64 On Solid GroundProfessor Magued Iskander is a well-known authority in the analysis, design and construction of deep foundations. His geotechnical research informs our use of driven piling as well as our understanding of soil structure interaction.
Project Spotlights
88 American Airlines Hangar 2 Precision Piles
94 GROUP Deep Foundations Completes Largest Project to Date The team is proud of its impressive record on this project, completed with zero recordable incidents
Member Profiles
73 REV Drill

81 Atlantic Metrocast

85 Engineering Partners International

99 Ground Improvement Using Timber PilesOutside-the-box thinking proved successful in the construction of a South Carolina hotel
103 Making WaySkyline Steel is proving to be an effective supplier for the expanding PortMiami
PDCA Committees
105PDCA Contracts and Risk Committee: Navigating the MinefieldFlow down clauses and pass-through claims for unforeseen conditions

PDCA Trailblazers
109 Bill Crossman, Atlantic Metrocast
PDCA Young Guns
111 Kena Yoke, Island Piling Inc.
8 President's Message
11 Executive Director's Message 
17 PDCA Upcoming Events
18 201819 Board of Directors and Committee Chairs
23 PDCA Membership Benefits 
27 Article Submission Guidelines
29 New PDCA Members
31 Did You Know?
33 PDCA News
39 PDCA Chapters
43 DICEP 2018 Full conference brochure
59 Deep Foundation Dynamic Testing and Analysis Program
63 PDCA Wrap-Up GeoCoalition Meeting

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 4, 2018.

Getting Better by Working Together!

I hope this edition of PileDriver finds you and your firm well and shows how we are moving the association and industry forward by working together.
The featured articles on some high-profile marine and bridge projects highlight the skills of our member firms and demonstrate the benefits of driven piles as a viable and economical deep foundation solution. 
Please review the information about our upcoming Design and Installation of Cost Effective Piles (DICEP) conference to be held in Baltimore, Md., in September 2018. We have assembled a great slate of speakers focused on the future of America's infrastructure renewal and the role of driven pile products in these projects. Your attendance and participation in the lectures, presentations, display booths and networking events helps spread the benefits of driven piles as a viable and economical deep foundation solution and support of excavation system, and drives new membership. I've always found this to be a great event to get to know more members and openly share ideas and experiences that can help solve the problems we all see on our jobs every day. It's through the camaraderie and free exchange of ideas and experiences we find common ground to advance our cause and interests and be better tomorrow than we were today. Please consider attending and refer to our website,, for additional registration information.
The Membership Committee has been busy supporting chapter reorganization events in Florida, Texas and the Mid-Atlantic regions to revitalize our local presence. The participation and interest at the events so far has been amazing and energizing. The Florida and Texas chapters will be offering sessions in October and November focused on contractual risk, unforeseen conditions and claim avoidance. Please keep your eye out for the next event in your area and bring someone new along to share the value you find in these PDCA experiences.
Scott Callaway, our vice president, Steve Hall, our executive director and I attended the GeoCoalition meeting in June 2018 with The International Association of Foundation Drilling (ADSC), the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG), Deep Foundations Institute (DFI), Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA), the Geo-Institute of ASCE (GI), the United States Universities Council on Geotechnical Education and Research (USUCGER) and the Canadian Geotechnical Society. The purpose of this meeting was to identify and collaborate on common issues impacting the geo-construction industry. The common topics being addressed by the partner organizations were:
Contractual risk assessment and allocation PDCA, GBA and DFI have been working together through events like the IFCEE panel discussion on geotechnical risks to raise awareness in the industry of how attempts are being made to allocate risk unfairly on a variety of project types and through a variety of contract delivery methods. Our Contracts and Risk Committee has been at the forefront of these efforts.
Recruiting the next generation of geo-professionals and craft employees ADSC's new campaign, "Six Figures, No Suits," aims to recruit high school, trade school and college students into the foundation construction industry. PDCA, ADSC, AEG, ASCE and DFI have agreed to collaborate on this effort through coordinated messaging and outreach efforts. 
The need for increased infrastructure funding All of the participating organizations agreed to support ASCE's "Infrastructure Report Card" effort and issue a combined statement of support to the United States Congress. In the coming months, the PDCA Communications Committee will be rolling out a new newsletter format that will help better communicate current events stories and legislative actions at the state and federal levels that impact our industry. Your outreach to your local representatives will be needed to help advance this effort. Please get involved!
Licensure AEG, GBA and ASCE GI have been tracking and combating efforts to dilute the importance of licensing professional engineers and geologists within various states around the country. If you hear of such legislative efforts within your communities, please reach out to your local representative and reiterate the importance of professional licensure and the role it has in maintaining public safety and advancing the engineering profession.

By partnering with other like-minded industry associations, we can actively promote the need for infrastructure investment and other common goals. Joining with other industry organizations at events like this helps to raise the awareness of these issues and enhance PDCA's impact in the design and construction industry. 
Our momentum and influence as an organization is growing and it doesn't happen without dedicated members like you. We are off to a great start and we are moving forward in 2018. Thank you for your continued support and participation, and I hope to see you at DICEP in Baltimore in September. 

