September | 2020
Skookum Employee Helps Crash Victim in Fort Lee, VA

While on his way to work, Skookum employee Austin Wilkerson came up to an intersection; as he approached the light, he saw that an accident had just occurred – maybe 10-15 seconds earlier: a vehicle had plowed into the guardrail at the opposite corner and was smoldering. He crossed three lanes of traffic and parked on the right side of the road at a safe distance just beyond the accident site. He and two soldiers helped the driver out of the car's passenger side and put him on the ground at a safe distance. The driver was in shock and said that his daughter was still in the car. Austin went back to find the daughter, and with flames coming from beneath the vehicle and heavy smoke inside the car, he felt around the back seat to find the daughter, but could not find anyone. He then went to get a firefighter to double-check, and the firefighter broke all the windows to get a better look with the right equipment. It turned out there was no daughter in the car (the driver was confused from the impact and thought it was December, etc.). During this process, the car went from smoldering right after the accident to flames coming from beneath when they removed the driver and checked for the daughter to an inferno minutes later. The result was just a heap of burnt-out metal. Due to the driver's condition, it is quite possible he would not have gotten out and survived the fire if Austin and the soldiers did not remove him. Way to go, Austin!
Skookum's 2020 Summer Internships

Skookum intentionally created a summer intern program, and we were able to fulfill our commitment despite Covid-19. For ten weeks over the summer, Skookum enjoyed the company of three summer interns, one in Finance and two in Business Systems.

  • Jonathan Dudley – Finance
  • Addison Hartford – Business Systems
  • Ben Newland – Business Systems

As our interns wrapped up their time with us, they presented a summary of their experience, and all three were very impressed with what Skookum does as a company. The highlight of their summer was a comprehensive tour of our operations at JBLM as it tied their home office experience to the operations teams. It is always best to see Skookum in action; a huge thank you for that experience to Jessica McLoughlin's CFT.

A quote from Ben Newland about his experience, "With this experience, I was able to confirm my decision to study computer science in college and work in this field as my career of choice." Rather powerful words for a young man entering his senior year at college, glad we could help with that!

Some of the projects our three interns were able to address already have directly benefited all of Skookum with improved reporting nomenclature within Workday, some PowerBI metrics in the TFM Maximo space, and last but not least, wrapping up the migration of files to our cloud-based technologies.

We enjoyed our brief time with our interns and wish them all the best in their future!
Mark Schowendgerdt, Yorktown, VA
Nominated By: Kalvin Newkirk

Mark Schowengerdt has been with Skookum since the contract changed at USCG TRACEN Yorktown in September of 2019. He has been on this site as a Grounds Laborer/Tractor Operator since April of 2018. Mark has always exhibited a strong work ethic and has been instrumental in the improvements seen by all in the grounds of TRACEN. His periodic evaluations have always been stellar: reflecting his work in the field. Mark’s attention to detail and continuous hard work has even been noticed by his peers; Management Team; Coast Guard Service Members; and other personnel throughout the installation, one of which I am recommending recognition for him.

Unfortunately for Mark, he frequently gets stuck with the hard jobs! Not out of disdain, but rather because he has proven he can handle them. During fertilizer applications, it is not uncommon for Mark to log over 10 miles on his pedometer. This is not just walking 10 miles. Mark is pushing a spreader over undulating terrain and covered in turf, which causes even more resistance. We do three applications of fertilizer a year, a lime application (where pH needs adjusting), and a seed application in our fescue areas. That’s a lot of pushing! He is also the only crew member in the department that can make pesticide applications. Again, a lot of walking, wrapped up in PPE, carrying a fifty-pound backpack sprayer, and mostly during the heat of the summer. Whether it’s pushing a spreader, weed eating slopes, or going up in a lift to prune trees, Mark performs every task assigned to the best of his ability. His ability to efficiently operate every piece of equipment on property, push through the physically demanding tasks, and understand the science behind what we do has made Mark an invaluable asset to the department. I could continue speaking on specifics but suffice it to say that no matter the task, Mark is virtually always performing at his best.

It can be easy to overlook and take for granted your strongest employees when their consistently high performance becomes the expectation. From time to time it takes another individual to make a comment for one to objectively recognize something they see daily. We would like to thank Kevin Johnson for bringing Mark’s performance back to the forefront of our attention and we would like to offer Mark Schowengerdt many thanks for his continuous hard work and dedication to the mission of the Skookum Grounds Department here at Yorktown, VA.
Tommy Hudson, Bangor, WA
Nominated By: Ariel Duckworth

I would like to recognize one of my employees, Tommy Hudson. On July 30, 2020, Tommy was going to clean the female restroom, Tommy entered to find a female guard force member that needed medical attention. He quickly went for help and passed the word to the building's management to call 911!

Because of his actions, medics were on the scene within 15 minutes of Tommy finding the female guard force member. Had he not been in the building, it could have been some time before someone would have noticed her.

John Post and Tandie Steinmetzer would like to extend their gratitude for his actions. -
From Tandie, "This is absolutely a recognition that cannot go unnoticed and Tommy deserves a huge BRAVO ZULU for this! Way to go Tommy!"

We love recognizing our employees! So much so that every week an employee wins the Skookum President’s Excellence Award! Each Excellence Award recipient is selected by our President/CEO and awarded a Skookum Excellence pin along with $100 check prize. Anyone can nominate someone!

