CalGeo E Newsletter

June 28, 2013

CalGeo Board of Directors Election Results

Welcome New Board Members

Ballots for the election of CalGeo Directors and Officers were tallied as part of the general membership meeting during the CalGeo Annual Conference on May 2, 2013. CalGeo’s Board of Directors consists of twelve members who are responsible for management of the Association's activities and affairs. The Directors consist of five officers and seven Directors-at-Large.

CalGeo is pleased to announce the election of two new Directors - Robert Fingerson, G.E. of Holdrege & Kull Consulting Engineers and Geologists, and Neal Berliner, G.E. of Geocon West, Inc. Rob is a principal of Holdrege & Kull and manages the Geotechnical group of their Nevada City office. He joined the firm in 1996 after receiving


CalGeo Election Results »

Yosemite Conference Recap »

Member News »

Job Board »

Project Awards Highlight »

Student Outreach Program »

Rising Star Award »

UCLA’s Annual Geo-Expo »

CalGeo Supports ISSMGE »

Legislative Update »

his B.S. in Civil Engineering from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. Neal is a principal engineer and President of Geocon West. He is responsible for oversight of Geocon’s operations in the greater Los Angeles area, including their Burbank, Murrieta and Palm Desert operations. Neal began his professional career in 1992 and has extensive geotechnical engineering experience throughout southern California.


Neal Berliner Rob Fingerson

New Board Member, Neal Berliner

New Board Member, Rob Fingerson


Danny Cohen (BSK Associates) assumes the position of President, with Mike Laney (Terracon) elected Vice President/President Elect, Larry Taylor (Taylor Group, Inc.) elected as Treasurer and Hannes Richter (Geofirm/Stoney-Miller Consultants) elected as Secretary. Outgoing President Todd Kamisky (Mid Pacific Engineering, Inc.) remains on the Board in the role of Immediate Past President. Current Directors Chris Diaz (Diaz•Yourman & Associates), Dave Hamilton (Hamilton & Associates), Bob Lokteff (Blackburn Consulting), Martin McIlroy (Taber Consultants), and Mike Moscrop (GMU Geotechnical, Inc.) were re-elected to another term on the Board.



Yosemite Conference Recap

Interactive Computer Design of Reinforcement Patterns For Rock-Slope Stabilization

By Richard Martin
Hamilton & Associates, Inc.

Dr. Stan Miller

Dr. Stan Miller

The presentation on pattern rock bolting design by Dr. Stan Miller of the University of Idaho was a combination of common sense assumptions mixed with computerized analysis. The rock reinforcing pattern is determined from rock uniaxial compressive strength of the plane of weakness, and from mapping of the orientation, spacing, length and roughness of discontinuities.

We learned that strength may come from many sources, but quickly in the field with the Schmidt Hammer. Mapped planes of weakness on a “stereonet plot” allows identification of fracture sets having similar orientations. These orientations than can be matched with the proposed cut slope for a potential failure mode. Dr. Miller developed a computer model for a rock bolting pattern for a proposed cut slope of previously established physical properties. By varying the horizontal distance to a tension crack, horizontal and vertical spacing of bolts, and effective shear strength, a range of safety factors can be developed. The programs presented include plane shear and 3-D wedge failures.



Changing Practice In Geotechnical Engineering For Slopes

By Rob Fingerson
Holdrege & Kull Consulting Engineers

Dr. J. Michael Duncan photo

Dr. J. Michael Duncan

If you couldn’t make the Annual conference in Yosemite, you missed Dr. J. Michael Duncan’s presentation regarding changing practice in geotechnical engineering for slopes. Keynote speaker Dr. Duncan provided an informative presentation reminding us of the significant changes in computing power and the technological tools available for slope stability analysis over the past 50 years. The presentation also touched upon analysis tools currently available including finite difference and finite element analysis. Dr. Duncan provided a discussion of specific situations when the use of 3D analysis tools is warranted. In addition, the broad-reaching presentation captured the interest of practitioners by including discussion of current trends in the modeling of clay using fully softened strength parameters.

