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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

LTI, Inc. hauls world-famous Woodinville Whiskey

Posted on Wed, Feb 10, 2021

LTI, Inc. equipmentAdd award-winning whiskey to the long list of LTI, Inc.'s food-grade hauls. Woodinville Whiskey Co. recently called upon Lynden to haul its premium 140-proof whiskey from Woodinville, WA to its aging and bottling facility in Quincy, WA. LTI, Inc. drivers are also picking up the mash byproduct from the whiskey distilling process and delivering to a farm near Monroe, WA.

Because the whiskey is flammable, it qualifies as a hazmat, food-grade load which is one of LTI, Inc.'s specialties. "The project really is a good fit for our strengths as a carrier," says Business Development Manager Al Hartgraves. Al says the new project came about through company teamwork. While LTI, Inc. Driver Cesar Cortez was delivering a load to one of the wineries next door to Woodinville Whiskey, he was approached by one of the owners. He asked Cesar if LTI, Inc. could provide the same pickup and delivery service for his company to Eastern Washington. Cesar passed along the request to dispatcher Eric Bordynoski who got in touch with Al and soon a contract was under way.

"LTI, Inc. has never hauled whiskey before so specific equipment needed to be sourced and drivers trained for this type of hazmat transport," Al says. The maintenance team of Dave Seaman and Jerry Crisp jumped into action to secure the highly specialized food-grade hazmat trailers, DOT 407s, needed for the project. Although the whiskey is picked up in Woodinville and delivered to Quincy, the run begins and ends at LTI, Inc.'s Sunnyside facility due to the wash facilities located there.

LTI, Inc. equipmentSunnyside Driver Brandon Weaver, pictured right, was the first driver to haul the whiskey this fall, and he says it is a nice change from his usual route. "It's a lot of responsibility, too, though. Hazmat loads require an endorsement and intense focus, so safety is always on my mind." Driver Ed Flores is also hauling whiskey for the project.

The second part of the project is hauling the spent mash, which is grain left over from the distillation process. A full load is picked up each day from the distillery and delivered to a farm facility near Monroe where it is used to produce electricity for Qualco Energy. "The whole process is full circle and something we have not been involved in before," Al says. "It's an exciting new project for us to fully support the efforts of Woodinville Whiskey, and we will be bringing on more qualified drivers with this type of hazmat endorsement early in the year."

The grain for the whiskey is grown in Quincy which is where the whiskey is returned to age five to seven years before bottling. Woodinville Whiskey's expansion has positioned them to produce over 250,000 cases per year.

Tags: LTI Inc., Trucking, Lynden Capabilities

Just another day in the Bethel neighborhood

Posted on Wed, Feb 03, 2021

Pete Kaiser with teamLynden Air Cargo Captain Daryl Smith took this photo of Peter Kaiser as he was training his sled dog team. Daryl lives in Bethel, AK and saw Pete from his house. "I thought it would be newsworthy since he works for Lynden and is an Iditarod champion," Daryl says. Pete works for Knik Construction and Bering Marine. He won the Iditarod in 2019 and has won the Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race multiple times. Pete has plans to compete in both the Kuskokwim 300 and Iditarod races again this year.

Tags: Bering Marine Corporation, Lynden Air Cargo, Lynden employees, Knik Construction

Lynden International Logistics opened flagship location in Guelph, Ontario last year

Posted on Tue, Jan 26, 2021

LILCO Guelph facility and staffLynden International Logistics Co. (LILCO) has expanded its network of healthcare facilities in Canada by opening a fifth location in Guelph, Ontario. "We consider this our flagship facility," says Brian MacAskill, LILCO Vice President and General Manager.

LILCO serves the human and animal health industries in Canada, and its continued growth prompted the additional location. The company is widely recognized as a leader in Canadian healthcare logistics.

The new location, with state-of-the-art security and temperature control, will accommodate 8,000 ambient pallets, 1,000 cooler pallets and 350 pallets of controlled substances storage. Pharmaceuticals represent a high-value inventory and security can be a challenge. Controlled substances require storage regulated by Health Canada's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. One of LILCO's two controlled drug vaults is the largest third party logistics (3PL) vault in Canada.

LILCO vaultThe vaults (see photo at right) include motion, heat and smoke detection, seismic detectors and layered security access that includes access cards, combination locks and biometric fingerprint reading.

At 108,000 square feet, the Guelph facility is LILCO's largest. It brings LILCO's Canadian footprint to nearly 450,000 square feet. The other locations are in Vancouver, Calgary and two in the greater Toronto area – Vaughan and Milton.

