Interview: Tracy Zea, President & CEO, Waterways Council Inc.
We recently checked in with Tracy Zea, Waterways Council Inc.’s new President & CEO, on what’s in store for the U.S. inland waterways for the remainder of 2020.To start, give us some insight on your background and how you came to lead WCI.I was born and raised in Chandler, Ariz., and attended South Dakota State University, receiving a degree in Political Science. After college, I found my way to Washington, D.C. via an internship with Senator Thune (R-S.D.). After the internship, I was hired by the House of Representatives, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Zea Named WCI President & CEO
Waterways Council, Inc.’s (WCI) Board of Directors unanimously elected Tracy R. Zea as the organization’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. He will assume the new duties effective today.With a broad range of Capitol Hill, policy development and government relations expertise, Zea most recently served as WCI’s Vice President-Government Relations, advocating for WCI’s goals for authorizations and appropriations which support a modern, efficient, reliable inland waterways transportation system.
Waterways Council, Inc.’s 2020 Vision
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) is the national public policy organization that advocates for a modern, efficient inland waterways system. Abiding by our mission has meant success over our 17-year history. In 2020, WCI’s top priority is to conform the cost-share for Inland Waterways Trust Fund (IWTF)-financed construction projects to require 25% of the project cost be derived from the IWTF and the remaining 75% from General Revenues. The policy vehicle for this adjustment is the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)…
AWO Elects Crowley's Mead as Chairman
Arthur F. Mead, Vice President and Chief Counsel at Crowley Maritime Corporation, has been elected Chairman of the American Waterways Operators (AWO), succeeding outgoing Chairman Scott Merritt, former Chief Operating Officer with Foss Maritime Company, LLC.Members of the national tugboat, towboat and barge industry association elected a new slate of leaders this week during the association's Spring Board of Directors / Annual Membership Meeting, which was held virtually due to COVID-19 precautionary measures that resulted in the meeting not taking place in Washington…
WCI's Toohey Announces Retirement
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) President and CEO Michael J. Toohey has revealed plans to retire, the group announced to its Board of Directors and members at its meeting in Washington, DC on Wednesday.“Having turned 71 this month, I believe it is time to focus on my faith, family, my golf handicap and my other interests,” Toohey said. “I remain committed to WCI’s continued achievement now and in the future once a successor is named.”WCI’s Executive Committee will select an executive search firm to begin the process to seek a successor.
Wateways Council Videos Aim to Educate
To help educate audiences about the inland waterways’ connection to agriculture, to the labor community, to freight shippers, to the Corps of Engineers, and to building communities, Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) has produced a series of short videos. Here is a short on the role of inland shippers. Help spread the word and share across your Social Media channels.
SHORTSEA SHIPPING: All the Right Moves (Finally)
Marine Highways Gain Traction in the Intermodal Supply Chain.In the United States, landside infrastructure is at a crisis point. Congestion at the big hub ports, exacerbated by imperfect intermodal interfaces with surface transport serving cargo hinterlands is at the heart of the matter. As politicians bicker over a possible infrastructure package, the Highway Trust Fund, funded by taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel, has continued its downward journey towards further deficits (now $144 billion). And, where countless U.S.
WCI Honors Senator Duckworth
On February 12, 2019, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) received Waterways Council, Inc.'s (WCI) 18th Annual Leadership Service Award for her continual championing of ports and inland waterways. She was presented the award by Wade Beasley, Business Representative, Carpenters Local 174, Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters. WCI President & CEO Mike Toohey said, “Senator Duckworth is an American hero, and a stalwart advocate for the inland waterways in her state of Illinois, and throughout the United States.
