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Everyday Hero Profile: Brian Zweegman

Posted on Wed, Oct 20, 2021

Lynden is recognizing employees who make a difference every day on the job and demonstrate our core values, Lynden's very own everyday heroes! Employees are nominated by managers and supervisors from all roles within the Lynden family of companies. Learn more about the people behind your shipment.

Introducing Brian Zweegman, Welder/Fitter at Lynden Tank Company in Lynden, Washington.
EDH post (1)
Name: Brian Zweegman

Company: Lynden Tank

Title: Welder/Fitter

On the Job Since: 1995

Superpower: Exceptional memory

Hometown: Lynden, WA

Favorite Movie: The Bourne Ultimatum

Bucket List Destination: Alaska and Holland

For Fun: Attending my kids’ sporting events and activities, RV camping, traveling and trap shooting

How and when did you start working for Lynden?
I started working at Lynden Tank in March of 1995 when I was 17 years old. The Mt. Baker Rotary Club had a job shadow program and Guy Jansen, who is a member of the Rotary, brought me to the tank shop as part of that program. I was given a job that same day. At one point, I drove for Milky Way for about a year, and I also drove for LTI, Inc. for about a year and did maintenance. I have done many projects through the tank shop for various other Lynden companies.

What is a typical day like for you?Brian Zweegman, EDH
On a typical day, I start work at 6 a.m. and work until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. No two days are exactly the same. Some days I am running a press brake, bending up components used for manufacturing milk tanks. Other days I could be inspecting a coded/chemical trailer or welding up components or doing a final inspection before a new set of milk tanks hits the road. There are some days that I do a bit of it all. My daily tasks depend on what is needed and what is a priority for the company.

What has been most challenging in your career?
Currently, our biggest challenge is navigating through material shortages and delays in getting the supplies that we need to build a quality product that meets our high standards. Personally, one of my challenges on the job is that I am color blind so I cannot do any wiring.

What are you most proud of in your career?
Every time we turn out a new set of trailers, I think we (all the tank shop employees) are proud of the work we put into them. When I am traveling in Washington or Idaho or beyond and I see a set of trailers I am proud that I had a small part in building them.

Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
I grew up north of Lynden on a dairy farm that my parents still run today. My two brothers, my sister and myself all went to school locally, and we all still reside within 30 minutes of the family farm. Growing up, I was very active in the Lynden High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) and spent a lot of time working on Ag (Agriculture) mechanic projects in our school shop. I won various awards for these projects and also my tractor driving skills at both the state and national levels.
Today I still live in Lynden with my two kids. My son Case is a senior at Lynden High School and plays football and baseball. My daughter Maddie is a sophomore at Lynden Christian High School where she plays fastpitch and is involved in FFA.

What was your first job?
As a child of a dairy farmer, my very first job was on the family farm. When I was 11 years old I fed bull calves for a neighbor which was my first job off the family farm.

What would surprise most people about you?
I think a lot of people would be surprised to know that underneath my somewhat rough exterior I am a bit of a softie who wears my heart on my sleeve.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
When I’m not at Lynden Tank or watching my kids’ sports and activities I still work on my parents’ farm doing maintenance and crop harvest. When time allows, I like to take my travel trailer to new locations and explore new areas.

What do you like best about your job?
The first and most important thing that I like about working at Lynden Tank is my boss Len Kilmer. He is fair and honest, and he creates a great environment for us to work in. A very close second is the entire tank shop crew. They make coming to work fun, and I enjoy working with them all. I also like that no two days are ever the same which keeps things fresh. Very early on in my career with Lynden I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Mr. Hank Jansen. Those times produced great memories which I will never forget.

Tags: Lynden Tank Company, Lynden Employees, Everyday Heroes

Everyday Hero Profile: Jerry Crisp

Posted on Tue, Sep 21, 2021

Lynden is recognizing employees who make a difference every day on the job and demonstrate our core values, Lynden's very own everyday heroes! Employees are nominated by managers and supervisors from all roles within the Lynden family of companies. Learn more about the people behind your shipment.

Introducing Jerry Crisp, Regional Maintenance Manager at LTI, Inc. in Sunnyside, Washington.
Everyday Hero (2)-1
Name: Jerry Crisp

Company: LTI, Inc.

