Even though it doesn’t rank as one of the state’s largest, Port of Valdez nevertheless holds a position as one of Alaska’s most important ports. As the nation’s most northerly ice-free port, Port of Valdez has the responsibility of handling cargo for most of the interior of Alaska, including equipment for the oil industry and the military. Port and Harbor Director Diane Kinney has been with the port for 17 years, and says the Port of Valdez has carved out a comfortable niche for itself thanks to its location and ability to handle cargo that other Alaskan ports are unable to. 

The Port of Valdez consists of a container terminal, a grain terminal, the John Thomas Kelsey Municipal Dock and the Valdez Pioneer Field Airport Terminal. When the container terminal was constructed in the early ’80s, it was advertised as having the world’s largest floating general cargo dock. In addition, during this time Valdez applied for, and received, the first foreign-trade zone designation in Alaska. Although the zone has not been used, the port is always looking for businesses that could profit by operating in a foreign-trade zone. 

It’s a rule of thumb on land and it’s equally important on water – one of the most important aspects to the success of any business is location, location, location.  LEEVAC Shipyards LLC is an operator of full-service shipyards in the United States. With its own in-house design team, the shipbuilder draws on its state-of-the-art facilities, the latest technology, steel fabrication capabilities and highly skilled craftsmen to design, fabricate and repair clients’ vessels. 

But with all of its skills and resources, Vice President of Business Development and Engineering Dan Gaiennie explains that without the right location, none of those things really matter. “A lot of our success comes down to having the right place at the right time, and having the right size of dry-docks,” Gaiennie says. 

The Gulf of Mexico is a hub of shipping activity year-round, and once ships start to age, repair and maintenance needs are almost continuous. “We do both shipyard and topside repairs,” CEO and owner Richard Bludworth says. “We go wherever vessels are. Fifty percent of our maintenance work is at remote repair sites where we have to mobilize equipment and tools to do the job, get it completed and bring everything back.”

Bludworth Marine LLC is not building any new boats or barges at the moment, so vessel repair and maintenance is all of the company’s business right now. It offers 24-hour emergency repair services for ships and inland/offshore tugs and barges. “The vessels are moving from port to port on a continuous basis,” Bludworth points out. “A lot of the time, they have repairs that need to be done, and they may only have 12 hours in a port. So we dispatch a crew to take care of that, and then when the vessel is ready to sail, we get off and it keeps going.”

Located at the popular summer tourist hot spot of Lake George at the southeast base of the Adirondack Mountains in New York, the Lake George Steamboat Co. thrives on offering steamboat tours.

Lake George Steamboat Co. operates three ships in its fleet: the Lac du Saint Sacrement, Minne-Ha-Ha and the Mohican. The company offers many different kinds of cruises including island explorations, moonlight cruises, pasta cruises and pizza cruises. There are also Tuesday Taco Cruises and New Years tours. 

The Minne-Ha-Ha, which means “laughing waters,” is an authentic paddlewheeler, while the Lac du Saint Sacrement is the largest cruise ship on Lake George. The ships host weddings, charters, parties, sports teams, clubs, churches, camps and student special events such as proms, and can include dinners and DJs. Conventions and private parties for birthdays, anniversaries and retirements are also popular occasions for charters, the company says. 

Traylor Bros. Inc. has built its reputation in the construction industry as a company that will take on complex, innovative and challenging projects that other firms shy away from. “We service a niche market,” Vice President Thad Pirtle says. “We do work that most of the time no one wants to touch because it’s so challenging. We do work under cities, on live rail lines and on bridges over major rivers.”

The Evansville, Ind.- based company was founded in 1946 by William Traylor, a civil engineer and inspector for the city of Evansville. By 1956, Traylor had bridged the Ohio River and bored his first mile of tunnel. Careful attention to methods, equipment and design of special equipment and excavation support schemes was Traylor’s personal focus. Today, the company is under the leadership of the third generation of Traylors – Co-Presidents Christopher and Michael Traylor. 

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