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Everyday Hero Profile: Gordy Lindblad

Posted on Fri, Aug 20, 2021

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. Learn more about the people behind your shipment.

Introducing Gordy Lindblad, Facilities Maintenance Manager at Alaska Marine Lines in Seattle, Washington.
Everyday Hero post
Name: Gordy Lindblad

Company: Alaska Marine Lines

Title: Facilities Maintenance Manager

On the Job Since: 2004

Superpower: Always getting the job done

Hometown: Enumclaw, WA

Favorite Movie: Tombstone

Bucket List Destination: Taking all the grandkids to Disneyland

For Fun: Golf, playing with the grandkids

How did you start working for Alaska Marine Lines?
I had worked for Crowley Maritime for 30 years when Lynden took over the rail barge operation. I was asked to help out with the transition and then was lucky enough to be hired to help with the operation in Seattle and to help the Alaska Railroad with facility changes.

What is a typical day like for you?
I take care of 17 Alaska Marine Lines and Alaska Marine Trucking facilities in Seattle and Alaska. I work with managers and teams to maintain the facilities and handle repairs. I also do work for many of the other Lynden companies as needed, whether its docks, warehouses, offices or equipment like barges or tugs. Whatever is needed, I do it! I helped build the Petersburg and Haines facilities. Depending on what’s going on, we sometimes need to work around the clock dealing with weather and other issues that come up. I live in Enumclaw, so my commute is about an hour each way.

What has been most challenging in your career?
Making sure all facilities are maintained and safely operational. It can be a challenge when you are pouring concrete in the middle of the winter in Alaska!

Over the course of my career, I’ve had some interesting things happen like an A-frame building collapsed in Whittier under the snow and we had to repair it. We pride ourselves on doing as much marine repair as possible. It is tough to find marine contractors and repairs are very expensive. Before I was with Lynden a rail barge broke in half at sea and we had to figure out how to handle it.

What are you most proud of?
Building a new facility or upgrading a facility and the appreciation of everyone that uses it.

Tell us about your growing up years.
I come from a family of three brothers. We all played football, with one of my brothers going on to play for the Denver Broncos. I went into the navy out of high school and when I came out, I went to work on tugboats. After two years of being seasick, I went to work for Crowley loading rail barges in Seattle for 28 years.

What was your first job?
I worked nights in a brick yard when I was a senior in high school. My job was to run a cutter making different sizes of clay bricks to run through the 2-block long kilns.

What would surprise people about you?
When I was a kid, I always wanted to race boats and motorcycles. I did the motorcycles, but at 65 I actually had a chance to drive a flat-bottomed race boat. I was so sore afterward I decided it was not a good idea. It was a real eye-opener. Going 140 mph was way too fast for me.

Before working for Alaska Marine Lines, I had a roofing business and warehoused for Costco when they first started out doing hot tubs. I had a 20,000-square-foot warehouse and did all deliveries and warehoused for Washington, Oregon and California. I did 4,000 hot tubs a year.

How do you spend your time away from work?
I spend most of my time with my eight grandkids. I have three girls and five boys ranging in age from 3 months old to 9. I also play golf and have an endless honey-do list. We have some property in Enumclaw, and I have been ‘asked’ to build new decks, a green house and remodel bathrooms and bedrooms in my spare time.

What do you like best about your job?
By far the people. We have the most talented and hardworking people in the industry and wonderful support from leadership. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to work with everyone here at Lynden. I really believe anything is possible with the people here. It’s a workplace environment where everyone has input, and everyone is listened to.

Tags: Lynden Employees, Everyday Heroes, AML

Alaska Marine Lines increases capacity with 600 new containers

Posted on Wed, Aug 11, 2021

AML containersThis spring, the M/V Saga Welco Indiana departed the port of Qingdao, China, with 600 new refrigerated shipping containers on their way to be put into service at Alaska Marine Lines. These units are the latest addition to Alaska Marine Lines' fleet of nearly 29,000 shipping containers, flats and tanks. While they will primarily be used for transporting seafood products from Alaska, they will also carry all types of temperature controlled products.

