CalGeo E Newsletter

May 31, 2013

June Regional Meetings

What's "Hot" in Hot Mix Asphalt


June Regional Meetings »

Yosemite Conference Recap »

Bucking the Trend »

Limiting Liability »

Member News »

Welcome Our Newest Member! »

Job Board »

Project Awards Highlight »

Student Chapters At Work! »

CalGeo is pleased to announce that our next Regional Dinner Meetings will be Wednesday, June 26 in Rancho Cordova and Thursday, June 27 in Santa Ana. Technical consultants, Dr. Rita Leahy or Jim St. Martin of the California Asphalt Pavement Association will present "What's 'Hot' in Hot Mix Asphalt".

Reserve your spot by June 18. For more information and to download the registration form go to and click on the date you're interested in. Mail, fax or email your registration form and pay online or at the door! Easy!



Yosemite Conference Recap

New Tools for Understanding and Mitigating Rock Falls in Yosemite National Park

By Sean Ahdi
Student and UCLA Chapter President

Greg Stock climbing a rock

Dr. Greg Stock

We were fortunate to have Dr. Greg Stock of the National Park Service at Yosemite National Park give a unique perspective on studying rock falls and mitigating their potential hazards in Yosemite Valley. Rock falls are the dominant geologic processes that shape the valley, and classic exfoliation patterns in the granite valley walls provide ideal failure planes for which rock masses can become detached from a cliff face. Using terrestrial and airborne LiDAR imaging with gigapixel-resolution photography of cliff faces, Dr. Stock's team has developed a method to use images from before and after rock-fall events and computer modeling to analyze talus and rock-fall volumes, map susceptible rock-fall hazard zones, and create more precise rock-fall runout models. Since Dr. Stock's arrival at Yosemite in 2006, the park has greatly increased the rate of reporting and documenting rock-fall incidents and also reduced the risk of rock falls to employee housing and other structures by 95 percent! We thank Dr. Stock for his engaging talk and his commitment to the safety of the visitors and staff of this wonderful site of natural beauty and great geology!



Bucking the Trend - Traits of the Best-in-Class Companies That Outperform the Industry

By Stavros Chrysovergis
PE, GE/SPC Geotechnical, Inc.

Gerry Salontai

Gerry Salontai

The Yosemite conference Friday afternoon Keynote speaker was Gerry Salontai of Salontai Consulting Group. His presentation was extremely interesting and emphasized that the Best-in-Class companies know that failure is not an option. Gerry highlighted five traits that, if acquired, will help a company outperform its peers.
1. The best companies must know who they are in order to deliver competitive advantage in the market place.
2. They position for the future and have a clear vision of the future and how to get there.
3. They keep it simple in order to provide maximum clarity to staff, business partners, and clients.
4. The best companies must know that engineering is a people business and that attracting, engaging, inspiring, and keeping the best talent is a key for success.
5. Lastly, the Best-in-Class perform well at every level of the organization.

By acquiring the above traits, a company positions itself for success.



Limiting Liability Through Contracts and Insurance

By Neal Berliner
Geocon West, Inc.

Dr. David Weiland

David Weiland

Mr. David Weiland discussed professional liability for design professionals and focused on recent developments in contractual indemnity, including changes to the indemnity provisions of the California Civil Code that went into effect on January 1, 2013. He expressed the importance of establishing a contractual limitation of liability through properly drafted indemnity provisions in contracts, detailing the Type 1 indemnity, the evolution of Civil Code 2782 and SB 474, as well as current issues in professional liability insurance coverage. He expressed the importance of making sure that your insurance covers what the contract is requiring of you, that your limitation of liability is higher than your fees, and that attempts at contract negotiation with public agencies are well documented in case of unequal bargaining strength (sign it or else).
Mr. Weiland is an attorney with the Fresno office of Dowling Aaron Incorporated and his practice covers the full range of construction law issues, including representation of owners, contractors, subcontractors and design professionals in contract disputes and ongoing review of contracts for the design and construction of all forms of projects.


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Member News

We're Rolling Out A NEW Member Benefits Program

Money bag

Welcome to the new CalGeo Member Benefits Discount Program through Business AdvantEdge! Your CalGeo membership just got even more valuable through this innovative program that reduces your overhead and the costs of key business services on:

  • ADP payroll and work comp
  • Credit Card Merchant Programs such as FDMS, NTC and TransFirst
  • Fuel and fleet programs through ExxonMobil and Holiday Stationstores
  • Office supplies and equipment with HP, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples
  • Grainger - Facility Maintenance and equipment
  • Shipping via UPS and On Target Professionals
  • Telecomm with Sprint, Comcast and Integrated Communications
  • Uniforms, dust control and restroom supplies through Aramark and UniFirst

To learn more about these programs and to sign up for one or several new Calgeo member benefits, please visit the CalGeo MarketPlace.

Note: As this is a brand new program for us, on your first visit to the MarketPlace, please register as a "New Member" to set up your user name and password.

For a Quick Overview and expedited enrollment, please visit Program Enrollment.


Welcome Our Newest Member!

Affiliate Member:

Terra Insurance Co.
David Coduto
2 Fifer Avenue, Ste. 100
Corte Madera, CA 94925
(415) 927-2901
Offering professional liability insurance to Engineers


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Job Board

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

Staff Geologist with Leighton Consulting, Inc.
Branch Manager/Geotechnical Engineer with Giles Engineering Associates, Inc.
Project Geotechnical Engineer with Wallace-Kuhl & Associates


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Outstanding Project Awards Highlight

Winner of Medium Project Award-ENGEO Inc.

The San Mateo Bayfront Levee

Cyclist on the newly completed Bayfront Levee

The City of San Mateo Bayfront Levee Improvement Project - An Innovative Solution to Flood Protection

The San Mateo Bayfront Levee Improvement (SMBL) protects 8,000 properties from the 100-year flood level in San Mateo. The project was completed 4 months ahead of schedule and well below the Engineer's Estimate due to innovative designs and collaboration between the City, the contractor and the design engineers. Once completed, FEMA fully accepted the project and certified the improved levees 3 months after completion of construction.

The project implemented innovative designs such as placement of a lightweight fill consist of blended materials to create a levee with minimal post-construction settlement and installation of below-grade vinyl sheet piles to create seepage cut-off in a highly corrosive environment. During construction, the contractor also excavated through unexpected refuse - car parts, lumber, and concrete rubble in shallow groundwater conditions.

The success of this project is a result of effective communications between the City, the contractor and the design team. Read full article here.


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Student Chapters At Work!

UCLA Students at Yosemite Conference

Student Chapter Chair, Hannes Richter with UCLA Students at Yosemite Conference

On behalf of the CalGeo at UCLA Student Chapter, you are cordially invited to the 5th Annual UCLA Geo-Expo! This year the event will take place on Friday, May 31, 2013, from 4:30-8:30 PM at UCLA, and will include a formal dinner along with presentations from professors and students, a poster session of Ph.D. students' work, and a keynote presentation by Jeff Keaton of AMEC entitled "Configuring Geology for Engineering Reliability-Based Design Projects." The Geo-Institute Graduate Student Organization at UCLA will also be honoring graduating M.S. and Ph.D. students and will be presenting awards to outstanding students. We would greatly appreciate your attendance in this social and educational gathering of all members of the geotechnical community. Please see the attached flyer for details.


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GMI- ground Modification, Inc.

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