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Congrats to Lynden's Pete Kaiser on fifth Kuskokwim 300 win

Posted on Fri, Mar 06, 2020

Pete Kaiser wins 5th Kuskokwim 300Pete Kaiser won the 41st running of the Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race in January. For the fifth time in six years, the Bethel local was crowned champion of what is called the toughest mid-distance mushing race in the world. Pete maintained a solid lead for the last leg of the race, so it was not a surprise when he pulled into the finish chute with his nine-dog team. Pete works for the Lynden family of companies, who are long-time sponsors of his racing career and Kaiser Racing Kennels in Bethel. At the finish line he was surrounded by family, friends and fans. "Lynden companies proudly sponsor Pete each year and his dedication and hard work are a true carryover from the job to the trail," says Knik President Dan Hall. Though the K300 is always competitive, Kaiser said that the field of elite mushers this year was especially fierce. "Dog teams are getting better and better and so are the drivers." Pete will be competing in the 2020 Iditarod which begins tomorrow, March 7, in Anchorage!

Tags: Lynden Employees, Alaska, Knik Construction, Community

Lynden's Knik Construction employees first responders on the scene

Posted on Tue, Jan 28, 2020

Cone 1200x630Soldotna Knik employees Pete Hoogenboom and Aaron Verba were on their way to a paving job in Whittier recently when they came across a head-on accident on the Sterling Highway in Alaska. "It was still dark and the roads were icy," Pete says. "We were first on the scene."

The lone driver in one car was already deceased, but the other vehicle contained three passengers who were still alive. The car was badly damaged and there was a risk of an electrical or engine fire. Pete and Aaron used a chain to bend the door open and a reciprocating saw to get to the door latch. They got two of the passengers out and into Knik's warm pickup until emergency services arrived. The third passenger in the car was badly injured with a broken back, hip, legs and feet. They wisely decided not to move her, but Pete stayed in the car with her, talking to her to keep her conscious for almost two hours until the life flight arrived to the remote area.

The American Red Cross of Alaska heard of Pete and Aaron's actions and named them in the 2020 Real Heroes Awards for being Good Samaritan Heroes in the video below.

"Their actions are nothing short of heroic," says Knik Estimator Sean McKeown, but Pete is reluctant to accept the title of hero. "We did the right thing, the same that we hope someone would do for our loved ones in that situation," he says.

"Great people do great things," agrees Knik President Dan Hall. "I couldn't be prouder of these two men."

Tags: Lynden Employees, Alaska, Knik Construction, Community

Everyday Hero profile: Ray Henrichs

Posted on Thu, Jan 16, 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 Ray Henrichs, Equipment Operator for Knik Construction in Alaska.

Everyday Hero: Ray HenrichsName: Ray Henrichs

Company: Knik Construction Co.

Title: Equipment Operator

On the job since: 1990

Superpower: Resilience

Hometown: Soldotna, AK

Favorite Movie: Heat

Bucket List Destination: New Zealand

For Fun: Snowmobiling and spending time at his cabin in Caribou Hills on the Kenai Peninsula

How did you start your career at Lynden?
I was working for a paving company in Kodiak. A guy that worked with me was finishing the season running roller for Knik. He said they had a few weeks of work in Skagway for a screed operator. So I went to work for them at 24 years old. I flew up there and met Jim Kirsch. I got off the plane with long, bleached blond hair hanging down my back and I think Jim rolled his eyes when he first saw me. I grew up in the 80s and was a hair band/metal band guy. I had the hair to go with it. When I turned 40, I had 18 inches cut off. After I finished that first job with Knik, Jim told me there was more work for me if I was interested. It was a great job for a young man and it paid very well.

What is a typical day like for you?
Depending on the project, I may be traveling to a different location. If I am onsite at a camp, I wake up, eat breakfast and get to work.

What has been most challenging in your career?
Dealing with conditions at job sites. We have sub-zero temps, mud, ice, high winds, shifting earth or rock. Operating equipment safely while staying on schedule to get the job done is tough. Being gone for long periods with your work crew is sometimes a challenge for your family.

What changes have you seen over the years, either in business, customers or technology?
The evolution of equipment and technology is pretty cool. I totally blame my parents for my career choice. They bought me Tonka trucks when I was a kid and now the trucks, loaders and dozers are just bigger.

