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!
These oversized modules were just a few of the total picked up in Seward for transport to Big Lake, AK recently. "All loads required permits or pilot cars," explains Brandon Bovy, Lynden Transport Operations Supervisor. "We sent four drivers a day for two weeks to move them all."
Kenai Service Center Manager Andy Collins worked with the state on approving permits, and Operations Assistant Mike Gaiser was on site each day to walk through the process with the drivers. "I also rode down one of the days to oversee the project," Brandon says. "We had a very tight deadline and specific times we were required to be in Seward. We used step-deck trailers and step-deck stretch trailers to move the loads legally over the road. Everything went smoothly thanks to the expertise of our Drivers Mike Allman, Jack Sorensen, Tolo Mauga and Vic Capala."
Aligned with Lynden's overall Green Initiative, Lynden Transport is staying committed to innovation and protecting the environment. Managing trucks and freight in urban areas is a challenge, since storm water runoff can create potential pollutants. At the Fife, WA Service Center, Safety Supervisor Keith Johnson and Director of Safety Steve Schultz have taken sustainable storm water management to new levels.
Trucks, trailers and forklifts may produce metal particles that are regulated as pollutants in many states. Oils and fluids are also heavily regulated. "There are strict regulations on these materials, and it is important to prevent them from reaching streams and rivers," Keith says. "We teamed up with a company called Enpurion on an innovative solution."
The goal was to achieve the highest level of compliance and reduce maintenance operating expenses. By performing a flow-weighted analysis, the team found a way to improve the performance of the catch basins while reducing the cost of treatment by one-third.
A cellulose-based material made entirely of organic husks was chosen for use in the catch basin inserts. The husks are treated with food-grade materials to absorb oils, heavy metals and capture particles. The material is a renewable and sustainable part of organic food production, so no new waste is created, and no potentially harmful farm products are present. The new program has also allowed Lynden Transport to reduce sewer cleaning and maintenance costs. Keith is pictured above with a handful of the husks.
"The savings exceed the cost of the entire storm water treatment program, so everybody wins. Our efforts to do the right thing are good for the company and the environment," Keith says.
Lynden Transport maintained its top spot among carriers by earning a seventh consecutive No. 1 ranking and its 23rd overall award in the 36th annual Logistics Management Quest for Quality Awards. The company received the highest scores among Less-than-Truckload (LTL) western regional carriers in the on-time performance and information technology categories and earned the highest overall weighted score.
“Although this is our seventh award in seven years, it is still exciting and gratifying to be recognized by our customers for the work we do each day,” says Lynden Transport President Paul Grimaldi. “Our industry is rapidly changing with the demands of e-commerce and the pressure of quicker delivery expectations. This award lets us know that we are not only keeping pace with industry changes, we are doing it while providing exceptional customer service. As always, credit goes to our hard-working drivers, customer service representatives, support staff and the entire Lynden Transport team.”
For more than 30 years, Logistics Management’s Quest for Quality Award has been regarded as the highest measure of customer satisfaction and performance excellence in the transportation and logistics industry. The results are the culmination of a six-month research project conducted by Peerless Research Group. This year, 4,975 ballots were cast by readers for the “best of the best” in service excellence across a number of criteria including: on-time performance, equipment & operations, value, information technology and customer service. To be a winner, a company had to receive at least five percent of the category vote.
Alaska 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.
Lynden’s specialized high-capacity equipment was one of the advantages Canadian Lynden Transport offered when the Supreme Group was looking for a company to haul structural steel beams from Alberta, Canada to Alaska. The Supreme Group is the largest privately-owned steel construction company in Canada with locations in Edmonton (Acheson), Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Vancouver and a U.S. location in Portland, OR. The company was awarded two U.S. military projects to supply the structural steel beams at Clear Air Force Station in Central Alaska and an airplane hangar at Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) in Fairbanks.
"Our equipment really sealed the deal as we can safely haul more weight," says Account Manager Sandra Darke. "We also have a mix of Canadian and U.S. drivers and, of course, Alaska is our turf and expertise. We have completed approximately 100 loads for the Clear project since September, including a few loads of nuts and bolts from suppliers in the Lower 48 up via QuickTrans." Materials for the hangar will require approximately 80 loads and construction should be completed by June. According to Sandra, the projects have presented several challenges.
