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Lynden Air Cargo completes first campaign in South Sudan

Posted on Thu, Apr 01, 2021

Blog crop-1South Sudan is the newest country in Africa after gaining independence from Sudan in 2011. Since then it has been plagued by civil wars, ethnic violence and unrest. In 2020 the government and opposition forces signed a peace agreement, but the operating environment remains challenging.

Lynden Air Cargo's aircraft N409LC and crew arrived in Juba, South Sudan, last December to fly supplies to Rubkona Airfield near the town of Bentiu where the United Nations' largest refugee camp is located. It was the first time a Lynden Air Cargo aircraft and crew was based in South Sudan and the first time operating into Rubkona for the World Food Programme. Rubkona has very little infrastructure, so the Lynden plane landed on a dirt airstrip with visual flight rules operations only. Over the next three weeks, the crew averaged two flights per day for a total of 25 relief flights. The last flight was completed in January.

In advance of the crew arriving, Lynden Air Cargo Director of Safety Michelle Fabry and Project Manager Corné Steyn flew to Juba to meet with airport officials, vendors and the representatives supporting the World Food Programme. The threat level remains high in the area, so each flight required a security assessment and release prior to takeoff.

"We had contingency plans in place in the event that conflict erupted with pre-determined locations to divert and relocate as necessary and backup communication devices," Michelle explains. "I was most impressed with the positive attitudes, teamwork, and patience displayed by each crew member, even after multiple delays in getting started, COVID restrictions, and anything else that came up. Our team completed the campaign safely, without incident, damage or injury. We truly appreciate their extraordinary efforts."

Lynden Air Cargo's crew included: Captain Warren Woods, First Officer Isaac Ufford, Flight Engineer Chris Allen, Loadmaster Leo Lopez, Mechanic Milton Beaver, Mechanic Tim Buchholz, and Project Manager Corné Steyn. Some members of the crew are pictured above.

Captain Warren Woods had words of praise for his entire crew. "I'm amazed at the team I was allowed to work with, many sharing their vast local knowledge of Africa," he says. "Leo Lopez is not only a Loadmaster; he is a magician. He gets things done with limited resources, and his dedication to getting the job done safely is very important on campaigns like this. He earned the trust and respect of all the customer handlers, aircraft loaders and security personnel at Rubkona."

According to a member of the World Food Programme Aviation Unit in Rome, "The cooperation was brilliant between the two UN agencies and Lynden Air Cargo. World Food Programme is looking forward to future cooperation, as Lynden has proven once again to be a reliable and professional operator."

Tags: Hercules, Lynden Air Cargo, Relief Efforts

Aloha Marine Lines transports heaviest cargo load yet to Hawaii

Posted on Wed, Mar 24, 2021

AML barge loadingAloha Marine Lines Voyage H0497W, which departed in December last year, carried the heaviest cargo load Aloha Marine Lines has ever transported from Seattle to Hawaii. According to Aloha Marine Lines Seattle Service Center Manager Tom Crescenzi, the Namakani barge was close to its maximum. "We still have a little more tonnage we could get on board, but not much. The barge capacity is 16,850 tons and the sailing carried 13,158 tons of cargo plus the weight of the containers, dunnage, etc." With 691 picks and 1,032 TEU it was an impressive load. Aloha Marine Lines purchased two large barges from Sause Brothers last year that enabled the Hawaii capacity expansion.

Tags: Shipping to Hawaii, Barge, Alaska Marine Lines, Lynden Capabilities, Aloha Marine Lines

Everyday Hero Profile: Bayard Folsom

Posted on Thu, Mar 18, 2021

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 Bayard Folsom, Driver at Alaska West Express in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Everyday Hero Bayard FolsomName: Bayard Folsom

Company: Alaska West Express

Title: Driver

On the Job Since: 2007

Superpower: Ingenuity

Hometown: Coos Bay, OR

Favorite Movie: Book of Eli

Bucket List Destination: South America

For Fun: Camping, hunting, fishing and four-wheeling

What is a typical day like for you?
Just like everyone else, I get up and go to work. Some days it's trucking the haul road and other days it's working on trucks or equipment projects in the shop. I may be driving in Alaska or helping on projects in the Lower 48.

What are you most proud of in your career?
I am most proud of being part of the team at Alaska West Express since 2007. I am the person they can depend on to run recovery or manage an emergency scene when there are limited resources. I try to be anywhere they need me to be.

Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
I was born in Oregon and grew up in Alaska enjoying camping, fishing and hunting with my parents and younger sister.

What was your first job?
My first job was working as a helper in a local truck/hydraulic shop at age 15.

What would surprise most people about you?
I've been told I'm a pretty good cook, and I can sew!

What are you most proud of?
To be able to help when and where I'm needed.

Tags: Everyday Heroes

LTI, Inc. moves from Bonanza to Klamath Falls

Posted on Tue, Mar 16, 2021

LTI, Inc. Klamath Falls locationFor the past 15 years, LTI, Inc. drivers would head out to local dairies in Bonanza, OR to pick up milk for their customer. But the arrangement changed last year which allowed drivers to take on other projects and serve new customers. LTI, Inc. Vice President of Operations Chae Matta and Regional Manager Greg Tolle immediately started looking for options for the 24-man crew to continue working in the area.

"Unfortunately, our office and yard in Bonanza were more than 50 miles out of route for Lynden's California work, so we found a new 3.5-acre location just south of downtown Klamath Falls," explains Operations Manager John Bailey. "The new location on Highway 97 puts us right in line with the current routes, so it offers new opportunities for the Klamath Falls team."

By late fall, the mobile office, a shed, carport and other equipment were moved from Bonanza to the new space. "It was an all-day process to get everything set in place so we could resume business as usual," says John, "I really appreciate Chae and Greg creating this new opportunity for our team. I see nothing but growth in the future." Employees that came in on a day off to help included Brent Hadwick, Clint Shultz, Hank Walling, Joe Hicks, Sutherlin Driver Supervisor Patrick Murphy and McMinnville Mechanic Terry McCord.

Tags: LTI Inc., Trucking, Drivers

Lynden companies team up

Posted on Wed, Mar 10, 2021

Tanks loaded onto Alaska West Express equipmentThe combined talents of employees at Alaska Marine Lines, Alaska Marine Trucking and Alaska West Express were behind the successful move of four massive tanks from Seattle to Anderson, AK. According to Anchorage Service Center Manager Alex Clifford, the tanks traveled from Seattle to Whittier via barge, where Erik Scott, Whittier Service Center Manager, and the Alaska Marine Trucking team loaded them to rail cars for the trip to Anchorage.

Upon arrival, they were carefully transferred to Alaska West Express trucks (pictured above) where Drivers Brian Ambrose and Gary Ridall took the last leg – almost 300 miles north – to Clear Air Force Station Base and the radar facility in Anderson. Eric Meade and Malcolm Henry drove the assist trucks to help the loads up the hills due to winter conditions. The two teams worked together to help each other with loading and unloading operations. The four tanks required two transporters for two round trips.

"This project started with Jeff McKenney at Alaska Marine Lines," says Alaska West Express Project Manager Steve Willford. "There was a lot of effort put in by Alaska Marine Lines and Alaska Marine Trucking people getting the tanks to Anchorage so that we could transport to destination. All in all, it was a great One Lynden move."

Tags: Alaska Marine Trucking, Alaska West Express, Alaska Marine Lines, Lynden employees, Shipping in Alaska, Lynden Capabilities

Lynden donates to Children Safe Uganda

Posted on Thu, Mar 04, 2021

Children Safe UgandaWhen Lynden Air Cargo finished its projects in Democratic Republic of Congo last year it decided to give back to the people of Uganda. Using proceeds from the sale of surplus equipment, Lynden Air Cargo Director of Maintenance James Schneider contacted Godfrey Kitagena, General Manager of Air Serv, a Lynden partner, to find a worthy non-profit organization.

Godfrey found a school taking care of orphaned children, Children Safe Uganda, and used the money to buy and donate food items and bedding. "We delivered the donations to the school in Kajjansi," he says. "We bought rice, beans, rice flour, cooking oil, blankets, mattresses and bar soap for the school which houses approximately 450 students. From what we saw and heard, the donation was very timely and the teachers and students were deeply grateful for the donation, especially during the pandemic. Everyone appreciated Lynden's generosity and kindness."

Children Safe Uganda, formerly Bweya Children's Home, opened in 1968. It serves orphaned and abandoned children and those needing rehabilitation.

