The Geotechnical Engineering Podcast (TGEP) provides engineering career advice and success stories specifically for geotechnical engineers. Jared M. Green, PE, D. GE, F.ASCE, NOMA, Principle at Langan Engineering and Award-Winning Geotechnical Practice Leader hosts the show and showcase geotechnical engineering projects and professionals.
Topics covered include but are not limited to large diameter foundations, design-build, energy foundations, ground anchor systems, career planning tips, unsaturated soil mechanics, geosynthetics, soil erosion, dynamic compaction, earthquake engineering and more.
TGEP 090: Harnessing the Power of Geotechnical Engineering for Effective Pavement Design
In this episode, we talk with Prashant Patil, M.S., P.E., a Geotechnical Engineer at Gessner Engineering, LLC, about the intricate factors that shape effective pavement design recommendations. We also dive deep into geotechnical investigation, and discuss some of the challenges geotechnical engineers encounter on projects.
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Prashant:
Could you provide some details about the projects or activities your company is currently involved in?
Can you guide us through the crucial steps and methodologies in geotechnical explorations or investigations?
What specific challenges do geotechnical engineers commonly face when conducting investigations for pavement design?
With all the challenges and opportunities in geotechnical engineering, why wouldn't everyone want to pursue a career in it, given its importance and the intriguing challenges it presents?
Can you explain how things like soil composition, geological conditions, and environmental factors affect the results of investigations and how they influence recommendations for pavement design?
What strategies and conditions are effective in places with extreme weather?
When working on pavement design projects that involve diverse structures like highways, parking lots, and airport runways, how do you adjust your approach to accommodate different load-bearing requirements?
How vital is it to collect crucial information from your client early on, rather than solely relying on assumptions?
How does sustainability factor into pavement design, and what role do geotechnical recommendations play in promoting environmentally responsible infrastructure development?
What upcoming trends and innovations do you foresee in geotechnical engineering pavement design that could significantly influence the industry in the future?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Harnessing the Power of Geotechnical Engineering for Effective Pavement Design:
Gessner Engineering, based in Texas for 20 years, is mostly run by women and works on a variety of projects like higher education and public works. What sets them apart is their focus on relationships over just hitting financial targets. They're planning for the future, aiming for 2028 goals, and have a unique approach called the Gessner framework to improve their culture and leadership. It's a great place for personal and professional growth in the field of geotechnical engineering.
Understanding geotechnical engineering is key in effective pavement design. It's not just about the weight vehicles put on the road; there's a crucial balance between upward and downward forces from soils. The process involves gathering data on traffic loads and expectations, conducting geotechnical investigations, and testing soil properties for strength. This ensures a solid foundation for the pavement. Weather conditions are also factored in to model and correlate soil conditions with pavement performance.
In geotechnical projects like pavement design, a major challenge is understanding and managing groundwater levels, which impact structural performance. Weather fluctuations during investigation and construction also pose challenges. In Texas, dealing with soils prone to high shrink-swell characteristics requires careful stabilization, often with lime, but introduces risks like sulfate-induced heave. Balancing these factors, including comprehensive testing and risk assessment, is crucial before diving into geotechnical investigations for accurate pavement recommendations.
In geotechnical engineering, particularly in pavement design, the challenge lies in finding the balance between upward and downward loading and shaping pavement recommendations. But with all the misconceptions, the field remains intriguing.
TGEP 089: A Comprehensive Guide to Working Platforms for Drill Rigs and Cranes
In this episode, we talk with Thomas D. Richards, Jr., P.E., D.GE, a consultant at Nicholson Construction Company, about working platforms for drill rigs and cranes. We delve into what working platforms are, why they are essential for geotechnical engineers, their utilization challenges, and how they can contribute to their effective use.
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Thomas:
What is the role of working platforms in geotechnical engineering and why are they essential for diverse construction projects?
Can you provide examples of construction projects where the use of working platforms significantly improved project safety, and what factors contribute to their effectiveness in such cases?
What are some of the common challenges and misconceptions that geotechnical engineers face when designing and implementing effective working platforms for drill rigs, cranes, and other large pieces of equipment?
What are the cost and logistical considerations when bringing material onto a site for ground improvement?
Could you elaborate on your role in committees and how it has influenced the development of guidelines and best practices for working platforms?
For those listening to this podcast and wanting to do the right thing, where can they find existing or upcoming resources to guide them?
