Bernie Hertlein is the recipient of Deep Foundation Institute’s (DFI) highest award to an individual, the Distinguished Service Award (DSA).

The annual award recognizes individuals who have made exceptionally valuable contributions to the advancement of the deep foundations industry. The award will be presented on Oct. 14, during the DFI’s 40th Annual Conference on Deep Foundations in Oakland, Calif.

“The term ‘distinguished service’ is embodied in Bernie’s every day activities,” says DFI’s Executive Director Theresa Engler. “He willingly and gladly gives much of his personal time through his participation in numerous industry committees.  He also shares his extensive experience by providing technical presentations and peer review of papers in order to improve the understanding and use of testing methods.”

Hertlein, currently senior consultant and head of the nondestructive evaluation (NDE) and geophysics group at GEI Consultants in Vernon Hills, Ill., has specialized in inspection and nondestructive testing methods for structures and deep foundations and construction-related vibration issues for more than 30 years. He has also been involved in developing new applications for nondestructive testing (NDT) methods, designing or building the required hardware, and writing appropriate software to improve the state of the art.

Hertlein was part of the team that introduced cross-hole sonic logging (CSL) and impulse response testing to North America in the mid-1980s, and has participated in several research projects for the Federal Highway Administration, using NDT methods on all types of deep foundations.

His work experience includes drilled shafts, ACIP piles, driven piles and slurry wall projects throughout the U.S., and in several European countries as well as Algeria, Hong Kong and Venezuela. He is currently a trustee of DFI, serving as trustee liaison to the Testing and Evaluation Committee, of which he is past chair. He is also secretary of American Concrete Institute (ACI) Committee 228 Nondestructive and In-place Testing; chairman of ACI Committee 336 Footings, Mats and Drilled Piers; past chair of ASTM Committee C-09.64 Nondestructive Testing of Concrete; and a member of the ASCE Geo-Institute, where he serves on the Deep Foundations Committee. Hertlein is a past director of ADSC: The International Association of Foundation Drilling. He was elected a Fellow of the ACI in 2012 and was awarded the ADSC’s Outstanding Service Award in 2009. 

Hertlein received his bachelor’s in civil engineering from the Centre Expérimental de Recherches et d'Études du Bâtiment et des Travaux Publics (CEBTP), France, and his H.N.D. in electrical and mechanical engineering from Farnborough Technical College in England.

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