"The story of how the containers made their way into service with AML is noteworthy," says Purchasing Manager Jay Marchand. Eastbound global steamship space was in short supply and prices were rising. Alaska Marine Lines collaborated with Lynden Logistics to export the containers from China and charter a ship to bring them east. Lead by International Manager Elodie Gergov, the Lynden Logistics team worked on the release from Chinese customs while Jay and AML's Steve Hardin worked with the container factory on specifications, pricing, inspections and production schedule.

With five days to go before the containers were scheduled to be loaded onto the ship, everything was on track for departure. But, at the eleventh hour, the Lynden team identified an unforeseen gap in port documentation and port release fees. On Friday afternoon of a Chinese holiday week, Lynden's local agent was asked to help clarify the issues. "By being there in person and having local contacts, the agent was able to act on behalf of both Lynden companies and clear the way for the containers to be delivered to the port," Jay says. "The ship successfully departed with all 600 containers and arrived in Dutch Harbor 10 days later."

The next challenge came at the offloading in Dutch Harbor. Alaska Marine Lines contracted with a company to perform the stevedoring using local labor. Due to a high demand of labor and a shortage of workers between fish seasons, only 50 percent of that labor was available, and the delays were counting against AML's contracted detention time. With the threat of the ship being detained another week before it could finish unloading, AML sought the assistance of Alaska Marine Trucking equipment operators, Bering Marine tugboat crews, and local AML Dutch Harbor operations employees to help unload the ship using the ship's gantry cranes. Once the ship was anchored in the bay, two AML barges were brought alongside the M/V Indiana and the Lynden team unloaded directly onto the barge decks.

"While the container purchase had many unexpected challenges, it was the access to logistics professionals and their perseverance that allowed the project to succeed," Jay says. As Elodie put it, "The world of international shipping is very unpredictable, but we never give up and always do our best."

Tags: Seafood, Alaska, Lynden Logistics, Grocery Chill and Frozen, Temperature-Controlled, Ocean, AML

Lynden companies team up to deliver emergency supplies for Anacortes water system

Posted on Tue, Aug 03, 2021

Lynden companies stepped up to help the City of Anacortes, WA when it experienced a shortage of chlorine for its regional water system. Despite a national shortage of sodium hypochlorite (chlorine), employees from Lynden Logistics Services, LTI, Inc. and Alaska Marine Lines worked together on a plan to deliver chlorine to the city as quickly as possible. Lynden Logistics Services moved 21 totes of chlorine product from Houston, and LTI, Inc., using Alaska Marine Lines' fiberglass-lined ISO tanks, delivered two loads from California to Anacortes. Thanks to these efforts and others, the treatment plant is now at full capacity and the regional water system is stable.

"The City of Anacortes is extremely thankful to Lynden as they assisted Marathon Refineries with the shortage of sodium hypochlorite," says Anacortes Mayor Laurie Gere. "This is an amazing community and the protection of the safe drinking water for our region was a priority for all. Again, the city has much appreciation and gratitude for the rapid and generous response."

Anacortes water system unloading chlorine2

Lynden has been a transportation partner to the Anacortes refinery for more than 20 years. "Our refinery team members have great relationships with a number of suppliers and contractors such as Univar and Lynden Logistics Services who were able to quickly respond to the supply shortage," says James Tangaro, Manager of the Marathon Anacortes Refinery. Pictured to the right is LTI, Inc. Driver Glenn Manning (top) and Mechanic Tyler Manke unloading a tank of chlorine.

Anacortes water system unloading chlorine

"It's a great feeling to know that our assistance averted what could have been a very serious situation for the community drinking water supply," says Lynden Logistics Logistics Services Manager Becky MacDonald. "It was a great team effort by all three companies with assistance from Lynden Safety Director Jim Maltby on the bulk loads, Al Hartgraves, Anthony Knapp and the LTI, Inc. crew providing the drivers and quick response, and Alaska Marine Lines providing the tanks."

Tara Havard, of the Marathon Anacortes Refinery, expressed her appreciation for Becky's quick response. "Through Becky's efforts, not only were we able to keep the refinery situation under control, we were also able to support the City of Anacortes during this crisis. Not to mention the creative brainstorming with Alaska Marine Lines to use the ISO tanks to fill bulk loads out of Univar in California."

Tara also noted her relationship with Lynden is deeply rooted to her days growing up in Valdez, AK where she observed her grandfather, Mac McElrath, navigate logistical and supply chain issues on a daily basis while working for the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. Mac worked closely with Harmon Hall, the father of Knik President Dan Hall. "That was the best training a kid from Alaska could have in creative problem solving, the power of relationships and taking care of your community," she says.

