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Lynden's Knik Construction employees first responders on the scene

Posted on Tue, Jan 28, 2020

Cone 1200x630Soldotna Knik employees Pete Hoogenboom and Aaron Verba were on their way to a paving job in Whittier recently when they came across a head-on accident on the Sterling Highway in Alaska. "It was still dark and the roads were icy," Pete says. "We were first on the scene."

The lone driver in one car was already deceased, but the other vehicle contained three passengers who were still alive. The car was badly damaged and there was a risk of an electrical or engine fire. Pete and Aaron used a chain to bend the door open and a reciprocating saw to get to the door latch. They got two of the passengers out and into Knik's warm pickup until emergency services arrived. The third passenger in the car was badly injured with a broken back, hip, legs and feet. They wisely decided not to move her, but Pete stayed in the car with her, talking to her to keep her conscious for almost two hours until the life flight arrived to the remote area.

"Their actions are nothing short of heroic," says Knik Estimator Sean McKeown, but Pete is reluctant to accept the title of hero. "We did the right thing, the same that we hope someone would do for our loved ones in that situation," he says.

"Great people do great things," agrees Knik President Dan Hall. "I couldn't be prouder of these two men."

Tags: Lynden employees, Alaska, Knik Construction

Honoring Lynden retirees

Posted on Thu, Jan 16, 2020

We would like to recognize the following Lynden employees who retired this past year. We are grateful for their service and contributions to Lynden, and we wish them well on their new adventures!

Steve McQueary – Brown Line, 40 years
Steve McQuearySteve (photo to the right) started working for Brown Line in 1979 with a short break in between to serve as an expert for U.S. Customs in the ACE Truck Manifest Program. In his 40-year career, he has been a driver, dock manager, dispatcher, general and sales manager. "As we are a small company, I also assisted in accounts payables, loaded trucks, received freight, handled insurance, cleaned the kitchen and did whatever needed to be done. I have also assisted other Lynden companies with FDA compliance," he says.

In the 1970s, truckloads of frozen salmon were packed in 100-pound boxes, halibut was shipped loose on the floor stacked like cord wood and full loads of King Crab sections were common. "I haven't seen a truckload of 100-pound salmon boxes shipped in years, it is now illegal to ship halibut on the floor, and the halibut quotas have decreased by 80 percent from what they were in the 70s," Steve says. "The value of King Crab makes it difficult for most buyers to buy a truckload."

Other changes Steve has seen in his career: freight ships on pallets and all trucks have a pallet jack. "In the 70s, everything we hauled was floor loaded and we used hand trucks. Paper log books were used for hours, drivers were more independent as there were no cell phones, and it was at their discretion to call in, much to the chagrin of the dispatchers. That world no longer exists with cell phones, satellite tracking, electronic logs and truck sensors."

Steve's most memorable project involved Trident Seafoods. "One of their overseas plants had run out of product and shut down," he recalls. "Sixty loads were sitting south of Seattle that needed to be shipped to Bellingham in a 3-day period. I had no clue on how we would cover it, but said that we would. Trident had turned around a vessel that was already at sea to return to Bellingham to pick this product up. We worked with other Lynden companies, using as many rigs as possible and saved Trident money by reducing the number of truckloads and delivering it all on time. This was a great "One Lynden" example. I took pride that Trident trusted me to get it done and that, at Lynden, nothing can stop us."

Retirement will bring home and woodworking projects, fishing, camping, golfing and touring the country with his wife in their Mustang convertible. "It's been a great career," Steve says. "I've made a lot of friends and enjoyed being a part of the Lynden family."

Cherri Webby – Lynden Transport, 32 years
Cherri WebbyCherri (photo to the right) started her career in 1987 as a Customer Service Representative in Ketchikan. "We worked for Arrowhead Transfer and were agents for Lynden Transport and Alaska Marine Lines. Lynden Transport used the highway to Prince Rupert, then the Alaska Marine Highway system to deliver freight in Southeast Alaska," she says. "Alaska Marine Lines had one weekly barge that serviced Southeast." In 2002, Cherri moved to Seattle and went to work for Alaska Marine Lines as a customer service representative, later becoming the manager of the department. Three years later, she went to work for Lynden Transport as Director of Customer Service.

