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Lynden Training Center provides life-saving skills

Posted on Mon, Jun 27, 2022

Wilderness TrainingA broken leg at the top of a mountain. A heart attack on a whitewater rafting trip. These real-life emergencies can and do happen and Tyler Bones and Don Werhonig have the experience and knowledge to teach others how to help those in trouble. "We teach what we do routinely," Tyler says. "Don and I are both on hazmat teams and local response groups outside of work, so we are comfortable sharing what we know." 

Rafting guides, Denali climbing guides and the leader of an outdoor recreation program for returning soldiers at Fort Wainwright were all students in Lynden Training Center's latest Wilderness First Responder class this spring. The class has been a regular offering at the Fairbanks training center since 2017.

The 80-hour training draws a broad range of students from a variety of organizations, including: the Department of Natural Resources, Wilderness Search and Rescue personnel, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, aspiring guides, Boy Scout camp rangers, Bureau of Land Management employees, University of Alaska remote researchers, industry personnel that work remotely and Tribal/Native personnel. "A group we are especially proud to work with is the U.S. Army Northern Warfare Training Center," Tyler says.

Wilderness First Responder training is offered by other providers in Alaska, but Lynden's class is unique. "It's been a tough market to break into, but we do a number of things that set us apart. The biggest difference with our program is that our students not only receive a certification as a Wilderness First Responder, but they also are certified as a State of Alaska Emergency Trauma Technician," Tyler explains. "Don and I completed our Fellowship in the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM) through the Wilderness Medical Society. It was an intense program that required over 100 credits. It's the equivalent of a bachelor's degree for wilderness medicine. There are only 14 other FAWMs in Alaska."

Lynden is fortunate to have the nearby Fairbanks North Star Borough's Tanana Lakes Recreation Area for hands-on real-life simulations for class. According to Don, "We start in the classroom, but quickly transition to hands-on practicals and then field exercises. We use the Recreation Area, which is approximately 750 acres, right outside our gate. It is a perfect place to practice the skills that are learned in the classroom."

Over the past five years, Don and Tyler have trained 67 first responders. "It's always rewarding to hear from past students that have used the skills that they have learned in our courses in real-life emergencies," Tyler says.

Tags: Alaska West Express, Lynden Employees, Safety, Lynden Training Center, Alaska

Everyday Hero Profile: Don Werhonig

Posted on Wed, Apr 20, 2022

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.

Introducing Don Werhonig, Instructor/HSSE Manager at Alaska West Express/Lynden Training Center in Fairbanks, Alaska.

EDH post (1)-2
Name: Don Werhonig

Company: Alaska West Express/Lynden Training Center

Title: Instructor/HSSE Manager

On the Job Since: 2013

Superpower: Ability to make complex information understandable to all

Hometown: Harlowton, MT

Favorite Movie: Megamind

Bucket List Destination: Thailand

For Fun: Lots of outdoor stuff and Taekwondo with my kids

How and when did you start working for Alaska West Express/Lynden Training Center? Have you worked for or done projects with other Lynden companies?
I went to work for Alaska West Express in 2013. Before that, I did some emergency response work and training instruction for the company as a contractor. As for how, I had worked with employees of Alaska West starting in 2001, which turned into lifelong friendships. I had an understanding of Lynden and the way they treat their employees and their operating philosophy, so I jumped at the chance to come to work for AWE.

What is a typical day like for you?
My days vary. If I am teaching a class, it is pretty much in the classroom or out on the training ground for the day. If I am not training, I am answering questions for AWE, developing training, or working on AWE programs. Basically, at my workstation unless I can escape and get outside.

What has been most challenging in your career?
Maintaining the status of an expert of subject matter in everything we do. I have to know Department of Transportation (DOT) compliance, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), plus all the emergency response stuff like firefighting, rescue, medical, and hazmat response. It is hard sometimes to keep up with changing regulations and standards.

What are you most proud of in your career?
This is an easy question to answer. I am proud of all the people I have offered professional development to. I understand that professionally developing our work force and clients is a great responsibility and one I don’t take lightly. But knowing I can develop people to make better decisions or respond to bad situations is incredibly satisfying. The goal would be to develop someone’s skills and knowledge until they are better than I am.