Tags: LTI Inc., Lynden Logistics, Community, AML

Aloha Marine Lines transports heaviest cargo load yet to Hawaii

Posted on Wed, Mar 24, 2021

AML barge loadingAloha Marine Lines Voyage H0497W, which departed in December last year, carried the heaviest cargo load Aloha Marine Lines has ever transported from Seattle to Hawaii. According to Aloha Marine Lines Seattle Service Center Manager Tom Crescenzi, the Namakani barge was close to its maximum. "We still have a little more tonnage we could get on board, but not much. The barge capacity is 16,850 tons and the sailing carried 13,158 tons of cargo plus the weight of the containers, dunnage, etc." With 691 picks and 1,032 TEU it was an impressive load. Aloha Marine Lines purchased two large barges from Sause Brothers last year that enabled the Hawaii capacity expansion.

Tags: Hawaii, Ocean, AML

Lynden companies team up

Posted on Wed, Mar 10, 2021

Tanks loaded onto Alaska West Express equipmentThe combined talents of employees at Alaska Marine Lines, Alaska Marine Trucking and Alaska West Express were behind the successful move of four massive tanks from Seattle to Anderson, AK. According to Anchorage Service Center Manager Alex Clifford, the tanks traveled from Seattle to Whittier via barge, where Erik Scott, Whittier Service Center Manager, and the Alaska Marine Trucking team loaded them to rail cars for the trip to Anchorage.

Upon arrival, they were carefully transferred to Alaska West Express trucks (pictured above) where Drivers Brian Ambrose and Gary Ridall took the last leg – almost 300 miles north – to Clear Air Force Station Base and the radar facility in Anderson. Eric Meade and Malcolm Henry drove the assist trucks to help the loads up the hills due to winter conditions. The two teams worked together to help each other with loading and unloading operations. The four tanks required two transporters for two round trips.

"This project started with Jeff McKenney at Alaska Marine Lines," says Alaska West Express Project Manager Steve Willford. "There was a lot of effort put in by Alaska Marine Lines and Alaska Marine Trucking people getting the tanks to Anchorage so that we could transport to destination. All in all, it was a great One Lynden move."

Tags: Alaska Marine Trucking, Alaska West Express, Lynden Employees, Alaska, Oversized/Heavy Haul, Multi-Modal, AML

Proximity alarm system on the job at Alaska Marine Lines

Posted on Fri, Feb 26, 2021

SEEN Safety AlarmAlaska Marines Lines recently implemented a new safety device to increase awareness of the movement of people and equipment in Seattle and Southeast Alaska yards. SEEN Safety's Infrared Retroreflector Identification System (IRIS) is keeping employees and customers safer each day and protecting freight and equipment from damage.

The system uses light and radar to measure distances by illuminating the target with a laser light and measuring the reflection with a sensor. The IRIS sensor is designed to detect reflective material on safety equipment in proximities ranging from 28 feet wide to 25 feet deep and can be mounted on forklifts and low-speed vehicles. An audible alert signal is heard if the sensor lands within the detection zone. IRIS can detect reflective material on safety vests and works in all weather conditions, including rain, darkness and intense glare from sun or snow.

"We also added reflective tape to the counter-weight of the forklifts to help prevent collisions, which has already proven effective during barge operations," explains Joe Purcell, Alaska Marine Trucking Operations Manager.

The advantage of SEEN Safety's alarm is the adjustability. With varying barge operating conditions in Southeast, it is vital to be able to adjust the proximity beam to suit each port. "For example, when Ketchikan works a barge it is always full, so we adjusted the proximity to a smaller zone compared to Juneau where the barge is more than half empty," Joe explains.

"One of the major risks in Alaska Marine Lines' operations is mixing personnel working on the deck of our barges with 50-ton forklifts," says Don Reid, Alaska Marine Lines Vice President of Operations. "The Alaska Marine Lines safety team has been exploring solutions for many years and this proximity alarm technology is a major step toward mitigating that risk and keeping people safe on the barge deck."

Tags: Safety, AML

Goodbye and good luck to twelve Lynden retirees

Posted on Tue, Jan 19, 2021

Twelve veteran Lynden employees wrapped up their careers at the end of 2020. We wish them well in retirement.

