North American Geosynthetics SocietyThe year 2011 has been a very good year for the North American Geosynthetics Society (NAGS).

Our new Board of Directors took office at the Geo-Frontiers Conference. They include Dean Sandri, President; Bob Mackey, President-elect; Corey Bobba, Treasurer; and Vice Presidents Marolo Alfaro, Richard Brachman, Dhani Narejo, John Henderson, and Jay McKelvey. We are maintaining a healthy membership. This year we had 32 new or revived memberships.

Under the guidance of the past Board, the early part of the year was devoted to working with IFAI, and the Geo-Institute organizing the Geo-Frontiers 2011 Conference. We had close to 2000 attendees and 150 exhibitors. As a result NAGS received one of the best, if not the best financial return that we have experienced for any of the conferences in which we have participated.

Be sure to renew your IGS / NAGS membership in January! New to geosynthetics? Join now and be part of this fast-growing sector of civil and environmental engineering and construction.

Visit for more information.

NAGS sponsored a student paper completion at the Conference. First, second and third place cash prizes were given to the top three papers based on a combined score of the written paper and the oral presentation at the Conference. There were seven papers in all were presented in the competition. The winning student author was Ms. Azadeh Hoor from Queen’s University for her paper, “Application of Thermal Insulation in Landfill Liners.” The 1st runner up was Mr. Ben Leshchinsky of Columbia University for his paper titled “Enhancing Ballast Performance Using Geocell Confinement.” The 2nd runner up was Ms. Carmen Franks of University of Maryland for her paper titled “Geosynthetic Filters for Water Quality Improvement.”

NAGS partnered or worked with the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) on some major undertakings including a co-operative effort to get a geotextile separation cost/benefit study funded by the Federal Government. This had been a long standing proposal which began over 10 years ago with a Research Needs Statement submitted to AASHTO by the New York State DOT. GMA has worked with their lobbyists in Washington keeping the need for this study before members of Congress for the last several years. Just recently, after the last Lobby Day in Washington in September, GMA was informed that Congress has told the Government Accounting Office (GAO) to fund the study. Further information will be submitted to the GAO so that the study can begin in a timely manner.

In keeping with the NAGS mission of education, we have been actively working on co-sponsored 1.5-day short courses on geosynthetics with GMA. We are trying to hold these in different regions of the US to reach out to new audiences. Watch for e-mails, or go to the NAGS website to see the future schedule ( When you see a course scheduled in your region we would appreciate it if you would pass the information along to others that might be interested.

Looking ahead

We have a conceptual agreement with the Canadian Geotechnical Society (CGS) to sponsor geosynthetics sessions at the CGS’s 2013 conference. We also will be working with IFAI and GMA on the 2013 Geosynthetics Conference. Details as to our arrangements with IFAI for this conference are being worked out. Dave Suits has been asked to be the short course chair for this program. We are also being encouraged to submit a bid for the 2016 Geo-Americas Conference. Work is underway to prepare a proposal for doing so.

It is due to member support both financially and through participation that has enabled NAGS to continue to carry out its mission, which is “To provide leadership in advancing the education and research of geosynthetics.” We know that this support will continue on into the future. Thank you.

Prepared by L. David Suits, Executive Director of the North American Geosynthetics Society (NAGS). NAGS is a chapter of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS). For information on NAGS activities and membership, visit