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GMA heads back to Wisconsin and convenes in Texas

GMA News, News | April 1, 2019 | By:

GMA heads back to Wisconsin and convenes in Texas 

The Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) followed up on its April 2018 advocacy trip to Wisconsin by providing geosynthetics education to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR) in January. Education is a key component of GMA’s mission, and activities like this grow the understanding of geosynthetic materials at the state level.  

Houston, Texas, was the site of Geosynthetics Conference 2019 and a great place for GMA’s volunteers to gather to discuss advancements in the industry and strategic goals. The conference provided a perfect backdrop for GMA discussions centered around geosynthetic education, technical advancements and government relations activities.

Environmental focus group visits Wisconsin

On Jan. 24, 2019, in Fitchburg, Wis., GMA’s environmental focus group presented a daylong technical seminar to the WI DNR titled “Geosynthetics in Environmental & Waste Containment Applications.” The seminar provided state engineers insight into geosynthetic solutions used in environmental applications, as well as best practices. Focus group chair Andy Durham of Owens Corning coordinated the program and enlisted the help of GMA members Lilma Schimmel, the Engineering Department head for HUESKER Inc., and Allen Bullock, the North American group manager for GEO-Systems at Leister Technologies. GMA members were joined by Jim Tinjum, an associate professor and program director within the Geological Engineering Program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.   

Durham reported that more than 25 engineers with WI DNR participated in the in-depth technical seminar. 

“It was a great opportunity for these key regulatory engineers to learn about new and innovative geosynthetic products and solutions for use in waste containment and water management applications to solve challenges faced in Wisconsin every day,” Durham said.

The daylong seminar covered:

  • GMA “Who We Are and What We Do”
  • Environmental Geosynthetics Overview
  • Geosynthetics in Landfill Design
  • Geosynthetics in Slope Stability
  • Waste Facility Cover and Capping Using Geosynthetics
  • Geosynthetic Installation Standards, Quality Control and Project Reporting

Events such as this are made possible by GMA’s state and local advocacy program, which over the past few years has visited 19 states. This vital program allows GMA to build stronger relationships with regulatory departments such as the WI DNR, and engineers around the country are receiving geosynthetics education led by GMA members.    

If you are interested in getting more involved, please reach out to Jonathan Curry at

GMA convenes in Houston, Texas

The Industrial Fabrics Association International hosted Geosynthetics Conference 2019 February 10–13 in Houston. The conference was attended by industry professionals and engineers from around the world. GMA hosted open meetings with members and nonmembers during the conference. These meetings covered technical issues pertaining to geotextiles, geogrids, erosion control materials, environmental applications and distribution networks. GMA’s executive council also met to discuss the direction of the association, and GMA officers led a general membership meeting. Martin Whitmer, our D.C.-based lobbyist, presented an update on the state of affairs in Washington, D.C., and discussed the outlook for a fully funded transportation package this year. 

All meetings were coordinated by GMA staff and member led. Please reach out to our focus group chairs to find out what is on their agendas for the year and how to get involved.

  • Geotextile Chair: Daniel Selander, Thrace-LINQ
  • Geogrid Chair: Mike Clements, HUESKER Inc.
  • Erosion Control Chair: Keith Harris, Hanes Geo Components
  • Environmental Chair: Andy Durham, Owens Corning
  • Distributor: David Andrews, Propex
GMA Spring Lobby Day to follow Infrastructure Week

GMA’s spring Lobby Day is May 21–22 and will be held on the heels of Infrastructure Week, which is May 13–20 in Washington, D.C. According to Infrastructure Week’s website, it “convenes a national week of education and advocacy that brings together American businesses, workers, elected leaders, and everyday citizens around one message in 2019: Let’s #BuildForTomorrow. Starting Now.”    

GMA and its members will be poised to build on the Infrastructure Week message and promote geosynthetics as part of the solution for making America’s civil infrastructure stronger and last longer. Key legislation to keep an eye on in advance of Lobby Day is the IMAGINE Act, which was reintroduced in the 116th Congress and allocates hundreds of millions of dollars for the research of innovative materials such as geosynthetics. 

Register today at 

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