The North American Chapter of the
International Geosynthetics Society



Educate the Educators Participation Application

Educate The EducatorsEducate The Educators
A Geosynthetics Training Program for University Professors
4-5 December 2017, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Apply Here

Too many young engineers enter the field without state-of-the-art geotechnical knowledge because their formal schooling overlooks a key discipline in current geotechnical practice: GEOSYNTHETICS

Let the geosynthetics community provide you the resources to teach your students about geosynthetics!

We know that many undergraduate engineering programs lack geosynthetic instruction, often instructors may not have the resources, confidence or materials to effectively teach geosynthetics. In order to address this the IGS-NA offers Educate the Educators (EtE), a 2-day, funded program for university professors.

EtE provides specialized, hands-on training and lecture materials to equip attending professors with the tools they need to offer effective geosynthetics course work in their engineering programs. Attending professors receive instruction, course materials (including power point presentations, hand outs and sample binders) and have continued access to the instructors as they develop their own programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Building on the success of EtE Austin, held in 2015, IGS-NA is now offering a second EtE event, to be held in Kingston, Ontario in December of 2017. We are very excited to have four exceptional educators and pioneering researchers as the EtE lead instructors: R. Kerry Rowe (Queen’s University), Richard J. Bathurst (Royal Military College of Canada), Richard Brachman (Queens University) and Jorge Zornberg (University of Texas Austin).

Each successful applicant will need only to organize transportation to/from the course. The IGS and IGS-NA and their sponsors will provide food, lodging and course registration to all successful candidates.

Schedule Overview

  • 3 Dec. Travel into Kingston
  • 4 Dec. 8:00 am – 5:00 pm – Day 1 course
  • 4 Dec. Evening – Laboratory tour with demonstrations followed by hosted group dinner
  • 5 Dec.  8:00 am – 5:00 pm – Day 2 course
    * Attendees will be expected to stay to the course completion 
  • Departure on 5 or 6 of Dec. depending on availability


Applicants will be asked to upload their C.V., provide information about the courses they teach and write a short description identifying how they would hope to incorporate the information from EtE in their curriculum.

Interested participants can apply online.

Apply Here

Please send all questions to or call +1 561 768 9489

NAGS/GMA Co-Sponsored Waste Containment System Design Seminar

The North American Geosynthetics Society and the Geosynthetic Materials Association co-sponsored a day and half seminar in Syracuse, NY on the design of waste containment systems on March 22 and 23rd. Over 100 attendees with representatives from the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, the New Jersey State Dept. of Environmental Protection, the Maryland State Dept. of the Environment, and US EPA’s Region 2 Headquarters, graduate students and their professor from Syracuse University, several landfill owners and operators, design consultants, contractors, and manufacturers/suppliers of various geosynthetic materials also participated.

Welcome Attendees

Left, Dave Suits, NAGS Executive Director, & Right, Jonathan Curry, GMA Division Director, Welcoming Attendees

Dr. Richard Brachman, Queens University, and president-elect of NAGS, was the lead lecturer. Robert Phaneuf, NYS DEC’s Division of Materials Management, presented overviews of the proposed revisions to New York State’s solid waste regulations, 6 NYCRR Part 360, as they relate to landfill liner and final cover systems. Mr. Phaneuf also provided a brief introduction of the points of interest from a New York State regulatory perspective for each of Dr. Brachman’s design topic lectures. Abigail Beck, TRI Environmental, provided information on electrical leak detection with a video demonstration of the test, and guidance in designing an electrical leak detection program. The program concluded with a panel representing three consultant firms presenting “Take Home Points” from the design consultant perspective. The panel members included Cory McDowell, representing Baron and Loguidice, D.P.C, Bradford Smith, representing GHD Consulting Services, Inc., and Mark Swyka, representing Cornerstone Environmental Group.


L-R, Robert Phaneuf, Abigail Beck, Richard Brachman, Cory McDowell, Mark Swyka, Brad Smith

Providing sponsorships from the Geosynthetic Materials Association membership were GSE, Inc., Agru Americas, Titan, and Terrifix. Sponsorship included the opportunity for table top displays¸ along with a fifteen-minute time slot during meals to speak about projects that their companies had been involved with. Upon adjourning the seminar, Mr. Phaneuf expressed appreciation on behalf of the Division of Materials Management to the seminar sponsors (NAGS and GMA) for bringing this training opportunity to a New York State location and providing a venue where both regulators and design engineers have an opportunity learn together at a very reasonable cost.


