By Beatriz Mateo Sanz, Head of the Technical Section of the Materials Department at the Central Laboratory of Structures and Materials at CEDEX; Assistant Secretary of the Spanish Chapter of IGS.
The vice president of the Spanish Chapter of IGS, Dr. Manuel Blanco, has been awarded the “Encomienda de la Orden del Mérito Civil” (Command of the Order of the Civil Merit) by His Majesty the King of Spain Felipe VI, in recognition of his work in the scientific field.
Dr. Blanco received the award in a simple but moving ceremony from a senior official of the Administration on behalf of the King.
The purpose of this decoration is to reward the civil merits acquired by Public Administration workers or people unconnected with the Administration that render or have rendered outstanding services to the State, with extraordinary works, profitable initiatives or with an exemplary constancy in the fulfilment of their duties.
Dr. Manuel Blanco is the Head of the Materials Department of the Central Laboratory of Structures and Materials of the CEDEX, Ministry of Fomento, and Professor at Complutense University of Madrid. He has more than 40 years of experience in the field of geosynthetic materials, especially in hydraulic works.
A visionary from the beginning
Blanco got his start in the field of geosynthetics in the 1970s, managing the first installations of geomembranes that took place in Spain. But his main activity in this field started in the 1980s when, through works financed by private and public institutions, he began periodic assessment studies about geosynthetic materials placed in more than 200 hydraulic structures throughout the Spanish territory.
Results reached along his career have been used to elaborate different standards and technical guides about the subject. Currently, Dr. Blanco holds the presidency of the Spanish Committee of Standardization AEN/CTN 104: Waterproofing materials for building.
From the academic point of view, his experience in this technological field has been the basis for the teaching of undergraduate courses and masters courses at several Spanish universities, as well as the direction of several students’ Doctoral Theses, among which, two of them have been recognized by IGS, one with the Students award in EuroGeo 5, and the other one, being among the 10 finalists of the Young Members awards at the 10th International Conference of Geosynthetics.
Blanco has directed many conferences about waterproofing, including EuroGeo5, held in Valencia, Spain. Also, he has given a lot of lectures both in technical sessions and workshops, courses and other events, having more than 200 technical papers published in national and international scientific journals. Recently, one of his papers has been awarded with the “Best paper award 2014” at the Fourth International Conference on Geotechnique, Construction Materials and Environment, held in Australia.
Summarizing, the honour received by Dr. Blanco recognises his important work carried out in the scientific field. In particular, this award acknowledges a body of work in the behavior of geomembranes installed in reservoirs that spans more than 25 years. His tireless efforts and desire to increase understanding and share knowledge in the geosynthetics community has resulted in a very important advance in the knowledge of the performance of geomembranes over time and can be considered a unique work in the world in this branch of technology.