's Tyler Bones and Don Werhonig traveled to Sainshand, Mongolia last year to teach HazMat Operations Training to 67 students representing National and Local Emergency Management Agencies (NEMA and LEMA), the Mongolian Railroad and military personnel. The training and exercises were coordinated by the U.S. Army Pacific as a way to coordinate interagency response, humanitarian assistance and improve the Mongolian first responder's ability to conduct response activities. Both Don and Tyler volunteered for the trip supported by Lynden.

"We were asked to be involved in this exercise and exchange because of our experience with transportation, hazardous materials response and training. The State of Alaska's sister country is Mongolia, which is why they reached out to Alaska participants," Tyler explains. The Mongolian Railroad connects Russia and China and hazardous freight is hauled through Mongolia daily. The local fire departments have very limited training on handling a hazardous materials incident, so Tyler and Don prepared them for a potential disaster involving a railroad incident that releases hazardous materials into a community.

The exercise and training was not only attended by U.S. and Mongolian personnel, there were also representatives from Japan, Australia, Kazakhstan and 20 other countries.

"For me, Mongolia drew several parallels to the way we live our lives here in Alaska. The people work hard, have a passion for emergency response, and take their jobs very seriously. I made long term friends while working there."

"They are protecting their communities with minimal equipment, old apparatus and huge hearts," Tyler says. "This training has reminded us that professional emergency responders exist throughout the world." Lynden Training Center is available to provide remote training worldwide, but this was the most remote location ever visited by the trainers.

Tags: Alaska West Express, Lynden Training Center, Hazardous Materials Training

Everyday Hero profile: Cathy Doyle

Posted on Mon, Mar 16, 2020

Lynden is recognizing employees who make a difference every day on the job and demonstrate our core values, Lynden's very own everyday heroes! Employees are nominated by managers and supervisors from all roles within the Lynden family of companies. Learn more about the people behind your shipment.

Introducing Cathy Doyle, Customs District Manager at Lynden Canada Co. in in Fort Erie, Ontario.

Everyday Hero March Cathy Doyle, Lynden Canada Co.Name: Cathy Doyle

Company: Lynden Canada Co.

Title: Customs District Manager

On the job since: 1989

Superpower: Perfect Attendance

Hometown: Fort Erie, Ontario

Favorite Movie: The Sound of Music

Bucket List Destinations: Thailand and Scotland

For Fun: Watching my children's basketball and soccer games, decorating, home renovation projects and spending time with family and friends.

How did you start your career at Lynden?
I worked for customs broker Key Customs for many years. It was purchased by Lynden approximately 12 years ago. I started working in the customs business right out of high school. I was only 16 when I graduated and turned 17 that summer. My first job was working for my father, who was a customs broker. They had an employee out on maternity leave and I filled in for the summer. I had planned to go to college to be a lawyer, but I really liked the full-time paycheck. I stayed there, bought a car and kept on working. I ended up taking customs courses over the years and, finally, the Customs Broker Professional examination issued by Canada Customs. I completed several years of courses to improve my knowledge and skills.

What is a typical day like for you?
It's never the same. You get up in the morning and think you have your day planned. You have work from the day before, imports to work on, etc., but you come in and a million things come at you at the same time. I almost always stay late; there are times I don't get home until 10 p.m., especially in the summer. Many of our customers have seasonal freight with a large volume increase for their shipments in the summer. That season is always our busiest. We have a client that does asphalt paving and imports oil for the roads. They ship to companies all over Canada and it's nonstop in the summer. I almost always eat lunch at my desk, and I have a cupboard of snacks that the whole office knows about. Recently our office supervisor, Jennifer, has taken over a majority of my duties so I am freed up to do other tasks with clients such as meeting new regulations and trying to expand our business into more freight and warehousing.

I am trying to get the word out that we offer much more than just customs brokerage. I'm setting up meetings and selling the business. Many of our customers have been with us 15 to 20 years. I have dealt with them regularly over the years and they come to me with questions. We have a good rapport and a well-established relationship. I enjoy that part of the job.

What has been most challenging in your career?
There have been many challenges recently, and mostly in the past two years or so. Lynden Canada not only was in the midst of re-structuring, but also changing onto the new system CargoWise for all customs clearance and freight. Recently we are trying to go paperless with the CargoWise system for customs clearance, freight and invoicing. We switched systems almost two years ago and that has been a big change. There have been a lot of changes in customs at the same time as well. Other Canadian government departments are going electronic which requires more information from our customers for import of their products.

