In focus

Amping up work

U.S. Army Corps authorizes round-the-clock work at the Soo Locks

Between upgrades and building the new Soo Lock, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is juggling multiple projects in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. In September, phase one of the extensive, multi-year project shifted into high gear—24/7 work.

As part of phase one, Trade West Construction is deepening the north channel of the decommissioned Sabin Lock to a depth of 30 feet and positioning the materials to the northwest pier. The material will eventually become a breakwall for the new lock. The project has a 2027 target date for completion.

More recently, the second of three overall phases for construction of the new lock was awarded to Kokosing Alberici LLC of Westerville, Ohio. The $111 million contract involves stabilizing the existing approach walls, allowing modern vessels to tie up and wait their turn to pass through the new lock. Construction will begin in the spring of 2021 and take about two years to complete.

“The Corps looks forward to beginning construction on the upstream approach walls next spring, and we continue to work hard to maintain the pace and meet all milestones in bringing our nation’s new lock at the Soo to fruition,” said Detroit District Commander Lt. Col. Scott Katalenich.

While the infrastructure for a new era of the Soo Locks is happening, a simulation study asked captains to evaluate plans for the upstream and downstream approaches to the new lock through simulation technology. Their evaluation and feedback is being used to evaluate the approach wall designs, according to the Corps.

Phase three of the work entails construction of the new lock’s chamber. Its design includes Hands-Free Mooring and modern systems for filling and emptying. The new lock will replace the closed Davis and Sabin locks, but will have the same dimensions as the Poe, providing much needed redundancy for the aging Poe. The construction project consists of three main phases:

  • Deepening the upstream approach channel (2020-21)
  • Rebuilding the upstream approach walls (2020-22)
  • Construction of the lock chamber (2022-27)

This schedule assumes Congress will continue to provide efficient funding for the project. Congress reauthorized con-struction of the new lock in October 2018 with an estimated project cost of $922.4 million, including $32 million spent prior to 2019.

The State of Michigan provided $52 million in December 2018 to help advance the project and allow it to rank more highly among national infrastructure needs. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also received $32.4 million in federal funds for fiscal year 2019 and fiscal year 2020 budget included an additional $75.3 million.


Michelle Cortright


Michelle Cortright is Publisher of Great Lakes/Seaway Review and Harbor House Publishers. She purchased the business from her father, diversifying the company into custom publications for chambers of commerce and economic development organizations. It has and continues to assist in regional business growth by creating business magazines, visitor guides and aiding clies with image development.
As Publisher, Cortright oversees every aspect of product creation, which encompasses the editorial and business sides of our print, digital and mobile publications. She meets with clients, which we consider true partners, spearheads business development and is always looking ahead for “the next thing.”
There is often laughter coming from Cortright’s office as she interacts with partners from throughout the Midwest. She is fully entrenched in her labor of love, a company we now celebrate for 50 years of making a difference and supporting families.
She is the mother of an adult son, who is now a business owner in the same town, and is married to Rod Cortright, who pretends to be retired but remains involved as our corporate pilot and jack-of-all-trades.

Tina Felton

Executive Vice President

“For over 20 years, I have had the privilege of being a member of the talented team which produces Great Lakes/Seaway Review. Of utmost importance to me are the people and relationships that I have developed with our stakeholders, advertisers, subscribers and business associates in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway maritime industry.
“Growing up in the Great Lakes area, I have always been intrigued by the water and the role it plays commercially, economically and in the quality of life it provides me personally as an avid boater on Lake Michigan. May the legacy of this 50th anniversary edition of Great Lakes/Seaway Review be a catalyst for the next 50 years of inspiration, innovation, advocacy and the development of relationships for advancing the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway system.”

Janenne Pung


Janenne Irene Pung has been Editor of Great Lakes/Seaway Review for 16 years. During her time with the magazine, she has represented the company at binational meetings, more fully activated the Editorial Advisory Board, developed new departments and evolved editorial styles.
Prior to joining Harbor House Publishers, Pung worked in mainstream media as a reporter and editor. She then moved into risk communications for the nuclear industry, documenting (visually and in writing) and communicating the process of decommissioning a plant and returning the lakeside property to a natural state.
In addition to being a professional, Pung is a wife and mother. She teaches life skills at a woman’s transition home and is a member of the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office Victim Services Unit. In both roles, she helps people work through trauma.

