Are you registered for the Fall 2021 Lobby Day, Oct. 20, in Washington, D.C.? Will we see you in person at GeoNashville, Nov. 4–5? As you are reading this, we are preparing for the first two returns to in-person activities for the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA). Here are the current options for the Oct. 20 fall fly-in: (1) we may be back to the traditional meetings in the congressional offices of the House and Senate buildings, or (2) due to the continued restrictions, we may host our visits with the congressperson and staff at a central location near the congressional offices where they can come to visit us. Our third possibility might be a hybrid of the first two. At the time of writing, the procedures for congressional office visits require security clearance, an escort to the meeting, departing the building after the meeting and re-entering security to attend another meeting. Whether this is still the policy come October will be the deciding factor on our selection of option 1, 2 or 3.
GeoNashville will be on Nov. 4–5 at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn. The theme is “Geotechnical Innovation, Renewed Connections,” planned to be the first chance post-COVID lockdowns to get back together face-to-face. The industry has stepped up to consume all the exhibit space, and the regional engineering, agency and academic community is expected to fill our 200+ attendance. Our all-plenary session conference will feature forward-looking presentations on the future of geosynthetics from the perspective of the Federal Highway Administration (Silas Nichols), the Federal Aviation Administration (Jeffrey Gagnon) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Jeb Tingle), and Dr. Jie Han will be presenting his 2021 Koerner Lecture. Each of our presenters will be highlighted a second time as we place them on an open-discussion panel session. In addition to the four plenaries, several geosynthetic manufacturers will be showcased during the Innovation Technology Spotlight and Panel Session. It may not be too late to join us in Nashville. Details can be found at www.GeosyntheticsConference.com.
In GMA news, the executive council met in July to hold officer elections for the 2021–2023 term. Bryan Gee, Tensar Corp., was elected to his first term as chair of the executive council. He had been serving out the term vacated when I assumed the role of executive director of GMA. Likewise, Steve Thaxton, Owens Corning, had been completing the term of Doug Brown as first vice chair and was formally voted into his first term as first vice chair. Both positions will be able to have a second term (two years) if the council so votes in 2023. The second vice chair position remains vacant as we review and revise the GMA bylaws.