Russ Eichman Retires As Executive Director of UMWA

Russ Eichman retired as the executive director of the Upper Mississippi Waterway Association (UMWA) effective December 31 after 25 years of service.

“Due to a death in the family and personal health considerations, and after giving the matter serious consideration, I have reluctantly terminated my contract services with UMWA,” Eichman said in an UMWA newsletter. “Even as I am unhappy to leave, UMWA—due to its talented officers and supportive membership—is in a position to successfully meet future challenges.”

Eichman joined UMWA as an employee of Harvest States Cooperative when he was transferred to St. Paul, Minn., in 1983. He became executive director of the association in 1993, when he took over for Bob Hertzberg.

During his more than 60 years of experience in transportation, Eichman worked for Froedtert Malt Corporation in Milwaukee as general traffic manager before he joined Harvest States Cooperative—now CHS—as vice president of corporate transportation. Following his retirement, he started TMC Consulting, which represented cooperative management development and the Minnesota Department of Transportation in various management development and rail issues.

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“For the past number of years, Russ had been balancing a larger personal workload along with that of executive director of UMWA, and in notifying us of his resignation, said he is no longer able to fairly balance both responsibilities,” said Taylor Luke, president of UMWA. “We will certainly miss Russ’ professionalism, strengths and knowledge as an advocate for our association and the waterways industry, but understand and respect his decision and wish him the best.”

Luke said the association’s officers are in the process of finding an interim executive director who can fill the role while the UMWA determines its next steps.

UMWA represents waterway interests in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Members include industrial and consumer goods manufacturers, electric utilities, grain companies, agricultural cooperatives, metal recyclers, barge and towing companies, recreational and passenger boat operators, marinas and others having an interest in river navigation and associated environmental issues.