In 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.
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Earlier this year the Alutiiq Tribe of Old Harbor, AK was awarded three bison bulls from Yellowstone National Park to improve the genetic diversity of its Sitkalidak Bison Herd. The catch: the bison required transport from Montana to Seattle, from Seattle to Anchorage and from Anchorage to Homer Spit. The final destination required a boat ride to Sitkalidak on Kodiak Island.
"I was informed that on special occasions Lynden Transport may transport livestock," says Cynthia Berns, Vice President of Community Affairs for the Old Harbor Native Corp. "So I called Paul Friese in Anchorage."
Paul Friese, Vice President of Alaska Sales for Lynden Transport, responded to the call with the usual can-do attitude. Gathering all the details, he quickly put the team in motion. Lynden Driver Clay Bonty met the FedEx plane in Anchorage, carefully loaded the special 20-foot container containing the three bison and headed to Homer, AK. "This was a very special project," Paul says. "We were happy to be involved and assist the Alutiiq Tribe."
The container weighed in at 4,500 pounds, plus three bulls at 1,200 pounds each, for a total weight of 8,100 pounds. Once Clay reached Homer, the container was loaded onto a landing craft vessel bound for Sitkalidak Island, pictured right.
The transfer was a historic moment in returning Yellowstone bison to tribal lands. These particular animals are important to tribes because they are the genetically pure descendants of the bison that tribal ancestors lived with. In the case of the Sitkalidak herd, the new bulls will introduce genetic diversity for herd survival. "Our herd is managed to provide food security for our community of 230 residents and tribal members throughout the state," Cynthia explains. "In 2017, DNA testing was conducted on the herd, and it was suggested that we integrate new genes into the herd for long-term health and survival."
The bulls are settled in and doing well. They are outfitted with GPS collars that provide hourly updates on their status. "From trucks, plane and landing craft, these animals have come a long way. A huge thank you to our supporters at Lynden Transport for safely getting the bison to Homer and secured on the vessel for the last leg of their journey."
Five years ago, Lynden was involved in another bison relocation project using Lynden Air Cargo's L-100 cargo plane. Employees spent three days loading 100 wood bison into special containers in Portage, AK for truck transport to Anchorage via Alaska West Express. All 100 animals were loaded in Anchorage and delivered safely in three flights to Shageluk for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded LTI, Inc. with its fifth SmartWay Excellence Award on November 5, 2020. The award recognizes LTI, Inc. and its Milky Way division as one of North America’s most efficient and lowest emitting tanker fleets. The SmartWay Excellence Award is reserved for the top performing SmartWay Partners and is the EPA’s highest recognition for demonstrated leadership in freight supply chain energy and environmental performance.
Lynden Transport also earned a SmartWay High Performer Award for operating efficiencies in its flatbed and reefer fleets. Lynden Transport is included in the top 20 percent of carriers nationwide for reducing carbon emissions and achieved top-ranking performance for all metrics, including fuel efficiency. Fewer than 10 percent of all SmartWay carriers operate fleets efficient enough to make the SmartWay High Performer list for carbon emissions.
“We are extremely proud of this award,” says LTI, Inc. President Jason Jansen. “Each year we strive to seek ongoing improvement in our operations to continue the reduction of our carbon footprint. Our success is due to the continued efforts of our entire staff, especially our drivers. Our ability to operate as one of the most efficient carriers in the nation is a true testimony to the quality and dedication of our entire team to drive continuous improvement." Jason was recently interviewed by local Bellingham radio station, 790 KGMI, to discuss the award.
LTI, Inc. and Lynden Transport have been EPA SmartWay partners for more than a decade. Each year the companies voluntarily submit operations information to the EPA for consideration. LTI, Inc. and Milky Way consistently score in the top 1 percent of tanker carriers in the nation for low carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide and particulate matter emissions per ton mile while operating in extreme weather and carrying the heaviest payloads. In the last five years, LTI, Inc and Milky Way have steadily improved fuel economy to rank as one of the most fuel-efficient tanker fleets in the industry.
