Geosynthetics Conference offers eight half-day Short Courses. These in-depth courses feature detailed instruction. All courses provide four pdh’s and are included with full registrations at no extra cost.

Sunday, February 5 | 8 am – noon

Fundamentals of Geosynthetics – Types, Functions, Selection and Performance PT 1 – Materials
Kerry Petrasic, Gannett Fleming
This short course provides an overview of geosynthetics materials. The course is independent of the Part 2 course offered in the PM session, but is complimentary. The course is intended for individuals with a desire to explore the use of geosynthetic materials in design and construction applications, and those having a need to gain a broad fundamental knowledge of the various geosynthetic types, materials and functions. The course provides a basic definition of geosynthetics, explores the various geosynthetic material types, the polymers used in manufacturing, strengths and weaknesses of the common polymers, and the physical structure of the various types of geosynthetics. The prominent roles of polymer type and material physical structure are emphasized in the effective selection and optimal performance of geosynthetics for a specific function. Geosynthetic materials discussed include geotextiles, geogrids, geocell, geomembranes and geofoam. Importance is placed upon desired function(s) in the selection of geosynthetic material class and type.

Geosynthetics in Erosion and Sediment Control and Erosion-Resistant Hydraulic Structures
Joel Sprague, TRI Environmental; Nathalia Castro, Solmax
Geosynthetic-enhanced erosion and sediment control systems are now used routinely in temporary construction site applications, as well as, in steep slope stabilization and shoreline and coastal erosion protection. On the construction site, geosynthetic-enhanced rolled erosion control products (RECPs) and sediment retention devices (SRDs) have become essential to pollution prevention plans. In permanent applications, geosynthetic solutions now include specially designed geotextile filters beneath hard armor systems, and deploying advanced erosion protection technologies such as anchored geotextiles, geocellular containment systems, fabric-formed concrete revetments, and sand-filled geosynthetic mattresses, tubes, and other containers. This short course will provide and detailed look at all these emerging technologies and how they are being used to cost-effectively protect against erosion from rainfall, runoff, stream flow, and shoreline wave action.

Landslide Remediation with Geosynthetics-Evaluation Methods and Construction Techniques
Stephan Gale and Nathan Lichty, Gale-Tec Engineering
Increased rainfall amounts and intensities, along with prolonged wet periods have created slope instabilities along our roadway embankments and rivers/streams channel sideslopes. The exact causes of these vary, but the threat to public safety is a constant. This short course will assess the causes, discuss the evaluation of alternate solutions and present construction case histories which include a wide range of resilient landslide remediation solutions for each of the unique challenges presented with each project.

This course will highlight recent projects that balance geotechnical needs, hydraulics, local and federal permitting requirements, wetland impacts, special river designations, costs, unique site constraints and aesthetic goals to arrive at cost effective solutions. Through a series of case histories, we will review design and constructed solutions ranging from hard armored riprap and gabion walls to vegetation faced geosynthetic reinforced soil slopes with various erosion resistant faces as well as shallow soil anchors or grouted hollow bar reinforcement installed on a reconstructed slope face.

Marketing in the Geosynthetics Industry
Sam Allen, President, International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) and TRI Environmental; Tamara Tuttle, Atlas International Consulting

While the global geosynthetics industry is relatively small (an international geosynthetics conference may attract at most 2500 people), it is uniquely intense with many companies providing services ranging from geosynthetic products, geosynthetic installations, and expertise related to geosynthetic design, application, and testing. Most professionals in the geosynthetics industry have achieved much of their expertise during their professional career with a fortunate few having had geosynthetic -related curriculum in school.

The geosynthetic industry involves many with disparate educations ranging from classic geotechnical, civil and environmental engineering to technical backgrounds in chemistry, polymer engineering and materials science. Still others in our industry are solely trained based on multi-year experience with geosynthetic manufacturing, handling, installation, and testing.