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 4, 2018.

There is a Lot 
Happening at PDCA

On behalf of PDCA, I want to thank all of you who made the International Foundations Congress and Equipment Expo (IFCEE) 2018 such a tremendous success. The IFCEE Partners (PDCA, ADSC, GI of ASCE, DFI) planned on 2,750 attendees when 2018 planning began back in May 2016. Thanks to the collective participation of all associations the final for IFCEE 2018 participation was 3,383 633 attendees over the initial projection.
Any event the size of IFCEE requires planning, coordination, execution and, equally important, a post event review, so we can evaluate our performance in meeting the expectations of those attending the event. Internally, PDCA has already conducted our "lessons learned" and submitted those findings to the ADSC, who acts as the managing partner for the event. In recent discussions with ADSC, the partners will be meeting soon to discuss the 2018 event and begin preparing for 2021. In moving forward, all partners in 2018 will use the lessons learned from 2018 to ensure 2021 continues to provide a quality experience for all attendees. I hope you will join us for another IFCEE in 2021.
PDCA Updates
As PDCA continues to move into the second half of 2018, we are challenging ourselves to make a difference by making changes, updates and creating new opportunities all intended to better serve the PDCA membership, promote our industry and intensify the visibility, marketability and benefits of driven piles.
PDCA is developing a new, more robust website. The new site will provide greater resources for our members and guests, making it easier to find desired information, while providing additional functionality and metrics that will allow PDCA to measure performance, progress and quality of services.
During the PDCA 2018 strategic planning session, the Board of Directors identified "Raising awareness of the need to renew infrastructure," as a key strategy. The difficulty for PDCA to accomplish this strategy is immense, but given the number of members in PDCA, not impossible. How then do we accomplish this while also addressing other federal and state issues that impact our business and industry? By using a software service solution that includes news and policy analysis and tools for legislative tracking, grassroots advocacy and advocate and donor acquisition. The program will also report on the people and politics of Capitol Hill. Through this process and utilization of "key words," PDCA can acquire information about pending legislation and issues impacting our industry, get the word out to our members and then you can respond with feedback and the potential of influencing Congress.
PDCA also requested support from the members of the GeoCoalition during our recent meeting in Utah, June 2022. The idea was favorably received, with suggestions on how the group could move forward, including the newest GeoCoalition member, the Canadian Geotechnical Society.
PDCA is working with the newly formed Contracts and Risk Committee to present two seminars one in October and one in November. The October 18 seminar will be in Jacksonville, Fla., and the November 8 seminar will be in Houston, Texas. The seminars will present three different topics during the half-day program: Recovering for Unforeseen Conditions, Key Legal Considerations When Performing Work Under a Design-Build Construction Contract and Understanding the Differences and Similarities Between Driven Pile and Drilled Cast-In-Place. Alex Filotti (Underpinning and Foundation Skanska) and Rick Kalson (Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff) will present the first two topics and Karl Higgins (ESC Mid-Atlantic, LLC) will present the third. The seminars will be preceded by a luncheon program to discuss the importance of the two chapters in Florida and Texas and how PDCA members can support chapter efforts, get involved in their growth and long-term sustainability and provide suggestions for future events and activities. PDCA invites all PDCA members, specifically those from the Florida and Texas areas to join us for these programs.
PDCA, NCCCO and Sun Piledriving Equipment will be hosting a Practical Examiner Accreditation Program (PEAP) at Sun Piledriving Equipment's property in Frankford, Del., on August 20. The program is designed to qualify examiners for the Dedicated Pile Driver practical exam portion of this certification program. Any company utilizing a dedicated pile driving rig should be aware of the requirements to have your operators certified by November 2018, according to the latest by OSHA. By certifying the individuals who attended the PEAP, PDCA now has a pool of individuals qualified to help you certify your operators. If you need more information on how to certify your operators, contact PDCA or NCCCO to identify qualified examiners who can arrange to provide the certification written exam and practical test.
PDCA will also conduct the final Deep Foundation Dynamic Testing and Analysis course for 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The program will present a one-day seminar on Deep Foundation Integrity Testing and Wave Equation Analysis on October 3 and a two-day workshop on High Strain Dynamic Foundation Testing on October 45. Individuals can register for one or both courses. PDCA will also offer the Dynamic Measurement and Analysis Proficiency Test, a 90-minute, multiple-choice exam that will cover the theory of wave mechanics, case method (PDA) equations, data quality assessment, data interpretation and basic CAPWAP analysis. The Proficiency test will be given on Friday, October 5. Registration for this program is now open on the PDCA website,
Two additional developments at PDCA that will have a significant impact are the opening of a new position, titled director, PDCA/Chapter Liaison and Membership Development. The role and responsibility of this position will be to establish and maintain a positive and dynamic relationship with all PDCA chapters, while providing support in multiple areas. The director will also be responsible for acting as the staff liaison to the PDCA Membership Committee. In this capacity, the director will develop and implement strategies, policies and procedures for advancing PDCA's membership acquisition.
PDCA is also in the process of interviewing individuals to become the new PDCA executive director. As the current executive director for the PDCA, I am reaching that "golden age" and planning my retirement. Obviously, this requires an extensive search by the PDCA Executive Committee to find the right person to lead PDCA into the future. PDCA has hired a search firm to coordinate the search, receive applications and resumes, narrow the list down to an acceptable number of qualified applicants and present this list to the Executive Committee. Those candidates will be interviewed to create a short list of three. The Executive Committee will conduct face-to-face interviews in Baltimore, Md., prior to the DICEP conference, make their recommendations to the Board of Directors and move forward with an offer for employment.
I would be remiss if I did not mention one of the PDCA's most accomplished conferences, which is coming up on September 1920, in Baltimore, Md. PDCA's 19th Annual Design and Installation of Cost-Efficient Piles will be held at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor. This traditional PDCA program is designed primarily for engineers, but certainly is relevant to anyone in the deep foundation or earth retention industry. This year, the PDCA Education Committee has assembled a fantastic line-up of presenters, including keynotes from Casey Dinges, senior managing director, ASCE and Silas Nichols, P.E., principal, geotechnical bridge engineer, FHWA. Additionally, there will be 10 general session presentations on a variety of interesting topics. For engineers requiring PDHs, up to 12 will be available for attending the entire day-and-a-half program. You can find out more about this conference by visiting the event website, 

