The North American Chapter of the
International Geosynthetics Society

L. David Suits Receives ASTM International Johnson Award for Outstanding Contributions to Soil and Rock Standards

W. CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa.,October 23, 2013

NAGS Managing Director - David Suits

L. David Suits

L. David Suits, executive director of the North American Geosynthetic Society, Albany, N.Y., has received the A. Ivan Johnson Outstanding Achievement Award from ASTM International Committee D18 on Soil and Rock. This award is presented to a member whose efforts have produced a particular outstanding result orsignificant contribution to the work of the committee.

ASTM logoA dedicated ASTM International member for more than 35 years, Suits works on several subcommittees within Committees D18 and D35 on Geosynthetics. He is a founding member and past chairman of D35 and currently leads Subcommittee D35.03 on Permeability and Filtration as well as the D18 group on the Geotechnical Testing Journal, where he serves as a co-editor. Suits is also a member of Committee D04 on Road and Paving Materials and has served terms on the ASTM Standing Committees on Publications and Technical Committee Operations. He has received several standards development and service awards from D18 and D35, and was honored with the ASTM International Award of Merit and title of Fellow, ASTM’s highest organizational recognition for individual contributions to standards activities, in 1986.

Suits specializes in soils and geosynthetics testing. He was employed by the New York State Department of Transportation for 37 years, where he held various positions of increasing responsibility, including assistant soils engineer and soil mechanics laboratory supervisor, where he over saw the performance of all foundation design testing done in conjunction with the department’s $1 billion design and construction program. In 2005, he retired from NYSDOT and became executive and managing director of the North American Geosynthetics Society, a group that provides leadership for the advancement of education and research ingeosynthetics.

Outside ASTM International, Suits is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers Geo-Institute and the International Geosynthetics Society. He has authored or co-authored more than 28 articles and papers on geosynthetics. Suits holds a master’s degree in geotechnical engineering and a bachelor’s in civil engineering from Clarkson University, Potsdam. N.Y.

ASTM International is one of the largest international standards development and delivery systems in the world. ASTM International meets the World Trade Organization (WTO) principles for the development of international standards: coherence, consensus, development dimension, effectiveness, impartiality, openness, relevance and transparency. ASTM standards are accepted and used in research and development, product testing, quality systems and commercial transactions.

GeoMontreal 2013 – Conference Report by Richard Bathurst

GeoMontreal - Dr. Richard Bathurst & Dr. Michael Heibaum GeoMontreal was held 29 September to 3 October 2013 in beautiful downtown Montreal. The conference was a joint conference of the Canadian Geotechnical Society, the North American Geosynthetics Society (NAGS) and the Canadian Chapter of the International Association of Hydrogeologists.

The conference attracted over 875 delegates and 57 exhibitors. A total of 348 oral presentations were given in 7 parallel sessions over three days. Another 30 papers were delivered in a poster session. The technical program was very broad as a result of the three-society partnership.

Dr. Michael Heibaum gave the Mercer Lecture at the morning Plenary Session on the second day of the conference. His talk was titled “Geosynthetics for Waterways and Flood Protection Structures – Controlling the Interaction of Water and Soil”. There were four geosynthetics sessions: Wall Reinforcement; Landfills and Mining Operations; Environmental and Transportation, and Drainage and Filtration – for a total of 27 papers.

One of the social highlights of the conferences was “Colour Night” which was a heavenly experience as can be seen in the photograph.

Shown on the left is Dr. Michael Heibaum the Mercer Lecturer and joining him is Dr. Richard Bathurst, a past Mercer Lecturer and past-President of NAGS and IGS, and currently President of the Canadian Geotechnical Society.

New NAGS / GMA Short Course: Geosynthetics in Roadways

Short Course

Event: Geosynthetics in Roadways Short Course
Date: Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Location: Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida

Course Summary:
The 1 day (6PDHs) short course “Geosynthetics in Roadways” provides training on the appropriate, cost-effective utilization of geosynthetics in roadway applications. The course examines the use of geotextiles, geogrids, and edge drains in pavement structures. Applications of filtration, drainage, roadway separation, roadway reinforcement, roadway subgrade improvement, and pavement overlays are addressed.

Who should attend:
The workshop is intended for engineers or technical staff who design roadways and would like to gain a greater understanding of the use of geosynthetics in roadway applications.

About the instructors:

  • Barry R. Christopher, Ph.D., P.E. is an independent geotechnical engineering consultant specializing in reinforced soil and other ground improvement technologies, geosynthetic application and design, and geotechnical/geosynthetic testing and instrumentation.
  • L. David Suits, MSCE, has over 35 years of experience in geosynthetics and geosynthetics testing.Mr. Suits is currently the Executive Director of the North American Geosynthetics Society.


