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Everyday Hero Profile: Brian Zweegman

Posted on Wed, Oct 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 Brian Zweegman, Welder/Fitter at Lynden Tank Company in Lynden, Washington.

Name: Brian Zweegman
EDH post (1)
Company: Lynden Tank

Title: Welder/Fitter

On the Job Since: 1995

Superpower: Exceptional memory

Hometown: Lynden, WA

Favorite Movie: The Bourne Ultimatum

Bucket List Destination: Alaska and Holland

For Fun: Attending my kids’ sporting events and activities, RV camping, traveling and trap shooting

How and when did you start working for Lynden?
I started working at Lynden Tank in March of 1995 when I was 17 years old. The Mt. Baker Rotary Club had a job shadow program and Guy Jansen, who is a member of the Rotary, brought me to the tank shop as part of that program. I was given a job that same day. At one point, I drove for Milky Way for about a year, and I also drove for LTI, Inc. for about a year and did maintenance. I have done many projects through the tank shop for various other Lynden companies.

What is a typical day like for you?Brian Zweegman, EDH
On a typical day, I start work at 6 a.m. and work until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. No two days are exactly the same. Some days I am running a press brake, bending up components used for manufacturing milk tanks. Other days I could be inspecting a coded/chemical trailer or welding up components or doing a final inspection before a new set of milk tanks hits the road. There are some days that I do a bit of it all. My daily tasks depend on what is needed and what is a priority for the company.

What has been most challenging in your career?
Currently, our biggest challenge is navigating through material shortages and delays in getting the supplies that we need to build a quality product that meets our high standards. Personally, one of my challenges on the job is that I am color blind so I cannot do any wiring.

What are you most proud of in your career?
Every time we turn out a new set of trailers, I think we (all the tank shop employees) are proud of the work we put into them. When I am traveling in Washington or Idaho or beyond and I see a set of trailers I am proud that I had a small part in building them.

Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
I grew up north of Lynden on a dairy farm that my parents still run today. My two brothers, my sister and myself all went to school locally, and we all still reside within 30 minutes of the family farm. Growing up, I was very active in the Lynden High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) and spent a lot of time working on Ag (Agriculture) mechanic projects in our school shop. I won various awards for these projects and also my tractor driving skills at both the state and national levels.
Today I still live in Lynden with my two kids. My son Case is a senior at Lynden High School and plays football and baseball. My daughter Maddie is a sophomore at Lynden Christian High School where she plays fastpitch and is involved in FFA.

What was your first job?
As a child of a dairy farmer, my very first job was on the family farm. When I was 11 years old I fed bull calves for a neighbor which was my first job off the family farm.

What would surprise most people about you?
I think a lot of people would be surprised to know that underneath my somewhat rough exterior I am a bit of a softie who wears my heart on my sleeve.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
When I’m not at Lynden Tank or watching my kids’ sports and activities I still work on my parents’ farm doing maintenance and crop harvest. When time allows, I like to take my travel trailer to new locations and explore new areas.

What do you like best about your job?
The first and most important thing that I like about working at Lynden Tank is my boss Len Kilmer. He is fair and honest, and he creates a great environment for us to work in. A very close second is the entire tank shop crew. They make coming to work fun, and I enjoy working with them all. I also like that no two days are ever the same which keeps things fresh. Very early on in my career with Lynden I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Mr. Hank Jansen. Those times produced great memories which I will never forget.

Tags: Lynden Tank Company, Lynden Employees, Everyday Heroes

Vintage Milky Way tractor and tankers restored and on the road again

Posted on Tue, Sep 10, 2013

1950s Milky Way truck

Over the past six months, Guy Jansen has worked with Lynden Tank Company, Steven Blankenforth, Blue Star Welding, Maple Leaf Auto and the Lynden truck shop to restore an iconic Milky Way tractor and a set of double 2,800-gallon farm pickup milk tankers dating from the 1950's. The project was completed in time to join more than 700 antique trucks at the American Truck Historical Society Convention in Yakima, WA this spring.

"We plan to use #39 and its tankers #75B and #77B to support the agricultural communities in our service area by providing potable water and a hand-washing station at county fairs, FFA, 4-H, and similar events," said Milky Way President Brad Williamson. He encourages Lynden employees to think of otherways #39 can be used to support Lynden customers.

This 1956 single-ax Kenworth tractor and double single-axle tankers picked up milk at the Whatcom County dairy farms during the period when the industry was transitioning away from truck tanks to semi-trailers. Each single tanker picked up milk locally and was brought back to Lynden where they were trained up as a set of doubles and pulled through the Darigold plant in Lynden, WA to be topped off. They were then hooked to #39 to deliver full loads to Seattle area processors. Hub DeJong drove for Milky Way from 1949 to 1989 and spent many hours in the cab of #39. According to Guy, Hub and his family got a chance to see the restored rig and it brought back many fond memories.

 

Tags: Lynden, Lynden Tank Company, Milky Way, Bulk, Ground, Community

Lynden leads the way in fuel efficiency with new technology

Posted on Fri, Dec 21, 2012

LTII new truckThe Lynden companies are continually looking for ways to save fuel and operate more efficiently.  Lynden's Equipment Team is testing new fuel-saving technology from aerodynamics to tires to idle-reduction equipment.

Improving aerodynamics of tractors and trailers has great potential to save fuel. Brown Line can attribute at least 5 percent of its 25 percent fuel economy gains over the last three years to the use of trailer side skirts, and Lynden Transport has seen similar gains with side skirt tests in Edmonton, California, Texas and Alaska.

