Parts of a vintage 727 jetliner were strapped to an Alaska West Express trailer at the Future of Flight Museum in Everett and hauled to a hangar at Columbia Pacific Aviation in Moses Lake, WA. The noteworthy move was covered by Seattle's KING–5 TV and Alaska West Express Driver Tom Lardie was featured on that night's newscast. The museum closed after 13 years and all the planes were taken down from the ceiling and hauled to new homes at other museums or moved into storage. "Dispatcher Roger VanMeter set this move up and knocked it out of the park," says Tacoma Service Center Manager Neil Cranford. "His planning and communication with the customer and driver insured that this freight moved without any damage or issues. It should also be noted that our driver, Tom Lardie, handled the move with the utmost professionalism. Having experienced drivers like Tom makes hauling oversize freight such as this possible." The fuselage was part of the original team plane for the Vancouver Canucks hockey team. According to Tom, it drew quite a bit of attention rolling down Interstate 90 from Western to Eastern Washington.
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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 Transport looked like it was carrying a giant white goose recently as it transported a 22-foot by 8-foot helicopter fuselage and spare parts from Anchorage to Tacoma. The shrink-wrapped fuselage required a 53-foot stepdeck trailer and permits as well as a crane to lift it on and off the trailer. No straps were allowed over the cargo and Lynden's driver had to do some careful backing to position the trailer under the big load while it was hoisted at the pickup location. The final destination is Australia.
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."
Following in the footsteps of Lynden Transport Driver John Schank of Fairbanks, Brian Ambrose of Alaska West Express was named 2016 Truck Driver of the Year by the Alaska Trucking Association (ATA). Brian’s award was presented at the 17th annual ATA truck driving championships in Anchorage where Lynden truck drivers competed. Drivers also competed at a truck rodeo in Kent, WA in June, turning in impressive performances as usual.
“Brian has 36 years of commercial driving experience including 16 with Alaska West Express,” says Anchorage Service Center Manager Dave Heston. “And he has more than 3 million miles in the seat and 13 consecutive years without an accident. He has driven all types of configurations on Alaska’s highways, including heavy haul up to 13-axles and tankers.” Brian has competed in the truck driving championships every year since 2005 and has collected an assortment of trophies including three for state champion and best overall in 2015.
“We are very proud of all Brian has accomplished,” adds Alaska West Express President Scott Hicks. “We are even prouder of his work ethic and integrity. Brian is a true professional who represents our company and industry with class.”
In the June 18 competition in Kent, WA, Lynden Transport Driver Dan Jenkins competed in the Flatbed Division as a rookie and Brown Line Drivers Vincent Hannick, Carl Carter and Michael Kidrick competed in the Sleeper Berth division.
Ten Lynden Transport drivers competed in the Alaska competition, including Jack Sorensen, placing first in the 5-axle Tanker Division, and Tanner Heisler, placing third in the 5-axle Flatbed category. Other Lynden competitors were: Randy Estrada, Chris Hudson, John Phillips, Cody McFarlane, Doug Longerbone, Pha Lee, Stephanie Winder and Jay Capala. Brian Ambrose, David Lambe and Edward Tuia competed for Alaska West Express. Lynden’s Deskbound Geezers were on hand to steer Old No. 27 through the cones.
The Lynden companies are looking for a few good men and women to follow in the footsteps of the Lynden Legends, the courageous group of drivers who pioneered service on the Alcan in the 1950s and the hundreds of Lynden drivers who have continued the tradition by driving trucks safely and efficiently through the years.
To find them, Lynden launched a driver recruitment campaign last year, headed by Marketing Project Manager Dorene Kolb and Vice President of Employee Relations and Business Development Gail Knapp with the help of an employee committee representing Alaska West Express, Lynden Transport, Alaska Marine Trucking, Brown Line, LTI, Inc. and Milky Way.
“At Brown Line, we have a significant number of drivers retiring or preparing for retirement, so we are taking a proactive position to find the best drivers to replace them. Driver retirements are not only impacting Lynden, but the nation as a whole. Trucks move the goods that keep the country running. It is an extremely important profession and industry,” explains Al Hartgraves, National Accounts Manager for Brown Line.
To attract the best and brightest, Lynden developed a brochure and website to spread the word and committee members have attended job fairs at Joint Base Lewis-McChord AFB in Tacoma and other employment events as well as recruiting from trucking schools.
