Pictured above: Oceana's Jon Warrenchuk (left) and Matthias Gorny with the ROV onboard the research vessel Island C in Kodiak, AK.
This spring, researchers spent eight days circumnavigating Kodiak Island exploring 23 different sites in search of deep-sea corals and other seafloor habitat areas. "The expedition's goal was to expand our knowledge of the Gulf of Alaska seafloor to support Oceana's ongoing campaign to protect coral, sponges and other sensitive sea life," explains Cheryl Eldemar, Pacific Business Manager for the nonprofit conservation group Oceana.
The star of the expedition was Deep Discoverer, an 1,800-pound Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) which captures undersea images with a sensitive camera. Getting the ROV and its four crates of batteries and accessories from Santiago, Chile, to the island of Kodiak fell to Lynden Logistics. "We Alaskans are keenly aware of Lynden's long-term dedication and reputation for providing goods and transportation to Alaska," Cheryl says. "This international shipping project was another example of Lynden's flexibility, patience, persistence and professionalism."
Lynden moved the ROV once before from Chile to Portland, OR in 2013 for Oceana's Oregon Coast Expedition. According to Ahmad Abed Rabuh, General Manager at Lynden's Portland Service Center, things have changed dramatically in the decade since the last move. The pandemic, supply chain disruptions and changes in rules and regulations for transporting batteries and other sensitive goods all affected this year's journey of the ROV from continent to continent.
"We excel at unusual international shipments, but this one required special customs declaration, custom-built crates made from a specific heat-treated wood, separate air freighter transport to Miami for the battery, and a lack of wide-body lift in the South American lane," Ahmad explains. "International Regional Operations Manager Elodie Gergov was instrumental in helping me navigate the South America complications for this shipment." Lynden's John Dill and Fernando and Chanelle Hernandez also worked diligently on the project in Portland along with Matt Kelly in Anchorage.
Once the ROV arrived in Miami, it was trucked cross-country to Portland in three days, then flown to Anchorage. Once in Anchorage, finding another flight to Kodiak proved difficult. Backlogs and freighters being pulled from the flight schedule complicated the last leg of the journey. "With Matt's help, we finally got a flight and delivered the ROV via a ground carrier six hours before Oceana needed it on the boat," Ahmad says.
"Please extend our gratitude to all at Lynden who had a hand in ensuring the Gulf of Alaska Expedition's star player arrived on time," Cheryl says. "Campaigns like this one remain an important tool in the Oceana toolbox as they help us photograph, film and research unique marine ecosystems. We can help the public and policy makers understand just how much is happening below the ocean surface when we share expedition footage. It brings those places to life."
Welcome to Lynden News!
Pictured above: Oceana's Jon Warrenchuk (left) and Matthias Gorny with the ROV onboard the research vessel Island C in Kodiak, AK.
Throwing nets, tossing lines, and picking fish in the Bering Sea was the life of Jess Dixon before he walked the gangway aboard the Knik Construction ship in 2008. Ever since trading in his fishing bibs for a pair of Carhartt pants, Dixon has looked straight ahead.
Unsure if this commercial fisherman/crabber of 15 years could swing with a crew of rock and asphalt slingers, Knik gave the
ol’ boy a shot and he’s been a diamond in the rough—shining bright under extreme pressure. Familiar to the work hard, travel hard seasonal lifestyle, Dixon’s first project for Knik on Saint Paul Island in the Bering Sea felt like coming home.
Over the course of Dixon’s 14-year career at Knik, he’s done a little bit of everything—a tried and true jack of all trades. Like a Swiss army knife, Dixon’s ready for anything and everything and thrives under pressure yielding bright results. Driven by a good
challenge and testing boundaries, Dixon loves impactful work and is easily bored when it’s “gravy".
Seas may get rocky but as Diamond Dixon’s learned from his early fishing days, “life is rough so you gotta be tuff”. With a little help from Lady Luck, adapt, change the plan, and make it work. As a result, you come out better and stronger than before, with
lessons learned and memories made. Hands downs, Dixon’s favorite aspect of Knik is “The Brotherhood”. He says, "through this tight knit crew, I’ve made some lifelong friends who I get together with in the off season, and then welcome me on the return year after year, makes a bucko feel valued".
Coaching the young hearties has a special place in Dixon’s heart, a few tidbits of advice he imparts, “There’s no quit in Knik” and “15 minutes early means you’re on time”. According to Dixon, Knik makes the impossible possible, by taking risks and reaping the rewards. Dixon’s learned the ins and outs of the Knik lifestyle, what it is, how to be better at it, and genuinely enjoys sharing with others. Finding a diamond in the rough, Knik sure won out landing pistol proof Dixon. We’re sure glad he took the plunge and hopped aboard all those years ago.
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.
Introducing Ken Welch, Purchasing Manager at Lynden Air Cargo in Anchorage, Alaska.
Name: Ken Welch
Company: Lynden Air Cargo
Title: Purchasing Manager
On the Job Since: 1997
Superpower: Remembering part numbers
Favorite Movie: Back to the Future
Bucket List Destination: Australia
For Fun: Fixing up cars, hiking, biking
How and when did you start working for Lynden Air Cargo? Have you worked for or done projects with other Lynden companies?
