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1st GeoReinforcement Workshop Munich, Germany, 4 – 5 June 2018

The International Geosynthetics Society Technical Committee on Rein-forcement (TC-R) hosted its 1st GeoReinforcement Workshop 4 – 5 June 2018 in Munich, Germany and had 90 participants from all around the world.

This open event for researchers, designers, consultants, manufacturers, industry insiders and any interested group addressed considerations of technical consensus versus continuing technical needs, educational efforts, and potential publications.

The two day workshop allowed a lot of discussions in the following topics and the selected chairmen served as facilitators to foster discussion and interaction.
• Facings of Walls and Steep Slopes (Chair: Ian Fraser, United Kingdom)
• Use of Recycled and Amended Marginal Backfills in MSE and Reinforced Embankments/Slopes (Chair: John Sankey, USA)
• Design of Load-carrying MSE Bridge Abutments (Chair: Jorge Zornberg, USA)
• Reinforced Veneer Stability (Chair: Pietro Rimoldi, Italy)

PDF files of the presentations are available for the participants only and are distributed for most sessions already. Following are short summary of some sessions from the June 2018 IGS TC-Reinforcement Work-shop prepared by the session chairs – many thanks for their effort in organizing and finanlizing their session in this out standing way! The missing summary will be pre-pared for the next issues of IGS News.

Reported by
Gerhard Bräu, TC-R Chairman

Facing of Walls and Steep Slopes
Ian Fraser highlighted the importance of the performance of facings from the end user’s perspective. It was noted that, other than satisfactory performance of the required engineering function like soil retention and load bearing, the end user’s principle concern is the appearance of the structure which is almost entirely judged on the facing. Examples were shown of the variety of facing types available and illustrations of the choice of facing to suit application, environment and design life.

Reinforcement Loads and Facing Connection Capacity in Reinforced Soil Walls: Measured vs Predicted?
Richard J. Bathurst – GeoEngineering Centre at Queen’s-RMC, Canada
Richard Bathurst concentrated on modular block walls and polymeric geosynthetics and started by presenting a wide range of connection types available in the market and posed the question ‘Are connections and connection strengths really important?’ to which his answer was definitely yes. Methods for prediction of connection strength were presented and Richard Bathurst then focused significantly more time discussing actual connection strengths measured in both field and full scale laboratory situations, including face connection failures. Down-drag related to poor construction practice was cited. Methods and re-search in connection capacity testing were extensively dis-cussed leading to conclusion that connection capacity cannot be predicted in the absence of full-scale testing. Finally, Richard Bathurst addressed connection creep and associated research taking the view that creep calculated from the geosynthetic alone was generally a safe worst-case assumption.

Stress Conditions and Connection Requirements of Rein-forced Soil Block Walls including the German EBGEO Perspective
Lars Vollmert – BBG Bauberatung Geokunststoffe
Lars Vollmert reminded us of the need for both ULS and SLS design consideration and noted that most facing issues clearly fell under SLS. He then presented the effect that a range of facing types from rigid (eg full height panels) to flexible (eg wraparound) have on the stress conditions close to the face. There followed a discussion on the compar-ison of measured lateral stress near the facing compared with active earth pressure with the conclusion that the former is invariably much lower and that the consideration of active earth is effectively invalid. Lars Vollmert discussed the EBGEO approach to the calculation of earth pressure and then shared some measured stress data on both flexible and rigid facings. There was a consideration of geosynthetic stiffness in addition to facing stiffness and lastly Lars Vollmert suggested that reduced lateral stresses allows for simplified connections and construction techniques.

Incorporation of Connection Strength in the Design of Reinforced Soil Modular Block Walls including Seismic Con-siderations
Mike Dobie – Tensar International
Mike Dobie focused on modular block wall connections and stated clearly from the outset that connection type and strength was normally very important but was critical in seismic areas. Mike Dobie then demonstrated how the 2 Part Wedge design method could very effectively take account of connection strength in an “appropriate” way. He outlined a representation of the ‘envelope of available resistance’ for each reinforcement layer and described the importance of the hinge height of the facing and how this could be calculated. Mike Dobie then overlaid the seismic considerations and in particular demonstrated the critical situation developed under upward seismic acceleration. In conclusion Mike strongly advocated the adoption of the 2 Part Wedge design method.

Flexible Reinforced Soil Structure Facings and associated Design Considerations
Philippe Delmas – Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers
Philippe Delmas provided many examples of successful flexibly faced soil structures of significant height (>20m) from around the world and illustrated a range of facing types. The importance of appropriate facing type selection and construction detailing was emphasised. The criticality of the correct construction procedures was also highlighted. It was clear that flexible facing structures had the advantage of visibility thereby providing an opportunity to learn via the observation of their behaviour over time. It was generally concluded that many of these structures had extremely well and some had significantly outperformed expectations in respect of facing deformation and durability.

