Spotlight on Jerry Nagel
President - Rickmers-Linie (Americas)
now a captain of industry, Jerry Nagel
started at 18 working in a bag gang loading ships in the Port of New Orleans.
Working weekends and summers, he graduated in 1970 from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge with a major in transportation economics, and began work with Furness Withy, a shipping agent out of New Orleans.
Beginning as a trainee, Jerry
spent the first year learning every aspect of the business-representing the first full container service in the Gulf of Mexico, Jerry
learned to keep track of containers, developing new methodologies and systems to go along with the new mode of moving cargo.
This was at a time when the modern infrastructure necessary for container movement didn't yet exist so containers had to be moved with barge mounted derricks normally used for heavy-lift cargo, but Jerry
spent the decade moving containers and helping to lay the foundation for the modern container industry.
Before joining Rickmers in 2004, Jerry worked for Dalton Steamship Company as their vice president of liner services, for E.S. Binnings as an Executive Vice President, Inchcape as Line Manager, and Foster Wheeler as a Traffic Manager.
Working in such a variety of fields-stevedoring, carriers, agency, terminals, warehousing and trucking- for many years allows Jerry
to better manage the carrier Rickmers because, in his
own words, "It's all about perspective.
When you see the other side of
the equation, you know where all the hot buttons are and can provide answers and consistent service.
One particular piece of cargo stands out in his
mind both because of the size and the timing.
Within a month of starting at Foster Wheeler, Jerry
was called upon to submit a transportation plan and budget to move a 1,500 ton pressure vessel from Japan to Texas.
Though the size and scope of the project was astounding, within 18 months, the project was complete-under budget.
With forty years of experience in the industry, Jerry is a spokesman both for the maritime community and for the region.
Speaking to the American Association of Port Authorities
at their convention in Galveston, Jerry
pointed to Texas on the large US map projected on the wall.
"I've got to say, when it comes to oversize and heavy lift break-bulk cargo, we're the best in the country-you can't compete with the business environment here in Texas.
Moving down the map, brows furrowed as Jerry
continued, "Now heading east along the gulf coast, you get decreasing levels of competence-until you hit about Savannah/Charleston- then as you travel North, you get increasing levels of incompetence.
Same story on the west coast-Seattle/Tacoma/Portland, they're pretty good... but the level of difficulty just increases as you head south towards LA." This competency referred to infrastructure, geography and physical expertise.
was surprised as the port directors from several ports came up to him.
"They asked me for a copy of the presentation" he
recalls, "They told me they wanted toshow it to their people back home and start making improvements."
In addition to his work at Rickmers, Jerry is an indefatigable advocate of maritime education.
"We have a knowledge vacuum inthis industry-not the people who are working today, but we don't yet have a strong enough educational process to bring new people into the industry.
Just like his work at Rickmers, Jerry isn't afraid to roll up his sleeves and put in the work necessary to accomplish the job.
Working with the Center for Logistics and Transportation Policy at the University of Houston, Jerry speaks to classes about moving cargo and careers in the logistics and transportation industries while at the same time working with the school administration to move the program forward.
also works to develop area maritime high schools: "We work with the kids and show them what our industry is about-for example, once a year we bring them on board a Rickmers
ship so they get a taste of what goes on along the waterfront."
In addition to his work as a director of the Greater Houston Port Bureau, Jerry is active as the chairman of the Breakbulk Institute Board of Advisors, a newly nominated director of the West Gulf Maritime Association, the University of Houston Center for Logistics and Transportation Policy Industry Advisory Board, an Editorial Advisory Board member for Breakbulk Magazine, a trustee of the Houston Maritime Museum, and a member of both the Houston Propeller Club and has participated with the Port of Houston High School Curriculum Advisory Board.
wife Linda reside in Spring, TX where he
stays active in community organizations having formerly been involved with the