I started working for LAC right before the Hercs arrived in Alaska in March 1997. I have not worked at any other Lynden companies, but I do work with many of them to ship our aircraft parts and equipment around the world in support of the Herc fleet.
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical morning is reviewing what part requests have come in overnight to see if anything needs to be ordered and what priority. Respond to other emails as needed, send out requests for quotes on various parts needed and check for any quotes that have come in. Might have a Teams meeting or two in the day. Field questions throughout the day about parts needed, how many, when they will arrive, etc. Coordinate with repair vendors on parts we might supply for larger items like engines. Reach out to vendors for delivery updates on items already ordered. Approve invoices for payment, review stock levels of inventory. We work in Trax, which is our inventory and ordering system, which also keeps track of all the parts installed on the different aircraft.
What has been most challenging in your career?
Expanding the aircraft fleet, adding additional aircraft is always a challenge. Especially the last few years, as we have quite a bit of specialized equipment on our aircraft that not many airlines use. It all seems to come together in the end, but in the middle it sometimes feels like we may never get there.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Longevity, staying with Lynden for over 25 years. I have been in the airline industry since 1985, kind of fell into it. LAC has treated me very well, and I am loyal to the company.
Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
I was born and raised here in Anchorage with my brother. Typical Alaska childhood, camping, fishing, biking, sledding and skating in winter. I feel fortunate to have grown up here, I don’t know that I would have had the same opportunities anywhere else. I have lived a couple of other places, but this is home. Also, I should mention I will be a first-time grandpa at the end of the year when my son Tanner and his wife, Amanda, expect their first child. Tanner is in the Army based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage. I also have a daughter, Kylie, who will be attending the University of Alaska in Anchorage this fall, and I am married to my wife of 25 years, Janine. She has worked for Lynden as well.
What was your first job?
My very first job was a paper route that I had for a couple of years in my pre-teens.
What would surprise most people about you?
I am starting to enjoy cooking at home more and broadening my skills, such that they are. Especially since the pandemic began. My mom would be most surprised about that. I like to barbecue, and I like to think I cook a mean breakfast on the weekends!
How do you spend your time outside of work?
Taking care of things around the house, biking or going for a jog sometimes. Trying to stay healthy as I get older. Tinkering on cars as time allows. Or when they are broke. I have a 1973 Pontiac Firebird and a 1976 Chevy Nova. Nothing real special, but I think they are fun.
What do you like best about your job?
The challenge of finding the right part, and then getting it where it is needed as quickly as possible.
Erik Scott of Alaska Marine Trucking and the crew of the Bering Marine vessel Greta, pictured above, received special recognition from the American Red Cross last month. Erik and friend Cooper Street, pictured below with Cooper on the left and Erik on the right, received the Wilderness Rescue Award for rescuing and reviving the victim of an avalanche who was buried with his snowmachine near Turnagain Pass, and the crew received the Transportation Safety Award.
Greta Captain Mike Dawson, Engineer Clint Mathews, Mates Chris Benny and Fred Haag, Deckhands Anthony Augusto and Manny Belarmino, and Alaska Marine Trucking's Bethel Service Center Manager Brandon Leary were recognized for spotting and rescuing a man who fell off a marine bulkhead into the Kuskokwim River. Brandon threw a life ring to the man from his home on the riverbank and the Greta arrived shortly after with a Jacob's Ladder boarding device. The man was safely transported to shore where emergency crews were waiting.
Anthony and Erik were both interviewed for videos that were shown during the awards ceremony in Anchorage. "It was a team effort and I'm happy everyone was quick to respond," Anthony says. Erik says the unexpected avalanche was a reminder to be prepared for emergencies when in the backcountry. "I never thought I would need my training, but I'm glad I had it when I was put in a life or death situation."
ConocoPhillips and the Alaska Trucking Association presented Alaska West Express with the 2021 Alaska Safe Truck Fleet of the Year Award in the Highway Division. The award recognizes the hard work and focus on health and safety that all Alaska West Express employees have demonstrated over the past year. "It is an honor and very humbling to be around a team of individuals that strive to be the best at what we do every day," says Tyler Bones, Alaska West Express Director of HSSE. "It is always special when the hard work of our employees and contractors are recognized. Alaska West operated 4.6 million miles accident free in 2021. Considering the challenging operating conditions on the Dalton Highway, this is a remarkable achievement."
For over 13 years, Bob has been a noteworthy leader at Knik Construction. As a seasoned and well-respected Superintendent, “Super Bob” known to many, has gained experience amongst the myriad of construction scopes from dirt-prep, operating, paving, and managing. Also known as the paving and foaming guru, Bob is sought after and called upon throughout our rugged, remote Alaskan projects.
Driven by quality, Bob takes pride in providing the best options for a project and performing quality work. It’s no surprise that Bob had a hand in creating one of the smoothest runways profilographed in the State of Alaska last year. Looking in the rear view mirror, Bob has spent significant time working on projects in Cuba and Midway Islands, but the project that ranks the highest on his list is the Parks Highway. Building 5 miles of road, moving millions of yards of material, and constructing a Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) wall right in your competitor’s backyard is top tier for Bob.
