Written by Leia Sills


The Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association (GICA) is soliciting resumes for the position of President.  The incumbent, Mr. Jim Stark, is planning to retire at GICA’s Annual Seminar in August 2021.

To be considered, qualified candidates should ensure their resumes are received by Mr. Tom Marian, Search Committee Chair, by December 15, 2020. The Search Committee will hold resumes, and the personal information provided by applicants, in strict confidence.

Interested candidates may download a  printable Position Description here:  GICA President PD

The GICA Search Committee plans to conduct interviews in late January or early February 2021 and hopes to announce a prospective President in the spring. Following a transition period, Mr. Stark will pass the GICA sticks to the new President at the August 4-6, 2021 Seminar in New Orleans.

Email resumes to:
Mr. Tom Marian ([email protected])

Questions may be directed to:

Tom Marian, Buffalo Marine, Search Committee Chair – [email protected] 713-923-5571

Mary McCarthy, Canal Barge, GICA Board Chair – [email protected]  504-648-7050

Jim Stark, GICA President –  [email protected]  901-490-3312



The Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association (GICA)is a not-for-profit trade association with a mission to facilitate commerce through ensuring safe, reliable, and efficient Gulf Coast waterways – primarily, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW). The GIWW is the principal Gulf Coast inland waterway, spanning five states and some 1100 miles from Brownsville, TX to St. Marks, FL. The GIWW provides a link between key Gulf ports and, through its tributaries, the nation’s greater inland waterway system. GICA members and others transport 112 million tons of commodities each year on the GIWW which represent a $61 billion economic impact to the Gulf states, including 143,000 jobs directly related to the GIWW. The GIWW is critical to the delivery of raw materials and finished products. The very nature of the waterways offers distinct economic and environmental benefits to industry and contributes to the health of the nation’s economy as well as our viability in the intensely competitive global market.

GICA acts as a single voice for the industries that utilize the GIWW. The Association advocates on behalf of its members, working closely with the US Army Corps of Engineers District Offices in Galveston, New Orleans and Mobile, to advocate for infrastructure and maintenance channel dredging to ensure a safe and reliable waterway. Additionally, GICA partners with the Eighth Coast Guard District staff and all the Gulf Coast Sector offices to assure safe operations and aids to navigation are sustained.

GICA leads the Gulf Inland Waterways Joint Hurricane Response Team and maintains the Response Team Protocol which outlines a coherent self-help program by which the industry can participate in post-storm efforts to clear the waterways and get traffic and commerce moving. GICA’s work during recent years’ hurricanes was invaluable to mariners’ and companies’ storm planning efforts and greatly assisted Federal, state and local officials in restoring waterways and critical maritime commerce across the Gulf states.

Operationally, GICA stands the watch, identifying and reporting on GIWW conditions that can affect mariners, shippers, and cargo owners. GICA issues real-time Navigation Alert messaging to its members to ensure they know what’s happening where. Also, through a partnership with PortVision, GICA can provide a geographic representation of the status of the GIWW and key tributaries.

GICA provides a conduit for two-way communication between members and agencies. Through the Association, members have a forum to express their concerns and ideas to others in the industry, and collectively form a coalition of support for specific causes.

GICA membership is open to all. The Association presently serves some 200 members from tow and barge companies, shipyards, ports, shippers, agents, refineries, chemical plants, fuelers, government agencies, the general public and more.

GICA actively strives to be the respected, objective, and authoritative voice for inland waterway navigation on the Gulf Coast. Working with the marine community and local, state, and federal partners, the Association seeks the stability and growth of industry that benefits all.


The GICA President’s primary responsibility is to be the advocate for the GIWW and the businesses that operate on the waterway. The President will:

  • Identify, analyze, address, and publicize issues that affect the GIWW, its towboat and barge operators, shippers, and supporting industries.
  • Educate members, prospective members, community groups, the public, and government officials about the unique and critical Gulf Intracoastal Waterway system.
  • Work to ensure an adequate and continuous flow of federal funds for both maintenance and construction of the Waterway through forceful advocacy at all levels of government and by underscoring the value to the nation of continued investment.
  • Serve as a nonpartisan chief advocate and spokesperson on priority GIWW policy issues to the Corp of Engineers, Congress, the Executive branch and its agencies, state governments, the waterways community, and the waterways industry.
  • Partner with other regional and national industry organizations by supporting their efforts and, in turn, seeking their assistance when necessary.
  • Pursue innovative, economical, and environmentally acceptable methods of maintaining the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, its tributaries, and ports.
  • Develop common sense methods to preserve, protect, enhance, and restore coastal wetlands while maintaining our vital Waterway by reaching consensus with responsible government and non-governmental agencies.
  • Identify physical hazards and other opportunities to improve the safety and efficiency of the Waterway, keeping members informed and working with the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to accomplish improvements.
  • Demonstrate strategic leadership, with the ability to clearly define and communicate a strong value proposition to members; create a compelling agenda that attracts and sustains strategic involvement by the senior leaders of member companies.
  • Identify and communicate the unique value that GICA brings to the membership and the industry.
  • Anticipate the political and economic issues that will affect the industry and GIWW and recommend appropriate action and responses to government agencies, membership, and the public.
  • Ensure that GICA remains a reliable source of information on GIWW waterways infrastructure.

Operationally, the President will engage with members, monitor the status of the various waterways within its area of responsibility, report on issues affecting navigation and commerce, and collaborate with responsible agencies and organizations to resolve those issues. As the lead for the Gulf Inland Waterways Joint Hurricane Response Team, the President coordinates all aspects of the industry’s response to storm affecting the GIWW. This entails leveraging member resources to tackle prolonged port reconstitution evolutions.

The President has full responsibility for and authority over the administrative and business functions of the operation of the Association, including board relations, strategic planning and execution, fiscal management and fundraising, annual seminars, and general administration of business affairs. The President is tasked with  developing  and maintaining a strong working relationship with the Board of Directors, This includes – but is not limited to –  meeting with the Board and conferring and advising with its officers, as requested, to establish policies governing the business and affairs of the Association and its membership. The President maintains adequate personnel, equipment and supplies for the performance of the duties and responsibilities assigned by the Board of Directors and the officers of the Association in conducting the business and affairs of the Association. The President assists the Board of Directors and the officers of the Association in formulating a budget for each fiscal year for the Association. The President collects member dues and exercises control over budget expenditures, including the direction of the activities and responsibility for expenditures under any contracts of the Association for outside services.


The successful candidate will be a leader with at least 10 years of proven relevant executive leadership experience and a strong understanding of the waterways industry.  They will be a strategic thinker with proven communications and relationship-building skills and will possess significant organizational management experience.  The candidate will be a passionate spokesperson for the industry and GICA’s mission and priorities before a wide range of audiences.

The successful candidate will reside in or near a major Gulf port city in GICA’s area of responsibility.

Additional qualifications include:

  • Strong working knowledge of, and experience in, coastal and inland navigation – specifically in the Gulf coast region.
  • An understanding of roles and responsibilities of Federal, state, and local partners in marine transportation matters.
  • Familiarity with the U.S. regulatory framework for commercial vessels, shipping, and navigation.
  • Strong interpersonal and networking skills are paramount with particular emphasis on fostering working relationships with U. S. Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers personnel at both the leadership and field levels
  • Ability to work independently, without significant staff support.
  • Flexibility and commitment to be available to members 24×7.
  • Ability to coalesce disparate opinions and views and arrive at a consensus course of action.
  • Demonstrated experience as an articulate, credible, and persuasive spokesperson with a wide range of audiences, including senior government officials, media, elected officials (local, state, and federal), other industry groups, and the public at large.
  • Familiarity with electronic work systems – internet/email communications, world wide web interactions, financial accounting systems, and member tracking applications.
  • Unquestionable integrity, credibility, and character, demonstrated high moral and ethical


A Bachelor’s degree is required.  An advanced degree and/or additional evidence of professional development associated with the waterways industry preferred.


Salary based on experience and performance. Other benefits will be negotiable.


Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association Website:

Chair, Search Committee:  Tom Marian, Buffalo Marine Services – [email protected]  713-923-5571
Chair, GICA Board of Directors:  Mary McCarthy, Canal Barge Company – [email protected]   504-648-7050
President, GICA:  Jim Stark  – [email protected]  901-490-3312

Categories: Job Board Tags: