Friday, March 13, 2015

Seattle and the AEG Professional Forum on Landslides

I must apologize for not posting much around here as it's been a very hectic beginning of 2015. So, I'll just skip ahead a bit.

About to speak at the Washington Section meeting.
At the end of February I traveled to Seattle, WA to speak at the Washington Section AEG, at an applied geology course at the University of Washington, attend the AEG Professional Forum on Landslides, and then hold a couple of days of meetings with the rest of the Executive Council of AEG. It was an exhausting trip, but also a very rewarding trip.

It began with me presenting to a class at UW full of some of the most prepared applied geology students I've come across. The program they have set up is very impressive and I hope it has a long future ahead of it. Then I presented at the Washington Section meeting - once again the Hoover Dam Bypass talk which seems to be a crowd pleaser. This was my largest Section audience yet at 70+ people. 

Oso (SR 530) Landslide
Next up was 2 days of talks and workshops at the AEG Professional Forum on Landslides: Time to Face the Landslide Hazard Dilemma: Bridging Science, Policy, Public Safety, and Potential Loss. It was a very impressive forum that brought scientists together with stakeholders such as emergency planners, local government officials, forest service, FEMA, USGS, policy professionals, insurance professionals and more. I think a lot of steps were taken toward truly protecting the public from landslide hazards and I hope to see movement on the policy front both regionally and nationally. 

House destroyed at Panaview Landslide, Everett, WA
As part of the forum there was a field trip that included stops at the Panaview landslide in Everett, WA as well as the the Oso landslide site (also known as the SR 530 landslide). It was very impressive to see these up close and it was especially impactful to see the full scale of the Oso landslide. It was also very sobering to see the destruction and site where so many lives were lost. It was one of the best field trips I've been on, for both the geology and the human element.

AEG will be following up with another conference related to this in the next year or two - this time probably on the eastern side of the country.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Traveling to Las Vegas and Los Angeles Next Week

Next week I'll be on the road again with visits to AEG Sections in Southern Nevada (Las Vegas) and Southern California (meeting in North Hollywood). I'll be in Vegas on Tuesday evening and the LA-area on Wednesday evening. If you're in the area, it'd be great if you could attend (both Sections have selected my talk about the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge). Information below

Las Vegas: 
TUESDAY, January 13, 2015
Embassy Suites Convention Center
3600 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV



The Geologic, Geo-Hazard, and Geotechnical Field Investigation for the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge

Los Angeles:

***Wednesday, January 14, 2015***
Greetings AEG Southern California Section Member
We hope you will join us for the AEG Southern California Section's first meeting of 2015, to be held at Victorio's Ristorante, in North Hollywood, on Wednesday, January 14th.

The presentation will be by Ken Fergason, Senior Geologist with AMEC Environment & Infrastructure, Inc. (AMEC) in Phoenix, Arizona and current President of AEG. Ken will present a retrospective of the field investigation portion of the geohazard investigation and geotechnical design of the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge that spans the border of Arizona and Nevada, crossing the Colorado River immediately downstream of the Hoover Dam. A summary and full abstract of the presentation topic can be found near the bottom of this page.

The following week I'll be visiting the AEG Carolinas Section in the Charlotte, NC area and the AEG Southeastern Section in the Atlanta/North Georgia area. I'll post more specific information next week.

2015 AEG Professional Landslide Forum: Time to Face the Landslide Hazard Dilemma: Bridging Science, Policy, Public Safety, and Potential Loss

AEG has a wonderful opportunity coming up in February, 2015 for experts in landslide hazard to interact with public safety, planning, insurance, political, emergency management and other stakeholders in a public forum. The lineup of speakers is very impressive and I believe that this will prove to be standout forum. Please consider attending - I will be there.