Title: Regional Maintenance Manager

On the Job Since: 1992

Superpower: Imparting important knowledge to the team

Hometown: Yakima, WA

Favorite Movie: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Bucket List Destination: Going to Florida to visit my brother that I haven’t seen in 12 years, traveling through the U.S. and holing up when I find a place with 80-degree weather year-round.

For Fun: Spending time with family and friends and traveling

How and when did you start working for Lynden?
I started in Sunnyside on Dec. 2, 1992. I was informed about the mechanic position opening by a friend that worked for LTI, Inc. I was looking forward to going from a small one-man shop working 24/7 to a shop that had a crew of three others to share the workload. Then eight years later, I was in the manager position overseeing six mechanics and four wash bay techs.

What is a typical day like for you?
Very unpredictable! I don’t think a day has gone by where the day went as I planned without a hiccup at some point. But I actually think I prefer it that way – it adds variety to the day.

What has been most challenging in your career?
The most challenging is trying to be ahead of operations in getting prepared for harvest and winter-time challenges. We have equipment that sits idle until we need it for the local harvest, and then we start prepping it about a month ahead of time. Winters are very unpredictable, so you have to be ready for the worst-case scenario.

What are you most proud of in your career?
Being able to finish out my career at LTI, Inc. To put in so many years in at one company is very rewarding.

Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
My family consists of my siblings, two sisters and two brothers, I am second to the youngest. I think most of my childhood memories come from living in Nile River north Naches, WA. It was the best place to grow up, fishing, swimming in the river and climbing the mountains was the best you could ask for.

What was your first job?
My first job was pumping gas at Eagle Rock in Nile (now it’s called the Woodshed). Hunting season was the busy time of the year with all of the hunters coming to get gas and food. They would throw their keys at you and say fill it up and park it for me. I guess I looked older than I was then!

What would surprise most people about you?
Well, I have never been arrested, and I’m a nice guy!

How do you spend your time outside of work?
I spend most of my time thinking about work, but I see that changing in the near future.

What do you like best about your job?
It has to be the people. We have such a variety of people – office staff, drivers, mechanics, yard crew and wash bay. A lot of them are either fathers, daughters, brothers, sons, uncles or cousins to one another. It is nice to work with all of the different generations of families.

Tags: LTI Inc., Lynden Employees, Everyday Heroes

Lynden first trucking company in AK to earn SHARP awards

Posted on Fri, Sep 10, 2021

My Post - 2021-11-22T115248.641Lynden Transport employees earned the prestigious title of being the first trucking company in Alaska to earn a SHARP award (Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program) from the Alaska Department of Labor Standards and Safety. The award is part of AKOSH, a program to promote safe and healthful jobs for Alaskans while recognizing employers who operate exemplary safety and health systems. Both the Anchorage and Soldotna Service Centers were assessed and found to meet or exceed OSHA's safety and health guidelines.

According to HSSE Manager Richard Hennagin, Lynden Transport has worked with the group AKOSH Consultation and Training Services for many years. "This partnership, and a strong commitment from our management and operations teams, has led to improvements in the Lynden Transport safety and health programs over the years," he explains. "Employees in all departments have shown their commitment to improving the safety and health culture. When you consider that our people have been able to do all this in the conditions we endure — weather, traffic and a pandemic — it is truly humbling."

Tags: Awards, Lynden Employees, Lynden Transport

Lynden mariners keep waters and people safe

Posted on Fri, Sep 03, 2021

Greta crew long shotLynden's captains, engineers, mates and deck hands do more than just deliver freight via barge, landing craft and tugboat. These mariners are the eyes and ears on the waters they sail, often being called upon to assist in emergency situations and to report on marine conditions for other vessels.

Just last month on the Kuskokwim River, the Bering Marine crew of the landing craft Greta pulled a man to safety after he fell off a seawall, while the crews of the Arctic Bear and Padilla assisted U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hickory with safe navigation of the river channel.

