|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
||Contact: Anne Burns
|April 27, 2007
|| (703) 841-9300
AWO ELECTS NEW CHAIRMAN, VICE CHAIRMAN
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The members of the American Waterways Operators (AWO), the national trade association for the American tugboat, towboat and barge industry, elected Mr. Royce C. Wilken as Chairman and Mr. H. Merritt Lane as Vice Chairman on Friday, April 20 during the AWO Spring Convention in Washington. Mr. Wilken is President of American River Transportation Co. (ARTCO), headquartered in Decatur, IL, and served as vice chairman for the past year. Mr. Lane is President and Chief Executive Officer of Canal Barge Company, Inc., headquartered in New Orleans, LA.
Mr. Wilken, in his remarks to the AWO Board of Directors following his election as chairman, explained his priorities for the coming year. His first priority will be to implement, as expeditiously as possible, the association’s Transformation and Transition plan, created after staff turnover in late 2006 resulted in an opportunity to reinvent AWO as a more efficient and effective organization.
The new chairman’s goals also include: 1) Defeating the proposal in the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget to increase the user tax on the inland industry; 2) Fleshing out the details of towing vessel inspection with the Coast Guard through the Towing Safety Advisory Committee (TSAC) process while ensuring members are informed of and engaged with the process; 3) Passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which was passed by the House of Representatives by an overwhelming margin on April 19, with authorization for key navigation projects on the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway; 4) Working with Congress, the Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard and contractors to create a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) process that does not worsen the industry’s shortage of vessel personnel; and,
5) Creating a more engaged association leadership who will act as “ambassadors” to other members and external audiences.
Mr. Wilken has spent 30 years with ARTCO’s parent company, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), in both professional and senior management capacities in many various industries, and became President of ARTCO in 1999. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Business from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
ARTCO has been one of the major U.S. flag cargo carriers in the nation since it was created in 1971 to transport products made by ADM. It operates not only along the Mississippi, Ohio and Illinois rivers, but has expanded to South America as well. Annually, ARTCO transports more that 22 million tons of dry cargo, such as grain, salt, fertilizer, steel, coal and limestone.
The American Waterways Operators (AWO) is the national trade association
for the inland and coastal tugboat, towboat, and barge industry. AWO's
members operate on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coasts of the United
States; throughout the full range of our nation's 25,000-mile inland
and intracoastal waterway system; and in our inland and coastal ports