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. If you know someone who is struggling, let them know help is available and they can speak with a counselor today by calling 1-800-273-8255. They can also chat with someone online at:
Fleet and Sanitation Teams at JBLM
Our Fleet team is currently in 10 different shops located throughout the post. Our ever-growing team consists of 3 Managers, 2 Supervisors, 5 Leads, 4 Data Entry Operators, 40 Autoworkers, 3 Supply folks and 4 Helpers!! There have been many challenges but our great team has done a fantastic job servicing and repairing the vehicles for the vast array of customers that we support. Since June we have serviced and repaired approximately 833 pieces of equipment throughout the 10 different shops. The team has risen to the challenge, from the Clerks who open the jobs to the supply folks who inventory and issue the parts and the Helpers who load the shops with vehicles and keep everything clean for the Autoworkers who perform the services and repairs. The Leads and Shop Foreman are doing an awesome job keeping everything running smoothly! A shoutout needs to go to some folks that have recently been promoted, Dave Lawson (Shop Manager), Chris Mathis (Shop Foreman), Jeff Hildner (Lead) and Ken Quaites (Lead). These folks have risen to the occasion and are truly an asset to this department.

This is our busiest time of year but our amazing Sanitation team has not missed a beat in stepping up to fill the needs of the department. A big thank you to all the drivers at JBLM, Ken, Curtis, Patrick and Rick. Thanks also to Terry and Mike who are handling the duties in the Kitsap area which is not an easy task. Vicky has been doing a great job in coordinating all the efforts it takes to lead the department and Jessica has excelled not only with invoicing but also assisting in the coordination in the Bremerton area. Thanks to all of you for making this department such a success.
September is Hispanic Heritage Month!

Things you can do to be an ally:
-Become conversational in Spanish.
-Read books and watch movies to learn more about the history and culture of Hispanic people.
-Donate your time or money to support advocacy organizations focusing on assisting Hispanic people such as local immigrant assistance centers.
Skookum Wellness Out in the Community
NSBOSC’s Wellness Champion Lorrie Frost organized a great volunteer event at the Boys and Girls Club! Here’s what she had to say about it:

“On July 25th, NSBOSC had our volunteer project for the Boys and Girls Club. It was an amazing event because all the volunteers were enthusiastic in completing lawn/yard maintenance for two locations. The best part was having the extra help, some volunteers brought their significant other and we had a total of 18 people. This is the second year that we have had the same event, adding one more location and it only gets better! What was helpful was giving out assignments a few days before the event and making sure we had all the right personal protective equipment, "PPE" and had masks, gloves and disinfectants on the tables. Two of the volunteers brought their own rideable lawn mowers. I found that having the support of our Project Manager, Scott Smith, was very valuable. The Director for the Boys and Girls Club, Norrie Perreault, set us up with two tables of pizza, fruit, water and other snacks!

Norrie is always so thankful for our efforts by our Skookum teammates. She loves the fact we help in community projects and looks forward to when we help them at Christmas time. She said that Skookum has the nicest, kindest, bunch of people! This month we will be having a food drive set up for North Whidbey Help House and the drive will end September 30, 2020. A small gesture like this makes a difference for those in need. Giving is a way to make a meaningful, tangible difference within our community on the island!

Above is a picture of Tara Tegtmeyer from our volunteer event. Tara works as a janitor for Skookum and has a lot of energy. She is always so enthusiastic to help out!”

Thank you to Lorrie and all the volunteers who joined her in representing the Skookum Wellness Program and serving your community in a fun and positive way!
The FINAL Wellness Challenge of 2020 is fast approaching! The Making a Healthy Habit Challenge will focus on four (4) wellness pillars:
-      Financial Wellbeing – “Save Wise”
-      Nutrition – “Eat Right”
-      Physical Activity “Get Fit”
-      Hydration “Drink Smart”
Four (4) weeks, four (4) wellness tasks per week of your choosing, and of course fabulous prizes!
The registration period will be from September 21st – October 1st.
WSMR Wellness Mini-Golf Extravaganza!

Wellness Champions Vinnie Soto & Kristina Tharpe of WSMR organized a fun mini-golf tournament followed by a healthy luncheon for the participants. Everyone had such a fun time they’re already planning another event! Great job finding a fun and creating way to promote wellness for the employees of WSMR!
Mental Health Services for Employees

Did you know Skookum has multiple mental health benefits services available to employees?

  • EAP (Employee Assistance Program) – The EAP offers 6 free counseling sessions per issue per calendar year. For example, if you are struggling with depression and want to see a counselor, you can call the EAP and they’ll find a counselor for you. Later on, if you need to talk to someone for another issue, like marital issues, you can call the EAP again and you’ll get 6 free sessions for the new issue. Sessions can be done either virtually (phone, text, video call) or in person, whichever you prefer. It’s a great service that is extended to your immediate family as well!

  • Teledoc – Teledoc has licensed therapists available 7 days a week. You can go to to schedule your appointment and have your session in the comfort and privacy of your own home by phone or video chat. This service is only available to those on Skookum’s health insurance plan.

  • Cigna Behavioral Health Care – Cigna offers personal and confidential video-based mental health and/or substance use care for employees on Skookum’s health insurance plan. To use this service: go to, click “Find a Doctor, Dentist, or Facility”, then click “Cigna Behavioral Directory”. Choose the Provider Directory link and search for a provider that offers video-based sessions by including “Telehealth” from the Topic Specialty list in your search criteria. Then you just call the provider you select to make an appointment and let them know you would like a virtual face-to-face visit and they will give you information on how to set up the video-based session.
EAP Newsletter

This month’s EAP newsletter discusses: “Taking Care of Our Kids’ Mental Health (and Our Own) During Back-to-School Season”. Check it out here.
Interested in Sharing your Wellness Story?

“Skookum loves to recognize employees who are incorporating wellness into their lifestyles. If you’d like to recognize an employee (with their permission) or even yourself, please email to share your story. We want to hear how you are improving your wellness!”
Skookum proudly operates in twelve states across the nation plus Washington D.C.