Facing and Connection Considerations for Concrete Wall Systems
Yassine Bennani – Terre Armee
Yassine Bennani focused on concrete panel walls and he highlighted a range of connection types and design con-siderations including flexibility, strength and adequate drainage. In terms of flexibility the design, the capacity for any connection to accommodate, the contrast between potential down-drag due to infill settlement and the compressibility of the facing was discussed. Yassine Bennani emphasized the need to avoid such settlement via good construction practice but nevertheless design to accommodate was deemed prudent. In particular the design of suitable panel bearing pads was discussed together with potential adjustment of the reinforcement strip placement. Finally Yassine Bennani shared some panel connection capacity test procedures and results.

Impromptu Presentations
Four impromptu presentations were given. The first by Jay McKelvey (Earth Engineering Incorporated) discussed and reinforced soil and soil nailed hybrid face in a very visible location at the Pocono Raceway, USA. Colin Jones (Newcastle University) presented a case study from China which demonstrated some limitations of segmental block facings used with large structures if great care is not taken. Jorge Zornberg (University of Texas) discussed the distribution of facing connection loads with height and the settlement induced connection load failure pattern. Lastly Satish Naik (Best Geotechnics Pvt Ltd) shared his experience of constructing a 40m high reinforced soil slope in a remote location in India using a soil bag vegetated facing.

Following the impromptu presentations there was a lively discussion for over 30 mins. Topics raised included stress conditions behind the face and in the fill, creep limited strength to the split of responsibility between the manufacturer, designer and the contractor and the consequent need for continuity. The importance of connection strength and flexibility, adequate drainage and good construction practice was emphasized. It was clear that it was key to adopt a holistic approach that matched the nature of the structure and facing to the available fill material, sophistication of the construction practices and application. So in summary, a range of tried and tested reliable solutions are available but they rely on making a number of the correct choices based on the individual circumstances – ‘horses for courses’.

Reported by
Ian Fraser, TCS Geotechnics

Use of Recycled and Amended Marginal Backfills in MSE and Reinforced Embankments/Slopes
The session was the second of the day presented during the IGS Reinforcement Workshop held in Munich, Germany on June 4 and 5, 2018. John Sankey of Terre Armee/Reinforced Earth chaired the session composed of 5 main presentations and 6 impromptu presentations. At the start, Chungsik Yoo of Sungkyunkwan University in Korea made a brief announcement on the forthcoming 11th International Conference on Geosynthetics to be held in Seoul, Korea between September 16 to 21, 2018.

John Sankey provided the first presentation of the session titled “Overview of Reinforced Structure Design, Applica-tions and Uses with Recycled and Amended Backfills”. The presentation first described the main components of MSE and reinforced fill embankments, followed by a more detailed listing of materials that have been considered for the main component, which is select backfill. Materials addressed included foundry sands, fly ash, bottom ash, recycled asphalt, recycled concrete, ferrous slag, recycled tires, lime amended soils, cement amended soils and others. The main considerations for use of recycled and amended backfills are their compatibility with the geosynthetic or steel reinforcement, strength characteristics and in place density. Simple use of recycled and amended backfills was also noted to not necessarily be an immediate determination of sustainability value depending on means used to process the materials and transportation requirements.

Chaido (Yuli) Doulala-Rigby of Tensar International Limited followed with a presentations titled “Use of Polymeric Geogrids in Structures with Non-Standard Reinforced Fills”. Her talk also gave a further history of MSE walls and embankments reinforced by geogrids. She followed with an overview of non-standard reinforced fills with selection criteria, design considerations and benefits indicated. Specific case studies were cited. Backfill materials addressed in the talk included pulverized fuel ash, landfill waste, chalk, expanded polystyrene, lightweight expanded clay ag-gregate.

The third presentation of the session was delivered by Robert Lozano of the Reinforced Earth Company on the subject of “Treated Marginal Soils in MSE Structures”. The talk first defined the basis of lime and cement treated marginal soil as using a soil stabilizer with a high pH environment that creates a pozzolonic reaction and results in a monolithic block. Specialized equipment is needed for preparation, which in itself must be considered with respect to the presence of reinforcements for MSE wall applications. The creation of a monolithic block makes for use of a wider range of marginal soils, but the MSE wall is less flexible and the high pH environment needs evaluated for reinforce-ment compatibility purposes. Attention needs to be paid to effects on wall fascia connections, environment, filtra-tion/drainage and long term repair needs.