Can you tell us about your family and growing up years?
I grew up on a ranch in Montana. With a saddle horse and a dirt bike, I didn’t spend much time at home. I eventually joined the Army to get out of Montana and start my own life. This also probably kept me from going to jail as I was a “work hard, play even harder” ranch kid and made some not so great decisions in my youth.

What was your first job?
My first real job was changing irrigation pipe twice a day for a neighboring rancher. I worked about four hours each pipe change and made a whopping $0.08 per pipe I moved, for a grand total of about $33 a day.

 What would surprise most people about you?
That I am very compassionate and a very nice person with a giant bleeding heart. I am very outgoing but with a very serious look on my face all the time, so people are probably surprised to find out who I really am.

How do you spend your time outside of work?
Outdoor activities when the Alaska winter life is not working me to death. My kids and I love shooting, hunting, and camping. In the winter our primary activity is a martial arts class that we have been doing for the last few months.

What do you like best about your job?
I like working with our customers to see how they operate in different industries and the challenges they face.

Tags: Lynden, Alaska West Express, Lynden Employees, Safety, Lynden Training Center, Everyday Heroes

Lynden HazMat experts conduct training in the most remote location yet

Posted on Wed, Mar 18, 2020

Lynden Training Center's Don WerhonigLynden Training Center's Tyler Bones and Don Werhonig traveled to Sainshand, Mongolia last year to teach HazMat Operations Training to 67 students representing National and Local Emergency Management Agencies (NEMA and LEMA), the Mongolian Railroad and military personnel. The training and exercises were coordinated by the U.S. Army Pacific as a way to coordinate interagency response, humanitarian assistance and improve the Mongolian first responder's ability to conduct response activities. Both Don and Tyler volunteered for the trip supported by Lynden.

"We were asked to be involved in this exercise and exchange because of our experience with transportation, hazardous materials response and training. The State of Alaska's sister country is Mongolia, which is why they reached out to Alaska participants," Tyler explains. The Mongolian Railroad connects Russia and China and hazardous freight is hauled through Mongolia daily. The local fire departments have very limited training on handling a hazardous materials incident, so Tyler and Don prepared them for a potential disaster involving a railroad incident that releases hazardous materials into a community.

The exercise and training was not only attended by U.S. and Mongolian personnel, there were also representatives from Japan, Australia, Kazakhstan and 20 other countries.

"For me, Mongolia drew several parallels to the way we live our lives here in Alaska. The people work hard, have a passion for emergency response, and take their jobs very seriously. I made long term friends while working there."

"They are protecting their communities with minimal equipment, old apparatus and huge hearts," Tyler says. "This training has reminded us that professional emergency responders exist throughout the world." Lynden Training Center is available to provide remote training worldwide, but this was the most remote location ever visited by the trainers.

Tags: Alaska West Express, Lynden Training Center, Hazmat, International

Lynden Training Center first to conduct rescue course for Alaska certification

Posted on Thu, Aug 08, 2019

Kodiak Fire DepartmentThe Lynden Training Center recently conducted a six-day course in Kodiak for the Kodiak Fire Department. "We are extremely proud that the General Technical Rescuer class is the first of its kind to be taught in Alaska for State of Alaska certification," says Tyler Bones, Director of HSSE.

The Fairbanks-based Training Center has been working with the Alaska Fire Marshal's office for the past six months to become accredited to instruct the course. "It's rare that new courses are added to the state's accreditation list, so our training center being the first shows what a great working relationship we have with the state," Tyler explains. In 2015, the Center received accreditation from the State of Alaska Training and Education Bureau as the first third-party provider to offer State of Alaska hazardous materials training, a designation usually reserved for state agencies and fire departments.

The Kodiak Fire Department has received Lynden training for the past two years. Last year, after the department completed the Confined Space Rescue course, firefighters put their skills to the test when responding to a rescue on a fishing vessel.

