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Get To Know Your Newly Elected IGS Council Members!

The incoming IGS Council Members will be Dr. Laura Carbone (Germany), Francesco Fontana (Italy), Dr. Jacek Kawalec (Poland), Dr. Yoshihisa Miyata (Japan), Jabulile Msiza (South Africa), Dr. Timothy Stark (USA), and Helmut Zanzinger (Germany). Thank you to all of the candidates for participating in this year’s election and their ongoing commitment to the IGS. The newly elected council members will stand for the term which concludes in 2024.

From Left-Right: Dr. Laura Carbone (Germany), Francesco Fontana (Italy), Dr. Jacek Kawalec (Poland), Dr. Yoshihisa Miyata (Japan), Jabulile Msiza (South Africa), Dr. Timothy Stark (USA), and Helmut Zanzinger (Germany).


Dr. Laura Carbone

Dr. Laura Carbone is environmental engineer with over 9 year experience in the field of geosynthetics.

She graduated with honors as environmental engineer at the Mediterranea University of Reggio Calabria in Italy in 2010 and three years later she achieved a doctoral degree in geotechnical engineering through a joint supervision thesis between the University of Grenoble Alpes in France and the University of Reggio Calabria in Italy. In her research, she studied the interaction behavior of geosynthetic – geosynthetic interfaces on slopes under static and seismic loading conditions. She’s authored more than 30 scientific papers for peer journals, national and international conferences and holds two awards including the IGS Student Award 2012. Since 2015, she’s worked as a senior engineer at HUESKER Synthetic in Germany. She leads project designs in environmental engineering with a special interest for landfill designs, slope stability and the remediation of contaminated sites.

She’s actively served on the IGS for 8 years. She co-founded the IGS Young Members Committee in 2012, initially as Co-Chair and from 2017 as its current Chair. As Chair she contributed to formalize the organizational structure and succession plan, led the committee to increase membership and enhance involvement with IGS committees and local chapters. To increase awareness of the IGS and its next generation, she facilitated young member technical and networking sessions in liaison with other geotechnical associations. She organized the IGS Young Members Forum at 11ICG in Seoul and is co-organizing the Young Members Programs at GeoAmericas 2020 and Eurogeo 7. Along with Lucia Davila, she is running the IGS Student Award program 2018-2021.

From 2016 she’s been an invited member of the IGS Council and an active member of the Education Committee. She further supports IGS activities locally being also an invited member of the AGI-IGS Council and a member of the organizing committee of the IAGIG (Conference of Italian Young Geotechnical Engineers) as part of the Italian Geotechnical Society (AGI). She is member of the German Geotechnical Society (DGGT) and the German Section on Geosynthetics.

“I believe that the geosynthetic solutions play a fundamental role to solve today’s global environmental challenges in a sustainable way. Strengthened by my experience in the last four years as an invited member of the council, I am running for the post of council member to continue promoting the goals of the IGS, in particular facilitating greater involvement of the next generation of geosynthetics professionals.”


Francesco Fontana

Francesco Fontana, 59 years old, is the Managing Director of Manifattura Fontana SpA, one of the eldest manufacturers of needle-punched geotextiles in Europe. With a juridical background, he has been active on the geosynthetics market since 1985 and has introduced many innovations for the applications of geotextiles and geocomposites.

He has taken part in the standardization activities in UNI, CEN and ISO since nearly 25 years; he is currently leading the Italian delegation in the technical committee CEN TC/189. Within this organism he has been appointed to coordinate the working group for the revision of the market rules in Europe for geosynthetics.

He is on the boards of AssINGeo, the Italian Association of Geosynthetics Entrepreneurs, for more than 10 years, and of EAGM, the European Association of Geosynthetics Manufacturers, for 6 years. In his current term on the IGS Council, he has been active in the Corporate Members Committee, and task force group for the hiring of an Executive Director.

Francesco has attended all the meetings of the current IGS Council, and also serves on the board of AGI-IGS, the Italian IGS Chapter. He is also engaged in the organizing committee of ICG Rome 2022.


