The International Foundation Congress and Equipment Exposition (IFCEE ’09), held at the Buena Vista Palace Resort & Spa, Orlando, Fla., March 15-19, was a jointly sponsored geo-engineering and geo-construction technical conference and equipment exposition.  It encompassed the annual meetings of the Geo-Institute of ASCE (G-I), ADSC: The International Association of Foundation Drilling (ADSC), and the Pile Driving Contractors Association (PDCA). The co-sponsoring partners are pleased to report an attendance of nearly 2,800 (including participants from 33 countries), far exceeding the anticipated registration count. This is highly encouraging for our industry, given the current economic downturn.

Participants took part in 52 technical sessions, received the three-volume congress proceedings featuring 240 peer-reviewed papers, attended committee meetings, and viewed the deep foundation and geo-support construction equipment, products and services on display. The massive outdoor exhibition featured foundation and geo-support machines from around the world. The indoor exhibit hall was jam-packed with a wide array of products and services. Keynote presenters included Major General Don Riley, United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE), who discussed the role of the USACE in infrastructure construction and maintenance, a major theme of the congress. In addition, Dr. Dan Brown, Auburn University, and John Wolosick, P.E., Hayward Baker, presented a plenary session covering a variety of deep foundation, earth retention and soil modification design and construction projects.

One of the congress highlights was the honoring of internationally renowned deep foundation engineer, Clyde Baker Jr., AECOM, Inc., as the 2009 Geo-Industry Hero. In 2008, Baker was recognized by Engineering News Record magazine as the “Man of the Year” in civil engineering. He was similarly honored by the ASCE as a recipient of a prestigious ASCE Opal Award. Baker is and has been the foundation engineer of record for many of the world’s tallest buildings. The 2009 Geo-Industry Hero award was jointly presented by the G-I of ASCE, ADSC and PDCA.

Other IFCEE ’09 special events included a U.S.-China Ground Improvement Workshop sponsored by the Geo-Institute of ASCE; a meeting of the ISSMGE Board of Directors; the exciting Student Geo-Competition; and the presentation of the ADSC’s 14 2009 Civil Engineering Graduate Study Scholarships. In addition, the ASCE, through its Academy of Geo-Professionals, acknowledged the founding class of Certified Geotechnical Engineers, who received this new designation, Diplomate Geotechnical Engineer, at the congress. The ADSC, G-I of ASCE and PDCA conducted their respective annual membership meetings and presented their own valued awards.