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 Keifer Kleinschmidt, Cassie Koenig and Dave Lee.
Kiefer Kleinschmidt, 38, is fleet manager for the American River Transportation Company (ARTCo) in St. Louis, Mo.
Barret Looper, consultant with J.W. Terrill in Town and Country, Mo., credits Kleinschmidt, in part, for what he called world-class safety numbers in the St. Louis harbor, most recently going more than a year without an injury.
“Kiefer has been monumental in mentoring new-hire employees and helping them with a seamless transition into maritime careers,” Looper said. “He is consistently helping to develop continuous improvement processes to improve employee safety and overall business productivity.”
Looper also called Kleinschmidt an outstanding young leader.
“Kiefer is a rising star in this industry and deserves to be recognized for his notable achievements,” Looper said.
Cassie Koenig, 37, is office manager for Rushing Marine Service in Jackson, Mo.
Koenig has been with the office since 2005. She has a bachelor of science degree in communication with minors in graphics communication technology and marketing.
“Cassie is involved in all aspects of our company,” said Todd Rushing, manager of Rushing Marine. “Cassie has worked with our customers to develop our online learning management system, which includes safety and security training courses and orientations. She manages our publications, including our regulations handbook series. She also works to develop towing safety management systems and health and safety plans for our customers.
Rushing said Koenig has been instrumental in the company’s success.
“Our customers know her well, and know that when they go to her for help they will get a fast and accurate response,” he said.
Additionally, he noted she is very involved in the community, helping with the Rushing Family Trust as well as the Power Pack program at the Jackson schools, as well as within her church.
“Cassie has made a huge impact on Rushing Marine, our customers and our industry,” Rushing said.
Dave Lee, 40, is senior account manager with ABB Marine & Ports in Miramar, Fla.
Lee has worked in many different roles in the inland market, first with Jeffboat, then ACBL and now for ABB.
“He is extremely committed to the market and improving the industry,” ABB vice president Ed Schwarz said. “He is determined to leave the industry better for his involvement.”
John Sicinski, president of Maritime Consulting LLC, called Lee a driving force transforming the maritime industry.
“He is a perfect spokesperson for the great technology ABB has to offer and is on the leading edge of what this industry needs the most, which is a breakthrough of propulsion technology to gain new efficiencies, safety and cost savings,” Sicinski said. “The initiatives he is working on will solidify our industry’s relevance for future decades to come.”
Sicinski also noted Lee’s years of shipyard experience in both management and sales, saying they boost his credibility in a highly skilled industry.
“I have worked with Dave on the concept of diesel electric propelled towing vessels and their application on inland towing vessels in the U.S.,” he said. “At every step, he operates with the highest professionalism, and he is a reliable source of expertise and assistance along the way.”
ABB senior account manager Bruce Strupp talked about Lee’s demonstrated leadership as well as his passion in the development and promotion of U.S. inland river transportation. ABB bid support manager Irwan Kwik said he leads by example, is a role model, communicates well and sets expectations.
“He has inner drive and discipline to continue further to bring the task to the finish line,” Kwik said.
Finally, Barker Price, president of J. Russell Flowers Inc., of Greenville, Miss., noted he has had the opportunity to get to know Lee over several years during various roles within the industry and has personally worked with Lee during the design and construction of more than 250 vessels, including inland river hopper barges, tank barges and towboats.
“He is a consummate professional, with a unique blend of technical expertise and outstanding interpersonal skills,” Price said. “Dave takes very good care of his customers. He is able to simultaneously deal with demanding technical issues and present them in a constructive manner. Dave’s customers have benefited greatly from his involvement in their projects.”
Caption for top photo: From left, IMX 40 Under 40 honorees Kiefer Kleinschmidt, Cassie Koenig and Dave Lee.