Earlier this year Northern Star Resources Limited, owner of the Pogo Gold Mine, donated $1.5 million worth of medical personal protective equipment (PPE) to Alaska communities with a focus on Fairbanks and the delta regions. Lynden Logistics arranged customs clearance and Lynden Transport delivered the supplies to the communities which were then distributed by Foundation Health partners to doctors, dentists and health providers who have been unable to secure PPE on their own. "We value our partnership with Lynden and appreciate the help distributing these supplies," says Wendie MacNaughton, External Affairs Manager for Northern Star. The shipment, which was the largest donation received from private industry, included 12,500 isolation gowns, 100,000 N95 masks and 400,000 surgical masks. "Lynden Logistics employees were glad we could assist Northern Star-Pogo navigate the import challenges that come with these PPE imports, and we're extremely grateful for their generous donation to Alaskan health care providers," says Keith Hall, Licensed Customs Broker for Lynden Logistics in Anchorage.
Lynden companies were winners this summer, receiving recognition for trucking, cold storage transportation and 3PL services. Lynden Transport was ranked 39 out of the Top 100 For-Hire Carriers in North America according to Transport Topics 2020 list. Lynden was one of only three carriers to be named within the West Coast and Canada. Food Logistics magazine named Lynden to the 2020 Top 3PL & Cold Storage Providers last month, which recognizes leading third-party logistics and cold storage providers in the food and beverage industry.
Lynden Transport continues to outperform other carriers in the western region, earning a top spot and its 24th award in the 37th annual Quest for Quality Awards. The company received the third-highest overall weighted score among Less-than-Truckload (LTL) Western Regional carriers and was especially strong in the Customer Service and Equipment & Operations categories. The Logistics Management annual awards are the gold standard for customer satisfaction and performance excellence for carriers, ports and logistics providers worldwide.
“Lynden Transport is proud to add another top score in the Western Regional LTL category. We’ve now received 24 awards which contribute to a combined total of 40 Quest for Quality awards earned by Lynden companies over the years,” says Lynden Transport President Paul Grimaldi. “This is a reflection of our long-standing focus on customers that we continually strive to uphold. I am especially proud of the 2020 award as it illustrates the dedication of our employees who have been working through the challenges of COVID-19 to serve our customers. Our team is committed to providing the Lynden brand of service excellence every day.”
The Quest for Quality Awards are the culmination of a six-month research project conducted by Peerless Research Group (PRG). For more than three decades, the awards have been regarded in the transportation and logistics industry as the most important measure of customer satisfaction and performance excellence. To determine the ‘best of the best,’ transportation and supply chain decision makers rate carriers, logistics providers and port operators on service quality in various categories such as on-time performance, value and customer service. This year, 4,504 ballots were cast from logistics and supply chain decision makers resulting in 144 companies earning Quest for Quality gold.
“What our editorial team has found amazing over the years is that no matter how many economic, regulatory or operational pressures they continue to face, the carrier and service provider communities find a way to step up to the plate to meet those evolving challenges,” says Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director of Peerless Media, LLC, publisher of Logistics Management magazine.
Rig 26, Doyon Drilling's new extended reach drilling (ERD) rig, completed its 2,400-mile journey from Nisku, Alberta to Alaska's North Slope this past winter. Lynden Transport, Alaska West Express and Lynden Oilfield Services teamed up to haul the 10.5-million-pound rig in pieces from Canada to Deadhorse where it was put back together after more than 320 separate truckloads arrived. Nicknamed "the beast," it is the largest land-based rig in North America and the first ERD rig ever built and moved in North America.
"This was one of the most high-profile projects Lynden has ever done and certainly the largest project that I have been involved in," says Paul Friese, Lynden Transport Vice President of Alaska Sales. "We started talking about this move four years ago, started planning a year ago and began the work in June 2019. In just six months we hauled over 320 loads. Our past work moving Rig 142 for Doyon set a high standard and gave them confidence in the Lynden team to handle this larger project. Many say the future of Alaska rides on the success of this new rig and technology, so we were under intense pressure and scrutiny to make sure the loads were delivered intact and on time for the reassembly in Deadhorse."
