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 (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 (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 (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 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."
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 (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 - 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.
Welcome to Lynden News!
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!
The 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 completed another Hercules modification this summer, installing a "Short-POD APU" to enhance the reliability and performance of its aircraft. According to Lynden Air Cargo President Rick Zerkel, the size of the project required Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval.
"It took about a year and thousands of hours to take the military data and convert it to an FAA-approved package, conform the kits, convert an existing Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), modify the airframe, install and test, then compile and finalize over 1,000 pages of reports and manuals," Rick explains. The project required support from multiple groups inside and outside Lynden Air Cargo, such as the staff from the FAA Aircraft Certification Office, engineering representatives, personnel from Lockheed and Kellstrom Defense, KF Aerospace and Lynden Air Cargo's Quality control team, engineering, publications, maintenance and special projects.
The upgrade kit provides aircraft operators with increased reliability, quicker engine starts, and reduced maintenance and operating costs by replacing the out-of-production gas turbine compressor/air turbine motor with a modified APU that will help standardize the fleet with the other APU-equipped aircraft.
Lynden Air Cargo is back in Papua New Guinea. "We are operating out of the capital city of Port Moresby and the city of Lae to support Exxon," says Captain Charlie Wallace. For the past several years, Lynden Air Cargo has been involved in Exxon's Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project to construct a gas plant and pipelines on the island. Lynden's Hercules aircraft are delivering heavyweight construction materials and other equipment. Charlie is pictured with Captain Eric Feige (far left) and Flight Engineer Bill Kenney (right). "This picture shows the flight crew with a local tribeswoman in full traditional garb," he says. "It's always exciting to be working in new locations and meeting local people."
Lynden Transport, Alaska West Express, Lynden International and Lynden Air Cargo, all part of the family of Lynden companies, received recertification as Green Star businesses at the Alaska Forum on the Environment event in February at the D’enaina Center in Anchorage.
Lynden’s Green Initiative Coordinator Anna Deal spoke to the Anchorage Rotary in February about the many environmental advancements made by Lynden companies. Anna’s presentation focused on how Lynden’s common sense approach to going green is good business and how small changes can add up to big savings for businesses and the environment. Her presentation was so well-received, she was asked to speak to the MatSu Valley Chapter of Rotary in Alaska.
Lynden Air Cargo is expanding its scheduled service points in Alaska to include St. Mary’s and Emmonak. Beginning April 30, Lynden will offer year-round scheduled air freight service on Tuesdays and Fridays to better serve customers and to support local industries in the Western Alaska region.
“We have traditionally served these areas with charter service to support seasonal fishing operations, but we are now proud to offer regular and reliable airfreight service all year,” says Lynden Air Cargo President Rick Zerkel. “Lynden Air Cargo has been delivering freight in Alaska for many years, and we know the challenges and terrain. We handle oversized loads and small packages alike with our scheduled service and flag stops to points in the Alaskan Bush. We can arrange the right flight to get cargo delivered to practically any village or city in the state.”Lynden Air Cargo’s scheduled service to St. Mary’s and Emmonak will begin and end in Anchorage. In addition to fish and general cargo, Lynden will carry bypass mail in and out of the two areas in its commercial C-130 aircraft.
Lynden Air Cargo also offers scheduled year-round service from Anchorage to Bethel, Nome and Kotzebue and flag stop service to other remote points in Alaska. Flights to Bethel are scheduled Tuesday through Saturday and to Nome and Kotzebue on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. More information on these services can be found at www.lynden.com/lac, or by calling 907-243-7248.
Lynden Air Cargo has increased its presence in the world market to include places like Papua New Guinea, Africa, and Antarctica. Because of its unique capabilities and its close proximity to Canada and the Northwest Territories, Lynden has been successful delivering oversized cargo to remote mining operations throughout the region.
Last year, Lynden Air Cargo received the Alaska Governor’s North Star Award for its long history of assisting in humanitarian relief and environmental disasters worldwide. Lynden was recognized in the Transportation and Humanitarian Exchange categories and was one of only four companies to receive the honor. For more than 30 years, the Governor's North Star Awards for International Excellence have recognized Alaskan companies and organizations engaged in successful international business and activities.
Lynden pioneered service to Alaska in 1954 and today serves customers in every sector of the Alaska economy, including energy, mining, seafood, retail, military and government. Lynden Air Cargo’s fleet of aircraft supports multi-national oil and gas exploration and production companies on Alaska’s North Slope through weekly scheduled flights and oversized cargo worldwide through charter flights. Lynden aircraft have responded to fires, earthquakes in Haiti, supported a peacekeeping mission in the African Congo and, most recently, mobilized relief flights to help those affected by Hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria in the Caribbean.
Lynden Air Cargo recently completed a three-month peacekeeping mission for the United Nations (UN) to ensure safe and legal elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It also established a new line base in Accra, Ghana, to provide parts and repairs to its aircraft serving the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.
"This photo (pictured above) is of our two planes at our new maintenance base in Accra, Ghana," says Jim Davis, Vice President Commercial Operations. "As our footprint increases in the MENA region, it has become important for us to build a line station facility with a large inventory of aircraft parts. This will save shipping costs, allow us to get the parts to areas where we operate more quickly, and improve our repair time which will have a direct impact on customer satisfaction."
