Marquette Transportation was founded in 1978 by Ray Eckstein. Over the course of its existence, Marquette has partnered with two additional family-owned businesses, Eckstein Marine Services and HLC Tugs, and its marine transportation services have extended as far down as Central America and the Caribbean, with its headquarters here in Paducah. 

As the captain of the M/V Jacob Michael Eckstein, part of Marquette Transportation, Justin Neihoff has a different work schedule than most people. When he comes home from work, he doesn’t have to worry about going back the next morning. Neihoff is accustomed to a 30 days on/30 days off work schedule that allows him more time with his family. It’s a schedule that ideally suits him and affords him more time exclusively at home.

“Being home for 30 days at a time means I’m dedicated to the family 100 percent of the time. They know I’m going to be . . . dedicated to them for the next 30 days,” he says. “I’m going to be involved in everything they do.”

Both on the boat and off, Neihoff is with family. Having worked with some of the same people for many years and being together for 30 day stretches, his colleagues become a second family when he is at work. There is a camaraderie among people working the same job, living together in close quarters, for weeks at a time. When the time is up and work is done, Neihoff, like many other Marquette employees, can go home and not go back to work for a while.

“You’re able to go out and get your work done in one month, and then come home and have free time for a month,” Neihoff says. “It’s a great feeling.”

Marquette is a company that prides itself on taking care of its employees and offers numerous benefits, such as holiday pay, performance bonuses, health and vision/dental insurance, 401k’s, etc. Employees are also given the chance to quickly advance in the company, and Neihoff has benefited from these advancements, an opportunity he says is available for any of the workers.

“Marquette’s really great about giving the guys a chance that care and want to do a good job,” he says. “Promotions are easy to come by. Working on the deck and being a mate, my salary doubled. So that was definitely some life-changing money for me and my family both.”  

Aside from the benefits, Marquette offers Neihoff more than just a job – it lets him do something he truly enjoys, with people he knows, and gives him the opportunity to give his family a good life.

“[Working for Marquette] provides a lifestyle for my family that I never imagined that I would be able to provide before.”