Rig 26 will have the capability to directional drill over 35,000 ft. (about 6.3 miles) from a single drilling pad on the North Slope. Doyon Drilling has been working for more than three years to build a larger powerful drilling rig, with increased capabilities greater than any other mobile land-based drilling rig on the continent. The new rig's extended reach can access production zones that were previously inaccessible with current drilling technology and capability.
"We want to thank the Lynden team," says Mike Lasher, Project Manager for Doyon Drilling in Anchorage. "Edmonton's Rick Stark oversaw every shipment loaded in Nisku, and Dan Rychlik helped with pre-planning and shipping requirements. Natasha Earl, Deanna Benson and Darren Stansbury and the Fairbanks team managed loads based on our priorities to ensure we received the right loads in the right sequence."
Rick also served as the Lynden project manager for Rig 142 and was instrumental in providing loading knowledge and experience along with James Delowsky. Rick and James loaded and moved most loads and transported them to the yard for staging and Cratex wrapping.
Lynden's Prudhoe Bay crew received and coordinated loads in Deadhorse around the clock to get the rig pieces where they needed to go, and the Edmonton team stepped up their game for the project. "This move impacted everyone from the shop to operations to the front office," says Canadian Lynden Transport General Manager Dan Rychlik. "Employees like Kent Maltais worked weekends; others postponed vacations. We even had to pull people from Calgary to help cover at times. I am extremely proud of the team effort here."
Alaska West Express, led by Steve Willford, planned and supervised the most challenging loads. Alaska West Express drivers and employees handle oversize and overweight loads to and within Alaska for all Lynden companies, and they were essential in delivering the awkward heavy hauls. Roughly 75 percent of the loads hauled were for the rig's subbase which consists of 525 items weighing a total of 1.7 million pounds. The Excel spreadsheet the Lynden team used for the move is a color-coded map of detailed dimensions on handrails, columns, wheel assemblies, platforms and other parts. Mike and other members of Doyon's team were set up on EZ Commerce, Lynden's reporting and tracking system, to help manage the transportation phase of the project and keep track of Lynden loads between Canada and the North Slope.
According to Paul, the heaviest and most unusual loads were the draw works, mud pumps, main beams, and engines for the rig. "When you consider that we had to move more than 300 loads that distance in six months during the winter ice road months with DOT road work and pilot car driver shortages, it's pretty impressive," he says. "We did all this while maintaining our current customer base with no impact to them while we took on this huge project. That is a testament to our dedicated operations team, drivers and mangers. I don't think there is any other company in Alaska that could've pulled this off in such a short time frame. We truly have the best team in the industry and this project proves it."
Watch the video below for a bird's eye view of Rig 26.
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 Fred Austin, an icon at Lynden Transport in Alaska.
Name: Fred Austin
Company: Lynden Transport
Titles: Driver, Trainer and Instructor
On the job since: 1975
Hometown: Gig Harbor, WA
Favorite Movie: South Pacific
Bucket List Destination: Antarctica
For Fun: Spending quiet time with his bride after raising 34 foster kids
Icon of the Alcan
"To really understand Fred Austin, talk to the drivers, dispatchers and our friends on the road system," says Lynden Chairman Jim Jansen. "They share my description of this 'Icon of the Alcan' – a kind and thoughtful gentleman, loved by us all, who has professionally served Lynden and its customers, safely and efficiently, for over 40 years. Hopefully Fred will continue as a Lynden Everyday Hero for many more."
If you don't know Fred Austin, you have probably heard of him. His trademark red bandana, his ability to spin a humorous story and those twinkling blue eyes make the 85-year-old professional driver a legend on on the road.
Fred came to work for Lynden in 1975 at the start of pipeline construction in Fairbanks. He wanted to own a truck to operate for Lynden but could not afford one. "We sold him tractor 118 real cheap, the lemon of the fleet, which did him no favors," Jim remembers. Fred kept the 1969 Peterbilt operating reliably in spite of its reputation.
