WEDA and Texas A&M Honor Larry Patella
Dr. Robert Randall, foreground, presents Larry Patella with an award in gratitude for Patella's support of the Texas A&M dredging engineering program.
Patella addresses the group at the conference luncheon after John Adams, left, surprised him with a special lifetime service award for his service to the Western Dredging Association.
On June 15, Dr. Robert Randall recognized Patella in the course of the Texas A&M Dredging Seminar.
“The plaque was in recognition of his support of the Center for Dredging Studies and the students at Texas A&M University during the past 16 years that I have been director,” said Dr. Randall.
“I also know that he supported John Herbich (founder of the Center for Dredging Studies) as well. I felt it was time for me to show my appreciation of all the support he has given through WEDA to me, Texas A&M University, and the Ocean Engineering graduate students that have assisted me in my dredging research and conference activities. My students have assisted Larry at the WEDA conferences and some have received the Murden Scholarship. He has also supported the student paper competition and several of my graduate students have been recognized for their conference papers. All of his efforts are greatly appreciated and I wanted to recognize that in a public way,” he said.
At the conference luncheon on June 16, the WEDA Board of Directors presented Patella with a special lifetime achievement award, honoring him for his service to the organization as director since 1994, for expanding the membership of the organization to more than a thousand members, for his work in organizing the annual meetings, and for increasing the local participation by encouraging and supporting the establishment of local chapters, including in Panama and Brazil.
John Adams cited Patella’s 30-plus years of service to WEDA.
Patella entered the U.S. Navy as a 17-year-old seaman and spent 31 years in the Navy, including several tours in Vietnam, where he was promoted to captain.
Following his Navy career, Patella took over the dredging division of the Port of Portland, Oregon, and was on hand to aid in the recovery from the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980, which filled the Columbia River channel with abrasive volcanic ash, cutting off shipping to and from Portland and other terminals along the river.
Upon his retirement from the Port of Portland, Patella took over leadership of WEDA, succeeding George Watts, who had led WEDA since its inception in 1979.
Patella accepted the award to a standing ovation from the assembled members.