CalGeo E Newsletter

July 26, 2011

Goodbye to Board Member,
John Hoobs

By Marsha Myers
CalGeo Executive Director


Siamak Jafroudi presenting John Hoobs with certificate of recognition

Siamak Jafroudi (r) presenting John Hoobs (l) with certificate of recognition


Goodbye to John Hoobs »

2010 Outstanding Project Award »

CalGeo's Newest Board Member »

Counsel's Corner »

Call for Conference

Dr. Adibi Predicts Growth »

Health Care Reform & Your Firm »

June Regional Meeting »

Landslide of the Month »

Job Board »

Safety First »

Write For e.GEO! »

Geotechnical Joke of the Month »


After 11 years of dedicated service to the CalGeo Board of Directors, it's time for us to say goodbye to John Hoobs of Geocon, Inc. ...well, sort of. John has been on the CalGeo board since 2000, and during that time has been an active participant and has helped make great changes to better our organization. One of John's passions is student outreach. He gave much thought to the way CalGeo engages and fosters future engineers, and helped build a foundation of student chapters that has grown to be one of CalGeo's major successes. We now have many geotechnical engineering students involved in CalGeo chapters throughout the state in five colleges, with more in the works. During his Presidency, John put the tools in place to focus on marketing and membership, and was involved with the many great changes to CalGeo we have accomplished over the last few years (i.e. new website, e.Geo, new marketing materials). It wasn't an easy job, but John persevered and CalGeo is better today because of his dedication.


We'll miss his commitment and enthusiasm to better this organization. We'll also miss his sense of humor and fellowship. Personally, I'll miss having John as a "sounding board!" Our appreciation cannot be overstated and we wish John the best in his future endeavors, but we have a funny feeling we'll still be seeing his face around for some time to come.



2010 Outstanding Project Award

Diaz-Yourman Wins In The Large Project Category


Sunset at The Cabrillo Way Marina
CalGeo's Outstanding Project Award selection committee decided the projects submitted this year were so well done that it awarded two OPA awards for the large project category.

Geotechnical Engineering for the Cabrillo Way Marina was completed by Diaz-Yourman and Associates, which was also the recipient of the OPA for 2010. The following is a summary of the project.

The Cabrillo Way Marina is the first marina to be constructed in the Port of Los Angeles in more than 25 years and only the second marina constructed in San Pedro Bay during that time. The new marina is a part of a larger "Bridge to Breakwater" plan to provide public access to the waterfront by creating a pedestrian promenade from the Vincent Thomas Bridge to Cabrillo Beach. The intent of the Bridge to Breakwater project is to encourage commercial activity at the Port and provides enhancements for the San Pedro community.


The Cabrillo Way Marina project consisted of a new 700-boat slip marina and onshore facilities. The new marina required cutting of existing (but previously filled) areas, and filling portions of the bay. Both rock slopes and vertical bulkhead seawalls were proposed for the shoreline. The key geotechnical concerns included potentially liquefiable soils, very soft and very weak fine-grained soils (highly elastic silts [MH] and highly plastic clays [CH]), potentially contaminated soils, very hard formational Malaga mudstone that would inhibit pile driving, and an unknown existing perimeter waterfront. To read more of this project, click here.


Questions-Comments-Feedback TOP


Welcome To Our Newest Director!


Sunset at The Cabrillo Way Marina

New CalGeo Director Martin McIlroy

CalGeo welcomes Martin McIlroy, P.G., C.E.G. as our newest board member. Martin is the Vice President and Senior Engineering Geologist at Taber Consultants and is in charge of the West Sacramento and Fresno office professional services. He received his B.S. in geology from the University of California at Davis and has been practicing geology for 17 years.

Martin has recently become involved with professors and students at UC Davis and UC Berkeley to help initiate CalGeo chapters on campus. Martin believes that student outreach and participation in CalGeo will strengthen the engineering community and develop future leaders in the profession.

We are glad you feel that way, Martin, and we look forward to your active participation in CalGeo!


