Leading up to this year’s IFCEE conference, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Donald A. Bruce, on the right in the above picture, who was selected to deliver the 2015 Terzaghi Lecture. The honor, bestowed by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), recognizes an individual who has made considerable contributions to the field of geotechnical engineering.

Given how gracious he was during the two interviews (long story), it was a delight to get an email from his company this week letting me know his presentation was posted online. Bruce, president of specialty geotechnical construction firm Geosystems, is definitely a wealth of knowledge. His Terzaghi Lecture is titled “The Evolution of Specialty Geotechnical Construction Techniques: The ‘Great Leap’ Theory.” It builds on a distinguished career that includes more than 300 published papers on all aspects of drilling and grouting, micropiles, deep mixing, and other foundations and geotechnical fundamentals.

If you have an interest in any of those areas, check out video of his lecture here.

“I think one of the most important things is to have an understanding of the basics behind the problems, whether they be technical or technologically driven,” Bruce told me. “I’ve been able to do that simply by keeping up with the industry and doing in-depth research into the history and evolution of different techniques.

Keeping up with industry thought leaders like Bruce, and the rest of the special lecturers from this year’s event, can set you apart. These veterans have solved hundreds of jobsite problems, so knowing how they think gives you an edge over competitors bidding for the same work.

Alongside the lecture, Bruce was presented with a citation commending his “passion and insights in shaping the way we solve practical problems in the geo-design industry, by expanding our understanding and application of technologies such as anchors, micropiles, grouting, deep mixing methods and diaphragm walls.”

After checking out Bruce’s lecture, you may want to delve a little deeper with his latest book, Specialty Construction Techniques for Dam and Levee Remediation. He’s the editor and also a contributor. He calls it a “Polaroid snapshot” of major dam rehabilitation projects in the United States and the “considerable advances that have been made by a relatively small number of contractors.”

I hope you’re never too busy to stop and think for a few minutes about better ways to do what you do every day. That’s how the “great leaps” Bruce talks about happen.

Stay safe out there, drillers.