Posted on May 30, 2022
By Judith Powers
Anna Csiti has retired after 27 years as general manager (GM) of the Central Dredging Association (CEDA). During a session of the World Dredging Congress on May 18thin Copenhagen, Polite Laboyrie, president of CEDA, presented her with a memory book of her time in office.
The triennial congress was held in Copenhagen’s Tivoli Congress Center on May 16th to 20th.
Csiti has been succeeded by Mieke van Loenen, who took over the position on January 1 of this year, working alongside Csiti for five months to learn the details of the position.
“I feel honored to have been entrusted to take over Anna’s role as general manager of CEDA, van Loenen told DredgeWire. “Anna has guided the association over the last decades in a very professional manner, always looking for ways to improve and professionalize CEDA’s work and events. Big shoes to fill!” she said. (See more comments from van Loenen later in the article.)
As GM, beginning on January 1, 1996, Csiti was responsible for carrying out the aims of the CEDA Board of Directors, which included managing all aspects of the organization with the help of committees that handled the details.
She succeeded Lorraine van Dam, who became GM when CEDA was first formed in the late 1970s.
One of the most important committees Csiti worked with was the Technical Papers and Programme Committee (TPPC). The first chair was Dieter Rokosch of Rijkswaterstaat, then Professor Wim Vlasblom, and since 2008, Professor Cees van Rhee, chair of the Dredging Technology Chair at the Delft University of Technology.
She handled the arrangements with the venues for the annual CEDA Dredging Days, which is paired with a large maritime exhibition, first at the RAI in Amsterdam and later at the Ahoy in Rotterdam. For registration and logisticsshe worked with the Professional Conference Organizer Syliva Minten.
Locations of Dredging Days through the years: https://www.cedaconferences.org/content.asp?owner=1&page=10
“I have always tried to add something new,” she said, and proposed adding a dredging equipment exhibition to the Dredging Days, and popular interactive sessions beginning in 2015.
The first Dredging Day was in 1980, designed to bring dredging industry exhibitors and attendees at Europort together in a focused gathering with dredging-focused technical papers. In 1988, CEDA began to be scheduled most years outside Europort, sometimes in other countries.
“In the summer of 2020 we completely revamped the CEDA Dredging Days, and we were all geared up to present it in 2021. But COVID-19 made us pivot to a fully digital conference and exhibition, which we held in September 2021,” Csiti said.
With a background in Civil Engineering, she presented a paper at WODCON XIV in Amsterdam soon after joining CEDA in September 1995 as assistant general manager.
“That’s when I first met Nick Bray,” she said, and soon joined him on the Editorial Board of the CEDA-IADC series of guides “Environmental Aspects of Dredging.” Csiti and Bray represented CEDA, and Gerard van Raalte and Peter Hamburger represented IADC in the effort.
“This publication, its update in 2008 and our new book with IADC “Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure” published in 2018 is a thread throughout my entire time in CEDA,” she said. “These publications also brilliantly demonstrate how dredging has been changing, as the theme of this year’s WODCON XXIII – Dredging is Changing — points out.”
The CEDA Environmental Commission has through the years been active, with enthusiastic members. Csiti coordinated and managed the commission’s twice-yearly two-day meetings, hosted by one of the members in that member’s country. The meetings included a day and a half of meetings and a half day site visit. These meetings produced many information papers, and Csiti managed the production of the draft documents into printed publications.
“We now have two other technical commissions, the Dredging Management Commission (DMC) and the newly-formed Decarbonizations Commission,” she said. The DMC also produces information papers, and both groups host webinars and interactive sessions at the CEDA Dredging Days. DMC also produces information papers, which, along with the Environmental Commission papers, can be seen on the CEDA website at https://www.dredging.org/resources/ceda-publications-online/position-and-information-papers
Both groups also host webinars and dedicated interactive sessions at the CEDA Dredging Days. Webinars are posted at this website:https://www.dredging.org/resources/presentations/webinars,” she said.
“We also have two administrative commissions, the Strategy Commission,https://www.dredging.org/ceda/governance/strategy-commission, and the Communication Commission, https://www.dredging.org/ceda/governance/communications-commission, which doubles as the editorial board of CEDA Industry News (CID,) our monthly digital newsletter, which started when the publication Dredging and Port Construction (DPC) ended,” she said. https://www.dredging.org/news/industry-news,
Mieke van Loenen Takes Over
CEDA’s new GM Mieke van Loenen studied hotel management and has background and experience in association and event management. She worked for ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) for more than 20 years, heading d the events department and as part of the management team. During her time with ICCA, the association grew from 400 to over 1000 corporate members and attendance at the annual meeting increased from 500 to over 1200 attendees.
She started in November 2021 as assistant GM and took over as GM on 1st of January 2022.
“Since then, we have been working together, especially in the last 5 months, on WODCON XXIII, on the CEDA regular annual schedule, and on the WODCON planning schedule,” said Csiti. “Mieke joined me in all meetings, I briefed her before those, and we talked after. In addition when we could fit in, we addressed specific areas of work. The timing of the handover could not have been better! WODCON offered so many opportunities for Mieke to get to know CEDA and WODA and to meet many people,” she said.
Van Loenen is impressed with the energy in the CEDA organization.
“What I’ve noticed most since I started working for CEDA is the commitment and hard work of our members. Their willingness to work for CEDA and share their knowledge and expertise is outstanding,” she said.
“In order for CEDA to stay relevant in the future, I see it as my task to try and keep this member commitment on a high level. In order to do so it is especially important to engage with and involve the young professionals in the industry. There is a new generation who engage with association differently, and we need to make sure that we adapt to that,” she continued.
“I look forward to implementing and further improving the new plans for the CEDA Dredging Days. Apart from being financially viable, it is important that our events are valuable and attractive for all our CEDA member types and all generations. I will also continue to work with our Board of Directors, commissions and working groups on existing and new projects such as Financing Sustainable Marine and Freshwater Infrastructure,” she concluded.
This web page describing that process ishttps://www.financing-smafi.org/.