Jennifer Carpenter

AWO’s Carpenter Heads American Maritime Partnership

The American Maritime Partnership (AMP), a broad coalition of maritime industry interests dedicated to maintaining the Jones Act’s requirement of U.S.-built, U.S.-owned and U.S.-crewed vessels transporting goods or passengers within American waters, has announced the organization’s new leadership team, including its president, vice president and secretary and treasurer.

Jennifer Carpenter, president and CEO of The American Waterways Operators (AWO), has been elected president of AMP. She is the first woman to lead AMP. Sara Fuentes, vice president of the Transportation Institute, was elected vice president of AMP, after previously serving as the organization’s secretary and treasurer. Finally, Jim Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers’ Association, an organization promoting U.S.-flag operations on the Great Lakes, will serve as secretary and treasurer of AMP. Officers of American Maritime Partnership serve two-year terms. Carpenter, Fuentes and Weakley will all continue in their current roles, while also serving as AMP officers.

“AMP plays a pivotal role in championing the strength and vitality of our domestic maritime industry, and I am proud to continue to drive our industry forward into the future,” Carpenter said. “This industry is led by 650,000 American men and women who are committed to ensuring a reliable supply, reducing our dependence on China, dredging new channels for trade, building next-generation vessels, constructing the next great American energy industry and supporting our military in times of war.”

Carpenter has been part of AWO for more than 33 years. Over that time, she has worked with industry stakeholders, the U.S. Coast Guard and members of Congress to support the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, including the development and launch of Subchapter M. Carpenter was fast to highlight the complementary missions of both organizations.

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“There is tremendous synergy between the work of AWO and AMP,” Carpenter said. “The tugboat, towboat and barge industry is the largest segment of the U.S. domestic fleet, and the Jones Act is the foundation of every dollar AWO members invest in American-built vessels and every job they provide to American mariners. AWO members are a huge part of the domestic maritime industry’s grassroots advocacy fighting force. And AMP is the broad-based coalition through which we partner with other segments of the industry and like-minded organizations to keep the Jones Act strong and robust, now and for the future.

“Advocating for our indispensable industry is my passion, and I’m humbled—and really excited—to have the opportunity to continue my service to the people who do so much for our nation’s security, economy and quality of life by taking on this new leadership role,” she added.

Similar to her ongoing role with the Transportation Institute, Fuentes, as vice president of AMP, will support the organization’s government affairs outreach efforts. Besides that, Fuentes is also a leader with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the Navy League of the United States and the Propeller Club Port of Washington, D.C.

“I am honored to continue to work with the AMP team to promote a strong U.S.-built, -owned and -crewed fleet, which is integral to our national security and economic prosperity,” Fuentes said. “As we navigate 2024, I look forward to fostering collaboration, innovation and a robust future for America as a whole through American Maritime.”

Weakley, who has led the Lake Carriers’ Association since 2003, brings a background in the Coast Guard and years of experience promoting Great Lakes trade to AMP.

“The Great Lakes alone move 90 million tons of cargo annually that are the foundation of American industry, infrastructure and energy, thanks to critical laws like the Jones Act,” Weakley said. “For AMP, I will continue to focus on the improvement of our industry and join with my fellow AMP leaders to support American security and prosperity.”

AMP draws members from throughout the United States and its territories, with a major focus on maintaining the Jones Act. More information is online at