‘Leaders To Legends’ Session To Highlight 10th Inland Marine Expo

Since the early years of the Inland Marine Expo (IMX), the show has featured the 40 Under 40 Award, which recognizes up-and-coming leaders in the industry. New to this year’s IMX will be a “Leaders to Legends” session, which will open with  a panel discussion including five previous recipients of the 40 Under 40 Award, then close with the presentation of the 2023 IMX Achievement Award.

Mike Breslin, director of safety and sustainability for the American Waterways Operators (AWO), a past 40 Under 40 recipient, will moderate the panel, which will feature Kasey Eckstein, president of Eckstein Trade & Transport and Eckstein Fleeting Services, and founder of Women in Maritime Operations (WIMOs); James Fowler, managing director of marine and stevedoring for Cooper Marine & Timberlands Corporation; Kent Furlong, founder of Hines Furlong Line; Tim Parker III, president and CEO of Parker Towing Company Inc.; and Tracy Zea, president and CEO of Waterways Council Inc.

Breslin will interview panelists on what it takes to succeed in the industry, how to learn from failures, what makes a good leader and what they envision for the future. Along the way, the group will tackle topics like attitudes that lead to success, the importance of building community within the maritime industry, lessons learned, goals and what motivates them, mentors that have helped them along the way and the importance of mentorship and the kind of legacy they want to leave.

Panelists plan to focus on both the great parts about the industry and the challenges.

“I wish I’d had more people tell me how difficult it is,” Eckstein said. “Starting your own business really is as hard as they say it’s going to be.”

The legacy and mentorship focus will segue well to the IMX Achievement Award, which will go to the late Mike Rushing, founder of Rushing Marine Service LLC and a founder of the Towing Vessel Inspection Bureau (TVIB). Rushing died February 3 at the age of 79.

Rushing’s son, Todd, will receive the award in his honor.

The “From Leaders to Legends” session will be held at 3:45 p.m. Thursday, June 1 on the trade show floor.

The session is part of a packed three-day agenda. Day 1, May 31, will feature a welcome reception and the Maritime Throwdown line handling competition. Day 2, June 1, will begin with a State of the Maritime Industry plenary session. A full day of education sessions and booth exhibits will follow, with the day culminating in an IMX 10th anniversary party. Day 3, June 2, will have a morning of education sessions and end with a keynote address and the class of 2023 40 Under 40 awards.

For more information on IMX, visit