Dr. Jie Han is the Glenn L. Parker Professor of Geotechnical Engineering in the Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering Department at the University of Kansas. He received his Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in the USA in 1997. He has gained extensive teaching, research, and consulting experiences in geosynthetics, ground improvement, pile foundations, buried structures, and roadways. Prof. Han is the sole author of the book entitled “Principles and Practice of Ground Improvement” and has published more than 400 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers. Prof. Han is the current chair of the ASCE Geo-Institute Soil Improvement Committee and the TRB Transportation Earthworks Committee, and a council member of the International Geosynthetics Society. He serves as an associate editor for the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical & Geoenvironmental Engineering and the ASCE Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, a handling editor for Transportation Research Record, and an editorial board member for several other international journals including Geosynthetics International Journal. Prof. Han is an instructor for the National Highway Institute in the USA and has been invited to give more than 200 keynote/invited lectures and short courses around the world, including the State of the Practice Lecture at the 21st Annual George F. Sowers Symposium and the 18th UK IGS Lecture both in 2018. He has received numerous awards from the profession including but not limited to two US Transportation Research Board Best Paper Awards in 2008 and 2017, the 2011 Shamsher Prakash Prize for Excellence in Practice of Geotechnical Engineering, the 2014 the International Geosynthetics Society Award, the 2017 ASCE Martin S. Kapp Foundation Engineering Award, and the 2018 ASCE Kansas City Section Engineer of Year Award. Prof. Han was elected to the ASCE Fellow in 2014.
Dr. Beauregard is a consulting engineer at Exponent, Inc where she specializes in failure analysis for geotechnical systems. Her primary areas of focus are foundations and retained earth structures. She is currently based in the downtown Denver, CO office.
Technical Program Co-Chair
Gale-Tec Engineering, Inc.
Steve Gale is the founder and president of Gale-Tec Engineering, Inc. – a 26 year old geotechnical engineering firm in Minneapolis, MN. Previous to that, he was a principal and shareholder with a major geotechnical engineering company. He and his firm have evaluated and/or been the Engineer of Record on hundreds of geosynthetic reinforced walls/slopes and embankments and sludge caps over soft ground. Steve oversees contract development, implementation of risk reduction methodologies, evaluations, peer reviews, expert opinions and preparation of Plans and Specifications for transportation, energy and mining projects throughout North America. Steve has authored or co-authored dozens of research and case history papers on the design and construction of geosynthetic systems and has lectured on these subjects throughout the country.
Steve earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Civil/Geotechnical Engineering from The Ohio State University. During his career, Steve has been active in ASTM – Committees D35 and D18, ASCE, ACEC, and The Society of Mining Engineers (SME).
Mr. Simac holds BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri - Rolla. His 38-year professional career has focused on geotechnical engineering applied to various civil engineering structures from a variety of perspectives, as; designer, consultant, contractor, and material supplier.
Over the past thirty years, he has concentrated his practice on geotechnical and geosynthetic engineering while specializing in geosynthetic reinforcement design. Mr. Simac was involved in developing the technical literature and design methods for the following geogrids; Tensar (’83-’85), Miragrid (’87-’90), Stratagrid (’91-’94), and Synteen (’97-’01). He operated a geosynthetic testing laboratory (’94-’02) to develop design-related properties for earth reinforcement.
He is currently President and Principal Engineer for Earth Improvement Technologies, a consulting engineering company he founded in 1990. A registered Professional Engineer in 17 states, Mr. Simac has designed hundreds of reinforced soil structures, participated in research projects on their behavior, and investigated many reinforced soil structures with significant distress.
Mr. Simac has written 43 technical articles on the subject of Geosynthetic Reinforcement, including; being the principal author of the "Design Manual for Segmental Retaining Walls" published by NCMA in 1993, and co-author of the keynote lecture on “Geosynthetic Reinforced SRWs in North America” at the 5th International Conference on Geosynthetics held in Singapore. Mike also was part of the technical review team for the FHWA Demo 82 project “Mechanically Stabilized Earth Walls & Reinforced Soil Slopes: Design & Construction Guidelines” the reference document for the AASHTO design requirements for reinforced soil structures. Mr. Simac has assisted in the development of several software programs that assist the design of reinforced soil structures. Mr. Simac is also a guest lecturer and instructor in several continuing education programs sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Auburn University and is a member of the Academy of Civil Engineers at his alma mater, Missouri University of Science & Technology.
Kathryn Grant is the Marketing Manager for Propex GeoSolutions. In her role, she drives corporate branding, develops digital and print collateral, and overseas marketing and communications for geotextile and erosion control products and solutions. She holds a Bachelors of Journalism from the University of TN, Knoxville, and an Executive Masters of Business from the University of TN, Chattanooga.
Chris Kelsey is the Group Manager for IGS North America and has worked in a variety of capacities to support the geosynthetics field for 20+ years. He is a geotechnical communications specialist, digital strategist, and project manager and has employed his diverse skills for article development, marketing, technical program construction for events, event management, proceedings editing, video projects, email campaigns, social media, and more. He is a former editor of Geosynthetics magazine (2000 – 2005).
Robert Lozano is the Senior Geotechnical engineer and geosynthetic specialist for the Reinforced Earth Company in Reston, Virginia. His responsibilities includes peer revision for complex projects, oversight of the geosynthetic reinforcement testing program, principal expert for geosynthetics supporting Terre Armee and Soiltech (R&D branch) for international companies in the group whenever his expertise is required, and active collaboration on the research and development of parts and products for new and existing soil retaining solutions.
