Jerry Nagel, chairman of the board at Rickmers-Linie (America) was the recipient of the 8th annual Lifetime Leadership and Achievement Award at the Wed., Oct. 26 kickoff of the 22nd annual Breakbulk Transportation Conference and Exhibition at the New Orleans Convention Center, attended by more than 3,600 breakbulk and heavy-lift industry executives.
Nagel, 62, has spent much of the past decade working as president and CEO at Rickmers-Linie (America) in Houston, where he oversaw the expansion of the carrier's business in the Americas. He started his shipping career at age 18 when he joined his father working on the New Orleans waterfront. Over the years, he worked in jobs of increasing responsibility at Seatrain Lines, Bank Line, Delaton Steamship, Binnings and Inchcape. For much of the past two decades, Nagel has become well known throughout the breakbulk transportation sector as a vocal proponent of industry recruiting at the entry level and development of resources to reach young people who might be interested in a breakbulk career. He has spoken tirelessly at high school career days and developed "speaker squads" to talk to industry groups.
In accepting the award, Nagel credited the transportation industry as a whole for enabling him to do his job and achieve success. "I am not finished yet, I still have a lot to do," he said and talked about the new challenges facing him as he deals with pulmonary illness. "During the process of qualifying for a lung transplant, I have come to more fully understand the serious hardship, both financial and emotional that people without adequate insurance and other resources face when dealing with catastrophic illnesses. Just like the coordination and team work of our industry in performing its tasks, we must also take care of our own transportation industry family."
Nagel announced that he would spearhead the formation of a fund to assist members of the transportation industry from all sectors, modes and functions when these hardships occur. Nagel helped the Houston Maritime Museum relocate to a new venue and has used it as a springboard to attract students of all ages to the maritime industry. He has served as chairman of the West Gulf Maritime Association's education committee, which disseminates information about opportunities in the maritime industry to high schools and colleges. He also was a key supporter in the formation of Breakbulk Events' Education Day program, which, after one year, has held programs for more than 500 students and industry freshmen around the globe.
The Breakbulk Lifetime Leadership and Achievement Award has been presented annually since 2004. Recipients have included Erik F. Johnsen of International Shipholding Corp., F.H. Bedford of Jumbo Shipping, Roger Kavanagh of Intermarine, Eugene McCormick of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy's Alumni Association, Bertram Rickmers of Rickmers Linie, Edward W. DeFrancesco of Universal Landsea, and Capt. William Schubert of International Trade and Transportation.
Breakbulk Americas and Breakbulk Europe are the largest gatherings of top executives in the breakbulk, heavy-lift and project cargo transportation sectors, with Breakbulk Americas bringing together more than 3,000 industry leaders each year for two days of roundtable discussion and keynote addresses, providing insight on trends and challenges of today's volatile market, emerging trade lanes and the future of production in various energy sectors and other commodities markets.