Virtual Workshop
Dam Safety 2021: Getting a Handle on Communicating Risks and Benefits of Dams






Raising awareness of dams, including their benefits and risks, helps upstream and downstream emergency and flood risk managers and the public take actions to reduce the impacts of floods and prepare for emergencies. Having a plan to share relevant and actionable information is key. This session will walk participants through how to develop a communication plan and use it to guide actions to raise awareness and share information about dams with upstream and downstream audiences. This full-day training session, delivered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will provide participants tools to get started on their communication plans for their dams.

When: Monday, October 18, 2021, from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm Eastern

Registration Fee: $150 • Register Now

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Be able to identify the differences between risk (preparedness) and crisis (emergency) communication.
  • Be familiar with the components of an effective communication plan.
  • Be able to identify stakeholders and develop approaches to engage those audiences that takes into account what they value and care about.
  • Be able to develop strategies to communicate about flood risks due to controlled (non-breach) or uncontrolled (breach) releases of water downstream. 


Training Team

Chris Baker is an economist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources. Chris began his career as an economist with the Tulsa District in 2010, where he served as lead facilitator for levee screening risk assessments. During his time at Tulsa District, he also served as a consequences specialist for the National Levee Safety Quality Assurance Cadre, consequences cadre member for the Modeling, Mapping, and Consequences Production Center, the Oklahoma Silver Jackets Coordinator, and the Public Involvement Specialist for Southwestern Division. Chris currently supports risk communication for the dam and levee safety programs by building capacity within the agency for communication and public engagement through training, technical assistance, and resource development. Chris earned his Bachelor of Science in Economics in 2009 and his Master of Science in Agricultural Economics in 2012.

Aaron Smith is originally from the Washington D.C. area. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and his Master of Science from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. He worked in the private sector for over ten years before joining the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Huntington District in 2008. Between 2008 and 2013, Mr. Smith has worked in the Planning Branch, serving as a lead planner on several studies and construction projects, principally on dam safety projects. In 2014, Mr. Smith served as the Chief of Environmental Analysis Section in Planning Branch. In 2015, Mr. Smith was named a Senior Project Manager in the Programs and Project Management Branch and had principal responsibility for the delivery of the Bluestone Dam Safety Mega Project as well as the Mohawk Dam and Zoar Levee Dam Safety Modification Projects. Since 2019, Mr. Smith has been supporting the Risk Management Center, the Dam Safety Modification Mandatory Center for Expertise, and the Levee Safety Center with life-safety quality management missions, program and project oversight, and advancing risk communication within the levee and dam safety programs. He currently resides in Huntington, West Virginia with his wife Chandra and two children, Cully and Cooper.

Dr. Stacy Langsdale’s career has focused on bridging the gap between technical experts and those who need to understand and use technical information.  This path led her to delivering, designing, and managing training in the areas of communication, leadership, and public involvement. Her primary responsibility is supporting USACE Headquarters Dam and Levee Safety Programs in communicating about risks associated with infrastructure projects.  She is the training coordinator for risk communication, hosting workshops and webinars for USACE staff. She has also delivered risk communication training to the Army National Guard and to the Formerly Utilized Defense Sites program and delivered invited lectures at the annual Dam Safety Program Technical Seminar hosted by FEMA.  Additionally, Stacy supports USACE-wide courses in Risk Communication, Communication Planning, and Public Involvement.  She facilitates teambuilding for competitive leadership programs. Stacy is a certified facilitator for Core Strengths/SDI 2.0.  In earned certificates in Applied Risk Communication for the 21st Century (Harvard, Sept 2021); Udall Certificate in Environmental Collaboration (NCECR); The Effective Facilitator and The Effective Trainer (Leadership Strategies), and Fundamentals of Public Participation (IAP2). In October 2019, she earned her Distinguished Toastmaster award. Stacy has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland, an M.S. in Hydrology from the University of Nevada - Reno, and a Ph.D. in Resource Management, Environmental Studies from the University of British Columbia. Her doctoral dissertation project used collaborative modeling to explore climate change impacts on water resources futures with stakeholders in the Okanagan Basin, British Columbia, Canada. 

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