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Eileen Maher Hired As New WEDA Executive Director

Eileen Maher, new WEDA executive director, at the Pacific Chapter 2011 meeting.

Eileen Maher, new WEDA executive director, at the Pacific Chapter 2011 meeting.

The Board of Directors of the Western Dredging Association (WEDA) has announced that they have hired Eileen Maher as its new executive director. She will replace Lawrence Patella, who has served as the organization’s executive director since 1992.

“I am pleased to welcome Eileen Maher as WEDA’s new executive director, where she will continue the exemplary leadership of Lawrence Patella,” WEDA President/Chair Ram Mohan said. “Ms. Maher brings a unique skill set to WEDA with her service on the Board of WEDA’s Pacific Chapter and extensive maritime dredging experience.”

Maher has been a member of WEDA for 20 years, which includes serving as a board member of the Pacific Chapter for five years and as chapter president in 2004. She is assistant director of Environmental Services for the Port of San Diego.

“I’ve met a lot of people in WEDA, made a lot of friends and gotten good advice,” she said. “I am honored with WEDA’s trust and confidence in me, and I look forward to advancing WEDA toward the strategic goals and objectives as outlined by the Board of Directors,” she said, continuing that her short term focus would be enhancing the quality of annual conferences, outreach to Latin American Countries (Brazil, Panama, Mexico), increasing activities for members, collaboration between the WEDA chapters for better integration, and outreach to the Corps of Engineers and ports to facilitate active participation in the organization.

Maher has a special interest in students and in bringing young people interested in dredging into the organization, possibly by forming student chapters. She found some interest at Humboldt State University in Northern California, and hopes to reach out to other colleges and universities.

Maher’s dredging experience with the Port of San Diego includes obtaining Corps of Engineers permits and ensuring permit compliance for the creation of a new marina, wharf extension projects, numerous maintenance dredging projects and most recently, a salt marsh restoration and enhancement project in which the dredged material was reused to create a 280-acre nesting habitat for endangered shore birds. This restoration project received the Presidential Coastal America award. Maher is a strong advocate of maintaining the balance between marine construction and the protection of natural resources. She presented papers on these projects at various Pacific Chapter meetings.

The new organization of WEDA includes a distribution of tasks among the board of directors, with the executive director position defined as a half-time position. Maher will continue in her position at the Port of San Diego, as well as acting as executive director of WEDA, with the help of Lawrence Patella, who will continue as advisor for a year or more.

For more information about the upcoming WEDA conference, see page 40, or contact Larry Patella, at weda@comcast.net or visit our website at www.westerndredging.org.

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