According to Brandon Leary, Alaska Marine Trucking's Bethel Service Center Manager, "I was getting ready for bed and my wife, Alyssa, actually saw the man fall in the river. I ran down with a life ring that I keep on my deck, and I had my wife alert the crew on the Greta while I assisted the man in the water." The Greta crew responded with a Jacob's ladder boarding device, then contacted emergency crews who met the tug on shore and transported the man to a local hospital.

"The City of Bethel would like to extend thanks and appreciation to the Greta crew," says Bethel City Manager Peter Williams. Police Lieutenant Jesse Poole also expressed thanks for the quick actions of the crew, which includes Captain Mike Dawson, Engineer Clint Mathews, Mates Chris Benny and Fred Haag, and Deckhands Anthony Augusto and Manny Belarmino.

"Those of us who live and work on vessels must always be prepared to expect the unexpected," says Captain Jack Rasmussen, Bering Marine Vice President. "We routinely perform safety drills so our crews know how to act and what to possibly expect during an incident. These drills are a regulatory requirement but also essential to protect our crews and equipment. We are proud of the Greta crew for their lifesaving actions in a Man Overboard (MOB) situation."

Another Bering Marine vessel was on the same river providing crucial navigation information so the U.S. Coast Guard could mark the channel with seasonal buoys. This is a yearly task as the channel changes each year.

"The Arctic Bear tug was running the river as soon as the ice went out this year," explains Port Engineer Steve Isaacs. "The crew developed a good track line by using a skiff they launch off the tug, help from locals in the area, and from Captain David Curtis on Bering Marine's pilot boat Padilla."

When the USCGC Hickory arrived in June, the crew reached out to Captain Chuck Gaffney on the Arctic Bear. He provided track lines for the 2021 channel and the location of shoals and sandbars to mark with buoys for safe navigation. In addition to Captain Gaffney, crew members include Engineer Sean Brooks and Mates Joe Pirak and Dave Smith.

Hickory Captain and Commanding Officer Jeannette Greene reached out to the crew with a thank you for the yearly assistance. "I sincerely appreciate your help with river information, soundings and shoaling each year," she writes. The Hickory crew marked buoy 28 with a small bear in appreciation of the Arctic Bear and its crew.

Tags: Bering Marine Corporation, Lynden Employees, Safety, Alaska, Ocean

Everyday Hero Profile: Gordy Lindblad

Posted on Fri, Aug 20, 2021

Lynden is recognizing employees who make a difference every day on the job and demonstrate our core values, Lynden's very own everyday heroes! Employees are nominated by managers and supervisors from all roles within the Lynden family of companies. Learn more about the people behind your shipment.

Introducing Gordy Lindblad, Facilities Maintenance Manager at Alaska Marine Lines in Seattle, Washington.
Everyday Hero post
Name: Gordy Lindblad

Company: Alaska Marine Lines

Title: Facilities Maintenance Manager

On the Job Since: 2004

Superpower: Always getting the job done

Hometown: Enumclaw, WA

Favorite Movie: Tombstone

Bucket List Destination: Taking all the grandkids to Disneyland

For Fun: Golf, playing with the grandkids

How did you start working for Alaska Marine Lines?
I had worked for Crowley Maritime for 30 years when Lynden took over the rail barge operation. I was asked to help out with the transition and then was lucky enough to be hired to help with the operation in Seattle and to help the Alaska Railroad with facility changes.

What is a typical day like for you?
I take care of 17 Alaska Marine Lines and Alaska Marine Trucking facilities in Seattle and Alaska. I work with managers and teams to maintain the facilities and handle repairs. I also do work for many of the other Lynden companies as needed, whether its docks, warehouses, offices or equipment like barges or tugs. Whatever is needed, I do it! I helped build the Petersburg and Haines facilities. Depending on what’s going on, we sometimes need to work around the clock dealing with weather and other issues that come up. I live in Enumclaw, so my commute is about an hour each way.

What has been most challenging in your career?
Making sure all facilities are maintained and safely operational. It can be a challenge when you are pouring concrete in the middle of the winter in Alaska!

Over the course of my career, I’ve had some interesting things happen like an A-frame building collapsed in Whittier under the snow and we had to repair it. We pride ourselves on doing as much marine repair as possible. It is tough to find marine contractors and repairs are very expensive. Before I was with Lynden a rail barge broke in half at sea and we had to figure out how to handle it.

