Strong Showing at ICOLD 2015

This year, the 85th Annual Meeting and 25th Congress of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) was held in Stavanger, Norway. The meeting attracted more than 1,200 attendees from 67 countries, including more than 50 dam professionals from the United States Society on Dams (USSD).   This annual conference brings together leaders from around the world to discuss trends and best practices in the field of engineering for dams and hydropower. MWH has been active in USSD and ICOLD for more than 40 years.

At the General Assembly, Mike Rogers, senior project manager with MWH, was elected as ICOLD Vice President for the Americas Region (North, Central & South America) on the ICOLD Board of Directors. He will hold this role for three years and will be responsible for representing the interests of the Americas Region; supporting the new ICOLD President (Dr. Anton Schleiss of Switzerland); encouraging active participation by ICOLD’s Young Engineer’s Forum (engineers 40 years old and younger); and representing ICOLD at professional meetings and conferences around the world. Mike was also confirmed as the new Chairman of ICOLD’s Technical Committee on Concrete Dams. Mike will lead this committee for the next three years with a focus on preparing an updated ICOLD Bulletin #126 on the Design of Roller-Compacted Concrete (RCC) Dams.

Mike comes well prepared to take on the challenges of his dual roles, having more than 30 years of domestic and international experience at MWH with large dams, and having worked on more than 100 dam projects in 15 countries. An expert in the area of RCC dam design and construction, he is a recognized leader in the area of dam safety inspection and rehabilitation and a sought after speaker and author. Mike is also no stranger to the USSD, having been a member for 20 years, or to ICOLD, having attended meetings since 2006. He spoke optimistically about making a positive contribution.

“I’m very excited to represent MWH on the ICOLD Board and as chairman of the Technical Committee on Concrete Dams,” said Mike. “It’s really been a 30-year dream of mine to serve in these positions. In my early days with Harza, I saw how important it was to serve on these professional societies to maintain a high profile that branded our company as a leader in the dams and hydropower industry. ICOLD was definitely the organization leading the technical state of the practice for dam design around the world. I’m now in position with MWH to use my knowledge and experience to serve in these leadership positions with USSD and ICOLD to make a real difference for our company and our profession.”

Mike outlined his key priorities as the following:

  1. Support the ICOLD mission to lead the profession in advancing the art and science of dam engineering and promoting wise and sustainable development of the world’s water and hydropower resources for the 21st century,
  2. Support the ICOLD National Committee of the Americas (INCA) through participation and collaboration in committee activities and events,
  3. Support sustainable dams to maximize the benefits of dams and minimize adverse social and environmental impacts,
  4. Build relationships with international professional organizations, conferences and publications that have similar missions to support the sustainable development of dams that provide water, energy, flood control and recreational benefits,
  5. Engage the next generation of engineers through personal interaction and mentoring.

Mike is particularly eager to tackle this last priority which he sees as essential to ensuring the next generation is prepared to shape the future.

“I want the next generation of young engineers to know there’s a lot of experience to be had outside of the U.S. in areas of dam engineering that we are engaged in on a day-to-day basis. ICOLD offers opportunities to do more than read magazine articles or technical bulletins. It provides opportunities to personally engage with engineers from around the world who have worked on many of the same issues as in U.S., such as dam safety, to get a global perspective and a real world impact. It also makes our personal and corporate breadth of knowledge that much greater if we can tap into the experience of senior engineers, contractors and owners from around the world and bring that knowledge back to our MWH clients. That will make our MWH staff – young and senior – even more well-rounded and deepen our understanding of the issues that affect our clients.”

The 85th Annual Meeting and 25th Congress of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) drew other MWH attendees from around the world who attended committee sessions or presented papers on a variety of related topics.

Peter Mason, technical director, based in the United Kingdom, served as a member of the Committee for Hydraulics at Dams and the Committee for Cemented Material Dams. He submitted papers at the ICOLD Congress on Spillways at Dams and also contributed a chapter to the CMD bulletin.

Glenn Tarbox, dams practice leader, based in Bellevue, Washington, attended the Committee on Concrete Dams and is currently involved in updating Bulletin 126 on RCC Dams. He is also a member of the newly formed ICOLD Technical Committee on Selection of Dam Type that is preparing a new bulletin examining factors for identifying preferred dam types at specific locations.

Other participants included Tatyana Alexieva, principal engineer, attending the Committee on Tailings Dams of Waste Lagoons Barrages; Terry Arnold, project manager, attending the Committee on Materials for Fill Dams; Jorge Troncoso, geotechnical consulting and Jim Lindell, senior technical advisor, attending the Committee on Hydraulics for Dams; Craig Scott, EA dams and hydro sector leader, who prepared a paper on multipurpose water storage, a major trend in the dams sector, and MWH alumnus Harry Blohm.

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