Download Short Course Brochure

Registration Open for International Symposium on Design and Practice of Geosynthetic-Reinforced Soil Structures

Event: International Symposium on Design and Practice of Geosynthetic-Reinforced Soil Structures
Dates: 14–16 October, 2013
Location: Bologna, Italy

Registration is open for the International Symposium on Design and Practice of Geosynthetic-Reinforced Soil Structures.

Seats are limited so register today!

Register Now

D35 30th Anniversary Celebration

ASTM logoEvent: D35 30th Anniversary Celebration
Dates: Thursday, January 30, 2014 – Thursday, January 30, 2014
Location: Hyatt Regency Houston; Houston, TX US

Committee D35 on Geosynthetics will be celebrating their 30th anniversary at the January 2014 ASTM Committee Week, January 29th thru 31st in Houston, Texas. The Committee will be acknowledging those members who have contributed greatly to the development of high quality geosynthetic standards.

A 30th Anniversary Dinner is being held at Vincent’s Restaurant on Thursday, January 30th, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. (The restaurant is located approximately 1.7 miles west of the D35 meeting host hotel.) The cost of this event is $60.00 per person. Sponsorship is also being solicited to defray the cost of this event.

Pre-registration requested to attend this meeting.

Register Now Download Sponsorship Form

Recipients of the 2013–2014 Academic Year GSI Fellowship Awards

gsi_logoThe GSI Board of Directors has made their selections for this year’s GSI Fellowship awards from a number of proposals from universities around the world. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students studying geosynthetics. Requests for proposals (RFP’s) for the upcoming seventh year of the program will be announced this winter. In order to be eligible, students must focus on a geosynthetic topic, have passed their candidacy examination, and be recommended by their advisor. The recipients for the 2013–2014 GSI Fellowship Awards are as follows:

  • Class 6(a) — 1st Year Funding at $10,000 per Student

    No.: 1-13

    Name: Jongwan Eun

    University: University of Wisconsin

    Advisor: Craig Benson

    Topic: Transport Parameters in Coextruded Geomembrane Containing Ethylene Vinyl-Alcohol


    No.: 2-13

    Name: Yu Qian

    University: University of Illinois

    Advisor: Erol Tutumluer

    Topic: Geogrid-Ballast Interaction and Geogrid Application in Railroad Reinforcement using Image-aided Discrete Element Method

  • Class 5(b) — 2nd Year Funding at $5,000 per Student

    No.: 2-12

    Name: Xunchang Fei

    University: University of Michigan

    Advisor: Dimitrios Zekkos

    Topic: Impact of Municipal Solid Waste Biodegradation on Separator Geotextile

  • Class 4(c) — 3rd Year Funding at $5000 per Student

    No.: 3-11

    Name: Felix Jacobs

    University: RWTH Aachen University

    Advisor: Martin Ziegler

    Topic: Large Scale Biaxial Compression Testing of Geogrid Reinforced Soil


Please contact Jamie Koerner at for additional information on the students and their respective projects or go to for a complete history of the fellowship program.

GeoMontreal 2013 Update

GeoMontreal 2013 E-News – July 21, 2013

We are pleased to provide this update on GeoMontreal 2013 at the Hilton Montreal Bonaventure Hotel from Sunday, September 29 to Thursday, October 3, 2013.

GeoMontreal 2013 Delegate Early Registration Deadline is July 31, 2013
Be sure to act now to take advantage of the “early-bird” conference registration fees for GeoMontreal 2013. The full conference registration price for CGS, IAH or NAGS members is only $795 for registrations made on or before July 31, 2013 – the non-member fee is $985 and includes membership in CGS, IAH or NAGS for 2014. These conference registration fees will increase by $100 on August 1, 2013.

GeoMontreal 2013 offers secure online registration and credit card payment accepting Visa and MasterCard – please click here to go directly to the online registration page. Registration confirmation and your payment receipt are e-mailed immediately for your records.

The online registration system can also be used to register for the short courses, technical tours and the conference’s partner program events.

Make Your Hotel Reservation Soon

The Hilton Bonaventure Montreal is the official venue for GeoMontreal 2013 and will host the majority of conference events. The organizers have secured a group conference rate of $199 per night for delegates, single or double occupancy. This rate includes complimentary in-room high-speed internet.

Just click here to make your reservation online on the Hilton Bonaventure’s secure web site dedicated to GeoMontreal 2013 conference hotel room reservations.

If you prefer, you may call the hotel directly at 1-514-878-2332. Don’t forget to mention that you are a delegate of GeoMontreal 2013 (rate code GEOTI) to obtain the best rate.

Be sure to make your room reservation by August 28, 2013, and preferably sooner as the hotel cannot guarantee space availability or the special conference rates after that date.

Paper Review Update

The technical committee has finalized their review of a majority of the submitted papers and these corresponding authors have received their acceptance e-mails, with any remaining acceptances to be sent in the next few days. We have now received over 375 papers and are looking forward to presenting an extensive and comprehensive program. Technical program details should be available online by mid-August.