Construction on the Guelph location started in late 2019, and the doors were open in July. Despite the challenges and delays of the COVID pandemic, the facility was completed on time. "This required approvals from regional authorities and a tremendous amount of dedication and teamwork from Lynden and vendors alike. The Health Canada audit went very well, and the facility was licensed for operation on schedule," Brian explains. The technology aspect was a key element of the startup. "Lynden's IT team was terrific in supporting LILCO and its requirements," adds Adrian Peluffo, LILCO Vice President of Administration.

Tags: Lynden International Logistics Co., Canada, Lynden Capabilities

Everyday Hero Profile: Brian Crawford

Posted on Tue, Jan 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 Brian Crawford, Operations Supervisor at Lynden International in Anchorage, Alaska.

Everyday Hero Brian CrawfordName: Brian Crawford

Company: Lynden International

Title: Operations Supervisor

On the Job Since: 2002

Superpower: Puts the team in teamwork

Hometown: Lytle, TX

Favorite Movie: A River Runs Through It

Bucket List Destination: Hike the Pacific Crest Trail

For Fun: Hiking, fishing, watching a good movie

How did you start your career at Lynden?
I saw the job opening on Craigslist and applied for it. For the past 18 years I have been with Lynden international – Lynden Projects UPS. I worked my way up from Customer Service Representative to the Office Supervisor/Manager. When I started, Lynden Frontier Projects was in Canada and was run by Maggie Aurilia, a great person. UPS wanted the operation back in Alaska. Maggie and my old boss hired me in 2003 to work at the facility at the airport in Anchorage. It took us two years to become a well-oiled machine. It was a learning experience, that's for sure.

What is a typical day like for you?
I wake up, have a cup of coffee, check work emails and see if there are any new fires that need to be put out before I head to work. Then I arrive at work and put on my best game face and tackle the day. My job is to keep the office running properly, to help out the crew when they need help, and if I need help I reach out to Bob (Barndt) or the lead, Jessica Harpole, when I am beyond busy. I also monitor emails from our agents, the uploads from the scanner/handheld that tells us that the packages have been delivered or are on vacation or hold for pickup and so on.

I do billing for the 30 plus contractors that deliver the packages for us to make sure they get paid and I work on invoices. I also investigate missing packages or those without a proper signature. I talk to the contractor/agent to make sure the package has been delivered then follow up with the customer. Other tasks are taking phone calls to help out our agents, go out in the warehouse and look for mis-sorted packages to see if they have come back yet. There is total of five of us. Bob Barndt helps when I need to bend his ear and need help with flights out to the Bush. He keeps me centered. Also on a daily basis I run a report that's called Over & Under that gathers all the packages that have been scanned the previous day and handed off to our agents such as Fairbanks, Juneau, Ketchikan, etc.

To get packages to the Bush we use mainline carriers like Lynden Air Cargo, Northern Air cargo, Everts and Alaska Central Express. These airlines take the packages to the main HUB such as Dutch Harbor, Bethel, Barrow, Kotzebue, Nome, Juneau and other places. To get packages to remote areas in the deep bush, we use Ryan Air, Wright Air Service, Alaska seaplanes, and other small carriers. Then there are the mainline carriers that travel the road system like Wilson Brothers that drive from Anchorage to Valdez, a six-hour drive one way.

The packages get delivered throughout Alaska from the West Coast, the Interior, the Aleutian Islands and Southeast Alaska. We get some weird packages, especially live critters such as turtles, lizards, lady bugs and crickets. The main challenge is the low visibility, high winds and snowstorms. Then there are vehicle and plane breakdowns that will delay us for a couple of days. Right now, it's COVID-19 turning some stations into a skeleton crew of three or less people which makes it pretty hard to sort six pallets of freight.

What has been most challenging in your career?
The job itself is the most challenging. It's not for the faint of heart. The logistics of the job is very challenging also. If the carrier isn't flying to a destination that day and we need to move the volume, then you check with the other carriers to see when they are flying to the destination. If it's no better than the first carrier then you leave the volume there, but you hope that another carrier can get out there faster. It's a game of chance sometimes with availability of lift.

What are you most proud of in your career?
Sticking it out through the extreme tough times at work when most people would have thrown in the towel. Being proud of helping customers, going out of my way to make sure they get their package. Also earning the respect of my co-workers.

