More than 1,600 people from around the world met Jan. 31 - Feb. 3, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nev., for the 42nd Annual Conference on Explosives and Blasting Technique.

The event, sponsored by the International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE), is the world’s largest conference on explosives engineering. It features five days of workshops, technical sessions and entertainment.

This year’s conference featured a silent auction that raised more than $9,500 for the SEE Education Foundation. Big-ticket items included four park-hopper passes to Walt Disney World; a one-of-a-kind, handmade quilt; a lifetime membership to ISEE; and a commemorative granite block from Crazy Horse Memorial. 

The money raised through the auction will go to the Education Foundation ISEE Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships to college students from across the globe who are pursuing a career in the blasting industry.

Awards Banquet

The annual awards banquet, on Tuesday, honored people who made outstanding contributions to the explosives engineering industry.

Cameron McKenzie, Ph.D., Blastechnology, was honored with the Distinguished Service Award. McKenzie has been very involved with ISEE, volunteering countless hours of serving on the ISEE Board of Directors, and authoring and presenting papers at the annual conference. He has contributed to ISEE’s 18th Edition of the Blasters Handbook. He is a founding member of FRAGBLAST and a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy. He has a very rare and unique ability to communicate his thoughts and recommendations from the highest level of engineering personnel to the newest blaster on the bench.

Dale Ramsey, Senex Explosives, Inc., was this year’s Industry Service Award winner. Ramsey, who has more than 40 years of explosives industry experience under his belt, has played an instrumental role in the founding of several ISEE chapters; has served on the ISEE Board of Directors and the planning committee for the Pennsylvania Drilling and Blasting Conference at Penn State University; and has been a mentor to countless students who are pursuing careers in the explosives industry. 

The ISEE President’s Award, which is given to those who have unselfishly given their time and talents to the society, was awarded to Douglas Hoy, Sayre Associates; and Thomas Jenkins, Stemlock Inc.

Patrick Ryan and Christopher Ryan, both of Ryan Construction Inc., were awarded the ISEE Driller’s Leadership Award. And William Zimmerman, Luck Stone Corp., was honored with the Blaster’s Leadership Award.

ISEE Clays Shoot Committee members John Rathbun, Paul Keeling, John Sonday and Bobby Van Rensburg were awarded with the Industry Service Award. The group has raised more than $135,000 for the ISEE Children’s Fund. 

Co-authors Dr. Catherine Aimone-Martin and Brent Meins were awarded the Paper of the Year Award for their paper titled “Strain-Based Instrumentation for Marine Terminal Rock Blasting.”

Paper of the Year honorable mention was given to R. Balachander; H. S. Venkatesh; and G. Gopinath for their paper titled “Tunnel Excavation on the Abutment of an Existing Dam.”

Passing of the Gavel

After honoring the award winners, Jack Eloranta was passed the ISEE Gavel, officially taking the reins of new ISEE Board of Directors President. Eloranta is the principle of Eloranta & Associates Inc., a consulting firm established in 1999. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree, a Bachelor of Arts degree and a master’s degree in mining from the University of Wisconsin.

His blasting experience includes optimized blasting operations using conventional, semiautogenous and fully autogenous mills; expert witness and university research.

Moving Forward

The next Annual Conference on Explosives and Blasting Technique will be Jan. 29 – Feb. 1, 2017, at the Caribe Royale Orlando Hotel in Orlando, Fla.

To view the pictures from the 2016 conference, visit our Facebook page