Brief History of ASDSO

Brief History of ASDSO

Ellam_Joe_84-86.JPGASDSO was formed in 1983. The first conference, held in 1984 in Denver, attracted nearly 300 attendees and saw the ASDSO constitution and by-laws adopted by 34 states.

ASDSO's origins date from November 1977, when 39 people were killed by the Kelly Barnes dam failure in Toccoa Falls, Georgia. President Jimmy Carter immediately issued an executive order directing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to inspect dams nationwide. This 3-year "Phase I" program revealed deficiencies in the great majority of non-federal dams.

On the heels of the Phase I inspections, two investigations - by the National Academy of Engineering and FEMA - revealed the inadequacy of state dam safety laws and programs. Their reports recommended an interstate forum on dam safety.

ASDSO began with organizational meetings in 1983 in Orlando, Florida and Lexington, Kentucky. By February 1985, 37 states and Puerto Rico had officially joined the association. ASDSO's membership stood at 165: 90 associates (government employees) and 75 affiliates.

Today, ASDSO has more than 3,000 members representing state, federal, and local governments; academia; dam owners; manufacturers and suppliers; consultants, and others.

Want to learn more? Read this letter from Charles H. Gardner, ASDSO President 1986-1987
Origins of the Association of State Dam Safety Officials 

Photo: Joe Ellam, ASDSO's First President (1984-1986)


Early Leaders

ASDSO Organizing Committee

Jeris Danielson, ColoradoOrganizingCommittee1983_0.JPG
Louis Jordan, Kansas
Del Downing, New Hampshire
Charles Gardner, North Carolina
Bruce Pickens, Ohio
Joe Ellam, Pennsylvania
John Clarke, Texas
George Christopolus, Wyoming

Bruce Tschantz, FEMA
Doug Roderer, CSG
Bill Bivins, FEMA  


ASDSO's First Board of Directors1984DenverPost_1.jpg

President - Joe Ellam, Pennsylvania
Vice President - Charles Gardner, North Carolina
Secretary/Treasurer - John Clarke, Texas

Board Members
Jeris Danielson, Colorado
George Christopolus, Wyoming
Jim Doody, California
Bruce Pickens, Ohio
Marty Stralow, Illinois
Del Downing, New Hampshire
Phil Moreschi, Connecticut
Brian Long, West Virginia
George Ballentine, South Carolina