Infrastructure Investments Continue to Strengthen Midwest Ports, Boosting Capacity and Increasing Profitability for the Barge Industry

Wednesday, May 25 – Learn about the significant investments underway at three Midwest ports and new infrastructure funding recently secured that will advance several other projects to strengthen these facilities and reinforce their important role in the global freight network. The discussion will highlight how these improvements, and others being studied by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will facilitate an increase in barge services and deliver cost efficiencies that drive profitability for the industry.


News Release


Dennis Wilmsmeyer portrait.

Dennis Wilmsmeyer

Executive Director of America’s Central Port

Dennis Wilmsmeyer has served as the Executive Director of America’s Central Port (ACP) since 2010. Prior to that time, he spent 11 years with the Port, six of those as General Manager. As Executive Director, Wilmsmeyer oversees a staff of 35 at ACP and manages an annual operating budget of $9 million. He is responsible for the economic development on 1,200 acres of Port owned or operated land, on which ACP has experienced $300 million in private investment.

Mark Coulter portrait.

Mark R. Coulter

Vice President, General Counsel for PortKC

Mark Coulter, Vice President and General Counsel at PortKC, has been instrumental in defining the strategic vision for the organization, from expansion of Kansas City’s riverfront and port facilities, to exciting real estate development projects, land reclamation, historic preservation, and uncovering untapped commercial opportunities. With a background in government and law, he also has drafted and lobbied for key legislation and appropriations signed into law by the Missouri General Assembly every year for five consecutive years.

Ed Weilbacher portrait.

Ed Weilbacher

General Manager of Kaskaskia Regional Port District

Ed Weilbacher has served as the General Manager for the Kaskaskia Regional Port District since 2011. Located just 30 miles south of St. Louis, Missouri, the Port District encompasses Monroe, Randolph and St. Clair Counties in Illinois, and is the 15th largest inland port and the 70th largest port in the country by tonnage. The Port District has five port locations – four on the Kaskaskia River and one on the Mississippi River. For more than 35 years, Weilbacher has been involved with the Kaskaskia River and its watershed while working closely with the local, state and federal agencies to improve the river and add to the quality of life of in the region.

John Grothaus portrait.

John J. Grothaus

Program Manager for Missouri River Studies, Kansas City District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

John Grothaus, Program Manager of the Planning Branch with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District, has 28 years of experience in planning and implementing water resource projects in the Midwest. His teams’ projects include levee and floodwall planning and development, channel modifications, as well as navigation, ecosystem restoration, and water supply projects. Grothaus and the Planning Branch provide planning, project development and policy support in their area of responsibility that includes 18 lakes and dams, 500 miles of Missouri River, 1,000 miles of federal levees and floodwalls, and one-million acre feet of lake water supply storage.

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Presenting Sponsors

Ameren Illinois
Burns McDonnell
Castle Contracting
The Jerry Costello Group
CMT – Crawford, Murphy & Tilly

Supporting Sponsors

Hauser Group – Public Relations
The Boeing Center – Olin Business School at Washington University
Design Nine – Engineering Services for Railroads and Industry

Associate Sponsors

Terracon – Explore with us
CDI – Civil Design, Inc