"The biggest change I have seen in my career is the streamlining of our processes to move freight," she says. "From receiving the shipment, to moving the shipment from the dock to the trailer, to the customer, it has become much more efficient." Cherri's retirement plans include travel and family time.

Gary Schmahl – Lynden Air Cargo, 22 years
Gary SchmahlGary (photo to the right) began his career as an inspector with Lynden Air Cargo in 1997. He moved into Quality Control as a manager of scheduled maintenance and ended his career as a project manager. He has watched the company expand from two leased Electras to 10 L382 Hercules aircraft.

"My best memory is bringing six foreign aircraft onto the U.S. registry from 2005 to 2019," he says. "I have been the Quality Control Representative for over 130 B Checks and C Checks since 1999 in Singapore, the U.K., Canada and elsewhere." A B Check is a two-week maintenance and service check, and a C Check is a six-week heavy inspection and maintenance check," he says.

Gary's retirement plans include outdoor sports and traveling. He has a winter home in the Ozark Mountains for fishing and a home in Anchorage to enjoy the Alaska summers. "I would like to thank Lynden and all its good people and leadership for the past 22 years," he says. "There has been a lot of travel (1.5 million miles on Delta alone) and plenty of new experiences around the world. I had a lot of responsibility and all the tools to handle the tasks plus the appreciation for a job well done."

Paul Willing – Lynden Air Cargo, 20 years
Paul WillingPaul Willing (photo to the right) has been part of Lynden Air Cargo for almost 21 years, first as Director of Quality Control from 1999 to 2007 and then as Vice President of Maintenance from 2007 to 2019. In that time, he watched the company grow from an Alaskan operation to a worldwide company. "I really enjoyed the aircraft acquisitions over the years in Singapore, France and South Africa," Paul says, "and working with the dedicated and talented professionals at Lynden Air Cargo." His most memorable project was starting an airline in Papua New Guinea. Paul will start the new decade and his retirement with winter travel and spending more time sailing. "I would like to thank Lynden for the challenges and opportunities," he says.

Bob Weeks – Lynden Inc., 16 years
Bob has played an important part behind the scenes at Lynden for the past 16 years. Starting as a CPA in the Tax Department, he worked on corporate tax returns and conducted internal audits of operating companies for compliance and other issues.

The audits sometimes took months and Bob enjoyed getting to know each company's processes and talking to the people. "Alaska Marine Lines probably has the most assets in the most places of any Lynden company. Keeping track of every piece of equipment is a challenge," he says. "At the end of one particular audit, they were able to locate every asset, down to one last container at the bottom of a stack during their busy fish season."

Looking back, Bob's biggest challenge was learning the foreign tax laws necessary for setting up Lynden's new companies in Papua New Guinea and Ghana, Africa.

Retirement will bring motorhome trips with his wife, Rena, to Arizona and national parks in Utah. "I will enjoy not waking up at 5:01 a.m. every morning," he says, "but Lynden was a great company to work for."

Oksana Begej – Alaska Marine Lines, 38 years
Fish Queen. That is one of the titles Alaska Marine Lines Human Resources Director Oksana Begej listed when asked for her career information. After 38 years, she is entitled to a little fun. Oksana started her career back in 1982 when multipage invoices were typed on electric typewriters. "We went through a lot of whiteout!" she says.

Starting as Office Manager in Seattle, she moved into customer service, dispatch and finally human resources. "My best memories are the fabulous people I have worked with," she says, "and my favorite project would be skeleton entry where we didn't have to dig through piles of bills of lading to see if a shipment was received. That was a total game changer for us and our customers at the time."

Now that she is retired, Oksana plans to enjoy more time with her husband. "Alaska Marine Lines and Lynden are amazing and have provided a wonderful career for me and benefits for my family."
Bob Weeks, Oksana Begej & Eric Linde
Pictured above retirees Bob Weeks, Oksana Begej and Eric Linde

Eric Linde – Alaska Marine Lines, 24 years
Eric Linde has worked in various areas at Alaska Marine Lines during his 24 years, mostly providing leadership and management of Service Centers or Maintenance and Repair (M&R).