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 4, 2018.

Did You Know?

A sheeting project along a river in Baltimore, Md., was recently completed in which temporary AZ19-700's were driven for an SOE cell. The waterside of the cell was half way down the bank and in the water during high tide. However, during low tide it was totally down. Pulling during high tide was a real challenge. The pairs had to be split and even then, it was a slow operation. Pulling during low tide was a lot easier; pairs could be pulled with no problem. There was a difference in water elevation on either side of the sheets. Is this common?
If there was a difference between the water elevation inside and outside the cell during high tide, the difference in water elevation would change the soils pressure on the sheet pile and increase the skin friction between the soil and the steel. Also, a difference in water pressure could increase the friction in the interlocks. 

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 4, 2018.


PDCA to present seminars in Florida and Texas
The PDCA Contracts and Risk Committee will present three topics to PDCA members in Florida and Texas. All three topics will be presented during the half-day seminar.
The Florida seminar will be held in Jacksonville on Thursday, October 18, 2018, at the Jacksonville Marriott, 4670 Salisbury Rd. The Texas seminar will be held on Thursday, November 8, 2018, in S.E. Houston at the Marriott Houston South Hobby Airport, 9100 Gulf Fwy. Each seminar location will include the following topics:
Recovering for unforeseen conditions. Especially valuable for those working below ground, this seminar thoroughly discusses the Spearin Doctrine and the ability to recover for unforeseen conditions in various regions of the country. This seminar addresses all work that you may be required to perform that goes behind the letter of the project's contract documents.
Key legal considerations when performing work under a design-build construction contract. This seminar discusses the keys to gaining strength of position in the negotiation of a design-build contract and the types of claims for unforeseen conditions that can and cannot be made under a design-build contract.
Understanding the Differences and Similarities Between Driven Piles and Drilled Cast-in-Place. This seminar will compare and contrast the two foundation systems.
The Contracts and Risk Committee chair, Alex Filotti (Underpinning and Foundation Skanska) and co-chair, Richard Kalson (Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff) will present the first two seminars noted above and Karl Higgins (ECS Mid-Atlantic, LLC) will present the third seminar.
PDCA will also hold a chapter luncheon as part of the seminar program to discuss the importance of the two chapters and how PDCA members can support the chapter, get involved in its growth and long-term sustainability and provide suggestions for future events and activities. PDCA invites all PDCA members, specifically those from the Florida and Texas areas to join us for this program. All PDCA members are invited to attend at no cost, but will need to register. Registration will open once details on the site and venue are confirmed.
Sponsorships for these two programs will also be available once those levels and costs are determined.
Any PDCA member interested in helping develop a new leadership structure for the Florida or Texas chapter is encouraged to contact PDCA executive director, Stevan A. Hall, in the PDCA office, 904-215-4771 or email
Hall appointed to NCCCO committee
Stevan A. Hall, PDCA executive director, has been appointed to the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) Pile Driver Management Committee. The role of the Committee is to expand activities of the program, most notably in the areas of management and growth. The first meeting of the Committee will be Oct. 1, 2018.
PDCA to launch new website
For the past few months, PDCA has been working on developing a new PDCA website. The new website will have a brand-new look, be more robust and provide PDCA members and guests with a more dynamic experience than previously available. According to Digital Trooper (website developer) and Pollyanna Cunningham, PDCA Communications Committee Chair, the website is beginning its final testing stages and will be going live before too long. Watch for the launch.
Specialty Piling Systems, Inc.: The next chapter
Over the last several years, when anyone asked Steve Whitty what was new or what he was doing, he would answer, "I'm a 'retiree in training.' Just like a new engineer starts as an engineer in training, I'm trying to start a new experience, too."
Nowadays, he's telling people that he has partially figured out his transition into retirement and finally has a target date for the end of August.
Whitty started Specialty Piling Systems in 1995 after he was tasked with closing down his family's pile driving business, S.K. Whitty & Co., when the second generation of the family decided to discontinue its operations. During the process, Whitty decided to begin his own operation as a consultant for value engineering, dispute resolution, equipment valuation and equipment sourcing and disposal services, drawing on his extensive 30-year experience in the pile driving industry.
