IGS Committees – Get Involved

The IGS Council is the governing body of the Society, chaired by the President.  There are eight Council Committees that are open to all IGS members to join. These include four Regional Activities Committees (covering Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Pan-America) and four Operational Committees (covering communication, corporate members, education, and young members). To find our more, click on the links below. If you wish to join one of our open committees please contact the relevant lead – they would love to hear from you!

You can also get involved by applying to join any of the Technical Committees.

In addition to the open committees, there are a number of closed committees covering awards, bylaws, finance and investment.

Regional Committees

African - Middle East Regional Activities Committee

Jabulile Msiza

Africa – Middle East Regional Activities Chair

Jabulile Msiza is a member of the IGS Council. She holds a Master of Business Administration and two honours degrees in geotechnical and environmental engineering. In 2017 she was awarded the prestigious Consulting Engineers South Africa Young Engineer of the Year Award. Jabulile has gained around 15 years’ experience of geosynthetics at Jones & Wagener Engineering and Environmental Consultants in South Africa, where she leads the Waste Department.

Asian Regional Activities Committee

Amir Shakolahi

Asian Regional Activities Chair

Amir Shahkolahi has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering. He is a fellow member of Engineers Australia. As a designer, project manager, and researcher, he has been involved in the Civil and Geosynthetic industry over the last 20 years and has more than 70 publications and technical presentations in journals and conferences. He is the Technical Manager at Global Synthetics.

Amir was in the executive committee of the IGS Australasian Chapter (ACIGS) from 2013 to 2017, Engineers Australia QLD representative at the sustainability and resiliency working group for developing the Australian Infrastructure Plan 2021, and the chair of the Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS) Queensland chapter in 2022 and 2023. He is now elected national vice-chair of the Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS), elected Council member of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) for 2023-2027, member of the leadership team of the International Geosynthetics Society Technical Committees for Barriers (TC-B), member of the International Geosynthetics Society Technical Committees for reinforcement (TC-R) and Stabilisation (TC-S), Vice-chair of the IGS Educational Committee, Board member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)-Australian Section, member of the ASTM Technical Committee D35 on Geosynthetics and Committee E60 on Sustainability, Industry Board member of the Australian Pavement Research Hub, representative of Engineers Australia (nationally) in the Standard Australia (SA) Technical Committee for Geosynthetics (SA CE-020) and ISO Technical Committee for Geosynthetics (ISO/TC 221), and member of the Standards Australia Technical Committee CE/032-Reinforced fill structures working group.

Amir is also a board member of the QLD Landfill Working Group, Board member of the Waste Management and Resource Recovery of Australia in QLD, guest lecturer at 4 universities in Australia, and the industry supervisor and advisor for several Geosynthetic research projects in Australia and overseas. He is also a part-time PHD candidate working on a geotechnical geosynthetics research project, finishing in 2024.

European Regional Activities Committee

Patricia Guerra-Escobar

European Regional Activities Chair

Patricia Guerra-Escobar has worked in the field of geotechnics for over 20 years and is passionate about the role that geosynthetics play in civil engineering to deliver innovative, sustainable, and cost-effective solutions. Patricia has worked in several countries, starting in Colombia, before moving to France, and then Costa Rica, where she worked for eight years travelling extensively across Central American countries developing and expanding the use of geosynthetics in the region.

In 2010, Patricia moved to the UK and started to work with Geosynthetics Ltd. where she is currently the manager of the Engineering department. In addition, she served as Chair of the IGS UK Chapter from 2021-2023 and is a member of the TC221 of ISSMGE. A focus of hers throughout her career has been supporting designers and contractors to use geosynthetics solutions in addition to educating the next generation of engineers, through mentoring and presenting at universities.

Pan-American Regional Activities Committee

Francisco Pizarro

Pan-American Regional Activities Chair

Francisco Pizarro is a Civil Engineer from Universidad de los Andes (Chile) with a master’s degree (MSc) in finance from ESE Business School (Chile). Most of Mr. Pizarro´s career has involved leading roles for world class geosynthetic manufacturers where he was been responsible for introduction, prescription, and commercialization of erosion control, reinforcement, and drainage products.

Mr. Pizarro served as President of the IGS Chilean Chapter from 2019-2023. During his tenure, Mr. Pizarro and the Board encouraged the understanding and appropriate use of geosynthetics in Chile and the rest of Latin America with a series of short courses, workshops, and events, such as, Educate the Educators. Mr. Pizarro is also supporting creation of new IGS chapters in Bolivia and Guatemala with bylaws and company recruitment. In addition, Mr. Pizarro is leading a series of conferences in several Civil Engineer Schools in Latin America to promote the use of geosynthetics in infrastructure projects.

Operational Committees

Corporate Committee

Francesco Fontana

Corporate Committee Leader

Francesco Fontana is the Managing Director of Manifattura Fontana SpA, one of the oldest manufacturers of needle-punched geotextiles in Europe, and has introduced many innovations for the applications of geotextiles and geocomposites. Francesco has taken part in standardization activities with UNI, CEN and ISO for almost 25 years and has sits on the on the boards of AssINGeo, the Italian Association of Geosynthetics Entrepreneurs and EAGM, the European Association of Geosynthetics. He is also an elected member the IGS Council.

Education Committee

Dr. Timothy D. Stark

Education Committee Leader

Timothy D. Stark is a Civil Engineering Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Dr. Stark has been conducting research on geosynthetics for 30 years. Dr. Stark is Technical Director of the Fabricated 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: 2022 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.

Young Members Committee

Dawie Marx

Young Members Committee Leader

Dawie Marx is a Graduate Research Assistant at The University of Texas at Austin, where he is researching soil-geogrid interaction as he works towards a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering under the guidance of IGS Past President Jorge Zornberg. Originally from South Africa, Dawie won the GeoAfrica Student Award in 2017.  During his undergraduate degree at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, Dawie worked at Jones & Wagener, specialising waste disposal facilities. Inspired by work on landfills, Dawie pursued research in geogrid reinforcing of landfill clay liners.

Publication Committee

Helmut Zanzinger

Publication Committee Chair

Helmut Zanzinger Helmut Zanzinger got his Dipl.-Ing. degree in geotechnical engineering from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany. He then worked as a researcher and consultant at LGA Geotechnical Institute for 14 years until he moved to SKZ – German Plastics Center, an independent testing and research company in Germany. He is currently the head of the ISO/IEC 17020 accredited inspection body of SKZ.

He has been active in the field of geoenvironmental and geosynthetics testing for more than 30 years with specialization in laboratory testing operations. His activities over the years include development of new testing procedures and methods, CQA on landfill lining systems and CE auditing worldwide.

His extensive research activities concentrated in the large-scale loading of drainage pipes, long-term internal shear strength of GCLs, cyclic loading of geogrids, strain hardening on PE-HD geomembranes, high-pressure autoclave testing on geosynthetics, testing and long-term monitoring of surface erosion control products. He has published more than 150 technical papers and held more than 100 lectures.