La Société canadienne
de géotechnique
The Canadian
Geotechnical Society
La Société canadienne de géotechnique
The Canadian Geotechnical Society
The Canadian

Message from the President

A word from Mario - Un mot de Mario
 Mario Ruel, CGS President, Président de la SCG

Dear friends, colleagues, and members – Bonjour!
Winter is setting in and most of our 2019 active construction projects should be almost done as we are finalizing reports, closing budgets and planning for 2020. It has been a busy year at the CGS and we are concluding the first half of our mandate. I'll briefly go over what has occurred over the last quarter and highlight some of what your CGS Executive Committee accomplished in 2019.

At the end of September, there was a great deal of CGS activities packed into one intense week.

GeoSt.John's 2019: Starting on Sept 29th, we held our 72nd Annual CGS Conference in St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador. This was particularly special since it had been 23 years since the CGS held a conference at this location. Thanks to the leadership of Sterling Parsons and his team, GeoSt.John's 2019 was very successful and well attended. All delegates were able to learn from strong technical presentations from Universities as well as from experiences shared by geo-practitioners aiming at raising the profile of geotechnical practice in Canada. Highlights included an excellent R.M. Hardy Lecture delivery by Ryan Phillips; a touching Legget Medal Luncheon for our new and well deserving R. F. Legget Medal winner, Arun Valsangkar; and Suzanne Powell was selected as our first winner of the new CGS Early Achievement Award. CGS also proudly presented Honorary Life membership awards to John Gadsby and Fred Matich; these two new members represent over 100 years of CGS experience and contribution. Finally, I am glad to confirm that Ian Moore will be the CGS President-Elect for 2020, and President in 2021-2022; Ian will present his team during the 73rd Annual Conference in Calgary next September.

Preceding the conference over the weekend, we held our Annual Board of Director's (BOD) meeting with 45 volunteer leaders representing CGS Divisions, Committees and all local Sections across Canada. Several key decisions were made about issues related to communications, development of initiatives and the operation of our Society. For instance, the BOD accepted Saskatoon's proposal to host the 75th CGS Annual Conference in the fall of 2022. You can find more details on the BOD meeting within the Annual reports on the CGS website. Thanks are expressed to all members of the Board for investing their time away from their families for their voluntary work that is so essential for our Society. I was glad to see all members working in harmony and focusing efforts on common objectives for the success of the CGS.

Our Young GeoPros in action in St. John's: A few days prior to GeoSt.John`s, Co-Chairs Vincent Castonguay and Vincent Cormier lead the team that organized the 6th Canadian Young Geotechnical Engineers and Geoscientists Conference (cYGEGC). The CGS actively participated in this dynamic and very well-organized event. Thank you to the young ''Vincents'' and their Organizing Committee. After seeing the ''next generation'' in action, I feel very confident that the future of the CGS will be in very good hands.

The end of September, early October period in St. John's was very intense but above all, it was a lot of fun for our delegates. I've personally really enjoyed the cYGEGC, the BOD, the GeoSt.John's 2019 and, even after a few months, I am still full of enthusiasm and looking forward to next year's GeoCalgary Conference in September 2020, organized under the leadership of Co-Chairs Justyna Kos-Fairless and Daniel Bertrand.

Looking Back at 2019

As we are concluding the first year of our mandate, I'll briefly go over some highlights of how our CGS is doing.

I am pleased to report that our CGS continues to be strong and healthy. Our finances are well managed under the direction of VP Finance, Kent Bannister and membership is steady. We are making efforts with creative ways to increase member services, promote loyalty and help grow our society along with a communication plan implemented this fall by VP Communications, Judith Bouchard. Over the last few months, we supported new initiatives by sections, such as the RGG GeoCelebration and the Burland mini-tour. The CGS encouraged Young Professional Representative, Maraika DeGroot, who initiated the creation of seven student chapters, started monthly coaching webinars, proposed an early achievement award and also actively supported for the cYGEGC. Efforts toward gender balance saw tangible progress, which included publications about Women in Canadian Geotechnique and a Women's Networking Breakfast during GeoSt.John's 2019. These are in line with our mission toward youth, women, practitioners and francophones, while maintaining loyalty and encourage new membership.

