Award winning author, twice winner of the Broadcast Education Association's History Award, and winner of the Association of Great Lakes Maritime History Barkhausen Award, Bill Lafferty is both a filmmaker and a maritime historian. He was born in Oak Park, Illinois, and grew up in the western 'burbs of Chicago. He spent his summers in Ludington, Michigan where his interest in Lake Michigan's maritime history began at the age of ten. Over the years, he has developed an extensive collection of material and photographs and has become the preeminent expert in the history of self-unloading vessels. His chapter entitled "The Rise of the Self-Unloaders" in Victoria Brehm's A Fully Accredited Ocean is a precursor to Buckets and Belts: Evolution of the Great Lakes Self-Unloader. Lafferty holds a BS, MA from Purdue University, and a PhD from Northwestern University. He is Associate Professor at Wright State University in Ohio, where he has taught since 1981.