Mark SheehanMark Sheehan, Alaska Marine Lines and Northland Services, 40 years
Mark came to his job at Alaska Marine Lines through his brother Tom Sheehan. Tom and Mark both worked for Northland initially and later moved to Alaska Marine Lines. Mark went back to Northland and continued his career there until the 2014 acquisition by Lynden. He retired last month as Marine Operations Manager. It's been a long and storied career, but by far the most significant event was meeting and marrying co-worker Cindy Sheehan in 1999. Cindy also retired in December. "I have been so happy to be a part of the Lynden team," Mark says. In his marine career, Mark has saved many castaway and stowaway critters from certain death in Seattle ports, including stray cats, otters, pelicans and a hawk. A few years ago an albatross hitched a ride on a voyage from Honolulu to Seattle. Mark first saw the bird when the night crew pointed it out to him. The bird was severely dehydrated and emaciated. Mark called the Seattle Aquarium's veterinarian who brought the female bird to a Wildlife Care Center where it was treated for pneumonia and survived. It's no surprise that in retirement, Mark plans to volunteer at wild and domestic animal rescue organizations.

Lu JacksonLu Jackson, LTI, Inc., 37 years
As a Human Resources Manager for almost four decades, Lu has worked for four Lynden presidents, including the late Lynden patriarch Hank Jansen. "I have such great memories of working with him," she says. "It's nice to see that the integrity, philosophy and character of the company has withstood all these years." Although she is excited about retirement, Lu says she will miss the people. "Everyone says that, but it's really true." Lu handled everything from payroll to dispatching in her career and is very proud that she was never late to work – ever – in 37 years. Retirement will find her on her farm caring for animals, enjoying outdoor activities and getting to know her two new golden retriever puppies that joined the household just a week after she retired. Lu was featured as the December 2020 Everyday Hero. To read more about her, go to www.lynden.com/heroes.

Mike MaloneMike Malone, Alaska Marine Lines, 35 years
Back in 1985, Mike started working in the Container Freight Station (CFS) warehouse. He then worked in rates and billing, pricing and finished up his career as Pricing Analyst. "Back then, we had just one sailing to Southeast Alaska, then it was twice a week. The ARM barge was added to service Central Alaska and Prince William Sound and then the purchase of Northland added Western Alaska and Hawaii. "We've seen quite the growth," Mike says.

"I have so many memories of all the people I've worked with, it would be hard to list just one, but working with the Freitrater program, coming up with auto rating and smart prompting cut the number of corrections we were seeing significantly."

After years of sitting in either traffic or at his desk, Mike says he is looking forward to getting some regular exercise, and he has a lot of projects to do around the house. "I would like to travel once my wife retires and maybe take some actual guitar lessons. I've really enjoyed working with all the people at Alaska Marine Lines and Lynden over the years. It's a really top-notch organization from the top down.

Sue HeatherSue Heather, Alaska Marine Lines, 34 years
Sue has worked both full time and part time for Alaska Marine Lines' accounting department over her long career. "I retired from full time work in 2002, but came back part time later that year," she says. "I guess I just couldn't stay away!" Sue started her job with Alaska Marine Lines in 1986 when the employees numbered about 70. "I started out doing accounts payable then added accounts receivable. Eventually I became the accounting manager for Alaska Marine Lines and Alaska Marine Trucking," she says. "I have worked with such a great group of people over the years. My bosses have always led by example and always had time to listen to me or help when I needed it." In retirement, she is planning to spend more time with her grandson, work at her church food bank and sew.

Cindy SheehanCindy Sheehan, Alaska Marine Lines, 31 years
Cindy began her career with Alaska Marine Lines in 1989 at the suggestion of friend and now Lynden Logistics Services Manager Becky MacDonald. She was the first female barge checker in the history of the company although "I didn't know the difference between a chassis and a container at the time," she says. Her first office was a container under the First Avenue South Street Bridge, now Alaska Marine Lines' Y-2 yard. She also worked with two brothers, Mark and Tom Sheehan. Tom worked for Alaska Marine Lines, Mark for Northland Services. She continued to work with Tom over her long career, and she married Mark. Over the years, Cindy worked on a variety of Alaska Marine Lines projects, including the first Alaska Railbelt Marine sailings to Whittier, AK. She was soon promoted to Customer Service Manager, followed by Director of Customer Service in 2013 and Vice President of Customer Service in 2016. "I've always loved working with customers and took a great deal of pride and pleasure helping them," she says. "At Alaska Marine Lines, we're committed to keeping real, live people to talk to rather than recorded options to answer callers' questions." Cindy and Mark both retired last month and now plan to do some camping and fishing. Cindy will also start some quilting projects to donate to the American Heroes wounded veterans and Children's Hospital in Seattle.