Short Course Registrations

GeoMontreal 2013 is pleased to offer one, two-day short course starting on Saturday, September 28 and four, full-day short courses on Sunday, September 29 at the Hilton Bonaventure Montreal. Topics to be covered include:

  • Introducing the French Translation of the Canadian Foundation Engineering Manual 4th Edition (Dr. Jean LaFleur, Dr. Paul Chiasson and Dr. Muhsin Elie Rahhal)
  • Effective Solute Transport Simulation (Christopher Neville and Vivek Bedekar)
  • Introduction to Geothermal System Design (Dr. Jasmin Raymond)
  • Modern Implementations of Risk and Crisis Management in Geotechnical Engineering (Dr. Franco Oboni)
  • Geosynthetics in Landfill and other Barrier Systems (Dr. Kerry Rowe, Eric Blond and Troy Shaw)

Spaces are limited so please register sooner than later to secure your spot. Please click here to see the detailed course descriptions.

Technical Tour Details Now Available

GeoMontreal 2013 is also pleased to offer three technical tours as part of its comprehensive technical program.

Our first trip is an all-day tour on Sunday, September 29, 2013 – Turcot Reconstruction, Mont Royal Tunnel and the Complexe Environnemental de Saint-Michel – where participants will tour the reconstruction of the Turcot Interchange, then ride the rails on CN’s rail-buses to tour one of the oldest man-made tunnels in Canada, and finally visit an ex-aggregate rock quarry that has been turned into a city park with a biogas cogeneration station.

Our first option on Thursday, October 3, 2013 – La Romaine Hydroelectric Complex – is an all-day tour visiting Hydro-Quebec’s newest hydroelectric station under construction in the beautiful region of Havre St-Pierre, area located on the North Shore of the St. Lawrence River.

Our other choice on Thursday, October 3, 2013 – Montérégie Aquifer System – is an all-day tour visiting the Montérégie Est region, located south-east of Montreal, to get an overview of the varied geological and hydrogeological contexts of the area where fractured rock makes up a regional aquifer system.

Please click here to visit the GeoMontreal 2013 website Technical Tours page to view the details of these trips and to book your spot.

All short courses and technical tours require a minimum number of participants to proceed so be sure to register for your spot before the conference begins to guarantee your space. Courses or tours with insufficient registrants by September 3 may, regrettably, be cancelled.

Sponsorship Opportunities

There are still lots of sponsor opportunities available for GeoMontreal 2013. Luncheons are just $1,000 each and coffee breaks $750. Click here for sponsorship details or contact the Conference Administrator directly at to take advantage of this marketing opportunity.

Please click here to see the complete list of conference sponsors on the GeoMontreal 2013 web site. Our thanks go out to all of them for their generous support.

NAGS Board of Directors: 2013-2015

NAGS is pleased to announce their new Board of Directors.

NAGS Board of Directors: 2013-2015

  • President
    Robert Mackey
    , S2L Incorporated


  • President-elect
    John Henderson
    ,  TenCate


  • Treasurer
    Corey Bobba
    , FHWA


  • Vice President
    Jay McKelvey
    , Earth Engineering
  • Vice President
    Richard Brachman
    , Queen’s University


  • Vice President
    Michael Bernardi
    , TenCate


  • Vice President
    Dhani Naejo


  • Past President
    Dean Sandri
    , Anchor Wall


Read More


NAGS Members receive ASTM Awards

At the recent ASTM Meeting in Indianapolis several NAGS Members received awards.

  • ASTM International President’s Award (Awarded to a person who has less than 7 years activity in ASTM and has made major contributions to the committee(s) they are members of.) Selected by the President of the Society.
    Awarded to:
    Dr. John McCartney for 2012. for work Committee D18 on Soil and Rock Committee
    D18 Committee on Soil and Rock Awards


  • Hogentogler Award (Best paper award)
    Fawzy M. Ezzein and Richard J. Bathurst – For “A Transparent Sand for Geotechnical Laboratory Modeling,” ASTM Geotechnical Testing Journal, vol.34, No. 6 (Nov 2011), pp 590-601.


  • A. Ivan Johnson Outstanding Achievement Award
    L. David.Suits– For Service as Editor of the Geotechnical Testing Journal



2013 NAGS Biennial Meeting Report – by David Suits

NAGS hosted its 2013 Biennial General Meeting during the Geosynthetics 2013 Conference in Long Beach, CA.  The meeting report can be downloaded using the link below.  Meeting highlights included the transition to the newly elected Board Members and an excellent presentation by Robert (Bob) Mackey as the new President of the chapter.  Bob, with the help of other NAGS Officers, outlined goals and helped to define the path forward for his term.  There were a number of great comments from the audience which consisted of a number of NAGS Members.

Download: 2013 NAGS Biennial Meeting Report by DSuits – EP 20130426