Posted June 29, 2020
WEDA’s 2020 President’s Report
June 16, 2020
On behalf of the Western Dredging Association, I would like to wish you, your families and colleagues the very best during the unprecedented times we are currently enduring. With the ongoing stresses of the COVID virus and civil strife we are all adapting to a new way of business. Our dredging community represents a very wide range of cultures, lifestyles, and opinions. Because of those differences, we can all agree that diversity makes for better decision making and advancements in education. I exhort each of you to discover potential internal biases that might be limiting your opportunities. On the safety front I have encountered field and office staff that hascome up with simple and effective ways to continue working while maintaining protocols. I wish for our members to all come home safely to their families and loved ones, so please practice science-based health advisories to the best of your ability. I would like to give special recognition to our Executive Director, Tom Cappellino, who worked tirelessly on our behalf to negotiate through complicated arrangements with hotels, vendors, and membership to avoid a potentially damaging economic setback. Not only were we able to cancel a contract with a deposit and guaranteed room occupancies but we were able to parlay the contract with better terms for a future date. In addition, I would like to thank the Board of Directors and specific individuals who participate and volunteer their time in committees and commissions allowing us to further our mission. These members directly help WEDA achieve its primary goal of promoting the exchange of knowledge in fields related to dredging, navigation, marine engineering and construction.
Our not-for-profit dredging association has been able to lessen the financial impacts associated with the COVID-19 outbreak and position WEDA to achieve the goals and initiatives we set forth to accomplish. The support we received from contractors, engineers, consultants, government agencies and industry leaders proved to be invaluable... After the conclusion of last year’s Dredging Summit & Expo in Chicago, we were able to:
- Increase attendance of the Dredging 101 short course specifically developed to educate anyone interested in learning the basics of dredging, dredged material and environmental considerations;
- Reinvigorate the Eastern Chapter with a highly successful meeting in Wilmington, DE, which was attended by a record 163 members. This meeting enabled the chapter to become financially secure and positioned for further growth;
- Continue the ongoing success of the other two fall chapter meetings for the Pacific & Gulf Chapters. Unfortunately the Midwest Chapter meeting in March of this year had to be postponed due to COVID-19;
- Continue the development of Women of WEDA (WoW) with highly attended breakfast meetings at the three Regional Fall Chapter meetings;
- Continue our scholarship program to assist under-graduate students in extending their knowledge of dredging to ensure our industry has a bright and successful future;
- Further the development of our proceedings library which makes it convenient for members to easily search for papers.
- Make strides in education initiatives through our Education Committee.
- Launch a new publishing committee and are looking to expand our on-line presence with a series of virtual papers.
As we look towards a brighter future, we are pleased to announce that the 2021 Dredging Summit & Expo will be held at the brand new JW Marriott in downtown Tampa, FL. Please mark your calendars and plan on joining us June 14-17th next year! All conference information can be found on our dedicated conference website. https://www.dredging-expo.com/
Memberships are vital to WEDA’s overall financial stability, especially during these challenging times which have been magnified by the absence of revenue from our annual Dredging Summit & Expo. As of June 15, 2020, our total membership stands at approximately 425, with 48 industry sustaining members. These membership numbers are considerably lower than previous years and we attribute the COVID crisis as the primary reason. Since membership revenues are critically needed now more than ever, we encourage everyone to check the status of their individual membership, renew if necessary, and support the association during these times of uncertainty. To check on the status of your membership, contact us at info@WesternDredging.org.
Please let your friends and colleagues know about the advantages of being a WEDA member, our goals and objectives, and the pride each and every one of us has in being a part of this association. Due to challenges within our industry which changes almost daily, the experience and knowledge available to WEDA from new members - especially in areas such as safety, excavation methods, coastal resiliency, environmental protection, cutting edge technology, and sediment remediation, will greatly benefit our association and the industry. However, there are also some professionals in the dredging industry who are not yet WEDA members; and I would like to challenge us collectively, that means each and every one of us, to strive to advance WEDA membership by inviting colleagues to join the organization.
A sincere thank you goes out to all our valued sustaining member firms and organizations. This is a time in which our member firms are truly SUSTAINING the association and mitigating some of the financial impacts that COVID-19 is having on WEDA. We call on other firms to please join us at any level of sustaining membership and provide the financial support and stability during this most unfortunate crisis. To inquire about becoming a sustaining member, please contact Executive Director Tom Cappellino at tcappellino@WesternDredging.org or call him at 949-422-8231.
We were extremely fortunate to have amended all contracts associated with the 2020 Dredging Summit & Expo in Houston and the ability to postpone the conference until the new dates in 2022 without incurring any penalties. However, considering 80% of WEDA’s annual revenues are generated by the Dredging Summit & Expo, the effect of forgoing this year’s conference due to COVID-19 will have significant negative results on our financials for at least the next 12 months.
