About

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

President’s Message Fall 2020 

In words attributed to a pithy and wise person,

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.”
Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain)

Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy and when taken literally it means change (kai) to become good (zen). There is a distinction between innovation, a radical form of change, and Kaizen, a continuous form of change.  The key benefit of Kaizen is the ability to make small but continuous enhancements to our systems that they yield sustained improvements. Kaizen practices and philosophies are traditionally applied to businesses but are also relevant to non-profits in the transition from good to great. The responsibility for Kaizen falls on the Board of Directors, the elected representatives of USSD. The possibilities of Kaizen are available to all USSD members and now is an appropriate time to reflect and share on this topic as the Nominating Committee is being formed for the purpose of identifying candidates for the Board of Directors (see Operations Manual Section 2.2.1)

Several years ago, the USSD Board of Directors identified the need for significant change with their decision to employ a full-time professional Executive Director. Since 2017, under Sharon Powers’ leadership, Board members have been tasked with reviewing key elements of our organizational performance and identifying the processes that can be enhanced, Kaizen.  In the past year the Board and many of you, the members of USSD, have played an active role in the strategic planning process. This work is one of the key elements for improving organizational performance. While some of the strategies identified to implement the plan are incremental, they are sustainable and are establishing the practice of Kaizen for future Board’s to continue making changes for the good. The important work remains because, in the words of another wise person,

“a plan without action is a dream, action without a plan just passes the time, but a plan with action can change our world.”
Nelson Mandela