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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Honored in 1986
Born in 1920, F.A. “Bud” Mechling is the son of Arthur Leroy Mechling, who pioneered barge transportation on the Illinois waterways.
Mr. Mechling began his career with the barge line in 1937 and worked the company towboats until 1939 when he assumed shore duties. He later served as Executive Vice-President of A.L. Mechling Barge Line, Inc., of Joliet, which he and his brothers built into one of the major barge lines in the country before its consolidation with the Union Barge Corporation in 1973.
He served as Executive Vice-President and President of the Union Mechling Corporation until 1976. In 1978 he retired as Chairman of the board. The barge line was renamed in 1980, and later became the Dravo Mechling Corporation.
Mr. Mechling is an acknowledged and effective spokesman for the barge industry. He has served as President and Chairman of the American Waterways Operators and President and Chairman of the board of the Water Resources Congress. Since retirement he has served as a marine consultant to the Dravo Corporation on assignments to study and advise the Peoples Republic of China on the introduction of Mississippi River-type boat and barge technology on the Yangtze River system.