The US-Panama Business Council honored C. Thomas Burke during US Panama Week 2006, in Washington DC, during a luncheon at the InterAmerican Development Bank.
Mr. Burke was recognized for his leadership in bringing the Panama Canal Alternative Study Commission work in on time and under budget. The $20 million ‘Tripartite’ Study (Japan-Panama-US) recommended a “Third Set of Locks” option as the most viable for the future of the Panama Canal. Mr.Burke “Chaired” the Commissioners meeting of July 14th, 1992, that selected the Third Locks option. Today that option is receiving serious consideration by the Government of Panama and the Panama Canal Authority.
Mr. Burke was appointed to the Commission by President H. W. Bush in 1990. In 1994,
President Clinton thanked Mr. Burke for his distinguished tenure on the Commission and and said ‘Your dedication and expertise guided the study to a successful conclusion and produced a historic document that assured the commerce of the world continued safe and timely transit through the Panama Canal well into the 21st Century.” In 1994, the current President of Panama, Guillermo Endara, commended Mr. Burke for “Diplomacy in guiding the Panama Canal Alternative Study Commission to a thoughtful commercial and ecological conclusion.”
Mr. Burke remained in an advisory capacity on Panama Canal affairs to the United States Government until the offical turnover of the Canal to the Republic of Panama at High Noon on December 31st, 1999.