What are you most proud of?
Building a new facility or upgrading a facility and the appreciation of everyone that uses it.

Tell us about your growing up years.
I come from a family of three brothers. We all played football, with one of my brothers going on to play for the Denver Broncos. I went into the navy out of high school and when I came out, I went to work on tugboats. After two years of being seasick, I went to work for Crowley loading rail barges in Seattle for 28 years.

What was your first job?
I worked nights in a brick yard when I was a senior in high school. My job was to run a cutter making different sizes of clay bricks to run through the 2-block long kilns.

What would surprise people about you?
When I was a kid, I always wanted to race boats and motorcycles. I did the motorcycles, but at 65 I actually had a chance to drive a flat-bottomed race boat. I was so sore afterward I decided it was not a good idea. It was a real eye-opener. Going 140 mph was way too fast for me.

Before working for Alaska Marine Lines, I had a roofing business and warehoused for Costco when they first started out doing hot tubs. I had a 20,000-square-foot warehouse and did all deliveries and warehoused for Washington, Oregon and California. I did 4,000 hot tubs a year.

How do you spend your time away from work?
I spend most of my time with my eight grandkids. I have three girls and five boys ranging in age from 3 months old to 9. I also play golf and have an endless honey-do list. We have some property in Enumclaw, and I have been ‘asked’ to build new decks, a green house and remodel bathrooms and bedrooms in my spare time.

What do you like best about your job?
By far the people. We have the most talented and hardworking people in the industry and wonderful support from leadership. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to work with everyone here at Lynden. I really believe anything is possible with the people here. It’s a workplace environment where everyone has input, and everyone is listened to.

Tags: Lynden Employees, Everyday Heroes, AML

Everyday Hero Profile: Bob Barndt

Posted on Fri, Jul 23, 2021

Lynden is recognizing employees who make a difference every day on the job and demonstrate our core values, Lynden's very own everyday heroes! Employees are nominated by managers and supervisors from all roles within the Lynden family of companies. Learn more about the people behind your shipment.

Introducing Bob Barndt, District Operations Manager at Lynden Logistics in Anchorage, Alaska.

Bob Barndt Everyday HeroName: Bob Barndt

Company: Lynden Logistics

Title: District Operations Manager

On the Job Since: 1987

Superpower: Taking care of internal and external customers

Hometown: Eagle River, AK

Favorite Movie: Tombstone

Bucket List Destination: Talladega Motor Speedway in Alabama to watch a race

For Fun: Spending time off the grid at his cabin, snow machining in winter and traveling in RV in summer

How and when did you start working for Lynden? Have you worked for or done projects with other Lynden companies?
I hired on with Lynden in 1987 at Prudhoe Bay as a foreman. Lynden was a contractor for ARCO at that time, and I was there for eight years. Over the last 34 years I have been fortunate to be able to work across all of the transportation disciplines with several Lynden companies. I spent 22 years with Lynden Air Cargo helping them get the customer base established in “Bush” Alaska, first with the Lockheed Electras and then with the Hercs. I was called upon numerous times to help out on project work, mainly in support of Lynden Logistics Services. One of the more interesting jobs I was fortunate to be part of was working in Russia for about a year on a huge oil spill cleanup project. My last four years have been working with the Lynden/UPS Projects team helping maintain our long-standing contract to move their bush packages all over the state of Alaska.

What is a typical day like for you?
These days I am working closely with our Lynden/UPS Projects team on the day-to-day challenges of moving 4,000 to 5,000 packages to over 600 zip codes and cities in Alaska. As we like to say…”Putting out Fires!” I have a great team to support me, too.

What has been most challenging in your career?
Not many that I can write about except in my early career with Lynden Air Cargo (humorous now). I was sent to St. Mary’s to help load fish on the Lockheed Electras and I had to sleep on a cot in a 20-foot CONNEX for three days. Little did I know that was the norm for working in Bush Alaska!

What are you most proud of in your career?
The many customers that I have helped over the years, both large and small. It makes me proud that I have done a good enough job that even as I transitioned from the different Lynden companies, they call me to seek out a transportation solution. See, we have the best Lynden employees in the transportation business, so it makes my job easy.