During the peacekeeping mission Lynden's main operating base was in the DRC capital city of Kinshasa, but both Lynden planes were also positioned in other locations to help move cargo throughout the country and into Entebbe, Uganda, which is the regional logistics hub for the UN.
"One of the two aircraft was also temporarily positioned in Kenya to help move cargo out of Mombasa to Kalemie, Goma, and Kinshasa," explains Project Manager Rock Molanga. "Compared to the previous UN peacekeeping mission we supported in 2016–2017, this one was more complicated because of the current political and security situation in the DRC. The president has been out of mandate since December 2016 and this election was already postponed twice. The elections finally took place Dec. 30 and Felix Tshisekedi was elected president in the first democratic transition of power in the country's history." Over the two years Lynden was onsite, the elections were plagued by problems such as fire that destroyed the voting machines, militant attacks and an Ebola outbreak.
In addition to supporting the electoral process in developing countries, Rock is confident that Lynden Air Cargo will have many opportunities in the MENA region in the future. "The UN is present in most of the post-conflict countries in Africa." Lynden's aircraft capabilities are well-suited for the area because of the lack of infrastructure and roads throughout the African continent.
Lynden Transport and Lynden Air Cargo recently completed a joint move with a customer to transport a generator valued at $1 million from Kenai to an oil field near Prudhoe Bay. The photo was taken on the tarmac at the Kenai Airport and shows a winch being used to secure the generator onto the plane.
"We usually do these types of moves a few times a year from Kenai and deliver to various sites in Prudhoe Bay," says Kenai Service Center Manager Andy Collins. "The moves often consist of very high-value pieces of equipment such as turbines or generators. They move via air due to the value and delicate nature of the cargo." The Lynden crew picked up the generator at the customer's warehouse using a 53-foot step deck trailer which provides a smooth air ride and the perfect transfer height for the rear door of the Hercules aircraft.
According to Andy, Ralph Hemphill was the driver on this project. "He did an outstanding job," he says. "The move was completed without a hitch. We also would like to give kudos to Lynden Air Cargo Loadmaster E.J. Peters for his help."
"Antarctica was the final continent on our checklist," says Lynden Air Cargo President Rick Zerkel. "Now we can cross it off." Lynden Air Cargo has joined a short list of operators that serve all seven continents by starting a new project in support of an Italian Antarctic Expedition team doing research on the icy land mass.
The month-long mission lasted from Oct. 30 through Nov. 30 and involved carrying supplies from Christchurch, New Zealand to Italian base Mario Zucchelli Station and Phoenix Field at McMurdo Station, the U.S. base in Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica. According to Lynden Air Cargo Captain Pat Madland, Terra Nova Bay is about 2,000 miles and 7 hours from Christchurch, and Phoenix Field is 300 miles further south and about 8 hours flying time. "This was accomplished with an augmented crew to allow for rest," Pat explains. "We also carry a loadmaster and mechanic." The whole operation requires nine people on the ground in Christchurch.
"This high-profile project illustrates Lynden Air Cargo’s capabilities in remote locations," says Adam Murray, Director of Business Development and Marketing. "With 98 percent of the continent covered in ice, there are no cities or villages. This is another addition to our capabilities and we hope to provide this service next year and on an ongoing basis if possible."
The flight crew includes Captains Pat Madland and Thomas Lindberg, First Officer Josh Havel, Flight Engineers Bill Spencer, Clint Swanson and John Worley, Loadmaster Leonel Lopez and Aircraft Mechanics Travis Blaszak and Dan Spears.
"The cargo on the first two trips to Terra Nova Bay consisted mostly of helicopters. We carried two Squirrel helicopters on each trip. Since then, the cargo has been scientific equipment and food," Pat says. "Although it’s exciting to go to Antarctica, Lynden Air Cargo crews are used to flying to remote locations in challenging conditions. Antarctica closely resembles Greenland with its mountainous terrain covered with an ice cap. Much of the continent is around 10,000 feet high although we landed on sea ice runways at sea level. Most of our Lynden crews have been to six continents and it’s nice to add the seventh."
Lynden Air Cargo’s fleet of L382G aircraft now include fuel-efficient Microvanes that allow for energy savings as well as increased speed. Engineered by Lockheed and licensed to Metro Aerospace, the Microvanes are small aerodynamic components that are surface mounted to the aft fuselage, effectively reshaping the air flow around the cargo door and tail. They reduce total drag on the aircraft while reducing fuel and thrust requirements. The Microvanes are expected to result in fuel savings of up to 4 percent (up to 34,000 gallons of fuel saved per aircraft per year) depending on flight length on the Lynden fleet.
"This project supports our ongoing efforts to support Lynden’s overall green initiative," says Ethan Bradford, head of Technical Services for Lynden Air Cargo. "We assisted Metro Aerospace to acquire FAA approval for installation and now we have the first set of Microvanes installed on N405LC. We hope to install them on the remaining fleet by the end of 2019."
The first long-range mission to prove the effectiveness of the Microvanes was to Antarctica via Christchurch, New Zealand, to support an Italian research group. The Microvanes provide a margin of safety for these long flights.