Professor Vern Schaefer of Iowa State University is the new chairman of the Deep Foundation Institute’s Committee on Deep Foundations for Landslides and Slope Stabilization. Schaefer takes the place of Professor Erik Loehr of the University of Missouri, who is joining the DFI Board of Trustees.
DFI Schaefer

Schaefer has a long record of experience in the foundations sector. He serves as focus group leader of geotechnical and materials engineering in ISU’s Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering Department. In his time at the university, he’s worked on the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Strategic Highway Research Program. That program addresses the safety, reliability and capacity needs of the nation’s highway system.

Schaefer is currently on sabbatical with the FHWA, working in Washington, D.C., to develop geotechnical performance measures for Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) legislation—a critical transportation bill.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at South Dakota State University, his master’s degree in civil engineering at ISU, and his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. In 2013, he was honored by ISU with the Joseph C. and Elizabeth Anderlik Undergraduate Teaching Award for civil, construction and environmental engineering.

The DFI’s technical committees focus on issues specific to major methods and technologies within the deep foundations and excavation sectors. Committees work to keep DFI members and the industry current on best practices through publications, guidance documents, peer review of papers, educational events and committee reports in the group’s magazine, Deep Foundations.

The DFI is an international association of contractors, engineers, academics and suppliers in the deep foundations industry with more than 3,300 members worldwide. For more information about the Deep Foundations Institute, visit