GBA Appoints Four New Fellows

Gordon M. Matheson, Ph.D., P.E., P.G.,D.GE (UTG, LLC), Laura Reinbold, P.E.(Terracon), Michael V. Smith, P.G., C.E.G.(Earth Systems, Inc.) and Steven D.Thorne, P.E., D.GE (Terracon), and have been appointed to the prestigious Council of Fellows of the Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA).  The organization established the Council in 1975 to provide guidance for GBA’s direction and to pursue other activities its members deemed appropriate. The appointment was announced during GBA’s 2018 Spring Conference by W. Jerrold Samford, P.G. (Troutman Sanders LLP), chair of GBA’s Council of Fellows.


Gordon Matheson has been practicing as a consultant and business leader in the geoprofession since 1974. He has worked for consulting firms and industry owners throughout his career. He was President/CEO of Schnabel Engineering from 2001 to 2016 when he retired after 29 years with the firm. He continues to work part time with UTG, LLC, a small firm based in Northern Virginia, that provides subject matter experts and project managers to U.S. Government clients. Dr. Matheson received his B.S. from Virginia Tech, his M.S. from University of Missouri at Rolla, and his Ph.D. from Colorado School of Mines. He was Chair of the GBA Business Practices for 2 years and a member of the GBA Board of Directors for 6 years in which he was President of GBA in 2015/2016. He is currently on the Board of Academy of Geo-Professionals of ASCE.


 Ms. Reinbold is National Director for Healthcare at Terracon Consultants Inc.  A  graduate of Vanderbilt University in Civil Engineering, Ms. Reinbold has been in the geoprofessional industry for over 30 years. She was appointed by Tennessee’s Governor for a four-year term on the state’s  Architectural and Engineering Licensing Board; served as a past-President of GBA (2016-17);  and currently serves on: the Advisory Board of Urban Land Institute, Nashville District; the Economic Development Committee of  the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Partnership 2020 and Chamber South’s Leadership Board, and is Founder of AEC Power Women, a group dedicated to educating and connecting female leaders in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction. Ms. Reinbold received   the Nashville Business Journal 2016 Women of Influence Trailblazer award; the Nashville Chamber of Commerce 2016 Spirit of the Chamber Award; and was a 2016 ATHENA nominee for women of distinction in business. She is a proud member of the Nashville Downtown club of Rotary International.


 Michael V. Smith, P.G., CEG, is Chairman Emeritus of Earth  Systems, Inc.  He is a graduate of California State   University, Fresno with a BA in Geology, and two additional years in geotechnical engineering.  In 1970, he started his career with Kleinfelder Associates, spending    time in Saudi Arabia on the Riyadh International Airport. From 1978 to 1981, he consulted as Michael V. Smith – Engineering Geology in Palmdale, California.  Mike joined Earth Systems, Inc. in 1981, became President/CEO    in 1994, and retired as Chairman of the   Board in 2017.  He has been active in GBA since 1976 and is a past GBA Director.  He is a Past President of the California Geotechnical Engineers Association, past President of two Rotary Clubs, and served on the San Luis  Obispo Chamber Seismic Task Force.


Mr. Thorne is a principal with Terracon Consultants Inc. and manager of its northern New Jersey and metro-Philadelphia offices. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)and has 35 years of diversified geotechnical and environmental engineering consulting experience, with particular focus in areasof deep foundations, soft ground construction, ground improvement and seismic evaluation.  Mr. Thorne became active in GBA committee work in 1998, held various committee leadership roles, served on the Board of Directors from 2008 to 2015 and was GBA president in 2014-15.  He is currently president-elect of Civil Engineering Certification (CEC), an organization created by ASCE to provide post-licensure board certification for the specialty sub-disciplines within civil engineering.


Please join us in congratulating Dr. Matheson, Ms. Reinbold, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Thorne for their appointment into the GBA Council of Fellows.



THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT – GBA President Woody Vogt Introduces the 2020 Strategic Plan


Pablo Picasso was quoted as saying “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act.  There is no other route to success.”  This is true with your companies and with our association of Member Firms.

During GBA’s 2018 Spring Conference, newly elected President, Woody Vogt (Paradigm Consulting) introduced GBA’s 2020 Strategic Plan and the goals of the plan with those attending.  He emphasized GBA’s purpose, vision and value proposition have not changed but our approach to achieving them in the next few years has.  We are in a dynamic business environment and our member firms strive to meet the demands of the market and their clients, GBA must also change to remain relevant.