Questions-Comments-Feedback TOP


Counsel's Corner

A General Contractor's Direct Liability for Injury to Subcontractor
(or "Do I Have to do Everything?")

By Thomas R. Gill & Patrick Hurley
Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP


You may have thought that by hiring an independent contractor, you were insulated from liability for injuries to the contractor or its employees that arose from the scope of the contractor's duties. Maybe not. A recent decision by the California appellate court suggests that the hirer of a subcontractor can be liable for such injuries if the hirer of the subcontractor maintains control over jobsite safety or if Cal-OSHA regulations are not followed on the jobsite. Click here to read more about a general contractor's direct liability.


Questions-Comments-Feedback TOP


Call for Presentations for CalGeo 2012 Annual Conference

By Larry Taylor
Taylor Group, Inc.


Kaanapali Beach Maui Hawaii

Kaanapali Beach Maui Hawaii

As the committee chair for CalGeo's Annual Conference for the past several years, my aim has been to organize conference programs and attract speakers that address the unique technical, business and legislative/regulatory interests of our members. Over the years I have gotten the input and assistance of other CalGeo Directors and members in this process and continue to rely on that valuable feedback. If you have suggestions on a specific topic or speaker that you think will be of interest to our members, please email me at All input is welcome and appreciated.


Questions-Comments-Feedback TOP


Dr. Adibi Predicts Growth for 2011

By Martin McIlroy
Taber Consultants


Dr. Esmael Adibi

Dr. Esmael Adibi

With his usual enthusiasm and wisdom, Dr. Esmael Adibi provided CalGeo his economic forecast for 2011 at the annual conference, and his analysis points to economic growth in the coming year.

Dr. Adibi began by reviewing how his predictions from last year fared, and he was pretty spot on. His 2010 forecast trended slightly below the actual recovery numbers for the year, just off by less than one percent. He projected a slow first half of 2010 with an increase in recovery near the end.

Now for the future: Numbers are still showing slower-than-normal housing starts, but there have been slow, steady increases nonetheless. The mortgage and housing industries are key drivers in California's economy, and are the reason for the state's recovery lag and slow job growth. However, Dr. Adibi predicts 2011 will be the last year that housing will drag on the California economy. He is also estimating 1.7 million jobs will be created in California in 2011. Click here to read Dr. Adibi's full forecast.


Questions-Comments-Feedback TOP


How Will Health Care Reform Affect Your Firm?

By James Rowlands
Ralph Stone and Company, Inc


Ruthann Laswic of Northepoint Insurancek

Ruthann Laswick

Marcie Cragg of Northepoint Insurance

Marcie Cragg


At the CalGeo 2011 Annual Conference, Ruthann Laswick and Marcie Cragg of Northepoint Insurance presented a talk on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which is a federal statute signed into law by President Obama in March 2010. The Act contains several provisions that could affect our member firms, including small business tax credits for companies that pay a minimum portion of the employee's premium. Other aspects include an early-retiree reinsurance program, a patient's bill of rights regarding pre-existing conditions, lifetime and annual limits, and emergency services. Click here to read more key points from this presentation.


Questions-Comments-Feedback TOP


June Regional Meeting

Lessons from the 2011 Tohoku - Japan Earthquake

By Matthew Rogers, PE, GE
GL Garrad Hassan


On March 11, 2011 a magnitude Mw = 9.0 earthquake struck off of the east coast of the Japanese island of Honshu, causing widespread, unprecedented damage due to tsunami, liquefaction and other effects of seismic shaking. The temblor tragically resulted in thousands of deaths, with physical and economic impacts felt far beyond the epicenter due to the reach of the massive tsunami.

Professor Jonathan Stewart, PhD, PE, of UCLA was part of the initial Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) team sent to evaluate damage from the quake, and provided CalGeo members an insider's recount during the June Regional Meeting. Dr. Stewart presented cases of tsunami damage, including areas where tsunami inundation far exceeded predictions and design standards for tsunami-protection measures, such as the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant. Dr. Stewart also presented cases of widespread liquefaction that occurred in the Kanto Plain region, and evidence that many structures within this area performed very well. Since this was likely the most instrumented earthquake in history, the Tohoku earthquake should provide unprecedented insight into large earthquakes that we can apply here in California.