Andrea Lee

Associate Editor

“As a writer for Great Lakes/Seaway Review and Great Laker magazines, part of my job is to tell the stories behind the mighty vessels that sail the Great Lakes—the men and women who crew them, the cargoes they carry, the ports they call on. It feels strangely personal now to see them out on the Lakes. A point of light on the horizon sends me running for my Ship Finder app to discover who she is and where she’s headed. My experience here has given me a much greater understanding of the Great Lakes/Seaway system and a profound appreciation for the people who make it work.”

Cris Shankleton

Creative Director

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Jen Shock

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Leif Hanson

Technology Director

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Candi Wynn

Account Executive

“For several years I worked with a Mackinac Island, Michigan-based company and had the pleasure of photographing and taking videos of vessels passing through the Straits of Mackinac, especially the Round Island passage. My love and admiration for them was formed—and continues to grow. I now have the pleasure of working in the maritime industry and understand how important and vital these vessels are to our region and the economy. My goal is to work with our partners in the industry to help us all reach our collective best in the years ahead.”

Bill Wellman

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Great Lakes/Seaway Review knits together every aspect of the Great Lakes commercial maritime industry from deckhands to CEOs to ports.”

Jim Fish

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“I’ve known the magazine since Volume 1, first as a consultant in St. Paul working with Great Lakes clients and later as the Great Lakes Commission Executive Director, partnering with Jacques LesStrang. The last 30 years, I’ve worked on the inside.
“What makes Great Lakes/Seaway Review different is informed advocacy. Everything in the magazine is informed, factual and researched. We have spearheaded and part-nered in research that led us to advocate for season extension, forgiveness of Seaway debt and removal of tolls, designation of the Fourth Seacoast, recognition and control of invasive species and many other issues benefitting the system today.
“Informed advocacy draws people to Great Lakes/Seaway Review for information and understanding—and it’s what makes it valuable to our advertisers and our readers.”

Kathy Booth

Account Manager

“I’ve been a part of the sales team with this magazine for more than 15 years and, in that time, I’ve learned so much about the importance of our Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway. But nothing compares to the clients and the relationships we’ve built over the years. Their knowledge and compassion for the maritime industry is amazing. Truly, where would we be without them? Production efficiencies and technology continue to move the industry forward, but it doesn’t happen without all the people we call friends and family.”

Ellen Trimper

Account Manager

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Rex Cassidy

Account Manager

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Pat Rumpler

Account Manager

“Historically, many of my family members have traveled the Great Lakes as ship captains, first mates and engineers. In fact, I had a family member perish when the Bradley went down in November 1958. As a child, my aunt would take me to the port in Rogers City to watch the ships load and unload their cargo. The mystique and beauty of the Great Lakes have been of particular interest to me.
“For the past 26 years, I have had the privilege of working with this talented team, which truly supports and advocates for the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway system.”

Sheri Rhoads


“As an advocate for water, a member of Friends of the Boyne River, I appreciate what I learn from the magazine each time I proof its stories. The technology being developed to assure environmental sustainability shows how industry stake-holders live as environmentalists, too.”

Carol Ochs

Office Manager

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Jacques LesStrang

Publisher Emeritus

“Lake ports can grow no faster than shipping will permit. Shipping cannot grow beyond the capabilities of the ports. Yet neither has come close to reaching their present potential and will not until the savings in time and in dollars is fully understood by those who make the decisions on how and when and where to move goods. To the ends of development and information, the Seaway Review dedicates itself.”

Dave Knight

Editor from 1985-2003

“Jacques LesStrang, founder of Great Lakes/Seaway Review, had many talents, or “skill sets,” as we say today. But one that served him particularly well throughout his career as a writer, editor, publisher, publicist, etc., was his knack for knowing a good story when he saw it. And the story he recognized in 1969—the 10th anniversary of the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway—was as good as it gets. In fact, that story was so good it is still being told today, 50 years later.
“The publication created by LesStrang, or “J.L.” as his staff knew him, to mark the Seaway’s 10th anniversary was so well done, and so well received, that it grew legs, as it were, and took off running as a full-color, high-quality quarterly which became the most widely recognized chronicler of the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway system. Having Great Lakes/Seaway Review continue in that role today speaks volumes about the ongoing commitment of the current Publisher Michelle Cortright to Jacques LesStrang’s vision and high standards. Staying competitive in today’s information scrum is challeng-ing, to say the least, for print media. It requires dynamic, well-researched, topical content presented accurately and in a visually compelling format. In other words, it requires telling a good story. That was true in 1969, it is still true today and nobody tells it better than Great Lakes/Seaway Review.”