Syracuse University Students w/Dr. Shobha Bhatia on the right next to the sign

Comments across the board from participants, whether from the youngest in regards to experience, or from the seasoned practitioner were that the seminar was timely and well worth the day and half. See the comment from the graduate students below.

“We found the technical seminar both comprehensive and enjoyable. As graduate students, it was stimulating as well as valuable to not only learn about the proper selection, design and construction of geosynthetic materials being used in today’s landfill liner and final cover systems but also be cognizant of the many reasons for failures encountered in real projects. The opportunity enabled us to widen our knowledge of the fundamentals when it comes to landfill engineering, design, and construction—while complementing that knowledge with the technological tools, techniques, and advances available to us today, as well as get the unique opportunity to understand the many regulatory concerns associated with each area of discussion.”

A comment from one of the regulators in attendance: “Simply the best professional technical training opportunity that I have had while being at the DEC”.


Meal and Networking Time

Sales Workshop at GeoAmericas 2016

Instructor: GARY ROSS
Oldcastle APG
Wednesday, 13 April 2016 – 10:15 am – 1:15pm
“Smart Prospecting, Simplified”

When planning your staff travel, please consider which members would benefit from this complimentary, 3-hour sales workshop held immediately after the close of the exhibition.

GeoAmericas 2016 is proud to present a bonus session for exhibitors! Attend a 3-hour sales workshop led by Gary Ross, to be held immediately after the close of the exhibit hall.

ross-gary_Head137x168Gary Ross is the Director of Sales Training & Coaching and is a Motivational Speaker for Oldcastle APG. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Resource Management from Palm Beach Atlantic University, and earned his certificate in Supervisory Development from the University of Notre Dame.

Prior to his role as Director of Sales Training & Coaching, Gary was the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Coastal, an Oldcastle Company based in Florida. He has over 38 years of sales experience including 13 years in Sales Management.

Gary resides in West Palm Beach, Florida with his wife, Daryl.

The Sales Workshop – “Smart Prospecting, Simplified” will focus on:

  1. Developing a better message to get your prospect to call you back and schedule an appointment
  2. The importance of being relentless in your follow up
  3. The idea to Probe more, pitch less
  4. The value of making one more sales call and who you should target

Full information on GeoAmericas 2016, including registration, venue, and social/networking opportunities can be found at


Full information on GeoAmericas 2016, including registration, venue, and social/networking opportunities can be found at

GeoAmericas 2016 Extends Early Registration to January 29

geoamericas2016_logo_withtag_lg_4cHUESKER_Canal3_Mining2_550wWe open the week with an unexpected gift: The early registration discount for GeoAmericas 2016 has been extended to January 29. The conference, which is the 3rd Pan-American Conference on Geosynthetics, will be held 10 – 13 April 2016 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in Miami.


Highlights for the event include:

  • 13 short courses
  • 49 technical sessions, each of which averages 6 papers per 90-minute session
  • Special sessions on mining, transportation engineering, coastal protection, installation, construction quality assurance, world case studies, soil reinforcement, barrier systems, and much more
  • Young Professionals Program
  • Keynote lectures from Dr. Robert Koerner, P.E. (Geosynthetic Institute); Dale Morris, Senior Economic Advisor at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington, DC, and Nathalie Olijslager-Jaarsma, Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Miami); and Mercer Lecturer Dr. Jorge Zornberg, P.E. (Immediate Past President, IGS).

Additionally, the conference will feature a large range of meetings from essential organizations in the geotechnical engineering field. They include the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) Council, the Geosynthetic Institute (GSI), the International Association of Geosynthetic Installers (IAGI), the Fabricated Geomembrane Institute (FGI), the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA), the Erosion Control Technology Council (ECTC), the International Erosion Control Association (IECA) Ibero-American Chapter, and the Federation of International Geo-Engineering Societies (FedIGS).