He shared the goals of the 2020 strategy and provided detail on how each are important to GBA as the preferred source of business-educational resources, specifically risk management and business performance optimization, for geoprofessional firms.  They are:

STRENGTHEN GBA’S BRANDSharpen our focus to deliver on the Value Proposition.

 TURBOCHARGE THE MEMBER EXPERIENCEDevelop a unique “member experience” to further drive value and connection.

CELEBRATE SUCCESSESHighlight the accomplishments of members that promote our values, purpose and strategy while elevating our profession and contributing to our overall success.

Mr. Vogt’s introduction to the 2020 Strategic Plan emphasized that our continued collaboration on the elements outlined will ultimately help members and their clients confront risk and optimize business performance by delivering unique professional resources, programs, and services that make them stronger, smarter and more successful.

Download GBA’s 2020 Strategic Plan

Engineering Change Lab – USA Update

Original conversations about the possibility of launching a Lab to help unlock the higher potential of the engineering profession began in Canada between Engineers Canada and Engineers Without Borders Canada in the summer of 2014.  This led to the formation of a non-profit organization Engineering Change Lab – Canada, that provides a platform for collaboration to allow individuals and organizations from across the profession to take action to address the systemic challenges (i.e. ethics failures, lack of diversity, and low levels of innovation) that have been holding back the profession’s full potential. Engineering Change Lab – Canada coordinates and oversees 3 workshops a year.

As reported in an August 16 2017  edition of NEWSlog, efforts are underway to launch Engineering Change Lab – USA (ECL – USA).  Summit No. 2 was held in Omaha on February 5 and 6, 2018.  The summit was attended by 45 leaders from across the engineering community and built on the results of the first summit held last summer.  Two key assumptions continued to guide the work of the participants.

  • Traditional engineering practices are being disrupted by scientists, engineers, and businesses operating in new models of delivery.
  • The role of the engineering profession is to guide the application of technology with an understanding of human and social impacts.

Progress was made on all of the specific objectives for the second summit.

  • Explore the prospect of, and process for, moving the engineering profession toward fulfilling its highest potential in the emerging future.
  • Crystallize the intent of the ECL – USA.
  • Recognize and make progress on initiatives begun at the first summit.
  • Organize ECL – USA, including structure, participation, commitments, communication and process for 2018.
  • Identify next steps, including outreach to other stakeholders in the larger engineering eco-system.

A key outcome of the summit was strong consensus from the attendees that work should continue, and the next summit should be scheduled.  Key points regarding the next summit are summarized below.

  • Summit 3 will again be held in Omaha on June 12 and 13, 2018. 
  • The summit schedule will include a full day on Tuesday, June 12, and a half day on Wednesday, June 13.
  • The schedule will also include a supplemental window for initiative groups to spend a couple of hours after lunch on Wednesday, June 13, working on their specific efforts.

One of the objectives of Summit 2 was to address the organization of ECL – USA.  Summit participants brain-stormed key organizational principles and key elements of the vision / mission of the organization.  A task force of summit participants is working on the vision / mission and will propose specific language for consideration at Summit 3.  Another outcome was agreement on the continuing need to broaden participation to include more sectors of the engineering community.  Suggestions are welcome.

If you are interested in participating in Summit 3 please contact Michael P. McMeekin, PE, ENV SP, (Lampe Rynearson & Associates)



Woodward L. “Woody” Vogt, P.E., D.GE, F.ACI, F. ASCE, F.ASTM (Paradigm Consultants, Inc.)  is the new president of the Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA), a not-for-profit association of geoprofessional firms. Accepting office during ceremonies at GBA’s annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois,  Mr. Vogt is the 48th individual to serve as GBA’s president and chair the group’s board of directors. Other directors who will serve during GBA’s 2018-19 fiscal year are:

  • President-Elect Arthur G. “Art” Hoffmann, P.E., D.GE. (Gannett Fleming, Inc);
  • Secretary/Treasurer Kenneth R. “Ken” Johnston (GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.)
  • Saiid Behboodi, P.E., G.E (PBS Engineering + Environmental)
  • Thomas W. “Tom” Blackburn, P.E., G.E., F.ASCE (Blackburn Consulting)
  • Chuck A. Gregory, P.E. (Terracon)
  • Christopher Matthew “Matt” Moler, P.E. (S&ME, Inc.)
  • Leo Titus, Jr., P.E. (ECS, Ltd.)

Mr. Vogt is president of Paradigm Consultants, Inc. in Houston. He has more than 45 years’ experience providing geotechnical, construction materials, investigative and forensic engineering services. Mr. Vogt is a Diplomate of Academy of Geo-Professionals and a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, ACI International, and ASTM International. He participates in committee activities of ACI International and ASTM . Before joining the GBA Board of Directors, Mr. Vogt was a founding member of the GBA Construction Materials Engineering and Testing (CoMET) Committee and chaired the GBA Accreditation and Certification Task Force. He serves on the board of directors of the International Council for Certification of Construction Inspectors and is past board chair of the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation. He is past president of TCEL/Geoprofessionals Serving Texas and the Houston Chapter of TCEL. Mr. Vogt received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology (“Georgia Tech”) and is a licensed professional engineer in Texas and Louisiana.

GBA Releases Five More Case Histories: 31-35

GBA Releases Five More Case Histories: 31-35

GBA Case Histories are being used by our members for loss prevention discussions in support of professional development and mentoring.  They are also being used in universities to bring “real-world” lessons into the classroom.  Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeating mistakes of the past which is why GBA case histories are so valuable, and why GBA is updating them all, while adding new ones, too. Five more case histories have been issued.

CASE HISTORY NO. 31 (download)                  

An architect requested a proposal from the geotechnical-engineering firm whose office was next door to the site of a proposed newspaper plant. The architect selected another firm because it offered a lower fee, but the firm was far less experienced. The owner ultimately paid a $40,000 construction cost premium in order to save $600 in engineering fees.

CASE HISTORY NO. 32 (download)      

A civil engineer failed to follow a geotechnical engineer’s recommendation in order to save several hundred dollars. The geotechnical engineer took appropriate defensive measures as a result of the corner-cutting, and thus did not have to contribute to the $125,000 cost overrun that ultimately had to be paid by the civil engineer.

CASE HISTORY NO. 33 (download)      

The pressure of business forced a Member Firm to assign a somewhat new field representative to observe construction being performed by a tricky, problem-prone contractor. After initial problems evaporated, the project proceeded without a hitch. The Member Firm later learned that the field representative had been bribed.

CASE HISTORY NO. 34 (download)                  

The owner’s desire to save a relatively few dollars on a fast-track project resulted in innumerable problems and cost overruns. The Member Firm learned that it is sometimes necessary either to force proper procedures on others or to pay the consequences.

CASE HISTORY NO. 35 (download)                  

A $4,000, 17-day project was performed well, but the warning in the report could have been stated more strongly, especially so because follow-up contact was not maintained. The result: The Member Firm had to pay an $20,000 legal bill to prove it should not have been sued in the first place.

Access all GBA’s Case Histories HERE




National Practice Guideline Geotechnical Engineer of Record Updated

National Practice Guideline

Geotechnical Engineer of Record Updated

The Geotechnical Business Council of GBA has updated the guide to help identify the roles and responsibilities of the geotechnical engineer of record, client, and owner involved with the geotechnical-engineering aspects of a conventional design/bid/build construction project.

The guideline addresses the range and nature of services that should be included in the geotechnical engineer’s scope of service if the geotechnical engineer is to sign and seal instruments of professional service, and accept the geotechnical engineer of record designation.

The updated guideline delineates responsibilities of the geotechnical engineer of record, the range and nature of basic services that should be included in the geotechnical engineer of record’s scope of service, and additional services that may apply. Obligations of the client and the owner are outlined and various terms are defined.

This important document was first published in March 1993 by then Practice Environment Committee and revised by the Professional Practice Committee in 2008.  This update was a collaborative effort of GBA’s Geotechnical Business Council Chair, Rick Heckel, P.E. and Council members Woody Vogt, D.GE, F. ASCE, F. ACI, F. ASTM, Michael Marasa, P.E., and Blake Cotton. P.E., LEED AP.


GBA Releases Five More Case Histories: 26-30

GBA Releases Five More Case Histories: 26-30

Refreshed GBA Case Histories have been downloaded over 2,000 times since May 1, 2017 and they are being used by GBA members for loss prevention discussions in support of professional development and mentoring.  Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeating mistakes of the past which is why GBA case histories are so valuable, and why GBA is updating them all, while adding new ones, too. Five more case histories have been issued.

