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

As USSD has transitioned to new leadership following the retirement of our previous Executive Director, who served for 30 years, I see more engaged leadership, members taking a more active role in the organization, and increased focus on our goals.

Our Past President, John Wolfhope, did a fantastic job championing the four imperatives that are the pillars of the organization, providing focus in our efforts to advance the state of dam technology and dam safety through the active efforts of our members.  These four imperatives, listed below, provide the framework for our organization.

  • Advocate — Champion the role of dam and levee systems in society
  • Educate — Be the premier source for information about dam and levee systems.
  • Collaborate — Build networks and relationships to strengthen the community of practice.
  • Cultivate — Nurture the growth of the community of practice.

Going forward, we will continue to look to these principles to develop a sustainable professional society where the open exchange of technical ideas is paramount; where young professionals work side-by-side with their mentors in the industry; and where long-term relationships both inside and outside USSD are developed.

To that end, the Collaborate Imperative comes to mind as the guiding principle of our organization.  We have forged many great working relationships with other national committees of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), formalized in many cases with Memoranda of Understanding to work jointly toward the common goal of advancing the role of dam and levee systems.  In addition, we have developed strong collaborations with other professional organizations in the United States who are dedicated to dam and levee safety, and we will continue to work with them toward our common goals.

Our technical committees provide the best opportunity for engagement in these opportunities.  I invite all dam professionals to join USSD, and become active in one of our many technical committees.  For current members, if you are not already actively involved in a technical committee at USSD, I encourage you to explore the options.  There are many opportunities to collaborate both within our membership and with our partners worldwide.

This is an exciting time at USSD.  We have three annual conference venues already in place for 2018, 2019, and 2020 in Miami, Chicago, and Denver, respectively.  Likewise, the next four meeting venues of ICOLD have been selected: Vienna (2018) where USSD Past President Michael Rogers will run for President of ICOLD, Ottawa (2019), New Delhi (2020), and Marseille (2021). The meetings in Vienna and Marseille are particularly important, as they are venues for the triennial ICOLD Congresses.  I encourage all dam professionals to take full advantage of these opportunities to collaborate with and learn from our international colleagues.

Yours truly,

Dean B. Durkee, Ph.D., P.E.
President, USSD