Dr. Jacek Kawalec

Dr. Jacek Kawalec is chartered geotechnical expert with 26 years of engineering experience including 22 years of research & teaching position firstly as Assistant (1994-2000) and as Professor Assistant (2000-2016) at Geotechnical Department of Silesian University of Technology (SUoT) in Poland. He obtained both MSc. in Civil Engineering (1994) and PhD in Geotechnics (2000) at SUoT.

Jacek is a member of IGS since 2005 and his activity over these years includes membership in council in terms 2014-2018, 2018-2020, Presidency position of Polish Chapter of IGS which resulted in organization of the  Educate the Educator” course in Poland, just a second IGS ETE event globally.

His current activity at IGS council is shared between running IGS Technical Committee – Stabilization as Chair of TC and preparation of next Regional EUROGEO-7 Conference to be held in Warsaw in September 2020. Jacek is Chairman of Eurogeo7 and leader of the Scientific Committee. He was leading the organization of successful first TC-Stabilization workshop which took place last October in Prague.

Other industry activities of Jacek are with ISO TC221 “Geosynthetics”, CEN TC 189 “Geosynthetics” where he represents PKN-Poland and with ISSMGE where he is a nominated member of TC 218 “Reinforced fill structures”.

Jacek is an author or co-author of over 100 papers on geotechnics and geosynthetics published journals or presented at conferences, member of Scientific Committees for many conferences, paper reviewer and subject expert.

His current position within industry where he serves as Director of Technology for Eastern Hemisphere for Tensar International allows him fully utilize his research experiences in practice.


Dr. 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 has research interests in a variety of topics relating to soil reinforcement, geo-environment and geo-risk engineering. He has authored or co-authored more than 220 papers in referred journals and conference proceedings and more than 120 technical articles in academic publication. Dr. Miyata is the vice chair of IGS, Japan chapter. He is also a board member of Geosynthetics International, secretary and member of technical committees on soil reinforcement in IGS and ISSMGE. He has contributed to the success of IS-Kyushu series and IGS world and regional conferences as an organizing or scientific committee member. He had been a representative member of Japan for technical standards on geosynthetics during 2004-2015. Dr. Miyata has received many awards and accolades, including the best paper award of ICE Geotechnical Engineering (2017), Geosynthetic International (2015), Soils and Foundations (2013), Canadian Geotechnical Journal (2008), and Geosynthetics Engineering Journal (2008), along with the Japanese Geotechnical Society (JGS) Service Award (2018), JGS Achievement Award (2016) and IGS Gold Medal (2010).


Jabulile Msiza

Jabulile Msiza has near 15 years’ experience working with geosynthetics at Jones & Wagener Engineering and Environmental Consultants in South Africa. During her tenure, she has steadily become the leader of the Waste Department, while enhancing her skills as an engineer and leader through post-graduate study. She leads a young dynamic team of engineers, through which her passion for geosynthetics is imparted.

Hazardous waste facilities are one of the most complicated applications of geosynthetics; Jabulile has been involved with the design of barrier and capping systems of many of these facilities. This has provided her with a base of practical knowledge in the application of geosynthetics in landfill design.

By doing a Master of Business Administration Degree shortly after completing two honours degrees in geotechnical and environmental engineering, Jabulile has poised her theoretical training for ideal delivery of engineering design in the consulting environment. This balance of practical experience and theoretic training allows for well-rounded decision making and service delivery.

Jabulile started contributing to company human resources from early in her career, showing a natural ability to deal with people in the consulting industry. In 2013, with her appointment as an Associate of the company, she became the J&W Bursary Fund manager. Her HR Portfolio role became formalised in 2016 with her appointment as a Technical Director and thus member of the Management Committee. This passion for growth of junior engineering professionals was mirrored in her contribution to the IGS when she joined the local chapter committee (GIGSA) in 2009 and immediately started arranging lectures at Universities to spread her knowledge of geosynthetics to young graduates.

Due to her will to drive and grow the use of geosynthetics in South Africa, Jabulile was elected by GIGSA to deliver the presentation bid for the 12th International Conference of Geosynthetics in 2022. Although the bid was unsuccessful, the potency of Jabulile’s delivery was an indication of her resolve to make an impact in the local industry.

