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Winter weather challenges Lynden drivers

Posted on Tue, Mar 21, 2017

Moses Lake snow drift 2-213617-edited.jpg

Milky Way Driver Mike Jalomo calls it the winter that never ends. Another driver said, "I’ve thrown on more jewelry (truck chains) in the last month than most people put on in a lifetime."

Winter is never an easy season for the transportation industry, but some years are more challenging than others. "It feels like Mother Nature hasn’t backed down this year," says Kevin Greiner, Central Milk Dispatcher in Lynden, WA. From freezing rain and mountain pass closures to high winds and towering snow drifts, it’s been a tough few months for Lynden employees.

"We have seen close to 24 inches of snow at one time in Whatcom county this year but when the Northeast wind out of Canada blows 50-60 mph for a week straight, 2 inches of snow can drift up to 8 feet really quickly. At that point the county essentially shuts down," Kevin explains. "The only way we are able to get around is to put our own snowplow to work to open roads up."

To prepare for winter each year, LTI, Inc. incorporates winter driving awareness into monthly safety meetings starting in September. Everyone takes chain-up refresher classes – from brand new drivers with no mountain pass experience to 40-year veteran drivers. Coming to work prepared is heavily promoted in anticipation of the first snowfall.

"Mother Nature never sends us an email saying that a storm is headed our way," Kevin says. “We try to watch forecasts as much as possible but sometimes you go to bed and everything is normal only to wake up to the wind howling and the snow blowing sideways. Our LTI, Inc. team is made of professionals who understand that rain or shine, commodities still need to get there."

Driver safety is always a concern. If conditions warrant, two drivers will be sent out in one truck so the primary driver has a spotter and an extra set of hands. According to Kevin, "Our line of work is more than just getting in the truck and driving down the road. Local farm pickup drivers could be in and out of the truck 20 times during a shift so we really stress the importance of slowing down. Making smart decisions instead of knee jerk reactions when things get tough is what sets us apart from our competition."

Lynden is known for having some of the best drivers in the industry. "They are seasoned, know the local areas, and know exactly what to watch for when they are out in the field. We always tell new hires that this is a 24/7 company and the cows don’t care that it’s Christmas. As a company, we do a really good job of focusing on our critical customers and areas."

Mike Jalomo was stranded on the west side of Washington when both mountain passes closed. He laid over in Mount Vernon and went to work helping out Whatcom County drivers on their routes until he could make it back over to home base in Moses Lake. "I don’t think the average person realizes how much it takes to get the milk over the pass," he says. "We don’t have the luxury of sitting out a storm."

"Mike and so many others are all stars who have gone above and beyond this winter," Kevin says. "The LTI, Inc. office in Lynden, WA lost power in January for about six hours and several administrative employees were still here working. At the beginning of January, there was a record snowfall in Caldwell, ID and Jason Jansen and Bob Griggs both suited up in insulated coveralls and rode around with Milky Way’s Caldwell drivers helping chain up and navigate roads until 2 a.m."

"Our drivers and the team supporting them did the extraordinary, working safely through tough conditions and long hours to serve our customers," says Lynden CEO Jon Burdick. "I’m proud of their dedication and what they accomplished."

Tags: LTI Inc., Winter conditions, Milky Way, Drivers

LTI, Inc. receives third consecutive EPA SmartWay Excellence Award

Posted on Mon, Oct 19, 2015

SmartWay logoLTI, Inc. and its Milky Way division received a third consecutive SmartWay Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA awards recognize the top one percent of SmartWay partners for superior environmental performance and leadership. LTI, Inc. earned a top score in the Tanker Fleet Category based on its exceptional fuel economy, payload, idle time and modern emissions equipment.

"We are extremely proud to receive a third Excellence Award from the EPA. Our entire team deserves credit for maintaining our high standards of productivity, efficiency and environmental stewardship," says LTI, Inc. President Jason Jansen. "We will continue our efforts to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions while serving our customers."