Brian Crawford fishing with Nick KarnosCan you tell us about your family and growing up years?
My hometown of Lytle, Texas is a HUGE football town, just like any other small town in Texas. My parents decided to move to Alaska for the better paying jobs in the summer of 1983 and drove from Texas to Alaska. I have two half-sisters and one half-brother. My brother is 46 and lives in Indiana, one sister is 44 and lives in Chicago, and the other sister is 40 and lives in Alaska. I was pretty laid back in high school and did some wrestling, but it wasn't my cup of tea. I graduated in 1989 from Wasilla High School then went to the Travel Academy for Cargo Specialists in 1990. I got a job with Grayline of Alaska in 1991 as a cargo handler in Anchorage. I moved to Homer in 1995 with my fiancée, did some commercial fishing longlining and tendering for a few months. I got married in June of that year and got hired on with South Central Air Cargo handler for a few years. I moved to Anchorage in '98 and worked for Reeve Aleutian until I blew out my lower back and got re-educated at Career Academy Business Office in 2000. Did some odd jobs here and there till 2002. I worked at Regional Hospital patient accounts as a collector which was an interesting job, then got hired with Lynden in March of 2003. I am now divorced and I have three wonderful kids. One son who is 23, and two girls, 14 and 16, who are the joys of my life. I am enjoying watching my kids evolve into young adults thinking they have it all figured out, and then they ask for advice. I tell them stuff they don't want to hear, but hey, they have to learn from their mistakes. I know I did when I was growing up.

What would surprise most people about you?
I am the quiet kind of person who likes to observe to see what's going on and then surprise people with a wealth of knowledge about music and movie trivia. I know how to cook and not burn boiling water, and I know how to do laundry. I learned all that good stuff while married and domesticated. Brian is pictured above with Nick Karnos fishing the Kenai River in Alaska.

What do you like best about your job?
Getting the job done correctly and making the customer happy.

Tags: Everyday Heroes

Goodbye and good luck to twelve Lynden retirees

Posted on Tue, Jan 19, 2021

Twelve veteran Lynden employees wrapped up their careers at the end of 2020. We wish them well in retirement.

Mark SheehanMark Sheehan, Alaska Marine Lines and Northland Services, 40 years
Mark came to his job at Alaska Marine Lines through his brother Tom Sheehan. Tom and Mark both worked for Northland initially and later moved to Alaska Marine Lines. Mark went back to Northland and continued his career there until the 2014 acquisition by Lynden. He retired last month as Marine Operations Manager. It's been a long and storied career, but by far the most significant event was meeting and marrying co-worker Cindy Sheehan in 1999. Cindy also retired in December. "I have been so happy to be a part of the Lynden team," Mark says. In his marine career, Mark has saved many castaway and stowaway critters from certain death in Seattle ports, including stray cats, otters, pelicans and a hawk. A few years ago an albatross hitched a ride on a voyage from Honolulu to Seattle. Mark first saw the bird when the night crew pointed it out to him. The bird was severely dehydrated and emaciated. Mark called the Seattle Aquarium's veterinarian who brought the female bird to a Wildlife Care Center where it was treated for pneumonia and survived. It's no surprise that in retirement, Mark plans to volunteer at wild and domestic animal rescue organizations.

Lu JacksonLu Jackson, LTI, Inc., 37 years
As a Human Resources Manager for almost four decades, Lu has worked for four Lynden presidents, including the late Lynden patriarch Hank Jansen. "I have such great memories of working with him," she says. "It's nice to see that the integrity, philosophy and character of the company has withstood all these years." Although she is excited about retirement, Lu says she will miss the people. "Everyone says that, but it's really true." Lu handled everything from payroll to dispatching in her career and is very proud that she was never late to work – ever – in 37 years. Retirement will find her on her farm caring for animals, enjoying outdoor activities and getting to know her two new golden retriever puppies that joined the household just a week after she retired. Lu was featured as the December 2020 Everyday Hero. To read more about her, go to www.lynden.com/heroes.

Mike MaloneMike Malone, Alaska Marine Lines, 35 years
Back in 1985, Mike started working in the Container Freight Station (CFS) warehouse. He then worked in rates and billing, pricing and finished up his career as Pricing Analyst. "Back then, we had just one sailing to Southeast Alaska, then it was twice a week. The ARM barge was added to service Central Alaska and Prince William Sound and then the purchase of Northland added Western Alaska and Hawaii. "We've seen quite the growth," Mike says.

"I have so many memories of all the people I've worked with, it would be hard to list just one, but working with the Freitrater program, coming up with auto rating and smart prompting cut the number of corrections we were seeing significantly."

