The executive council of the Geosynthetics Materials Association (GMA) has a new chair and first vice chair. Bryan Gee, the director of education and training for Tensar International Corp., has ascended to the chair of GMA, while Steve Thaxton, the business development leader of geosynthetics for Owens Corning, has assumed the position of first vice chair. At press time, the position of second vice chair remained open but hopefully will be filled by the time you read this.
Bryan Gee: GMA chair
Bryan Gee of Tensar is now GMA’s executive council chair, eﬀective May 1, 2020. Gee has been with Tensar for 14 years in sales, product management and marketing roles. He is a licensed professional engineer and received his B.S.E. and M.S. in civil and environmental engineering from Duke University.
Steve Thaxton: GMA first vice chair
Steve Thaxton of Owens Corning is now GMA’s first vice chair, eﬀective May 1, 2020. Over the past 23 years, Thaxton has served multiple roles at diﬀerent companies within the geosynthetics industry. He ﬁrst served on the GMA executive council in 2011–2014 and returned in 2019 when he assumed leadership of the global geosynthetics business for Owens Corning.
During the COVID-19 time of “shelter in” and with no-travel guidelines restricting our continued visits to Washington, D.C., and our state and local lobby efforts, GMA has still remained busy in conversations with many congressional offices, particularly those where GMA members are their constituents. These conversations have covered topics ranging from language for the reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), to the potential innovative materials language within the proposed infrastructure bills, to a new discussion with members of the education committees proposing possible options for funding expanded geosynthetic education at the university level. Even though we were unable to meet face-to-face, GMA is now recognized well enough on Capitol Hill that we were able to schedule virtual meetings and conference calls.
Our focus groups and task forces continued to push on with opportunities to effect changes beneficial to the expanded use of geosynthetics. The geotextile and geogrid focus groups worked in conjunction with the National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP) geosynthetics committee and AASHTO’s COMP TS-4e tech section on geosynthetics. The NTPEP cooperation worked on revisions and updates to the Geotextiles (GTX), Reinforcement Geosynthetics (REGEO) and newly proposed Subgrade Stabilization Geosynthetic (SSGEO) work plans, while the AASHTO work was targeted at bringing the M288 specification in line with 21st-century geosynthetic products. The interlayer task force met with the Indiana Department of Transportation in late December 2019 but unfortunately their hope to affect the interlayer specification there was delayed by COVID-19. The marketing awareness campaign task force is moving ahead with plans to implement the ideas and discoveries from the completed phase 1 and hopes to have the digital awareness campaign underway by early fall.
Fall is a time when GMA holds several events, including our fall fly-in lobby day in Washington, D.C. The Waste Containment Systems Design Seminar is scheduled to be held in Syracuse, N.Y., on Sept. 15–16, and the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) intends to hold its annual IFAI Expo in Indianapolis, Ind., Nov. 4–6.