In October, 1937, two brothers, Henry M. and Walter G. Baskerville, established the Upper Mississippi Towing Corporation in Minneapolis, Minnesota, primarily for transporting petroleum products on the Inland Waterways.

H. M. Baskerville, Sr.

Henry M. Baskerville, Sr. began his career in the oil business in his hometown of Watertown, South Dakota, where he worked summers as a station attendant during vacations from school.  Upon graduation from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, with a B.S. degree in economics, he went to work as a salesman for an oil distributor in Minneapolis.

In 1926, together with his father and his brother Walter, he founded the Western Oil and Fuel Company, Minneapolis.  From its inception until 1961, he served the company as Director and President. From 1950 to 1961, he was also President of International Refineries, Inc. Minneapolis, which was founded to construct and operate an oil refinery in Wrenshall, Minnesota.  In 1959, both Western Oil and Fuel Company and International Refineries, Inc. became subsidiaries of Continental Oil Company.  H. M. Baskerville, Sr. continued to serve as a Director of both companies until 1963.

In 1937, Upper Mississippi Towing Corporation (UMTC) was founded to provide water transportation of products between Minneapolis and Wood River, Illinois.  Henry Baskerville, Sr. served as President of UMTC until 1961, when he assumed the post of Board Chairman.

He also was a Director and past President of the Upper Mississippi Waterway Association; a Director and life member of the Mississippi Valley Association and an original member of the Propeller Club, Port of the Twin Cities.

W. G. Baskerville, Sr.

The business career of Walter G. Baskerville, Sr. closely parallels that of his brother.  He graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1924, where he earned a B.S. degree in economics.

He served as Treasurer and Director of Western Oil and Fuel Company, which he helped co-found with his father and brother in 1926.  The company distributed petroleum products, wholesale and retail, through owned service stations and bulk plants, chiefly in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan.

International Refineries, Inc. which Walter founded with his brother, operated a 15,000 barrel-per-day refinery at Wrenshall, Minnesota, near Duluth.  This concern sold its products to Western Oil and Fuel Company.

In addition to Upper Mississippi towing Corporation, he and Henry M. Baskerville, Sr. founded the Hennepin Towing Company and the Husky Transit Corporation in 1947.

Walter G. Baskerville, Sr. was a member of the Water Resources Congress Advisory Committee for Transportation; a member of the Upper Mississippi Waterway Association, the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, and the Government Affairs Committee.

Known in its heyday as one of the "biggest little towboats" on the river, the Husky I was Upper Mississippi Towing Corporation's first boat.  It was built in 1937, the same year UMTC was organized, by F. W. Olcott in Paducah, Kentucky.

Measuring 90 by 22 by 6 feet, the Husky I was powered by two eight-cylinder, direct-reversing National Superior engines of 9 by 12 size, developing 360 horsepower each at 600 rpm.  Thrust was greatly increased in 1946 when Kort nozzles were installed on the vessel by St. Louis Ship.

Whereas the boat originally was capable of moving four barges with a total of 38,000 barrels of petroleum products upstream, the Kort installation enabled it to handle four barges loaded to 45,000 barrels. 

The Husky I then averaged better than two round trips monthly between Wood River, Illinois, and Minneapolis.  The addition of the Kort nozzles enhanced thrust by at least thirty percent.  Along with savings in fuel costs and engine repair bills, the installation eliminated the need for double-tripping and the 300 h.p. Robert E. Lies, which formerly assisted the Husky I.  The Robert E. Lies was sold to Igert, Inc. Paducah, Kentucky.

In 1946 Captain Paul T. "Whitey" Rose was Master; W. T. McCullogh was mate; Harley Wallace and A. L. Holston were engineers; Mrs. M. McCune was cook and Jennie Carlton was her assistant.

While the Husky I's regular trade was between Wood River and Minneapolis, it did occasionally go to Baton Rouge for loadings, and it is believed that the boat made one trip to Calion, Arkansas, with petroleum products.

In 1948 the Upper Mississippi Towing Corporation sold the towboat to the Canton Towing Company, Canton, Missouri.

Other early UMTC towboats in the 1937-1940 period were the 500 hp Husky II and the 600 hp Husky III.  The Husky III was an all wood towboat built by George M. Peppard at the upper most point of navigation on the Mississippi River at the Northern Pacific  Railroad  Bridge.

