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WEDA Honors Excellence with Awards

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock received the award for safety during a dredging contract. At the ceremony are, left,
Marcel Hermans, WEDA president; Stan Ekren, director of Business Development for GLDD Rivers and Lakes
Division; Julie Hile, WEDA Safety Commission chair; and Steve Lane, manager, GLDD Rivers and Lakes Division.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock received the award for safety during a dredging contract. At the ceremony are, left, Marcel Hermans, WEDA president; Stan Ekren, director of Business Development for GLDD Rivers and Lakes Division; Julie Hile, WEDA Safety Commission chair; and Steve Lane, manager, GLDD Rivers and Lakes Division.

The Western Dredging Association (WEDA) honored individuals and companies at its annual Dredging Summit & Expo, whose ex­cellence furthered the goals and standards of the organization, which represents the dredging in­dustry in the Western Hemisphere. Awards were presented in the fields of technical writing and research, service to the dredging community, safety and the environment.

 

TECHNICAL PAPER AWARDS

The Anchor QEA Young Author techni­cal paper award was presented to Zeynep Al­kas for his paper “Systems Thinking Approach to Modernization and Maintenance of Aging Inland Waterways Infrastructures.” Alkas is a Ph.D. candidate at George Washington Uni­versity, in Newport News, Virginia. His re­search was co-authored by two adjunct profes­sors, Dr. A. Y. Franz and Dr. J. S. Wasek, also of George Washington University.

The DSC Dredge-sponsored “Why dredg­ing is good” award was presented to Ben Evans, new product introduction team leader, Indus­try Solutions, at Caterpillar Inc., in Peoria, Il­linois, for his paper, “Optimizing Construction Equipment for Long-Reach Excavation in the Dredging Industry.” As Evans was not pres­ent, his co-worker Stephen Rutherford from Caterpillar accepted the award on his behalf from Charles Johnson of DSC. Evans’s paper reviewed design and system changes made dur­ing the optimization of a long-reach, 150 ton (330,000 pound) excavator for a marine con­struction project.

The Best Paper Award was given to Susan Bailey, research civil engineer, Zachary Tyler, research physical scientist, and Timothy Welp, research hydraulic engineer, all of ERDC, for their paper “Application of Laboratory and Modeling Tools to Design Thin Layer Place­ment Projects for Marsh Nourishment.” Tim Welp accepted the award and the $1,000 prize on behalf of his colleagues from Michael Gerhardt, assistant executive director of the Dredging Contractors of America (DCA).

Gerhardt said, “On behalf of DCA, the trade association that under one name or another has been handling the political affairs of the U.S. dredging industry in Washington, D.C. since the 1940s, and promoting the interests of the industry with a single, unified voice, I would like to thank WEDA for organizing a stellar confer­ence here in Vancouver and for continuing to grant us the privilege to sponsor the best paper award, as selected by the Papers Committee.”

 

DREDGER OF THE YEAR: DR. DONALD HAYES

Each year, WEDA honors as Dredger of the Year, a person who has provided outstanding benefit to the WEDA organization and to the dredging industry.

Dr. Donald Hayes, through his role as pro­fessor and department chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Construction at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV), Dr. Hayes supports the dredging community in developing improved dredging technologies and dredged material management techniques. Of immeasurable value to the dredg­ing industry, Dr. Hayes’s research has focused on efficiencies of technologies for both naviga­tion and environmental dredging, sustainable management of dredged material including con­taminated sediments, and coastal restoration and mitigation.

Dr. Hayes is an active member of the WEDA Board of Directors. He is a member of the Board of Directors’ Technical Papers Committee, the Training and Certification Committee, and the Awards Committee. Dr. Hayes has also been a long-standing contributing member of the WEDA Environmental Commission. He is well known for WEDA short courses and delivering lectures during the day before WEDA conferenc­es. He also supports the dredging community as a lecturer at the annual Dredging Short Course at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.

 

LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: ANTHONY BINSFELD

Anthony Binsfeld has been a dedicated member of the marine construction and dredging industry, committed to promoting innovative technologies and practices. As a young man, he spent considerable time work­ing around and within J.F. Brennan Company, the family business his grandfather started in 1919. Tony spent his career realizing his dream of growing the company into a multi-faceted, full-service, dredging and marine construction contractor. He led J.F. Brennan Company by building its capacity to perform numerous nav­igational projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and executed major environmental projects for the industry.

