Outstanding Individuals

Jerry Weidner was born in Gig Harbor Washington. Jerry is a true Puget Sounder. The year was 1936, making JW almost 71 and still bucking around the decks of General's derrick barge ALAMEDA keeping up with and surpassing the young deckhands. Jerry started out logging, driving hay trucks, fishing, and at one point formed a herring bait company Jerry's Bait up in Matts Matts Bay. I remember his packaged bait fishing for salmon with my father back in the 60's. When Jerry was four years old he took a ferry across the Tacoma Narrows before the first bridge.

Jerry tells me that when he was young no one locked their doors, hell we did not even have locks on our doors. Things were simple then, people did business on a hand shake. Times before WWII were tough, no one had any money. My father worked for $2 a day. Then the war came and there was money.

Jerry has taken three wifes with a child from each and has been married to his third wife Carol for 39 years. Carol and Jerry love hot sauce and hot peppers. I do as well.

Geoff Methuen:

Now and then you run across an individual that has way more talent than required for the dredging industry. Geoff is one.

Geoff works for John Miller of Miller Contracting Delta British Columbia Canada. He has been dredging for 12 years but states that "I'm always doing something different." He was born in Vancouver BC 1 Sept 1959. His wife Leah and three children Tawny, Jordan and Nigel know what it is to have an old man that works offshore.

Geoff says "Out there is a fortune waiting to be had, you think I'll let it go, you're mad."

Mr. Methuen is quite capable on all counts. I spent a day with him aboard a derrick chasing down gremlins. He knows where to find them. Favorite book: "The Burket"

Mike Hill:

I have two favorite books the first is The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne written in 1874, this is a beautiful novel with characters who encompass every aspect of man. Cyrus, Pencroft, Herbert, and Gideon, and a dog named Neb make a daring escape from a Civil War prison in a balloon, but the balloon is blown way off course to an uncharted volcanic island. These men are worthy souls; Captain Cyrus is an inspiring leader, Pencroft, an earthy but hardworking sailor. Gideon is the kind of man who knows a little bit about everything, observant, strong and resourceful. I feel I relate most to Gideon.

My second favorite book is Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. This is a fictional book, the main character is Chris McCandless: He was the dreamy young idealist who, after jacking himself up on too much campfire literature (Jack London, Thoreau, Tolstoy) about self-reliance, gave away his large family inheritance, his car, and most of his belongings and marched into the Alaskan wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. He failed miserably but there was a sad beautiful lesson to be learned.

I also have a couple favorite quotes: "It only takes a little bit more to go first class" This came from a retired lite bird in the U.S. ARMY..... hooorahhhh!!!!!! "When you don't know what to do or how to go about a situation ...... do whatever is the hardest" Don't remember where I heard it ... but still good stuff. I was born in Newport News, VA to a mother and father who both worked in the Newport News Shipyard. My love for the water started as a diver, then Commercial Diver, then I went to Cape Fear Community College for an AAS in Marine Technology (GREAT PROGRAM) From Cape Fear I joined up with Weeks Marine and have no regrets, but only dreams of a prosperous future. Thanks Lyman.....

The following was sent to LBA from Hopper Dredge Captain and old friend Mark DeGroot...

Carl N. Jacobsen

If you were to grab the deck logbook from the Bayport and read the page from 12 July 2000 you would notice an unusual entry. What is logged brought tears and saddened hearts to at least a dozen men present that day. While we were swinging on the hook off some backwater bayou on the lower Mississippi we knew already that our shipmate and Chief, Carl Jacobsen, lay in a hospital in Seattle as a result of a motorcycle accident the previous Sunday. I guess we had all hoped and prayed for a miracle but it was not to be. Shortly after midnight that day Jake slipped his lines and sailed across the bar for the last time. We were all shocked and forced into a common morosity, trying to pass each day staying busy with the tasks at hand. Occasionally someone would say what we were all thinking; that Carl was down below and would come up the ladder any second singing some dirty or otherwise off color chant. Man we loved this guy.

