2021 Dam Safety Award Recipients

(click to go directly to award)
National Award of Merit
National Rehabilitation Project of the Year
Regional Awards of Merit
Young Professional of the Year
Bruce A. Tschantz Public Safety at Dams Award
Joseph J. Ellam Presidents Award
Student Paper Competition Winners
Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient

View History of All ASDSO awards


National Award of Merit

Chosen by the ASDSO Board of Directors, this award honors an individual or entity contributing to dam safety on a national level.

2021 Recipient:ASDSO_091321-265[1].jpg
Jenifier Boyer
Emergency Management Coordinator for Midland County, Michigan

Jenifier Boyer is the emergency management coordinator for Midland County, Michigan. In May 2020, when the Edenville dam showed signs of impending failure, Jenifer was responsible for protecting her community from potential flooding. Fortunately, Midland had a well-developed and updated emergency action plan. Jenifier also had a working relationship with local dam operators, other emergency managers, and responders.  A small group was gathered, and the decision was made to evacuate the area.

A day after this decision, the Edenville dam failed, along with the downstream Sanford dam, causing historic flooding. Her fast decision-making allowed enough warning time to evacuate an estimated 11,000 people before the failures occurred, with no major injuries or fatalities reported.

Through these actions, Jenifier Boyer and the Midland County Office of Emergency Management demonstrated how effective planning, tough decision-making, and efficient communication can save lives.

Pictured: President Bill McCormick (left) and Jenifier Boyer (right).

National Rehabilitation Project of the Year

This award recognizes a unique remedial design, for a project of any size, that advances the state-of-the-art in the field of dam safety and exemplifies the professional engineering and construction standards that dam safety requires.

2021 Recipient:

North Fork Spillway and Embankment Improvements ProjectASDSO_091321-264[1].jpg

  • City of Asheville, North Carolina (Owner)
  • Schnabel Engineering (Designer)
  • Phillips & Jordan (Contractor)

Black Mountain, North Carolina, is home to the 22,000-acre North Fork Water Supply Basin, which is a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway and undeveloped except for the North Fork Reservoir. Owned by the City of Asheville, the basin feeds a reservoir which supplies 70% of the water for Asheville and the Town of Black Mountain. The reservoir's dam system was built in 1951 and consisted of a concrete principal spillway located on the 133-foot-high main earthen-embankment, in conjunction with a 50-foot-high saddle dam.North Fork.jpg

The original dam system did not meet current regulatory standards in that the principal spillway was not able to safely pass the design storm. If the design storm had occurred, the main and saddle dams would have overtopped by approximately 4.2 feet. A rehabilitation program was therefore implemented to meet current North Carolina dam safety criteria. Preserving and protecting the water supply reservoir was of the utmost importance to the community and the city.

The North Fork Spillway and Embankment Improvements Project consisted of the construction of a new auxiliary spillway, modifications to the intake tower, and rehabilitation of the principal spillway. Crews formed and placed more than 20,000 cubic yards of concrete and excavated 350,000 cubic yards of earth. The new spillway and enhancements to the existing spillway system now provide the City of Asheville with additional overflow capacity and expanded water storage.

Through close collaboration between design engineers, the contractor, and the city, this project created a safe, reliable solution for the community's growing water needs. The resulting reservoir improves upon the original structure and is prepared to withstand modern weather patterns and record rainfalls without failing the city's water consumers. Multiple opportunities were found for value-engineering improvements, and construction was carefully planned and executed without disrupting current water supply to the city and its surrounding areas.

Pictured: President Bill McCormick (left), Annual Award Committee Chair Jon Garton (right), and representatives from the City of Asheville, Schnabel Engineering, and Phillips & Jordan.


Regional Awards of Merit

The Regional Awards of Merit are given to individuals, companies, organizations, municipalities, or other entities working in the dam safety field that have made outstanding contributions to dam safety within each ASDSO Region.

2021 Northeast Regional Award:
City of Keene, New Hampshire

Settled in 1736, the City of Keene has enjoyed a colorful industrial upbringing as a New England mill town located on the Ashuelot River in southwest New Hampshire within the mid-Connecticut River Valley region. As in many mill towns, dams served as the fuel that powered Keene's industrial revolution. Today, the City of Keene presents as an idyllic New England downtown, home to approximately 24,000 residents, several colleges, and an innovative workforce. 

