William K. Smith Distinguished Service Award

Established in 2002, the William K. Smith Distinguished Service Award is presented to a private sector professional in the freight transportation and supply chain area for their leadership in the field and their contributions to mentorship and education of future leaders. The award is named in honor of William K. Smith, who served on the initial committee to establish CTS and on many CTS research and education councils until his death in 2001. While Smith served for many years as a state and national leader at General Mills, he also taught classes in the Carlson School of Management and influenced many others with his passion for learning and teaching.

2021 Recipient

Deborah DeLuca
Deborah DeLuca

This year’s recipient is Deborah DeLuca, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority and the first woman to lead the organization in its history. The Port of Duluth-Superior is the Great Lakes’ largest tonnage port and one of the nation’s top 20, with approximately 800 vessels and 35 million short tons of cargo moving through it each year. DeLuca is currently president of the Minnesota Ports Association, a member of the Minnesota Freight Advisory Committee, and an executive committee member of APEX, a regional economic and business development organization.

Past Recipients


Bruce Abbe, CEO, Abbe Communications and Management Services


Jason Craig, Vice Chair, Minnesota Freight Advisory Committee


George Schember, Vice President, Cargill Transportation & Logistics


Vanta Coda II, Executive Director, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, and President, Minnesota Ports Association


Brad Emch, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, SAV Transportation Group


Ronald Dvorak, Marketing Director, Lake Superior Warehousing


Robert "Chip" Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Bay and Bay Transportation.


Mark Berndt, Freight Program Leader, Olsson Associates


Meg Schmidt Duncan, Senior Manager of Carrier Relations, Koch Logistics


Kevin McCarthy, director of consulting services, C.H. Robinson


Dan Murray, Vice president of research, American Transportation Research Institute


Ron Have, President of Freightmasters, Inc.


Cathy Petersen, Principal, CJ Petersen & Associates


John Hausladen, President, Minnesota Trucking Association


Richard Murphy Jr., CEO, Murphy Warehouse Company


William Goins, Adjunct Faculty, Carlson School of Management


Howard Gochberg, Faculty, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Metropolitan State University


Ron Lifson, Vice president/general manager, LDI Fibres, Inc.


Gary Eikaas, Executive vice president, Dedicated Logistics, Inc.