The Dredging Contractors of America (DCA), the national trade association whose members are leading providers of dredging services for navigation, coastal protection, environmental restoration and shoreline resilience in the United States, announced on December 11, 2020, that Richard A. Balzano has been named Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director.
For more than 30 years Mr. Balzano has served the maritime trades in both the private and U.S government sectors. He recently served for three years as the presidentially appointed Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Maritime Administration. He is a combat veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, retiring from the U.S. Navy at the rank of Captain. In the private sector Mr. Balzano held leading positions in the defense, commercial maritime, and nuclear utility industries. In the public sector he served as senior staff on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security.
“On behalf of the DCA Board of Directors, I am excited to make this important leadership announcement,” said DCA President Eric Ellefsen. “Richard is the right leader at the right time to help tell our story in this extraordinary period of growth and renewal. His extensive maritime background and governmental experience will help DCA strengthen its partnerships and develop strategic alliances in a continually developing marketplace.”
“I am very excited to be joining the DCA team,” said Mr. Balzano. “I believe protecting critical infrastructure and the industries that support it is vital to our national security and our national economy. The U.S. dredging industry keeps our waterways open, coastal communities safe, and our economy moving. I am particularly proud of the work I did over the last three years to advance the cause of the U.S. domestic maritime industry by defending the Jones Act and educating those in government and outside of government on the critical role the industry plays in our national security.”
As the most recent Deputy Maritime Administrator, Mr. Balzano successfully managed a $1.4 billion+ annual budget and was responsible for oversight of more than 800 employees in multiple field offices across the country. Under Mr. Balzano’s leadership the Maritime Administration successfully awarded a contract for the first-ever class of dedicated training and emergency response vessels, the national security multi-mission vessel.
Mr. Balzano earned his B.S. in Marine Engineering with a minor in Nuclear Engineering from the Maine Maritime Academy and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Sciences from Johns Hopkins University. He also holds active duel U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Licenses.