Jerry Nagel, Chairman of Rickmers-Linie (America), was presented with the 8th annual Lifetime Leadership and Achievement Award at a ceremony celebrating the opening of the 22nd annual Breakbulk Transportation Conference and Exhibition at the New Orleans Convention Center on 26 October. This is an event 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 German 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.
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. He then discussed the new challenges facing him as he deals with pulmonary illness:
"During the process of qualifying for a lung transplant, I have come to 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.
According to the event’s organisers, the Lifetime Achievement Award recognised the fact that for much of the past two decades, Nagel had become well known throughout the breakbulk transportation sector as a vocal proponent of industry recruiting at the entry level and for the development of resources to reach young people who might be interested in a breakbulk career. The organisers also noted that Nagel had spoken tirelessly at high school career days and developed "speaker squads" to talk to industry groups.
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 programmes for more than 500 students and industry newcomers around the globe.
The Breakbulk Lifetime Leadership and Achievement Award has been presented annually since 2004. Past recipients have included Bertram Rickmers, the head of the Rickmers Group, of which the heavylift/project specialist Rickmers Linie is a part. The Rickmers Group today manages 120 vessels including eight 13,100TEU containerships while Rickmers-Linie operates a fleet of 18 ships.
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.