Featured Employee | Sarah Calhoun

Terral RiverService extends a warm welcome to this month’s featured employee, Sarah Calhoun. Sarah came on board with us early this month when TRS acquired her family’s companies, Vidalia Dock and Storage and Two-J Ranch. The businesses had been in her family since 1956 and for twelve years she was part of the team. “As it goes with a family business,” she said, “I did anything and everything and before eventually being named Vice President.”

Sarah is now the Manager of TRS’s Vidalia fleet and has managed the facility admirably during this transition period. “It’s been a crazy thirty days, but we have figured it out together. Everyone has fallen into their new roles beautifully.” Remarking on what comes next for this venture, Sarah says, “Terral is able to move what we were doing to a different level. It’s exciting to be a part of and I’m grateful that it has worked out so well.”

Sarah, who lives in Vidalia, loves to spend time with her husband and two girls. She likes to travel, to go to the beach and concerts, exercise, and laughs saying there isn’t much time for anything else.

Terral RiverService Purchases Vidalia Dock and Storage

Terral RiverService announced September 1st the acquisition of the assets of Vidalia Dock and Storage Company, Two-J Ranch Inc., 363 Dry-Dock & Repair LLC, and Natchez Marine and Towing Inc. the premier fleet and yard operator in the Vidalia LA, and Natchez MS areas. According to Terral, the acquisition includes a total of four towboats, a dry dock, and rock yard. In addition, Terral has acquired all of Vidalia Dock and Storage’s fleeting locations on the Mississippi River located in and around the Vidalia and Natchez areas. “This business fits very well with what Terral already knows and does,” said Josh Knichel, Director of Development who led the acquisition for Terral. “The fleeting locations and rock yard are well located to assist us in serving many of our existing customers.”

Terral has been strategically expanding its marine operations, which now includes 170 dry cargo barges, 35 boats, 7 fleeting areas, and 10 unload rigs all involved in marine transportation, vessel management, dock operations, barge fleeting and logistics. “We’re excited to bring Vidalia Dock and Storage and their subsidiaries under the Terral RiverService flag and grow our inland marine business through this acquisition,” Terral President and CEO Tom Gattle said in a statement. “We’re also pleased to welcome new team members to Terral who will contribute to the success of our customers and the company.”

Pictured from left to right: Neil Martin, Carla Jenkins, Sarah Calhoun, Bettye Jenkins, Lauren Lucas, Joshua Knichel

Approximately 30 employees, including vessel crews and shoreside staff, will join Terral. “All of these new employees bring years of experience and knowledge, and we are excited to have them on board,” Johnny Martin COO of Terral added. Martin offered a special thanks to Bettye Jenkins, Carla Jenkins, and Sarah Calhoun the former owners and executive management team of Vidalia Dock and Storage who helped make the purchase and subsequent transition as seamless as possible. Sarah Calhoun, granddaughter of Bettye Jenkins, will continue as part of Terral’s team. “We’re grateful to have Sarah as part of our team and welcome the energy that she brings,” Neil Martin V.P. of Services said. “She’ll continue to help run the day-to-day operations of the business and will ensure excellent continuity of service for customers,” Gabe Gattle Vice President of Vessel operations added.

TRS Adds Three Boats to Its Fleet


Terral RiverService is glad to announce the purchase of three boats to be added to its fleet. Two of the boats are 2000 horsepower boats, currently named the M/V Cajun and the M/V Grace. The boats are presently at the Lettsworth, LA, location where they are being repainted in company colors. They will be renamed the M/V Bailey B after CEO Tom Gattle’s granddaughter, and the M/V Neil Martin after Vice-President of Services. “We’re proud to honor Neil by naming this boat for him,” says COO Johnny Martin. “Neil has been with the company for twenty-one years, is a member of the Executive Committee, and an invaluable asset to our operations.” The plans are to operate the two boats, and the third boat which is 1000 horsepower, out of the Lettwsorth Fleet and expand operations into areas along the Gulf Coast. “We’re excited about what’s next,” says Martin.