2015 AEG Professional Landslide Forum

Time to Face the Landslide Hazard Dilemma:
Bridging Science, Policy, Public Safety, and Potential Loss

February 26-28, 2015  |  University of Washington, Seattle, WA

The conference will consist of two days of technical and other presentations by invited speakers, posters, discussion sessions and workshops regarding: landslide hazard assessment and risk methodology, current state and local programs and how these can be integrated into current and potential future national programs, what’s working and where do we need to improve, can we develop consensus recommendations and guidance for agencies responsible for land use, and more. Cost for the conference is $300 per attendee. There will also be an optional field trip to the Oso landslide and another recent landslide impacting several houses in Everett, WA on Saturday. Cost for the field trip is $100. More details are available on the registration form. 

Hotel Information
Silver Cloud Inn Lake Union
1150 Fairview Ave North
Seattle, WA  98109

For Reservations: 1-800-330-5812 (Please indicate group name AEG when making your reservation.)

Note: If you use any other phone number and/or book online, you may not receive the group rate listed below.

The following rates have been negotiated and are only guaranteed until Jan. 26, 2015 so don't delay in planning your trip to attend this conference!
  • Standard Guestroom: $129.00 per night plus tax
  • Lakeview Guestroom: $149.00 per night plus tax
  • Lakeview Suite Upgrade: $179.00 per night plus tax
- See more at:

Profiled in International Innovation Magazine

Late last year an exciting opportunity came about in the form of an interview/profile with the magazine International Innovation. Well, the article is live now. It was a lot of fun and I think it covers a lot of what AEG is, what AEG does, and how I got where I am as President. Please give it a read.

"Many of the current trends in higher education in the US endanger the future of applied geology."

I'm also happy to see it get a fair bit of coverage all around. Some examples are linked below.

And as always, I've promoted it heavily on my Twitter page.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

On The Road Again

After a nice little break from significant travel, I'll be heading out on the road again next week. I'll be visiting the Kansas City/Omaha Section on Tuesday, December 9th, our North Central Section (Chicago) on the 10th, and the St. Louis Section on the 11th. Anyone in those areas is encouraged to attend - AEG member or not. Information on the meetings is below.

Kansas City/Omaha, Dec. 9: 
5:30pm (presentation at 7pm) at Californos - Westport, Kansas City, MO (more information)
Presentation - Characterization, Rehabilitation, and Monitoring of a Subsidence-Impacted Dam: A Case Study at Powerline FRS, Arizona (full abstract)

North Central, Dec. 10:
5:30pm (presentation after dinner) at Greek Islands, Lombard, IL (more information)
Presentation - Someone is Paying Me to do This! The Geologic, Geohazard, and Geotechnical Field Investigation for the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge (full abstract)

St. Louis, Dec. 11:
5:30pm (presentation at 6:45) at Pietro's, St. Louis, MO (more information)
Presentation - Someone is Paying Me to do This! The Geologic, Geohazard, and Geotechnical Field Investigation for the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge (full abstract)

I always discuss a few business items with AEG prior to my technical presentation as well. It's the interaction I get with members at these meetings that really gets me excited about AEG. I hope you all can find a way to a meeting.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I Survived GRA and GSA

AEG Presidential Selfie at the
Capilano Suspension Bridge in
Vancouver, BC
Even though I’ve been back from my trip that took me to California and Vancouver, BC for the GRA and GSA conferences, respectfully, I am still trying to play catch-up.

The trip began when I landed in Oakland, CA back in mid-October. I spent a couple of hours at the AMEC office in Oakland and then headed into San Francisco. I met up with Sarah Kalika, the SF Section Chair, at the Hyatt Regency to tour it for advance planning for the 2018 AEG-IAEG Meeting. That hotel will be a great venue.

Then I crossed the street to the SF Section meeting next to the Ferry Building. The SF Giants were playing in the National League Championship Series, so attendance was a bit low (note – don’t go up against playoff baseball with a technical talk). Though it was great to interact with a more intimate crowd.

Then I was off to Sacramento for the GRA conference, where I presented a poster. It was a very interesting meeting and I’m glad that I attended. I see a lot of activity in the groundwater world coming for California – both good and bad – and the overall mood at the conference was a bit depressing with dealing with the realities of the lack of water in the West.

