Catlettsburg, Kentucky,
08:43 PM

Career opportunities abound on America's rivers

Author Mark Twain knew it. Steamboat builder Robert Fulton did too, and so did millions of others who came before and after them. U.S. rivers add unsurpassed beauty to the landscape and also serve as a major source of recreation, national security, transportation and employment.

For the past two years, Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s (MPC’s) Marine Transportation group in Catlettsburg, Kentucky, has teamed up with River Works Discovery in presenting the Who Works the River program. “We talk with high school juniors and seniors about career opportunities available on our nation’s waterways,” notes MPC Vetting Inspector Dave Naramore. “We also discuss their importance in terms of shipping. River transportation is efficient and economical, and its environmental footprint is minimal as compared to other industries.”

Marine Transportation takes part in Who Works the River each spring on the Kanawha River at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and in autumn on the Ohio River at Louisville, Kentucky. The group also recently sponsored the RiverWorks traveling exhibit at the spring meeting of the Waterways Council in Washington, D.C.

Ordinarily, the half-day program draws between 200-300 students, but the fall 2015 program at Louisville attracted many more. “It was the 100th anniversary of the Belle of Louisville, America’s last Mississippi River steamboat,” explains Ruby Deerfield, a senior administrative assistant for Marine Transportation. “The five-day birthday bash drew a large crowd of visitors, and about 3,000 of them stopped by to talk with us, giving a big boost to our goal of generating awareness. College is not the right choice for everyone. For those with a high school diploma, we offer a number of deck-crew positions for which individuals receive training, resources and opportunity.”

The marine industry offers many opportunities for advancement, according to Naramore. “A deckhand could eventually attain the post of chief engineer, pilot or captain,” he notes. “All it takes is a good work ethic, along with the desire to do more.”