40 Under 40—Adams, Altfillisch, Armfield And Arnold

40 Under 40 Awards: Adams, Altfillisch, Armfield And Arnold

For the seventh year, 40 of the industry’s future leaders were honored at the Inland Marine Expo with the “40 Under 40” award, which recognizes individuals for their outstanding contributions to the inland marine transportation industry in a variety of fields. All 40 honorees were nominated by executives and peers for their hard work and dedication to the industry.

Over the course of 10 weeks, The Waterways Journal is featuring recipients. This week we recognize James Adams, Jake Altfillisch, Michael Armfield and Drake Arnold.

James Adams
James Adams

James Adams

James Adams, 39, is logistics manager for Marquette Transportation in Lockport, La.

Jeff Hudson, chief human resources officer at Marquette, called Adams a seasoned logistics manager serving in a pivotal role in Marquette’s offshore division.

“With a career spanning nearly 12 years at Marquette, he has showcased exceptional expertise in marine operations and negotiation, earning a reputation for his proficiency in overseeing logistical functions,” he said.

Adams began his logistics career at Edison Chouest Offshore in Galliano, La., where he served seven years, holding the position of international operations coordinator and managing West Africa operations in Nigera, Angola and Ghana.

Prior to that role, Adams served as international operations clerk for three years. Before beginning his career in logistics, he served as a warehouse manager for two years.

Adams studied audio engineering at Delgado Community College from 2003 to 2005. He graduated from South Lafourche High School in 2003.

“With a rich and diverse background in logistics, complemented by a strong educational foundation, James Adams continues to play a crucial role in the success of Marquette Transportation,” Hudson said. “His extensive experience in marine operations, negotiation and warehouse management makes him a valuable asset and a great candidate for the 40 under 40 recognition.”

Jake Altfillisch
Jake Altfillisch

Jake Altfillisch

Jake Altfillisch, 36, is senior manager of western rivers for Michels Construction in Brownsville, Wis.

Eric Justman, president of Michels Construction, said that, day in and day out, Altfillisch’s attitude and work ethic are exemplary and that he puts others before himself.

“Jake is truly a self-sacrificing person who will help anyone,” Justman said. “Most of Jake’s work has been on the Missouri River. I feel it is hard pressed to find a more respected person when it comes to business, industry and working river knowledge than Jake.”

Chris Galle, marine operations manager for the company, noted Altfillisch’s integrity and said he exemplifies what the navigation industry should be.

“He is a servant leader along with a friend to many,” he said.

Greg Kayser, Midwest territory manager for McDonough Marine Services, pointed out Altfillisch’s positivity and professionalism, also calling his expertise in marine construction second to none.

Jeremy Greer, owner of Ray County Stone Producers LLC, agreed, saying, “Jake is a very talented young man, devoted to not only his company but the industry as a whole. I am very impressed at his age the vast amount of knowledge that Jake has within the marine industry and the efforts that he puts forth to ensure that the projects he manages run in a smooth, consistent and efficient manner.”

Benjamin Jones, owner of Jones Transport LLC, has worked with Altfillisch for the last 15 years on projects across the country.

“His compassion for the industry is second to none,” Jones said. “His ability to respectfully manage several crews at different locations throughout the Midwest is simply remarkable. He has always kept a cool and collected demeanor even under stressful situations. I am a foreign war veteran with the United States Marine Corps and own several small businesses based in Iowa. My companies employ close to 40 people. That being said, I know and have experienced various levels of leadership abilities throughout my career. Jake Altfillisch is a brilliant asset to the industry. His tact, integrity and safety awareness make him an exemplary leader.”

Michael Armfield
Michael Armfield

Michael Armfield

Michael Armfield, 36, is CEO and co-founder of MobileOps in Bellevue, Wash.

The company produces a software suite for those in the marine industry looking to centralize safety, maintenance and operations processes.

“He has spent countless hours building a product that the maritime industry has come to find very valuable and continues to enhance our product to be the best it can be,” said Lindsay Schwindt, who is in charge of customer success for MobileOps. “He genuinely cares about our customers, our software and the industry as a whole.”

Niv Yaron, the company’s marketing manager, said that for the past 16 years, Armfield “has passionately championed innovation and technological advancements, significantly impacting operations within the maritime community.”

She noted his maritime background, including interning at Foss Maritime and spending time with captains on boats in the early development stages of MobileOps.

“Michael’s dedication to the maritime industry is unparalleled,” she said. “His commitment to improving efficiencies through technology and real-time data visibility when it comes to safety, compliance, maintenance and more are palpable through his work.”

Customers also praised his work.

Nathan Moran, port engineer at Crounse Corporation, said, “He has worked hard to innovate our industry with new technology and helpful software programs. He listens to suggestions from industry to make his product better.”

Colin Checkan, compliance manager at Industry Terminal & Salvage Company, said, “They have made safety, compliance and maintenance easier for us as a company. Audits go smoother, and it makes everyone’s life easier.”

Kenny McGowin marine maintenance coordinator for Parker Towing, added that Armfield is very attentive to his customers’ needs.

Drake Arnold
Drake Arnold

Drake Arnold

Drake Arnold, 30, is terminal manager for Associated Terminals in Convent, La.

In nominating him, Dawn Lopez, vice president of marketing and public relations for Associated Terminals, said Drake is a dedicated and capable leader at the company’s New Orleans Bulk Terminal.

“His responsibility for operations and business development, particularly in expanding the footprint of the location, showcases his strategic vision and ability to drive growth,” she said. “The location specializes in transferring various bulk cargoes from barge-to-rail, rail-to-barge, barge-to-truck, barge-to-container or bagging services.”

Arnold completed the International Association of Maritime and Port Executives MPM/MPE program in 2023, underscoring his commitment to professional development and staying abreast of industry best practices.

“Drake’s leadership style, characterized by respect and kindness toward his team, is commendable,” Lopez said. “Fostering a positive work culture not only boosts morale but also enhances productivity and collaboration among team members. Drake is a valuable asset to Associated Terminals, bringing a blend of industry knowledge, leadership skills and a people-centric approach to his role.”