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Mentor Spotlight

Mentor Spotlight - by Allison Baley

Allison Baley: I started my river career on the American Queen a decade ago. I had a license from an academy but hadn't used it. I needed work so I found a job on the river. It didn't take long for me to realize, school teaches the test, not life. You'll never quite know how direct seasoned veterans of the river can be until you're on that first day. I was a 24-year-old blonde girl from up north who knew no one and who had come from college. I was not meeting expectations... Read More
at Monday, August 1, 2022

Mentor Spotlight - by Insiyaa Ahmed

My career on the River has been shorter than most that have been part of the Mentor Spotlight. But I can say that without a doubt, I would not be where I am today without the guidance and support of the mentors I have encountered over the past several years. I began my work as a biologist on the River 4 years ago as a Student Conservation Association (SCA) intern with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in West Alton, MO. I initially started my position with the hopes of gaining experience in... Read More
at Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Mentor Spotlight - by Roy Vance

My name is Roy Vance, I am a 37-year-old seafarer originally from Baton Rouge, La. My first job on the river came when I was 18 years old unloading pipe and rubber ships at the port of greater Baton Rouge. I would later attend Texas A&M and graduate from its Maritime Academy. My career on the water started as an Able Body Seaman working in the Oil Field, a few years later I worked my way up to Chief Mate. The current position I hold is a River Pilot where I am a member of the Crescent River... Read More
at Monday, June 6, 2022

Mentor Spotlight - by Kenny Briggs

Hello everyone. I pray all is well as we fight through adversity from difficult times in our lives these past few years. My name is Kenny Briggs. I have been a New Orleans/Baton Rouge Steamship Pilot (NOBRA) for the past five years. I would not have been able to obtain this opportunity if it were not for my faith and having great people in my life to help me out along the way. However, there is one individual that I would like to shine the spotlight on. I am under the belief that you... Read More
at Monday, April 4, 2022

Mentor Spotlight - by Steve Golding

I have been blessed to have had some really great mentors during my (50) year career in the inland tankbarge industry. The one who really stands out particularly in my first (20) years is Howard Brent of Greenville, MS.  I took over as President of a small barge company known called Ole Man River Towing in 1974 at the age of (24) years old.  My dad, Thomas Golding, had started this small barge company in the late 60's but he was doing it more as an investment with a group... Read More
at Monday, March 7, 2022

Mentor Spotlight - by Mike Weisend

As most all mariners, we all have stories to tell and you know the phrase, “this ain’t no s...t,” we all know that begins the lie. However, the following is the truth that honors those that came before us and taught us the things that have been embedded in our minds. All mariners have these stories that are marked down only in our memories. When these events would come to pass, I would look at my fellow crew and touch my finger to my tongue and mark the number one in the air,... Read More
at Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Mentor Spotlight - by Cris Reeves

My name is Cris Reeves, and I began my career on the river with Yazoo River Towing in April 2017 as a green deckhand. In four short years, proving hard work, dedication, and determination pays off, I have earned my Steersman license. “Leading by Example” is a mantra I have come to believe in wholeheartedly in my career at Yazoo River Towing. When I began as a green deckhand, I looked up to and relied on experienced pilots and captains to show me not only the right way to do... Read More
at Monday, December 6, 2021

Mentor Spotlight - by John "Corky" Bickel

My mentorships with Earnest Wagner and Clark “Doc” Hawley came about in 1960 when I was 16 years old. It was that year that I got my first full-time summer job on the river as a cabin boy on the Venerable Sternwheel Excursion boat —the Steamer Avalon. Under the guiding hand of First Mate Clark “Doc” Harley and the watchful eye of the Avalon Master Earnest Wagner, I—along with fellow crew members—learned to make the boat ready for our passengers on... Read More
at Monday, November 1, 2021

Mentor Spotlight - by Jared McGovern

When I reflect on the practice of mentorship and the many people whom have mentored me over my career, one person in particular comes to mind. I met and worked with Mark D. Wagner while he was the Director of Education at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in 2005. I like to make the joke that I am the person Mark hired the most times over his long and noted career in Environmental and Historical Education.  I first worked with Mark as an intern while in... Read More
at Thursday, September 9, 2021