Oliver Detert of Huesker Synthetic presented the fourth topic of the afternoon on “Construction and Long Term Experiences with Marginal Fill in GRS Walls”. The talk started with an overview of Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil (GRS) walls and the cautionary needs when using marginal backfills. A good listing of the physical definition of marginal fills was described including recycled materials, contaminated granular soils, cohesive soils and mixtures of the aforementioned. The challenges of marginal fill placement with cement treatment and compatibility in a GRS structure were then discussed. Focus was given to the issue of hydrolysis of PET reinforcements when using cement stabilization. The talk concluded with project applications.

The fifth and final full length presentation was delivered by Castorina Silva Vieira from the University of Porto on “Use of Mixed Construction & Demolition Recycled Materials in Geosynthetic Reinforced Structures”. A discussion was first given on the outlook of construction and demolition waste use prepared by the European Commission, which addresses growth, environmental consid-erations and generation. This then led to considerations of recycled construction and demolition waste in geosynthetic reinforced structures including GRS walls and embankments. Studies have been directed toward characterization of the waste, characterization of the geosynthetics used, characterization of interfaces and numerical modeling. Full scale research on GRS walls was addressed along with damage trials in embankments. The talk concluded with outcomes of physical and leachate generation evaluations.
After the main presentations were given, six (6) impromptu audience participation presentations were given as fol-lows:
• “Ground Improvement with Electro-Osmosis for Soil Nailing” by Colin Jones, Electrokinetic Ltd
• “Clay Fills – Comments on Drainage” by Michael Dobie, Tensar
• “Red Soil Backfill for Double-Sided MSE Walls” by Dandung Sri Harnianto, Geoforce Indonesia
• “Geosynthetics as Support for Tunnel Muck” by Guilia Lugli, Maccaferri
• “Reinforcement of Marginal Soils Using Geosynthetics with In-Plane Drainage Capabilities”, Jorge Zornberg, University of Texas
• “A GRS Wall Failure” by Chungsik Yoo of Sungkyunkwan University
Two to three questions were taken from the audience for each of the full length presentations and impromptu presen-tations. In the last 20 minutes of the session, the main presenters were asked to the stage to answer further questions from the audience in round table fashion. The session was concluded with thanks to the presenters and audience.

Reported by
John Sankey, Terre Armee/Reinforced Earth

Reinforced Veneer Stability
The fourth session of the GeoReinforcement Workshop took place in the afternoon of 5th June 2018, for discussing the topic “Reinforced Veneer Stability”.

The Session Chairman, Pietro Rimoldi, introduced this session by explaining that the topic was different from previous sessions, which were dealing with reinforced soil walls (RSW); in fact, RSW foundation is horizontal, the stability depends mainly on the horizontal soil thrust, and different failure mechanisms may occur with many potential failure surfaces; while reinforced veneers stay on an inclined plane and the failure occurs only by sliding along the inclined plane; the reinforcing geosynthetic, placed below the veneer soil at the interface with the failure plane, can provide the required tensile forces only if it is properly anchored at the top of the slope.

Anyway veneer stability is equally challenging as wall stability, and it may even require much stronger reinforcement, as shown in the following comparison example:
Hence the economical value of the reinforcement required for a veneer can be even higher than for a RSW.
Therefore the topic of reinforced veneer stability has been addressed through five invited presentations, followed by extensive discussion with the audience.

The first presentation was delivered by George Koerner (Geosynthetic Institute) on “General approach to veneer stability, testing and monitoring”:
• the basic principles of veneer stability were intro-duced, with the distinction between the stabilizing and destabilizing forces acting on the veneer block, which is usually divided in two parts: the top part which is prone to sliding down due the self weight of the soil veneer and other loads; the bottom part, which is buttressing against the top part and provide resistance to sliding by friction and passive resistance;
• stability analyses require: proper testing of the friction properties at the interface between the veneer soil and the inclined surface, often made up of a geomembrane or another low friction material; wide width tensile tests on the reinforcing geosynthetics, pullout and connection tests for designing the top anchorage;
• the presence of water in the veneer soil, due to rainfall and/or runoff from upstream, can dramatically reduce the Factor of Safety of the veneer: hence water shall be properly drained and/or considered in stability analyses;
• the consequences of a veneer failure may be dramatic for persons and constructions downstream, hence a proper monitoring program should always be designed, where both conventional and recent instrumentation (like Lidar) can be employed for surveying of the surface displacements and early alerts.