As a Chief Engineer Carl was the best. His background was on tugs, ending up on the hopperdredge as an evolutionary process. His entire family shipped out. His father was a chief, a couple of his brothers are chiefs and one is a skipper. Carl once told me that his uncle pirated him aboard a fishing schooner out of Gloucester and made a trip to the Grand Banks when he was only seven. I suppose some guys do have salt in their veins, he sure did. I can tell you he could fix anything because I doubt if he ever met a machine he couldn't master. But being a good engineer isn'just a matter of repairing things, it involves understanding machines innately. He had a really sharp mind, the kind that produces an outstanding engineer as well as a crack and devious sense of humor. I would trade nearly any moment to experience again the time in Astoria when he tried to talk me into mailing a toilet seat to the other skipper whom I had just relieved. Carl had painted the subject of discussion in such a way that would convince any innocent onlooker that the previous occupant had left a "present" on the seat. I swear he could have won an oscar for his performance standing outside my stateroom door demanding justice and that I send a message to that S.O.B.. One didn't want to cross him or play a trick on him because he would wait until you were not expecting it and pay you back. He never seemed that much older than us although he had a few years on us for sure. He was just a kid sometimes. By far the biggest mystery he carried around with him, literally, was the twin screws he had tattooed on his hind quarters. Let me paint this picture for anyone reading this who isn't familiar with this possibility: He had a rather large three bladed propeller tattooed on each cheek, port and starboard, and when he was working his pants would be riding a little low and the top tips of the blades might be peeking out. In fact, once the mate pointed that out to him while he was walking up the catwalk, using the 1000 watt P.A. from the wheelhouse telling him and any other person within miles "Ah, Chief, pants are ridin' kinda low, screws are breakin' the surface". Well, the thing is we would always want him to tell us the details of this great thing. But he would never budge, only to tell us each time he was "one cool dude going down the street like a motorboat" after he got them. I tried to get him to tell me only what port he was in, but no, he kept that secret as well. He got his first tattoo when he was 15, stealing his brothers ID and seeing a drunk tattoo artist in Boston. A square rigger under full sail complete with seabirds. Once or twice we may have talked him into showing his blades, dropping his pants in some gin mill near San Francisco. That was an image you would pack around with you for a long time.

A strong woman, Linda Jacobsen, survived the event. While she was recovering from her injuries we waited for word of a memorial service for her husband. Perhaps his family wanted to remember Carl privately or maybe it was because his shipmates were scattered all over the country, we never did have a service. Although one day in the mail we all received a note from Linda ending with a poem. It was just right and for a few moments our Little Buddy was back, strolling up the catwalk wearing someone's old, stained, threadbare terrycloth robe he fished out of the trash, trying to distract us from our shared banality. He was smiling all the way up.

Even now

I mind that I loved cypress and roses, clear,

The great blue mountains and the small gray hills,

The sounding of the sea. Upon a day

I saw strange eyes and hands like butterflies;

For me at morning larks flew from the thyme

And children came to bathe in the little streams.

Even now,

I know that I have savored the hot taste of life

Lifting green cups and gold at the feast.

Just for a small and a forgotten time

I have had full in my eyes from off my girl

The whitest pouring of eternal light-

Dave DeValt works for Nehalem River Dredging out of Nehalem River Oregon. Dave has been pulling levers for 25 years on the cutter suction dredge NEHALEM. Question: Dave, what do you do when you are not digging? Answer: I don't know - never been there. Mr. DeValt lives in Nehalem with his wife Karen and has two grown children. Catcher in the Rye and Of Mice and Men are his first book choices with the following quote: If your pissin in the wind, least you can do is turn around - it will solve half your problems. I have enjoyed working with Dave over the years. He still has an old Starlink DNAV212 that works well. See Dredging Field Shots for more of NRD.

John Morgan is crew on the Miller 205 run by South Coast Marine in Ketchikan Alaska. John & I worked together on the Ward Cove Sediment Remediation Project last field season. Mr. Morgan is a salty individual with a heart the size of his present State. He grew up in Grays Harbor Washington and has been married five times. He taught me how to dry out my wet gloves on the exhaust of a diesel generator and is doing so in this picture. You gotta love this man.

Allen (Big Al) J. Reeves is from Auburn New York. Born June 21 1956, Al can run anything. Mr. Reeves has been a member of the Operators Union Local 545 since 1981. Al is a cool head, hard worker and has the knowledge of many things. He picked up computer navigation fast and made it productive. His favorite literature is motorcycle mags, drink is bud, quote is "Fresh paint ain't gonna fix it." Al spends spare time with his 16 year old daughter and 20 year old son. A Honda VFR 800 takes up the rest. It was a pleasure to work with Al.

