The 2021 IECA Annual Conference, collocated with the Geosynthetics Conference, was held an online event February 22-25. Education for both conferences was hosted on a robust platform that provided access to both live and pre-recorded content featuring plenary sessions, roundtables, fireside chats, technical papers, poster sessions and short courses. Live sessions made up more than 75% of the education offerings and the remaining 25% were on demand.  


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First Place Photo by JJ Breede

Second Place Photo by Whitney Braun

Jim Davidson opened the conference with resiliency strategies he learned and applied when his team encountered one of the deadliest avalanches in history while climbing Mt. Everest. After the avalanche, he started noticing behaviors among team members and leaders that helped manage the situation. He stated that being aware and adaptable could create confidence among the team to help manage fear. He also recommended leaders be clear, calm and visible in stressful situations to help create expectations during stressful times. He stated that during stressful times like the pandemic individuals can “distill wisdom, lessons and strength” from what they’ve endured to use when encountering new life stressors and challenges.

IECA Awards Featured in Videos
The IECA awards program recognized outstanding achievements in the erosion and sediment control and stormwater industries. This year's awards will recognize young professionals under 30 and under 40, sustained partner, outstanding professional, sustained contributor and the environmental excellence award. This year's winners in the Three Under 30 category are Dakota Basham, CPESC; Jacob Bucher; and Dr. Lan Liu. Winners in the Four Under 40 category are Jacob Burkey, PE; Stefano Rignanese; Matt Welch, CPESC, CESSWI; and Blake Whitman, Ph.D., PE, CPESC. The IECA outstanding professional award recognized Michael Robeson, PE, CPESC, CPSWQ, CESSWI. The sustained contributor award went to Marc S. Theisen, M.Sc., CPESC, CPSWQ, CESSWI. The sustained partner recognizes a company that supports IECA and the industry for a continuous number of years. Profile Products LLC received this year’s award. IECA’s premier award, Environmental Excellence Award recognized, Rain City Vancouver as the 2021 recipient. >> Learn more about the awards winners.

Virtual Expo Hall Experience
The virtual expo hall featured approximately 75 exhibitors showcasing the latest industry products and solutions. The Expo Hall featured Learning Labs from both conferences that featured vendor showcases and Contractors’ Corner. In addition, attendees were able to engage one-on-one with exhibitor staff with video and text capabilities to engage in meaningful conversations.

The IECA Poster Contest featured a short video given by the poster author detailing their submission. This year’s first place poster winner, Danielle Hunt from San Diego State University presented “Modeling the Impacts of Urban Fire and Vegetation Management on Flooding and Sediment Processes.” Second place poster winner, Billur Kazaz, CISEC IT from Auburn University presented “A Nationwide Survey on Flocculant Usage in Construction Stormwater Management.” Third place winner, Jaime C. Schussler, CPESC IT, EIT from Auburn University presented “Solution or Source? A Field Assessment of Sediment Basins in Tama County, Iowa.”

The IECA photo contest was hosted on Flickr with the ability for vote for submissions online. This year’s first place winner continues to be a favorite in the photo contest. JJ Breede won for the third straight year for “Now You See It, Now You Don’t Flexamat – Dam Rehabilitation.” The second-place winner is newcomer Whitney Braun with “Working with a View.”

Next year's IECA Annual Conference will take place February 15-18, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Call for abstracts are now open and exhibition/sponsor opportunities are being sold for next year's event as well.

IECA is the foremost organization for those involved in or concerned about soil erosion control. Membership (in IECA) tells others you take erosion control seriously and you want to help make a difference.

Scott Velting, CPESC, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA