The Daniel P. Loucks Water Resources Symposium held to honor Dr. Thiessen’s former major advisor from Cornell University attracted many of the finest minds in the fields of water resources and environmental engineering to Cincinnati Ohio from May 19 – 23. This was an opportunity to network with peers, discuss accomplishments and SHOWCASE THE FUTURE. Dr. Ernest Thiessen, Founder and President of iCan Systems Inc. (Smartsettle) certainly did just that in his featured presentation Bridging the Water Negotiation Gap between Engineers and Decision Makers.  This was the original challenge given by Professor Loucks to Ernest Thiessen for his doctoral dissertation at Cornell University. Thiessen took that challenge very seriously but considered it only a beginning when he received his PhD. Little did he know that it would take more than two more decades and many more resources than he could muster on his own to solve the whole problem.

Facing continuing economic stresses, changing technologies and emerging requirements, the water resources practitioner today has a tremendous need to be able to effectively work with decision makers in order to plan for a stable future for this planet. “The future use of online negotiation systems will be central to the peaceful resolution of important water negotiations world-wide” says Dr. Thiessen. “Since water negotiations are so complex with many interrelated issues, water resources colleagues are fascinated with the capabilities of the Smartsettle eNegotiation system.” Dr. Thiessen and his Smartsettle colleagues have created several Infinity simulations of complex multi-party water negotiations based on current real-world concerns, and have delivered them – to much interest – to government decision-makers, resource professionals, and dispute resolution experts.  They are always interested in new opportunities to demonstrate the power of the system he has developed to move competing interests to cooperation.


Pictured above from left to right with Dr Ernest Thiessen are Cornell Professor Emeritus D. Pete Loucks, Professor Jery Stedinger, and Professor Doug Haith. Loucks, Stedinger and Haith were the authors of Thiessen’s own well-worn 1981 textbook: Water Resources Systems Planning and Analysis. This was the comprehensive textbook that changed the lives of many students and prepared them to bring a positive report of their accomplishments to the “Daniel P. Loucks Water Resources Symposium”.  An updated text Water Resources Systems Planning and Management was published in 2005 and is available here. Hot off the press is a sequel that is destined to be just as important: Toward a Sustainable Water Future: Visions for 2050.