Company Profile: Thirty Years of Associated Terminals

Company president Todd Fuller reflects on three decades of success and looks toward the future
Todd Fuller
Company president Todd Fuller

In a year that has presented so many challenges to businesses and corporations worldwide, one local company is delivering a much-needed dose of good news by celebrating a momentous milestone.

Associated Terminals, a stevedoring terminal and logistics operator, headquartered in Convent, Louisiana, is this year celebrating their 30-year anniversary. Founded in 1990 by David Fennelly, the company originally served as a broker of stevedoring services, and it remained that way until 1997, when Fennelly decided he would invest in his own equipment.

Todd Fuller, President of Associated Terminals, said that decision was the first of many organic growth opportunities which ushered in three decades of prosperity and expansion for the company.

“We’ve had an impressive growth story,” Fuller says. “We went from just a couple of floating cranes in 1998 with about 40 or 50 team members, to now owning and operating 14 Gottwald cranes, a floating grain elevator, and owning and operating many tugboats with our partnership with Turn Services. Across both companies, we employ close to 1,000 team members.”

Fuller says the growth strategy that started with Fennelly still remains the same: it’s all based on opportunity, collaborative decision making, and fulfilling the ever-changing needs of clients.

Photo by Rusty Costanza

“We’ve grown by being risk averse and strategically growing in places that made sense,” Fuller says. “It was almost all organic growth; these were opportunities presented by clients who had a need, and we started packaging services together.”

These principles have brought Associated Terminals a long way, effectively expanding the company’s footprint along the Gulf Coast. The company boasts 16 midstream vessel berths, 25 deep draft berths, exclusive operation of the Port of St. Bernard and the Port of South Louisiana’s Globalplex, numerous private land-based terminal operations, and earlier this year the company acquired New Orleans Bulk Terminal, a privately owned 50-acre facility off the Intracoastal Waterway.

Of course, Fuller and his team have no intention of slowing down, even considering the ongoing pandemic and related economic hurdles. They’ve weathered both literal and figurative storms before and intend to do the same this time around. Fuller says the key to accomplishing this is simple — it all comes down to the unification and dedication of their employees.

“I can say I’m so proud of our team for how they’ve pushed through this,” Fuller says. “We’ve had a lot of challenges over 30 years, like Hurricane Katrina and the 2008 economic downturn. But we’re like a family and have continued to be, no matter how large we’ve grown. It’s because of the perseverance of our team members. The team is unwavering in how they’ve presented opportunities to become better when we’re facing an obstacle.”

In fact, when David Fennelly founded the company, he did so with an emphasis on putting people first. That means not just prioritizing care and consideration of clients, but also extending those same core values to every Associated Terminals team member who contributes to the company’s overall success. That hasn’t changed, and Fuller is certain it never will.

“We’ve always tried to take care of our people, and they’ve taken care of the company,” he says. “They’ve got a vested interest in this organization. When we talked at the beginning of this pandemic, we all agreed that this was just another chance to become a better team. We’ve had a few challenges in how we operate every day and have had to work remotely in some regards, but all in all, we feel like we’re a stronger, more cohesive team going forward.”

The next 30 years, Fuller hopes, will bring even more growth and an even closer team. Fuller is excited about the two Konecranes Gottwald Model 6 Portal Harbor Cranes, which the Port of South Louisiana ordered and are to be commissioned in 2021. The cranes will increase capacity for bulk materials and add flexibility for future handling of containers and project cargo.

Looking ahead, Fuller is staying watchful for additional expansion opportunities, a mission made easier with partners like the Port of South Louisiana. “The Port of South Louisiana has been a large part of our growth, and the support and faith the commission has put in us by leasing their facility to us for many years has contributed an enormous amount to our success,” Fuller says. “The Port having the confidence in us all these years and giving us the opportunity to find business for the Globalplex facility has been invaluable to our organization. We have an incredible team and incredible partners we’ve been able to work for and with, and every day I’m impressed with the successes we have been able to achieve together.”