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My journey along the ‘Geosynthetics Superhighway’

Editorial | June 1, 2022 | By:

I’ve been on a fascinating ride over the last five years during which I have edited and written for Geosynthetics magazine. I began work as the editor of the magazine on March 1, 2017, and less than two weeks later, I traveled to my first geosynthetics-related conference, Geotechnical Frontiers 2017, March 12–15, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. I remember sitting in on multiple technical sessions and plenary lectures with a distinct cluelessness about what I was hearing.

Thankfully, the magazine’s previous editor, Ron Bygness, who had edited the magazine for 11 years and was retiring, stayed on to help me learn the ropes for four months after I started. He was there in Orlando, and I recall being reassured when a particular unnamed geosynthetics expert pitched an idea for a feature to Ron. After the expert left, I asked Ron what the heck the expert was proposing, and Ron said he had no idea, but he would decide later when the expert communicated with him whether the idea would work for the magazine. This little bit of honesty and humility from Ron allowed me to take a lot of pressure off myself, as I realized it likely would take quite a while for me to get my mind around geosynthetics. I also realized that there would be some things that I would never fully understand, as I am a publishing professional, not a geotechnical engineer.

Luckily, the small geosynthetics community extended an enormous amount of help to me, and perhaps 100 writers (usually civil engineers) over the years have worked with me to publish interesting and innovative geosynthetics content. It seems clear to me that my employer, the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI), appreciated what I was doing with the magazine. In 2018, IFAI promoted me to senior editor.

During my time as editor of Geosynthetics, I interviewed a sitting member of the U.S. House of Representatives (Bruce Westerman, R-Ark.); interviewed two Koerner Award and Lecture Series honorees (Barry Christopher and Jie Han); purposely published the work of many women geotechnical engineers; aided in the planning for multiple Geosynthetics Conferences; and traveled as far afield as Beijing, China, and Seoul, South Korea, in search of geosynthetics content. I led the transition of the magazine from primarily a print-based publication to a print and online publication with a lot more substantive digital content. I also put in place many publishing best practices I have learned over the years, and I believe the content we have published has steadily improved in quality, style, photograph and figure quality, and readability.

But with this Editorial, my journey along the “Geosynthetics Superhighway” comes to an end. 

The Industrial Fabrics Association International remains committed to publishing Geosynthetics, and this magazine will continue to be a thought leader in an industry poised to continue to prosper in the years to come. 

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