Jim Rausch has been selected executive director of the Dredging Contractors of America (DCA). The announcement was made on September 9 by the Glover Park Group of Washington D.C.
Rausch who retired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in July replaces Mark Sickles who will continue to serve as a consultant to DCA.
One of Rausch’s objectives as executive director will be to strengthen DCA’s relations with its members the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies the congress and DCA’s sister organizations.
“As new executive director I’m anxious to maintain a strong positive working relationship with our stakeholders” he said. These include organizations such as the American Waterways Operators Associated General Contractors American Association of Port Authorities and American Coastal Coalition/American Shore and Beach Preservation Association.
A second objective will be to demonstrate the critical role the dredging industry plays in contributing to America’s economic strength and national security.
“I will continue as Mark has done to educate the public as to the important work the industry does for the nation economy and national security through building and maintaining federal ports and navigation channels and through beach restoration projects and other maritime construction projects” he said.
A third objective is to help secure more money for dredging projects; to convince congress that the navigation infrastructure needs further development and to be maintained. This includes beach restoration and beneficial uses of dredged material as well as navigation said Rausch.
“Shore protection is important to the economy” he said. “The public sometimes thinks that when a beach is destroyed it didn’t work. (Beach) projects are designed to be sacrificial projects; to protect what is behind them” he said.
“Since 1986 I’ve been involved with the legislative part of Civil Works and the authorization of projects and programs in water resources development acts” he said when asked what contact he has had with the dredging industry. “I was one of the principals involved in putting together the administration’s bill every two years. Frequently there were navigation projects very important to the dredging industry for construction and maintenance” he said. He also became involved in addressing issues between the Administration and Congress regarding what to do with the material.
“My background with the Corps of Engineers will be of benefit to the entire dredging industry” he said.
Rausch worked for the Corps of Engineers as a civilian for more than 31 years at the district and headquarters levels. He retired as chief of the Office of Congressional Affairs serving as principal staff advisor to the Chief of Engineers for all legislative and congressional activities across the entire Corps command. His responsibility was to provide management direction and internal coordination of Corps congressional affairs activities involving civil works military programs and the support for other programs. One of his primary functions was to improve communications with congress and to gain a better understanding of congressional issues that impacted the Corps.
He began his career in the Baltimore District after completing a masters degree in Geography at the University of Maryland. Partly because of his love for the Chesapeake Bay he took a job as a geographer with the Corps Chesapeake Bay Study working on a number of water resources study efforts in concert with state and federal agencies and coordinating the public involvement program.
In 1982 Rausch accepted a position in Corps headquarters in the Flood Plain and Coastal Zone Management Branch of Planning and held progressively more responsible positions. This included a one year congressional fellowship with the American Political Science Association on Capitol Hill where he served first as executive director of the Great Lakes Task Force on the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition then as legislative assistant with Congressman Dennis Eckart of Ohio.
He also served at the Corps as assistant director of Civil Works for the Upper Mississippi Basin and Great Lakes. In 1989 he became principal infrastructure coordinator for the director of Civil Works and executive secretary of the Corps Infrastructure Task Force. Shortly after that he served as the headquarters coordinator for the Corps privatization initiative known as the “Partners for Environmental Progress”. In 1991 he was selected to head up the Legislative Initiatives Branch in Civil Works where he had responsibility for management and coordination of all actions relating to water resources authorizing legislation. At that time he served as the principal Civil Works point of contact for coordination with House and Senate public works committees and had primary lead on the development and defense of the Army civil works legislative program which traditionally becomes part of water resources development acts.
Rausch and his wife Diane have two daughters and live in Severna Park Maryland. He can be reached at DCA’s office in Alexandria Virginia phone 703-518-8408 or by e-mail: JimRausch@dredgingcontractors.org