Sean Duffy Named 2022 Bertel Award Recipient 

The World Trade Center of New Orleans announced March 10 that Sean M. Duffy Sr., executive director of Big River Coalition and executive vice president of the Louisiana Maritime Association, will receive its 2022 C. Alvin Bertel Award. The award ceremony is scheduled to take place on June 24 at the Plimsoll Ballroom in the Four Seasons Hotel in New Orleans.

The Bertel Award was established in 1967 and is presented each year to an individual who has made significant contributions to the Louisiana port and maritime community.

“I am honored to accept the prestigious Bertel Award from the World Trade Center, and I genuinely feel the sheer weight of this recognition. I have a long admiration and historic connection to the Bertel Award that adds a layer of personal pride,” Duffy said.

He added, “However, individual successes have been achieved with the support of an amazing team of colleagues, friends and stakeholders who also make their unique livelihoods along the mighty river. I humbly accept this award on behalf of that team (Team Mississippi River), with specific thanks to the members of the Big River Coalition and the Louisiana Maritime Association for their unwavering support.” 

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Serving as executive director of Big River Coalition, Duffy is a well-known leader in the maritime industry, regionally and nationally. He has provided written and oral testimony to federal and state congressional committees and the President’s Oil Spill Commission to advocate for channel maintenance of the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Duffy has been recognized for his efforts to deepen the Mississippi River ship channel to 50 feet, providing deep-draft access to the ports of New Orleans, Plaquemines and South Louisiana, and promoting coastal restoration through the beneficial use of dredge material. 

“As a fellow advocate of dredging and maximizing the Mississippi’s River’s capacity for the future of Louisiana and international trade, I could not be more pleased with the selection of Sean Duffy as the recipient of the 2022 Bertel Award,” said Paul Aucoin, president and chairman of the World Trade Center of New Orleans.

“We are proud of Sean and his achievements and are looking forward to celebrating him at the Plimsoll Ballroom in June. Thank you, Sean, for all that you have done for our state and for international trade,” he added.

Big River Coalition

The Big River Coalition is committed to protecting and maximizing efficient transportation on the deep-draft ship channel from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico. Its mission is focused on securing increased funding from the Harbor Maintenance Tax and Inland Waterways Fuel Tax, and in particular efforts to deepen the Lower Mississippi River to 50 feet and to increase the beneficial use of dredge material. 

“Sean’s leadership at the Big River Coalition is critical to Louisiana,” said Ed Webb, CEO of the World Trade Center of New Orleans. “U.S. economic estimates indicate that maritime commerce across the Mississippi River and its tributaries has an annual impact of over $735 billion on the U.S. economy and is responsible for 2.4 million jobs.”He added, “Louisiana and its leadership is working hard to grow its recognition as an international and domestic port of choice. I believe that there is no one more experienced or more passionate than Sean to lead this effort.” 

 Michael Hecht, president and CEO of GNO Inc., also praised Duffy.

“It is appropriate and timely for Sean Duffy to receive this big honor,”  he said. “Everything about Sean is big: his Big River Coalition, his two decades as a rugby flanker and his commitment to the Mississippi and the economy of south Louisiana. I congratulate Sean on receiving the 2022 C. Alvin Bertel Award and thank him for his big contributions.” 

Founded as the International House in 1943 and as the International Trade Mart in 1945, these two predecessor organizations merged in 1985 and are now known as the World Trade Center of New Orleans, the oldest of more than 300 World Trade Centers around the globe. The World Trade Center strives to bring together professionals in the regional, national and international trade and maritime communities. Its mission is to foster economic development throughout Louisiana and the surrounding Gulf Coast region by advocating for the support and the promotion of the international trade goals of its members and stakeholders. 

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