What changes have you seen over the years, either in business, customers or technology?
Customs has been electronic for numerous years, but they have recently gone to a different system which incorporates other government departments as well. It's a single window entry. We are asked to provide much more detailed information and use 'single windows' for all imports of our clients products into Canada, which incorporates all other government departments and their regulations. It's all in an effort to make the borders more secure and to make sure that customers are being compliant with the imports. We all support this, but the changes are a lot to keep up with at times, and can be very challenging.

When I started with Lynden Canada, we had a computer system, but our client base was handled manually with a few binders containing data, client agreements, products and special notes for each client. It was filled with each client's import details, importer numbers, specific billing instructions, etc. We also cleared their shipments through Canada Customs using hard copies of import forms and information provided by them was done through either telex or fax. If you needed additional information on their products and it had to be in writing, I remember the telex would ding.

Drivers could sometimes stand in line waiting for an hour or two at customs for clearance on any given day, especially during the busy seasons. They would have to put their paperwork in a tray and wait for a release before they could leave. You also could have over 100 trucks parked in the customs compound at certain times throughout the day. Today, the drivers do not even have to get out of their trucks. Everything is electronically handled by the brokers on behalf of the clients as well as by the carriers, dispatchers and drivers who are required to provide all details electronically to Canada Customs. All commercial carriers must also be customs registered to carry commercial goods, and all drivers must be pre-approved as well.

At our Fort Erie office where I am located, we handle all the import clearance for trucks and air shipments (except Toronto airport). We also handle every border crossing throughout Canada from east to west. Each one of our imports team members has assigned ports which they would handle. On any given day we may clear between 60 and upwards of 90 to 100 import shipments.

Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
I am the oldest of three children in my family. I have two younger brothers, one which is only a year and half younger than me, so we were very close but also fought quite often growing up as all siblings do.

My family was into sports. I did figure skating (competed for 10 years), gymnastics for about 15 years and played baseball when I was younger. I had figured skated until high school graduation. I played in a girls' softball league growing up and as an adult played local softball as a pitcher in a mixed league from age 17 to 26. I also bowled for over 25 years, and for a majority of those years in the customs bowling league. I do not play softball any longer but I do still bowl on occasion when time allows.

I have two daughters ages 24 and 18. One is currently in college and the other graduated a couple of years ago. My youngest daughter chose to continue with basketball after high school and currently plays college varsity basketball. My oldest daughter has since graduated college in the physio therapy field a couple of years ago, but while in high school she had chosen soccer as her sport while attending college and she had played for three years on the women's varsity soccer team.

What was your first job?
I babysat as a teen. We had neighbors with young children and every summer I would work for two different families. I was 14 years old and babysat a newborn baby and a 2-year-old for one family. I would go to their house at 7:30 a.m., get their kids and then go to the second family's house where there were two more kids, ages 3 to 5. I would babysit the whole group in one house, by myself, from 8:30 to 5 p.m. every day, five days a week.

What would surprise most people about you?
I skipped a grade while in elementary school and graduated from high school at age 16.

I did hold the women's high average for bowling in Fort Erie mixed league, until I quit three years ago. And I also took the bowling title numerous times for ladies high single, high triple and average several years in a row. My mother and I were always in competition for those titles as she was a bowler also. I started bowling because of my parents.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
My husband and I are just recently first time empty nesters. We are updating and renovating our nest by undertaking all sorts of home improvement projects. Since this summer we have redone the flooring throughout the upstairs, painted and redone the kitchen. I am doing it all myself, with his assistance. We had also gutted the bathroom and redid that, as well as painted and redecorated the bedrooms, family room and living room so far.

Throughout the past 12 to 15 years, we spent a lot of time traveling throughout Ontario as well as the U.S. to support both of our daughters' sports careers. As our youngest daughter played basketball in the summers for a Buffalo, New York based team, we would spend our summer vacation usually in Indiana, Philadelphia and Kentucky as well as all over New York state for long weekend tournaments.

We also try, as a family, to get to Wasaga Beach near Collingwood, Ontario every year, even if just for a weekend with our daughters and or even their friends. It's an annual vacation we take to a friend's cottage every year since my children were born, so we try to find the time each summer.

What do you like best about your job?
It's always challenging. I do not like repetition.