One of his best career memories was the Ketchikan Bypass. "We had 100 custom 20-foot containers made that could carry 100K pounds of bulk cement and other bulk products. A new forklift design was required with a lifting capacity of more than 100,000 pounds. We built and assembled transfer system conveyors and bag houses along with a tipper system that assisted in the transfer of bulk cement products from the containers to trailers on the Ketchikan end. It was a BIG job," he remembers.

Eric also commented on the changes in containers over the years. "I watched containers get bigger and heavier – from standard gauge to 10' high and 102" wide with increased gross weights. We had to increase the forklift size and carrying capacity and ability to stack them higher. Then we had new barges built to carry the larger containers and handle the increase in freight volumes. It's been amazing to see and be part of Lynden's futuristic ideas that have become the norm here at Alaska Marine Lines," he says.

Selah, WA is where Eric and his wife have decided to spend their retirement years. Their home is on acreage with a shop for Eric to enjoy his hobby of restoring antique farm tractors and agriculture equipment. "I am an avid snow and water skier, so I hope to spend more time in those activities now. We also have plans to continue to travel and see our National Parks that we have not been to yet. It's been an amazing career at Alaska Marine Lines. Thank you for the opportunity to meet and work with so many great people. I feel blessed to have been a small part of it."

Bill Merk – Alaska Marine Trucking, 28 years
Bill MerkBill (photo to the right) has been a 'jack of all trades' serving as a warehouseman, driver, customer service representative, warehouse lead, barge and yard freight operator, and, most recently, Human Resources Coordinator and HSSE Manager for the Juneau office during a career at Arrowhead Transfer from 1991 to 1997 and Alaska Marine Trucking from 1997 to 2019.

"The biggest changes I have seen in almost three decades is the ongoing development of freight managing processes and the increase in opportunities for employees to grow within the Lynden family of companies," Bill says. "I am most proud of the success of Alaska Marine Trucking's continuing safety improvements."

Bill's retirement plans include spending time with family in Portland, OR and completing his second collection of poetry. He also plans to travel and rediscover the deserts and mountains of the American Southwest. "It has been a pleasure working for a company that takes such good care of its employees; I couldn't imagine working anywhere else," he says.

Paula Daggett and Lynden teamPaula Daggett - Alaska Marine Trucking, 28 years
Paula Daggett (photo to the right) retired from Alaska Marine Trucking in September after 28 years as a Customer Service Representative in Ketchikan. She is pictured with other members of the Lynden team at her retirement celebration. From left: Dan Kelly, Paula, Adam Anderson, Paul Haavig, Alaska Marine Lines President Kevin Anderson and Executive Vice President Alex McKallor.

Senior Aircraft Records Specialist Pat Logan and Director of Quality Control Jeff Pull also retired from Lynden Air Cargo in December with 18 and 17 years of service respectively.

Tags: Lynden, Alaska Marine Trucking, Alaska Marine Lines, Lynden Air Cargo, Lynden employees, Lynden Transport, Brown Line

Everyday Hero profile: Ray Henrichs

Posted on Thu, Jan 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 Ray Henrichs, Equipment Operator for Knik Construction in Alaska.

Everyday Hero: Ray HenrichsName: Ray Henrichs

Company: Knik Construction Co.

Title: Equipment Operator

On the job since: 1990

Superpower: Resilience

Hometown: Soldotna, AK

Favorite Movie: Heat

Bucket List Destination: New Zealand

For Fun: Snowmobiling and spending time at his cabin in Caribou Hills on the Kenai Peninsula

How did you start your career at Lynden?
I was working for a paving company in Kodiak. A guy that worked with me was finishing the season running roller for Knik. He said they had a few weeks of work in Skagway for a screed operator. So I went to work for them at 24 years old. I flew up there and met Jim Kirsch. I got off the plane with long, bleached blond hair hanging down my back and I think Jim rolled his eyes when he first saw me. I grew up in the 80s and was a hair band/metal band guy. I had the hair to go with it. When I turned 40, I had 18 inches cut off. After I finished that first job with Knik, Jim told me there was more work for me if I was interested. It was a great job for a young man and it paid very well.

What is a typical day like for you?
Depending on the project, I may be traveling to a different location. If I am onsite at a camp, I wake up, eat breakfast and get to work.