Mr. Lozano is a registered professional engineer in Colombia, his experience spans 4 continents, extensive interaction with foreign governmental agencies, mining and geotechnical consultants, the World Bank, and large construction multinationals.
He has been an active lecturer for geosynthetic applications in geotechnical challenging projects, active member of the International Geosynthetic Society (IGS), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), active voting member of the ASTM Committee C09 on Concrete and Concrete Aggregates, Committee D18 on Soil and Rock and Committee D35 on Geosynthetics where is the Subcommittee Chairman for ASTM D35.93 Subcommittee on Terminology., technical expert for the US delegation for ISO TC221, member of International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering and the Colombian Geotechnical Society.
The Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) elected Daniel Selander, who handles sales and technical support at Willacoochee Industrial Fabrics Inc. (WINFAB USA), as vice chair of GMA’s executive council. Selander will serve out the term of Steve Thaxton, former geosynthetics business leader at Owens Corning, who stepped down in December 2021 when his company streamlined its geosynthetics business to a made-to-order operation.
Selander started his career in textile manufacturing with Burlington Industries, holding management positions in quality and process control. In 2001 he joined the geosynthetics world, taking a job at LINQ Industrial Fabrics Inc., where he first managed process and quality. He moved into sales in 2005. Selander joined WINFAB USA in 2019.
Selander has been active on the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) executive council since 2014. As chair of GMA’s Geotextile Focus Group, he has worked on GMA state and federal lobbying efforts to promote the value of geosynthetics in the United States’ civil and environmental infrastructure. He is also active with the Erosion Control Technology Council and the ASTM International committees D18 on Soil and Rock and D35 on Geosynthetics. A graduate of The Citadel, he and his family live in Summerville, S.C.
Adam Maskal is a Senior Technical Manager for Solmax Geosynthetics, a pioneering global manufacturer of geosynthetic materials with its headquarters in Varennes, Quebec, Canada. Based in the central San Joaquin Valley of California, Adam transitioned to product engineering support after 10 years practicing geotechnical engineering, industrial wastewater system engineering, and environmental consulting in an area where groundwater is used more than anywhere else in the world. He has extensive experience in all aspects of liquid and solid waste storage projects including investigations, feasibility studies, design, permitting, construction quality assurance, and ongoing compliance monitoring. Adam provides technical and engineering support for waste containment mand materials for a variety of industries in the Americas. Mr. Maskal received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from California State University at Sacramento, has completed subsequent coursework in geology, and is a Registered Civil Engineer in the State of California.
Application Expert | Stabilization and Separation (Pavements)
Armed with an education in the geosciences, Jim set out professionally as a geotechnical engineer almost 35 years ago. Originally practicing in a more conventional capacity within the civil engineering industry, Jim entered the world of geosynthetics on a full-time basis in 1994 and has been directly involved in the industry ever since.
During his 17-year tenure with Tensar International, Jim occupied several positions in the design/technology group, the sales department and finally, the marketing department, serving as the company’s first Director of Business Development. After leaving the Tensar in 2011, Jim took up a VP of Sales position with a national geosynthetics distributor and then in 2017, founded his own company, L.E. Geosolutions, LLC.
L.E. Geosolutions operates as the “sales arm” for a geogrid manufacturer based in Alpharetta, GA and also acts as a distributor for various other geosynthetic products. Jim also provides specialist consultancy services for overseas manufacturers entering the US market for the first time, and acts in an advisory capacity for various capital investment companies with existing or potential future ownership stakes in geosynthetic-based businesses.
Michael Bernardi is a registered Professional Engineer in Canada and the USA, with 40 years’ experience in Civil (Geotechnical) Engineering. For the last 38 years, Bernardi has been focused within the geosynthetics field and employed by three major North American geogrid manufacturers in a variety of technical roles. Currently, Bernardi is the Director of Engineering for Strata Systems, Inc., a Division of Glen Raven Technical Fabrics.
Additionally, Bernardi was one of the founding partners (2002-2012) of a design/consulting firm concentrated primarily on the design and development of geosynthetics and geosynthetic- related structures such as concrete modular block retaining walls, steep slopes and embankments. He is also the primary Technical Editor of the 3rd Edition of the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) Design Manual for Segmental Retaining Walls (2009) and has participated in the development of Retaining Wall Design software, including CTI Vespa v2.0 and NCMA SRWall v4.0.
Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA)
Fred Chuck has been in the geosynthetics industry for 39 years, having had responsibilities ranging from product development and technical service to sales and market management to Industry Council lobbying and education (details in CV). Fred served as Past Chair of the GMA Geotextile Focus Group, a member of: IGS-NA; TRB AFS70 - Committee on Geosynthetics; AREMA (Rail Engineering) Committee 1 (Geosynthetics); & IECA. He led the GMA efforts from 2009-2012 to establish the NTPEP GTX audit plan and the AASHTO M288-17 modifications. In December of 2018, Fred assumed the Chairmanship of the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) Executive Council, ending his term in April 2020 to take on the role of Executive Director of the Geosynthetics Materials Association (GMA).
A Civil Engineering graduate of Purdue University, he is licensed in Indiana, Georgia and North Carolina. Residing in Fort Mill, South Carolina, Fred and his wife, Beth, a realtor, have two children; a son, Davis, working for GE, graduated in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University and a daughter, Natalie, who will graduate from University of South Carolina in May 2020 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.