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USSD Binds New Relationships Around the World – By John S. Wolfhope

WolfhopecolorThis week I had the incredible honor to serve as a keynote speaker for K Water’s International Symposium on Dam Safety Maintenance and Technology in Daejeon, Korea. Listening to the messages of my co-presenters — the general directors of the Korean Water Corporation and the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute — I realized our three independently prepared presentations centered around parallel technical themes within the framework of a holistic risk-informed approach to managing our dam and levee infrastructures. It quickly became clear that our three countries share common global challenges and leadership roles in maintaining aging water infrastructure, addressing climate change and cultivating our community of
practice.

Two weeks ago in Mexico City, USSD was represented by a delegation of our members as we debated many of these same aspects, compared practices and shared lessons learned among the various countries forming the ICOLD National Committees of the Americas (INCA). One of my primary goals for my term as USSD President was to re-invigorate and strengthen the relationship between USSD and our colleagues across North, Central, and South America.

During the past two months, USSD Executive Director Gene Guilford participated in the Canadian Dam Association (CDA) annual meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and attended other important events with our industry partners. Through Gene’s efforts, USSD is collaborating with CDA to organize a Public Safety Workshop during the Anaheim USSD annual meeting.

At our November meeting of the USSD Board of Directors, we discussed ways to increase leadership development opportunities for young professionals and considered a proposal to partner with the American Society of Black Engineers. These strategic activities are directly tied to nurturing and growing the community of practice. During the month of October, former USSD President and current ICOLD Vice President Mike Rogers attended dam-related meetings in Switzerland, Australia, China and Mexico City

This around-the world tour provided an opportunity for him to represent ICOLD and USSD and share the current state-of-the-practice in the United States.

As I return home from Korea and Mexico City, I have been contemplating the interconnection of USSD’s Collaborate and Cultivate imperatives. Our goal to build networks and relationships to strengthen the community of practice is inherently tied to nurturing the growth of the community of practice. By working together with our colleagues in other countries, we are better equipped to secure the health and sustainability of our industry, attract young professionals into the industry and USSD/ICOLD activities, and foster career paths in engineering to increase the talent pool for our industry. It is an exciting time in the evolution of engineering practice.

Each day brings new opportunities to apply rapidly evolving technology to advance our industry. I challenge our young professionals (as well as our more seasoned professionals) to get engaged in the dialog of how we address our common challenges of managing water infrastructure on a global scale.

I welcome your thoughts and suggestions of how together we can better accomplish our Mission and Vision. By leveraging our relationships and continually improving, USSD will be a relevant organization serving our global industry into the future.John S. Wolfhope, Chair, USSD Board of Directors

John S. Wolfhope, Chair, USSD Board of Directors

JSW@freese.com