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’s 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 McKee’s 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.