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North American Geosynthetics Society (NAGS): Report of the biennial meeting

June 1st, 2008 / By: / Updates

Tuesday, March 4, 2008, Hilton Cancún Hotel

The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. by Grace Hsuan, president. Dr. Hsuan asked David Suits, executive director, to review the organization of the North American Geosynthetics Society.

The following information was presented:

Mission of NAGS: To provide leadership in advancing the education and research of geosynthetics

Vision of NAGS: NAGS is an organization of individual members representing all aspects of the geosynthetics community. NAGS will continue to be a recognized North American leader in advancing the education, research, and development of geosynthetics.

Membership includes: membership in the International Geosynthetics Society; free online subscription to Geotextiles and Geomembranes and Geosynthetics International journals; new members receive a free 1-year subscription to Geosynthetics (formerly GFR), the industry trade magazine (and a reduced subscription rate to Geosynthetics after the first-year free subscription for North American members); reduced registration rates to international and regional geosynthetics conferences and seminars.

Organization of NAGS: regional chapter of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS); governing organization: 11-member board of directors, president, president-elect, treasurer, 7 vice presidents, immediate past president, executive director, and managing director; the 2005–2007 board of directors: president–Dr. Grace Hsuan, president-elect–Dr. David Elton, treasurer–Robert Mackey; and vice presidents Sam Allen, Corey Bobba, Dr. Craig Lake, Dr. Mark Meyers, Boyd Ramsey, Dean Sandri, Dr. Jorge Zornberg; past president–L. David Suits; executive director and managing director–L. David Suits.

The floor was then turned back to President Hsuan, who gave the following review of the past two years:

Starting in December 2005, Dave Suits became the executive director of NAGS. The responsibilities of the executive director include the following: work with the president and the board, promote NAGS, organize conferences and seminars. Dave Suits is also the managing director of NAGS: organize board meetings, bookkeeping (financial and membership), contact person for members.

The following conferences were co-organized/sponsored or co-operated: NAGS 2005, Las Vegas (co-organized with GSI/GRI-19); Geosynthetics-2007 in Washington, D.C. (cosponsored with IFAI and GMA); Canadian Geotechnical Conference 2007, Ottawa (co-operated with Canadian Geotechnical Society); GeoAmericas-2008, Cancún, Mexico (co-organized with other IGS chapters in Americas).

The following FHWA/NHI courses were scheduled: NHI courses, October 2007, Philadelphia; two 1.5-day courses were offered: “Geosynthetics in Roadways” and “Geosynthetics in Reinforcement.” (The roadways course was not held due to low registration.) The reinforcement courses were taught by Barry Christopher and Jim Collin.

Two student paper competitions were sponsored: NAGS 2005; winner was Katrina Lange, Queen’s University. Lange was scheduled to present her paper at the 8th International Conference in Japan (co-sponsored with IGS). She unfortunately was unable to attend the conference. At Geosynthetics-2007, the winner was Melissa Chappel, Queen’s University. She presented her paper at GeoAmericas-2008.

The final report for the 2003 Award of Excellence project was completed in March 2007: “Final Report on Use of Geosynthetics in the Mining and Mineral Processing Industry,” by Renkin, Mchaina, and Yanful. The report is available on CD through the NAGS office.

Participation in the following activities:

NAGS provided financial and technical support for revision of NHI-FHWA Geosynthetics Design Manual. Dave Suits monitored the pilot course for the revised 3-day course held at the Colorado DOT. Dave Suits, at the request of Andrew Aho of the Geosynthetics Materials Association, is acting as a nonindustry monitor for an industry-suggested rewrite of the reinforcement chapter of this manual.

GI-FHWA workshop on “Trends Affecting the Geo- Community”–Dave Suits attended the 2-day workshop at ASCE headquarters. A copy of the final report is available through the ASCE–Geo-Institute.

The following current status of NAGS membership was given by Dave Suits: total 2008 paid members (2/29/08)–169, with 26 members paying through CGS not included in above figure (funds not yet received from CGS).

Election results: president-elect–Dean Sandri, vice president– James McKelvey III; 2008–2010 board of directors: president–Dr. David Elton,* president-elect–Dean Sandri, treasurer–Robert Mackey; and vice presidents: Sam Allen, Corey Bobba, Dr. Mark Meyers, James McKelvey III, Boyd Ramsey, Dr. Jorge Zornberg, Dr. Grace Hsuan–immediate past president, and L. David Suits–executive director and managing director; co-opt vacancy–Canadian member. (Following the open meeting, the board of directors approved Dr. Marolo Alfaro of the University of Manitoba as a co-opted Canadian member of the board.)

The election results came from ballots sent out (191), ballots returned (5–for errors in mailing address, 59 completed ballots, 6 invalid ballots–return directions not followed, 1 invalid– returned late, 52 valid ballots, no write-ins).

Outgoing president Hsuan introduced Dr. Elton as the new president and handed him the official NAGS gavel. Dr. Elton presented Dr. Hsuan with a plaque expressing gratitude for her leadership during the last two-plus years. Dr. Hsuan served out the unexpired term of past-president Suits, who became the executive director prior to the expiration of his two-year term as president. Dr. Elton then expressed that one of his goals in the next two years is a continuation of education and technical activities, emphasizing membership growth as the vital goal.

The floor was then opened for comments and discussion. A suggestion for holding a NAGS solely-sponsored conference in the near future was given. In this regard, it was explained that negotiations were under way with IFAI/GMA regarding a Geosynthetics-2009 conference, as well as negotiations with ASCE-GeoInstitute for NAGS to be a co-sponsor for the ASCE G-I 2011 GeoCongress.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

L. David Suits, NAGS Executive Director. * El Presidente suggests that you get the “real” story of the NAGS election at: www.eng.auburn.edu/users/elton.

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