Recognition by her peers of her growth as an engineer and contributions to the industry resulted in early registration as a Professional Engineer, and later in 2017 when she was awarded the prestigious Consulting Engineers South Africa Young Engineer of the year award.

The IGS Council can only benefit from the unique blend of Jabulile’s passion for the growth of geosynthetics and focus of development of young professionals. She will surely be an asset to the society.


Dr. Timothy D. Stark

Dr. Timothy D. Stark is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), USA. Dr. Stark has been conducting research on geosynthetics and in particular geomembranes, geotextiles, and drainage composites for the last twenty-five (25) years. His research on the static and seismic stability of geosynthetic-lined slopes and containment facilities has led to a better understanding of design geosynthetic interface strengths, the shear behavior of geosynthetic/geosynthetic and soil/geosynthetic interfaces, three-dimensional slope stability analyses for geosynthetic-lined slopes, the importance of interim slope conditions in containment operations, and geosynthetic durability. In the last ten (10) years he has been studying the effects of elevated temperatures in various types of containment facilities and the long-term durability of geosynthetics with and without UV exposure. Dr. Stark has received a number of awards for his research, teaching, and service activities including the: 2019 George H. Norman Medal from ASCE, Best Paper Award in the Performance of Constructed Facilities Journal, ASCE, 2017, Best Paper in Geosynthetics International Journal, 2016, 2015 James M. Hoover Lecture at Iowa State University, Thomas A. Middlebrooks Award, ASCE, 2013 and 1998, and three D18 Standards Development Awards, ASTM, 2014, 2011, 2002.

Dr. Stark is Technical Director of the Fabricated Geomembrane Institute (FGI), which is an industry-sponsored research organization based at the UIUC investigating factory fabricated geomembranes and geosynthetics for containment and other applications. The FGI has 42 members, which includes manufacturers, installers, consultants, regulators, equipment suppliers, and testing entities. Dr. Stark has taught numerous short courses, webinars, technical presentations, Educate the Educator (EtE) programs, and workshops on the use of geosynthetics in a variety of applications.

After serving as vice-president of IGS-North America, Dr. Stark is looking forward to expanding his involvement with the IGS and contributing to the global growth of geosynthetics. He is particularly interested in furthering the educational mission of the IGS by helping establish educational programs that will serve different segments and geographical areas of the geosynthetics industry. In particular, Dr. Stark plans to provide platforms, e.g., webinars, training videos, podcasts, workshops, and short courses, for: (1) academicians and practitioners to participate in IGS educational programs and (2) development, design, testing, installation, and long-term performance of geosynthetics in a variety of applications and countries. To achieve this goal he is eager to use his experience, contacts, engineering background, and experience to develop these educational platforms for the IGS.


Helmut Zanzinger

Helmut Zanzinger got his Dipl.-Ing. degree in geotechnical engineering from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany in 1988. Then he 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 published more than 150 technical papers and held more than 100 lectures.

He serves as an expert in several committees like “Geosynthetics in Geotechnics and Hydraulic Engineering” (DGGT), “Geosynthetics in Landfills” (BAM), “Geomembranes for Storage Lagoons, Secondary Containment and other Containment Applications” (DIBt) and “Geosynthetics for Surface Erosion Control” (FGSV).

He has dedicated much of his career to the standardization work – serving as an active member of DIN, CEN and ISO committees on geosynthetics for 25 years and also as convenor of CEN/TC189 on terminology, chairman of CEN/TC189 project groups on surface erosion control and on bituminous geosynthetic barriers. For six years, he has chaired the Group of Notified Bodies for the CE-certification of geosynthetics. He has received several awards including the “Beuth-Denkmünze” from DIN in 2019, a DIN medal for outstanding achievements.

He is an IGS member for more than 25 years. Currently serves on the board of SVG, the Swiss IGS Chapter.

Between 1994 and 2010 he has chaired three successful International conferences on “Geosynthetic Clay Liners” to promote the use of GCLs. He has organized a series of seven International “Geosynthetics Middle East (GeoME)” conferences in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Mr. Zanzinger would like to contribute to the more intensive and competent applications of geosynthetics as durable and long lasting products which are doing great in the sense of sustainability. He sees a strong need to convey required information to the users who are skeptical on the usage of plastic materials these days.



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.