Tony Binsfeld fostered J.F. Brennan’s move into hydraulic dredging in the 1990s, which focused the company on innovative dredging, finding new opportunities in environmental restoration, environmental remediation, and high speed dewatering. His leadership and in­novation led to an “out of the box” approach that J.F. Brennan includes in all its projects.

Tony Binsfeld is highly regarded by his em­ployees for his mentorship and dedication to them and their families, and he actively cul­tivates a culture that encourages employees to seek learning opportunities. His commitment to building a people-first business is apparent in all of his actions. He has forged the com­pany’s culture, The Brennan Way, which is the playbook for how Brennan conducts its work, treats its employees, and serves its clients. He is most often quoted for his saying, “If we lost all of our equipment, tomorrow we could go to work with the people we have in the organi­zation. However, if we lost all of our people, tomorrow we would go to auction.”

Under Binsfeld’s guidance J.F. Brennan Company became a Platinum Sustaining Member of WEDA; he served as president of WEDA’s Midwest Chapter and as a member of WEDA’s Board of Directors. For all these reasons, Tony Binsfeld was presented with the WEDA’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Marcel Hermans, WEDA president, presents Anthony
Binsfeld with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

SAFETY AWARDS

The annual safety excellence award to a dredging contractor went to J.F. Brennan Company, Inc. for an ongoing record of more than 2,225,000 man hours without a lost time incident or injury.

Brennan provides every facet of work that is related to the waterways and this requires them to employ many types of skilled workers, including: construction divers, dredgers, con­struction workers, heavy equipment operators, hydrographical engineers, maritime vessel pi­lots and crews, engineers and fabricators.

The award stated, “J.F. Brennan Compa­ny’s exemplary safety commitment and dedi­cation meet and exceed the Western Dredg­ing Association’s stated safety desire to raise safety awareness throughout the dredging and marine construction industry and are greatly appreciated.”

The safety excellence award for a dredg­ing project went to Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, LLC for the John Redmond Dredging Phase 1: Design, Construct CDFs and Dredging Work for the State of Kansas, in which the company achieved zero injuries or incidents during more than 60,000 work hours logged. This milestone is the product of the company and crew’s strong safety com­mitment and consistent use of key safe work processes.

The John Redmond Reservoir Dredging Initiative was the first and largest Section 408 request in history to be approved by the Corps. Contractual requirements included supporting the Kansas Water Office’s acquisi­tion of needed permits, designing and building required confined disposal area, and dredging 3,000,000 cubic yards in a single season.

During the project, every team member from deck-level crew member to company president was involved. The John Redmond Team, including sub-contractors, particularly emphasized the Save a Life Today (SALT) safety rules and recommended practices, Life Saving Absolutes (LSAs), the Safety Without Compromise™ (SWC) launch meeting, and a Safety Department fully embedded into opera­tions. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that all persons on the project were safe at all times.

 

J.F. Brennan received the award for safety achieved by a dredging contractor. At the ceremony are, from left, Luke Ploessl, vice president of safety and compliance; Julie Hile, WEDA Safety Commission chair; Greg Smith,
J.F. Brennan, director of environmental division; Mike Binsfeld, J.F. Brennan, vice president, Civil Division, and Marcel Hermans, WEDA president.

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARDS

Environmental excellence awards were presented in three categories: Environmental Dredging, Navigation Dredging, and Mitiga­tion and Adaptation to Climate Change.

The Environmental Dredging award was presented to the project team for the On­ondaga Lake Restoration in Syracuse, New York. Project team members are Honeywell International; Parsons Corporation; Anchor QEA, LLC; O’Brien & Gere; Geosyntec Con­sultants; Sevenson Environmental Services; Infrastructure Alternatives, Inc.; de Maximis, Inc.; and Brown & Sanford Consultants.

The Onondaga Lake project is one of the largest restoration projects in North Ameri­ca. The multi-year project was conceived by some premier experts from academia, industry and the public, and involved several decades of planning, investigations, engineering and construction, before coming to fruition.

