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WEDA Eastern Chapter Meeting Affected by Shutdown

Dylan Davis, left, and Michael Gerhardt hold the Eastern Chapter sponsors poster, consisting mostly of dredging contractors. Not shown at the bottom of the poster are Southern Dredging Company and Weeks Marine.

Dylan Davis, left, and Michael Gerhardt hold the Eastern Chapter sponsors poster, consisting mostly of dredging contractors. Not shown at the bottom of the poster are Southern Dredging Company and Weeks Marine.

The WEDA (Western Dredging Association) Eastern Chapter met in Washington, D.C. on October 15 for a half-day meeting and evening reception. The Industry Corps Hopper Dredge Management Group (ICHDMG) meeting took place the following morning.

The event was originally planned to be held in  conjunction  with  the  Corps  annual  NAD/ SAD Eastern Region Dredging Meeting, at a hotel  in  Springfield, Virginia,  chosen  for  its easy accessibility. However, as a result of the partial government shutdown, the Corps can- celled its dredging meeting, and on October 8, Eastern Chapter Vice President Michael Gerhardt notified attendees that the chapter meeting would proceed on its own, at the changed venue of  the  Loew Madison  Hotel in downtown Washington.

Two of the speakers who were furloughed government employees did not attend.

Corps Chief of Navigation Jeff McKee said that there are no plans to re-schedule the NAD/ SAD Dredging Meeting.

Gerhardt reported that about 30 members, mostly  dredging  contractors,  attended.  Other attendees  were  manufacturers,  engineers  and others involved in the dredging industry on the East Coast.

Three Corps of Engineers employees attended, including Jeff McKee, Dylan Davis, chief of navigation of the South Atlantic Division, on  temporary assignment to Jeff McKees of- fice, and Tom Verna of IWR (Institute of Water Resources).

The meeting was opened by Dan Hussin, chapter  president,  and  Ram  Mohan,  WEDA national president. Presentations were a report on the  committee on the Marine Transportation System by Patricia Mutschler; the latest advancements in cutter suction dredge design, by Paul Quinn;  the state of the Jones Act, by Darrell Conner; lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy, by Michael Willis; and an update on the WRRDA (Water Resources Reform and Development Act) and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, by Chad Bradley, who is retained by the Dredging Contractors of America.

After a break, a panel on doing business in Latin America was held, with panel members Brazil Trade Minister Ricardo de Souza Monteiro; Proexport Colombia Representative Alejandro Pardo Quinones; and ProMexico Trade Commissioner Martin Teodoro Caro Sanchez.

Hank Kelly and Bryan Ellis spoke on the Portsmouth, Virginia, new midtown tunnel project; and Dennis Urso, P.E., spoke on the boat channel emergency dredging project at Robert Moses State Park in Long Island, New York.

Renee  Orr who  was  to  speak  on  outer continental shelf sand stewardship, and April Redmon, scheduled to speak on how the U.S. Commercial Service can help identify projects in Latin America, had been furloughed by the government shutdown and did not attend. The shutdown officially ended on October 17.

The  technical  papers  were  posted  on  the WEDA website by the following day, facilitated by Peggy Derrick of EA Environmental and An- chor Environmental QEA, which operates the WEDA website.

Corporate sponsors of the evening icebreaker and reception were Cashman Dredging, Cottrell Engineering, Dredging Contractors of America, Dutra Dredging Group, EA Engineering, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, Manson Con- struction Company, Marinex, Norfolk Dredging Company Southern  Dredging  Company  and Weeks Marine.

Chapter  officers remained the same: Dan Hussin, president; George Nieves, vice president;  Michael  Gerhardt, vice  president  and treasurer;  Dylan Davis, secretary; and Peggy Derrick, program manager. The group decided that the 2014 Eastern Chapter meeting would be held in Atlanta, Georgia, in the second or third week of October, avoiding the beginning of the 2015 fiscal year on October 1.

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