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Saving Energy And Resources With Geosynthetics

The climate change debate is intensifying, leading to increasing scrutiny on sustainability practices. Energy use, waste disposal, water consumption, emissions and cradle-to-grave practices are all being discussed with new urgency.

Here, geosynthetics industry leaders discuss their sustainability initiatives and research, and why we all have a moral obligation to accelerate our efforts in this key area.

Reducing consumption

Global geosynthetics manufacturer Solmax supplies some of the biggest names in mining, petroleum, waste management, construction, irrigation, civil engineering, hydraulic and environmental works, infrastructure, and transport.

And with that worldwide impact comes huge responsibility.

Solmax’s heat recovery project at its plant in Varennes, Canada, is a great example of how harnessing and redistributing waste energy can reduce overall gas consumption.

It’s the sustainability project President and CEO Jean-Louis Vangeluwe said he is most proud of.

He explained: “In Varennes we discovered that by recovering the waste heat produced in our manufacturing facilities and using it to improve the energy efficiency of other spaces, we can significantly reduce our natural gas consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from our factory per meter of product.

“Since installation in 2019, this project has realized a 90% decrease in natural gas costs and has reduced our natural gas consumption by 4,014 gigajoules per annum – the energy equivalent of 97 residential homes. More importantly, it has resulted in a 200 tonne decrease in CO2 emissions per annum. Whilst the project would normally have had an amortisation period of around five years, we were able to reduce this to just 9.5 months by working with the Canadian government’s federal subsidy program for greenhouse gas reductions.”

Solmax is also looking to take advantage of Varennes’ extremely cold winters (outside temperatures are lower than 15°C during 70 to 80% of operational hours) by installing free cooling technology. Free cooling uses low outside temperatures to chill water used in various industrial processes. This not only reduces electricity costs but could significantly reduce the plant’s use of refrigerants, potentially lowering its Scope 1 Greenhouse Gas emissions by up to 25%. Scope 1 emissions are those from sources controlled or owned by an organization.

“We want to make our climate challenges work for us, not against us,” said Mr Vangeluwe.

Solmax also recently employed its first Sustainability Manager. It will announce new green targets and initiatives in 2022.

Turning waste water into irrigation

Texas Research International (TRI) Corporation, a global materials science services company, is focusing on water management and material recycling. The company has slashed its monthly water use by nearly 70% thanks to its water management program.

Sam Allen, Vice President and Director for TRI’s Environmental Group, a series of global geosynthetics and geotechnical laboratories, explained: “Laboratory operations require a lot of test water controlled to a specific test temperature. In addition, many hydraulic laboratory tests require deionized and de-aired water for proper measurement of hydraulic properties. Geotechnical testing also requires many washes of soils to facilitate processing and measurement of particles. It is not uncommon for our corporate laboratory in Austin, Texas, USA, to process more than 165 cubic meters of water in a single month for testing purposes. This excludes water used for other functions and establishes the urgency for water management.

“In response, TRI has incorporated an extensive recycle/reuse water management program to recycle where we can, capturing and reusing test and grey waters for equipment cooling and site landscape irrigation. The measures implemented have reduced monthly water use to approximately 50 cubic meters per month.”

TRI is also keen to engage a recycling partner for its spent geosynthetic test specimens.

Mr Allen said: “We receive, process and test a significant quantity of HDPE, LLDPE, PVC and other polymeric geosynthetic materials.  Much of it is as-manufactured and thus clean and ready for chipping and reuse in the manufacturing community – our own ‘regrind’ supply if you will.”

To operate in a sustainable way is a no-brainer for businesses like TRI.

Mr Allen said: “It’s important not just in the geosynthetics industry and TRI but also in every aspect of our lives. The traditional ways and means of infrastructure development are no longer sustainable due to the undesired associated contributions of carbon emissions and precious resource consumption and waste.

“The geosynthetics industry provides important solutions to these challenges. It is imperative for us all to promote their appropriate and responsible use. And yes, cost savings and a lighter environmental footprint should be anticipated with geosynthetic applications.”

Opportunity for change

Awareness of sustainability benefits are still filtering through the industry. A recent IGS sustainability survey showed there is a huge opportunity for collaboration, education and innovation when it comes to improving our industry’s environmental impact.

The IGS polled geosynthetics groups whose operations were most likely to have the greatest direct impact on the environment, and reviewed the steps they were taking to reduce this.

The groups were product manufacturing (PM), engineering design services (EDS) and product distribution & sales (PD).

There were encouraging statistics on the current efforts of respondents to operate more sustainably.

For example, nearly half of PMs surveyed had an environmental policy statement and a quarter were considering one. PDs also said more than half of the manufacturers they used had an environmental policy statement.

However, survey results showed there was opportunity for growth in other areas such as education and accountability; an area in which our industry could make significant strides.

For instance, all three groups reported very low commitments by their respective companies to environmental outreach initiatives such as stakeholder partnerships and community engagement. Very few publish sustainability performance reports.

Cost-saving and efficiency appeared to take priority over environmental considerations. This is encouraging if testament from industry leaders Solmax and TRI are anything to go by – they believe being more sustainable saves money too.

Overall, the survey demonstrated the industry was making inroads in more sustainable behaviors. Nearly half of respondents said they practiced waste recycling, and energy and waste reduction. Companies should now be encouraged and supported to redouble their efforts in making a greener impact.

