The New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute hosted a maritime event on January 30th, which featured a panel “Gateway to Growth,” featuring some of the area’s most prominent leaders in maritime.

The panel included Jennifer L. Marusak, Brandy D. Cristian, Paul Matthews, and Todd Fuller.

Jennifer L. Marusak, appointed as the executive director of the Ports Association of Louisiana in October 2018, spearheads PAL’s governmental affairs, lobbying endeavors, and grassroots initiatives, showcasing Louisiana ports’ significance to legislative bodies and community stakeholders. Brandy D. Christian, as President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans and CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, oversees the operations of the nation’s 10th largest port by general cargo tonnage and 17th largest container port, managing the movement of over 50 million tons of cargo annually through the New Orleans Gateway via river and rail, while also leading strategic infrastructure investments and expanding the port’s business lines to include real estate and cruise operations. Paul Matthews is the current executive director of The Port of South Louisiana, America’s leading grain export district.

Todd Fuller spoke in representation of Associated Terminals. Tod, President and Co-owner of Associated Terminals, has demonstrated fearless leadership over his impressive 25-year tenure, propelling the company towards remarkable growth and success. His collaborative approach has been instrumental in shaping Associated Terminals as a leading force in Louisiana’s maritime industry. Due to his experience and knowledge of the industry, as well as demonstrated leadership in the industry, he was the perfect candidate to speak on this NORLI panel.

On the panel, Todd spoke on the landscape of the maritime industry. He carefully touched on the importance of funding in the industry as well as the difficulties the maritime industry faces in terms of building a workforce.

Fuller spoke about the extreme importance for companies, including both larger more established companies, and smaller start ups, to have access to funding. He says that with adequate funds, the maritime industry is in a great position to grow and thrive.He built off this point by explaining another shared issue maritime organizations have in Louisiana, being the need for workers.

“We struggle in terms of the workforce as nobody knows about us. We are such an unknown industry in the state of Louisiana. Nobody really knows what happens beyond that mysterious hill protecting the waterways,” said Todd. He builds on the topic by

explaining how he sees the industry building on the importance of keeping maritime professionals within the state rather than looking elsewhere. He also talks about attracting more workers to the maritime industry in Louisiana.

He explains that Associated Terminals is looking for those who have soft skills and can bring forth responsibility to the workplace.

“We offer in house training to people willing to work, and we help them create careers—in a sector that provides some of the highest paying salary jobs in the state,” said Todd. He further explained how Associated Terminals is placing importance on spreading the word about the opportunities available in this industry. The company partners with We Work the Waterways to spread knowledge about the river and all it has to offer.

Overall, we thank both NORLI and our industry leaders for pushing forth innovation and success in our local maritime industry.

Back to News