Over 1,000 participants converged at Washington D.C. for the Geosynthetics 2007 Conference and Trade Show. The participants poured over 76 exhibits, listened to more than 60 papers and presentations, nine short courses, four special sessions, three keynote speeches and two discussion panels.
The Jan. 16-19, 2007 event marked an enthusiastic high point on the geosynthetics communitys calendar. The conference was billed as a 3-in-1 event, opening with two days devoted to the Environmental Conference, two days to a Transportation Conference, overlapped by a unique GRI 20th Anniversary Conference with a focus on homeland security.
The conference launched with all-day short courses on the environment. The courses were followed by a Plenary Session/J.P.Giroud Lecture presented by Chris Lawson: Geotextile Containment for Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering. The most popular short course of the day was E1-Interface Friction/Direct Shear Testing & Slope Stability Issues, which attracted 62 attendees.
The Trade Show Welcome Party on the evening of January 16th featured a presentation by Jack Kemp, former congressman, HUD secretary, and vice presidential candidate. His company, Kemp Partners, along with the firm of Whitmer and Worrall, are leading the government relations efforts for the Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA). Kemp cut the opening ribbon to the show and then walked the trade show floor with Geosynthetic Materials Association director Andrew Aho to meet the exhibitors.
The wealth of geosynthetic products available offers a staggering array of possibilities to the environmental, transportation and homeland security industries. I am honored to represent this industry, Kemp said.
The Environment Conference continued on Wednesday, Jan. 17, with a kickoff keynote by David Daniel, titled Engineering Lessons Learned from Levee Failures in New Orleans. A full day of technical sessions followed, capped by an afternoon panel discussion led by Dr. Daniel: Uncertainties Applied to Real World Geosynthetic Design. That evenings reception on the exhibit show floor was sponsored by Geosynthetics magazine.
The Geosynthetics Research Institutes 20th Anniversary Conference on Jan. 18 ran concurrently with the first day of the Transportation Conference. The GRI event featured the presentation of 18 papers and included a luncheon and technology caf discussion session led by Elizabeth Peggs, of geosynthetica.net. GRI-20 had 108 attendees.
The Transportation Conference opened with four short courses, with the highest attendance, 72 attendees, for T4-Geosynthetics in Roadways Systems, and concluded with a Fiesta Cancun reception to showcase GeoAmericas 2008, the upcoming first Pan American Geosynthetics Conference and Exhibition to be held March 2-5, 2008, at the Hilton Cancun Beach & Golf Resort.
Richard Capka, Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration kicked off Day Two of the Transportation Conference on Jan. 19 with the keynote address: The Future of Geosynthetics in Transportation. A 90-minute panel discussion followed, moderated by Corey Bobba of the FHWA.
Morning and afternoon Transportation Conference technical sessions continued throughout January 19th. A closing wine and cheese reception concluded the week for Geosynthetics 2007.
Barry Christopher, Christopher Consultants, said, Very interesting, good job pulling off a 3-1 show.
Plans are already well underway for the GeoAmericas 2008, to be held in Cancun March 2-5, 2008. To learn more, visit www.geoamericas.info. Both Geosynthetics 2007 and GeoAmericas 2008 are organized by the Industrial Fabric Association International (IFAI). IFAI seeks to proactively promote the products and innovations of the specialty fabrics industry worldwide. Visit www.ifai.com