Twelve veteran Lynden employees wrapped up their careers at the end of 2020. We wish them well in retirement.
Mark 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Jeff 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 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 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 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 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.
Welcome to Lynden News!
Twelve veteran Lynden employees wrapped up their careers at the end of 2020. We wish them well in retirement.
Lynden Chairman Jim Jansen escorted Alaska Sailor of the Year Petty Officer Erika Swan (left) at the Armed Services YMCA Annual Salute to the Military in February. Lynden has sponsored the event in Anchorage for more than 10 years. Each year, 12 exceptional enlisted service members, representing each of the Active Duty branches, the Guard, and Reserve, are recognized.
We would like to recognize the following Lynden employees who retired this past year. We are grateful for their service and contributions to Lynden, and we wish them well on their new adventures!
Steve McQueary – Brown Line, 40 years
Steve (photo to the right) started working for Brown Line in 1979 with a short break in between to serve as an expert for U.S. Customs in the ACE Truck Manifest Program. In his 40-year career, he has been a driver, dock manager, dispatcher, general and sales manager. "As we are a small company, I also assisted in accounts payables, loaded trucks, received freight, handled insurance, cleaned the kitchen and did whatever needed to be done. I have also assisted other Lynden companies with FDA compliance," he says.
In the 1970s, truckloads of frozen salmon were packed in 100-pound boxes, halibut was shipped loose on the floor stacked like cord wood and full loads of King Crab sections were common. "I haven't seen a truckload of 100-pound salmon boxes shipped in years, it is now illegal to ship halibut on the floor, and the halibut quotas have decreased by 80 percent from what they were in the 70s," Steve says. "The value of King Crab makes it difficult for most buyers to buy a truckload."
Other changes Steve has seen in his career: freight ships on pallets and all trucks have a pallet jack. "In the 70s, everything we hauled was floor loaded and we used hand trucks. Paper log books were used for hours, drivers were more independent as there were no cell phones, and it was at their discretion to call in, much to the chagrin of the dispatchers. That world no longer exists with cell phones, satellite tracking, electronic logs and truck sensors."
Steve's most memorable project involved Trident Seafoods. "One of their overseas plants had run out of product and shut down," he recalls. "Sixty loads were sitting south of Seattle that needed to be shipped to Bellingham in a 3-day period. I had no clue on how we would cover it, but said that we would. Trident had turned around a vessel that was already at sea to return to Bellingham to pick this product up. We worked with other Lynden companies, using as many rigs as possible and saved Trident money by reducing the number of truckloads and delivering it all on time. This was a great "One Lynden" example. I took pride that Trident trusted me to get it done and that, at Lynden, nothing can stop us."
Retirement will bring home and woodworking projects, fishing, camping, golfing and touring the country with his wife in their Mustang convertible. "It's been a great career," Steve says. "I've made a lot of friends and enjoyed being a part of the Lynden family."
Cherri Webby – Lynden Transport, 32 years
Cherri (photo to the right) started her career in 1987 as a Customer Service Representative in Ketchikan. "We worked for Arrowhead Transfer and were agents for Lynden Transport and Alaska Marine Lines. Lynden Transport used the highway to Prince Rupert, then the Alaska Marine Highway system to deliver freight in Southeast Alaska," she says. "Alaska Marine Lines had one weekly barge that serviced Southeast." In 2002, Cherri moved to Seattle and went to work for Alaska Marine Lines as a customer service representative, later becoming the manager of the department. Three years later, she went to work for Lynden Transport as Director of Customer Service.
"The biggest change I have seen in my career is the streamlining of our processes to move freight," she says. "From receiving the shipment, to moving the shipment from the dock to the trailer, to the customer, it has become much more efficient." Cherri's retirement plans include travel and family time.
Gary Schmahl – Lynden Air Cargo, 22 years
Gary (photo to the right) began his career as an inspector with Lynden Air Cargo in 1997. He moved into Quality Control as a manager of scheduled maintenance and ended his career as a project manager. He has watched the company expand from two leased Electras to 10 L382 Hercules aircraft.
"My best memory is bringing six foreign aircraft onto the U.S. registry from 2005 to 2019," he says. "I have been the Quality Control Representative for over 130 B Checks and C Checks since 1999 in Singapore, the U.K., Canada and elsewhere." A B Check is a two-week maintenance and service check, and a C Check is a six-week heavy inspection and maintenance check," he says.
Gary's retirement plans include outdoor sports and traveling. He has a winter home in the Ozark Mountains for fishing and a home in Anchorage to enjoy the Alaska summers. "I would like to thank Lynden and all its good people and leadership for the past 22 years," he says. "There has been a lot of travel (1.5 million miles on Delta alone) and plenty of new experiences around the world. I had a lot of responsibility and all the tools to handle the tasks plus the appreciation for a job well done."