The most important thing is the team we have here in Fort Erie. Most of us have been here and together for 10 to 20 years. We also have a really good team in Milton. We are always helping each other out and can call each other at any time. In our office we are on call 24-7 for the drivers anyway, and always know how to get ahold of each other during off hours should the need arise. Each person is always willing to jump in to assist the others. Our staff in Fort Erie is like a close-knit family, and sometimes over the years we have actually spent more hours together at work then we did at home with our own families. We also make a point to celebrate each other's birthdays and Christmas every year and are constantly bringing in treats and coffee to share.

Tags: Everyday Heroes

Lynden Air Cargo carries massive equipment for mine

Posted on Mon, Mar 09, 2020

Victor Mine Trucks"This was some of the largest and heaviest equipment ever moved by Lynden Air Cargo," says Charter Manager Dave Beach. Lynden assisted DeBeers and Priestly Demolition, Inc. in their Victor Mine decommission and remediation project by flying oversized equipment out of Timmins, Ontario, to remote sites in Canada to ease the burden on the winter ice road.

"It was a team effort due to the size and complexity of the cargo. It required multiple trips to assist in the preparation and two of our most experienced Loadmasters, Leo Lopez and Matt Hise, on the job during the 16-day project," Dave explains. "The flight crew was exceptional, completing flights in difficult fall weather conditions in northern Canada. This equipment was some of the largest we have hauled in this quantity to date. Normally there are one or two pieces required to a location. This was several pieces over 17 flights, with very little margin for error due the sheer size and weight."

Lynden has worked with DeBeers out of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories since 2006, but this is the first project outside of that yearly work. "Both DeBeers and Priestly Demolition expressed their admiration at the professionalism of Lynden's crews and operations department. "We will likely see much more work with both of these groups in the years to come," Dave says.

Tags: Hercules, Shipping and project logistics, Lynden Air Cargo, Oversize freight, Lynden Capabilities

Congrats to Lynden's Pete Kaiser on fifth Kuskokwim 300 win

Posted on Fri, Mar 06, 2020

Pete Kaiser wins 5th Kuskokwim 300Pete Kaiser won the 41st running of the Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race in January. For the fifth time in six years, the Bethel local was crowned champion of what is called the toughest mid-distance mushing race in the world. Pete maintained a solid lead for the last leg of the race, so it was not a surprise when he pulled into the finish chute with his nine-dog team. Pete works for the Lynden family of companies, who are long-time sponsors of his racing career and Kaiser Racing Kennels in Bethel. At the finish line he was surrounded by family, friends and fans. "Lynden companies proudly sponsor Pete each year and his dedication and hard work are a true carryover from the job to the trail," says Knik President Dan Hall. Though the K300 is always competitive, Kaiser said that the field of elite mushers this year was especially fierce. "Dog teams are getting better and better and so are the drivers." Pete will be competing in the 2020 Iditarod which begins tomorrow, March 7, in Anchorage!

Tags: Lynden employees, Knik Construction

Lynden employee proves that 'any friend of yours is a friend of mine'

Posted on Fri, Feb 21, 2020

Giovanna AquilinoMany Lynden employees think of their coworkers as their work family which was illustrated by New York Senior Account Executive Giovanna Aquilino. When a fellow Lynden International employee needed a favor, she quickly agreed, even though she had never met Dan Gotham. Dan had a friend whose 13-year-old daughter was connecting on a flight from Australia to Miami at JFK. Her flight was delayed and then cancelled. "Dan was worried about her connection and reached out to see if I could contact her through the airline," Giovanna says. The young woman was stranded at the airport alone and due to many weather cancellations would have been directed to a hotel to stay. After speaking to her mother Giovanna offered to rescue her and have her stay at her home. "I am not a hero, only a person with a heart," she says.


Tags: Lynden International, Lynden employees

Everyday Hero profile: Brett Roberts

Posted on Thu, Feb 20, 2020

Lynden is recognizing employees who make a difference every day on the job and demonstrate our core values, Lynden's very own everyday heroes! Employees are nominated by managers and supervisors from all roles within the Lynden family of companies. Learn more about the people behind your shipment.