Tags: Community Service, Lynden Air Cargo

Lynden delivers COVID-19 vaccine to Western Alaska

Posted on Wed, Mar 03, 2021

Since mid-December, Lynden has been assisting with the distribution of equipment to administer the COVID-19 vaccine, but now the shipments contain the vaccine itself. Each morning Lynden International District Operations Manager Bob Barndt gets a phone call alerting him to an incoming shipment arriving in Anchorage from Louisville, KY. Bob meets the plane and personally transfers the boxes of vaccine to Alaska Airlines where they are checked in as critical care shipments – the highest level of service available. After arriving in Bethel, AK, the Lynden agent receives the boxes and hand delivers them to hospitals in Bethel, Nome, Kotzebue and Barrow for distribution to village elders and front-line workers in those communities.

"For over 30 years, we have managed deliveries to remote Alaska communities," Bob explains, "but the vaccine shipments are different than anything else we have handled." Lynden provides white-glove service for each 40-pound box which is red-flagged as hazmat material. The vaccine is packed in dry ice and each box contains a GPS tracking device and temperature monitor.

Shipping COVID-19 vaccine"We never lose control of the boxes and have eyes on them during the entire journey," Bob says. Shipping paperwork is also vitally important so the federal rollout of vaccines is documented. Pictured right, Lynden employees offload a shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kotzebue, AK.

The vaccine deliveries will continue this year along with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as gowns and gloves to protect those administering the drugs. Boxes of dry ice are sometimes shipped along with PPE to ensure that the vaccine remains temperature controlled at destination. "There is no guarantee that the destination hospitals or other locations have enough dry ice, so it's considered a precautionary measure," Bob explains.

The boxes are tracked from origin to destination, so speed and timing is critical. "Lynden has a reputation for excellent service and on-time delivery, so we are all working as fast and efficiently as we can to uphold that standard," Bob says. "We want to get the vaccine to those who need it most and to protect our customers and their families." In addition to utilizing Alaska Airlines, Lynden Air Cargo was called into service to fly the vaccine to Kotzebue last month and will continue to make its aircraft available if needed. In 2009, the State of Alaska also relied on Lynden International to distribute the H1N1 vaccine to more than 400 locations.

Tags: Lynden International, Lynden Air Cargo, Shipping in Alaska, Lynden Capabilities

Proximity alarm system on the job at Alaska Marine Lines

Posted on Fri, Feb 26, 2021

SEEN Safety AlarmAlaska Marines Lines recently implemented a new safety device to increase awareness of the movement of people and equipment in Seattle and Southeast Alaska yards. SEEN Safety's Infrared Retroreflector Identification System (IRIS) is keeping employees and customers safer each day and protecting freight and equipment from damage.

The system uses light and radar to measure distances by illuminating the target with a laser light and measuring the reflection with a sensor. The IRIS sensor is designed to detect reflective material on safety equipment in proximities ranging from 28 feet wide to 25 feet deep and can be mounted on forklifts and low-speed vehicles. An audible alert signal is heard if the sensor lands within the detection zone. IRIS can detect reflective material on safety vests and works in all weather conditions, including rain, darkness and intense glare from sun or snow.

"We also added reflective tape to the counter-weight of the forklifts to help prevent collisions, which has already proven effective during barge operations," explains Joe Purcell, Alaska Marine Trucking Operations Manager.

The advantage of SEEN Safety's alarm is the adjustability. With varying barge operating conditions in Southeast, it is vital to be able to adjust the proximity beam to suit each port. "For example, when Ketchikan works a barge it is always full, so we adjusted the proximity to a smaller zone compared to Juneau where the barge is more than half empty," Joe explains.

"One of the major risks in Alaska Marine Lines' operations is mixing personnel working on the deck of our barges with 50-ton forklifts," says Don Reid, Alaska Marine Lines Vice President of Operations. "The Alaska Marine Lines safety team has been exploring solutions for many years and this proximity alarm technology is a major step toward mitigating that risk and keeping people safe on the barge deck."

Tags: Alaska Marine Lines, Safety

Lynden's Ken Hall named Volunteer of the Year

Posted on Wed, Feb 24, 2021

Ken HallLynden Transport's Fairbanks Account Manager Ken Hall received the George Nehrbas Volunteer of the Year Award for 2020 from the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce. The award is presented to a member of the Chamber who has distinguished themselves as an outstanding volunteer. "I've been very fortunate to have the opportunity to be involved in many different activities over the years," Ken says. "I was surprised and flattered to get this recognition."

