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Red Cross Real Hero Awards presented to Bering Marine crew and Erik Scott

Posted on Fri, Jul 15, 2022

Greta crewErik Scott of Alaska Marine Trucking and the crew of the Bering Marine vessel Greta, pictured above, received special recognition from the American Red Cross last month. Erik and friend Cooper Street, pictured below with Cooper on the left and Erik on the right, received the Wilderness Rescue Award for rescuing and reviving the victim of an avalanche who was buried with his snowmachine near Turnagain Pass, and the crew received the Transportation Safety Award.

Erik Scott with Red Cross Hero Award-1

Greta Captain Mike Dawson, Engineer Clint Mathews, Mates Chris Benny and Fred Haag, Deckhands Anthony Augusto and Manny Belarmino, and Alaska Marine Trucking's Bethel Service Center Manager Brandon Leary were recognized for spotting and rescuing a man who fell off a marine bulkhead into the Kuskokwim River. Brandon threw a life ring to the man from his home on the riverbank and the Greta arrived shortly after with a Jacob's Ladder boarding device. The man was safely transported to shore where emergency crews were waiting. 

Anthony and Erik were both interviewed for videos that were shown during the awards ceremony in Anchorage. "It was a team effort and I'm happy everyone was quick to respond," Anthony says. Erik says the unexpected avalanche was a reminder to be prepared for emergencies when in the backcountry. "I never thought I would need my training, but I'm glad I had it when I was put in a life or death situation."

Tags: Bering Marine Corporation, Alaska Marine Trucking, Awards, Lynden Employees, Safety, Alaska

Alaska West Express receives safe truck fleet award

Posted on Thu, Jul 07, 2022

awe for blog
ConocoPhillips and the Alaska Trucking Association presented Alaska West Express with the 2021 Alaska Safe Truck Fleet of the Year Award in the Highway Division. The award recognizes the hard work and focus on health and safety that all Alaska West Express employees have demonstrated over the past year. "It is an honor and very humbling to be around a team of individuals that strive to be the best at what we do every day," says Tyler Bones, Alaska West Express Director of HSSE. "It is always special when the hard work of our employees and contractors are recognized. Alaska West operated 4.6 million miles accident free in 2021. Considering the challenging operating conditions on the Dalton Highway, this is a remarkable achievement."

Tags: Awards, Alaska West Express, Lynden Employees, Safety, Alaska

Knik Construction receives national safety award

Posted on Wed, Jun 29, 2022

Knik crewKnik Construction was recently awarded the Associated General Contractors' 2021 Certificate of Commendation for its excellent safety record and zero incidence rate. This national recognition is reserved for companies with a quality safety record and no incidents. Knik was recognized in the federal and heavy category for working 110,000 to 424,999 work hours incident-free. "Thank you to all Knik employees who work hard every day to keep our communities and workplaces safe," says Knik President Dan Hall. "At Knik safety is truly job #1." As part of preparing for the 2022 work season, crews conducted a Safety Stand Down for National Prevent Falls in Construction Week in May. Knik participated to help raise fall hazard awareness and to prevent fall fatalities and injuries. Knik employees are pictured above in Platinum, AK.

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

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

AML Maintenance and Repair team achieves new heights in safety

Posted on Thu, Apr 14, 2022

blogProving that safety is job one at Alaska Marine Lines, the Maintenance and Repair (M&R) team came up with a 'better mousetrap,' according to Steve Hardin (pictured above, middle), Director of Equipment & Maintenance. Technicians do their complex work at all heights and in all positions. A tech might need to be lying flat on the ground to perform routine maintenance on a piece of equipment, or 10 feet in the air repairing the top of a tanker container.

It's the elevated repair work that can sometimes create dangerous situations. Falls are one of the most common injuries in the workplace. "Our employees have done a great job of remaining safe while working at heights," Steve says, "but we are always seeking ways to mitigate hazards."

Employees are outfitted with fall-arrest gear, but it requires time to unfasten and refasten belts and buckles as they move from point to point. Agreeing that there was room for improvement, the fab shop crew of Michael Fico (pictured above, left), Kelly Skinner and Adam Carruthers (pictured above, right) started brainstorming ideas and came up with a completely new way to work at elevation. Within a few weeks a container tank scaffolding system was designed to fit over the containers, creating a stable and much safer framework for techs to perform repair and maintenance tasks.

Dubbed the "CTS," the rack is made of heavy-gauge steel channel fabricated with a ladder to access the top of a tank container. "We knew there had to be a safer, more convenient way to work on top of equipment," says Welder Michael Fico. To keep it in place, the CTS is equipped with steel plungers in each corner, and wheels were added to easily move it from one piece of equipment to another in the shop.

Steve says the CTS prototype is just the beginning and that more safety features will be added to future models.

Tags: Lynden, Lynden Employees, Safety, AML

Lynden Air Cargo completes campaign in Afghanistan

Posted on Fri, Oct 15, 2021

AfghCrewLynden Air Cargo completed its campaign in Afghanistan in June after flying six flights and over 68 flight hours for the U.S. military. "We operated out of Bahrain for just under a month providing scheduled service and hauling Cargo Returning West (CRW) out of Bagram, twice a week," says Flight Engineer Mike Schuler. One Lynden crew was dedicated to Afghanistan flights while other crews served Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. "The June Afghanistan campaign was a short one compared to the ongoing services we are providing around Kuwait," Mike explains. "No day was the same. We adapted and performed in true Lynden Air Cargo fashion despite changing and often challenging circumstances."

