In these positions, they assume the primary advocacy role on regional industry issues in those regions with state legislatures and federal agencies. Mr. Lewis' appointment became effective January 3, while Mr. Holzhalb assumed his position in September.

Mr. Holzhalb was chosen from a field of over 125 candidates to replace Kenneth Wells, who left to take a position as President of the Offshore Marine Services Association. Mr. Holzhalb is very familiar with the industry, having paid his way through college as a deckhand and tankerman aboard towboats. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Mr. Holzhalb worked for six years in a shipyard as its safety and environmental manager, while earning his MBA at Southeastern Louisiana University. His considerable maritime knowledge provides a valuable background for his work as the AWO Southern Region's lead industry advocate. The AWO Southern Region office is located in New Orleans.

Mr. Lewis replaces Gerald McMahon, who is retiring. Mr. Lewis joins AWO from his position as legislative analyst and government affairs lobbyist for the Washington State Retail Association. In that position, Mr. Lewis gained extensive experience analyzing proposed legislation and regulations and developing and implementing strategic action plans. He also performed grassroots lobbying and oversaw the association's political action committee. Mr. Lewis has experience with the legislative process, having worked as a staffer in the Washington State Senate. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Central Washington University. The AWO Pacific Region office is located in Seattle.

AWO President & CEO Thomas A. Allegretti commented, "The unique qualifications and experience of Matt and Jason will be considerable assets to AWO, as they advocate the value of the tugboat, towboat, and barge industry to the nation's economy, environment and quality of life."