Bob Barndt at starting line with Quinn Itens Lead dogs
Bob volunteering at the Iditarod dog sled race in 2010.

Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
I am originally from Friedens, PA, where my folks were raised. Their parents were coal miners. My father joined the Army and met my mom. I was raised the oldest of seven kids. We traveled to many bases before I joined the Navy. I spent four years as a Torpedomen’s Mate. Then I moved back to Alaska and started my new career in the Oil Patch. This is where I was hired on with Lynden.

What was your first job?
I had paper routes, mowed lawns and was a grocery bagger at the base commissary. I also had a job as a short-order cook at a local rod and gun club in Hanau, Germany. I look back at that job as being my first real paycheck job, and I would love to do it again!

What would surprise most people about you?
I actually wanted to be a professional bowler when I graduated from high school. Also, for you bowlers, my high is 299! When I met my bride and told her this, she said ‘DORK!’

How do you spend your time outside of work?
I spend my time with my bride Ann and family at our cabin snow machining in the winter and traveling in our motorhome in the summer. Being an “Off Grid” cabin owner and serving as part-time carpenter, plumber, electrician and all-around handyman is fun and actually therapy for me.

What do you like best about your job?
Absolutely 100 percent the people! There is no doubt in my mind Lynden has the best employees in this business!

Tags: Lynden Employees, Lynden Logistics, Everyday Heroes

Everyday Hero Profile: Mike Manley

Posted on Mon, Jun 21, 2021

Lynden is recognizing employees who make a difference every day on the job and demonstrate our core values, Lynden's very own everyday heroes! Employees are nominated by managers and supervisors from all roles within the Lynden family of companies. Learn more about the people behind your shipment.

Introducing Mike Manley, Sales Account Manager at Canadian Lynden Transport in Calgary, Alberta.

Mike ManleyName: Mike Manley

Company: Canadian Lynden Transport

Title: Sales Account Manager

On the Job Since: 2005

Superpower: Calm in the face of adversity

Hometown: Calgary

Favorite Movie: Firefly

Bucket List Destination: The Caribbean

For Fun: Visit family, golf

How did you start working for Canadian Lynden Transport? Have you worked for or done projects with other Lynden companies?
I have been in the trucking industry since 1985, I have done everything but drive trucks. In 2003 I spent one year in the U.S. working and living in Las Vegas then came home and was looking for a job, I was hired by Walter Rakiewich and Doc Willigar out of Edmonton. I also spent five years working on the Kearl Lake Project with Lynden Canada from 2011 to 2016.

What is a typical day like for you?
My official title is Sales Account Manager, however we are in a little different situation in Calgary as there are only two of us here, so not only do I have my sales duties but I also help out with operations doing billing, tracking, customs paperwork, loading and unloading trailers. I’m here between 7:30 and 8 a.m. and we can be here as late as 8 p.m. but we are generally done by 5 p.m. I have about a 30-minute commute one way.

What has been most challenging in your career?
Growing and adapting to the technology and learning the new systems.

What are you most proud of in your career?
Developing relationships both within the company and with our long-standing customers, as well as being part of the very successful Kearl Lake Project.

Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
I’m the oldest of 9 children. I was born and grew up in Salt Lake City and moved around the U.S. until I was 12. My Dad went to Princeton University, then got a job at the University of Calgary and I have been in Calgary ever since. I enjoyed most sports, did some camping and enjoyed the outdoors while I was growing up.

What was your first job?
My first job was delivering newspapers. I had to get up at 5 a.m. and deliver them before school.

What would surprise most people about you?
I was a chocolatier for 10 years and had my own chocolate manufacturing business. The company was Renaissance Chocolates. We made a variety of chocolates and candies from peanut brittle to truffles. It was a family business. My uncle started Dilletante Chocolates in Seattle and he trained me. We had to decide to go big or sell it, so we sold it. I was young with no money so trucking it was.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
These days it’s mostly with family or enjoying an occasional round of golf. I’m just a recreational golfer. I’m about a 20 handicap. I don’t really do many tournaments; just like to get out with friends.

What do you like best about your job?
The company has always treated me well, and I really enjoy working with the other folks from around the different Lynden companies.    