At the start of our mandate, the CGS Executive Committee informed you that we would tackle the challenge of producing the new online CFEM within 2 years, which would then become our most tangible deliverable. Following regular exchanges with the CGS VP Technical, Rob Kenyon, the Project Coordinator of CFEM 2021, Ken Skaftfeld, is on track with this objective in mind. Good progress was made in 2019 with the production of the Chapter Outline, selection of Chapter Leads and Contributors as well as initiation of some Chapters. The first Chapter to be ready will be Limit States Design in 2020 with the remaining chapters coming in 2021. So far, we have had an excellent response from our community of CGS experts from coast to coast to contribute to this National Challenge.

The Cross Canada Lecture Tours (CCLT) has been successful this Spring with Charles Shackelford (Colorado State University) and this Fall with Ian Moore (Queen's University). The next CCLT are already planned under Rob Kenyon`s direction with Guy Houlsby (Oxford University) committed to the Spring of 2020, and Doug Stead (Simon Fraser University) in the Fall of 2020.

Kathy Kalenchuk successfully presented the 2019 Colloquium at GeoSt.John's. We will encourage Kathy to continue with the Colloquium Lecture Series so her presentation can be given at different locations (on University campuses) across the country.

Local sections lead by Andrea Lougheed and Divisions and Committees coordinated by Jack Seto, Representatives on the Executive Committee, have also been quite active in 2019 and we are striving for even more collaborations and interactions in the future.

Three of our Executive Committee (EC) members are completing their terms at the end of 2019: Andrea Lougheed (Local Sections Representative), Maraika DeGroot (Young Professionals Representative) and Jack Seto (Divisions Representative). I extend my sincere appreciation for their time and tremendous contributions to our CGS. It has been very rewarding to work with you and also very pleasant working together. I am pleased to welcome Billy Singh and Vincent Castonguay who will join our team, on the EC, to represent the Local Sections and the Young Geo-Professionals starting in January 2020. The new Division and Committee Rep will also be selected shortly.

Our EC has also been working successfully on preparing for a few other important changes in 2020. Transition is well underway for the Administration of CGS, from GGMI to Karma-Link. The production of our new CGS Magazine with the proposed name "Canadian Geotechnique" is also progressing well. The EC and the CGS Communication Task Force is collaborating actively with our new publisher Karma-Link for the first publication next spring 2020. BiTech, our publisher over the past 30 years is publishing this last issue Geotechnical News. I would like to thank Lynn Pugh and John Gadsby at BiTech, for all the good work they have done over the years with this magazine, for the benefit of our CGS members.

In the name of the CGS, I also want to express our sincere appreciation to Wayne Gibson for his over 10 years of dedicated services as the CGS Director of Administration and Finance.

Thanks also to our CGS National office: Executive Director, Michel Aubertin; Director of Communications and Member Services, Lisa Reny and Communications Coordinator, Emily Fournier. We appreciate their dedication and guidance. They are essential to us in the Executive committee and our CGS would not be able to function without their hard work.

Upcoming Events

In a few weeks, CGS will be partnering with the ASCE Geo-Institute to organize the GeoCongress 2020 in Minneapolis, on February 25th-28th. Later on this year, we will all get together again for the 73rd conference planned for Calgary, September 13th - 16th. We are also looking forward to the 74th Annual CGS conference in Niagara Falls, in 2021.

Other important dates to keep in mind for 2020; membership and corporate sponsorship renewals are due for January 1; the nominations for the 2021 CGS Colloquium to be sent by January 31 and most CGS award nominations are due by May 15. More information on all of these can be found elsewhere in this issue of Geotechnical News, on the CGS Website or by contacting Lisa at admin@cgs.ca.

I am honored to lead a great CGS Executive Committee and I am super proud to be the President of the CGS. My goal is to have a strong society which will be able to serve our members even better and help our geo-profession to be even more present in our society.

Thanks again for investing your time in reading my thoughts. I invite you to get back to me with your questions or feedback at president@cgs.ca.

I wish you a very pleasant and relaxing holiday Season and a very happy New year in 2020!

À l'année prochaine mes amis ! – See you next year, my friends!

Mario Ruel