All activities for GeoAmericas 2016 will take place on Miami’s historic South Beach at the five-star Loews Miami Beach Hotel. The 790-room venue is just 20 minutes from Miami International Airport and 35 minutes from Fort Lauderdale International Airport. The Loews offers direct beach access and concierge service in multiple languages.

More than 60% of the room block has been reserved. Organizers encourage all bookings to take place online. The BOOK TODAY link on the GeoAmericas 2016 venue page should be used in order to get the special conference rate.


A few sponsorship and advertising opportunities are available. For questions regarding sponsorship and advertising opportunities with GeoAmericas 2016 or its publishing partner (Geosynthetica), contact André Lacerda,, +1 561 570 1061.


Visit for the latest conference information.

Mining Engineering at GeoAmericas 2016

223_igs-winner-solmaxThe 3rd Pan-American Conference on Geosynthetics (GeoAmericas 2016) will be held 10 – 13 April 2016 in Miami at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. This quadrennial regional conference from the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) features 3.5 days of high-quality geotechnical and civil engineering short courses, technical sessions, panel discussions, training lectures, keynote addresses, and networking in the international exhibit hall.

Mining is one of the conference’s cornerstone topics.

Geosynthetic materials are essential to the economical and environmental performance of mining operations. Geosynthetic technologies can be used to enhance infrastructure and improve processes. They provide more productive and robust facilities with higher yields.

Geogrids efficiently improve the integrity of unpaved access roads to prevent costly failures under heavy loads and in poor weather.

Geomembranes increase the yield and flow from heap leach pads and liquor trenches.

Geotextiles, geocomposite drainage materials, geosynthetic clay liners, and other geosynthetics perform vital functions, enhance drainage and venting, improve the stability of berms around tailings, etc.

Attendees of GeoAmericas will learn why soil reinforcement is more important than ever to the success of mining and how geosynthetic liners and covers have dramatically and beneficially changed the economics and performance of heap leaching for gold, copper, uranium, and other materials. With multiple courses and sessions to draw upon, GeoAmericas gives participants ready-to-use strategies and access to geosynthetic designers, suppliers, and installers from throughout the Americas.

Mark Smith, Denys Parra, Abigail-BeckHighlights for mining professionals include:

  • A full-day short course on “Advances in Geosynthetics for Heap Leaching,” taught by mine designer and owner Mark Smith, M.Sc., P.E., D.GE (RRD International); Denys Parra, M.Sc., P.E. (Anddes Associados), and Abigail Beck, M.Sc., P.E. (TRI Environmental). This full day course will provide attendees with design insights that will allow them to effectviely understand and incorporate important new technologies in their projects.
  • 12+ presentations across two mining and energy technical sessions
  • Training lectures on barrier system performance; embankments on soft soils; and geosynthetic clay liner (GCL) performance
  • Robert KoernerKeynote lecture by Dr. Robert Koerner on “Lifetime Predictions of Exposed Geotextiles and Geomembranes”
  • Affiliated technical sessions focused on soil reinforcement and ground improvement (37 presentations), barrier design (19), testing of geosynthetic materials (17), drainage and filtration (15), and sustainability (7)
  • A sold out international exhibit hall with Pan-American manufacturers and service providers who supply to mining projectsfrom northern Canada to the southern tip of Chile


Full information on GeoAmericas 2016, including registration, venue, and social/networking opportunities can be found at

GeoAmericas 2016 Features GeoPrediction Competition

Geoamericas2016_GeoPrediction_Wall_450wThe Young Professionals Program at GeoAmericas 2016 has announced its GeoPrediction Competition. This team-based event will focus on predicting the face displacement of an MSE wall constructed with poorly draining backfill. The objective of the GeoPrediction Competition is to develop an accurate prediction of the behavior of a geotechnical system involving geosynthetics, given detailed information regarding subsurface, boundary, and initial conditions, as well as the geotechnical, structural, and hydraulic loading.

The use of any available geotechnical software and empirical correlations is allowed, as is the development of a simple, accurate computer code for making this prediction.

