Nearly 1,500 people from around the world met Jan. 29 - Feb. 1, 2017, in Orlando, Fla., for the 43rd 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 $9,800 for the SEE Education Foundation. Big-ticket items included a one-of-a-kind, handmade quilt; a lifetime membership to ISEE; and a Palm Island Resort getaway vacation. 

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.

Dale Preece, Ph.D., Orica Mining Services, was honored with the Distinguished Service Award. Throughout his career, Preece has authored 135 technical papers and journal articles. He has also contributed to several books including the ISEE’s 18th edition Blasters’ Handbook. He has been invited to present a number of keynote addresses at conferences over the years.

Finn Ouchterlony, Ph.D., Montanuniversity Leoben in Austria, was also honored with the Distinguished Service Award. With more than 40 years in the explosives industry, Ouchterlony has co-authored several project papers that included “Downhole Abrasive Jet Cutting Operations in Quarrying, Mining and Civil Engineering” and “Less Fines Production in the Aggregate and Industrial Minerals Industry.”

Ouchterlony is a member of the FRAGBLAST International Organizing Committee. He discovered the Swedish Blasting Research Centre distribution during the Less Fines Project, which led to his receiving the Douglas Hay award in 2005. Ouchterlony has been a member of ISEE since 1991.  

R. Thomas Watts was this year’s Industry Service Award winner. Watts has always had an exceptional ability to interact with people at all levels in an organization. This helped lead to his success in selling and to motivate and grow employees in his organization. 

Watts has been a member of ISEE since 1982; a recipient of the ISEE President’s Award for Outstanding Services in 1989; a member of the ISEE Nominating Committee in 1991; and was an author of the ISEE Blasters’ Handbook’s chapter on bulk explosives equipment. He has published articles in the Journal of Explosives Engineering and has always been dedicated to the SEE Education Foundation scholarship program and very involved with ISEE chapters.

The ISEE President’s Award, which is given to those who have unselfishly given their time and talents to the society, was awarded to Travis Davidsavor, Barr Engineering Company; and Walt Partridge.

James Peterson was awarded the ISEE Driller’s Leadership Award. And David Creek, Buckley Powder Co., was honored with the Blaster’s Leadership Award.

Author Eric Gerst was awarded the Paper of the Year Award for his paper titled “Optimized Drilling through Automation.”

Paper of the Year honorable mention was given to authors M. Ramezani, S. Nouranian, I. Bell, B. Sameti and S. Tafazoli for their paper titled “Fast Rock Segmentation Using Artificial Intelligence to Approach Human-Level Accuracy.”

Moving Forward

The next Annual Conference on Explosives and Blasting Technique will be Jan. 28 - 31, 2018, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.