It was around this time when a local client asked Whitty about where to obtain pile cushions. At S.K. Whitty & Co., the Whitty family relied on Mason Forest Products in Hattiesburg, Miss., to supply their cushion needs. Using that relationship, Whitty and Mason Forest Products reached an agreement to manufacture pile cushions exclusively to Whitty's specifications. It wasn't long until pile cushions became a significant part of Specialty Piling Systems' operations and a key revenue generator for the company. Over the course of more than two decades, Specialty Piling Systems has supplied cushions for projects throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Europe and Guam; Mason Forest Products has consistently been eager in trying new designs and ideas for Specialty Piling Systems for any pile in any location.
Specialty Piling Systems, a division of Mason Forest Products
Mason Forest Products is a major distributor of panel products and dimension lumber, serving various customers. After a long and successful relationship with Specialty Piling Systems, Mason Forest Products has agreed to take over the Specialty Piling Systems name and pile cushion business, operating the business as a division of Mason Forest Products as of August 2018.
Whitty feels very confident that the staff at Mason will take excellent care of his customers and his many friends in the industry going forward. Whitty will be available to help with the transition and to introduce his current customers to the new operators. With more than a quarter of a century spent making plywood pile cushions, Mason knows how to do the job.
If you have questions about pile cushions or to request a quote, contact Specialty Piling Systems, a division of Mason Forest Products.
McLaren Engineering Group completes design work on new Live! Hotel and Event Center
McLaren Engineering Group announced the completion of its design work on the new 350,000-square-foot Live! Hotel and Event Center in Hanover, Md. Located at 7002 Arundel Mills Circle, the building has 310 hotel rooms, a spa and 1,500-seat ballroom. The hotel will employ over 500, serving tourists, residents and Live! Casino patrons in the Baltimore region. The grand event center and conference center are to follow later this year.
"The Live! Hotel and Event Center is a prime example of our applied ingenuity and cutting-edge engineering," said Malcolm G. McLaren, president and CEO, McLaren Engineering Group, which has a growing Baltimore office. "The building is an all-glass tower with a sloped facade that juts out eight feet further west than its foundation. Our innovative design increased building functionality while creating a stunning exterior."
McLaren and its team of expert engineers have been working on the project for more than five years to design a cost-effective structural frame without sacrificing key architectural elements and flexibility. The firm provided services that include structural design and engineering, construction documents, permitting, site/civil engineering, survey work and site landscaping.
Owned by The Cordish Companies, the hotel was built as an expansion to the Live! Casino structure that opened in 2012. Live! Casino is the largest casino and entertainment venue on the East Coast with approximately 4,000 slot machines and more than 200 live action table games. The two million-square-foot structure includes approximately 310,000 square-feet of casino space on the first level. The hotel's construction was phased to minimize interruption to the 24-hour casino operations.
McLaren moved an existing roadway adjacent to the west side of the casino about 300 feet to create space for the new hotel. The new surface parking lots will provide in excess of 1,900 spaces and are built on top of ground that previously housed a storm-water pond. The building pad underwent extensive ground improvements to solidify the soil before construction could begin.
"One of the most challenging aspects of the project was building up against the casino. To connect the buildings, we designed an elevator core attached to the existing precast casino garage to give patrons access to both facilities," said Dave McLaren, P.E., vice president and Maryland regional director, McLaren Engineering Group. "This required us to cut the existing garage girders, leaving a portion of the garage to be supported by the elevator core. Additionally, the transformation of the existing storm-water pond into 4,600 linear feet of 10-foot diameter pipe underground allowed for the reclamation of land, generating 510 of the approximately 1,900 added surface parking spaces"
"We are pleased with the work McLaren Engineering Group has done to capture our vision for the Live! Hotel and Event Center," said Taylor Gray, The Cordish Companies. "McLaren has a long history of engineering some of the most innovative projects in the Northeast and with this new hotel and event center they have helped us maintain our edge as the biggest and best entertainment complex on the East Coast."
Meever USA introduces patented bracing system
Meever USA has introduced a patented bracing system the first and only of its kind with removable hydraulic rams. Meever USA can now offer bracing solutions for any excavation requirements. Special designed modules in five different lengths with full shear capacity, secured with one pin, allows for versatile design and sizing. Meever bracing offers complete engineering support. The system is available for rent throughout the U.S. the Canada.
Bracing systems offer simple, versatile, easy and fast installation, reduced weight, over excavation allowance, safe cross bracing and time and money savings. Bracing systems can be used with any type of steel sheet pile or trench sheet; there are no restriction on size or shape. Meever also offers full complimentary engineering services. Meever USA also rents steel sheet pile. 