According to the Waterways Journal in 1940, "Fifty diesel towboats were built in 1940, in comparison to three steamboats.  The first cost of the diesel towboat is said to exceed that of steam, but the cost is less to operate, a small crew is required and a greater load can be handled.  However, experts find little difference in the average speeds of the stern wheel steamer and the twin screw diesel boats.  The diesel craft have a definite advantage in windy weather because they are constructed lower.  The average speed of a towboat downstream is six miles an hour, while upstream it is about three miles an hour."

In 1943, UMTC built the 1600 hp M/V Minnesota Husky, and after World War II, the company acquired the DPC steamboat, GONA.  In 1948, the first self propelled inland oil tanker in the United States, the Minneapolis Husky, was built by Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation in Decatur, Alabama.  The tanker-towboat, 235 feet in length with a 35 foot beam was designed to operate either on rivers or the Great Lakes.  Built for $200,000, with tanks for petroleum and center cargo hatches for dry cargo, the vessel had a capacity for 12,000 barrels, with a 13' draft and space for 100 tons of dry freight.  Lake a lake tanker, the pilot house was forward with propulsion machinery and living quarters aft.  Two eight cylinder Superior Diesel engines, 350 horsepower each, powered the boat.  An auxiliary unit included two 100 horsepower Diesel engines from the same manufacturer. 

In 1950, UMTC built the 3200 hp FRANCES ANNE, soon followed by 3200 hp HARRIET ANN (the first).  These boats operated much as their predecessors, with expanded operations to the lower Mississippi.

In 1957, as the need for higher horsepower boats were envisioned, the triple screw, 4800 hp LAURA LEE was built and placed in service.  This boat was named for the granddaughter of H. M. Baskerville, Sr.  During this period, petroleum tows were replaced by large, mixed tows consisting of chiefly dry bulk commodities moving on both the Upper and Lower Mississippi River.

Nine years later, the 7200 hp HARRIET ANN was launched on May 7, 1966.  It was christened by its namesake, Miss Harriet Ann Baskerville, daughter of Walter G. Baskerville Sr. at the docks of the builder, Nashville Bridge Company, Nashville, TN.  The HARRIET ANN, 198 by 50 by 11.5 feet, was powered by three Alco 251-V16 diesel engines.  Each engine, rated 2,400 hp at 1,000 rpm, drove four blade, 108 inch Coolidge stainless steal propellers through Lufkin RSO-3624 reversing reduction gears, 5.2:1 ratio, with Farverick 28 VC 1000 forward and reverse clutches.  The propellers turned in Kort nozzles built by Nabico as a fully integrated portion of the hull and tunnel.  The hull design emerged from thorough testing of a prototype in the famed model testing basin at Wageninger, Holland.

The 1970-s were a period of dynamic change and growth for Upper Mississippi Towing Corporation.  The company added four newly constructed towboats to its fleet as well as nearly 200 covered hopper barges.  It also established or acquired six subsidiary companies. 

On April 7, 1971, UMTC christened the M/V LESLIE ANN, the first of three powerful triple screw towboats built by St. Louis Ship.  The 7500 horsepower vessel measured 198 by 50 by 11.5 feet with a normal draft of 8.5 feet.  At that point in time, it was the biggest boat in the UMTC fleet and the largest boat delivered by St. Louis Ship.  Before a large crowd of guests who had toured the boat, she was christened by Miss Leslie Ann Baskerville, granddaughter of Walter Baskerville, Sr. Leslie's mother, Harriet Ann, acted as Matron of Honor and her two year old sister, Andrea Lynne, acted as "mini" Maid of Honor.

Representatives of UMTC attending the ceremony included Mr. & Mrs. Neville Stone, Executive Vice President; Mr. & Mrs. Gale Chapman, Vice President Operations; E. C. Rippie & Mrs. Rippie, Sr. Vice President; Mr. & Mrs. Steve Tell, Operations Manager; Mr. & Mrs. Ray O'Daniels, Operations Superintendent; and Mr. & Mrs. Les Sutton, Vice President Finance.

