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 has been featuring all 40 recipients. This week we recognize the final two honorees, Roger Wilson Jr. and Daniel Wolf.
Roger Wilson Jr.
Roger Wilson Jr., 33, is navigation manager for the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway at the Mobile Engineer District. He is based in Columbus, Miss.
Wilson began his career with the district’s construction division as a young cooperative education student in the civil engineering program at Mississippi State University. In 2012, after obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, he made the move to the operations division.
“Roger really excelled in his duties as a civil engineer on the Tenn-Tom staff,” said Wynne Fuller, chief of the Mobile District’s operations division. “Being a quick study, he soon became an expert in hydrographic surveying, dredging and navigation lock maintenance.”
Additionally, Wilson became the alternative dive coordinator for the district, a role in which he still serves. After the Tenn-Tom’s navigation manager retired at the end of 2017, Wilson was chosen to serve as the new navigation manager on the project.
Fuller said that in the past two years in the role, Wilson has proven to be one of the Corps’ most valuable assets.
“After only one year in his new role, the Tenn-Tom Waterway experienced historic flooding in the spring of 2019,” he said. “During the flood fight, Roger worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of USACE employees, mariners on the waterway and the general public. Roger also made strategic decisions to protect the integrity of the Tenn-Tom’s infrastructure from damages throughout the flood. When the flood waters receded, it became apparent that tremendous shoaling occurred, completely blocking navigation in two areas. Roger immediately began the urgent work of reopening the waterway.”
Wilson directed the project operation and maintenance contractor to deploy the Tenn-Tom’s crane barge and towboat to open one of the navigation blockages. He worked with the Mobile District’s planning division to use an alternate dredge material disposal method to expedite the process. He also worked with the district’s operations division and dredging contractors to have a dredge mobilized to the Tenn-Tom as soon as possible.
“After 13 weeks, despite near continual flooding, the waterway was again open to navigation, but the dredging continued for nine months,” Fuller said. “Throughout the flooding and recovery, Roger proved to be a top-notch manager. Roger, as a team player, led his team to the finish line. Under his leadership, the Navigation Section on the Tenn-Tom is both highly efficient and effective. Roger is well respected by his subordinates, peers and supervisors and within his community. There is not a challenge that he does not want to tackle.”
Wilson is often described by others as honorable, dutiful and committed, Fuller said.
He added, “When I think of Roger, I think of selfless service. Roger is not afraid to put himself on the line for the good of the mission, the project or the organization. There is no doubt in my mind that Roger will continue to excel and go on to become a premier leader in this worldwide organization.”
Daniel Wolf, 30, is safety and compliance officer for Illinois & Michigan Oil LLC (IMO), based in Joliet, Ill.
Leo Cattoni, vice president of the Chicago region of ACBL and founder and former owner of Illinois Marine Towing Inc., recognized Wolf for his intelligence, perseverance, commitment and an enthusiasm for the marine industry. He observed those qualities from him from a young age, having first met Wolf as he went door to door selling raffle tickets for his Cub Scout den, then watching him advance to the Boy Scouts, where he became a National High Adventure Triple Crown winner and an Eagle Scout.
Wolf graduated Lemont High School with honors. While attending the University of Illinois at Chicago, he consistently made the Dean’s List and graduated with a 3.7 grade-point average on a 4-point scale.
“His work ethic was not confined to academics,” Cattoni said. “While still a college student, he asked for an opportunity to work as a laborer at our Lemont Shipyard. Once given the chance, he was a stellar worker and was determined to take responsibility for all his college expenses. “
During Wolf’s final two years of college, he began working at IMO, where Cattoni said he was never afraid to tackle entry-level jobs and always eager for more responsibility and advancement. He became involved with vessel ballasting and cleaning for gas-free inspections as well as maintenance and repairs.
Wolf went to work for IMO full-time after graduation and quickly became a licensed tankerman-PIC, conducting tank barge transfers at terminals and refineries throughout Chicagoland and northwest Indiana. By 2013, Wolf began to accept more administrative responsibilities. At IMO, he has served as security officer; designated person ashore; point of contact for all U.S. Coast Guard requirements, including inspections, permitting, reporting, Subchapter M regulations and MARSEC compliance; Environmental Protection Agency permitting; American Waterways Operators’ Responsible Carrier Program; maintaining all company policies; and coordination of all training.
Along with his Coast Guard Merchant Mariner’s Credential as a tankerman-PIC, Wolf now also holds a commercial driver’s license and several certificates, including those for HazMat; Root Cause Analysis; first aid and CPR instructor; confined space rescue; and vessel, facility and company security officer MARSEC training.
“Wolf’s value to the industry goes beyond his youth, education, hands-on experience and his long list of licenses and certificates,” Cattoni said. “His importance is founded on his sound character, his energy, his determination to improve the marine industry and his lack of fear of the future and unknown challenges ahead.”
Caption for photo: Roger L. Wilson Jr. and Daniel Wolf.