JeffJeff McKenney, Alaska Marine Lines, 31 years
"After 13 years of owning my business, I took a position with Alaska Marine Lines to dispatch and manage the trucks and operators," Jeff says. "When a sales position opened in Seattle, I thought it was the right time to advance my career and use the knowledge I had learned over the years to sell the services Alaska Marine Lines offered." More than 30 years later, Jeff retires as an Account Manager with experience in both operations and sales. "I feel lucky to have had a position where I worked with people who were my friends and colleagues. Alaska Marine Lines and all the Lynden companies have made my job fun. Our abilities to be innovative through equipment design, schedules, and online tools offers so much to the customer compared to our competition. The fact that we can pull multiple Lynden operating companies together to offer the customer a One Lynden solution has a lot of merit."

Jeff says Lynden has been a great company to be a part of and he appreciates everything the company has done to support his family. "I have really enjoyed providing the customer with a positive experience, showing customers what Lynden can do and being part of Lynden's success." Jeff's retirement plans include boating, fishing and traveling the U.S. via RV. A trip to the Grand Canyon is one of the first stops on the itinerary. Jeff was featured as the November 2020 Everyday Hero. To read more about him, go to www.lynden.com/heroes.

Greg NiermanGreg Nierman, Lynden Incorporated, 27 years
Greg, pictured right, started working for Lynden Incorporated as a software developer in 1989 and transitioned to supervisor, manager and back to developer by the end of his 27-year career. "There were about 15 people total in IT when I started, and now there are nearly 70," he says. Greg's most memorable work project over the years was working on the Cross Dock initiative. "I will always remember the wonderful people I've had the honor of working with," he adds. Greg's plans for retirement include spending time with his grandkids, coaching archery and building and playing guitars.

John WalkerJohn Walker, Lynden Incorporated, 20 years
Over his 20 years with Lynden Incorporated's IT Department, John says he will remember Side-By-Side Billing, numerous ILS (Integrated Lynden Systems) integrations and Route Trip Maintenance as his favorite projects. As a Senior Programmer Developer and Applications Development Supervisor he saw IT grow by "leaps and bounds" as well as the applications that IT produced for Lynden's operating companies. "Working at Lynden has been more like an adventure than a job," John says. "There is always something new to learn and problems to be solved. But it's the people that I will miss the most (certainly not my commute!). I've met a lot of great people over the years and hope to continue the friendships we've established." Retirement plans include visiting family more often, traveling, fly fishing (see picture), golf, photography and chainsaw carving.

Pam SanchezPam Sanchez, Alaska Marine Lines, 18 years
Pam was a fixture in the customer service department for many years, making sure that receiving, billing and customer service tasks ran smoothly. In a single day, she might handle 50 questions about pricing, scheduling, logistics, cargo claims, purchased transportation both via phone and email. "Over the years I was always impressed with how Alaska Marine Lines worked to improve their service to customers," she says. "We always let them know we are here for them and that we care." Although Pam says she will miss working with and talking to her co-workers, she is looking forward to doing all the things she didn't have time for when she was working. Her plans include planting a garden, tackling home improvement projects and having time to exercise. Pam's son, Matt Miller, works at Northland and will carry on the family tradition at the Y-5 warehouse.

Bob McGrathBob McGrath, Lynden Incorporated, 8 years
Bob began work for Lynden in 2011 as a contractor, auditioning with Rick Nuckolls on the Master Customer Master (MCM) application. "I was hired on May Day, 2012. This job has been the pot-o-gold at the end of my career rainbow, which has spanned four decades," he says. "I began years ago as a PICK programmer and finished at Lynden as a programmer. In between, I worked in a variety of related job roles involving both hardware and software. There have been immense changes over the course of my career, but I think the change in speed and scale, in all realms of computing, has had the greatest impact."