From a marketing and sales communication perspective, this dynamic industry poses an especially challenging environment to establish meaningful communication with our collective customers. Indeed, navigating the multiple geosynthetic-related associations and non-profits, and their cultures and contributions can be daunting. Yet, these same organizations play a strategic role in standardizing and promoting geosynthetic technologies and applications – a key benefit to geosynthetic sales professionals. They stand as platforms for collective education and community held expertise as compared with company-specific messaging promoting the unique attributes of a product or service.
So, how is one to sell products or services in such a dynamic and competitive industry?
This half-day course is appropriate for business development and sales professionals working in the geosynthetics industry. It is appropriate for new hires, young starters, and seasoned professionals. Students will explore the different geosynthetic industry sales environments and how general and broad appreciation for the industry and its organizations can greatly enhance the success of sales efforts. Narratives commonly heard about geosynthetic types and features and their relative performance will be explored and evaluated in a non-competitive, safe environment. Healthy and positive sales techniques will be discussed and rehearsed. Students will gain an intense and expanded appreciation for the uniqueness and greatness of the global geosynthetics industry and its opportunities.

Sunday, February 5 | 1 – 5 pm

AASHTO 2020 Design Methods of Geosynthetic-Reinforced Walls
Dov Leshchinsky, University of Delaware and ADAMA Engineering; Daniel Alzamora, FHWA Resource Center
This short course provides an overview of the AASHTO 2020 methods for the design of geosynthetic-reinforced walls. Discussed are the Stiffness Method, the Limit Equilibrium Method, and the Simplified Method. While the main focus will be on internal stability, aspects such as complex geometries, surcharge loads, external stability and seismic design will be discussed as well. Instructive examples will be used to demonstrate the fine points of each method while showing the differences in the design outcomes. To expand the number of comparative cases, both programs MSEW+ and ReSSA+ will be used.

Construction on Soft Soil using Geosynthetics
Lilma Schimmel, AECOM and Alex Potter-Weight, Menard USA
This course will on focus the use of geosynthetics to address the challenges of construction on poor soil conditions. Commonly used and innovative techniques will be discussed at an introductory level, including Geosynthetic Encased Columns (GECs), Prefabricated Vertical Drains (PVDs), High Strength Basal Reinforcement and Load Transfer Platforms. Technical information about specification parameters and design using geosynthetics will also be introduced.

Designing for a Zero-Leak Containment Facility
Abigail Gilson MS, PE, TRI Environmental and Jeff Blum, Weaver Consultants Group
The old adage that “all liners leak” does not have to be a foregone conclusion. All leaks in lining systems have a direct cause including accidents, installation issues, poor craftsmanship, inadequate material testing, and poor design decisions. A holistic approach to leakage is taken in this course to address both short-term and long-term sources of leakage. Using state-of-the-art Electrical Leak Location (ELL) technologies, leaks can be remedied before a containment facility is put into service. Employing best practices for Construction Quality Assurance (CQA) can eliminate leaks that develop over time due to poor installation practices. In short, the reduction or even elimination of leakage starts in the design phase with good project specifications. This course provides Engineers with the tools they need to write better specifications aimed at reducing or even eliminating leakage, as well as providing practical tools for designing for a target leakage rate.

Course Outline:

  • The physics of ELL testing methods and how to maximize method effectiveness (Gilson-Beck)
  • Fundamentals of Electrical Leak Location
  • Available Methods
  • Bare Geomembrane methods

Fundamentals of Geosynthetics – Types, Functions, Selection and Performance PT 2 – Applications
Kerry Petrasic, Gannett Fleming
This short course provides an overview of geosynthetics material applications. The course is independent of the Part 1 course offered in the AM session but is complimentary. The course is intended for individuals with a desire or need to gain a broad fundamental knowledge of the various applications of geosynthetic materials. Functions explored include separation, drainage, stabilization, reinforcement, impervious barriers and containment, erosion control and lightweight fill. Emphasis is placed on how polymer type, material structure, compatible function and cost combine to serve a variety of specific applications efficiently and effectively for the broad range of products available. Applications are explored for a range of geosynthetic materials including geotextiles, geogrids, geocell, geomembranes, geofoam and a variety of erosion control and turf reinforcement products.

Short Courses are subject to change.