CASE HISTORY NO. 26 (download)                   PROJECT MANAGEMENT

The Client

A multi-disciplinary consulting-engineering firm retained by an electric utility

The Project

A 12,000kW, fast-tracked, power-generating facility comprising a 110-foot-high rockfill dam, powerhouse, transmission line, and associated structures

Assignment of the GBA-Member Firm

Perform 6,000 feet of seismic-refraction transverses in the dam, penstock, dike, and powerhouse areas; reduce and interpret geophysical data obtained

CASE HISTORY NO. 27(download)                    PROJECT MANAGEMENT

The Client

A state-government agency

The Project

A 150-by-80-foot, single-story addition to a 100,000-square-foot educational building

Assignment of the GBA-Member Firm

Perform a geotechnical-engineering study and provide a report of findings and recommendations.

CASE HISTORY NO. 28(download)                    PROJECT MANAGEMENT

The Client

During the design phase, a municipality constructing a new library. During the construction phase, the project’s constructor-in-charge.

The Project

A small municipal library

Assignment of the GBA-Member Firm

Perform a geotechnical-engineering study for the owner and perform constructor quality control for the constructor, per owner requirements.

 CASE HISTORY NO. 29(download)                    PROJECT MANAGEMENT

The Client

A manufacturer of corrugated metal pipe (CMP)

The Project

Installation of a flexible CMP culvert in a drainage ditch designed to bypass surface water around a power-plant-construction project.

 Assignment of the GBA-Member Firm

Observe and test the compaction of fill beneath and on the sides of the CMP installation.

CASE HISTORY NO. 30(download)                    PROJECT MANAGEMENT

The Client

The owner of a food-storage warehouse

The Project

An addition to the existing warehouse

Assignment of the GBA-Member Firm

Perform a geotechnical-engineering study and submit a report including confirmation-dependent foundation recommendations, settlement analysis and estimates, earthwork recommendations, and a detailed description of construction-phase observation and documentation services.

 Access all GBA’s Case Histories HERE


New Best Practices – Effective Presentations


New Best Practices – Effective Presentations

You’ve been tasked with preparing a presentation for an upcoming event, but not quite sure where to start? There is an abundance of information and resources available out there to help you prepare and deliver an exceptional presentation. No doubt about it, presenting effectively takes time, effort, and practice, but it is also very rewarding.

To assist GBA member-firm representatives with this task, the Business Practices Committee has prepared guidelines and suggestions for developing audio-visual aids and presenting content. This is the same information provided to individuals planning to speak at GBA conferences!


Vogt, Hoffmann, Johnston Lead GBA’s 2018-19 Board of Directors Slate

GBA’s Nominating Committee has announced its slate of officers and directors for the May 1, 2018-April 30, 2019 fiscal year.

GBA President-Elect Woodward L. “Woody” Vogt, P.E., D.GE, F.ACI, F.ASCE, F.ASTM (Paradigm Consultants, Inc.) will become President and Chair of the GBA Board of Directors.

Those nominated for the other two officer positions are, for President-Elect and Board Chair-Elect, Arthur G. “Art” Hoffmann, P.E., D.GE (Gannett Fleming, Inc.) and, Kenneth R. “Ken” Johnston (GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.) for Secretary-Treasurer.

Those nominated to serve as Directors-at-Large are: Saiid Behboodi, P.E., P.G. (PBS Engineering and Environmental); Thomas W. “Tom” Blackburn, P.E., G.E., F.ASCE (Blackburn Consulting);  Chuck A. Gregory, P.E. (Terracon); Christopher Matthew “Matt” Moler, P.E. (S&ME, Inc.); and Leo Titus, Jr., P.E.(ECS, Ltd.)

GBA’s Current Board of Directors


Important Legal Resources Updated

Two Important Legal Resources Updated for GBA Members

The Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA) has published new editions of two important legal references, both prepared for design professionals without use of “legalese”; both available free of charge.

Limitation-of-Liability Case Index and Economic-Loss-Doctrine Case Index were prepared for GBA’s Legal Affairs Committee by Seattle (WA) law firm Skellenger Bender, P.S.

GBA introduced the 400-year-old limitation-of-liability (LOL) concept to the design and environmental professions in 1969. By applying the concept, now upheld in most states, a client agrees to limit a design professional’s liability to a given amount, most commonly $50,000 or the fee, whichever is higher. The Index describes each case in terms of its background and the points or holdings involved, and – to support additional research – identifies the case by name, jurisdiction, and citation. The cases span the period 1956 to 2017.

