Thursday, May 30, 2024


9:15 AM   Opening Session – Low Water Lessons Learned 

Moderator: Justin Lampert, AWO Senior Manager – Midcontinent Office
Pat Chambers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Randy Chamness, Vice President, Vessel Operations, ACBL
Capt. Keith Doxey, Director of Western Rivers and Waterways, U.S. Coast Guard Eighth District

Leaders from the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the towboat and barge industry will share lessons learned from recent record-setting low-water seasons, along with how to prepare for future drought conditions.


10:15 AM   Marine Future Fuels on the Path to Decarbonization

Moderator: Anthony Odak, Chief Operating Officer, John W. Stone Oil Distributor, LLC
Gary Sarrat, Tug and Inland Waterways Account Manager, Caterpillar Inc.
Brian Rafferty, Vice President, Business Development and Sustainability, Marquette Transportation Company 
Mike Complita, PE, PMP, Principal and Vice President of Strategic Expansion, Elliott Bay Design Group

What fuels are now available to marine operators? What is the pathway to decarbonization, theoretically and practically, in terms of both availability and acceptance by engine manufacturers? This session will answer those questions, while also considering the typical challenges vessel operators and fuel suppliers face for achieving decarbonization goals.


11:15 AM   American Waterways HERO Award Video Presentation 

Kelly Teichman, Chairman of the Board, T&T Marine Salvage, Inc., and Chairman of the Board, AWO Board of Directors

AWO’s American Waterways Honor & Excellence in Rescue Operations (American Waterways HERO) Award documents and recognizes rescues undertaken by AWO member company employees that demonstrate selflessness, skill and bravery. In this IMX feature, AWO will present a special retrospective video presentation highlighting the completion of the Award’s first year and honor the heroism of its recipients.


1:30 PM   Federal Funding Opportunities and Forecasting for America’s Shipyards

Moderator: Dave Matsuda, Principal, Matsuda & Associates, LLC
Mr. Josef Vlach, VP, Compliance/ Emergency Management, James Marine Inc.
David Gilmore, Director, Office of Marine Financing, U.S. Maritime Administration
Brian Mueller, CEO, Heartland Barge

In this session, Dave Matsuda, director of the Small Shipyard Grant Coalition and former U.S. Maritime Administrator, will discuss federal grant opportunities for shipyards, including best practices for success in the Maritime Administration’s Small Shipyard Grant Program. This grant opportunity can provide more than $1 million toward shipyard modernization projects, including new U.S.-built equipment and worker training programs.


2:30 PM   Compliance Pitfalls for Subchapter M TSMS Option Operators

Moderator: Tava Foret, President & Co-Founder, Towing Vessel Inspection Bureau
Robert Keister, CDR, USCG (Ret.), Vice President, Sabine Surveyors Ltd.
John Hazel, Vice President, Safety, Marquette Transportation Company
Jason Soutiere, Regional Director of Operations – North America, ABS
Matt Lagarde
Vice President, Safety Training and Compliance, Ingram Barge Company
Mark McManus, Vice President of Operations, Lebeouf Bros. Towing

For towing vessel operators, Subchapter M is the rule of the road, but what are some common pitfalls for compliance? In this session, representatives from the Towing Vessel Inspection Bureau (TVIB) will take a closer look at how new crew members and trip pilots can affect compliance. Panelists will also look at the benefits of the annual management review and its connection to internal audits, corrective and preventive action programs (CAPA) and incident investigations. Finally, the panel will discuss how to document periodically taking a vessel out of commercial operations.


3:45 PM   D.E.I: The Good, the Bad and the Path Forward

Moderator: Kasey Eckstein, President, Eckstein Trade & Transport and Founder & Executive Director of WIMOs
Taylor Dickerson, Vice President of Project Manager, Kirby and National President of WIMOs
Jenna Gaudet, Executive Vice President, Eckstein Trade & Transport and Co-Founder of WIMOs
Liz Dassouki, Sales, Compass Maritime and Director of Development of WIMOs
Capt. Kate Fossati,  Pilot, Corpus Christi Pilot Association

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives have taken business and higher education by storm, but many consider DEI a controversial topic. During this session, leaders from WIMOs Association, a nonprofit supporting Women in Maritime Operations, will share their positions on DEI, while also discussing its history, current societal scrutiny and the impact it’s having on the maritime industry. Panelists will consider the good and the bad of DEI initiatives and how WIMOs Association is working to pave an agreeable and mutually beneficial path forward for the industry.



Friday, May 31, 2024


9:15 AM   State of the Industry

Ken Eriksen, Senior Leader and Strategic Advisor in Commodities, Supply Chain, Logistics and Transportation, Polaris Analytics and Consulting
Susan Olson, Founder, Action Intel LLC

Ken Eriksen from Polaris Analytics and Consulting will explore the current state of the barge and towboat fleet, the demand for barge transport, what is driving the commodity outlook, and where the industry is headed in the second half of 2024 and into 2025.


10:15 AM   Expansion of the Capital Construction Fund Program

Jim Kearns, Special Counsel, Jones Walker LLP
David Gilmore, Director, Office of Marine Financing, U.S. Maritime Administration
Bill Finnecy, Managing Tax Director, FORVIS

The Maritime Administration’s Capital Construction Fund (CCF) was recently amended to make the tax deferral program available to more U.S.-flag vessel owners and operators, in particular those who work on the inland waterways. This session will overview regulatory changes to the program for inland vessel owners and operations, an explanation of the program’s tax-deferral provisions, and a description of pending legislative initiatives to extend the program to marine facilities.


11:15 AM   Current Trends Facing Ports 

Aimee Andres, AMPE, Executive Director, Inland River, Ports & Terminals Inc.
Tessa Andres, Administrative Assistant, Inland River, Ports & Terminals Inc.
Errin Howard, Program Director, Inland River, Ports & Terminals Inc. – We Work the Waterways

In this session, Aimee Andres, executive director of Inland River, Ports & Terminals Inc. (IRPT), along with colleagues Errin Howard and Tessa Andres, will discuss challenges facing ports and terminals today, including ongoing and planned channel deepening projects, unscheduled lock closures, workforce issues, the impacts of artificial intelligence and cybersecurity threats, and the future of containerized cargos.


12:30 PM   Class of 2024 – 40 Under 40 Awards Lunch and Presentation of the Mike Rushing Legacy Service Award

IMX 2024 concludes with an awards ceremony honoring both young leaders and a person who has already left a mark on the maritime industry. The session will begin with the IMX 40 Under 40 leadership awards, which recognize rising stars in the maritime industry. Whether you’re working on a vessel or onshore, in sales or maintenance or construction, in economic development or for a government agency, together you make up an industry that’s essential, vibrant and honorable. The 40 Under 40 award is our way of recognizing the young leaders who will shape the industry for years to come. Then, in closing, the Mike Rushing Legacy Award, presented by TVIB, will go to a legend who has already left an impact on the maritime industry.