Special Events

Professional Ethics in a Low Bid Environment

Sunday, March 12: 1 – 4pm
Professional engineers have an ethical responsibility to be dedicated to the public health, safety, and welfare of our clients.   More and more we find that our services have been procured from a process to retain the engineer that offers a service for the lowest fees.  This presentation will consider the problems of providing professional engineering service in a low bid environment. Presented by Geoprofessional Business Association

Geo-Women Networking Happy Hour

Sunday, March 12: 6:30 – 8:30pm
Come and join your fellow female professionals at Rocks in the Hyatt Regency for the Geo-Women Networking Happy Hour and kick-start Geotechnical Frontiers 2017.


NASEM Report Brief: State of the Art and Practice in the Assessment of Earthquake-Induced Soil Liquefaction and Its Consequences
Monday, March 13: 9:45 – 11:15am
A new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine objectively evaluates existing field, laboratory, physical model, and analytical methods for assessing liquefaction and its consequences and recommends how to account for and reduce the uncertainties associated with their use. Members of the study committee will summarize report recommendations related to greater use of principles of geology, seismology, and soil mechanics for improved understanding of case histories, project sites, and the likelihood and consequences of liquefaction; explicit consideration of the uncertainties associated with data used in assessments and in the assessment methods themselves; the establishment of standardized and publicly accessible case history databases; and the establishment of observatories for gathering data before, during, and after an earthquake at sites with a high likelihood of liquefaction.


Exhibit Hall Welcome Reception
Monday, March 13: 5:30 – 7:30pm |Regency Ballroom
Network with your peers from around the globe during this lively reception. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres and beverages while viewing the latest offerings from vendors covering the geotechnical industry.


Training Lecture: Geosynthetic Reinforced Embankments on Soft Foundations
Monday, March 13: 2 – 3:30pm
Instructor: Robert D. Holtz, University of Washington
The design and construction of embankments on very soft foundations is one of most challenging geotechnical problems.  Without some type of foundation soil improvement, failures are common especially on very soft sites.  Soil reinforcement with geosynthetics is often the economical solution, and some projects cannot be constructed without geosynthetics.  The course begins with a brief overview of conventional treatments for soft ground construction.  Some early case histories, mostly failures, are described that provided valuable design lessons and concepts that we use today.  Then analysis and design procedures are outlined, along with selection of the required properties for the geosynthetic reinforcement and embankment soils.  Sample specifications, cost considerations, inspections are also described.  Because proper construction is so critically important for success, a detailed discussion of construction procedures completes the course.


NSF Funding Opportunities for Geotechnical Engineering Researchers
Wednesday, March 15: 9:45–11:15 am
Deborah J.  Goodings, National Science Foundation Director
This session creates an opportunity for US geotechnical engineering faculty for whom funded research is a requirement, to learn from and interact with the Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation Division Director from the National Science Foundation that is the primary source of NSF funding in fundamental geotechnical engineering research.  She will begin with a presentation, and then include selected funded geotechnical engineering researchers to discuss their experiences that lead to success in NSF proposal writing.  Q&A will follow.  This session will learn from the success from the 2016 NSF presentation and discussion at the Geo-Structures Congress to tune the 2017 presentation approach.


Training Lecture: Real-time Performance Monitoring for Excavations
Wednesday, March 15: 1:30 – 3pm
Instructor: W. Allen Marr, GeoComp
Modern underground construction requires careful management and execution of the work to manage risk from unexpected performance, especially for work in urban areas.  Unexpected performance can result in consequences that complicate completion of the work and increase the time and cost.  Unexpected performance usually manifests in deformations that affect the completed work and/or existing structures and utilities.  Performance monitoring is used to detect early indications of unexpected performance so that contingency measures can be invoked to limit the consequences.  Increasingly performance monitoring is done in near real-time to track the faster execution rates of modern contractors. This session will discuss why performance monitoring is an important part of successful excavation projects.  It will identify and discuss the key components of effective performance monitoring programs.  It will review the typical types of instruments used to monitor the performance of excavations.  Guidelines for presenting, evaluating and interpreting data will be provided.  Examples from representative excavation projects will be included to help demonstrate the practical application of the key concepts provided in the session. Engineers and project managers associated with owners, design engineers, consultants and contractors that work on excavations may benefit from participating in this session.  Each participant can expect to develop a better understanding of why we should monitor performance when constructing excavations and how to design and conduct a performance monitoring program so that it provides the most value to the project.


J. Michael Duncan Honorary Symposium
Wednesday, March 15, 2017: 3:15–4:45 pm
Moderator: Prof. George Filz, Virginia Tech
This General Session will feature a series of presentations that incorporate contributions Professor Duncan has made to the geotechnical engineering profession through teaching, research, and practice. Professor Duncan has challenged and inspired generations of students and practitioners by his lucid and engaging presentations in the classroom and at professional society meetings. His research is widely recognized for identifying, characterizing, and clearly communicating the essential core of complex problems. He has provided outstanding service to the profession on numerous professional and technical committees, and as a consultant on major geotechnical projects all over the world. The presentations in this session provide examples of the impact that Professor Duncan has had on the work and lives of his colleagues.