River Bell Awards Luncheon Set For December 7 In Paducah, Ky.

Seamen’s Church Institute will host the 37th River Bell Awards Luncheon on December 7 in Paducah.

The awards luncheon will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Paducah-McCracken County Convention and Expo Center, 415 Park St. Information about the program is available at

This year’s River Bell Award recipient is Darin Adrian, president of Marquette Transportation Company’s river division.

The River Legend Award will go to Gerald E. “Jerry” Clower, president of Harbor Towing & Fleeting LLC.

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The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Rear Adm. Richard Timme, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.).

Lifesaving awards will be presented to the crews of three vessels: the mv. Mike Sanders of American Commercial Barge Line, the mv. Mary Ellen Jones of Amherst Madison Inc. and the mv. San D of Parker Towing.

Darin Adrian

Adrian has been with Marquette more than 37 years, serving as executive vice president-river division until his promotion in 2022.

As president of the river division, Adrian oversees sales and logistics and operations of the division, which includes more than 60 towboats. As a senior executive, he is also heavily involved in Marquette’s customer partnerships, mariner relationships and in helping to identify and execute business opportunities at each of Marquette’s three divisions. He also provides senior leadership in promoting cooperation and operational efficiencies among Marquette’s river, gulf-inland and offshore teams.

In announcing his promotion last year, Marquette President and CEO Damon Judd said of Adrian, “Darin is passionate about the importance of Marquette’s culture, the strength of Marquette’s mariners and our commitment to best-in-class customer service and long-term partnerships that is supported by the hard work of our vessel crews and shore-based teams. Darin has played an active role within the industry and working with our industry partners at the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as we collectively work through operational challenges like the current low-water situation. His knowledge of the system is immense.”

He added that Adrian is a trusted and respected business partner to everyone on the leadership team.

Additionally, “He leads by example and has exemplary character,” Judd said.

Adrian began his career with Marquette Transportation Company in 1986 as a dispatcher in the traffic department when Marquette was headquartered in Cassville, Wis. At the time, the company had four boats and about 60 barges.

Adrian was part of the core team that moved to Paducah, Ky., in 1990 and was promoted to manager of the traffic department in 1991. In 2001, he was named vice president of sales and logistics before being named to the role of executive vice president-river division in 2010.

In addition to his internal role at Marquette, Adrian has held leadership roles in several industry organizations, including the River Industry Executive Task Force (RIETF), where he served as chairman from 2019-20, American Waterways Operators’ board member for the Midwest and Ohio Valley regions, the AWO executive committee and as a past member of Seamen’s Church Institute’s River Bell committee.

Jerry Clower

Clower is president of the family-owned Harbor Towing & Fleeting (HTF), a New Orleans maritime company that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2020. The company, which was founded by his father, Gerald D. Clower, specializes in barge fleeting and tripping tows through nearby locks on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. HTF is the company that manages Star Fleet, a barge fleet located on the west bank of the Mississippi River near Algiers Point.

Clower grew up on towboats.

“I was put on the boat at 12 years old,” he told The Waterways Journal in an article commemorating HTF’s anniversary. “I was a tankerman at 15. Hey man, I thought it was cool in the summer. To be a 12-year-old and spend the summer on a boat like that, it was cool.”

That was before his father launched HTF, however, and there wasn’t an immediate opening when Clower graduated in 1968 and needed a job.

Instead, Clower spent about 15 years working in engineering and sales for Union Carbide. He joined the family business in 1983, taking a pay cut at the time to come work alongside his father and staying on after his passing in 1986.

Clower has led the company through some challenging times, including the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. HTF’s office near the lakefront of Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans flooded in the storm, and the fleet was a wreck. Clower kept the boats running, however, dispatching from boats for a time because the company didn’t have a fleet operation.

Clower also brought in the third generation of the family business when Todd Clower joined it in 2006.

By Thanksgiving Day 2010, Harbor Towing & Fleeting reopened Star Fleet. The company also moved into an office building in nearby Metairie. In the years since, HTF has built out three more office units and rebuilt its web presence.

Between 2010 and 2015, the Clowers grew Star Fleet’s size from 2,000 linear feet to 4,000, along with a 30-year lease with the Port of New Orleans. The company has also added a second shoreside office near the fleet in order to enhance training space, parking, site security and access.