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Working together to advance geosynthetics

February 1st, 2019 / By: / GMA News, News

Leadership, participation and collaboration are important to the success of any association. The Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) can attribute its growth in recent years to the many members, leaders and industry partners who volunteer their time to support the association’s mission. Read below to learn more about some of them and the programs they support.

Thank you, Keith Gardner

Keith Gardner of Dalco Nonwovens LLC ended his term as chair of the Geosynthetic Materials Association’s executive council on Nov. 13, 2018. Gardner joined GMA’s executive council in 2012 and served as the association’s treasurer prior to becoming chair in 2015. Under Gardner’s leadership, GMA has grown its executive council membership and increased its programing in the areas of technical support, education and government relations. I would like to thank Gardner for his service to GMA and his dedication to the geosynthetics industry.

GMA 1st vice chair, Fred Chuck, took over as GMA chair following the executive council meeting in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 13. Chuck is the vice president of business development at HUESKER Inc. and has 30 plus years of industry experience. Doug Brown, national accounts manager at Tensar International Corp., assumed the 1st vice chair position on the council and Chuck will appoint an executive council member to fill the open 2nd vice chair position until the next council election.

November 2018 Lobby Day

Every fall and spring, members of the Geosynthetic Materials Association travel to Washington D.C., to advocate for policies that support our industry and discuss the association’s priorities. On Nov. 14, 2018, infrastructure was top of mind when 37 employees from 19 companies attended meetings with staff and legislators from more than 30 House and Senate offices to discuss the future of infrastructure policy in the United States and highlight the benefits of a wide array of geosynthetic solutions. GMA has successfully advocated for geosynthetic language to be included in water, transportation and aviation legislation, and the association hopes the administration’s trillion-dollar infrastructure bill will become a reality during the next session of Congress.

GMA connected with many thought leaders during the November Lobby Day. Former transportation secretary James Burnley spoke to the executive council during its council meeting; Ed Goeas, a renowned political analyst, was the keynote speaker at GMA’s briefing dinner; and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., was presented with the 2018 GMA Leader of the Year Award for his work on the IMAGINE Act and his ongoing support of innovative technologies.

Lobby Day is an integral part of GMA’s government relations program. It not only gives members access to congressional offices, but it helps connect Congress with GMA’s work at the state and local levels. To date, GMA has visited 20 states to discuss product usage and technical issues. Lobby Day gives our members the opportunity to brief congressional staff and legislators on the work happening at the state level pertaining to geosynthetics. Working together with Congress and local officials connects our members to new business opportunities and allows members to show how their products are being used. Politics is truly local and Lobby Day coupled with our state advocacy efforts are helping expand the knowledge base of key stakeholders and increasing investment in the geosynthetics industry.

The companies in attendance were ACF West Inc., AGRU America Inc., CQA Solutions, Dalco Nonwovens LLC, East Coast Erosion Control, Hanes Geo Components, HUESKER Inc., LDS Geosynthetic Consulting Services, Maccaferri Inc., Owens Corning, Profile Products, Propex GeoSolutions, Solmax/GSE, Strata Systems Inc., TenCate Geosynthetics, Tensar International Corp., Thrace-LINQ Inc. and Western Ag Enterprises Inc.

Education and collaboration

In 2018 GMA’s online education efforts grew through partnership with like-minded organizations. GMA cohosted three webinars with the Fabricated Geomembrane Institute and two with the North American Chapter of the International Geosynthetics Society. These webinars were free and attended by more than 600 industry professionals from around the world. In 2018 GMA also partnered with Dr. Robert M. Koerner and the Geosynthetics Institute to promote GSI’s yearlong webinar series and online courses. Education is a key component of GMA’s mission, and collaboration with like-minded groups is a great way to share information about geosynthetics quickly around the world.

The 2018 webinars included:

  • Stability of Geosynthetic Lined Slopes, Part 1
  • Stability of Geosynthetic Lined Slopes, Part 2
  • Emerging Topics in Geosynthetics, Live-Streaming Short Course (all day)
  • A Different Approach toward Limit State Design of Geosynthetic-Reinforced Soil Structures
  • Recent Developments in Geosynthetic-Stabilized Roads: Introduction and Mechanisms

The 2018 presenters were:

  • Tim Stark, University of Illinois
  • R. Kerry Rowe, Queens University
  • Gary Zych, American Electric Power
  • Glen Toepfer, CQA Solutions
  • Sam Allen, TRI Environmental Inc.
  • Ben Leschinsky, Oregon State University
  • Jie Han, University of Kansas

If you or your organization are interested in partnering with GMA to deliver online education, please reach out to me, Jon Curry, at jicurry@ifai.com.

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