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Johnny Martin: 30 Years at Terral RiverService, Inc.

The team at Terral RiverService, Inc. is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Chief Operating Officer Johnny Martin.

Starting as a pilot with Terral, Johnny worked his way up over the years and has undoubtedly become one of the company’s strongest assets.

Terral’s CEO Tom Gattle recounts when he first met Johnny:

“I remember him as a young man coming to see me, asking for a job with our harbor service in Lake Providence. He wanted to stay close to home with his family rather than working on the river 30 days at a time. Truthfully, I didn’t need anyone to work in the harbor, but I hired him anyway.”


After a couple of years serving as pilot of the M/V Edna T. in Lake Providence, Tom realized that Johnny wasn’t just your average captain.

“He had leadership skills that were evident in the way he ran his watch and the way he interacted with other crews.”

At the time, Terral had two harbor boats; one in Lake Providence, and one in Tallulah.

“I decided I wanted to try my hand at buying a bigger boat to operate between fleets and I expanded into the barge custom unloading business,” Tom said. “I knew that, in order to do this and operate three boats, I would need someone to manage the expansion effort. Johnny was my first pick to do this.”

30 years later, Tom sees Johnny as an invaluable asset to the company.

“His management skills and good judgment are invaluable. I’m so grateful that he’s been here every step of the way in our expansion of our Marine operations.”

He has made quite an impact on the company over the years for both long-time employees and newcomers alike.

Kim King has been with Terral since 1981 and first met Johnny when he was a boat captain.

“I met Johnny when he joined Terral as a boat captain more years ago than either of us like to admit. Johnny is an asset to Terral RiverService—he takes care of business but can cut-up with the best. He and his wife Nancy are very family oriented and that carries over in our Terral family,” Kim said. “We have been through a lot together over the years and I’m proud to call him my friend.”

Lynn Lartigue has worked with Johnny for over 23 years, which has provided her with countless memories.

“Johnny and I are friends and have been working together for 23 years. He always talked to me about his dream and plans to see the company where it is today,” she said. “He is a good loyal friend and coworker, and it is a joy working with him. I wish him many more good years with Terral RiverService.”

Over the years, Johnny has made an incredible impact on not only the company but the industry as a whole.

Ken Guidry, Executive Director at the Red River Waterway Commission says he’s proud to call Johnny his friend.

“He’s dedicated to his profession and is more than willing to tackle issues that impact navigation and ultimately the people he works with,” Ken said. “He’s as good a friend and business associate that anyone could want.”

Terral has used NewSouth Marine since 2001 to build their boats, which has led to a long-time friendship between the two companies. NewSouth Marine President Tim Hovas joked that Johnny takes up the majority of his time requesting for new boats to be built.

“Johnny, the swelling in my neck has finally gone away since your foot has been off of it, and I’ve finally been able to make a bank deposit,” he joked. “Thank you for all of the business and many years of working together!”

Keith Peavy, Inland Marine Manager, Vulcan/Reco Transportation, says Johnny is his fellow “old river rat.”

“If Johnny tells you he’s going to do something, he does it. That means a great deal in business today,” he said. “It’s been a pleasure working with him – plus, he’s an old river rat like me, so we get along really well. Congratulations on 30 years with Terral!”

Thank you, Johnny, for 30 great years with Terral RiverService!

See what others had to say about Johnny Martin:

“Johnny is proof that hard work and dedication pays off. Johnny and I have a similar background as we both came up decking and piloting riverboats. He proved that being a captain is not the end of the journey; it’s just experience for the job to come. 30 years ago, Terral made a decision to hire a captain who is now the COO. 8 years ago Johnny hired me to be a personnel manager (Port Captain) and Johnny’s experience and Terral’s commitment to their employees has given me the inspiration to go further in the marine industry than I ever believed I could.” -Stanley Tabor

“I have absolutely loved working with Johnny since being employed here a little over a year. He is so knowledgeable that I know if I have a question I can go to him and he will have the answer. Johnny truly cares for everyone and you can tell by the way he presents himself toward them. I couldn’t ask for a better man to work with than our “John Boy”!” -Dede Payne

“Johnny has away supported my goals, and it has been a pleasure to know him for 30 years and work with him for the last 5 years. If all people were like Johnny Martin, this would be a great world.” -Chuck Stogner

“Johnny is an amazing man—he’s so caring and is my go-to person when I need help. He works hard, knows his business, and is incredibly dedicated. He’s so genuine and I’m so thankful to work with him!” -Robin Hopkins