The city currently owns and operates ten dams, five of which are considered high hazard, most of which were constructed in the 1800s. Around the 2009 timeframe, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services issued the City of Keene multiple Letter of Deficiency notices that informed the city of hydraulic and structural deficiencies affecting the safe operation of four of the five high hazard dams and one of the low hazard potential dams. Following these notifications, the city developed and implemented a master plan to rehabilitate its dam inventory and prioritize public safety while maintaining vital public services and balancing other constraints. The city prioritized community involvement and held a community Q&A session with city officials, the design engineer, and the contractor for each project. Total reconstruction costs for the four high hazard potential dams were on the order of $5.3 Million.

See Overview of the Construction Projects

2021 Southeast Regional Award:ASDSO_091321-266[1].jpg
Tom Woosley
Retired GA Safe Dams Program, Former ASDSO President

Tom Woosley has served as a leader in the dam safety community, both in his home state of Georgia and on the national level. 
Throughout his more than 30 years with Georgia's Safe Dams Program, he pushed to make Georgia dams safer. He spearheaded a program to upgrade and permit regulated structures owned by the state, particularly watershed and state park dams.  Additionally, he led the implementation of the requirement for EAPs for all high hazard dams within the state, which led to more than 70% of high hazard dams having an EAP.

In addition, Tom used his experience and knowledge to support the larger dam safety community through involvement with ASDSO. He served on the ASDSO Board of Directors for nine years, including serving as the president from 2013-2014. He chaired ASDSO's Technical Training Committee for the last ten years, a role that has continued into retirement. As the chair, he has overseen the training program's growth, including the development of new courses. His leadership has directly helped ASDSO pursue its goal of expanding the technical expertise of dam safety practitioners. 

Pictured: Tom Woosley (center), and Southeast Regional Representatives David Griffin (left) and Toby Vinson (right).

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Ohio Dam Safety Enforcement Team

In 2017, the Ohio Dam Safety Program enhanced its dam safety enforcement efforts and established the Ohio Dam Safety Enforcement team. This team worked to improve the safety of many Class 1 dams in the state and push for approvable emergency action plans (EAPs).

Class I dam owners without approved EAPs were notified of a requirement to submit a schedule detailing the steps and timeframe to develop approvable EAPs. If dam owners did not submit a schedule or did not adhere to the submitted schedule, they were sent a Notice of Violation (NOV) or a Chief's Order (CO) requiring the EAP as well as remediation of any other outstanding required items. If the NOV or CO was ignored, the case was referred to the Ohio Attorney General's Office. Owners of dams in critical condition had to follow a similar process that required owners to submit a schedule detailing the steps and timeframe to bring their dams into compliance with Ohio's dam safety laws.

These efforts have resulted in the breaching of 10 dams, modification of 9 dams to an unregulated or exempt classification, and the approval of 40 EAPs for Class 1 dams. Several additional dam owners are complying with the legal enforcement process, and others are still in court. These efforts have resulted in dam owners taking responsibility for their dams' risks on downstream people, properties, and first responders.

Considerable effort, money, and time were spent on these efforts. The staff made site visits, wrote inspection reports, reviewed design plans, observed construction, wrote targeted letters, developed NOVs and COs, filed complaints in court, and served as expert witnesses. All of these things were accomplished while completing normal operations, meeting Ohio's inspection mandate, and dealing with the limitations of the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Pictured: Midwest Regional Representative Ryan Stack (left), members of the Ohio Dam Safety Enforcement Team (center), and Secretary Ken Smith (right).

2021 West Regional Award:ASDSO_091321-267[1].jpg
City of Santa Cruz Water Department

The City of Santa Cruz Water Department manages the drinking water for almost 100,000 people in the City of Santa Cruz, California. The city's primary source of surface water is Newell Dam at Loch Lomond Reservoir, a high hazard potential dam operated and maintained by the department.  This water source is critical to the city, particularly with the frequent droughts California has experienced in recent years.