Case studies were discussed, including the significant failure of a ground-anchor reinforced slope above the No. 3 Highway in Taiwan which resulted in an estimated 200,000 cubic meter landslide and five deaths. The slope failure was attributable to both the corrosion of the grouted, pre-stressed ground anchors and the apparent decrease in soil strength over time.

Dr. Duncan closed the presentation by reminding us that although computers have significantly changed engineering practice, achieving high quality in engineering practice requires experience, judgment and comprehensive quality control, no less now than 50 years ago.



Aiming For The Fence - It’s Going…Going…Gone!

By Rob Fingerson
Holdrege & Kull Consulting Engineers

Rick Keene

Rick Keene

Former Assembly member and CalGeo legislative consultant Rick Keene presented "Aiming for the Fence…", a summary of CalGeo’s active participation in the state of California’s legislative process during the past year. Mr. Keene likened the legislative process to the game of baseball, and reminded us that winning in the legislative arena includes having influence on proposed policies that impact our professions and businesses and being able to make changes to current polices. To accomplish this, over the past year Mr. Keene has worked with CalGeo to proactively engage in legislation, forge alliances with like-minded groups, and build relationships with pivotal legislative leaders.

Mr. Keene summarized the Assembly and Senate bills which caught our attention last year, and discussed what potential game changing issues are being considered this season by the California legislature. CalGeo will continue its proactive approach in part by continuing to build legislative relationships and increasing advocacy within the membership.

The presentation sparked a lively, open discussion about what the membership was seeing on the playing field as potential future issues of concern for the organization.


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Member News

Take Advantage of our NEW Member Benefits Program

Benefits Available Graphics

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 the Program Enrollment.


Welcome Our Newest Member!

Affiliate Member:

Celena Abrahamsen
2583 Midvale Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 210-3630


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Job Board

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

Staff/Senior Staff Engineer with LGC Geotechnical, Inc.
Senior Geotechnical Engineer with Group Delta Consultants, Inc.
Field Technician, or Staff/Project Geologist, or Staff/Project Engineer with GeoConcepts, Inc.
Project Geotechnical Engineer with Wallace-Kuhl & Associates


If you’re LOOKING for help this summer or throughout the year, we also have a number of resumes on our website at


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Outstanding Project Awards Highlight

Large Project Honorable Mention Winner – Caltrans

Caltran's project

Presidio Parkway, San Francisco

An integrated team consisting of Caltrans and the joint venture (JV) of Arup and Parsons Brinckerhoff provided geotechnical engineering services for the Presidio Parkway. The JV is under contract with the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. The significant technical, operational and site sensitivity complexities combined with the numerous innovative techniques make this project worthy of recognition.

Originally constructed in 1936, the existing Doyle Drive needs design, seismic and traffic safety improvements. Located within the over 200 year-old Presidio of San Francisco, a National Park and a National Historic Landmark District, the project faces several significant challenges: highly variable and poor geologic conditions in a highly active seismic setting, preserving the natural and historical Presidio resources, providing extensive public outreach and inter-agency coordination for a large group of stakeholders (i.e. citizens’ groups and other public agencies) and removing and replacing the existing facility while maintaining traffic during construction. Read full article here.


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CalGeo Student Outreach Program

Silent Auction Raises Funds

By Hannes Richter
Stoney-Miller Consultants, Inc.

The purpose of the Student Outreach Program is to promote geotechnical engineering in California universities and provide a means for students to interact with practitioners to encourage their careers, find internships, and find employment after graduation. We support them throughout the year with funding, speakers and field trips. This practice has become highly successful for both the students and CalGeo members. Our efforts are partially funded by the Silent Auction at the annual conference, and we thank all of you who donated or purchased items this year!

