Walter Blessey Jr.
Chairman and CEO
Blessey Marine Services, Inc.
Education: St. Martin’s Episcopal High School; Bachelors in Engineering from Tulane University; J.D. from Tulane School of Law; served in U.S. Army.
Family: Wife, Jane Ann; children, Laney Watkins, 35; Laura Todd, 32; Jennifer Lindstedt, 30; Elizabeth Wisner, 26; Sarah Lindstedt, 23; six grandchildren.
Mentor: My father, Walter Blessey Sr.
This year, Blessey Marine Services, Inc.will build 10 new boats and 20 plus new barges, and Walter Blessey Jr., Chairman and CEO, already knows the names of several of them. Many will bear the names of deserving employees of Blessey Marine Services.
That’s exactly how Blessey wants it – a culture of recognizing employees for their hard work and dedication to the company. It’s that attitude that he credits as the key to the success of his company.
Blessey’s background in oil trading and marine transportation allowed him to start his company. Which has since grown into one of the most respected and largest marine transportation companies. It currently has 66 boats, 140 plus barges and over 600 employees.
His passion for people also applies to giving back. Blessey has helped raise more than $1 million for Junior Achievement, an organization that helps kids learn about free enterprise. Blessey Marine allots six figures annually for worthy causes. Blessey also serves on the board of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
Do you have a philosophy that you follow in business? Create a company culture that is focused and centered around respect for the individual.
You talk about recognizing employees-what do you look for when hiring? Hire based on character and then teach the job. It is hard, if not impossible, to teach character.
With your new hiring, where will the company be in five years? We’re building the second generation. We’re hiring a lot of young folks and building for the future today.
How do you reward your boat captains? If the boat has a year of flawless operations, the entire crew receives a check and the Captain goes on a company sponsored trip. We’ve been to such places as Alaska, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Costa Rica, and the Bahamas. We get to know each other socially in these settings. It is a great time.
Have you named any of your vessels after politicians? We have named boats after politicians who understand and support our industry such as: David Vitter, Steve Scalise, John Boozman, Charlie Melancon, and James Oberstar. We will be christening boats in honor of George Allen and Mike Huckabee early next year.
How do you spend your free time? My and wife and I are enjoying “our” time after years of raising children. I finally have quality time to spend with friends, family and to read. Our kids and grandkids visit regularly, and I can’t wait to see all of the gang on skis during the Christmas holidays.
iBERIABANK is proud to present a series of profiles featuring entrepreneurs, volunteer activists and artists whose work is making a difference. As iBERIABANK continues to make significant investments in our community, this special feature focuses on a few individuals who are doing the same.
While we can not include everyone who is inspiring change and worthy of recognition, we are proud to highlight a select few who give tirelessly to our community with their time, energy and passion.