The Illinois Corn Growers Association co-sponsored with ARTCO, the American River Transportation Company, an outing for broadcast media last week. The media toured the Illinois River from Peoria to Pekin, including the lock and dam. The message? River transportation is vital to the economy of Illinois and it needs to be upgraded.
Nearly 100 members of the Illinois media joined the barge tour that launched in Peoria last weekend. They heard from many different players in waterways transportation, from environmental interests to the Army Corps of Engineers.
Of course upgrading and improving the locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers is a main priority of the Illinois Corn Growers Association. ICGA continues to support WRDA and the user fee that would make funds available for the upgrades.
Participants in the barge tour each gave a presentation and were interviewed by the media individually. They included:
Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI)
WCI is the national public policy organization advocating a well-maintained system of inland waterways and ports. WCI works to educate legislators, the media and the public about the critical importance of our nation’s inland waterways as a commercially navigable system, and the need to sustain and increase the reliability of river transportation. WCI’s priorities include efficient funding for construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance of inland locks and dams as well as channel maintenance and dredging, among other issues.
CHUCK SPENCER (ag cooperative shipper)
Chuck Spencer is GROWMARK, Executive Director, Corporate and Government Relations. Chuck joined GROWMARK on April 20, 2009. He has more than 18 years of professional experience in state and federal legislative and regulatory affairs. He served as director of national legislation and policy development for the Illinois Farm Bureau, responsible for directing the organization’s policy program, promoting the organization’s position on federal legislative and regulatory issues, and directing grassroots advocacy programs.
BENJAMIN BROCKSCHMIDT (business development)
Illinois Chamber of Commerce
Ben focuses on transportation systems and public works that are essential to sustaining the Illinois economy: roads and bridges, freight and passenger rail service, waterway shipping, airports as well as access to water and sanitary sewage treatment.
MEAGAN PERRY KAISER (flood control)
Upper Mississippi, Illinois, & Missouri Rivers Association
Meagan joined the (UMIMRA) in January, 2013 to serve as the Executive Director. Established in 1954, UMIMRA represents members and stakeholders in Missouri, Illinois, & Iowa and serves as the only grassroots organization focused on flood control in the Upper Mississippi Valley.
MARK REZNIK (corn processor shipper)
Archer Daniels Midland
ADM Peoria Corn Plant Manager since June 2012. He has worked for ADM for 12 years holding various positions including process engineer, department superintendent, and plant superintendent.
DALE ROTH (jobs created by the river)
Carpenters Council of Greater St. LouisDale
Roth is a Ste. Genevieve native, who graduated from Valley High School in 1976. He began his career as a union carpenter in 1977 as a carpenter apprentice with Donze Construction Company working in the residential field building custom homes. In this position, Mr. Roth worked closely with Developers, Legislators and Contractors to create man hours for the members of the District Council.
BOB SINKLER (conservation and ecosystem restoration projects on the river)
The Nature Conservancy
Robert A. Sinkler, COL (USA Retired) served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for 30 years, commanding multiple organizations and leading planning on issues ranging from hurricane protection to inland waterway navigation to environmental protection and remediation, before being selected as the Water Infrastructure Director for The Nature Conservancy’s North America Freshwater Program.
ROYCE WILKEN (river carrier)
American River Transportation Company
Employed with ADM since 1976.Has worked in 6 companies of ADM. Most recently serving as the president of Artco and president of Harvest Shipping. Serves on two joint venture boards.Past chairman of the board of AWO. Past Chairman of the Inland Waterways Users Board a presidential appointment.
JONATHAN COPPESS (water quality)
Agricultural & Consumer Economics, U of I
Jonathan Coppess is a member of the faculty at the University of Illinois as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Law and Policy in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics.
JIM TARMANN (barge tour coordinator)
Illinois Corn Growers Association
Jim is responsible for working with organizational leaders to promote the importance of the corn industry to members, producers, state and federal officials and the general public. He is the coordinator and primary administrator for membership recruitment and producer of educational programs. He has also spent nearly two decade advocating for improvements to the locks and dams in the Upper Mississippi basin. Under his direction more than 15,000 individuals have had an opportunity to experience the importance of our inland waterway transportation system through educational barge tours held throughout the Upper Mississippi River Basin.