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AEP River Operations celebrates ‘legacy of excellence’ in new book

by on March 13, 2014

Most everyone, to a greater or lesser degree, hopes to create their own legacy – or mark on society — during their lifetime. According to Dr. Daniel Rust, AEP River Operations is busy creating a “legacy of excellence.”

Rust, the assistant director for the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, discusses River Operations’ history and evolution in the recently published book AEP River Operations: Legacy of Excellence. The first edition of the book was published in May 2013.


In the book, Rust takes us through a historic overview of inland marine transportation in the U.S., and then moves into the chronology of AEP River Operations, from the beginning of the O.F. Shearer & Sons operation to the creation of the AEP River Transportation Division. He next discusses the history of the Marine Equipment Management Company (MEMCO), and concludes with the melding together of AEP River Transportation and MEMCO to create the current day AEP River Operations.

Rust noted in his introduction to the book that AEP first entered the barge industry in 1973 when it bought its long-time provider of coal transportation services, O.F. Shearer & Sons. Renamed the AEP River Transportation Division, it supplied coal for the numerous AEP-owned, coal-fired electric generating stations on the Ohio and Kanawha rivers.

Twenty-eight years later, Rust continued, AEP acquired a commercial barge line in St. Louis named MEMCO. The addition of MEMCO’s 1,200 hopper barges and 30 towboats to AEP’s 605 barges and 15 towboats catapulted AEP into position among the leading barge operations in the United States. As a fully–integrated barge line, AEP River Operations delivers over 73 million tons of dry cargo annually. Of that total, over 32 million tons is coal delivered by AEP’s power generation fleet in the Ohio River Valley.

Rust’s introduction begins with his attendance during the November 2011 christening ceremonies in Paducah, Ky., for the M/V (motor vessel) AEP Legacy and M/V AEP Future.

“One vessel represented the hard work and sacrifice of all AEP Mariners who have made the company an industry leader,” he said, “the other vessel represented the promise of this outstanding company’s tomorrows as current and future AEP Mariners create their own legacy.”

He also quoted Mike Weisend, AEP River Operations’ manager of waterway regulatory programs, who delivered remarks during the christening ceremonies.

“The interesting thing about a legacy is that you can only see it in the rear-view mirror,” said Weisend. “Those small, everyday actions and decisions seldom feel like a legacy-in-the-making…but they are. And sometimes we create a legacy together, in a moment, as a team.”

            Dr. Daniel Rust

Rust’s academic area of specialty is the business and history of transportation. His first book, Flying Across America, was published in the spring of 2009. In that book, he traced the evolution of the transcontinental airline passenger experience in the U.S. from the late 1920s to the present.

He also teaches interdisciplinary courses covering all modes of transportation that include history and current business practices. He created and now administers an undergraduate program in transportation studies featuring a minor in Transportation Studies. Rust also oversees adjunct faculty teaching courses for the minor, and coordinates with local transportation/logistics/ warehousing firms in placement of University of Missouri-St. Louis students in internships.

“As I listened to the speeches and watched Captain Leonard Whittington and Chief Engineer Jim Payne christen the AEP Legacy that mild autumn morning in Paducah,” Rust concluded in his introduction to AEP River Operations: Legacy of Excellence, “I reflected upon the vessel’s significance as the physical embodiment of the cumulative effort of all AEP Mariners who selflessly gave of themselves so that AEP River Operations could become the industry leader it is today. Even though most employees would say they were simply doing their job, their commitment and dedication formed nothing less than a legacy of excellence.”

From → News From AEP

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