What has been most challenging in your career?
Dealing with conditions at job sites. We have sub-zero temps, mud, ice, high winds, shifting earth or rock. Operating equipment safely while staying on schedule to get the job done is tough. Being gone for long periods with your work crew is sometimes a challenge for your family.

What changes have you seen over the years, either in business, customers or technology?
The evolution of equipment and technology is pretty cool. I totally blame my parents for my career choice. They bought me Tonka trucks when I was a kid and now the trucks, loaders and dozers are just bigger.

What project(s) are you most proud of?
We have had some projects in extremely remote spots where it is hard to get a barge into the site. A winter job in Chefornak near Bethel stands out in my memory. Our assignment was to move almost a million yards of dirt in five weeks to build a new runway. We had to strip a pit, get building materials to the site while dealing with freezing temperatures and ice. Other projects in St. Paul, St. George and the Pribilof Islands were also memorable.

A few years ago we needed to move a hovercraft from Anchorage to the slope. We took it apart in Anchorage in the spring. Some of the parts are tiny stainless steel nuts and bolts that come in a drum. Taking it apart wasn't bad but we had to re-assemble the hovercraft outside in Prudhoe Bay when it was blowing and below zero. It took us over a week to do it, but we got it done.

In 1995, we worked on an oil spill response project in the village of Chenega, off Prince William Sound. Part of the job was in the winter, and the next part in summer. We built the dock, a road, cleared trees, built a pad and put in water lines. It was instant gratification to look at all we accomplished. Working for Knik is that way – especially paving jobs. You spend an entire year building what's under that asphalt, then you pave it in a few days. Everyone sees only the top 2 inches, but you know what went into building that roadway. Years later you can look at it and say 'I did that.'

Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
I have an adult stepdaughter from a previous marriage. She just moved to Idaho after graduating from high school. I grew up with four brothers in Soldotna. Most of my family moved down to Henderson, NV about 20 years ago, except for my dad who still lives in Alaska. He worked for BP for many years and just retired a few years ago. With five boys, we were put to work around the house – always had some project we were helping with.

When I was a kid, my family built a subdivision. I was hanging drywall at age 12 and digging ditches for culverts. We had a bunch of boys for free labor. My grandparents homesteaded in Soldotna in the early 1950s, so I grew up helping them build fence and bring in hay. I remember hiking down to the Kenai River and catching a fish with every cast.

I played baseball for awhile (third base and pitcher). My granddad taught me how to throw a curveball and a slider. He played in minor leagues in Texas in the 1930s. Once I got a car, I stopped playing and started working. I love cars. I had a 1974 Monte Carlo in high school. I bought a 1970 Camaro when I was in college and drove it up the Alcan to Alaska. At one point, I had a 1966 black-on-back Chevelle 4-speed with a 327 (engine). I am planning to attend the Barrett-Jackson car auction in January to see what I can find.

What was your first job?
My first job was working for my stepdad at a gravel pit. I learned my work ethic from him. I also worked in canneries, commercial fished a bit, worked at fast food and worked for the school district, doing the sound and light for the auditorium. I took anything that would pay.

What would surprise most people about you?
In 1984, I went to a specialty trade school in Southern California to learn computer programming. I graduated at the top of my class, but worked construction in Alaska in the summers and it paid more than an entry level job at Rockwell. I also disliked working indoors, so I abandoned that career. I am certified to program computer language like COBOL and Fortran. I was working with IBM mainframes, stacks of 16-inch disks and stacks of reel-to-reel tapes – all outdated stuff now.

I also like to cook and each year I host a New Year's Day brunch for 100 people at my cabin. I make Eggs Benedict and Bloody Mary's for all my friends their kids. I cook two prime ribs, two gigantic hams and use a couple hundred eggs to make the Eggs Ben. I have worked in bars before so I know how to mix drinks. I even worked the door at the Red Onion in Skagway at one point, checking ID and keeping an eye on things.