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 4, 2018.

Your Local PDCA Chapters

PDCA of the Pacific Coast ChapterDermot Fallon, Foundation ConstructorsOakley, CAPhone:
PDCA of the Northeast ChapterErich Kremer, R. Kremer & Son Marine Contractors, LLCBrick, NJPhone:
PDCA of the Pacific Northwest ChapterBill Marczewski, BSM EngineeringAstoria, ORPhone:
PDCA of South Carolina ChapterJohn King, Pile Drivers, Inc.Hollywood, SC Phone: 843-763-7736
PDCA of the Gulf Coast ChapterMichael Kelly, Gulf South Piling and ConstructionJefferson, LAPhone:
PDCA of the Mid-Atlantic ChapterMarty CorcoranPhone:

PDCA of Florida ChapterChair open Contact the PDCA office for more information

PDCA of Texas ChapterChair open Contact the PDCA office for more information

Members are encouraged to contact PDCA if, for whatever reason, you are unable to contact any of the above chapter representatives or want to enquire about more than one chapter.

PDCA Orange Park, FLPhone:

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 4, 2018.

Deep Foundation Dynamic Testing and Analysis Program

PDCA, in collaboration with Pile Dynamics, Inc., will present the final DFDTA program for 2018 at the PDI/GRL Engineers headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio.
The program will be held from Oct. 35, 2018, depending upon the courses you select. The three-day program will consist of two independent programs. You may elect to take the one-day seminar on Deep Foundation Integrity Testing and Wave Equation Analysis, the two-day workshop on High Strain Dynamic Foundation Testing or both. PDCA will also offer the Dynamic Measurement and Analysis Proficiency Test, a 90-minute, multiple-choice exam that will cover the theory of wave mechanics, case method (PDA) equations, data quality assessment, data interpretation and basic CAPWAP analysis. The Proficiency test will be given on Friday, Oct. 5.
Instructors for this DFDTA are Frank Rausche, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE., Garland Likins, P.E., M.ASCE, Brent Robinson, Ph.D., P.E., Ryan Allin, P.E. and Van E. Komurka, P.E., D.GE.
One-day seminar Wednesday, Oct. 3
The one-day seminar is designed for geotechnical, structural and construction engineers, owners, contractors and other professionals involved in the design, construction and specification of deep foundations. This seminar is suitable for those new to the field of foundation testing and analysis and includes an overview of non-destructive testing methods (integrity and load testing) and their applications. It is also suitable for those specifying the testing in order to gain a basic understanding for assessing the results presented in the test reports and for those needing an understanding of wave equation analysis methods.
Those attending the two-day workshop that follows this seminar are strongly encouraged to attend this review of wave equation background materials.
The learning objectives of the seminar are to have the participants able to select an appropriate method of integrity assessment of deep foundations for a particular application, review reports of integrity and dynamic load testing of deep foundations conducted by others and run a basic wave equation analysis of pile driving.
Two-day workshop Oct. 45
The two-day workshop is designed for users of the Pile Driving Analyzer® (PDA) system and CAPWAP® software who are interested in sharpening their skills: engineers, foundation testing professionals, students and professors already familiar with the basic concepts of deep foundation dynamic testing and analysis; professionals who desire to have a basic understanding of the dynamic test results being presented to them; and those interested in taking the Dynamic Measurement and Analysis Proficiency Test.
The learning objectives of the workshop are to have the participants operate the PDA in a manner conducive to acquiring good quality data; assess pile bearing capacity, pile driving stresses, hammer performance and pile integrity by various methods; avoid pitfalls when analyzing PDA data with the CAPWAP software; interpret PDA testing and CAPWAP software results; describe the soil-model used in CAPWAP; prepare the input for CAPWAP; review options for CAPWAP analysis and output; and calculate bearing capacity and its distribution for driven piles from impact records.
Digital/hard copy of the presentation
All training material will be available digitally for download prior to the event. It is suggested that attendees download this material and bring it with them or print the training material and bring their own hard copy.
A colored, three-slide-per-page printout may be requested from PDCA up to two weeks prior to the seminar ($100 fee will apply). Please contact PDCA via email,, if you want PDCA to provide the hard copy.
Attendees are encouraged to use their own laptops for the GRLWEAP and CAPWAP® sessions; charging stations will be available.
Registration is currently open. Go to to download the form.
The host hotel will be the Hampton Inn Cleveland/Salon. A special group rate of $124 plus tax per night is available using group ID "PDI." You can make reservations through the Hampton Inn at 1-800-HAMPTON. 