Introducing Brett Roberts, Lead Mechanic at Alaska West Express in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Everyday Hero Brett RobertsName: Brett Roberts

Company: Alaska West Express

Title: Lead Mechanic

On the job since: 1989

Superpower: Mechanical Diagnostics

Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD

Favorite Movie: Pixar film Cars

Bucket List Destination: New Zealand

For Fun: Fishing, hunting and restoring a 1971 28-foot Uniflight Salty Dog vessel

How did you start your career at Lynden?
One of the drivers from the company I was working for heard about the job at Alaska West Express. I was 24 years old, single and ready for an adventure. I had an aunt and uncle that lived about 40 miles from Fairbanks, so I drove up in my 1977 Dodge pickup and stayed with them. I had always seen pictures of Alaska and said I was going to live there.

I interviewed with Leon Bender on a Friday and started work on Dec. 1, 1989 as a grease monkey servicing trucks. Even though I had two years of diesel mechanic training, I started where they needed me. Just because you know it doesn’t mean you get to do it. My dad was a mechanic and I worked at truck shops since I was 16. I may not be able to remember names, but I can take an engine apart and remember where everything goes!

What is a typical day like for you?
I get to work about 4:30 a.m. I have an 18 mile commute to the shop. No one lives in Fairbanks. It’s a rush minute instead of a rush hour. The vicinity is 100,000 people, but you are talking about an 80-mile circle. I have 2 ½ acres of land and that’s not big.

Lately we have been extremely busy so I have had a six-day work week. We service from 15 to 20 trucks and trailers each day in 11 bays in our shop. They leave in the morning by 7 or 8 a.m., that’s the driver’s goal. It takes them 15 hours to drive up the haul road depending on their load. They take 10 hours off, then drive back 12 hours. Other trucks are headed to the Pogo gold mines or hauling military freight or going to Anchorage.

Our mechanics do a full inspection on each 1,100-mile trip the trucks make up the haul road. We check for broken springs, bad U-joints, broken lights and check the brakes. We do a chassis lube with the power greaser and check the driver’s report for anything electrical or any engine issue. Sometimes the trucks turn quick, other times they are in the shop for two or three days depending on the condition. Trucks take a beating on the haul road (Dalton Highway). It’s different than any other road in the Lower 48. Up here, the frozen, hard ice roads are better than the roads during the spring and summer. Once the thaw starts, you may be chaining up just to get through the mud! Our weather ranges from 100 degrees to 50 below.

I am restoring two heavy duty off-road trucks from Red Dog Mine that will soon be put to use at Prudhoe Bay. They have three axles and we start at the front bumper and work to the back, rebuild motors and wiring and eventually repaint these trucks.

I was already building trannies in high school. I don’t know if it’s a blessing or curse but I have mechanical ability. From bumper to bumper on a truck, I can figure it out or I will learn it. I sometimes do trainings here to teach new employees. I work with 20 other mechanics. With so much going on, it doesn’t matter if you’re fixing a transmission, rebuilding a rear end, swapping a rear end or electrical… I don’t do service very much. I help other guys after they find a problem.

What has been most challenging in your career?
Electronic engines. I’m not a computer guy, but I’ve had to become a computer guy to work on the new engines. The funny thing is my boy is a computer programmer. He writes programs for computers. I don’t even like carrying a cell phone. Alaska West Express sent me to Freightliner electronic computer training in 1994. I muddle through it, but it’s not how I used to do things.

What changes have you seen over the years, either in business, customers or technology?
Electronic engines and brakes are now all ABS. When I started there was no ABS brake systems. Now we have electronic transmissions and all LED lighting. Equipment and parts have improved. From tires to wires, it’s all more reliable and lasts longer. They are making a better product. The trucks are way more dependable than they used to be.

What project(s) are you most proud of?
Getting trucks back on the haul road quickly and safely is probably the biggest thing, but I also went to Hawaii with Jeff McKenney last year to set up a Smit-tipper for a project. This piece of equipment is made up of about 4 trailer loads and was stored in Fairbanks. We had to get it down to Seattle, get it set up and test it before moving it to Hawaii for use with lime to help keep emissions down at a local power plant. I’ve been here so long I was one of only a few people who actually knew how to assemble it and use it. It took us a week on Oahu to get it set up with the auger and all the pieces. It’s 70 feet long when it’s all put together. I was also sent to Bethel, AK for a week to put together and test new Piston Bully snowcats and sleighs.

Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
I come from a family of five kids. I have an older brother and three younger sisters. Mom is still living in the house where they brought me home from the hospital in South Dakota. After high school I went to technical school in Minnesota for two years and moved to Alaska shortly after. I have been married to my wife Talitha for 13 years and have a grown son Tyler. We also had a foster daughter for eight months in 2011.

