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IGS–NA’s summary of GeoAmericas 2016

News | August 1, 2016 | By:

The GeoAmericas 2016 conference held April 10-13, 2016, at the Loews International Hotel in Miami Beach, Fla., attracted more than 1,100 participants from around the world, 80 exhibitors, along with several related association exhibits and upcoming geo-conference exhibits.

Prior to the opening keynote address on Sunday afternoon, four full-day, and nine half-day short courses, with a full range of geosynthetic subjects, were offered.

The conference was officially opened on Sunday afternoon with the keynote address by Dr. Neil Dixon and Dr. Gary Fowmes from Loughborough University, U.K. Their subject was “Global Challenges, Geosynthetic Solutions, and Counting Carbon.” Following the keynote address, an evening reception signaled the opening of the exhibit hall. Traffic through the exhibits appeared to be steady during the entire conference.

Monday kicked off with the keynote address by Dr. Robert Koerner, director emeritus of the Geosynthetic Institute (GSI), titled “Lifetime Predictions of Exposed Geotextiles and Geomembranes.” Following the lecture, the remainder of the day was filled with four 90-minute technical sessions. Each of the four sessions had seven concurrent activities including paper presentations, panel discussions, or training lectures. The day closed out with a beach volleyball tournament hosted by the young professionals group.

The keynote address on Tuesday morning titled, “Call to Action—The Urgency to Protect our Coastal Communities,” was presented by Dale Morris, senior advisor at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, D.C., and Nathalie Olijslager-Jaarsma, consul general of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Miami. As on Monday, the remainder of the day was filled with 90-minute technical sessions. The day closed with the “Havana Night” reception held outside. As part of this activity a “Bon Voyage” celebration was held wishing Dr. J.P Giroud and his wife, Genevieve, well as they planned their upcoming move back to France in May. Several of Dr. Giroud’s friends and associates shared some “fond memories” of their association with him over the years. In his remarks, Dr. Giroud indicated that he promised his wife that he would not be working full-time. He said this meant “12 hours a day instead of 24.”

Following a final series of technical sessions on Wednesday morning, Dr. Jorge Zornberg, University of Texas, Austin, gave the closing keynote address. The presentation, “Stabilization of Paved Roads Using Geosynthetics,” was the 2015/2016 Mercer Lecture.

Following the Mercer Lecture, expressions of appreciation were given to the organizing committee members, and particularly to Elizabeth Peggs and her staff, for all their efforts in making the conference a success.

There were several awards presented during the GeoAmericas conference:

IGS Chapter Service Awards

  • Boyd Ramsey, IGS-North America, for outstanding leadership efforts and energy as chairman for “Educate the Educators.”
  • Marcos R. Darqui, Argentina, for outstanding dedication to the Argentina Chapter of the IGS.

Student Awards

  • Paula Vettorelo, Argentina, “Geosynthetic Reinforcement of Buried Flexible Pipes”
  • Jose Orlando Avesani Neto, Brazil, “Design of a Calculation Method for Geocell-Reinforced Soils and Verification Through Bearing Capacity Laboratory Experiments”
  • Edwin Fernando Ruiz, Columbia, “Geosynthetic-Reinforced Embankments on Soft Soils: Numerical Analysis of the Strain Mobilization in Reinforcement During Consolidation Process”
  • Lucia Isabel Davila Cardona, Honduras, “Study of Flow Through Mechanical Damages in PVC Geomembranes Under High Hydraulic Heads”
  • Daniel Jones, North America, “Geosynthetic Clay Liners for Use in Antarctica”

20-Year Corporate Member Award

  • Presto Geosystems

30-Year Corporate Member Award

  • Geosynthetic Materials Association

It was announced at the conference that NAGS will now be doing business as IGS–North America as a result of membership approval earlier in the year.

For those who did not have a full registration, or were unable to attend the conference, the proceedings are available for $75 for the three volumes. Go to and click on the “Proceedings” tab at the top of the page.

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