CalGeo E Newsletter

March 25, 2013

Gerry Salontai PE

Annual Conference Keynote: "Bucking the Trend - Traits of Best-in-Class Companies that Outperform the Industry"

Gerry Salontai PE
Beginning the afternoon session on the opening day of the conference, will be Business Keynote Speaker, Gerry Salontai. Mr. Salontai provides management advisory services to executives in the areas of strategy, business performance, governance and leadership. Recent assignments have included helping companies with strategic planning, market evaluation, service and/or market re-positioning, mergers and acquisitions, operational performance reviews and organizational design.


Business Keynote Speaker »

Annual Conference Deadline »

Legislative Update »

Emerging Geoprofessionals »

Student Chapter »

HR Corner »

Member News »

Job Board »

Safety First »



Spring Into Yosemite!

Conference Registration Deadline Ends March 31!

By Marsha Myers
CalGeo Executive Director

Don't miss out on attending CalGeo's annual conference to be held at the Tenaya Lodge located outside the south gate of the Yosemite National Park. The conference begins on Thursday, May 2 with our golf tournament, followed by our annual general membership meeting and 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:

Dr. J. Michael Duncan – Changing Practice in Geotechnical Engineering for Slopes
Gerry Salontai PE – Bucking the Trend – Traits of Best-In-Class Companies that Outperform the Industry
Dr. J. David Rogers – How Geotechnical Engineering has Shaped the History of California

The registration deadline for CalGeo's annual conference is quickly approaching. To reserve your spot, be sure to submit your registration and payment to CalGeo which must be postmarked no later than March 31.

Reservations for your stay at the Tenaya Lodge need to be made by March 31, by calling 800.635.5807. Be sure to ask for the CalGeo group rate to ensure you receive the $230 per night room rate.

Don't let this opportunity pass you by! Click here for full information and to register.


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Legislative Update

By Rick Keene
Keene Consulting

Rick Keene
CalGeo Legislative Advocate
CalGeo’s legislative committee has been busy building partnerships with other like-minded organizations to influence Sacramento to the benefit of our members. In preparation we met with ACEC and the A & E Strategy Committee, a group composed of engineering and architect industry advocates, to discuss issues we each seek to address this legislative session.

Highlighting a few of their several projects, ACEC discussed working to harmonize various design-build language provisions, seeking some land surveying technical changes and promoting a prohibition on moonlighting for public officials.

One area of common concern is the lingering certificate of merit problem. We discussed working with ACEC on a joint solution that includes exploring the potential for creating a proposed bill. Being cognizant of some minefields on the topic (e.g. trial lawyers), discussions on finding an approach will be continued further into the year.

On the "duty to defend" issue, SB 474 was passed in 2011 as an initial stab at reform. Legislators want to see how it works before they take any further steps to improve the issue, but CalGeo members regularly tell us more needs to be done. To strengthen our case we need our members to help us by providing specific examples of "duty to defend" problems our companies have experienced or know of in the industry. Please contact me at with any information.

Finally, in light of last year's historic tax increases, we are also keeping our eyes peeled to oppose any new taxes on services, as they are likely to arise again this year.

We promised each group we would circle back for possible support as our specific direction crystallizes. Exciting times!


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CalGeo Emerging Geoprofessionals

First Meeting Success!!

By Martin W. McIlroy
Taber Consultants

The first meeting hosted at Michelangelo’s in Sacramento on February 21, 2013 was a great success. The meeting drew 25 attendees who learned about CalGeo’s new Emerging Geoprofessionals group. Both professionals and students attended the meeting, engaging in lively discussion before the meeting. Kaili Kajiwara presented an overview of the organization that included its purpose, mission statement, and meeting goals. As Kaili stated, this organization is driven and guided by the participants and members.
Our presenter, Eric Berger, from Lhoist North America, spoke about lime stabilization for roads and hydraulic structures. He explained the chemical process of lime production and the differences between short term and long term (pozzolanic) lime-clay reactions. Examples of lime use for hydraulic structures included usage at the Friant-Kern Canal and in demonstration projects for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers levees in New Orleans, Louisiana. Abundant resources about lime stabilization can be found at and at the Lhoist North America website The talk was incredibly interesting and the professionals and students had excellent questions! Thanks again to Eric Berger of Lhoist North America.
The group is now soliciting nominations for officers and volunteers for the organization. We are looking for a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. Consider volunteering for one of these important organizational roles. Initially, the roles will be collaborative and rather informal, but will develop as the year progresses. Please contact to show your interest or to ask any questions about the organization.
Don’t miss future meetings of the CalGeo Emerging Geoprofessionals! Meetings are held every third Wednesday of each month throughout 2013.


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Student Chapter News

Congratulations to the Cal Poly Pomona 1st Place Winners of the 2013 GeoWall National Competition!