Stephaich Elected Chairman of WCI
The Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) named Peter H. Stephaich, Chairman and CEO of Campbell Transportation Company, Inc. (Pittsburgh, PA), as its Chairman of the Board. Stephaich succeeds Tim Parker, President, Parker Towing Company (Tuscaloosa, AL), who served as WCI Chairman from 2016-2018.Stephaich has served the barge industry for more than 30 years in a number of key roles, as Past Chairman and Past Treasurer of the American Waterways Operators; Past Chairman and Trustee of the National Waterways Foundation…
In 1921, Thomas Edison told Forbes magazine, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” He could have been talking about Olmsted. That’s because, after more than 30 years of frustratingly slow progress, cost overruns and more than a few mistakes, Olmsted is finally poised for success. That’s something to celebrate.It is official: The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) wants Olmsted operational by October. And, not a moment too soon. After more than 30 years, the ribbon cutting to officially open the Olmsted Locks and Dam will take place on August 29.
WCI Applauds FY 2017 Omnibus
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) praised today’s passage of the FY 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill that provides funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017. FY ’17 funding for the Corps’ Civil Works mission totals $6.038 billion, a 0.8 percent increase above the FY ’16 funding level, but almost a 31 percent increase above the Obama Administration requested level. The bill provides full-use of estimated annual revenues from the…
WCI Releases Series of Educational Videos
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) has developed a series of videos aimed at educating audiences about the importance of inland waterways infrastructure and of the Navigation & Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP). As part of this campaign, WCI has produced four videos, which, along with more information about NESP, can be found on the WCI website. NESP Now! (interview-style video that discusses the importance of the waterways to the agriculture community. Inland waterways transport 60% of America’s corn and soybean exports. Long overdue investments in dams and locks threaten this trade.
National Waterways Foundation Elects Mecklenborg as Chairman
At its November 15, 2016 meeting in Cincinnati, the National Waterways Foundation (NWF) elected the following Trustees and Officers. Dan Mecklenborg, Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, Ingram Barge Company, was elected Chairman. He succeeds Mark Knoy, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Commercial Barge Line, who remains on the Foundation as Immediate Past-Chairman. Michael Toohey, President and CEO, Waterways Council, Inc., was named Foundation President.
Waterways Council Elects Parker as Chairman
As its Annual Meeting and Board of Directors Meeting in Cincinnati on November 15, 2016, Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) named Tim Parker, President of Parker Towing, as its Chairman of the Board. Parker succeeds Merritt Lane, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canal Barge Company. Parker serves on the Board of Directors of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc.; as Past Chairman of the Board of the Alabama State Port Authority; Past Member of the Inland Waterways Users Board…
Senate Approves Strong Funding for USACE
The FY ’17 Energy & Water Development (E&WD) and Related Agencies appropriations bill has been approved by the U.S. Senate in a 90-8 vote, significantly increasing funding in Fiscal Year 2017 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works Program. The House version of this bill, which passed out of the Appropriations Committee last month, is awaiting floor action. Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) President Michael J. Toohey underscored the work of Chairman Cochran and Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)…
WCI's Toohey Applauds WRDA 2016 Bill
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) President/CEO Michael J. “We thank Chairman James Inhofe and Ranking Member Barbara Boxer for their collaborative efforts to develop a WRDA 2016 bill that addresses inland waterways system priorities. Particularly, we applaud the Committee’s rejection of lockage fees/tolls to finance Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) on the Nation’s waterways. WCI is also supportive of the Senate bill’s authorization of $16.7 million in modification work for Calcasieu Lock in Louisiana…
WCI Reacts to President's Budget Request
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) reacted to the FY 2017 budget request made by President Obama earlier today, as detailed below. • proposes $4.620 billion for the U.S. • a $1.289 billion inland waterways user fee. • $986 million be appropriated from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF), down from $1.25 billion in FY 2016. • is no funding for NESP. Lockport Lock and Dam (Major Rehab) was awarded $1.4 million for contract modifications to close out the project. • is no funding for NESP. “The Administration’s FY ’17 budget request for the U.S.