What is the most challenging aspect of effectively utilizing a working platform, and what would be the correct approach to overcome it?
How is the modification of a constructed working platform managed, particularly when drilling through or alongside it?
How do you envision the future of working platforms in geotechnical engineering design, and are there any emerging technologies or trends that could significantly impact their design and usage?
Could you share some key insights or memorable moments from your travels and interactions within the geotechnical community?
What advice would you give to aspiring geotechnical engineers, particularly those interested in working platforms and enhancing safety on drill rigs and cranes?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Working Platforms for Drill Rigs and Cranes:
Working platforms are important for construction projects, especially in geotechnical engineering. They provide a safe place to work with equipment. These platforms are often made of gravel on top of poor soil. This helps them stay stable and prevents accidents like overturned trucks.
In the early stages of rigging, smaller rigs were primarily used that didn’t exert much stress on the ground, making them easy to stabilize. The use of larger rigs and foundation elements in later stages prompted a more analytical approach to prevent overturning.
In geotechnical engineering, understanding the scale of operations and allocating appropriate resources for ground preparation is crucial. This includes using more gravel than initially anticipated for large-scale projects. Such thorough preparation significantly enhances safety on the job site.
It's possible to strategically plan the grading and use of materials like a load transfer platform. This approach not only enhances site safety during the installation of elements like Controlled Modulus Columns (CMCs), but also ensures that the materials have a beneficial use after the completion of the work.
Committees play a crucial role in addressing technical challenges in the field. These challenges may arise from various sources and are discussed collectively within the committee. The first mention of working platforms, for instance, was at an ADSC meeting in 2005, where the Safety Committee was asked about their experiences with site conditions. While progress may take time, it is a natural part of the process of developing and implementing new guidelines a...
TGEP 088: Adapting to the New Reality of Leadership in the Hybrid World
In this episode, I talks about the dynamic evolution of leadership in our hybrid world and how these shifts are fundamentally redefining the very essence of leadership in this ever-changing environment.
***The video version of this episode can be viewed here.***
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Adapting to the New Reality of Leadership in the Hybrid World:
Teams now communicate more through virtual meetings and digital tools rather than in person. This change requires leaders to rethink how they manage and communicate with their teams effectively using technology.
Leaders need to learn new skills to manage teams that work both remotely and in the office. Understanding and meeting the needs of a diverse team is crucial for successful leadership.
Instead of just focusing on how many hours employees spend in the office, leaders should emphasize the quality of their work. Setting clear goals and promoting a results-driven culture can boost productivity.
Building a sense of unity and connection among team members is more difficult in a hybrid work setup. Leaders must find innovative ways to nurture a strong team spirit and collaboration, even if team members rarely meet face-to-face.
Creating a supportive work environment where employees feel comfortable expressing themselves and asking for help is crucial. Encouraging open communication and providing necessary support can build trust and a positive work culture.
Balancing work and personal life is more challenging when working remotely. Encouraging practices that promote a healthy balance and prevent burnout is essential for the well-being and performance of employees.
Using digital tools for collaboration is vital for effective communication and teamwork across different locations and time zones. Using these tools helps team members coordinate and work together efficiently, even when they're not in the same place.
Being open to new ways of working is essential in a changing work environment. Creating a flexible work culture that can adapt to new technologies and methods is key to staying ahead in the business world.
Being a supportive leader who understands their team's needs, builds trust, and focuses on achieving goals is crucial in a hybrid work setting. Prioritizing empathy and trust can create a motivating work environment where employees can perform their best.
More Details in This Episode…
About the Host: Jared M. Green, P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE
Jared, originally from southwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, graduated from Syracuse University’s College of Engineering in 2001 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He later went on to attain his M.S. in Civil Engineering (Geotechnical Focus) from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Campaign, in 2002. In 2003, he began working in the New York City office of Langan. He has since become a Principal / Vice President and is one of the owners of this international land development engineering consulting firm. After 15 years at Langan, Jared moved to the Philadelphia office and is one of the geotechnical practice leaders in that office.
Jared is a consultant and team leader who also enjoys mentoring young engineers and first-generation college students. He has been instrumental in increasing the number of pre-college students who are interested in STEAM majors and fields. He strives to make complex engineering topics relatable and understandable to people new to the field and to people who are completely unfamiliar with engineering. Jared and his family currently reside in Flemington, New Jersey. He and his wife have three energetic, inquisitive, and awesome children. You can connect with Jared here.
