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Hager is New NWC Director

Worth Hager will succeed Harry N. Cook as director of the National Waterways Conference on May 1.

Worth Hager will succeed Harry N. Cook as director of the National Waterways Conference on May 1.

Worth Hager, vice president-public affairs of the National Waterways Conference (NWC), will become the organization’s executive director, effective May 1. Her appointment was ratified on March 6 at a meeting of NWC’s board of directors.

She will succeed Harry N. Cook, the Conference’s long-time president, who was named president emeritus.

“The waterways community is fortunate to have someone with Ms. Hager’s background and talents become the next chief executive of an organization which is dedicated to advancing the American waterways agenda,” said J. Ron Brinson of North Charleston, South Carolina, former president and CEO of the Port of New Orleans, who is NWC’s chairman.

The board also affirmed the establishment of an ad-hoc committee to formulate the process to finalize and execute initiatives necessary for assimilation of the Waterways Work! campaign as a part of the National Waterways Conference.

“This is another part of our overall effort to create the strongest possible advocacy for the waterways industry,” Brinson said. “It could not be more timely in view of the crucial public policy issues, particularly the proposed diversion of maritime trust fund revenues, now pending before the congress.”

Hager, a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, was one of nine applicants for the NWC position.

She first joined the conference’s staff in 1981, serving two years as convention coordinator and membership development manager. For the next eight years, she was Washington representative of the National Association of Dredging Contractors. During this time, she served on the NWC board of directors.

In 1995, she returned to the NWC, first as a part-time employee and later becoming the full-time assistant to the president. Two years ago, she was appointed vice president in charge of the organization’s public affairs program. She also serves as office administrator and meetings coordinator.

Harry Cook has worked for the NWC since June 1964, when he was named managing director of the four-year-old organization. Previously, he had been a newspaper reporter and editor, congressional aide and later press secretary to Alabama Governor John Patterson.

In 1968, he was promoted to executive vice president, and in 1978 to president. Under Cook’s leadership, the three-day annual meetings and monthly “Washington Watch” newsletters have drawn widespread critical acclaim.

“For four decades, he has been a towering advocate for America’s waterways, taking advantage of every possible forum to highlight the public value of federal investments in the navigation and flood protection infrastructure and to point out the environmental benefits of these programs,” Brinson said.

With reference to Cook’s retirement, which is effective June 1, Brinson said that the conference “looks forward to continuing to benefit from his skills and know-how.” In his role as president emeritus, Mr. Cook will serve the organization on a part-time basis in the future, working on special assignments.

Andrew Riester will remain on the staff as executive vice president.

For more information, contact the National Waterways Conference at (202) 296-4415, 1130 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036. Phone: 202-296-4415, fax 202-835-3861. Website:

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