Nick Nichols honored with national award for boating access work
Longtime Division of Fish and Wildlife Construction Project Manager Lacy E. “Nick” Nichols Jr. of Dover was honored recently with a national award recognizing his 22 years of career contributions to boating access in Delaware.
At the 26th Annual National Boating Access Conference held Sept. 12 in Mobile, Ala., Nichols received the 2012 Williams H. Ivers Award from the States Organization for Boating Access. Established by the SOBA Executive Board in 1993 to honor one of SOBA’s pioneering members, the annual award is presented to an individual who has contributed at least 15 years to the design, construction, management or administration of boating access facilities or programs.
During his long career with the Division of Fish and Wildlife, Nichols has been responsible for 24 boating access projects throughout Delaware totaling more than $15 million. Projects included boat ramp upgrades and construction/ replacement projects at Seaford on the Nanticoke River, Phillips Landing near Bethel on Broad Creek accessing the Nanticoke River, Scottons Landing on the St. Jones River near Dover, Delaware City on the Delaware River, and the Lewes Boat Ramp, which was completed in 2009. Three of his projects have won SOBA Outstanding Project Awards: Wagamons Pond, 1997 Small Access Award; Massey’s Landing near Ocean View, 2001 Large Access Award; and Newport, 2004 Midsize Access Award.
Overseeing the replacement of the Cedar Creek boat ramp near Milford was Nichols’ most recent project - and one of the largest - prior to his retirement this past April. The Lacy E. Nichols Jr. Cedar Creek Boating Access Area in Slaughter Beach was dedicated in his name in July.
After serving two years in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, Nichols returned to college and earned a master of science degree from Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, Tenn., in 1971. His subsequent work experience included two years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 12 years with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and three years as a self-employed general contractor. He began his Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control career as the division’s supervisor of field operations followed by 19 years as construction project manager.
Since joining SOBA in 1991, Nichols has been involved in numerous committee activities and task force groups including the 1999 Operational and Maintenance Program Guides for Recreational Boating Access Facilities, its revision in 2011 and the 2009 Construction DVD Committee. He served on SOBA’s Executive Board as a member at large in 2002 and as treasurer from 2004-06. He chaired the Annual National Boating Access Conference in 2003 and 2004. In 2010, Nichols received SOBA’s Annual Professional Service Award for his tireless work on boating access in Delaware as well as on national boating interests through SOBA.