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Manson Retirees Summer 2023

Celebrating the professional achievements of Manson personnel.


Written by | Chuck Hardee—Chief Engineer, NEWPORT

I had the pleasure of first working with Assistant Engineer Bill Ricks on the dredge COLUMBIA for another dredging contractor in the early 2000s. Bill and I developed a working relationship that has withstood many, many years, (not to mention many pieces of broken equipment). In mid-2003, I left to pursue a career overseas, and a couple of years later Bill joined Manson in 2005. Bill quickly settled in as a mainstay on the Dredge NEWPORT, and it is the only Manson dredge he has worked on.

After 10 years of being overseas, I returned to the dredging industry and reunited with Bill on the NEWPORT in 2013. The only thing that had changed was the name of the onboard fraternity, having changed from the “Carolina Posse” to the “Carolina Cartel”. The reunion allowed several things to come full circle from our early days on the COLUMBIA, including poking fun at Bill for wearing reading glasses to do everything and hearing his one-liner, “I told you so, just you wait.”

Other NEWPORT members, including NEWPORT Cook Jeff Mason, also have a long history with Bill. Bill and Jeff worked on fishing trawlers during the early days of their career and through chance rejoined together on the NEWPORT. Now, both will hang their hats together in their retirements.

Bill will be sorely missed by all, especially me. The sea story of, “he’ll never know” comes to mind, but I think, in this case, he does know.


Jeff Mason (left) and Bill Ricks (right).


Written by | Chuck Hardee—Chief Engineer, NEWPORT

Jeff Mason was part of the early wave of employees that came to Manson after working on the dredge ATCHAFALAYA and COLUMBIA in 2006. He began his Manson career as one of the cooks on the dredge BAYPORT before transferring to the NEWPORT half-way through his career at Manson.

Upon his arrival to the NEWPORT—being from “Down East” North Carolina—Jeff was automatically inducted by proxy into the NEWPORT’s growing club known as the “Carolina Cartel.” The group consists of Carolina natives, and a few honorary inductees— who make up a substantial portion of the crew.

Jeff had a distinct way of keeping the crew fed, allowing them to expect what meal would be served on specific days. For members of the NEWPORT and all ships, the galley is the main hub for all stories, fact or fiction. As they say, if you want to know anything just ask the cook. Jeff was a plethora of knowledge.

Jeff will be missed by every crewmember onboard, leaving some big shoes to fill, literally.



Written by | Mike Warwick—Vice President and Chief Engineer, Dredging

A man posing in personal protective equipment
Dave Howard in full PPE

I first met Dave Howard in 1999 when I worked as a superintendent for a dredging company in Wilmington, NC. At the time, Dave worked as a project manager, overseeing a series of deepening projects along the Cape Fear River. I called Dave for advice when we had broken a spud wire and needed to replace it and install a new one. During our conversation on how best to accomplish the work, he said three words I had never heard before, “Hot Work Permit.” Before the construction industry embraced best safety practices and cultures like Incident and Injury Free (IIF), safety was limited to wearing hard hats, life vests, and steel-toe boots. Dave was among the first people at the forefront of making the work safer with proper planning.

Dave graduated from North Carolina State with a civil engineering degree and started his career with the Wilmington District of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. Dave was present as a government representative on the first-ever hopper dredge contract awarded to a contractor in Morehead City, NC, in 1977. He would eventually go on to work with another dredging contractor as a project manager for the 16,000 CY hopper dredge LONG ISLAND.

Throughout his career, Dave has worked on some of North America’s landmark dredging and infrastructure projects, which include pumping more than a million cubic yards of sand over the eight-lane Fort McHenry Tunnel which brings US Interstate 95 through the City of Baltimore and the 150-acre expansion of Pier J in the Port of Long Beach throughout the late 80s and 90s. Dave’s various other dredge-related projects cover practically every aspect of dredging on every coast of the US including the Great Lakes.

Dave joined Manson in 2005 as operations manager for Gulf and East Coast (GEC) dredging. Dave had a knack for systematically providing solutions to solve problems, proving instrumental to the GEC division’s success.

With more than 40 years of industry experience and an innate passion for safety, Dave became the safety director for Manson’s Environment, Health, & Safety department in July 2018.

Throughout his career, Dave has mentored many of Manson’s current and future leaders. While Dave may be retiring from Manson, his legacy of industry knowledge, mentorship, leadership, and safety will endure and sustain our next generation of Manson leaders.


Payroll Manager Mindy Zaragoza captures a moment with family at her retirement party in the Seattle Yard warehouse.


Written by | Gary Hendricks—VP and Senior Advisor and Steven Kiel—Controller

Mindy Zaragoza came to work at Manson nearly 29 years ago. She quickly proved herself a valuable member of the payroll team and her welcoming demeanor proved to be a great asset to the entire Manson family.

At the time, all weekly payroll had to be submitted on paper timesheets, manually entered into our systems by the payroll department—which was only Mindy and Lois McPeak, with checks being cut (pre-direct deposit days) and then delivered back to the job sites and remote offices in a short period.

Over nearly three decades, Mindy has helped shape the way payroll is handled, processed, and completed. Recently, she has been heavily involved in the design and changes to Manson’s upcoming transition to a new ERP system, CMiC. Mindy has always been adaptable, flexible, and willing to do whatever it takes to ensure everyone gets paid accurately and on time. We all collectively thank her for her efforts.

Mindy is looking forward to spending more time with her grandkids and not having to worry about weekly payroll.

We have been blessed to have Mindy leading the Payroll department and part of the Manson team for so many years and wish her the best in her retirement!

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