What project(s) are you most proud of?
We have had some projects in extremely remote spots where it is hard to get a barge into the site. A winter job in Chefornak near Bethel stands out in my memory. Our assignment was to move almost a million yards of dirt in five weeks to build a new runway. We had to strip a pit, get building materials to the site while dealing with freezing temperatures and ice. Other projects in St. Paul, St. George and the Pribilof Islands were also memorable.

A few years ago we needed to move a hovercraft from Anchorage to the slope. We took it apart in Anchorage in the spring. Some of the parts are tiny stainless steel nuts and bolts that come in a drum. Taking it apart wasn't bad but we had to re-assemble the hovercraft outside in Prudhoe Bay when it was blowing and below zero. It took us over a week to do it, but we got it done.

In 1995, we worked on an oil spill response project in the village of Chenega, off Prince William Sound. Part of the job was in the winter, and the next part in summer. We built the dock, a road, cleared trees, built a pad and put in water lines. It was instant gratification to look at all we accomplished. Working for Knik is that way – especially paving jobs. You spend an entire year building what's under that asphalt, then you pave it in a few days. Everyone sees only the top 2 inches, but you know what went into building that roadway. Years later you can look at it and say 'I did that.'

Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
I have an adult stepdaughter from a previous marriage. She just moved to Idaho after graduating from high school. I grew up with four brothers in Soldotna. Most of my family moved down to Henderson, NV about 20 years ago, except for my dad who still lives in Alaska. He worked for BP for many years and just retired a few years ago. With five boys, we were put to work around the house – always had some project we were helping with.

When I was a kid, my family built a subdivision. I was hanging drywall at age 12 and digging ditches for culverts. We had a bunch of boys for free labor. My grandparents homesteaded in Soldotna in the early 1950s, so I grew up helping them build fence and bring in hay. I remember hiking down to the Kenai River and catching a fish with every cast.

I played baseball for awhile (third base and pitcher). My granddad taught me how to throw a curveball and a slider. He played in minor leagues in Texas in the 1930s. Once I got a car, I stopped playing and started working. I love cars. I had a 1974 Monte Carlo in high school. I bought a 1970 Camaro when I was in college and drove it up the Alcan to Alaska. At one point, I had a 1966 black-on-back Chevelle 4-speed with a 327 (engine). I am planning to attend the Barrett-Jackson car auction in January to see what I can find.

What was your first job?
My first job was working for my stepdad at a gravel pit. I learned my work ethic from him. I also worked in canneries, commercial fished a bit, worked at fast food and worked for the school district, doing the sound and light for the auditorium. I took anything that would pay.

What would surprise most people about you?
In 1984, I went to a specialty trade school in Southern California to learn computer programming. I graduated at the top of my class, but worked construction in Alaska in the summers and it paid more than an entry level job at Rockwell. I also disliked working indoors, so I abandoned that career. I am certified to program computer language like COBOL and Fortran. I was working with IBM mainframes, stacks of 16-inch disks and stacks of reel-to-reel tapes – all outdated stuff now.

I also like to cook and each year I host a New Year's Day brunch for 100 people at my cabin. I make Eggs Benedict and Bloody Mary's for all my friends their kids. I cook two prime ribs, two gigantic hams and use a couple hundred eggs to make the Eggs Ben. I have worked in bars before so I know how to mix drinks. I even worked the door at the Red Onion in Skagway at one point, checking ID and keeping an eye on things.

How do you spend your time outside of work?Ray Knik 1080x1080
I read a lot of books, do a lot of day and night hiking and spend time on my snow machines. I used to have seven, but now am down to three. When you work for a company like Knik, you work a lot of hours and basically just eat and sleep while you are at a remote project site. When you are off in the winter, you have time to really relax. I used to put 5,000 miles on my snowmobiles each year, but the snow isn't as good as it was and now I may ride only 1,000 miles a year. All my friends have cabins in Caribou Hills so we have a big circle that rides. I have been riding with their kids since they were 5 years old, and now we ride with their grandkids. I used to drag them out of holes when they got stuck, and now they are dragging me out!

What do you like best about your job?
I like working for a company that really makes me feel appreciated for the work I do and also gives me an opportunity to try new things. This year, I will be running an asphalt plant for Knik which I am looking forward to. This is a new job for me and I will be learning a lot while getting paid to do it. I also like the team aspect of working with other employees for long periods. We travel to projects as a crew and live in camps together for sometimes months at a time. The project managers are not above jumping in to help us out, which is another aspect I like about working for Knik. The managers get out of their employees what they put into their employees. This summer, we were shorthanded and needed someone to shovel and rake to help the screed operator. One of our managers was happy to help out. No job is below anyone at Knik.

Tags: Lynden Employees, Knik Construction, Everyday Heroes

Lynden's Knik Construction recognized by the State of Alaska

Posted on Thu, May 02, 2019

Knik Award 1200x630Knik Construction received both the Contractor of the Year and Distinguished Excellence Awards from the Alaska Department of Transportation Civil Rights Office. The awards recognize Knik’s commitment and dedication to the state’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program in the South Coast and Central Districts of Alaska. According to Norma Lucero of the Department of Transportation, this is the first time a prime contractor has won an award in two separate districts in the same year. Knik President Dan Hall is pictured above receiving the award from Dennis Good, Civil Rights Programs & Compliance Specialist. On Dan’s right are Alicia Siira, Associated General Contractor Executive Director, and John Mackinnon, Department of Transportation & Public Facilities Commissioner.

"We are pleased to be recognized for our efforts to work with disadvantaged business," Dan says.

Tags: Awards, Lynden Employees, Alaska, Knik Construction, Construction

Knik Construction put the pieces back together after Alaska quake in November

Posted on Tue, Jan 29, 2019

Knik Road FixA 7.0 magnitude earthquake rattled Anchorage at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 30. Shortly after Alaskans were back to their routine in part due to how quickly Knik Construction mobilized to fix the many roads that collapsed – especially the section of highway that carries traffic from the Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage to the Anchorage airport.

Within an hour of the quake, Knik President Dan Hall placed a call to the Alaska Department of Transportation (AKDOT) offering to assist in the repair of eight breaks in essential travel that were deemed highest priority for transportation. "Within two hours of getting the go-ahead to start work on the northbound Minnesota Highway Exit at International Airport Road and a small stretch of road in the Soldotna area, Knik employees were ready to go to work," Dan explains. Just 72 hours after the earthquake and despite 4.0 aftershocks, Knik crews repaired the collapsed highway, paved it, striped it and opened it to the traveling public. "Knik’s ability to react in this timely and professional manner is a testament to the people that we employ. The credit goes to our team that jumped in to help," Dan says.

Paving in the winter isn’t ideal, but if done quickly, heat can be retained in the asphalt mix to allow for proper compaction and to give the surface treatment a chance for long-term success. "Knik crews worked alongside our subcontractor McKenna Brothers in the paving process and completed a very successful project," Dan says.
Earthquake screen shot - we will rebuild!
"As always, Lynden people have responded professionally and proactively and, once again, they make us all proud," says Chairman Jim Jansen. The quick response and excellent repair work drew national attention from CNN, USA Today and AP News and went ‘viral’ online. The before and after pictures became an internet sensation and sparked questions about their authenticity. The story was so unbelievable, that even the online urban legend site Snopes had to fact check it. 

The story was also used as an example of Alaskans’ resilience in the face of Mother Nature and as a blueprint for other states to get highway projects done quickly by working together with multiple agencies.

Lynden offices weathered the 1964 Alaska earthquake and faced the Nov. 30 incident with the same can-do attitude. Jim Jansen shared the following from that day. "The wild ride that morning resulted in most of our employees going home to check on their families and homes. With road closures, parents getting kids from schools and people trying to get home, it was a traffic mess," he says. "By noon the airport was open and most of our people got to their homes and found the damage was cosmetic with fallen ceiling tiles, tables and pictures on the floor and broken glass. Some had water lines leaking and a few gas leaks. By afternoon, Anchorage businesses, including Lynden, began to function and the emotion and fear subsided." The Lynden facilities, including marine facilities in Anchorage, Kenai, Whittier, Cordova and Valdez, all fared well and were structurally operational.

Knik is continuing its AKDOT work into the new year to repair highway road failures in Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula.

Knik Construction received letters and drawings from the kindergarten class of Campbell STEM Elementary in Anchorage for the quick repair of essential roads. Each student wrote a thank you and created construction-related artwork. The notes were presented to Knik as part of the school’s Day of Caring.

