Letter: In Retirement
Since retiring in August, my wife, Mary, and I have been very busy. We sold our home in Louisville and moved to Edmond, Okla., on the first of October, and now live within a couple of miles of our daughter. Moving and catching up with my family hasn’t left much time to think about working, or for reviewing my career. I do know that after 45 years in the barge industry, for the first time this spring, I found myself wanting to spend more of my time with my family and lifelong friends. This was a new feeling for me, but also something that’s been on my mind for a while.
Over the better part of the last five decades, I absolutely loved what I did in the river industry and always looked forward to coming to work every day with my team and trying to make a difference for our teammates, the company, our customers and vendors, and for that matter, the entire industry. I have been fortunate enough to experience many wonderful opportunities and worked through many challenges over the years with some truly great teammates and business relationships, many who have become real friends. The river industry has treated my family extremely well, and I’ll be forever grateful for all of those experiences.
Some of you may know that my initial exposure to the river was via a riverboat captain working onboard the mv. Chicago Trader for ACBL on the Illinois River. As I was growing up just five miles from Starved Rock Lock, my dad would ask the lockmaster to call our home, and mom would load all us kids into the station wagon and off we’d go to see my dad as they locked through. That was enough to catch my interest for a lifetime. That was 1965.
I always felt fortunate to know my career path: I always thought I wanted to work on a towboat. After earning my pilot’s license on my 19th birthday, I soon discovered that running a boat was not my strongest attribute; my dad had made it look too easy. Opportunity knocked, and I had the ability to move ashore, supervising the barge maintenance and repair at the Ottawa harbor service. I jumped at the chance to own and operate a harbor service in Pekin, Ill. Soon thereafter I caught the itch to work at a barge line in St. Louis. I continued to climb the career ladder in sales and operations at MEMCO, then became the president at AEP River Operations and ultimately arrived at ACBL and had the privilege to work with a wonderful team.
Over the years, I’ve met and worked with many wonderful teammates, and I had the distinct privilege of recognizing that work in naming towboats after these significant contributors. There were always plenty of deserving teammates, and there always will be. I always thought naming a boat after myself when there were so many well deserving teammates would be somewhat conceited. My close teammates knew of my resistance to naming a boat after myself, so you can imagine my surprise when I was recently honored with such recognition (WJ, November 30). Just the thought of them wanting to name a boat in my honor was extremely gratifying.
I’d like to thank the crew for working her and taking good care of her . I’m both honored and humbled to have y’all working on such a fine boat bearing my name. I only wish my dad was still around to see how far he laid the road ahead for me.
To all of you that have been part of my journey, thank you so much for all you do in delivering our nation’s building blocks and energy resources in the safest and most efficient manner there is. Let’s also be sure we always do it in the safest way possible.