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 1999
Neil N. Diehl began his career in 1956 working with U.S. Steel. He moved up through many positions and in 1974 he became Vice-President of Ohio Barge Line. The formative transportation experiences with both U.S. Steel and Ohio Barge Line whetted his interest in the national transportation policies related to America’s inland waterway system.
Mr. Diehl was a key builder of the public policies related to lock and dam modernization from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s. He served as Vice President and then President for Ohio Barge Line and Warrior and Gulf Navigation Company (both wholly-owned subsidiaries of U.S. Steel) from 1974 to 1984. From 1984 until 1995, he served as Chairman and CEO of Ingram Barge Company, one of the nation’s largest barge lines. Through these positions he helped frame industry debates and discussions about America’s inland navigation system.
Mr. Diehl was a founding member and later chairman of DINAMO, the Association for the Development of Inland Navigation in American’s Ohio Valley. DINAMO worked to bring together the private sector, state government, and labor leadership in the Ohio Valley states to expedite the modernization of the lock and dam infrastructure of the Ohio River which has fostered capital improvements of $5 billion on the Ohio River Navigation System.
Mr. Diehl was a charter member of the Inland Waterways Users Board and worked as a member of this federally mandated board from 1987 to 1992. He was an advocate of the “capacity utilization theory,” which was a useful tool for his industry to evaluate the appropriate level of cost sharing with respect to private sector funding of lock and dam modernization projects.