CalGeo E Newsletter

February 19, 2013

Spring Into Yosemite!

Early Bird Registration Ends March 1!

By Marsha Myers
CalGeo Executive Director

Tacky Tourists at the 2012 Luau in Maui

CalGeo Annual Conference »

Technical Keynote Speaker »

Student Outreach »

Legislative Update »

Emerging Geoprofessionals »

Member News »

Job Board »

Safety First »

We’re very excited to be presenting our Annual Conference this year at the rustic Tenaya Lodge, just outside the south gate of Yosemite. Join us for great speakers, fun activities and exciting golf!

The conference begins on Thursday, May 2 with a rousing "Glaciers & Greens Golf Classic," followed by the Past President's luncheon, registration and our annual general membership meeting. Then, relax that night at our welcome reception.

The two full days of sessions on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4 will encompass a broad range of business, legislative and technical topics, highlighted by three keynote sessions presented by Dr. J. Michael Duncan, Gerry Salontai PE, and Dr. J. David Rogers. See below for more on Dr. Duncan's presentation. You'll also not want to miss the annual Outstanding Project Awards luncheon on Saturday.

The conference will end Saturday evening with an "Indiana Jones" themed banquet (are you scared of snakes?)

We have a great $230 room rate at the Tenaya Lodge and you can make your reservations there up to March 31, so don’t miss out! Also, if you miss our early bird registration cut-off of March 1, we will take regular registrations up to March 31

Click here for more information and registration details.



Dr. J. Michael Duncan

Annual Conference Keynote: "Changing Practice in Geotechnical Engineering for Slopes"

Dr. J. Michael Duncan
To open our conference session, our technical keynote speaker, Dr. J. Michael Duncan 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.

Dr. Duncan is a professor emeritus at Virginia Tech, and a geotechnical engineering consultant, working primarily on dam projects. He has authored more than 300 papers, reports and books on geotechnical engineering, and has supervised 45 Ph.D. graduates at U.C. Berkeley and Virginia Tech. Dr. Duncan has received numerous awards for his work from professional groups in the U.S. and other countries. Be sure to catch Dr. Duncan’s presentation by registering for the Annual Conference here.


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Student Outreach

Silent Auction Donations Requested!

By Hannes Richter
Stoney-Miller Consultants, Inc.

Time to saddle up for this year’s conference in Yosemite! We are in need of donations for the student outreach silent auction that will take place at our closing night banquet on Saturday, May 4. This is our primary fundraiser for the student chapters, so give generously; it’s always fun for everyone!

Prizes can be gift cards, libations (always popular), electronics, professional services, gift certificates to fun places, or anything else you can imagine. This year’s conference theme is Indiana Jones, so a theme-related donation may be a fun idea. Please contact CalGeo executive director Marsha Myers at to make the arrangements. We use the funds to help support student chapter activities, such as the MSE wall competition, student attendance at our regional meetings and their attendance at the annual conference. We will also be presenting the Rising Star Award to the most active chapter. Cal State Fullerton was our winner last year by a very close margin; everyone is in the hunt again!

Thanks to you all in advance for your support and generosity!


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Legislative Update

By Rick Keene
Keene Consulting

As we mentioned last month, during our meetings with the BPELSG, ACEC and the A&E Strategy Committee, we discussed a number of issues of common concern we will seek to make progress on this year.

Our meeting with BPELSG covered a number of topics, but more immediately explored the possibility of our carrying legislation concerning discipline referral cases. Engineers are currently subject to a professional review following every lawsuit settlement in excess of $50,000, regardless of fault.

Even though there are less than 75 active cases statewide across all the disciplines, if you are one of the unfortunate ones to be automatically referred, even if exonerated, it can take up to three years to work through the review process. This is, of course, very vexing and expensive to members who have done nothing wrong to warrant such scrutiny.

Unfortunately, the deductible for many insurance policies carried by firms is $50,000, encouraging settlements for that figure to avoid the exorbitant costs of litigation. We’re exploring advancing a solution that protects the public and good practitioners.

In preparation for this effort, we have submitted draft language to the Legislative Counsel to provide a bill vehicle we can use to advance a solution as it becomes refined by input from the various interested parties.

We have a full plate of work this year and will keep you posted as things develop.


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Emerging Geoprofessionals

Learning What Is Not Taught in School

By Martin W. McIlroy
Taber Consultants

As a new professional, when you're told your utilization is down or you need to attend this loss-prevention seminar, you are probably asking yourself why are these things so important? And if you are a student, you probably have not heard of these things at all!

For the new and seasoned geoprofessionals, ask yourself this: How many of us understood risk, utilization, loss prevention, data collection, construction equipment, etc. when we graduated or had our first job? Not many of us. Bridging the gap between what is and is not taught in school is one of the goals of the CalGeo Emerging Geoprofessionals group.

To read more about this group, its goals and how you can participate, click here.

The CalGeo Emerging Geoprofessionals Group will be holding its first public meeting on February 21 in Sacramento. To view upcoming meeting dates, click here.


