ADM is proud to recognize an extraordinary team of employees within our American River Transportation Company (ARTCO) subsidiary. When the team identified a maintenance procedure that posed a safety risk to colleagues, they worked together to find a safer, innovative solution.

To clean and repair barges, workers must climb into and out of the vessels many times. Typically, they use a straight ladder attached to the barge’s “coaming”—a raised border designed to keep out water, and must carefully straddle the coaming when stepping onto the ladder.

Mike Ploessl, ARTCO cleaning crew lead, and Mitch Degenhardt, ARTCO safety coordinator, identified a safer alternative—a staircase with handrails. Unfortunately, the only such staircases on the market could not adjust to fluctuations in barge sizes and coaming walls. Brian Reed, ARTCO lead utility in Cassville, WI, took on the challenge of designing and building a staircase ladder that would adapt to varying dimensions. After testing a prototype in numerous locations and modifying it accordingly, the team worked directly with a ladder manufacturer to produce their new design.

“The hard work and resourcefulness of these employees created a safer work environment for colleagues at 11 locations,” said Randy Simmonds, ARTCO divisional fleet manager. “We appreciate their desire to improve safety not just for themselves, but for their co-workers.”

Congratulations to the ARTCO team for their determined effort to keep their colleagues and their workplace safe.


American River Transportation Company (ARTCO) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ADM. ARTCO operates lineboat vessels, hopper barges, harbor and fleeting services, a fueling terminal, ship buoys and a full-service shipyard. This transportation network allows ADM to deliver products to destinations in the most efficient and productive manner. More than 1,000 people work for ARTCO primarily in the Upper and Lower Mississippi River and Illinois River regions, as well as throughout secondary river transportation corridors like the Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Red rivers and related waterways.
Every day, the 27,000 people of Archer Daniels Midland Company turn crops into renewable products that meet the demands of a growing world. At more than 240 processing plants, we convert corn, oilseeds, wheat and cocoa into products for food, animal feed, chemical and energy uses. We operate the world’s premier crop origination and transportation network, connecting crops and markets in more than 60 countries.

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