Questions are welcomed. Email

Eligibility, deadline, and the MSE problem description follows.


geoamericas2016_logo_withtag_lg_4cEligibility: A Geosynthetics Prediction Team will consist of one or two younger members. There is no limit on the number of teams from a given institution or company.

Submittal: Each Geosynthetics Prediction Team will submit a Geosynthetics Prediction Report containing, a minimum, the following information:

  • The Report shall be no more than three (3) pages long (not including any references and cover page). One inch margins, single spacing, and 12 point Times New Roman font are required.
  • The Report shall contain the methods (assumptions, correlations, analytical procedures, numerical procedures, computer software, etc.) that the team employed to develop their Geosynthetics Prediction. All methods must be properly referenced.
  • The Report must include a plot of the face displacement as a function of height.
  • The cover page (in addition to the 3 pages for the report) must include the name of the institution or company, names of the team members, email addresses, and the name and contact information of any supervisor or faculty advisor who assisted in developing the team’s code and prediction.
  • A reference list must follow the report.
  • Submit the Report by 6:00pm (CST) on 4 March 2016 by email to: Sender will receive confirmation of receipt by email. Late submissions may not be accepted.

Judging: The submitted Geosynthetics Prediction reports will be judged and ranked by a panel of geotechnical engineers. The judging will be based on the criteria listed below.

  • Format, length, grammar, English usage (15%)
  • Clarity of technical presentation (15%)
  • Logical and concise use of appropriate geotechnical methods and principles in developing Geosynthetics Prediction (25%)
  • Accuracy of the Geosynthetics Prediction (45%)

Announcement: The top three reports will be ranked by the panel and will be presented with awards during the IGS awards ceremony at GeoAmericas 2016.

Questions: Send any questions to

Geoamericas2016_GeoPrediction_450wPROBLEM DESCRIPTION & AVAILABLE DATA

A geotextile-reinforced prototype mechanically-stabilized earth (MSE) wall was constructed using wrap-around facing with a width of 4m, a height of 4m and a length of 4m. The wall was built with 10 geotextile layers evenly spaced at 0.40m vertically. The reinforcement length was equal to 3.0m. The MSE wall was constructed atop a firm foundation that can be assumed to be rigid with first geotextile layer placed at the ground level. In the design, the reduction factors against creep, durability and installation damage were taken as 1.0. The wrap-around system was assembled using metallic supports and wood boards, for a final angle of 78o from horizontal, resulting in a face slope of 5V:1H. The geotextile material used in the wall was a short-fiber needle-punched polyester non-woven geotextile with the following characteristics:

  • Mass per unit area: 204.40 g/m2
  • Thickness: 1.26 mm
  • Ultimate tensile load: 8.5 kN/m
  • Ultimate tensile elongation: 90 %
  • Elasticity modulus: 13 kN/m

Backfill soil consisted of a fine to medium well-graded sand which was compacted using a vibratory plate hammer. The grain size distribution of backfill soil is presented in Figure 1. The maximum and minimum void ratios, emax and emin were 0.70 and 0.46. The backfill soil was compacted to a target relative density of 80% which corresponds to a void ratio of 0.51 and dry unit weight of 17.7 kN/m3. The backfill was placed in the field at a gravimetric water content of 5.0%. The soil has a drained friction angle of 33°.

Estimate the deflections of the wall face as a function of wall height due to the wall’s self-weight immediately after construction.


VISIT THE GEOAMERICAS 2016 WEBSITE for more information on the Young Professionals Program, the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS), short courses, and much more.

GeoAmericas 2016 Registration Opens

geoamericas2016_logo_withtag_lg_4cGeoAmericas 2016, the 3rd Pan-American Conference on Geosynthetics, has been years in the making. After successful iterations in Mexico (2008) and Peru (2012), the Americas-uniting geotechnical conference returns. Organizers have announced the opening of the GeoAmericas 2016 registration.


The event has already sold out the exhibit hall and the organizers have added extra rooms to the pre-conference room block to handle the early surge of bookings for exhibitors, attendees, and industry organizations intending to arrive early for meetings and personal time in Miami.


The official hotel is the Loews Miami Beach Hotel and Resort All conference activities will take place at the Loews.

