GeoAmericas 2016 Panel Discussion

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Richard Bathurst
Richard Bathurst

Mark Smith, GeoAmericas 2016
Mark Smith

Jacques Côté, Solmax
Jacques Côté

The 3rd Pan-American Conference on Geosynthetics (GeoAmericas 2016) will be held 10 – 13 April 2016 in Miami at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. The event’s organizers have announced the addition of Prof. Richard Bathurst (Royal Military College of Canada, Queen’s University) to the high-profile panel discussion on engineering career development.
Bathurst will join Mark Smith and Jacques Côté, with additional contributions from International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) Young Professionals leaders Prof. John McCartney and Ranjiv Gupta.
The Young Professionals Program at GeoAmericas 2016 will feature a GeoPrediction Competition (with entries due before the conference), the career development panel discussion, a student paper session, and a volleyball social event just outside the event hotel historic South Beach.
Learn more about the Young Professionals Program


Dr. Richard Bathurst is one of the most renowned figures in the global geosynthetics field, having contributed more than 350 papers to journals and event proceedings and having taken part in significant engineering research. He has also held multiple field leadership positions, including serving as President of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) and the Canadian Geotechnical Society (CGS).
Currently, Dr. Bathurst is a Research Director with the GeoEngineeirng Centre—a joint endeavor of Queen’s University and the Royal Military College of Canada, and President-Elect of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC), a federation of 11 Canadian engineering societies. His research is substantially directed towards geosynthetics in civil engineering works and in particular in earth retaining wall systems in seismic areas, limit states design, and load and resistance factor design calibration.
Geotechnical engineer Mark Smith has specialized in mineral processing, tailings disposal, and mine waste management. He has more than 35 years of experience in heap leach designs in mining and founded in 1986 the first geotechnical engineering firm that specialized in this technology. He is on the Board of Directors for Brazilian Nickel and on the advisory board for Univ. of Nevada – Reno’s College of Engineering.
Smith;s international consulting work currently has him working in Nevada, the Yukon, Peru, Brazil and Armenia. His clients have included most of the Tier 1 and many Tier 2 mining companies. Mark holds a master’s degree in geotechnical engineering, is a registered civil, geotechnical and structural engineer, and a diplomate in geotechnical engineering. He has published over 100 papers on mining and geosynthetics.
Jacques Côté dreamed of building roads and bridges in developing countries and saw his life full of challenges and adventures. In 1978, as a young engineer, he started his career with a needle-punch manufacturing company named TEXEL. His job was to promote and sell geotextiles, which at the time were still largely unknown in the larger civil engineering field.
That early entrepreneurial spirit stayed with him and led him to found Materiaux Techniques Cote in 1981. The company specialized in the distribution and installation of the developing field of geosynthetics.  That company evolved over the years, changing its core focus from distribution to installation to manufacturing. Today, Solmax is a global leader in geomembrane manufacturing, serving more than 60 countries with its products and operating facilities on multiple continents.


Other opportunities in the young professionals program:

  • GeoPrediction Competition. This team-based event will focus on predicting the face displacement of an MSE wall constructed with poorly draining backfill. The objective of the GeoPrediction Competition is to develop an accurate prediction of the behavior of a geotechnical system involving geosynthetics, given detailed information regarding subsurface, boundary, and initial conditions, as well as the geotechnical, structural, and hydraulic loading. Reports for the competition must be submitted by 6 March 2015 for that entries may be judged and a winning team announced at the event. Full information, including eligibility, rules, and the geoprediction problem are available online.
  • IGS Student Paper Competition. For engineering students, the IGS offers a high-profile student paper competition featuring presentations from the field’s future. These papers, selected from throughout North and South America by IGS Chapters, will focus on embankment reinforcement, buried pipe protection, geocell-reinforced soil, cold regions engineering, and mechanical damage of geomembranes under high hydraulic heads.
  • Beach Volleyball Social Event. The Loews Miami Beach Hotel is right on historic South Beach. For room booking information at the Loews, use the special GeoAmericas 2016 page on the Loews site for the best rate.

Learn more about the IGS Young Professionals Program and other GeoAmericas 2016 sessions, short courses, and networking opportunities at