How do you spend your time outside of work?Ray Knik 1080x1080
I read a lot of books, do a lot of day and night hiking and spend time on my snow machines. I used to have seven, but now am down to three. When you work for a company like Knik, you work a lot of hours and basically just eat and sleep while you are at a remote project site. When you are off in the winter, you have time to really relax. I used to put 5,000 miles on my snowmobiles each year, but the snow isn't as good as it was and now I may ride only 1,000 miles a year. All my friends have cabins in Caribou Hills so we have a big circle that rides. I have been riding with their kids since they were 5 years old, and now we ride with their grandkids. I used to drag them out of holes when they got stuck, and now they are dragging me out!

What do you like best about your job?
I like working for a company that really makes me feel appreciated for the work I do and also gives me an opportunity to try new things. This year, I will be running an asphalt plant for Knik which I am looking forward to. This is a new job for me and I will be learning a lot while getting paid to do it. I also like the team aspect of working with other employees for long periods. We travel to projects as a crew and live in camps together for sometimes months at a time. The project managers are not above jumping in to help us out, which is another aspect I like about working for Knik. The managers get out of their employees what they put into their employees. This summer, we were shorthanded and needed someone to shovel and rake to help the screed operator. One of our managers was happy to help out. No job is below anyone at Knik.

Tags: Everyday Heroes

Lynden Air Cargo assists World Food Programme

Posted on Tue, Jan 14, 2020

World Food Program Africa projectThe United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) asked Lynden to fly its L-382 aircraft to the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) to assist after violent clashes between two armed groups left many dead and injured. Over a two-week period, Lynden Air Cargo crews made 18 trips to deliver 600,000 pounds of food, shelter and vehicles to 25,000 displaced people in Birao.

"This work was very special as our crews volunteered to go and rallied to get it done while showing compassion for the humanitarian efforts going on in this region," explains Jim Davis, Vice President of Commercial Operations. "We received the initial request from the WFP to fly six trips in the C.A.R. which is a country in Africa that we had yet to operate in. Our aircraft based in Accra, Ghana, was ready to respond to the request." After the six trips, the WFP immediately requested 12 additional flights. This was not the normal cargo Lynden moves, but critical supplies going to a refugee camp so remote that very few aircraft types can operate on the runway.

"We have the best crews in the world, no question. This project gave us all a great sense of pride in what our company does around the world," Jim adds. "To see the hands-on efforts and genuine enthusiasm for the work the crew accomplished was heartwarming."

Most employees stayed well past their scheduled duty days to see the project completed despite weather delays that extended beyond the original departure date. "It truly was a humbling experience volunteering for this work," says Captain Kyle Zerkel.

"This crew embodies the Lynden Everyday Hero spirit in parts of the world we never imagined we would serve when we started the company over two decades ago," Jim says. "Thanks to the following employees for their efforts during this campaign: Aleksey Alekseyev, Bill Kenney, Philip Ansley, Kenny Horwood, Milton Beaver, Leso Tshimologo, Rock Molanga and Kyle Zerkel."

"We could tell that the Lynden Air Cargo pilots and ground staff were driven by the humanitarian cause. They were experienced with the challenging environment and their knowledge of the French language was a big plus in communicating with the local staff. Thank you for the excellent effort," says Sandra Legg, WFP Representative in Bangui, C.A.R.Lynden Air Cargo World Food Program project

Tags: Hercules, Lynden Air Cargo, Relief Efforts, Lynden employees, Emergency Response

Quick action keeps customer’s shipment safe

Posted on Wed, Jan 08, 2020

Lynden International Delivery TruckLynden employees are known for getting freight delivered even when natural disasters present a challenge. When Hurricane Dorian was bearing down on the Bahamas and Florida last year, Lynden International Operations Agent Craig Wilson made sure the customer was taken care of. "Two trucks were headed from Chicago to a boutique in Palm Beach, FL to deliver stone fixtures. The customer was nervous about the location flooding, so Craig made the decision to divert the trucks to our Miami dock, hold the freight and then deliver when the storm passed," says Chicago Operations Manager Jason Hiti-Shannon. "Credit goes to our Miami team who, with little notice, made last-minute arrangements to receive the freight and deliver it after the storm. They also were on a storm watch and had their own shipments and personal concerns to deal with. The situation was a great way to show the shipper that we care about their business and protecting their freight." According to Giovanna Aquilino, Lynden's Senior Account Executive in New York, the customer appreciated the extraordinary effort and she expects more business from them in the future.