Bob lists the following as highlights of his Lynden career: the HAZMAT implementation, developing the UV/TariffTrak interface used in the pre-ship and billing systems, the UV2XML document interface, and working with great teams on the first and subsequent ILS migrations.

Retirement will bring changes. "We will be moving to Chicago to be with family for a while," Bob says, "but will eventually come back home to Whidbey Island. Between Chicago and home, we plan to travel and live abroad. Once back home, I'd like to pick up ceramics again, bake up a storm and teach at-risk kids programming as a model for success."

"Lynden is a great company and this has been one of the best jobs of my career," he adds. "The values guiding Lynden come from the top down, but seem to be deeply embedded in the company: ethical, generous, disciplined, and caring for employees and community. In the end though, it is the Lynden people I admire most. I was lucky to be part of this, even for a short time."

Stanley Sniadosky and Jim Warren also retired last year, from Alaska Marine Lines and Lynden Incorporated respectively.

Tags: Lynden, LTI Inc., Lynden Employees, AML

Locomotives all arrive safely by barge in Skagway

Posted on Fri, Jan 15, 2021

White Pass locomotive on AML bargeRecently the Whittier Provider and the Bering Titan delivered two locomotives to Skagway for the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway. This delivery completed the transport of six new locomotives to replace the old fleet which was built in the 1960s. Weighing in at 265,000 pounds each, the new engines are 30 percent larger than the old. Their size required a special rail sailing of Alaska Marine Lines' Southeast Provider last year when the first replacement engines were brought to Alaska.

"All the locomotives were transported on special barges that feature tracks on the barge deck designed to move rail cars," says Skagway Service Center Manager Cory Bricker. The new locomotives were built by National Railway Equipment Company in Mount Vernon, IL then shipped to Seattle.

Alaska Marine Lines has moved locomotives for the railway before using a heavy-duty dolly as a means of transport. The dolly and locomotive 'package' were stowed onto the deck of a regular barge, which allowed for maneuvering upon arrival. This time, the locomotives rode the rail barges and were unloaded by crane for placement on the White Pass railway.

"These locomotives are valued at about $2.5 million each so everyone was invested in making sure the move went smoothly and safely," Cory says.

Dubbed the scenic railway of the world, the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway covers 68 miles of breathtaking scenery between Skagway and Carcross, Yukon Territory.

Tags: Alaska, Oversized/Heavy Haul, Ocean, AML

Lynden supports Samaritan's Purse and its Operation Christmas Child project

Posted on Wed, Dec 23, 2020

Lynden equipmentIn what has become an annual tradition, Samaritan's Purse and its Operation Christmas Child project received a helping hand from Alaska Marine Lines and Lynden Transport. According to Andy Collins, Service Center Manager in Kenai, the Lynden team arranged for trailers to be dropped off at the Samaritan's Purse hangar at Soldotna Airport. Additional trailers were positioned in Fairbanks and Juneau. The trailers are then transported to Anchorage Baptist Temple and on to Fife, WA for final distribution overseas. The shoeboxes are filled with gifts and sent to underprivileged children in over 100 countries. "Lynden's contributions have an effect on thousands of children who receive the shoeboxes each year during the holidays," says Program Coordinator Craig Farris, President of Expressway Transportation, a partner in the project for the last 15 years.

Tags: Lynden Transport, Community, International, AML

Everyday Hero Profile: Jeff McKenney

Posted on Fri, Nov 20, 2020

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. Learn more about the people behind your shipment.

Introducing Jeff McKenney, Account Manager at Alaska Marine Lines in Seattle, Washington.

Everyday Hero Jeff McKenneyName: Jeff McKenney

Company: Alaska Marine Lines

Title: Account Manager

On the job since: 1988

Superpower: Using past experience to solve problems

Hometown: Oceanside, CA

Favorite Movie: Top Gun

Bucket List Destination: Seeing the U.S. via RV and a return trip to the Grand Canyon

For Fun: Boating, attending Seattle sports events, remodeling the house

How did you start your career at Alaska Marine Lines?
When I started my relationship with Lynden, I was a warehouseman and driver for a small freight company. That company unfortunately went out of business, so the saying, "when one door closes another one opens," was an opportunity for me to look forward. I decided to purchase my own truck and was successful in keeping Southeast Alaska Barge Lines Line (SEABL) as a customer. My hard work, dedication and relationship with the people I worked with at SEABL offered me a chance to continue the career I enjoyed. I also began working nights and weekends for SEABL doing all the different jobs that Alaska Marine Lines provides today. Earlier in my career, I had worked with Western Towboat as a deckhand on the tug during the winter months. For those of you who remember, SEABL only operated one barge every two weeks to the one port of Juneau. Working on the tug gave me the opportunity to learn another facet of the marine transportation business. I am grateful to this day.