Lynden Training Center"Tyler and Don have provided incredibly technical and thorough training for our department in both Confined Space Rescue and most recently, the first-ever State of Alaska General Technical Rescuer," says Kodiak Fire Chief Jim Mullican. "Their expertise and professionalism allowed my staff to practice in real-world situations, honing their skills in a positive learning environment. It is a pleasure to work with two top-notch instructors." Don and Jim are pictured to the right during the training.

For more than 20 years, the Lynden Training Center in Fairbanks, AK has provided training to individuals, businesses and government employees all over Alaska and the Lower 48. Experienced Lynden instructors educate, train and prepare people from all industries to work safely, prevent accidents and to respond to disasters like chemical spills, train derailments and other emergencies. Professional development courses with classroom instruction are followed by hands-on exercises and drills in simulated response situations.

General Technical Rescuer classCollectively, Lynden Training Center instructors have over 180 years of experience including transportation, military, oil and gas, industrial, fire and emergency response. Their 'real-world' knowledge includes serving as firefighters, on the front lines of the military and as members of first responder rescue teams all over the world. Lynden trainers offered 107 courses in 2018 and instructed 936 students.

"It is very rewarding to be a part of educating and preparing people for emergency response and to help fire departments like Kodiak serve their community," Tyler says.

Tags: Alaska West Express, Lynden Employees, Safety, Lynden Training Center, Alaska, Hazmat

Alaska West Training Center renamed Lynden Training Center

Posted on Thu, Jan 08, 2015

Alaska West Training Center renamed Lynden Training Center; now accredited for national and international hazardous materials response training

Lynden Training CenterThe Alaska West Training Center (AWTC) has a new name and is newly accredited to provide hazardous materials response training that meets national and international criteria. The Alaska West Express Training Center is now the Lynden Training Center and is accredited by the State of Alaska Training and Education Bureau as the first third-party provider to offer State of Alaska hazardous materials training, a designation usually reserved for state agencies and fire departments. The accreditation includes ProBoard, IFSAC and Methods of Instruction (MOI) designations that bring national and international notoriety.

For almost 20 years, the Lynden Training Center in Fairbanks has been providing training to individuals, businesses and government personnel all over Alaska and the Lower 48.

"It was a long process to receive accreditation, and we are proud of our entire team and the relationships we have developed with our partners at the state agencies. We appreciate their support and professionalism as we worked toward this goal," says Tyler Bones, Health, Safety, Security and Environmental (HSSE) Manager at the Center. "It's a great feeling to know that what you teach has the potential to save lives in the workplace."

The Center offers hands-on real-world workplace safety training in hazardous materials transportation, emergency response for hazardous materials, specialized rescue, mining and workplace safety and training on the Incident Command System (ICS).

"We are excited to partner with the Lynden Training Center. Their instructors are professional, highly trained and skilled," says Tori Clyde, Fire Training Specialist for the Alaska Division of Fire and Life Safety. "The Lynden team delivers training and educational courses while enforcing safety as their utmost priority. Their performance during the accreditation process was outstanding."

Collectively, Lynden Training Center instructors have over 180 years of experience including transportation, military, oil and gas, and emergency response. Course offerings vary from fork lift training to hazardous materials transportation, and include specific courses for rescue team personnel. One of the training facility's biggest assets is the ability to simulate real-life emergency situations.

An active railroad track with a variety of rolling stock, including a specially designed roll-over MC306 tanker built by Lynden, is configured to simulate rollovers and many other training situations. Intermodal tanks and other container training props round out the fleet of rolling stock.

The Lynden family of companies' combined capabilities include: truckload and less-than-truckload freight to Alaska, scheduled barges to Alaska and Hawaii, charter barges, rail barges, intermodal bulk chemical hauls, scheduled and chartered air freighters, domestic and international shipping via air and ocean forwarding, customs brokerage, trade show shipping, remote site construction, sanitary bulk commodities hauling and multi-modal logistics. Lynden companies are repeat winners in the annual Quest for Quality customer service awards presented by Logistics Management magazine.

 

Tags: Lynden, Lynden Employees, Lynden Training Center, Hazmat, International