Tags: Lynden International, Lynden employees, Lynden Capabilities

Alaska Marine Lines delivers Together Tree

Posted on Mon, Jan 06, 2020

Governors Christmas Tree being loadedThe 2019 Together Tree, an 18-foot Sitka Spruce harvested from Revillagigedo Island in Ketchikan, was transported to Juneau by Alaska Marine Lines and displayed during the Alaska Governor's holiday open house. The tree celebrates the special relationships between the U.S. Forest Service, Alaska Native peoples, the state and rural Alaska communities. Pictured from left, Ketchikan Warehouse Lead Brian Anthony, Yard Supervisor Keith Nelson and Richard Finger load the tree into a container for transport.

Tags: Alaska Marine Lines, Shipping in Alaska

Celebrating 20 years of improvements at Red Dog Mine

Posted on Fri, Dec 27, 2019

Red Dog MineTwenty years ago, NANA/Lynden Logistics, LLC successfully bid and took over the onsite trucking services for Red Dog Mine near Kotzebue, AK. The services include hauling ore concentrates, freight and fuel for the mine, which is one of the largest zinc mines in the world. In the past two decades, a core team of 50 drivers and mechanics have hauled over 57 billion pounds of zinc and lead concentrates, 320 million gallons of fuel and 1 million tons of freight between the Red Dog Mine and port site 52 miles away.

"When we took over in 1999, we inherited tractors and trailers from the prior contractor and immediately saw an opportunity to improve the equipment to a more stable, environmentally safe and productive design," explains General Manager Mark Tatlow. "We switched from a 9-axle tractor trailer set with a dolly to an 11-axle trailer set with the rear trailer connected directly to the lead trailer. This allowed us to increase our payload from 170,000 pounds to 280,000 pounds. We eliminated the dolly and pintle hitch between the two trailers so they are connected by a single connection point for increased stability. We also added a solid lid to the trailers and eliminated the side dump doors to reduce dust escaping during transport."

In 2008, NANA/Lynden improved the trailer design again to increase payload. The 91-foot train with 12-axle tractor trailer sets allows hauling of 295,500 pounds of concentrate – 15,500 pounds more than the 7-axle sets and a 74 percent increase in payload over the last 20 years. "We've probably got the best ton-mile-per-gallon numbers of anyone in the country, even though the return trip is empty," Mark says. For comparison, the payload of a typical highway truck is about 40,000 pounds.

In 2000 the team switched to a single 25,000-gallon trailer for fuel transports, allowing for 10,000 more gallons of fuel to be transported with each trip. The tanker was overbuilt with external rings to strengthen the barrel and stainless steel to resist corrosion (see photo below).

Along with the improved efficiency of the mine operation, safety and accidental spill rates have improved dramatically. With only 15 incidents in the last 20 years, this represents a 342 percent improvement over the former operator.

"We are proud of our partnership with NANA and the shareholder and non-shareholder drivers and mechanics at the mine. Each day they safely and professionally operate specialized equipment in the harsh Arctic environment and have contributed to the dramatic improvements we have seen over the past two decades," Mark says.Red Dog Mine fuel tanker

 

Tags: Alaska

Lynden ranks No. 4 in Alaska's Top 49ers

Posted on Thu, Dec 19, 2019

Top 49er luncheonLynden ranked fourth among all Alaska companies in Alaska Business Magazine's annual Top 49ers listing. Lynden employees attended the luncheon this fall in Anchorage to accept the award. Members of the Lynden team are pictured above accepting the award.

Lynden also participated in a fundraiser during the event to support the nonprofit Alaska Resource Education group whose mission is to teach students about Alaska's natural resources. "We appreciate Lynden's generous donation," says Ella Ede, Executive Director. "Our curriculum encourages students to seek careers in energy fields in Alaska like oil and mining."

Tags: Lynden, Alaska Business Monthly, Awards, Alaska shipping, Alaska, Top Alaskan companies

Everyday Hero profile:  Kevin Gillies

Posted on Wed, Dec 18, 2019

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 Kevin Gillies, Managing Director at Lynden International Logistics Co. in Calgary, Alberta.

Everyday Hero Kevin GilliesName: Kevin Gillies

Company: Lynden International Logistics Co.