After years of sitting in either traffic or at his desk, Mike says he is looking forward to getting some regular exercise, and he has a lot of projects to do around the house. "I would like to travel once my wife retires and maybe take some actual guitar lessons. I've really enjoyed working with all the people at Alaska Marine Lines and Lynden over the years. It's a really top-notch organization from the top down.

Sue HeatherSue Heather, Alaska Marine Lines, 34 years
Sue has worked both full time and part time for Alaska Marine Lines' accounting department over her long career. "I retired from full time work in 2002, but came back part time later that year," she says. "I guess I just couldn't stay away!" Sue started her job with Alaska Marine Lines in 1986 when the employees numbered about 70. "I started out doing accounts payable then added accounts receivable. Eventually I became the accounting manager for Alaska Marine Lines and Alaska Marine Trucking," she says. "I have worked with such a great group of people over the years. My bosses have always led by example and always had time to listen to me or help when I needed it." In retirement, she is planning to spend more time with her grandson, work at her church food bank and sew.

Cindy SheehanCindy Sheehan, Alaska Marine Lines, 31 years
Cindy began her career with Alaska Marine Lines in 1989 at the suggestion of friend and now Lynden Logistics Manager Becky MacDonald. She was the first female barge checker in the history of the company although "I didn't know the difference between a chassis and a container at the time," she says. Her first office was a container under the First Avenue South Street Bridge, now Alaska Marine Lines' Y-2 yard. She also worked with two brothers, Mark and Tom Sheehan. Tom worked for Alaska Marine Lines, Mark for Northland Services. She continued to work with Tom over her long career, and she married Mark. Over the years, Cindy worked on a variety of Alaska Marine Lines projects, including the first Alaska Railbelt Marine sailings to Whittier, AK. She was soon promoted to Customer Service Manager, followed by Director of Customer Service in 2013 and Vice President of Customer Service in 2016. "I've always loved working with customers and took a great deal of pride and pleasure helping them," she says. "At Alaska Marine Lines, we're committed to keeping real, live people to talk to rather than recorded options to answer callers' questions." Cindy and Mark both retired last month and now plan to do some camping and fishing. Cindy will also start some quilting projects to donate to the American Heroes wounded veterans and Children's Hospital in Seattle.

JeffJeff McKenney, Alaska Marine Lines, 31 years
"After 13 years of owning my business, I took a position with Alaska Marine Lines to dispatch and manage the trucks and operators," Jeff says. "When a sales position opened in Seattle, I thought it was the right time to advance my career and use the knowledge I had learned over the years to sell the services Alaska Marine Lines offered." More than 30 years later, Jeff retires as an Account Manager with experience in both operations and sales. "I feel lucky to have had a position where I worked with people who were my friends and colleagues. Alaska Marine Lines and all the Lynden companies have made my job fun. Our abilities to be innovative through equipment design, schedules, and online tools offers so much to the customer compared to our competition. The fact that we can pull multiple Lynden operating companies together to offer the customer a One Lynden solution has a lot of merit."

Jeff says Lynden has been a great company to be a part of and he appreciates everything the company has done to support his family. "I have really enjoyed providing the customer with a positive experience, showing customers what Lynden can do and being part of Lynden's success." Jeff's retirement plans include boating, fishing and traveling the U.S. via RV. A trip to the Grand Canyon is one of the first stops on the itinerary. Jeff was featured as the November 2020 Everyday Hero. To read more about him, go to www.lynden.com/heroes.

Greg NiermanGreg Nierman, Lynden Incorporated, 27 years
Greg, pictured right, started working for Lynden Incorporated as a software developer in 1989 and transitioned to supervisor, manager and back to developer by the end of his 27-year career. "There were about 15 people total in IT when I started, and now there are nearly 70," he says. Greg's most memorable work project over the years was working on the Cross Dock initiative. "I will always remember the wonderful people I've had the honor of working with," he adds. Greg's plans for retirement include spending time with his grandkids, coaching archery and building and playing guitars.

John WalkerJohn Walker, Lynden Incorporated, 20 years
Over his 20 years with Lynden Incorporated's IT Department, John says he will remember Side-By-Side Billing, numerous ILS (Integrated Lynden Systems) integrations and Route Trip Maintenance as his favorite projects. As a Senior Programmer Developer and Applications Development Supervisor he saw IT grow by "leaps and bounds" as well as the applications that IT produced for Lynden's operating companies. "Working at Lynden has been more like an adventure than a job," John says. "There is always something new to learn and problems to be solved. But it's the people that I will miss the most (certainly not my commute!). I've met a lot of great people over the years and hope to continue the friendships we've established." Retirement plans include visiting family more often, traveling, fly fishing (see picture), golf, photography and chainsaw carving.