What was your first job?
Besides pulling weeds on a farm, my first real job was putting up chain link fences at 13 years old.

What would surprise most people about you?
When I was in vocational school, I dropped a 3208 Caterpillar engine on my right thumb. It cut it right off. I had it sewed back on in Minneapolis, but it didn’t take and it had to come off again. I was 20. This was two weeks before graduation. It was a blow. I still don’t know why it happened to me, but when I went back to the doctor to have the thumb removed a second time, he asked me if I had a job yet. I thought I was going to be out of work. I started applying right away so the day I graduated from vo-tech school I had a job.

When something like that happens, you can’t let it ruin your life. It humbles you and you have to learn to cope. I am ambidextrous so that helped me adapt as a mechanic. I like to say it threw a monkey wrench in my plans, but I got through it.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
I have five snow machines, two four-wheelers, a river boat and a motor home. I like to get out and hunt and fish in the winter. There aren’t too many roads, so I can go 50 miles in one direction and find good areas for hunting moose and caribou with muzzle loaders. My days off are Friday and Saturday so I can leave Thursday night and go out to hunt and fish then leave Saturday when people are just arriving. I also like going down to Valdez and fishing the rivers for pike and salmon.

I have a portable ice shack. I did a lot of ice fishing in South Dakota with my dad. That was his way of unwinding. He caught big fish and could’ve claimed state records, but he never turned anything in because he wanted to keep his fishing areas a secret. He broke the catfish record three times. He couldn’t lie, so he just didn’t say anything.

I also enjoy woodworking and building kitchen cabinets out of mahogany or oak. I’ve built cabinets for my parent’s home and done some restorations. My wife is an event planner so she asks me to make wooden centerpieces and tables for her weddings sometimes.

Last year, I also went to Papua New Guinea to help build a house for a missionary from our church.

What do you like best about your job?
I still get satisfaction when a truck leaves the shop and you know that it is safe and ready for the road and driver. That feels good. I’m here to help the company and make the company better in the end.

Tags: Everyday Heroes

Hydroelectric project will move Kake off diesel power

Posted on Thu, Feb 13, 2020

Kake Pipestock projectConstruction is under way for a new hydropower facility in Kake, AK and Alaska Marine Lines is supporting the project by transporting penstock pipe and other materials. Local electrical utility Inside Passage Electric Cooperative (IPEC) is building the facility at an old hatchery near town. The plant will allow the community of 630 people to move from diesel power and generators to a cheaper, cleaner and more efficient power source. It's estimated that the new plant will save 2 million pounds of CO2 per year. According to Arrowhead Transfer Operations Manager Adam Davis, the first shipment of pipe was delivered last summer, but the project has been in the works for more than a year. "We started working on the project in 2018 with contractor Rock N Road," he says. "We've already handled 60 loads of concrete and aggregate weighing between 20,000 to 66,000 pounds each to build pillars, thrust block and other features." Many of the deliveries tested Adam's driving skills as they required backing a fully loaded 40-foot trailer down a long, one-lane driveway. The trailer was too wide for the narrow bridge so the excavator was used to unload the pipe at the job site.

IPEC is scheduled to finish the $10 million project this year. Pictured above, 54-inch penstock pipe is stacked for delivery at the Alaska Marine Lines yard in Kake.

Tags: Barge, Arrowhead Transfer, Alaska Marine Lines, Shipping to Alaska

Spreading the word about Lynden in Ghana

Posted on Thu, Feb 06, 2020

Ghana EventJim presenting giftJim Davis, Lynden Air Cargo Vice President of Commercial Operations, joined Director of Compliance and Government Contracts Samantha Davis and Customer Service Manager Dani Myren to share Lynden Air Cargo's capabilities with representatives from the mining and construction industries and members of the U.S. Embassy in Ghana, Africa last month. Samantha Davis is pictured above with some of the attendees. Around 30 people gathered at Air Ghana's offices for an informational reception. "Coordinating an event like this in Africa was a new experience for us, and we were delighted to see such a variety of regional organizations interested in learning more about Lynden Air Cargo," says Dani. Lynden Air Cargo has a maintenance base in Accra, Ghana.

During the trip, a handmade Alaska Kuspuk was presented to one of Air Ghana's staff for her assistance to Lynden Air Cargo during a previous trip. Jim is presenting the gift to her in the photo to the right.

Tags: Lynden Air Cargo, Lynden Capabilities

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