Title: Managing Director

On the job since: 2000

Superpower: Leadership

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta

Favorite Movie: Braveheart

Bucket List Destination: St. Andrews ‘old course’ in Scotland for 18 holes

For Fun: Reading, spending time outdoors and at the family cottage in Saskatchewan

How did you start your career at Lynden?
I began my career with Lynden in late 2000 through an acquisition of Livingston Healthcare Services which became Lynden International Logistics Co. Lynden is now a leader in the warehousing and fulfillment of pharmaceuticals in Canada. I have over 40 years of service in the Logistics business and Lynden International Logistics Co. is a complex business model in a highly regulated and audited environment.

I started my career in this industry in 1977 working on the floor in a warehouse for Seaway Midwest, a Canadian company handling distribution of consumer goods and healthcare products. In 1983, Livingston bought Seaway Midwest, and I worked for Livingston until 2000 before joining Lynden. I moved up to supervisor, manager and continued taking on more senior leadership roles. By the early 80s, I was working predominantly in the health care distribution world, where I have spent the majority of my career handling all types of products within the healthcare portfolio.

What is a typical day like for you?
Working with the Lynden International Logistics Co. senior staff to provide direction for Lynden, meeting with both current and prospective clients, attending industry events and interacting with the various departments in our corporate offices in Seattle keeps me busy. I have traveled extensively for more than 30 years primarily within Canada from my home in Calgary to Toronto (my second home), with occasional trips to Montreal, Vancouver and Seattle for Lynden business meetings, and to other locations in North America as required. With the support of Lynden International and Lynden Inc., we have been able to continue to grow the business, adding a fourth Canadian Distribution Centre in Milton late in 2014. We are set to open a fifth location in Guelph in the spring of 2020. Both of these new locations are in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

What do you remember most about those early Lynden years in the business?
The transition was very smooth for all the staff that came over to join Lynden. While there were certainly a few bumps, we had great support from the late Dennis Patrick, Randy Jackson and all various head office support groups. Working with Dennis on the sale was certainly a new and very interesting experience for me as the details were being worked out. With the assets of Livingston being divided between Lynden and UPS it was a complex sale (as most are) but I began to see what made Dennis tick and how he thought his responses through before he spoke. He would always explain why he did things in a certain fashion and my impression of a silver fox at work began to form.

What has been most challenging in your career?
Probably making sure we keep replacing our excellent staff with the same caliber of people when they retire or leave. When we became part of Lynden in 2000, we were excited to find that one of the key Lynden mottos, closely followed the Livingston motto, is that you are only as successful as the people you have working for you. Everything that we have been able to accomplish is due to our excellent leaders and day-to-day folks providing excellent service. They are all part of the puzzle that makes us work effectively together. When a senior manager, office or warehouse staff retires, you forget how much knowledge they have after years with the company. Our goal is to bring in good people to fill those roles, train them and keep the momentum going that we have created.

Audits are also challenging. Our industry is highly regulated and we are required to participate in around 30 audits a year, both for our customers and our own Health Canada audit at each distribution center (DC). Some are yearly, other are every two or three years. Basically we are asked to prove that we do what we say we do in terms of handling the products and keeping the product secure in a temperature controlled environment. They are checking our actions against our written Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for our facilities and client specific procedure manuals put into place to manage client specific requirements for their day-to-day business. It seems that our QA group is always preparing for, completing or responding to a past audit. Each separate audit can take multiple days of effort.

What changes have you seen over the years, either in business or customers or technology?
Just about everything has changed. Obviously, computers were just starting to come into their own along with online inventory tracking when I first started in the 1970s. Back then we tracked inventory manually with paper. It’s been interesting to watch the various stages of computerization develop and how it dictates our business. We are heavily reliant on the IT group at Lynden in Seattle and they provide excellent support to us. The facilities themselves have evolved into larger, higher operations with the reliance on technology continuing to grow with far greater inventory control mechanisms in place. The powered equipment is now all electric and propane is not allowed to be used in the facilities. The security around our buildings, vaults and coolers has increased and evolved into specific protocols with specs that track the temp in the buildings, coolers and vaults. In the old days, vaults weren’t much more than cinder block rooms in a warehouse, now they are much more sophisticated with layers of security in place.