Pam SanchezPam Sanchez, Alaska Marine Lines, 18 years
Pam was a fixture in the customer service department for many years, making sure that receiving, billing and customer service tasks ran smoothly. In a single day, she might handle 50 questions about pricing, scheduling, logistics, cargo claims, purchased transportation both via phone and email. "Over the years I was always impressed with how Alaska Marine Lines worked to improve their service to customers," she says. "We always let them know we are here for them and that we care." Although Pam says she will miss working with and talking to her co-workers, she is looking forward to doing all the things she didn't have time for when she was working. Her plans include planting a garden, tackling home improvement projects and having time to exercise. Pam's son, Matt Miller, works at Northland and will carry on the family tradition at the Y-5 warehouse.

Bob McGrathBob McGrath, Lynden Incorporated, 8 years
Bob began work for Lynden in 2011 as a contractor, auditioning with Rick Nuckolls on the Master Customer Master (MCM) application. "I was hired on May Day, 2012. This job has been the pot-o-gold at the end of my career rainbow, which has spanned four decades," he says. "I began years ago as a PICK programmer and finished at Lynden as a programmer. In between, I worked in a variety of related job roles involving both hardware and software. There have been immense changes over the course of my career, but I think the change in speed and scale, in all realms of computing, has had the greatest impact."

Bob lists the following as highlights of his Lynden career: the HAZMAT implementation, developing the UV/TariffTrak interface used in the pre-ship and billing systems, the UV2XML document interface, and working with great teams on the first and subsequent ILS migrations.

Retirement will bring changes. "We will be moving to Chicago to be with family for a while," Bob says, "but will eventually come back home to Whidbey Island. Between Chicago and home, we plan to travel and live abroad. Once back home, I'd like to pick up ceramics again, bake up a storm and teach at-risk kids programming as a model for success."

"Lynden is a great company and this has been one of the best jobs of my career," he adds. "The values guiding Lynden come from the top down, but seem to be deeply embedded in the company: ethical, generous, disciplined, and caring for employees and community. In the end though, it is the Lynden people I admire most. I was lucky to be part of this, even for a short time."

Stanley Sniadosky and Jim Warren also retired last year, from Alaska Marine Lines and Lynden Incorporated respectively.

Tags: Lynden, LTI Inc., Alaska Marine Lines, Lynden employees

Locomotives all arrive safely by barge in Skagway

Posted on Fri, Jan 15, 2021

White Pass locomotive on AML bargeRecently the Whittier Provider and the Bering Titan delivered two locomotives to Skagway for the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway. This delivery completed the transport of six new locomotives to replace the old fleet which was built in the 1960s. Weighing in at 265,000 pounds each, the new engines are 30 percent larger than the old. Their size required a special rail sailing of Alaska Marine Lines' Southeast Provider last year when the first replacement engines were brought to Alaska.

"All the locomotives were transported on special barges that feature tracks on the barge deck designed to move rail cars," says Skagway Service Center Manager Cory Bricker. The new locomotives were built by National Railway Equipment Company in Mount Vernon, IL then shipped to Seattle.

Alaska Marine Lines has moved locomotives for the railway before using a heavy-duty dolly as a means of transport. The dolly and locomotive 'package' were stowed onto the deck of a regular barge, which allowed for maneuvering upon arrival. This time, the locomotives rode the rail barges and were unloaded by crane for placement on the White Pass railway.

"These locomotives are valued at about $2.5 million each so everyone was invested in making sure the move went smoothly and safely," Cory says.

Dubbed the scenic railway of the world, the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway covers 68 miles of breathtaking scenery between Skagway and Carcross, Yukon Territory.

Tags: Barge, Alaska Marine Lines

Lynden Transport receives SmartWay Award from EPA

Posted on Tue, Jan 12, 2021

Lynden employee Derikk LongerboneLynden Transport earned a SmartWay High Performer Award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for operating efficiencies in its flatbed and reefer fleets. The company is included in the top 20 percent of national carriers for reducing carbon emissions and achieved top-ranking performance for all metrics, including fuel efficiency. Fewer than 10 percent of all SmartWay carriers operate fleets efficient enough to make the SmartWay High Performer list for carbon emissions.

