The members of the American Waterways Operators (AWO), the national trade association representing the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, elected a new slate of leaders during AWO’s Spring Convention recently held in Washington, D.C. Frank Morton, Director, Turn Services LLC, was elected as Chairman and David Sehrt, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Ingram Barge Company, was elected as Vice Chairman.
Morton succeeds outgoing Chairman Buckley McAllister, President, McAllister Towing. In his remarks to the membership, AWO President & CEO Tom Allegretti praised McAllister’s leadership during his term as Chairman, stating that “AWO has been blessed with a long line of great chairmen. Buckley has kept that exceptional chain unbroken.”
Morton echoed those sentiments, adding that “the mark of a great leader is the ability to handle the challenges in front of you while preparing to meet the known and unknown challenges that inevitably come further down the road. Buckley’s vision and preparedness undoubtedly will leave AWO stronger and more resilient in the years to come. That is a powerful legacy.”
Morton then addressed AWO’s members, focusing on one of the industry’s core values – continuous improvement. “In our businesses, we must constantly improve – to meet the needs of our customers, to ensure the safety of our personnel, to gain efficiency, to meet environmental goals….It is in this spirit that I approach the chairmanship of AWO, with idealism and experience, with a desire to ensure that we as a trade association and an industry are firmly on a path of continuous improvement.”
Morton cited the industry’s dedication to safety as a notable example of how AWO member companies strive for continuous improvement, stating that the industry’s Safety Partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, commitment to the Responsible Carrier Program, and the work of effective safety committees and working groups point to an organization of members committed to improving and evolving as safety leaders and environmental stewards.
He also cited as priorities for his term as AWO Chairman effectively communicating the value of the tugboat, towboat and barge industry to the nation’s economy, environment, and national and homeland security, as well as strengthening AWO’s advocacy efforts at the national and regional level. Morton will serve as AWO’s Chairman until April 2015.