"In theory, every 2 percent reduction in trailer drag results in a 1 percent fuel economy gain," says Lynden Tank Company General Manager Len Kilmer. Last year, Lynden Tank worked with Western Washington University's Computational Fluid Dynamics program using digital drawings to simulate Milky Way tankers and identify areas to reduce drag.  Lynden Tank is now developing the most cost-effective options that were identified with the computer model. Milky Way is also testing a prototype tanker to determine the actual benefits of side skirts, air flow tabs, and a new smooth seam on the tank (see photo).

Experimenting with tires provides another opportunity to save fuel. Lynden Transport, Brown Line and Alaska West Express have been testing "super single" wide-base tires (pictured below).  According to Charlie Mottern of Lynden Transport, the wide-base tires are lighter by about 1,000 pounds per 5-axle set.  "They are giving us much better tire life at a slightly lower cost and better fuel economy than a typical set of doubles." Lynden companies are also testing automatic tire inflation systems that maintain proper tire pressure to optimize fuel economy and reduce tire wear.

LTII truckFor the past three years, Alaska West Express has been testing auxiliary power units (APUs) on 13 of its units. The small generators provide electricity and heat to the cab and keep the engine warm. This allows the driver to shut down the engine during winter downtime rather than idling the truck's engine. They burn about one-quarter of the fuel as an idling truck and have so far saved Alaska West about 16,000 gallons of fuel and 25 oil changes.

LTI, Inc. is currently running "head to head" testing on its Alexco ore haul between Seattle and Trail, B.C.  Fuel and other operating costs are being carefully monitored and compared between Freightliner’s DD13 engine and Paccar’s MX engine. So far, data has been collected and analyzed for nearly 800 trips.

Tags: Lynden, LTI Inc., Lynden Tank Company, Green Lynden, Milky Way, Lynden Transport, Ground

Lynden helps set world record for biggest hayride

Posted on Thu, Mar 22, 2012

On Aug. 20, 2011,  639 people set a new Guinness World Record for the biggest hayride at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds in Lynden, WA.  A Guinness World Record adjudicator flew in from New York to validate the new record which shattered the previous record of 249 people set last year in North Carolina. According to LTI, Inc. Northwest Regional Manager Greg Tolle, Fair Manager Jim Baron called him several weeks beforehand to see if the Lynden companies could help with the effort. “They wanted to double the old record so we assessed our available equipment and put together a safety plan and a dry run for the event,” Greg says. “It was great to play a part in something like this."

Lynden volunteers

 

Trailers

Lynden provided a snow plow, 10 trailers, 10 converter dollies, steps, drinking water, and 35 safety spotter volunteers including drivers, office staff, friends and family. Brown Line President Jason Jansen drove the truck and Lynden Tank Company built a special hitch to pull 300,000 pounds of hay and riders in an 11-minute loop in front of the fair grandstands.  Greg coordinated the planning, safety meetings, located the hay and volunteers and cleaned and prepared the plow and trailers for the event.

Lynden’s employee volunteer team is pictured below.  Lynden Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: Lynden, LTI Inc., Lynden Tank Company, Lynden Employees, Ground

Meet our companies: Lynden Tank Company

Posted on Tue, Jul 12, 2011

For the past 24 years, Lynden Tank Company has designed, manufactured and repaired stainless-steel tank trailers and components for Milky Way and LTI, Inc. The customized tanks are used to haul milk and other temperature-controlled loads like wine, fresh raspberries and sensitive liquid and haz-mat chemicals.

Lynden Tank welding“We pride ourselves on having one of the lightest-weight and safest trailers on the market and some of the most talented and creative people in the field on our team. No commercial tank manufacturer has gone as far as we have to allow maximum payloads while maintaining durability, quality and integrity for our customers,” explains General Manager Len Kilmer. 

Once all components have been built, it takes approximately 200 hours to assemble a trailer. “We spend about 60 percent of our time building tanks and 40 percent on repairs, maintenance and on building ladders, fenders and running gear. It’s a kick to see a flat sheet of stainless formed, welded, polished and then rolled out as a sleek, new light-weight set of tankers,” Len says.

Lynden Tank offers on-site service to Milky Way and LTI, Inc. drivers who can pull up to the shop in Lynden and get repairs or maintenance taken care of on the spot. The company also builds, stocks and ships replacement components for the tankers to all Milky Way locations, and a certification from the National Board of Boiler & Pressure Vessel Inspectors allows Lynden Tank to inspect, test and repair pressure tanks to Department of Transportation (DOT) standards.

This spring, Lynden Tank is collaborating with Western Washington University’s Engineering Department on a project to test the aerodynamics of its tanks. A student is creating a 3D drawing of a Lynden tank for use with a computer program called Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). He is also building a model of a tank for use in a wind tunnel. The program will indicate drag on the tank and analyze possible modifications to help increase fuel mileage.

“This is a great partnership and is just one more example of how we continually work to improve our product and add value for our customers,” Len says.

Lynden Tank crew

The Lynden Tank crew. From left: Juan Borjas, Brady Johnson, Corey Clausen, Scott Williamson, Len Kilmer, Stan Lutts, Cody Matter, Bruce Bouwman, Doug Bouwman and Brian ZweegmanPhoto credit: Heidi Doornenbal.

Tags: LTI Inc., Lynden Tank Company, Milky Way, Bulk, Ground