Those donating were:

SPC Geotechnical
The Sutton Group
Stoney-Miller Consultants, Inc.
Marsha Myers
Ed & Dana Hill (Geotechnologies)
Hayward Baker
James & Sharon Rowlands
GMU Geotechnical
Adventure OUT
Tenaya Lodge
Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad
Crab Cakes restaurant in Oakhurst



Rising Star Award

By Hannes Richter
Stoney-Miller Consultants, Inc.

UCLA Student Chapter-Winner of Rising Star Award

UCLA Student Chapter-Winner of Rising Star Award

This year's Rising Star Award evaluation was again difficult, as we had three very competitive groups in UCLA, Cal Poly Pomona, and Cal State Fullerton (defending champions). After careful review of their accomplishments for the year, we decided that this year's Rising Star Award belonged to UCLA! They had great social events, speakers, field trips, student presentations and forums, volunteer activities, mentorship activities, participation in Engineers Without Borders, competed well at the Geo-Institute MSE Wall Regional and National levels and in the Geo-Congress Geo-Prediction, and had their annual Geo-Expo event. To see their program in detail, click here. We are very proud of the excellent effort and enthusiasm by all the students, and wish them the very best in the coming year.



UCLA's Annual Geo-Expo

By Danny Cohen
BSK Associates

The UCLA CalGeo student chapter in conjunction with the Geo-Institute Graduate Student Organization held its annual Geo-Expo on Friday, May 31, 2013 at the UCLA Faculty Center. The event was attended by Board Members Danny Cohen, Hannes Richter and David Hamilton along with about 90 other attendees. This event was completely organized by the UCLA students and is a great example of why this chapter won the Rising Star award as outstanding student chapter.

The evening started with opening remarks by CalGeo Student Chapter President Sean Ahdi and GI-GSO Pavlo Chrysovergis (a master's student and the son of Stavros and Helen Chrysovergis of SPC Geotechnical, member and regular participants in CalGeo events). Two Ph.D. Candidates then presented papers, one by Ted Reinert titled "Seismic Deformation Potential of a Model Test Levee on Peaty Organic Soil" and one by Emel Seyhan titled "Models for Nonlinear Site Amplification and Ground Motion Prediction for Active Crustal Regions Worldwide" (see for more information).

After a break for socializing and reviewing the Ph.D. Posters, dinner was served with a presentation by Dr. Jeffrey Keaton of AMEC titled "Configuring Geology for Engineering Reliability Based Design Projects". Dr. Keaton started his discussion with a joke about an engineer, a geologist and a brown cow, but I will leave the rest up to your imagination. After dinner closing remarks were provided by Dr. Jonathon Stewart, UCLA CEE Professor and Department Chair who talked about the many strengths (and relatively few weaknesses) of the UCLA Engineering program. The evening closed with recognition of the M.S. and Ph.D. Class of 2013.

Many thanks to the UCLA CalGeo student chapter and GI-GSO for hosting this wonderful event.


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CalGeo Gift to ISSMGE Foundation Supports Geotechnical Engineers Worldwide


As a donor to the Foundation of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE), CalGeo is helping young geotechnical engineers throughout the world to attend conferences and educational events which enhance their career and advance our profession. ISSMGE President Professor Jean-Louis Briaud started the Foundation nearly 4 years ago because of an obvious need in many developing nations and for the younger generation. CalGeo became a donor to the Foundation following Professor Briaud’s request for support during his keynote address at the 2010 CalGeo Annual Conference. Professor Briaud has expressed his delight that the Foundation has been received warmly, that it is doing well, and that it has been able to assist an increasing number of young geotechnical engineers, wherever they may be. The Foundation recently forwarded their 2012-2013 Activity Report to CalGeo with their thanks for our support.


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Legislative Update

BPELSG Appointments


The governor has made the following appointments to the California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists, filling the two public member vacancies:

  • Diane Hamwi, 47, a political consultant from Los Angeles, and
  • Coby King, 52, an attorney and public affairs executive.

There is still one PE vacancy - who cannot be a CE, SE, EE, ME or PLS but could be a GE.

To see the list of current BPELSG members go to:


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GMI- ground Modification, Inc.

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