CalGeo E Newsletter

June 20, 2011

Our Strength

By Siamak Jafroudi
Outgoing President


Siamak Jafroudi Outgoing President

Siamak Jafroudi

As the outgoing president of this great organization I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my years on the Board. The single thought that’s kept me most occupied has been the question of what motivates our members to nominate themselves for 12 years of voluntary service on the Board. My answer simply is this: These individuals truly want to make CalGeo and our industry stronger.


The next logical question is “where does our strength come from?” I believe CalGeo’s strength comes from our dedicated, experienced members and our growing, unified voice.

Financially, we are strong and growth in membership will make us even stronger as we represent our industry. An annual growth of three to five percent in membership is quite achievable. The current board is poised to undertake this effort; we all need to pitch in.

Click here to read more.



Our Strength »

2011 Outstanding Project Award »

Counsel's Corner »

The Latest from BPELSG »

You Need To Know! »

2011 CalGeo Salary Survey »

CBC/CRC Code Changes »

Landslide of the Month »

CalGeo Student Outreach

The End of The Geogram »

Member News »

Safety First »

Write For e.GEO! »

Geotechnical Joke of the Month »



2011 Outstanding Project Award

Leighton Associates Wins In The Major Project Category


Nohl Canyon water storage tank under construction


Nohl Canyon water storage tank



CalGeo’s Outstanding Project Award selection committee decided the projects submitted were so well done that they awarded two OPA awards for the large project category. This is one of those projects.

Nohl Canyon Water Storage Tank

Anaheim’s open-air Olive Hills Reservoir, built in 1961, was a critical supply facility in the city’s water system. Because of safety issues, the 60-million-gallon (MG) reservoir was taken out of service in 1999. To provide needed water storage, a 20-MG concrete reservoir was proposed to be constructed and buried within the existing drained reservoir. Leighton was retained to prepare a geotechnical investigation for the project.

Earth materials underlying the footprint of the tank ranged from formational bedrock at shallow depth along three-quarters of the tank circumference to old fill along the remainder.

One of the important grading plan considerations was to balance earthwork to reduce or eliminate the need to import or export fill from this hillside site surrounded by high-end single-family residences. To read more about this project, click here.


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Counsel’s Corner

Something’s Gotta Give!

By Thomas R. Gill and Niv V. Davidovich
Manning & Marder, Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester, LLP


Ever gloss over the boring “boiler plate” in your contracts? It's time to start reading carefully! Recent California case law is expanding indemnity and defense duties beyond earlier recognized limitations and subjecting contracting parties to further fees and liability, even when no negligence is proven or evidenced. We take you through the latest case law to illustrate just how important it is to read those agreements closely before signing. Click here for full article.


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The Latest from BPELSG

By James W. Foley,
P.E., S.E., G.E.


A major focus of the mid-May BPELSG Board Meeting was the future of licensure for geophysicists. It was noted there are approximately 200 licensed geophysicists in California. There were only two applicants this year, and only one passed. One main reason for this may be the exam costs $50,000! Plus, the validity of the exam and the need for licensing geophysicists has come into question, prompting the Board to hire Ric Moore as the new Executive Officer. Moore has been with the Board since 2007 as the Staff Land Surveyor and the Manager to the Examination Development and Administration Unit.

Funding also remains a problem for BPELSG. The organization is entirely supported by examination and licensing fees and receives no support from California’s general fund. However, BPELSG cannot even access its own money because the state budget moratorium applies to all state entities, including those that are self-supporting, like BPELSG.

Finally, this was Jim Foley’s last meeting as a BPELSG Member. He was elected Member Emeritus as of July 1, 2011 and was recognized for his years of service since October 1998

The next BPELSG Board meeting is July 21 in Sacramento.

Click here to read more.


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You Need To Know!

BPELSG Amends Experience Requirements for Licensure

By Mike Laney, PE, GE
Earth Systems


BPELSG recently amended its Board Rules relating to engineering. The following changes were made:

Board Rule 424 has been amended to clarify the number of years of education credit that may be granted towards the total number of years of qualifying experience needed for licensure as a professional engineer. It appears that the number of years of experience have not changed, but it is now more clear what education curriculum qualifies for experience.

Board Rule 438 has been amended to expand the situations in which an applicant for licensure as a professional engineer may obtain a waiver of the Engineer-in-Training/Fundamentals of Engineering exam. This now includes tenured tracked professors and PhDs earned in a Department with the appropriate engineering curriculum

Click here to see the latest Board Rules that every licensed Professional Engineer should be familiar with.


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2011 CalGeo Salary Survey

By Danny Cohen
Hetherington Engineering, Inc.


All Active member firms have already received the Salary Survey via e-mail. As you know, we use this tool to give our membership vital information regarding salaries for both technical and non-technical employees. Please fill out the questionnaire carefully and follow the instructions. If you know other firms who may not be members of CalGeo at this time but would be interested in this information, please have them contact Marsha Myers at as we are trying to expand the database and all firms that contribute by filling out the salary survey get a copy of it for free. Active member firms that do not participate can obtain a copy of the results for $250. We appreciate your participation in the survey and look forward to record-breaking participation this year! Thank you


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CBC/CRC Code Changes

By Danny Cohen
Hetherington Engineering, Inc.


Several months ago we mentioned an effort was being put forth on behalf of CalGeo to create a building code comparison chart that would track changes between the 2007 and 2010 California Building Codes. Thanks to the staff at Hetherington Engineering, we have put together a chart that reflects what sections have been revised, deleted or moved. Click here to view these charts for Chapters 16 through 19, as they are the ones most pertinent to our services. The “California Building Code Comparison Table - CalGeo, 2011” can also be found on the CalGeo website by clicking here. Though we tried to be as complete as possible, some of the revisions were extensive. We hope you find this a useful tool, but keep in mind it can still be considered a work in progress. Other firms are welcome to add information or make revisions but please notify us so we can update our versions also.