The second presentation was delivered by Jorge G. Zornberg (The University of Texas at Austin) on “Selection of design alternatives for water and seismic actions on reinforced veneer stability”:
• There are few design alternatives for steep veneer slopes:
o Unreinforced veneer
o Uniaxial reinforcements along the slope
o Fiber reinforcement
o Uniaxial reinforcements placed horizontally
• Design shall consider extreme loadings:
o Seismic loads
o Seepage conditions
• Preliminary design consideration can be drawn by focusing on infinite slope configuration, and with the con-sistent definition of the Factor of Safety (FS): FS = (Available soil shear strength) / (Soil shear stress required for equilibrium)
• Final Remarks:
o Innovative approaches have been recently implemented involving the use of reinforcements in landfill and mining projects
o Care shall be used, when comparing alternatives, about the definition of the Factor of
o Safety
o Seepage forces and seismic loads can be accounted for using approaches similar to those used for un-reinforced slope analysis
o Solutions are available for analysis of unreinforced, slope parallel‐reinforced,
o horizontally‐reinforced, and fiber‐reinforced veneers
o Increased total height (or length) of the slope does not affect detrimentally the efficiency of horizontally‐reinforced and fiber‐reinforced slopes
o Solutions for analysis of reinforced veneers can easily incorporate the effect of seepage forces and seismic loads
o The yield acceleration used in displacement based seismic evaluations is significantly increased with the use of reinforcement
o Excellent field performance has been reported in recent case histories.

The third presentation was delivered by Jay McKelvey (Earth Engineering Inc.) on “Effects of equipment on veneer stability”:
• The stability of the veneer is heavily influenced by the movement of equipment up and down the slope;
• Based on Giroud and Beech (1989) analytical approach for the two-wedge analysis, it is possible to introduce equipment loads in the stability equations, both for tracked equipment, rubber tire equipment, and compaction equipment;
• Dynamic loads produced by acceleration and deceleration of equipment can be introduced as well in stability equations;
• It is possible to design a taper cover soil, rather than a constant thickness veneer, to reduce the loads.

The fourth presentation was delivered by Pietro Rimoldi (Consultant) on ”Semi-probabilistic approach to veneer sta-bility according to EuroCodes”:
• The existing methods for veneer stability (like Koerner and Soong, 1998) can be revised and adapted to the semi-probabilistic method in Ultimate Limit State (ULS) conditions, according to EuroCodes.
• In the semi-probabilistic approach in Ultimate Limit State (ULS) conditions, according to EuroCodes, loads are amplified by Amplification Factors, while resistances are reduced by Reduction Factors. The analysis of forces in the free body diagrams of the active and passive wedges allows to calculate the active and passive inter-wedge forces, Ea and Ep. The stability check is satisfied if: FS = (Ep / Ea) ≥ γR where FS is the Factor of Safety and γR is the partial factor R1 or R2 required by the EuroCode norms for sliding analysis.
• Design equations for calculating FS have been derived for the following conditions:
o Only gravitational forces in static conditions
o Veneer reinforcement with high strength geosynthetics
o Tracked construction equipment forces
o Seismic forces
o Horizontal seepage buildup and parallel-to-slope seepage buildup;
• The stability of the veneer cover shall be analyzed in the following Ultimate Limit State (ULS) conditions:
o At the end of veneer construction, with equipment moving down the slope, in static conditions, without seismic actions nor seepage forces applied; being a short term analysis, if reinforcement is used, the Reduction Factors for creep, chemical and biological damageshall be set equal to 1.0.
o At the end of the design life, in static conditions, without seismic actions but with seepage forces ap-plied, either for horizontal seepage buildup or parallel-to-slope seepage buildup; being a long term anal-ysis, if reinforcement is used, all the Reduction Factors (for installation damage, creep, chemical and biological damage) shall be applied.
o At the end of the design life, in seismic conditions, with seismic actions and seepage forces applied, either for horizontal seepage buildup or parallel-to-slope seepage buildup; the vertical seismic accelera-tion shall be considered both as downward (+Kv) and upward (-Kv), while the horizontal seismic accel-eration shall always be considered as outward; being a long term analysis in seismic conditions, if rein-forcement is used, the Reduction Factors for installation damage, chemical and biological damage shall be applied, while the Reduction Factor for creep shall be set equal to 1.0.
• A practical example of stability calculations according to Eurocodes have been shown.

