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WEDA Meeting Held in San Diego, Dedicated to Memory of George M. Watts

Nearly 300 people attended this year's Western Dredging Association (WEDA) meeting and Texas A&M Dredging Seminar. Held June 25 through 28 at the Marriott Mission Valley Hotel in San Diego, California, this was the 26th annual WEDA meeting and the 38th annual Texas A&M Dredging Seminar.

The two events have been held in together since 1983.
The meeting was dedicated to George M. Watts, who died earlier this year. Mr. Watts was the first executive secretary of WEDA, and was remembered for his tireless and effective work on behalf of the organization, beginning with its inception in 1978, until his retirement in 1994. Following his retirement, he continued to attend and participate in the meetings until his health declined in recent years.

Col. Alex Dornstauder, commander of the Los Angeles District Corps of Engineers welcomed the group to his district on Monday, June 26 during the opening session.
There followed 37 technical sessions, including several panel discussions, and an exhibit area with 47 exhibit booths in the days to follow. The annual WEDA membership meeting was held on June 27, and included the naming of this year's Dredger of the Year, Dr. Robert Randall, director of the Center for Dredging Studies at Texas A&M University.

The WEDA lifetime achievement award was presented to Dr. John Herbich, who was director of the Center for Dredging Studies for many years, and who began the dredging seminars and short courses in addition to his efforts at establishing the Center for Dredging Studies as part of the Civil Engineering Department at the university. His daughter, Patricia Herbich O'Connor, accepted the award, thanking the group on her father's behalf. Dr. Herbich is the W.H. Bauer Professor Emeritus in the Coastal and Oean Division of the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University.

He developed the Center for Dredging Studies and the Ocean Engineering Program at Texas A)&M, which has to date awarded more than 500 B.S. degrees, 300 M.S. and 75 Ph.D. degrees.

He also started the annual dredging seminars in 1968, which were later joined with the annual WEDA meetings.
Dr. Herbich is retired and living in Hawaii.
Dr. Robert Randall was named 2006-2007 Dredger of the Year. This award is presented to the individual who has contributed significantly to the organization and to the dredging industry.

He was honored for his many publications on dredging research topics, his contributions to dredging conferences, and work in the academic world as professor of Ocean and Civil Engineering at Texas A&M, and his contributions to research and development of dredging techniques in that capacity. He has edited and published the proceedings of the annual WEDA conferences for many years, and has served on the organization's board of directors.

At the business meeting, WEDA President John Adams thanked to Dr. Robert Randall for producing the proceedings on CD, and Nancy Patella for hosting the spouses program.
Adams praised executive director Larry Patella for his efforts, saying "we appreciate the work he does for the board and for WEDA. He has taken the association to a new level."

"It's going to take a tremendous amount of work to make WODCON 28 (to be held next May in Orlando) what we want it to be," said Adams, adding that the group trusted Patella to do what is necessary to organize it.

New members of the board of directors were announced, including Don Hayes, Dan Hussin and Peter Morino, who will serve until June 2009. Greg Hartman, Ram Mohan and Dr. Robert Randall were returned to the board to serve until 2009.

In the final session, Michael Gebhart of the Dredging Contractors of America (DCA) expressed appreciation for the efforts of the speakers, then turned the mic over to technical paper Chairman Ram Mohan, who announced the best paper awards. These were: Best paper: Joseph Gailani, Research Hydraulic Engineer, U.S .Army Engineer Research and Development Center: "Numerical Modeling Studies Supporting Nearshore Placement of Dredged Material from the Savannah River Entrance Channel." Co-Author was S. Jarrell Smith.

2nd: Mark Otten, Senior Technical Director, Parsons, "Environmental Dredging Versus Shoreline Stability."

3rd. John F. Tavolaro, chief, Operations Support Branch, New York District, Corps of Engineers: "An Evaluation of Overdepth Dredging and Its Engineering and Environmental Implications: Case Studies from the Northeast. Co-author was Steven R. Weinberg, Navigation Team Leader, New York District, Corps of Engineers.

Don Pommer won the coveted $500 cash door prize, and Dennis Thomas won the free hotel for the WEDA 27th Annual meeting in Orlando, to be held in conjunction with the World Dredging Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Adams announced that a chapter meeting is being planned for Brazil in fall of 2007, and that the WEDA Midwest chapter meeting will be held next spring, with details to be announced.

Other chapter meetings are the Gulf Chapter, October 10 and 11 in Metairie, Louisiana, the Pacific Chapter October 17 - 19 in Anchorage, Alaska, and the Eastern Chapter, October 24 - 26 in Savannah, Georgia.

The annual golf tournament has been named the George Watts Open since 1994. Winners this year were: Men: Gross winner: Keith Kroger with 77; Net Winners: Ancil Taylor with 77. Women: Gross Winner: Susan Yoder with 101; Net Winner: Beverly Fedorko with 75.

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