Founded in 1990 by David Fennelly, Associated Terminals is acknowledged today as the leading stevedoring and terminal operator on the lower Mississippi River and beyond. This year the Port of South Louisiana is celebrating two men who have fostered that growth for more than two decades: Gary Poirrier and Todd Fuller.
“Over the course of 25 years, I’ve seen some astounding growth created by the hard working and talented individuals of Associated Terminals and Turn Services,” said Todd Fuller, President and Co-owner. “I have seen our team grow from 35 team members to 1,000 team members. While some would say that with this type of growth you tend to lose touch with the individuals in the organization, I believe that the culture that the early team had created has been infectious throughout the organization as new team members join!”
Chairman Gary Poirrier has witnessed significant changes at Associated Terminals over his career. From a small fledgling company with a simple structure, the company has now grown to what he describes as a “multifaceted, professional and well-structured organization, that claims the top spot in terms of diversity and volume of materials handled on our lower Mississippi River system.”
The benefits between Associated Terminals and the Port have certainly flowed in both directions. Associated has brought their deep and diverse customer base spanning bulk, breakbulk, and project cargo customers, as well as their unmatched team of stevedoring professionals, who prioritize satisfying the needs of their customers.
“The marriage of our access and connection to all of these customers along with the talent of our team members, coupled with the Port’s location and facilities, has been a great roadmap for success,” Poirrier said.
The past and present show sunny days, but both entities still have their eyes on a bright horizon. Associated Terminals’ commitment to the Port is long-term as they are at the beginning of a 30-year lease. They believe the Port is well positioned to continue to expand and improve their facilities to meet growing demands in the market. The long history of successful partnering between Associated and the Port is certainly all the evidence needed to ensure fruitful decades to come.
It is evident that Todd Fuller and Gary Poireer, having worked alongside one another for many years, have found great success together. But their similar answers when asked about their favorite personal achievements is notable and heartening.
When reflecting on the past 25 years, one moment that stood out to the duo was their community of team members banding together in times of crisis. “One thing that ‘swells’ my chest with pride is the way our team rallies together and becomes even stronger after major challenges presented by natural disasters which occur within our communities and locations in which we work,” Fuller said. “Much of our team puts aside their own individual needs to help those who are affected the most. This includes even individuals who don’t necessarily work for Associated Terminals and Turn Services A few years ago, a major tornado tore through a community very close to our main office in Convent. Our team jumped into action to provide food, water, any other supplies, first aid, or just a sympathetic ear to many families affected by this unfortunate weather event.”
Gary Poirrier echoed the same sentiment, “I believe some of our greatest achievements have typically come in times of significant stress—such as the 9/11 terror attacks, Hurricane Katrina, a number of economic recessions, Hurricane Ida, and most recently the Covid pandemic. At the onset of such events, they seemed insurmountable , and threats to the stability of our company. But in all of these cases, Associated and its culture came out the other side much much stronger than when we encountered each challenge. All because our entire team was willing and able to rally around each other, pull each other up, and make sure we all moved forward together to beat these obstacles.”
Maybe the only thing that can match the symbiotic collaboration between Associated Terminals and the Port of South Louisiana, is the working relationship, and friendship, between President Todd Fuller and Chairmen Gary Poirrier. “Gary is one of my best friends, and he and his family are members of my family!” Fuller said. “I can say that Gary is one of the most brilliant and sharpest people I know. While I’m usually a gut feeling kind of person when it comes to making a decision, Gary will keep me in check on thinking and analyzing the process. Our collaboration on decision making has provided the groundwork for long-term, shared success.
And for Poirrier, what he admires most about Fuller is his “uncanny ability to remember every customer, their names, their volumes, their history with Associated, where their products are coming from and going to, and with all this knowledge, truly understand what’s most important in each relationship and how we can best service those customer’s needs!”
It has been twenty-five years of mutually beneficial success for Poirrier and Fuller at Associated Terminals, from inside and outside of the company, and the Port of South Louisiana has no doubt the next twenty-five will show just as much, if not more, smooth sailing.