Louisville McAlpine Lock gets new lockmaster

Published Oct. 28, 2008

Louisville, KY – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has selected Bob Azinger to fill the position of lockmaster at McAlpine Lock and Dam in Louisville, Ky.

The McAlpine Locks and Dam on the Ohio River were built to provide safe transportation of commodities over the Falls of the Ohio. Approximately 20 barges pass through McAlpine each day providing economic benefits to the nation.

“Bob has worked with most of the current personnel at McAlpine and will be a valuable asset to the team,” said Operations Chief Rick Morgan.

“It’s like a little family down here,” Azinger said. “I’m really happy to be down here with the team. We’ve got a super crew.”

Azinger has a technical degree in industrial electricity and has worked with the Corps for eight years serving as maintenance mechanic at McAlpine for four years and then as an engineer technician in Operations Division.

"Bob is a highly qualified employee for the lockmaster position at McAlpine, and I know he will perform well in this job," said Rick Lewis, acting chief of the locks and dams project office.

Before his work with the Corps Azinger worked for the United States Navy as a first line supervisor at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base Trident Refit Facility in Georgia for eight years which helped him to understand the work he will be doing as lockmaster. The Trident Refit Facility provides industrial support for overhauling and repairing submarines.

Azinger, who began work on Oct. 14, is still getting settled in. He starts off every morning at 6:30 a.m. by meeting with the lock operators that are coming off shift and those going on so they can share updates and do additional planning. After talking to the maintenance crew to see what priorities lay ahead, he is off to do various administrative work. “It’s hard to say what a normal day will be like right now,” Azinger said.

The increased responsibility does not faze Azinger who is optimistic about the new job which he calls “a dream job.”
All of the different aspects of the job can take some getting used to. “I am just trying to take it one step at a time,” he said. “Watching out for everybody’s safety is the most important aspect of the job,” said Azinger.

Azinger is concerned about navigation and keeping the lock operating smoothly. He is looking forward to the completion of the new 1,200 ft. lock project so McAlpine will once again be back to business as usual.

“We’re hoping it will relieve any bottlenecks in this area,” Azinger said. “It should speed things up on the river.”

The ongoing 10-year lock replacement project at McAlpine is nearing completion. A dedication ceremony for the new lock is being planned for spring or early summer.