Tags: Lynden Employees, Lynden Transport, Everyday Heroes

Everyday Hero Profile: Rae Rhodes

Posted on Fri, May 21, 2021

Lynden is recognizing employees who make a difference every day on the job and demonstrate our core values, Lynden's very own everyday heroes! Employees are nominated by managers and supervisors from all roles within the Lynden family of companies. Learn more about the people behind your shipment.

Introducing Rae Rhodes, Customer Service Representative at Alaska Marine Trucking in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Everyday Hero (1)-1
Name: Rae Rhodes

Company: Alaska Marine Trucking

Title: Customer Service Representative

On the Job Since: 1998

Superpower: Personifying customer service

Hometown: Ketchikan, AK

Favorite Movie: Anything with John Wayne

Bucket List Destination: South Africa

For Fun: Boating, fishing and bonfires on the beach

How did you start working for Alaska Marine Trucking?
I actually started working at Arrowhead Transfer in Ketchikan in 1996, then in 1998, we became Alaska Marine Trucking. Dave Curtis is the one who urged me to apply for the job after I left Boyer Alaska Barge Lines, and here I am, 25 years later!

What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day is filled with doing what I enjoy doing – being the face of Customer Service. Whether on the phone or up front and personal with a customer at the counter, or assisting our team of drivers, dispatch or our guys in the warehouse… It's all Customer Service.

What has been most challenging in your career?
In all honesty, change has been the most challenging. In my years here, there have been some very minor and some very major ones.

What are you most proud of in your career?
I'm proud of all aspects of my career, but if I had to pick just one, it would be the ability to treat each customer as an individual with individual needs, knowing that they are the reason we are here. A smile goes a long way.

Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
I'm the youngest of five. I was born in Ketchikan, as were my siblings, and have lived my entire life in this little town by the sea. I grew up at the end of the road on the "South End" of town, where I learned to love the ocean and all things to do with it. In my younger years, there was no reason to go to town as I had everything right there in my front yard. My fondest memories, whether old or new, have to do with being on the water. I married my high school sweetheart, Jay, and we've been married for 37 years.

What was your first job?
Believe it or not, Ketchikan at one time, a very long time ago, had a Kentucky Fried Chicken! That was my first job.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
In the spring, I like to put my hanging baskets together, and attempt to get a few veggies in the garden all the while looking out at the ocean, checking the weather, wondering when the first trip out on the boat will be. My days of summer are spent waiting for Friday at 5 p.m. to roll around so we can cast off the lines from the dock and spend the weekend On Holiday, as I like to say, fishing, shrimping, and hanging out on a beach around a beach fire. Since I'm the one at the wheel finding the holes to drop the shrimp pots, I'm either a "Hero or a Zero!" The best part of all of this is your cell phone is only good for one thing – taking pictures! Nothing makes me or Jay happier than a weekend on the boat. Fall rolls around and it's always a bit sad, as it means that the time has come to get the boat ready for the winter, but then thoughts turn to vacation and the longing for some sun, sand and heat sets in (again, the whole ocean thing!). Once we're back and settled in for the winter, hibernation begins, all the while waiting for spring to roll around again.

What do you like best about your job?
The people.

Tags: Alaska Marine Trucking, Lynden Employees, Everyday Heroes

Employees compete in sled dog races

Posted on Fri, Apr 30, 2021

Knik employee blog, sled dog racesCongratulations to Lynden-sponsored racers and Knik Construction employees Richie Diehl (above right) and Pete Kaiser (left), taking first and second place respectively in the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race in February. The race route was changed this year to avoid contact with three remote villages for COVID-19 precautions. Richie won on the revised course with a record-breaking time of 36 hours and 8 minutes.

"This is a race I grew up on, and I love it. It's the biggest accomplishment in my mushing career right now," he says. Due to a schedule change he was also able to compete in and won the Bogus Creek 150 sled dog race three weeks earlier, which is customarily held the same weekend as the Kuskokwim 300.

