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Deckhands ‘vital to success’ of Terral

When it comes to hiring deckhands, Terral River Service seeks out the best of the best – those who are not only willing to work hard, but those who seek a career and want to be a part of a company with a bond like family.

President and CEO Tom Gattle said deckhands play a key role in running a successful and safe river operation.

“Without their dedication and hard work, the boat would not operate successfully,” Gattle said.

According to COO Johnny Martin, each crew member and employee is considered a necessary asset to the business.

“Each person on the vessels we own is vital to the success of the company as a whole,” he said.

From the day they join the Terral team, deckhands are evaluated based on factors like work ethic, attitude and overall manageability. Throughout the first 18 months, captains and other employees are seeking out deckhands who show potential to grow into the captain position one day.

“With every deckhand we hire, there’s a hope they’ll make a captain someday,” said Martin. “There’s a lot of responsibility in the job of a deckhand, and we look for and hire those who we determine to be the best of the best.

Gattle said there are several factors that make a deckhand a good candidate for a future captain:

“The individual has to show potential leadership skills and be willing to and capable of mastering the skill set necessary to become a safe river captain,” he said.

“They have to demonstrate a desire to be successful in their lives,” Martin said. “We work to make opportunities for those who want to have a career rather than a job.”

Personnel Manager Stanley Tabor said he values the fact that he has had the opportunity to shake the hand of every deckhand and learn their names, a benefit that comes from working in a tight-knit community.

According to Tabor, when deckhands are on the boats, they are required to report to their captains. However, the company encourages deckhands to come by the land offices on their days off and talk about how things are going, if they have concerns or just want to get to know the people in the offices.

“No one is treated like another number,” Tabor said. “We work as a team, as a unit. We don’t put one man above another. Deckhands are just as important as our management team, as our captains – a crew is a group of people, not one single person.”