Ken has taken on leadership roles within Lynden Transport and has contributed 10 years to serving the Special Olympics of the Tanana Valley and organizing critical fundraisers for them. He has also dedicated 23 years to the Fairbanks Curling Club as a volunteer and board member. Over the course of 30 years, Ken has volunteered with youth-focused groups in Fairbanks like the Boy Scouts and at PTA events at the school where his wife taught. He also serves as a member of the Fairbanks North Star Borough Climate Change Task Force.

Tags: Lynden employees, Lynden Transport, Alaska

Everyday Hero Profile: Taco Esquibel

Posted on Fri, Feb 19, 2021

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 Taco Esquibel, Superintendent at Knik Construction in Alaska.

Taco EsquibelName: Taco Esquibel

Company: Knik Construction Co.

Title: Superintendent

On the Job Since: 1994

Superpower: Resilience

Hometown: Kingman, AZ

Favorite Movie: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Bucket List Destination: Pyramids of Egypt

For Fun: Snow machining, hunting, spear fishing and scuba diving

How did you start your career at Lynden?
It all started when I met Neil Arthur and Ray Henrichs at Road Builders in Soldotna. We were working in Seward, Tok, Delta Junction and other places. They talked about working for Knik. They said it was a great job and they were making good money. When Knik eventually acquired Alaska Road Builders a few years ago, it became a full circle for me.

I put in my application and then went and bought a pager (we didn't have cell phones back then) so I would be able to respond right away if he called. If I didn't get the job with Knik I was planning to go back home to Arizona or Nevada. I decided to call Knik and ended up talking with Dennis Fuchs. He gave me the right names and connections in Bethel, AK and soon I interviewed with Bill Hanson. He was working on the Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway project. He hired me and I went to work right away as a roller hand on that project. Jim Kirsch was running the paving. He was an awesome guy and one of my mentors. He figured out that I knew what I was doing with paving. There were 8 or 9 of us that were fulltime employees then. We did dirt work, crushing and paving and offloaded barges. It was so interesting to see Alaska – the 24-hour sunlight, the 16 to 18-hour days. For someone in their 20s, it was nice to be doing something completely different.

I couldn't even pronounce the names of the places where I was working, and being from Arizona, I had never been around barges in my life. The first thing I saw when I arrived by small plane to the job site was a big barge.

What is a typical day like for you?
It all depends on what we are doing and where we are. Night shift or day shift? Am I paving, or doing dirt work? Making rip-rap? No matter what the project, you are planning it out the night before. If we need to start work at 6 a.m. I'm up one or two hours before the crew making sure things are ready and in place. If we are rained out, or someone is sick, you need to plan accordingly. If I'm at my own house in Anchorage and on my own schedule, I can go into the office and get things going. If we are all together at a work camp onsite, project managers will meet the night before and get up early to start our 12 to 14-hour days. We are currently not working on any projects, but things will start up again in mid-April.

What has been most challenging in your career?
The weather and some of the locations where we have to figure out how to work within the elements and available materials. Wake Island, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Kotzebue, Nome, Shemya Island, Platinum. Bethel, McGrath, Sitka… flying in is the only option usually. It can be pretty spooky for someone with no flying experience to go into these places in small planes. Rick Gray is one of the best pilots I've ever seen in my life. He makes sure we all get there safely.

The weather can create challenges like equipment freezing up – think of a water sprayer – and rules in different parts of the state. Shemya is one of the worst places I've been for weather. We were there for almost two seasons and only saw sunlight four times. Foggy and rainy with wind blowing so hard you can't see more than 50 feet in front of you. The wind was 20 mph on an average day. Our job was reconstructing taxiways and runways. The first year we used a machine with GPS control to run the machines. The only way to control the level and depth of the paving in the old days was to use a wire. The new machine uses lasers and a computer program to do that work, but the wind in Shemya had other ideas. It interfered with the lasers and the program shut off. We figured out what was happening the first night. The wind was vibrating and throwing the laser out of balance and we had heavy fog that created damp conditions that interfered with the lasers, too. We got it figured out, but it was one of the most challenging projects we've done.

It's also tough to be away from home for long periods of time. I try to keep the crew together and having a good time when we are living in camps on a jobsite. I get to know everybody and their families. You could be the Michael Jordan of construction, but if you can't handle the living conditions, you won't make it. You learn how to be cordial to your coworkers 24 hours a day 7 days a week for months on end. You are eating, sleeping and working together so you get to be a team real quick. Depending on where we're working, we might not have TV, internet or cell phone coverage. It's a challenge, but all part of the job.

What are you most proud of in your career, most memorable project?
Dora Hughes (Knik HSSE Manager) and I worked on the Cape Nome project for five years without an injury. We worked with the native corporation handling explosives and dealing with big rock making rip-rap for breakwaters and jetties. You basically shoot the mountain to create rock, run a rock sorter and move the big rock where needed. We received awards and jackets for working safe.

I'm a perfectionist. Over the years if something is going wrong, I speak up and ask what's going on. Sometimes people on my crew don't like that, but later they will come back and say, 'you were right.'

Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
I grew up poor, so I now appreciate things I have earned with hard work. I have an older brother and sister, and a younger brother, Mike Esquibel, who also works for Knik as an office engineer and surveyor. The rest of the family is back in Kingman, AZ. Growing up I loved playing sports; they gave you a reason to enjoy school! I played basketball and football. I had a couple of junior colleges that were interested in me for football, but I didn't think I had the academics to do it. My dad had a service station and we also ran a roofing business as a second income. My dad worked construction for the road system of Mohave County. My grandfather owned the Central Commercial Lumberyard in my hometown.

My father instilled a work ethic in me. I liked to party, but if we had a roofing job on a weekend, we had to leave at 5 in the morning because it gets hot by midday. I would get home about 3 or 4 a.m., and he would get me up to go roof just a few hours later. He always said, 'if you are going to play all night, you are going to pay all day.' My older brother helped, and two cousins helped, too. I graduated in 1988 and moved to Alaska in 1992. In between I worked as a bricklayer/hottie. I made the mortar and brought it to the bricklayers in a wheelbarrow. I also moved the blocks and stacked them up for the job.

I also worked on the road system in Arizona, traveling all over to different cities working. I would live in my vehicle while I was on the road. It was a great life for a young man.

Once a year I try to get home. I miss my family. My mom and dad have come up to see me in Alaska. My sister has two girls and my niece lived with me for two summers to work in Alaska and check it out up here. Last year I took my dad and niece elk hunting.

What was your first job?
Working at a service station after school.

What would surprise most people about you?
I like to make my own food. I fish for salmon, smoke it and then can it with my buddy and coworker Dan Swanson. We drink beer and smoke fish for two or three days each year. I also enjoy making jam. Wild raspberry bushes grow in my yard, so I harvest them and make jam from the berries. Also, I'm a metal head. My favorite music is heavy metal like Megadeath, Slayer, Metallica and some of the new stuff like White Zombie.

What are you most proud of?
I feel like I conquered life and have made a good place for myself in the world. I didn't have a thing when I hit the state of Alaska. Someone owed me money and didn't pay up, so I decided to try a fresh start. I drove up the Alcan with a man I met 15 minutes before who was coming up to see his family. When I showed up, I didn't know anybody. A lady was supposed to give me a place to stay and then didn't help me. My heart sank. The first thing I thought of was going to the Catholic Church. Luckily, the guy I rode up with helped me and I stayed with his brother. My life has been good in Alaska, but it took a long time to get to where I am now. After living in Arizona, my first winter in Alaska was a learning experience. I lived in a dome house and the first morning it was 45 degrees below zero!

Taco Esquibels CabinEventually, I built a cabin on two acres on Mackey Lake near Soldotna (pictured right). I spend as much time there as I can. I met some people that are homesteaders there across the lake, and they helped me with the construction along with a lot of friends. Lately, I have been getting into spearing pike in Mackey Lake instead of using a rod and reel.

What do you like best about your job?
The feeling of accomplishment in finishing a project. You do the work, and it's there for years for cars to drive over or planes to land on. You are making things that last. It's been interesting for me to see the changes in Knik over the years. We went from a few people doing it all to separate work groups for paving, dirt and crushing rock. I feel fortunate to have been part of Knik back in the day. I like being outside every day and seeing different places. It's also nice to work with good friends like Dan Hall, who started the month before I did.

Tags: Everyday Heroes

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