The guest list read like a Who's Who in the Towboat Industry.  They included Herman Pott, Chairman of the Board, Pott Industries; Richard Connerly, President, Pott Industries; Edward Renshaw, President, St. Louis Ship; Anthony Tobin, Vice President, Sales of St. Louis Ship; Robert Patrick, Vice President, Engineering; and Allen Zang, Vice President, Production of St. Louis Ship.  Following the christening, a reception was held that evening at Old Warson Country Club.

In July, 1971, Walter G. Baskerville, Sr. was named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of UMTC and Neville Stone became President.  Mr. Stone joined Upper Mississippi Towing Corporation on September 1, 1968, as Executive Vice President.  He formerly held a similar position with Crouse Corporation, Paducah.  He was a former Board Chairman of the American Waterway Operators, Inc. and a Director of AWO.  He was also a member of the Upper Mississippi Waterway Association.

Clearly, the most important event of 1971, however, was the arrival of H. M. Baskerville, Jr. (Marty).

H. M. Baskerville, Jr.

Mr. Baskerville attended the Shattuck School in Faribault, Minnesota, and graduated in 1942.  He was a student at the University of Minnesota until leaving to serve as a pilot in the United states Air Corps in July, 1943.  Marty was trained to fly B-29's.  Mr. Baskerville completed his tour in the military in November of 1945 and returned to the University, enrolling in night classes and various extension courses.  He also began his career at Western Oil and Fuel Company.  He held many position in sales, marketing and advertising before becoming President in 1963.  Western Oil and Fuel Company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Continental Oil Company in 1959.  In 1978, Marty was named Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Riverway Co. 

Following Mr. Baskerville from Continental Oil Company were many of the people that eventually comprised the Management Team of UMTC, including three future Presidents of Riverway Co., Les Sutton, Erv Carson and Grayson Tuck, as well as the Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer, Michael Lindgren.  Others who Mr. Baskerville convinced to move to Upper Mississippi Towing Corporation were Art Smith, Don Johnson and Lee Haug.  In addition, Rod Burwell  began his career at Continental Oil during the same time until he founded Proform, the first manufacturer of fiberglass barge covers, which he began producing in Louisville, KY.

These men began their careers at UMTC managing a wholly owned subsidiary called GAS HUT, which was established in July, 1971.  GAS HUT opened the first self-service gas stations in the United States.  There were 23 stations located in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri and Illinois.

On January 4, 1972, an enterprise that eventually became Riverway Louisville Terminal Co. began operation primarily loading and unloading coal, fertilizer, salt and steel.  Located at mile 603 on the Ohio River, the terminal occupied approximately 14 acres of property with nearly 1100 feet of river frontage footage.  Situated on the site were eight liquid storage tanks with total holding capacity of 110,000 barrels of fuel or 20,300 tons of liquid fertilizer.  A petroleum dock was situated just west of a barge loading area.  Six rail lines could accommodate up to 100 rail cars.  The conveyor belt could load or off-load 700 tons of coal per hour.  The reasoning behind owning a terminal in Louisville was quite simple -- grain loadings from St. Paul to New Orleans, salt from New Orleans to Louisville and coal from Louisville to St. Paul.  The strategy never entirely worked out, but the  terminal was quite successful.  The terminal property was donated to the City of Louisville in 1995 as part of the Waterfront Development Initiative.

In October, 1972, Upper Mississippi Towing Corporation and Harold G. Williams (another past AWO chairman), announced the acquisition of the assets of Gulf Atlantic Towing Corporation from Citadel Industries, Inc. New York.

Gulf Atlantic Towing, founded by  Mr. Williams in 1942, was an ocean, gulf, and coastwise towing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  Mr. Williams continued as President and Executive Officer of the concern and retained the GATCO trade name.  GATCO operated ocean going barges between Gulf Coast ports, Puerto Rico, and South and Central American ports as well as coastwise service along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts.

Neville Stone, President of UMTC, said, "The acquisition will bring to UMTC shippers virtually worldwide capability on a one line basis.  An Upper Midwest shipper, for example, may now transport products to a vast number of Central and South American ports on one line, with one contact."

What eventually became known as Riverway Harbor Service New Orleans, Inc. was incorporated in the State of Louisiana on April 6, 1973, as a wholly owned subsidiary of UMTC.  It provided fleeting, switching, tow make and break of barges, fuel mid streaming, barge cleaning, pumping and full repair services to UMTC and other customers in the New Orleans harbor area.