The economic loss doctrine (ELD), another important protection for design professionals, bars use of tort claims (e.g., professional-negligence and negligent-misrepresentation claims) to recover purely economic losses, such as those stemming from property damage or construction delays. In states that uphold the ELD in full, claimants against design professionals may recover purely economic damages only via breach-of-contract suits, limiting claimants to design professionals’ clients. In other states, third parties, like constructors, can sue design professionals directly. Economic-Loss-Doctrine Case Index provides a state-by-state status report on the economic-loss doctrine, describing the cases involved and providing the additional information required for more research.

Download Limitation-of-Liability Case Index

Download Economic-Loss-Doctrine Case Index


Join the Conversation – The Puzzle of Motivation



JOIN THE CONVERSATION – The Puzzle of Motivation


GBA has a rich history of uniting to tackle tough problems, collaborating on common issues, and working together to elevate our profession.


GBA is sponsoring a program to promote growth and collaboration, interested GBA Members will independently watch the TED Talk “The Puzzle of Motivation” then gathering together to discuss the contents in on a webinar in a facilitated “book club” format.  Together we will learn, share, and grow.


Friday: January 5, 2018

Time:  2:00 PM Eastern, 1:00 PM Central, Noon Mountain, 11:00 AM Pacific

Duration: 1 hour

Facilitated by: Joel Carson

Space is limited: Sign Up Here


The Puzzle of Motivation by Dan Pink

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.


Watch Here



What are your Peers Reading?

GBA’s Most Downloaded Resources in 2017

GBA provides hundreds of highly effective resources developed to satisfy the unique needs of geoprofessionals, giving members essential tools for achieving success. However, we also know that it can be overwhelming to sort through them all. So, to help, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 GBA resources by numbers ordered in 2017. This is a great place to start your exploration of GBA’s resources, or to get acquainted with a publication loved by your peers and “new to you”.

GBA’s CASE HISTORIES were very popular downloads with over 1,100 downloads of updated Case Histories during the year.

The list below is the top 10 GBA resources, in order by popularity, with the most ordered resource at the top. Topics cover a wide range of geoprofessional business issues, so we are certain that you will find something on this list that could help your business succeed. Select a title to learn more and download it today.

The top downloads are:



Click on any title to order your copy today.  All reference documents are free for members.

Ethics and Professional Conduct Training Program Available


GBA’s Business Practice Committee has compiled information from several GBA Member Firms to develop a complete Ethics and Professional Conduct Training.  The materials have been developed for GBA member firms so that they can perform comprehensive ethics training for all employees in small, manageable parts that will enhance discussion and retention.  The four-part PowerPoint presentation and support information consist of the following:

Part 1 – Introduction to Ethics

Part 2 – Codes of Ethics

Part 3 – Ethical Decision-Making Guidelines

Part 4 – Business Conduct

This training is recommended to be facilitated by a Senior Leader within your firm, and can be performed in a lunchtime learning environment or in small group settings.

Download Ethics & Professional Conduct Training

GBA Provides Members with Workplace Harassment Training

We have all seen the headlines and our attention on workplace harassment is elevated.  GBA Member-Firms have a unique opportunity to promote proven business practices to educate our employees about workplace harassment.

GBA’s Business Practices Committee has taken the opportunity to refresh and update a lunch and learn titled Workplace Harassment.  Those taking the training will learn:

  • Each is personally responsible for their workplace behavior
  • We all have a role in maintaining a harassment-free work environment
  • We need to support an environment of respect and value of individuals
  • Skills to set boundaries and confront harassment

The process is simple.  Download the Lunch & Learn instructions and PowerPoint.  Review the contents and modify as you see fit for your firm.

GBA’s Education Committee developed the Lunch & Learn seminar series to help GBA-Member Firms conduct high-quality, to-the-point seminars for staff members and, possibly, others, including client representatives and colleagues.   Each Lunch & Learn seminar outlines key points to be made, and includes note-taking forms participants can use to help reinforce key lessons learned, as well as a PowerPoint presentation. Each seminar uses GBA materials that members can obtain free of charge, in unlimited quantity. Many of these also are available to nonmembers, for a fee.

Download:  Workplace Harassment Training – Lunch & Learn


Join the Conversation:Leading with Greatness

The next GBA TED Talk group will be discussing How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek. Together we will learn, share, and grow. Please join us!

Friday: December 1, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM Eastern, 1:00 PM Central, Noon Mountain, 11:00 AM Pacific
Duration: 1 hour
Facilitated by: Joel Carson
Space is limited: Sign Up Here