Mort Richardson was awarded the Western Dredging Association Lifetime Achievement Award at the banquet on June 11 for his role in establishing a worldwide professional dredging association that today is the World Organization of Dredging Associations.
In the late 60’s and early 70’s the dredging industry existed in an informational vacuum. The dissemination of dredging information was almost nil and there appeared to be a barrier of secrecy between individuals and dredging companies.
John Latham of Austin Texas co-publisher of a new publication World Dredging & Marine Construction convinced Mort Richardson organizer of the Offshore Exploration Conference (OECON) to organize a similar conference for the dredging industry. In the mid-1960’s Richardson established an annual dredging conference consisting of three days of technical papers with a dinner party luncheon and keynote speakers – a format that exists to this day – and the first conference was a success.
At that conference a consensus developed to hold future conferences every eighteen months under the auspices of an organization called WODCON Association to be formed by Mort Richardson. In subsequent years when a professional society for individual members free from the influence of dredging companies was recommended Mort formed the World Dredging Association (WODA).
Guided by Mort Richardson WODCON flourished for 10 years.
In 1978 the worldwide dredging industry took over the management of WODA and WODCON. Retaining the acronym WODA the World Organization of Dredging Associations was divided into three sections – CEDA (the Central Dredging Association) EADA (the Eastern Dredging Association) and WEDA (the Western Dredging Association).
Mort Richardson is a 1950 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. His first assignment was in the Supply Corps serving on board Navy destroyers during the Korean Conflict. In 1960 he transferred from active duty to the U.S. Naval Reserve and returned to Southern California where he worked in the Navy’s Ballistic Missile Program Mobile Sea Launch Program and Offshore Oil Shore Oil Programs and started his own company. It was here he began to organize a series of technical conferences called Offshore Exploration Conferences (OECON).
In the early 1970’s he purchased World Dredging & Marine Construction magazine from John Latham later changing the name to World Dredging and Mining Construction which he owns and operates to this day.