The Harbor Service operated the motor vessels PACER (1,350 h.p.), JEANIE-K (1,200 h.p.), ST. PAUL (800 h.p.) and LITTLE CHRIS (340 h.p.)  In addition, the fleet chartered the M/V BIG JOE (1,300h.p.) MARIE B. NAQUIN (1,060 h.p.) and the STACEY ANN (800 h.p.).  There were two separate fleeting areas, 5200 feet of river frontage situated between Mile 111.3 and 112.3 LMR near Waggaman, Louisiana, and an additional 5300 feet between mile 133.8 and 134.8 LMR near LaPlace, Louisiana.  These two facilities could fleet 400 barges and were both operated from administrative offices located at mile 111.5.  Generally, 35 percent of the fleeting and repair business was done with the parent company.  The Harbor Service was sold to Consolidated Marine Services in 1985. 

On August 23, 1973, the first of two 8,400 horsepower towboats were delivered to Upper Mississippi Towing Corporation by St. Louis Ship.  The first boat was christened the M/V GALE C named after Gale Chapman Vice President of Operations at UMTC.  Mrs. Chapman did the customary breaking of the champagne bottle.  The second boat was delivered in 1975 and was christened the M/V HENRY B in honor of the founder of the Company, the late Henry M. Baskerville, Sr.  The ceremonial duties were performed by Mrs. Henry Baskerville, Jr. (Bootsie).

These triple screw vessels measure 200 feet by 50 feet with a normal draft of 8.5 feet.  The propulsion power was furnished by GM12-71067B diesels each developing 2800 hp at 800 rpm.  A GPM centralized control system is a completely integrated unit, including a bridge control console for propulsion control, a main console located in the control room, and ancillary instrument and control boards located in the engine room and other sections of the vessel.

Under this system, control and supervision of the propulsion machinery as well as vital auxiliaries is accomplished from the bridge, and from the main control room.  In case of an emergency, local propulsion controls are also located in the engine room.  Visual and audible alarms with rotary beacons and electronic sirens are also included in the system.

The centralized control console also displays the ballast section with 18 tank fore-peak, with valve position indicators and ballast control switchers.  It is one of the most sophisticated units build by GPM in their 30 years of experience in the design and manufacture of electronic and automation systems. 

UMTC also announced plans that year to partner with Mr. Nathanial Robins, Jr. in the acquisition of Grafton Boat Company, Inc., Grafton, Il.  Mr. Robbins, who became President of Grafton Boat, was previously Director of Engineering for the residential division of Honeywell, Inc.

Mr. Robbins also founded Robbins Towing Co., and took delivery of two sister vessels, the M/V MARY L and M/V HORNET, which were built by Halter Marine Service, Lockport, La. in 1975.  These boats were put into service with Upper Mississippi Towing Corporation and were eventually sold to the company in 1984.

Just before the end of 1973, Neville Stone left UMTC to become President of American River Transportation Company (ARTCO).  H. M. Baskerville, Jr. assumed that position until Les Sutton was named President in 1976. 

In March, 1974, the M/V LESLIE ANN was renamed the STEVE T, honoring long time employee Steve Tell.  In July, 1974, UMTC became a majority owner of Universal towing, which was a fleeting and repair business incorporated in the State of Delaware on April 2, 1962.  Donald and Harold Bruner were the principals of Universal Towing, located in St. Louis, Mo.  Riverway Co. became the sole owner in 1990.  The Harbor Service operated the motor vessels GLEN KAREN (1,800 h.p.), HUSKY (1,200 h.p.) and five 940 horsepower boats:  the TRIPPER, PHOEBE MERCER, JONATION B, THERESA ANN and JOEY TRISH.

The company also utilized a 550 ton dry-dock and a fiberglass repair shop facilitating all weather repair of fiberglass covers.  Riverway Harbor Service, St. Louis owned more than 16,000 feet

of river frontage on the Illinois bank between mile 170 and 175.  A second dry dock was built in 1996 and new offices and storage was constructed in 1997.  The MISS SHIRLEY, a 1,600 h.p. boat built by Meramac Marine was christened in August, 2000, by its namesake, Shirley Moen, Executive Assistant at Riverway Co.