From Sacramento I flew to Vancouver, BC for GSA. This was my first time at GSA and it was nice – I was able to catch up with a few old friends from grad school and there were several AEG members around as well. I participated in the Onto the Future Mentor program, though I didn’t get to spend near enough time with my mentee. It was also a bit disheartening to see that the for all of the interesting career information that was available, it was pretty much only oil and gas companies that were participating (the price tag was way too high for anyone else). I’d be happier if there was more information for other options that students have (such as environmental and engineering geology).

I ended up in meetings most of the time, and only saw the technical talks that were around my own. The meetings were great, though a bit overwhelming. Even as President of AEG I’m continually surprised by just how much our little Association does.

I did manage to skip out one morning and visit a nice urban park/tourist trap – the Capilano Suspension Bridge. It’s in a temperate rain forest in North Vancouver – and it is beautiful, if a bit pricey and crowded. But it was a nice way to spend a few hours.

Anyway, I’m back now and trying to get some actual work done, keep AEG in hand, and spend time with my family. It’s all just another ball in the air (it’d be easier if I could actually juggle though). But it was a great trip, and I’m looking forward to the next one in December – I’ll be visiting the Kansas City/Omaha and St. Louis Sections. Hopefully I can work in another one as well – I’m looking at you North Central.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

California, GRAC Annual Meeting, Vancouver and GSA...Here We Go!

So, this is going to be a busy couple of weeks for me. Tuesday morning I begin my first big trip touring as President of AEG, though I'm fitting in quite a bit of stuff related to my day job at AMEC as well.

On Tuesday I fly out to Oakland, CA. I'll be stopping in at the AMEC office in Oakland for a bit and then I'll take BART over to San Francisco. I have a meeting at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco about 2018 AEG-IAEG Annual Meeting/Conference. I'm told it's a great space for the meeting and I'm looking forward to checking it out.

Tuesday evening I'm presenting to the SF AEG Section. I'll cover a bit of AEG business, then move on to a technical talk - they chose "Someone is Paying Me to do This! The Geologic, Geohazard, and Geotechnical Field Investigation for the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge." I'm really looking forward to meeting with the SF Section.

On Wednesday morning I drive out to Sacramento for the Groundwater Resources Association of California (GRAC) Annual Conference. I'm presenting a poster titled "The Development of Guidelines and Procedures for Land Subsidence Investigations: An Arizona Perspective". On Thursday evening after the conference I'm meeting up with the AEG Sacramento Section for happy hour drinks at the River City Brewing Company. That should be a great time.

Friday morning I fly up to Vancouver, BC for the Geological Society of America (GSA) Annual Conference. My schedule is way too packed to try and put it up in this post, but I'll be doing a lot of meeting for affiliated societies of GSA and the American Geosciences Institute (GSI). I'm also participating in the mentor program and presenting a talk on "Utilizing InSAR for Geotechnical Asset Management of Landslides in Colorado". Somewhere in between the meetings, my presentation, being a mentor, and visiting the AMEC office Burnaby, I will be manning the AEG booth, so come on by and chat if you can.

Anyway, if you're going to be at any of the events mentioned above, come introduce yourself to me and we can chat. As busy as I'll be during that time, I'll definitively have a need to quench a thirst. I also hope to blog and tweet throughout.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Presidential Presentations

One of the more enjoyable things I get to as President of AEG is travel around to some of our regional Sections, present to and interact with local meetings. I've repeatedly been told by Past Presidents that this is the most 'fun' part of the job and it's one I'm looking forward to a lot. 

My Section visits begin next week with a visit to the San Francisco Section on Tuesday, Oct. 14th (details available at this link), where I'll be talking about my involvement with the geo-investigation for the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge (in addition to general AEG business). On Thursday evening, Oct. 16th, I'll be joining the Sacramento Section for drinks at a brewery in downtown Sacramento (details in image).