Fred's love of machines with big engines began early. "I started young, about 10 years old, running a small John Deere dozer on my dad's farm," he says. At 18, he started learning to drive truck – hauling logs in a 1942 GMC GI in the mountains near Mt. Rainier. "I got in on the last of the big gas engines – 200 horse – on the logging roads, getting about 3 miles a gallon on the highway." Operating heavy equipment and driving trucks was the perfect job for Fred who says "I was always looking for larger and louder equipment and more smoke. As the guys I work with tell me, the call of the throttle got me."
In 1957, Fred joined the U.S. Navy and continued his driving career for Uncle Sam. "I was licensed to drive everything on wheels during my four years," he remembers. After his military career, it was back to the big machines. "My base for instructing at Lynden is my experience operating heavy equipment and driving log trucks," he explains.
In the mid-70s, Fred switched to lowboy trailers and LTL hauls for Lynden Transport. At this time, Fred and his wife Margery were busy raising six children plus four foster children. "The kids were mostly teenagers and they were eating a big pile of groceries," he says. "I took some side jobs as an owner-operator to keep the groceries coming during a bit of a slowdown at Lynden, but always stayed in contact with line dispatch. When work picked up at Lynden, I was under the green flag again."
During the pipeline construction many competing companies tried to lure Lynden drivers away with promises of higher salaries. "I always thought long-term and stayed with Lynden, and my decision proved correct. And here I am today!"
In addition to driving, Fred dispatched several years ago, and now serves as driver trainer and mentor while continuing to operate between Fairbanks and Beaver Creek, earning the respect of new drivers and veterans. In 2015, at age 79, he took the state test for Methods of Instruction Training and passed. He is the oldest person to sit for the test and continues to inspire and entertain students and instructors at the Lynden Training Center in Fairbanks.
Fred's stories were hard-earned while driving for Lynden. Retired Lynden Transport President Jim Beck remembers Fred's first trip from Beaver Creek. "The drive line in his tractor broke. He camped next to the truck for several days and made a new drive line out of a tree limb to complete the trip to Fairbanks," he says. "Fred is one of the finest drivers and gentleman you could ever meet."
Fairbanks Service Center Manager Darren Stansbury concurs. "Fred is an asset to the company and a true leader. No matter the situation Fred has a can-do attitude."
Fred feels it is his duty to pass on his knowledge and experience. "If I drive another million miles it will make no difference in this world, but if I can train someone to do the right thing and not get hurt, then I can make a difference in their life and the life of their family," he says.
Lynden Transport is delivering materials for a project at Fort Wainwright military base near Fairbanks, AK this spring and summer. Drivers are hauling 58 loads of large tent frames and insulation from Salt Lake City and Calgary for the construction of seven buildings on base for customer Sprung Industries. According to Lynden Transport Regional Sales Manager Tony Vitoff, DynCorp International is handling the construction and Sprung Industries is supplying the materials. Loads are moving over the highway or water depending on construction timeline requirements and are being coordinated through Lynden Transport's Portland and Fairbanks Service Centers.
"Lynden Transport has gone the extra mile to support the Wainwright project by staging structures in their yard until we need them on site," says Gary Smith, DynCorp International (DI) Project Manager. "DI appreciates this kind of support which is critical to our collective success."
Lynden Transport Driver James Delowsky (right) hauled a modular building from Edmonton to Kaktovik, AK to serve as a classroom for students after the school burned down in February. Kaktovik is a Native Alaskan Village along the Arctic Coast of the Beaufort Sea with a population of 250. The school and gym were the heart and hub of the community, according to JD Lavender, Branch Operations Leader for Willscot, Lynden's customer.
"The nearest school is 150 miles away so we need to get these buildings delivered as soon as possible," he says. "I have been impressed with the Lynden team and the drivers' attention to safety." Lynden moved 12 modules from Edmonton and 13 from Wasilla to Deadhorse. From there, they were transported to the remote village by Rolligons outfitted with special tires designed for the sensitive tundra.