The National Achievement Award is the highest honor presented by the National Rivers Hall of Fame to those people who are making significant contributions to America’s waterways. The National Rivers Hall of Fame with members in 36 states is the only national museum telling the stories of the people of America’s rivers.
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The National Rivers Hall of Fame presented the National Achievement Award to C. Berdon Lawrence at the Waterways Council Inc. dinner at the W Hotel in Washington, DC on Feb. 24, 2010.The presentation was part of the 9th Annual Leadership Service Award Celebration honoring Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Finance Committee. The National Rivers Hall of Fame Award celebrates Lawrence’s 40-year career on behalf of transportation on the nation’s inland waterways and recognizes Lawrence’s significant contributions to the rivers of America.
For the past ten years, C. Berdon Lawrence has served as the Executive Chairman of Kirby Corporation, the world’s largest tank barge company. The founder of Hollywood Marine, Lawrence served as its president and CEO for almost 30 years before he merged Hollywood Marine with Kirby Corporation in 1999. He has been active in river transportation issues and has served as the chairman of the American Waterways Operators, the National Waterways Conference, the Inland Waterways Users Board, the Texas Waterways Operators, the Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association, the Clean Channel Association of Houston/Galveston, and the Waterways Council. He also served as an advisory director for Cogen Technologies in Houston, which was sold to Enron Corp., and has sat on the board of Pennzoil/Quaker State for 10 years. Lawrence was one of the founders of Waterways Work, which became the Waterways Council.
Hollywood Marine and now Kirby Corp. is a leader in the quality movement in the barge industry. Under Lawrence’s direction, Hollywood Marine was the first U.S.-flagged vessel owner to achieve ISO 9002 certification and the first operator to offer privately owned, U.S. Coast Guard-approved tankerman, firefighing and steersman training schools. Some of the innovations at Hollywood and Kirby such as double-skin equipment later became industry standards. Kirby Corp. values high-quality in operations, safety, a good environmental record and dependable service.
Lawrence was exposed to the marine business through his father’s involvement in the oil and gas exploration business that included the use of towboats and barges. Lawrence grew up in the marine transportation business and remains close and active in the field. He received a B.B.A. from Tulane University in 1964 and a M.B.A., also from Tulane, in 1965.
Executive Director of the Hall of Fame, Jerry Enzler said, “Berdon Lawrence has had an extraordinary career on America’s waterways and his story needs to be told in the National Rivers Hall of Fame.”