14 December 2001 Al e-mails LBA: Hello Lyman. First of all thanks for the recognition on your web site. I don't know how it happened but I have been quite happliy married to a wonderful woman who's name is Karen for 22 years and she did not get mentioned in the coversation or the article. If not for her, I would not be who I am. If you would please write her in to the article for the remainder of it's duration please do so. Thanks very much Allen ( Big Al ) Reeves

Bill Gibson started hauling dump scows in 1962. That is a lot of mud. Bill was born in Glen Cove Long Island New York in 1941 and has been a tug boat operator for 38 years. Captain Gibson started out on an old wooden tug that was origionally steam with a later Fairbanks Morse conversion to diesel. He received his license in 1972 and has worked for American Dredge Co., Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, Dunbar and Sullivan, Dutra and is presently employed by Weeks Marine. He skippers the 225 ton tug RH GOOD. I first met Bill on the Cape Fear river SC years ago in 95 while rigging scow and tug tracking for Dutra. Bill is an excellent Captain with robust character. We had many good stories with Leo Sheridan in his galley on the Cape Fear. Very good to see you Bill. Salty.

John Lajeunesse operates Clamvision with Cablearm Clamshell providing advanced instrumentation for environmental dredging projects. John has a background in chemistry, wine culture and efficient business management and training. He is also very good at wiring underwater sensors on clamshell buckets used for sensitive material transfer.

See John at WEDA XX in RI this June...

Hi, My name is Dave Caplan. I have been working with Lyman over the past four years as a programmer for the WINOPS Dredge Positioning Software. Lyman & I go back to the time before the Titanic was discovered. We sailed together in the Indian Ocean and bought saphires in Colombo Sri Lanka back in 87.

Dave lives in Houston Texas with his excellent wife Maria and two sons Tim & Greg. We have been friends for many years. Dave is most likely the best navigation/windows programmer in the country.

Favorite quote: "Lyman works me to death...

Brenda Lichtenwalter Dredger of Note

Brenda Lichtenwalter (with Bill Hoodenpyle) is a sharp engineer for General Construction. I enjoyed working with her in Coos Bay outfitting the DB SEATTLE. I e-mailed Brenda for some details of her life and this is what came back.

Hi Lyman

I am a west coast woman, born in Arizona, raised in the Puget Sound area, educated in Oregon. I didn't become a dredger until this summer, at the age of 28. In the three years since I graduated from college, I've worked for General Construction (Seattle) doing construction engineering and management for various projects, including piledriving, bridge-building, and rock laying. So far dredging seems to be a job for the stubborn, the patient, and the level-headed. If you're not a geerhead (and thus enjoy fixing broken parts), the best part of dredging is the digital positioning stuff. All I know about global positioning systems I learned from Lyman Burk. I love to read, and my favorites include To Kill a Mockingbird, Atlas Shrugged, and anything by John Steinbeck, plus such seafaring books as Captains Courageous, the Shipping News, and Chapman's guide to piloting, which I've been reading in my sparetime here in Coos Bay. My maternal grandfather was a salmon seiner out of Gig Harbor and Friday Harbor, Washington for years, and many of my relatives have been or are fishermen, but I had never worked on the water until I came to work for General.

Favorite quote: "Never say whoa on a go-ahead show." Best if spoken in the tense moments on a job when a decision needs to be made about proceeding or calling a hault.

Steve Geer Outstanding Dredger

I e-mailed Steve for some details of his life and this is what came back. Steve is a cool headed clamshell manager of the first order for Weeks Marine in Camden NJ. I will let Steve tell it.

Hello, Lyman Burk!
Received your message, and I will tell you about myself. I was born in Marysville, Ohio. Never saw the ocean until I was 22. The hook was set, and I can not imagine living away from the ocean again. My first experience with dredging was in 1983. I worked for Canonie Offshore in Port Everglades, Florida. Got out of dredging twice, but the pull of the ocean was too strong. I read many books, but I enjoy the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, and Birds of Prey by Wilbur Smith. The first is an escapist fantasy, while the second is a tale of sailing ships and pirates. My favorite quote is "When you're dum you gotta be tough". We in the dredging industry can relate to that, can't we lyman? A gin and tonic or a little rum soothes my soul at times. Good beer replenishes my lost body fluids. I am a high school grad, with credit earned through the school of hard knocks. That is my whole life in one paragraph. Talk to you soon. Steve

Favorite Book: Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, and Birds of Prey by Wilbur Smith
Favorite Quote: "When you're dumb you gotta be tough"

Doug Plumley is the Dredge Man Mr. Plumley is Chief Engineer aboard trailing suction hopper dredge WESTPORT owned & operated by Manson Construction Co. of Seattle WA. Doug was born in Thiboudeaux Louisiana in 1932 and has been dredging the Mississippi & West Coast most of his life. He is reported to have exceptional skills in welding, fabrication, diesel mechanics, etc. I hear tell that this gentleman of the sea can do just about anything. Doug is an avid collector of antique guns and cartridges and knows just about everything there is to know about US Naval operations.

Favorite Book: "Mostly Technical Manuals"
Favorite Quote: "Be hard to Say..."