Stevedoring, Steering and Supporting
Weeks Marine, Inc. celebrates a century of impacting others
Black and white photographs from a century ago captured monochromatic moments chronicling major milestones in our world. Among these treasures are the pictures of the Weeks Stevedoring Company Crane No. 1, which help to tell the story of the beginnings of Weeks Marine, Inc.
Father and son Francis H. and Richard B. Weeks founded Weeks Stevedoring Company in 1919 with two floating cranes in the Port of New York. The company initially focused its efforts on providing stevedoring services; however, its services and its fleet have grown exponentially since its inception. Weeks Stevedoring Company, headquartered in Cranford, New Jersey, officially changed its name to Weeks Marine, Inc. in 1988.
Today, Weeks Marine’s equipment holdings include barges, cranes, dredges and tugboats—all used to perform work within the various divisions of the company. No longer focused primarily on loading and unloading ships, Weeks Marine’s divisions include construction, dredging, marine services and three wholly owned subsidiaries, McNally International, Inc., Healy Tibbitts Builders, Inc., and North American Aggregates LLC.
Much of the corporation’s growth in recent decades can be attributed to Richard’s son and grandson—Dick Weeks, Chairman of the Board, and Rich Weeks, CEO. “Dick Weeks joined the company after World War II and slowly over the years got into other operations—dredging and salvage,” explains Patrick Whelan, Senior Vice President. “Then when Rich Weeks joined the company in the late ’70s, the company really started to grow and expand through acquisitions. We’ve doubled in size in the last 10 years, both from a revenue perspective and an employee perspective.”
At the Helm of History
The impact that Weeks Marine has made in the industry over the past 10 decades can be seen not only in the growth of its company, but also in the role it has played in some of our country’s most historic events.
Our nation will never forget the work and dedication it took for all those involved in the recovery efforts after the collapse of New York’s World Trade Center towers in 2001. Weeks Marine worked with New York City officials and performed all marine transportation services necessary to load the debris onto barges and transfer it from Manhattan to a facility in Staten Island, New York.
Eight years later, US Airways flight 1549 made headlines when pilots Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles safely landed the plane on the Hudson River after losing both engines due to bird strikes. Weeks Marine assisted in the rescue of both the plane and all those onboard. Weeks’ team used divers and specialized heavy lift equipment to efficiently remove wreckage from the water and transport it to a safe location for inspection.
The Space Shuttle Enterprise and the Concorde SST are significant emblems of progress and change. When both of these aircraft were retired, Weeks Marine was contracted by the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum to transport them from John F. Kennedy International Airport to the USS Intrepid by barge. They were loaded to the deck of the USS Intrepid using the Weeks 533, a 500-ton- capacity floating crane.
In addition to these memorable projects in New York, the company’s construction division has completed notable jobs in the area and beyond. Jesse Ottesen, Chief Estimator for Weeks’ Construction Division, appreciates the diversity in the projects they take on. He has worked for the company for more than 22 years and says they’ve never done the same project twice.
“We have been involved in many major bridges here in New York. We were direct venture partners on the Willis Avenue Bridge and the Goethals Bridge,” Jesse says. “We also played a significant part in the new Tappan Zee Bridge, as a subcontractor in that joint venture. Also, we have a significant presence in the Gulf. We do a lot of work in Texas, Louisiana and in the Gulf Islands.”
Steering the Next Generation
As the next wave of America’s workforce faces rising costs of higher education, the Weeks family has committed its support to making career training more accessible by contributing to institutions of higher learning.
“Both Dick Weeks and Rich Weeks are huge supporters and proponents of reducing the cost of education for today’s students,” Patrick says. “Dick is a mechanical engineer and graduate of Rutgers University. He donated a significant amount of money for the Richard Weeks Hall of Engineering at Rutgers University and gave a large endowment to their scholarship fund such that there’s a Richard N. Weeks Endowed Scholarship at Rutgers University.”
In 2018, when Dick personally pledged $10 million for undergraduate scholarships at the Rutgers School of Engineering, Rutgers University announced that his gift was the largest of its kind received by the university and the engineering school. Additionally, his pledge of $6 million in 2014 made it possible for the doors of the newest engineering building, bearing his name, to open in September 2018.
“One of his biggest complaints today is the cost of education, and so he’s put his money where his mouth is, and he’s donated significantly to reduce the cost of education for engineers in the state of New Jersey and is helping to build the new state-of-the-art engineering building at Rutgers University,” Patrick says.
Northshore Technical Community College, located in Lacombe, Louisiana, has also benefited from support from Weeks. The college is located near Weeks Marine’s Covington, Louisiana, office.
“Both the company and Dick, personally, have basically invested in building a maritime simulation laboratory down at Northshore Technical Community College (NTCC) and in maritime scholarships,” Patrick says. Their support is more than just financial. “We’ve helped the school develop a maritime curriculum to educate the next generation about the profession in the state of Louisiana, which is really underserved.”
Whether welding, maritime or towing, Weeks Marine staff members are lending their expertise to develop programs that NTCC offers. “Our team and executive management have been very heavily involved in fostering these partnerships and building these relationships, but then we also have a huge number of our employees who are involved in a pragmatic way and a technical way of developing curriculum,” Patrick says.
The Weeks’ core value of caring for the community reaches beyond the classroom. Ted Weeks, Dick’s younger brother, has been heavily involved with Habitat for Humanity for several years. Although Ted retired from Weeks Marine about 30 years ago, he was instrumental in connecting the company with this worthy cause. Every year, the Weeks Marine team adopts a cause during one day of their annual meeting. This year they chose to volunteer their time to Habitat for Humanity.
“Weeks Marine partnered up with Ted to collaborate with Habitat for Humanity. The Weeks family has a history of giving back and being involved in the community,” Jesse says.
For 100 years, leadership of this family-owned business has been focused on forging a path in the industry and positively impacting the lives of others. The company has grown from five to 1,600 employees while positioning itself to tackle any size project across an ever-increasing range of fields.
Weeks Marine has positioned itself for longstanding growth by reinvesting in its equipment to continually improve and expand its fleet. The Weeks family recognizes that the recent investment of $60 million in their most modern, state-of-the-art cutter-suction dredge, J.S. Chatry, will support the growing industry for years to come.
“To be family-owned and as long-term focused as we are in our 100th year as we were in our first year is pretty remarkable, I would say. I’ve worked at much larger construction companies, and there’s nothing like Weeks. We are a very unique company in that regard,” Patrick says.