Bryan Watts Nominated to be President-Elect of Canadian Geotechnical Society

The next President-Elect for the Society will be appointed effective 1 January 2010. The person appointed to this position will become President of the Society for the years 2011 and 2012. It is now time to begin the process leading to this appointment, which will be confirmed at the 62nd Canadian Geotechnical Conference in Halifax on 20-24 September 2009.

In accordance with the By-Laws of the Society, a Nominating Committee was formed in 2008 to propose a suitable candidate for President-Elect. The committee consisted of Peter Wu, (President, Chair), Mike Bozozuk, (Past-President), Branko Ladanyi and John Krahn (General Members of CGS).

The Nominating Committee has provided the name of Bryan D. Watts, P.Eng, as a candidate for the position of President-Elect in 2010, and President in 2011 and 2012. Mr. Watts has agreed to be a candidate. In the accompanying paragraphs he provides a short statement that outlines his objectives for the Society.

While Mr. Watts is the candidate proposed by the Nominating Committee, other candidates are also welcomed. Any general member of the Society may nominate a candidate for election to the position of President-Elect. Nominations must be received by the Society Secretariat in writing by 15 June, 2009. Through the by-laws of the Society, any such nomination shall have the written support of at least 18 general members and a statement by the candidate expressing willingness to serve as President. For further information, see the Society’s Administration Manual at www.cgs.ca/cgsdocuments.

If there are no additional candidates, Mr. Bryan Watts will be elected by acclamation at the Meeting of the Board of Directors of the CGS in Halifax. If additional candidates are nominated, selection will be by mail-in ballot, and, or by electronic ballot, provided to all members of the Society, with submission of ballots no later than mid-night on July 15 2009.
President Elect’s Objectives: Nomination Statement of Bryan D. Watts

Dear Colleagues:

I am very pleased to have been selected by the Nominating Committee of the Canadian Geotechnical Society (CGS) to become the Society’s President-Elect in 2010. I accept the nomination. If elected, I will be ready to serve the Society for a two-year term President starting in January 2011.

Since becoming a member of the Canadian Geotechnical Society in the late 1970s, I have been involved in the Society in various capacities. These include Treasurer of the Vancouver Geotechnical Society (VGS), organizer of two VGS symposiums, Editor of CGS News, Chair of the Professional Practice Committee, and Chair of the CGS Conference in Vancouver in 1995. I was also part of the organizing committee for the Commemorative Edition for the Golden Jubilee Conference in 1997. I am also a member of the Canadian Dam Association, a past member of the tailings subcommittee of the Mining Association of Canada and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. I am a co-recipient of the Quigley Award for the Canlex project and hold service plaques from the CGS. I hold with my co-authors the 2001 Best Published Paper Award from the Canadian Dam Association for a suite of seven papers on the Bennett Dam Sinkhole. I am also a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada.

The current business model for the Canadian Geotechnical Society is to deliver annual national conferences, foster local society meetings and speaking tours, and provide a forum for discussion of relevant technical issues through our Divisions. This is a traditional technical society business model which the CGS executes particularly well. Is this model appropriate going forward? Is this what our members want? Is this going to serve the needs of our younger members who will be leading the CGS in future? As President, I will develop a strategic initiative to address these issues.

The CGS has seven Divisions which span the technology of geotechnique including a Cold Regions Geotechnology Division which has uniquely Canadian aspects. In my view there is a need to have an Oilsands Geotechnology Division to provide a forum for the hundreds of geotechnical and environmental engineers who practice regularly in this important Canadian area. Our engineers and scientists have developed a uniquely Canadian set of technologies where significant progress has been made over the past few decades. Geotechnical issues span the gamut from estimation of shear strength in shales to consolidation of mature fine tailings to potential contamination of extensive Pleistocene buried channels beneath tailings impoundments. The CGS needs to be central to the progress of oilsands geotechnique.

Over my 35 years of practice, I have worked on projects in most areas of the country from dam safety in Cape Breton to tailings disposal in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia to estimation of ice vibration loads on offshore structures in the Beaufort Sea. The local CGS societies across the country are the first line of contact with engineers who serve these and many other project types. I would like to help foster their focus on practice issues in their diverse foundation and climatic environments.

My background is geotechnical design and management in Canada and globally. I am keenly aware of technical and career development issues facing young engineers and scientists in Canada today. I welcome this opportunity to improve the benefits of the Canadian Geotechnical Society to these young members.

Bryan D. Watts, M.Sc., P.Eng, F.E.I.C.
President, Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd.

(CGS E-news, April 2009)

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