Generally, as President I will be giving a technical talk plus some general discussion of AEG business. I have 4 technical talks plus 1 general applied geology talk that it appropriate for students and the general public (titles are below).

  1. Someone is Paying Me to do This! The Geologic, Geohazard, and Geotechnical Field Investigation for the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge
  2. Seismic Refraction as a Tool for Geotechnical, Geologic, and Geohazard Investigations
  3. Characterization, Rehabilitation, and Monitoring of a Subsidence-Impacted Dam: A Case Study at Powerline FRS, Arizona
  4. Application of Satellite-Based Interferometry (InSAR) to Geologic and Geotechnical Investigations
  5. Between a Rock and Geologic Disaster. Working as an Applied Geologist

Below the cut I have added the text for the full abstracts.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The 57th Annual Meeting of the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG)

Last week was the 57th Annual Meeting of AEG in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was a spectacular meeting and one that I was proud to be a part of. For me, the most significant part of the meeting is that I officially became the 58th President of AEG. It is quite an honor to President of such a great organization and to ‘join the club’ of the many prestigious individuals who have served as President of AEG ahead of me.

The meeting was a great success with some excellent technical sessions covering a wide range of topics including land subsidence and earth fissuring, landslides (with multiple presentations on the tragic Oso Landslide), dams, landfills, debris flows, and seismic hazards. I probably heard the most positive comments regarding our field trips and keynote speaker – Wayne Ranney. Wayne was a leader along with Phil Pearthree of the Arizona Geological Survey for a multi-day field trip to the Grand Canyon and Wayne’s keynote address concentrated on the geologic history of the Grand Canyon. Other trips to Kartchner Caverns, Ray Mine, Sedona, and the Phoenix area were equally praised.

For me the entire meeting was a virtual whirlwind – I was at meeting after meeting, shook countless hands, managed to sit in on a talk or two, participated in a round-table discussion on land subsidence and earth fissures, lead a town hall meeting on governance restructure issues, gave a couple speeches (including my ‘Presidential address’ at our Annual Banquet to over 120 people), had a few drinks, and chaired my first Board Meeting. To say the least, now that I am home again I am exhausted and slowly downloading the entire experience.

I am looking forward to an exciting year as the new AEG President!

Monday, September 22, 2014

IAEG 2014 Download

I’m sitting in the airport in Milan, Italy at the start of my long journey back to Flagstaff, Arizona*. I’ve had a wonderful week in Torino, Italy at the IAEG2014 Congress, which is held once every 4 years by IAEG. It was a very nice conference with a huge variety of attendees from around the world (those of us from the USA comprised of less than 2% of the 1100+ attendees). Italy and China had the largest contingencies, but I enjoyed speaking with people from all over Europe, Asia, Australasia, South America and North America (such as Turkey, Hungary, Italy, UK, Japan, China, Singapore, Netherlands, India, Australia, and New Zealand, to name just a few).

It was also a great meeting for AEG, even though we (and the rest of the USA) are dreadfully underrepresented (due to non-participation) within IAEG these days. We proposed to host the next IAEG Congress in 2018 in San Francisco, California and were awarded the meeting. So, in 4 years, AEG will be hosting the IAEG conference – we are very excited for this opportunity and look forward to an excellent meeting.

In addition, AEG Past President Scott Burns was elected President-elect of IAEG to serve a 4-year term beginning in January. AEG Past President Jeff Keaton was elected as the Vice President for North America as well. Both Scott and Jeff have a long history of involvement with both AEG and IAEG and its excellent to have us

so well represented, particularly with us hosting the next conference in 2018. I hope during my presidency with AEG that I can work with Scott and Jeff to increase AEG’s involvement with IAEG and the greater world community.
My poster went well and I’ve made new international connection to serve me professionally and personally. With that, I think I’ll try to rest up for AEG’s Annual Meeting, which begins next week!


*Note: I did not end up posting this until a few days after I had returned.