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Longtime Kirby Corporation CEO, Joseph H. Pyne, honored by National Rivers Hall of Fame

Joseph H. Pyne, Kirby Corporation’s former CEO and a significant leader in the river industry, will be honored by the National Rivers Hall of Fame during the Annual Waterways Symposium hosted by Waterways Council, Inc. this November in St. Louis, Mo. Pyne is the recipient of the Hall of Fame’s Achievement Award, a distinction bestowed on individuals making significant contributions to America’s waterways.

Pyne was selected as the 2021 Achievement Award recipient for his dedication to America’s waterways throughout his life. He co-founded, served on, or advised many of today’s waterway boards. He has received many recognitions for his service to the industry, including both the River Bell and Silver Bell awards, the 2013 Coast Guard Foundation Award, and the 2019 Admiral of the Ocean Seas Award.

Becoming Kirby Corporation’s CEO in 1984, revenues grew from $35 million to $3 billion during his tenure. Forbes recognized the business nine times beginning in 2001, including naming the company to the Platinum 400 list in 2008 and 2009. Only the “Best Big Companies” receive this honor.

Pyne has been a key leader in the inland maritime industry in both public and behind the scenes roles. Kirby grew to be a dominate player in the tank barge business, but also became a prominent company in promoting safety and advancing professionalism within the field. Pyne led the effort to bring the Seamen’s Church Institute training facility to Houston, and he was an early and strong proponent of the AWO Responsible Carrier Program. Kirby was the first recipient of the Coast Guard William M. Benkert Marine Environmental Protection Award.

Pyne empowered his senior staff at Kirby to handle leadership roles in industry associations. He assembled a group strictly for CEOs which met periodically to discuss pressing issues. This group was responsible for founding the Waterways Work! Campaign, which is now known as the Waterways Council. He is also partially responsible for creation of the Texas Waterways Operators Association. He served on the Inland Waterways Users Board, the Boards of the American Waterways Operators, and many more over the years.

Pyne stepped away from Kirby Corporation in 2014, but remains as Chairman of the Board and continues to influence the industry. He is recognized in the United States as a leader in the business community, especially the maritime industry.