Created in 2000, the Coasts, Oceans, Ports, and Rivers Institute (COPRI) is a semi-autonomous institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the country's oldest national engineering society. COPRI's services are designed to complement ASCE's traditional civil engineering base and to attract non-engineering allied professionals who seek to enhance their professional and technical development.



COPRI serves as a multidisciplinary and international leader in improving knowledge, education, development and the practice of civil engineering and other disciplines in the sustainable management of coastal, ocean, port, waterways, riverine and wetlands resources for the benefit of society.


COPRI serves its membership and society by uniting the disciplines working to sustainably develop, protect and restore coasts, oceans, ports, waterways, rivers, and wetlands; integrating the key stakeholders into decision-making processes; advancing technological state of art and practice; and influencing public policy.

COPRI Governing Board

Stephen Balint, P.E., D.OE, F.ASCE

Steve Balint has worked in the offshore industry for nearly 40 years as a designer, engineering team leader, project manager, and executive. He has lectured at University of Texas and Singapore University on dynamic and fatigue analysis of offshore fixed and floating structures, written many technical papers and holds three patents for unique offshore structural designs. He has been associated with ASCE since college when he was president of the Virginia Tech student chapter. He also represented ASCE on the Offshore Technology Conference Board of Directors for 10 years, including 2 years as Chairman of the Board. Steve was the recipient of ASCE's 2014 William H Wisely Award.

Past President
Lori Brownell, P.E., D.NE, M.ASCE

As Port Houston’s Director of Channel Improvement, Ms. Brownell leads the team to focus on the next generation of widening and deepening improvements to the Port Houston’s 52-mile channel and acts a key interface with the USACE and strategic advisor to Port Houston’s Executive Management. Prior to joining Port Houston in September 2019, Ms. Brownell served as the director of Taylor Engineering’s waterfront engineering group and provided 20-years of planning, design, and construction administration service for waterfront, marine, and dredging-focused projects in the southeastern United States. She has been an active member of ASCE since 1999 and previously served as the COPRI Treasurer between 2014 and 2018.

Vice President
Victoria Colleen Johnson, Ph.D., EIT, A.M.ASCE

Dr. Johnson is an Assistant Professor at the United States Naval Academy. Her research focuses on the effects of hurricanes and tsunamis on coastal communities. She hopes to understand the hydrodynamic conditions that cause houses to be damaged during these events and to contribute to the the development of resilient and sustainable coastal design. She has participated on damage reconnaissance surveys including in the Philippines after Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby), in coastal New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy, and the Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma. She has also collaborated on physical model experiments at Kyoto University and Oregon State University. She was a graduate researcher and teaching assistant at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, University of Notre Dame from 2011–2016, and a postdoctoral scholar at Oregon State University from 2016-2017.

Dr. Johnson has been an ASCE member since 2008. She serves on the ASCE 7-22 Subcommittees on Flood Loads and Tsunami Loads and Effects, as well as the Infrastructure Resilience Division's Disaster Response and Recovery Committee.

Catherine Dunn, P.E., D.NE, D.PE, M.ASCE

Mrs. Dunn is retired from over 27 years with the Port of New Orleans where she served as Director of Port Development. There she was responsible for the design, construction, condition, and maintenance of over 22 million square feet of buildings and cargo‐handling areas along 22 miles of waterfront, Port owned vehicles and equipment, four Port owned lift bridges, and Industrial real estate. In addition, Mrs. Dunn has over fifteen years of private sector engineering and management experience, primarily in the marine sector.

Brian McFall, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE

Dr. McFall is a Research Civil Engineer at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory. He has more than 15 years of experience as a civil engineer in the private and public sectors. His expertise and research interests include wave mechanics and the beneficial use of dredged sediment. Dr. McFall developed the Sediment Mobility Tool to assist coastal engineers and planners identify nearshore areas suitable for placement of dredged sediment. He is currently leading the “SandSnap” initiative to create a beach grain size database using citizen scientists and their smartphones. Dr. McFall has been an active member of ASCE since he joined as a student in 2001. He was an officer in his university’s ASCE chapter and the Corpus Christi branch. Additionally, Brian served on the Local Organizing Committee for the 2018 COPRI-sponsored International Conference of Coastal Engineering.

Albert Lee Barco IV, P.E., D.PE, F. ASCE

Accordion item 6 content: Lee Barco has a degree in Ocean Engineering from the US Coast Guard Academy, a master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois, and an MBA. Following a distinguished Coast Guard engineering career, Lee retired as a Commander to consult on organizational issues with Navy and Coast Guard engineering clients for several years. He then joined APM Terminals, where he was involved in constructing what at the time was the most technologically advanced and environmentally friendly marine container terminal in the Americas. He has since continued on with APM Terminals in various engineering positions related to marine container terminal design, construction, and infrastructure modernization. Lee has Chaired a variety of National Committees for ASCE, including the Board Committee on Advancing the Profession, and most recently the COPRI Ports and Harbor Committee. He is a Life Member and Fellow of both ASCE and the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), and a founding member of COPRI.

ASCE Representative
Edward James Schmeltz, P.E., D.CE, D.NE, D.OE, D.PE, Dist.M.ASCE

Accordion item 7 content: Mr. Schmeltz is a civil engineer with more than 45 years of experience in the planning and design of ports and harbors, marine facilities, breakwaters and other coastal structures. He has worked on some of the world’s largest marine projects and his extensive portfolio of projects has taken him to more than 21 states and 37 countries on 6 continents. His experience ranges from container facilities, liquid bulk terminals and bulk handling facilities to military and coastal engineering projects. His expertise in the evaluation of the financial and technical viability of port facilities, as well as his understanding of site conditions, design, construction and operational aspects of ports, have made him a valuable professional in the global marine market.

He holds degrees in Mechanical Engineering from NJIT and Civil Engineering from Texas A&M. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas. He holds Diplomate status in Coastal, Ocean, Port and Navigation Engineering from ASCE. Mr. Schmeltz has authored over 25 technical publications related to maritime projects and issues. He is a Distinguished member of ASCE and a Fellow of the Society of American Military Engineers. He is also a founding member and Past President of the Academy of Coastal, Ocean, Port and Navigation Engineering of ASCE and a Founding Member of COPRI.