The fifth presentation was delivered by Felix Jacobs (IGB Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH, Kiel) on “EBGEO approach to veneer stability”:
• The topic discussed here is the specifically the resistance of anchor trenches at the top of the veneer slope;
• The proof of anchorage is: Effect of actions from slope ED ≤ Resistance of anchor trench RD
• The EBGEO 2010 / 2011 approach requires an interaction model for the resistance of anchor trenches, devel-oped using pullout tests, model tests and instrumented field tests; moreover, the tensile stiffness of reinforce-ment, geogrid junction strength, and serviceability limit states have been considered;
• The possible design approaches include the detailed model and the modified EBGEO 2010 / 2011 approach;
• The Model Factor value has been validated for various geogrid types.
The five presentations were followed by a long and interesting discussion, where the presenters and all the audience debated about several specific topics, including the best way of testing the friction properties at the interface below the veneer (direct shear test and inclined plane test were compared), the influence of water and equipment on sta-bility, how to consider the seismic action and the seismic displacements.
The interest and attention gained by this topic at the GeoReinforcement Workshop has shown that reinforced veneer stability deserves research and developments by the geosynthetics technical community.

Reported by
Pietro Rimoldi, Session Chairman

Yoshihisa Miyata


Dr. Yoshihisa Miyata is a Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering, National Defense Academy of Japan. He received his doctoral degree from Kyushu University in 1999. Dr. Miyata specializes in soil reinforcement technology and physical and numerical modeling of geostructures. He has authored or co-authored more than 260 papers in referred journals and conference proceedings and more than 130 technical articles. 

Dr. Miyata is the vice chair of the Japan chapter of IGS. He is also vice-chair of the Technical Committee on Soil Reinforcement in IGS and a board member of Geosynthetics International. As an organizing or scientific committee member, he has contributed to the success of international and regional geotechnical engineering and geosynthetics conferences. Dr. Miyata has received many awards and accolades, including the IGS award twice (2010 and 2023) and the Best Paper awards of ICE Geotechnical Engineering. (2017), Geosynthetic International (2015), Soils and Foundations (2013), Canadian Geotechnical Journal (2008) etc. He gave the 1st Bathurst lecture during the 12th ICG held at Roma in 2023. Dr. Miyata has much experience in geosynthetics. He has strong potential to contribute to the development of IGS.

Please see his detailed information:

Huabei Liu


Dr. Huabei Liu is an engineering professor at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) with 25 years of experience in geosynthetic applications. Prior to joining HUST, he was granted tenure as an associate professor at the City University of New York in Dec. 2013. His research focuses on the long-term and dynamic responses of GRS structures, which has been materialized as more than 80 refereed journal papers, and has promoted the applications of GRS structures in earthquake-active areas and advanced the use of locally-available fill materials for GRS applications.

Dr. Liu has been an active member of IGS since 2009. Currently he is an IGS Council Member, the Secretary for the Chinese Chapter, an executive board member of China Technological Association of Geosynthetics, and a member of ISSMGE TC 218 “Reinforced fill materials”. He also serves on the editorial boards of the Canadian Geotechnical Journal, Computers and Geotechnics, Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, and Transportation Infrastructure Geotechnology.

Dr. Liu is looking forward to better serving the community. He is particularly interested in educating younger generations on geosynthetics, and promoting GRS applications in extreme environments.

G L Sivakumar Babu


G L Sivakumar Babu is an active researcher and academic in geosynthetics and contributed significantly. He is the President of Indian Chapter of International Geosynthetics Society. He served as the President of Indian Geotechnical Society during 2017-2020 and was the Chairman of International Technical Committee (TC-302) on Forensic Geotechnical Engineering (FGE) of International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) during 2013-2021. He is a Fellow of ASCE and also served as Governor, ASCE, Region 10 during 2014-2020.

He completed Ph.D.(Geotechnical Engineering) in 1991 from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, after Masters Degree (Soil Mechanics Foundation Engg.) in 1987 from Anna University, Madras and B.Tech. (Civil Engineering) in 1983 from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati. He worked as Humboldt Fellow in Germany during June 1999- July 2000 and as Visiting Scholar, Purdue University, Lafayette, USA during 2/95 – 2/96.

He guided 28 (23 Phds and 5 MS) research degrees and guiding 4 students for PhD. He wrote a book on soil reinforcement and geosynthetics, edited eight books and proceedings and has several publications (International and national Journals -200, International and national conf. more than 200, Total over 400). He received several awards such as John Booker award from IACMAG, Humboldt fellowship from Germany, DST Boyscast Fellowship, and a few awards for the best papers from Indian Geotechnical Society and American Society of Civil Engineers.

Dylan Armour


I believe fundamentally in the role that geosynthetics play in our future. For many countries, traditional methods of construction are often too resource-intensive and costly to apply throughout all levels of their society. Geosynthetics are an equalizing force in sustainable global development.

My career has given me the opportunity to work holistically in many roles and sectors, across a very broad range of stakeholders. As principal position as head of manufacturing in Canada, US and Europe, I have been exposed to a broad range of industry best practices and policy environments. My international business development and project management experience has provided me the opportunity to develop relationships with people around the world.

