The United States Society on Dams (USSD) is dedicated to advancing the role of dam and levee systems and building the community of practice.  As the United States member of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), USSD provides a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experiences and is charged with leading the profession of dam and levee engineering.

USSD is led by a Board of Directors representing all sectors of the industry, including consultants, contractors, owners, and academia.  USSD members are encouraged to actively participate in committees which work to address current technical issues for dam and levee engineering.

President's Message

Presidents message February 2020

It is a unique coincidence that USSD is embarking on an update to our strategic plan in 2020 because the first step in conducting strategic planning requires 20/20 Vision, i.e. clarify your vision and set a clear direction.  Last summer the USSD Board of Directors (Board) determined the timing was right to update the Strategic Plan which was rolled out in the summer of 2014.  Great strides were made by the previous Board to create a vision for our Society. The current Board has updated our vision of the future and revised our mission statement to describe what we do, how we do it and who we do it for.

We began with a member survey last fall to develop an inventory of interests and what our members care about. The inventory was used to define the strategic domains where we will dedicate resources to reach our vision of a vibrant and valuable future. A number of strategic objectives were developed and prioritized for each domain to describe what we will do to achieve success.

An update of the strategic plan is occurring in conjunction with our efforts to strengthen the governance of USSD. Good governance begins with a qualified Board that is active and involved in our organization.  The Board received training in non-profit/association governance in October 2019. We learned some obvious things like, good Boards can be better, and the best Boards make things happen, as opposed to keeping things from happening, by focusing on the appropriate governing mode. We were also educated on our fiduciary obligations which are the most essential elements of our role as a Board member. A clearer understanding of the governing modes and our fiduciary obligations has resulted in important changes in our operations and how the Board will function going forward.

The Board’s work to strengthen governance and update the strategic plan will guide us to our future by building on our strengths, addressing our weaknesses, minimizing risks, and taking the greatest possible advantage of chances for success.   A Town Hall meeting is scheduled for our annual conference and exhibition to present the Strategic Plan and afford members the opportunity to engage with the Board.  We look forward to seeing you at the 2020 conference and hope your travel plans allow you to participate in the Town Hall meeting.