Milky WayLTI, Inc. was one of 39 truck carriers to receive this distinction, representing the best environmental performers of SmartWay's nearly 3,000 Partners. The carrier awardees were honored at American Trucking Associations Annual Management Conference & Exhibition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania today.

"EPA is pleased to honor these SmartWay Partners with a 2015 Excellence Award," said Chris Grundler, Director, EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality. "SmartWay carriers work diligently to bring our families the goods we need each day, while contributing to a healthier, more sustainable future for our children."

LTI, Inc. specializes in the transport of liquid and dry bulk commodities, and its Milky Way division is a leading bulk milk hauler in the Pacific Northwest. The company uses the most efficient engines available, lightweight equipment with enhanced aerodynamics, automatic tire inflation systems and onboard computers to manage highway speed, progressive shifting, best routing options and idle times. Drivers are trained on these systems to better understand the impacts and effects while driving.

EPA's SmartWay Transport Partnership empowers businesses to move goods in the cleanest, most energy-efficient way possible, while protecting public health and reducing environmental impacts. Since 2004, SmartWay Partners have saved 144.3 million barrels of oil and $20.6 billion in fuel costs. SmartWay's clean air achievements (61.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, 1,070,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 43,000 tons of particulate matter emissions avoided) help to protect the well-being of citizens.

LTI, Inc./Milky Way became a SmartWay Transportation Partner in 2010. Sister company Lynden Transport became the first Alaska trucking company to join SmartWay in 2008, and Lynden companies Brown Line, LLC and Alaska West Express are also members.

Tags: LTI Inc., Green Lynden, SmartWay certification, Milky Way, Environmental efforts

Jason Jansen named president of LTI, Inc./Milky Way; Bill Johansen new president of Brown Line

Posted on Fri, Oct 17, 2014

Milky WayThe Lynden family of companies announced earlier this month two executive appointments: Jason Jansen was named president of LTI, Inc. and its Milky Way division based in Lynden, Washington, and Bill Johansen is the new president of Brown Line, LLC based in Mount Vernon, Washington. LTI, Inc. is one of the Lynden family of companies and specializes in the transport of liquid and dry bulk commodities. Its Milky Way division is a leading bulk milk hauler in the Pacific Northwest. Brown Line is a trucking company providing temperature-controlled transportation to customers throughout the U.S. and Western Canada.

Jansen was previously president of Brown Line and Johansen was regional sales manager for Lynden Transport in the Vancouver/Portland area.

"LTI, Inc. will be well served by Jason's proven leadership ability, focus on safety and efficiency, and passion for our business and its people," says Brad Williamson, LTI, Inc. board member and former president.

Jansen began his Lynden career as an equipment operator with Knik Construction Co. and worked in various departments at LTI, Inc., before becoming regional manager of the Lynden, Wash. Service Center and five satellite locations. Jansen has served as a member of the Lynden Airport Board, the Lynden Chamber of Commerce Board and volunteered for the Lynden Boys & Girls Club.

Brown Line"Bill has over 30 years of experience in the transportation industry and an impressive record of success including leadership roles in air, LTL trucking operations and marketing," says Lynden Executive Vice President Alex McKallor. "His enthusiasm and positive approach will be a great addition to an already strong team at Brown Line."

Johansen joined Lynden Transport in 2007 and was named salesman of the year in 2008. Prior to his Lynden career, he served as operations manager at Joel Olson Trucking and spent over 20 years in various leadership positions at Alaska Airlines. Johansen also served as a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. He has coached youth sports in his community and received many awards during his extensive career.

 

 

Tags: LTI Inc., Milky Way, Lynden employees, Brown Line

Vintage Milky Way tractor and tankers restored and on the road again

Posted on Tue, Sep 10, 2013

1950s Milky Way truck

Over the past six months, Guy Jansen has worked with Lynden Tank Company, Steven Blankenforth, Blue Star Welding, Maple Leaf Auto and the Lynden truck shop to restore an iconic Milky Way tractor and a set of double 2,800-gallon farm pickup milk tankers dating from the 1950's. The project was completed in time to join more than 700 antique trucks at the American Truck Historical Society Convention in Yakima, WA this spring.