Finally, my current role as Director of Sustainability and Innovation is the culmination of this journey, which began with my post-graduate specialization in anthropology and sustainable development. I work to develop products, systems, and corporate strategy based on sustainable business practices.

I believe our industry sits at the centre of many of the most pressing conversations facing the world, and I’d be honoured to serve as an elected member of the IGS.

Fernando H. M. Portelinha


Fernando H. M. Portelinha holds a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) and has post-doctoral experience from the University of Texas in Austin (USA). Prof. Portelinha has been a member of the IGS since 2008. In 2018, he was honored with the Young IGS Member Award for his contributions to the Brazilian IGS Chapter and his research with geosynthetics. Currently, Prof. Portelinha serves as a professor of Geotechnical Engineering at the Federal University of Sao Carlos (Brazil), where he has been passionately researching and teaching geosynthetics disciplines for over 10 years. In 2012, he created the Laboratory of Geotechnics and Geosynthetics at the Federal University of Sao Carlos to contribute to the development of geosynthetics in Brazil.

Prof. Portelinha is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Geotextiles and Geomembranes Journal and is involved in the TC-Reinforcement and TC-Barriers committees for the IGS. He has contributed to the Brazilian IGS chapter by delivering courses, organizing conferences, and currently serving as secretary of the Geosynthetics Committee in the Brazilian Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering.

Expressing his enthusiasm, Prof. Portelinha is honored to be a candidate and is eager to contribute to IGS initiatives by serving on the IGS council.

Francisco Pizarro


For more than a year as an IGS Council Member and Chair of the Pan American Activities Committee (PAAC), I’ve been able to enhance the development of our chapters across the region through the implementation of the IGS’s core programs. In addition, I have been involved in developing synergies between chapters and organizations, recruiting new lecturers for activities, helping to organize GeoAmericas 2024 and currently assisting a regional chapter to apply to host GeoAmericas 2028. Aside from this, there is still a lot to do. 

My commitment lies with all our chapters in the region to increase the widespread use of geosynthetics throughout the infrastructure and engineering industries.

Gary Ng

(Hong Kong)

I started G and E back in June 1984 in Hong Kong. It was a small contractor until the introduction of Amoco geotextile in 1987. From this point, I kicked off my geosynthetics journey and never looked back, specializing in its application, design, distribution and installation. 40 years later, I recognize the significance of educating the younger generation as a cornerstone of advancing geosynthetics. Being a council member offers me a stronger mandate to provide a helping hand.

I also take a strong view on sustainable construction, in which geosynthetics play an increasingly vital role. Its versatility was presented in my paper at GeoAsia 7 in Taipei, and I am proud to continue this excellency.

Having worked for more than a decade across Southeast Asia and China, I see the advantage of exchanging dialogue and sharing thoughts and technology from this region. Effective liaising with the IGS can be expected with closer geography, better mastering of construction mentality, and a better understanding of customs and culture.

I look forward to the opportunity to serve the IGS family with greater dedication, transitioning from being an ordinary member since 2009, after which time one becomes wiser but still has the energy to make meaningful contributions.

Giulia Lugli


Giulia Lugli, P.E., MBA, is a professional structural engineer with experience in design and project management of civil, and geotechnical structures for the geo-environmental and transportation sectors, especially, but not limited to, reinforced soil structures.

She has served in the Geosynthetic Industry for the past 10 years and is currently Head of the Geosynthetics Business Development team and leads the Vertical Walls division of the Maccaferri Corporate GSY Unit, along with focus on R&D with an eye on digitally enabled and sustainable solutions.

Her daily activities include experience with a broad portfolio of geosynthetics products and solutions for applications as reinforced fill structures and soil stabilization, erosion control, drainage works, coastal protection and basal reinforcement.

She is a member of AGI, IGS and ISSMGE. She has served on the ISSMGE Technical Committee on Reinforced Fill Structures TC218 since 2018: from 2018 to 2020 as Secretary, and from 2018 to date as Chairman.

She has served as Guest-Editor for recognized Journals in the field and authored or co-authored several technical publications.

As potential IGS Council member she would support the organization in any activity with dedication, facilitating the know-how dissemination, especially in the field of reinforcement and drainage.


Ioannis Markou


Ioannis Markou is a Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering of Democritus University of Thrace (DUTh), Greece, and the Director of the Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering Laboratory at DUTh. He is currently the President (2022 – 2025) of the IGS Greece chapter and has also served as its Vice-President (2019 – 2022), a Council Member (2016 – 2019) and is a founding member of the chapter. His candidacy for IGS Council Member has the strong support of the IGS Greece Council. 