TRS Congratulates Recent Steersman Program Graduates

The 2020 class of employees completing the TRS Steersman Program recently graduated. Eight individuals are now set to advance to the pilot house. They completed the 18-month minimum requirement for working at Terral and the four weeks of license preparation. The 2021 class of 6 will begin their training in March. The Steersman program was initiated in 2005 and has had a huge impact on our boat operations. More than half of our wheelhouse personnel have come through the program, many starting on the deck.

New Boat Under Construction – M/V Travis Terral

Terral RiverService is currently building a new boat to be named the M/V Travis Terral. Travis is on the Board of Directors of TRS and is the youngest son of John C. Terral, co-founder of the company. The new boat being built by New South Marine is scheduled for launching in the 3rd Quarter of 2021. It will be a 4600 horsepower boat, powered by GE engines. TRS’s latest boat, the M/V John C Terral, was launched in November 2020, and currently operates on the lower Mississippi River. All of our expectations on the John Terral have been met. “We are very pleased with its performance”, says Johnny Martin, COO for TRS. We are looking forward to adding the Travis Terral to our fleet of boats.


Welcome New Employees, BJ McKinney and Devon Swafford

Bobby (BJ) McKinney grew up in the country and outskirts of Houston TX.  BJ started his career as a deck hand aboard a push boat on January 6th1996 for Dixie Inland Marine.  Shortly thereafter he received his Tankerman document for dangerous liquids and cargoes.  In 1999 he moved into the wheelhouse working his way up from Pilot to Captain in 4 years.  In 2005 BJ moved shoreside as a Port Captain for Kirby Inland Marine.  BJ continued to move around the company working in various roles including HR Manager, Charter Port Captain, and in Marketing.   In 2013 BJ left Kirby to go to work for Genesis as an Operations Manager.  He worked to build their operations department managing 24 vessels and their operations, maintenance and compliance as well as making sure the right people were in the correct positions with vessels working from St Paul, MN, Lemont, IL to Corpus Christie TX.  After building up the operations at Genesis, BJ hired on with Savage and worked as an Operations Manager managing the fleeting, harbor services, bunkering, Sulphur and bulk canal division. 

BJ is married to Kayla McKinney and has one daughter Taylor McKinney who is a graduate of Texas A&M Kingsville with a Bachelor of Agriculture Business and a minor in accounting. Taylor is to be married this April 2021. The McKinney’s in their past time love to hunt, fish, camp, hike and almost anything in the wild outdoors.


Devon Swafford serves as a compliance coordinator within the Terral River Service family.

Devon has held various positions within the maritime industry for over 20 years. After attending college for two years, joined the United States Coast Guard as an enlisted member a year prior to 9/11. Working in Coast Guard marine construction for two years, transitioned over to search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, and regulatory compliance for an additional six years. Stationed in south Louisiana during hurricane Katrina, conducted several weeks of search and rescue in the neighborhoods of New Orleans.

After inspecting vessels and waterside facilities of varying sizes and types, moved to the upper Florida Keys to focus on search and rescue and drug/migrant interdiction for his final two years before transitioning to the commercial industry.

Swafford transitioned into commercial transportation, maritime construction, and offshore plug and abandonment operations for the next 13 years while obtaining a bachelor’s in business management from University of Phoenix, and a masters in business administration from Nicholls State University. 

Devon and his wife Sarah spend time with their children camping and fishing.

Welcome New Employee Joshua Knichel

With over 25 years of service in the Maritime industry, Joshua has acquired an extensive amount of experience in many areas of the business including sales, development, logistics, operations, safety, and maintenance. He has worked on both the liquid and dry cargo sides of the industry, dealing with a wide range of products and vessel types. His unique skill set allows him to see opportunities across multiple lines of business.