Attendees and exhibitors should be award of hotel room-booking scams that target conference goers. Please book your accommodations directly online–the Loews link on the previous line takes you directly to the special rate code–or call the hotel directly.


  • 13 short courses, including English and Spanish-language offerings. Topics include heap leach design, geosynthetic-reinforced soil in bridge construction, CQA, geomembranes in oil and gas operations, and more. Short courses are held on April 10 (Sunday) and will be followed by the official opening of the conference with a keynote address and an exhibit hall reception. Learn more about the short courses.
  • 49 technical sessions, including training lectures from renowned experts; paper-driven technical sessions; and panel discussions on field-shaping topics (e.g., growth of geosynthetics in Latin America, predicting end of geomembrane service life)
  • Special technical sessions will include coastal protection, sustainability, Best Journal Papers, and Student Awards
  • Keynote Lectures from Dr. Robert Koerner, P.E. (Geosynthetic Institute); Dale Morris, Sr. Economic Adviser from the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington DC and Nathalie Olijslager-Jaarsma, Kingdom of the Netherlands Consul General (Miami); and the Mercer Lecture with Dr. Jorge Zornberg, P.E. (IGS Immediate Past President, University of Texas at Austin)
  • Industry meetings involving International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) Technical Committees, FedIGS, GMA, GSI, FGI, IAGI, and ECTC.
  • Opportunities for young engineers, including the IGS Young Members  program with a pre-conference GeoPrediction competition, a digital scavenger hunt during the conference, a panel discussion with industry leaders, and a beach volleyball social event.
  • Social programming and companion program including Exhibit Hall Opening Reception (Sunday evening, April 10), beach volleyball (Monday evening, April 11), and Havana Nights social event (Tuesday evening, April 12). Additional companion program events include an Everglades Adventure, an Art Deco District Walk, and a trip to the Villa Vizcaya.



  • HUESKER (Platinum)
  • Solmax (Platinum)
  • TMP (Gold)
  • Tencate (Silver)
  • TRI Environmental (Silver)

In addition to the support for the conference, sponsors are also contributing to a unique construction project in Charlier, Haiti.


A Very Successful Educate the Educator (ETE) Program

ETE Photo

Top: Participants in the NAGS Hosted Educate the Educator; Bottom: NAGS President-elect Richard Brachman leading one session of ETE

The North American Geosynthetics Society hosted “Educate the Educators: A Geosynthetics Training Program for University Professors” on 28–29 July 2015 in Austin, Texas.

This program provided core geosynthetic content, background information, and materials for use in the classroom so that participants can offer fundamental geosynthetics instruction in their engineering programs. The primary goal of the event was to teach every participant how to offer at least one 50-minute class on geosynthetics at the undergraduate level. Lecture notes and a hands-on learning module were provided to support this fundamental lecture. Additional class content and resources for senior undergraduate and graduate courses was also presented, discussed and provided.

The training sessions were be led by NAGS members Dr. Jorge Zornberg of The University of Texas at Austin, geotechnical consultant Dr. Barry Christopher and Dr. Richard Brachman of Queen’s University. Corporate sponsors contributed to technical education by providing informative and interesting case histories as well as special hands-on laboratory explanations and demonstrations by technical experts.

“The quality of the program and the reception of the material by the attendees was excellent,” stated John Henderson, PE, President of NAGS. “Educate the Educators is one of the key strategic programs for NAGS to fulfill our mission to improve the knowledge base of civil engineering professionals about geosynthetics.”

Educate the Educators hosted 43 visiting professors from North America and participants from Italy, Peru, China, Indonesia and Egypt.

This non-commercial educational event was chaired by Mr. Boyd Ramsey of GSE Environmental and created by the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS). The event was hosted by the IGS’s North American Chapter (NAGS) and supported by generous sponsors: Geosynthetic Materials Association, Geosynthetic Institute, TenCate Geosynthetics, Erosion Control Technology Council, Presto Geosystems, GSE Environmental, Huesker, Thrace-Linq, and TRI.

GeoAmericas 2016 Exhibition & Sponsorship Open!

geoamericas2016_logo_withtag_lg_4cGeoAmericas2016_LowesHotel_450wThe GeoAmericas 2016 Organizing Committee and its host chapter, the North American Geosynthetics Society, invite you to join us at 2016’s most vibrant geosynthetics event!

