2022 Inland Marine Expo (IMX) Education

For the inland rivers, lakes and intracoastal waterways of the United States, 2022 offers a massive opportunity.  With historic infrastructure spending, a greater focus on environmentally conscious transportation and supply chain disruptions this moment can drive the momentum that will carry domestic marine transportation and short-sea shipping to new heights.  As always, the purpose of IMX is to further the natural advantages of marine transportation and build and encourage greater use of our marine highways.  2022 education will be focused on providing insight from industry leaders for the benefit of all industry stakeholders from vessel owners, ports, terminal operators, fleet operations, marine contractors and more.  The tradeshow and conference will feature the latest in products and services that help you improve your operations and advance your workforce.


Tuesday, 5/24


9:30am – 10:15am  Opening Keynote Session – Advocating for Tomorrow’s Waterways
Moderator: John Shoulberg, Editor, The Waterways Journal
Keynote Panelist: Jennifer Carpenter, President & CEO, The American Waterways Operators
Keynote Panelist: Tracy Zea, President & CEO, Waterways Council, Inc.

With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act late last year, some $2.5 billion of federal funding was designated for new construction and major rehabilitation projects along the inland waterways—navigation projects that are itemized in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Capital Investment Strategy (CIS). Besides that, an additional $4 billion in the bill was allocated for the Corps’ operations and maintenance account.

That historic and highly anticipated infrastructure spending, plus a focus on environmentally conscious transportation and supply chain disruptions, makes this a significant moment that could drive the momentum that will carry domestic marine transportation to new heights for decades to come.

Likewise, the towboat and barge industry is also facing a major milestone this summer with the conclusion of the four-year phase-in period of Subchapter M. On July 10, 100 percent of the U.S. towboat fleet is expected to be in full compliance and fully certificated according to Subchapter M’s towing vessel regulations.

All these issues will have a long-lasting impact on the future of the inland rivers, lakes and intracoastal waterways of the United States. And at IMX, this will be the focus of the opening keynote, titled “Advocating for Tomorrow’s Waterways,” which will feature Jennifer Carpenter, President & CEO of American Waterways Operators, and Tracy Zea, President & CEO of Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI). Carpenter will speak on her association’s efforts to promote the economic and security contributions, as well as the safety and environmental advantages of the maritime industry, while Zea will address WCI’s efforts to ensure the system is efficient and reliable and receives the necessary funding for much-needed lock modernization.



10:30am – 11:00am  Building and Maintaining Our Marine Highway
Moderator: Frank McCormack, Gulf Coast Correspondent, The Waterways Journal
Panelist: Sean Duffy, Executive Director, Big River Coalition
Panelist: Paul Rohde, Vice President/Midwest Area, Waterways Council, Inc.

Infrastructure on the Marine Highways of the United States includes what can be seen (locks & dams, utility crossings, and the physical contours of the channel) and what is often unseen (air gap sensors, data available to mariners, and electronic aids to navigation). In this session, Sean Duffy, executive director of the Big River Coalition, will offer an update on the deepening of the Mississippi River Ship Channel and the role of “invisible infrastructure” on our nation’s waterways. Paul Rohde, vice president of the Midwest area for Waterways Council, Inc., will review the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Capital Improvement Strategy, the future of lock construction on the rivers and canals of the United States, and the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) for the Upper Mississippi River.



11:15am – 12:00pm  Improving System Resiliency: Waterway Action Plans, Port Readiness and Cybersecurity
Moderator: Frank McCormack, Gulf Coast Correspondent, The Waterways Journal
Panelist: Jim Kearns, Special Counsel, Jones Walker’s Maritime Practice Group

Panelist: Dave Lewald, Program Analyst-Navigation Systems, U.S. Coast Guard
Panelist: Joe Celano, Director of Business Development, Trabus Technologies

In this session, representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard and Trabus Technologies will discuss and demonstrate a new predictive modeling system that draws on historical and live data, vessel traffic movements, vessel operating reports and geospatial data to inform the development of Waterway Action Plans and, thus, resolve vessel traffic congestion and improve voyage planning along the inland waterways. The Jones Walker’s Maritime Practice Group will also discuss a system resiliency and cybersecurity report that they are developing for Inland Rivers, Ports & Terminals, Inc.


12:15pm – 1:15 pm  ExxonMobil Lunch & Learn:  Sustainability & Synthetics –  Experience the Mobil Gard Advantage
Speaker: Alan L. Suan
Marine Chief Engineer – Americas Marine Lubricants

What is your companies Sustainability Ambitions?  Come learn more about how ExxonMobil wants to help you achieve this goal through:

  1. Synthetics that extend oil drains and improve component life
  2. Reduced emissions through fuel economy
  3. VGP compliant products and applications
  4. Uncover others sustainability ambitions that you can achieve through our Mobil product and service offering.

Please join us for an interactive, fun, and exciting discussion where we can help support your goals and ambitions.