On August 24, 1974, Upper Mississippi towing Corporation added the M/V EVEY T to its growing fleet of towboats.  The vessel was named for Evelyn Thompson, who began her employment with UMTC in 1961 as Secretary to H. M. Baskerville, Sr. and later as Assistant to Neville Stone and H. M. Baskerville, Jr.  The 140 foot EVEY T is powered by a pair of 12-645E EMD's.  Completing the propulsion train are Folk gears, Avondale stainless propellers (102 by 80 inches), nine inch milled steel shafts and Johnson demountable stern-shaft bearings.

The vessel has Gardner Denver fire and bilge pumps which are interchangeable.  It has Kato 90 kilowatt generators powered by 3304 Caterpillar engines.  WABCO engine controls and a steering system by Specialized Electronics.  The generator control panel is by EMD and is part of the engine package.

In addition to the St. Louis Harbor Service and the christening of the M/V EVEY T, 1974 became a red letter date in the history of the company for it was during this year that the H. M. Baskerville family negotiated to buy out the Walter G. Baskerville side of the family.

1975 proved to be the beginning of a tumultuous time as the company aimed to steer its boat personnel away from the Teamsters Union, hoping to persuade them that benefits and retirement plans could be more attractive than their current situation.  This lead to some very uncomfortable experiences.  Threats were made, shots were fired.  The boats were turned over to outside operators to crew.  John Lovekamp, a veteran of UMTC's Operations Department,  began Jemco Towing and was responsible for some of the boats and longtime boat Captain, Buddy Lawson, operated the others as Lawson and Lawson Towing.  The arrangement evolved into Jemco operating the Upper River boats and Lawson and Lawson handling the Lower River power.  This scenario remained until 2000 when the Jemco management team was replaced by Inland Marine Services of Hebron, KY.  Vance Lawson, Buddy's nephew, took over Lawson and Lawson Towing after Buddy's death. 

On October 1, 1977, Upper Mississippi Towing Corporation changed its name to Riverway Co.  The credit for this new identity went to Mrs. H. M. Baskerville, Jr. (Bootsie).  The company needed to portray itself as the full service entity it had become.  It no longer was doing business only on the Upper Mississippi. With nearly 400 barges and eight towboats, the company was moving commodities of all types on all the Inland Waterways.  Her thought was that rivers were the way to go, therefore, river-way.  Riverway, a new era began. 

After guiding Riverway Co. through those many years of change, Les Sutton left the company in 1979 to take the President's job at Dravo Mechling and its subsidiary, Ryan Walsh Stevedoring.  Erv Carlson was then named President of Riverway Co.  Mr. Carlson began his career at Western Oil and Fuel Company in 1943 as Secretary and Assistant to both Henry M. Baskerville, Sr. and Walter G. Baskerville, Sr.  He came to UMTC along with H. M. Baskerville, Jr. in 1971.  He remained President until 1987 when he was named Vice Chairman and held that title until 1993 when he retired after having served the Company and the Baskerville family for 50 years.

In 1979-1981, Riverway Co., as did so many other companies and outside investors, built a number of covered hopper barges on the promise that the Soviet Union had an insatiable appetite for American grain.  And Riverway Co., just like so many other companies, struggled after the grain embargo of 1980.  In order to survive those tough years, the Company sold the gas stations owned by GAS HUT, as well as the assets of Riverway Harbor Service New Orleans and the Gulf Atlantic Towing Corporation.  These transactions provided the cash necessary to exist until the company returned to profitability again in 1986.

In 1987, Grayson Tuck, another of the Continental Oil Company recruits, became President.  Like his predecessors, he too joined UMTC in 1971 as the Manager of GAS HUT.  He became Vice President of Sales for Riverway Co., and Senior Vice President before being named President.  Mr. Tuck retired from the company in 1992, but has remained a Director ever since.

In 1992, Terry Becker, representing the third generation of Baskerville family leadership became President.

Terry R. Becker

Mr. Becker graduated from Colorado College in 1976, and after working a year with the Division of Natural Resources in Colorado began his own company in the building supply business amidst the ski destination of Summit County, Colorado.  He married Laura Lee Baskerville on June 6, 1981. 

