40 Under 40 honorees featured this week: from left, Scott Riggins, Sarah Roberson and Brandon Robertson.

40 Under 40 Awards: Riggins, Roberson And Robertson

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 Scott Riggins, Sarah Roberson and Brandon Robertson.

Scott Riggins

Scott Riggins, 35, is general manager of Inland Marine Service, based in Hebron, Ky.

In his position, Riggins manages a fleet of six harbor boats in the St. Louis harbor.

“As an up-and-coming maritime leader in our industry, he has gained the respect and admiration of the men that he works with daily. And, as anyone who has worked on the river knows, this is no small feat!” said Dave Hammond, president of Inland Marine Service.

He noted that being the manager of a harbor fleet requires a very specific set of skills and that Mother Nature constantly provides challenges, including those related to too much or not enough water. In addition, he said, such managers must control risks that include daily obstacles capable of harming people, the environment and equipment.

Besides dealing with the challenges nature provides, Hammond said Riggins must also be able to deal well with people, including crews scheduled around the clock in two, 12-hour shifts daily, and have not only plans but backup plans and an ability to meet customer demands and industry regulations.

“Knowing what the expectations are and meeting them is essential for success,” Hammond said. “Understanding the importance of both and managing your shoreside and vessel crews to ensure compliance is paramount. The above are only a few of the challenges a fleet manager must tackle on a daily basis.”

Hammond said Riggins exemplifies the strong characteristics of someone who will play a major role in shaping the future of the maritime industry.

“Steady leadership and passion for a job well done, safely and right is what Scott delivers daily,” Hammond said. “This helps us all. It helps the company meet its objectives of safety, productivity and profit. It also, and more importantly, helps each and every one of his men go home to their families unharmed and able to provide for their families.  So much responsibility is placed on his shoulders, and Scott manages it all humbly.”

Sarah Roberson

Sarah Roberson, 34, is director of operations for RTI Barge Management Inc., in O’Fallon, Ill.

Roberson joined RTI nearly 10 years ago and has been instrumental  in both the growth and success of the barge management company, RTI President Rick Huskey said.

“She quickly adopted a strong understanding of the river system, barge operations and freight market,” he said. “Sarah plays an active role in all daily activities of RTI, which include managing the traffic of our barge fleet and communications with our towing partners, customers and Coast Guard.”

Huskey said Roberson sets a precedent at RTI for attentiveness to the business’ customers as well as making sure the company can meet or exceed customers’ expectations for their shipping needs.

“As a result, our barge line has grown substantially to become a trusted partner for many leading brokers, processors and traders of food grade commodities,” he said.

Roberson lives in O’Fallon with her husband, Dave, and their three children, all under the age of 5.

Brandon Robertson

Brandon Robertson, 39, is manager of marine transportation for Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel Company in Salem, Ky.

Robertson is part of a four-generation family working in the maritime industry. After graduating high school, he began his career as a deckhand with TECO Barge Line, working on board line haul and fleet vessels. He received his master of towing vessels MMC endorsement in 2006 and worked as a master on board towing vessels until 2011, when he began his career with Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel Company as a dispatcher for the marine transportation division. He was promoted to manager of the marine transportation group in 2017. The position requires overseeing the daily management, maintenance and compliance for Pine Bluff’s fleet of line haul towboats as well as the personnel on board.

“In his new position, Brandon had an extremely good relationship with all the vessel personnel and was always available to talk with them on any issues,” said Steve Brundrett, Pine Bluff’s HSSE director. “Brandon continued to be a viable resource in his wealth of river knowledge and interpersonal mind set. Brandon championed our partnership with TowWorks addressing our 46CFR Subchapter M regulatory needs such as waste disposal logs, navigation assessment, maintenance records, onboard training records, vessel documentation, etc. Through Brandon’s oversight and partnership with TowWorks, PBSGC has become pretty much a one-stop shop to provide the necessary documentation to auditors and regulators on board a vessel.”

Robertson also serves on several industry committees, including LOMARC, ICE, CORMIG, ORVA, the Four Rivers Fleeting Association and as chairman of the Red River Committee.

“The knowledge and value he brings serves the maritime community and Pine Bluff in many ways,” Brundrett said.

Robertson is also a Coast Guard-approved designated examiner and certified Coast Guard crew endurance management specialist. He has successfully completed the TVIB surveyor of vessels and marine internal lead auditor programs.

“Brandon has brought a significant amount of knowledge and value to Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel Company,” Brundrett said. “He has provided direct operational leadership to our mariners as we have embraced the necessary provisions with the implementation of the (PBSGC) Total Safety Management System (TSMS) program.”

Caption for photo: 40 Under 40 honorees featured this week: from left, Scott Riggins, Sarah Roberson and Brandon Robertson.