Back to basics

TRI’s Sam Allen’s advice for geosynthetics companies keen to emulate more sustainable practices is clear: get the foundations right and build from there.

“Sustainability starts with a policy and associated policy targets, complete with action items and deadlines – this is the way sustainability goals are met. Thus, a first important step is to establish the intention via a Corporate Sustainability Policy, then the implementation of sustainable practices to preserve raw materials, energy and water resources follows,” he said.

“There are many technologies immediately available to make important steps such as water recycling chillers as well as solar panels for energy generation and intelligent thermostats for targeted temperature control. A growing move to more geosynthetic products using recycled materials is a logical industry evolution with the necessary and meaningful product research and required assurance of product service life.”

Solmax’s Mr Vangeluwe agrees.

“The best place to start is to look at your own operations and to maximise improvements that can be made in terms of reduction of electricity (particularly in markets whose electricity generation relies heavily on fossil fuels) and stationary and mobile fuel usage, plus logistics,” he said.

“More and more governments, cities and municipalities around the world are offering grants, subsidies and tax breaks to manufacturers who implement energy efficiency methods – Solmax has used these opportunities to great effect, both in terms of cost savings and proof of concept.”

For Mr Vangeluwe a successful sustainable company is one that doesn’t operate in isolation and is honest with its stakeholders.

“One of the main hallmarks of a sustainable company is one that engages. I believe that the same can be said for a sustainable industry too. If we want to drive the sustainability of our industry, we need to collaborate. Not just with each other, but with external stakeholders too,” he said.

“One of the main challenges – at least from the point of view of perception – is the plastic dilemma. Of course, we should absolutely embrace circularity wherever possible.  However, where recycled materials are unacceptable for reasons of quality and specification, we need to ensure that all industry stakeholders understand why we cannot use them, and that our industry falls into the ‘good plastics’ category.

“It is not good enough that we as manufacturers know that geosynthetics are the most environmentally responsible choice. It is up to us to demonstrate this as fact, as no one else is going to do it for us.”

Explore the research

One such demonstration is the important work of experienced practitioners like Dr. Richard Bathurst and colleagues.

The ability to easily compare and understand the relative sustainability benefits of different geosynthetics options is key to allowing decision-makers and buyers to make better informed choices.

Dr. Bathurst and his former PhD student Dr. Ivan Damians have for the first time applied methodology that quantitatively measures the sustainability and environmental impacts of various engineering solutions, to retaining wall options. Sustainability was measured in terms of cost, environmental impact, and societal factors such as ascetics and the flexibility to change designs. Their findings were presented in two papers1.

Their approach can be easily applied to other geotechnical/civil engineering earthwork systems options using geosynthetics, for example, earth dams, lined landfills and reinforced soil slopes.

Dr. Bathurst, of the Department of Civil Engineering at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, suggests a path to operating more sustainably could begin by reading publications such as theirs.

“This will inform decisions on the choice of retaining wall options from a sustainability point of view, and add credibility when presenting design options to clients,” said Dr. Bathurst, who has been immersed for more than 30 years in the research of soil reinforcement technologies.

“In the future, civil engineering earthworks bid packages will require a sustainability assessment. This is already a requirement for bid packages for Federal and Provincial projects in Canada. Therefore, investment in and awareness of comparative research into geosynthetic materials is vital to providing the evidence to decision-makers that solutions with a geosynthetics component can be the sustainable option.”

Education and awareness

TRI’s Sam Allen believes the opportunities for more sustainable operations are limitless. Keeping ‘our own house in order’ can only be beneficial for our industry’s credibility when it comes to championing sustainability.

He added: “The challenge begins and ends with education and awareness. I truly believe once communities are aware of the responsibility for action and the cost of doing nothing, the initiative becomes very strong to implement more sustainable practices.”

Solmax’s Jean-Louis Vangeluwe said: “Operating in a sustainable, responsible manner does not generally cost any more than operating in an unsustainable manner. At the very least, sustainability measures – by design – save costs in the long term. Let us not forget that the true meaning of sustainability does not solely cover environmental issues, it considers social and economic issues and the relationship between these three spheres. The cost-saving benefits of sustainability is an added bonus.”

He added: “As manufacturers we have a moral responsibility to reduce the environmental impact of our products and processes. The very definition of sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This notion is more critical now than ever before. Everyone – individuals, manufacturers, customers and governments – should be fully on board with this concept.”


The international geosynthetics community is a rich source of innovation when it comes to sustainability and offers a supportive sounding board for companies beginning or evolving their green journey.

Learn more about how geosynthetics can help construct a more sustainable world by getting in touch with the IGS Sustainability Committee here.

Do you have a sustainability success story? Email us at

Missed our first Spotlight On Sustainable Initiatives article? Click here to read.


1 Damians, I.P., Bathurst, R.J., Adroguer, E.G., Josa, A. and Lloret, A. 2017. Environmental assessment of earth retaining wall structures. Environmental Geotechnics 4(6): 415-431 (

1 Damians, I.P., Bathurst, R.J., Adroguer, E.G., Josa, A. and Lloret, A. 2018. Sustainability assessment of earth retaining wall structures. Environmental Geotechnics 5(4): 187-203 (

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.