Captain Alex Goldberger and Don Dugas launched St. James Stevedoring in October. Alex, a native of Michigan, graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. Don hails from deep in Cajun country and received his business degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Don actually learned French as his first language. Don and Alex's paths crossed during their time with Burnside Terminal in south Louisiana. Their experience working together at Burnside coupled with their entrepreneurial spirit led the two men to form their own separate venture - St. James Stevedoring. By working hard, controlling costs, and building relationships, Don and Alex built St. James into a strong presence on the Mississippi River.
Paul Morton joined St. James as Vice President and General Manager. Paul had already been acting in a capacity as the company’s corporate accountant from the inception of St. James. It was at this point, though, that Paul decided to sell off his accounting firm and join St. James in a leadership capacity. Paul brought his background as a CPA to the organization to introduce financial and operational efficiencies to the company.
John Crane joined St. James as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. John has had an extensive career in the shipping business. This has included working with Strachan Shipping Company, International Marine Terminals, TECO Transport and Trade Corp, and IC Rail Marine Terminal. John’s background and operating philosophy blended well in the organization and introduced new opportunities for growth for St. James.
After a technology search which covered the globe, St. James and Gotttwald Port Technologies commissioned the first-ever barge mounted mobile harbor crane, the "Alex G."
In February, Paul and John purchased the company. Don and Alex successfully transitioned into their new roles as the company's largest investors and loudest cheerleaders. At the point of the purchase, St. James operations consisted of seven total cranes. These seven cranes were comprised of Lima Cranes, American Cranes, and the first ever Gottwald Mobile Harbor Crane placed on a barge. By the fall of 2006, St. James had added their eighth crane…another Gottwald. It was fittingly named the “Don D.”
In December of this year, St. James added a new Gottwald crane to the operations, the “Miss Irene.” It was named in honor of Irene Melancon, our longest tenured employee, which was Don and Alex's first hire. This brought St. James up to 3 high-capacity Gottwald cranes operating on the lower Mississippi River.
In January of this year, St. James and American River Towing Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of ADM announced the formation of St. James Stevedoring Partners, LLC, a joint venture between the companies with Paul and John designated as general managers. Two additional Gottwald cranes were added to the operations in 2008…the “Gene H” and “Mr. Chuck”, named respectively for supervisor Gene Himes and crane operator Chuck Rogers.
An additional Gottwald crane was added to the operations in 2009. The “Hank S,” named for crane operator Hank Stewart, came on-line in July of this year. With the addition of the Hank S, St. James Stevedoring now operates a fleet of 12 cranes, which includes 6 high-capacity Gottwald HPK barge-mounted cranes…the largest fleet of their sort on the lower Mississippi River.
St. James brings the first Model 8 HPK Gottwald floating cranes into operation on the Mississippi River system. The Model 8 cranes feature buckets up to 61 cubic yards for general bulk transfer and a gross lift of 63 metric tons in bucket work and 100 metric tons in hook operations at 139 feet radius. In partnership with Gottwald cranes St. James new Model 8 have a unique weighing system which we will endeavor to obtain certification in the United States. St. James exclusiviely uses Gottwald cranes in its operations.