Regional Conference Balances Policy With Technology

By Traci Read, Senior Editor | May 2011, Vol. 66 No. 5

Russell Ford, corporate business development, Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam concurred with the sentiment held by many of the attendees that CIGMAT offers all the best elements of a one-day conference. “This is the best one-day conference I have attended. The programs are excellent and the speakers have current information that helps us make informed business decisions.”

The second panel discussion discussed “Flooding, Maintenance and Geotechnical Issues” with a focus on maintaining the critical infrastructures with new plans and projects. Mike Talbott, director, Harris County Flood Control District, discussed some of the ongoing projects the county is pursuing to mitigate flood damage and its plans for future projects. Eric Dragan, deputy director, city of Houston, discussed the maintenances of the right-of-way infrastructures and some of the emergency response challenges. Kenneth Tand, Kenneth Tand and Associates, presented “Case Studies on Expansive Clays” and the influence of trees in maintaining the moisture balance in the ground.

The third session was on “Subsidence and Surface Water Issues” as related to Harris County and Galveston County. The featured speakers were Ron Neighbors, director of Harris-Galveston Subsidence District; Jun Chang, deputy director, city of Houston; and Don Ripley, AECOM, Houston. Many issues related to the transition from groundwater to surface water were discussed. David Peters, principal engineer, Environmental Engineering, New Orleans, LA, moderated the session.

Professor Fred Kulhawy, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, delivered the sixth Mike O’Neill Lecture on “Foundation Engineering for Transmission Line Structures.” During this fourth session, current approaches used in the design of foundations for transmission towers were highlighted along with some of the challenges. This was followed by a presentation by Dr. Vipulanandan on “Comparing Auger Cast-In-Place (ACIP) Pile Construction, Testing and Design Methods in Sand and Clay.”

A reception followed the technical sessions in the exhibit area where student posters on research activities at CIGMAT and in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering were displayed. A number of grouting, pipe manufacturers, material suppliers, and pipe condition monitoring and wastewater rehabilitation companies participated in the exhibition.

Conference proceedings are available on the CIGMAT web site at The 2012 CIGMAT Conference will be held March 2 at the University Hilton, University of Houston.

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