Questions-Comments-Feedback TOP


Landslide of the Month

By Rex Upp
Upp Geotechnology, Inc.


A large mud flow slide in June inundated an employee housing complex in the Breckenridge area of Colorado, southwest of Denver. The newspaper reports the Forest Service apparently sent a "hydrologist" out to examine the slide.

Click here to read all about it.


Inundated employee housing complex in the Breckenridge area of Colorado


Questions-Comments-Feedback TOP


Job Board

By Rex Upp
Communication Committee Chairman


Visit our website for the latest information on current available positions throughout the industry, including:

  • Laboratory Technician at Blackburn Consulting
  • Staff/Project Geologist at SPC Geotechnical, Inc.


Questions-Comments-Feedback TOP


Safety First

Focus on Young Worker Safety

"Courtesy of the California State Compensation Insurance Fund"


Summer employment and after school jobs teach young workers responsibility, provide them with extra spending money, and in some cases, supplement family income. To employers, they can be a necessary and valuable addition for work production. But if not properly trained, jobs can put young workers at risk for injuries.

Employers play a key role in creating a safe work environment and preventing injuries to young workers. Employers need to know and comply with child labor laws that apply to their business. The law outlines restrictions regarding the type of job workers under the age of 18 can and cannot do to protect their health and safety. It also sets the hours that youths may work, both during the school year and during the summer. At minimum, employers are required to provide a safe and healthful workplace, give detailed instructions on how to do a job properly; train young workers to put safety first, and provide adequate supervision. Employers should be aware of their responsibility to protect the youth they employ and to understand the potential for tragedy if laws are not followed.

Young workers have responsibilities too. They should participate in training programs related to their jobs; inform their supervisors when doing a task for the first time; ask questions if clarification is needed, be aware of their physical limitations; and report any hazards to their supervisors. Young workers also have the right to refuse to do a job if it is immediately dangerous to their life or health. With certain exceptions, a youth under 18 who takes a job must have a work permit issued by the school district.

State Fund wants to ensure that introductory workplace experiences will instill in our youths an understanding and awareness of job safety and health that will carry throughout their careers. Find safety publication material for workers, employees, parents, and other organizations by visiting or call the toll-free Worker Information Hotline at (866) 924-9757.


Questions-Comments-Feedback TOP


Write For e.Geo!


Writing on the hand
We encourage your articles to be more than words written on your hand – but not too much more. So, if you have any projects of interest or accolades or awards you, a colleague or your firm has received, we'd like to hear from you. You can submit your articles to Click here to see the e.Geo submission standards.


Questions-Comments-Feedback TOP


Geotechnical Joke of the Month

Engineering vs. Math Majors


A math and engineering convention was being held. On the train to the convention, there were both math majors and engineering majors. Each of the math majors had his/her own train ticket. But the Engineers had only ONE ticket for all of them. The math majors started laughing and snickering. The engineers ignored the laughter.

Then, one of the engineers said, "Here comes the conductor." All of the engineers piled into the bathroom. The math majors were puzzled. The conductor came aboard and collected tickets from all the math majors. He went to the bathroom, knocked on the door, and said, "Ticket Please." An engineer stuck their only ticket under the door. The conductor took the ticket and left. A few minutes later, the engineers emerged from the bathroom. The math majors felt really stupid.

On the way back from the convention, the group of math majors had ONE ticket for their group. They started snickering at the engineers, who had NO tickets amongst them.

When the engineer lookout shouted, "Conductor coming!" all the engineers again piled into a bathroom. All of the math majors went into another bathroom. Then, before the conductor came on board, one of the engineers left the bathroom, knocked on the other bathroom, and said, "Ticket please."


Questions-Comments-Feedback TOP

e.Geo Standards for Publication

CalGeo  |  Phone: 530 344-0644