For the third year, 40 of the industry’s future leaders will be honored at the Inland Marine Expo with the “40 Under 40” award, which recognizes individuals for their outstanding contributions to the inland marine transportation industry in a variety of fields. All 40 honorees were nominated by executives and peers for their hard work and dedication to the industry.
Over the course of 14 weeks, The Waterways Journal is featuring all 40 recipients. This week we recognize Whitney Cruse, Ashley Danielson and Brandon Davidson.
Whitney Cruse, 34, is vice president of barge logistics for Marquette Transportation Company in Paducah, Ky.
She has been with Marquette for 12 years, beginning in an administrative role within the vessel logistics team. She then moved up to manage vessel logistics before being promoted to the vice presidential level.
“She is an exemplar of leadership and dedication to her field and team,” said Anna Whittemore, Marquette’s vice president of sales and logistics. “This is shown on a day-to-day basis in and out of the office. Her passion for the maritime industry is something to be emulated.”
Whittemore added that the respect Cruse’s coworkers have for her is extraordinary and that she leads by example.
Human resources director Dayna Tappan called Cruse driven and committed, and complimented her work ethic.
“Her positive and ambitious attitude has been an important factor in the expansion of the Women in Maritime Operations (WIMOs) organization,” Tappan said.
Cruse established and serves as president of the West Kentucky WIMOs chapter, which celebrated its first anniversary in March and is nearing 100 members.
“The learning opportunities that she provides to this group of women are impressive and well received,” Whittemore said.
Beyond the industry, Cruse is an active community member. She serves on the Paducah Bank community board and is an adviser for the Charity League of Paducah.
Ashley Danielson, 34, is vice president of marine administration for Genesis Marine of Houston, Texas.
Additionally, she serves on the board of directors of The American Waterways Operators.
Jim Farley, president of Larkspur Consulting, said Danielson is smart, hard-working and a true credit to Genesis Marine and the barge industry overall. She successfully manages the wide array of administrative functions required to run a modern barge line, including accounting, purchasing, claims and finances, all while balancing the often conflicting pressures of work and life as a wife and mother, he said.
“The less tangible, but perhaps most important reason I am placing Ashley’s name in nomination is that she goes beyond the requirements of her job,” Farley said. “In her eight years of working closely with the Sales and Operations groups of Genesis Marine, Ashley has dedicated herself to understanding how our business works. She truly gets it. I am proud to know Ashley and, based on my 45 years of experience, can say she is most deserving to be recognized as a member of the 2020 40 Under 40 leaders of this maddening, wonderful endeavor we call the barge business.”
Brandon Davidson, 36, is manager of logistics and marketing for the Hines Furlong Line, based out of Nashville, Tenn.
Davidson began his work in the river industry as a dispatcher for one of the larger barge companies. He learned how different segments support each other while concentrating on his particular area and building relationships both within the company and throughout the industry, said Glenn Hendon, Hines Furlong chief operating officer.Upon joining the Hunter Marine/Hines Furlong team, he advanced in his career until taking over a full array of responsibilities to include logistics, marketing and operations.
“Brandon is energetic and loves the challenges that our industry throws at us each day,” Hendon said. “The river is ‘in his blood,’ and he’s in for the long haul and will and play a big role in shaping the future of our industry.”