(ARLINGTON, Va.) — The members of the American Waterways Operators, the national trade association representing the U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge industry, elected a new slate of leaders during AWO's Spring Convention held recently in Washington, D.C.
Edward J. "Ted" Tregurtha, president of Moran Towing Corp., was elected chairman. Tom Marian, general counsel at Buffalo Marine Service Inc., was elected vice chairman. Tregurtha succeeds outgoing Chairman James F. Farley, vice president of industry relations for Kirby Corp.
AWO President and CEO Tom Allegretti welcomed and thanked the newly constituted board of directors, stating, "You will hold your seat in a pivotal time in AWO's history. We will call on you repeatedly to lend us your intellect and to make sound judgments as we confront the challenges of this age and seize the opportunities of this time. You all are part of the annual process of our organizational renewal and sustainability."
Recognizing that AWO member companies face significant economic and policy challenges in the year ahead, Tregurtha characterized the coming year as a time of great opportunity for the tugboat, towboat and barge industry.
"Most of the economic indicators from the stock market to consumer confidence, unemployment rates, and trade have all moved in a favorable direction for quite some time. These developments bode well for maritime commerce," Tregurtha said. "We also have a new administration that is sending encouraging signals for our industry. The Trump administration has indicated its intent to execute policies in the best interests of American industry and the American labor force. There is a renewed emphasis on strengthening national defense and homeland security, and several key appointees have specifically discussed the indispensability of the Jones Act to the achievement of those goals. And our most important government partner, the United States Coast Guard, has explicitly recognized the criticality of maritime commerce to the U.S. economy."
"Let's seize the opportunity to achieve advocacy results for our industry, specifically by passing (the Commercial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act), safeguarding the Jones Act from any attempts to weaken it, and ensuring that the efficient operation of maritime commerce — an interstate industry by definition — is not infringed upon by state governments," Tregurtha said. "And let's seize the opportunity to forge and strengthen critical relationships, within and outside government, to create a public policy environment that's conducive to helping this vital industry continue to thrive."
Tregurtha added that Charting the Future, the AWO Strategic Plan for 2017-2022, will serve as the organization's "road map" for achieving these objectives.