Looking back to when sunny skies drew approximately 1,000 employees and friends to the annual Lynden Picnic this past summer. Barbecued salmon was on the menu, as usual, plus 1,000 ears of sweet corn that arrived the day before from Kallstrom Farms in Ephrata, WA. According to Sandy Hartman of LTI, Inc., drivers and office staff shucked corn for most of Friday afternoon to prepare for the big day on Saturday. "The water slides and toys were a big hit this year," Sandy says. "At 4 p.m., when the games had to come down it was hard to tell the wee ones it was over." Lillybug face painting and henna tattoos were also popular along with wagon rides, the money pit, music and more. We had a great time at this family event!
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Twelve deserving students will receive financial assistance through the Lynden Memorial Scholarship Program for 2018. The independent scholarship service, Scholarship America of St. Peter, MN, selects recipients based on criteria established by the organization. Congratulations to the following winners who will each receive $2,500 for the 2018-19 school year:
Chloe Billingslea will be a junior at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, where she is studying Public Health.
Jake Butler will be a sophomore at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Marietta, GA, where he will study Aeronautics.
Jordan Craft will be a freshman at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA and plans to study Political Science.
Brooke DeBeeld will be a freshman at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA where she plans to study Accounting.
Briahna Gerlach will be a sophomore at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, TX where she is studying Social Work.
Parnika Godkhindi will be a sophomore at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, where she is studying Arts and Sciences.
Melody Hoza will be a freshman at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, MN, where she plans to study Sports Management and Criminal Justice.
Clarine Long will be a first year student at the medical school at Ohio State University in Columbus, OH.
Allison Rollins will be a first year student at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.
Natalie Smith will enter her junior year at the University of Portland in Oregon where she continues her studies in Nursing.
Andrew Spencer will be a senior at the University of Alaska in Anchorage where he plans to study Logistics.
Largim Zhuta will be a junior at Stanford University in Stanford, CA and study Engineering.
"Lynden offers these scholarships to children and grandchildren of our employees. This year's scholarship winners are very accomplished students and community leaders." says Gail Knapp, Director of the scholarship fund and coordinator for Lynden. "On behalf of all our employees, we congratulate these students and wish them the best of luck with their future studies."
Lynden Transport Driver Jack Sorensen was recently named the 2018 Alaska Truck Driver of the Year by the Alaska Trucking Association (ATA). Lynden drivers have been named Driver of the Year four out of the past five years. Lynden Transport Driver John Schank received the award twice – in 2014 and 2017 – and Alaska West Express Driver Brian Ambrose was recognized in 2016. Brian was named second place overall champion of this year's competition on May 19 as well as taking first place in the sleeper truck class.
Pictured above from left: Jim Jansen, Justus Uphus, Jack Sorensen, Brian Aszmus, Doug Longerbone and Brian Ambrose.
"We are extremely proud of the professionalism and commitment our drivers exhibit every day on the job, but also the knowledge and skills they bring to the annual ATA truck driving championships," says Lynden Transport President Paul Grimaldi. "These drivers are the best of the best. They must complete a written knowledge test, a pre-trip inspection and a skills course as part of their participation."
Jack has earned many first-place finishes in the annual driving competition in Anchorage and has maintained an accident-free record for 34 years. He has traveled to the national truck driving competition seven times over his long driving career. "Driving in Alaska can certainly be a challenge with moose on the road year-round, tourists on the road in the summer and extreme weather in the winter," he says.
Lynden Transport Driver Doug Longerbone took first place in the five-axle category, Greg Sims, seventh place in the five-axle; Brian Aszmus, fourth in the stepvan and Cody McFarlane took fourth place in the four-axle class. Alaska West Express Driver Joseph George placed fourth in the five-axle, James Elliott took third in the four-axle and Edward Tuia placed fourth in the flatbed class.
Lynden International employees demonstrated their teamwork at a charity event for the nonprofit Feeding Children Everywhere organization. At the Seattle event, eight tables were set up with a team of 12 Lynden employees who worked in an assembly line to produce bagged meals of red lentil jambalaya. The teams competed to complete the most meals. Lynden employees produced 20,000 meals, all of which were sent to Puerto Rico for distribution by Ranger Contigo, an organization helping those affected by Hurricane Maria. Lynden paid for both the event and donated the transportation to Puerto Rico. "Feeding Children Everywhere coordinated a great charitable event featuring loud high-energy music that really got our employees' competitive juices flowing. Everyone felt good about what we were able to accomplish," said Lynden International President John Kaloper.
Tom Greinier has been hauling fish for Juneau's salmon hatchery, Douglas Island Pink And Chum (DIPAC), for over 20 years. In fact, DIPAC has followed Tom during his trucking career even before he started working for Alaska Marine Trucking. "He's the reason we haul fish for them at all," says fellow Driver Brian Weokoluk. "They specifically ask for him year after year."
Not only have Tom's skills behind the wheel led to a long-lasting customer relationship, his commitment to working around DIPAC's schedule has fed Juneau's waters with predictable salmon spawn while supporting the fishing community.
Alaska Marine Trucking Driver Jim Cartmill is a member of the DIPAC Board of Directors. "Trucking live fish from one point to another is crucial in the hatchery's success," he says. "They're raised at Macaulay until they're about 3 inches long, and then hauled off to an ocean pen where they mature and are released into open water. DIPAC is a huge support to both our local and intra-state communities."
According to Brian, the reason DIPAC trusts only a select few to truck live fish is all in the gear shifting during transport. The drive must be as smooth as possible for the least amount of disruption to the fish. If the gear changing rocks the holding tanks too much during the drive, it can cause air bubbles in the tankers that may stress or even kill the small fish fry.