In 2015, through owner-initiated unmanned inspections of the dam's outlet, the department was able to identify a serious dam safety concern. A remote operating vehicle found the concrete/steel lining of the original outlet conduit to be in a severely deteriorated condition. Other identified deficiencies included an inoperable, partially closed downstream valve, and the lowest sloping intake gate being inoperable due to silt buildup.

With the California Department of Water Resources Division of Safety of Dams' concurrence, the department established an ambitious 5-year plan to seek funding for the project, complete design, and commence with construction. The project will address a significant dam deficiency at a high hazard dam above a heavily populated California coastal city and will improve operational efficiency and system performance of the city's water system.

Construction of the $82 million Newell Dam Inlet/Outlet Replacement Project began in summer 2020.  The completed project will include three new intake shafts, which control and convey flows via independent intake valves, a new outlet structure, and a 1,500-foot long, 10 to 14-foot diameter horseshoe, concrete-filled, outlet tunnel with 48-inch and 10-inch inlet/outlet pipelines. The project will be completed in spring 2023.

Pictured: West Regional Representative Sharon Tapia (left) and Greg Reichert (right).

Young Professional of the Year

The Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) Young Professional Award recognizes professionals under 40 years of age working in the dam safety field that have made outstanding contributions to the Association, their respective organization, and/or the dam safety industry in general.

2021 Recipient:ASDSO_091321-269[1].jpg
Lee Mauney
Dam Levee & Civil Works Project Manager, HDR

Lee Mauney is a professional engineer and certified floodplain manager who currently serves as the Dam Levee & Civil Works project manager with HDR. Before joining HDR, he served as the acting chief of the Dam Safety, Security, and Emergency Management Branch at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He received BS and MS degrees in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Tennessee.

Lee is an active member of the Association of State Dam Safety Officials and a role model for other young professionals. Lee has contributed heavily to the Dam Failures and Incidents Committee, accepting the opportunity to co-chair the committee last year. As part of the committee, he has led the Decade Dam Failure subcommittee, contributed to the ASDSO dam failures website, and represented the committee on the ASDSO Annual Conference Program Committee. Recently, Lee worked to establish the ASDSO Quarterly Book Club, a review of books that may be pertinent to ASDSO members. The review is published as part of the Journal of Dam Safety.

Pictured: Lee Mauney (Center) and Young Professional Interest Group Co-Chairs Cory Miyamoto (left) and John Atkins (right).


Bruce A. Tschantz Public Safety at Dams Award

This award was established by ASDSO in 2017 to recognize and celebrate Dr. Bruce Tschantz’s lifetime achievements in dam safety, his contributions to ASDSO, and his efforts to improve public safety around dams. The award will be given to a person who takes on the role of “local champion” and works to improve public safety around dams. Often, no action would be taken without their efforts. 

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Manuela Johnson
Program Manager, State Disaster Recovery Program
Indiana Department of Homeland Security

Manuela Johnson is a fire and rescue first responder and the program manager for the Indiana State Disaster Relief Fund within the Response & Recovery Division of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

Through her role as the leader of the Indiana Silver Jackets Team, she has long been a champion of the low head dam safety initiative and a compassionate advocate for families of low head dam victims. She has used her collaborative and influencing skills to work with low head dam stakeholders, creating many outreach and mitigation activities that seek to educate and protect citizens. As part of the Indiana Silver Jackets team, she led the effort to develop the 30-minute low head dam documentary, "Over, Under, Gone." She is now working on a signage initiative within the state.

Additionally, Manuela is an active member of the ASDSO Public Safety Around Dams Committee and is the co-chair of the National Low Head Dam Inventory Team, a multi-organization group working to identify low-head dams and distribute information to the public.

Pictured: Public Safety Around Dams Chair Paul Schweiger (left) and Manuela Johnson (right).

ASDSO_091321-274.jpgJoseph J. Ellam Presidents Award 

This award is named in honor of ASDSO’s first president, Joe Ellam of Pennsylvania, and is given annually by the current president. 

2021 Recipient:
Jim W. Gallagher
Chief Engineer, NH Department of Environmental Services

Pictured: President Bill McCormick (left) and Jim Gallagher (right).

Student Paper Competition Winners

Learn more about the Student Paper Competition in the student and faculty resource section

Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient

Learn more about the Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship in the student and faculty resource section

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