1:30pm – 2:15pm  Electric and Hybrid Technology & Applications
Introduction: Frank McCormack, Gulf Coast Correspondent, The Waterways Journal
Guest Moderator:  Joshua Sebastian, P.E., Vice President – Operations/Senior Naval Architect, The Shearer Group, Inc.
Panelist: Jessica Lewis, Director of Business Development, Industrial Service Solutions
Panelist: Jonathan Braun, CEO, Zeeboat, LLC

EVs (electric vehicles) are mainstream on the road. Could EVs (electric vessels) become mainstream midstream? Joshua Sebastian, vice president of The Shearer Group, will lead this panel as it presents a real-world business case analysis for the construction of a series of all-electric towboats that will move containerized cargo between two terminals on a Marine Highway route. Panelists will explore other hypothetical applications, like fleet and harbor work and ferries, where electric propulsion could not only achieve decarbonization but also prove profitable.



2:30pm – 3:30pm  Maintaining the Environmental Advantage: Alternative Fuels
Moderator:  Frank McCormack, Gulf Coast Correspondent, The Waterways Journal
Panelist: Joshua Sebastian, P.E., Vice President – Operations/Senior Naval Architect, The Shearer Group, Inc.

Panelist: Mike Complita, P.E., PMP, Principal in Charge|Vice President Strategic Expansion, Elliott Bay Design Group
Panelist: David Reynolds, President, PTL Marine
Panelist: Gary Sarrat, Jr., Inland Waterways Segment Manager, Caterpillar Marine
Panelist: Roy Bleiberg, Vice President of Business Development for North America, ABS

As operators look beyond diesel, what’s clear is that there is no “one size fits all” alternative fuel. This session will look at a wide range of options—including LNG, compressed hydrogen, methanol-hydrogen, ammonia, and biodiesel—and feature a panel of experts discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each.


Wednesday, 5/25

9:00am-10:00am Workforce Development and Company Culture
Moderator:  Frank McCormack, Gulf Coast Correspondent, The Waterways Journal
Panelist:  Kevin O’Neill, Vice President Regional Workforce Training and Economic Development, Western Kentucky Community & Technical College
Panelist: Patrick Parsons, Counsel and Senior Manager – Government Affairs , The American Waterways Operators
Panelist:  Joe White, Director, AEU LEAD
Panelist: Errin Howard, Program Directory, RiverWorks Discovery
Panelist:  Rev. David Shirk, Chaplain, The Seamen’s Church Institute

Business leaders from just about every industry are saying the same thing: Recruiting and retaining employees today is a real challenge. While the pandemic has made workforce development more difficult, the challenges won’t end with the pandemic. Maritime companies must adapt to attract and retain the next generation of mariners and shoreside staff as older employees look toward retirement. This panel—made up of representatives from American Equity Underwriters, The Seamen’s Church Institute, American Waterways Operators, RiverWorks Discoveryand West Kentucky Community & Technical College—will look at how company culture, diversity, total wellness, and leadership development within an organization will ultimately lead to a strong, healthy, and committed workforce.



10:15am-11:00am  Investing In the Future: System-Wide Port Development & Freight Opportunities   

Moderator: Mary Lamie, P.E., Executive Vice President – Multi Modal Enterprises, St. Louis Regional Freightway
Panelist: Brandy D. Christian, President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans, CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad
Panelist: Scott Harshman, Marketing and Program Manager, Port of Pittsburgh Commission
Panelist: Chad Dorsey, Director, Inland Waterways Gateway – Paducah, Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation

Ports are the on and off ramps for the nation’s inland waterway system. With cargo volumes and demand on the rise, building capacity throughout the system is critical. In this session, the chief executives from the Port of New Orleans and Port of Pittsburgh Commission will discuss what their ports are doing to invest in the future. The panel will also feature a representative from the U.S. Maritime Administration.



11:15am-12:00pm Infrastructure Investments Continue to Strengthen Midwest Ports, Boosting Capacity and Increasing Profitability for the Barge Industry
Moderator: Mary Lamie, P.E., Executive Vice President – Multi Modal Enterprises, St. Louis Regional Freightway
Panelist: Dennis Wilmsmeyer, Executive Director, America’s Central Port
Panelist: Ed Weilbacher, General Manager, Kaskaskia Regional Port District
Panelist: Mark R. Coulter, Vice President, General Counsel, Port KC
Panelist: John J. Grothaus, Program Manager for Missouri River Studies, Kansas City District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Learn about the significant investments underway at three Midwest ports and new infrastructure funding recently secured that will advance several other projects to strengthen these facilities and reinforce their important role in the global freight network. The discussion will highlight how these improvements, and others being studied by the US Army Corps of Engineers, will facilitate an increase in barge services and deliver cost efficiencies that drive profitability for the industry.



12:00pm-2:00pm  Industry Proud: IMX Awards & Closing Session
Introductions/Awards Moderator: John Shoulberg, Editor, The Waterways Journal
Presenter: Rev. Tom Rhoades, Maritime and River Chaplain, The Seamen’s Church Institute

Tradition. Professionalism. Heroism. Safety and efficiency. Essential. Resilient. Proud. These are all words that describe the maritime industry in the United States and the people, both on vessels and onshore, that make it thrive. In this closing session of IMX 2022, attendees will celebrate winners of the Maritime Throwdown competition and hear from Rev. Tom Rhoades, chaplain with the The Seamen’s Church Institute, as he highlights what it means to be a leader in the industry. Rhoades will then present this year’s 40 Under 40 leadership awards. The session will close with the presentation of the 2022 IMX Achievement Award.