Erv Carlson, then the President of Riverway Co., convinced Mr. Becker that an exciting and challenging opportunity awaited in Minneapolis.  Having been born and raised in Minneapolis and having worked during the summer and fall of 1975 as a deckhand on the HARRIET ANN, EVEY T and HENRY B., he accepted the offer not knowing the turmoil that existed in the barge business in July, 1982.  Mr. Becker's first task was to liquidate GAS HUT.  After accomplishing that mission, he spent a year dispatching boats and barges until being moved to the Sales Department in 1984.  He become Vice President  Sales and Marketing in 1987 until being named President in September 1992.  On January 1, 2004, he added the title of Chief Executive Officer.

He has served 13 years as a Director of AWO, serving two terms on the Executive Committee, Chairman of the Inland Dry Sector of AWO as well as Chairman of the Mid-continent Region.  He has served as a Director and member of the Executive Committee of the National Waterways Conference, Secretary, Treasurer and Chairman of Marine Transportation Council and is currently a Board Member of Waterways Council, Inc. and a director and Vice Chairman of MARC  2000.

Beginning in 1989, Riverway Co. embarked on a strategy of building 15-30 barges each year.  This allowed for price averaging of equipment as well as not being faced with an exorbitant number of retirements on any given year in the future.  This commitment was employed each year until 1997 when the price of building barge equipment exceeded $300,000.  At this point, Riverway Co. was operating 565 barges and the company began to focus on its power situation. 

In 1998, Riverway Co. called on Bollinger Shipyard, Inc. to virtually "rebuild" the M/V HARRIET ANN.  The boat was stripped down to its hull, the superstructure was removed, and the vessel was totally rewired, repiped and repainted.  Systems were upgraded, Kort nozzles were replaced, galley and hotel redone, and of course, the boat was repowered with EMD-710's, giving the tow boat 9,000 horsepower.

In 1999, the GALE C was repowered with the EMD 710's as was the HENRY B in 2000.  Riverway Co. now had three 9,000 h.p. triple screws, one 8,400 h.p. triple screw (STEVE T) and three 4,300 h.p. double screw boats (EVEY T, MARY L and HORNET).

The relationship with Bollinger Shipyards, of course, grew during this period of time and Riverway was confident they were the company that could deliver Riverway Co.'s next boat, the 8,000 h.p. BOOTSIE B, which was christened on May 12, 2001.

Michael Lindgren, Riverway's Vice President of Operations, said, "We picked Bollinger because of our successful earlier projects.  We put together what I considered a great team to work out design and construction.  I am as proud of the team as I am of the boat.  All of the trades utilized in construction have done better than their best to give us an outstanding product."

Bollinger Northshore Engineering designed the vessel to the requirements specified by Riverway.  Corning Townsend, with C. T. Marine, provided Naval architectural services for proper water flow through the Kort nozzles and across the rudders.  This included the design of propellers, Kort nozzles, rudders and overall vessel review.  This is not a rework of an existing design.

The BOOTSIE B is 188 feet in length with a 48 foot beam and maximum draft of 11.5 feet.  Minimum draft is 8.5 feet.  The towboat is powered by two EMD-126-710G7B engines developing a total of 8,000 h.p. and 196,000 pounds of Bollard pull.  Bollinger manufactured shafts with John Crane scales that drive two Bollinger 122 inch by 138 inch, five-blade propellers installed in Harrington CT 28 nozzles.  Lufkin provided RH53624 horizontal offset reverse/reduction gears with a ratio of 4.9:1 and Fernstrum grid coolers cool the engines.  The deckhouse is mounted on vibration isolators for greater crew comfort and equipment longevity. 

The BOOTSIE B is named for Mrs. H. M. Baskerville, Jr.  Bootsie, unfortunately, was diagnosed with brain cancer in January, 2000.  Although she was able to choose the interior color schemes, linens, towels, and bedspreads, she passed away in November, 2000, before she saw the completed vessel of which she would have been so proud.  The boat was christened by her namesake, Mary Sutton Becker, daughter of company President and CEO, Terry Becker, and his wife, Laura. 

Riverway Co. also took delivery of 15 barges in 2000 and 32 new covered hoppers in 2001.  But the beginning of the new century brought new challenges and the company was faced with the realization that it had to do something in order to remain competitive -- it was time to "grow or go."