"We plan to use #39 and its tankers #75B and #77B to support the agricultural communities in our service area by providing potable water and a hand-washing station at county fairs, FFA, 4-H, and similar events," said Milky Way President Brad Williamson. He encourages Lynden employees to think of otherways #39 can be used to support Lynden customers.

This 1956 single-ax Kenworth tractor and double single-axle tankers picked up milk at the Whatcom County dairy farms during the period when the industry was transitioning away from truck tanks to semi-trailers. Each single tanker picked up milk locally and was brought back to Lynden where they were trained up as a set of doubles and pulled through the Darigold plant in Lynden, WA to be topped off. They were then hooked to #39 to deliver full loads to Seattle area processors. Hub DeJong drove for Milky Way from 1949 to 1989 and spent many hours in the cab of #39. According to Guy, Hub and his family got a chance to see the restored rig and it brought back many fond memories.

 

Tags: Community Service, Milky Way, Historic, Lynden History

Lynden continues to help employees work safer and smarter

Posted on Wed, Jul 17, 2013

Lynden companies are customer-focused, but helping employees work smarter and safer is an ongoing goal as well. Last month LTI, Inc. Eastern Region Safety and Compliance Manager Allison Russell participated in hands-on research at the Milky Way Service Center in Sunnyside, WA with Han Kim from Labor and Industries (L&I). Han is an ergonomist representing L&I’s Safety & Health Assessment and Research Prevention (SHARP) program and the Trucking Injury Reduction Emphasis Study (TIRES) division. Allison, along with Operations Manager Darrell Scott, Driver Joey Fayard, Dispatcher and former driver Robert Tripp and Vice President of Operations Bob Griggs spent two days working together at a Sunnyside dairy and in the Sunnyside yard to explore ways to work safer while hauling liquid bulk products.

Picture for NewsletterDarrell Scott, Jr. hooks up a milk hose at the Sunnyside Milky Way yard. His movements are mirrored on a computer program provided by Han Kim of Labor & Industries.


“We invited Han to Sunnyside to guide us in safety education and training,” Allison explains. “Han’s visit was to focus on best practices for tasks such as ascending and descending fixed ladders attached to milk trailers as well as pulling and carrying hoses.”

The team wound milk hoses, simulated different workplace scenarios and “did a ton of pulling and winding,” Allison says. “We discussed stresses on different body parts, low back stress, balance.” LTI, Inc. will take this information and work with Han to develop training videos and educational tips on proper posture and injury prevention. LTI, Inc. and Milky Way have regularly scheduled safety and training meetings but this is one more valuable tool to add to the mix. “We value our employees and want them to be at their best each day while serving our customers. This is one more way to improve customer service,” Allison says.

Lynden Transport has also worked with the TIRES group, most recently in Fife, WA. “We have been involved in several projects,” says Trevor Lindberg, Safety & Loss Prevention Manager. “We were featured in safety poster photo shoots and research projects including forklift safety, load binders and safe working practices. We appreciate any opportunity we are given to help increase a focus on working safely, and were happy to participate.”

Tags: LTI Inc., Milky Way, Lynden employees, Safety, Lynden Transport

Milky Way begins milk pickup in Montana

Posted on Thu, Apr 19, 2012

Milky Way/LTI, Inc. began farm pickup operations for 32 Darigold farms in Montana on Jan. 1. The farms and newly hired drivers are located around Bozeman and Missoula. Some of the milk will be delivered to Darigold in Bozeman and some will be delivered a longer distance to Spokane, Jerome and Billings. “I would like to welcome Gear Lemon and Brandon Barnez back to the Lynden family of companies. These two men worked for Dairy Express in Montana in the 1990s,” says Brad Williamson, LTI, Inc. President.


