Dede Smith, Deputy Director for the Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals (IRPT) association, has been named chair of the National Waterways Conference (NWC) Navigation Caucus.
In addition to her role at IRPT, Smith serves on the NWC Executive Committee and now as chair of the NWC Navigation Caucus. NWC’s caucuses play a prominent role in advising its Legislative Policy Committee on federal issue specific positions the caucuses would like NWC to consider.
The Navigation Caucus focuses on opportunities and challenges to keep inland and deep draft navigation channels open and usable, as well as issues that may impact those entities that depend on these waterways.
Smith has 35 years of experience in the transportation industry working closely with industry leaders, local, state, and federal entities, as well as the U.S. Congressional Delegation to communicate the needs and challenges facing the U.S. regarding waterway infrastructure and the importance of the inland river transportation system to the national economy.
Her experience in the industry provides her with the ability to understand the needs of IRPT members and to collaboratively advocate on their behalf. Smith participates in regularly scheduled meetings with USACE, Coast Guard, MARAD and other agencies to keep them abreast of these changing needs.
Among the many IRPT initiatives Smith is currently focusing on, raising awareness of the importance of accurate tonnage reporting takes high priority. She is engaged with federal agencies, industry leaders, and users in discussions regarding the importance of accurate tonnage reporting and how complete statistical tonnage data will then impact securing funding opportunities for projects.