Lynden Air Cargo transporting race dogsIn March, Knik employees Richie, Pete and Dakota Schlosser all battled harsh, negative degree weather while competing in the 2021 Iditarod. Richie placed ninth in his ninth race outing. Pete, who won the race in 2019, was forced to scratch out of precaution for his dog team's health. Dakota finished 35th in his first Iditarod race. The Iditarod course was also shortened this year due to COVID-19 restrictions with start and end points in Willow, AK. After the race, Lynden Air Cargo donated space on its Hercules aircraft for Iditarod race dogs flying from McGrath back to Anchorage. Pictured right, race dogs are carefully loaded into the back of the Herc.

In addition to his race wins, Richie has a new beer named after him at Old Man Rush Brewery in Eagle River, AK. The new IPA is called the Real Diehl. "We wanted to give Richie some help and sponsor him in some way," says Reid McDonald, owner of the brewery.

Tags: Lynden Employees, Alaska, Knik Construction, Community

Everyday Hero Profile: Alfred Blum

Posted on Tue, Apr 20, 2021

Lynden is recognizing employees who make a difference every day on the job and demonstrate our core values, Lynden's very own everyday heroes! Employees are nominated by managers and supervisors from all roles within the Lynden family of companies. Learn more about the people behind your shipment.

Introducing Alfred Blum, Warehouse Associate - Detailed Receiver at Lynden International Logistics in Delta, British Columbia.

Alfred Blum, EDH croppedName: Alfred Blum

Company: Lynden International Logistics, Delta, British Columbia

Title: Warehouse Associate - Detailed Receiver

On the Job Since: 1980

Superpower: Perfect Attendance

Hometown: Vancouver, B.C.

Favorite Movie: Rambo: First Blood

Bucket List Destination: Thailand

For Fun: Golf, landscaping, BBQ and smoking meats

How did you start your career at Lynden?
I started my career working for Johnson & Johnson and other companies. Then Livingston came in and I worked for them until they were bought out by Lynden. Now I have 41 years of seniority overall and the last 20 years with Lynden. With the change, I knew the work would be different products, but I was confident that I would adapt. I've been through a lot of managers over four decades and never been called into office for discipline or issues. After the buyout everything stayed the same with the business, we just had new clients.

What is a typical day like for you?
I get up at 5 a.m. and my shift starts at 6:30. I work four 10-hour shifts Monday through Thursday. First, I unlock the cages and bay doors and then the trucks show up for morning deliveries. We load and wrap pallets, I unload the truck, and do all the paperwork to put the product away. Afternoon is crunch time for CPDN (spell out) orders to go out. I assist with picking orders. With CPDN it's all different drugs for around 20 different clients. Before CPDN, we were shipping for Abbott and Johnson & Johnson products, so we warehoused soaps, toothbrushes, hygiene products, drinks like Boost and Ensure. Now we have a 50,000-square-foot warehouse and most of our product is pharmaceuticals. Our warehouse incudes a drive-in cooler at 2 to 8 degrees, an ambient area at 15 to 30 degrees and a walk-in freezer to store ice packs for packaging of our cold chain vaccine products.

Monday and Tuesday are big days for drug receiving from Ontario. On a typical Monday we get 15 skids, Tuesday might be 8, then cold-chain products. Cold chain comes on refrigerated truck from drug companies in Ontario and Vaughan. Some products don't move that often, some move within days. But all of the shipments are high value. One vial can be worth $30,000. When you pick orders, it prints out an invoice and you can see how much the order is work. Sometimes a $650,000 shipment will fit into three small boxes destined to a hospital or cancer clinic.

What has been most challenging in your career?
Probably keeping up with the volume of shipments. We'll get orders from 1 to 3 p.m. which is the busiest time of day for the drugs. Pharmacies, clinics and hospitals place their orders and our last truck leaves at 5 p.m. to deliver to a flight or to get it delivered next day all over B.C. It's a crunch to get the orders checked, packed, labeled, put onto pallets and shipped. You don't want to fail. We have a team that does this and if they are swamped, we all stop what we're doing and pitch in. I don't think we have ever failed, but there have been times we begged the driver to stay until 5:15 p.m. to get it all on the truck.

