William N. “Norb” Whitlock and Kenneth A. Wheeler received the prestigious National Rivers Hall of Fame Achievement Award
at the Waterways Council, Inc. Annual Meeting in Houston on October 1.
This award is the highest honor presented by the National Rivers Hall of Fame to those people who are making significant contributions to America’s waterways. The National Rivers Hall of Fame with members in 36 states is the national museum telling the stories of the people of America’s rivers. The Hall of Fame is a part of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa.
William “Norb” Whitlock began his career with the US Army Corps of Engineers as Chief of Operations for the Louisville District and designed the “temporary lock expansion to Lock and Dam 52 which is still passing more tonnage than any structure on the inland waterways system – 37 years after its completion in 1970.
As an executive with American Commercial Lines, Norb began his career as a Marine Superintendent and rose to the position of the company’s President and Chief Operating Officer. Norb currently is ACL’s Executive Vice President for Government Affairs.
Norb’s national service on the Inland Waterways Users Board
has led to improvements of the entire system, particularly the Ohio, Mississippi, and Gulf Intracoastal waterways. Norb has contributed to both infrastructure improvements and the safety improvements through industry and government partnerships. He was also instrumental in establishing the Seaman’s Church River Simulator Training Center in Paducah and served on the Center’s original Board of Directors.
Norb developed a unique understanding of how industry and government can work together to make the inland waterways safer, more reliable, and more productive, mastering three distinct disciplines: river economics, rivers operations and river engineering. As a result, he has served as an invaluable asset to the inland waterways industry and established ACL as a leading river transportation company
Norb Whitlock received the Dept. of the Army “Outstanding Citizen Service Medal” in 2001. In 2003 he received Coast Guard’s Meritorious Public Service Award and the “Public Service Commendation” on three occasions.
Ken Wheeler of Paducah Kentucky has spent his professional life in the maritime industry – both in the design and construction of vessels and in the day-to-day management of marine companies.
Ken was employed by Litton Industries for twenty-four years and was as an integral part of the team engaged in the design and construction of nuclear submarines. From 1977 – 1980 Ken was vice-president of submarine programs at Ingalls. His many dives on the maiden voyages of submarines earned him the title of “honorary submariner” many times.
Since joining Midland Enterprises
in 1981, Ken held various positions including Vice- President Repair and Maintenance – Port Allen Marine, President Walker Boat Yard, vice President Hartley Marine Corporation, President R & W Marine, Inc., and most recently Vice- President Maintenance and Repair for all the Midland Enterprise companies.
Throughout his career Ken has received many professional honors and has been an influential activist in many civic and maritime organizations. From 1990 – 1992 he served as President of the Propeller Club of the United States as well as other waterways organizations including Tennessee River Valley Association. Ken’s dedication to the marine industry and the community are further enhanced through his conception and involvement in the development of the River Heritage Center in Paducah. This museum tells the story of the Ohio River and is adjacent to the Seaman’s Church simulation training facility for river pilots.