Fortunately, that's not a worry with professionals like Tom in the driver's seat. This spring he took some time to talk another of Alaska Marine Trucking's experienced drivers through the process for their first run to the Thane Road site with a DIPAC employee.
One of the many services Lynden International Logistics Co. provides to the pharmaceutical industry in Canada is shipping life-saving drugs to wholesalers, hospitals, clinics and doctors – often requiring after-hours emergency delivery.
On the night of Friday, Jan. 6, a call came into Lynden's after-hours emergency line from Health Canada requesting the immediate shipment of a life-saving drug that Lynden International Logistics distributes. Manjit (Johnny) Sandhu, warehouse supervisor at the Lynden Vaughan facility, responded to the call and drove to the Lynden International Logistics warehouse to prepare the order for shipment. When Manjit ran into a scheduling issue with the courier service, Lynden employee Janak Parmar volunteered to drive the product to the hospital even though it was six hours away in Montreal and in the middle of the night. The product was received at the hospital early Saturday morning, where it was administered to the patient. The patient's life was saved thanks to Janak's quick response and delivery. Health Canada contacted Lynden International Logistics afterwards thanking the individuals involved, and Lynden, for their prompt and life-saving response.
"Lynden would like to recognize Manjit and Janak for their tremendous service, but, more importantly, for their actions to help another person in need," says Brian MacAskill, Lynden International Logistics Vice President, Operations and Business Development.
Pictured above: Manjit Sandhu and Janak Parmar
Knik Construction's Pete Kaiser won his fourth consecutive Kuskokwim 300 title Jan. 21 in Bethel, AK. Joar Leifseth Ulsom arrived in second place with Jeff King following in third. With the victory, Pete did what no other musher has done in 39 years. While Jeff King has won three straight races on two occasions, Pete's four straight Kuskokwim victories earn him a spot in the history books. He also eclipses Mitch Seavey on the career victories list, trailing only Jeff King.
This year's race took a new route. Teams faced rough ice over winding tundra trails, frozen creeks and wide open lakes. According to Pete, it was a struggle to get traction on the 140-mile route.
"When it's icy, the dogs have to focus so much more on each step," he says. "It's mentally taxing and entirely different from a snow-covered trail where they can zone out and move along at an easy clip. Overall it was a challenging race for them and for me."
Pete and his team are sponsored by Knik Construction and Bering Marine Corporation each year. For the first time in six years, Pete trained in Bethel. The region finally received enough snow to support the demanding regimen Pete and his dogs go through each year to prepare for the Kuskokwim race and the annual Iditarod. It's also where Pete lives and works.
"We live out here and train out here, so we're a little more comfortable than most with the Kusko, but it was still one of the toughest, if not the toughest, races I've ever done," he says.
Pete is now focused on preparing for the Iditarod which begins March 3 in Anchorage.
Three Lynden drivers qualified for and participated in the National Truck Driving Championships Aug. 9-12 in Orlando, FL. More than 400 drivers competed in the event which is a gathering of the best-of-the-best truckers from California to Maine. Brian Ambrose of Alaska West Express took 15th place in the Sleeper Berth, Jack Sorensen of Lynden Transport placed 32nd in the Tank Truck category and Edward Tuia of Alaska West Express came in 41st in the five-axle.
Elliott Anderson, Project Engineer for Knik at the Red Dog Mine Airport, is a recent graduate of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). He and his former classmates recently participated in an annual Steel Bridge competition organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The contest is designed to foster excellence and ingenuity among civil engineering students across the nation and requires groups to create a bid document for a bridge complete with design and manufacturing specifications. Supported by Knik Construction, Elliott's group traveled to Idaho this spring to compete at the regionals and on to Oregon for the national competition. "Our UAF team placed tenth out of 127 schools from seven countries," Elliott says. "We appreciate Knik's generous sponsorship of our team." The UAF team is pictured above with Elliott at far right.
When John Schank started driving for Lynden Transport in 1975, he probably never imagined he would be named the Alaska Truck Driver of the Year, not once, but twice. The Alaska Trucking Association (ATA) presented John’s award this summer at a special event in Fairbanks. In addition to that honor, John was recognized for setting a new record as the first Lynden Transport driver to log 40 years of safe driving – 5,360,000 miles to be exact. Starting with the opening of the Dalton Highway in 1975, John has been driving one of America’s most treacherous roads: the haul road between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay. The haul road is known for extreme grades and extreme weather. John still drives the route today, making the 1,000-mile round trip twice a week.
"John is a true professional," says Lynden Transport President Paul Grimaldi. "He was named ATA Driver of the Year in 2014 and participates in the annual ATA truck driving championships each year. He received a letter of commendation in 2014 from former Governor Sean Parnell for his driver of the year award and from Governor Walker for his awards." He also received a letter of congratulations from Joe Marushack, President of ConocoPhillips Alaska, and Janet Weiss, President of BP Alaska, for helping these Lynden customers continue to safely perform their work.
"Receiving the ATA Driver of the Year again this year, along with his award for 40 years of safe driving for Lynden Transport, makes us all very, very proud," says Paul. The highlight of John’s career was being chosen to transport the 2015 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from Seward to Anchorage and from Seattle, WA to Washington D.C. "It was my honor," John says. "I stopped along the way for community events and met a lot of kids who thought I was Santa taking the Christmas tree to the White House. I’ll never forget it."
"For 43 years, John has been climbing behind the wheel and doing his job safely and as the quiet professional," says Lynden Chairman Jim Jansen. "He exemplifies the Lynden Everyday Heroes who consistently, efficiently and safely serve our customers. John has set the standard for drivers on the haul road with a spotless safety record. We are proud of him and his commitment to safety while driving in the most challenging conditions in the nation."