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Tags: LTI Inc., Milky Way, Lower 48

Milky Way takes second place in Sunnyside Lighted Parade

Posted on Tue, Feb 14, 2012

Going on its 23rd year, Sunnyside's Annual Lighted Farm Implement Parade is one of the top 10 lighted Christmas parades in the U.S.  LTI, Inc.’s Sunnyside crew entered a lighted truck for the first time in 10 years and took second place. Office Manager Barb Kluever offered a small prize for the design, and Mechanic Juan Romero and Wash Bay Attendant Luis Solis came up with a plan and prepared the truck for the parade.  Barb and her daughter Megan helped string 10,000 lights with the help of other volunteers. “We had the truck/float in four lighted parades throughout the valley,” Barb says. “The community was very excited to see it and we received many compliments. “ Juan purchased a Santa suit and drove the truck in the parade accompanied by Luis who was dressed as an elf.  “They were great with the kids and the community loved them,” Barb says. “I was very proud to be part of it.”

Lighted Milky Way truck

Tags: LTI Inc., Milky Way, Lynden employees

Milky Way’s new data collection system a breakthrough in customer service

Posted on Thu, Jul 28, 2011

Milky Way driverLate last year, Milky Way began using a new onboard computer program with customer Darigold that has revolutionized the way information is shared between dairy farms and milk processing plants. “From a customer service perspective, this is a game-changer,” says LTI, Inc. President Brad Willliamson. “This new process is improving data accuracy and visibility and significantly reduces the amount of time it takes for milk producers (farmers) to view their volume and quality information online after we pick up the milk.”

The new farm pickup system captures loadsheet data (producer, weight, milk temperature and destination) in the truck’s onboard computer and sends it back to Darigold’s IT system within hours. In the past, this process could take as long as 10 days and records were kept by hand in logbooks. Loadsheet errors have been reduced by automated validation, and the process for the field staff and lab to receive loadsheet comments has been streamlined by distribution via email. “A long-standing goal of Darigold has been to deliver accurate quality and component data to our producer base on a timely basis. Receiving this information is a value-add to our producers; they can react with changes on the farm that result in maximizing quality milk deliveries,” explains Darigold Director Kim Kennedy.

Onboard computer“This initiative has been unique,” he adds. “Its success relied on a true strategic partnership between LTI, Inc. and Darigold with mutual sharing of risks and benefits. To date, we have seen substantial improvement in the accuracy and timeliness of information flow. Darigold management is very proud of this accomplishment.”

According to Brad, Milky Way drivers are key to the program’s success. “It was a real change for them, and we are proud of the way they responded. Our continued success with this project depends on the quality data they enter with each pickup.” The new system was developed and tested by Lynden Inc.’s IT Department and Milky Way. It will soon be available to other milk and bulk commodities customers.

Photo: Whatcom County Milky Way Driver Dick Stacey.

Tags: Lynden, Milky Way, Innovative transportation solutions

Meet our companies: Lynden Tank Company

Posted on Tue, Jul 12, 2011

For the past 24 years, Lynden Tank Company has designed, manufactured and repaired stainless-steel tank trailers and components for Milky Way and LTI, Inc. The customized tanks are used to haul milk and other temperature-controlled loads like wine, fresh raspberries and sensitive liquid and haz-mat chemicals.

Lynden Tank welding“We pride ourselves on having one of the lightest-weight and safest trailers on the market and some of the most talented and creative people in the field on our team. No commercial tank manufacturer has gone as far as we have to allow maximum payloads while maintaining durability, quality and integrity for our customers,” explains General Manager Len Kilmer. 

Once all components have been built, it takes approximately 200 hours to assemble a trailer. “We spend about 60 percent of our time building tanks and 40 percent on repairs, maintenance and on building ladders, fenders and running gear. It’s a kick to see a flat sheet of stainless formed, welded, polished and then rolled out as a sleek, new light-weight set of tankers,” Len says.

