Enter your search term and press enter. Press Esc or X to close.

Mentor Spotlight

Honor Your Mentor!

Mentoring is a longstanding tradition of the river. Sharing your journey with a mentor may encourage others to follow your lead by walking in your footsteps or stepping up and becoming a mentor to another crew member wishing to advance. Please send personal experiences of mentoring with RiverWorks Discovery, so that we may use them in our social media Mentor Monday posts.

Submit a Mentor

Mentor Spotlight by Tessa Andres

When I was just 16 years old, I met two of the most influential people in my professional life; James (Jim) Kearns III and Captain Jeffrey Monroe. It was at the Inland Rivers, Ports, & Terminals 2019 Annual Conference that I met these two accomplished gentlemen. I had always heard my mom, Aimee Andres, talk about how they both helped guide her through the beginning stages of her career, and still to this day act as an advisor. I can see now, through them, the attributes and details that are required for a strong and resilient presence in our industry. Before I began to work for this association, I made both of their acquaintances, and through knowing them, my passion for maritime has evolved into a desire to enact change for our nation’s waterway framework. Each of these men have influenced my work ethic, and my professionalism in different, but equally differential ways.

James (Jim) Kearns III, special maritime counsel for Jones Walker LLP, makes a wonderful first impression, in case you have not had the pleasure of meeting him. The first thing that I noticed about him was his tie, it was beautifully hand painted . When I asked him about it, he said that his wife had painted it for him. This gave me insight into his character, specifically his ability to nurture creativity. Through my professional work with Mr. Kearns, I have been able to learn so much about the maritime industry, especially the legal side. Any time someone asks me what I want to be when I graduate law school, I always tell them that I want to be Jim Kearns. Whether it’s sitting around a conference table and whispering a question, or calling him to ask, Mr. Kearns has always been a trusted advisor, and I thank him sincerely for it. 


Captain Jeffrey Monroe, of the International Association of Maritime and Port Executives, is by-far one of the most influential people that I have ever met. The way that he looks at the world, and his passion and determination to ensure that our industry functions in the most precise and respectable way, is something that I strive to do and truly admire. As a mentor, Captain Monroe has inspired me to seek the same change and adhere to his standards. I am most certainly not alone in naming him a mentor, as he has taught over 1,000 port professionals and shepherded them through the trenches. One funny tidbit about Captain Monroe is that in order for me to take a gap year before law school, I promised my mom that I would travel around the world with him and take every class that he teaches.


My career and my studies have been impacted tremendously by both Mr. Kearns and Captain Monroe. Mr. Kearns has inspired me to write legislation to better the Inland Rivers, while Captain inspired me to start a podcast, titled “Dock Talk”. I often wonder if they know how much they have influenced me as a young professional, and I hope that this story explains it. I also want this story to show my appreciation for not only their work as individuals, but for the work that they have instilled in me. I have learned to ask questions and be receptive to the answers; while still being pushed to test my knowledge and to work hard and be intentional. To Mr. Kearns, and Captain Monroe, thank you, for everything you have done for me, and for what you continue to do through your teachings.

Posted by Hope Sears at 05:00