Some 2.2 million cubic yards (mcy) of dredged material were removed from the lake bottom and pumped four miles to a 55-acre upland sediment consolidation area (SCA). The material was then placed in 979 geotex­tile tubes and stacked five layers high on the SCA. Approximately 475 acres of cap was then placed over the lake bottom includ­ing placement of 1.6 mcy hydraulically, and another 1.5 mcy mechanically. Specialized amendments (more than 14 million pounds of granular activated carbon, and 14,000 tons of siderite) were incorporated into the cap layers to provide additional sorption and re­tardation properties. Approximately 37 acres of the lake bottom received targeted habitat restoration materials and planting. These in­novations resulted in technological advance­ments that were once thought to be unat­tainable. They combine innovative dredging and capping designs with long-term habitat restoration initiatives, which have led to an optimized, environmentally protective solu­tion, with great economic benefits to the lake and surrounding communities.

The environmental award for navigation dredging went to the project team for the Barbours Cut Expansion/San Jacinto Res­toration Houston Ship Channel and San Jacinto River, La Porte, Texas. Project team members are Enterprise Products, LLC; Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Texas His­torical Commission; Atkins; Weeks Marine, Inc. and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston District.

The root objective of the project was to ex­pand a dock facility in Barbours Cut along the Houston Ship Channel (HSC). The dredging phase called for the removal of 475,000 cubic yards of material to connect the expanded slip with the existing federal channel. Dredged material was transported about 9.5 miles in­bound along the HSC to the San Jacinto Bat­tleground (BU) site.

San Jacinto marsh is a 350-acre tidal wet­land complex, which lies at the confluence of the Houston Shipping Channel (HSC) and San Jacinto River. The site is designat­ed as a National Historical Landmark and is preserved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) as the location of the Battle of San Jacinto, which is credited as the pivotal event that won Texas independence from Mexico in 1836. It also stands as one of the few functioning tidal wetlands among the heavy industries of Houston. Over time, the site has undergone a series of changes associ­ated with coastal erosion and subsidence.

The project faced a host of challenges terial type, and abundant cultural resources. The total project work was a navigation dredging project that included an expanded barge slip and infrastructure to accommodate expanded capacity at a mid-stream energy product facility. At the same time, the fill project successfully restored 150 acres of the inter-tidal San Jacinto marsh to a historically accurate condition, helping visitors visualize the events that took place during the 1836 battle, and at the same time created an inter-tidal habitat that promotes native marsh grass growth and is tolerant of varying water eleva­tions and salinity levels.

The award for mitigation and adaptation to climate change was presented to the proj­ect team for Strategically Placing Dredged Material Enhancing Horseshoe Bend Island, Horseshoe Bend Island Project in the Atcha­falaya River, Louisiana.

Project team members are the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research & De­velopment Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engi­neers New Orleans District; Weeks Marine, Inc.; Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Compa­ny; and Mike Hooks, Inc. During the 1990s, placement of shoal material dredged from Horseshoe Bend occurred at eight wetland development sites located along the river’s banklines adjacent to the channel. Capacity of these placement sites was nearly exhausted by 1999. Beginning in 2002, strategic place­ment of the sediment dredged from Horseshoe Bend occurred at the mid-river open water placement area. Between 0.5 to 1.8 million cubic yards of sediment were placed every one to three years. This influenced and contributed to the development of an approximately 86.5- acre (35 hectare) island mid-river. The initial goal was to improve the understanding of how and why the island was formed over a 12-year period. Climate change, navigation, environ­mental, and economic benefits were identified and quantified to determine the multiple ben­efits being realized for enhancing the coastal Louisiana landscape with a focus on carbon sequestration in the created habitat and CO2 reductions in emissions.

As the Corps increases its use of Engineer­ing with Nature (EWN) principles and prac­tices nationwide, capturing the full array of benefits of reductions in carbon released to the atmosphere, as well as the environmental, economic, and social benefits generated by these novel solutions becomes critical. The Corps Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) developed metrics to capture the benefits of strategically placing dredged material in a river system to allow nature to self-form an island downstream that is pro­ducing a wide array of benefits both for local communities and the broader ecosystem at large. These metrics can be used to justify the application of this island-building approach at other riverine sites nationwide.

 

BEST BOOTH

Xylem Analytics received the Best Booth award, which included a $500 prize. Dick Butler accepted the award for the company, which supplies tools for quantitative and qualitative analyses of water for a broad range of industries, including those related to dredge monitoring.

 

Marcel Hermans, WEDA president, presents Dr. Donald
Hayes with the Dredger of the Year award.

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