“Our goal is to let people know Lynden is unique in the marketplace. With more than 18 transportation and logistics companies, you can work in a variety of positions and locations. The driving experience is different here and the opportunities for advancement are unparalleled,” Dorene explains. “Although we are interested in all ages and those launching second careers, we are also appealing to the millennials in their 20s.”
Interviews with summer interns and the drivers themselves have yielded interesting feedback. In addition to good pay and benefits, drivers are also interested in a stable company and upward mobility.
Jered Post, Vice President of Operations for Lynden Transport, took advantage of those advancement opportunities 10 years ago. After starting as a Milky Way Driver in 2005 in Jerome, ID he worked his way up to managing Lynden Transport locations in Fairbanks and Anchorage. He later became Director of Operations and was then promoted to Vice President with the company in Seattle. Many Lynden executives started their careers driving, including former Lynden Transport President Jim Beck and Chairman Jim Jansen.
Wyatt Nagle drives for LTI, Inc./Milky Way in Chehalis, WA. “Every day brings a new adventure,” he says. “I started out as a night driver picking up milk, and I worked up into driving freight. Now I am the night supervisor. I have no plans to go anywhere else, but if I wanted to, I could go drive in the oil fields in Alaska and Texas. And if I get tired of driving, I can find a different role with Lynden, keep my benefits and status, and start another new adventure.”
The recruitment committee is asking Lynden employees to help refer qualified driver candidates. “Every job at Lynden is affected by trucking,” Al says. “Everyone plays a part in attracting good people to keep the companies healthy and the freight moving.” Go to www.lynden.com/drive for a brochure or a driver interest form.
Congratulations to John Schank, the Alaska Trucking Association’s Driver of the Year!
For almost 40 years – driving nearly 5 million miles – John has represented Lynden and set the standard for drivers in Alaska. Please join us in congratulating and thanking John for his many years of safe, exceptional driving!
(Article courtesy of Transport Topics. Click image to view larger)
Over the last three years, Brown Line has implemented a number of changes resulting in a radical improvement in fuel economy. The company recently added 18 new tractor-trailer combinations that are achieving over 7 mpg on average. “With the new equipment fuel economy increased by 23 percent, trailer cubic foot capacity by 16 percent, and improved payload capacity by 6 percent,” says Brown Line President Jason Jansen.
Driver behavior has also contributed to fuel savings, with PeopleNet onboard computing systems enabling drivers to assess their fuel consumption and compete to be the best. Maximum truck speed was reduced from 68 mph to 64 mph for eastbound routes and to 62 mph for all other routes. “We adjusted the gearing to match the lower speeds, and we set low idle time standards for drivers,” Jason says. “PeopleNet also gives us the tools to improve routing, monitor tractor performance and idle time.”
As a fleet, Brown Line's average fuel economy has improved from 5.4 mpg in 2008 to 5.84 mpg in 2011. All new tractors have roof farings and new trailers have side skirts to improve aerodynamics. The side skirts are estimated to save about 5 percent in fuel economy. Brown Line now has 30 new 53-foot trailers with side skirts that have replaced the older 48-foot trailers, and will be exploring retrofit options for the older equipment.
The new 53-foot trailers are 1,900 pounds lighter than the older 48-foot trailers they replaced and compliant with California Air Resources Board (CARB) rules for reefers units. All new trucks and trailers use wide-base, low-rolling resistant single tires and have an automatic system to keep tires properly inflated for optimum fuel economy and to reduce tire wear.
Lynden Transport was selected as an Inbound Logistics Top 100 Motor Freight Carrier for 2010. This year was particularly challenging for the editorial staff as they had to select 100 trucking leaders from more than 250 companies that submitted their credentials. The Top 100 list appeared in the September issue of Inbound Logistics.
“The Top 100 Motor Carriers list is a good place for transportation buyers to shift gears, slow down, and take a look at a group of truckers that are paving the road for innovation,” explains Inbound Logistics magazine Editor Felecia Stratton. “We pared this year’s roster from a huge pool of companies, evaluating surveys, conducting online research, and talking with truckers and shippers. Readers use this directory to find carrier partners that will put their company in the driver’s seat.”
Lynden Transport was also recently voted the Top LTL Carrier for the Western Region by Logistics Management magazine. Lynden Transport is an industry leader in trucking to Alaska, from Alaska and within Alaska, as well as the Lower 48.
Lynden has been named the 7th top business in Alaska by Alaska Business Monthly.