Columbus, Mississippi – The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Authority (the Authority) has elected Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi as its chairman for 2018. This is the second time Governor Bryant has chaired the waterway group. Governor Bryant has been involved and supported the Tenn-Tom Waterway many years and during his time in office has located new industry along the waterway such as Mississippi Silicon, Hago and the expansion of Steel Dynamics.
The Authority is a four-state interstate compact comprised of the States of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee, and ratified by the U.S. Congress in 1958 to promote the development of the Tenn-Tom Waterway and its economic and trade potential. Members include the four governors and five appointees by each governor or a total of 24 members. Chairmanship rotates annually among the four governors.
The waterway compact will also be led in 2018 by Mr. Dale Pierce of Aberdeen, Mississippi as its vice-chairman, and Mr. T.L “Bud” Phillips of Columbus, Mississippi, who was reelected as its treasurer. Pierce is a CPA and owner of R. Dale Pierce Certified Public Accountant, in Aberdeen and has been a member of the waterway compact since 2004. Phillips, a businessman, is the longest serving member of the authority, having first been appointed in 1988.
The authority’s sister organization, the Tenn-Tom Waterway Development Council, will be led this year by Mr. Stephen Surles of Nashville, Tennessee as its chairman. Surles is Senior Manager Global Business for the Tennessee Valley Authority. Other officers include Mr. Kevin Stafford of Columbus, Mississippi as vice-chairman; Mr. Josh Tubbs of Benton, Kentucky, treasurer; Mr. Mike Williams of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, secretary; and, Mr. Lucian Lott of Mobile, Alabama as the organization’s past chairman. The council currently has nearly 200 members from 13 states, who are stakeholders in the waterway and its purposes, including commercial navigation, recreation, tourism and economic development.
The Tenn-Tom opened to commerce in 1985 and has proven to be a vital transportation route for shipping raw materials and other bulk products between mid-America and the Southeast. It’s cost effectiveness and energy efficient barge service have attracted billions of dollars of new and expanded industrial development to the waterway region. An extensive development of marinas, campgrounds, and other related facilities has made the waterway corridor a major attraction for recreationists and nature lovers.