Paul Willing – Lynden Air Cargo, 20 years
Paul Willing (photo to the right) has been part of Lynden Air Cargo for almost 21 years, first as Director of Quality Control from 1999 to 2007 and then as Vice President of Maintenance from 2007 to 2019. In that time, he watched the company grow from an Alaskan operation to a worldwide company. "I really enjoyed the aircraft acquisitions over the years in Singapore, France and South Africa," Paul says, "and working with the dedicated and talented professionals at Lynden Air Cargo." His most memorable project was starting an airline in Papua New Guinea. Paul will start the new decade and his retirement with winter travel and spending more time sailing. "I would like to thank Lynden for the challenges and opportunities," he says.
Bob Weeks – Lynden Inc., 16 years
Bob has played an important part behind the scenes at Lynden for the past 16 years. Starting as a CPA in the Tax Department, he worked on corporate tax returns and conducted internal audits of operating companies for compliance and other issues.
The audits sometimes took months and Bob enjoyed getting to know each company's processes and talking to the people. "Alaska Marine Lines probably has the most assets in the most places of any Lynden company. Keeping track of every piece of equipment is a challenge," he says. "At the end of one particular audit, they were able to locate every asset, down to one last container at the bottom of a stack during their busy fish season."
Looking back, Bob's biggest challenge was learning the foreign tax laws necessary for setting up Lynden's new companies in Papua New Guinea and Ghana, Africa.
Retirement will bring motorhome trips with his wife, Rena, to Arizona and national parks in Utah. "I will enjoy not waking up at 5:01 a.m. every morning," he says, "but Lynden was a great company to work for."
Oksana Begej – Alaska Marine Lines, 38 years
Fish Queen. That is one of the titles Alaska Marine Lines Human Resources Director Oksana Begej listed when asked for her career information. After 38 years, she is entitled to a little fun. Oksana started her career back in 1982 when multipage invoices were typed on electric typewriters. "We went through a lot of whiteout!" she says.
Starting as Office Manager in Seattle, she moved into customer service, dispatch and finally human resources. "My best memories are the fabulous people I have worked with," she says, "and my favorite project would be skeleton entry where we didn't have to dig through piles of bills of lading to see if a shipment was received. That was a total game changer for us and our customers at the time."
Now that she is retired, Oksana plans to enjoy more time with her husband. "Alaska Marine Lines and Lynden are amazing and have provided a wonderful career for me and benefits for my family."
Pictured above retirees Bob Weeks, Oksana Begej and Eric Linde
Eric Linde – Alaska Marine Lines, 24 years
Eric Linde has worked in various areas at Alaska Marine Lines during his 24 years, mostly providing leadership and management of Service Centers or Maintenance and Repair (M&R).
One of his best career memories was the Ketchikan Bypass. "We had 100 custom 20-foot containers made that could carry 100K pounds of bulk cement and other bulk products. A new forklift design was required with a lifting capacity of more than 100,000 pounds. We built and assembled transfer system conveyors and bag houses along with a tipper system that assisted in the transfer of bulk cement products from the containers to trailers on the Ketchikan end. It was a BIG job," he remembers.
Eric also commented on the changes in containers over the years. "I watched containers get bigger and heavier – from standard gauge to 10' high and 102" wide with increased gross weights. We had to increase the forklift size and carrying capacity and ability to stack them higher. Then we had new barges built to carry the larger containers and handle the increase in freight volumes. It's been amazing to see and be part of Lynden's futuristic ideas that have become the norm here at Alaska Marine Lines," he says.
Selah, WA is where Eric and his wife have decided to spend their retirement years. Their home is on acreage with a shop for Eric to enjoy his hobby of restoring antique farm tractors and agriculture equipment. "I am an avid snow and water skier, so I hope to spend more time in those activities now. We also have plans to continue to travel and see our National Parks that we have not been to yet. It's been an amazing career at Alaska Marine Lines. Thank you for the opportunity to meet and work with so many great people. I feel blessed to have been a small part of it."
Bill Merk – Alaska Marine Trucking, 28 years
Bill (photo to the right) has been a 'jack of all trades' serving as a warehouseman, driver, customer service representative, warehouse lead, barge and yard freight operator, and, most recently, Human Resources Coordinator and HSSE Manager for the Juneau office during a career at Arrowhead Transfer from 1991 to 1997 and Alaska Marine Trucking from 1997 to 2019.
"The biggest changes I have seen in almost three decades is the ongoing development of freight managing processes and the increase in opportunities for employees to grow within the Lynden family of companies," Bill says. "I am most proud of the success of Alaska Marine Trucking's continuing safety improvements."
Bill's retirement plans include spending time with family in Portland, OR and completing his second collection of poetry. He also plans to travel and rediscover the deserts and mountains of the American Southwest. "It has been a pleasure working for a company that takes such good care of its employees; I couldn't imagine working anywhere else," he says.
Paula Daggett - Alaska Marine Trucking, 28 years
Paula Daggett (photo to the right) retired from Alaska Marine Trucking in September after 28 years as a Customer Service Representative in Ketchikan. She is pictured with other members of the Lynden team at her retirement celebration. From left: Dan Kelly, Paula, Adam Anderson, Paul Haavig, Alaska Marine Lines President Kevin Anderson and Executive Vice President Alex McKallor.
