Barge giant ACBL makes executive team changes

Written by Nick Blenkey
Two with new roles at ACBL

L to R: Brent Cervenka, Ricky Stover

Leading inland barge transportation specialist American Commercial Barge Line (ACBL) has announced a reorganization that CEO Mike Ellis says “confirms our commitment to building a strong and diversified team capable of executing our strategic initiatives.”

Among other moves, Patrick Sutton will move from COO to assume the new role of senior vice president of fleet development and strategy. In this position, Sutton will be responsible for vessel reliability, leasing, building and acquisitions and will also lead a new barge pooling business segment. Sutton’s extensive experience at ACBL and Jeffboat uniquely qualifies him to manage this critical business function, says ACBL. He will continue to report to Ellis and be an integral member of ACBL’s executive team.

Brent Cervenka will be joining ACBL as COO. Reporting to Ellis, he will oversee logistics and network operations, vessel operations, fleet and facility operations, safety and operational training. He comes to the role with extensive experience in logistics and operations from his previous roles at Target, Amazon, Pitney Bowes and, most recently, as COO at Pandion Logistics.

Long-time ACBL veteran Bob Blocker, currently SVP of the company’s dry cargo division, is retiring effective June 2025. As a part of Blocker’s planned retirement, ACBL has undergone a strategic reorganization of the division and introduced the new role of chief commercial officer. After a national search, it has selected Ricky Stover to fill this position. Stover brings 20+ years of transportation industry experience in the rail and trucking sectors to the role, most recently serving as a sales and marketing officer at Canadian Pacific Kansas City Railway. He will be responsible for all non- liquid commercial activity, business development, mergers and acquisitions and will report to Ellis.

Blocker will work closely with Stover and the dry cargo team over the next year until his official retirement in June 2025.

Additionally, senior sales director Jeff Carman has been promoted to vice president of sales and marketing, and will be responsible for all dry cargo markets, except grain which will continue to be led by Rich McCarty.

“With ACBL and industry veteran Patrick Sutton leading our fleet development strategy and Brent Cervenka joining us as chief operating officer, we are well-positioned to continue our transformation journey and build on our operational excellence,” said Ellis. “The addition of Ricky Stover as chief commercial officer and the promotion of Jeff Carman to Vice president of sales and marketing mark another crucial phase in our transformational journey. Their expertise and leadership will drive us toward achieving our long-term strategy and reinforcing our position as the trusted leader in marine transportation. I extend my deepest gratitude to Bob Blocker for his invaluable contributions and dedicated service. We look forward to celebrating his remarkable career as he transitions into retirement.”

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