This Episode Is Brought to You By:
Tensar, a division of CMC,
TGEP 087: How to Attract and Retain Women in the Construction Industry
In this episode, we talk with Kristina McDonnell, a geotechnical project manager at KELLER in Cleveland, Ohio, about the importance of empowering women in the construction industry and advancing inclusivity. We also talk about her dedication to mentoring young engineers and STEM students, her involvement with NAWIC, and how it has helped her grow in her career.
***The video version of this episode can be viewed here.***
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Kristina:
How do you approach mentoring to make a lasting impact on mentees' careers, and what specific actions do you take?
How does the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) advocate for women professionals in the construction industry, and how do you contribute to their mission?
What are your goals for promoting diversity and inclusion in the construction industry through NAWIC?
What actions can the construction industry take to welcome more people and make it more equitable for women professionals?
What outreach and education initiatives are you undertaking to change the negative narratives surrounding construction and attract more young people to the industry?
How can the construction industry change the negative narrative surrounding it and attract more young people, especially women?
What are the key challenges women still face in the construction industry today, and how can we work together to overcome them?
How can organizations and individuals create a more inclusive and supportive work environment for everyone in the construction industry?
What are your personal and professional goals in the geotechnical construction field, and how do you plan to continue making a difference in the industry and at NAWIC?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About How to Attract and Retain Women in the Construction Industry:
Mentoring students coming out of high school or college is rewarding because it is exciting to see them succeed and develop their skills in the construction industry.
The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is a professional organization that supports women in the construction industry through leadership training, professional development, and educational opportunities. It also works to make the industry a safer and more productive place for women to work.
NAWIC is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the construction industry. To achieve this goal, the organization aims to increase membership and engagement of women from diverse backgrounds, develop and deliver programs and resources that support women in the construction industry, advocate for policies and practices that create a more inclusive industry, and partner with other organizations and businesses to promote diversity and inclusion.
The construction industry is still largely male-dominated, but there are many things that companies can do to welcome more people and make it more equitable for women professionals. Two important actions are to provide women with the appropriate safety workwear and other tools they need to succeed and to invest in women's professional development and training. Companies should also create a strong safety culture and promote a welcoming and inclusive work environment. By taking these steps, companies can attract and retain more women in the construction industry and create a more equitable and diverse workforce.
The construction industry needs to change the negative narrative that surrounds it and attract more young people, especially women. To achieve this, the industry should educate middle and high school students about the opportunities available, emphasize that construction is a skilled and rewarding career path for all, and educate parents and counselors about the industry so the...
TGEP 086: The Challenges, Innovations, and Future of Tailings Engineering
In this episode, we talk with Sam Rumel, P.E., P.G., a geotechnical engineer at AECOM, about tailings engineering. We explore the intricacies of this field and shed light on its challenges, innovative approaches, and future trends.
***The video version of this episode can be viewed here.***
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Sam:
Can you elaborate on a challenging tailings engineering project you worked on and how your knowledge played a vital role in its success?
What are the recurring challenges in tailings engineering, and how do you develop innovative solutions to address them?
How can we mitigate risk in tailings engineering with limited data?
How do you stay up to date on the latest advances in tailings engineering to tackle complex projects more effectively?
What are the key lessons you learned from unforeseen challenges in engineering projects, and how do they inform your approach to future projects?
How do you collaborate effectively with architects, structural engineers, and stakeholders to ensure a seamless project completion?
How do you factor climate change into tailings engineering designs to promote sustainability?
What cornerstones contribute to the successful execution of AECOM's global projects, especially in diverse regions?
What advice would you give to young professionals interested in a career in tailings management?
What emerging trends and advances in geotechnical engineering do you believe will have a significant impact on the industry, and how are you preparing to adapt to these changes?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About the Challenges, Innovations, and Future of Tailings Engineering:
Tailings engineering focuses on the safety of tailing storage facilities (TSFs) in mining. These TSFs, like dams, contain coarser tailings as embankments while retaining finer materials. Many TSFs are now undergoing assessment and repair to meet global safety standards. Geotechnical experts use innovative techniques like Sonic cone penetration testing (CPT) and monitoring tools to ensure safety. Third-party reviewers confirm compliance with industry standards. The aim is to ensure the safety of TSFs, even with limited historical data, to protect communities and the environment.