Prior to joining the Terral RiverService team, Joshua spent 13 years in a variety of operations and sales roles for Kirby Inland Marine where he worked as a Fleet Manager, Port Captain, Account Manager, and Dispatch Manager.  He then served 10 years as the Marine Director for Savage Services, where he was responsible for the oversight and development of their Marine business, growing the business from no assets and three employees to a company valued at $350 Million with over 400 employees.

Joshua has held various board positions within the transportation industry, including the Executive Board of the Mississippi Valley Trade & Transport Council and served as President of the Texas Waterway Operators Association.  He holds a Master’s Degree in International Transportation Management from the State University of New York Maritime College and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Maritime Administration from Texas A&M University.

Joshua currently resides in Houston, Texas, with his wife and three children and is an avid outdoorsman.


Welcome Toby Stanley, Staff Accountant

Terral River Service, Inc. would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest Staff Accountant, Toby Stanley. Read more about Toby below!

Position at Terral:  Staff Accountant

Reports to: Paul Moore, CFO

Years of Experience: 2+ Years 

Previous Employer:  The Robinette Accounting Firm

Responsibilities:  General Accounting Duties, as well as Program Administrator for Corporate Credit Cards, Cellular Phone Plans, and Automobile Fleet.    

Hometown:  DeQuincy, LA

Family:  Wife, Bethany

Currently Resides: Sterlington, LA

Education: BS, Accounting – Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, LA

Interests:  Playing the piano, cooking, reading, and traveling.

Volunteer Activities:  Horatio Alger Association—National Scholar Alumni Volunteer

Approach to Accounting:  comes from a quote that states, “Life is like accounting, everything must be balanced.”-Author Unknown

Featured Employee | Thomas Lynch

Terral RiverService is proud to announce our featured employee for July, Thomas Lynch. Thomas has been employed with Terral River Service as a Deckhand on the M/V Edna T. Gattle since April 26, 2018. “Thomas is a reliable and hard working person and takes pride in his boat and does very well leading his crew,” says Captain Steven Adams. Thomas stepped into a leadership role in the early stages of his deckhand career due to two of his co-workers moving into the Steersman Program in a 6 month period and has excelled in the new role. Continues Captain Adams, “He is always willing to do what it takes to get the job done and is a very important member of our team at Terral River Service.” Thomas is from Baskin, LA and is married to Julie McMurray and together they have 2 children. Thanks for being such a vital part of #TeamTerral, Thomas.

Terral RiverService named one of LWCC’s 2019 Safest 70 Award Winners

Terral RiverService is proud to be named by Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation as one of their 2019 Safest 70 Award Winners. The award was created in 2008 to honor the company’s Policyholders who share their commitment to workplace safety. “These award recipients go above and beyond safety expectations to exemplify leadership in employee health and wellness,” reads their website. To read and learn more about this honor, please visit their website:

Marvin Collins | Featured Employee

Terral RiverService is proud to announce our featured employee for June, Marvin Collins. Marvin, who in August will celebrate thirteen years with TRS, is currently our Land Operations Manager. He began his career on the boats as a deckhand. While the plan was for him to move up eventually, he was promoted after only a few days when a position opened suddenly. Six months later he was promoted again. He remembers telling CEO Tom Gattle at the time that he didn’t know anything about fertilizer, to which Gattle replied that he also hadn’t known anything about a boat when he arrived. “I feel like you can work it out,” Gattle said.

Marvin laughs when asked about his spare time before saying he enjoys hanging out with his family and cutting grass. About his career with TRS, he says: “I’m so thankful to Tom and the TRS family for the opportunities that they’ve allowed me to have here. I never thought coming to northeast Louisiana that I’d have an opportunity to grow and become a part of something as big as Terral has become. It’s an amazing place.”

An Update from CEO Tom Gattle

Posted here is this week’s letter from our CEO, Tom Gattle, regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. While there is so much still unknown, we are grateful for the good health and commitment of Team Terral. As Gattle says, “This pandemic and its repercussions may give us an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a better way of doing business and living our lives in the future.”