CalGeo E Newsletter

November 29, 2012

CalGeo’s 2013 Annual Conference

Spring Into Yosemite!


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Mark your calendars for our industry’s event of the year! The 2013 CalGeo’s Annual Conference will be held May 2-4, 2013 at the Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite National Park. The conference will encompass a broad range of must-see business, legislative and technical topics, highlighted by our keynote sessions presented by Dr. Michael Duncan, Dr. David Rogers, and Gerry Salontai. Elevate your game at CalGeo’s "Glaciers and Greens Golf Classic" on Thursday, May 2. Then channel your inner Indiana Jones with a night of adventure and treasure at the closing night banquet on Saturday, May 4. It’s an event you won't want to miss.

2013 CalGeo Annual Conference presenters and topics include:

Dr. J. Michael Duncan
Distinguished Professor Emeritus Virginia Tech
"Changing Practice in Geotechnical Engineering for Slopes"

The lecture will discuss alternative techniques for analyzing slope stability, evolving methods for evaluating the long-term shear strength of clays, and new procedures for selecting suitable methods of ground improvement.

Gerry Salontai
Salontai Consulting Group, LLC
"Bucking the Trend - Traits of Best-in-Class Companies that Outperform the Industry"

This keynote presentation will cover the "Great by Choice" characteristics that are common with highly performing A/E industry companies and provide insight of how you can excel in even the most turbulent times.

Dr. David Rogers
Professor/Department Chair, Missouri University S&T
"How Geotechnical Engineering has Shaped the History of California"

Dr. Rogers will speak on how the geotechnical practice has dramatically shaped the history of California, and how geotechnical practice in northern and southern California also has had an enormous influence on national practice. Additionally, Dr. Rogers will outline his 25-year history project examining the route taken by Mountain Man Joseph Walker across the eastern Sierras in 1833, when his party ’discovered Yosemite.’

Dr. Greg Stock
Geologist, Yosemite National Park
"New Tools for Understanding and Mitigating Rock Falls in Yosemite National Park"

This talk will summarize the geomorphic history of Yosemite Valley, review recent notable rock falls, and describe how the application of new analytical tools such as airborne and terrestrial laser scanning, high-resolution photography, seismic and acoustic monitoring, computer simulations of rock-fall runout, and cosmogenic dating provide quantitative data that improve our understanding and mitigation of rock-fall hazard and risk.

Roger Ilsley
RI Geotechnical
"Managing Risk for Underground Projects: Geotechnical Baseline Reports and Dispute Resolution Boards"

This discussion will focus on two aspects of risk management for tunnels: Geotechnical Baseline Reports (GBR) and Dispute Resolution Boards (DRB). The GBR is a contract document that incorporates baselines of physical parameters related to the soil, rock and groundwater conditions that affect tunnel design and excavation. A detailed account of the DRB formation and operation within an historical context will also be discussed.

Victor Donald
Sr. Vice President, Terracon Consultants
"The War on Commoditization/Marginalization - A Geoprofessional’s Duty"

Geoprofessionals are routinely retained to perform important tasks solely based on the competitiveness of the fees they propose. This emerging paradigm is causing a commoditization of the profession, with far-reaching negative impacts. Attendees will be challenged to actively resist the pressures for commoditization of our work by offering valuable and constructive advice to clients, and breaking the barriers of fee-based procurement that relies on work scopes defined by non-geoprofessionals.

Dr. Stanley Miller
Professor Emeritus, University of Idaho
"Interactive Computer Design of Reinforcement Patterns for Rock-Slope Stabilization"

Reinforcement of slopes cut in discontinuous rock masses typically includes installation of rock anchors, either the type tensioned and anchored at its distal end, or the type fully grouted along its length and left untensioned. A case study will be presented to demonstrate the design process and illustrate how reasonable selections of anchor size and spacing can help improve geotechnical construction efficiency.

David Weiland, Esq.
Dowling Aaron Incorporated
"Limiting Liability through Contracts and Insurance"

Mr. Weiland’s presentation will focus on recent developments in contractual indemnity, including changes to the indemnity provisions of the California Civil Code scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2013, transfer of risk through contractual limitation of liability and properly drafted indemnity provisions.

Rick Keene
Legislative Advocate, Keene Consulting Group
CalGeo’s Legislative Consultant
"Aiming For the Fence - It’s Going... Going... Gone!"

This discussion centers around how CalGeo’s new proactive legislative approach has impacted issues important to the geotechnical engineering field over the past year in a very practical way, and will review this season’s issues of concern under consideration by the California Legislature. It promises to be a very lively discussion.




Call for Entries

Outstanding Project Awards: 2012 - 2013

Award winner, Eric Nichols of Blackburn Consulting (right) with CalGeo Past President Siamak Jafroudi (left), Maui 2012
Award winner, Jeremy Zorne of Geocon, Inc. (right) with CalGeo Past President Siamak Jafroudi (left), Maui 2012

CalGeo will again be recognizing firms for their outstanding geotechnical projects at our next Annual Conference in May. Entries will be judged on innovation, difficulty of the investigation (difficulty of construction for design build projects), quality of reports, success of interaction between the design team, and social impact of the project. Entries will be divided into three categories based on the total fees billed for the project. Winners of each category will be awarded an engraved trophy and given the opportunity to present their project at the Annual Conference.

We encourage all categories of members to submit an entry, and we’ve streamlined the process to make it easier to submit! This year we have also reduced the entry fee to $100 for members and $300 for non-members.

Please consider spotlighting your company's technical achievements by submitting a project by January 28, 2013. Click here to download the rules and application package.

Award winners will be highlighted May 4 at the Outstanding Project Awards luncheon during the Annual Conference in Yosemite.


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Counsel’s Corner

Completed and Accepted Doctrine

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

On October 30, 2012, the Second Appellate District of our Court of Appeal handed down its opinion in the case of Neiman v. Leo A. Daly Company, re-confirming the applicability of the "completed and accepted" doctrine in construction-related personal injury matters. Click here to read this full article.


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Job Board

Visit our website for the latest information on current available positions throughout the industry.


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Safety First

Working in Cold Conditions

Courtesy of State Compensation Fund of California

During the winter months, working in cold and wet environments outdoors can increase the dangers of hypothermia. It is important to remember that it doesn't take ice cold temperatures to cause hypothermia; just prolonged exposure to temperatures of 30–50 degrees can produce the same effects. Hypothermia doesn't hap¬pen immediately. How long it takes to set in depends on the type of exposure and your physical condition. Click here for more information on protecting yourself from cold conditions.


State Compensation Fund of California Contact

In an ongoing effort to promote jobsite safety throughout California, CalGeo has partnered with the State Compensation Insurance Fund on the Safety First! program to provide our members and group participants with workers compensation insurance cost savings and provide relevant information regarding safety issues. CalGeo members interested in becoming a member of CalGeo's "Safety First" group can contact Patty Amaya at (323) 327-5773 or Click here to learn more.


Cal/OSHA Consultation

If you are an employer who wishes to obtain FREE assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation, or want to learn more about what services are available, you can do so by calling the toll-free assistance number, 1(800) 963-9424. If you want to arrange an on-site visit or obtain technical information, you can contact the Cal/OSHA Consultation area office nearest your workplace by clicking here, or you can email them at


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