Say hello to Guillaume Stoltz – the new President of the French Chapter of the IGS. Mr Stoltz was previously the chapter’s General Secretary and now replaces Dr. Nathalie Touze in the leading role. Here, he shares a bit about his background and what he has planned for members.
Congratulations on your appointment. Please tell us a bit about your involvement with the French chapter so far.
I have actively participated in the French chapter since 2017, first as Assistant General Secretary (2017-2020), then General Secretary (2020-2021). At the French chapter’s general assembly on October 18, 2021, the Presidency held by Nathalie Touze since 2017 ended. I was elected by the board after running for office.
Tell us about your journey into geosynthetics.
After a geotechnical engineering degree I became a researcher at research institute INRAe in France. I have been there for 10 years now and focus on the study of the behavior, performance, resistance and durability of geosynthetics.
INRAe is France’s new National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment, created on January 1, 2020. It was formed by the merger of INRA, the National Institute for Agricultural Research, and IRSTEA, the National Research Institute of Science and Technology for the Environment and Agriculture.
Why did you want to become President and what are you hoping to bring to the role?
In addition to my research activity, the study of geosynthetics has become a passion. Today, in the context of sustainable development, plastic materials, made from polymers can have a bad reputation because of being single-use and disposable. This is unsustainable, and even harmful to the environment, because they can lead to the dissemination of microplastics in the environment.
Geosynthetics are quite the opposite. Geosynthetics are materials that perform functions in structures and whose durability is guaranteed to be greater than or equal to that of the structure in which they are integrated. While there is still some research to be done, I want to help spread this message.
The French chapter is more than the grouping of producers and users of geosynthetics in France. It was originally a scholarly and learned society that was co-created by Jean-Pierre Giroud to promote and disseminate rigorous methods of designing and using geosynthetics. I wish to support and continue the development of this society in the same ambition in which it was created and with the same dynamic driven by Past President Nathalie Touze.
What are your immediate aims and priorities for the chapter?
My main priority is the organization of the 13th French-speaking conference on geotextiles, geomembranes and related products, which will be held in Saint-Malo in April, this year. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Jean-Pierre Magnan and Laetitia Van Schoors, who chair the organizing committee and scientific committee, respectively.
The conference, organized by the French Chapter, has taken place every two years in France since 1993. It is the flagship French-speaking event for geosynthetics and brings together all the players in the profession. It should have taken place last year but the pandemic forced its postponement to this year.
The Chapter also wants to make a major effort to improve its website, the online mirror of the association, and the content available for members.
And more long-term, what are the challenges/needs you hope to address for your members?
In the medium term, the French Chapter will get ready to organize an Educate the Educators day in 2023, a technical day driven and promoted by the IGS.
In the medium and long term, important communication work will be carried out to try to motivate more actors and users of geosynthetics to join and contribute to the life of the association.
We are also looking at revising the oldest recommendation guides and also launch a working group to edit a new recommendation guide which will integrate practical aspects of lifecycle analysis, sustainable development and circular economy in the context of the use of geosynthetics.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
It’s important to add that my role is also to ensure good coordination between our chapter and the IGS and I look forward to continuing the productive relationship between these two structures.
For this, I will rely on Pascal Rossigny who was elected General Secretary on October 18, 2021 (helped in his task by Assistant General Secretary Thomas Wohlhuter) and who was recently appointed as a correspondent for the European Regional Activities Committee.
I will also be helped in my task by Jean-Frédéric Ouvry and Jean-Christophe Pellez, respectively first and second Vice-President, and of course Past President Nathalie Touze. Finally, I salute the commitment of Véronique Heili and Sébastien Gastaud who continue their commitment in the essential functions of Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer.
Members are welcome to contact me on any issues by calling +33 4 42 66 69 64 or emailing me at email@example.com.
For more about IGS France, visit its homepage here.