CalGeo E Newsletter

February 17, 2014

CalGeo’s Annual Conference... Newport Beach 2014!

Happy Holidays

CalGeo’s Annual Conference »
Outstanding Project Awards »
Cal Poly SLO Students Co-Hosts Seminar »
Legislative Update »
Member News »
Job Board »
Safety First »

Reunite with industry friends and family at CalGeo's Annual Conference, May 1-3, 2014 at the Newport Beach Marriot Hotel & Spa. The conference will encompass a broad range of must-see business, legislative and technical topics, highlighted by our keynote sessions presented by Professor Steven L. Kramer, Professor Jonathan Stewart, and Dr. Peter Robertson. Elevate your game at the “Shotgun Showdown at Tustin Ranch” – 2014 CalGeo Golf Tournament on Thursday Morning, May 1. Experience the local activities and attend the Friday Night at the Ballpark for the Angels baseball game. Live your Jimmy Buffet dreams with a “Margaritaville” night of food, fun and frivolity at the closing night banquet on Saturday, May 3. Click Here for the Conference Brochure and Registration Package.

2014 CalGeo Newport Beach Conference Presenters and Topics are summarized below.

Steven Kramer

Professor Steven L. Kramer, Professor at University of Washington — Keynote
“Performance-Based Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering”

The presentation will review the evolution of performance-based earthquake engineering, discuss the notion of performance and its description, and a general framework for performance evaluation. The nature and effects of the many uncertainties that apply to the prediction and description of ground motions, system response, physical damage, and loss will be discussed. Also, examples of different manners in which performance-based earthquake engineering can be implemented into practice will be given.

Jonathan Stewart

Professor Jonathan P. Stewart, Professor/Department Chair University of California, Los Angeles — Keynote
“Seismic Earth Pressures on Retaining Walls”

Professor Stewart will examine the kinematic component of cyclic earth pressures on retaining structures during earthquake ground shaking, and show that the interaction varies strongly with the ratio of wavelength to wall height. It will be shown how this framework can explain both relatively low seismic pressures observed in recent experiments, and relatively high seismic earth pressures from numerical analyses in the literature involving strong resonance of the soil layer behind the wall with incident seismic waves.

Gary Jacobsen

Gary Jacobsen, Esq., Koenig Jacobsen, LLP “Review of Significant Cases Affecting Geotechnical Professionals”

The scope of Mr. Jacobsen’s presentation is to provide a review of the most significant decisions impacting geotechnical professions. The overview will address key matters and issues: the effect contractual provisions/language have on a professional’s liability and exposure, duty of care owed to third parties, privity of contract issues, coverage issues, certificate of merit, arbitration agreements, potential assignments and project reports.

Gary Jacobsen

Mr. Paul George, Stego Industries, LLC “Vapor Barriers — Nuisance or Necessity?”

This educational session will address under-slab moisture mitigation strategies by reviewing the most recent and relative standards, building codes and industry-expert recommendations. The session will also review products currently available on the market, including some controversial discrepancies between test results reported on product datasheets and actual product performance in the field.

Adam Fischer

Aaron Poresky

Adam Fischer, Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board & Aaron Poresky, Geosyntec Consultants “Regulatory, Planning, & Design Perspectives in Storm Water Infiltration"

This lecture will present key questions and considerations facing geotechnical engineers in conducting feasibility assessments for storm water infiltration, developing design, monitoring, and operation recommendations. From their respective experience as storm water regulator and storm water designer, they will share perspectives on the role of the geotechnical engineer as part of developing a balanced, defensible, and effective storm water control plan. They will also present audit and project examples.

Sam Palmer

Samuel D. Palmer, P.E., Assistant Director, Clark County Dept. of Building and Fire Prevention Bureau, Las Vegas, NV “The Business of Running a Geotech Business”

This presentation is geared to providing the insight into the key steps in running a successful and profitable Geotechnical Engineering business. Given the many moving parts necessary to run a good Geotechnical Engineering business, Mr. Palmer will discuss the few key elements that must be included and how to properly execute them.

Jere Lipps

Professor Jere H. Lipps, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley “From Dinosaurs to People: The Rich History of Life in Orange County”

This lecture will discuss the rich history of life in Orange County from ~180 million years ago to modern time, encompassing evidence of life from the distant past; the sophisticated people who occupied the County as early as ~12,000 years ago, and the historic occupation of Southern California from 1769 onward.

Peter Robertson

Dr. Peter Roberston, Technical Director of Gregg Drilling & Testing, Inc. — Keynote “Evaluation Soil Liquefaction — Practical Considerations”

Dr. Robertson’s lecture will provide some brief background on evaluation of the potential for soil liquefaction and the resulting deformations, as well as design considerations, for most geotechnical projects in California. The presentation will also discuss recent publications which have introduced uncertainty regarding available and appropriate methods of evaluation, and present case histories as examples. Practical issues that influence the results will be presented and discussed.

Esmael Adibi

Dr. Esmael Adibi, Director of the A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research, Anderson Chair of Economic Analysis, Chapman University "The U.S. and California Economic Outlook”

Dr. Adibi will discuss the U.S. and California economic outlook for 2014 and will provide answers to: whether there is reason to feel optimistic, whether the pace of job creation is expected to pick up steam, if there is another housing bubble in the offing, the outlook for interest rates and their effect on economic recovery, the outlook for commercial real estate, and the effect on increasing tax revenue on California’s long-run budgetary problems.


Outstanding Project Awards

Deadline to Enter Is Quickly Approaching!

Table with OPA trphy awards

CalGeo will be recognizing firms for their outstanding geotechnical projects at our 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.

The deadline for submitting your company's technical achievements is February 14, 2014. If you wanted to enter a project, but missed the date, give the office a call and we can probably accommodate you ((530) 344-0644). Click here to download the rules and application package.

Award winners will be highlighted May 3 at the Outstanding Project Awards luncheon during the Annual Conference in Newport Beach.

Don’t delay, enter today!


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Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Student Chapter to Co-Host Seminar

Michel Auibertin

On February 19, 2014 Cal Poly CalGeo will be co-hosting with Dr. Hanson (for his Geoenvironmental Engineering class) a seminar “Mine Wastes Management at RIME”. The speaker is Dr. Michel Aubertin, from Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal. Download the flyer here. Questions? Email the chapter’s president, Keegan Arnt at

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Legislative Update

Governor Brown’s State of the State Address

Governor Jerry Brown delivered his State of the State Address on January 22, 2014, before a joint session of the California Legislature. The Governor stated that he plans to pay down California’s debt and created a solid rainy day fund. He also asked all in the state to conserve water, provided key elements of the state’s long-term water plan and the future work required to fight climate change and build on reforms to California’s school funding and the criminal justice systems.

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Member News

Sacramento member firm, Mid Pacific Engineering, Inc., has a new address:

Mid Pacific Engineering, Inc.
840 Embarcadero Drive, Ste. 20
West Sacramento, CA 95605
(916) 927-7000
Primary Contact: Todd Kamisky at

Don't Miss Out On Savings! Sign Up For Our Member Benefits Program

If you haven't signed up yet for Business AdvantEdge you're missing out on a great member benefit. To learn more about these programs and to sign up for Calgeo member benefits, please visit the CalGeo MarketPlace. Note: On your first visit to the MarketPlace, please register as a "New Member" to set up your user name and password.

Money bag

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

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Job Board

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

CAD Drafter with Farrell Design-Build
Geotechnical Engineer with Mid Pacific Engineering (MPE)
Sr. Staff Geologist with LGC Geotechnical, Inc..
Sr. Field Technician with Geolabs-Westlake Village

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

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Safety First

7 Steps to Keep Employees Safe In The Workplace

Hard hats

We live in a world where bad things happen in the workplace. Recently shots were fired near the White House and less recently a lone gunman created havoc at the Navy Shipyards. As much as we fear the acts and despise the perpetrators, the reality is that these events have become commonplace. In addition to these acts of terror, the safety of your team can be at risk due to natural disasters and other unexpected events.


And yet few people ever really think it will happen to them. As a leader, you are responsible not only for your own safety, but for the security and safety of those you lead. To help you lead safely at work, here are seven very important thinking points:

1. Come to terms with reality. It can happen in your workplace. A perpetrator can be someone you know or a complete stranger. Living in denial is the riskiest strategy of all. Post-tragedy interviews prove the point: "I could never imagine it happening here," you'll often hear.

2. Be aware and teach awareness. Criminals use the element of surprise. By paying closer attention to unusual or suspicious behavior and challenging it, you can reconfigure the odds. Don't be afraid to inquire or report, and make sure you're people aren't afraid either. Be polite but assertive in challenging anyone acting unusual.

3. Get expert advice. Law enforcement officials are usually willing to offer suggestions and even courses, and private enterprises can teach and provide security. Find someone in your community who is a proven expert in workplace safety. What is safest and most effective isn't always intuitive, but an expert will know what works best.

4. Develop a plan. Make sure every employee understands what needs to happen should there be a crisis, whether by a violent person or a natural disaster. A written plan of action should be included in your policies and procedures manual. It is a good idea to vet this plan with your legal counsel.

5. Do the drill. It isn't enough to have a plan others can't implement. Every quarter or at least every six months, alert your employees to a drill and practice it so people know what to do and where to go in case of specific emergencies.

6. Find leaders within your team These individuals can serve as captains to help coordinate and take additional responsibility in case of an emergency. Make workplace security a team effort.

7. Consider providing a basic self-defense and safety course to all employees It's an employee perk that will not only be appreciated, but could potentially save lives.

Many alarm systems are purchased only after a break in. You need to be ahead of the game. Don't put off doing what needs to be done to assure the safety of you and your team.

By Mark Sanborn

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Gregg Drilling & Testing — Geotechnical, Environmental, Marine Site Investigation Services.

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CalGeo  |  Phone: 530 344-0644