Arnol “Art” Farmer retires after working for a variety of Lynden companies since 1977. He capped off his retirement in October with 20 years at Red Dog Mine as an operator loader and driver. Arnol holds the distinction of being Lynden’s first Hazmat certified driver. He started hauling chemicals out of Fairbanks in 1980. “Arnol is one of the Lynden Legends who has driven trucks for Lynden Transport, Alaska West Express and at Red Dog Mine over almost 40 years,” says President Jon Burdick.
“My brother-in-law drove for Sealand and always had positive things to say about Lynden and Lynden drivers,” Arnol recalls, “so I decided to call Carl Tatlow, then manager at LTI, Inc. in Lynden, and tell him who I was. He told me he knew my dad and uncle, so I thought it would be good to check it out. I was a young kid, full of excitement. I drove down there and gave up my union membership to start working for Lynden in 1977 and never regretted it. I started working for Bob Strong in 1978 at LTI, Inc. hauling mail to Haines, AK. I immediately loved the people at Lynden.”
Lynden has always been at the forefront for employee loyalty, he says, and that makes it easy to be loyal to Lynden. “Hank (Jansen) instilled that into his family,” Arnol says. “You’re just a number in most places, but at Lynden there is friendship and loyalty on both sides. If I was ever in need, I could count on all these guys. It’s been a joy.” Arnol established a church and mission in Kiana, AK. He earned his pilot’s license at 53 and used a small plane to travel to neighboring villages for church services.
Mike Stewart is well-known for writing the Safety First newsletter, but his career with Alaska Marine Lines began in outside sales in Southeast Alaska. After the Northland acquisition, he moved to claims manager and began editing newsletters using his skills as a former sports reporter for the Juneau Empire. Mike played a pivotal role in developing various publications for AML including Port to Port, Safety First and training manuals while managing all cargo claims and subrogation. He retires with 18 years of service.
“More than anything, I’ll remember all of the great people that I was able to work with and learn from at Lynden. It truly is a unique company, with so many dedicated employees who go the extra mile for the customer,” Mike says. “I often tell anyone who will listen that I wish I had joined Lynden after college and remained with this company for my entire life. However, I am extremely thankful and consider myself very fortunate to have spent nearly two decades with such a fine group of people.”
Mike and his wife recently purchased a home on over two acres in Sequim. “There are roughly 100 projects that need immediate attention, so I will definitely not have time to be knitting booties for my new granddaughter! We’re looking forward to all of the challenges the new home and property is presenting us with,” he says.
Here is Mike’s favorite memory and a wonderful example of his writing skills:
Probably my favorite memory – or, perhaps ‘most jarring’ is the better term – was when I interviewed for the Southeast Alaska sales representative job. At the time I was working for my friend in Juneau who operates a furniture store (shortly after I concluded my 15-some years at the Juneau Empire as a sportswriter and advertising representative). I told then Vice President of Marketing, Kevin Anderson, on a number of occasions that I really liked AML and that, if he ever had a need for a sales representative to please let me know. He did so (foolishly) and told me that I should show up at the Juneau office for an interview that would occur in a few days. I knew Kevin quite well and I thought the interview would be an informal get-together. No. On the day of the interview, I bolted from the warehouse of the furniture store to the Juneau terminal, all dirty and messy after climbing through the warehouse rafters to find necessary home furnishings for the day. Stained T-shirt, torn jeans, tennis shoes, matted hair – not the look of a professional marine transportation representative Kevin had probably envisioned.
I was stunned to find that awaiting me was a panel of various AML dignitaries, including Kevin, then President Gail Knapp, Vice President of Operations Don Reid, Arrowhead Transfer President Gordie Harang, a handful of managers from the Juneau Alaska Marine Trucking team, and more. I believe there were some eight people sitting in a half-circle as they welcomed me in. I thought, right off the top, I was doomed. Add to that the fact that I don’t recall answering any questions with anything but, “Um, I’m not sure?” and I walked away knowing I would never have a career in marine transportation. Nonetheless, Kevin called me a day or so later and offered me the job. I secretly thought of the Groucho Marx quote that went something like, “I would never want to be a part of an organization that would have me as a member.” I enthusiastically accepted his offer before he realized his mistake.