The decision was made to "grow" and a great deal of effort was made beginning in 2003 to investigate those possibilities, of which there were some truly interesting and exciting options.  By the fall of 2004, however, and for a myriad of reasons, Riverway Co. determined the best alternative was to sell substantially all its assets to Ingram Barge Co.

Mr. Becker had gotten to know Craig Phillip very well over the years, having worked together in AWO, National Waterways Conference and MARC 2000.  There existed a true respect for each other's company.  Years before, Marty and Bootsie Baskerville had become dear friends with Neil and Judith Diehl, former President and CEO of Ingram Barge Co. and Chairman Emeritus.  Unfortunately, Judith died a little more than a year after Bootsie and Neil was killed in a tragic car accident earlier this year.  But there has always been a special bond between the two companies.  Mr. Becker says, "I truly think that if this was meant to happen, Ingram was the perfect fit.  Our mutual respect and admiration helped facilitate discussion and quick decisions.  The time it took, once the idea was mentioned until the transaction was completed, took little more than six months."

Possibly the most amazing thing that exemplifies this relationship, however, is the recent christening of the M/V MARTY BASKERVILLE.  Terry related that, "When Craig called me in May to explain Ingram's desire to rename one of the recently purchased towboats in honor of Marty Baskerville, I literally got goose bumps.  I called my wife and she couldn't believe it.  She was moved to tears.  When we both called her dad that evening, Marty, being the humble man he is, expressed concern over what Harriet Ann might think.  The fact that Ingram made this kind of gesture speaks volumes about the kind of company they are.  Knowing that this boat will join the fleet including the M/V NEIL DIEHL and working the same river as the M/V BOOTSIE B is simply a magnificent realization.  If anyone understands the importance of family in family owned business, it's Orrin Ingram.  He and his team, which included Craig Phillip, David Sehrt, Dan Mecklenborg, Kaj Shaw and Tara Ertischek, were genuinely a pleasure to work with."

Nonetheless, this was an extremely difficult decision and a highly emotional period of time. Mr. Becker shares that, "The average tenure in our Minneapolis office was 24 years.  We had truly become a family and the realization that this was all about to change was quite sobering.  There was a period of sadness and grieving -- a real loss had occurred."  He goes on to say, "After about a month after the deal was announced someone posted a saying on our company bulletin board.  It read: 'Don't be sad it's over, be happy it ever happened!'  That really was a wonderful way to look at it."

Now that the deal is completed, Riverway Co. remains an ongoing concern, albeit as a much small company.  The BOOTSIE B was not part of the transaction and is currently on a fully found charter to Alter Barge Line.  The land that is owned in St. Louis is on a long term lease to Ingram for their fleeting operation.  Riverway Co. also has about two dozen barges chartered in as well as real estate in Minneapolis and the Riverway Foundation.

The Foundation was established in 1995.  Its focus is on children, especially those less fortunate or "at risk."  It also contributes to brain cancer research at Mayo Clinic and a number of causes benefiting abused women.  "I am proud of the work we're able to do through the Foundation,"  Terry explains. "I'm also proud of a program we started in 2003, which was my wife's idea, allowing employees a paid day off each month to do volunteer work.  It was truly fascinating listening to the experiences of our employees who took advantage of those opportunities.  I am a real advocate for volunteerism. 

In fact, I'm fortunate in that I will be able to do much more nonprofit work in the years ahead.  I truly have a unique opportunity -- to continue to work for the towboat and barge industry, through AWO, WCI, and MARC 2000 and yet follow a passion to help give back to community, not just by writing checks, but through volunteering."

Mr. Becker summarized his feelings this way:  "Riverway has always been a special company because of the people that worked here.  This is a great industry because of the people that are a part of it.  I will remain enormously committed to it because it is vitally important to this country.  The WRDA bill that was recently passed including lock modernization on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois waterway is a huge beginning.  Fourteen years of tireless effort to get to this point, but much work lies ahead to see it become reality.  I am extremely proud of all the accomplishments of Riverway Co.  The people involved were some of the finest this industry has ever known.  I am confident that Riverway will always be held with the highest regard and respect in the storied history of the towboat and barge business.  What does the future hold for Riverway?  I don't honestly know, but Marty has eight grandchildren so I don't think the final chapter of this wonderful story has been written yet.  The river is in their blood."