What are you most proud of in your career or your most memorable project?
A few years ago, we had an account with the center for disease control called BBC up here. It's like the CDC in the states. I was on call 24-7 for rabies vaccines for the BBC. Mostly it was children who would come in contact with a bat or a wild animal. I would get four to five calls a week to come in after hours (usually at 2 to 3 a.m.) to fulfill emergency orders for hospitals. I did that for five years. The only time I missed a call was when I was on holiday. I would get the call, drive to the warehouse, pick the order, pack it and sometimes drive it myself to the doctor, other times I would contact a carrier to pass it on. I am still the go-to guy for CPDN emergency shipments. I am also the designated first aid contact for my work group.

Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
I was born in and lived in Vancouver until I graduated from high school in 1979. Then I moved to New Westminster where I met my wife Earlena. We were both employed by Johnson & Johnson and Abbott Laboratories. We've been together 30-plus years. We have a 25-year-old daughter Madison and a 22-year-old son Austin. My father passed away 26 years ago, and I miss him. We went duck and goose hunting for many years in Saskatchewan. My mom is 97 and lives in an independent living facility. I visit her three times a week. She just gave up driving a few years ago.

In school, I was an average student. I had to work for my grades. I graduated from David Thompson Secondary in 1979. All through school I played rugby and tennis. My dad was a baseball coach with community baseball, and he coached me from little league until I was 15. I played Babe Ruth league, until age 17, then tried one season of mens hardball. I wasn't comfortable doing that so started playing men's fastpitch and played that competitively for 6 or 7 years. I then joined slo-pitch and played on the same team, the Homegrown, for 22 years. My position was shortstop and left field. My wife played on the team, too. I now play golf almost every weekend and shoot in the mid-90s.

What was your first job?
A paper route, but I had to get up at 4 a.m. and ride my bike a long way to get the papers, so my parents made me quit. I then worked for a company called Evergreen Press. It was a local newspaper. I would go to the press building where they printed the paper and put strapping around the bundles on the conveyor belt. I did that for six months, then I got a job at Fletcher's Meat Packers. It was brutal and I didn't last long. I then started my career path with Johnson & Johnson that lead me to LILCO.

What would surprise most people about you?
I have perfect attendance. In 41 years, I have never missed a day of work.

What are you most proud of?
I feel proud that both our children have never been in trouble. They were great kids growing up, always respectful. Both of them were dream children. I would hear about other parents dealing with problems with their kids and feel so grateful that ours didn't have any issues. My son is into sports, played football all his life, peewee to high school, and my daughter is an avid runner and earned her black belt in Tae Kwon Do at age 12. Both work and still live at home. My son is a fourth-year plumber and about to earn his Red Seal which means you are qualified in plumbing, gas and electrical to work anywhere in the world.

I am also proud of what we have accomplished with the money we make. We are not rich, but I'm happy that we have a beautiful home and a good life.

What do you do outside of work?
I enjoy landscaping and taking care of our front yard. We have a manicured Japanese garden and topiary in the front. We moved into the house 21 years ago and brought it back to life. My wife and I do it together on Saturday afternoon and it's very relaxing. Then we sit on the back deck with a bottle of wine. We have a core group of friends, 4 different couples, that get together once every two weeks. We'll have dinner and then go to the pub 'meat draw.' They sell tickets for a package of ribs, steaks or a roast from Costco and then call the winning ticket. There may be 100 people entered. This may be a uniquely Canadian thing!

We also watch NFL football and consider the Seattle Seahawks our home team since they are the most local for us. My son likes Pittsburgh. When we go out to the pub with our friends hockey is always on the TV. But I don't care about hockey.

What kind of music do you like?
Neil Diamond, Simply Red, Michael Jackson, Queen and many other bands and artists. I used to play piano and my son dabbles in guitar.

Favorite hobby?
I BBQ quite often. Our back deck has a gazebo so I can cook in all weather. I also have a Big Chief Smoker. My friends do, too, so we all buy salmon and have a smoke off at my house, using our various recipes. You can sometimes buy a Sockeye Salmon off the boats for $15. My special recipe includes brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, Worcestershire, garlic powder, red wine and onion. I use hickory or alder wood. We start the smokers at 10 a.m., then they go home and usually come back at 3 p.m. to enjoy the finished product. We have a few drinks and swap smoked salmon with each other.

Tags: Lynden Employees, Everyday Heroes