Senior Aircraft Records Specialist Pat Logan and Director of Quality Control Jeff Pull also retired from Lynden Air Cargo in December with 18 and 17 years of service respectively.
Lynden ranked fourth among all Alaska companies in Alaska Business Magazine's annual Top 49ers listing. Lynden employees attended the luncheon this fall in Anchorage to accept the award. Members of the Lynden team are pictured above accepting the award.
Lynden also participated in a fundraiser during the event to support the nonprofit Alaska Resource Education group whose mission is to teach students about Alaska's natural resources. "We appreciate Lynden's generous donation," says Ella Ede, Executive Director. "Our curriculum encourages students to seek careers in energy fields in Alaska like oil and mining."
Lynden continues its financial support of the Highline Community College Follow the Supply Chain Study Abroad Logistics Program. Recently, students toured an orchard in Wenatchee, then followed the apple shipments overseas to a market in Vietnam. "None of this happens without Lynden's support. We can't express enough thanks for helping these students—from so many diverse backgrounds—to learn about the supply chain," says Sam Kaplan, Director of the Supply Chain Management Program. Alaska Marine Lines Vice President Jake Maenpa serves on the advisory board for Highline College's Global Trade and Supply Chain Management Program. Lynden is one of six corporate donors funding the study abroad program.
Patrick Sloan, Software Developer II for Lynden Incorporated, has climbed Mount Baker, Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier all in one year with his wife Rachel and members of a glacier climbing group. He is pictured above at the Mount St. Helens summit in April. "We have summited three of the five Washington glaciers with this climbing group," he says, "and we represent Lynden by wearing our green jackets."
Lynden made a donation to the 2019 Captains for a Cure event honoring Lynden friend and partner Trident Seafoods founder Chuck Bundrant (right). The Captains for a CURE fundraiser and auction was held September 14 in Seattle hosted by Trident Seafoods and four of the "Deadliest Catch" Captains, all with the goal of raising funds to benefit the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA). These funds will also be used for a research grant in honor of Chuck Bundrant to study how Parkinson's develops.
Alaska Marine Lines Vice President Jake Maenpa serves on the advisory board for Highline College's Global Trade and Supply Chain Management Program. He replaced Lynden Transport retiree Mike Oliver who served on the board for many years. Lynden recently contributed $5,000 to help fund the program's study abroad program to help students follow the supply chain internationally, domestically and locally. Students will study global transportation and trade in China and other locations. Lynden is one of six corporate donors funding the program.
Lynden is proud to congratulate Pete Kaiser for finishing first in the 2019 Iditarod race. Pete is an employee of Knik Construction, part of the Lynden family of companies, and counts Lynden among his team sponsors. In a close race heading out of the White Mountain checkpoint, Pete skillfully guided his team the final 77 miles to the finish line in Nome. He finished with a time of 9 days, 12 hours and 39 minutes. This is the tenth time Pete has competed in the Iditarod.
“We are all very excited for Pete and enjoyed tracking his race this past week. Pete’s grit and determination show the world what it means to be a proud Alaskan,” says Jim Jansen, Lynden Chairman.
"Pete is not only a great employee for our company, but his passion and dedication to his work shows in his mushing as well. We are excited for his accomplishments and look forward to more races in the future," says Dan Hall, President of Knik Construction.
In addition to the Iditarod, Pete regularly competes in the Kuskokwim 300 dogsled race. He holds the record for most consecutive victories in the Kuskokwim 300, winning four times between 2015 and 2018. He placed second earlier this year in the 2019 race.
Twelve deserving students will receive financial assistance through the Lynden Memorial Scholarship Program for 2018. The independent scholarship service, Scholarship America of St. Peter, MN, selects recipients based on criteria established by the organization. Congratulations to the following winners who will each receive $2,500 for the 2018-19 school year:
Chloe Billingslea will be a junior at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, where she is studying Public Health.
Jake Butler will be a sophomore at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Marietta, GA, where he will study Aeronautics.
Jordan Craft will be a freshman at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA and plans to study Political Science.
Brooke DeBeeld will be a freshman at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA where she plans to study Accounting.
Briahna Gerlach will be a sophomore at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, TX where she is studying Social Work.
Parnika Godkhindi will be a sophomore at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, where she is studying Arts and Sciences.
Melody Hoza will be a freshman at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, MN, where she plans to study Sports Management and Criminal Justice.
Clarine Long will be a first year student at the medical school at Ohio State University in Columbus, OH.
Allison Rollins will be a first year student at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.
Natalie Smith will enter her junior year at the University of Portland in Oregon where she continues her studies in Nursing.
Andrew Spencer will be a senior at the University of Alaska in Anchorage where he plans to study Logistics.
Largim Zhuta will be a junior at Stanford University in Stanford, CA and study Engineering.
"Lynden offers these scholarships to children and grandchildren of our employees. This year's scholarship winners are very accomplished students and community leaders." says Gail Knapp, Director of the scholarship fund and coordinator for Lynden. "On behalf of all our employees, we congratulate these students and wish them the best of luck with their future studies."