WCI Names Zea as Director
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) has named Tracy R. Zea as its Director-Government Relations, effective August 4. He will be based in the Washington, D.C. office and will primarily advocate for WCI’s goals for authorizations and appropriations which support a modern, efficient, and reliable inland waterways transportation system. Zea will also work to enhance WCI’s stakeholder relationship with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He will also be responsible for tracking implementation of WRRDA legislation and ensuring that WCI’s views are reflected in the outcomes.
WCI Awards Sens. Alexander and Vitter
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) presented the 14th Annual Leadership Service Awards to Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Senator David Vitter (R-La.) for their “strong and continued leadership on ports and inland waterways issues,” WCI announced. Senators Alexander and Vitter were presented their awards on February 11, 2015 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Port of New Orleans Sponsors Agricultural Summit
The Port of New Orleans has signed on as a sponsor for the 9th annual Oilseed & Grain Trade Summit, taking place here October 7-9, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. The Summit is reportedly the largest annual industry event that convenes buyers, sellers and global leaders in the oilseed, protein meals, vegetable oils and feed grains sectors, and includes discussions on the challenges and opportunities of logistics and transportation in the agriculture sector. Port of New…
WCI Hails Funding for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 released last night provides strong funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Civil Works mission for inland navigation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has fared well, with overall strong Civil Works program funding of $5.454 billion, which is $921.5 million above the Administration’s request. The Construction account funding of $1.639.5 billion is an increase of $514.5 million above the Administration's proposal…
WCI Applauds Passage of New Barge Tax
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) and its members and stakeholders tonight applauded the Senate’s passage, by a vote of 76 to16, of a 9-cent increase to the barge diesel fuel user fee. The provision was a part of tax extenders legislation that was combined with the “Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE)” Act that establishes tax-favored savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. The ABLE Act that included the provision to increase the user fee by 9 cents passed the House on December 3 by a vote of 404-17.
WCI Applauds Barge Diesel Fuel User Fee Increase
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) and its members and stakeholders applauded the Senate’s passage, by a vote of 76 to16, of a 9-cent increase to the barge diesel fuel user fee. The provision was a part of tax extenders legislation that was combined with the “Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE)” Act that establishes tax-favored savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. The ABLE Act that included the provision to increase the user fee by 9 cents passed the House on December 3 by a vote of 404-17.
River Bell Awards Acclaim Maritime 'Family'
The Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) recognized two inland maritime industry leaders at an annual awards luncheon Thursday, December 11, 2014, in Paducah, Ky. The 15th Annual River Bell Awards Luncheon, hosted by SCI, raised more than $270,000 to support mariners served by the Institute’s Ministry on the Rivers and Gulf program. SCI presented the River Bell Award to Peter H. Stephaich, Chairman and CEO of Campbell Transportation Company, Inc.; and to the Chairman of J. Russell Flowers, Inc., J. Russell Flowers, SCI conferred the River Legend Award.
WCI to Honor Sens. Alexander and Vitter
Waterways Council, Inc. WCI will recognize Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Senator David Vitter (R-La.) for their “steadfast championship of the inland waterways” at its 14th Annual Leadership Service Awards on February 11. WCI will also hold its 2015 Washington Meetings, February 10-12, 2015, which include the Waterways Seminar. All events will take place at the St. Regis Hotel, 923 16th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 8:30 a.m. 12‐4:30 p.m. 5:30-7 p.m. 9 a.m.‐5 p.m. 5:30‐9 p.m. 8‐9 a.m. 9-11:30 a.m.
Waterways Council expresses "disappointment" in White House budget
Waterways Council, Inc., a national advocacy group for ports and inland waterways, expressed "disappointment" today in the Obama administration's proposed FY 2016 budget. “Given recent austere budget proposals for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, it is not surprising that the Administration has slashed FY ’16 transportation infrastructure funding," said Michael J. Toohey, the President and CEO of Waterways Council, Inc. The group highlighted the new budget's 13.25% cut in funding for the U.S.