The International Erosion Control Association (IECA) Region One announced winners for its environmental excellence awards at the 2020 IECA Annual Conference and Expo in February.
The environmental excellence, outstanding professional of the year and sustained contributor awards recognize outstanding achievements in the erosion and sediment control and stormwater management industry. In addition, IECA recognized an outstanding sustained partner, three young professionals under the age of 30 and four young professionals under the age of 40.
Dr. Rich McLaughlin with the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Erosion, Sediment and Turbidity Control Programreceived the environmental excellence award, which is IECA’s most prestigious award. The award recognizes an outstanding stormwater and erosion and/or sediment control or stormwater management project, program or operation that demonstrates excellence in natural resource conservation and environmental protection. For more than 20 years, NCSU has had a continuous program combining research, training and education to improve construction site stormwater quality. The research conducted there and on construction sites has led to significant improvements in erosion, sediment and turbidity control in North Carolina and throughout the southeast.
Earl Norton, M.S. CPESC, CPAg, received the outstanding professional of the year award. This award recognizes an IECA member that demonstrates excellence in their work and is viewed by IECA peers as an industry leader through significant engagement with IECA. During the past 24 years, Norton has served on numerous committees, has spoken at IECA events and is currently serving on IECA’s standards and practices committee. After retiring from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in 1994, Norton became a private consultant for stormwater pollution abatement activities and taught a conservation course at Auburn University. In 2001 Norton began to lead the Alabama Erosion and Sediment Control Partnership that is now recognized as a leading erosion and sediment control program.
The sustained contributor award recognizes an IECA member who provides distinguished service to IECA. Winners have demonstrated leadership by example through long-term contribution to the industry and to IECA through education, government involvement, research, establishment of standards or policies or the development of technology. Charles R. Riling, Jr., TRETCNO, ABI, CESSWI is this year’s winner. Riling is an active IECA advocate who educates others on the importance of our organization. He has dedicated a great deal of time to the IECA Region One board of directors and the IECA Mid-Atlantic Chapter. He is involved in IECA professional development and training and was a principal in starting the IECA University Partners Program. He has been an avid supporter of the organization for nearly 30 years.
The new sustained partner award recognizes a company who has provided distinguished support to IECA and demonstrated long-term support to the industry. The winner of this award is East Coast Erosion Control. East Coast Erosion Control has become a recognizable mainstay of IECA and its events. The company is an emerald member and gold sponsor of IECA. They have exhibited at the annual conference since 2004 and have acted as a conference sponsor at various levels for more than 10 years. They are also a recognized staple at IECA regional events. In all, East Coast has exhibited and sponsored approximately thirty regional conferences. East Coast employees also actively volunteer and act as leaders for IECA. In all, East Coast Erosion has been a partner to IECA for 16 years.
IECA also announced new awards focused on young members’ achievements. The first category recognizes three outstanding young professionals under 30 years old in stormwater and erosion and/or sediment control projects, programs, or academics that demonstrates excellence in natural resource conservation and environmental protection. The three award winners in this category are Michael A. Perez, Ph.D., CPESC; Kristine Sommer, CPESC, QISP, QSD; and Sylvie Spraakman, P.Eng.
Perez has been an active IECA member since 2013 when he first got introduced through the university partners program as a student at Auburn. He has participated in 11 IECA conferences across the U.S. and abroad, moderated four conferences, presented four posters, delivered 13 presentations, authored or co-authored 14 conference proceedings and published several articles in the Environmental Connection magazine. Perez has presented IECA webinars, co-developed IECA field days and currently serves as the chair of the IECA standards and practices committee.
Sommer has been instrumental in revitalizing the IECA Pacific Northwest Chapter. Under her leadership, the chapter now holds regional training events in all states in the chapter. She has actively recruited new volunteers to serve on the chapter’s board and state representatives to keep members updated on the latest state regulations. Sommer has also presented at the IECA Annual Conference and is developing relationships with local universities in the Pacific Northwest to engage with IECA.
Spraakman is the president of the IECA Canada University of Toronto student club. She has been a student moderator at the IECA Annual Conference and has had poster presentations at both the IECA and TRIECA Conferences. She has also published an article in the Environmental Connection magazine about her Ph.D. research related to bio-retention swale performance.
The next new award category recognizes four outstanding young professionals under 40 years old in stormwater and erosion and/or sediment control projects, programs or IECA support that demonstrates excellence in natural resource conservation and environmental protection. The award recipients in this category include IECA president, Adam Dibble, CPESC, CESSWI; Wesley N. Donald, Ph.D., E.I., CPESC; Dylan Drudul, CPESC and Stefano Rignanese, MS.
Dibblehas been involved with IECA since he joined the erosion and sediment control industry 10 years ago. He’s been a member of the Great Lakes Chapter from the beginning and has been on the chapter board for five years. He’s served on the IECA Region One board for the last four years. He has chaired committees to deliver state-based education to members and has directed the rebranding of IECA. In his first year as president, he has opened new opportunities for younger members to receive industry recognition and get more involved in volunteer opportunities. He’s spearheaded efforts to support two major international chapters and develop ways to be involved in an international scope.
Donald has been an active IECA member for the last 10 years. He currently serves on several IECA committees and chairs the editorial committee. He is the Alabama state representative for the IECA Southeast Chapter. Donald has presented dozens of presentations for the annual conference, IECA regional events and online courses for IECA. In addition, he has several publications in the Environmental Connection magazine, peer-reviewed journals and received the best technical paper award at the 2019 IECA Annual Conference.
Drudul currently serves on the board of directors for IECA Region One. He is the past president of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of IECA, and past president of the IECA chapter president’s council. He currently sits on the awards committee and is chairing the IECA Region One international reunification task force to reunify Region One and Region Two. He has helped to plan numerous chapter conferences, regional and Earth Day events to promote IECA. He has submitted and won numerous chapter awards for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of IECA including the Rick Granard Award of Distinction for 2017 and 2018. He has also acted as a speaker at the IECA events.
Rignanese became active in IECA when he moved to the U.S. from Mexico. He dedicated his career to the erosion and sediment control industry and to increasing the knowledge of consulting companies and contractors on the importance of the topic. Rignanese has presented at several IECA events including IECA Mid-Atlantic chapter regional events and the 2019 IECA Annual Conference.
“This year’s new award categories reflect the direction I’m working to take the organization,” states IECA executive director, Samantha Roe, IOM. “The categories reflect the diversity of IECA among our membership. We’re looking to elevate our members for their accomplishments to help them get recognized in the industry for their accomplishments. I congratulate this year’s winners and thank you for making a difference in the industry.”