Dr. Markou is an Editorial Board Member and Lead Guest Editor for the Special Issue on “Soil–Geosynthetic Interaction” of the International Journal of Geosynthetics and Ground Engineering (Q1, IF: 2.9). He is a member of the ISSMGE and serves as member of the TC211 of this society. He has also been a member of the organizing and/or scientific committees of a number of International and National Conferences.

Dr. Markou has 35 years of research experience in “Soil/Geosynthetic Interaction” and “Soil Reinforcement with Fibers”. As a result, he has authored/co-authored one book chapter and several scientific papers published in International Journals and Conference Proceedings. Having long-term experience in geosynthetic engineering research and teaching and in IGS Greece activities, Dr. Markou wishes to play a more active role in the IGS, contributing to the achievement of its goals.

Online profile:

Wang Deqi


Mr. Wang Deqi is the inventor of anti-UV weed mat in China, the  Deputy Director of the Innovation Committee of the China Agricultural Plastics Society under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, and a member of the International Association of Geomaterials. Previously, Mr. Wang served as the Workstation Director of the National Industrial Fabric Quality Supervision and Inspection Center. Mr. Wang led his team to successfully upgrade the “anti-aging” geotextile to the professional “anti exposure” stage, especially the weed mat (100-300g woven geotextile), with an exposed service life of up to 10-15 years, the world’s highest level.

Today, I am applying to join the IGS Council in order to participate in academic exchanges, technology promotion, and other related work, together with promoting the development and progress of international geotextiles in the field of environmental protection, and fulfill the mission of IGS.

Ivan P. Damians


Dr. Ivan P. Damians is an Associate Researcher Professor at the International Centre for Numerical Methods in Engineering (CIMNE®). He serves as a Geotechnical Engineer responsible for Research and Development (R&D) of the VSoL System at VSL International Ltd, which is part of the Bouygues Construction Group. Additionally, he works as an Assistant Professor at the School of Civil Engineering (ETSECCPB) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya·BarcelonaTech (UPC), teaching courses in Soil Mechanics, Geotechnical Engineering, Geotechnical Projects and Constructions, and Life-Cycle Analysis and Sustainability Assessment for both Bachelor’s and Master’s programs in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Dr. Damians actively participates in various research projects funded by national and international programs, as well as industry-sponsored initiatives. He is a member of technical committees and professional societies including:

  • CTN-UNE 140/SC 7, developing standards like EN 1997-3 (Eurocode 7) and 104 (Geosynthetics)
  • TC218 Reinforced Fill Structures and TC307 Sustainability in Geotechnical Engineering of the ISSMGE
  • International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) and the Sociedad Española de Mecánica de Suelos e Ingeniería Geotécnica (SEMSIG)
  • Current Secretary of TC-Soil Reinforcement at the IGS.

Dr. Damians is the author of several publications and an active reviewer of international journals in the sectors of soil reinforcement, geosynthetics, sustainability, numerical methods, and behavior of clays as a long-term insulation material for nuclear waste disposal facilities. Moreover, he supervises Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD theses in Geosynthetics at CIMNE/UPC·BarcelonaTech.

Links to online profile & publications:

Jabulile Msiza

(South Africa)

Over the past two years, I’ve had the honour of serving on the IGS Council alongside some brilliant fellow members whom I now regard as colleagues. Although all my activity has been rewarding, the following particularly standout – serving as vice chair of the Technical Committee on Barriers and Representing Africa and the Middle East as their Regional Activity Chair, particularly at a time GeoAfrica (Cairo) was held and the first named lecture series was announced.

I’m a Civil Engineer, Professionally registered, and specializing in Waste Engineering as a Consultant of the company Jones & Wagener Engineering and Environmental Consultants (J&W). I’m the Head of Department of a dynamic team of engineers, technologists and draughts persons servicing waste management facilities across South Africa and other African regions; I’m also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of J&W.

With over 18 years’ working experience, I’m passionate about design for environmental protection, particularly for waste management facilities, construction of barrier and capping systems, and promoting the understanding and appropriate use of geosynthetic materials. It is a humbling industry in that while many advancements have happened in the past few years, there’s still much to learn as installed systems are tested with time and various exposure conditions.

I’m a member of the Associations: South African Institute of Civil Engineers (SAICE), Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) Board Member, the South African Chapter of the IGS and the Institute of Waste Management of South Africa. I have been an elected council member of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) for the past four years and eager to continue serving in the future.

Jacek Kawalec


I am a chartered geotechnical expert with 30 years of engineering experience, including 22 years of research and teaching at Silesian University of Technology (SUoT) in Poland where I obtained my MSc. in Civil Engineering (1994) and PhD in Geotechnics (2000).