  • 95 Booth Spaces
  • Multiple Sponsorship Options
  • Location Central to the Americas
  • 50 90-Minute Sessions
  • 56 hours of Short Course Programming
  • Much more…


Reserve Your Space

GeoAmericas 2016 is the 3rd Pan-American Conference on Geosynthetics. Professionals from throughout the Americas will gather in Miami for technology transfer, networking, and project planning in key sectors such as mining, water resources, roadway infrastructure, waste management, and environmental protection.

The pre-sale period for booths and sponsorships has concluded, so booth and sponsorship positions are now open for reservation by the larger geotechnical engineering community. We invite you to review the Exhibition and Sponsorship Brochure (PDF) and online reservation information.

Strengthen Your Business

International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) Corporate Members enjoy a substantial discount on booths. Non-members can capitalize too. Join the IGS and immediately enjoy a number of high-level benefits on GeoAmericas conference participation, as well as benefit from membership before and after the event.

We welcome your questions, we encourage your interaction, and we look forward to working with you to make this an outstanding event and a key part of your near- and long-term business development.

See you in Miami!

John Henderson, Exhibits & Sponsorship Co-Chair
Peter Passarelli, Exhibits & Sponsorship Co-Chair


For Questions or More Information Please Contact
Becky Slaybaugh, Executive Admin |
Elizabeth Peggs, Co-Secretary General |
TEL: +1.561.768.9487
(-5 GMT)


Educate the Educators – Call for Applications

  199_PhotoAward2014_honorablemention_w500Too many engineers enter the field without state-of-the-art geotechnical knowledge, because their formal schooling overlooks a key piece of modern practice: geosynthetics.

Let the geosynthetics community provide resources to teach your students about geosynthetics.

Geosynthetics were the only new class of construction materials developed in the 20th century. Over the past 40 years, they have become fully integrated into all areas of environmental and civil infrastructure design and execution. Their cost-effective, environmentally strong performance has been well documented. In some cases, federal regulations even require their use (e.g., waste management). Today, every major engineering firm has designated geosynthetic experts on staff.   Yet, geosynthetics are taught in less than 45 engineering programs in North American colleges and universities. This has produced an enormous knowledge gap.

Multiple geotechnical and geosynthetics professional societies and organizations are joining together to sponsor a geosynthetics education program specific to supporting educators. “Educate the Educators: A Geosynthetics Training Program for University Professors” will be held 28 – 29 July 2015 in Austin, Texas. This program will provide core geosynthetic content, background information, and materials for use in the classroom so that participants may include geosynthetics in their engineering curricula.  The event presents a single 50-minute class on geosynthetics for the undergraduate level; but it also provides a framework for additional class content and resources up to and including a graduate-level class on geosynthetics.

Please apply on line at:

The sessions will be led by Dr. Richard Brachman of Queen’s University, Dr. Jorge Zornberg of The University of Texas at Austin, and field veteran Barry Christopher.

This is a non-commercial event being conducted under the auspices of the IGS North America and created by the International Geosynthetics Society , and supported by the Geosynthetic Institute, the Geosynthetic Materials Association, and other industry groups and companies.

There are approximately 40 seats in the course. Successful applicants will be provided with hotel, meals, and transportation in Austin. Successful applicants will need only to fund their travel to Austin.

183_PhotoAward2014_thirdplace_w500When: 28 – 29 July 2015    Where: Austin, Texas

In applying for participation, please include:

  • Copy of CV with publications, papers, etc.
  • A short commentary on how you can include this content in your institution’s engineering curricula
  • List of courses for which you are responsible

Applicants will be notified of their enrollment status during the second week in June. Priority will be given to those individuals judged to have influence over the content of the programs at their respective institutions.


Please apply today.  We encourage you to spread the word on this program to your colleagues in education. Spaces are limited, so act promptly. Please contact me using the information below if you have any additional questions.


Boyd Ramsey

Chief Engineer – GSE Environmental LLC
GMA Chairman
IGS Council Member

Co-Chair IGS Technical Committee on Barriers
Co-Chair IGS North America Educate the Educators Program