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Landslide of the Month

By Rex Upp
Upp Geotechnology, Inc.


Malaysian orphanage mudslide


The unusually wet spring has caused numerous landslides across the United States click here for the USGS landslide website. The most tragic landslide of the season, however, occurred in Malaysia this May, where a double landslide engulfed an orphanage killing 15 boys (age 8 to 15) and an adult. To read more about the landslide, click here.

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CalGeo Student Outreach Program

By Hannes Richter
Stoney-Miller Consultants, Inc.


The purpose of CalGeo’s Student Outreach Program is to promote geotechnical engineering in California universities and provide a means for students to interact with practitioners to encourage their careers, find internships, and find employment after graduation. Our program supports hundreds of students throughout the year with funding, speakers and field trips, and this is proving to be highly successful for both the students and CalGeo members. Our efforts are partially funded by the Silent Auction at the Annual Conference, and we thank all of you who donated or purchased items this year!


UCLA Student Chapter President, Cale Crawford accepting the 

UCLA Student Chapter President, Cale Crawford accepting the Rising Star Award from CalGeo’s Student Outreach Chairman, Hannes Richter


This year’s Rising Star Award evaluation was very difficult, as we had four very competitive groups. After careful review of their accomplishments for the year with the student liaisons (and some arm wrestling), we all agreed that this year’s Rising Star Award belonged to UCLA! They had great social events, field trips, speakers, student forums, and volunteer activities, and successfully competed at the Geo-Institute MSE Wall Nationals in Dallas, Texas. We are very proud of the excellent effort and enthusiasm by all the students, and wish them the very best in the coming year.

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The End of The Geogram

By Rex Upp
Communication Committee Chairman


Geogram Article Cover
For years, the tri-yearly GEOGRAM printed newsletter has been CalGeo’s main line of communicating information to our members. In 2009, we launched the e.Geo, our monthly electronic newsletter. Because of its more timely publication and the ability to link to complete articles and websites, the e.Geo has become a great success and has supplanted the GEOGRAM as our flagship publication. In May, therefore, the Board of Directors decided to cease publication of the GEOGRAM and concentrate on the e.Geo.

Some, like me, will miss holding and reading my paper copy of the GEOGRAM while flying or training, and I liked having a copy or two laying around in the office reception area for clients to peruse. Therefore, we also decided to change the annual Membership Directory. The next edition will include new technical articles, ads from our affiliate members (at no extra cost to them), and most dramatically, a new look. The new CalGeo Membership Directory will be worthy of display in your office reception area.

We need your help in creating this new look. Please send us a dramatic (or at least very interesting) photo of a California geotechnical scene. We ask that any member, including affiliate firms and student chapters, submit a photograph to use on the cover of the new directory. If your photo is the one selected, we will include a credit and your logo. SEND US YOUR PHOTO to


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Member News

Welcome New Members to CalGeo



A3GEO, Inc.
1331 Seventh Street, Unit E
Berkeley, CA 94710
Phone: (510) 325-5724
Primary Rep: Wayne Magnusen

Kling Consulting Group
18008 Sky Park Circle, Suite 250
Irvine, CA 92614
Phone: (949) 797-6241
Primary Rep: Henry Kling


Lankelma, Inc.
1961-A Meeker Avenue
Richmond, CA 94804
Phone: (415) 265-1614
Primary Rep: Virgil Baker

Soil Engineering Construction, Inc.
927 Arguello Street
Redwood City, CA 94063
Phone: (650) 367-9595
Primary Rep: Robert Mahony

Branch Office:
560 N. Highway 101, #5
Encinitas, CA 92024
Phone: (760) 633-3470


Kevin P. Callahan
27825 Smyth Drive
Valencia, CA 91350
(661) 294-0065

Chandler Koehn Consulting
P.O. Box 1422
Ukiah, CA 95482
(707) 972-2897


Current Job Openings!

Click here for more information on current available positions throughout the industry.


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Safety First

Pace Yourself

"Courtesy of the California State Compensation Insurance Fund"


You’ve heard the expression, “Haste makes waste,” but hurry and haste can lead to accidents and injuries, when speed becomes more important than safety. In fact, hurrying is a common factor in many accidents.

Any time you’re about to climb a ladder, drive a vehicle, pick up a heavy object or use a potentially dangerous piece of machinery, give a thought to your safety. Make a mental note to do the task at a safe and steady pace. This is especially true if you’re about to start a new job or use equipment you’re not familiar with.

Sometimes workers, especially new ones, work at a fast pace in order to impress their boss. While that kind of attitude is appreciated, it won’t be appreciated if it results in an accident or injury. For an employer, the cost of the accident could more than wipe out the profits from the job, but what’s more important is the pain, worry, and the financial loss to injured workers and their family.

There’s also another expression, “Slow and steady wins the race.” Work at a safe pace. The job will get done and everyone will end up winners..


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Write For e.GEO!


OK, you don’t like to write on bathroom walls (May e.Geo). If it’s about geotechnology and interesting to your colleagues, why not type it out and send it to us for use in the next e.Geo. (BTW, did you read our Member Contribution article in May’s e.Geo by Scott Rudd of R.F. Frankian & Associates?). Click here to read the e.Geo standards of publication.

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Geotechnical Joke of the Month

Understanding Engineers


To the optimist, the glass is half-full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty.
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.


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e.Geo Standards for Publication

CalGeo  |  Phone: 530 344-0644