IMX Preview: Sessions To Focus On Rescues, Diversity And Port Trends

Education sessions at the 2024 Inland Marine Expo (IMX) will be held on Thursday and Friday, May 30-31, during the trade show.

During the first morning of education sessions, Kelly Teichman, board chair of T&T Marine Salvage Inc. and vice chair of The American Waterways Operators (AWO), will make a special presentation celebrating AWO’s American Waterways Honor & Excellence in Rescue Operations (HERO) Awards. The HERO Awards document and recognize rescues undertaken by employees of AWO member companies, with an emphasis on selflessness, skill and bravery. Teichman will share a retrospective video marking the first year of the AWO HERO Awards and honor the heroism of recipients from the past year. The AWO American Waterways HERO Award session will be held at 11:15 a.m. May 30 on the trade show floor.

Later that afternoon, beginning at 3:45 p.m., Kasey Eckstein, president of Eckstein Trade & Transport and founder and executive director of WIMOs Association, a nonprofit supporting Women in Maritime Operations, will moderate a panel discussion focused on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives nationwide and how they are impacting the maritime industry today. The discussion will consider the good and the bad of DEI initiatives and ways in which the WIMOs Association is working to pave a path forward for the maritime industry. Panelists will include Taylor Dickerson, vice president of the project management office & ESG leader for Kirby Corporation and president of WIMOs; Jenna Gaudet, executive vice president of Eckstein Trade & Transport and co-founder of WIMOs; Liz Dassouki, a broker with Compass Maritime and director of development of WIMOs; and Capt. Kate Fossati, harbor pilot for the Aransas-Corpus Christi Pilots in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Finally, a trio of leaders from Inland, Rivers, Ports & Terminals Inc. (IRPT) will conclude the IMX education sessions with a look at current trends facing ports in the United States. Aimee Andres, executive director of IRPT, Tessa Andres, administrative assistant with IRPT, and Errin Howard, program director of IRPT’s We Work the Waterways initiative, will discuss topics like ongoing and planned channel deepening projects, the impact of unscheduled lock closures, workforce issues, the impacts of artificial intelligence and cybersecurity threats, and the future of containerized cargoes. This session will begin at 11:15 a.m. on May 31.

For a full list of education sessions planned for IMX, including speaker bios, visit