Written Wednesday, April 28, 2010 by Pete Stevenson
Bernard Myles was my friend. We met in 1980 in New Orleans at an organizing meeting for the IFAI geotextile committee where he was the only sensible voice. During the next 30 years he became my friend and he remained a sensible voice. He was a teacher, a guide, a mentor, and a critic. Bernard was a scientist, an engineer, a warrior, and a superb friend. We shared so many adventures I cannot recount them all, else this note would become a bore rather than a tribute. We worked together in the exhibit hall at the 2nd ICG in Las Vegas and, of course, that was when the IGS was conceived. I became a member of the IGS in Brussels the next year at Bernard’s insistence and we worked together in industry and in the IGS until last year when he became so ill.
Bernard Myles was a founding member of the IGS and attended the Paris Conference, the organizing meeting in Las Vegas, and served on the first council. Bernard served 16 years on the council and attended so very many council meetings and conferences.
His dedication to the IGS is unquestioned. He assumed the role of the guardian of the interests of the corporate membership, which was a role he played both as a council member and also during the period he was not a council member. Bernard was a burr under the saddle, never allowing an issue to be avoided, always requiring that the right thing be done. The IGS is indebted to Bernard Myles.
Following our meeting in New Orleans a 30-year chronology must include geotextile tubes in Venice and high-strength geotextile runway extension following Allan Haliburton’s lead at Washington National (now Reagan) both in 1982–83, which was followed by high-strength fabrics in U.S., Finland, and around the world. Over the following years we pursued engineering, manufacturing, high-strength seams, and unique solutions that included continuous filament nonwoven geotextiles in Switzerland, soil nailing in the U.K., California, and Colorado, and polyester geogrids once again in the U.S.
Along the way we were team members in the days of Burlington and ICI, and then he worked for me while at James River. We were partners in Acme STW and later I worked for him in Soil Nailing and then he worked for me at Xtex. Regardless of organization charts, in reality we were always partners. It was a rich and rewarding friendship, and one that I would wish for anyone.
Bernard Myles held strong views and expressed them often and with passion. He never ducked a fight and there were many occasions in which we did not fully agree and we had some lively debates.
Our solution was to run and we ran together many times, in the Apennines, in London, on the Washington mall, in Paris and Brussels and Milan, and a host of places I omit, and near our homes as we visited together innumerable times. Running was special because we had to concentrate to communicate, breathing being an impediment to excess wordiness. We did argue a great deal in restaurants, trains and cars, and cars had a unique effect. We could become so involved as to lose track of conditions and on several occasions one of us received a not-so-friendly instruction to pay more attention from local law enforcement.
In between arguments on politics, technology, strategy, and nonsense we wrote a business plan while snowbound in the Alps, lived on the economy in Singapore during the conference there, shot steel rods into the earth in Oregon, and generally had a great time.
Bernard was my best man. Bernard’s children, Doris and Philip, spent time at my home and my son Michael spent a summer under Bernard’s watchful eye in a testing lab in the U.K. My youngest, Tara, visited Sweden in the summer with Bernard’s family.
We were three weeks different in age, I the elder … I miss him now and I will miss him forever. I am so sorry to say goodbye. For me, the world is a lesser place today.
He was more than my friend, he was my brother.