A few years after starting my business, Lynden purchased SEABL and changed the name to Alaska Marine Lines. I was again successful and fortunate to retain Alaska Marine Lines as my customer. After 13 years of owning my business, I had an opportunity to take a full time position with Alaska Marine Lines to dispatch and manage the trucks and operators that were operating just as I once did. I held that position for four years when a sales position opened in Seattle. I thought it was the right time to advance my career and use the knowledge I had learned over the years to sell the services Alaska Marine Lines offered. After my interviews with Kevin Anderson and other management, Kevin called me and said, "I have some bad news and some good news." He said the bad news was the Seattle position was filled. He then said they had a sales position open in Juneau and that position was mine if I wanted to move to Juneau. That was a big decision I needed to discuss with my family. The family agreed that we would all move. I called Kevin with the decision. He stopped me before I could say anything more and said, "I have some bad news and some good news." At that moment, I could feel this heavy cloud come over me and wanted to turn and walk away. But I had to hear the final words and it started: "I've filled the Juneau sales position." That confirmed my worst nightmare. But then another door opened, when he said that the Seattle sales position was open and it was mine if I wanted it. I accepted the position and was able to continue to work with the people who were my friends and colleagues here and keep my family where we really wanted to be.

What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me is corresponding with customers, their affiliates, and with Lynden colleagues either in person, on the phone, or through email. As an account manager, my job is to look for freight opportunities including new and existing business. New business would involve customers you've never talked to and existing business would be current customers you already work with in the hopes of expanding that business.

Unfortunately, the world we knew has been changed by Covid-19. Prior to Covid, my job was to be in front of the customer and building relationships. Since Covid, I still have to be there for the customer using other means of communication, either through more telecommunications, email or by other social media tools.

One of your best assets for being in sales is your ability to listen and show compassion. A customer wants to know that you take their business seriously. Then offering options to best suit their needs while making it beneficial for Lynden.

That is where Alaska Marine Lines and all the Lynden companies have made my job so much more fun. Our abilities to be innovative through equipment design, schedules, and online tools offers so much to the customer compared to our competition. The fact that we can pull multiple Lynden operating companies together to offer the customer a One Lynden solution has a lot of merit.

What has been most challenging in your career?
I've been fortunate to have worked in both operations and in sales. They are very different but having the operations background has definitely been a positive in my sales career. Operations is black and white. Meaning you make decisions, right or wrong, and learn from the mistakes. Sales has always been more of a gray area. You still learn from your mistakes but there is always the unknown and uncertainty of whether or not you've secured the business. You work at creating and maintaining relationships and try to educate your customers on the features and benefits that Lynden provides. But once they finally sign on the dotted line or begin moving that first shipment with you, then you feel successful of your achievements and proud of all the hard work you've put forth. Now, your focus is to keep that business and hopefully ship a second and a third and continue to build the business you've created.

What are you most proud of in your career?
Being able to share my life and experiences with the people at Lynden and their affiliates who I've been associated with over the years. Many of these people have already retired and I look forward to joining them in the next chapter of my life. My customers have become my friends and I look forward to continuing those friendships.

I'm proud of the challenges I've had to overcome and, more importantly, proud of the people around me who have helped me along the way. I've grown through adversity and hard work. I've enjoyed good times and suffered through some hard times but have learned through the process to become better. Lynden has been a great company to be part of. I'm very fortunate to be a part of this family and have appreciated all that they have done to support me and my wife and kids.

Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
My two brothers were 9 and 10 years older than I was. My parents always told me I was the planned one! My dad was a gunnery sergeant in the Marine Corp at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, CA and retired after 22 years. After his retirement, we moved to Lincoln, NB when I was 3, then moved to Salem, OR for two years and then moved up to Washington. I have lived here ever since in various cities around the greater Seattle area.

