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Letter from the IGS-NA chair

April 1st, 2020 / By: / IGS-NA (NAGS)

The North American Chapter of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS-NA) had a productive 2019, and we are looking forward to several exciting activities in 2020. We held the third installment of Educate the Educators in December 2019 in La Jolla, Calif. 

In addition, IGS-NA was a sponsoring organization of the Geosynthetics Conference 2020: CASE STUDIES, March 8–10, in North Charleston, S.C., and organized a workshop entitled “Professional Issues in Geosynthetics Engineering.” Presentations at the workshop included “Ethics in Geosynthetics and Civil Engineering” by Boyd Ramsey, “Geopipes” by Michael Pluimer and “Geosynthetic Installation Issues for Designers” by Chris Eichelberger. 

Finally, IGS-NA is a sponsor of the GeoAmericas 2020 conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Oct. 26–29. As part of this conference, IGS-NA organized a paper competition for IGS-NA student members. The winners will receive funds to attend the conference. 

In addition to these events, we are working with different partner organizations to offer state-of-the-art webinars on exciting geosynthetics topics. Please keep your eyes open for these in the future.

John McCartney


Changing practice by changing education—IGS North America Educates the Educators

By Richard Brachman

Participants in Educate the Educators

The North American Chapter of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS-NA) held its third Educate the Educators (EtE) event on Dec. 9–10, 2019, at the University of California, San Diego. Richard Brachman (Queen’s University), John McCartney (University of California, San Diego) and Ben Leshchinsky (Oregon State University) served as the instructors. After a half-day on the fundamentals of geosynthetics, the remainder of the two-day event provided specialized technical training on environmental, transportation and reinforcing applications of geosynthetics.

The 2019 EtE class was comprised of 22 professors (19 from the USA, 3 from Canada) at the assistant to associate professor rank who all want to teach geosynthetics in their courses.

They were the ideal target audience for EtE, as one-third initially identified as geosynthetic novices while the rest had intermediate knowledge on geosynthetics. This served as an excellent common starting point for lectures and discussions aimed at equipping our class with new knowledge and materials to teach geosynthetics.

EtE 2019 was made possible with the generous financial support of TenCate Geosynthetics Americas, CETCO/Minerals Technologies Inc., Solmax, HUESKER Inc. and the International Geosynthetics Society. Industry sponsor representatives John Lostumbo (TenCate), Adam Maskal (Solmax) and Lilma Schimmel (HUESKER) were also part of the instructional team. In addition to delivering high-quality technical case histories, their active, hands-on involvement in the geosynthetics identification workshop was a key part of the training we offered.  

IGS North America believes education is essential to attain the appropriate and widespread use of geosynthetics as engineering materials. Educate the Educators was developed and offered in conjunction with the International Geosynthetics Society and industry partners to provide specialized, hands-on training and lecture materials to equip professors to offer effective geosynthetics content at their schools. Special thanks are expressed to Jorge Zornberg (University of Texas at Austin) and Richard Bathurst (Royal Military College of Canada) for sharing their transportation and reinforcement notes with our class.