"Our operations team has to communicate and coordinate with five different origin locations and we are required to spot trailers for loading in Saskatoon, Winnipeg and three locations in Edmonton," she says. "Our Edmonton team has done an amazing job keeping all the loads organized and meeting Supreme and the builder’s specific needs. The Lynden Transport team in Fairbanks has kept close contact with the builders to hold some loads and deliver as they need them."
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 Transport’s steady and consistent efforts at improving efficiency and reducing waste have paid off with real savings for the company and the environment. In 2008, Lynden Transport was the first and only trucking company in Alaska to join the SmartWay Transport Partnership and to earn the Green Star business award. Over ten years later, the company continues to improve and to see the results of these efforts.
"We started in 2008 with a complete re-evaluation of our line tractor specs for aerodynamics and reduced weight," explains Charlie Mottern, Lynden Transport Director of Maintenance. "With these changes we were able to dramatically improve our fuel economy and have continued to improve on these specs incorporating design elements into local and regional applications."
"Our trailer design maximizes payload and cube for the lane that it travels," he continues. "We have used heated and refrigerated trailers and all electric and electric standby for over 30 years. Wide-based tires and side skirts have been added in lanes that are best suited for those enhancements."
These changes have led to a substantial improvement in efficiency and emissions reductions. Since 2009, Lynden Transport has improved freight efficiency (measured in grams of CO2 per ton mile of freight moved) by 29 percent, miles per gallon by 43 percent, and reduced nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions by 63 percent and 81 percent respectively.
"We also work to reduce the time trucks spend idling by working with drivers and using automatic shutoff in areas where it isn’t a safety hazard," says Dallas Freeman, Director of Line Haul and Equipment. "We are partnering with the state to test hydronic heaters on our local trucks which allow us to shut the trucks off in extreme temperatures. Throughout the company, we have reduced the average truck idle time per truck by nearly 14 percent in the last five years."
Small changes add up to big savings in other areas as well. Nearly 20 separate energy efficiency upgrades at Lynden Transport’s facilities have led to an overall 37 percent reduction in natural gas use and 18 percent reduction in electricity used.
The Anchorage Service Center replaced all exterior lights with efficient LEDs resulting in a 30 percent reduction in electric use in the past 10 years. "Each year we pick a project, replacing old lights, adding motion sensors, repairing insulation. We even removed the lights in the vending machine," says Richard Hennagin, HSSE Manager.
The Anchorage facility also cut its heating needs by over 50 percent by investing in automatic thermostats and insulated dock shelters. The shelters prevent heat loss around the trailers when they are parked at the dock for loading and unloading. Lynden will continue to strive to operate in the most efficient manner with the highest regard for the health and safety of our employees and protection of the environment.
A cross-town move from one REI store to another went off without a hitch thanks to Lynden Transport’s Anchorage team and experienced drivers.
All retail merchandise from the previous store location in Anchorage was transported to the new, bigger facility in Midtown Mall within a few days. "Some of the gear was palletized and some of it was loosely stacked. REI even left apparel on the clothing racks and rolled them right onto the trailers," explains Northwest Regional Sales Manager John Husby. "The only thing we didn’t move were the lighting fixtures."
In addition to the store-to-store freight, Lynden drivers loaded up trailers at REI’s distribution center in Sumner, WA, with additional merchandise to stock the 50,000-square-foot space. Sumner is the usual pickup location for both Fairbanks and Anchorage REI stores. Lynden Transport drivers drop the trailers for loading at the center, then take them the rest of the way north via ship. Trailers for Fairbanks go via rail and are then intercepted for truck delivery to the REI store. Kayaks and canoes sometimes ride the rail barge, according to John, and Alaska Marine Lines barges are often used for larger freight.
John attended the store’s soft opening in January. "Everything was in the store and everyone was all smiles. "Lynden’s support for our relocation was invaluable to us," says Sarah Chadd, REI Logistics Supply Chain Analyst.
Alaska Marine Lines Vice President Jake Maenpa serves on the advisory board for Highline College's Global Trade and Supply Chain Management Program. He replaced Lynden Transport retiree Mike Oliver who served on the board for many years. Lynden recently contributed $5,000 to help fund the program's study abroad program to help students follow the supply chain internationally, domestically and locally. Students will study global transportation and trade in China and other locations. Lynden is one of six corporate donors funding the program.