Tags: Disaster Relief, Alaska, Knik Construction, Construction

Pete Kaiser makes history with Kuskokwim 300 win

Posted on Wed, Feb 28, 2018

Pete Kaiser wins 4th Kuskokwim 300.jpgKnik Construction's Pete Kaiser won his fourth consecutive Kuskokwim 300 title Jan. 21 in Bethel, AK. Joar Leifseth Ulsom arrived in second place with Jeff King following in third. With the victory, Pete did what no other musher has done in 39 years. While Jeff King has won three straight races on two occasions, Pete's four straight Kuskokwim victories earn him a spot in the history books.  He also eclipses Mitch Seavey on the career victories list, trailing only Jeff King.

This year's race took a new route. Teams faced rough ice over winding tundra trails, frozen creeks and wide open lakes. According to Pete, it was a struggle to get traction on the 140-mile route.

"When it's icy, the dogs have to focus so much more on each step," he says. "It's mentally taxing and entirely different from a snow-covered trail where they can zone out and move along at an easy clip. Overall it was a challenging race for them and for me."

Pete and his team are sponsored by Knik Construction and Bering Marine Corporation each year. For the first time in six years, Pete trained in Bethel. The region finally received enough snow to support the demanding regimen Pete and his dogs go through each year to prepare for the Kuskokwim race and the annual Iditarod. It's also where Pete lives and works.

"We live out here and train out here, so we're a little more comfortable than most with the Kusko, but it was still one of the toughest, if not the toughest, races I've ever done," he says.

Pete is now focused on preparing for the Iditarod which begins March 3 in Anchorage.

Tags: Bering Marine Corporation, Lynden Employees, Alaska, Knik Construction, Community

Knik sponsors UAF civil engineering students in bridge competition

Posted on Wed, Sep 06, 2017

Elliott Anderson - Knik - UAF Steel Bridge program.jpg

Elliott Anderson, Project Engineer for Knik at the Red Dog Mine Airport, is a recent graduate of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). He and his former classmates recently participated in an annual Steel Bridge competition organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The contest is designed to foster excellence and ingenuity among civil engineering students across the nation and requires groups to create a bid document for a bridge complete with design and manufacturing specifications. Supported by Knik Construction, Elliott's group traveled to Idaho this spring to compete at the regionals and on to Oregon for the national competition. "Our UAF team placed tenth out of 127 schools from seven countries," Elliott says. "We appreciate Knik's generous sponsorship of our team." The UAF team is pictured above with Elliott at far right.

Tags: Lynden Employees, Alaska, Knik Construction, Construction

Three-Pete Kaiser wins Kusko 300

Posted on Wed, Feb 15, 2017

Pete Kaiser 2017 Iditarod c-u - Copy.jpgLynden’s Peter Kaiser made it a "3-Pete" win in the 2017 Kusko 300 in February and placed in the top 10 in this year’s Iditarod in March. Pete, who has worked for Bering Marine Corporation and now Knik Construction in Bethel, AK for 10 years, won the Kusko 300 for the third consecutive year, beating his 2016 time by almost 30 minutes. Pete and his 9 dogs crossed the 300 finish line with a time of 40 hours, 7 minutes and 54 seconds.

In his eighth outing as an Iditarod competitor, Pete placed ninth in the fastest-ever Iditarod. First-place finisher Mitch Seavey crushed the Iditarod speed record, finishing in 8 days, 3 hours and 40 minutes. The previous record, set last year by Seavey’s 30-year-old son, Dallas, was 8 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes.

This year, mushers traveled an unusual route that started in Fairbanks, rather than Willow, due to low snow on key stretches of the trail. The 2017 Iditarod is officially 979 miles, although that includes 11 mile sat the ceremonial start from Downtown Anchorage to Campbell Airstrip.

Bering Marine Corporation and Knik Construction support Pete and Kaiser Kennels each year. "Pete is not only a great employee for our companies, but his passion and dedication in his work shows in his mushing as well. We are proud of his accomplishments and look forward to more races next year," says Dan Hall, Knik Construction Vice President.

"I am grateful for Lynden’s ongoing support," Pete says. "Our success is dependent on our sponsors and the flexibility of my employer. This year you had to have a flawless race to keep up with the fast teams. I had a few sick dogs with injuries along the way but, as always, I’m just happy to be competing."

Tags: Bering Marine Corporation, Lynden Employees, Knik Construction, Community