Employee training has also increased and become more regulated. We need to train an employee on many procedures before they can begin work with us. If we hire a warehouse or customer service person, they may need to learn 40 procedures in the early stages of their career with us, and up to 100 after they have gained experience. Each procedure or training session takes 20 – 30 minutes, you need to pass a quiz and must be renewed on a schedule, either annually or each time there is a change to a client’s procedures.

What project(s) are you most proud of?
In 2009 we secured the fulfillment business of the Canadian Pharmaceutical Distribution Network (CPDN), a consortium of 25 pharmaceutical manufacturers servicing over 600 hospitals in Canada. Lynden International Logistics Co. provides an order to cash service and collects the accounts receivable on behalf of the CPDN manufacturer members. The hospitals can order from any of the CPDN manufacturer members or multiple manufacturers on the same order, the merchandise is delivered at the same time, on the same invoice and we collect and remit the money to the manufacturers. I am proud of this business and that we just celebrated 10 years of a very successful partnership.

I am also proud of the dedication of our staff. An example is a few years ago, we had a critical shipment out of Toronto, going to Montreal at Christmas. Our supervisor was on call 24-7 for any emergencies. A drug was needed for a critical surgery and no planes were available. The supervisor ended up driving the drugs to Montreal that night to make the surgery. There are many other stories like that where our employees stepped up and acted as heroes to get important medicine to patients and doctors.

Can you tell us about your family?
My wife Bonnie and I will celebrate our 40th anniversary this month. We have four children; three daughters and a son ranging in age from 37 to 29. When the kids were younger, it was a busy time at our house. I was traveling a lot during that time so I called Bonnie the taxi driver. I typically would go out on the road for four days and then come back on weekends and pick up the slack. Three of our kids are in Calgary and one is in Fort McMurray.

I grew up with two brothers and two sisters in a small town of 100 people called Plato in Saskatchewan. I look back on those years fondly. It was a great place to grow up.

What would surprise most people about you?
I spent the first few years out of school working on the oil rigs in northern Alberta and then as a hard rock miner working underground in Thompson, Manitoba. Once I had kids I started helping coach my daughter’s ringette teams. On the weeks that I was on the road for work, I would come home on Thursday and have up to 10 or 12 ice times in the next three days for practices and games. I did that for about 15 years.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
We have a cottage at Clear Water Lake which is an hour north of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. It’s a small, spring-fed lake about a kilometer across. I grew up vacationing at this cottage and my siblings and I shared it as adults. The original cabin was built by my father in the 1950s. We have now taken that out and moved another house onto the property. My wife and I now own it and use it from May to October with our children.

I spend my weekends and occasional midweek afternoon on the golf course for the past number of years. I’m a hack with a 12 handicap, hoping to improve on it, like all the other hacks. I’m also a Saskatchewan Rough Riders football fan and a Calgary Flames hockey fan and follow their seasons. Once a Rider fan, always a Rider fan!

What’s ahead?
I will be retiring in January 2020. We have traveled all over the U.S. and down to Mexico and have taken a number of cruises, but we will now have time to see the rest of the world. We would like to spend a few weeks or even a month each year seeing other countries. We plan to go during the off season, get away from the cold and see a bit of the world.

Tags: Everyday Heroes

Big modules headed to Big Lake

Posted on Tue, Dec 17, 2019

Transporting Modules to Big Lake, AKThese oversized modules were just a few of the total picked up in Seward for transport to Big Lake, AK recently. "All loads required permits or pilot cars," explains Brandon Bovy, Lynden Transport Operations Supervisor. "We sent four drivers a day for two weeks to move them all."

Kenai Service Center Manager Andy Collins worked with the state on approving permits, and Operations Assistant Mike Gaiser was on site each day to walk through the process with the drivers. "I also rode down one of the days to oversee the project," Brandon says. "We had a very tight deadline and specific times we were required to be in Seward. We used step-deck trailers and step-deck stretch trailers to move the loads legally over the road. Everything went smoothly thanks to the expertise of our Drivers Mike Allman, Jack Sorensen, Tolo Mauga and Vic Capala."

Tags: Lynden Transport, Alaska, Oversize freight

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