Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway Association Holds 2024 Annual Meeting

The Warrior-Tombigbee Waterway Association (WTWA) held its 2024 annual meeting at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Alabama, on May 15-17. The conference was keynoted by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, who discussed the importance of the waterways to the economic development and strategy of our State.

The membership elected new board members: Jeremy Headley, Parker Towing Company; Paul Kavinocky, Alabama Mining Association; Jim Monroe, SSA Marine; Richard Pipkins, Cooper Marine; David Russell, Birmingham Jefferson County Port Authority; Jack Smith, American Commercial Barge Line; and Norman Stockman, Hand Arendall Harrison Sale.

Horace Horn, Vice President–External Affairs, PowerSouth Energy, was re-elected as Chairman. David Carroll, Senior Vice President, Counsel, Hunt Refining Company, was re-elected as Vice Chairman. Tom Leatherbury, Vice President, of SSA Marine, was re-elected as Secretary/ Treasurer. Wynne Fuller was re-elected as President of the Association.

The program began with the Mobile District Corps of Engineers, led by Colonel Jeremy Chapman and Nelson Sanchez, Chief of the Operations Division. Anthony Perkins discussed the repairs and reopening of the Demopolis Lock the prior day. The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Mobile outlined the status of the Warrior Tombigbee River System. Commander Thomas Gibson, Chief of Prevention, led a discussion on USCG programs, including vessel inspections, and common deficiencies. He also discussed the USCG’s programs on sexual assault and sexual harassment. Lieutenant Larry Schad outlined current waterway issues and initiatives. MCPO Jason Herbert outlined the Aids to Navigation (ATONS) program for the BWT for 2024.

Over the next two days industry representatives gave vital and interesting presentations. Thursday was packed with current issues and updates.

Among current affairs, Tim Pickering of MARAD discussed the state of America’s Marine Highways and grant opportunities. Roger Bohnert, President of Surface Transportation Strategies, Strong Port Strategies, described MARAD’s grant opportunities and application processes. John Driscoll, the President of the Alabama State Port Authority, gave updates on the Port’s successes and goals.

Trevor Popkins, Chief of the Regulatory Division, Corps of Engineers, outlined environmental regulations and permitting processes. Jason Beaman, Meteorologist-in-Charge, NWS Mobile – Pensacola, gave updates on the predictions for the 2024 Hurricane Season.

Friday’s presentations focused on the future of our waterway system. Bradley Byrne, President of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, discussed the inland waterways and the regional maritime economy. And Ted Clem, Senior Project Manager, Alabama Department of Commerce, discussed the role of waterways in Alabama’s economic development.

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