Mentor Spotlight - by Alex Schuchter

I started on the river at BB Riverboats in March of 2015, when I was just 14 years old. I started as a steward tending to the buffet on the River Queen, and it wasn’t until I first started working on the Belle of Cincinnati that I got to meet Alan Bernstein. Capt. Al seemed to take a liking to me, and would always invite me up into the pilot house whenever I was able to be away from the galley downstairs. Very quickly I became inquisitive, and would often ask many questions,... Read More
at Monday, September 6, 2021

Mentor Spotlight - Thomas Cagle

I started in the industry just over six years ago. I was an intern in the HR department for Associated Terminals and knew very little about the maritime world. After a few weeks, I met Thomas Cagle, while taking a Basic Safety class that he was instructing. He offered to take me out on the river to gain a better understanding of the operations of our business. While I was terrified attempting to climb gangways for the first time, Tommy explained everything from the types of cargoes we move to... Read More
at Sunday, July 18, 2021

Mentor Spotlight - Capt. David Jacobs

Mentoring is one of the oldest traditions on the river that still shapes the culture of today—when a more experienced crewmember guides a less experienced crewmember in a meaningful way, it both preserves needed knowledge and also forges a better future. Today’s feature is written by Jonathan Rodola, regarding his mentor Capt. David Jacobs. I think of Dave like a Swiss Army knife. He’sa man with many talents, one of which is operating a towing vessel. I’ll go into... Read More
at Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Mentor Spotlight - Chief Engineer Tommy Spencer

Mentoring is one of the oldest traditions on the river that still shapes the culture of today—when a more experienced crewmember guides a less experienced crewmember in a meaningful way, it both preserves needed knowledge and also forges a better future. This month’s story comes to us from comes from Chief Engineer Ricky Lee Boswell of Amherst Madison 's M/V ALAN P. HALL. His mentor Tommy Spencer, Chief Engineer on Amherst Madison’s M/V CHARLES T. JONES. Ricky Lee... Read More
at Saturday, May 15, 2021

Mentor Spotlight - Dustin Blaine Salinas

I started in the Maritime Industry in January of 2008. My dad, James Salinas, who has now passed away, was a Captain, and that’s what I wanted to do since I was a kid. I started on the river with Eckstein Marine where I worked for six months as a deckhand. I then worked, as a deckhand, for three years at American Commercial Barge Lines before making it to Steersman, Pilot, and Captain for another six years. I started a business creating training and instructional videos about eight years... Read More
at Monday, April 19, 2021

Mentor Spotlight - Mike Monahan

“I started in the marine business in June of 1981. I had no idea what the marine industry was about, but I answered a job ad with The Ohio River Company for a crew dispatcher that included tuition assistance. I was going to get my MBA and then find a real job. Never dreamed 39 years later I would have the most wonderful journey anyone could have ever hoped for in the maritime business. I was blessed with a number of mentors over my career. I was on the job during my first week when a... Read More
at Thursday, March 11, 2021

Mentor Spotlight - by Bill Kinzeler

Having spent nearly 60 years working on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, I can honestly say that almost everyone that I have worked with or for has provided mentoring moments. In life, it makes no difference from whom the nuggets of wisdom come from, it only matters that they were offered and that they provided insights. The river rat journey sta rted early, my first responsibility being to provide nails to the repair gang fitting oak planks in the cargo hold of hopper barges. This... Read More
at Monday, February 1, 2021

Mentor Spotlight - by Bill Barr

Traditions make up the culture of the river, and one of the most treasured is that of the mentor. While the exact process or definition of a mentorship can be elusive, that time honored tradition of a more experienced crew member helping to guide a less experienced crew member over time lives on today, and is still being passed on to our next generation of river folk. Today’s Mentor Monday features a kaleidoscope of those who inspired Bill Barr! “What role does a mentor... Read More
Posted by Andra Olney-Larson at Monday, January 4, 2021

Mentor Spotlight - Rachel Denley

Traditions make up the culture of the river, and one of the most treasured is that of the mentor. While the exact process or definition of a mentorship can be elusive, that time honored tradition of a more experienced crew member helping to guide a less experienced crew member over time lives on today, and is still being passed on to our next generation of river folk! Growing up in Louisiana, I never imagined that I would work in the Maritime Industry. Although my family has a long... Read More
Posted by Andra Olney-Larson at Monday, December 7, 2020

