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Outstanding Dredging Professionals Honored at WODCON Gala Dinner; Venue for 2019 Conference Announced

Ram Mohan, left, shakes hands with Capt. David Pad-man, who will lead the organization of WODCON XXII in Shanghai, China in 2019.

Ram Mohan, left, shakes hands with Capt. David Pad-man, who will lead the organization of WODCON XXII in Shanghai, China in 2019.

Dr. Michael Palermo was named the 2016 Dredger of the Year by the Western Dredging Association (WEDA) board of directors, and Dr. Robert Randall received the Lifetime Achievement Award. The award presentations were made at the Gala Banquet on June 16, during the World Dredging Conference (WODCON) in Miami.

Special recognition was given to Barbara Randall, who for many years has managed the registration desk at WEDA annual meetings and at least one WODCON. 

Barbara Randall accepts the special award thanking her for her decades of service to WEDA.

The Dredger of the Year is an individual who has provided outstanding service to the dredging industry and to WEDA, and Dr. Palermo was selected for his vast knowledge of dredged material management and contaminated sediment remediation. He has worked in these fields since 1974 during his tenure with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which he joined in 1967, retiring in 2003. With the Corps, he was a research civil engineer and director of the Center for Contaminated Sediments at the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi.  

After his retirement from government service in 2003, he founded Mike Palermo Consulting, Inc., and provides design services and technical review and oversight for clients in the U.S. and abroad on a wide range of sediment remediation and navigation projects, notably for major Superfund sites such as the Hudson River, Housatonic River, Fox River, Portland Harbor, and Onondaga Lake sites. He is a lead author of the Corps, EPA, and international guidance documents pertaining to contaminated sediments, including the USEPA 1998 Guidance for In-Situ Subaqueous Capping of Contaminated Sediment, USEPA 2005 Contaminated Sediment Remediation Guidance for Hazardous Waste Sites, commonly known as the “Superfund Sediment Guidance”, and the USACE/USEPA 2008 Technical Guidelines for Environmental Dredging of Contaminated Sediments. 

“It is an honor to be recognized by my peers and colleagues,” he said on accepting the award. “I learn something every time we come together. I thank WEDA for this award,” he said.

Bob Randall expresses his thanks to colleagues and students while accepting the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to “another dredging legend,” said WEDA Chairman Ram Mohan in presenting the award to Dr. Robert Randall.

Dr. Randall succeeded Dr. John Herbich as director of the Center for Dredging Studies and professor of Engineering at Texas A&M University (TAMU). He presents the annual Dredging Short Course and Cutter Suction Dredge Simulator Course that are of great benefit to dredge operators, supervisors and managers; continued the Annual Dredging Seminar that Dr. Herbich established in conjunction with the annual WEDA meeting; and oversaw the construction of a model dredge carriage at the Haynes Coast-al Engineering Laboratory at TAMU.

He has been the mentor and advisor of hundreds of engineering students seeking advanced degrees in dredging engineering at TAMU.

Dr. Randall was quick to thank “my colleague, the late John Herbich” for introducing him to the dredging industry when he joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1975. When Dr. Herbich retired, Dr. Randall was asked to take over as chair of the Center for Dredging Studies.  

“I’m so pleased to see Mike Palermo honored, said Dr. Randall. “He’s responsible for get-ting me into this stuff (dredging engineering),” he quipped. 

He mentioned Craig Vogt, Ray Bergeron and Peter de Jong as industry professionals who support the annual Texas A&M dredging short courses by teaching sessions. Peter de Jong built the simulator used in the annual short course.

Mike Palermo, right, accepts the Dredger of the Year plaque from WEDA Chairman Ram Mohan.

He recognized Dr. Sape Meidema, professor at TU Delft, who has served on Dr. Randall’s Ph.D. students’ committee; David Padman, director of Port Klang Authority in Kuala Lumpur; and a special mention of former WEDA Executive Director Larry Patella, his wife Nancy Patella, and Dr. Randall’s wife Barbara who formed the team that organized the annual WEDA/Texas A&M Annual Dredging Seminar events from the early 1990s until 2015.  

When Dr. Ram Mohan announced a special award to a person who provided “selfless service, compassion, kindness and cheerfulness” to WEDA, it was no surprise that the person he spoke of was Barbara Randall, who accepted her plaque with words of thanks.

Dr. Mohan introduced Capt. David Pad-man, chairman of the Eastern Dredging Association, will lead the organization of WODCON XXII, to be held in 2019 in Shanghai, China. 

“We hope a large delegation from WEDA will attend; we would like to have all of you there,” said Capt. Padman, reminding members that they would need visas to enter China. 

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