As of June 16, 2020, our current total assets are $715,000 and liabilities of $150,000. Total assets are comprised of $184,000 in checking, $300,000 in our savings accounts, and $231,000 in prepaid conference expenses for the upcoming 2021 & 2022 Dredging Summit & Expo’s. The $150,000 in liabilities are a result of revenue received from sponsorships, exhibitor reservations and registrations that are being carried over from this year and applied towards the 2021 Dredging Summit & Expo in Tampa, FL.
Many thanks go to the financial management, contract negotiation and monthly reporting provided by our Treasurer, Walter Dinicola and our Executive Director, Tom Cappellino along with my fellow officers, Vice President Matt Binsfeld and Secretary Carol Shobrook. The Executive Committee’s collaborative work behind the scenes is responsible for making key timely decisions to reduce the overall risk to the association and avoid financial disaster from the current crisis.
WEDA also has provided financial support to students at Texas A&M University by funding the William R. Murden Scholarship in the amount of $5,000. This scholarship is awarded to (a) graduate student(s) in the fields of dredging and marine engineering and construction.
Safety continues to be the most important issue throughout our industry and is now at the forefront of everyone’s discussions. Because the health and welfare of WEDA members is paramount, and the safety of dredgers and WEDA members on and off the job is one of our primary concerns, we decided to forgo the 2020 Dredging Summit & Expo in Houston due to the COVID-19 crisis. WEDA’s Safety Commission Chair, Julie Hile, is to be commended for her outstanding performance in promoting safety throughout the industry. I am pleased to report that WEDA’s Safety Commission, panel and Safety Excellence Awards will resume at the 2021 Dredging Summit & Expo and will advance our industry’s safety.
I am certain that you all have seen the WEDA motto, “Dredging Creates a Strong Economy and a Cleaner Environment.” WEDA long ago recognized that dredging contributes to the preservation and enhancement of our environment. Through the efforts of our Environmental Commission Chairman, Craig Vogt, great strides have been made in making environmental dredging issues one of the focal points at all WEDA meetings. It has become common knowledge throughout the industry that only by educating all concerned on the importance of dredging and by working together towards the same goals, can we hope to remove obstacles to dredging and help solve the environmental problems facing our industry. The continued efforts by the Environmental Commission, under Craig’s leadership to advance these goals are indeed commendable. Although the Commission did not hold their annual meeting, it has not been idle. Under Craig’s leadership the Tech Notes initiative is beginning to gather momentum with a hope to distribute several of these papers to our members this year. The Environmental Commission meeting, panel and Environmental Excellence Awards will be returning at the 2021 Dredging Summit & Expo.
WEDA Chapters and Conferences
No annual report would be complete without mentioning the outstanding job being done by all WEDA Chapters. During the reporting period, the Eastern, Gulf, and Pacific chapters have held their meeting in their respective regions. Unfortunately the Midwest Chapter meeting originally scheduled in March was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Looking forward, here is a list of the planned chapter meetings and other events that are on the calendar, as of now:
- Mid-West Chapter: October 6-8, 2020 in Green Bay, WI
- Pacific Chapter: October 23-25, 2020 in Seattle, WA
- Gulf Chapter: TBD in Mobile, AL
- Eastern Chapter : October 13-15, 2021 in Charleston, SC
- Dredging Summit & Expo ’21: June 14-17, 2021 in Tampa, FL
- WODCON XXIII: May 16-20, 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark
- Dredging Summit & Expo ’22: July 25-28, 2022 in Houston, TX
We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and may have to postpone meetings accordingly for the health and safety of our members.
Our next annual conference, the 2021 Dredging Summit & Expo will be held at the brand new JW Marriott in downtown Tampa, FL on Water Street from Monday June 14 to Thursday, June 17, 2021. All conference information, including early sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities will be available on the Dredging Summit & Expo website. www.Dredgng-Expo.com
I’m happy to announce WEDA is working on putting out a few webinars this year. More information on these will be distributed in the next few weeks.
Last, but not least, I want to thank the WEDA Board of Directors for their active contributions and support in the management of WEDA, as well as in executing our goals. WEDA would not be what it is today without our Directors and Sustaining Members. Thank you!
The Nominating Committee comprised of Carol Shobrook, Walter Dinicola and I have decided to nominate the following four (4) Directors whose terms expire in 2020 for another three (3) year term:
- Chuck Broussard
- Julie Hile
- Craig Vogt
- Carol Shobrook
In addition, the nominating committee has decided to nominate the following individuals as new Directors, each with a three (3) year term expiring in 2023:
- Lori Brownell of the Port of Houston
- Michael Warwick of Manson Construction Co.
Per WEDA’s bylaws, these nominations need to be confirmed by the members at the general membership meeting. The general membership meeting typically takes place at the closing session of the Dredging Summit & Expo, however, since there will be no Dredging Summit & Expo this year, we will be conducting the voting by calling a special meeting of members and recording votes via proxy. If you are a current WEDA member in good standing, please participate in the voting to confirm these nominations. If you are uncertain as to the status of your membership, please contact our Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 949-422-8231.
This concludes my President’s Report.
President / Chair
Western Dredging Association