"This award recognizes the efforts throughout the Lynden companies to work efficiently and reduce our carbon footprint," says Lynden Transport President Paul Grimaldi. "It also confirms the efforts of employees to make this happen on a daily basis. We have achieved impressive scores for continual improvement in operations as well as energy efficiency by using electric forklifts, streamlined trip routing and other measures."

Carbon is a leading indicator of fuel use. SmartWay High Performers consume less fuel for every mile they travel and for every ton of freight moved. For example, for every trip they make, the carriers pack their trailers more efficiently and move heavier loads – all while reducing consumption by thousands of gallons annually as compared to their SmartWay peers.

Notable efficiency improvements for Lynden Transport between 2009 and 2019 include:

  • Increased average miles per gallon for the entire fleet by 50 percent.
  • Increased ton miles per gallon (how many miles one ton of freight can be transported with one gallon of diesel) by 62 percent.
  • Reduced total CO2 emissions by 36 percent.
  • Decreased fuel usage by 36 percent, a savings of over 1 million gallons per year. Even though there is only a 4 percent decrease in mileage from 10 years ago, Lynden Transport is maintaining roughly the same level of business while using far less energy.

Tags: Awards, Green Lynden, SmartWay certification, Lynden Transport

Lynden helps shore up stores for a new year

Posted on Tue, Jan 05, 2021

Shopping MallThe COVID pandemic put a strain on retail businesses this year and that was especially felt during the holiday season. “I don’t think any of our retail customers could’ve prepared for the massive changes brought on by the pandemic,” says Howard Hales, Lynden International Domestic Services Manager in Seattle. “COVID turned the world upside down and retail was hit hard. At the beginning of the shutdown this spring, we were in daily communication with our retailers. They needed to know where their product was along the supply chain and either stop shipments or store products at our warehouses until stores re-opened.”

The pandemic has been an elusive opponent for retail companies. Not knowing when stores could safely re-open, store managers played a waiting game wondering when conditions would improve enough to bring shoppers back into stores. According to Hales, retail companies are typically more than a year out on planning for their sales seasons. A whole supply and sales cycle is set based on shipping season-specific merchandise, and having the stores filled with that particular product in time for back-to-school or Christmas shoppers.

“When COVID hit, retailers were forced to shutter their stores for two to three months, and it broke that sales cycle,” he explains. “By the time they were able to start opening stores, they had merchandise on their shelves that had moved beyond the planned season, and new product was on the way or in their warehouses waiting to be moved to the stores.”

For Lynden’s long-time customers Gap and Old Navy, this overstock was both a dilemma and an opportunity. Their elegant solution made national headlines. Recognizing that the COVID crisis has left many families struggling to buy basic necessities like clothing, Old Navy donated $30 million of new clothing to American families. National and local charities, such as Delivering Good, helped distribute the clothing to those who needed it most. Gap asked Lynden to help coordinate the shipments to its major markets of Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

“That decision created a whole new logistics cycle,” Hales says. “Gap had to source and supply all of their stores with packaging material so the merchandise could be boxed up and moved. They then had to coordinate the pickups with their local delivery providers for final delivery to the local charities.” As Gap’s primary transportation provider for Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, Lynden coordinated store recoveries in the three markets and redelivered more than 400,000 units to local charities. Old Navy and Gap also donated 50,000 reusable masks to Boys & Girls Clubs of America as many have remained open and operational throughout the crisis as a safe place for kids and families in underserved communities.

Lynden performed similar work for other retail customers. “We had two COVID-related shutdowns for TJ Maxx,” says Stuart Nakayama, Director of Strategic Accounts and Hawaii Trade Services in Los Angeles. “Working with our ocean carrier Pasha, we came up with a solution to help them safely store their products through both shutdowns.” Lynden also helped ship personal protective equipment (PPE) to Hawaii and distributed it to the stores there, as well as all Hot Topic clothing stores in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico upon re-opening of their retail locations.

“The trick was not all stores were opened at the same time, and store hours and availability of store personnel varied,” Nakayama says, “so our Lynden employees had to hold product and get creative on delivery dates and times.”

In addition to apparel, Lynden works with “essential” retailers consisting of restaurants, health and beauty, and grocery stores in national markets. “Service to these customers was, and still is, impacted by airline capacity and delivery networks to some degree,” Nakayama says, “but it’s slowly improving. This year we have seen many changes in our retail markets and shopping patterns. While we can’t predict future change, Lynden can be the constant amid the change for our retail customers.”

Tags: Lynden International, Community Service

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