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Homegrown employees make Dock to Driver program a success

Mon, Apr 08, 2024


Gabe Lawler and JoLea Adams are graduates of the Dock to Driver program. The mother-son team now run Over-The-Road between Houston and Edmonton.

Five years ago, Lynden Transport began offering a program to provide hands-on training and assistance to new employees as they worked toward earning a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). The program, Dock to Driver (D2D), has been a huge success, according to Lynden Transport Vice President Operations Jered Post. The program provides a Lynden mentor to guide employees as they work on the dock and in the yard plus paid tuition at a driving school of their choice.

"They see the company is willing to invest in their future, so they are willing to invest in the future success of Lynden," Jered says. Dock to Driver is offered in Tacoma, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kenai, and Houston. According to Houston Service Center Manager Terry Smith, 24 applicants have graduated with 16 running Over-the-Road (OTR). "Dock to Driver graduates make up 50 percent of our OTR drivers in Houston," he says.

In Anchorage, D2D graduates include Luke Eguina, Eduardo Fuenzalida, Connor Heisler, Derikk Longerbone, Ietitaia Manu and Sean Simpson who started with the D2D program then advanced to Supervisor and was later promoted to Assistant Service Center Manager.

Cody Allen-Buswell, Darin Fansler, Austin Sackinger, Steven Sackinger, Josh Vantrease and Eric Matson all graduated from D2D in Fairbanks. Eric has already been promoted from Driver to Operations Supervisor. Six others are currently participating in the D2D program in Fairbanks with one scheduled to start CDL school in April.

JoLea Adams and Gabe Lawler are a mother-son team who graduated from the program and now drive OTR from Houston to Edmonton. JoLea started the ball rolling almost two years ago. "I wanted better financial compensation, and I really wanted to go to Alaska. I researched companies that offered paid training to get my CDL. When I came across Lynden it looked pretty good and had a stable base in Alaska."

She encouraged her 21-year-old son Gabe to start the D2D program with the goal to drive together after he graduated. He started three months behind JoLea, spent 4 months driving locally in Houston, and the team started OTR trips to Edmonton for Lynden Transport.

"I definitely daydreamed of all the exciting possibilities if I started working for Lynden," Gabe says. "What I really appreciated is the mentoring. When you get out on the road you have support. You get your real education once you’re on the road, but Lynden puts you out there with much more experience and support than other companies."

Both drivers say the training is one of the best parts of D2D. "Both Andre Bell and Roxy Barnes are fantastic trainers with so much to share. They show us exactly where we can and can’t put a 53-foot trailer," JoLea says. "It’s also nice knowing the folks who are out on the road with you. It’s a family. If someone is in trouble, another Lynden driver will be along to help. We start our driving careers with a solid foundation and a focus on safety."

The D2D program was designed to provide not only training but opportunity for employees. "With the diverse operations of the Lynden family of companies, graduates have so many options," Jered says. "From operating a hovercraft to working for a barge line to becoming a loadmaster on a Hercules aircraft."

Visit our website to learn more about Lynden's Dock to Driver program

Topics from this blog: Lynden Lynden Employees Lynden Transport Drivers Featured

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