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McCartney letter and IGS-NA happenings

June 1st, 2019 / By: / IGS-NA (NAGS), News

By John McCartney

I am excited to start my two-year term as the president of IGS North America. I am joined by an active and engaged set of board members, including John Allen (president-elect), Ranjiv Gupta (treasurer), Ben Leshchinsky (secretary and vice president), Kate Patterson (vice president), Bruno Herlin (vice president), Tim Stark (vice president), John Lostumbo (vice president), Jie Han (liaison to IGS), Jon Curry (liaison to GMA) and Richard Brachman (past president). As the North American Chapter of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) and the learned society for geosynthetics in the U.S. and Canada, we are focused on providing leadership in advancing geosynthetics education and research to attain their appropriate and widespread use as engineering materials. 

Our society has been successful in achieving its mission in the past two years due to the hard work of the board, which includes several outgoing board members. I would like to thank John Henderson and Stan Boyle on behalf of the society for their time and service. IGS North America has also started a new management agreement with the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI). We are excited about the opportunities to work together with IFAI to extend our message to the broadest audience. We would like to express our thanks to Minerva for its management support over the previous three years.

We are currently contacting members to renew their membership, so please look for a reminder email from IFAI or IGS North America or visit our website (www.igs-na.org). Also, if you were previously a student member, please consider joining as a full member. We are working to find new ways for members to be actively engaged in the society and to support our members’ professional development.

We look forward in the next year to supporting two major conferences on geosynthetics in the Western Hemisphere. The first is the Geosynthetics Conference: CASE STUDIES, which will run March 8–10, 2020, in Charleston, S.C., and the second is the GeoAmericas 2020 conference, which will run April 26–29, 2020, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. One of our major efforts during my term as president will be proposing to host the next GeoAmericas 2024 conference in Canada. Our society had tremendous success in hosting the previous GeoAmericas conference in Miami, Fla., in 2016. We also plan to work toward organizing our society’s past technical contributions to previous conferences on our website. 

We look forward to continuing our recent success in hosting webinars. We recently started a partnership with the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) to host and archive webinars on its platform. Members of IGS North America will receive special benefits in being able to access and download webinar content. We have worked with several members to develop new webinars, and if you are interested in delivering a webinar on a new topic, please contact John Allen (john.allen@mineralstech.com).

You may have seen a recent announcement that IGS North America will be organizing the third Educate the Educators (EtE) program in San Diego, Calif., Dec. 9–10, 2019. If you are willing to help sponsor this highly successful event, please contact Richard Brachman (richard
.brachman@queensu.ca) or myself (mccartney@ucsd.edu).

Please feel free to reach out to me or the other IGS North America board members with ideas for new initiatives that will help advance the mission of our society.


IGS-NA Service Award inaugural award recipient: Bob Mackey

FIGURE 1 Left to right: Stan Boyle, Bob Mackey and Richard Brachman

The IGS-NA awarded its inaugural IGS-NA Excellence in Service Award to Bob Mackey (Figure 1) during the Geosynthetic 2019 conference in Houston, Texas. The North American Chapter of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS-NA) established the Excellence in Service Award to recognize members who have shown outstanding leadership and dedication to the objectives of IGS-NA or the geosynthetics industry. 

Mackey over the years has provided leadership in advancing geosynthetics through education and research, and created opportunities to collect, evaluate and disseminate knowledge on all matters relevant to geosynthetics and their applications. He has organized technical conferences, seminars and workshops that have helped train and promote geosynthetics as part of the engineering curricula. Mackey is a partner and senior design engineer with S2L Inc., of Maitland, Fla., a consulting engineering firm specializing in waste management issues and waste containment facilities for public and private clients. Mackey joined the geosynthetics community in 1989, during the period of rapid development of geosynthetic products and technology, for the sole purpose of learning about this important emerging engineering product. Mackey has authored numerous papers on geosynthetics applications and issues. Since 2003, most of his work has been in understanding the various issues of geosynthetic education within colleges’ engineering curricula. When the American Society of Civil Engineers was looking for committee members to revise its ASCE Body of Knowledge, second edition, requirements for future civil engineers, Mackey’s experience as a design engineer, educator and geosynthetic standards developer was a valuable asset to the committee. Mackey stressed to the committee the need for engineering curricula to be flexible so engineering students could have a varied fundamental coursework to allow for a greater understanding of, and ability to readily apply, emerging technologies, such that he experienced within the geosynthetics community. Most of Mr. Mackey’s recommendations were included within the publication ASCE Body of Knowledge, second edition.


2019 Student Presentation Competition 

During the 2019 Geosynthetics Conference in Houston, Texas, IGS-North America (IGS-NA) held a student presentation competition. The competition promoted the research of young members of the IGS-NA as well as promoted the Geosynthetic Conferences for Young Professional (GCYP) program of the IGS. Young members are encouraged to contact Yewei Zheng at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. (y1zheng@odu.edu), regarding the GCYP program.

The following students participated in the IGS-NA student presentation competition:

Dawie Marx from the University of Texas at Austin presented Optimisation of Lined Waste Facility Geometries.

Mohamed S. Morsy from Queen’s University presented Stress Crack Resistance—An Enigma?

Ridvan Doger of the University of Oklahoma presented a study on the Performance of GRS Bridge Abutment with Large Concrete Blocks.

Mustapha Rahmaninezhad of the University of Kansas presented the Behavior of Geosynthetic-Reinforced Retaining Walls with Wrapped-Around and Modular Block Facing Subjected to Footing Loads.

Mahdi Al-Naddef of the University of Kansas presented the Effect of Geosynthetic Reinforcement on Soil Arching Mobilization and Degradation under Different Modes of Soil Movements and Surface Loading.

Dawie Marx was the winner of the competition. He received a $1,000 prize. The IGS-NA provided the conference registration fees for all five student presentation participants.


Educate the Educators 2019 in San Diego, Calif.

Plans are currently underway to hold our third EtE event in San Diego, Calif., Dec. 9–10, 2019. This event follows our IGS-NA successful Educate the Educators (EtE) event held in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, in December 2017, where we provided training and educational materials to 35 engineering professors from across North America to enable them to offer state-of-the-practice geosynthetics education to their students at their universities. IGS-NA would like to extend a special thank you to our 2017 Diamond Event Sponsors: CETCO, GSE Environmental, Solmax and TenCate. Sapphire Event Sponsors were AGRU America Inc., HUESKER and Thrace-LINQ Inc.  


Thank you for your service

Appreciations go out to Kerry Rowe, Richard Bathurst, Jorge Zornberg and Fady Abdelaal for providing the educational services during our EtE 2017 event.

Elizabeth Peggs for her ideas, energy and encouragement

Stan Boyle for service as vice president, 2015–2019

John Henderson for service as past president, 2017–2019

Richard Brachman as president, 2017–2019


Webinar Series 2019

IGS-NA will continue holding educational webinars in 2019. Should any member wish to present a webinar, please contact John Allen (john.allen@mineralstech.com). 

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