25th Annual Conference Recap
My name is Dave Snyder; I had the honor of being the conference chairman for the 2018 MAC-IECA Conference.
Before discussing the conference – I must explain that involvement with the IECA and the MAC IECA has been especially gratifying to me. I have been involved with the MAC for the last 25 years. Recently, I have become especially interested in helping college students. I want to help them get their career started on a positive note. I want to help those who want to make EROSION CONTROL or THE ENVIRONMENT a part of their career. For that reason, I have become involved with IECAs University Partners Program. I have very much enjoyed working with Joanna Fetherolf, who leads the effort from IECA Headquarters. Last year, the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) became a University Partner. Since April of 2017, I have worked alongside Dr. Heather Gall of Penn State. She came to Penn State just after Dr. Al Jarrett retired. (Dr. Jarrett has been an ICON among the MAC-IECA community, design professionals and academics.)
I recall my very first conversation with Dr. Gall – she was determined to help her students beyond graduation. Dr. Gall explained to me how important it was to her to help her students get a job and begin their career. It was from Dr. Gall that I developed an interest in the students themselves. She showed me how important a professor and a professor‘s position could help a student. As I began the process of promoting the 2018 MAC IECA conference, I focused on several Pennsylvania colleges and universities. I tried to make contact with at least one of their leading professors. It was from this effort that I met Dr. David Foster of Messiah College. Dr. Foster’s involvement with the MAC has been phenomenal. He has helped us with our vision. He was our keynote speaker of our conference. He also hosted our field trip.
I had correspondence with professors of many Pennsylvania schools, including Penn State – Harrisburg, Slippery Rock University, Dickinson University, Harrisburg Area Community College, Villanova University, Stevens College of Technology, York College, Shippensburg University and Bucknell University. (Slippery Rock has, I am proud to say, become a University Partner!)
As has become our custom, we kicked-off the conference with a golf outing. We have named this event the “Tom Master Memorial” after our friend, Tom Master. Tom lost his bout with leukemia shortly before the conference. He was a great man and an asset to the chapter. He is dearly missed.
The conference had the theme of “Keeping Environmental Education Flowing”. While not expressed in the conference agenda, the conference certainly had a college/university flavor. The main day of the conference was Wednesday, September 19th. The conference committee informally nicknamed this day “Student Day”. Students and professors were admitted for FREE. Many wise people took advantage of this opportunity. The conference started with an opening session for the entire group. This session included our keynote address and a panel discussion called ““I am a Professional in the Erosion Control Industry; This Is What I Do…” This panel discussion was lead by representatives with different professions within the erosion control industry: General Contractor, Municipal Agency Inspector, Engineer, Erosion Control Products Manufacturer, Environmental Consultant and Products Distributor. Each person shared their own story and their perspective on working in the erosion control industry. This discussion was intended to help the students better understand the profession in which they may be considering. Worthwhile discussions among professionals and students occurred throughout the conference.
The Technical Program, as always, was excellent. With help from recently retired Charlie Riling, Technical Program Chairman Robert Connelly put together a diverse and high caliber set of speakers and topics. (A full listing of the technical program can be found at the end of this article.) We had 19 break-out sessions given by leaders in the Mid-Atlantic!
An important part of our annual conference -EnviroCert International held review courses for industry certifications: CPESC, CPSWQ, CESSWI and CPMSM. Exams were held on Thursday the 20th.
The exhibit hall had more than 25 exhibitors! The exhibit hall added an important industry element to the conference.
We announced the creation of a new award at the conference – The Charlie Riling Award. “In Appreciation of Much-Valued Service to the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of THE IECA.” Our first honoree is … Charlie Riling!! Anyone who know Charlie would know that this was an emotional moment. We sincerely appreciate Charlie’s contribution to the chapter. We hope that Charlie and Jane will keep in touch.
The Field Trip marked the end of the conference. Dr. Foster showed us rain gardens and erosion & sediment control practices at the Messiah College campus.
The conference was a GREAT SUCCESS. Next year’s conference will be held in Frederick Maryland, less than 60 miles from the 2018 conference. Hopefully, 2018 attendees will also be able to attend the 2019 conference. It is my sincere hope that those who could not attend the 2018 conference will attend the 2019 conference.
I invite all interested people to join our 2019 conference committee. If you are looking for a way to contribute to the industry – this conference could be that opportunity. Thank you for your attention.
Dave Snyder, CPESC
P. S. Listed below is the technical program schedule. Next year’s conference technical program will have similar and related topics. Of course, please contact the chapter if you have a presentation which you feel may be appropriate for this conference.