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Blasting Conference Breaks New Ground

More than 1,300 people from around the globe gathered in Fort Worth, Texas, from Saturday, Feb. 9 to Wednesday, Feb. 13 for the 39th Annual Conference on Explosives and Blasting Technique. Rock Products Editor Mark Kuhar was the only industry editor to attend the event.

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

The highlight of the conference was the awards banquet, where nearly $30,000 was raised through a live auction for the Society of Explosives Engineers Education Foundation. Big-ticket items included two pit crew passes to a select NASCAR race and a Prehnite mineral from Namibia, Africa.

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.

The night also honored people who made outstanding contributions to the explosives engineering industry. Wolfgang W. Thum was honored with the Distinguished Service Award for his decades of work and innovations 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 Lon Santis and Kevin Waldock.

Paul Sterk was awarded with the Blaster's Leadership Award, James Dawson was awarded the ISEE Driller’s Leadership Award and Robert Hopler was honored with the ISEE Industry Services Award.