Bob first learned about Knik by attending a local bonfire party down by the river in Bethel where he grew up, and he gives all credit pertaining to his career development and success to Knik. Bob has voiced that he is indubitably thankful to Knik for solely teaching him lifelong skills that are sought after in the construction trade in the US and abroad. The seasonal lifestyle might not sound appealing to all, but for Bob, it’s a passion he has been chasing for a number of years. According to Bob, he’s “living the dream.”
Off the screed, Bob enjoys time with his beautiful wife and three sons, relishing the flexible schedule and the luxury of spending 6-7 months off with his wonderful family during the wintertime. In addition to his primary job functions, Bob has been recognized by his colleagues for his extraordinary kindness in helping and teaching others. Bob’s can-do attitude and hard work ethic propel his passion for advancing the paving field and we couldn’t be more grateful to have him on our team!
Knik Construction was recently awarded the Associated General Contractors' 2021 Certificate of Commendation for its excellent safety record and zero incidence rate. This national recognition is reserved for companies with a quality safety record and no incidents. Knik was recognized in the federal and heavy category for working 110,000 to 424,999 work hours incident-free. "Thank you to all Knik employees who work hard every day to keep our communities and workplaces safe," says Knik President Dan Hall. "At Knik safety is truly job #1." As part of preparing for the 2022 work season, crews conducted a Safety Stand Down for National Prevent Falls in Construction Week in May. Knik participated to help raise fall hazard awareness and to prevent fall fatalities and injuries. Knik employees are pictured above in Platinum, AK.
A broken leg at the top of a mountain. A heart attack on a whitewater rafting trip. These real-life emergencies can and do happen and Tyler Bones and Don Werhonig have the experience and knowledge to teach others how to help those in trouble. "We teach what we do routinely," Tyler says. "Don and I are both on hazmat teams and local response groups outside of work, so we are comfortable sharing what we know."
Rafting guides, Denali climbing guides and the leader of an outdoor recreation program for returning soldiers at Fort Wainwright were all students in Lynden Training Center's latest Wilderness First Responder class this spring. The class has been a regular offering at the Fairbanks training center since 2017.
The 80-hour training draws a broad range of students from a variety of organizations, including: the Department of Natural Resources, Wilderness Search and Rescue personnel, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, aspiring guides, Boy Scout camp rangers, Bureau of Land Management employees, University of Alaska remote researchers, industry personnel that work remotely and Tribal/Native personnel. "A group we are especially proud to work with is the U.S. Army Northern Warfare Training Center," Tyler says.
Wilderness First Responder training is offered by other providers in Alaska, but Lynden's class is unique. "It's been a tough market to break into, but we do a number of things that set us apart. The biggest difference with our program is that our students not only receive a certification as a Wilderness First Responder, but they also are certified as a State of Alaska Emergency Trauma Technician," Tyler explains. "Don and I completed our Fellowship in the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM) through the Wilderness Medical Society. It was an intense program that required over 100 credits. It's the equivalent of a bachelor's degree for wilderness medicine. There are only 14 other FAWMs in Alaska."
Lynden is fortunate to have the nearby Fairbanks North Star Borough's Tanana Lakes Recreation Area for hands-on real-life simulations for class. According to Don, "We start in the classroom, but quickly transition to hands-on practicals and then field exercises. We use the Recreation Area, which is approximately 750 acres, right outside our gate. It is a perfect place to practice the skills that are learned in the classroom."
Over the past five years, Don and Tyler have trained 67 first responders. "It's always rewarding to hear from past students that have used the skills that they have learned in our courses in real-life emergencies," Tyler says.
Aloha Marine Lines and Lynden Logistics participated in Women in Construction (WIC) Week 2022 in March as part of Women's History Month and International Women's Day. Mary Kutscherenko, Lynden Logistics Account Executive, served as event chairperson for the second year with the help of AML Account Manager Ipo Fukuda and AML Pricing-Business Analyst Joan Nacino, both members of WIC's Honolulu chapter. The week included a build day for Habitat for Humanity Leeward Oahu and visits to construction sites. "The grand finale was a virtual panel luncheon sponsored and organized by HPM Building Supply, a large customer of AML featuring prominent women in the industry," Joan says. AML and Lynden Logistics have business relationships with many of the other NAWIC Hawaii Chapter members. AML ships the Ammonium Nitrate Fuel Oil used to blast and expose the seams of rock at the quarry, and rebar and machinery for the Kapalama container yard and Wai Kai Waterfront projects. Lynden Logistics ships materials and parts for companies like Hensel Phelps and Otis Elevators.
Knik Construction's Dora Hughes and Annie Gardner are also NAWIC members and participated in events in Alaska. Dora is on the NAWIC WIC Week Committee and serves as the Alaska Chapter Safety Chair and Pacific Northwest Region Safety Co-Chair. "This year we wanted to highlight women who have worked for Knik throughout WIC Week. We also sponsored five door prizes at the Close Out event which was a gathering of Women in the Trades and NAWIC," she says.