December 5, 2005—my first day on the job as editor of Geosynthetics (née GFR). Eight days later, I was in Las Vegas, Nevada, with 200 engineers and a horde of other geo-people!
Thank goodness, I was accompanied by Andrew Aho (then, GMA director; now, VP/Operations at IFAI) and Barbara Connett (then, Bookstore Manager; now, Education & Events Manager at IFAI). We were at the 2005 combo Geosynthetic Institute/North American Geosynthetics Society (GSI/NAGS) conference.
Wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, the three of us made our way to the exhibits area and set up shop—Andrew with his GMA duties and Barbara with the bookstore displays. I had a small tabletop to show GFR (Geotechnical Fabrics Report since 1983) readers that, starting in 2006, the magazine would have a new name and a new design and a new editor.
Now, the plot thickens. Steve Gale stopped by to see how we were doing. His engineering firm, like Geosynthetics magazine and IFAI, is also based in the Twin Cities. He then tugged at my elbow and we were off on a whirlwind tour to meet the exhibitors and numerous other attendees. I shook hands and nodded as Steve connected me with his many geo-friends.
Then Steve introduced me to the principals—Dave Suits (NAGS) and Bob Koerner (GSI). In retrospect, how’s that for the first week on the job?
Dave said, “Let me know how we can help you with the magazine.” Bob said, “Ron, we need to talk.”
Robert M. Koerner, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, NAE, Dist.M.ASCE, Terzaghi lecturer, GSI director, and professor emeritus at Drexel University, wanted to talk.
He led me to a small anteroom on the second floor of the Flamingo Hotel. For the better part of an hour, Bob Koerner gave me a clear and understandable introduction to the world of geosynthetics and how we could best work together.
Again, how good is that for the first week on the job?
That first week, I will never forget … with Andrew, Barbara, Dave Suits, Steve Gale, Mike Simac, Dr. Jeon, Bill Hawkins, Ian Peggs, and so many, many more.
Oh, and Bob Koerner gave me a Geosynthetics 101 lesson!
Andrew Aho concluded: “Just as with Ron, BobK was an essential provider of my geosynthetic education and my understanding of the industry. IFAI and GMA are honored to be connected with the BK lecture series. Without Bob, the industry would be less. Plus, he is just a neat guy.”