Mentor Spotlight - Capt. Dennis Trone

Traditions make up the culture of the river, and one of the most treasured is that of the mentor. While the exact process or definition of a mentorship can be elusive, that time honored tradition of a more experienced crew member helping to guide a less experienced crew member over time lives on today, and is still being passed on to our next generation of river folk! Today, Carrie Stier, Owner of the Riverboat Twilight - Mississippi River Cruise , shares with us the legacy of... Read More
Posted by Andra Olney-Larson at Monday, October 5, 2020

Mentor Spotlight - Wayne Norman

Traditions make up the culture of the river, and one of the most treasured is that of the mentor. While the exact process or definition of a mentorship can be elusive, that time honored tradition of a more experienced crew member helping to guide a less experienced crew member over time lives on today, and is still being passed on to our next generation of river folk! Today’s Mentor Monday features Jerry Enzler sharing the legacy of his mentor, Wayne Norman! "“You... Read More
Posted by Andra Olney-Larson at Monday, September 7, 2020

Mentor Spotlight - Capt. John Scott

Traditions make up the culture of the river, and one of the most treasured is that of the mentor. While the exact process or definition of a mentorship can be elusive, that time honored tradition of a more experienced crew member helping to guide a less experienced crew member over time lives on today, and is still being passed on to our next generation of river folk! Today’s Mentor Monday features Jeremy “Shot” Tardy reflecting on lessons learned and experiences... Read More
Posted by Andra Olney-Larson at Monday, August 3, 2020

Mentor Spotlight - RVD Kempton “Chaps” Baldridge

Traditions make up the culture of the river, and one of the most treasured is that of the mentor. While the exact process or definition of a mentorship can be elusive, that time honored tradition of a more experienced crew member helping to guide a less experienced crew member over time lives on today, and is still being passed on to our next generation of river folk! Today’s Mentor Monday features the reflections of Tom Rhoades, Maritime Chaplain for  The Seamen's Church... Read More
Posted by Andra Olney-Larson at Monday, June 1, 2020

Mentor Spotlight - Chief Engineer Jerome Price

Life on the river boasts many traditions, and one of the most treasured is that of the mentor. While the exact process or definition of a mentorship can be elusive, that time honored tradition of a more experienced crew member helping to guide a less experienced crew member over time lives on today, and is still being passed on to our next generation of river folk! Today’s Mentor Monday features the reflections of Trip Captain & Pilot Brandon Phillips, sharing with us the... Read More
Posted by Andra Olney-Larson at Monday, May 4, 2020

Mentor Spotlight - Captain Walter A. 'Hoolie' Bowermaster

Mentoring is a longstanding tradition of the river. It is best defined as the relationship between one experienced and one inexperienced crew member; to teach, train, and share knowledge of a specific skill. This month, Captain Brent Willits shares with us his experiences of his mentor, Captain Walter A. 'Hoolie' Bowermaster! “In 1976, at 17 years of age, I went to the Clinton airport and boarded an Ozark Airlines flight to St. Paul where I joined the M/V Luke... Read More
at Monday, April 6, 2020

Mentor Spotlight - Capt. Buddy Compton

Life on the river boasts many traditions, and one of the most treasured is that of the mentor. While the exact process or definition of a mentorship can be elusive, that time honored tradition of a more experienced crew member helping to guide a less experienced crew member over time. Today’s Mentor Monday features Captain Michael Conklin sharing with us about his mentor, Captain Buddy Compton. “Buddy Compton and I started working together in the late 1970’s.... Read More
at Monday, March 16, 2020

Mentor Spotlight - Capt. Dennis Trone

Mentoring is a longstanding tradition of the river. It is best defined as the relationship between one experienced and one inexperienced crew member; to teach, train, and share knowledge of a specific skill. Twenty-one-year-old Sam Clemens found a mentor in Captain Horace Bixby, albeit Clemens paid Capt. Bixby $500 for his mentorship in taking on the young cub pilot. This special relationship is not limited to the pilothouse. Engineers, mates, and shore-based employees all find their... Read More
at Monday, February 3, 2020

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