From left to right: (top row) Dr. William Kitch, Alex Wells, Zachary Jarecki, Jorden Louie, Nathan Tourtellotte, (bottom row): Petrina Zen, Casey Garneau, and Pamela Harlow
The Cal Poly Pomona GeoWall team placed 1st out of 18 schools in the technical design paper for the National GeoWall Competition. This year's GeoWall competition was held at the annual ASCE Geo-Institute's Geo-Congress 2013 in San Diego. In addition, they competed on Monday, March 4th and placed 1st in the national competition out of the 16 teams invited to participate. The GeoWall team is very proud of their accomplishment as they have placed 1st in the national competition for the second year in a row.

To view more pictures of the team during the competition, click here.


Cal Poly Pomona Student Recreation Center Field Trip

Cal Poly Pomona has begun construction on their new Student Recreation Center. Students from CalGeo's Cal Poly Pomona student chapter were invited to attend a technical presentation and construction jobsite walk at the new site on the campus of Cal Poly Pomona. To read more about this field trip, click here.


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HR Corner

What Will Health Care Reform Cost Engineering Firms?

By Scott Ripley – e3 Financial
Benefits Advisor

We all know how challenging it is to be an employer in California. Unfortunately, things just became a little more difficult. Health care reform is here to stay, but what does that mean to engineers?

Join your CalGeo counterpart in an interactive discussion on the financial impact of health care reform to the California engineering community.

5 questions to explore:

1.   What is the financial impact to our business?
2.   Should we pay or play?
3.   How do we know if our plans are compliant with the law?
4.   How will this impact our employees?
5.   How do our current plans stack up relative to the California health exchange?

To help answer these questions and more, please join our complimentary webinar for CalGeo members on Wednesday, April 3rd at 9am.


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Member News

Welcome to Our New Members!

Affiliate Members:

Academic Members:

Foundation Pile, Inc.
83785 Almeria Avenue
Fontana, CA 92335
Contact: Jeff Bird
(909) 350-1584

Professor Raymond Haddad
Soil Mechanics CE
CSU Northridge
(310) 745-9114


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Job Board

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

Staff Geologist/Engineer with Wallace-Kuhl & Associates
Junior Engineer with Farrell Design-Build


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Safety First

Winter Hazards and Workplace Safety

Courtesy of State Compensation Fund of California

Winter is here again in California. This season of rain and snow can translate to hazards, and ultimately accidents. Here are some tips to help you and your co-workers stay safe this season.

Slips and Falls – Avoid Slip-Ups
Wet or snowy days can create slick floors at the workplace. Slips and falls are a leading cause of workplace injuries, and so it's important to take precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Make sure your building entrances all have door mats for people to wipe their shoes. Be aware of wet areas on the floor. Clean up the hazard, or place cones or hazard signs nearby, warning of the danger. People can walk on extremely slippery surfaces by modifying their speed and stride, provided they know about the dangerous condition. It's the lack of warning that can cause problems. An unexpected shift from a smooth to a slick surface heightens the likelihood of a slip or fall.

Experts say the single most important step to take in preventing slips and falls is to keep floors clean and dry, and free of obstructions (such as umbrellas and boots). When it comes to safeguards against slips and falls, nothing is more important than good housekeeping.

Winter Driving
Winter in California can mean fog, rain, ice, snow, slippery roads, and poor visibility. Cold, wet weather can produce dangerous conditions for vehicle operators, especially if driving a vehicle with which you are not familiar. You can take some simple precautions to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries.

~ Before you get into a vehicle, take a little extra time to make sure everything in and about the vehicle is in good condition and operating correctly. This includes lights, mirrors, brakes, windshield wipers, and defrosters.
~ Condensation and frost can greatly impair visibility. If a vehicle is kept outdoors, especially overnight, condensation or frost may develop on the windows. Keep a towel handy to wipe-off condensation, and a scraper to remove any frost build up.
~ Ensure the tires have good tread and adequate pressure and there is more than a quarter tank of gas, have emergency equipment in the vehicle, including a flashlight, fire extinguisher, flares, blankets, food and water, and chains where applicable.
~ Remember also to reduce driving speed on wet, muddy, oily, or icy roads and be especially alert for pedestrians and animals. Reduced speeds will make your driving experience easier and safer.

Prevention maintenance and extra caution can be important factors in accident prevention.

Keep Safe This Winter
Keep in mind that as temperatures fall and precipitation increases, certain workplace injuries tend to rise. Be aware of your surroundings and learn hazard-prevention tactics to remain safe on the job this winter.


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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DJ SCHEFFLER - Foundation Drilling and Earth Shoring

e.Geo Standards for Publication

CalGeo  |  Phone: 530 344-0644