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 4, 2018.

GeoCoalition Meeting Concludes in Utah

PDCA president Larry Moore, PDCA vice president Scott Callaway and PDCA executive director Stevan A. Hall attended the 2018 GeoCoalition meeting, hosted by the Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA), in Park City, Utah, on June 2021.
The industry meeting, composed of PDCA, GBA, ADSC, AEG, CGS, DFI, GI of the ASCE and USUCGER, occurs annually to discuss issues common to all members. During the meeting, PDCA updated the GeoCoalition members on progress made on the "Risk and Liability" issues raised during the 2017 meeting. PDCA informed the attendees the PDCA Contracts and Risk Committee is working hard to inform its members on the risk and liability associated with contracts and various delivery systems. DFI president Dan Brown updated the committee on the industry working group (including PDCA) efforts to establish a "Working Platform" BMP. Contact PDCA for more information on this initiative.
Additionally, PDCA presented the potential for all GeoCoalition members to support the PDCA 2018 strategic plan initiative of "Infrastructure Funding." The idea was well received and PDCA could receive future support on this issue.

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 4, 2018.

On Solid 

Professor Magued Iskander has always been excited by scientific discovery and its potential to impact engineering practice.
As a geotechnical engineering educator and Chair of the Civil & Urban Engineering Department at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering, he has made a name for himself during an accomplished career that spans more than 25 years. 
In particular, Iskander, 54, is recognized for his teaching, research and consulting in the analysis, design and construction of deep foundations. His geotechnical research has been accepted as the leading authority in the use of recycled polymeric piling as a replacement for conventional piling, especially in waterfront environments, as well as physical modelling of soil-structure interaction using transparent soils.
He has authored five books, edited 11 books and published more than 175 papers and reports, including over 80 journal articles covering a range of geotechnical subjects. Born in Egypt, Iskander got his start in that country's air force, where he supervised the construction of roads, runways and reinforced concrete structures. 
"I became a civil engineer shortly after being drafted into the Egyptian armed forces, where I supervised the construction of 73 buildings comprising a beach front recreational resort for the Air Force, including a house for President Mubarak," he said. "Then, I started my master's degree over there and I was exposed to geotechnical engineering and research on slope stability. I went to work at my master's advisor's consulting firm, where I started as a structural engineer. After designing a few tall buildings, I quickly became disenchanted by the monotony of following the structural code, so he advised that I should switch to the geotechnical division. I realized I enjoyed the consulting business and I decided to pursue a PhD so that I could practice at the highest level." 
As a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin, Iskander was fortunate to work with some of the giants of the foundation engineering world, including Roy Olson, his doctoral advisor. His dissertation committee also included Lymon C. Reese, well known in the field of lateral capacity of piles, and Don Murff, who played a key leadership role in writing the API pile design standard. 
"My doctoral research dealt with the axial capacity of pipe piles," he said. "I was the first to demonstrate that when you drive a pile into sand, it creates a mini earthquake that generates a bit of pore water pressure that reduces the strength of the soil and causes the pile to advance faster. That mechanism is well understood in clay and is credited with pile setup, but I was the first to show that setup also occurs in sand, albeit at a much faster rate."
Also, with Olson, Iskander worked on comparing measured and predicted pile capacities, and helped him formulate design approaches and later improve the design parameters.
"Following my doctoral degree, I recognized the limitations of existing knowledge, so I chose a career in academia," said Iskander.
He went to Polytechnic University, which has since merged with New York University (NYU), and has been there for 23 years. His earlier research at Polytechnic focused on piling made from recycled polymers, evaluating its durability, driveability, capacity, creep and load testing, among other characteristics. 
Today, Iskander is focused on visualizing soil behavior and soil-structure interaction in a range of important applications. "We do this in a number of ways; for example, you can drive a pile next to a glass wall and track the motion of individual soil particles. But mostly, we've been using synthetic soils made of transparent substances that behave at the macroscopic level like natural soils. Snow is white, but it's made of water, which is transparent. But snow is white because it's full of air and air refracts light differently.
"If I am able to fill in between the particles with a liquid that has the same refractive index, then I can see through the material," he said. "I can now study flow; I can show you how contaminants travel in soils. For example, the effects of viscosity, velocity and gradient on in situ remediation can be studied. I can also shine a laser through a lens and make it a sheet of light. When the laser sheet interacts with the soil, it produces a speckle pattern. You can see and measure its displacements with a camera. Once you have the displacements, you can compute local strains. These techniques empower us to study the stress distribution around piles and other structures. My students wrote an open source software called MAGICgeo that allows interested researchers to achieve some of these tasks. You can download MAGICgeo from our website."
Iskander and his graduate students have also conducted research for the U.S. Department of Defense, examining how projectiles as fast-moving objects travel through soil. Most recently, they focused on modeling the behavior of torpedo anchors used for tethering offshore oil platforms in deep waters, using transparent soils. 
