WEDA Webinar – TODAY – Houston Ship Channel Widening and Deepening Update

Posted on January 12, 2021

General Webinar Overview:  
The Port of Houston Authority (Port Houston) of Harris County, Texas serves as the non-federal sponsor of the Houston Ship Channel. Port Houston and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have a successful partnership in building, maintaining, and growing this waterway for more than a century, to the significant benefit of the region, state, and nation. The Port Houston Commission, at its November 2019 meeting, awarded two professional services contracts, one to TC&B/GBA, a Joint Venture of Turner Collie & Braden Inc. and Gahagan & Bryant Associates, Inc., and one to HDR Engineering, Inc., to provide professional services for engineering, design (including Pre-construction Engineering and Design [PED] services), project coordination, and other general assistance to accelerate field work and design for the Houston Ship Channel Expansion Channel Improvement Project (HSC-ECIP). These design contracts were awarded to enable acceleration of the USACE design and implementation processes associated with a traditional, federally authorized navigation improvement project. Under the accelerated plan, construction of the HSC-ECIP will begin in 2021 with the major project components completed in 2024 (versus USACE normal construction schedule starting in 2024). The webinar will provide an overview of the HSC history and national importance, capture the Houston Pilots perspective of navigation the current and future channel conditions, pertinent design elements, and upcoming project implementation schedule.
Presenter Bios

Charlie Jenkins is a 30-year veteran of Port Houston having successfully managed multiple functions over this time including: Container Terminals Operations, Bayport Container and Cruise Terminal, internal and external engineering, environmental, legal, permit and real estate project teams, Strategic Planning, Channel Development, Environmental Affairs, Financial Planning, and Grants. In his current role as Senior Director, Strategic Programs, he leads Strategic Asset Management and GIS, and oversees several current and new initiatives including program management of the Houston Ship Channel Project, knowledge management for the Infrastructure Division, and a new division focused Talent Management Team. In addition, he acts as senior advisor for strategic community relationships. He continues to oversee the Asset Management Department which has been responsible for implementing an integrated and enterprise wide system of process and software to support optimal lifecycle management of the Port’s multi-billion physical asset portfolio.

J.J. Plunkett graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1987 with a BS in Applied Science and received master’s degrees in chemical engineering from The Johns Hopkins University in 1995, and National Security and Strategy from the Naval War College in 2005. Highlights of his 24 years of service in the US Coast Guard include serving as a member of the US delegation to the International Maritime Organization, responding to numerous high consequence oil spills as Federal On-scene coordinator including response efforts following Hurricane IKE, and serving as Captain of the Port in Port Arthur, TX. Captain Plunkett retired from the Coast Guard in 2011 and currently serves as Port Agent for the Houston Pilots. In this capacity, he represents one of the largest pilot associations in the US. JJ is Chair of the Lone Star Harbor Safety Committee Waterway Utilization Subcommittee.

Mrs. Dana Cheney has 25 years of experience with planning, design, permitting, and project management of coastal and marine engineering projects involving shore protection, beach and marsh restoration, environmental mitigation, hazardous waste disposal and remediation, and routine operations and maintenance (O&M) for navigation channels as well as port development. Throughout all of the projects completed, she has integrated technology, science, and public policy to enhance and restore coastal resources. She is familiar with the intricacies of interagency coordination and actively works with local, state, and federal agencies to expedite project permitting and procure project funding. Mrs. Cheney is especially skilled in USACE Section 10/404 permitting, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stormwater permitting and compliance, TCEQ solid waste permitting and disposal, oil and gas waste treatment facilities permitting and remediation, and permitting through the Railroad Commission of Texas. Mrs. Cheney is also proficient with developing USACE Feasibility Studies; Dredged Material Management Plans (DMMPs); Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) and Environmental Assessments (EAs) in compliance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Coastal Zone Management, and wetland delineation policies.

Mr. Neil McLellan has over 35 years of experience in coastal engineering including research, detail design, project management, environmental enhancements, and public outreach for projects involving coastal engineering, shoreline protection, habitat creation, navigation, innovative sediment management, dredging, and dredged material management. He has worked in the public and private sector assembling multi-discipline teams on all stages of project development, from conceptual through construction. A graduate from the University of Texas and Texas A&M University he is registered as a Professional Engineer in the State of Texas.

Lori Brownell – As Port Houston’s Director of Channel Improvement, Ms. Brownell leads the team to focus on the next generation of widening and deepening improvements to the Port Houston’s 52-mile channel and acts a key interface with the USACE and strategic advisor to Port Houston’s Executive Management. Prior to joining Port Houston in September 2019, Ms. Brownell served as the director of Taylor Engineering’s waterfront engineering group and provided 20-years of planning, design, and construction administration service for waterfront, marine, and dredging-focused projects in the southeastern United States. She has been an active member of ASCE since 1999 serving on the COPRI Governing Board between 2014 and 2018 (Treasurer) and 2019-2021 (Vice President, President, Past President). Ms. Brownell currently serves on the WEDA Board of Directors (2020-2023) and ACOPNE Board of Trustees (2020-2023) and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Florida and Texas.{/sliders}

This Houston Ship Channel webinar is being offered by WEDA as part of our mission to share knowledge and information about dredging. Because WEDA is a non-profit organization, with its goal not to make money but to share information, WEDA is offering this webinar complementary to current members and government employees and $25 for non-members and $10 for students.

WEDA Members & Gov’t Employees

Non-Members & Students

If you’re unsure if your WEDA membership is active, please contact us at

PDH Credit:
A certificate for one (1) professional development hour will be available for all participants upon request.

Thanks and we look forward to seeing you online!

~ WEDA Educational Commission

Source: westerndredging

It's on us. Share your news here.
Submit Your News Today

Join Our
Click to Subscribe