In geotechnical engineering, it's vital to remember that characterizing massive sites like tailings facilities with small-scale tools poses challenges. Clients' support in providing resources for investigation is key. These facilities are vast, spanning miles, and extrapolating data from limited instrumentation involves inherent uncertainty. When dealing with events like a 10,000-year earthquake, it becomes a probability game, considering seismology data, fault analysis, and ground motion studies applied to the facility's scaled parameters. Recognizing the significant scale difference between the tools and the site is crucial.
Drawing conclusions in geotechnical engineering involves a conservative approach, always factoring in a level of caution. Unlike structural engineers who have precise material properties like steel beams and shear moduli, geotechnical engineers lack such precise data, making their work inherently challenging.
Tailings engineering is evolving rapidly, thanks to researchers like Scott Olson, who explore residual strengths and unique tailings characteristics. Recent findings challenge previous assumptions, such as discovering undrained strength in sandy tailings layers. Staying updated with this evolving field is crucial for professionals, facilitated by conferences like Tailings and Mine Waste.
In tailings engineering, facilities should be seen as long-term construction projects with continuous deposition and evolving conditions. Unlike traditional foundations,
TGEP 085: The Dynamic Crossroads of Earth Science, Geology, and Mechanics in Geotechnical Engineering
In this episode, we talk with Mohsen Radi, PhD, PE, M.ASCE, a distinguished Civil and Geotechnical Engineer about the dynamic crossroads of earth science, geology, and mechanics in geotechnical engineering.
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Mohsen:
Can you give an overview of the importance of geotechnical engineering in civil engineering?
What is the most important aspect of geotechnical engineering in civil engineering?
Can you discuss the crossroads of earth science, geology, and mechanics in geotechnical engineering?
How do soil and rock mechanics principles shape the design and construction of structures?
What are some of the challenges that geotechnical engineers face when dealing with different soil and rock properties on a site?
What are the challenges that geotechnical engineers face in different parts of the world?
What role do geotechnical engineers play in disaster mitigation?
What are the specific measures that geotechnical engineers can take to enhance the seismic resilience of structures and foundations?
What are some recent innovations and emerging trends in geotechnical engineering?
How are geotechnical engineers using remote sensing, geospatial analysis, and numerical modeling to enhance their methodologies?
What advice would you give to aspiring geotechnical engineers?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About The Dynamic Crossroads of Earth Science, Geology, and Mechanics in Geotechnical Engineering:
Geotechnical engineers use their knowledge of soil mechanics and field activities to investigate the soil and rock properties of a site. They collect data from the site and analyze it in the laboratory to design safe and stable structures.
Geotechnical engineering is a branch of civil engineering that focuses on the interaction between soil and structures. Geotechnical engineers design and assess foundations, slopes, and other structures that interact with the ground. They use their knowledge of soil mechanics and engineering geology to ensure that structures are safe and stable.
Geologists and geophysicists help geotechnical engineers to understand the subsurface conditions at a construction site. This information is essential for designing safe and stable foundations. Geologists provide information about the composition, structure, and history of the ground, while geophysicists use methods such as seismic waves and electrical resistivity to image the subsurface. By working together, they can gain a comprehensive understanding of the subsurface conditions and use this information to design structures that will withstand the forces of nature.
Geotechnical engineers take soil samples from the ground and analyze them in the lab to determine the soil's properties, such as its moisture content, void ratio, strength, and type. This information is used to design foundations that are safe and stable for specific soil conditions.
Geotechnical engineers face challenges when dealing with subsurface features that are hard to find and investigate. For example, mine activities from 100 years ago can cause settlement issues if they are not stable. Engineers need to make sure that mines are stable before building new structures.
Subsurface investigations are important to find out the water level, soil type, and strength. This information is used to design foundations and other structures that are safe and stable.
Geotechnical engineers analyze the stability of slopes to ensure that they are safe. They do this by taking soil samples, analyzing them in the lab, and using software to analyze the slope. The safety factors are higher in areas with a higher risk of landslides and earthquakes.
In seismic design,
Good host and guests, love the technical discussions. Sometimes some good life/career advice as well.
Great Listen for Young Professionals
If you’re in the early stages of your Geotechnical Engineering career, definitely give this podcast a shot!
I’m an EIT working in construction management looking to make a switch to geotechnical engineering. This podcast is extremely helpful giving us amazing exposure to geotech engineers’ actual experiences.