"This was a volunteer campaign, and we really appreciate all the crew members who accepted this duty," says Michelle Fabry, Director of Safety. "The security situation required good communication with the crew prior to every flight to ensure each mission could be safely operated. They did an excellent job."

Tags: Lynden Air Cargo, Safety, Charters, Air

Lynden mariners keep waters and people safe

Posted on Fri, Sep 03, 2021

Greta crew long shotLynden's captains, engineers, mates and deck hands do more than just deliver freight via barge, landing craft and tugboat. These mariners are the eyes and ears on the waters they sail, often being called upon to assist in emergency situations and to report on marine conditions for other vessels.

Just last month on the Kuskokwim River, the Bering Marine crew of the landing craft Greta pulled a man to safety after he fell off a seawall, while the crews of the Arctic Bear and Padilla assisted U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hickory with safe navigation of the river channel.

According to Brandon Leary, Alaska Marine Trucking's Bethel Service Center Manager, "I was getting ready for bed and my wife, Alyssa, actually saw the man fall in the river. I ran down with a life ring that I keep on my deck, and I had my wife alert the crew on the Greta while I assisted the man in the water." The Greta crew responded with a Jacob's ladder boarding device, then contacted emergency crews who met the tug on shore and transported the man to a local hospital.

"The City of Bethel would like to extend thanks and appreciation to the Greta crew," says Bethel City Manager Peter Williams. Police Lieutenant Jesse Poole also expressed thanks for the quick actions of the crew, which includes Captain Mike Dawson, Engineer Clint Mathews, Mates Chris Benny and Fred Haag, and Deckhands Anthony Augusto and Manny Belarmino.

"Those of us who live and work on vessels must always be prepared to expect the unexpected," says Captain Jack Rasmussen, Bering Marine Vice President. "We routinely perform safety drills so our crews know how to act and what to possibly expect during an incident. These drills are a regulatory requirement but also essential to protect our crews and equipment. We are proud of the Greta crew for their lifesaving actions in a Man Overboard (MOB) situation."

Another Bering Marine vessel was on the same river providing crucial navigation information so the U.S. Coast Guard could mark the channel with seasonal buoys. This is a yearly task as the channel changes each year.

"The Arctic Bear tug was running the river as soon as the ice went out this year," explains Port Engineer Steve Isaacs. "The crew developed a good track line by using a skiff they launch off the tug, help from locals in the area, and from Captain David Curtis on Bering Marine's pilot boat Padilla."

When the USCGC Hickory arrived in June, the crew reached out to Captain Chuck Gaffney on the Arctic Bear. He provided track lines for the 2021 channel and the location of shoals and sandbars to mark with buoys for safe navigation. In addition to Captain Gaffney, crew members include Engineer Sean Brooks and Mates Joe Pirak and Dave Smith.

Hickory Captain and Commanding Officer Jeannette Greene reached out to the crew with a thank you for the yearly assistance. "I sincerely appreciate your help with river information, soundings and shoaling each year," she writes. The Hickory crew marked buoy 28 with a small bear in appreciation of the Arctic Bear and its crew.

Tags: Bering Marine Corporation, Lynden Employees, Safety, Alaska, Ocean

Proximity alarm system on the job at Alaska Marine Lines

Posted on Fri, Feb 26, 2021

My Post - 2021-11-24T140735.626Alaska Marines Lines recently implemented a new safety device to increase awareness of the movement of people and equipment in Seattle and Southeast Alaska yards. SEEN Safety's Infrared Retroreflector Identification System (IRIS) is keeping employees and customers safer each day and protecting freight and equipment from damage.

The system uses light and radar to measure distances by illuminating the target with a laser light and measuring the reflection with a sensor. The IRIS sensor is designed to detect reflective material on safety equipment in proximities ranging from 28 feet wide to 25 feet deep and can be mounted on forklifts and low-speed vehicles. An audible alert signal is heard if the sensor lands within the detection zone. IRIS can detect reflective material on safety vests and works in all weather conditions, including rain, darkness and intense glare from sun or snow.

"We also added reflective tape to the counter-weight of the forklifts to help prevent collisions, which has already proven effective during barge operations," explains Joe Purcell, Alaska Marine Trucking Operations Manager.

The advantage of SEEN Safety's alarm is the adjustability. With varying barge operating conditions in Southeast, it is vital to be able to adjust the proximity beam to suit each port. "For example, when Ketchikan works a barge it is always full, so we adjusted the proximity to a smaller zone compared to Juneau where the barge is more than half empty," Joe explains.

"One of the major risks in Alaska Marine Lines' operations is mixing personnel working on the deck of our barges with 50-ton forklifts," says Don Reid, Alaska Marine Lines Vice President of Operations. "The Alaska Marine Lines safety team has been exploring solutions for many years and this proximity alarm technology is a major step toward mitigating that risk and keeping people safe on the barge deck."

Tags: Safety, AML