In the last few years, Iskander returned to an area that he explored decades ago during his doctoral work, but with a twist. Together with his students, he is adapting methods from computer science for predicting pile capacity. They hope to employ artificial intelligence (AI) to better predict the capacity of driven piles. 
"It's still preliminary, but we have created a Pile Capacity Data Warehouse by importing several databases of pile load tests and associated soil information into a state-of-the-art relational database that can be queried, similar to an airline reservation system. We have also programmed the most widely used pile design methods. Currently, we are exploring how various popular design standards perform against load test data by using several advanced data analytics techniques. In the next few years, we will look into AI approaches to improve established design methods, but also predict the capacity of piles using AI rather than calculating it using conventional approaches."
Iskander has also done noteworthy research on earth pressure against rigidly framed earth structures, nondestructive testing of drilled shafts and seismic earth pressure. Notably, an interactive online seismic earth pressure calculator that he developed with students can be used to compute earth pressure during an earthquake for a variety of frictional or cohesive backfill, considering wall inclination, backfill slope, ground water and layered systems. 
While Iskander teaches mostly at the graduate level, he also instructs undergraduates in soil mechanics and foundation engineering. 
"I teach two courses with some regularity: Instrumentation Monitoring and Condition Assessment of Structures, which introduces students to the various sensors used to monitor foundations and structures. I also teach Advanced Foundation Design. About 25 percent of that course deals with shallow foundations and 75 percent with deep foundations, with piles representing about a third of the course. It's probably one of the most comprehensive deep foundation courses out there, at least in the U.S." 
An abridged version of Iskander's instrumentation course is offered as a continuing education course. His ASCE Instrumentation and Monitoring Boot Camp and other continuing education courses have been taken by over 600 practicing engineers.
As Chair of the Civil & Urban Engineering Department, Iskander oversees over 20 full-time and 50 adjunct faculty members and a number of staff and graduate student employees. 
The department is a thriving organization that carries out $3 to $5 million of research annually. It is home to a total of 550 students, studying in a variety of civil, construction, transportation or environmental fields and has an annual operating budget of just over $5 million, in addition to research expenditures.
Iskander's time is divided between teaching, research and administration although he joked that administrative duties tend to absorb more than their fair share of the day.
Paperwork is not the most rewarding part of his job. Iskander saves that accolade for working with young people, including elementary school students who have been involved in the NYU Tandon School of Engineering K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) outreach program. 
"Our first idea was to introduce some of the modern sensors that engineers use to high school physics, chemistry and biology labs because students don't see the connection between modern tools, such as cell phones and gaming platforms, and the science and math they take in high school," he said. 
"We wanted to excite K-12 students by making science more 'techy' and we used sensors, similar to those used by engineers, to inspire K-12 students about science. After finishing our first project, funded by the National Science Foundation and a number of philanthropic organizations, we realized that by the time students reach high school, they will have already formed a self-image with respect to their STEM abilities. We went down two steps and started as early as the second grade to spark their interest in STEM early on. For example, we did authentic geotechnical engineering in a second-grade classroom." 
Iskander explained that the program seeks out schools where kids don't necessarily have a lot of opportunities. 
"We find that their self-image changes quite a bit over the year. When we measure their improvement in terms of participation in and grades on standardized exams, we do see a perceptible increase in performance." 
Teachers are now being trained to incorporate these lessons in their classrooms. "If we train 25 teachers a year and each is working with a minimum of 50 kids per year, that's a very large impact." 
The program also takes in highly recommended high school students and puts them in labs, where they work as apprentices under doctoral students. 
"Some of the work is breadth, where we reach a large number of students, and some of the work is depth with really talented students."
Iskander has been an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Geo-Institute Deep Foundations Committee for over 20 years, contributing to the association in several ways, including editing the proceedings of two International Foundation Congress and Equipment Expos (IFCEE) in 2009 and 2015, which were conducted in collaboration with PDCA, as well as other professional foundations groups.
Iskander has also received a number of teaching awards, including Chi Epsilon James Robbins District Excellence in Teaching Award (2000), Polytechnic University Distinguished Teacher Award (2002) and Jacobs Excellence in Education Award (2006, 2009). He also received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. Iskander graduated 12 doctoral and 35 master's students. He has also served on the dissertation committees of 21 doctoral candidates from four universities. He is presently working with four doctoral students at NYU.
"I am very proud of all the students we graduate at NYU; they end up with a good balance of theory and practical skills that gives them a competitive advantage. Our alumni have succeeded immensely, which is very gratifying," he said. t
Photos courtesy of NYU Photos

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 4, 2018.

