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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

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

Lynden celebrates National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

Posted on Mon, Oct 14, 2019

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

Driver Appreciation Week 2019 - banana splits

Drivers in all Lynden companies were celebrated during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week this past September. Pictured to the right, Anchorage Lynden Transport Drivers enjoy banana splits during their break as well as thermal drinking bottles to take on the road with them. "Some Service Centers had barbecues or pizza. The goal was to fill the week with a big thank you. Unfortunately many of our drivers miss the activities because they are on the road providing unbeatable service to our customers," says Steve Schultz, Director of HSSE at Lynden Transport in Seattle.

Tags: Lynden employees, Drivers

Lynden employee climbs to new heights on Washington peaks

Posted on Wed, Oct 09, 2019

 

Lynden employee Patrick SloanPatrick Sloan, Software Developer II for Lynden Incorporated, has climbed Mount Baker, Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier all in one year with his wife Rachel and members of a glacier climbing group. He is pictured above at the Mount St. Helens summit in April. "We have summited three of the five Washington glaciers with this climbing group," he says, "and we represent Lynden by wearing our green jackets."

Tags: Lynden, Lynden employees

Horsin' around

Posted on Thu, Sep 26, 2019

Puyallup FairIn August, LTI, Inc. continued its sponsorship of the Mt. View Belgians draft horses and shows at the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden, WA. The horses are owned by Lynden Driver Dan Weidkamp and his wife Heather. The Weidkamps also participated in the Western Rodeo Parade as part of the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, WA this month. Pictured to the left, Dan is at the reins with fair board members in the back of the LTI, Inc. wagon.

 

Tags: LTI Inc., Milky Way, Lynden employees, Drivers

2019 Lynden Company Picnic attracts big crowd

Posted on Fri, Sep 06, 2019

Lynden picnic gamesLynden picnic

"It was nice to see a lot of new faces and old ones return to the picnic," says Sandy Hartman, LTI, Inc. Operations Specialist in Lynden, WA. "We start the planning process in January and, with a lot of help from a lot of people, it turns out fantastic."

Approximately 1,200 Lynden employees, family and friends were in attendance at the 2019 Picnic on Aug. 3, an increase from last year. "The weather was perfect," Sandy says. "Retiree Jeff Kok and his crew did an amazing job cooking the fish. Doug Gustafson celebrated his 40th picnic cooking the beef for us." Although Sandy retired in August, she vows to be back every year to celebrate with her Lynden colleagues which she describes as a "great bunch of people." Thanks to Lynden Retiree Ed Johnson for taking pictures for us again this year!

Lynden picnic face paintingLynden picnic train

Tags: Lynden employees, Company picnic

Drivers compete in 20th ATA championships

Posted on Fri, Aug 02, 2019

Brian Ambrose with Jamie Faria Benson 2019Alaska West Express Driver Brian Ambrose took first place in the Tanker Class at the Alaska Trucking Association's 20th Truck Driving Championships June 1 in Anchorage. Brian is pictured with Jamie Faria Benson of the truck driving championship committee. Brian has almost 40 years of commercial driving experience and has competed in the ATA truck driving championships every year since 2005. He has collected an assortment of trophies including three for state champion and best overall in 2015 as well as being named ATA's Driver of the Year in 2016. He will head to Pittsburg in August to compete in nationals. Alaska West Express Drivers Edward Tuia, Joseph George and James Elliott also competed in the June 1 Alaska championships, along with Lynden Transport Drivers Billy Mast, Doug Longerbone, Jack Sorensen, Jeff Clark and Stephen Hill.

Tags: Awards, Alaska West Express, Alaska Truck Driving Championships, Lynden employees, Lynden Transport, Drivers, National Truck Driving Championships

"Pam's Law" changes Washington payroll practices

Posted on Wed, Jul 24, 2019

"Pam's Law" was signed by Washington Governor Jay Inslee this spring, easing the burden on grieving families and payroll departments across the state. An amendment to an existing law "concerning an employer's payment of indebtedness" increases the amount Washington employers may pay the survivors of deceased employees. The previous law in Washington allowed Lynden to pay the survivors directly, but only up to $2,500. "Lynden Payroll Supervisor Pam Sorenson asked us to get a bill introduced in Olympia to increase the limit to $10,000," explains Lynden General Counsel Everett Billingslea. "We called it Pam's Law."

"The previous law left families unable to collect all of the final paycheck or unpaid vacation for a family member without opening probate or appointing an executor – a high and expensive hurdle," Pam explains. "The minimum of $2,500 doesn't go far with household expenses and funeral expenses." Lynden partnered with Senators Keiser, Van De Wege, Salomon, and Saldana to sponsor the bill. Senate Bill 5831 passed the legislature unanimously and was quickly signed into law by the governor. "It was a proud moment for Pam and for the entire company," Everett says. For more information on the bill, visit http://bit.ly/PamsLaw.

Tags: Lynden employees

Old friends reunite in Valdez

Posted on Tue, Jul 16, 2019

Marie Blood and family at Lynden Valdez eventA Lynden customer appreciation event in Valdez brought old friends together. Lynden Chairman Jim Jansen (far right) is pictured with Marie Blood, wife of Slim Blood, Lynden's first Alaska employee. Slim opened Lynden's first Fairbanks terminal in 1958 and established Lynden's early reputation for customer service. The new location was a WWII Quonset hut and meant drivers didn't have to unload their own trucks or stay overnight. Marie, her son Russ, grandchildren and great-grandchildren all attended the event in Valdez. "Between us, we could name every Alcan driver in the pictures in the #27 museum," Jim says. "Marie hosted dinners for the drivers when they arrived in Fairbanks, making them feel at home. She now resides in Valdez."

Tags: Lynden employees, Lynden History, Alaska, Drivers, Celebration

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