When I was 6 or 7 years old, my parents bought me a Tumbler Pigeon from the Oregon State Fair. Raising the pigeon taught me a lot of responsibility just like owning any pet would. Remember the part my dad was a "gunny" in the Marine Corp? He made sure I did my duty!

So I took care of that bird from the time I lived in Salem, OR until we moved to Washington. Then in middle school, I got into pigeons again. I started with the fancy varieties like the Tumblers, Fan Tails and Helmut pigeons. I began breeding the birds and selling them to pet stores. I later changed my focus from fancy pigeons to homing pigeons and got into racing them in between high school sports of baseball, football and wrestling.

I met my wife Lisa 41 years ago, and we've been married for 38 years. We met at an under 21 dance club on Mercer Island called "Tonight's the Night." I remember her standing next to the wall on the outskirts of the dance floor talking to her friends. She had very short hair that was styled in this asymmetrical fashion which was different from all the other girls. I went up and asked her to dance. I put my best John Travolta moves forward and we really hit it off, or so I thought. When I asked her for her number, she said "No, I don't give out my number," but then she said she would take my number. I thought it would be the last I would hear from her. To my surprise, I was fortunate to get a call from her early the next day, and we made plans to go to the Woodland Park Zoo.

She has been my best friend ever since. She is my rock and my soul mate and one of the smartest women I know. I've been so lucky to have this lady in my life for this long.

We have two daughters; Ashlee, 32, and Briana, 28. I am so proud of these girls. They have been a joy. I only had brothers so having girls was a new experience each and every day. As young girls they're always looking up to you for guidance. You do what you can to protect them from the world, but you have to eventually let them find their own way. They are both intelligent, strong and independent women that also very patient and caring. Definitely their mother's qualities.

What was your first job?
My very first job was a paper route as a young kid. It was waking up early every morning to stuff papers with leaflets, then fold and roll them to apply a rubber band. Then place them in an organized fashion inside your bag so when you rode your bike past the house, you could easily grab them from your bag to toss them toward the front door. Yes, some did end up in the bushes early in the route till you got your rhythm.

My first job as an adult was working in a Pet Store in Bellevue, WA. We always had dogs growing up and whatever reptiles I could catch. Also the pigeons that I had in my life kind of set me up for working at a pet store. Taking care of weird and exotic animals was right up my alley and one of the most fun jobs I ever had.

What would surprise most people about you?
After graduating from high school in 1977, I worked at the "Hat and Boots" fuel station located on East Marginal Way and Corson Avenue in Seattle. The big cowboy hat was the office and the pair of boots was the restrooms. It became a historical site and they eventually moved both structures to some other location to preserve its history. It was there that I really began my transportation career. As the fuel attendant I created relationships with the drivers who came in to have their trucks and cars fueled. Yes, back then the attendant did the fueling. Because of those relationships, I was then able to find a position with an air freight company. I would drive large van trucks called Hoopie trucks all day to pick up and deliver freight and then go back to the warehouse to load containers called LD3 and M1. These containers would be delivered on tractor/flatbed combinations to the airport to be placed on planes and positioned around the Lower 48. This career is what led me to Lynden.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
My parents always had boats and I grew up boating with them year-round in the San Juans and Gulf Islands. Back then, the Islands were a lot less inhabited. I continued that with my wife and kids throughout their childhood on 24' – 35' boats of various types.

I used to take family and friends out for day trips or for weekends and vacations up to the islands to fish and hike. That was always my passion. Now, I enjoy remodeling and building around my house. The first home I purchased was in Bellevue, WA. We lived there 15 years and had both our girls in that home. We bought our second home 22 years ago and we still live there. I love fishing and I have done some bird hunting. I am a big Seattle sports fan and enjoy going to sports events. Now it is taking my RV and traveling around to new sites. I have a 12' aluminum boat to satisfy my need for the water. If I could talk my wife into it, I wouldn't mind getting another boat and maybe living aboard. I also love to cook, and I love to eat even more.

What do you like best about your job?
I love the challenge. I like being able to provide the customer with a positive experience, show customers what Lynden can do and being part of Lynden's success.

Tags: Lynden Employees, Everyday Heroes, AML