Marian Luther, Senior Paralegal with Lynden, Inc. in Seattle, has spent “20 great years” with Lynden. “I have many memories,” she says, “but the best are those when our department worked together on the same project; we all played a part and when done it was very satisfying to know we achieved something together. Sappy but true!” Marian has a farm on Camano Island that she is developing into a destination location and potential wedding venue. “I want it to be a place where people can come to learn about flowers, gather them and have a good time with family and friends,” she says.
Tim Buckley, Credit & Collections Manager at Lynden, Inc. in Seattle saw the exodus of greenbar reports in his nine years with Lynden in the Financial Services Group. “I think my two favorite accomplishments have been to elevate our senior collector positions to include an employee mentoring program and developing tools to modernize the department and increase efficiencies overall,” he says. “When I started the collectors were still printing and working off greenbar reports! My only regret is that I won’t be here to help implement the new financial system and develop new processes and procedures around it.”
Tim and his husband, Jamie, moved full time into an RV and will travel around North America, eventually moving to Thailand to travel from there. “I will truly miss the people I’ve come to know at Lynden. It has been the most challenging and the most rewarding place I’ve ever worked,” he says.
Trevor Lindberg retires from Lynden Transport as Safety and Loss Prevention Supervisor after 30 years with the company. Trevor started with Lynden as a part-time warehouse/forklift operator in Fife, WA then went full time as driver in 1993, moved to Operations Supervisor in 2000, Safety Supervisor in 2007 and transferred to Seattle as Safety & Loss Prevention Supervisor in 2011.
His most memorable project was working with the late Walter Rakiewich and the team in Edmonton for a few weeks to open the Kearl Lake warehouse. “A favorite memory was the occasional driving trip through the Canadian Rockies to deliver a new truck, and all of the many people I’ve been fortunate to work with at Lynden over the years,” he says. Trevor will now have more time with his grandchildren and family. “We are taking a trip to Europe to see our son and his wife, currently living in Prague, then I’ll get to renovation projects around the house.”
Dennis Flajole was a Lynden customer 10 years ago. The Lynden Transport Account Manager then worked for Darigold. “The first time I met Paul Grimaldi, Alex McKallor, Charlie Mottern, Jim Beck, Rusty Walker and a few others from Lynden, I was working for Darigold. We were trying to figure out how to ship more pallets of milk per container than what Horizon Lines was capable of shipping.”
That meeting led to Lynden Transport purchasing 28-foot equipment and becoming Darigold’s carrier to Alaska. “I remember thinking these guys are great to work with and how am I going to get a job with them? Eventually Rusty and Paul gave me an interview and the past 10 years went by fast! I made some great friends and feel lucky to have been part of the Lynden family,” he says. Dennis and his wife, Patti, will now have more time to travel with family, golf in Palm Desert and hunt and fish.
Blake Hardina joined Knik Construction in 2015 after a career at Road Builders. Since then, he did a little bit of everything to get roads and airports constructed and other projects completed at Knik. From estimating to operating heavy equipment, Blake did it all. His co-workers say that his commitment to innovation and adaptive thinking made a difference in refining processes and bidding strategies on projects. Blake will now have more time for hiking, traveling and exploring trails on his motorcycle.
Cindy Littlejohn started working for Alaska Marine Lines in the summer of 1994, just in time for the Y1 dock grand opening. She’s held customer service positions there for the past 29 years and spent many years coordinating Southeast Alaska fish deliveries once they arrived in Seattle. Her immediate retirement plans? “To start,” she says, “to be a homebody and enjoy the holidays with all the trimmings. My long-term goal is to travel.”
Tom Lardie remembers hauling a 100-foot load of an airplane fuselage and cockpit from Everett to Moses Lake as part of his duties as an Alaska West Express Driver in Tacoma. “It was a stretch, double-drop trailer,” he recalls. “The load was so long that they videotaped me driving out of the yard.”
Tom came to Alaska West Express in 2017 with more than 20 years of experience with heavy haul and oversized loads. He retires with 40 years of experience behind the wheel. “I’ll miss the people I work with and see every day. You build relationships at this job,” he says. Retirement plans include a move from Sammamish to the Olympic Peninsula with his wife and a retirement holiday trip to Playa Del Carmen. He’ll also be busy restoring a 1984 Jaguar, a 1967 Mustang coupe and a 1976 Kawasaki KZ900 motorcycle.