My IGS membership began in 2005 and my involvement in the society since then has been divided between national and international activities. In Poland, as President of the Polish Chapter, I organized an “Educate the Educators” course bringing together participants from three countries (Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia). In addition, I had the honor of serving as Chairman and leader of the Scientific Committee of the very successful IGS event – the regional EUROGEO-7 Conference, held in Warsaw in 2022.

My involvement at the international level includes membership in the IGS Council (as an invited and co-opted member between 2014-2020, and as an elected member from 2020 to present). As Chair of TC-Stabilization, I organized the joint TC-S & TC-H workshop in Prague in 2019. Over the years I have also contributed to various IGS committees, including Educational, Corporate & Publication Committees. Currently, I am focused on a special IGS session at the Railways 2024 Conference.

I would like to declare my continuous commitment to the Society, and if elected, I hope to continue this mission for the next 2024-2028 Council term.

Kasia Ria Zamara

(United Kingdom)

Dr Katarzyna (Kasia) Ria Zamara is a founding member of the IGS Diversity Task Force (DTF). She was instrumental in organising the first DTF event at the Rome ICG 2023 with continued strong contribution to DTF activities. Kasia is also an active member of the IGS Sustainability Committee, and Vice Chair of the IGS UK chapter. She has supported IGS since joining the organisation in 2009.

Kasia is proactive and keen to table new ideas designed to open new lines of thought and encourage innovation. She is successful in her personal career and seeks to inject this same level of energy and influence into the Council.

To find out why I am worth your vote, look me up on LinkedIn.

Maria das Graças A. Gardoni


Dr. Maria das Graças A. Gardoni, is a Professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She earned her PhD from the University of Brasilia with 1 year of research at École Polytechnique de Montréal, Montréal (Canada), and she completed a post-doctoral program at the Joseph Fourier University (UJF), Grenoble, France, and the National Research Institute of Science and Technology for the Environment and Agriculture (IRSTEA), Anthony, France, in 2011.

She has more than 30 years of experience in applied and laboratory research in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering and geosynthetics. She has conducted research mainly on filtration and drainage, durability, waterproofing, and geotextile confinement systems in mining, dams. Prof. Gardoni has acted as an expert in tailings dam accidents in Brazil, and in waterproofing systems for dam reservoirs. She teaches geosynthetics in geotechnical and geoenvironmental applications in Civil and Environmental Engineering undergraduate and graduate courses and has supervised several MSc and PhD research projects.

She is a member of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) Council (2022-2024), the IGS Education Committee and was awarded by IGS in 2004. She is President of IGS Brazil (2023-2025), as well as the coordinator of the Educate the Educators program. In 2019, she received the Inconfidência Commendation, a medal awarded by the state government of Minas Gerais.

Song-Hun Chong


Dear IGS Members,

I am very pleased to apply to be a Council Member nominee on behalf of the Korean Geosynthetics Society (KGSS, IGS Korea Chapter). My short biography is as follows:

Song-Hun Chong, Ph.D. is an associate professor in Civil Engineering at Sunchon National University. He earned his PhD degree from Georgia Tech. My research group addresses the scientific and engineering development of geotextiles, geomembranes, and related products to stabilize geostructures. These research projects have been funded by National funding agencies and industry.

Because of my passion and profession for geosynthetic research, I expect to establish successful collaborations with many researchers in this area. Thank you in advance for your consideration of my application.


Song-Hun Chong, PhD
International Affairs Managing director of KGSS
Associate Professor
Department of Civil Engineering, Sunchon National University

Timothy D. Stark

(United States of America)

Timothy D. Stark (USA) is a Civil Engineering Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Stark has been conducting research on geosynthetics for 30 years ( Dr. Stark is Technical Director of the Flexible Geomembrane Institute, an industry-sponsored research organization at UIUC investigating geosynthetics for containment and other applications (

Dr. Stark is also an Editorial Board Member of the two IGS journals. Dr. Stark has received a number of awards including: 2023 J.E. Jennings Award, South African Institution of Civil Engineering; 2023 Cross USA Lecturer, ASCE; 2019 George H. Norman Medal, ASCE; 2017 Best Paper Award in Performance of Constructed Facilities Journal (ASCE); 2016 Best Paper in Geosynthetics International Journal, IGS; 2013 & 1998 Thomas A. Middlebrooks Award, ASCE, and others.

After serving as vice-president of IGS-North America, Dr. Stark was elected to IGS Council in 2020. He was then elected Chair of the IGS Pan American Committee Chair and helped reinvigorate this Committee. He is now serving as Chair of the IGS Education Committee, which is developing a certification program for geosynthetic engineers, chairing a subcommittee that is re-evaluating the EtE Program, and serving on the IGS Committee developing a Geosynthetics Handbook.