The Deep Foundations Institute (DFI) has named Willie M. NeSmith, PE, former chief geotechnical engineer for Berkel & Company Contractors, as the 2019–2020 Traveling Lecturer, the organization announced. He is available, on request of DFI, through August 31, 2020, to present lectures featuring case histories focused on geotechnical engineering and ground improvement.

“Willie NeSmith’s 45 years of experience in geotechnical engineering, combined with his reputation as an engaging presenter and instructor, make him a perfect traveling lecturer to represent the industry and DFI,” says Theresa Engler, DFI executive director. “As an expert in the design and installation of cast-in-place displacement piles, he is always willing to share his knowledge with the deep foundations community.”

In 2018, DFI introduced the DFI Traveling Lecturer program to promote the field of geotechnical engineering and deep foundation construction by encouraging students to explore a career in the deep foundations industry, providing information on topics of interest to members of the industry, and raising awareness of how DFI and its activities support the industry.

Each year, DFI selects a prominent industry expert as the DFI Traveling Lecturer to present a series of lectures to university students, professional groups and industry associations. This year’s lecture series runs from September 1–August 31.

NeSmith received a B.S. in civil engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1974, and for the following 25 years worked as a consulting geotechnical engineer on projects in the U.S., the Middle East and Africa. He began to specialize in deep foundations in 1990, and joined Berkel & Company in 1999, after serving as a consultant for implementation of Berkel’s displacement pile system. NeSmith is a leading authority on the design and installation of cast-in-place displacement piles in the U.S., having designed or evaluated over 200 displacement pile projects nationwide. He has authored over 20 professional publications and is a past member of the DFI Augered Cast-in-Place (ACIP) Pile Committee. NeSmith also served as the lead instructor for the DFI ACIP Short Course and received his first professional registration in Georgia in 1978.

Visit and navigate to ‘Awards and Lectures’ to learn more about the Traveling Lecturer program, request the Traveling Lecturer to speak at your event or nominate someone as a future Traveling Lecturer.

The DFI is an international association of contractors, engineers, academics and suppliers in the deep foundations industry with more than 3,500 members worldwide. For more information about the Deep Foundations Institute, visit