Drill Down, Rise Up

The social expectations of high school dropouts aren't great. We live in a society that tends to value higher education over life or career experience. But every so often, you come across someone who's defied the odds, literally and figuratively, to not only survive this life, but truly thrive in it. 
Ed Amos of REV Drill Commercial Drilling in Frederick, Md., is that person, times infinity.

Can't keep me down
Amos is quick to tell you that, while raised by great parents in a strong family, he didn't have much growing up, something he sees as a good thing. "I had an amazing mentor in my father, who was a Spanish teacher with many other jobs, doing what it took to support his family. He's my hero. I just love my dad to death. While we had the important things, we definitely weren't wealthy."
Dropping out of high school was a tough time for his parents, but it wasn't as bad for Amos. He began to discover what he was good at and the value he could offer the world. "I ended up going into cars sales and just crushing it. Living in my parent's basement and doing extremely well. But I knew I didn't want to do that forever. I sold about 30 vehicles to a deep foundation company. He came in one day and wanted me to work for him. So, I did." 
Amos started working in the field and eventually became a partner in the business. It was during this time that Amos and his partner created a drill that attaches to an excavator, solving a market problem and saving their clients time and money by not having to haul in an expensive rig to do the same job. 
Just as things were looking way up, they weren't. "The industry handed us a tough blow and we had to let go of all our employees on a Friday. It left me hanging for sure." The two drills they'd built were now Amos' responsibility, whether they were making money or not. He'd always thought he could rent them out and decided to follow his own lead. "I took one drill and went to all the big boys... and got laughed out the door. Nobody would help me. Eventually, I went to Doosan and anything they could do to help, they would. I'm a big all-American guy, but they were the only ones who would help me at that point, so I went with them."
Suddenly, Amos found himself back in business this time, on his own. "My first yard was at a dump, with a sea container and a tarp, working out of my home office. I was working as everybody. I'd answer the phone in one voice, all serious, and then put them on hold and come back as myself. And it worked!" Being in business is a constant stream of learning opportunities. Sometimes, learning the same lesson more than once is necessary to really reap the benefits. 
"My partner came back around and wanted me to get into business again. He rented all my equipment in a contracting company that we started. It was the worst and best decision of my life." Soon after forming his new-old partnership, Amos was on the edge of bankruptcy and on the hook for a cool half million. 
"We ended up doing a job that ended very badly, even though it wasn't our fault. I was cosigned on everything; it really turned my life upside down. I got divorced. I had to write hundreds of thousands of dollars in checks to pay everything I was owing. I had nine trucks that the bank owned. I thought I'd clean them up and sell them myself, so I shined them up and got them ready to sell. Then a disgruntled employee came by on a weekend and put bricks through all of them."
Talk about a low point in life. While he says he's never been depressed, Amos remembers being in bed for quite a while after his trucks were ruined. He had almost lost sight of the glimmer of light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Yet, something inside of him wouldn't let him quit. 
"After two weeks, I got up and went down to the bank. I got in front of anybody who made decisions; I broke down and just said I needed to clear these trucks, as-is, and clear the titles. I promised them I would not screw them out of the difference. It was like $127,000. They gave it to me; it got me loyal to local banks! And I paid them back in 11 months."

Rise and grind
Amos is truly grateful for the difficult times he has endured throughout his life. At just 46, he is now owner and president of REV Drill, a provider of economical drilling solutions; REV stands for revolutionary, economical and versatile. 
"We do a lot of pre-drilling for driven piles," Amos said. "One of our big projects was for Clark Construction when they were doing The Wharf down in D.C. They did all the foundation and pile driving for that project. We had two drills there for seven months. We'd drill down 40 feet, make sure there were no obstructions, then they'd put a 110-foot concrete pile in and just drive it." 
Being a member of PDCA is very important to Amos, as it helps him continue to move his business in the right direction. "PDCA helps me build my company by doing all the research and staying ahead of the industry, making sure I know about things I wouldn't otherwise know about. I'm grateful for that support and knowledge-base."
Staying competitive with "the big boys" is about making sure you know why you're getting up every morning and that you're not afraid to fail at it. "Our philosophy is give and grow, every day. You gotta learn something every day; you gotta walk that walk. For me, there are two types of goals in life: means goals and ends goals. Means goals are the things we think will make us happy, like boats, cars and planes. Ends goals are life experiences and memories that build an inner strength and solid foundation within you. Watching how your success affects so many other people is wicked."
Enjoying his success means Amos gets to indulge in his passions: deep-sea fishing and giving back to his communities and to charity. His right-hand man is his Golden Retriever, Tebow, named after someone he greatly admires. And he'll keep doing what he's doing simply because he loves it. 
"One of the coolest things about this industry is putting the time and energy into something, knowing it's going to be there long after you're gone. Whether it's the laborer digging the ditch or the engineer who's designing it or the owner who's funding it all of us together are a really, really special group of people. It's a big high to be part of something so epic." t
Photos courtesy of REV Drill

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Issue 4, 2018.


Powered by BRYNK® Growth Platform