Lynden Tank offers on-site service to Milky Way and LTI, Inc. drivers who can pull up to the shop in Lynden and get repairs or maintenance taken care of on the spot. The company also builds, stocks and ships replacement components for the tankers to all Milky Way locations, and a certification from the National Board of Boiler & Pressure Vessel Inspectors allows Lynden Tank to inspect, test and repair pressure tanks to Department of Transportation (DOT) standards.

This spring, Lynden Tank is collaborating with Western Washington University’s Engineering Department on a project to test the aerodynamics of its tanks. A student is creating a 3D drawing of a Lynden tank for use with a computer program called Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). He is also building a model of a tank for use in a wind tunnel. The program will indicate drag on the tank and analyze possible modifications to help increase fuel mileage.

“This is a great partnership and is just one more example of how we continually work to improve our product and add value for our customers,” Len says.

Lynden Tank crew

The Lynden Tank crew. From left: Juan Borjas, Brady Johnson, Corey Clausen, Scott Williamson, Len Kilmer, Stan Lutts, Cody Matter, Bruce Bouwman, Doug Bouwman and Brian ZweegmanPhoto credit: Heidi Doornenbal.

Tags: LTI Inc., Lynden Tank Company, Milky Way

Darigold selects Lynden Transport to move products to Alaska stores

Posted on Fri, Dec 17, 2010

When a Wal-Mart customer in Kenai places a carton of milk in their shopping cart, that milk made its way to Alaska via Lynden Transport – at least since September of this year. Thanks to innovations in equipment, customer service and value, Darigold chose Lynden Transport to move its milk and dairy products supplied to Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Kenai.

The product originates from the Darigold plant in Seattle, which is the same facility Milky Way delivers raw product to from dairy farms in Eastern Washington and other locations.

Refrigerated truck for Darigold products

(Lynden designed a refrigerated trailer, similar to this one, to allow double-stacking of Darigold products.)

“We knew from our relationship with LTI, Inc. on milk hauling that this new project would be handled with the same professionalism,” says Wayne Cottrell, Darigold Senior Manager Supply Chain-Logistics. “Lynden has shipped over 100 trailers to date without issue. They understand the local dynamics unique to Alaska.”

According to Lynden Transport Northwest Regional Sales Manager Russ Walker, many Lynden employees were involved in securing the business, including Lee Peterson, Charlie Mottern, Jerry Wendorf, Paul Grimaldi, Mike Oliver, Alex McKallor and Jim Beck.

The project required plenty of meetings and planning ahead of time. Russ went to Alaska in September with Darigold representatives to meet the Anchorage operations team of Blaine Ghan, Jered Post and Andy Collins. “The folks at Darigold were very impressed with the enthusiasm and willingness to get the job done right by the Anchorage operations staff,” he says.

To move the dairy products efficiently, Lynden designed a three-axle 28-foot refrigerated trailer with the K-beam system to allow double stacking of packages. The new reefers will be capable of handling 45,000 pounds of net payload. Lynden trucks the Darigold packages to the dock in Tacoma where they are loaded onto steamship for delivery in Alaska. Lynden then completes truck delivery of the products to Sam's Club and Wal-Mart stores.

In August the first test shipment to Fairbanks went off without a hitch, but the day of the actual changeover was not so smooth.

Darigold experienced an unusual mechanical problem, and product that was supposed to be ready at 10 a.m. on the day of the sailing was not ready until around 10 p.m. “We had five loads to pick up in Seattle and needed to have through the gate at the steamship lines in Tacoma by 11 p.m.” Russ explains. “Kreig DeYoung was working operations that night and somehow got it done. I didn’t ask how, but it was Lynden ‘can do’ spirit at its best.”

Lynden Transport will carry Darigold products to Alaska for the next five years, per the new agreement. Darigold products also move via Alaska Marine Lines barges into Juneau and Ketchikan from Seattle, and Brown Line hauls Darigold products to Costco stores in Washington and Idaho.

Tags: Lynden, Alaska Marine Lines, Refrigerated Trucks, Milky Way, Lynden Transport, Alaska, Shipping to Alaska

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