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Geosynthetics Materials Association News

GMA News, News | June 1, 2017 | By:

GMA vice chair Fred Chuck, Dr. Robert M. Koerner, and GMA chair Keith Gardner at the 2017 Geotechnical Frontiers conference in Orlando, Fla. Photograph by Mark Skalny
GMA honors Dr. Robert M. Koerner and Dr. George Koerner

On March 14 in Orlando, Fla., the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) hosted the inaugural Robert M. Koerner Award and Lecture Series. Established by GMA in 2016, the award and lecture series is given to an individual who has had a measurable impact on the geosynthetics industry in North America. Recipients are also required to have a background in one or more of the following areas: education, design, or testing of geotextiles; geomembranes; geogrids; geonets; geosynthetic clay liners; and/or erosion control materials. GMA presented Dr. George Koerner with the first award for his monumental impact on the geosynthetics industry.

Nearly 1,000 Geotechnical Frontiers 2017 conference attendees filled the Hyatt ballroom for the plenary session honoring Dr. Robert M. Koerner’s legacy and achievements. GMA leaders Fred Chuck and Keith Gardner delivered the opening remarks. Chuck, vice chair of GMA and former director of corporate affairs for TenCate Geosynthetics, spoke of the impact that Koerner’s book Designing with Geosynthetics has had on his 30-plus-year career in the industry, and Gardner, GMA chair and vice president of sales and marketing at Crown Resources, spoke of the inspirational role Koerner had in his career ever since his earliest days as a geosynthetics professional. Koerner was presented with a perpetual plaque, acknowledging the establishment of the award, to be displayed at the Geosynthetics Institute in Folsom, Pa.

Following the recognition of Koerner and a standing ovation, his son, Dr. George Koerner, delivered his lecture titled “Geosynthetic Successes Hidden in the Details.” The lecture focused on “discussing examples encompassing manufacturing and field installation of such developments, pointing out specific elements that can reduce the probability of error.”

Over the next two years, GMA’s Executive Council will work with Dr. George Koerner to identify additional appropriate conferences for him to deliver the Robert M. Koerner Lecture Series.

To view a video of Dr. George Koerner delivering the Robert M. Koerner lecture at the 2017 Geotechnical Frontiers conference, visit

Interlayers panel draws big crowd

GMA’s interlayers group first convened at Geo Charlotte in October 2016, and, after the success of that panel discussion, I approached the organizers of Geotechnical Frontiers about hosting a similar panel. On March 14 at the conference, 60-plus attendees actively participated in a panel discussion focused on the advantages of using interlayers, when to use interlayers, the cost effectiveness of interlayers, and installation considerations. Panel members included:

  • Mike Samueloff, HUESKER
  • Nicholas Reck, Tensar
  • Tripp Bishop, American Paving Fabrics
  • Bill Leahy, National Highway Maintenance Systems
  • Mark Marienfeld, Propex (moderator)
  • Jeff Rasche, TenCate (moderator)
GMA focus group updates

Each year GMA hosts in-person focus group meetings; this year’s meetings were held at Geotechnical Frontiers. These meetings brief the membership on association activities throughout the year, solicit focus group participation, and attract new members. GMA focus groups are chaired by Executive Council members and all GMA members are welcome to participate in these groups throughout the year. Below is a list of GMA’s active focus group and some of their 2017 priorities.

Environmental Focus Group
Chair, Bill Betke, GSE; Vice Chair, Anurag Shah, SKAPS
• WIIN ACT/WRDA, coal ash regulations, and geosynthetic language
• Specification guidelines for fracking/oil excavation

Erosion Control/Distribution Focus Group
Chair, Keith Harris, Hanes Geo Components
• NTPEP, erosion control, and sediment control audits
• Increasing distributor participation; state and local outreach

Geogrid Focus Group
Chair, Mike Clements, HUESKER; Doug Brown, Tensar
• Continue participation as industry advisors to AASHTO committees
• Monitor revisions to GEC11—Design for construction of MSE walls and RSS

Geotextile Focus Groups
Chair, Fred Chuck, HUESKER; Vice Chair, Daniel Selander, Thrace-LINQ
• Continue participation as industry advisors to AASHTO committees
• Monitor revisions/modifications to M288

note: Each focus group actively participates in the review of state and federal specifications.

For meeting minutes, please reference the May GMA Activities Report. If you are a GMA member and are not receiving the member-exclusive
Activities Report, please reach out to GMA specialist Janelle Wells ( to be added to the distribution list.

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