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Member News

CalGeo Past President, Rex Upp
at Zion Canyon, Utah

Long-term member and current CalGeo Past President Dr. Rex Upp has transferred ownership of Upp Geotechnology, Inc., the company he founded in 1983 and headed for nearly 30 years, so he could focus his time on litigation support (expert witness), independent geotechnical consultation, and hiking in geotechnically interesting areas. Dr. Upp holds a B.A. degree in geology, B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and environmental engineering, M.S. degrees in watershed management and soil engineering, and a Ph.D. in engineering geology. He is licensed in California as a geotechnical engineer, engineering geologist, and hydrogeologist and has been an expert witness in more than 100 cases throughout the state. Dr. Upp can be reached at


GMU Welcomes Ali Bastani!

GMU Geotechnical, Inc. is pleased to announce that Ali Bastani, PhD, PE, GE has joined the GMU team as its new director of engineering. Dr. Bastani received his Ph.D. from UC Davis working under world-renowned professor Dr. Izzat Idriss and has more than 20 years of practically oriented design and research experience.

His expertise has been utilized in numerous high-profile projects throughout Southern California, across the United States, as well as abroad. Recently Dr. Bastani, as part of a team, evaluated more than 40 sites in Christchurch, New Zealand, following the 2010-2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Please feel free to call and chat with Ali. He may be reached at 949-888-6513 or at


Welcome to Our Newest Members

Active Members:

Grover-Hollingsworth & Associates, Inc.
31129 via Colinas, Suite #707
Westlake Village, CA 91362
Contact: Robert Hollingsworth
(818) 889-0844

LGC Geotechnical, Inc.
120 Calle Iglesia, Suite A
San Clemente, CA 92672
Contact: Dennis Boratynec
(949) 369-6141

Miller Pacific Engineering Group
504 Redwood Boulevard, Suite #220
Novato, CA 94947
Contact: Scott Stephens
(415) 382-3444

Stress Path Geotechnics, Inc.
2150 N. Centre City Parkway, Suite D
Escondido, CA 92026
Contact: Kevin Jordan
(760) 740-1704

Affiliate Members:

Individual Members:

Woodward Drilling Company, Inc.
550 River Road
Rio Vista, CA 94571
Contact: Concing Woodward
(707) 374-4300

Scott D. Rudd
R.T. Frankian & Associates
1329 Scott Road
Burbank, CA 91504
(818) 531-1501

Academic Members:

Michael Ellison
UC Davis – Civil & Engineering

Brian Sukkar
Cal Poly SLO – Engineering

Steven Zamarron
Cal Poly SLO – Civil Engineering

Lisa Marie Star
CSU Long Beach – Civil & Construction Engineering

Nima Tafazzoli
UC Davis – Civil & Environmental Engineering


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Job Board

Visit our website to check for current job openings throughout California.


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Safety First

Cold Stress

"Courtesy of State Compensation Fund of California"

When the body is unable to warm itself, serious cold-related illnesses and injuries may occur and permanent tissue damage and death may result. Employers with employees working in cold environments such as construction, logging, agriculture, and even food processing and food storage lockers must take precautions to prevent and treat cold-induced illnesses and injuries.

Cold-related illnesses can slowly overcome a person who has been chilled by low temperatures, brisk winds, and wet clothing. Prolonged exposure to freezing or cold temperatures may cause serious health problems such as frostbite and hypothermia. In extreme cases, including cold water immersion, exposure can lead to death.

Frostbite usually affects the fingers, hands, toes, feet, ears, and nose. It is a freezing of the deep layers of skin and tissue. The skin becomes hard and numb and turns a pale, waxy-white in color.

Hypothermia (a medical emergency) can occur when the normal body temperature of 98.6°F/37°C drops to or below 95°F/35°C. Danger signs include fatigue or drowsiness, uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, clumsy movements, and irritable, irrational or confused behavior.

Fed/OSHA offers a Cold Stress Card which provides guidelines and recommendations for preventing cold weather-induced illnesses and injuries. Here are tips for protecting employees at risk:

~ Recognize the environmental and workplace conditions that may be dangerous.
~ Learn the signs and symptoms of cold-induced illnesses and injuries and what to do to help employees.
~ Train all employees about cold-induced illnesses and injuries.
~ Encourage employees to wear proper clothing to guard against cold, wet, and windy conditions. Layer clothing to adjust to changing environmental temperatures. Wear a hat, gloves, and underwear (made of polypropylene) that will keep water away from the skin.
~ Ensure that employees in extreme conditions take frequent short breaks in warm, dry shelters to allow their bodies to warm up.
~ Try to schedule work for the warmest part of the day.
~ Avoid exhaustion or fatigue as energy is needed to keep muscles warm.
~ Use the buddy system-work in pairs so that each employee can recognize the danger signs in the other.
~ Drink warm, sweet beverages (sugar water, sports-type drinks) and avoid alcoholic beverages or drinks with caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas, hot chocolate).
~ Eat warm, high-calorie foods such as hot pasta dishes.

Employees are at an increased risk when:

~ They take certain medications.
~ They are in poor physical condition, have a poor diet, or are older.
~ They have predisposing health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or cardiovascular disease.

Obtain a free copy of Fed/OSHA's Cold Stress Card:

~ In English
~ In Spanish
~ Or call OSHA at (800) 321-6742


State Compensation Fund of California Contact

State Compensation Insurance Fund
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

Cal/OSHA Consultation Service
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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